Tag Archives: changeover

Tom Cruise switches helicopters at The Oval

It's just not cricket! Tom Cruise arrives in London via helicopter… and parks it at The Oval

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UPDATED:

19:08 GMT, 30 November 2012

The Oval is used to playing host to the stars.

Kevin Pietersen and Sachin Tendulkar are just two of a plethora of world renowned cricketers to have graced the hallowed turf of one of the world's most famous grounds in recent years.

Cover drive: Tom Cruise (above left) arrives at The Oval early on Friday morning

Cover drive: Tom Cruise (above left) arrives at The Oval early on Friday morning

Cover drive: Tom Cruise (above left) arrives at The Oval early on Friday morning

But a Hollywood actor parking a helicopter on the outfield Surely not.

Well, that is exactly what happened on Friday morning when A-lister Tom Cruise landed his chopper near the long on boundary before trotting off to the deep extra cover rope to climb into a Chinook and disappear off into the south London sky.

It's just not cricket: Cruise switches into an RAF Chinook

It's just not cricket: Cruise switches into an RAF Chinook

The usual setting: The Oval is used to hosting more serene events

The usual setting: The Oval is used to hosting more serene events

Cruise is currently in Britain filming his latest movie 'All You Need is Kill', and it is thought that the switching of helicopters at The Oval has something to do with the making of it – or at least we hope so.

Club members would have certainly been aghast had they witnessed Cruise's arrival, but the outfield should have plenty of time to recover before the next county season commences in April.

Up and away: Cruise departs after a quick changeover

Up and away: Cruise departs after a quick changeover

Up and away: Cruise departs after a quick changeover

Laura Robson looks back on stunning year

Teen sensation Robson heads to sunshine of Florida after stunning year on court

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 15 November 2012

Everyone will have their own special memory of 2012 and for Laura Robson it will be sitting down at the changeover during her Olympics match against Maria Sharapova, a contest in which she ran the Russian desperately close.

'The roof had been closed and the crowd were all chanting my name, it was emotional and I got goosebumps,' recalled Robson, who will soon be swapping the English winter for Florida sunshine.

So enamoured was she by the Olympic experience that Rio is already on her mind, and aside from winning Wimbledon, getting a gold medal to add to her London 2012 silver has usurped any other ambition.

Highlight: Laura Robson ran Maria Sharapova close at the Olympics

Highlight: Laura Robson ran Maria Sharapova close at the Olympics

Right now no conversation with Robson, who was reclining at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, can be complete without reference to her rival Heather Watson, which is likely provide British tennis with its most intriguing and long running narrative in years.

At the same Olympics that so thrilled her, there was also a test to their friendship when Andy Murray was forced to choose between the two for his mixed doubles partner and plumped for Robson, a decision that reduced Watson to tears.

The eventual silver medal suggested he made the correct call, but Robson sympathises with her peer, and also conceded that it may not be the last time their relationship comes under strain due to the pressures of such an intensely competitive individual sport.

'It was totally understandable for Heather to want to play, I would have felt the same,' said Robson. 'She was the No 1 ranked singles and doubles player. I wasn't involved in the process of making the decision but I'm obviously very happy to have been picked.

'We are both competitive people but we want each other to do well. If we both push on next year then it will be really good. I'm not looking at her training thinking “I should be doing that”. So far it has been easy (staying friends). I don't know if it will be harder as we get older but I hope it stays the same.'

Silver lining: Robson partnered Andy Murray in the doubles in London

Silver lining: Robson partnered Andy Murray in the doubles in London

For the next month the pair will be on opposite sides of Florida doing their winter training with Watson, who has finished the year four places higher at 49, practising at the IMG Academy near Tampa while Robson will be at the Evert headquarters in Boca Raton. Murray will be further south in Miami.

Robson earned just shy of 189,000 in official prize money alone this season, and now she will be preparing with the full accompaniment of back-up befitting a top player, meaning an all-Croatian team of a hitting partner, physical trainer and her coach Zeljko Krajan.

The latter is a notoriously hard taskmaster, whose intensity at times proved too much for former charges such as Dinara Safina and Dominika Cibulkova. However, his arrival in August coincided with the best form of her life, although another factor was unquestionably the luxury of having her first sustained injury-free period on the tour.

'So far he has been pretty relaxed with me, I don't know if that's on purpose,' says Robson. 'Hopefully I haven't been stressing him out too much.'

Her regular encounters with the treatment table are why she is reluctant to set too many goals for a 2013 that is so rich in promise following her fourth round showing at the US Open when she upset both Kim Clijsters and Li Na.

Making progress: Laura Robson

Making progress: Laura Robson

'I haven't had any niggles since Wimbledon which is a record for me, so I haven't set goals yet. Getting seeded in the Grand Slams would be a good thing but if I say I'll get seeded by Roland Garros then I might get injured again.'

To prevent any recurrence and to further improve her key area of movement she is in the midst of a punishing training regime which sees her flopping into bed at nine o'clock every night, with the occasional treat of attending a film or fashion show.

Robson could still have been playing in the juniors this year, but instead is the highest ranked 18 year-old in the world, so far pulling off the trick of remaining perfectly well-adjusted while managing that.

During last month's Beijing tournament she used her free time making a pop video of fellow players, including Sharapova, Watson and Fernando Verdasco doing the Gangnam-style dance that she edited on her I-pad and has proved a hit on YouTube

'There isn't a load of stuff to do in China so you've got to make your own entertainment,' she explained.

Despite the frequent injuries, Robson has broadly halved her ranking each year since 2008. It is not committing the old British sin of getting too carried away to think the same will happen next season.

Jess Varnish: I"m trying to rebuild my life after Olympic nightmare

While Vicky stars in Strictly, I'll be trying to rebuild my own life after Olympic nightmare

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UPDATED:

21:08 GMT, 29 September 2012

Even now, two months after her heart was broken in London's Velodrome, Jess Varnish admits that the pain of disqualification from the Olympics is no easier to bear.

'It felt like someone had died,' she said. 'I knew it was wrong to feel like that and I told myself to pull myself together. I know it wasn't anything important in the real world but at that time, in that stadium, the Olympics were everything to me. It was like life or death.'

Horror: The moment Varnish and Victoria Pendleton messed up their changeover in the team sprint at London 2012

Horror: The moment Varnish and Victoria Pendleton messed up their changeover in the team sprint at London 2012

On Friday night, Victoria Pendleton will be watched by a television audience of millions as she takes a starring role in the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing, the first act in her new life since her retirement from sport after a much-garlanded career.

At the same time, thousands of miles away in South America, Varnish will be preparing to race for the first time since the infamous moment when, in partnership with Pendleton, her own Olympic dreams were shattered as the pair were disqualified in the women's team sprint, an event in which the Britons, who had broken the world record in qualifying, were favourites for the gold medal.

Shaping up: Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton in rehearsals for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing

Shaping up: Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton in rehearsals for the
new series of Strictly Come Dancing

While Pendleton knew she would be returning to the Veldrome for two further events, winning the keirin to claim the second Olympic gold medal of her stellar career as well as a silver in the individual sprint to add to the gold she had won at Beijing in 2008, Varnish vanished into the shadows.

For her, two and a half years' dedication were destroyed in the blink of an eye as they failed to make a legal changeover in the team sprint and were disqualified in the semi-finals.

Now Varnish must start out on the road to redemption – and the Rio Olympics in 2016. For the bright-eyed 21-year-old from Bromsgrove, the journey begins at a World Cup event in Colombia in 11 days' time.

Her expectations are not high, having started to train again only four weeks ago. Varnish says she cried alone during the sleepless nights that followed her disqualification in London, but remained with the team to provide support and encouragement as Pendleton's roommate in the Athletes Village.

'I was helping Vicky out, getting her food when she didn't want to stay in the apartment,' she recalled.

'It was her last-ever competition and I wanted her to go out with a bang. And she did.' Varnish was holding Pendleton's 10-week-old nephew, Nathan, in the Velodrome when Britain's best-known woman cyclist restored her reputation by winning the gold medal in the keiren 24 hours after being evicted from the team sprint. 'I ended up crying all over again,' said Varnish.

'I was happy to be with Vicky's family, sharing the moment with them, but it was sad to be back in the stadium where nothing had changed, really.'

Her parents had tried to comfort her on the night her world collapsed. 'We went to dinner but I didn't want to eat,' she said.

'I didn't want to do anything; but you can't really explain how you feel because you feel pathetic.

'It was hard to stay in the Village, to be around a team where almost everyone else had got gold medals apart from me. The Olympics had been all I thought of for two and a half years, just focusing on that one lap. I was crying a lot, but there was no one in the team I could talk to as I didn't want to affect the performances of others.

