Tag Archives: briton

Alistair Brownlee wins Abu Dhabi International Triathlon

Olympic triathlon hero Brownlee cruises to Abu Dhabi win by smashing course record

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

12:47 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:12 GMT, 2 March 2013

Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee smashed the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon short course record on his way to clinching his first win since the Olympic Games last summer.

Wearing the colours of the Union Jack, the 24-year-old Yorkshireman looked every inch the champion in Abu Dhabi.

Having spent much of his winter training acclimatising to the warm Arabian temperatures, the hard work paid off for the back-to-back European Triathlon Union champion as he finished the 111.5kms pure power course in 3h20m18s – 29 seconds ahead of the previous record, set in 2010 by Dutchman Jan Van Berkel.

Winning feeling: Alistair Brownlee smashed the course record on his Abu Dhabi debut

Winning feeling: Alistair Brownlee smashed the course record on his Abu Dhabi debut

And Brownlee, who is used to the shorter Olympic distances and is in Abu Dhabi to expand his competitive horizons, was full of praise to the thousands of fans who turned out to cheer him over the line.

‘It is a good race to do for an introduction to longer distances and I would like to do more, but right now my focus us is on the ITU circuit.’ said Brownlee.

The young Briton was in fine fettle, coming out of the water in the opening 1.5kms swim leg comfortably positioned.

Riding to glory: Brownlee was on commanding form in Abu Dhabi

Riding to glory: Brownlee was on commanding form in Abu Dhabi

With a cycle distance of 100kms more than Brownlee is used to, pundits tipped the following bike section to be the make or break for the youngster, and it nearly proved to be true. After taking a wrong turn on the circuit, Brownlee lost ground and was overtaken by Dutchman Cesar Beilo – who won the Abu Dhabi short course in 2011.

Coming into the final 10kms run, Brownlee was nestled in second place. Having conserved his energy on the bike, the look of determination on his face was easy to see at the final transition. With thousands of fans lined up to cheer him on, the Olympic golden boy dug deep to make light work of the final run, bringing it home in emphatic style.

‘I was swimming very fast in the beginning, apologies to anyone we might have kicked on the way through,’ joked Brownlee on the Abu Dhabi finish line.

Top gearL Brownlee was in fine form during his Abu Dhabi win

Top gearL Brownlee was in fine form during his Abu Dhabi win

‘The bike was a challenge. I saw a sign on the bike course and thought that was where I needed to go; it was only when I got back on the course I realised I had been there before. I tried to pace it quite well, but I have no idea how to pace 100kms on a bike, but it seemed to go ok.

‘I felt tired towards the end, but I didn’t have to push too hard, which was good as it was getting hot; it’s a bit of a shock as it is zero degrees back home and nearly 30 here, but it was early morning so I didn’t struggle too much.’

Beilo took second place, more than five minutes behind Brownlee, with Russia’s Alexander Bryukhankov taking third. Egyptian star, Omar Nour, finished in seventh place, making him the highest Arab athlete on the day.

Event organiser, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), said that Brownlee’s win would be a huge inspiration to local athletes and it hoped to see more kids get into the sport because of it.

Mark Cavendish wins Tour of Qatar stage

Qatar hero! British star Cavendish storms to victory on stage three

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

15:55 GMT, 5 February 2013

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UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 5 February 2013

Mark Cavendish claimed his second win for Omega Pharma-QuickStep on stage three of the Tour of Qatar today.

The 27-year-old from the Isle of Man, who joined Omega Pharma-QuickStep following one year at Team Sky, opened his account for the Belgian squad in the Tour de San Luis and added another victory on the 143-kilometre route from Al Wakra to Mesaieed.

A 10-second time bonus accompanied the win and moved Cavendish to fourth overall, eight seconds behind American Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), who retained the lead.

All smiles: Mark Cavendish celebrates his stage win in Qatar

All smiles: Mark Cavendish celebrates his stage win in Qatar

Mark Cavendish

Two of Bookwalter's team-mates – American Taylor Phinney and Briton Adam Blythe – remained second and third overall, respectively.

Tomorrow's fourth stage is the 160km route from Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche.Cavendish wrote on Twitter:

'Nice to get the win here today in Tour Of Qatar! '@opqscyclingteam just chaperoned me the whole day. Machines! BIG machines! Thanks guys.'

