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Opinion

2020 is shaping up as a big year for women in sport

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Expert
30th December, 2019
13

As 2019 draws to a close, there were plenty of big moments to celebrate in the women’s sport space.

But given that we are witnessing a revolution in women’s sport at the moment, there is plenty to look forward to in 2020. Here are some suggestions for events you should put in your calendar for next year and start getting excited about.

Some are just around the corner.

ICC T20 Women’s World Cup
The organising committee for this iteration of the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup have focused on making this event more than just cricket. It will truly be a moment in time for gender equality in Australia.

The tournament will begin in February next year with games being played all across the country including Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, with the final coinciding with International Women’s Day on 8 March. On this day, the hope is that a new world record will be achieved for the biggest attendance at a stand-alone women’s sporting event ever.

I’ll be there, Katy Perry will be there and if recent form is anything to go by, so will the Australian women’s cricket team.

They had another exceptional year in 2019. The side retained the Ashes in England, broke the the world record for the most consecutive women’s ODI victories when they beat Sri Lanka in the later part of the year, and Ellyse Perry and Rachael Haynes continued to dominate on the world stage.

Ellyse Perry

(Matt King/Getty Images)

The big question heading into this World Cup is who is going to make the team? There were a couple of players who put their hand up for selection during the WBBL, none more so than Jess Duffin. In due course it will be revealed how much WBBL form will inform coach Matthew Mott’s selections.

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State of Origin heads to the Sunshine Coast
It was in 2018 that the Interstate Challenge was renamed State of Origin and for the last three years, we have seen dominance from New South Wales, who despite losing the Interstate Challenge for the first 17 years are now considered to be the dominant team.

That dominance had coincided with the match being played in New South Wales, but that all changes next year when the fixture will head to Queensland for the first time since the format was renamed. The 2020 clash will be played at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Queensland forward Steph Hancock has been threatening to retire for years, but it seems she will only do so once Queensland win another State of Origin. Will 2020 be her year?

When it comes to rugby league, I’m confident that we will also see an expanded NRLW in 2020 with more games and potentially even some announcements about some new teams to enter the competition in the next couple of years.

Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Has it already been four years since the Rio Olympics?

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Fortunately Japan’s time zone is far more convenient for Australian television viewers than Rio’s, which means that many of our teams will be playing at very friendly times.

Many women are looking promising for medals in Tokyo and some of our women’s team are also in prime position.

There are plenty I’m looking forward to seeing, including Jessica Fox, the Opals, the Pearls, the Hockeyroos, Bronte and Cate Campbell and hopefully Australia’s newest athletic sensation, Kelsey Lee Barber.

Another exciting moment for Australia is likely to happen in the surfing, which is an Olympic sport for the very first time. We are still waiting to hear who the two Aussie women will be, with Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons having to wait until May to confirm their qualification, even though they have satisfied the World Surf League ranking requirement for qualification.

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Summer Paralympics in Tokyo
Following the Summer Olympics, the Paralympics will also be held in Tokyo. The team will be co-captained by Danni Di Toro, who is heading to her seventh Paralympics.

There are plenty of athletes to get excited about, but I’m very keen to see Madison de Rozario, who is coached by one of our greatest ever Australian athletes in Louise Sauvage, as well as world champion Lauren Parker, who will look to compete in the Paratriathlon before heading to Hawaii in 2021 to compete in the Hawaii Ironman.

Incredibly, Parker participated in this event in 2014 and 2015 as an able-bodied athlete, but now has her sights set on it as a Paralympian. She will definitely be one to watch in 2020.

Add these events to other exciting things including an expanded AFLW, plenty more tennis from Ash Barty and plenty more time to shine for the likes of the Matildas and I’m confident that women in sport are going to reach even bigger heights in 2020.