Tag Archives: commonwealth

Thom Evans to sprint after retiring from rugby

Evans to turn his hand to sprinting as ex-rugby star plots sporting comeback

Race is on: Thom Evans

Race is on: Thom Evans

Former rugby star Thom Evans will compete over 60 metres in the scottishathletics National Senior Indoor Championships at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on February 19.

The 26-year-old has been exploring athletics since his recovery from the severe neck injury in Wales two years ago which cut short his rugby career.

Evans, who won 10 Scotland caps, is working with coach Margot Wells, the wife of Scottish Olympic gold medallist Allan, and would eventually like to compete in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

'I am looking forward to running in Glasgow. I am excited by the prospect of competing there,' he told the scottishathletics website.

'When I played there for Glasgow Rugby we used to do warm-ups in the Kelvin Hall in the winter so I am familiar with the arena and the track.

'At the moment I am simply gaining some race experience in the 60 metres. It is all new but I am enjoying that and the idea is to build some basic sprinting fitness.

'Further down the line I would think there's more chance I will be looking at 200 metres or 400m. That's more the goal to be honest. You have to start somewhere and get used to actual races as well as training.'

The end: Evans had to retire from rugby after suffering a serious injury

The end: Evans had to retire from rugby after suffering a serious injury

Evans sustained a severe neck injury on February 13, 2010 in Scotland's 31-24 defeat to Wales in the Six Nations and was forced to retire in July that year.

Scotland will take on Wales on Sunday in the second round of fixtures in this year's competition.

Ovil McKenzie beats Tony Dodson

McKenzie stops Dodson in style to retain Commonwealth title

Derby veteran Ovill McKenzie retained his Commonwealth light-heavyweight title with a convincing third-round stoppage of Liverpool's Tony Dodson in Manchester.

The 32-year-old, who won the vacant title by beating Jeff Evans inside a minute in November, dominated from the start against the former British super-middleweight champion.

All at sea: Ovill McKenzie and Tony Dodson fall to the canvas

All at sea: Ovill McKenzie and Tony Dodson fall to the canvas

McKenzie landed a cracking right hand toward the end of the first round and, although Dodson rallied in the second, another big right in round three dumped Dodson to the canvas.

Despite the Liverpool man's brave attempts to scramble to his feet, McKenzie rained down shots as he looked to finish the contest and, with Dodson trapped on the ropes, the referee had no choice but to wave it off.

Lizzie Armitstead: Team is stronger after Nicole Cooke row

The team is stronger after row between Cooke and I, says Armitstead

Olympic favourite Lizzie Armitstead insists her public spat with team-mate Nicole Cooke has been put to bed and promised there will be no 'grudge match' as the fight to lead Great Britain's road race team intensifies.

The 22-year-old Commonwealth Games silver-medallist was outspoken in her criticism of Cooke in last year's road cycling World Championships.

Armitstead had to settle for seventh in Copenhagen after crashing while Cooke, the 2008 world and Olympic champion, came fourth.

The Yorkshirewoman later confronted her Welsh team-mate and publicly accused her of 'riding for herself'.

Golden girl: Lizzie Armitstead (left) with Victoria Pendleton

Golden girl: Lizzie Armitstead (left) with Victoria Pendleton

The pair are now vying to lead the British team at this summer's London Games and while Armitstead's comments have intensified the battle, she has no regrets about speaking out.

She said: 'I'm still relatively new to cycling and fairly inexperienced with the media and if someone asks me a question, when I'm feeling emotional and angry about something, then I'm going to give a response off the cuff.

'It's something I've learned from – that things do get blown out of proportion – but I stand by what I said and I'm happy I said it because it has brought the issue out and I think we'll be a better team for it.'

Armitstead admits the pair will never be firm friends but insists they can maintain a working relationship.

Spat: Armitstead and Cooke (right) fell out last year

Spat: Armitstead and Cooke (right) fell out last year

Spat: Armitstead and Cooke (right) fell out last year

'We've had a conversation and it's behind us,' she said.

'I'm sure the media would love us to have a grudge match all the way until the Games but it's just not the way it is.'

Armitstead, visiting her old school, Whartons Primary School in Otley, with official London 2012 supplier Hornby, also has September's World Championships in Holland in mind.

In 2008, Cooke achieved the rare double of Olympic and world titles.
However, Armitstead is planning to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the team in that competition by riding in support of team-mate Emma Pooley.

Self-sacrifice: Armitstead wants to help team-mate Emma Pooley

Self-sacrifice: Armitstead wants to help team-mate Emma Pooley

'The World Championships are not my main focus to be honest because they are in Holland and they finish on the top of a very steep climb, which suits Emma Pooley perfectly,' she explained.

'I want to be the leader at the Olympics on the London course because I believe it is perfectly suited to me and I think the Worlds course is perfectly suited to Emma, so without a doubt I'll be working for Emma there.

'I'm totally confident that Emma is a team player, and I am as well.

'I would definitely work with someone if they had a better chance than me and I think on that course, Emma will do.'

Ricky Burns set for Scotland homecoming fight in Glasgow on March 10

Homecoming for Burns as lightweight champion prepares for Glasgow bout in March

Ricky Burns will return to Glasgow to defend his WBO interim lightweight title.

The Coatbridge fighter will make his first defence at the Braehead Arena on March 10, with the opponent still to be decided.

Homecoming: Ricky Burns will fight in Glasgow next March

Homecoming: Ricky Burns will fight in Glasgow next March

Burns has travelled to England for his last two fights, making the second defence of his WBO super-featherweight title against Nicky Cook in Liverpool before stepping up to lightweight in style against Australian Michael Katsidis at Wembley.