Over the line: Cavendish powers to victory on stage three of the Qatar Tour

Over the line: Cavendish powers to victory on stage three of the Qatar Tour

Mark Cavendish

In an Omega Pharma-QuickStep media release, the Manxman added: 'I felt really strong, so I have to thank my team. They really kept me protected, kept me out of trouble the whole time and gave me energy for the sprint.

'I really had to kick at 350 meters, I was so far back.'

On the prospect of taking overall victory on Friday's final day, he added: 'I think it's best to come here, focus on the stage wins, and hope the GC (general classification) can come from that.'

Bradley Wiggins: Liar Lance Armstrong made me so glad I"m clean

Liar Lance made me so glad I'm clean, says Tour de France winner Wiggins

By
Richard Moore

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 24 January 2013

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UPDATED:

02:38 GMT, 25 January 2013

Sir Bradley Wiggins has revealed how
watching Lance Armstrong's drug confession left him feeling angry, sad
and emotional – but relieved that he will never have to tell his son his
father doped to win the Tour de France.

'I wasn't going to watch it,' said
Wiggins last night, speaking at the Team Sky training camp in Majorca.
'I was determined not to watch it. But then I got home and I watched it
with my seven-year-old son Ben.

'Those initial six questions, the yes-no answers, watching him suddenly cave in after all those years of lying so convincingly . . . there was a lot of anger, a lot of sadness. I was slightly emotional as well. It was difficult to watch. My wife couldn't watch it. She walked out the room.

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

'It was heartbreaking in some respects for the sport, but then the anger kicks in,' Wiggins continued. 'You're thinking, “What a ****ing a******e”.

'Then I've got to explain to my son what it's all about, that he has won the same race his dad has won. But by the end of the hour and a half I had the best feeling in the world.'

It was a feeling of relief and smugness, said Wiggins, who last year became the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

Confession: Lance Armstrong admitted to doping during his interviews with Oprah Winfrey

Confession: Lance Armstrong admitted to doping during his interviews with Oprah Winfrey

He said: 'When Armstrong started welling up talking about his 13-year-old son asking him what it was all about . . . I never have to have that conversation with my own son. I can tell him his father's won the Tour de France clean and so there was an element of being quite smug.

'By the end, I thought, “You deserve everything you get”, and I felt no sympathy for him at all.

Meet the team: Wiggins with Josh Edmondson and Chris Froome in Mallorca

Meet the team: Wiggins with Josh Edmondson and Chris Froome in Mallorca

Training: Wiggins rides in Port Alcudia

Training: Wiggins rides in Port Alcudia

'I was a fan of Lance. I watched him
win the world championships in 1993 when I was 13, and when he came back
from cancer and won the Tour de France in 1999 I was 19, on the British
track programme, and that was so inspirational.

'And then I never really raced with him in his prime. I raced him at
the Tour when he came back in 2009 and I was fourth and he was third.'

Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey that he was clean in that comeback Tour,
though the US Anti-Doping Agency put the chances of him not doping that
year at 'one in a million'. Wiggins concurs. 'When he said he was upset
about USADA's claim that he doped in 2009 and 2010, I thought, you lying
b*****d,' he said.

'I can still remember going toe-to-toe with him, watching his body language and comparing the man I saw at the top of Verbier on stage 15 to the man I saw at the top of Mont Ventoux on stage 20 a week later, when we were in dope control together. It wasn't the same bike rider.

'I don't believe anything that comes out the guy's mouth any more.'

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford added that Armstrong's confession had put cycling's credibility in the 'last chance saloon'.

He said: 'The sport must never go back to the place it was in the past. Fans must genuinely trust the results.'

Nicole Cooke retires from cycling and attacks drug cheats

When Lance cries on Oprah spare a thought for those who walked away with shattered dreams: Golden girl Cooke slams drug cheats after retiring from cycling

.

Cooke had thought she could put an indifferent four years behind her and mount a defence of her title, but finished only 31st.

The time between Beijing and London
was marked by a spat with Armitstead at the 2011 World Championships,
when Cooke was accused of riding 'for herself', rather than the team.

The duo put that behind them before again being team-mates at last summer's Olympics.

