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Chelsea left red-faceD
Clattenburg told he has ‘no case to answer’ after racist allegations
British tennis serving up a treat
Lewis round the benz?
A LETTER FROM THE
Dear reader, You are reading “The Terrace”, a sporting magazine curated and assembled by journalism students here at UCMK. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did putting it together. We have worked hard to ensure we have a broad range of sports such as football, cricket, motorsport, extreme sports and also elements occurring locally to us in Milton Keynes. With the town looking to become an International Sporting City, it was vital we looked at the state of play and took advantage of the opportunities available. It wasn’t always plain sailing. Most of our little circle, as I’m sure people are in general, are keen football fans and wanted to write about the sport. It would’ve been so easy to just do a football magazine but it feels more rewarding to look around the sporting world and talk about some of the big stories rather than revert to simple options. There are so many stories that we could also have talked about. The seemingly improbable Ryder Cup success. The ridiculous farces that have beset boxing. The rise in popularity of American sport. The continuing struggles of the England rugby team. The Mobot. No matter where you look there has been exciting sport to discuss. It has been a fantastic year for sport in Great Britain, whether it be the Olympics, an exciting season of football action, rising stars. It’s great to see sport, which normally only makes the headlines for negative reasons, to help generate positivity. There has been a lot to get excited about in the sporting world this year, and it has been exciting to look at and write about the major success. Some very talented people have had incredible success this year and it has been exciting to watch every step of the way. We talk about this in depth. We couldn’t just ignore that in this, of
john your bike
we look into who could replace terry at the heart of England’s defence page 4 king of the dons Sporting heroics
the dons continue their win streak after defeating afc
was 2012 the best ever year for british sport?
e 30 ag
Don’t be blue
bedford blues rugby club are is kevin still welcome in the looking to return strong england changing rooms?
no love for lance
what happened to the once inspiring cyclist?
p ag e
just not cricket
all sporting years, there has been an immeasurable leap forward. The country’s biggest talking point this year has been welcoming the world to London and watching the games with them. There’s no other stage like it. Even for people like me, who gave up on tickets when the sites failed, it was engrossing viewing. At the very least it was certainly a hollow feeling when the TV channels reverted to stuff like Doctors and Eastenders, as if the Olympics had never happened. Thank you for reading and enjoy the magazine.
Felix shows the world how to sky dive properly
refs, reds and racism
WhEN the football season begun, the campaign started under the shadows of Olympian clouds. In the interlude between the end of the Olympics and the start of the football season, there had been dozens of comments referring to the “humble Olympic stars” in comparison to “arrogant footballers”. While it seemed unfair at the time to take a pop at a sport which was quietly preparing for the new season, the sport has done little to dispel negative images surrounding it. A series of increasing calamities on and off the field has clouded the main sporting action and football, as it was in the 80s, has became just as talked about for major public offences as much as sporting action. In one respect, this felt inevitable. An apathetic curve towards football has been building up for a few years, led by the perceived underachievement of the England national team and the rise in player wages to City bankers levels. But nearly every week, it seems a new scandal given almost unstoppable traction by masses of column inches and television coverage dominates discussion. This goes beyond more recent gripes, although these have surfaced repeatedly – the BBC’s Price of Football survey revealed some painful financial reading as to how much clubs now expect their loyal fans to stump up in the name of their clubs. hardcore supporters are starting to be turned away by the cost of tickets. On top of this, it feels like all the bad about football in the 70s and 80s is returning. Racism scandals have plagued the game for a year, following Luis Suarez and John Terry’s unpleasant scandals last season. But further incidents have plunged the game into almost-unprecedented territory. The biggest is the fallout of an U21’s game between Serbia and England. With England defenders Steven Caulker and Tom Lees facing potential extradition and UEFA charges to both sides, the game has moved from just sport to a full blown international incident taking place under the apathetic watch of UEFA. The spark was the shocking racist abuse of Sunderland full back Danny Rose, who was later dismissed, by the home crowd. The reaction from UEFA has been nothing short of farcical, and has let an already poor situation develop into complete madness. This incident is obviously an extraordinary saga but it has done little to help football try and shed it’s reputation as a safe haven for society’s troublemakers.
Charles crook investigates why football is having its name dragged through the mud
Meetings between Chelsea and Manchester United have also provided a pair of poisonous instances. While the Chelsea fan caught making obscene gestures at Danny Welbeck was caught making a terrible error in judgement that is asking for punishment, it’s the allegations against John Obi Mikel that are causing major trouble. Referee Mark Clattenburg was accused of racism against the Nigerian midfielder during a bad tempered game where the official controversially dismissed a pair of Chelsea players and allowed an offside United winner. bast that detracts from the sporting action. It all makes an uncomfortable time for the sport at a time its position as the country’s biggest sport is under pressure more than ever. The Olympics have provided a great feel good factor and football seems to be finding the challenge of keeping it going on too much. There are still games that get people excited – the faintly preposterous victory for Arsenal at Reading in the League Cup was one of many exciting games in that competition this year. What could help the sport though is focusing on the action rather than willingly losing itself in baggage beyond the sport every weekend.
This scandal has led into a hugely unhelpful saga and has big recrimination. If the referee had been found guilty it would have ended his career. But now he has been found innocent it raises severe questions about the behaviour of the European champions, not least given the trigger-happy tendencies of their owner. Also unwelcome was the return of the hooliganism that plagued the game in the 80s. The incident at Sheffield Wednesday when a Leeds fan pushed down the Wednesday keeper was bad enough, but the end of the Manchester Derby saw Rio Ferdinand struck by a coin and a fan arrested after trying to fight him. Fan behaviour has been questionable, as aggressive chanting is as much a part of the experience. But crossing over back into hooliganism helps nobody. The action itself has been offset by more irritation, with referee standards, diving and player behaviour an almost-weekly recurrence in “talking points” columns. We all like a debate on this sort of thing but after a while it reaches an almost hysterical level of bom-
it raises severe questions about the behaviour of the European champions
Liam andrews explains what it is that’s making our men in the middle so immensely unpopular
ThIS season more than ever it feels like referees are getting too many big decisions wrong and influencing games in the wrong way. Many Premier League managers including Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez of Wigan have criticised referees already this season. Martinez was fined £10,000 by the Football Association for bemoaning Danny Welbeck’s dive that earned Manchester United a penalty against his club September, having previously got in trouble for comments. And Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers contacted referee’s chief Mike Riley to complain about how many decisions have gone against his side this season. ger teams like Chelsea and Arsenal get the favourable refereeing decisions more often. Why is it that managers will be sacked if they make mistakes, and players are dropped, but referees get away without any punishment? If there is a controversial decision in a game surely the referee should be made to come out and explain why he made the decision, like managers are forced to have Press Conferences. however, let us not forget that the most famous controversial refereeing decision of all time happened 26 years ago in the 1986 FIFA World Cup; Diego Maradona’s ‘hand of God’. So has the standard of refereeing actually worsened, or has it just always been poor? AFC Rushden and Diamonds midfielder Louis Smith agrees that referees are just not good enough, he also suggests that they haven’t got worse, but they haven’t got any better. he said: “I wouldn’t say the standards of refereeing in England have dropped, but they have never progressed and improved. “The standards of refereeing in England have always been the same for me.” “They (the standards) haven’t progressed as there aren’t enough young people coming forward and wanting to become referees.” “Kids and teenagers want to play football not referee so its hard for the FA to entice
the press, fans, players and managers so it makes the job of a referee even tougher. A stats website, DebatableDecisions. com, claims that Arsenal have already been given 4 favourable incorrect deci-
It could be suggested that referee’s are influenced by the huge reputation of managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson which has led to fan terms such as ‘Fergie Time’, which is the belief that the United manager is in control of how much added time is given at the end of a game. But smaller clubs normally complain big-
they aren’t fit enough to keep up with the game, on occasions this has been down to the age of the referee
the next generation of referees.” With the introduction of 5th and 6th officials in European games and also goal-line technology set to come into place, it looks like FIFA are trying to help referees and take the pressure off of them. Despite their continuing stance that they want the referee to control all of the game and not take the power away from them, it is clear that something needs improving. Louis Smith told me that he has experienced lots of bad refereeing during his young career and believes that many things can be done to improve it.
refereeing standards are taking a dive
he said, “A lot can be done to improve the refereeing in my eyes. Big names in football need to promote refereeing to get more people involved, the more people involved the better. “Fitness and age are huge factors for me, When I’ve had bad experiences with refs its usually as they aren’t fit enough to keep up with the game, on occasions this has been down to the age of the referee.” Smith also argues referees need to have experience playing the game to help them establish control. he explained, “The refs also need to know how to use their authority on the pitch, because they hold the cards doesn’t mean they need to constantly remind the players of this, they need to help the players, let the game flow.” “For me the best referees are the referees that have played football from a young age, so they understand the game and they can see it from the players perspective.” It could be argued that it was difficult to prove if a referee had made a bad mistake
30 years ago because they did not have the technology to prove it. Where as in modern times, every decision the referee makes is scrutinised by
If decisions are clearly wrong, even if the referee has seen it, then retrospective action should be taken against clubs and players
sions for them by referees this season, as of when we went to press. The same site also suggests that Everton are the most hard done by team, with a massive 7 refereeing mistakes against them this season costing them vital points. It is clear that referee’s are having a huge impact on football matches, and often it’s the wrong decision. Despite this it could also be argued that cheating players are not helping their cause. More players look to be trying to cheat the refs into giving decisions and a lot of refs seem to be buying it. The conclusion here is that referees should have to explain debatable decisions to the press when they occur. If decisions are clearly wrong, even if the referee has seen it, then retrospective action should be taken against clubs and players. And finally, referees should be punished for making the wrong decisions because it is their job to get decisions right and they should only give something if they are 100% sure.
IT seems that every weekend that passes there is yet again another controversial goal line decision. Why is it that in the year 2012 the introduction of goal line technology has still not been brought into the game? Sports such as tennis and cricket have both been successfully using similar technology for years, being able to review decisions within seconds. Football however seems to be stuck in its old ways when it comes to technology. Finally this looks to be changing however thanks to the International Football Association Boards approval of goal line technology. The technology will be introduced at the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup. It may be a while before we see a large scale introduction into the English game however. The Premier League has stated that it wants the introduction of this technology as soon as it is possible. This means that it could be introduced at some point during the 2012-2013 season. it is currently unclear when exactly it will be implemented but it seems like progress at last. Some systems have already been trialled in the game, the international friendly between England and Belgium earlier this year. It has also been suggested that trials take place during this seasons FA Cup semifinals. Systems such as hawk-Eye and GoalRef are the most likely goal line systems to be introduced. The two systems have been approved for use by FIFA by matching their criteria. hawk-Eye is a computer system that uses technology to track the trajectory of the ball and display its likely path as a moving image. Cameras are set up a various points around the stadium in order to read the path of the ball. hawk-Eye has proven success in tennis and cricket. Once a decision has been made by hawk-Eye information is sent straight to the match officials within seconds, meaning that no time is wasted standing around looking at monitors. Trouble may be caused when there are bodies blocking the cameras view of the ball. GoalRef is a slightly different system that relies on magnetic fields rather than cameras. A chip is inserted into the middle of the ball with electronic probes between the chip and the outer edge of the ball. Sensors are placed inside the posts and the crossbar these produce electronic waves. When the ball crosses the line a signal is sent to the referee almost instantly. Unlike hawk-Eye the decision isn’t affected by anything covering the ball and a verdict can be made regardless. There have been several major examples where goal line technology would have changed matches, one instance being in 2005 when Tottenham played Manchester United in a Premier League match. Tottenham player Pedro Mendes shot from 50 yards and Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll fumbled the ball over a meter over the line. This would have led to Tottenham winning the game, but because the referee did not see it cross the line the goal was not awarded, costing Tottenham a vital three points. One of the most notable incidents of where goal line technology was needed was the FIFA World Cup match between England and Germany in 2010 involving Frank Lampard. Lampard’s shot deflected off the crossbar and over the line but bounced back out. This would have tied the game up at 2-2 and perhaps the game would have been different. The introduction of technology into the game would stop many of these decisions over-shadowing a team’s performance and unfairly affecting the outcome of games. Not only will it take the weight off of referees many of them feel that goal line technology will make officiating a game a lot easier and will ease pressure from the other officials. They are normally the first to take the brunt of abuse, even if it wasn’t clear a goal should have been awarded.
Too little too late
Joe appleby talks us through the all new goal line technology systems
This versatile Everton centre half is a strong candidate to fill the void, but time might be against him as he has just turned 30 years old and is relatively injury prone. he can however provide good cover for the new centre half when he is injured. What could help him get a chance to be the number one centre back is the fact that he has a good understanding with the his former Toffees team mate Joleon Lescott who is virtually assured of a place in the England First XI . The pair shut out Spain in a friendly in November 2011 and England have won all but one of the four games in which they have started alongside each other.
So who have england got to replace the boss of the back four?
Vastly experienced centre back who has played in top flight for many years. he has a great understanding with his former team mate Jagielka so this could be start of a great new partnership. Lescott has the experience of playing in very high profile matches in the Champions League and Euro 2012 so his incredible talent won’t be lost on the side. he has to hope that he starts week in week out for Manchester City and then his starting place in the England XI is virtually assured.
A great young centre half who has represented England at various levels. he is currently plying his trade at Manchester United after signing from Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2011. he is a vastly talented player, but need to stay injury free if he is going to be the long term successor. At the tender age of 20, he has plenty of years ahead of him. he could be one of the players to watch out for in the next World Cup in Brazil in the summer of 2016.
This is probably the mostly likely option for Roy hodgson to go for as he is yet to reach his prime and is only 26. Therefore he has many years ahead of him. One thing that could go in his favour is the fact that he plays in central defence for Chelsea and produced some great performances in the Champions League which helped make them Champions of Europe. he is definitely going to be one of the main competitors to fill the void.
Vastly inexperienced centre half who needs to play more for his club if he wants to get back into the England First Team. he has been injured since July 2012 after series of metatarsal and groin injuries. If he is going to get back into the team, then he is going to have to work very hard, because he has lost time and other players have moved ahead of him in the list. Nevertheless, his great potential means he is another one to watch for the future.
