Tag Archives: adams

Wilfried Zaha can prove himself before he joins Manchester United, says Stuart Pearce

Zaha will show he can handle the big time ahead of United move, says Pearce

and has yet to score but Pearce is set to play him as a central striker in tonight’s friendly against Romania at Wycombe.

The past few months have been high pressure for Zaha. He made his senior England debut in Sweden, joined Manchester United for 15million, was loaned straight back to Palace and earlier this week he was banned for one game by the FA after making an offensive gesture to Leeds supporters.

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Supported: Stuart Pearce is confident Wilfried Zaha can impress

Supported: Stuart Pearce is confident Wilfried Zaha can impress

Pearce, though, has no concerns about Zaha’s mental strength and is expecting him to play a significant role at Euro 2013.

‘We asked Wilf to play centre forward
(against Sweden) last month rather than his natural wide position and we
might do on that again,’ said Pearce. ‘I have to bear in mind that a
lot has happened to Wilf in a short space of time.

‘He’s still one of the younger boys
and will be involved in the next qualification campaign. I’m delighted
with how he’s come in, he seems happy.

Under pressure Zaha's profile has grown considerably this season

Under pressure Zaha's profile has grown considerably this season

ENGLAND UNDER 21 v ROMANIA

ENGLAND (4-2-3-1): Butland; Smith, Dawson, Wisdom, Bennett: Henderson, Shelvey: Sterling, Lansbury, Townsend: Zaha.

Kick-off: 7pm, Adams Park

Referee: Jonathan Lardot (Belgium)

TV: LIVE on ESPN from 6.30pm

'I’m seeing the same kid as I did a
couple of months ago. I think Wilf is one of those nice easy going lads
and not much worries him.

‘That’s the impression I get. We see
exactly the same in him as his football.

'Whether he’s gone to United or
stayed at Palace I’ll view him as the same player that’s learning,
maturing and will get better and better.’

It is likely Pearce will play a strong
team tonight and that will include Danny Rose, who will win his first
cap since being sent-off during the Euro 2013 qualifier against Serbia
in October; the Sunderland defender was also subjected to horrific
racial abuse that evening.

Centre forward Pearce says Zaha may have to play through the middle

Centre forward Pearce says Zaha may have to play through the middle

‘What went on in Serbia had nothing to
do with me not picking Danny,’ said Pearce. ‘I just needed to look at a
couple of others. He is suspended for the first game of the
Championship so we’ll have to start with another left back.

‘But he’s too important to me to leave
him out (this summer) for one game. We have Tom Ince missing the first
game, too, but the only way I’d leave someone out is if they were
suspended for all three group games.

'We are playing to win, so I’m
planning to play five games.’

VIDEO: RAHEEM STERLING SCORES TWO WONDER GOALS IN ENGLAND U21S TRAINING

London Welsh 15 Wasps 34

London Welsh 15 Wasps 34: Super Simpson gets his side in contention for top four spot

PUBLISHED:

18:16 GMT, 29 December 2012

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UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 29 December 2012

A brilliant try from scrum-half Joe Simpson was the highlight of London Wasps' bonus point victory as they did the Aviva Premiership double over London Welsh this season.

Simpson had an outstanding game as Wasps came from behind with tries from wing Elliot Daly, replacement prop Will Taylor and, right at the end, a fourth try for wing Tom Varndell.

Welsh fly-half Gordon Ross kicked all his side's points with five penalties, while Wasps fly-half Nicky Robinson landed three penalties, Daly booted one and replacement stand-off Stephen Jones kicked the only conversion of the match.

Crunch: Hugo Southwell of Wasps is tackled by Franck Montanella

Crunch: Hugo Southwell of Wasps is tackled by Franck Montanella

Wasps were looking for to repeat their win over the Exiles at Adams Park, Wycombe, back in October.

Welsh, meanwhile, needed to bounce back from a 13-6 loss at Worcester.

Although not in any immediate danger at the wrong end of the table after basement side Sale Sharks beat Worcester on Friday night, revenge on their near neighbours would be welcome for head coach Lyn Jones if only to steer them further away from the dogfight below them.

The first half-hour was dominated by the boot, both with positional kicks and shots at goal, as first Welsh took a six-point advantage and then saw it clawed back by their visitors.