Armitstead was among the first to pay
tribute to Cooke, writing on Twitter: 'Congratulations to Nicole Cooke
on a fantastic career!'

British Cycling president Brian Cookson said: 'There is no doubt that Nicole has been a pioneering force in women's cycling.

'British Cycling owes a huge debt of gratitude to her and wish her all the best.'

COOKE REPORT – A LIFE ON THE ROAD

Team-mate: Elizabeth Armitstead and Nicole Cooke

1983 – Born April 13, Swansea, Wales.

2000 – Wins gold medals in World Championship junior road races in France and Spain.

2001 – Continues that success with further wins in junior race and time-trial in Portugal.Awarded the Bidlake Memorial Prize, given for outstanding performance or contribution to the betterment of cycling.

2002 – Wins gold medal in women’s road race at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

2003 – Wins the women’s road race World Cup, the youngest to do so and the first Briton. Named BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year.

2004 – Becomes the youngest winner of the Giro d’Italia Femminile.

August – Finishes fifth in road race in the Athens Olympics.

2006 – Wins the bronze medal in the road race at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
September – Wins road race World Cup for the second time.

2008 – August – Wins gold medal in road race at the Beijing Olympics, Britain’s first medal of the Games.

September – Becomes first cyclist to win World Championships and Olympics in same year with victory in Varese, Italy.

2009: June – Wins Giro del Trentino, before triumphing in British Championships road race for the ninth time.

2010: June – Beaten into third place as Emma Pooley wins British Championships.

September – Fourth in World Championships road race.

October – Fifth in Commonwealth Games road race.

2011: June – Fourth in British Championships as Lizzie Armitstead wins.

July – Wins Giro D’Italia stage five.

September – Has a well-publicised spat with Armitstead, who was
nominated leader at World Championships but accused Cooke of riding 'for
herself'.

2012: June – Sixth at British Championships road race.

July – Finishes 31st in defence of her Olympic title as Armitstead (above) claims
Britain’s first medal of London 2012, a silver behind Marianne Vos of
Holland.

September – Finishes 60th as Vos wins the world title in Limburg, Holland.

2013: January 14 – Announces retirement.

Max Chilton lands Marussia F1 deal for 2013

Max power! Chilton becomes fourth Brit on grid after landing Marussia deal

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UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 18 December 2012

Max Chilton insists he is 'already up to speed' with Formula One after Marussia confirmed the promising youngster as the fourth Briton on the grid for the 2013.

Chilton replaces Caterham bound Charles Pic for the 2013 season and despite having just two Formula One tests under his belt, the 21-year-old Reigate-born racer is convinced he is ready to make the step up from the GP2 grand prix feeder series.

'It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling today, with the announcement that I will be racing for the Marussia F1 Team in 2013,' said Chilton.

Done deal: Chilton has been handed a permanent drive with Marussia in 2013

Done deal: Chilton has been handed a permanent drive with Marussia in 2013

Max Chilton: Racing history

British Formula Three Championship (2007-09)

Chilton tasted victory at one race in three years, ending his final season 4th in the standings.

GP2 series (2010-12)

The Briton graduated to the F1 feeder series in 2010. After two largely lacklustre years, Chilton ended last season with two wins from the final four rounds finishing 4th in the championship.

'It comes at the end of what has been
a fantastic year for me, and those steps – my GP2 pole positions and
wins, my performances in the F1 Young Driver Test and in FP1 at Abu
Dhabi – have given everyone the confidence in my ability to compete at
the highest level of motor sport.

Behind the wheel: Chilton made his F1 debut at Abu Dhabi last year

Behind the wheel: Chilton made his F1 debut at Abu Dhabi last year

'I am very fortunate to have spent
the last six races with the Marussia F1 Team as Reserve Driver, which
means that instead of a standing start, I am already up to speed and at
ease with the people, the culture, the systems and of course, the 2012
package.

'During the period since the Japanese
Grand Prix, I have watched at very close quarters the incredible
commitment and determination to succeed that saw everyone in the team
pushing until the very last race. I feel very lucky to be able to embark
on my F1 racing career with this group of people.

Brit of all right

Lewis Hamilton

Chilton becomes the fourth Brit on the grid next year, joining Lewis Hamilton (right), Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta.

With just three seats left to be confirmed next season, only Germany can boast the equal number of drivers. But with Adrian Sutil tipped for a return that could become five.

