Jowell calls for Olympic equality

British Olympics minister Tessa Jowell wants rules that prevent women from competing in as many Olympic or Paralympic events as men to be changed by the 2012 Games, citing track cycling as an example of where inequalities exist.

BBC News has reported that Ms Jowell said it was "wrong" that under current regulations men could compete in 40 more events than women. She has written to UK Sport chiefs asking them to help end "gender discrepancies".

"I think it's wrong that women can't compete in as many events as men. Women's sport has come on leaps and bounds so it's high time there was equal opportunity at the Olympics," she said.

Jowell explained that had discussed the issue with Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, who was only able to compete in one track sprint event at last year's Beijing Games while team-mate Chris Hoy won three golds in the discipline.

In Olympic track cycling men are allowed to compete in seven events, while women can enter just three. Jowell and sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe have written to Baroness Campbell, the chair of UK Sport, asking them to investigate a "gender discrepancy" and to press for equal opportunity at London 2012.

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