ThE England managerial job is always the pinnacle of an English mangers career. Roy hodgson has had a long career that has got him the role. But there are many managers who with the right results at football clubs could have potential to be a future England manager. Nigel Adkins, 47: Currently manager of Southampton in the Premier League, Adkins has won back to back promotions from League One and the Championship. With Southampton back in the top flight of English football, now is Adkins’ time to prove at a higher level of English football he is capable of stabilising a football club. To do so he must secure early avoidance from relegation this season. Once this is achieved his next move should be to lay foundations at the football club so they can sustain their tenancy in the Premier League, replicating the job done by Tony Pulis at Stoke. Doing this would mean looking at his youth intake of players and making sure his transfer and wage budgets get them where they want to finishing in the table. If this is achieved by Adkins, then almost certainly his credibility as a top flight manager will blossom into something that could get him noticed by the FA in years to come. An advantage he has being at this club is their youth prospects, as Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale are two examples of the gifted players to have progressed through the Saints academy. (Chances of managing the English national team: 2/3 Lions rating) Simon Grayson, 42: Grayson is something of a lower league genius. Blackpool, Leeds and huddersfield were all promoted from League One with him at the helm. Similar to Adkins he has never won a league title but used the playoffs as his team’s route to promotions. This isn’t as off putting as it first seems as playoffs put managers in much higher pressure games than any seasonal fixture. The playoffs become a knockout tournament over two legs and a final where teams have to be fired up ready to play in an instant, similar to international tournament football. Great man management skills and the ability to say the right things to players in circumstances such as finals that makes them play the way he wants to achieve a result are needed to succeed in them. Currently with huddersfield in the Championship it is vital Grayson stamps his authority on that league. With this club he can create a name for himself at a higher level of football than he has done previously.
tony hornsby looks At the england gaffer’s long term replacements
This will give him the platform to become a successful manager at a higher level and put his name in the hat as a potential future England manager. (1/3 lions) Chris Powell, 39: Powell is definitely finding his feet early on in his managerial career. After mid table mediocrity in his first spell at Charlton, Powell knew things had to change before the next season came about. he made no less than 19 signings at the beginning of his first full season. Although this amount of signings in one season might seem like a risk at unbalancing squad harmony it duly paid off as Powell’s Charlton were promoted to the Championship as champions of League One. Powell played for England under SvenGoran Eriksson, collecting 5 caps. he is also on the FA’s radar as someone with a wealth of knowledge playing the game. They showed this through their decision to make him a 2018 England World Cup bid ambassador. With over 250 top flight appearances for Charlton Derby and Watford Powell’s knowledge of the game at its highest level can only help the old fans favourite become a regular top flight manager. The possibility of Charlton playing regular football in the top flight again under Powell isn’t as far off as some may think and he is definitely one to look out for. (2/3 lions) Karl Robinson, 32: Robinson currently holds the accolade of the youngest person to acquire a UEFA Pro License (29). he is currently manager of MK Dons, but has previously coached Liverpool’s youth team and Blackburn’s first team. At 32, Robinson has a long way to go to be considered for England. But with a club like MK Dons he has a great chance of making a name for himself. The club itself has only recently come about with its foundation from Wimbledon FC in 2004. Young club and manager looks like a good match. A good start at the Dons saw Robinson guide his side to two consecutive play-off finishes only to lose in the semi-finals to both Peterborough and huddersfield. his third season at MK Dons sees them tipped for promotion and with big name signing Alan Smith in his side Robinson has the foundations to make a big impact on the Football League and fast become one of the youngest most successful managers in the English Domestic leagues. (2/3 lions) Lee Clark, 39: A manager only just beginning his career and already holding a football league record for his time at huddersfield when his team sustained a 43 game unbeaten run. It was a fantastic achievement in any division, but Clark was sacked in February 2012 following what can only be described as a loss of faith after reaching the play-off semi-finals in 09/10 and the final in 10/11 only to lose both. Picked up by Birmingham in June, it seems as if Clark has been given his chance at a bigger club to show what he can do in a very competitive league. As far as becoming the future England manager goes he has a fair bit of work to do. however with a playing career under Newcastle, Fulham and Sunderland in which he won promotion to the Premier League at all three, you have to say his knowledge of this league will stand him in good stead in getting Birmingham back on track to being a top division club. having escaped the drop with Fulham and nearly winning the league with Newcastle he has the expertise for Premier League level. (1/3 lions) Eddie howe, 34: With only one promotion to his name howe is the underdog of the 6 man shortlist. After finishing his career early due to consistent knee injuries, he took the managerial position up at Bournemouth - the team he played for most of his career. Short spells at Portsmouth and Swindon were disasters as his reoccurring knee injury sidelined him season after season. After getting Bournemouth promoted to League One there was speculation as to whether howe would move to a bigger club or stay with Bournemouth. he did leave in 2011, joining Burnley only 5 days after saying he had no interest in leaving the Cherries. But he didn’t stay with the Championship side for long as, after a year, he agreed terms with the board to go back and manage his former side Bournemouth again in October 2012. When returning to his old club, he was greeted by harry Redknapp who took up an advisory role with the club he started his career at. The challenge for howe now is to take the club he is so well known at to greater heights than it has seen. If he achieves this there no doubt he will get another shot at a bigger club where unlike his stint at Burnley he will be ready to improve his ability as a top league football manager. (1/3 Lions)
the MK dons hunt for championship spot kicks off once again
Can karl climb?
MILTON Keynes Dons have begun the season in promotion-chasing form at the top of League One. After last season ended in yet more play-off heartbreak, this time against huddersfield Town, manager Karl Robinson knew that promotion to the Championship was the big goal ahead of the forthcoming expansion of stadium:mk. To achieve this, he invested in players. Jon Otsemebor and Ryan Lowe moved from Sheffield Wednesday, while huddersfield centre-half Antony Kay also joined the team. But it was the signings of former Premier League players Alan Smith and Jimmy Bullard that got fans excited, although Bullard later retired with injuries. The team made a bizarre start to the season, opening with a red card in all three of their opening league game, and one in their 1st Round Capital One Cup outing. They opened with victory over Oldham, but could only draw with Bournemouth and then went down to promotion rivals Swindon. But soon enough, the Dons began to hit their stride. home victories over Carlisle and Yeovil, and a thumping away win at Bury helping the team establish themselves in the chasing pack behind league leaders Tranmere. Nevertheless it wasn’t a smooth ride. The team dropped points against promotion rivals Notts County and strugglers Portsmouth and Coventry. This came during a poor October, with further defeats in crucial games against Stevenage and Crawley leaving the side marooned outside the play-offs. But the Dons roared back into life soon after. As well as ending Sheffield United’s unbeaten start, a vital win at Tranmere was also registered as the Dons had a magnificent November capped off with a superb victory over Colchester to put them 2nd in the table. Despite this, the team had a poor time in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, with League Two side Northampton Town dumping them out in the First Round. But it was a different story in the Capital One Cup, where the team made it to the Third Round. After squeezing past Cheltenham Town on penalties, the team upset the odds when they overcame Blackburn Rovers to set up a tie against Premier League Sunderland. But despite their highly regarded opponents being reduced to 10 men, it was Martin O’Neill’s side who ran out victorious. The FA Cup was a big story, as MK Dons’ reward for beating Cambridge City in a replay was a clash with AFC Wimbledon. The much hyped clash saw MK edge out the other side to come from the death of Wimbledon, with a tie at Sheffield Wednesday looming With the dense Christmas period looming, MK Dons will be encouraged by their decent first half of the campaign. They will now be looking forward to pressing on and trying to gain the promotion that has eluded them.
No more blues for bedford
Sean stevens takes a look at the plans for bedford blues rugby club
BEDFORD Blues are looking to bounce back after a great campaign last year ended badly. The side finished 2nd in the 2nd tier of the rugby league pyramid and were beaten in the play-off semi finals but they look set to mount another challenge next year. Director of Rugby Mike Rayer spoke of his team’s ambition to one day to be stepping up into the Rugby Premiership. he says: “We are realistic but everything is possible though. Our lads are playing incredible rugby at this moment in time. I may be biased but this is the place to be on a Saturday in terms of sport within 20 miles of town.” Rayer could have helped the team in his prime. his career came close to being cut short when, in 1994, a dramatic career-threatening injury threatened to end Mike’s days as a rugby professional early. But impressively he came back a year later. he says, “I was 29 years old, it was 4.25pm. There was one dummy pass too many and it was nobody’s fault. My rehabilitation was tough, wasn’t a joint so knew bone would heal stronger. I had 5 or 6 operations and a lot of metal work. My knee plays up now and again; and they very-dark days but I had great surgeons.” Mike was a Wales international earning 21 caps at the highest level before retiring. In all sports, a first international cap is a great honour. “My first cap was quite surreal. It was against Western Samoa, and I came on for came on for an injured player. The game was at Cardiff Arms Park, and my family were there so it was a proud moment. “We lost the game that knocked us out of the 1991 World Cup so it was bittersweet moment. We played Argentina and Australia in the following days so I managed to get three caps in one week. Unfortunately I started playing for Wales on a crest of a slump was but looking back I am very proud of my 21 caps I earnt before the injury.” Mike said he doesn’t miss the playing side as he had an unbelievable career and wouldn’t change a thing. he says, “I had injuries all part and parcel but makes you an all rounded person. Been lucky to have stepped out but get to stay in the changing room and keep involved in the banter.” Before taking up professional rugby Mike was a Sheet metal worker, dealt in insurance, glazing and light fabrication work. he crossed the generations of amateur and professional and always had something in the locker as a tradesman. This is a long way from the sportsmen of the moment and tomorrow. Of them, he says, “lads coming through now sport is all they have ever known, once their career finishes it is a daunting difficult prospect so you must plan for the future after leaving the game.” Bedford Blues are a great community club often putting on special days for the local support. They will be supporting Movember and services day plus back in October they staged a ladies day against Stirling which was a great day that happily coincided with victory. A nickname used around the student community is ‘I’m going for going for a Mike Rayer’, this is cockney slang for going for an all dayer. Mike looks back: “It came about at an England Wales international in the early nineties back home in Cardiff. My wife saw it first on the back of a t-shirt which was slightly alarming as it was girls wearing it. I’m more into half dayers now though!” After a career at the top of the game Mike has now settled in sleepy Bedford with his family and dreaming his new team can also get to top level status.
British tennis stars keeping their bottle
Roland shaw highlights how british tennis is finding its form
BEFORE the last twelve months none of the British tennis players looked in the running for glory in the major tennis tournaments such as Wimbledon or the US Open. But times have changed this summer. Andy Murray was the runner up at Wimbledon in July and then won a gold and silver medal each for Team GB at the Olympics. After beating Roger Federer and coming second in the doubles tournament, he then went onto win the US Open by beating Novak Djokovic. There was further success in October when heather Watson ended 24 years of British Tennis women’s heartbreak by beating Chang Kai-Chen of Chinese Tapai in the Japanese Open. Through winning the Japanese Open she has risen to 50th in the latest rankings, up 21 places and displacing Murray’s doubles partner Laura Robson as the British Number One. They will only go on the rise in the next few years and will surely be competing at the top level in years to come. Some of the current tennis players are on the wane and new tennis players are continuously cropping up. Annabel Croft, a former British number one expects Watson and Robson to continue climbing up the women’s tennis rankings. She said, “heather has a fantastic chance to go up further as does Laura. We will see them
go much higher than 50”. So why have the British Tennis players risen to stardom over the last fifteen months? There are many factors that could have helped British tennis players rise from contenders to champions. The editor of SW19 Members Club Magazine, Melina harris said, “I think it’s the belief from Team GB during the Olympics and the positive mental attitude“ Before this summer Andy Murray had been in several Grand Slam finals but ended as the runner up on all occasions. he decided to bring a new coach, and in came Ivan Lendl to try and help him break his grand slam duck. his new coach suggested that he should work with a sports psychologist because it would improve his game in the long run and he will be able to balance his emotions and wouldn’t get too worked up by the occasion. Ivan Lendl put Murray in touch with Alexis Castorri. She was the same psychologist that Lendl himself used during his own playing days. She helped him control his emotions in career that ended in Lendl winning eight Grand Slam titles, and successive ATP World Tour Finals. his coach now wants Murray to follow the same route.
Murray said, “ I feel like when my mind isn’t free of anything that might be frustrating me away from the court, I can’t focus as well as I need to. “When my mind’s clear, I can go on the court and play, not worry about anything else, I can play much better and think a lot better on the court.” Murray fully believes that Castorri’s advice played a big part in him winning at the Flushing Meadows. he didn’t play his best tennis throughout the tournament. But played smart tennis when the times were tough. he found ways to win when he wasn’t necessarily playing well. That is the sign of a very competent tennis player they certainly need to have the attribute of playing ugly to win when things aren’t necessarily going well for them. The next fifteen months will be key for Andy Murray as he seeks to build on what has undeniably been a great year for the Scot. It will be interesting to see where Murray is this time next year. he ends 2012 as No 3 in the world behind the record breaking Swiss legend Roger Federer and the rising star Novak Djorkovic. If he plays some of the tennis that he produced this summer then there is no doubt that he will be in with a shouting chance for further victories and perhaps catching up with the first two.
Joy for Djokovic
Roland shaw takes us through his atp world title match
NOVAK Djokovic beat Roger Federer to win the ATP World Title to rubber stamp his No 1 spot in the world rankings. The Serbian won 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 to add the season ending title to his Australian Open victory and top ranking. Djokovic needed two hours and 14 minutes to take two sets in a match that had dramatic swings in momentum. It was the second time Djokovic has won the ATP finale, following his triumph in Shanghai four years ago. Djokovic said “It’s not the first time that Roger started so well against me. I’ve experienced before his aggression, really trying to put his mark on the match”. Roger Federer was attempting to win his third successive ATP Final. Andy Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl was the last man to do this, as he won three times in a row twentyfive years ago. The 31 year old admitted in defeat that, “At the end of the day that doesn’t matter you have to get over the finish line in the set and then obviously the match. he was better at that today.” Federer has made London’s O2 arena something of a second home over the last two years and certainly wasn’t lacking in support as he is perhaps one of the greatest tennis players of all the time. The atmosphere might not have been so cranked up at the start as it was in during his semi final against Andy Murray on Sunday, but the Federer fans were in full voice as their man reeled off the first nine points. Djokovic appeared out of sync, fluffing a routine volley and firing long as he slipped on the court. There were ironic cheers when he finally got on the board in game three. The winners were mainly flowing from Federer but it was a case of brilliance against resilience as Djokovic dug in and weathered the storm by extending the rallies whenever possible. Federer netted a forehand to give back the break in game five and the contest came alive once again. Djokovic hit a brilliant cross- court forehand when reaching to his right to move 5-4 ahead, but he then failed to convert the set point on the serve and Federer hit back to level it. These heavy blows took a physical toll when Djokovic was knocked off his feet by a Federer effort which resulted in Djokovic needing attention at the changeover. The hour mark passed and the pair headed into a pulsating tie-break. Djokovic took the initiative, but then Federer played a blinding forehand and punch the air, which brought the O2 crowd to its feet. Djokovic wasn’t affected as moments later he clinched the set with a forehand winner after a Federer error. An eight-minute game at the start of the second set suggested there was still nothing between them, and when Djokovic succumbed on the fourth break point he smacked his racquet in anger on the blue court. Another long battle loomed, and as had happened earlier, Federer resumed his early dominance. When he saw off a break point at 4-3 with an ace he looked on course to force a decider. however, Djokovic had recovered from even worse positions against Murray and Juan Martin del Potro in the last week, and Federer helped him out when his forehand deserted him as he was serving for the set at 40-15. Two set points went begging as Djokovic, now peppering the baseline with his returns, reeled off four straight points to level. having been on the verge of levelling the match, Federer was now hanging on for dear life. Djokovic battled through his own service game and a couple more loose shots from Federer. Under pressure from the Serb’s returns, the Swiss star rose to the challenge and offered up match point. The final point was played out much like the match, with Federer taking control only for Djokovic to come up with the answer - a spectacular backhand down the line on the stretch. The tennis calendar year is over for 2012, but 2013 promises to be another rollercoaster year of exciting tennis. Beginning in Melbourne in January next year, the athletes will be raring to go for another year of tennis. As the world’s highest rated player Djokovic will be keen to make sure he stays number one.
MK serves up new plans for nbc
Charles crook spills all on the future of british badminton
ThE National Badminton Centre is coming closer to moving across Milton Keynes. The centre has been based in Loughton since it opened in 2000 but a £20million move two and a half miles across town to brownfield land near the National Bowl has been proposed with a planning application lodged. The proposed move will see the centre double in size, and is planned to open before Team GB begin qualification attempts for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy said that the move was important to helping the sport’s popularity and Olympic team success. In a statement, he said “Demand for court time outstrips supply and we have to frequently turn clubs and casual players away because we simply don’t have the space for them. “We want to remain in Milton Keynes because of the fantastic support we have here and we see The Bowl as the perfect place to enable BADMINTON England and MK Council to realise an amazing vision that will deliver fantastic benefits for the local community as well as enable our world class players and stars of the future to train and prepare in the best possible environment. “The support from partners for this venture has been overwhelming including MK Council, the land owners and Sport England who have mentioned this project alongside other world class facilities such as the new St George’s Park Football Centre in Burton-upon-Trent and Manchester’s redeveloped National Cycling Centre. “We are now conducting due diligence and undertaking a period of full consultation prior to planning being submitted.” Further information about the proposals will be released in January, with the site’s proposed opening date set for June 2015. The move supports Milton Keynes Council’s goal of becoming an International Sporting City. The council announced these plans last year, with the aim of developing several sites across Milton Keynes into major sporting locations. Despite these proposals, the Centre faces competition for the site. MK Dons owner Pete Winkleman is also interested in purchasing the site. his plans would see the MK Dons training ground relocate from Woughton on the Green to the Bowl, and would also include a yearly music festival held at the Bowl.
red bull’s felix Baumgartner is given his wings
FELIX Baumgartner’s recent recordbreaking 128 000 foot sky dive has attracted enormous attention globally, seeing a rise in interest in extreme sports. The brilliant sky dive was life threatening, yet this did not deter Austrian Baumgartner. 8 million people tuned in to watch his fall on YouTube, which helped raise massive awareness about extreme sports and has attracted more people to the sport of skydiving. Local skydiving company Airkix has seen popularity in their company rise significantly since Baumgartner’s dive according to Sales and Marketing manager Trevor haines. he said: “We expected it really, generally, whenever there is a big skydiving story in the national spotlight, we see increases in web traffic and social media interaction. “We also saw huge increases in web traffic, phone calls and social media interaction when a British Skydiver & Stuntman (Steve Truglia) was training for the very same stratospheric skydive as Felix. “Steve trained at Airkix several years ago using a state of the art space suit and even took his idea to Red Bull. “In actual fact, to my knowledge, Felix used a sister tunnel of Airkix based in the U.S (IFly Seattle) to prepare him for the record.” Felix Baumgartner’s dive broke three records as he reached 128,097 feet, higher than the 113,740 manned ballooned flight by the US’ Malcolm Ross and Victor Prather.
LIAM ANDREWS Looks BACK AT one of THE MOST incredible EXAMPLEs OF EXTREME SPORTS in history
The second of the records was the highest skydive ever, as he took the step off of the small ‘skateboard’ shaped platform into a 24-mile drop. Finally, the record he desired the most which was to break the sound barrier; and he smashed it reaching a total speed of 833.9mph. however, one record that he failed to beat was Joe Kittinger’s length of time in free-fall of 5 minutes 35 seconds, which he fell over a minute short of. After this ‘dare devil’ sport, Baumgartner has decided that he will now retire to Switzerland and become a pilot. There has been much debate over whether skydiving should be counted as a sport or not, but Trevor haines is adamant that it is. he told us: “Skydiving (indoors and outdoors) is most definitely a ‘skill based sport’ in my opinion. “The definition of sport is widely regarded as ‘an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others.’ Skydiving ticks all of these boxes in both team and solo disciplines. “Skill is essential in skydiving, and during competitions your skill level is judged. “I should also add that Skydiving is widely considered an ‘extreme sport’ due to the inherent danger of leaping from an aircraft at 10 - 12,000ft, but with Airkix Wind Tunnels, the sensation of freefall is now accessible to all.” This sport is seen as dangerous, but also gives a huge thrill to the participant and is becoming increasing popular.
