Most equestrian events. Some shooting and sailing disciplines. The odd, friendly game of mixed doubles tennis. After that, you’re pretty much into the niche and obscure.
In the macho world of sporting expertise, cultural gender divides still dominate and deter women from competing and excelling at many sports where they could, given equal opportunity, compete with men.
Even in sports where, to all ends and purposes, there is no significant disadvantage in being smaller or less powerful (snooker, motor racing, curling, say) social norms and stick-in-the-mud attitudes combine to put up further barriers for women and, in some extreme cases, even prohibit women from participating at all.
Female trailblazers in golf, gymnastics, and some winter endurance sports are bridging these sporting gaps and, as acceptance of female athletes in all sporting disciplines grows, so the old myth that men are simply superior to women in sport gets more and more frequently debunked.
But there is one sport where mixing the genders isn’t so much a novelty, as a whole new discipline. In fact, in badminton terms (the fastest racket sport in the world, lest we forget), you can’t really call yourself an all-around player until you’ve become proficient in all three of the game’s disciplines: singles, same gender doubles, and mixed doubles. Each discipline requires different abilities and mindsets and each is considered a separate sport.
In the Olympics, mixed doubles badminton stands alone as a court sport played by men and women on an equal footing. Normally the male player will take the back of the court, with women players marshaling the net, although highly-skilled pairs will mix this up occasionally.
Farsley Celtic Badminton Club currently has mixed and women’s doubles teams playing in the Leeds and District Badminton League and particularly needs new female members in order to sustain the current teams that have, so far, brought in 40 trophies since the club’s inception in the early seventies.
If you are interested in women’s badminton, either mixed doubles or ladies only, please join us on at 8 pm on a Monday night in the sports hall adjacent to Farsley FC.