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State sporting sisters

Posted by on 19/09/2018

Long row: Four-time Olympian Kerry Hore forms part of Tasmania’s rich female sporting heritage.Bec Van Asch was standing on her own two feet.
Nanjing Night Net

Amy Cure and Georgia Baker were ringing on their own bells.

Ariarne Titmus was probably in there too but I can’t find a lyric that fits.

When Annie Lennox wrote the definitive Eurythmics anthem, it was self-proclaimed as “a song to celebrate the conscious liberation of the female state”.

It could just as easily celebrate a female sporting state because Tasmania’s sporting sisters certainly are doin’ it for themselves.

In the space of a few days Van Asch claimed her second and third bowls world titles, Cure and Baker racked up enough Oceania track cycling titles to almost put Tasmania ahead of New Zealand in the championship medal table and Titmus navigated Tasmanian swimming into new waters.

Van Asch added the triples and fours in Christchurch to the pairs crown she won on home soil in 2012.

Being a non-Olympic sport and with world championships only held every four years, the Invermay bowler has few opportunities to shine on the world stage so to claim three global golds is a fantastic achievement.

In contrast, track cycling has national, continental and world championships every year, with multiple disciplines at each, but Baker and Cure have still managed to manufacture something of a monopoly on the gold market.

Having claimed two of the five spots available for female endurance riders at the Rio Olympics, the state teammates were also in the Australian team pursuit victory at the Oceania titles.

Baker, of Perth, thenadded a points race victory before Cure claimed both the omnium and madison, in which she formed half a dream team with South Australian Annette Edmondson.

Golden grins: Multiple Oceania cycling champions Georgia Baker and Amy Cure.

Not done there, the West Pine world champ doubled up at the Australian omnium titles, also held in Melbourne, to stake an early claim to a 2020 Olympic berth, before teaming with Baker and coming fourth in the madison.

While Tasmania has long enjoyed significant involvement in world cycling, the same cannot be said for swimming, which makes the achievement ofTitmus all the more remarkable.

In the Canadian city of Windsor, the Launceston teenager produced some right royal results.

Given the strength of more populous mainland states, particularly sun-drenched Queensland, Tasmanian swimmers making a national final is normally a significant enough achievement, so for a 16 year old to make two world finals is phenomenal.

Titmus, who relocated to Brisbane to pursue her swimming ambitions, even came agonisingly close to a medal, finishing fourth and sixth in the distance freestyle events at the FINA short-course world championships.

While Lennox rambled on about doctors, lawyers and politicians, Tasmanian female sport can lay claim to the likes of batters, rowers, basketballerstoo.

In the last few weeks I caught up with Kerry Hore and Emma Manix-Geeves, two talented athletes at opposite ends of exciting careers.

The first female Australian rower to compete at four Olympic Games, Hore also sits atop Tasmania’s tree as the state’s only four-time Olympian.

Manix-Geeves became the first woman to play first-grade in the lengthy history of Australia’s second oldest cricket association, while also showing considerable talent in football.

Despite the latter being half the former’s age, both sportswomen spoke with similar humility and pride about their achievements and the contrasting decisions facing their sporting futures.

Hore’s two-time Olympic crewmate Dana Faletic and former New Norfolk clubmate Kate Hornsey were among the seven athletes inducted into theTasmanian Sporting Hall of Fame last month.

Belinda Goss also became the first female cyclist inducted while former world champion Hollie Grimawasrecognised for the role she played in helping put Tasmania on the world basketball map.

Those four join an illustrious list of champion female athletes already acknowledged by the state including the likes of runner Susan Andrews, hockey playerBianca Langham-Pritchard, diver Elizabeth Jack, tennis player Helen Gourlay and swimmer Melissa Carlton.

Meanwhile Cure was a finalist in the Tasmanian athlete of the year having claimed the award in 2015 and is already well on track to making the cut again next year.

There is no doubt that Australian sport remains male dominated.

Cure and Baker couldn’t dream of the sort of financial return their fellow Tasmanian Richie Porte can make from the same sport.

Meanwhile Grima’s former Opals teammate Lauren Jackson told Hadspen Cricket Club’s champions of sport function that even when she was the world’s highest-earning female player, she wasn’t in the same ballpark as the top NBA stars.

However, new national competitions in cricket and football, combined with existing ones like the WNBL, are giving women’s sport unprecedented exposure.

And as Bracknell cricketer Katelyn Fryett (Hobart Hurricanes), Burnie footballer Ellyse Gamble (Western Bulldogs) and Launceston basketballer Tayla Roberts (Adelaide Lightning) have discovered, there is nothing stopping Tasmanians from getting involved.

As Lennox would say, sweet dreams are made of this.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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