Tag Archives: domination

Amir Khan suffers fractured hands in Carlos Molina win

Khan's plan for world domination could be derailed by fractured hands

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UPDATED:

10:56 GMT, 17 December 2012

Amir Khan faces an anxious wait to discover when he can return to action after fracturing both hands during his comprehensive stoppage of Carlos Molina on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Brit took the first step towards rebuilding his career following successive world title defeats to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia.

Molina was pulled out by his corner at the end of the 10th round having suffered a nasty cut during a lop-sided contest.

Demolition: Amir Khan eased to a comprehensive victory over Carlos Molina

Demolition: Amir Khan eased to a comprehensive victory over Carlos Molina

Khan had his hands checked by a doctor last night and will visit hospital today for a further update.

A common injury among boxers, the rehabilitation period can be up to five months depending on whether surgery is required.

That could rule Khan out until next summer, upsetting his plans to fight Josesito Lopez in the spring before rematches with Garcia and Peterson later in the year.

Costly: Khan fractured both hands during his victory in Los Angeles on Saturday

Costly: Khan fractured both hands during his victory in Los Angeles on Saturday

A picture of the light-welterweight's damaged hands was posted on Twitter yesterday, which followed a revelation from his former trainer Freddie Roach who said last week that Khan was wary of throwing his right hand after hurting his wrist.

Khan is now working with Virgil Hunter, who also trains super-middleweight world champion Andre Ward, and was delighted with his return to the ring.

'I thought I stuck to my gameplan and
was keeping faith in my jab,' he said. 'Carlos took some really good
shots but was still coming forward, so I thought to myself I'd better
stick to this gameplan.

Back on track: Khan hopes to fight for a world title next year after his victory

Back on track: Khan hopes to fight for a world title next year after his victory

'Virgil
Hunter, my new coach, is a great trainer and I'm getting better at
boxing, being a complete fighter. He's teaching me things, like speed,
patience, picking the right shots and when to throw them.

'Sometimes I'm too brave for my own good but now I know it is better to stick to a gameplan.'

Andy Murray should cheer up, says John McEnroe

Pot. Kettle. Black Notoriously grumpy McEnroe tells Murray to cheer up now he's won a Major

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UPDATED:

23:13 GMT, 6 December 2012

John McEnroe was never known for his sunny demeanour on a tennis court, but he still has some advice for Andy Murray – cheer up now that you have won your first Major.

The veteran American thinks a more positive outlook should help Murray in his quest to add to his US Open next season, although he acknowledged that he was hardly a shining example when he was at the top of the sport.

'It would be helpful to see Andy be sort of “I want to be here and I’m loving this”,' the American, who yesterday beat Jeremy Bates 6-4, 6-1 in the Statoil Masters at the Royal Albert Hall, said. 'The next time he wins a Major it would be nice to look a little bit more excited,'

Cheer up: John McEnroe, renowned for his fire on court, has told Andy Murray he should be happier on court as it may help him win more

Cheer up: John McEnroe, renowned for his fire on court, has told Andy Murray he should be happier on court as it may help him win more

Cheer up: John McEnroe, renowned for his fire on court, has told Andy Murray he should be happier on court as it may help him win more

'I say it as an ex-player and someone who wished that perhaps at times I had done that a little bit more. Maybe he was more relieved than anything else when he won at Flushing Meadows.

'One of the things that worried me is that he used to get so negative that not only would it turn himself off in a way, but it turned off people watching him.

'It's like when I saw Azarenka play Sharapova at the US Open, the grunting, it takes away from what you're watching. You're trying to watch and it was a great battle, but it feels like it's hard to stay with it as much as I would like to, given the quality.'

McEnroe believes that Murray has everything to play for next season in what could be a year of change for the men’s game after so much domination by four players.

'This is around the time that something is going to give. Roger is amazing, no doubt about that, but he’s 31. Rafa is the one we don’t know about, he hasn’t played for seven months. I hope to God he does have two or three more good years.

Eye on the ball: McEnroe beat British tennis star Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday

Eye on the ball: McEnroe beat British tennis star Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday

Eye on the ball: McEnroe beat British tennis star Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday

'Novak's had two years at No 1, so it wouldn’t be unheard of to feel like there'd be some type of let-down on some level. Maybe, then again, if he won two majors next year it wouldn’t be shocking.

'Andy's sort of set himself up for doing something big as well. Someone else is shortly going to come through, I’ve been wondering myself who that is.

'Del Potro to me would be the most obvious choice of who’s got the experience and knows what it's like to go long and win one.

'If he can stay healthy and get himself just a little bit fitter, which is what you've got to do against these guys. Then there’ll be someone sort of unknown.

'I thought it was going to be Milos Raonic, but he’s sort of levelled off in a way, and I thought there were other guys that were in the mix that seem to have dropped off. But someone’s going to appear.

'Andy has set himself for a big year, although he missed a few opportunities at the end of this season, still it was the best one he’s ever had.

'If he doesn’t take it up a notch he would be disappointed but if he wins one Major that would be a good year. They are not easy to win.'

Reasons to smile: Murray claimed his first Major at Flushing Meadows in September

Reasons to smile: Murray claimed his first Major at Flushing Meadows in September

McEnroe has been impressed by what he has seen of Laura Robson and Heather Watson but feels the former has the potential to go further.

'Heather has done well but it might be a bit tougher for her because of her size. Robson to me is the one with the bigger upside. She has got a lot of ability and clearly if she is committed and in tip-top shape, I think she could easily be top 10.

'The US Open is the best she has ever played. I think she can do something big personally. I saw that four years ago.

'Hopefully she will have a consistent period to get where she should be. I think she could be really dangerous.

'She is a natural tennis player but she is going to have to be like a Berdych in the men's game – big and powerful. In natural talent I think she is good as anyone out there.'

Despite that view, it was ultra-competitive and mobile Watson who finished the year as British No 1. She is in the middle of a winter training block that has been mostly done in Florida, although on Thursday night she was playing a mixed doubles exhibition alongside Tim Henman at the Statoil Masters.

Pride of Britain: Heather Watson and Laura Robson have bright futures

Pride of Britain: Heather Watson and Laura Robson have bright futures

One of things she will be doing this week is sitting down with her father Ian in what is like an annual general meeting to determine her goals and mark her performance of this season.

'We have this big meeting every year when we discuss the targets for the next season. It lasts about three hours and we talk very openly and honestly and I mark my performance at each tournament. It sort of guides me through the year.

'Twelve months ago my target was to break the top 50 and win an event on the WTA Tour, and I managed both. I don’t know what we will come up with for next year yet but the training is going very well and I’m feeling very confident.'

India v England: Alastair Cook"s best hope is to bat first and dig in for victory

England's best hope is to bat first and dig in for victory but Indian spin onslaught looms

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 13 November 2012

It is not just history but also all cricketing logic that tells you England’s attempt to earn their first series win in India for almost 30 years will end badly.

Not only are England attempting to go where very few have gone successfully before but they are doing so at the end of a year in which all their hard-earned progress has threatened to collapse around their ears.

This is arguably the toughest assignment in world cricket, tougher than home and away Ashes successes and tougher still than running into a South African brick wall last summer that saw England’s world No 1 status crumble.

The eyes have it: England captain Alastair Cook is ready to lead his team in the first Test in Ahmedabad

The eyes have it: England captain Alastair Cook is ready to lead his team in the first Test in Ahmedabad

Who could have foreseen, when England were thrashing India 4-0 less than 18 months ago, the chain of events that sees them as firm underdogs with plenty to prove under a new captain in this much-anticipated return series

The talk after that glorious Indian summer was of world domination but it has been followed by the return of old failings against Pakistani and Sri Lankan spin, that defeat by South Africa and the departure of captain Andrew Strauss at the start of a bitter dispute that saw Kevin Pietersen cast into the wilderness.

Pietersen is back now and his ‘reintegration’ has appeared to have gone well in the early weeks of this tour, but the real test of whether the team spirit Andy Flower holds so dear has survived will come here in the first Test.

That is when we will see whether Pietersen really does hold England in greater affection than the Delhi Daredevils these days and whether his fellow batsmen really have learned their lessons in playing high-quality slow bowling in conditions that remain alien to them.

Bristling with intent: Tim Bresnan (left) lays on the suncream in the nets to mock Jonny Bairstow's moustache for Movember

Bristling with intent: Tim Bresnan (left) lays on the suncream in the nets to mock Jonny Bairstow's moustache for Movember

Bristling with intent: Tim Bresnan (left) lays on the suncream in the nets to mock Jonny Bairstow's moustache for Movember

It is the batting that has let England down since their giddy rise to the top of world cricket and it is how the batsmen cope now against the spin threat of Ravi Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and possibly Harbhajan Singh that will go a long way towards deciding this series.

On the surface all looks well after the extensive practice provided by a Dubai training camp and three first-class warm-up matches. Five of England’s batsmen have scored centuries on tour already while Nick Compton, with three half-centuries full of nuggety application, has earned his chance to step into Strauss’s opening shoes alongside new leader Alastair Cook.

Yet all those runs have come against attacks lacking quality spin of any kind — even so, part-timer Yuvraj Singh was able to take five wickets against England in Mumbai — with India coach Duncan Fletcher’s fingertips all over a deliberate and canny policy to starve the visiting batsmen of the practice they need most.

It's catching: England wicketkeeper Matt Prior (left) dives during a fielding drill on Tuesday

It's catching: England wicketkeeper Matt Prior (left) dives during a fielding drill on Tuesday

There is little mystery about Ashwin
and Ojha — on paper they look weaker than the Pakistan pair of Saeed
Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, who caused so much consternation — but they have
proved far too potent for West Indies and New Zealand in India and
England’s spin demons are etched deep into their psyche.

It is a surprise to see that what little success England have had in India in modern times has invariably come when they have bowled first because surely their best chance in this four-Test series is to win the toss, bat and dig in for totals as near to 500 as possible.

Dangerman: India's new superstar Virat Kohli

Dangerman: India's new superstar Virat Kohli

A top three of Cook, Compton and
Jonathan Trott will earn few marks for artistic impression but they
could prove a mighty effective combination here where concentration and
discipline will be key. Only if these hardy competitors provide a
decent platform can Pietersen and Ian Bell, who just could take any
match away from India, be expected to dominate.

Samit Patel has been known more for his battle against the bulge than what he has done in the middle in his international career so far but this might be the series where he shows that there is more to him than meets the eye.

Patel is an accomplished player of spin and an under-rated spinner himself and he will take the No 6 position now confident that his time as a Test player has come. I just have a hunch that he will have a productive all-round series.

The bowling has stood up well in the face of England’s annus horribilis but their hopes now have not been helped by question marks over three members of the first-choice attack.

Stuart Broad looked fully fit in the nets on Tuesday but Steven Finn was not able to bowl and seems certain to miss out on the first Test with Tim Bresnan set to step in for him. Graeme Swann, meanwhile, will be short of overs even though he has now returned here after spending some time at home with his unwell baby daughter.

Getting loose: India batsman Yuvraj Singh receives a massage at The Sardar Patel Stadium

Getting loose: India batsman Yuvraj Singh receives a massage at The Sardar Patel Stadium

India were a shambles in England last year but are a totally different proposition at home and will be desperate to make up for the embarrassment inflicted upon them when they lost the status of top Test dogs themselves.

Yet they have their own issues to contemplate. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have gone while Sachin Tendulkar cannot go on for ever and both Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan have been showing signs of their age.

If Ashwin and Ojha hold the bowling key, then much could depend with the bat on India’s new superstar Virat Kohli, who has enjoyed the bulk of his success so far in limited-overs cricket and has only played in 10 Tests.

Cook has been surpassing expectations ever since he was plucked from an A tour in the Caribbean to score a hundred on debut in Nagpur six years ago and at least he knows that few will expect England to still be in the series when he returns to the scene of that initial triumph for the final Test next month.

If they are, then much of the misery of the last year, including the turmoil of the Pietersen saga, will have been forgotten and England will be back on track. But it will be a mighty difficult task. I expect India to win by two clear Tests.

Ryder Cup 2012: Graeme McDowell Exclusive

Graeme McDowell Exclusive: Beware the old Tiger trap, Rory!

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 21 September 2012

Ryder roar: McDowell celebrates at Celtic Manor in 2010

Ryder roar: McDowell celebrates at Celtic Manor

Two years ago he big brothered him at Celtic Manor. Now, on the eve of another Ryder Cup, Graeme McDowell has just one piece of advice for his great pal Rory McIlroy – don't fall into the trap that ensnared Tiger Woods.

'I always think the Ryder Cup is an interesting one for those guys at that level who spend their year conjuring up plans for world domination, and this year Rory has executed his very well,' said McDowell.

'It's not the expectation that gives them a problem. We see every week how well they cope with expectation. But how do you suddenly switch into team mode That is the difficult one for them, and I think Tiger struggled with that for a while.

'I'm sure Rory will manage it. He manages everything. But if there's one area where I feel I can help him this time, it is in making that adjustment.'

Hair we go: McDowell brothered McIlroy at Celtic Manor

Hair we go: McDowell brothered McIlroy at Celtic Manor

Golf blog

It is a typically thoughtful response from G-Mac, who will have no problem making the adjustment himself. Scarcely had he finished holing the winning putt at the last match than he was circling the date for this one.

In his head, he's already got Europe's line-up for the opening morning's foursomes mapped out.

He said: 'One of the great things we've got going for us this year is we have a few tried and trusted partnerships, and they've all got a charisma that I think will help in terms of offsetting the hostility of the crowd.

Centre of attention: McDowell's win over Mahan in 2010 has gone down in legend

Centre of attention: McDowell's win over Mahan in 2010 has gone down in legend

'Guys like Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald, myself and Rory. Poults Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, and Lee Westwood and maybe Paul Lawrie.

'These are guys who are used to the environment, and won't be intimidated by it.

'At the US PGA Championship recently we had a meeting and talked briefly about Brookline in 1999. I was talking to Paul who was a rookie that year and playing with Monty, and he was telling me about the dog's abuse Monty got. But it's different now, with so many of our players living over here. Sure it will be a cauldron, who'd want it any other way But it won't be a nasty one.'

Lest anyone should think McDowell is overlooking the other four members of his team, he added: 'They might turn out to be our key players because they could get underestimated.

Playing away: McDowell will make up the European team who travel to Medinah

Playing away: McDowell will make up the European team who travel to Medinah

'It's only natural if you drew, say, Frankie Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts in the fourballs to think that might be better than drawing what is perceived as a more glamorous pair. But who'd want to play against Nicolas in fourballs, someone who hits it miles and makes a ton of birdies'

McDowell's contribution to the last victory two years ago has gone down as the stuff of legend, of course. With Europe struggling in the singles, it all came down to his match against Hunter Mahan.

'It's amazing to think you practise all your life to put yourself in that position and then when it actually happens you feel so uncomfortable it is terrifying,' said McDowell.

'My abiding memory of that match I remember counting down the holes and just hoping it would be over soon and that we would have the right result.

'You try hard to enjoy it but that all comes in the aftermath. At the time you're just relying on instinct and belief in yourself to see you through.' Given all that, would he like to play last man out again

'Absolutely. I'd love the responsibility. I'd have that peace of mind of knowing I can do it. Would I pull it off Someone might shoot 64 on me.

'I don't see myself playing near the top of the order in the singles. You leave that to the most charismatic members of the team, like Westy and Sergio and maybe Rory. I see myself as a plodding kind who can beat anyone on his day and grind out a point for the cause. So yes, it might come down to my match again. And if it does, I'll be ready.

'I'm sure Poults is like me in that he leaves the Ryder Cup wishing he could bottle the intensity he feels that week. We're probably guys who need to play at an eight out of 10 intensity to operate at our best but all too often on a Thursday at a strokeplay event we're probably just a five or a six.

'At the Ryder Cup, of course, the lowest you're operating on is eight. Talking to you now, I can feel the buzz of it in my brain. It switches me on.'

Women"s British Open: Jiyai Shin wins to make Asian record

Shin the star at Hoylake as Asian grip on women's golf extends to all four majors

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UPDATED:

20:58 GMT, 16 September 2012

Fourteen years was all it took for golf in the Far East to go from Asia minor to Asia major.

Fourteen years after Se Ri Pak became the first Asian to win a major championship, her Korean compatriot Jiyai Shin completed an overwhelming nine-shot victory in the Ricoh British Open at Royal Liverpool on Sunday that symbolised the region's complete domination of women's golf.

Not only have Asian golfers now completed the Grand Slam this year, they have won the last seven majors in succession.

Champion: Jiyai Shin celebrates with the trophy and on the green (below)

Champion: Jiyai Shin celebrates with the trophy and on the green (below)

Shin's 18th green celebration

Alongside the brilliant Taiwanese
Yani Tseng, the driving force, of course, has been the Koreans, where
producing a good woman golfer seems to be the primary ambition for many
households.

Shin completed her victory with one of the great performances in the recent history of this event.

It is never easy to follow up a
great round, and on Saturday she scored 64, hitting all 18 greens in
regulation to record the lowest total seen in competition on this, the
most historic course in England.

Yet Shin never broke her stride on
Sunday during the course of the final 36 holes played out in conditions
that varied from the benign in the morning to the frightful during
mid-afternoon.

Runner up: Inbee Park came second at Hoylake

Runner up: Inbee Park came second at Hoylake

As the wind blew and the rain came in
sideways, the championship was reduced to ridicule when play was
suspended for a short time for no obvious reason, and contrary to the
rules of the game.

The master commentator Peter Alliss mixed mirth with indignation.

'Yes we know it's miserable, but you can't stop play because it is miserable,' he said.

When one player seemingly carried on
before the hooter sounded to signal play could continue, he added: 'Why
not play when you like, and dole out some prize money at the finish'

Away we go: Shin tees off on the 15th hole

Away we go: Shin tees off on the 15th hole

A poor tournament for the British contingent had two small bright spots.

Scot Catriona Matthew, the 2009
champion, shot 75 to squeeze into the top 10 and Holly Clyburn, 21, from
Cleethorpes, came within two strokes of finishing as the leading
amateur.