The other countries who will be represented in 2013 are France (3), Australia (2), Mexico (2), Finland (2), Spain, Brazil, and Venezuela.

'Pre-season testing is just a few
weeks away, so my focus now is to continue my physical preparation
whilst spending as much time as possible working with the technical team
to help develop the car I will drive in my debut F1 season.'

Chilton is the son of Grahame
Chilton, the non-executive chairman of insurance giant Aon Benfield's UK
holding company who is reportedly worth around 100million.

Eyes on the prize: The 21-year-old will drive for Marussia next season

Eyes on the prize: The 21-year-old will drive for Marussia next season

However, he has previously stated
that the estimated 9.5m funding he has secured to realise his Formula
One dream does not come from the family coffers.

Even so the funding boost will be
welcomed at Marussia who narrowly missed out 10m in prize money after
being pipped to tenth place in the constructors' championship by
Caterham at the season finale in Brazil.

Marussia team principal John Booth is
adamant that, funding aside, his young protege has the talent to help
the Banbury-based team build on the solid progress they made in 2012.

Booth said: 'We have spent a
significant amount of time evaluating his performances during 2012, both
in our own car in a testing situation and also from the pit wall as we
monitored his progress alongside the other members of our junior talent
pool during Grand Prix support races.

'We felt confident enough in his
ability and potential to appoint him to the role of Reserve Driver in
September and since that time his development has been rapid in all
aspects. First and foremost, he has shown himself to be extremely
capable in the car.

'Not only that, Max very quickly
embedded himself within the team, thanks in no small part to the fact
that he is a lively and affable character who we've enjoyed having
around. Having been integral to our race weekend engineering environment
for the past three months already – as well as having undertaken a
significant part of our simulator programme – Max has already found his
feet.'

Pele should perform Mobot, says Mo Farah

Pele should be next to perform Mobot, says Farah after SPOTY disappointment

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UPDATED:

16:55 GMT, 17 December 2012

Mo Farah wants Pele to be the next famous person to do the 'Mobot'.

Farah went home empty-handed from last night's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards despite becoming the first Briton in history to claim Olympic gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres this summer.

The Somalia-born long-distance runner was one of the favourites for the award, but he had to settle for fourth place behind winner Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray.

Had it been any other year Farah might have expected to win by a landslide. His determination to win two of the hardest Olympic track events and the famous 'Mobot' celebration which accompanied both his victories made him a popular, iconic figure of London 2012.

M for Mo: Farah's celebration is now world famous

M for Mo: Farah's celebration is now world famous

Usain Bolt, Lennox Lewis and Boris Johnson are just three of the many people who have attempted the pose and Farah now wants arguably the greatest footballer of all time to attempt it too.

'I'd like a football player to do it, someone like Pele,' the 29-year-old said. 'I would probably like to see someone like Pele do it. That would be good.'

Celebrities such as Robbie Williams, Suggs and Girls Aloud have been pictured mimicking Farah's signature pose, which was coined by James Corden and Clare Balding during Farah's appearance on television programme 'A League of Their Own'.

Farah, who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, but grew up in London, beamed with pride last night as he recalled winning the two gold medals on successive Saturdays during the Games.

'As an athlete you dream of becoming an Olympic champion, but to do it like that was something I would have never dreamed of,' Farah added.

'To come back twice and do it in the 5,000 was so difficult because my legs were tired and the other guys were working as a team.

'There aren't many athletes who have done that (win 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres) so it's an honour.'

Oh what a night! Farah delivered one of the highlights of the Olympics

Oh what a night! Farah delivered one of the highlights of the Olympics

Success in London 2012 has had its drawbacks, however. Farah, who wants to compete in Rio 2016 – possibly in the marathon – thinks his rivals will now be more determined than ever to beat him.

For that reason he is looking to quickly forget about his double-gold triumph and start planning for 2016.

He said: 'This year has been a great year and hopefully 2013 will be the same again for me.

'As an athlete you have to forget about what you have achieved and you have got to move on.

'There are more people out there who want to beat me now so that's the way I have got to see it and I have to get back in to serious training again.

'My coach Alberto (Salazar) has got me back into training already and hopefully we will get a block of training together and then go to Kenya, because that's what we always do so I am quite looking forward to that.'

I'll do it! Farah wants Brazil legend Pele top perform the famous celebration

I'll do it! Farah wants Brazil legend Pele top perform the famous celebration

Sports Personality winner Bradley Wiggins hails extraordinary year of British achievement

'It was THE year to be British, wasn't it' Wiggins hails unforgettable 2012 as he collects Sports Personality award

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UPDATED:

00:15 GMT, 17 December 2012

Bradley Wiggins thanked his nan, Maureen Cousins, for voting for him so many times as he picked up the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The 16,000-strong crowd chanted ‘Wiggo’ as the 32-year-old seven-time Olympic medallist collected his award last night at the ExCeL in east London. But the cyclist thought he had missed out when Jessica Ennis was announced as the runner-up.

Double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah did not make the top three in an astonishing year for British sport.

Popular champion: Bradley Wiggins was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2012 at a glittering ceremony in East London

Popular champion: Bradley Wiggins was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2012 at a glittering ceremony in East London

Wiggins said: ‘Thank you very much to
everyone who picked the phone up and voted. We’ve had all that jungle
stuff (I’m a Celebrity) and the X Factor so for people to pick up and
vote is phenomenal. To my nan, the cheque’s in the post because you
pressed redial so many times.

‘What a year. It was the year to be
British, wasn’t it When they mentioned Mo I thought: “Oh God, I’m not
even in the top three.” To stand on the stage with the likes of these
people next to me, it’s incredible. If I stood here as the only gold
medallist it would mean nothing.

‘I’d like to thank my team-mates
because I wouldn’t be here without them. Cycling is a team sport and I
couldn’t have done it without the team behind me.

‘We’re just the athletes. That sounds really demeaning but there is an incredible team of people behind every one of us.’

Winner: Wiggins was presented with his accolade by David Beckham and the Duchess of Cambridge

Winner: Wiggins was presented with his accolade by David Beckham and the Duchess of Cambridge

Sky procycling team rider Bradley Wiggins of Britain celebrates his overall victory on the podium

Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain celebrates after the Men's Individual Time Trial Road Cycling

Extraordinary achievements: Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France (left) and then took gold in the Olympic time trial in London

Lord Coe was introduced by David
Beckham as the ‘man that has run the Olympics and won the Olympics’ as
he picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award. The double Olympic 1500
metres gold medallist and chairman of the London 2012 organising
committee received his trophy from the Duchess of Cambridge.

Lord Coe said: ‘I’m so honoured to be
the recipient of this award tonight. I’m also incredibly lucky. For the
larger part of my life I’ve woken up knowing sport is going to shape
that day.

‘Thanks to the extraordinary athletes
we’ve celebrated tonight, who made this year what it has been. Thanks to
the millions of people the length and breadth of the country, whose
generosity of spirit made this Games what they were and, of course,
thanks to our Games makers.Nobody could have done this alone. It has
been an extraordinary night for me — I could never forget it.’

Sir Roger Bannister presented the
Team of the Year award to Victoria Pendleton, who received it on behalf
of Team GB and Paralympics GB, who won a record 185 medals at London
2012.

Delivering the Games: Lord Coe was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award after organising the London Olympics

Delivering the Games: Lord Coe was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award after organising the London Olympics

Dave Brailsford, the performance
director of British cycling, beat Ennis’s coach, Toni Minichiello, and
rowing coach Paul Thompson to be Coach of the Year. Brailsford, said:
‘It’s a huge privilege to win this because it was a fantastic summer of
sport. There is a great team behind me at British Cycling and Team
Sky.

‘They did a brilliant job. Our opponents thought our wheels were rounder than theirs.

‘It’s great because everyone sniggered when we said we would win the Tour de France in five years with a clean British rider.’

Our Greatest Team: Victoria Pendleton (centre) and Jonnie Peacock (right) received the Team of the Year award from Sir Roger Bannister on behalf of Team GB and Paralympics GB

Our Greatest Team: Victoria Pendleton (centre) and Jonnie Peacock (right) received the Team of the Year award from Sir Roger Bannister on behalf of Team GB and Paralympics GB

Paralympic swimmer Josef Craig, 15,
Britain’s youngest 2012 gold medal winner, was the BBC Young Sports
Personality of the Year.

Fabrice Muamba, who suffered an
on-pitch cardiac arrest during Bolton’s game at Tottenham in March,
presented the BBC Sport Unsung Hero Award to husband and wife team Sue
and Jim Houghton.

Ellie Simmonds reveals quit threat

Simmonds: It was all over and I thought 'I can't be bothered any more'

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UPDATED:

20:34 GMT, 1 December 2012

Ellie Simmonds sat on the sofa at her home in Walsall in the days after the Paralympics, the roar of the Aquatics Centre willing her to her first and most memorable gold medal of the Games reduced to a muffled, precious memory.

At 17, before most of her peers had even decided on a career, she accepted that the defining moment of hers had probably been and gone. 'I was on a serious low,' said Simmonds.

Great Briton: Simmonds has committed herself to winning more golds in Rio

Great Briton: Simmonds has committed herself to winning more
golds in Rio

Bronzed babe: Simmonds also won bronze

Bronzed babe: Simmonds also won bronze

'I sat around for a few days, maybe even weeks. I became a real sofa person. I considered whether I actually wanted to swim any more and thought, “I don't know what I want to do, I don't know if I can be bothered to do anything at all”.

'For four years I was consumed by London and I thought, “Now it's over, what have I got to look forward to” I don't think anything can replicate that feeling of winning gold in the 400metres free, to be honest. It's never going to get better than that and Rio seemed so far away.'

Her 'love for winning' was too much to keep her from the water for long and she has committed to the next Paralympic cycle, easing herself back into training with coach Billy Pye.

She balances six sessions a week in the pool with sixth form at Swansea's Olchfa Comprehensive. Swimming took precedence last year to the extent that Simmonds did not perform as strongly in her AS levels as she expected.

It is difficult to maintain grades when you have just been included among the 12 nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year at the end of the greatest summer of sport this country has seen.

The invitations – to parades, product launches and film premieres – or, as Simmonds calls it, 'the bonus stuff', have arrived in their hundreds.

In the two months since the Paralympics, Simmonds has met the Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge and Daniel Craig.

At Paris Fashion Week, Simmonds was front row for the Stella McCartney show, flanked by Victoria Pendleton and Louis Smith.

'Stella gave me a dress to wear for an event. She did such a good job on our kits and I love her handbags, so it was lovely that she invited me to Paris,' said Simmonds.

'This year has been all about London and at this point you should step back and enjoy it and make the most of all the opportunities you get. I love swimming and that's what I am, a swimmer. All these added things are just bonuses. I don't do it for that but it's so exciting. I went to the James Bond premiere and have filmed a few TV shows that are out early next year.'

Simmonds is most animated when she talks about the surprise party her family planned for her 18th birthday last month and a promised trip to New York, on hold until the new year.

'I met up with my best friend in the morning,' said Simmonds.

'I asked if she wanted to do something that evening and she said she was busy. I went for a nap and the next thing I knew there was a hog roast man outside and 40 of my family and my friends were there. It was one of the best things ever.'

This week, it was back to work and administering a British Swimming masterclass at Wales National Pool in Swansea. A line of children had their faces pressed against the gallery window, straining to catch a glimpse of her at the water's edge.

Ellie: A one-name sports star

Ellie: A one-name sports star

'Ellie's here,' said the receptionist, qualifying the level of hysteria to a customer.

Like Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins, Simmonds has become a one-name sports star in these parts. Emily Else is 10 and has cerebral palsy.

Like Simmonds, she began swimming in able-bodied classes as a five-year-old. 'I was star-struck when I saw Ellie in the flesh,' she said.

'It's so inspirational to talk to her and she gave us lots of advice.'

Simmonds faces different challenges in the water from Emily. But nothing could be more instructive of the bloody-minded determination required to win than Simmonds' 400m freestyle final this summer.

It was her first encounter with American Victoria Arlen, a fellow 17-year-old who had arrived on the scene just two months earlier after being paralysed below the waist by a virus.

Confusion surrounded Arlen's classification and she was confirmed on the start list just two hours before the race.

Inspiration: Simmonds with her gold for the 200m medley

Inspiration: Simmonds with her gold for the 200m medley

'That's the thing with Paralympic sport,' said Simmonds.

