Olympian Sophie puts Castleford Tigers Ladies through their paces

Olympic judo player Sophie Cox (right) with the Castleford Tigers ladies. Picture: Sebastian Sternik
Olympic judo player Sophie Cox (right) with the Castleford Tigers ladies. Picture: Sebastian Sternik

Two-time Olympian Sophie Cox, made a special appearance in Castleford as she led training sessions for both the Cas Tigers Ladies and Oxford RLFC.

Cox, who represented Great Britain in judo, believes there are many similarities between her sport and rugby league, especially when it comes to tackling.

Sophie is happy to see professional rugby league clubs giving women an opportunity to practice their craft at the highest level, but reckons more still needs to be done.

She said: “Sometimes women are just looking for an opportunity to try something different, like rugby or judo. These would not normally be seen as mainstream so if we can get it to be more mainstream it will attract more women.”

Cox also believes there is a big gap between female athletes and coaches when it comes to making a living in sport.

She said: “I think there’s still a minority of women in the top positions so yeah as athletes we get more opportunities but then after you are finished, coaching opportunities are difficult. If you are coaching women there’s not as much prestige or money compared to the men. Things are changing but very, very slowly so to make a living out of it you are really up against it.”

Since the training session Castleford Tigers Ladies have picked up two important wins against Barrow and York City Knights.

A hat-trick of tries for Shanelle Mannion and a double from Lucy Eastwood helped Cas to a huge 6-62 win over Barrow.

Kirsty Higo, Lacey Owen, Jasmine Cudjoe, Emma Ryan, Beth Weir, Emma Lumley and Larissa Deaves also scored on what turned out to be a comfortable victory.

However, the next fixture against York proved a lot less straight forward as the Yorkshire rivals fought to the end in a heated County Cup battle.

In 30 degree heat Castleford picked up a close 16-8 win as tries from Emma Ryan, Jasmine Cudjoe, Kelly Beckett and soon to be an England international, Katie Hepworth, sealed the semi-final spot.