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Come back safely! Glover"s wish as partner Stanning heads out to Afghanistan

Come back safely! Glover's wish as partner Stanning heads out to Afghanistan

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UPDATED:

00:46 GMT, 23 December 2012

The tears flowed when Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won Team GB's first gold medal of the London Olympics.

But it will be emotional for another reason when our first champion women's rowing partnership is forced apart by a different British calling.

Duty calls: Helen Glover resumes training - without friend Heather Stanning

Duty calls: Helen Glover resumes training – without friend Heather Stanning

For Glover is certain her tears will flow again when 27-year-old Stanning sets off for what is intended to be a year's break from the rowing lake to head for Afghanistan and do her duty at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province while serving as a captain in the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery.

Not only will Glover, 26, be fretting over the welfare of the woman who has become her close friend these past two years, she will also be concerned for the future of the partnership that was to win the London 2012 women's pairs gold.

'Heather is like a sister to me and I'll be worrying until the day she returns,' said Glover in a break during gruelling solo sessions at British rowing HQ at the Pinsent-Redgrave Lake.

Don't mess with her: Captain Heather Stanning off to Afghanistan

Don't mess with her: Captain Heather Stanning off to Afghanistan

'I've never had a family member going away as part of the armed forces on what is potentially a dangerous mission, but this feels like it.

'I'll miss her. I'm very proud of her and I'll probably cry the last time I see her, which will be very soon. I'm sure she'll be fine, of course, but I'll still worry about her and be relieved when she's back home safe.

'I also know that while we're apart for a year, our rivals will be training as pairs. Heather and I want to defend our title at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, but with her unable to practise with me until effectively 2014, we've handed the others a year's head start.'

Striking gold made both women switch plans dramatically.

Golden girls: Glover (left) and Heather Stanning pose with their gold medals

Golden girls: Glover (left) and Heather Stanning pose with their gold medals

Originally, Stanning envisaged London as both the beginning and end of her Olympic career, then it would be back to full-time Army commitments.

Glover, who had started to row only in 2008 after she joined the 'Sporting Giants' programme, could not see beyond 2012.

But after they were paired in 2010, their sights shifted after winning two silver medals in back-to-back world championships.

'Months before the Games, Heather and I talked about her returning to the Army and serving in Afghanistan because we didn't want it to become an issue in the final lead-up,' added Glover.

'She had no intention of carrying on in the sport, but as we got better and started winning medals – and then realising we stood a good chance of winning in London – she told me she was having too much fun to stop.

'I hadn't looked beyond August 1 and the Olympic final, but I realised afterwards that we were still a relatively new pair who could improve and I wanted to defend my title in Rio. So it's decided, assuming our coaches select us as a pair in 2016.'

Which makes 2013 a difficult prospect for Glover, both from a personal and professional viewpoint as she resumes her gruelling training schedule.

Double trouble: Glover (right) and Stanning on their way to victory

Double trouble: Glover (right) and Stanning on their way to victory

She added: 'Unusually for a pair, Heather and I are very close friends who have never fallen out. From a professional point of view I haven't needed to say anything to her about what being away means in terms of our partnership.

'I know she's been questioning herself about it enough. But I know how strong a person she is and how much she believes in what she's doing.

'It's not a decision she's taken lightly. Heather is confident she can spend a year with the Army, train on a rowing machine in Camp Bastion and then resume our partnership a year behind our rivals.

'That's how much she believes in what she is doing and in us as a pair.'

In the meantime, Glover has no idea how her year will pan out, with whom and in what.

Oarsome: Helen Glover and rowing partner Capt Heather Stanning, sporting her gold medal, after their success at London 2012

Oarsome: Helen Glover and rowing partner Capt Heather Stanning, sporting her gold medal, after their success at London 2012

'It's up to [women's chief coach] Paul Thompson to decide what to do with me. I'll have the challenge of a new partner in the pairs and aiming for the 2013 world championships in South Korea. Or I might even be in a different boat.

'It will keep me fresh, but I definitely want to get back with Heather after that, whatever happens.

'When Heather and I were teamed up in 2010, we just clicked. We produced times much faster than we should have and it was all on raw speed, not technique. That's what was so exciting. We knew that with technique we could become so much better.

'To be the first British female rowers ever to win an Olympic gold, the first by Team GB in 2012, was a huge bonus. Whatever else happens in the future, that can never be taken away from us.'

Sam Gordon: The nine-year-old girl called Sweet Feet who"s become a star American Football player

Amazing speed of nine-year-old girl called 'Sweet Feet' who's creating a stir on the American Football pitch
Sam Gordon, 9, has become one of the fastest children in her local football league just a year after she started playing
A video of her game highlights posted online has gone viralWeighing not even four-an-a-half stone, she fearlessly tackles players weighing up to 11st

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UPDATED:

09:50 GMT, 9 November 2012

Sam Gordon

'Sweet Feet': Nine-year-old girl Sam Gordon has become one of the fastest children in her local football league in Utah and fearlessly tackles boys, much larger than her

There are plenty of boys chasing this little girl but they are not after a kiss on the school playground – they are trying to tackle her on the American Football pitch.

The only problem is that nine-year-old Sam Gordon is too fast for them to catch, earning her the nickname Sweet Feet.

What started as a way to keep up with
her big brother, has turned Sam into a star player in her local,
all-boys football league in Utah, becoming one of the fastest children
in the Salt Lake City area ‘Gremlins’ league as well as breaking and
making tackles among the much bigger players.

After outrunning the boys in various speed and agility drills, Sam was made quarterback for her team.

Now
a video posted online by her father Brent Gordon showing her highlights has gone viral as people continue to be amazed at what the fearless girl can do … and she has only been playing for a year.

Her coach Chris Staib was quoted by Yahoo!Sports saying: ‘She could cut and follow blocks like a college football player.’

Asked about the authenticity of the video, he said: ‘Oh it's real. That's her. I was there for all of that.’

Scroll down for video

Sam Gordon

Star player: Sam Gordon, center left, pictured in action has earned teh nickname 'Sweet Feet' from her teammates after becoming one of the fastest kids the Salt Lake City 'Gremlins' league had ever seen

Sam Gordon

Remember the name: Sam Gordon's coach Chris Staib say the 9-year-old – who doesn't even weigh 60lbs – can 'cut and follow blocks like a college football player'

Weighing not even 4.5st (27kg), Sam is playing in a team of much bigger boys including a boy who weighs more than 10st 9lbs (68kg) and nicknamed Tank but according to Mr Staib, Sam will even tackle Tank if she gets the chance.

Despite being so much smaller than all the other players, Mr Gordon said Sam is used to playing rough.

He said from his office in Idaho: ‘I started her out in soccer at four-years-old and we would play out in the yard and my son's friends were pretty aggressive and rough.

‘She could really handle a lot of the physical play. There were some games where she'd fall down and just keep going. She would get kicked in the face, kicked in the gut and just keep going.’

Sam Gordon

In action: Sam Gordon, center in white, leaves the the boys in her wake as she scores another touchdown. She started playing football as a way play with her big brother

Sam Gordon (far right in white top) outruns the other players on the field featured in her play highlights video which has gone viral online

Breakaway: Sam (far right in white top) outruns the other players on the field featured in her play highlights video which has gone viral online

Sam started playing to keep up with the boys and so can handle the physicality of the game as well as outrunning most players on the field, some two years older than her

To keep up with her big brother: Sam (centre) started playing to keep up with the boys and so can handle the physicality of the game as well as outrunning most players on the field, some two years older than her

Mr Gordon said that Sam told her: ‘Some kids, right before the contact, they stop. ‘I don't. I just hit 'em.’

He said: ‘That's not something I taught her.’

Mr Gordon said it took her some time to adjust when she first started playing.

He said: ‘She had a little bit of a struggle.

‘The team lost a couple of games. Since she was the primary ball carrier, she felt a lot of pressure to win. She felt blame for losing.

‘With Sam, I keep questioning myself. Am I trying to make it something it's not because I'm her dad I asked my brother, “OK, am I just being a crazy dad here Or is this really cool”’

Now watch the video

Alejandro Canizares leads Jason Dufner and co at Perth International

First there was Tiger, now here's koala! Canizares leads Dufner and co in Perth

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UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 18 October 2012

Former world No 3 Paul Casey continued his return to form to be amongst the leaders on the opening day of the inaugural ISPS HANDA Perth International.

Casey made the most of perfect conditions to card a five under par round of 67 to be two shots behind joint leaders Michael Hendry and Alejandro Canizares.

Englishman Casey has struggled for form this year after suffering a dislocated shoulder in a snowboarding accident last Christmas.

Bear necessities: American star Jason Dufner and his Amanda meet a koala at the Perth International

Bear necessities: American star Jason Dufner and his Amanda meet a koala at the Perth International

Furry friend: South Africa's Charl Schwartzel gets to grips with the Australian native

Furry friend: South Africa's Charl Schwartzel gets to grips with the Australian native

Perth International Leaderboard

Click here for all the latest scores

The 35-year-old did, however, show he
was on the way back at last week's Shinhan Donghae Open on the Korea
Golf Tour with a third-place finish and could have gone even lower today
but for some missed putts.