Due to the recent popularity and raise in awareness of this sport, Airkix set up their own limited time ‘Space Jump’ to give the public their own chance to experience a similar feeling to Baumgartner. Trevor haines, of Airkix, explained how the new attraction had received great interest and they offered the most realistic likeness to the dive as possible. he said: “At Airkix we love to offer our customer base an exciting range of flight experiences and when we knew that Felix was attempting the record, we prepared an ‘equivalent’ flight experience. “Felix was in freefall for 4 minutes and 20 seconds, so we decided to allow our customers to experience the same ‘nonstop’ freefall sensation. “We marketed it as a ‘test of stamina’ and offered flyers the chance to ‘do a Felix’. “Sure, we couldn’t promise a balloon ride high into the Stratosphere, nor could we offer a hi tech space suit to wear, but we could offer a 4 minute and 20 second non stop freefall sensation - and the uptake was very encouraging indeed. “As well as the Space Jump, we also offer ‘Physics is Fun’ educational programmes, as endorsed by the National Space Centre in Leicester.” If you are interested in visiting Airkix and want to have a go yourself, you can contact them through www.airkix.com or 0845 331 6549.
Charles crook finds out how armstrong’s actions have damaged his sport’s reputation
Andrew Sutcliffe said, “I had been taken aside by a number of riders and race organisers in the UK and abroad and had it explained to me in the clichéd words of one syllable why it was not in my interests to report certain things.” he added, “In the sharing of that information you were told how it worked, how dope tests could be got around, who was complicit in this sort of cover-up. And I think that cover-up went on and perhaps to some extent is still going on.” Cycling is still in the dock – Armstrong’s former teammate David George is suspended after failing doping tests earlier this year, and the head of Team Sky has resigned following his scandal. It is leading to an uncomfortable time for cycling’s perception amongst non-cyclers as people’s previous suspicions of the athletes are reinforced by scandal. Although it is unlikely any of the current crop of cycling stars are dopers – Bradley Wiggins said “If I doped I would potentially lose everything” in his autobiography – the sporting bodies of cycling has been given huge scars. It faces a pivotal time to get people back on side and trusting the sport again following the trail of deceit that its biggest star left behind. LANCE Armstrong was once an inspiration to many people worldwide, but now finds his reputation has totally collapsed. The 41 year old Texan cyclist bounced back from extremely severe cancer to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles. But this almost unparalleled success has been destroyed with revelations from the International Cycling Union that he was a notorious drug cheat at the heart of a major doping ring, leading to a lifetime ban, desertion by his sponsors and charity, and orders to repay his winnings. In a damning statement, the head of the ICU said, “The UCI will strip him of his seven Tour de France wins. Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. he deserves to be forgotten.” This news has come at the worst possible moment for cycling. It seemed that it had finally shed its reputation as a sport dominated by doping allegations and become a credible major sport. In Britain, cycling had been on an upward curve. Buoyed by Olympic success for athletes such as Chris hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Laura Trott and Bradley Wiggins, who also won the Tour de France, the sport has become a huge sporting success, with public attention and adulation for its athletes and participation by the public increasing. It is a long way from the sport’s dark days. During the late 1990s and early 2000s cycling was beset by a multitude of doping allegations and consequently banned riders. This was the period where Armstrong rose to cycling prominence with a hot streak we now know to have been illegally fuelled. Cycling journalists of the time have said it was an open secret a lot of athletes were on drugs, and that they were pressured into maintaining the sport’s secrecy. Former cycling journalist
Tony Hornsby looks at why this champion horse has earned his retirement
ALL gamblers would agree, ‘there is no such thing as a sure bet’. This means there is no bet where all you have to do place your money and wait patiently for your returns. This was the case until Frankel arrived in the sport of horseracing. Frankel made his debut in August 2010, at the European Breeders Final Maiden stakes at Newmarket. Up against a strong field including horses such as Colour Vision and Nathaniel, Frankel justified his status as favourite and came home to win by just half a length. The commentator cried “Frankel on the far side, now what has he got left? There isn’t a lot left, or is there” as the horse came
to win. If only he knew how much this horse would have left to give over the next 2 years. The odds of 7/4 in this race were the only chance of making a considerable profit from this horse in its whole career as ‘The Freak’ hit odds on for every other race in his illustrious career going as short as 1/20 on. After his win in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October 2011, Frankel was given a rating of 143 by Timeform, the highest mark awarded in over forty years and their fourth highest of all time behind Sea Bird, Brigadier Gerard and Tudor Minstrel. The quality of horses each superstar came up against has to go in favour of Frankel purely because the speed and turn of foot over the decades has increased considerably. Each of these four horses have lost at least one race, apart from Frankel.
The champion’s stakes at Ascot on October 20th saw Frankel win his 14th race in a row. The field included some of the best horses in the world, including the French hose Cirrus des Aigles, who won this race last year. “You don’t see Formula One cars winning on anything other than tarmac,” said jockey Tom Queally after the incredible performance on the day when Frankel overcome the soft to heavy conditions Frankel most certainly does not enjoy to be the first over the line. Frankel’s trainer and the man behind the world’s greatest horse, Sir henry Cecil, was deservedly emotional on the day after witnessing the best horse he has and will ever see take victory despite the horse not enjoying the conditions. he said, “he (Frankel) laboured on the ground and wasn’t happy, but he was very relaxed. I have probably got him too relaxed – it used to be the other way. I have enjoyed every moment of training him although it has been stressful at times. he’s the best I’ve ever had and the best I’ve ever seen.” Corine Barande-Barbe, who is the trainer of Cirrus des Aigles said “It is not a dishonor to be beaten by such a horse. There are no excuses. Frankel is simply the best.” Frankel’s stats are unrivalled. With 14 wins from 14 runs, career earnings of almost £3million and ten group one race wins, it will be a challenge to find a more prolific horse because Frankel is truly one of a kind. In the sport of kings that is horseracing, Frankel has been given a place in history as a god.
Is support for kevin starting to pieter out?
Can england’s unpopular batsman regain the trust of the dressing room?
IT has mainly been a year to forget for England’s maverick star batsmen Kevin Pietersen. It all started going wrong after an interview straight after the Second Test Match against South Africa on August 4th, where he scored an incredible 149 runs to virtually assure a stalemate in this rain affected match. In an interview with Jonathan Agnew, he stated that “it’s tough being in this dressing room” and admitted he was considering retiring from test cricket after the Third Test. This fractured his relations within the rest of the England dressing room. Things got worse a week later when various newspapers revealed that Kevin Pietersen had sent derogatory texts about Andrew Strauss to several South African players. This made his position in the England team subsequently untenable until he apologised later that month. The text saga severely affected the harmony among the rest of the team and ultimately ended in Strauss’ resignation and retirement. Following on from a month of discussion and countless meetings, the English Cricket Board and Pietersen came to an agreement and he signed a four month central contract in all form of cricket. however, this included a period of integration with the rest of the team in a view to being named as a late addition to India test tour party. Former England Captain, Michael Vaughan said “The issue is, can Kevin Pietersen be allowed back in that dressing room? “Now he has he got a four month trial period and the only way to find out is to go into the dressing room, make a speech and get round with some of the players he has had issues with, and have a beer.“ The question is do England really need Kevin Pietersen in their team in a very important year. With a Tour of India and the Ashes series against Australia, England need fully committed players. The fear with the batsman is that his head turned by the chance to earn millions by playing in Indian Premier League. Despite these fears, he has supposedly committed himself to the cause by stating , “I’m committed to completing the reintegration process we have agreed and representing England in all formats’ hopefully until the World Cup in 2015 if my body allows”. Even though he is a top class batsmen he isn’t going to be able to walk straight back into the team. If he comes back into the team soon, it would most probably be at expense of Ravi Bopara who has consistently underperformed on the test circuit. Kevin Pietersen fits in very well at number four in the team, as he has constantly been someone who has steadied the batting when things haven’t always gone to plan. But it wouldn’t be the right move to put him at Number 2 in the batting line up as England have worthy replacement for Strauss in Nick Compton. Compton excelled over the summer by scoring the most runs in county cricket so he fully deserved his chance in the team. In the long run it would be best for England to have Kevin Pietersen in their squad at least as he has a lot of experience and can help nurture young players who are now in the squad such as Jonny Bairstow and James Taylor. If Kevin Pietersen comes back with the determination that made him a star in the sport then cricket fans all over the world get to grace the international batting masterclass once again. It would also mean that the Australians will ultimately find it tough to regain the Ashes for the first time since 2007. If only they had sorted their differences out earlier maybe it would have been Stuart Broad holding the T20 trophy aloft rather than the West Indies Captain Chris Gayle.
