Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Cycling: Pendleton wants equal opportunities

Victoria Pendleton has warned organisers of London 2012 it will be an "embarrassment" unless female riders are allowed to compete in the same number of events as their male counterparts.

The British cycling team enjoyed a hugely successful Games in Beijing, picking up 13 medals including eight golds.

Pendleton picked up gold in the women’s individual sprint but complained that she had not been able to bring home more medals due to the lack of races available.

In Beijing there were only three women’s events on the track, compared to seven for men.

Now Pendleton is demanding men and women have the same opportunities in 2012 so she can attempt to emulate her hero Chris Hoy, who won three golds in Beijing.

"It will be an embarrassment for London 2012 if there isn’t an equal number of events for men and women at the Games. They have to be the same," Pendleton said.

“We’re not living in the dark ages here. Obviously I’m really happy for Chris.

“He’s an amazing athlete and when anyone asks me who my hero is I say Chris Hoy, even before he became triple Olympic champion.

"But in some respects I just wish I would have had the opportunity to do that, but I didn’t even have the chance.

"It is unfair, especially when Chris is hailed as the nation’s hero, that I haven’t even got the opportunity to compete in the events that he does and win more than one medal.

"I did what I had to do and it all seems rather insignificant compared to what he has achieved. I just want more medals to win."

Pendleton believes organisers of the London Games will hold talks with the aim of introducing at least one more event to the schedule.

But she is adamant that is unacceptable and admits her campaigning alone will not be enough to raise support for her cause.

She believes all competing nations must press the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a change in the rules.

"We are hoping to try and campaign to get it changed in 2012.”

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk