Tag Archives: british

Luke Campbell signs for Eddie Hearn Matchroom

First Hull, then the world! Campbell sets sights on titles after turning professional

, beating Ireland's John Joe Nevin in the final to win the gold medal.

He was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List and will make his debut in his home city of Hull in July, possibly at the KC Stadium.

Sign on the dotted line: Luke Campbell has tuned professional with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom

Sign on the dotted line: Luke Campbell has tuned professional with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom

Sign on the dotted line: Luke Campbell has tuned professional with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom

'I've been an amateur boxer for 13 years and won medals at every elite tournament,' Campbell said.

'I've had time out after the Olympics to rest my body and mind and the passion burns inside me for this new journey.

'I've got the best team around me and I'm confident we an go all the way together.'

Campbell, who will fight at super featherweight or lightweight, is excited to be making his debut in his home city.

'I've never stopped training; I had five weeks off after the Games then I was back in the gym ticking over. It's a sport i thrive to be the best at; champions never rest.

'I'm training in different gyms. I'm still learning; I might be Olympic champion but I've got lots to learn.

Hidden talents: Campbell starred on Dancing on Ice following his Olympic success

Hidden talents: Campbell starred on Dancing on Ice following his Olympic success

Hidden talents: Campbell starred on Dancing on Ice following his Olympic success

'There is going to be a massive show in the first or second week of July and it is going to be an outdoor stadium event.

'This is going to be huge. I'm doing it for the people of Hull, and hope I can make them proud again.

'I love to entertain the fans and put
on a good show. I think the fans will bring an electric atmosphere and
it will be a night to remember.

'I am the most successful amateur
boxer in British history and now it is time to turn the page and move
into the pro game. The aim is to be world champion'.

Promoter Hearn, who revealed Kell Brook could make his return on the Hull show, was delighted to have secured Campbell's signature.

'We've finally got a real chance to have a crossover star in Luke Campbel,' he said.

'He's impressed me not just with his ability but also his determination and popularity in Hull.'

Main man: Campbell (right) in the final at the London Olympics and with his gold medal (below)

Main man: Campbell (right) in the final at the London Olympics and with his gold medal (below)

Golden boy: Luke Campbell celebrates his Olympic success last year

British Amateur Boxing Association
performance director Rob McCracken said: 'Luke has been a great servant
to the World Class Performance Programme for a number of years and an
excellent role-model to other members of the squad in both his
medal-winning performances and the way he conducts himself inside and
outside of the gym.

'It is a disappointment for us that
Luke has decided his future lies away from the GB Boxing squad but he
departs with our best regards and we wish him every success in his
future career.

'As we enter the Rio cycle, the majority of the boxers that competed in London remain part of our squad and we have some excellent talents coming through so the programme has a strong nucleus to work with and a good opportunity to add to the success we have enjoyed in recent years.'

Campbell, who joined the GB Boxing squad in 2007, will join Anthony Ogogo and Tom Stalker from Britain's 2012 squad in the paid ranks.

England will begin their summer tour of South America with a tough test in Uruguay

Lancaster's England to begin summer tour of South America in Uruguay

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

14:15 GMT, 22 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:35 GMT, 22 April 2013

England have confirmed that their summer tour to South America will begin in Montevideo, Uruguay, on June 2.

The RBS 6 Nations runners-up will meet a CONSUR XV representing the South American nations, before playing two Tests against Argentina.

The first Test will be staged in Salta – the setting for the Pumas’ 24-22 victory in 2009 – on June 8 and at Velez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires on June 15.

Pumas test: Stuart Lancaster will be desperate to erase England's Grand Slam heartache in Argentina

Pumas test: Stuart Lancaster will be desperate to erase England's Grand Slam heartache in Argentina

Lions hopefuls: Tom Croft, David Wilson and Courtney Lawes could be in South America if they are snubbed by the British Lions

Lions hopefuls: Tom Croft, David Wilson and Courtney Lawes could be in South America if they are snubbed by the British Lions

It will be the first two-match series between the teams in Argentina since the 1997 tour with England coach Stuart Lancaster set to name his squad in early May.

'Argentina is a formidable rugby nation and we’re looking forward to facing the Pumas in back-to-back Tests, which a young and developing side will need to be at its very best to win,' Lancaster said.