RED BULLs leading the charge
RED Bull have dominated Formula One for the past few years, and despite a slow start they continued that dominance this year. A remarkable turn around has seen Vettel win his third successive Formula One Driver’s Championship, while the team also won their third successive Constructor’s Championship. The turnaround of Red Bull’s season came as they upgraded their cars dramatically before the Singapore Grand Prix. Team designer Adrian Newey was the cause of this championship comeback, as his designs helped his team bounce back. Rival Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso has admitted it’s his designs that are what made the title race difficult for him to win. Formula One expert and fanatic Mark hughes agrees that Newey is the key component in the Red Bull team after years of success. he said: “Their Technical Director Adrian Newey has delivered two decades of title winning cars and is F1’s great designer in the world at the moment. “A huge Austrian budget combined with motivation from two top F1 drivers has also been a huge factor in their dominance and comeback. “The team obviously has a winning mentality after two World Championships for Sebastian Vettel so that has aided their performances this season.” Vettel came top of the World Championship, after it had looked like Spaniard Fernando Alonso would easily
Liam andrews says the incumbent champs aren’t taking their foot off the gas
win this years title. The Red Bull team was also winners, as they won the Constructor’s Championship title for the third consecutive year with a huge lead over Ferrari and McLaren. The partnership of Webber and Vettel has had a couple of tense moments over the years, but this year it looks stronger than ever. Webber has already agreed a new contract for the 2013 season despite rumours over his future at Red Bull, and with the Formula One veteran now 36 years old. After signing his new deal with the Constructors Championship champions, Mark Webber reflected on what he believed was important about Red Bull. he said: “We went from the days when Red Bull had not long owned the team to what it is now. “The team really changed when we started to get successful, in terms of getting the balance right between being extremely professional on all fronts to still keeping that laid back and approachable attitude that the team still has within reason. “It is just one nice big family now in many ways and we have grown so much. “We’ve come a long way and I think it’s clear that I fit well here and that’s what I really like about it.”
Charles crook illustrates why mclaren might be glad to see the back of their distracted driver, lewis hamilton
LEWIS hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes has ended speculation on his future, but not on his state of mind. The 2012 season has seen the continuation of a difficult time for the driver since he won the 2008 Drivers World Championship. his antics have also drawn criticism and questioning, with the view that the driver has let the lure of money and celebrity cloud his commitment to driving. But as he reflects on a tricky year, the 27 year old might reflect a move could kick start his career. A lot of the speculation seems to have concerned his happiness, or lack of it, with his car and its crew. With the start of the season seeing McLaren pit crews take excessive times at pit stops, hamilton begun to be visibly frustrated as he failed to build up an early head of steam. More recently, it’s the car and the driver’s mental state that have been the main talking point. While hamilton has registered some good victories, he has had as many off days. The most unusual was the Korean Grand Prix, which saw him spend the last three laps with a long strip of artificial grass hanging off the underside of the car as he crawled over the line in 10th, but it is not the only exception of his season. There has been the distinct impression that hamilton is unimpressed with both car and pit-crew, with views that a variety of mistakes from each was a key contributor for his inability to challenge the top two. As easy as it is to point at his car and pit-crew for his problems, the celebrity lifestyle is also a likely distraction. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, he is worth £55million and has signed an increased contract at his team’s rivals. This is before advertising revenue and the obvious benefits living in a tax haven provide. Obviously earning vast amounts of cash from a childhood passion is a perk – we’d all like to be in that position. But it can also be very easy to let the world money brings to consume this idealism. It’s a stick commonly used to beat footballers with and consequently it can also be seen here. Footballers are also criticised for their attitude, especially those on Twitter. And that particular social media site has landed hamilton in the thick of it a few times, with the driver having tweeted confidential technical information and ranted against Button unfollowing him before realising he never did. hamilton has been quoted as saying “maybe Twitter and me don’t go together” after this more recent spat. We all post stupid stuff online, but as a professional sportsman, these antics are almost certainly magnified. It certainly does not help one’s image, with a lot of his antics seen as petty spats that raise questions over his attitude. McLaren have certainly bent over backwards for hamilton, who has seen off Fernando Alonso and heikki Kovalenien to be top dog of a racing team he has been with since he moved into F1 in 2007. The team themselves are looking to move on nevertheless, with Sergio Perez swapping Sauber for McLaren and continuing development of their car. It certainly will be an interesting first campaign following the split for both sides next year. hamilton has already been quoted as saying he expects to win no races next year, while McLaren will be wondering where they go from here with their best driver gone and a car that needs improvements for a challenge next year. At the same time a move could benefit both teams. hamilton seems more enthusiastic about the idea of helping Mercedes become a force in Formula 1, and he did seem much happier driving after he confirmed his departure. McLaren also have a chance to move on, with promising young talent Perez. This promises to be one of the biggest and most intriguing subplots to what promises to be an exciting 2013 season.
