July was a thrilling month for women athletes

women's nationsl football team
The Filipinas are pushing forward minus their coach Alen Stajcic, who has described them as 'courageous, passionate, disciplined and loyal to the team, the flag and the country.' —PHOTO FROM THE PHILIPPINE WOMEN’S NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM FACEBOOK PAGE

In the world of women’s sports, the month of July was thrilling. From July 23 to July 30, the second edition of the most prestigious stage race on the women’s cycling calendar—the Tour de France Femmes—tested the best female cyclists from around the world as they covered a 956-kilometer route throughout France.

Of course, there’s the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in which the Philippines participated for the first time. The ninth edition of “the beautiful game” kicked off on July 20 and is set to crown its champion on Aug. 20.

The quadrennial event was launched in 1991 with just 12 countries qualifying. By its third staging in 1999, the number of participating teams had risen to 16—a number that FIFA kept in place for the next four tournaments. The number increased to 24 countries at the event’s seventh edition in 2015. The team count is 32 at this year’s staging in Australia and New Zealand,  with the Philippines, Ireland, Zambia, Haiti, Vietnam, Portugal, Panama and Morocco making their debut.


Also in July, women broke records held by male athletes. 

On July 27, Norwegian Kristin Harila, a former professional skier, along with her dedicated climbing partner, Tenjin “Lama” Sherpa, reached the summit of K2 in Pakistan (the second-highest mountain on the planet, after Mount Everest). With this achievement, Harila and her sherpa have reached the summits of 14 mountains towering above 8,000 meters in a phenomenal world record time of 92 days (or three months and a day). She broke the record held by Nepal-born and naturalized British mountaineer Nirmal “Nims” Purjathree of three months and five days.

At the World Aquatic Championships in Fukoka, Japan, legendary US swimmer and seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky surpassed fellow American and retired swimming legend Michael Phelps’ record of 15 for the most individual world swimming titles.

Ledecky achieved her 16th world title when she won the 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8:08.87. It marked her sixth consecutive time winning that distance, which is also the longest ever streak in a single event in the championships’ history.

Related: Spain’s World Cup victory is a triumph for women’s sports

Bustamante, Blu Girls

July was also a month for our very own Filipino women athletes to shine. 

Bianca Bustamante, 18, made an impression at the inaugural season of F1 Academy, an all-female single-seater racing championship founded by Formula One. She climbed in ranking on July 9 after winning Race 3 of Round 5 held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza track in Italy—her fourth overall podium finish, enabling her to earn 102 points. With six more races to go, she is currently in sixth place.

The Philippine Blu Girls made headlines when they won against New Zealand at the group stage of the Women’s Softball World Cup held in Italy on July 25—the same day the Philippine Women’s National Football Team, Filipinas, beat New Zealand at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

women's softball world cup
The Philippine Blu Girls celebrate after their victory in Italy.:Women’s Softball World Cup —PHOTO FROM THE WORLD BASEBALL SOFTBALL CONFEDERATION

On July 26, the Blu Girls pulled off a 6-5 victory against host Italy, enabling them to advance in the playoff round. Sadly, they lost a close match against the same Italian team, 5-6, on July 27.

A win would have enabled the Blu Girls to play in next year’s final of the Women’s Softball World Cup. Nevertheless, they showed rock-solid resolve, considering that they were the lowest-ranked team in Group C and that they did make the playoffs despite losing their first three games against Canada, Japan and Venezuela.

Win or lose, the women athletes of the Philippines had many proud moments in July, proving time and again their capability to achieve feats that their male counterparts have yet to attain. They deserve the unremitting support of their government.

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