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It is time to turn the page and teach girls that sport is not a beauty contest

THE 'No More Page 3' campaign is more often covered in the news pages but, in recent weeks, it has begun to permeate the world of sport.

NMP3 is simply a campaign appealing to David Dinsmore, the editor of The Sun, to stop displaying semi-naked women on Page 3 of the paper but the sentiment extends much further: it is about respecting women for their achievements rather than purely their looks.

It is appropriate that NMP3 has become involved in sport. The campaign was born as a result of its founder, Lucy Holmes, buying The Sun after Jessica Ennis won gold at London 2012, only for the largest picture of a woman in that day's paper not to be Ennis, but Emily, 23, from Warrington, on page 3 with her top off.

Last month, Lee Craigie, the Glasgow-born British mountain bike champion, announced that NMP3 is sponsoring her, enabling her to train full-time in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games this summer. My greatest hope for the oft-mentioned legacy of Glasgow 2014 is that more young girls become engaged in sport and the influence of a prominent feminist campaign like NMP3 is huge step in projecting a positive message to females within the sporting sphere.

Sexism in sport is still rife. Just 5% of the media coverage of sport is of women and a minuscule 0.5% of commercial spend is directed towards women's sport.

London 2012 was labelled "the women's Games", such was the prominence of female British athletes. Ennis was the Face of the Games, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won Team GB's first gold and Katherine Grainger was most people's feelgood story of the fortnight. There was almost complete parity in coverage of male and female GB athletes at London 2012, yet it is difficult to argue that this has been maintained in the subsequent 18 months.

Perhaps the most worrying part of this gender inequality, though, is that female athletes are judged on their appearance just as much as they are evaluated on performance. This is unequivocally not the case for male athletes. The examples are endless: Maria Sharapova is the highest-paid sportswoman in the world despite having won fewer than a quarter of the grand slam titles that Serena Williams has, purely because the Russian is considered 'prettier' and therefore more marketable. Rebecca Adlington has won two Olympic gold and two bronze medals yet admits that, every week without fail, she receives comments about her appearance. And then there was the BBC presenter John Inverdale's infamous comments at Wimbledon last year that Marion Bartoli developed her fighting spirit because she was "never going to be a looker".

The fact remains that, while sport has made many inroads towards equality - far more than in many other walks of life - the message projected to young girls remains that it is not enough to work hard and be successful; you must also be attractive. This is reflected in the reasons why many teenage girls do not want to take part in PE at school; they do not want to get sweaty.

London 2012 went some way to demonstrating that sporting success is hugely meritorious and Glasgow 2014 can build on this.

Female athletes like Craigie are exemplary role models: not only is the Scot highly successful in her chosen sport but she seeks acclaim for her athletic achievements and nothing else. "No More Page 3 is really important to show positive role models for young women and an alternative to getting your boobs out to get attention," she said. "I've been asked to pose glamorously and take my helmet off and shake my hair out, but I just say: 'no, this is what I look like on a bike'."

These sentiments need to be heard more regularly from leading female athletes. Yet just last month, the Sports Minister, Helen Grant, made the ridiculous comment that girls should be offered the chance to take part in more "feminine" sports, such as cheerleading. This attitude is exactly why we need female role models shouting from the rooftops about their athletic successes rather than their looks.

Craigie will be in the spotlight at Glasgow 2014. She competes in a tough, dirty sport and is successful at it. This is what young girls should aspire to, not "looking nice". Glasgow 2014 will not alter the insidious and ingrained negative attitudes towards female athletes overnight, it will not alter the fact that the most lucrative sponsorship deals will be awarded to the female athletes considered the most physically attractive and it will not change the widely held perception that success for a woman requires a combination of talent and looks.

Yet if the Commonwealth Games demonstrates to young girls in Scotland that it is okay to get sweaty and to be driven and competitive, then that alone is worth a few million pounds of the Glasgow 2014 budget.

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