His long hitting served him well on
the picturesque Lake Karrinyup Country Club course as he birdied all
four par-fives, and picked up a further shot on the par-fourth 10th, in
an unblemished round.

Leader: Alejandro Canizares of Spain tees off on the 17th hole on his way to a superb 65

Leader: Alejandro Canizares of Spain tees off on the 17th hole on his way to a superb 65

'I've got some very good golf that is
starting to show through,' Casey said in an interview on Sky Sports
News. 'I'm going to fight and start playing the golf I know I'm capable
of and today was the start of that.'

While his injury problems have seen
Casey slip to 132nd in the world, he was the highest-ranked player on a
leaderboard dominated by little known names.

New Zealander Hendry defied his world
ranking of 574 as he fired eight birdies in his round that was matched
by Canizares, whose only win on the European Tour came six years ago.

Back in form: England's Paul Casey is in contention at Lake Karrinyup after an opening round of 67

Back in form: England's Paul Casey is in contention at Lake Karrinyup after an opening round of 67

Nice approach: Mikko Ilonen on the 11th

Nice approach: Mikko Ilonen on the 11th

Canizares was runner-up at the Reale
Seguros Open de Espana earlier this season but has since slipped to 70th
in the race to Dubai.

With only the top 60 set to qualify to
play at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in late November, the 29-year-old
knows this may be his last chance.

'I'm 70th at the moment so this is
either my last or my second to last tournament of the year,' he told the
European Tour's official website. 'I need a good finish – if I win it will fix a lot of things.'

Argentinian Emiliano Grillo, who is
also ranked outside the top 500, sat in between Casey and the leaders
after his 66 included an eagle three at the 15th.

While the lesser lights took centre
stage tournament drawcard Jason Dufner endured a mixed day in his first
appearance since the United States lost the Ryder Cup.

Dufner had got off to a healthy
beginning when he birdied three of his opening six holes but from there
he struggled, carding four bogeys in total, to finish the day with a 71.

Fellow American Bo van Pelt was a shot
better off while Edoardo Molinari, the brother of one of Europe's Ryder
Cup heroes Francesco, was also back in the field on one under.

Tour Championship by Coca-Cola leaderboard: Live scores

LIVE: Tour Championship – keep updated with the latest scores

With just a week to go until the Ryder Cup, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and co go head-to-head at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta with the Tour Championship up for grabs.

Bill Haas took the title last year and you can keep track of all the latest scores right here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE LEADERBOARD

In it to win it: American Bill Haas was victorious at the Tour Championship last year

In it to win it: American Bill Haas was victorious at the Tour Championship last year

OLYMPICS: Sochi organisers plan to take torch to space before 2014 Games

Beyond the final frontier… Sochi organisers want to take torch to space before 2014 Games

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UPDATED:

14:59 GMT, 26 July 2012

Sochi 2014 organising committee president Dmitry Chernyshenko has confirmed ambitious plans to take the Olympic torch into space for the first time.

Chernyshenko, who carried the torch on a leg through London on Thursday promised the torch route ahead of the next Winter Olympics would be the longest in history.

From Russia with love: Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Sochi CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko answer questions on Thursday

From Russia with love: Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Sochi CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko answer questions on Thursday

Speaking at the opening of Sochi Park in Kensington, which will promote the Sochi experience to London visitors, Chernyshenko said: 'We are planning to take the torch into space – and we will.'

Other highlights of the expected 50,000km route, which will visit all 83 Russian districts and span nine zones, will be the peak of Europe's highest mountain Mount Elbrus, and the bottom of the world's deepest lake, Lake Baikal.

13-year-old Guan Tian-lang struggles at China Open

13-year-old makes history at China Open but struggles to keep up with the big boys

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UPDATED:

10:59 GMT, 19 April 2012

China's Guan Tian-Lang made history
when he teed-off in the Volvo China Open on Thursday morning to become the youngest ever player on the
European Tour at the age of 13 years and 173 days.

His debut proved taxing,
however, with two bogeys and one double bogey over his first five holes
leaving him four over par and second-last on the leaderboard. He eventually finished five over par and 150th in the field.

Guan, who beat the record of
compatriot Lo Shik-kai set at the 2003 Hong Kong Open, secured a place
in the field after finishing fourth in a qualifying event.

