Tag Archives: machine

Lionel Messi proves he is human after being foiled by a Japanese moving robot

Man v Machine: Messi proves he is human after all… as he is foiled by a Japanese moving robot

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

11:25 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:48 GMT, 9 April 2013

This might be the only way for managers to stop Lionel Messi in his tracks – by signing a Japanese goalkeeping robot.

Messi has been branded a killing machine after rattling in 57 goals this season.

His exploits have left managers in La Liga and throughout Europe tearing their hair out as just how to halt the Argentine striker.

Scroll down for video

Man v machine: Messi prepares to step up against the robot

Man v machine: Messi prepares to step up against the robot goalkeeper

Not spot on: Messi steps up for his penalty (above) and sees his spot-kick saved (below)

Not spot on: Messi steps up for his penalty (above) and sees his spot-kick saved (below)

Messi pen:

But the Barcelona frontman, considered by many as the game's greatest ever player, struggled when the man took on the machine in a game show broadcast on Japanese TV.

Messi took three penalties against the moving piece of cardboard – but missed his first two spot-kicks.

He is human after all then.

VIDEO Messi goes head-to-head with a robot in a penalty shoot-out

Messi takes on robot in penalty shoot-out

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Oscar Pistorius shooting: Inside Blade Runner"s bedroom – cricket bat, baseball bat, revolver and machine gun

Inside Oscar's bedroom: One cricket bat, baseball bat, revolver and machine gun

Weapons needed to protect home in country plagued by violent crimeMore than 7,000 ‘home invasion robberies’ carried out in 2011Pistorius told Sportsmail of worries about home robberyGuards patrol Pistorius’ home ‘but sometimes are in on crimes’Tragic incident in a life marked by poignancy, heartache and triumph

, arrested after his model girlfriend is shot dead at his home

Click here to read the full tragic story

But most bone-freezing are what are
called home invasion robberies. They are preferably carried out when the
occupant is in, meaning the alarm is off and the intruders can be told
where the valuables are kept.

In 2011, the year I visited Oscar, there were 7,039 reported home invasion robberies in the Gauteng Province alone – the area that covers Johannesburg and Pretoria, the cities in which he was born and lived.

Yes, he is hidden away on the Silverwoods estate on the eastern outskirts of Pretoria and is armed by guards round the clock, but as he told me: ‘The problem is when the guards are in on the crime. ‘It’s usually safe in guarded estates like this until that happens.’

It is from this crazy world that somehow Pistorius reportedly shot dead his girlfriend whom he had mistaken for an intruder in the early hours of this morning. Initial reports claim that she was trying to surprise him for Valentine’s Day.

Bachelor pad: Pistorius invited Sportsmail into his home for an interview and look around

Bachelor pad: Pistorius invited Sportsmail into his home in Pretoria for an interview and look around

Bachelor pad: Pistorius invited Sportsmail into his home for an interview and look around

Sportsmail at home with Pistorius

Click
on the links below to read Sportsmail's brilliant interviews with one
of the heroes of last year's Olympic and Paralympic Games:

JONATHAN MCEVOY's poignant interview at home with Pistorius in Pretoria last yearWhat
makes Pistorius tick LAURA WILLIAMSON went walking on the wild side
with the Blade Runner in his hometown Pretoria last year…

And here's the Blade Runner, in his own words, on his pride at competing in the London 2012 Games:

Oscar Pistorius: I'm so proud, it will be amazing to run in London

Whatever the truth of the incident –
which leaves the most famous amputee athlete in history under arrest and
facing court later today – it is another horribly sad chapter in a life
marked by poignancy, heartache and triumph.

Oscar
Carl Lennard Pistorius, born in Johannesburg on November 22, 1986, was a
beautiful baby. Though it was not spotted at first, his father Henk and
mother Sheila soon noticed that their boy’s feet were malformed. He had
been born without fibula in either leg.

The
fighting spirit of the Pistorius family kicked in. ‘It was clear,’ said
Oscar, ‘that in their minds my parents would do whatever it was going
to take to find a solution.’ Doctors were sought, no matter what the
cost, to find the best solution.

Amputation was the chosen cure and
the young Oscar grew up walking on stumps. Later when he went to school,
his brother would put on his shoes; he would put on his prosthetic
legs. Simple as that. Me, different No way.

A man of many talents: The Blade Runner is a keen musician and a car, boat and motorbike junkie

A man of many talents: The Blade Runner is a keen musician and a car, boat and motorbike junkie

Pistorius with his dogs Enzo (black and white) and Silo (brown)

Play time: Pistorius with his dogs Enzo (black and white) and Silo (brown)

Pistorius with his dogs Enzo (black and white) and Silo (brown)

His relationship with his father was a sometimes difficult one and, so far as I know, that remains the case. His relationship with his mother, on the other hand, was his inspiration.

Sheila, a devout Christian, died when
Oscar was 15 and she was 42. The date she was born and the date she
died, of an allergic reaction to medication having being wrongly
diagnosed with hepatitis, are tattooed on the inside of Oscar’s arm.

Pistorius at the gym with his trainer Jannie

London calling: Pistorius at the gym with trainer Jannie preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Pistorius at the gym with his trainer Jannie

In the kitchen of his bachelor flat is a small gold gong and a pig-fat mallet. ‘We’d run when she hit that,’ Oscar smiled.

The very first page of his biography starts with the words: '”The real loser is never the person who crosses the finishing line last. The real loser is the person who sits on the side, the person who does not even try to compete.” My mother wrote those words to me when I was still a small baby, about five months before my surgeons performed my bilateral amputation.

'She kept the letter for me to read as an adult.'

Pistorius meets a Cheeta called Anthony

Pistorius trains at the track

Sportsmail famously captured pictures of Pistorius alongside a Cheetah in Pretoria

Self-pity was eschewed and this sports-mad boy threw himself at rugby and cricket. A speed freak and adrenaline junky, he rode motor bikes, boats and cars like James Bond.

‘To tell you the truth,’ he continued in his book, Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner, ‘I don’t think of myself as disabled. I have limits, but we all have limits and like anyone else I also have many talents.

‘This attitude is integral to how my family approaches life and their philosophy has made me the man I am today: “This is Oscar Pistorius, exactly as he should be. Perfect in himself.”

He set out to be an athlete. Not a disabled athlete. And so his remarkable journey to become the first amputee sprinter in Olympic history at the London Games last summer was the towering achievement of his life. It was a stressful journey and occasionally at such times his usual friendly disposition could give way to surliness.

Making history: Pistorius ran in - and qualified from - the 400m heats at London 2012

Making history: Pistorius ran in – and qualified from – the 400m heats at London 2012

Making history: Pistorius ran in - and qualified from - the 400m heats at London 2012

But make it to London he did as one of the poster boys of the Games, a figure known to people of every colour around the world. Time magazine named him as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.

He qualified for the 400 metres semi-final in which he came last, and helped South Africa to eighth place in the 4x400m relay. He carried the South African flag at the closing ceremony, a recognition of his totemic significance.

A day none of us will forget: Jonnie Peacock (second left) beats Pistorius (right) to gold in the T44 100m

A day none of us will forget: Jonnie Peacock (second left) beats Pistorius (right) to gold in the 100m – T44 final

Glory: Pistorius celebrates winning gold in the men's 400m - T44 final at the Paralympic Games

… but Pistorius celebrated winning gold in the men's 400m – T44 final at the Paralympic Games

Glory: Pistorius celebrates winning gold in the men's 400m - T44 final at the Paralympic Games

It was, therefore, a shame that he let himself down by complaining at the length of the blades being used by Alan Oliveira, the Brazilian who beat him in the Paralympic 200m final a few weeks later. It was ironic because Oscar had waged a campaign over the legality of his own blades when competing against able-bodied opponents.

I wrote that he was in the wrong and anyway he swiftly apologised for his heat-of-the-moment indiscretion. He harboured no resentment at my criticism and when I chanced upon him at the British Olympic Association Ball in November he flung his arms around me.

That was the last I saw or thought of him until the phone rang this morning and I was told that on that estate, in that house Oscar Pistorius had allegedly shot his girlfriend dead.

Oscar Pistorius charged with murder: Reeva Steenkamp dead

Blade Runner Pistorius charged with murder after girlfriend is found shot dead at his home in South Africa

Pistorius in custodySprinter believed to have told police he thought girlfriend was an intruderDead woman is former FHM model Reeva SteenkampShe was shot several times in the head, chest and the armMedia reporting it could have been a Valentine's Day surprise gone wrongIncident happened on his Pretoria farm, north-east of Johannesburg at 3am

Olympic and Paralympic Games” class=”blkBorder” />

Star attraction: Pistorius competed at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Star attraction: Pistorius competed at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
When Sportsmail met the Blade Runner:

This is an extract from an interview in August 2011 with Pistorius at his home, a year before Olympics.

Sportsmail's Jonathan McEvoy: 'This being South Africa, one baseball bat and one cricket bat lie behind Pistorius's bedroom door. A revolver is at his bedside. A machine gun by his window.'

It was reported that his girlfriend, former FHM model Miss Steenkamp, 30, was trying to surprise him for Valentine's Day and he thought she was an intruder.

He is expected to appear in Pretoria
Magistrates’ Court later on Thursday.

Police revealed that a 9mm pistol was
recovered from the scene and that 26-year-old Pistorius had been taken into custody. The
woman was apparently shot four times.

Police spent the morning investigating the scene and taking statements are being taken from neighbours.

Paramedics were called to the house
after the shooting and attempted to resuscitate the woman before
declaring her dead at the scene.

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year
Pistorius' medal haul:

Paralympics

2004 Athens – Bronze 100 m (T44) Gold 200 m (T44)
2008 Beijing – Gold 100 m (T44) Gold 200 m (T44) Gold 400 m (T44)
2012 London – Silver 200 m (T44) Gold 400 m (T44) Gold 4 100 m relay (T42–T46)

World Championships

Daegu 2011 – Silver 4 400 m relay

Police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale said: 'I can confirm that a woman has been fatally wounded in a shooting at Oscar Pistorius' house.

'A 26-year-old man has been taken into custody.

'The incident happened at
3am. We received a call and attended the scene. The call did not come
from the man in custody but from another person.

'Currently there is an inquiry into what happened.'

A police spokesman added: ‘We can't
comment on his emotional well-being, but he is traumatised after losing
someone close to him.’

Sarit Tomlinson, Steenkamp’s
publicist, told Sky News: ‘She was the sweetest human being and an
absolute angel on earth. She was the kindest, most unbelievable girl.

Flying the flag: Pistorius leads out his fellow South Africans at the Paralympics

Flying the flag: Pistorius leads out his fellow South Africans at the Paralympics

Flying the flag: Pistorius leads out his fellow South Africans at the Paralympics

This tragedy has happened before:

A former South African rugby player was charged with murder in 2004 after he mistook his daughter for a car thief and shot her dead in the family’s driveway.

Rudi Visagie thought his 19-year-old daughter Marle was asleep when he heard her Volkswagen Golf being driven away in Maggiesdal, in the Mpumalanga province.

He got out of bed, took his 7.65mm pistol, and fired a shot through the bedroom window.

When he went outside he found his daughter slumped behind the wheel. She was declared dead upon arrival at hospital an hour later.

She had been on her way to surprise her boyfriend on his birthday.

‘They had been together for a couple
of months and it had been a healthy, fabulous relationship. At the
moment it’s shocking. No-one knows what’s happened.

‘She was a rising star. There was so much in the pipeline for her: she was just about to explode into the media.

‘She was a very talented, very bright young girl. It’s too shocking for words. We’ll miss her so much, too much. Our condolences go to her family.’