There was not a great deal to choose between them up front but the most obvious mistake made by the field kickers, Welsh full-back Tom Arscott a particular offender – was booting the ball straight into touch and losing the territory that would have gained.

Wasps could have led handsomely at the interval had they taken the majority of their goal kicks. Daly missed a long-range effort for the visitors before an excellent scrum from the Exiles and an offside decision given their way saw Ross secure two successes.

On the move: Elliot Daly of Wasps (left) gets going as his side did the double over London Welsh

On the move: Elliot Daly of Wasps (left) gets going as his side did the double over London Welsh

But the lead did not last long as ex-Wales international Robinson levelled matters with two penalties but then sent two more penalties wide of the uprights from similar distances of 25 metres.

Ross, on the other hand, was deadly accurate at that short range. As Welsh frustrated their opponents and the front row of Franck Montanella, Neil Briggs and James Tideswell caused havoc for opponents Zak Taulafo, Rhys Thomas and Phil Swainston, Ross secured another two goals to take his side into a 12-6 interval lead.

But, even though the ball may have been greasy from the earlier rain, there was little excuse for a poor first-half with hardly any invention in attack towards either try-line.

Robinson reduced the arrears after the break to three points with his third penalty before a piece of individual magic took the match up a gear.

In what will surely be one of the contenders for try of the season, Simpson took the ball from a line-out thirty metres from the Welsh line, went through a gap at the back and embarked on a diagonal sprint across the pitch.

Rough and tumble: Ed Jackson of London Welsh is tackled by Joe Launchbury (right)

Rough and tumble: Ed Jackson of London Welsh is tackled by Joe Launchbury (right)

He looked to be going nowhere but somehow found a gap towards the line. The scrum-half ran through three tackles and got past desperate defence on the line to touch down and leave everyone in the crowd amazed.

Robinson failed with the conversion but that put Wasps two points to the good and, when Daly kicked a thumping penalty from fully 53 metres, it was the turning point of the contest.

Wasps were on top and they threatened to leave Welsh with nothing to show for their efforts when Daly sprinted down the right wing to just get in for the second try of the game .

Welsh would not lay down, and Ross' fifth penalty put them within sight of Wasps. But a final killer converted try from replacement Will Taylor saw Wasps home and dry.

Vardnell went over on 83 minutes to get the bonus point and put Wasps challenging for a top four place on Saturday night.

Danny Cipriani recalled by Sale Sharks

Reprieve for Cipriani as Sale recall fly-half for clash with Worcester

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UPDATED:

14:13 GMT, 28 December 2012

Sale Sharks have recalled Danny Cipriani, presenting the former England fly-half with a surprise chance to restore his reputation at the club.

He was dropped from the side which lost to his former club Wasps Adams Park last Sunday, and felt the brunt of co-owner Brian Kennedy’s stinging attack, who challenged his commitment.

Despite this, and in the wake of a relatively improved performance during the 25-18 defeat, Cipriani will start tonight against Worcester, in place of Nick Macleod who has a back injury.

Back in the fold: Cipriani has been recalled by Sale

Back in the fold: Cipriani has been recalled by Sale

Kennedy blasted the 25-year old, saying: ‘If you’re not prepared to put your body on the line for this club, who pay your wages and give you the chance to play at the highest level each week, then you won’t be in the squad, will you’

The club’s director of rugby, John Mitchell, also had some cold advice for the player, who has been accused of laziness.

'Danny knows the situation and what’s going on and he knows that there needs to be an improvement in performance,’ Mitchell said.

'He has to improve his defence. Last week against Toulon he defended for 35 minutes and then chose not to do so.'

The onus is now in Cipriani who, blessed with world-beating talent, has failed to prove he can show focus and dedication for Sale.

They currently sit five points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table and have only recorded one win, against London Irish, in their 11 league games.

Danny Cipriani blasted by Sale Sharks chief Brian Kennedy

If you don't put your body on the line you'll be axed! Cipriani slammed by furious Sale chief

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UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 22 December 2012

The multi-millionaire owner of relegation-threatened Sale Sharks blasted his coaches, players and, most notably, Danny Cipriani, for their current plight on the eve of Sunday’s crucial Aviva Premiership game at London Wasps.