'Someone might have an accident a year earlier and then be placed in my S6 category. I just had to presume she would always be competing and prepare accordingly.'

Any doubts about how competitive and thrilling Paralympic sport can be evaporated as she overhauled Arlen in the final length.

'I'll remember that feeling forever,' said Simmonds. 'All the pain that you go through in training and in the race. To touch and it all just disappears. I felt all the relief, pure pleasure.'

Simmonds thinks the often talked of 'legacy' of the Paralympics can be split into two parts – the first being access to sport for disabled people; the second, a positive change in the perception of disabled people among the wider public.

'Channel 4 did such a good job with the coverage and I think it showed the public that we're just normal athletes with a disability,' said Simmonds.

'Having three Paralympians nominated for sports personality [David Weir and Sarah Storey are also up for the award] is amazing.

'For me, it is a huge honour. I hope that one day a Paralympian could win it, I don't see why not.'

Simmonds talks breezily about fashion and friends as she drives me back to the train station; the pedal extensions, raised floor and cushion support in her Mini One the only reminders of her disability.

The CDs strewn on the floor, a scented air freshener hung above the dashboard, giggling about boys and talk of Ugg boots for Christmas offer a far better insight into the real Ellie Simmonds, a normal teenage girl with extraordinary ability.

Ellie Simmonds is a member of the British Gas GBR Disability Swimming Team. British Gas has been the principal partner of British Swimming since 2009 and is encouraging everyone in Britain to discover the benefits of swimming. For more info, visit www.facebook.com/BGSwimming

Ricky Hatton KOd in round nine by Vyacheslav Senchenko on comeback fight in Manchester

Hitman's fairytale comeback ends with sobering retirement as Senchenko lands savage body blow to KO Hatton in the ninth

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UPDATED:

01:02 GMT, 25 November 2012

Ricky Hatton's boxing career came to an end when he was knocked out in the ninth round of his comeback fight.

After three and a half years out of the ring, the 34-year-old's decision to take on a tough opponent in his reappearance in the ring turned out to be a big mistake.

Vyacheslav Senchenko ruined the night for Hatton and his 20,000 raucous fans with a stunning body punch which left the Briton in agony on the canvas.

Down and out: Ricky Hatton winces in pain after a savage blow to the ribs ended his comeback in the ninth round

Down and out: Ricky Hatton winces in pain after a savage blow to the ribs ended his comeback in the ninth round

Hard though Hatton tried to beat the
count, there was no way he could continue and referee Victor Loughlan
counted him out after two minutes and 52 seconds.

It almost certainly marked the end of
his career as a boxer. The former world champion had vowed he would
retire and concentrate on his new life as a trainer and promoter if he
lost.

Now all those people with his
interests at heart will hope he keeps his word. When he had recovered
enough to talk, a tearful and shockingly bruised Hatton insisted he
would not rush into a decision.

'I am heartbroken,' he said. 'I am so sorry for my fans. I am not a quitter, I keep trying but it did not come off.

Mixed emotions: Senchenko (rear) is jubilant but Hatton looks distraught on the canvas

Mixed emotions: Senchenko (rear) is jubilant but Hatton looks distraught on the canvas

'I am not a failure but that is two
defeats now in a row. You don't know how much that hurts me. That is not
the way my career should end. I will sit down with my team and discuss
things. There is a lot I need to think about.

'I was doing some good things for
three and a half years out. He was a world champion, he only lost his
unbeaten record in his last fight. I want to fight for world titles and
so I had to beat someone like that.

'I thought I was maybe four rounds
up but there were clear signs of ring rust. I hurt him a few times and I
was winning. It was a good shot, I should have realised he was looking
for that. I suppose that is what three and a half years out of the ring
does.'

Hatton's trainer Bob Shannon added:
'I'm really disappointed. Ricky lost his concentration and got caught in
the fourth round and that took a lot out of him.

He was exhausted after that.

Harsh reality: Hatton is comforted by a member of his corner team following a chastening defeat in the ring

Harsh reality: Hatton is comforted by a member of his corner team following a chastening defeat in the ring

'He's not 24 any more, he's 34 and
he looked old in some of those rounds. Ricky's a proud man and that's
why he wanted to take on such a difficult opponent.