Steenkamp tweeted just hours before her death: 'What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow #getexcited #ValentinesDay'

Pistorius recently took a New York Times
reporter to a shooting range with a 9mm handgun. The article which
followed reads: 'Pistorius was a good coach. A couple of my shots got
close to the bull’s-eye, which delighted him. “Maybe you should do this
more,” he said. “If you practiced, I think you could be pretty deadly.” I
asked him how often he came to the range. “Just sometimes when I can’t
sleep,” he said.'

Peet van Zyl, Pistorius' manager who assisted at the scene on Thursday morning, said he would not comment.

Tragedy: The woman found dead is believed to be Reeva Steenkamp (left)

Tragedy: The woman found dead is believed to be Reeva Steenkamp (left)

'I can only confirm there was an incident and a woman was killed,' Van Zyl told Beeld. 'I do not want to speculate about what happened.'

Arnu
Fourie, Pistorius' room-mate during last year's Paralympics, said shortly
after he heard the news, 'my heart is broken for Oscar'.

Fourie said after he practised on
Thursday morning in Stellenbosch that he had dozens of messages on his
phone about the incident.

'I feel for Oscar and the girl's family, I pray for him and her family, I can not imagine how they feel,' Fourie added.

Investigation: A forensics van drives away from the estate where Pistorius lives

Investigation: A forensics van drives away from the estate where Pistorius lives

'Poor Oscar in his life had so many disappointments and tough times. Now. My heart is broken.'

The International Paralympic Committee expressed sorrow on hearing of the incident.

In a statement, it said: 'Following the
news of the alleged shooting incident involving South African athlete
Oscar Pistorius this morning, the International Paralympic Committee
(IPC) will not be passing any comment on the case at this time.

'This is a police matter, with a
formal investigation currently underway. Therefore it would be
inappropriate for the IPC to comment on this incident until the official
police process has concluded.

Poster boy: Pistorius was billed as one of the heroes of London 2012

Poster boy: Pistorius was billed as one of the heroes of London 2012

'The IPC would like to offer its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families involved in this case.'

Gideon Sam, president of the South
African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), said he did
not want to say anything until he did not have more details.

'SASCOC, like the rest of the public,
knows no more than what is in the public domain, which is there has
been an alleged fatal shooting on the basis of a mistaken identity and
an apparent assumption of a burglary,' a statement read.

Pistorius' tattoos:

Body art: Pistorius shows off one of his tattoos - a bible passage

Oscar Pistorius has two tattoos – each with a deep personal significance.

On the inside of his right arm, he has his mother's date of birth and date of death tattooed.

His mother Sheila died 10 years ago, at the age of 42, from an allergic reaction to her medication and Pistorius credits her as being a major influence in his life.

When his mother made the decision to
amputate his legs at 11 months, she wrote him a letter which read: 'The
real loser is never the person who crosses the finishing line last. The
real loser is the person who sits on the side. The person who does not
even try to compete.'

On his left shoulder (right), he a version of
the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, which begins: 'I do not run like a
man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. I
execute each strike with intent. I beat my body and make it my
slave…'

Behind the scenes: Pistorius plays with his dogs and his guitar at his home last year

Behind the scenes: Pistorius plays with his dogs and his guitar at his home last year

Behind the scenes: Pistorius plays with his dogs and his guitar at his home last year
The reaction on Twitter:

Adam Gemili, British sprinter: 'Terrible news to wake up to about Oscar Pistorius! Thoughts are with him!'

Michael Rimmer, British Olympic 800m runner: '#PrayersForoscar'

Jessica Ennis, British Olympic gold medallist: 'Woken up to the horrendous news about Oscar Pistorius mistakenly shooting his girlfriend. What an awful tragedy.'

Phillips Idowu, British triple jumper: 'Waking up to extremely sad news about Oscar Pistorius mistakenly shooting his girlfriend. Terrible tragedy, thoughts & prayers with you.'

Sarah Storey, British Paralympian: 'Such sad news that Oscar mistook his girlfriend for an intruder :('

Michael Owen, ex-England footballer: ' My word, if these reports on @SkyNewsBreak are true, this story regarding Oscar Pistorius accidentally killing his girlfriend is horrific.'

Iwan Thomas, former British 400m runner: 'I am in total shock to hear the news about athlete and friend Oscar, my thoughts are with him and all involved. That's all I have to say'

Gurthro Steenkamp, South African rugby player: 'My condolences and prayer go out to the family and friends of #ReevaSteenkamp and #Oscar ! #shocked'

Marlon Devonish, former British sprinter: 'Terrible and tragic news about
@OscarPistorius my heart goes out to all involved.'

Danny Cipriani, England rugby player: 'It's shocking to read the Oscar Pistorius
story as an Englishman, shows the level of worry and crime in SA.'

'The
organisation is in no position to comment on the incident other than to
say our deepest sympathy and condolences have been expressed to the
families of all concerned.'

Pistorius,
nicknamed the Blade Runner, made history at the London Olympics last
year when he became the first double-amputee runner to compete on the
track at the Games and is one of South Africa's most famous sportsmen and a national hero.

Having had both his legs amputated
below the knee when he was less than a year old, he campaigned for years
to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes and finally was
cleared by sport's highest court to be able to run at the top events.

He competed in the 400 metres and on
South Africa's 4×400 relay team at the London Games and also retained
his Paralympic title in the 400 metres in London.

South Africa has some of the world's
highest rates of violent crime and some home-owners carry weapons to
defend themselves against intruders.

Great Britain’s 400m runner Martyn Rooney had been living and training with Pistorius in Gauteng until only three days ago.

Pistorius was scheduled to run two races in Australia next month – the Sydney Track Classic on Saturday, March 9 and the Go for 2&5 Perth Track Classic on Saturday, March 16.

On January 19 he took part in the Africa Cup of Nations opening ceremony, carrying a South African flag onto the field in his capacity as ‘the ambassador of peace for the African Union’.

On February 7 he presented the Deloitte Outstanding Contribution to South Africa Sport trophy to AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Jacques Rudolph and Faf Du Plessis who collected the award on behalf of the South African cricket team. Pistorius won the award last year.