Brian Kennedy, who has made his vast fortune through home improvements and building products, has bankrolled the Cheshire club for the past decade.

But he finally lost patience on Saturday night, with his club adrift at the bottom of the Premiership having won just once in 10 games, and now lying six points away from 11th-placed London Irish.

Criticism: Danny Cipriani has been slammed by the Sale Sharks chief

Criticism: Danny Cipriani has been slammed by the Sale Sharks chief

The final straw for the Scot was last week’s 62-0 humiliation at Toulon, a performance that persuaded Kiwi John Michell, appointed as a short-term troubleshooter, to drop former England star Cipriani not just from the starting XV but from the whole match-day squad to face a resurgent Wasps unbeaten at Adams Park this season.

Kennedy is in full support of his coach’s decision, even though he sanctioned the big-money, high-profile summer signing of the wayward star after a tempestuous, two-year spell at the Melbourne Rebels.

‘Danny didn’t want to tackle last week,’ was the club owner’s damning verdict on the stand-off once expected to be Jonny Wilkinson’s natural successor for the England No 10 jersey. ‘It’s the coaches decision, but if you can’t defend then there’s no place for you in Premiership rugby.

‘Danny had a dreadful game in defence last week. And if you’re not prepared to put your body on the line for this club, who pay your wages and give you the chance to play at the highest level each week, then you won’t be in the squad, will you

‘You just have to watch Danny’s game at Toulon to understand why he’s not playing against Wasps.

Enraged: Brian Kennedy lashed out at several targets, including Cipriani

Enraged: Brian Kennedy lashed out at several targets, including Cipriani

‘Toulon are a great side full of great players, but no Premiership team should lose by 62-0 to any side, at any time. Some of the players have paid the price for it, and that includes Danny Cipriani.’

Kennedy’s anger is not exclusively aimed at his supposed playmaker. He argues that everything has been in place for the club to succeed and that his coaches and players have let him down.

It led to the demotion of former director of rugby Bryan Redpath to head coach, with chief executive Steve Diamond taking over playing affairs and to the arrival of Mitchell, but little has changed in terms of results.

‘It’s ironic, isn’t it,’ says Kennedy. ‘We have a new stadium, one of the best grounds in the Premiership, and we definitely have the best training facilities in English rugby at Carrington, on a par with Manchester City. I expected us to be pushing hard for a top-four position this season, especially with the signings we made in the close season.

‘So what’s gone wrong It’s not the ground. It’s not the training facilities. It’s not the support given to the club in terms of investing in players. Are we being delusional I don’t think so. So it is either down to the players, the coaches or a combination of them both.’

Paid the price: Kennedy was furious with Cipriani after the club's 62-0 defeat by Toulon

Paid the price: Kennedy was furious with Cipriani after the club's 62-0 defeat by Toulon

Kennedy refuses to contemplate relegation to the Championship just yet as the season reaches the halfway stage in the Aviva Premiership this weekend, but he does concede his team are in trouble and he wants a massive response today at Wasps.

‘I’m not allowing myself to plan for relegation because that would be a negative mindset that would only strengthen our chances of going down,’ he explains. ‘But I will admit our position is perilous and that’s not a word I use lightly. I expect the Sale Sharks to show some pride and dignity at Wasps, to show that they care and that they are angry and hurting. I know I am.

‘We should be a top club, but we’re rock bottom and unless we do something about it, starting at Wasps, we will stay there.’

Coach Mitchell, meanwhile, looks likely to be return to South Africa where his partner lives and where lucrative TV work beckons in February. His departure is earlier than initially thought when Sale snapped him up. Yet this appears to be the least of Kennedy’s worries.

‘I’m delighted if we have John for a day, or a week, or a month,’ he says. ‘Right now we need all the help we can get.’

Sunday's Wasps v Sale match is subject to a pitch inspection.

Nick Harris Mo Farah can push TV Superstars to a longer run

Farah and Co can push TV Superstars to a longer run

PUBLISHED:

22:35 GMT, 22 December 2012

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UPDATED:

23:02 GMT, 22 December 2012

The BBC hope their festive Olympic
Superstars show will lead to a longer-term revival of the hit programme
of the 1970s and 1980s – although one of the London 2012 athletes who
features in the Christmas special jokes that he will be hiding in
embarrassment when it is screened.

