Canoeing during the London Olympics will have men giving their best to secure a medal for their respective countries. For women however, it will be a story untold. Reason? No event for the fairer gender!
According to a few articles published in the British press, the move to have events at Lee Valley White Water Centre only for men has left women canoeists fuming. Samantha Rippington, an elite female canoeist has already threatened to take the matter to the High Court.
According to a report published in insidethegames.biz, Rippington argues that London 2012 ought to conduct an 'equality impact assessment' audit of the Olympics sports program as per the Equality Act 2010. "All I am asking is that LOCOG [London 2012] answer two simple questions: Is it discriminatory for there to be five men's Olympic canoe events but none for women?" she was quoted by the writer as asking.
The ripples of not having women participate in the event is being strongly felt in Canada as well. A report published in the Winnipeg Free Press takes a direct dig at the International Olympics Committee. "As at the Vatican, the IOC membership is mainly ancient, powerful, secretive men who issue edicts about what women's bodies can and cannot do," it reads. The Canadian canoeist team is one of the strongest but the women will not get a chance to compete. Not in this edition of the Olympics anyway.
In the run-up to the games, several controversies with gender bias at its core has come to surface. The women's basketball team from Australia flew economy while the men were ushered into the business class. The same happened with the Japanese women's football team as well. Protests and uproars aside, not much can be done to rectify the scenario with less than a week for the start of the Olympics. The issue though is unlikely to simmer down.