VIDEO: Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend shot dead in South Africa

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No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

OSCAR PISTORIUS FACT FILE

1986: Born November 22, in Pretoria, South Africa, without the fibula in both legs.
1987: October – aged 11 months, his
parents make the decision to have his legs amputated below the knee.
Despite this he played rugby, water polo and tennis as a schoolboy.
2004: January – After shattering his
right knee playing rugby he reverts to athletics at the age of 17. Runs
the 100 metres at an open competition at the Pilditch Stadium in
Pretoria. Despite only training for two months, he sets a new world
record of 11.51sec.
September: Wins gold in the 200m at
the Paralympic Games in Athens, setting a new world record of 21.97sec,
and bronze in the 100m.
2005: March – Competes in the open/able-bodied category at the South African Open Championships, finishing sixth in the 400m.
May 15 – Wins the 100m and 200m at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, both in world record times.
2006: September – Wins three golds in the 100m, 200m and 400m at the IPC World Championships in Holland.
2007: April – Breaks his own 100m and
200m world records at the Nedbank Championships for the Physically
Disabled, winning gold in both events.
December 9 – Awarded the BBC Sports
Personality of the Year Helen Rollason award, for outstanding courage
and achievement in the face of adversity.
2008: January – Athletics' world
governing body the IAAF rules that Pistorius' prosthetic legs are
ineligible for use in competitions conducted under its rules, including
the Olympic Games.
February – Appeals against the IAAF's decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
May – Makes Time magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
May 16 – Court of Arbitration for Sport reverses the IAAF's ban, allowing Pistorius to try to qualify for the Olympics.
July 16 – Pistorius fails in his final
attempt to achieve the able-bodied Olympic qualifying time for the 400m,
despite running a personal best of 46.25sec.
September – Competes at the Paralympic
Games in Beijing, winning the 100m, 200m (in a Paralympic record time)
and the 400m (in a world record time).
2011: July 19 – Sets personal best in 400m of 45.07sec, meeting the World Championship and Olympic Games qualification mark.
August – Included in the South Africa
team for the World Championships in Daegu. Qualifies for the semi-finals
of the 400m.
Runs the opening leg of a semi-final
4x400m relay as South Africa set a national record, but not selected for
the final where his country win silver.
2012: July 4 – Named in the South African Olympic team for the 400m and the 4x400m relay.
August 4 – Becomes the first amputee
runner at the Olympics when he finishes second in a 400m heat. He was
eliminated at the semi-final stage.
August 9 – Part of the South Africa
team which finishes eighth in the 4x400m final. Pistorius is chosen to
carry his country's flag at the closing ceremony.
August 29 – Carries the flag at the Paralympics closing ceremony.
September 2 – Finishes second in the
final of the 200m T44 classification, squandering a lengthy lead to Alan
Oliveira. After the race, Pistorius raises issue with the length of his
Brazilian rival's blades, causing a huge media storm. Later apologises.
September 8 – Secures gold in the 400m at the Paralympic Games.
2013: February 14 – A 30-year-old woman
is shot and killed at Pistorius' home in Pretoria. Police question a
26-year-old man, reported locally to be Pistorius, over the shooting.

Des Kelly: Christmas gift guide for all sports fans

All you need for the festive season… my Christmas gift guide for all sports fans

|

UPDATED:

00:44 GMT, 22 December 2012

Christmas is a time for giving. It’s a time for giving your work colleague a seasonal dose of the Noro-virus. Giving the pungent postman a wide berth. And giving children chocolates you secretly suspect may have been hanging in that old sock since last year.

Giving is what the season is all about. However, if you haven’t bought anything by now, it may be too late already. Nobody goes shopping in actual shops these days. Shops are merely places where you inspect the things you intend to buy online for less money when you get home.

If my experience last year is anything to go by, these are delivered sometime around January 4, long after family members gather around a tree to sing carols, notice there are no presents and cry ‘Santa is dead!’ or ‘You obviously don’t love me!’

So which gifts are perfect for the sports fan Here is my Christmas Gift Guide.

Lance Armstrong Chemistry Set
The Ramires-izer Translation Machine
Follow Des on Twitter

More from Des here: @DesKellyDM

We live in the age of the iPhone and the App. But this magnificent device takes us to another level of sophistication. New voice recognition software doesn’t just interpret what any ‘foreign’ individual says; it takes a perfectly ordinary remark and transforms it into a damaging racial slur.

Allow me to demonstrate the power of the Ramires-izer:
Speaker A: What a lovely evening we’re having.
Ramires-izer translation: Shut up you monkey.

This brilliant gadget can generate endless hours of misinformation, huge FA inquiry costs, massive lawyers’ fees and career-threatening hostility for those who have been Ramires-ized.

Use it NOW — and issue a mealy-mouthed statement of ‘regret’ a few weeks later.

Price: a considerable amount of lost credit.

On sale at the Chelsea Megastore.

Having a word: Mark Clattenburg and Ramires during Chelsea's clash with Manchester United earlier this season

Having a word: Mark Clattenburg and Ramires during Chelsea's clash with Manchester United earlier this season

The Inflatable Anfield Striker

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Take the concept of playing a ‘false No 9’ to a whole new level with this revolutionary invention, one that is certain to shake the world of football to its foundations.

Are you tired of seeing your team run out without a recognised centre forward like Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers Do you worry other clubs might spot the owners are trying to bluff their way through a Premier League campaign on the cheap

Fear no more. Just ask the board to pump some of their hot air into the Inflatable Anfield Striker.
It will fool opposition defenders and confound Arsenal’s zonal marking tactics.

And our Inflatable No 9 is GUARANTEED to be faster than Per Mertesacker; CERTAIN to seize on a careless error by David Luiz and HIGHLY LIKELY to drink less than Andy Carroll.

Available for a bargain price of 50million. Order now to avoid disappointment in the January sales.