Superstars became a family favourite
as top sportsmen from Formula One's James Hunt to judo star Brian Jacks
took part and through famous moments such as Kevin Keegan crashing his
bike.

Paddle power: Mo Farah has fun in the kayak head-to-head with Peter Wilson

Paddle power: Mo Farah has fun in the kayak head-to-head with Peter Wilson

The Olympic special, to be screened next
Saturday evening, pits 16 heroes from London 2012 against each other –
from double gold-winning runner Mo Farah to boxing's Nicola Adams and
Anthony Joshua, triathlon's Brownlee brothers, rower Kath Grainger and
equestrian pin-up Laura Bechtolsheimer among others.

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Peter Wilson, who won shooting gold in
the double trap, said: 'Once it's screened, I'm never going to live down
how bad I was! I'll probably buy myself a one-way ticket to Timbuktu to
avoid the embarrassment.'

Wilson says that for 'must watch TV', fans should tune in for the kayak head-to-head between himself and Farah.

'The two worst kayakers against each other,' he said.

'I went out like a dingbat and ended up against the wall and Mo went the wrong way, about 18 times, then capsized.'

In other events, Wilson reveals, 'me and the javelin did not see eye to eye and the 800 metres was so tough it felt like my lungs were bleeding. My sport is all about standing still and I was up against these supreme athletes like the Brownlees, Robbie Grabarz and Anthony Joshua.'

The BBC paid the competitors undisclosed fees for taking part. 'But it wasn't about the money, it was great fun to do, even if it won't be for me to watch it,' said Wilson.

The show's main presenter, Gabby Logan, confirmed that the BBC want further shows.

'Hopefully, we're trying to do another one so we want contestants to tell their friends that they all had a great time and keep the calibre of the guests really high profile,' she said.

'This will stand the show in good stead to hopefully re-establish Superstars again. I think it would be great to mix Olympians up with other sportspeople – rugby, footballers and cricketers. That would be the nub of it.'

Selling: Carl Hester open to offers

Selling: Carl Hester open to offers

Hester still a seller

Olympic dressage gold medallist Carl Hester is still hopeful of selling wonder horse Valegro, despite dismissing reports that a Saudi prince wanted to buy the gelding for 20million as 'complete and utter fantasy'.

Hester joked that he 'spotted a few billionaires' watching as Charlotte Dujardin triumphed again on Valegro at Olympia last week.

He says he remains hopeful of 'developments in the New Year' and would be open to British investors securing the horse for Dujardin, who won two gold medals on him at London 2012, to ride towards Rio in four years' time.

Leeds fans urge new owners to reveal details of 17m takeover

Leeds United supporters have greeted the takeover of their club by the Dubaibased GFH Capital with cautious optimism but say they want more details about the new owners' finances, background and plans.

GFHC now own 100 per cent of Leeds in a takeover that sources say cost 17million up front to buy out chairman Ken Bates and other shareholders, and will cost a further 17m when Leeds win promotion. GFHC and Leeds have declined to confirm any financial details.

Bates was unpopular with some fans but will remain as chairman until the end of this season and then become president.

Neither GFHC nor Leeds have said whether he will be paid for those roles.

End of an era: Ken Bates

End of an era: Ken Bates

Dan Moylan, of the Square Ball fanzine, said: 'On the one hand I'm happy because, to all intents and purposes, it's the end of Ken Bates's tenure and the new owners are saying all the right things. On the other hand we now need the new owners to flesh out their plans with hard detail and tell us what the plan is in a year, two years, three years. They say they want Leeds to be sustainable. How will that happen'

The takeover does not include GFHC buying Leeds's Elland Road stadium or the Thorp Arch training ground, both of which are owned by unknown parties through an offshore firm in the Caribbean.

John Boocock, founder of the Leeds List group, the oldest online community of Leeds fans, which started in 1996, said: 'We want to know where the cash to buy the club came from, why the company that controls the club will not be registered in Britain where we can examine the accounts, but in the Cayman Islands, and what money precisely will be available in January.

'We weren't too impressed by the claim that the squad is good enough when we get players back from injury.'

