Women's sports include amateur and professional competitions in virtually all sports. Female participation in sports rose dramatically in the twentieth century, especially in the last quarter, reflecting changes in modern societies that emphasized gender parity. Although the level of participation and performance still varies greatly by country and by sport, women's sports have broad acceptance throughout the world, and in a few instances, such as tennis and figure skating, rival or exceed their male counterparts in popularity.
Few women competed in sports until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as social changes in Europe and North America favored increased female participation in society as equals with men. Although women were permitted to participate in many sports, relatively few showed interest, and there was often disapproval of those who did. The modern Olympics had female competitors from 1900 onward, though women at first participated in considerably fewer events than men. Concern over the physical strength and stamina of women led to the discouragement of female participation in more physically intensive sports, and in some cases led to less physically demanding female versions of male sports. Thus netball was developed out of basketball and softball out of baseball.
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- ... Netball is the most popular women's sport in New Zealand, in terms of player participation and public interest?
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The women's skeleton event at the 2010 Winter Olympics took place at the Whistler Sliding Centre on 18–19 February. The competition was won by British athlete Amy Williams, who set new course records for the track on her first and third runs. Williams, who had never before won a World Cup or World Championship event, became the first British athlete to win a solo Winter Olympic gold medal in 30 years. German sliders Kerstin Szymkowiak and Anja Huber won the silver and bronze medals respectively. Williams' teammate Shelley Rudman, who had won the silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics, and Canadian Mellisa Hollingsworth, both of whom had been expected to be in medal contention, were disappointed.
Williams' victory was not without controversy, as the United States and Canada filed complaints with the judges related to Williams' helmet. However, judges ruled that ridges in her helmet did not violate International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) rules, and rejected the complaints.
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Dorothea Douglas, Wimbledon and Olympic Games tennis champion. Picture taken in 1903.
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during the Squash Stars Meet the Stars session in July 2010.
Datuk Nicol Ann David is a Malaysian female professional squash player. She is currently ranked world number 1 in women's squash, and is the first Asian woman to achieve this. She won the British Open title in 2005, 2006 and 2008, as well as the World Open title in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Nicol is the first squash player to have won the World Junior title twice; in 1999 and 2001 under the tutelage of Richard Glanfield. She remained the only female squash player to have achieved this, until Raneem El Weleily emulated Nicol's feat by winning her second World Junior Championship in 2007. Nicol joined WISPA and turned professional in 2000 when she won her first WISPA title, after only a month in the tour. The victory came in February, when she defeated Salma Shabana in the final of the Savcor Finnish Open. On June 7, 2008, Nicol David was honoured with the Order of Merit (Darjah Bakti) or D.B. in conjunction with the birthday of the His Majesty Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin. She was the first recipient of the award which was established on June 26, 1975. Nicol was also invited to carry the Olympic torch for Malaysia during the build up to the Athens Olympics in 2004 and being appointed as UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Malaysia.
Nicol David's other notable achievements include the Asian Squash Championship, which she won with a record of seven times (in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010). She also held a 13-month, 51-match winning streak, from March 2006 until April 2007, when she finally lost to Natalie Grinham in the final of the 2007 Seoul Open. Nicol has also obtained the WISPA Player of the Year on six consecutive occasions, from 2005 until 2010.
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