Mario’s Man-Maps

Are
you lost Are you too dim to operate a satellite navigation device Are
you male and, therefore, genetically prevented from asking for
directions Scientific studies prove men are biologically incapable of
admitting they are unable to find their way.

This
is why, during reproduction, millions of male sperm cells are released
in a desperate attempt to find a female egg placed directly ahead of
them that, in relative terms, is also the size of Wales (it’s always
‘the size of Wales’).

Even then, only one completes the journey.

We have the solution men have been
looking for, but refused to admit they couldn’t find. You will never be
lost again with Mario’s Man-Maps, officially endorsed by the
hard-of-thinking Manchester City footballer Mario Balotelli.

Like
Mario, simply turn off the SatNav in your vehicle, reach for your
detailed map, open it carefully — and then wave it around out the window
of the car until it attracts the attention of a passing taxi driver.

Now
pass the cabbie the address of the destination and follow him. This
gives you the dual comfort of never having to leave your Bentley AND
never having to use your brain.

Price: 500, cash only, from Manchester to London.

Flammable. Keep away from fireworks. Can also be used when you take your employer to a tribunal and they tell you to ‘get lost’.


Super Mario: Balotelli often has his own special way of travelling

Super Mario: Balotelli often has his own special way of travelling

Lance Armstrong Chemistry Set

Create cocktails of drugs in the comfort of your own home with Lance Armstrong’s amazing chemistry set. If, like Lance, you have spent years living a lie and covering up a career built on the illegal use of blood-boosters, steroids, human growth hormones and masking agents, there is only one way to forget the humiliation. More drugs! Spend your retirement years mixing mind-bending substances that completely erase the concept of guilt from your memory.

This allows you to spout blanket denials, pledge to take lie detector tests and pose in front of Tour de France yellow jerseys boasting of your ‘victories’ without any sense of shame whatsoever. What better way to show the drugs do work

Price: about 100m of sponsorship.

Available from all good… bad chemists.

Previously sold as the Ben Johnson Chemistry Set. Syringes not included.

British Swimming Lead Medals
Former performance director of British Swimming Michael Scott

Former performance director of British Swimming Michael Scott

Who needs gold medals Who needs to stay afloat British Swimming will take you under with their lovingly crafted, heavy lead gongs.

Former performance director Michael Scott inspired Team GB to new lows in the pool at London 2012 with his unique coaching mantra ‘I’d rather do it Down Under’.

In honour of the ex-coach, who is now back in Australia, where he appeared to be living most of the time anyway, you can go ‘down under’ too.

Just hang this expensive dead weight around your neck in honour of the pathetic splash that swimming bosses delivered despite 25m of public funding.

Price: 8.4m per medal.

Special offer: To sink without trace, add a pair of concrete boots branded with the name of British Swimming CEO David Sparkes — and receive a chauffeur-driven Mercedes FREE!

The ‘BaleBag’ safety shirt

Based on the latest automotive airbag technology and championed by Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale, this innovative football jersey automatically senses when a player has thrown himself through the air.

In the moment after a player dives — I mean ‘protects himself from injury by evading contact from a defender’, this shirt registers the change in gravitational force and air pressure and immediately inflates.

This prevents the player suffering further injuries during contact with the turf from a great height. The BaleBag Safety Range includes inflatable elbow and kneepads as optional extras.

Price: contact your insurers.

Also available: the YoungBag Safety Shirt, endorsed by Ashley Young.

Gareth Bale
The FergieTime Chronograph

Liverpudlians have long suspected the concept of time has a Manchester bias — which they have sought to correct by trying to turn the clock back to the 1980s, when they were good. But Sir Alex Ferguson’s new range of watches will extend time like never before and comes with a host of new features:

The in-built calendar not only adds minutes to real time, but entire days. So while the record books say Ferguson’s birthday is December 31, in FergieTime this becomes November 61.FergieTime watches link directly with a referee’s timepiece and fourth official’s electronic scoreboard, to allow the manager to directly input the minutes he wishes to add.Alternatively, you can press FergieTime’s unique ‘Play Until We Score’ feature and just let the timepiece do its business automatically.

Price: 25 years at the top.

Retirement clocks not available until 2014.

What's the time, Sir Alex: Ferguson and his watches have become part of folklore

What's the time, Sir Alex: Ferguson and his watches have become part of folklore

Italian Football Yearbook 2013-14
HEAR DES ON THE RADIO

Don’t miss the ‘Christmas edition’ of The Press Pass on talkSPORT on Sunday at 6pm — by Christmas edition, I mean we’ll do most of the usual stuff, but with a sleighbell sound effect in the background. I’ll also be wrestling on air with
Micky Quinn on Christmas Eve from 10am until 1pm. Verbally, not in reality. That’s a horrible
image at any time of year.

No football fan or player can live without this superb guide to Italian football’s season ahead. It is in the style of England’s famous Rothmans Yearbook, once prized by collectors. Unfortunately, most of those collectors are now dead due to their susceptibility to cigarette brand sponsorship.

But the Italian Football Yearbook not only beings you all the teams, fixtures, players and statistics —but ALL THE RESULTS for next season as well! Take a look…

September 29, 2013 — Juventus 3 Napoli 0. Scorers: Vucinic, Pirlo, Marchisio. Half-time: 1-0.

This guide taps into the Italian game’s unique tradition where clubs, referees and directors decide the outcome of matches well in advance and Juventus collect the Scudetto.

Price: How much have you got

Coming soon: the 2013 Pakistani edition of Wisden, edited by former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt. With all the results for the coming year, including our new dot-ball feature for spot- betting success.

And One Genuine Suggestion…

If you do want a small sporting gift for yourself, download the Hillsborough Justice Collective’s cover of The Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.

They aim to top the UK singles charts on Christmas Day and all the proceeds will go to the families of 96 fans who died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final — and help them continue to fight one of the most disgraceful establishment cover-ups in British history.

