Sportswomen highlights all of the major issues in women's sport each week
Sky Sports presenter Jane Dougall gives us the lowdown on the weekly show, Sunday mornings at 10am on Sky Living HD
This week our Executive Producer Anna Edwards was off cycling 500 miles for charity so Deputy Producer Cheryl Hockey was at the helm and it was a really busy one for her!
It had been an incredibly exciting end to the Women's Super League over the weekend. On Sunday morning Chelsea were top of the table by two points with Birmingham City second, then Liverpool in third place. However, by the end of the day Chelsea had lost their match, Birmingham City drew theirs, but Liverpool won, giving them the title on goal difference! We spoke to Liverpool Ladies manager Matt Beard about those phenominal few hours on Sunday ... he held the trophie proudly the whole time.
Most athletes will tell you that a big part of their job is travelling all over the world for competitions, which can get you down. So, when world squash champion Laura Massaro is at home in Chorley, she makes sure she's surrounded by her home conforts! Her husband is her coach and her Mum works in the cafe of the sports club where Laura trains. She spoke to us about winning the world title and her hopes for the future.
Over the course of last week I spent a lot of time with 22 year old Monique Newton. During her young life Monique has already survived cancer, gone through depression and even attempted suicide. But she decided to turn her life around with the help of the Priory hospital and with sport. Monique is now the three-time world champion powerlifter. It's not a sport you would associate with her... she's 5ft4 and seven and half stone! Despite that, Monique can lift three times her body weight! At the gym where she trains, she can lift more than some of the muscley men, it's amazing to watch.
Nominations for this year's Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards have now closed. THe judging panel will now meet to draw up a short list from the nominees. You can keep across the latest at our website and on Sky Sports News HQ. The awards will be live on Sky Sports on November 19th.
The programme comes around so quickly each week! We start planning and booking guests on Wednesday; then we try to film and edit our reports on Thursday and Friday; we have the weekend off (which meant watching the Ryder Cup on this occasion!) and before you know it, it's Monday and then it's show day again.
As it happens we were very fortunate with our forward planning. Our guest was netball legend Tracey Neville who has 81 caps for England, led Manchester Thunder to victory in the Super League Grand final last season and I think her two brothers had something to do with Manchester United Football Club?! Anyway, we had some breaking news during the programme concerning netball so Tracey was able to offer her insight.
England captain Pamela Cookey, who we had on the programme two weeks ago, has left Team Bath and signed for Surrey Storm. Their first match in the new season is against Manchester Thunder, so Tracey will see for herself how much of a contribution Pamela will make to Surrey.
On the programme we also broadcast a feature with boxer Nicola Adams. We've seen her talk about boxing so often, but this interview was different. The world's first female boxing Olympic champion told us about her best friend in sport, what she'd do if she wasn't a boxer and that she's addicted to computer games... perhaps why Nicola's reactions are so fast!
One of the best stories of the day was the first female to be appointed to the RFU's national panel of referees. We filmed Claire Hodnett refereeing Leicester Lions against Luctonians. It was incredibly impressive watching her keep 30 men in order, although Claire is a solicitor by day, so she'll be used to that! It was obvious how well respected she is within the game, hopefully we'll be seeing her at Premiership matches in the next few years.
We also covered all the latest news and results in women's sports, to find out more go to our website. You can also nominate your Sportswomen of the Year on the website. There are seven categories and you have until midday on October 14th to nominate.
There was a different feel to Sportswomen this week, mostly because we're saying goodbye to one of our producers Michael Weightman (yes we do have men working on the programme!). He's moving to another department but this was his last Sportswomen and we'll miss his male input. He helped organise interviews with two big stars for the programme today. Firstly, dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin. Since the London Olympics she has simply got better and better. She now holds all three world records in dressage, but she spoke to Sportswomen about what she does when she's not riding her horse, Valegro.
And secondly, paraswimmer Ellie Simmonds who we keep forgetting is just nineteen years old because she's done so much in her swimming career. Since those two gold medals in Beijing which propelled her into the spotlight at the age of only thirteen she's become a four-time Paralympic Champion and currently has ten world records to her name. I spoke to her just after the European Championships in Eindhoven and she showed me the three golds and two silvers that she won over there. After Arsenal head coach Shelley Kerr left the club to manage men's team Stirling University in the Lowland League, Spanish coach Pedro Martinez Losa took over. But that left Emma Hayes at Chelsea as the only female manager in the top tier of English women's football. We spoke to England football assistant coach Marieanne Spacey about the FA's approach to attracting more women into coaching. At level one, almost 10 percent of the three hundred and four thousand coaches qualified are women but at level two, that percentage drops to 5.9%. We also looked at coaching at a grass roots level and spoke to several female coaches at a juniors match in Weston Super Mare.
