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Dame Kelly Holmes: It’s tougher for sportswomen than the men

She is an Olympic champion who has set British records in several disciplines but has admitted that women still face numerous hurdles when pursuing a career in sports.

Speaking to IBTimes UK’s A-list at the press launch of the new Bend It Like Beckham musical, based on the 2002 film, the retired middle-distance runner said that despite women making strides in various sports including tennis, football and athletics, negative stereotypes were still hard to break.

“Sports always had this thing around woman’s sport and whether it gets the recognition that it should get,” she said of the struggle to be taken as seriously as their male counterparts.

Holmes joined a star-studded crowd which included Graham Norton, Lily Collins and Indira Varma at the opening night the musical, which like the original film, tells the story of Jess, the 18-year-old footie-mad daughter of a Sikh family living in Southall, west London, whose dream of playing the beautiful game clashes with the cultural beliefs of her parents.

The 45-year-old Olympian believes that more shows with a positive message about woman and sports are essential because they provide an inspiration that many wannabe athletes so desperately need. Like many who are enthused about England’s performance in the Women’s World Cup, she appreciates the impeccable timing of the show’s West End debut.



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