Meanwhile, at the Italian Open,
Martin Kaymer picked a timely moment to turn in his first top five this
season, finishing with two 67s in his last event before the Ryder Cup.

Team-mate Nicolas Colsaerts finished alongside him in fifth spot of an event won by the Spaniard, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Sandstorm: Paula Creamer plays out of a bunker

Sandstorm: Paula Creamer plays out of a bunker

London Olympics 2012: Anthony Joshua won"t disappoint us as Audley Harrison did, says Barry McGuigan

Joshua is ready for a golden future and won't disappoint us as Audley did, says McGuigan

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 11 August 2012

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Anthony Joshua has the chance to join a list of sporting greats when he steps into the ring for the opportunity to win boxing gold in the super-heavyweight division.

And while Britain’s last Olympic champion in the category, Audley Harrison in 2000 at Sydney, failed to live up to expectations in his professional career, the boxing fraternity believe that 22-year-old Londoner Joshua can go on to become the real deal.

If Joshua beats the seasoned Italian fighter Roberto Cammarelle in front of a partisan crowd at the ExCeL Centre, his name can be added to a list of former Olympic heavyweight and super heavyweight champions that includes Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko.

List of legends: Anthony Joshua (left) is aiming to join a pantheon of greas by claiming super-heavyweight gold

List of legends: Anthony Joshua (left) is aiming to join a pantheon of greas by claiming super-heavyweight gold

Former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan said: ‘Anthony is a phenomenal talent. He’s 6ft 6in, weighs 18st and can run the 100 metres in 11 seconds.

‘The difference between him and Audley is that this kid can fight in the trenches. He has a big heart and he loves a tear-up. I have no doubt he will win Olympic gold and within five years we’re looking at world domination in the professional ranks.’

Former Olympic and world champion Lennox Lewis watched Joshua beat Kazakhstan’s Ivan Dychko 13-11 on Friday night to reach the final and was similarly impressed.

‘There’s no reason why Anthony can’t be the next great British heavyweight,’ said Lewis. ‘He has all the attributes. I’m a big fan.’

High praise indeed, but Joshua appears to have won as many friends inside the Athletes’ Village since he first entered two weeks ago. ‘It’s incredible what he’s achieved in such little time,’ said Team GB boxing coach Paul Walmsley.

On the up: Joshua reaches the super-heavyweight final following victory over Ivan Dychko

On the up: Joshua reaches the super-heavyweight final following victory over Ivan Dychko

‘He’s such a lovely fella out of the ring, but inside he’s a dog. We’ve nicknamed him Crocodile Dundee because there are 20,000 athletes in that village and we reckon only two don’t know who he is.’

Eighteen months ago, however, Joshua could have thrown it all away after being arrested for possessing cannabis with intent to supply the drug. He was suspended from Britain’s boxing squad and, after pleading guilty, was sentenced to a 12-month community order.

It was the wake-up call he needed and from that moment on, he has thrown himself into his sport. ‘Anthony lives and breathes boxing,’ added Walmsley.

The promoters are keeping a close eye on him and it is rumoured that he has already turned down a 50,000 offer to turn professional after the Olympics, wanting instead to secure the world amateur crown next year.

Life-changing: Joshua is braced for the challenge

Life-changing: Joshua is braced for the challenge

As for Joshua, he is ready for a potentially life-changing challenge.

‘Roberto will be very tough but I’ll go into the fight knowing that I’ve already beaten him,’ he said. ‘I’m very focused. I’m keeping my feet on the ground but I’ve got better and better as these Games have gone on.

‘It’s been incredible being in the village and seeing Team GB athletes returning with medals, many of them gold. It’s been inspiring and now I want to put the icing on the cake for Team GB and the boxing team and win what could be the last gold of the Games for my country.’

London 2012 Olympics: Chinese on a long march to world domination

Chinese on a long march to world domination

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UPDATED:

22:01 GMT, 31 July 2012

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Yi Jianlian, a 7ft tall former NBA basketball player, carried the Chinese flag into the Olympics opening ceremony.

He was the eighth successive
representative of his sport to fulfil the flag-bearing role since China
sent their first full team to an Olympics, in Los Angeles in 1984. It is
the height that wins them the job, a symbol of how the world's most
populous nation wants to be seen standing tall in the world.

That march through the Olympic Stadium on
Friday night has continued unabated through these Games. So far they
have amassed 11 gold medals from diving, gymnastics, shooting, swimming
and weightlifting, six silver and three bronze.

Walking tall: Yi Jianlian leads China at the Opening Ceremony

Walking tall: Yi Jianlian leads China at
the Opening Ceremony

Attention has focused most specifically on the 16-year-old swimming phenomenon Ye Shiwen and how she swam the final 50 metres freestyle leg of her 400 individual medley race faster than Ryan Lochte managed in the men's equivalent just minutes earlier. It was a performance that caused her to deny accusations of drug taking.