So often on our programme we speak to athletes who have to balance training with their job but this week we spent time with two teenagers who have 82 international caps between them but still have to manage their school work with cricket duty. Elena Tice and Lucy O'Reilly are still at secondary school and play cricket for Ireland, but they're not the youngest in the squad, that title falls to Gaby Lewis who's just thirteen years old.
One of the wealthiest female athletes in the world retired this week. China's Li Na has had three operations on her knee and decided her body couldn't take any more. She was the first Asian-born tennis player to win a Tennis Grand Slam singles title at the French Open in 2011. She earned almost eleven million pounds from endorsements in 2014 alone. Only Maria Sharapova banked more.
And British golden girl Paula Radcliffe returned to racing this week for the first time since April 2012. Unbeknownst to Paula, she had been running with a stress fracture in her left foot for years. She's recovered from surgery and hopes to compete in next year's London Marathon. If you want to watch the latest episode of Sportswomen you can download the podcast at www.skysports.com/podcast or via itunes. And you can keep across all the latest women's sports stories at www.skysports.com/sportswomen. Don't forget, you can also use the website to vote for your Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year.
I was very excited about the programme this morning as we had two incredibly accomplished guests on Sportswomen. Rugby World cup winner Maggie Alphonsi and England Netball captain Pamela Cookey were in our studio. Maggie had just announced her retirement from international rugby but was telling us about her plans for a new challenge in another sport. Pamela on the other hand, was still recovering from a torn achilles tendon and had missed out on captaining her country at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Despite her disappointments she's such a bubbly and upbeat person and we can't wait to see her back on Sky Sports playing for Team Bath in the Netball Superleague next year.
We started the day having to re-organise the order of the programme. A few stories had broken and we had to prepare to report them and also brief the guests so they were able to comment. One of the main talking points today was the vote in Scotland - no, not the one on independence - the one on golf. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club has recommended that their 2400 male contingent should vote to accept women as members for the first time in its 260 year existence. They'll discover the outcome on Thursday (the same day as the referendum!).
The other big sports story we discussed was the Bogota Humana women's cycling kit. It doesn't seem that interesting... until you see it! The team appear to look naked from the waist down and it has caused an outrage on social media.
We had not one but two world champions on our programme. Last year's Sportswomen of the year Christine Ohuruogu spoke to us about her sporting heroes and rivals on the day that the online public nomination process opened for this year's SundayTimes and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards. The categories include: Sportswoman of the Year, Young Sportswoman of the Year, Disability Sports Person of the Year, Team of the Year, Community Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration. You can nominate here. Nominations close at midday on October 14th and the ceremony will be live on Sky Sports on November 19th.
The whole Sportswomen team were up at the crack of dawn on Tuesday to prepare for the return of the programme. I start my day with a coffee, check my scripts and read the papers before heading into make-up to get ready. I go over last minute updates with my Producer before starting rehearsals.
This week's programme was the first in the new series and it was our debut in the brand new studios at Sky Sports News HQ, so there was a lot to look forward to. Our studio guest this week was Heather Knight (pictured above), the England women's cricket vice-captain. We've spoken to Heather on the programme in the past so we already knew she would be a natural in front of the camera. Heather came to us fresh off the back of England's 3-0 Twenty20 whitewash over South Africa at the weekend so we had loads to talk about. She was quite badly injured last year when she tore her hamstring, which meant bowling at medium pace wasn't an option. She told me how she totally changed her bowling style - showing what a dedicated athlete she is.
One of the top news stories this week was Serena Williams beating Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets in New York to win the US Open. The win elevated her to the same status as Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18 Grand Slam titles. Sportswomen caught up with Serena who gave us some very revealing answers for a fun new feature.
Sportswomen also had a rare live interview with one of the most powerful women in world football, Moya Dodd. She is a FIFA executive committee member and told us what she thought of Sepp Blatter's comments last month when he said football was "very macho".
We also looked back at a great summer of success for women in sport Then there was the result of the Sportswoman of the Month vote and all the latest news. It looks set to be an exciting series ahead on Sportswomen. Tune in live every Tuesday on Sky Sports News HD at 11.30am or join us every week on Sky Living at 10am, and get involved involved @SkySportsNewsHQ #Sportswomen.