Well done to Everton chairman Bill Kenwright for choosing the song. And not only will you be helping the noblest of causes, but you will also be keeping a Simon Cowell act off the top spot as well.

* Happy Christmas to you all and many thanks for all the emails, tweets, the handwritten letters, books, holiday offers, complimentary sporting goods, recommendations, anonymous tips, nude photographs and unsolicited bundles of cash that you send to me throughout the year. I cherish each and every one of them.

James Wade marches into second round of World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

Well-oiled Machine: Wade marches into second round at Alexandra Palace

|

UPDATED:

23:43 GMT, 17 December 2012

James Wade produced a workmanlike performance to beat Peter Hudson 3-0 and progress to the second round of the World Darts Championship on Monday.

The Machine, who has yet to win a world crown, never hit full stride but his 91.09 average and four 180s were more than enough to see off Hudson’s challenge at Ally Pally.

It was a scrappy start to the match as both players missed four doubles in the first leg before Wade hit double two to take it.

But Hudson came back to take leg two, after Wade let him in by missing double top, before The Machine got his act together to win the next two legs and take the opening set 3-1.

Wade moved safely through to the last 32 with a 3-0 win over Peter Hudson

Wade moved safely through to the last 32 with a 3-0 win over Peter Hudson

The Machine averaged 91.09 but wasn't satisfied with his performance despite a straight sets win

The Machine averaged 91.09 but wasn't satisfied with his performance despite a straight sets win

DAY FOUR RESULTS

Peter Wright 3-0 Aaron Monk

Mark Webster 3-1 Ian White

James Wade 3-0 Peter Hudson

Jamie Caven 2-3 John Bowles

Having lost the first leg of set two, Wade checked out 76 to level at 1-1 before Hudson missed double 20 in the next leg to gift The Machine a break and he sealed that set 3-1 as well with a 62 checkout in the next leg.

Hudson’s double trouble continued in set three and he allowed Wade another easy break as he missed two more darts at double top. Wade closed out the match in the next leg with a 56 checkout to take the set 3-0 and win the match by the same margin but he wasn’t happy with how he played.

He told Sky Sports his performance was ‘not very good but good enough’.

‘I thought it was going to be really good because I’ve practiced really hard for the past six weeks and you get up there and play like that and it is so frustrating.

‘I have never done so much work before and played that poor but I beat a really good player,' he added.

The Ally Pally crowd were in good spirits on Monday night

The Ally Pally crowd were in good spirits on Monday night

The Ally Pally crowd were in good spirits on Monday night

Former BDO world champion Mark Webster also won his first-round match on Monday night with a thrilling 3-1 win over Ian White.

Webby, who has had one of his worst years since moving across to the PDC, took a 2-0 lead before stuttering over the line and into the last 32 in a match that had 14 180s.

Webster made a flying start and took the opening set 3-1 thanks to some big checkouts.

The Welshman checkout out 124 to break the throw in the first leg and then 107 to break again in leg three before hitting double top in the next leg to seal the first set.

Mark Webster beat Ian White 3-1 in a thriller at Alexandra PalaceMark Webster beat Ian White 3-1 in a thriller at Alexandra Palace

Mark Webster beat Ian White 3-1 in a thriller at Alexandra Palace

And Webby’s good form continued into set two as he hit double 10 to break in the second leg before hitting the same double to wrap up the set 3-0.

But things started to change for Webster in the third set as his scoring dropped and he began to miss doubles.

Having exchanged breaks, the players were level at 2-2 and a dramatic deciding leg followed. Both players couldn’t hit a double and Webster missed eight chances to win the match before White finally won the leg to take the set 3-2.

But then, ironically, at the start of set four Webster hit two doubles out of two, including a 145 checkout, to move 2-0 ahead.

And the former world champion didn't let White off the hook again as he sealed the match with a double 12 before showing his delight having endured a torrid year.

He told Sky Sports: ‘I have been practising hard and working hard and it has paid off. I should have wrapped it up 3-0 but it is a perfect start for me.

‘I haven’t played well enough – simple as that.

‘I’ve bottled a lot of games this year but I held myself together there. You are only as good as your last game in darts and that was pretty good so I’m looking forward to the next round.’

Peter Wright started the evening with a crushing 3-0 win over 2011 under-21 world champion Aaron Monk.

Peter Wright started day four with a comfortable 3-0 win over Aaron Monk

Peter Wright started day four with a comfortable 3-0 win over Aaron Monk

22-year-old Monk put up a good fight in the opening set, forcing Wright to a deciding leg, but his resistance quickly broke as Wright took the second and third sets 3-1 and 3-0 respectively to move into the last 32.

Qualifier John Bowles rounded off the night with a 3-2 win over Jamie Caven in a late-night classic.

Bowles broke Caven's throw at a crucial point in the match to lead 3-2 in the final set before holding his nerve to set up a second-round clash with Gary Anderson on Friday afternoon.

Tuesday night will see The King enter the Palace as Mervyn King starts his campaign against Dean Winstanley. Wes Newton, Colin Osborne and Steve Beaton will also feature on day five at Ally Pally.

Ryan Giggs would buy karaoke machine for Sir Alex Ferguson this Christmas

Sing your heart out, Fergie! Karaoke machine would top Giggs' Christmas list for United boss

|

UPDATED:

02:49 GMT, 13 December 2012

What do you get for the man who has everything Well, certainly in terms of trophies anyway.

Ryan Giggs says he would buy Sir Alex Ferguson a karaoke machine – if only to keep the Manchester United manager quiet around the club’s Carrington training ground.

Sing up! Giggs would buy Fergie and Karaoke machine

Sing up! Giggs would buy Fergie and Karaoke machine

Sing up! Giggs would buy Fergie and Karaoke machine

‘I’ve done all my Christmas shopping,’
said the United veteran. ‘I’m organised. I’ve done a bit of shopping, a
bit online. Get it out of the way earlier.

‘What would I buy the manager He likes singing around the place, so maybe a karaoke machine for when he gets home … so he’s singing there rather than around the training ground!’