She was supported by Lord Coe, chairman of the London Olympics. 'You have to be very careful jumping to the conclusion that a great breakthrough in sport is down to anything other than great coaching, hard work and formidable talent,' he said.

'The balance of judgment always has to be given to the athlete. I can think of times in my own career where I took big chunks of time off world records. I broke the record of Alberto Juantorena – one of the greatest 800m runners of all time – and I know people questioned that. People were saying nobody's run the first lap that fast, nobody's held on that well down the back straight.

'In 1979 my personal best was a smidgeon under 1:44. /07/31/article-2181807-144DFFD1000005DC-282_468x495.jpg” width=”468″ height=”495″ alt=”Big star: China's Yi Jianlian (left)” class=”blkBorder” />

Big star: China's Yi Jianlian (left)

Big star: Swimming sensation Ye Shiwen

Big star: Swimming sensation Ye Shiwen

Suspicions will linger about Ye but Coe is right that hard work is driving the whole Chinese machine, as well as limitless funding and a cultural structure that could not be applied in Britain.

China has what amounts to a national sports machine in the image of the old Eastern Bloc. Children as young as six are tested for their size, flexibility and skills. The sporty youngsters are then sent away to one of 3,000 schools and fed up the structure from local level to state, regional and national schools.

I stood in a table tennis hall at a school in central Beijing. There were rows of tables, minimally 100 in all. Earnest kids fine-tuned their skills. This focus is replicated in other sports. The likes of diving and gymnastics, with emphasis on suppleness and balance, are grouped together.

'Winning pride at the Olympics' was the name given to the project when Beijing won the right to stage the 2008 Games. So successful has it been that 28 years after the Chinese first entered as a proper delegation they are the strongest Olympic nation.

The medal table from Beijing told the story of their triumph: China won 51 gold medals, the USA 36. Some believed that the haul was a Chinese zenith, a one-off for a home Games.

All gold: Chinese gymnasts

All gold: Chinese gymnasts…

... and divers

… and divers

That appears not to be the case, judging by how the London Olympics have begun. China have yet to scale their Everest. They still have scope to improve in other sports over the next few years: track and field, rowing, sailing and swimming. They could also turn their attention to team sports, having not sought to prioritise those because the medal rewards are fewer. For example, women's football, a big deal to America, represents an inefficient investment with a return of one medal per squad of 18.

With a population of 1.3 billion, they can do what they like. It is essentially a numbers game.

Gold medalist: Siling Yi

Gold medalist: Siling Yi

Can anyone stop them American sport lives off sponsorship rather than government subsidy, so they must find ways to be smarter: better coaching and recruitment. They could also, like China, embrace sports they largely neglect: rowing (other than the eight, which they love), shooting, canoeing, shooting, table tennis, archery, badminton. Strangely, the American public, as opposed to their Olympic Association, are blind to the emergence of China dominance.

That is partly because the American convention is to present the medal table in order of medals won rather than first counting the number of golds. On that score, they triumphed in Beijing 110 to 100.

All the while, China are being shrewd in pouring money into women's sport because it is relatively poorly funded around the world. The majority of their Olympic team are women.

The objections to the Chinese model are obvious. They take children away from their families and factory-produce athletes.

The other side of that is that the chosen ones, usually poor, are fed and cared for. Some fame and some money is their reward for ultimate success.

Criticism of the Chinese juggernaut prompted defensive comments in the China Daily newspaper yesterday. 'Our athletes are not medal machines,' said one contributor.

'They are supposed to enjoy the Games and make people want to join in sport.

'People feel proud for them no matter what results they get as long as they did their best. No one is a failure in the Olympics.

'China used to use gold medals to prove we are a strong nation and gain respect from others. We don't need that any more.'

In truth, the Chinese model defies the ethos of sport as we know it in Britain. It is force feeding rather than fun. It is also, for now and the foreseeable future, the way to dominate the Olympic world.

Kell Brook prepares to face Carson Jones

I can be a superstar! Brook targets world domination after taking care of Jones

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UPDATED:

15:01 GMT, 6 July 2012

Kell Brook believes he is on the verge of becoming British boxing's next superstar as he edges towards world title glory.

The unbeaten Sheffield welterweight has seen his profile soar in the last year as his slick and powerful fighting style has captured the public's imagination.

The 26-year-old is biding his time for a title shot as he works his way into a mandatory challenger position and he can move a step closer with victory over dangerous American Carson Jones at Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night.

