The top sportswomen of July

ActionWomanAward_LogoLaura Winter looks through July’s nominations for the Action Woman of the Year 2016 award and finds the outstanding performances have come in tennis, cricket, rowing and athletics

Read about previous months’ star performers:  January / February / March / April / May / June

HEATHER WATSON
TENNIS

For overcoming the bitter disappointment of a first-round singles defeat to lift the Wimbledon mixed doubles title. Watson and Finnish partner Henri Kontinen beat Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 7-6, 6-4.

She said: “Who would have thought we’re here as champions, especially me after such a horrible first-round loss? I made it to the last day of Wimbledon which has always been one of my goals. I couldn’t have chosen anybody better than Henri. He made our time on court so fun. Off the court as well, it was just fun and easy. I’m just so freaking happy.

“Some people say, ‘It’s fun’, but don’t actually really have fun. I think we did. We didn’t think about winning. We just wanted to go out there and enjoy our time and just try and play well. Now we’re grand slam champions, Wimbledon champions. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to be a grand slam champion. I would take anything: singles, doubles, mixed doubles. I’ve got one of those now and I’m just really happy.”

JOrdanne 5JORDANNE WILEY
TENNIS

For becoming Wimbledon wheelchair doubles champion with partner Yui Kamiji of Japan for the third time. Wiley gained a measure of revenge over Aniek van Koot, who knocked her out in the singles, as the Dutch girl, and partner Jiske Griffioen, were beaten 6-2, 6-2.

Top seeds Wiley and Kamiji have now won eight Grand Slam doubles titles, including two at the Australian Open and two at Roland Garros.

Wiley said: “We were both in a bit of shock. We never thought we could win three in a row as Jiske and Aniek are so strong. To win at Wimbledon is so special and the crowd were brilliant. We just love playing on court with each other.”

Record Breaking Crew back on landGUIN BATTEN
ROWING

For skippering the first all-female crew to row the classic North Atlantic route west-to-east aboard an eight-metre boat called Liberty. The epic journey saw the five-woman crew battle stormy seas, gale-force winds, and unfavourable rowing conditions to complete the crossing from New York to Cornwall. They rowed two hours on, two hours off, and at times covered 80 miles a day.

Batten, who is also an Olympic silver medallist, said: “You could see the deterioration: the slowness of movement across the deck, every cut, rub or blister being infected as the immune system dropped. In addition, the hips, knees and back niggles became harder to ignore.

“The cold, damp living conditions in the cabins was the hardest thing to imagine. Mould was growing in cabins and the day after day wearing of wet oilskins has meant the smell was beyond description.”

Eilidh Photo Credit Bobby GavinEILIDH DOYLE
ATHLETICS

For winning the 4x400m relay at the European Championships and the 400 metres hurdles at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco, on the road to Rio 2016.

In her exclusive column for the Mixed Zone, Doyle said: “We went to Holland with the aim of winning gold. That was the only colour of medal that we wanted and we knew if we ran to our potential we could do it. I don’t run the 400 flat too often and I wanted to remind the selectors I can still run a decent 400. It proved to me I’m in good shape over the flat. We’ve got a great squad and it’s really fun to be a part of it.

“The Diamond League was a good night for me: I won the race and also set a personal best which I was really happy about. But when I crossed the line I was annoyed with myself. I’d put in an extra stride at hurdle 10 and as I finished I was thinking that it could have been better. But when I watched it back, I realised how good it was to have won another Diamond League meeting. It’s also really encouraging to run a personal best and know that I’ve still got room for improvement.”

WORCESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Tammy Beaumont of England hits a boundary during the second Women's Royal London ODI match between England and Pakistan at New Road on June 22, 2016 in Worcester, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

TAMMY BEAUMONT
CRICKET

For hitting an aggregate of 342 runs in the Royal London ODI Series – the highest in a three-match ODI series for any team, male or female.

Beaumont’s efforts came as England completed a record-breaking summer of matches against Pakistan. They won all six internationals against the tourists and marked a new era for England women’s cricket under the guidance of captain Heather Knight and coach Mark Robinson.

England also toppled five other records, including the highest ODI total of 378 for five, the highest IT20 total of 187 for five, the highest ODI and IT20 opening partnership of 235 and 147 respectively for Lauren Winfield and Beaumont, and Knight became the first player in the world to take five wickets and score a half-century in an ODI.
Knight said: “There was a fair amount of pressure on us coming into this series of matches against Pakistan, so it has been really pleasing that we have played with such positive intent throughout, and let our cricket do the talking.

“As a group we worked really hard to prepare for this summer, so to see records tumble in the manner that they have is fantastic. But this is just the beginning for us. Over these six matches we have laid some strong foundations on which to build ahead of what will be a challenging tour to the West Indies in October.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Winter is a sports journalist, presenter and event host. She worked in sports communications for the International Rowing Federation for two years, before working and training as a journalist in Gloucestershire, covering a variety of sports including rugby, boxing, football, and triathlon. She then turned freelance at the end of 2014 and is part of the team who founded Voxwomen, a women’s cycling show that seeks to give the female elite peloton the coverage they deserve. Laura’s latest articles.

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