Burns, who has been linked with a fight against British champion Anthony Crolla and lightweight rival Kevin Mitchell, said: “I belong with the best in the division and next year I hope that I can take on one of the other title holders and unify the belts.

“I”ll have a rest over Christmas and then I”m back hard in training in January getting ready for the March 10 date.”

Frank Warren Promotions also announced that Nathan Cleverly will defend his WBO light-heavyweight belt at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on February 25, also against an unnamed opponent.

The 24-year-old said: “My reputation has been building with each fight and when I beat Tony Bellew it was the crowning moment for me and I believe that the time is perfect to return to Wales.”

Meanwhile, Burns” sparring partner, John Simpson, admits his British and Commonwealth featherweight title fight against Lee Selby is his last chance to push for overseas recognition.

The Scot, who faces Welshman Selby at York Hall in London tonight, has already challenged successfully for the British title on two occasions and won three Commonwealth title fights but has never boxed on the European or world stage.

Hard hitting: Burns beat Michael Katsidis to win the WBO interim Lightweight title in November

Hard hitting: Burns beat Michael Katsidis to win the WBO interim Lightweight title in November

Simpson, who lost both belts in separate controversial contests against Stephen Smith, wants to emulate Burns.

The Greenock fighter, 28, said: “Me and Ricky have been sparring for years and I believe he has gone to another level since winning the world title.

“That”s where I should be. We are still very competitive when we”re sparring.

“Other guys who have won the British title have had European chances. I won the Lonsdale belt outright and didn”t get a shot.

“It”s do-or-die stage. I don”t know how many times I can go down this road. In the back of my mind I know time is running out.

BBC Sports Personality 2011: Youth award candidates all female

Now Sports Personality of the Year choice is all female… the Young Sports Personality of the Year that is

The BBC have announced their shortlist for the Young Sports Personality of the Year award.

And after last week”s furore when the shortlist for the main Sports Personality of the Year award didn”t feature a single female athlete, it is noticeable that the top three are female.

Enlarge Water star she is: Eleanor Simmonds is a candidate to win the award

Water star she is: Eleanor Simmonds is a candidate to win the award

Lucy Garner, the junior road race world champion, two-time European Paralympic gold medalist Eleanor Simmonds and British Ladies” Open amateur golf champion Lauren Taylor are the three top candidates.

The shortlist was decided on by a panel chaired by BBC presenter John Inverdale. The panel also included presenters Jake Humphrey and Sonali Shah, Newsround”s Ore Oduba, previous winner Amy Spencer and representatives from the Youth Sport Trust and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year editorial team.

In the swing: Lauren Taylor

In the swing: Lauren Taylor

Garner became the junior road race world champion in Copenhagen this year, making her Britain”s first medallist in the event since Nicole Cooke a decade earlier. She also claimed victory in the Youth Commonwealth Games road race.

Simmonds won four medals in individual events at the European Swimming Championships in Berlin – two gold, a silver and a bronze. She previously won the Young Sports Personality of the Year award in 2008, following her superb performances at the Beijing Paralympic Games.

Taylor became the youngest ever winner of the Ladies” British Open Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush.

A succession of female athletes, including Dame Kelly Holmes, were highly critical of the main list last week.

Chrissie Wellington, the ironman triathlon world champion, announced she would boycott the event in protest.

World swimming champion Rebecca Adlington expressed surprise after what she said was a successful year for British women athletes, and suggested that past winners of the awardshould be consulted.

The BBC currently have no say on the athletes in contention for the main prize. It is decided by national newspaper and magazine editors and journalists.

Pedal power: Lucy Garner (left) is also up for the award

Pedal power: Lucy Garner (left) is also up for the award

The winner will be announced on December 22. The bookmakers” current favourite to win the main award is Mark Cavendish.

US Open golf champion Rory McIlroy and world 5,000m champion Mo Farah are also expected to challenge for the top honour.

London 2012 Olympics: Charles van Commenee demands great start to year

Van Commenee demands GB make flying start to Olympic year in match against Russia

Charles van Commenee expects Great Britain”s athletes to hit the ground running in their first international competition of the 2012 Olympic year.

The British team will take on Russia at next month”s Aviva International Match in Glasgow in their first outing since last summer”s World Championships in Daegu.

UK Athletics head coach Van Commenee said: “It is important we get off to a great start in 2012 and start the year with a strong performance.

Theatre of dreams: Team GB are edging ever nearer to the 2012 Games

Theatre of dreams: Team GB are edging ever nearer to the 2012 Games

“Those athletes competing in Glasgow as part of their 2012 build-up will be facing world class opposition and it will be interesting to see how they perform there and throughout the indoor season.

“The Russian team has won the last three times it competed in Glasgow so we will have a tough opening fixture.

“But it is an Olympic year and it is great to get the opportunity to compete in front of our home crowd. Our athletes aspire to be the best and those selected for the meet will look to perform strongly in their first major fixture of the year.

Time to shine: UKA head coach Charles van Commenee (right)

Time to shine: UKA head coach Charles van Commenee (right)

“Every chance to compete against quality opposition in 2012 is another stepping stone towards the athletes” targets, and the Aviva International Match is a superb opportunity for athletes to begin this important year with a strong performance in an Aviva GB & NI team vest.”

Teams from the USA, Germany and a Commonwealth representative line-up will also compete in the event at Kelvin Hall on January 28.