Looking sharp: Kell Brook during the weigh in at the Winter Garden

Looking sharp: Kell Brook during the weigh in at the Winter Garden

The two meet in an eliminator for the IBF title with the winner moving to within one final step of a crack at the belt. Brook knows an impressive win against Oklahoma native Jones will give his reputation across the Atlantic a real boost too.

'The Americans are starting to hear about me now and so I want to be making a statement in this fight and taking care of Carson in style,' he said.

'They are talking about me along with their elite fighters over there and saying “this English kid, he's a force to be reckoned with”.

'It's looking like I could be British boxing's next superstar. Sky love me and it's all there for me.

Fighting fit: Carson Jones looks ready to go during the weigh in

Fighting fit: Carson Jones looks ready to go during the weigh in

'It's up to me to get that title and do Britain proud, to go over there to other people's backyards and really take them by storm.'

Jones is perceived in Britain as another stepping stone towards Brook's world title shot but the heavy-handed Oklahoma man is ranked higher by the IBF and has just as much reason for optimism.

Whereas Brook has won all of his 27 fights, Jones' record is far from unblemished.

The American suffered eight defeats earlier in his career but after coming up the hard way, has won his last eight by stoppage.

And while Brook dislikes the 25-year-old, he respects his fistic achievements.

'This is a chance to earn even more recognition by beating a guy who is well respected even if he isn't well known over here,' he said.

'He's been sparring with top fighters, he's had the training, he's turned his career around.

'He's above me in the ratings and we know he is probably going to be my toughest fight to date.'

Head on: Brook and Jones square up after the weigh in

Head on: Brook and Jones square up after the weigh in

Brook is fifth in the IBF ratings while Jones is third. The winner at the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday will then square off with number four Hector Saldivia for the right to challenge for the title, recently won by Randall Bailey.

Jones insists his defeats will actually prove to be the making of him in the long run.

He said: 'I've come through the hard way and I know the ins and outs and what it takes. I know I'm getting in his head and I think that has something to do with his maturity levels.

Fighting talk: Brook and Jones trash talk ahead of the bout in Sheffield

Fighting talk: Brook and Jones trash talk ahead of the bout in Sheffield

'I'm a better fighter because of the hard times. You learn more from losses than you do from wins. He's been hand-fed all of his opponents while I've had to come through the hard way. As a result, I've learned a lot and am a better fighter and a better man for that.'

At the weigh-in at the Winter Garden in Sheffield, Brook came in at 10 stone 6 lbs 10 ounces while Jones registered 10st 6lb 6oz.

A stellar undercard sees Welsh success story Kerry Hope defend his European middleweight title against the man he won it from, Poland's Grzegorz Proksa, and countryman Gavin Rees puts his European lightweight belt on the line against Derry Mathews.

Former Olympian Kal Yafai makes his professional debut at bantamweight against Delroy Spencer.

VIDEO: It's going to be one Kell of a fight

Wimbledon 2012: Roger Federer feeling in fine fettle

Federer feeling in fine fettle as Swiss star aims to secure seventh Wimbledon title

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UPDATED:

14:00 GMT, 23 June 2012

Roger Federer goes into Wimbledon feeling 'perfect' and confident of ending the grand slam domination of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Nadal's win over Djokovic in the final of the French Open two weeks ago was the fourth consecutive time they had met in a slam decider, setting a new record.

Federer was no match for Djokovic in their semi-final at Roland Garros, losing in straight sets, but the six-time Wimbledon champion thinks things can be different at the All England Club this year.

Aiming high: Federer is hoping to beat Nadal and Djokovic to the Wimbledon title

Aiming high: Federer is hoping to beat Nadal and Djokovic to the Wimbledon title

The 30-year-old Swiss said: 'I think it's up to somebody else to break that mould. They have done amazingly well the last few years, not just the last year or so.

'Hopefully it's my time of the year now. It's exciting times ahead. I fancy my chances here and at the US Open.'

Federer added of Djokovic and Nadal: 'As long as they're No 1 and No 2, they face each other in the final. It's maybe a good thing for them, a hard thing for us.

'At the same time, I'm very close to breaking that, and hopefully I can make a run here at Wimbledon.

'My confidence is very good. I've won very many tournaments, so many matches the last year or so that I feel perfect in this regard. I'm match-fit. I'm match-tough right now, and I think that's also key going into a grand slam.'

Federer will begin his Wimbledon campaign against Spain's Albert Ramos on Monday on the back of a shock defeat by German veteran Tommy Haas in the final of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle last weekend.

Shock: Federer was beaten by Tommy Haas at Halle last weekend

Shock: Federer was beaten by Tommy Haas at Halle last weekend

But the world No 3 has been very happy with his preparation for Wimbledon, saying: 'This year things have been very good. I haven't felt tired at all.