'Together with matches against the
Barbarians at Twickenham and the CONSUR team in Uruguay, the summer
programme gives this group a real opportunity to measure their progress
and continue to learn what they need to succeed at the highest level.'

On the way out: England will not have to face the likes of Felipe Contepomi (pictured centre) this summer after the fly-half announced plans to retire

On the way out: England will not have to face the likes of Felipe Contepomi (pictured centre) this summer after the fly-half announced plans to retire

England tour dates:

May 29 – Arrive
in Buenos Aires

June 2 – CONSUR XV v England XV (Montevideo, 7.30pm BST)

June 8 Argentina v England (Salta, 8.10pm BST)

June 15 Argentina v England (Velez Sarsfield, Buenos
Aires, 8.10pm BST)

Fabrice Muamba cardiac arrest used in British Heart Foundation advert

Muamba's cardiac arrest to be shown in new British Heart Foundation TV advert

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Cardiac arrest: Muamba is treated on the pitch at White Hart Lane in March 2012

Cardiac arrest: Muamba is treated on the pitch at White Hart Lane in March 2012

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The 39-second ad is to be shown on ITV and Channel 4 from Saturday, and Sky Sports during the Tottenham and Manchester City match on Sunday.

Medics had to give Muamba 15 shocks to get his heart pumping again when he collapsed during an FA Cup clash with Tottenham last March.

The advert shows players – including Spurs' William Gallas and Benoit Assou-Ekotto – looking distressed as Muamba lies motionless on the pitch.

Speaking over the emotional scenes, BHF Research Professor Mark Kearney tells viewers: 'I hate my job. I hate the misery heart disease brings.

Tributes: Football fans around the world joined forces to wish Muamba well

Tributes: Football fans around the world joined forces to wish Muamba well

Tributes: Football fans around the world joined forces to wish Muamba well

'It lurks among the places you least expect – it takes the young and the fit and it does not discriminate. But we are fighting back.'

Bolton's club doctor Dr Jonathan Tobin revealed Muamba was 'effectively dead' for 78 minutes when he suffered the cardiac arrest.

He was taken to the London Chest Hospital, in Bethnal Green, East London, and spent a month in intensive care.

Muamba later announced his retirement from football on medical grounds, and thanked the doctors that saved him, adding: 'I thank God that I am alive.'

Emotional return: Muamba thanks fans at the Reebok Stadium in May 2012

Emotional return: Muamba thanks fans at the Reebok Stadium in May 2012

The match was abandoned at 1-1.

BHF Medical Director Professor Peter Weissberg today said: 'We are grateful to Fabrice for allowing us to share his story in a hard-hitting campaign that highlights the potential devastation of heart disease.

'With the support of researchers and heart patients like Fabrice, the Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign centres on the transformational research that will combat heart disease.'

Leo Fernandes, a painter and decorator who had a heart attack at 46 and also features in the ad, said: 'The truth is heart disease affects everyone.'

Muamba – a dad of one – joined the Arsenal academy in 2002 before moving to Birmingham, then Bolton in 2008.

Keeping busy: Muamba is unveiled as the honourary starter of the BUPA Great Manchester Run this week

Keeping busy: Muamba is unveiled as the honourary starter of the BUPA Great Manchester Run this week

This is not the first time the BHF have used a professional footballer in their adverts in a bid to widen their appeal.

Footballer-turned actor Vinnie Jones famously demonstrated how to do life-saving CPR to the Bee Gees' tune Stayin' Alive.

The BHF today released new research about heart disease to coincide with the launch of the latest advert.

Their figures show people living in poor areas of Britain are 2.87 times more likely to suffer heart disease than those from wealthier areas.

Experts say this is likely to be because people living in these areas are more likely to smoke.

Fernando Alonso wins Chinese Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen finishes second and Lewis Hamilton third

Alonso wins Chinese GP: Flying Fernando claims Ferrari victory as Hamilton finishes third in Shanghai

PUBLISHED:

08:41 GMT, 14 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:41 GMT, 14 April 2013

Fernando Alonso stormed home to win the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday as British star Lewis Hamilton finished in third place.

The Spaniard started on the second row but soon passed pole-sitter Hamilton on his way to earning 25 World Championship points in Shanghai.

Mercedes' Hamilton fought bravely with Kimi Raikkonen for second place before eventually succumbing to the Lotus driver.

World champion Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, finished fourth but his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber was forced to retire midway through the race.

More to follow

On top: Fernando Alonso earned his first victory of the season as he came home to win the Chinese Grand Prix

On top: Fernando Alonso earned his first victory of the season as he came home to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Podium: Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, was made to settle for third in his Mercedes

Podium: Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, was made to settle for third in his Mercedes

All action: Hamilton led into the first corner but was soon reeled in and passed by both Ferraris

All action: Hamilton led into the first corner but was soon reeled in and passed by both Ferraris

Wayward wheel: Red Bull's Mark Webber was forced to retire after losing a rear tyre

Wayward wheel: Red Bull's Mark Webber was forced to retire after losing a rear tyre

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Heather Watson diagnosed with glandular fever after Miami Open

Concern for weary Watson as British star is diagnosed with glandular fever

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

16:04 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:51 GMT, 3 April 2013

Heather Watson has been diagnosed with glandular fever.

Blood tests after the Sony Open in Miami revealed traces of the virus and Watson, who is set to be overtaken by Laura Robson as British No 1 next week, has been told to rest and recover.

Watson, 20, is at the tail end of the illness and is not expected to miss any of the summer tournaments.

Virus: Blood tests after the Miami Open last week showed British No.1 Heather Watson had Glandular Fever

Virus: Blood tests after the Miami Open last week showed British No.1 Heather Watson had Glandular Fever

Speaking to the LTA, Watson said: 'I had to do some blood tests after Miami and the results have shown that I have traces of glandular fever (mono) in my system.

'There is no prescription for this other than complete rest but the good news is that the doctors have told me I am at the tail end of the fever.

'This means I have been trying to compete through the symptoms for some time.'

She continued: 'I have been struggling with both training and playing matches and felt so tired and exhausted for months but now that the doctors have found the cause of this, it explains everything that has been happening to me physically and mentally.

Slowed: Watson admitted to feeling 'burnt out' following her first round exit to Ayumi Morita in Miami

Slowed: Watson admitted to feeling 'burnt out' following her first round exit to Ayumi Morita in Miami

'I am actually relieved to know what is wrong so that I can get myself on the mend.

'I hope to recover as soon as possible by resting my body and getting lots of sleep. I already feel better from being at home for a week, and am looking forward to getting back on Tour soon.'

Watson crashed out to Alumina Morita in the first round in the Sony Open in Miami and admitted she was feeling 'burnt out.' She said she would take a break from tennis to recover, but changed her mind the following day.

Recovery: Watson, who will be replaced as British No.1 by Laura Robson next week, has been told to rest

Recovery: Watson, who will be replaced as British No.1 by Laura Robson next week, has been told to rest

Iain Bates, the LTA's head of women's tennis, said: 'First of all, get well soon, Heather, from the whole team.

'We all know she'll bounce back better than ever. Heather's focus will be on her recovery, and we will do whatever we can to support Heather and help that process.'

Boat race sponsors Newton turn tide for women rowers Laura Williamson column

Boat race sponsors turn tide for women rowers at long last with equal funding and prestige

-Olympic-legacy.html”>150m investment in primary school sport is arriving too late to inspire a generation
17/03/13

Laura Williamson: Fergie's harmless joke highlights a more serious matter for women within British sport
10/03/13

Laura Williamson: Don Valley stadium fiasco is a kick in the teeth for the next Jess
03/03/13

Laura Williamson: Sickening response of UEFA to plight of travelling Spurs fans
24/02/13

Laura Williamson: It might all be finished for Pistorius but the Paralympic movement will survive
17/02/13

Laura Williamson: Mansfield girl made her truly amazing feats seem 'everyday'
10/02/13

Laura Williamson: Jamieson puts pool before the perks and makes no excuses
27/01/13

Laura Williamson: Netballers court fans – on the other side of the planet
20/01/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

As the BBC and now BT Sport seem to have noted, you get a lot more action and access for your money when it comes to buying the television, sponsorship and commercial rights for women’s disciplines.

The Boat Race, an event that exudes privilege, pomp and circumstance like no other, might seem an unlikely cause to champion a step forward for sportswomen, but it is the tradition and rigmarole that makes this a particularly important development.