'But it was the right thing to support the team in any way I could and I'm proud of the way I reacted. But people think I am tougher than I actually am. I couldn't sleep for days afterwards.'

Varnish will continue her regular sessions with sports psychologist Steve Peters, the man Pendleton always called her 'mind mechanic', as her life gets back to normal.

Downer: Pendleton (right) and Varnish react after being disqualified

Downer: Pendleton (right) and Varnish react after being disqualified

She misses Pendleton and they still meet regularly for coffee or dinner when time permits. Varnish laughs at the pain her friend has undergone in training for Strictly.

'She can only wear Ugg boots because her feet hurt so much,' said Varnish. 'Of course, we've spoken about what happened, and tell one another we had a medal stolen from us.'

As for the changeover that cost Varnish her dream, she remains angry that she and Pendleton could have made such a crucial error.

'As the lead rider, I had to pull up at a certain place and Vicky had to come through at a certain place,' said Varnish.

'We missed that point by a couple of centimetres, by one-hundredth of a second. But at the Olympics the judges were going to be on to that. You saw it happen to others; it happened to the Chinese after they thought they had won the gold medal.

Downcast: Jess Varnish reveals the heartache of missing out on the gold medal

Downcast: Jess Varnish reveals the heartache of missing out on the gold medal

'I was angry with what happened to us then and I'm still furious now. If you weren't angry at being disqualified from the Olympic Games, I think you'd have a problem. But I understand that I'm only 21, there is so much in my life and I have so much fire in my belly to prove that I've got what it takes.'

Varnish has never watched a replay of her Olympics and never will. 'What's the point' she said.

'But I know this will make me stronger. I don't think anything worse can happen in my cycling career unless I have a really bad crash.'

In the last week of the Games, Varnish at least had the distraction of assisting her boyfriend, BMX rider Liam Phillips.

'Liam made the Olympic final but he crashed at the last turn,' she said. 'We just had to laugh! When we talk about the Olympics, we ask each other: “What the hell happened”'

Track Cycling – October 11-13 Cali (Colombia)

London Olympics 2012: BBC video highlights from day 14

Watch BBC video highlights from day 14 of the Olympics

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UPDATED:

01:01 GMT, 11 August 2012

British medal hopes continued to flourish in the final stages of the London Games as the boxers and taekwondo fighters secured yet more glory for the home nation.

Anthony Joshua booked his place in an Olympic boxing final as he cut down 6ft 9ins Kazakh Ivan Dychko with a big final round performance to pull out a 13-11 victory.

Not since 1908 have four British boxers gone through to gold medal matches but Joshua followed the earlier lead of Fred Evans and Luke Campbell – and Thursday's historic triumph by Nicola Adams.

There was also a bronze medal for Lutalo Muhammad who battled to an Olympic bronze taekwondo medal with victory over Arman Yeremyan of Armenia in the under-80kgs at ExCeL.

Great Britain claimed two more medals on the water in Weymouth, this time in the 470 sailing class. Both went into their medal races aiming for gold.

Sadly, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell could not overhaul the Australian crew while Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark were beaten by New Zealand.

But let's not mention the relays. The GB 4x100m men made a hash of a changeover in the final and were disqualified, while the 4x400m men finished just outside the medal positions.

There's only a couple of days left, but fear not, there's still plenty to look forward to.

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London 2012 Olympics: Team GB disqualified from sprint relay

Baton blunder! Team GB disqualified as Jamaica cruise through… without Bolt

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UPDATED:

19:04 GMT, 10 August 2012

Great Britain's sprint relay woes continued as another baton changeover mistake cost them a place in the 4×100 metres final at the Olympic Stadium.

The host nation were disqualified when anchor leg runner Adam Gemili set off too early as he was about to take the baton from Danny Talbot.

The 18-year-old slowed down dramatically, but the changeover still occurred outside the designated area.

Gemili sprinted for the line and came home second, but the fact he immediately put his hands to his head told the story.

More to follow…

Where it all went wrong: Daniel Talbot (right) passes the baton to Adam Gemili

Where it all went wrong: Daniel Talbot (right) passes the baton to Adam Gemili

LONDON OLYMPICS 2012: Oscar Pistorius relief as South Africa reach relay final

Relief for Pistorius as South African relay team reach final following appeal after collision seemed like it would end dream

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UPDATED:

13:15 GMT, 9 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius will get a shot at an Olympic medal after all, even after his South African team failed to finish the heats of the 4x400m relay.