Gary Cooper, head of the Leeds United Supporters Trust, said: 'The new owners did well in saying they want to work with the fans and the community and a lot of the supporter base will buy into that.

'We're led to believe we'll get the chance soon to meet the owners and we hope we will be able to get answers to all our outstanding questions.'

Asked for further details about the GFHC takeover, a Leeds spokesman told Inside Sport: 'The new owners answered all the questions they were asked at their press conference and won't be answering any more.'

London 2012 Olympics: Boxer Nicola Adams takes fame in her stride

Adams takes fame in her stride after historic gold medal at London Olympics

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UPDATED:

16:11 GMT, 20 August 2012

Olympic golden girl Nicola Adams returned to her home city of Leeds on Monday and insisted her new-found fame will not affect her determination to continue to dominate her sport in the years ahead.

Adams, who fought for years for funding and publicity as one of women's boxing's few standard bearers, has enjoyed every minute of a non-stop media whirl since making history in London less than two weeks ago.

Her seemingly endless list of media engagements since her victory have included appearances on the Alan Carr Show and Channel Four's 'Sunday Brunch' – as well as a swift visit to the mandatory golden postbox in her home city centre.

Helping hand: Nicola Adams with fellow Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell

Helping hand: Nicola Adams with fellow Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell

Adams said: 'I'm going to enjoy every moment but nothing is going to change me. I've been boxing since I was 12 years old and there isn't anything that can get in the way of that.

'I dragged myself out of bed with a broken back to get back in the gym so I could go to the Olympics, so I can definitely cope with fame. After being stuck in a bed in pain for four months, everything else is easy.'

No 1: Adams with her boxing gold medal from the London 2012 Olympics

No 1: Adams with her boxing gold medal from the London 2012 Olympics

Even as she reaps her deserved rewards from her gold medal triumph over China's Cancan Ren, Adams' thoughts are already turning back to her beloved sport and a return to the gym in Sheffield next month.

'I will get back to doing a little bit of training soon and go back to the camp in a month or so,' said Adams. 'I've had a lot of tough bouts this year so I deserve to have a little rest.

Fame and fortune: Adams (centre) was at Upton Park on Saturday as West Ham beat Aston Villa

Fame and fortune: Adams (centre) was at Upton Park on Saturday as West Ham beat Aston Villa

'I've got the European Championships next year when I'll be looking forward to defending my title, and I still don't have a gold medal from the World Championships. So I still feel like I've got something left to prove.'

For many who were witness to Adams' struggle to overcome a crippling back injury in 2009 before going on to make history as the first women's Olympic boxing champion, the acclaim she is now afforded seems only natural.

And while Adams says that while she finds the extent of the adulation surreal, she maintains she is intent on soaking up every moment as a reward for the battles she had to endure to order to realise her dream.

Bruising: Adams (right) on her way to winning a gold medal at the London Olympics

Bruising: Adams (right) on her way to winning a gold medal at the London Olympics

Adams added: 'I thought there was going to be a bit of excitement when I won but I didn't think I was going to touch the nation. It was such a shock to me in the days after I won.

'I guess the public could see that I'd just gone out there to enjoy every moment. You could hardly have made up my story, and just being at the Olympics was an achievement in itself. I tried to treat everything else as a bonus.

'I've already had people tell me I'm their hero and I've inspired them to box. It's great to think girls might take up the sport because of me. It's a great sport, and it's an honour that people are looking up to me that way.'

Capital One Cup round-up: Scunthorpe and Leyton Orient knock out Championship sides

Capital One Cup round-up: Scunthorpe and Leyton Orient knock out Championship sides

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UPDATED:

23:08 GMT, 14 August 2012

League One Scunthorpe staged a stupendous comeback to knock out Championship Derby 7-6 on penalties at Pride Park after a 5-5 draw in normal time.

Nigel Clough's Rams led 3-0 and 5-3 before the Iron forced an extra half hour by scoring twice in injury time through a Connor Jennings strike and Bobby Grant's last-gasp penalty.

Magic moment: Scunthorpe players run to rejoice after sealing a memorable win at Pride Park

Magic moment: Scunthorpe players run to rejoice after sealing a memorable win at Pride Park

Newly-promoted Charlton were another Championship side to fall as they went down 4-3 on penalties to League One Leyton Orient at The Valley.