When Katherine Grainger returned from the Sydney Olympics in 2000 after winning Great Britain’s first medal in women’s rowing, a silver in the quad, she said someone came up to her and said: ‘We didn’t even know women rowed.’

You can understand why few — men or women — would want to, given the demands of a sport that has little time for finesse or creativity and commands absolute teamwork to succeed at the highest level.

Anna Watkins (left), with whom Grainger won gold so memorably in London in the double sculls, has said a family member tried to put her off rowing in case ‘she got big arms’. It’s all in the legs, of course, but sweeping generalisations have no time for small technicalities like that.

Watkins ploughed on regardless and, 12 years after Grainger came back from Australia with that silver medal, Britain’s women won their first Olympic gold medals since the sport was added to the programme in 1976 — three of them, in fact.

If the wheels of Oxford and Cambridge can creak slowly into action with regard to a sport as brutal and punishing as rowing, it feels like anything could happen.

WHAT THEY SAID

British athlete Lisa Dobriskey said she did not believe she was ‘competing on a level playing field’ in the Olympic 1500metres final in London and was roundly accused of sour grapes.

The gold medal-winner, Turkey’s Cakir Alptekin, is now facing a lifetime ban after ‘big abnormalities’ were found in her biological passport. Some might just owe Dobriskey an apology.

Accused: Lisa Dobriskey's opponent is facing a lifetime ban for 'big abnormalities' in her biological passport

Accused: Lisa Dobriskey's opponent is facing a lifetime ban for 'big abnormalities' in her biological passport

WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING THIS WEEK

Watched Wrexham win the FA Trophy with a 4-1 penalty shootout win over Grimsby.

On Saturday, Grimsby fans congregated in Trafalgar Square for a photo. ‘Which team is this’ said a steward. ‘So are they in the Champions League, then’ I wish.

Glory: Ecstatic Wrexham player-manager Andy Morrell celebrates with the FA Trophy

Glory: Ecstatic Wrexham player-manager Andy Morrell celebrates with the FA Trophy

Got exasperated at the persistent use of the phrase ‘pre-planned’ to describe Rio Ferdinand’s fitness programme. It is either planned or it is not, just like the defender’s ill-advised little jaunt to Doha.

Attended my first Women in Football meeting at Stamford Bridge on Friday after being, I admit, very dubious about the whole idea. I just want to be ‘in football’ rather than a ‘WiF’. I can’t tell you anything else owing to Chatham House rules, but it was certainly very, very interesting.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK

Arsenal Ladies beat ASD Torres 3-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Boreham Wood.

Glad to see there’s still one English team fighting for the cause in Europe — and the women’s final is at Stamford Bridge this year, too. The second leg takes place in Sardinia on Wednesday.

Xavi ruled out of

Beaten Barca will be without El Clasico veteran Xavi for Bernabeau clash, as Madrid look for second win in five days

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

13:36 GMT, 1 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:38 GMT, 1 March 2013

Barcelona's fears of a second El Clasico
defeat in five days were made worse today after discovering influential
midfielder Xavi has been ruled out of tomorrow's match with a hamstring
injury.

The Spaniard, who has played in 37 Clasico's, the highest of all current players, risked his niggling injury by appearing in Tuesday's 3-1 Copa Del Rey semi-final defeat to Real at the Nou Camp.

Caught out: Xavi risked the hamstring injury by playing in Tuesday's El Classico, and now finds himself on the sidelines for the La Liga clash

Caught out: Xavi risked the hamstring injury by playing in Tuesday's El Classico, and now finds himself on the sidelines for the La Liga clash

Influence: Xavi has played 36 times this season, scoring six goals

Influence: Xavi has played 36 times this season, scoring six goals

The 33-year-old first discovered a small tear after leaving the pitch against Valencia on February 2, but was rested before playing with no apparent trouble in San Siro for the Champions League last-16 first leg against AC Milan last week.

But Xavi suffered another small tear in a training session on Sunday, and despite playing on Tuesday has been officially ruled out of the clash at the Bernabau.

He will now have a week to recover before Barcelona's next match with Deportivo in eight days, and will hope to be involved when the four-time champions of Europe look to overcome a 2-0 last-16 first leg deficit against Milan.

Barcelona hold a staggering 16-point gap over Madrid in third place, while Atletico Madrid trail the Catalan giants by 12 points.