After so long in the game, Giggs is used to being separated from his family at Christmas but admits that not seeing his children Zach and Libby is the most difficult part.

‘Christmas is just something we’re used to,’ he added. ‘I've known nothing different since I was 15. It's tougher when you've got kids. It's difficult knowing you're in a hotel that night but the kids understand. They’re probably too busy to notice I’ve gone.’

Jenson Button"s F1 car on sale on e-Bay for 25,000

Fancy yourself as the next Jenson Button Well, splash out on his old F1 car… if you've got a spare 25,000!

|

UPDATED:

14:37 GMT, 13 November 2012

For all last-minute shoppers out there – here's one way to avoid a Christmas Eve pit-stop on the bustling High Street.

Jenson Button's Honda Racing show car from the 2003 season is on sale on e-Bay and can be yours for 'only' 25,000.

Dream machine: Jenson's Button 2003 F1 show car is up for grabs

Dream machine: Jenson's Button 2003 F1 show car is up for grabs

Dream machine: Jenson's Button 2003 F1 show car is up for grabs

Dream machine: Jenson's Button 2003 F1 show car is up for grabs

Stop start: The car doesn't have engine or control pedals

/11/13/article-0-0061877200000258-868_634x445.jpg” width=”634″ height=”445″ alt=”Jenson Button's BAR Honda” class=”blkBorder” />

One (not so) careful owner: Button finished ninth in the drivers' championship in 2003…

One (not so careful) owner: Button is rescued by medical staff after crashing in 2003

… despite crashing in Monaco (but don't worry it's not the car on e-Bay)

'Opportunities to purchase recent f1 show cars are few and far between. The scope of use for this car is endless and can cover everything from commercial display to personal.

'Ornament and the ultimate seat for playstation racing games.

'Surely the perfect present for all jenson button fans.

'The car can be viewed in wolverhampton at the wolverhampton mazda, ssangyong, subaru garage! Telephone: 01902 351 153'

The sale will end on Friday.

Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere could be Premier League"s Xavi and Iniesta, Jamie Redknapp

Weekend watch: Cazorla and returning Wilshere could be Premier League's Xavi and Iniesta

|

UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 7 October 2012

Gunner be good

First the good news for Arsenal: the
return of Jack Wilshere. He is due to play for the development squad for
the second time as they slowly return him to full fitness. We all
remember his trademark one-twos around the box and England’s need for
his ability and skill is growing all the more obvious.

Star man: Cazorla

Now more good news for Arsenal: Santi
Cazorla was dazzling at Upton Park on Saturday. He has balance, ability
with both feet, vision and creativity. As an ex-midfielder, I’m licking
my lips at Wilshere and Cazorla in the same team. They could be the
Premier League’s Xavi and Iniesta.

Little magician: Santi Cazorla is already lighting up the Premier League

Little magician: Santi Cazorla is already lighting up the Premier League

More from Jamie Redknapp…

Jamie Redknapp: Suarez must follow Ronaldo and give up the theatrics
30/09/12

Jamie Redknapp: Liverpool and Manchester United did the 96 proud but why did minority spoil it
23/09/12

Jamie Redknapp: City’s chance for Bernabeu hit and run…
17/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Hoping for justice for Hillsborough sufferers
16/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Arsenal's defence is a mean machine
02/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Tevez joins the 100 club
26/08/12

Jamie Redknapp: Hazard caused havoc as the Premier League returned with goals galore
19/08/12

Jamie Redknapp: My 10 to watch in the Premier League this season
16/08/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Carroll on song

West Ham’s first home league defeat,
but on-loan striker Andy Carroll completed his first 90 minutes of the
season and was a handful for Arsenal’s defence. Now he joins up with
England where he may well have a key role from the bench as he regains
his fitness. It’s good to see him enjoying his football again.

Baines spot on

Leighton Baines will turn up for
England this week as the most in-form full back in the squad. His
penalty for Everton at Wigan made it nine out of nine for his career and
his attacking play is outstanding. He hasn’t played with such
confidence for England but now is the time to put pressure on Ashley
Cole.

Missing Fab

Newcastle minus Fabricio Coloccini
spells trouble. They miss their goalkeeper Tim Krul, but it is the
absence of Coloccini that causes them more problems. They play rivals
Sunderland next and will be desperate for his return after sloppy
defending cost them against a vibrant Manchester United.

Trouble at the back: Newcastle conceded two sloppy goals in their 3-0 reverse at home to United

Trouble at the back: Newcastle conceded two sloppy goals in their 3-0 reverse at home to United

Change required

QPR, like Norwich, are wide open.
Losing to West Brom leaves them bottom of the league going into the
international break, which at least gives Mark Hughes the chance to find
a way of making them hard to beat. It’s too easy to score against them
right now.

Full Baggies

West Brom are the strongest team in
the Midlands. Big and powerful, they have the skill of James Morrison
and an impressive home start that is their best top-flight opening since
1919 when they won the league! The player I like most is uncompromising
defender Jonas Olsson. He is their Tony Adams.

Tough guy: Jonas Olsson has been immense for West Brom

Tough guy: Jonas Olsson has been immense for West Brom

Cracking Caulker

I mentioned Steven Caulker as one to
watch at the start of the season and we are now seeing what he can do
for Spurs after his loan at Swansea. England need fresh blood at centre
back and Caulker, who scored against Aston Villa, can be that.

Jamie Redknapp: Liverpool and Manchester United did the 96 proud but why did minority spoil it?

Liverpool and Manchester United did the 96 proud, but why did minority spoil it

|

UPDATED:

21:44 GMT, 23 September 2012

Liverpool and Manchester United should be proud at how well the Hillsborough tribute, watched by Kenny Dalglish, was observed before kick-off. But it is such a shame a minority have stolen the headlines. Fans of these clubs should be respectful because of the tragedies they have suffered. I can’t understand such behaviour.