Scott Wagstaff gave Charlton a 28th minute lead but Mathieu Baudry equalised in first-half injury time and the visitors held their nerve to win 4-3 in the shootout with Ryan Brunt firing home the decisive kick.

Crashed out: Charlton look dejected

Crashed out: Charlton look dejected

And Millwall also missed out on penalties to League One Crawley Town at the New Den.

Hope Akpan and Nicky Adams twice put the visitors ahead only for the Lions to haul their way back through Darren Ward and Shaun Batt respectively.

But the visitors eased through the eventual shootout 4-1 with Crawley keeper Paul Jones the hero as he saved from Darius Henderson and Jack Smith.

Abdulai Bell-Baggie scored in the last minute of extra-time to give Tranmere a 2-1 win at Chesterfield, while League Two Oxford pulled off a minor upset with a 5-3 penalty win over Bournemouth after a goalless draw.

London 2012 Olympics: Nadzeya Ostapchuk stripped of gold medal for failed drugs test

Olympic champion Ostapchuk stripped of shot put gold after failing drugs test

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UPDATED:

10:47 GMT, 13 August 2012

Belarusian shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk has been stripped of her Olympic gold medal after failing a doping test for the anabolic agent metenolone.

The Belarus athlete tested positive for anabolic agent metenolone during in-competition testing on August 5 and 6 and has been disqualified from the final results.

The gold medal is instead awarded to Valerie Adams of New Zealand, with Russia's Evgeniia Kolodko now taking silver and Lijiao Gong of China elevated to bronze.

More to follow…

Not so fast: Shot put winner Nadzeya Ostapchuk has failed a drugs test

Not so fast: Shot put winner Nadzeya Ostapchuk has failed a drugs test

Laura Williamson: Goodbye and good riddance to Plucky Britannia

Goodbye and good riddance to Plucky Britannia

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 12 August 2012

After you woke up on Monday suffering a severe bout of post-Olympic blues, wondering how on earth you will cope without watching handball highlights or applauding a horse dancing to The Lion King, spare a thought for a species on the verge of extinction.

In an Olympic Games that has seemed to have just about everything, something has been missing: the Plucky Brit.

Have you seen one lately No, me neither – not since Wimbledon finished, anyway.

Plucky The likes of Nicola Adams (left) showed that Brits are better than admirable losers

Plucky The likes of Nicola Adams (left) showed that Brits are better than admirable losers

British sport, all of a sudden, is not
about getting kitted out and having a go, it's about winning – or at
least performing to your best and coming close.

When asked what prompted nine British rowing medals at London 2012 – including the first three golds for our women – Katherine Grainger's answer was simple.

'We saw that British sport could win,' she said. 'We looked at it and thought, “We want some of that”.'

This team, particularly those who have competed in rowing and cycling, are now underpinned by a belief that says making a final isn't good enough.

It's just the next step in trying to reach your potential; an opportunity to strive for the very best you can be. If that results in a personal best then you've done your job; if you win a medal, even better.

'It was about creating a cultural shift where we said coming 10th in the medals table isn't good enough,' Baroness Sue Campbell, chair – woman of UK Sport, told me earlier this year.

'And everybody said, “Really” and I said, “Absolutely. We're going to pitch for fourth”. Oh my Lord.' Oh Lord indeed.

Potential: Lawrence Okoye finished last in the discus final

Potential: Lawrence Okoye finished last in the discus final

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Forget fourth. Great Britain, a country of 60 million people, have finished third in the medals table. Third!

It's 1920 all over again. We're not necessarily comfortable with all this unqualified glory. I'm not sure we can quite believe it, actually. We laugh or retreat to self deprecation because it's not a very British thing to bask in the sheer magnitude of it all.

But this isn't a red, white and blue version of Canada's horrendous 'Own the Podium' campaign at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

This is British sport getting savvy. The taking part still counts, of course it does, but it's now the manner in which you take part, not just putting your name on the start list.

I've been accused in some quarters of being a witch after I suggested Great Britain's field events, particularly the throwers, weren't good enough at this Olympic Games.

We had representatives in only three of the eight throwing finals in the Olympic Stadium and came last in all of them.

The three finalists – Alex Smith and Sophie Hitchon in the hammer and Lawrence Okoye in the discus – have an average age of 22.