There has been the distinct impression that hamilton is unimpressed with both car and pit-crew
From tyres to twitter
a lot of his antics are seen as petty spats that raise questions over his attitude
an impossible task
As sports personality of the year looms, Joe appleby looks at the incredible list of nominees
IN what has been described as the greatest sporting year 2012 has seen great sporting achievements across the board. There have been many great individual and team performances across many sports. It is almost that time of the year to decide the Sports Personality of the Year, it will no doubt be one of the toughest years to call a winner with so many outstanding performances in one year, with many other stars missing out. here is the shortlist and what they have achieved this year. Bradley Wiggins – Cycling Wiggins is one of the favourites to win the competition this year after an impeccable year. he became the first Brit to win the Tour De France title before becoming one of Britain’s most decorated athletes at the 2012 Olympics. he has now won 7 Olympic medals including four Golds. he became one of the first British Olympians to bring home gold after winning the Mens Road Time Trial in 50 minutes and 39 seconds - a convincing 42 seconds quicker than the silver medallist. Ben Ainslie – Sailing Described as the greatest sailor of all time, Ainslie won his fourth consecutive Olympic Gold to become to most decorated British sailor. After moving up to the Finn Class after the 2000 Olympics he has won gold in the last three summer Olympics in this class. This year he overtook the Dane Paul Elvstrom who had also won four Olympic gold’s in the all time honours list. Ellie Simmonds – Paralympic Swimming Simmonds was one of the poster stars for Team GB Paralympics before the games themselves started. She came into the games with big expectations after being the youngest British athlete at Beijing, winning two golds, but she rose to the challenge. Two incredible swims broke the 200m individual medley and 400m freestyle records amongst 5 medals gathered with performances that could give Olympic swimmers runs for their money. Jessica Ennis – Athletics Ennis lived up to the hype as Team GB’s poster girl with a sensational victory in the heptathlon where she won by more than 300 points. After leading the field almost the whole event, she cruised to the Gold medal in the final 800m. She only needed to finish 7th in this final event to ensure the prize, but a fantastic 2 minutes 10 seconds sprint saw her take victory in style. Along with Mo Farah and Greg
Rutherford she was one of the big athletics winners on Golden Saturday. Sir Chris hoy – Cycling The knight of cycling continued his status as one of Britain’s all time great Olympians. The Scotsman won his sixth Olympic gold medal, helping him surpass the record set by Sir Steve Redgrave and to tie with Wiggins at the top of the all time medallist leaderboard. The 2008 winner was also flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony and he stands a good chance of becoming the first double winner since Damon hill in the mid-1990s. Rory McIlroy – Golf The Northern Irishman is the only nonOlympian in the running but nevertheless enjoyed a great year out on the course. Not content with holding top spot of the world golf rankings, he went on to dominate the US PGA Championship with a record eight strokes under after topping the round off with a birdie on the last hole. he has had great success in America this year after winning the PGA Championship and was also part of the European Ryder Cup team who achieved a superb comeback on American soil to help retain their title. Nicola Adams – Boxing The first ever winner of woman’s flyweight boxing at the Olympics has become a true success story over the summer. After winning the 2011 EU Amateur Championships, Adams was heralded as a promising Olympic athlete ahead of the game. She delivered emphatically on this promise with an outstanding victory over world number one Ren Cancan. Adams’ success has helped the sport of women boxing gain interest and was another one of the big stories from the Games. David Weir – Paralympic Athletics In what has been the most supported Paralympics games ever it the athletes responded to this support with a medal haul of their own. Fronting the medal charge was David Weir. Weir won a total of four Gold medals at the 2012 games, coming in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and the marathon. This took his total Paralympic Gold medal haul to six and his overall total to 10. he paid an emotional tribute to the home support after the marathon thanking the fans for support across the events. Mo Farah – Athletics Farah won 3rd place at the event last year and a storming victory in not one but two Olympic events has done his chances of
going two better no harm. he won Olympic gold in both the 5,000m and 10,000m long distance races. In what has been an African dominated discipline over the past years he broke the trend with two clear wins and went on to become a national hero. he also introduced his famed and much loved ‘MoBot’ Celebration to the world. Andy Murray – Tennis It has been a fine year of progress of Britain’s tennis Number One. After finishing runner-up at Wimbledon he gained revenge on Roger Federer by beating him to Men’s Singles Olympic Gold. he also reached the Mixed Doubles Final with Laura Robson but they came unstuck against their opponents from Belarus. But Murray had the best recovery of all as he won his first Grand Slam. he did so at the US Open in five sets against Novak Djokovic to cap off a fine year. Sarah Storey – Paralympic Cycling The incredible success of Storey continued at the Paralympic Games. She has previously won gold in both swimming and cycling and her cycling success continued with some very impressive performances. She won half of Team GB’s Paralympic cycling golds with a very impressive four from four. This bought her total up to a very impressive nine gold medals. Katherine Grainger – Rowing After a long time hovering on the edge of the gold medal slots, Grainer burst into the gold slots at the Olympics. World Championship gold and silver Olympic medals have been won by the veteran rower, and an excellent performance with teammate Anna Watkins saw her finally achieve the biggest prize of all at the summer’s games.
Priyanka rajput explores this fantastic sporting year for Britain
WIThIN the sporting world in 2012, Britain has had a successful year. Inspired by the world’s biggest sporting event, Britain has emerged as a very competitive sporting force that continues to provide action that gets people on the edge of their seats. This year the London Olympics have been the highlight. They proved a very successful competition for Great Britain with a total of 65 medals, as the team put in a showing better than any one would have expected. This could possibly be down to the fact that it was held in venues with the crowd behind them that gave the athletes overwhelmingly positive vibes and support. With this tremendous amount of support the home team managed to win a staggering 29 gold medals in 2012 – 10 more gold medals than they had previously achieved in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Olympics were a success from the start, with the opening ceremony winning widespread critical acclaim. It became one of the top 20 most watched television programs in history with peak of 26.9m viewers. It also helped bolster relations with other countries ahead of the start of the games. Rising stars of the athlete world provided two of the biggest highlights. The biggest success story was Mo Farah, who won Britain’s first ever 10,000m gold medal. Not content with that, he displayed his iconic ‘MoBot’ celebration again after adding a 5,000m medal. Jessica Ennis also lived up to her billing as one of the biggest stars for Team GB before the games. her record breaking heptathlon time saw her status as an icon cemented. A long jump win for Milton Keynes native Greg Rutherford saw Team GB with 4 golds, with 3 coming in one afternoon. Sir Chris hoy’s remarkable Olympic success continued as he became Team GB’s best ever athlete. he won his sixth gold medal and seventh overall to achieve this highest owner. Young stars also came to the fore as 18 year old Tom Daley won a diving bronze and highly rated Nicola Adams won the first ever women’s boxing gold. This helped raise awareness of there sports to youngsters across the country and inspire more people to take part in these sports. The fact that the Olympics were held in London this year has allowed many British people the chance to experience sports that they might ordinarily ignore and encourage participation in these sports. The Olympics were also followed up by one of the most successful Paralympic games in history. Almost 11.2 million people watched the Paralympics opening ceremony – a very impressive total. Many people feel that the event is a triumph of the human spirt as people overcome their disabilities to get their biggest victory. The athletes certainly did a great deal to gain further recognition. Paralympics GB came 3rd overall and delivered over 120 medals, including a very impressive 34 gold medals. David Weir and Sarah Storey were massive stars, delivering four gold medals each. There has also been great success for the country’s tennis stars. A particular highlight was the success of Andy Murray, who is on his way to becoming one of the world’s best tennis players. he achieved Olympic gold, US Open victory and Wimbledon runner-up status in a fantastic year for the Scot. Another Olympian successful elsewhere is Bradley Wiggins, who gained an Olympic gold medal to go with his Tour de France win. In the process he became the first Brit to win the world’s biggest cycling tournament and became one of the country’s most iconic sport stars in the process. The Premier League has also had an entertaining year, with fantastic action as Manchester City won the title in dramatic circumstances on the final day of the season. It also proved a major financial success story, as a new TV deal adding to the already impressive revenue. Britain’s golfers also had success, as they helped the EU team gain an almost improbable comeback win over the Americans in the Ryder Cup and gained individual success. It’s not all been smooth sailing - boxing and football have been dogged by scandals. But all in all 2012 has been a fantastic year for the progression of sport throughout Great Britain and we have seen great heaps of talented young sportsmen emerging into careers into sport.
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