A jury of appeal said South Africa 'had been severely damaged' in a collision between Ofentse Mogawane and a Kenyan runner who cut across him too soon in the second section of Thursday's heat.

The jury of appeal decided to give the extra ninth lane to South Africa – silver medalists at the last world championships – for Friday's final.

On a hectic morning, it was the second reversal of fortunes for the South African. First, the South African team never made it to the third section of the 4×400-meter relay in the opening heat after Mogawane crashed and dislocated his shoulder, leaving Pistorius waiting in the changeover zone for a baton that never came.

Pistorius stood on the track waiting to run third in the relay but Ofentse Mogawane collided with Kenyan runner Vincent Kilu about 90 meters from the finish of the second section and fell.

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius

What happened there Pistorius didn't even get the chance to run in the 4x400m relay on Thursday

Pistorius waited to see if his teammate would continue before walking off and watching the rest of the race from beside the finish line.

'I was standing there and I took my eyes off the screen and kept them on the straight and obviously just as I took them off it must have happened,' said Pistorius, who reached the semi-finals of the individual event on his historic Olympic debut.

'He's not the biggest of guys and initially I thought he was maybe pushed in behind someone and then I just carried on looking and he didn't come out. It's really tough at the moment. I feel sorry for my team-mates, they're a phenomenal group of guys.

'It's just really disappointing for us because we came off a second place at the world champs last year and a national record and we've got more or less the same team.'

It seemed to be an anguished finish for the man known as the 'Blade Runner,' who became the first amputee runner to compete in Olympic track and field competition when he ran in the individual 400 earlier in the week. He reached the semi-finals in that event but finished last in his heat.

Waiting in vain: Pistorius never received the baton

Waiting in vain: Pistorius never received the baton

Jack Green lived up to his promise to show what he is capable of with a baton in his hand by helping Britain reach the final of the men's 4x400m relay.

Green was devastated to bow out of his specialist event, the 400m hurdles, in the semi-finals after hitting the third hurdle and crashing to the track.

Over to you: Jack Green hands the baton to Martyn Rooney

Over to you: Jack Green hands the baton to Martyn Rooney

The 20-year-old was determined to prove firstly his fitness and then show he deserved his place on the relay team, doing so with a storming finish to the third leg to give anchor runner Martyn Rooney a narrow lead.

Rooney held that lead until easing up just before the line, allowing Trinidad and Tobago to take first place, although both teams were given the same time of three minutes 00.38 seconds to qualify automatically for the final.

The Bahamas and the United States were also given the same time of 2mins 58.87secs in the second semi-final to qualify quickest, but any faint hopes of Usain Bolt appearing in the 4x400m final were ended when Jamaican team-mate Jermaine Gonzales pulled up injured on the third leg.

Green, whose training partner and
world 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene could feature in the final, said:
'I am gutted about my individual event, but it was nice to come here
and kind of make up for that.

'I've only half made up for it, I've
got to run well tomorrow as well if I'm in the team. I'd like to think
I've done enough to be in the team, I put us in a very good place, but
I'm not in charge of the team.

'But it felt good, it felt quite
controlled, felt like there's a bit more there. I didn't want to go off
crazy, especially with the anger I've got in me still from the hurdles.

'I think if the relay was a single
individual event that would be my event, it's much better than the
hurdles, I haven't got anything to trip over. I think that was just a
hint of what I can do.'

Well done, lads: Nigel Levine, Jack Green, Martyn Rooney, and Conrad Williams celebrate after reaching the final

Well done, lads: Nigel Levine, Jack Green, Martyn Rooney, and Conrad Williams celebrate after reaching the final

Asked about coping with his fall in the hurdles, Green added: 'I was very disappointed. I still wanted to run but I kind of didn't. It would have been nice just to finish up, leave it there, but this is an Olympics in my home country and I have an opportunity to try and win a medal so I'm going to try and do that.'

Rooney added: 'I was pleasantly surprised when I got the baton in front. It's definitely a great place to be in front of the home crowd. I eased up quite early, I thought the Trinidad guy wasn't going to get there so I looked the other way and he dipped.

'It's a rookie mistake and I'm disappointed that I didn't win it for the team because the guys ran so well. I definitely wasn't being pushed so I'm excited about tomorrow. I think we've got to go in there believing that we can win a medal.'

Nigel Levine, who ran the first leg, added: 'The aim was to qualify very easily. We finished second by a minor mistake by Rooney. But we all know that it's going to be a better day tomorrow.

