Tag Archives: oscar

Pistorius ready to begin training as murder suspect visits Pretoria training base

Pistorius ready to begin training as murder suspect visits Pretoria training base

By
Associated Press

PUBLISHED:

17:56 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:14 GMT, 4 April 2013

Oscar Pistorius wants to train again and recently went back to visit his regular track in South Africa’s capital.

There was still no decision on an exact time-frame for the multiple Paralympic champion’s return to regular running, but Pistorius told his agent Peet van Zyl and coach Ampie Louw at a Tuesday meeting that he was 'definitely keen to get back on track to resume training,' the agent said.

'When, exactly, is his choice,' Van Zyl told AP on Wednesday.

Granted: Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail after being charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Granted: Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail after being charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Pistorius had also revisited his practice track in Pretoria on March 24, although he didn’t train, the agent said.

Pistorius last trained on a track over two months ago, and his last competitive race was his victory in the 400m final at the London Paralympics in September last year.

Van Zyl said Pistorius wasn’t ready 'mentally' to compete yet after he was charged with murder in the February 14 shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home.

'From our meeting, it was clear and evident it’s going to take some time for him (to be ready to compete),” Van Zyl said. 'He’s trying to process this whole ordeal.'

Pistorius had also told his agent and coach that he would only consider running at the world championships in Moscow in August if he was in the right shape to run at the top level again.

'He (Pistorius) stated to me clearly yesterday, for the world champs, first he needs to be in some form,' Van Zyl said.

Back on track: Pistorius is keen to make a return to training, according to his agent

Back on track: Pistorius is keen to make a return to training, according to his agent

Still, Pistorius’ first significant move toward a return to the track on his carbon fiber running blades came at the meeting with his management team at the home of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old Olympian has been staying at the house in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria since he was granted bail on February 22.

Victim: Steenkamp was shot dead in Pistorius' Pretoria apartment

Victim: Steenkamp was shot dead in Pistorius' Pretoria apartment

Pistorius denies murdering Steenkamp and says he shot her accidentally after mistaking her for an intruder in his house.

Prosecutors have charged him with pre-meditated murder and say he intentionally shot Steenkamp multiple times after the couple argued in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

His next court appearance is on June 4.

Pistorius had visited his training track at the University of Pretoria with some other athletes, but hadn’t worked out properly, only doing a little jogging, Van Zyl said.

Although a high court ruling last week eased Pistorius’ bail restrictions on appeal and allowed him to travel to compete, Van Zyl said it would still take time to be ready for track meets.

'He hasn’t trained at all since the incident and you can’t expect him to go into competition. More important, mentally he is not there yet, he is some way off,' the agent said.

Long-time coach Louw, who discovered the double amputee’s talent for running when he was still a teenager, was eager, however, for the athlete to get back to training to help his mental process.

'Ampie was quite keen for him to start training as soon as possible so Oscar can get into some kind of routine,' Van Zyl said.

Best sports pictures of the year – by Sportsmail photographers

Snappy Christmas! Our photographers choose their favourite pictures of the year

PUBLISHED:

18:01 GMT, 25 December 2012

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UPDATED:

18:01 GMT, 25 December 2012

Sportsmail's group of top photographers, Andy Hooper, Kevin Quigley, Ian Hodgson and Graham Chadwick, have thought long and hard about their favourite photos of the year. Enjoy their selections below.

Andy Hooper

Oscar and Anthony: Yes, this really happened. Oscar Pistorius is kneeling down in front of a cheetah in the South African bush near Pretoria. Bladerunner Oscar was as good as gold, maybe a little nervous, but he was happy to crouch for a few seconds, which is all it took to get the shot.

Oscar and Anthony

Mo-mentous: Mo Farah wins his second Olympic gold medal in the 5,000 metres, fighting off attack after attack from the Kenyans and the other Africans. One of my special moments, as Mo kicked on and made the victory look easy!

Mo-mentous

Pure gold: Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking after winning the lightweight double sculls, one of my favourite London 2012 images. It looks close up but they had drifted way past us before celebrating.

Pure gold

Kevin Quigley

Lone rider: All of these were taken using a range of Nikon cameras and lenses and with Mark Cavendish, I shot this in Fairlop in east London, with the backdrop a London sunset. I used one outside studio light positioned to the left of me which lit him up as he came up this slight incline and it’s the favourite shot I’ve taken this year.

Lone Rider

Blue is the colour: Chelsea’s Didier Drogba was running round the Munich pitch with the European Cup when he suddenly sat down in the goalmouth. With a wide-angle lens I captured Didier, the trophy and all of the drama around him.

Blues is the colour

Pure Poults: I stood to the side of the other photographers who were shooting straight on with flash, and as Ian Poulter celebrated with the Ryder Cup at Medinah my camera picked up someone else’s flash to put a nice light on him.

Pure Poults

Graham Chadwick

Zlat’s magic (left): The shirt’s off as Zlatan Ibrahimovic goes wild after his acrobatic fourth goal for Sweden against England in their Stockholm friendly. Just for the perfect execution of his skills, it was unquestionably the best goal that I have seen live. I will remember it for ever.

