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ROBERT MADOI: Battle of the sexes

Men will always be chauvinists, women’s rights activists have always reminded us. At the business end of a gruelling MA programme, this assertion has become less blurred in the vision of yours truly.
Last week, a report from higher education researchers here in the UK brought out the chauvinistic trait in some of my male classmates. The report, which adjudged female students to be streets ahead of their male counterparts in but every yardstick of UK university achievement, didn’t go down well with many.

Apparently, aside from Oxford and Cambridge, women have put men in the shade in academia issues ranging from grades to presence in high status subjects.
No, my male mates charged, women do not outnumber us in class. Toys were being thrown out of the pram. They weren’t the only ones doing that.
Before a single dart was tossed at the UK Open in Bolton, a host of men were up in arms. They were not pleased that a certain Russian woman, a one Anastasia Dobromyslova, was reigniting the clichéd battle of the sexes.

This was Dobromyslova’s second bite at the cherry. She didn’t fare well…again.  A first round loss to unheralded Englishman, Andy Roberts didn’t portend well for the beautiful Russian. It dittoed the stumble she faced at the first hurdle of the men’s Professional Darts Confederation in December.

That was Dobromyslova’s maiden competition in a men’s event. She had gone into the tournament stating: “It doesn’t make a difference if you’re playing a man or a woman - you just play your darts”. Not that Wayne Mardle saw it that way. Mardle - known to fellow darts players as Hawaii 501 - openly talked of severing ties with the sport if he ever lost to Dobromyslova.  He didn’t.

Dobromyslova, though, hasn’t given up hope of picking up scalps as she continues to rub shoulders with male players. She will be hoping that hers is a more valiant attempt than the one Michelle Wie forged.
The wheels came off Wie’s wagon when the American professional golfer insisted on mixing it with the ‘boys’ despite failing to make the cut in numerous PGA Tour tournaments. She in fact made just the one cut in a men’s tournament.

Three years after making the Time 100 list on grounds of being courageous enough to dare the men, Wie finds herself in dire need of a good tiding. She now competes in the ladies’ version of the PGA Tour - the LPGA Tour. Her recent twin 81s in the Kraft Nabisco, a major on the LPGA Tour, show just how low her stock fallen.

So, maybe it’s not a wise decision to have women and men cross paths in sports. Even when the Williams sisters were at the peak of their powers, calls for them to lock horns with men on the courts were always viewed with suspicion. The anatomy of men and women dictates that the pair will never be at par.

There could be a few exceptions to the rule, though. A few years ago I remember watching strapping female rugby player, Christine Kizito acquit herself well whilst pitting her brawniness against other men. Remarkably, Kizito was the only female on a pitch that had 30 players chasing after the oval ball. She came unstuck on some occasions, but was largely a figure of calm during the match.

Such instances are few and far between. But with women having made inroads on the educational front, writing them off on the sporting front is clearly not prudent.


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