The game will be played at 3pm on Saturday, meaning British television stations will not be able to televise the game due to Saturday football blackout rules.

Amir Khan will fight in Britain for first time in two years against Julio Diaz

Khan will fight on British soil for first time in two years when he takes on Diaz

Olympic bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo and Khan's brother Haroon making their professional debuts on the undercard.

Rio Olympics 2016: British athletes followed by Sportsmail

We're on the road to Rio! Meet the seven young British athletes who Sportsmail will follow all the way to the Olympics in 2016

, these seven athletes are aiming to follow in their footsteps.

Sportsmail seven for Rio

1 HARRY BROWN

Sport: Wheelchair basketball

Age: 18

Where are you from

I was born in Halifax in Yorkshire and brought up there as well. I’ve lived there my whole life with my two brothers and the rest of my family.

Tell us about your sport…

I lost my legs to meningitis when I was two years old. When I was eight, my mum got a job in Asda and one of the people at the store played in the local wheelchair basketball team. He started talking about basketball and that’s how it began. I play for the Sheffield Steelers and am part of the Team GB squad.

Who was your hero growing up

In my family my grandad has helped me hugely. He always helps drive me to training and he enjoys watching me play.

Wheels of steel: Basketball player Harry Brown stars for the Sheffield Steelers and Team GB

Wheels of steel: Basketball player Harry Brown stars for the Sheffield Steelers and Team GB

What were you doing during London 2012

I wasn’t playing but me, my mum, my two brothers and my grandad all went down to watch the Paralympics.

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio 2016

I’d definitely like a medal, but I don’t know how high we can go. Realistically I think we could get into the gold medal game.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

When I was little me and my older brother used to collect Buddha statues and it became a tradition to bring back a family Buddha if you’d been away. The biggest one is about twice the size of a basketball — he’s just outside my bedroom.

VIDEO Harry Brown on his Road to Rio 2016

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2 SALLY BROWN

Sport: Paralympic athletics

Age: 17

Where are you from

I live in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, with my mum, dad and little sister. It’s a tiny village in the middle of nowhere.

Tell us about your sport…

I’m a sprinter and I run the 100 metres and 200m in the T46 classification. When I was born, my left arm wasn’t fully developed and has stayed that way. This year I’ve moved up to 400m as well. The ultimate dream for me would be to compete across both the Olympics and the Paralympics.

Sally Brown

Sally Brown

Flying the flag: Spritner Sally Brown has targeted a medal in Rio in three years' time

Who was your hero growing up

When I was younger I ran cross- country so I looked up to Paula Radcliffe. Recently Jess Ennis has become another hero of mine.

What were you doing during London 2012

I competed in the 100m and 200m. I didn’t run as well as I’d hoped to. I was injured and only started running in April. The experience was amazing but really scary.

Previous: Brown competed at the London Olympics in the 100m and 200m

Previous: Brown competed at the London Olympics in the 100m and 200m

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio

I’d definitely like to win a medal. I’ll be 21 and nearing my peak. My aim is to go there and be in the top three for at least one of my events.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I’m dating Jonnie Peacock (T44 Paralympic gold medallist in the 100 metres). It became official after the Paralympics but we were really good friends before that.

VIDEO Sally Brown on her Road to Rio 2016

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3 CHRIS MEARS

Sport: Diving

Age: 20

Where are you from

I’m from Reading, born and bred. I live with my parents but spend most of my week in Southampton, where I train.

Tell us about your sport…

I’m a diver, specialising in the 3m springboard individual and synchro events. When I was seven my parents were fed up with me trying to do somersaults on the sofa, so they took me to the local pool to take my anger out.

Head over heels: Chris Mears hopes to replicate Tom Daley's achievements on the diving board

Head over heels: Chris Mears hopes to replicate Tom Daley's achievements on the diving board

Head over heels: Chris Mears hopes to replicate Tom Daley's achievements on the diving board

Who was your hero growing up

When I was nine I started training in Southampton and looked up to Pete Waterfield. He’s been an inspiration, getting to be one of the best in the world. It’s great now as he’s my training partner. He’s a good friend — and an old man!

