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IN Sports ON 23 Nov, 2016
The importance that Massachusetts Institute of Technology holds in the mind of a great researcher is similar to the one that Wimbledon Championship holds in the career of a notable Lawn Tennis player.
Be it the incredible sum of £28,100,000 given to the winner or the class that this yearly and the most awaited championship of the year boasts, it's always a perk watching it.
While watching the highlights of this year's Women's Wimbledon Final, a thought struck me, and that forced me to enquire why Wimbledon Ladies' Singles Champions get a plate and not a trophy?
Let's clear the doubt!
Wimbledon Trophy Photoshoot: So why is that he gets to lift a trophy and she gets a plate?
Is it a tradition or sexism?
At least this is the question that some frustrated minds have been raising since long. I am gonna debug it by the end of the article.
For now, let's not talk about the trophy and focus on the plate that is awarded to the female player reaching the pinnacle.
The first ever Wimbledon championship, held in the year 1877, consisted of just one event, Gentleman's Singles and hence there was no question of what a woman will be awarded. It was not until 1884 when the inclusion of Men's Doubles competition was followed by the first ever invitation to female players to participate in the event.
The Women's Wimbledon opener saw Maud Watson defeating her elder sister Lilian Watson. Was their rivalry more furious than the William sisters'? Well, that's a whole different topic!
Yes, that's what the ''plate'' we were talking about is called. The dish was actually introduced in the year 1886 but was not awarded until the first Women's Wimbledon Championship took place.
The Silver Salver (save from risk in Latin) is a ceremonial platter (a pewter) used in England back in the 19th century to hold the rosewater that was poured on the hands to wash them after eating as per a daily ritual in the medieval England.
The decoration that we see on the plate seems to be inspired by the mythologies that date centuries back in history. The centre part shows the figure of sophrosyne (not to be mistaken by Venus) holding a lamp in her right hand and a jug in her left.
A Salver, as I mentioned above was used by the food testers who were required to test the food for poison before the higher authorities could finally consume it.
The other inscriptions on the dish include fork, sickle, the classic God, caduceus, and an image of Goddess Venus that reflects towards the answer I was searching for.
Here is that answer...
No, it has got nothing to do with Venus Williams. In fact, the reason is revolving around the traditions in the Brit colony back in the 19th century where women and their power were linked with daily household activities more than anything else.
This was why the association at that time thought it to be the best fit to award the Women's Wimbledon Champion with a plate and not with anything else.
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No, from 1949-2006, the winners received a replica (8 inches dia) of the original trophy to keep with themselves while the winners post that received the replica of 14 inches diameter. The original trophy is kept in the museum, and the change in size that we saw was due to the problem in adding the names of winners over the trophies.
The most notable fact is that the women players are equally making their mark felt in the world of Lawn Tennis or for that matter, any other game and it does not matter if the award they are receiving is a plate or anything else. What matters is the respect that they get!
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