THERE are times when I ask myself if I am being a bit too precious about equality. Are things OK the way they are now – and I am making a fuss over nothing?

Then in the space of five minutes, I read about a couple of issues that predominately affect women and the decisions taken, which quickly brings me back to normality and highlights the fact that we still have a lack of diversity and equality in sport. The two issues I have in mind both, I believe, constitute sexism. If not that, then just pig-headedness on the part of the decision makers. The first one was the decision by FINA, the International Swimming Federation, to ban caps which accommodate those predominately black athletes who sport afro hairstyles, to help ensure that their full head was covered whilst competing.

The committee said that “to their best knowledge, the athletes competing at the international events never used, neither require to use, caps of such size and configuration”.

Perhaps if they had taken time to ask the athletes, they might have come to a different conclusion – and also, if they want to support and encourage diversity into swimming, this might be a good move.

The other issue that got my hackles up was the decision taken by the organisers of the London Marathon not to allow a woman to defer her 2021 entry in the championship category due to pregnancy. The “rules are rules” argument, which state deferrals are not accepted for championship places “under any circumstances”, seem to be totally inflexible.

This is in contrast to a recent appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to allow a Canadian postpartum boxer, Mandy Bujold, to participate in this year’s Olympic Games as qualification rules changed during her pregnancy.

With just under three weeks left now till the biggest show on Earth kicks off on Friday, July 23, I can imagine it is a more-than-the-usual nervous time for all the athletes.

With disruption to preparation, concern about the pandemic and keeping virus-free, this is a Games like no other.

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding spectators at the Games, and as we saw recently with Andy Murray’s spectacular performance last Wednesday, spectators can make the difference between winning and losing. So let’s take some time out to let our Olympians know we will all be there in spirit, cheering them on.