What were you doing during London 2012

I was diving and reached the final. It was the best experience of my life. On my last dive, the board was shaking because the crowd was so loud. I could feel the vibrations and was so scared but I pulled off the best dive of my life. I almost died on an operating table a few years ago from a ruptured spleen so it’s incredible what happened.

In the medals: Mears (right) enjoyed a successful start to the year at the British Gas Diving Championships

In the medals: Mears (right) enjoyed a successful start to the year at the British Gas Diving Championships

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio 2016

It depends on so much but I would really like a medal. I will train hard and hopefully it will be possible.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I recently posed naked for Gay Times magazine. I’m used to being almost naked the rest of the time so it was no big deal. I’ve had lots of good feedback.

VIDEO Chris Mears on his Road to Rio 2016

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4 ADAM GEMILI

Sport: Athletics

Age: 19

Where are you from

I was born in London but moved to Kent aged two when my sister was born. I’ve been in the same house for 17 years. There are four of us there — me, my mum, dad and sister.

Tell us about your sport…

I run the 100m and 200m and the sprint relay. After being a footballer, I started training full time last January and got quicker as the year went on. At the World Junior Championships in Barcelona I won the gold medal in the 100m.

Adam Gemili

Adam Gemili

Sprint king: Adam Gemili shot to prominence last year and earned a place at the London Olympics

Who was your hero growing up

Michael Owen was the biggest. He was a great player but it was the way he looked after his family. I really respected him.

What were you doing during London 2012

I was competing for Team GB in the 100m and the relay. I reached the London 2012 100m semi-final and missed out on the final by 0.04 seconds. It was the best experience of my life. I competed in a lane next to eventual silver medallist Yohan Blake and I was in a race with Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.

Brit special: Gemili is poised to be the next sprint sensation from these shores

Brit special: Gemili is poised to be the next sprint sensation from these shores

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio 2016

I want to be up there alongside the world’s best sprinters, running around 9.7sec regularly. If I’m still progressing the way I am, hopefully I’ll win gold.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I do yoga to help with my flexibility. I started doing it just before the summer and do it twice a week. It helps a lot with peace of mind.

VIDEO Adam Gemili on his Road to Rio 2016

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5 KATARINA JOHNSON-THOMPSON

Sport: Athletics

Age: 20

Where are you from

I spent the first year of my life in the Bahamas because my dad, Ricardo, is Bahamian. My mum, Tracey, is from Liverpool — she was a showgirl and used to dance all around the world — and we moved back when I was one to live with my nan, who ran a pub in the city.

Tell us about your sport…

Mum wanted me to dance so she pushed me — like, literally, when I was in a nappy — into lessons. I was a tomboy though, so I hated it. I then went through a number of different things — football, but they wanted me to be in goal, then keyboard, then ice skating. I didn’t really get into athletics until the summer of 2005 but I loved it. Now I do the heptathlon.

Dressed to impress: Katarina Johnson-Thompson made a promising start to her Olympic career in London

One to watch: Katarina Johnson-Thompson has made an encouraging start to her athletics career

What were you doing during London 2012

I came 15th — I certainly didn’t expect that. I told my nan I would probably come last because I was just happy to be there. I see it as a bonus because in September 2011 I was still having injections in my left knee, my take-off leg for high jump and long jump. They wouldn’t let me jog until November, so my training was really compromised and, at the start of 2012, all of my personal bests added up didn’t meet the Olympic qualifying standard.

Who was your hero growing up

Carolina Kluft. She was the queen of the heptathlon for so long. Also Usain Bolt, because 2008 was the first Olympics I watched.

Best of British: Johnson-Thompson (left) celebrates with Olympic champion Jessica Ennis

What are your dreams and hopes for Rio 2016

It’s always been about Rio for me, but I’m still only going to be 23 in 2016 which, for a heptathlete, is really young. At the 2020 Olympics I’ll be the same age as Jess was when she won in London.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

Everyone always used to think Daley Thompson was my dad. In the European juniors I finished the competition and this girl came up to me and said: ‘My father competed with your father in the Olympics.’ No he didn’t!

VIDEO Katarina Johnson-Thompson on her Road to Rio 2016

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6 REBECCA JAMES
Sport: Cycling

Age: 21

Where are you from

I’m from Abergavenny but have lived in Altrincham since July 2010. My mum and my dad are in Wales with my five brothers and sisters.