Tribute: Anfield paid its respects to the 96

Tribute: Anfield paid its respects to the 96

Per-fect display

Per Mertesacker has at times been a laughing stock since he joined Arsenal — I’ll admit I’ve been critical of him. But the German was the best defender on the pitch against Manchester City, reading the game brilliantly and striding out well from the back. It shows what you can achieve with a bit of confidence.

More from Jamie Redknapp…

Jamie Redknapp: City’s chance for Bernabeu hit and run…
17/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Hoping for justice for Hillsborough sufferers
16/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Arsenal's defence is a mean machine
02/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Tevez joins the 100 club
26/08/12

Jamie Redknapp: Hazard caused havoc as the Premier League returned with goals galore
19/08/12

Jamie Redknapp: My 10 to watch in the Premier League this season
16/08/12

Jamie Redknapp: Rooney's new goal Supply the bullets for his new partner in crime RVP
16/08/12

Jamie Redknapp: It's time to end the embarrassing pre-match handshakes
13/07/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Demba delivers

Demba Ba didn’t score in the final 14 games of last season and had only netted once this season when Alan Pardew dropped him. It seems it was the rocket he needed. Ba scored twice against Everton to earn a point and scored the winner yesterday against Norwich. He has risen to the challenge but credit Pardew. An excellent piece of man-management.

In the blue corner

On the morning of November 19 last season, Everton went into their game with Wolves on 10 points. Now, with Marouane Fellaini leading the way, they are on 10 before the end of September and finished Saturday second in the table. Is this the season we find out how good they are

Head for heights: Everton's start has been far-removed their usual early-season sluggishness

Head for heights: Everton's start has been far-removed their usual early-season sluggishness

Pedigree chum

Before kick-off on my debut for Bournemouth, aged 16, I looked across at my opponent and he was eyeballing me and growling, like a dog! He is now top of League Two and doing a fabulous job as Gillingham boss. If you had told me then ‘Mad Dog’ Martin Allen would be a good manager, I’d have said you were barking mad. He is, though.

Slick Rick

I
make no excuse for another mention in this column of Rickie Lambert. I
just like the way he has had to work through the leagues to grab this
chance and, despite Southampton’s rocky start, he now has four goals in
the top flight. Their 4-1 win against Aston Villa might stop some of the
silly stories about manager Nigel Adkins. Get off his back.

Strike force: Rickie Lambert has scored in all four of the English leagues and has four to his name this season

Strike force: Rickie Lambert has scored in all four of the English leagues and has four to his name this season

Flying Seagulls

Brighton
started well last season and then faded away, but this might be their
time. They have the facilities, in Gus Poyet they have the manager and
they have started this season looking like they have the team. When I
went to their ground last season, it had the smell of the Premier
League. I wish Poyet all the best.

Lethal on loan

It isn’t what the loan system was built for but it is working for West Bromwich — and Chelsea. They might seem a little short on firepower at Stamford Bridge but Romelu Lukaku, 19, would have been kicking his heels on the bench there. Now the striker is gaining game time under Steve Clarke and scored a big goal for them on Saturday.

Powerhouse: Romelu Lukaku smashes home West Brom's winner

Powerhouse: Romelu Lukaku smashes home West Brom's winner

Kevin Mitchell sober and ready to face Ricky Burns

Sober Mitchell ready for Burns night as he faces old friend in Glasgow bout

|

UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 21 September 2012

Where better for a good old-fashioned brawl than Glasgow on a Saturday night Mix in some traditional Anglo-Scottish rivalry and the punch-up should be even feistier.

Although Ricky Burns is from Coatbridge and Kevin Mitchell an East Londoner they are pals in normal life, but for an hour or so this evening they will be Auld Enemies.

Had they been forced into this scrap a few months ago strong drink would have inflamed the situation.

Ready for action: Kevin Mitchell has kicked the drink

Ready for action: Kevin Mitchell has kicked the drink

Mitchell, however, has renounced alcohol in the knowledge that he is entering, ironically, the Last Chance Saloon.

While his mate Ricky was slipping soberly under the radar to win his world championship, Mitchell knew he had to drag himself out of the bar if he were ever to realise his life-long title ambition.

So now their differing paths cross in the ring amid anticipation that this could be as explosive as the night 22 years ago when Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn produced an British world title classic.

If it is to live up to that exalted billing, the challenger for the WBO lightweight crown must be Mitchell the committed fighting man who pounded tough John Murray into submission, not Kev the matey lad from the local who blew a gasket against Michael Katsidis.

Mitchell swears we will see the best of him, going so far as to threaten to retire at 27 if he loses to his bruising buddy.

Friends: Mitchell and Ricky Burns are buddies outside of the ring

Friends: Mitchell and Ricky Burns are buddies outside of the ring

Since we can be sure that the dedicated Burns will turn up in prime condition let’s get ready to rumble, as American announcer Michael Buffer will excite all those in attendance at the SECC and the thousands watching on BoxNation television.

The contrasting styles are equally promising.

Mitchell at his best is an all-action fighting machine ready to go to war. Burns is the more complex technical boxer. Yet the challenger can box a bit, too, while the champion is willing to mix it when the going gets tough.

Both insist they will refuse to back down so much as an inch when it comes to the crunch.

Thus we are promised as fight as furious as it should be close. Burns has home advantage and the raucous atmosphere may give him a slight edge with the judges in the event of a close decision.

Tough to beat: Burns will have home support

Tough to beat: Burns will have home support

Mitchell is burning up inside with the desire to become a world champion and he will not be intimidated by the patriotic Scottish crowd.

The extent of each man’s appetite for battle is likely to be decisive.

Burns will not want to disappoint his fans, let alone forfeit his hard-won title, and he is hungry to become recognised alongside such greats as Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt in the legend of the Scottish ring.

Mitchell, however, is ravenous for that belt. If his preparations have been as good as his word he is capable of putting a slightly early end to a wild night in Glasgow.

Burns-Mitchell is live on BoxNation via Sky Ch 437 and Virgin Ch 546