Calendar Girls

All change for the calendar girls
By Tom Knight
(Filed: 29/11/2005)

A dozen of Britain’s leading athletes have become ‘Calendar Girls’ to raise money for charity and the profile of women’s athletics.

Link to the pix: Check out Brit middle distance star Jo Fenn (lovely pineapple!)|0|-1|28|0|0|0|1|||0|0|0|0|0|0|0|0|7|ladies+of+the+track|-8193|0|0|0|0&p=7&tag=1

However, all admit that the only way they will really grab people’s attention is not through sexy posturing but by running faster, jumping higher and longer and throwing further.

The calendar, called Ladies of the Track, Babes of the Field, is the idea of Abi Oyepitan, the sprinter who returns to the track for the indoor season after more than a year out because of injury.

Oyepitan, Miss February, said: "Many girls drop out of this sport because of the lack of publicity within their event or because of how the events are presented.

“Hopefully, this calendar will help to put a stop to that as it glamourises all the events. The best we can do is run faster and throw further. It’s all about performances on the world stage.”

Sadly, British athletes, male and female, did themselves few favours with their performances at this year’s World Championships in Helsinki and the calendar is missing Dame Kelly Holmes and Paula Radcliffe, the two women who enjoy the highest profiles of anyone in the sport because of their success.

Both were training abroad when the hastily-arranged calendar photo-shoot took place earlier this month.

The presence of Holmes, the double Olympic champion, and Radcliffe, the world marathon champion, would certainly have boosted the appeal of the calendar and the funds raised through the venture.

As it is, the calendar is being given away with the next issue of Athletics Weekly and if the charities involved, The Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, the Meningitis Trust, the Genesis Breast Cancer Appeal and the Bowel Cancer Appeal for Mayday Hospital are to benefit, it will be through voluntary donations and the goodwill of readers.

Jo Fenn, the world indoor 800-metre bronze medallist and Miss July, said: "We have all benefited from the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, which helps up-and-coming athletes and this is a way of putting something back in the lead up to the London Olympics in 2012.

“The pictures are a bit sexy but they’re in no way offensive or distasteful. We wear less when we’re competing.”

Among those who might be persuaded to part with some cash for the calendar on her next visit to Britain is Yelena Isinbayeva.

The Olympic pole vault champion has been signed up for the Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham on Feb 18, when another world record could see the Russian’s earnings in bonuses alone in this country top £175,000.

Isinbayeva has already been paid world record bonuses at British meetings seven times.