Sport on TV: Wheel of misfortune for the girl born on wrong side of the track

From Russian Jewish boxers last week to Muslim woman racing drivers. And what could be better to avoid breaking oppressive dress codes imposed by the Iranian authorities than a racing driver's jumpsuit?

"One World: Girl Racer" (BBC2, Tuesday) showed how hard it is for a woman to enter the macho world of motor racing, even more so in an Islamic state. It is only the fact that Laleh Seddigh can keep her body completely hidden that she is allowed to race at all.

Down at Tehran's Azadi track, the same chauvinism applies as it does the world over. "Males think this job, women can't do perfectly," Seddigh says. In other words, "Women drivers... blah blah". But the bigotry runs deeper than that.

In Tehran's paradoxical society, women occupy one third of all jobs and make up two thirds of all undergraduates, yet the Iranian racing federation tried to ban Seddigh because it was viewed as un-Islamic to compete against men.

Bizarrely the deputy head of her Saipa racing team, Hossein Shakiari, is also part of the governing body and was one of those who attempted to ban her. His conflict of interests reflects the contradictions inherent in Iranian society.

Seddigh would be a star in another country because of her beauty as well as her talent (and yes, that could be viewed as an indictment of western culture). But she has spent her career having to swerve past those who stand in her way. Three years ago she was crowned champion of the 1600 GT class but Iranian TV was not allowed to show her on the podium. On screen here, her fellow racers complain she is grabbing all the attention so she is forced to retire from the race and it is cancelled. These men will drive themselves round the bend. Later they accuse her of engine tampering.

But in the face of such hostility, Seddigh is not beyond using underhand tactics herself – far from it. After the race was called off because the cameras were all focused on her, a huge article appeared in the newspaper, a public outcry – ghosted by herself. And when she was accused of fiddling with her engine, it wasn't true – what she had done was respray another more powerful car.

She has been banned for a year, and she deserves it. But you have to admire her attitude. She is an inspiration to Iranian women, and in a deprived quarter of the capital, Elham Galevand explains the contradictions of post-revolutionary Iran: "In every situation women are more qualified than men and they will be replaced. They will be the ones who stay at home." Unless any parallel parking needs to be done, that is.



It was an unremarkable start to the new series of "Inside Sport: Beijing Special" (BBC, Wednesday), unless you count Sir Matthew Pinsent scoring drugs in a London pub and a week of brilliant blue skies in the Chinese capital. No smog to be seen, so you can stick that in your windpipe and choke it.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam