Emma Raducanu's US Open Triumph & The Best Achievements By Women In UK Sport

On International Women's Day, The Sportsman reflects on some of the best achievements in UK women's sport
10:58, 08 Mar 2023

On International Women’s Day in 2023, the UK Government has unveiled a £600 million package for schools across the country so that equal opportunities are offered to girls to take part in sport at school as part of the legacy of England’s victory at Euro 2022.

In honour of International Women’s Day, here are some of the greatest achievements in UK women’s sports.

Emma Raducanu wins US Open as a qualifier

The British tennis star made history in September 2021 when she was crowned the singles champion at the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows. She defeated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez to win her first Grand Slam title and what was most impressive was that she did it as a qualifier - the first to go all the way in any major tournament. Raducanu won 10 matches on the bounce and didn’t lose a single set, as she became the first British star to win a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade in 1977.

Lionesses winning Euro 2022

The nation is still celebrating the Lionesses’ stunning victory over Germany at Wembley Stadium last summer which clinched England their first major honour, and what a way to do it in front of a record-breaking home crowd. Manager Sarina Wiegman and her players have been huge catalysts for change in this country by altering the perception of women’s football, and we have already seen higher gates at football matches across the nation, including in the Women’s Super League. It all stemmed from a wonderful group of players who the country could get behind and believed that they could bring some footballing pride back to England. 

Fallon Sherrock making history at Alexandra Palace

The success of women’s sport has been growing over recent years and one of the greatest stories to emerge during this period was Fallon Sherrock changing the landscape of darts. Sherrock made history in December 2019 by beating Ted Evetts to become the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Darts Championship, before then defeating world number 11 Mensur Suljovic and eventually losing to world number 22 Chris Dobey in the third round. 

Sherrock was the fifth female to play there in the competition’s history – but one of them had to win for any real progress to be made and she did just that. Listen back to the roars of the crowd when Sherrock planted the winning bullseye in round two – women in darts are here to stay. Sherrock has picked up a loyal following whenever she makes an appearance and the next step would be to claim a major title.

SM News Fallon Sharrockjpg

Jessica Ennis-Hill’s London 2012 Super Saturday moment

Ask any sports fan to recall their favourite moments of the 2010s decade and Super Saturday is almost certainly going to be named. Three athletes gave us the greatest single hour, perhaps the greatest night, in the history of British athletics - and Jessica Ennis-Hill was one of them.

In one of the iconic moments of the London Games, Ennis-Hill fulfilled her destiny by being crowned Olympic heptathlon champion after a series of personal bests carried her to gold. From then on, the word heptathlon was synonymous with the name Ennis-Hill and she will forever be remembered for that incredible night at the London Stadium. We all wish we could go back and watch that evening from start to finish.

Team GB win first hockey gold at Rio Games

The stars aligned for Team GB’s hockey team at the 2016 Olympics as they made another fine piece of history for UK sports. Maddie Hinch was the in-form goalkeeper whose penalty shootout heroics won Great Britain women their first-ever Olympic gold medal.

After a tense final, Team GB and the Netherlands drew 3-3. Without Hinch in the shootout, the gold medal may have never been theirs. She kept out all four Netherlands attempts to secure the 2-0 win for her team and record a monumental victory. The final was witnessed by 9.7 million people on the BBC and hockey was never to be the same again. 

England win first netball gold at 2018 Commonwealth Games

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, England made history as they defeated the hosts to clinch their first ever gold medal in netball. Helen Housby was the match-winner in the last minute and her shot changed the sport forever. Since that moment, netball in the UK has surged to new heights of popularity, with 130,700 adult women taking up netball off the back of that single game. Sky Sports’ netball viewing figures more than doubled, the national team signed sponsorship deals with Vitality and Nike and thousands of tickets were sold for the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool.

Rachael Blackmore becomes first female jockey to win the Grand National

In jump racing, the year of 2021 belonged to Rachael Blackmore. The Irish jockey had been the champion jockey at the Cheltenham Festival with six winners, and this set her up brilliantly to make history at Aintree a few weeks later. Saddled with Minella Times, the star from Tipperary delivered a monumental victory in the history of British racing to become the first female Grand National champion. She has since gone on to become a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and you feel that she still has a lot more fine moments to come in her career in UK racing.

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