They all have outstanding potential but none of them threw to the very best of their ability on the greatest stage of all: an Olympic final on home soil. Set against the exacting standards of this British team, that can only be viewed as a disappointment.

Of course that's a harsh judgment on three very promising athletes, but that's the nature of sport in this country now.

We're no longer there to make up the numbers, pat each other on the back and say, 'Well done'.

The Plucky Brit belongs to another era of have-a-go heroes, before British sport became a profession as opposed to a pastime. May he rest in peace.

They said what!

Gre at Britain's Lisa Dobriskey reacts after seeing Cakir Alptekin, who has served a two-year drugs ban, win gold in the 1500 metres. 'I'll probably get into trouble for saying this but I don't believe I'm competing on a level playing field,' she said. Some accused Dobriskey, who came 10th, of sour grapes, but she was asked a straight question and gave a straight answer. Good for her.

Straight talking: Lisa Dobriskey gave an admirable answer after finishing 10th in the 1,500m

Straight talking: Lisa Dobriskey gave an admirable answer after finishing 10th in the 1,500m

…And this is what I've been doing this week

Take a deep breath: covering boxing, showjumping, athletics, more athletics, BMX, hockey, more BMX, football and modern pentathlon. I'm exhausted but I've loved every second.

Thinking they really should make the Olympic BMX final a best-of-three race. It's too much of a lottery to do only one run. I felt the over-riding element of luck spoilt the credibility of what was a thrilling spectator sport at London 2012. Six hours of BMX wasn't enough, either. More next time in Rio, please!

Screaming myself hoarse in Hyde Park on Saturday cheering for Mo Farah in the 5,000m.

It was a special occasion to share with my family and thousands of other Britons watching on the big screen.

As Steve Cram said in his commentary, we're very lucky to have him.

Performance of the week

Nicola Adams's gold medal in the women's boxing. She made history as the first female to win in an event making its debut in London.

I hope she enjoyed her celebratory Nando's as much as we enjoyed watching her become an Olympic champion.

London 2012 Olympics: Luke Campbell reaches bantamweight final

Campbell faces Nevin battle for gold after easing past Shimizu in semis

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UPDATED:

13:57 GMT, 10 August 2012

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Luke Campbell will look to follow Nicola Adams' lead and book a second Olympic boxing gold medal for Great Britain on Saturday after easing through his bantamweight semi-final against Japan's Satoshi Shimizu 20-11.

The 24-year-old Hull man has improved with every fight in the competition and he eased away from his awkward opponent to set up a bout with old foe John Joe Nevin of Ireland for the gold medal on Saturday.

One win away: Luke Campbell (left) will fight for the gold medal after beating Satoshi Shimizu

One win away: Luke Campbell (left) will fight for the gold medal after beating Satoshi Shimizu

Shimizu could count himself a little fortunate to reach the semi-finals at all, having been adjudged the loser in a farcical second round clash with Azerbaijan's Magomed Abdulhamidov which was subsequently overturned on appeal.

The 26-year-old had made the most of his second chance, reaching the medal rounds with a close win over Algeria's Mohamed Ouadahi, but world silver medallist Campbell was strongly favoured to progress.

On the attack: Luke Campbell gets the better of his Japanese opponent

On the attack: Luke Campbell gets the better of his Japanese opponent

Campbell, who had started sluggishly in his opening win over Jahyn Parrinello, dispatched a straight left in the opening moments but it was immediately clear the gangly Shimizu was not going to prove a pushover.

Few other bantamweights tower over Campbell, and Shimizu used his extra reach to good effect behind a ramrod jab, making it hard for the Hull man to employ his usual counter-punching style to such winning effect.

defence: Luke Campbell tries to block the punches from Satoshi Shimizu

defence: Luke Campbell tries to block the punches from Satoshi Shimizu

A jolting left did hit home in the dying seconds of the opening round, giving the Hull man a solid 5-2 advantage, and Campbell was much improved in the second, finding his range to much better effect as he soared into an 11-6 lead.

And Campbell looked even more dominant in the last, landing shots from either hand with ease as Shimizu seemed to accept his fate, Campbell finishing in style with right hooks that jolted the Japanese fighter's head back.