Raducanu's dazzling display
Emma Raducanu, at only 18 years old, dazzled the sporting world with a historic victory in the US Open. She won convincingly over Canada’s Leylah Fernandes in straight sets (6-4, 6-3) sending her world ranking from 150 to 22.
Raducanu made her entrance with her surprise performance at Wimbledon. Given the opportunity as a wild card, at tennis’ most prominent tournament, Raducanu certainly made a name for herself by reaching the fourth round, before retiring to prioritise her mental health.
At the US Open, Raducanu made an inspiring comeback, not dropping a single set throughout the competition. Through her experience, Raducanu took the positives and was aware of her potential, fuelling her to victory.
Her win is historic. The first qualifier, man or woman, to reach a Grand Slam final. In British tennis, Raducanu became not only the first woman to reach a Grand Slam final in forty-four years, but the youngest British tennis player to reach a final in sixty-two. With this win, she positions herself as the British number one.
In a country where female participation in sport continues to fall, particularly as girls in school reach puberty, Raducanu’s and all female sporting success should be used to promote the benefits that sport can bring to the lives of those that partake. According to the charity Women in Sport, by age 14 only one in ten girls are participating in enough physical activity to benefit their health. Raducanu, at the age of just 18, should be used as a relatable example for young girls, showing the positive outcomes of dedication, and promoting the benefits of sport for young people. The attributes needed to succeed in sport are transferable skills. As well as being key to children’s physical and mental health, sport can be used to develop essential skills.
Raducanu’s appearance at the Met Gala, dressed beautifully by Chanel, breaks down the stereotypes of women in sport and allows a sense of glamour. Being invited to a global fashion event highlights to all young girls watching the opportunities sport gives, and that it is not purely the domain of masculinity.
There is a huge lack of media presence in female sports, only four per cent of coverage is given to women. This statistic is shocking considering that the women’s US Open final on ESPN averaged significantly more viewers (2.44 million) than the men’s (2.05 million). It is hard to imagine that there is no correlation between media coverage and uptake.
It is time that women’s sport is celebrated as it deserves to be. The huge number of viewers for Raducanu’s victory emphasises an existent market for greater media coverage for female athletes. If girls were raised with equally celebrated sporting role models, it would allow for sporting culture to shift and increase female participation.
Emma Raducanu’s victory was inspiring and can be used as motivation for the sporting community to actively encourage just that.
Image courtesy of Peter Menzel via Wikimedia Commons