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Hair removal kit and a vibrator? Outrage in Spain over prize for female squash champs

A squash club in Spain has been forced to apologize after sparking a sexism row for awarding female competitors prizes that included body hair removal kits and a vibrator.

Hair removal kit and a vibrator? Outrage in Spain over prize for female squash champs
An image of the trophies and gifts awarded to female players. Photo: Ganamos Con Ellas

On winning the Asturias Squash Championship on May 11th Elisabet Sadó not only received a trophy but also a gift – a Durex Play vibrator.

Second, third and fourth prize winners Olaya Fernandez Lence, Marina Arraiza Mier and Cristina Barandica Fernandez, also received gifts that included an electric foot file for removing bunyons and a leg wax kit.

Male players in the competition, however, were only awarded their trophies, without gifts of sex aids or beauty treatments.  

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The players immediately complained to the Royal Spanish Squash Federation complaining that the prizes “promoted sexism”.

A photo of the prizes was posted online by local radio show Ganamos Con Ellas (We Win With Women), which described them as “degrading, shocking, harmful, inconceivable but sadly true.”

The athletes complained that it was a sign of the discrimination against women in Sport.

“We were very surprised, very shocked,” Sadó said. “We think it's very sexist. We want to bring it everybody’s attention because we think […] there's a lot of discrimination [against women in sport] and things have to change.”

Almudena Cueto, the director of the Asturian Women's Institute, said the players and returned the trophies and gifts in outrage.

“They returned the gifts and decided to make a formal complaint so something like this would never happen. What's occurred is shameful. It's left us speechless,” she said.

The squash club issued a formal apology “We understand the reaction and deeply regret this unacceptable incident,” said official statement signed by president Nacho Manzano and acting president Barbara Fernandez.

“The club reiterates its apologies to players, the Federation and people or entities offended by the discomfort caused by inappropriate gifts and that should never have been delivered.”

“We feel terribly ashamed by what's happened and we understand the gifts were not the appropriate ones but it was never our intention to offend anyone,” Manzano told local Asturian newspaper El Comercio Digital.

Answer this: Is machismo still alive and well in Spain?

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SPORT

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

Spain have been thrown out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup for fielding an ineligible South African-born player during the qualifying stages and will be replaced by Romania, World Rugby announced on Thursday.

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

“Subject to Spain’s right of appeal, the 10-point deduction applied to the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification table means that Romania will qualify as Europe 2 into Pool B replacing Spain,” read the statement.

Portugal — who Spain beat to seal their place in the global showpiece in France next year — replace Romania in the Final Qualification Tournament taking place in November 2022.

“Spain has a right of appeal within 14 days of the date of the full written decision of the committee,” read the statement.

According to Spanish media in March, the player under investigation was South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg, who has been playing in Spain since 2018.

He played twice against the Netherlands, in 2020 and 2021, in qualifiers, but he may not seemingly have served the three years of residency needed to become eligible under World Rugby rules.

Spain, Romania and Belgium were all sanctioned in 2018 for having fielded ineligible players, opening the way for Russia to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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