'He wanted to beat him better than
Paulie Malignaggi had. I don't know what happens now but I'm going to
have to sit down and have a good talk to him.'

Hatton had achieved his aim of
getting rid of the demons that have plagued him for the last three
years, when he turned to drink and drugs in the midst of depression, but
the years catch up with everyone.

Anxious moments: Hatton lay prostrate for about a minute and received medical attention following defeat

Anxious moments: Hatton lay prostrate for about a minute and received medical attention following defeat

Three years away proved too much and,
although Hatton fought with typical courage and aggression and probably
would have sneaked a points verdict had it gone to that, he did not
have the punch resistance when it mattered.

Ring-rustiness could have accounted
for some of his failings as Hatton repeatedly swung wildly and missed
his taller opponent, a former WBA champion who had lost only once in 33
fights before last night.

But, on the strength of five
all-action opening rounds, before he began to tire, Hatton had probably
done enough to win the fight until a fierce left hook to the ribs ended
his dreams of a glorious comeback in the ninth.

Respect: Senchenko and Hatton share their thoughts after a gruelling nine round bout

Mutual respect: Senchenko and Hatton share their thoughts after a gruelling nine round bout

Hitting the target: Hatton connects with a left to put Senchenko on the back foot

Hitting the target: Hatton connects with a left to put Senchenko on the back foot

'This was too difficult an opponent
to come back to,' said former world champion Barry McGuigan. 'He was an
accurate puncher and difficult. I did think when I saw he'd taken
Senchenko he would be the wrong style of boxer for Ricky.

'Hatton gave it his best shot but he
was slowly ground down and started to walk into sickening blows. 'His
jab just didn't work. If he'd got that going his right hand would have
fired off like a gun and he would have nailed his target. The longer the
fight went the more I was concerned for him.'

Hatton's life had gone into alarming
decline in the past three years. While many boxers struggle to cope with
retirement few fall as far as the popular hero, who had won 45 fights
and been a world champion at two weights.

His stunning defeat by Manny
Pacquiao, when he was clubbed to the canvas in two rounds, left no
argument about Hatton's status in his brutal sport – not quite up there
with the very best.

While he had been able to delude
himself that his only other defeat, to Floyd Mayweather, had been an
unfair outcome brought about by poor refereeing this time there was no
argument.

Promising start: Hatton began in fine fettle, but faded in the latter rounds

Promising start: Hatton began in fine fettle, but faded in the latter rounds

Caught out: Ricky Hatton recoils as Vyacheslav Senchenko connects with a fierce right jab

Caught out: Ricky Hatton recoils as Senchenko connects with a fierce right jab

He's back: Hatton makes his entrance at the MEN Arena

He's back: Hatton makes his entrance at the MEN Arena

Lewis Hamilton using PS3 to practice for US grand prix

Hamilton reveals extra hours on the Playstation have got him ready for US grand prix

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UPDATED:

09:25 GMT, 14 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton has turned to his Playstation as he bids to end his final season with McLaren on a high and make history in the United States.

The Brit, who will begin next season at Mercedes, hopes to become the first person to win at the new 250million Circuit of the Americas when the F1 bandwagon rolls into Texas.

The 5.5km track in Austin has only recently been completed, meaning drivers are yet to test themselves against the 20 turns and handful of straights.

It's only a game: Lewis Hamilton has been getting some unusual practice ahead of the US grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas

It's only a game: Lewis Hamilton has been getting some unusual practice ahead of the US grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas

Hamilton, therefore, has been brushing up on his knowledge with the help of his computer games console.

The 27-year-old said in The Sun: 'I've only driven the track on the PS3 and simulator, but I think its going to be a track that drivers enjoy. I'm looking to be the first grand prix winner there.'

The race on November 18 is the first time a grand prix to be held in the United States for five years, when Hamilton won in Indianapolis.

Texas holds them: The world of F1 will descend on Austin this weekend

Texas holds them: The world of F1 will descend on Austin this weekend

And it is with those happy memories still fresh in his mind that the Briton hopes to end a miserable run of form that has seen him forced to retire with a fuel-pressure problem twice in the last five races.

He added: 'It's crazy to think the last US grand prix was five years ago. It's a race I still remember like yesterday. I took my second grand prix win in the space of a week.

'Those were incredible times and I'm made up we're going back to the States.'