Tell us about your sport…

I’m a sprint cyclist. I do the team sprint, the 500m time trial, the individual sprint and the keirin. I started off in year six, then joined the Welsh talent programme at 13. After finishing my A-levels I trained with Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton. The Commonwealth Games in Delhi is my highlight so far, coming up against Anna Meares.

Sprint queen: Rebecca James

Sprint queen: Rebecca James

Who was your hero growing up

I began by following Nicole Cooke and really looked up to her. Then when I got on to the track it was all about Chris Hoy. He is so great to train with and an inspiration.

What were you doing during London 2012

An achilles injury and then appendicitis meant I missed lots of training so didn’t make London 2012. I did go down one day for when Chris won the keirin and I’m glad I did so I could sample the atmosphere.

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio 2016

I want to be stood on top of the podium. I want that feeling having seen everyone else up there. I want to help Jess Varnish get over her heartbreak of missing out on a medal in London too and our form is looking good.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I love to bake. Every Thursday I bring lots of cake to the velodrome. I’m addicted to The Great British Bake Off. My trademark dish is caramel slices.

VIDEO Rebecca James on her Road to Rio 2016

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7 MAX WHITLOCK

Sport: Gymnastics

Age: 20

Where are you from

I was born in Hemel Hempstead and I still live there now but I train in Basildon in Essex. I live with my parents and I’ve got an older brother Ben who is a landscape gardener.

Brit special: Max Whitlock

Brit special: Max Whitlock

Tell us about your sport…

I’m a gymnast. I started doing it aged seven. When I was nine I was put into a squad and it’s moved on from there. I do all six disciplines but the pommel horse is my best and favourite.

What were you doing during London 2012

I was competing and I won two bronze medals — in the team event and pommel horse. I wasn’t expecting to win anything but to be part of the first British team to win a gymnastics medal in 100 years was amazing. I haven’t really done anything special yet with my medals — they are just on the sofa at home!

Who was your hero growing up

I really didn’t have one. I didn’t even have posters on my walls, nothing. I know that is unusual.

What are your dreams and hope for Rio 2016

Getting there will be tough. There were 15 of us going for five places in London and it will be more now. Assuming I do, I want to get medals in the pommel and all-round.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I swam a lot when I was young and had to pick between that and gymanstics when I was nine.

VIDEO Max Whitlock on his Road to Rio 2016

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Louis Smith and Pat Rice receive MBEs

Medals of honour: Team GB heroes Smith, Baker and Hosking and Arsenal legend Pat Rice given gongs by the Queen

team were today honoured at Buckingham Palace by the Queen.

Gymnast Louis Smith, who scooped silver on the pommel horse and bronze in the men's team competition, described being awarded the MBE as 'the proudest moment of his life', but risked being turned away when he showed up having forgot his invitation.

He tweeted: 'Hahaha not the greatest start. @gabstone9 forgot our invites to Buckingham palace. Not quite as easy getting in as a school disco #oops

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Sophie Hosking

Pat Rice

Rowing and football: Sophie Hosking and Pat Rice's respective contributions were also honoured

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

'Today is the day I become Louis Smith M.B.E ooooooo exciting times'

Natasha Baker, who was also honoured
for winning two gold medals in dressage at the Paralympics said the
occasion was 'absolutely incredible', but had earlier tweeted in a panic
over her fear of missing the ceremony.

Baker had been stuck in traffic on the M4 but eventually made it to Buckingham Palace on time. 'Stuck in traffic on M4 on my way to collect my #MBE . Any police around to give me an escort!' she tweeted.

Louis Smith

Britain's Natasha Baker

Olympians: Louis Smith and Natasha Baker were among Team GB's most impressive performers at the Games

'Tempted to get Jordan (scooter) out and drive to Buck Pal! Think she would be faster than this traffic! Don't think I'm going to get there!'

Sophie Hosking, winner of gold in lightweight women's double sculls, was presented with an MBE at the investiture ceremony.

Pat Rice

Rob McCracken

In their element: Pat Rice (centre) with the FA Cup won at Arsenal at his peak and boxing guru Rob McCracken

British Amateur Boxing Association performance director Rob McCracken, who overlooked a haul of five boxing medals at London 2012, also receives the MBE, as was former Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice, who spent 44 years at the club, winning seven trophies as a coach.