Posted: 10:16a.m. IST, August 12, 2012
London, Aug 12 (ANI): A sexism row has broken out after a dozen British male rowing gold medallists were given BMW cars while none were awarded to the women in the squad.
It did work out that way, yes. It's a bit of a coincidence because it's the individual dealers that chose who to give the cars to, so it wasn't any grand strategy but it did just happen that there were a dozen or so (cars) for the men and none for the girls, the Telegraph quoted Anna Watkins, who took gold in the women's double sculls with Katherine Grainger, as saying on BBC Newsnight.
As discussions continued about women in sport and whether they were subject to sexist treatment, Grainger said: If we are talking about developing women's sports at every level ... then it needs to be seen as something that is valued and that female athletes are worthy of the results that they enjoy.
It comes as Team GB's woman have produced one of the biggest medal hauls of any nation at the London 2012 Games.
Under the car sponsorship deals, more than 150 Olympic athletes and Paralympic hopefuls and retired athletes were given a two-year lease of a BMW or Mini.
The company said that in most cases the selection of athletes was made by local dealerships.
Not all of those awarded the cars made the final team, and provision did not relate to performance in the 2012 games.
A spokesman for BMW said almost 70 women received cars, including three who have achieved medals this summer: track cyclist Laura Trott, the boxer Nicola Adams and swimmer Rebecca Adlington.
Male rowers who received the BMW deals include silver medallists Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter and bronze medallists James Foad, Greg Searle and Mohamed Sbihi.
Others were Matt Wells, who made the final but achieved no medal, Marcus Bateman, a spare for the team, Dan Ritchie, who was not selected, as well as reigning Paralympics champion Tom Aggar.
The debate caused a storm on Twitter with BMW accused of misogyny, and calls for the female rowers to be awarded sponsorship deals.
Watkins later tweeted: To be fair to BMW plenty of female athletes got cars, it was just within the rowing team that it ended up wonky.
She said it was not the headquarters who chose the athletes, but dealerships taking lots of individual decisions all in favour of boys.
Of the 150 athletes awarded the BMW deals, 38 women and 51 men are taking part in the Olympics and Paralympics. (ANI)