'I took a couple of days off after Halle when we got here. I've been able to get the practices in even with the rain.

'I don't feel like I have to work on anything specific because I feel everything is working in my game. Physically I have no lingering injuries. I'm in a good spot right now.'

Victory for Federer in a fortnight's time would see him equal Pete Sampras' record of seven titles and give him a first grand slam title in two and a half years.

The Swiss has lost in the quarter-finals for the last two years, first to Tomas Berdych and then 12 months ago to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who became the first player ever to beat Federer at a grand slam from two sets down.

'I am dreaming of the title,' said Federer.

'There's no denying that. I want to do better. I have to do better in this event because I could have gone further the last couple of years.

'Maybe I was a bit unfortunate at times. Maybe the other guys were just too good. Maybe I wasn't quite at my best. Who knows what the combination was But it's up to me to make that difference now and take it to the next step.

'Then once, hopefully, I am there, I can reach for the title. A seventh would be amazing. That would be tying Pete, which would be absolutely fantastic because I admired Pete when I was younger.'

World Snooker Championships 2012: Patience key for Ronnie O"Sullivan

Patience key to off-colour Ronnie's bid for World snooker domination

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 1 May 2012

Winning ugly has never been the Ronnie O'Sullivan way but it may be his only course of action if he is to overcome the obdurate Neil Robertson and reach his first Betfred.com World Snooker Championship semi-final in four years.

The Rocket spluttered in their opening session on Tuesday, in contrast to his smooth running thus far. He trails Robertson 5-3 going into the decisive frames.

The sanguine expression which accompanied majestic O'Sullivan play in his opening two matches was replaced by grimaces, gurns and quiet growls as routine pots were missed – to gasps of disappointment among the Crucible audience.

Testing times: O'Sullivan has a real battle on his hands against Robertson

Testing times: O'Sullivan has a real battle on his hands against Robertson

In truth, Robertson was less than stellar himself, an indication of the mutual respect which exists between the pair and the gnawing feeling inside both men that they were facing their hardest remaining opponent in this championship.

Whoever emerges victorious this evening will become overwhelming favourite to lift the world title again. For O'Sullivan it would be a fourth triumph, for Robertson a second.

The safety exchange which preceded the Australian potting the first red of the match was a five-minute-40-second study in tactical brilliance, each man pinning the white ball to the baulk cushion and with it his opponent on the defensive.

Where they both tripped up too regularly was in their attacking play, drifting out of position, casting wistful glances at the table and taking to their seats without having notched up another frame.

Aussie rules: Robertson has taken an early lead int he battle for semi berth

Aussie rules: Robertson has taken an early lead int he battle for semi berth

The exceptional frames which proved that
particular rule contained a break of exactly 100 for each player,
classy reminders of the brilliance into which this contest might
blossom.

What will be essential is O'Sullivan's
ability to adhere to the teachings of his sports psychologist guru Dr
Steve Peters, the man whose words of wisdom are regarded as gospel by
Britain's all-conquering cyclists Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy.

Peters' talent is freeing the mind and
offering it a means of diverting negative thought so that it does not
interfere with clarity and sound judgment.

For O'Sullivan, who has struggled with his focus and enjoyment of the sport in the past, that is a central principle.

Plenty to ponder: O'Sullivan is chasing his fourth title

Plenty to ponder: O'Sullivan is chasing his fourth title

He said: 'The tournament lasts 17 days so you can't expect to play well every day, but I came into this tournament feeling happy and content and just wanting to go out there and enjoy my game.

'As long as I do that, then it's a throw of the dice sometimes how you play. It's nice if sixes come, but now and again a one and a two might show up and you've got to be patient and not be too down on yourself.

'I've been getting help on that side with Dr Steve Peters and if it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't be here this year. I was having a terrible time, but he's got me thinking differently. I'm a lot happier and I'm managing my emotions a lot better, which is the key for me.'

The glimpses of frustration yesterday were fleeting and not frame-changing. In the seventh frame the Rocket needed two snookers, only to find himself scuppered by a lucky ricochet from Robertson.

O'Sullivan surveyed the table in an instant, didn't fancy the challenge and scooped the white with the side of his cue to concede the frame. For Jamie Jones, the 24-year-old Welsh qualifier who beat O'Sullivan in an exhibition frame as a 13-year-old, stamina will be more important than strength of mind.

Having never appeared at the Crucible before this tournament, Jones enters the arena for the seventh time this morning trailing Ali Carter 5-3.

He said: 'You're going to have to scrape me off the table. I'm going to be there until the death hopefully.'