Leading article: Gender games

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The Independent Online

There will doubtless be those who argue that, rather than pushing for greater sexual equality in Olympic scheduling, Tessa Jowell ought first to concentrate on getting the various venues to stage the London 2012 Games built on time and on budget. Not us, though.

If there are frustrated male synchronised swimmers and thwarted female heavyweight wrestlers out there, the Olympics minister has a responsibility to champion their cause. Let such athletes be brought together in healthy competition. It can only be good for television ratings.

Yet isn't there a rather bigger problem surrounding Olympic participation that Ms Jowell has overlooked? What about those sports that have been struck off the Olympic programme over the years, cruelly preventing many fine athletes, of both genders, from taking part in their favoured discipline at an Olympian level? Never mind male synchronised swimming and female wrestling: bring back the Olympic tug-of-war.