Teen dream: Guan Tian-lang has become the youngest player to compete in a European Tour event

Teen dream: Guan Tian-Lang has become the youngest player to compete in a European Tour event

England's Matthew Baldwin claimed the clubhouse lead on the first day after opening with an assured seven-under-par 65.

China Open leaderboard

Click here to see the full scores from Binhai

The 26-year-old seized the initiative at Tianjin's Binhai Lake Golf Club with a bogey-free round to lead by one from Joost Luiten, Scott Strange, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, Fredrik Andersson-Hed and fellow Englishman Gary Boyd.

'It was very good today so I am happy with that,' Baldwin said on the European Tour's website.

A little green: Amateur Guan won a place in the field after coming through a local qualifying event

A little green: Amateur Guan won a place in the field after coming through a local qualifying event

'My caddie and I set out this morning with a game play of trying to make 18 pars and take our chances when they came, and it turned out to be one of those days where there were a lot of chances and I managed to take a few of them.'

Favourite: Ian Poulter blasts away his tee shot on the 14th at the Binhai Lake Golf Course

Favourite: Ian Poulter blasts away his tee shot on the 14th at the Binhai Lake Golf Course

England's Graeme Storm was among a host of players two strokes off the pace, while Sweden's Alexander Noren was posing the biggest threat to the early clubhouse pace after going five under through 10 holes.

Back in form: Englishman Paul Casey shot in action during the first round in China

Back in form: Englishman Paul Casey shot in action during the first round in China

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie was on four under after a 68, while Sweden's Peter Hanson and England's Ian Poulter – both of whom enjoyed top-10 finishes at the Masters – found themselves six off the leading pace after 71s.

Englishman Paul Casey shot a four under par round of 68, while compatriot Simon Dyson sat one under par after a 71.

Swede dreams: Peter Hanson, fresh from his tie for third at the Masters, was back in European Tour action

Swede dreams: Peter Hanson, fresh from his tie for third at the Masters, was back in European Tour action

Police use pepper spray on crowd after haka sparks riot fears

Police use pepper spray on high school crowd… after haka sparks riot fears

The first time the police in the small Utah state town of Roosevelt saw a haka, they thought a riot was happening.

So they used pepper spray and batons on the spectators performing New Zealand”s native Maori challenge following a high school game of American football, including a dozen people from a single family, one aged four.

Well known: All Blacks perform the haka

Well known: All Blacks perform the haka

An investigation by the police of Roosevelt, 140 miles east of Salt Lake City, Utah, cleared their own officers of wrongdoing in the incident and said their actions were appropriate because they feared a riot was imminent.

But the Utah branch of the American Civil Liberties Union said the police report was “anything but objective” in a letter sent this week to Duchesne County Attorney Stephen Foote.

The ACLU was concerned that the decision to pepper spray during a cultural ritual may have violated the spectators” constitutional rights, interim director Joseph Cohn wrote.

He also noted that the police failed to consider a video of the haka or statements from 15 witnesses who said they did not feel threatened by the performance.

A haka, which usually lasts less than a minute, has been performed by New Zealand rugby teams as a pre-match challenge for more than 120 years around the world.

I predict a riot: Samoan rugby captain Semo Sititil leads his team in performing the Haka

I predict a riot: Samoan rugby captain Semo Sititil leads his team in performing the Haka

The challenge has also been adopted by its national teams in rugby league, basketball and even ice hockey, and was performed by flash mobs during the recent Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The haka has spread to at least a dozen American football teams at US high schools, especially those with large numbers of Polynesians.

On October 20, one Polynesian family drove 136 miles to Roosevelt to watch a relative play his final game for Union High School. Union lost to finish the season winless.

To cheer up the team, a group of Polynesian men and boys performed a haka.

Officer Luke Stradinger, who deployed pepper spray, apologised in the police report for causing “discomfort” to innocent bystanders, but said he wasn”t familiar with the haka and was concerned because the group was blocking the only exit from the field for the teams.

“I have never seen such an event, or even heard of such a thing,” Stradinger said.

Intimidating: England get a taste of the All Blacks

Intimidating: England get a taste of the All Blacks” haka

Officer Wade Butterfield, who used a baton to disperse the group, said he became worried during the game because some of the people were yelling obscenities at the referees and acting in an unsportsmanlike manner.

“I have seen a riot first-hand and know how dangerous they can be in an instant,” Butterfield said.

“No more force was used than was necessary to defuse the situation.”

Roosevelt police said officers will be given additional training in cultural diversity and customs.

Flash dance: New Zealand fans are known for doing the haka

Flash dance: New Zealand fans are known for doing the haka