'We were all disappointed to just be semi-finalists in the individual, but we've got another opportunity to run and show everyone what we can do.'

Conrad Williams, who ran the second leg, added: 'We've got 2:59 in us and we're definitely going to have to break three minutes to get on that medal rostrum.

'We can do that, Rooney eased back knowing we were through, that's the main thing. We've had three days rest so we are fresh. But it's still going to be tough to make a medal so we're not counting our eggs before they've hatched.'

World Junior Championships 2012: Adam Gemili misses out on another gold medal

Gemili's chances of double gold scuppered as Stephens stumbles in 4x100m relay in Barcelona

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 14 July 2012

Adam Gemili's bid for another gold at the World Junior Championships ended in disappointment after Great Britain's sprint relay team were disqualified from Saturday's final after a stumble by Emmanuel Stephens.

Stephens, who was running the opening leg, tripped over before he could hand the baton on as the GB youngsters' bid for glory in the 4x100m final in Barcelona ended prematurely.

Not this time: Adam Gemili's hopes os another gold were scuppered in the 4x100m relay

Not this time: Adam Gemili's hopes os another gold were scuppered in the 4x100m relay

Gemili, who clocked a personal best of 10.05 in winning Wednesday's 100m final and is part of the Team GB squad for this summer's Olympics, was due to run the anchor leg.

GB, who qualified second fastest from the semi-finals behind Japan in a time of 39.09, picked up the baton and carried on to finish the final in last place but were later disqualified by the judges.

The United States took the victory in 38.67seconds, with Jamaica second and Japan third.

Happier times: Gemili had beaten the championship record when he won the 100m final

Happier times: Gemili had beaten the championship record when he won the 100m final

Got gold: The USA team beat Gemili and Co for the victory

Got gold: The USA team beat Gemili and Co for the victory

There was also disappointment for the GB women's 4x100m relay team after they failed to finish with victory seemingly in their sights.

GB were leading at the final changeover but failed to exchange the baton cleanly and were left watching on as the US claimed another triumph.

Earlier in the evening Liverpool teenager Katarina Johnson-Thompson was unable to add to her medal haul in Barcelona after she failed to qualify for the final of the 100m hurdles.

Johnson-Thompson, who won long jump gold yesterday, could only finish fifth in her semi-final heat in a time of 13.94 seconds.

Dwain Chambers and Great Britain 4x100m relay team drop baton

Chambers in relay blunder as men's 4x100m team crash out after just 10 seconds

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UPDATED:

16:50 GMT, 1 July 2012

Great Britain suffered more relay embarrassment at the European Championships in Helsinki as drugs-cheat Dwain Chambers failed to exchange the baton with Christian Malcolm in the men's 4x100m event.

The team had high hopes of a medal but their attempt lasted barely 10 seconds with Malcolm losing momentum around the bend and was unable to get it to
Chambers, who was anxious to get a good start with France’s individual
100m champion Christophe Lemaitre on his outside.

What a mess: Dwain Chambers (right) and Christian Malcolm fail to exchange the baton during the 4x100m relay

What a mess: Dwain Chambers (right) and Christian Malcolm fail to exchange the baton during the 4x100m relay

The blunder comes the day after the women’s team were disqualified and failed to secure a place at their home Olympics.

It is far from the first time Britain have suffered relay woe in major championships, with dropped batons at the Olympics in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000), as well as the World Championships in Edmonton (2001), along with a disqualification at the last Olympics in Beijing and the World Championships in Daegu.

Gutted: Christian Malcolm (left), James Ellington and Dwain Chambers react to the relay shambles

Gutted: Christian Malcolm (left), James Ellington and Dwain Chambers react to the relay shambles

Inquest: The Great Britain team tries to work out what went wrong at the European Championships

Inquest: The Great Britain team tries to work out what went wrong at the European Championships

They also went out in the first round at the last European Championships in Barcelona when a poor changeover between Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis saw them finish fifth in their heat.

‘I will take responsibility,’ Malcolm said.

Rage: Chambers was furious after he and Malcolm failed to exchange the baton in Helsinki

Rage: Chambers was furious after he and Malcolm failed to exchange the baton in Helsinki

‘I lost momentum and it’s my job to get the baton into Dwain and I didn’t get it done. It was an opportunity for us all and we have messed up.

‘We thought we were going to win and we were all up for it today. It’s nothing to do with a lack of practice, it’s just one of those things. I know we like to play the blame game and I will take responsibility.’