Joyous: Jade Jones winning gold in the 57kg taekwondo final was simply spine-tingling, especially the second when she jumped up to celebrate with her coach. This image rewarded my long hours spent covering the Games.

Zlat's magic

Joyous

Spinning gold: For American Gabrielle Douglas’s winning beam routine I wanted to create a dramatic stage for her dismount in this image. I used a starburst filter on the lens to accentuate the arena spotlights. I was also lucky to catch a lone flash from someone else’s camera in the crowd.

Spinning gold

Ian Hodgson

City turns blue: On the day Manchester City won the title I moved to the right hand side of the press pen to get a better angle. Streamers were fired into the air but I stayed focused on the trophy to create an almost abstract-style photograph.

City turns blue

One to treasure: I was covering the Open at Lytham and on one of the practice days, Justin Rose had been signing autographs on the tee. A few children had not got his signature but as he reached the green he waved them over. Nice gesture and a lovely picture.

One to treasure

Knight of Old Trafford: I’d photographed Sir Bobby Charlton on many occasions, but to have the time to shoot a portrait with the Manchester United legend one-to-one was something special for me. After setting up my lights (three on this shoot), I shot a variety of pictures, with this one as my favourite.

Knight of Old Trafford

Oscar De Le Hoya set to apply for British license – Jeff Powell

De La Hoya on his way as Golden Boy applies for British license

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 17 December 2012

The Golden Boy is preparing to invade England with major boxing events show-casing Britain's 2012 Olympians on the under-cards of top Americans in world title fights.

Oscar De La Hoya and his company – in a move which will send shock waves through the ranks of the established UK promoters – are applying to the British Boxing Board of Control for a license.

They are also engaged in talks with several UK stars of the London Games, who are believed to include medalists Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell and Anthony Ogogo.

Invasion: Oscar De La Hoya (left) could be set to sign up some British talent

Invasion: Oscar De La Hoya (left) could be set to sign up some British talent

More from Jeff Powell…

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26/11/12

Jeff Powell: Over to you, Ricky… Froch hands over British baton to returning hero Hatton
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Jeff Powell: Fury on the campaign trail for a world title if Klitschko's political move disappoints Haye
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29/10/12

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The trans-Atlantic expansion of Golden Boy Promotions has been confirmed here in Los Angeles by chief executive Richard Schaefer.

He outlined his plans to British Board chairman Charles Giles and general secretary Robert Smith, who flew to LA for Amir Khan's resurrection fight on Saturday night.

Since Schaefer is a Swiss passport holder who is preparing to open offices in London and is already in negotiation with British television companies, they see no basis for objection.

Golden Boy are now the world's biggest promoters, staging more than 120 shows a year in the US and Mexico.

Schaefer says: 'There is fantastic opportunity for us in the UK. I have always said the British boxing fans are the most passionate in the world.

'Over here some people could hardly believe that Ricky Hatton sold out 20,000 tickets for his comeback fight before he even named his opponent.

'I love London and I will be spending a lot more time over there in the future.

'I am promising to help your Olympians maximise their potential and develop into big, successful stars. For that, I will be taking fighters under my wing personally for the first time.'

Schaefer is not only in discussion with the traditional UK television channels, such as Sky.

Intriguingly, he has sparked interest with British Telecom, who are rapidly becoming major players in the sports market, and is also exploring the possibility of an American network becoming the host broadcaster.

While he realises the impact this will have on the British boxing establishment, Schaefer does not expect the rivalry with Golden Boy's counterparts across the Pond to be bitter.

The initial concept is for no more than four shows a year and he says: 'I get on well with the British promoters. I have a good relationship with Mick Hennessy (who promotes Tyson Fury) and Frank Maloney (David Price).

'We have just enjoyed a positive negotiation with Eddie Hearn for Kell Brook to challenge Devon Alexander for his world title over here. Not only is Frank Warren an outstanding promoter but we are very good friends.

On the cards: Anthony Joshua (right) is believed to be in talks with De La Hoya's company

On the cards: Anthony Joshua (right) is believed to be in talks with De La Hoya's company

'I won't be trying to steal their fighters. But this is a competitive business so when any boxers become free agents at the end of their contracts then of course we will expect to have talk with those we like.'

Golden Boy's $200million-a-year turnover will lend massive weight to that bargaining power, as it appears to be doing with London's Olympic super-heavyweight champion Joshua and others of his team.

Several Team GB boxers have held back from committing their futures until their amateur funding runs out in March and the first Golden Boy promotion in Britain is not scheduled until the second quarter of the year.

Others under review are youngsters who just missed out on the Games 'but who have the ability and charisma we need.'

Schaefer is also tempting them all with the prospect of early US exposure on promotions over here.

Medal winner: Anthony Ogogo (left) shone for Team GB at the Olympics

Medal winner: Anthony Ogogo (left) shone for Team GB at the Olympics

In England, the 02 Arena in London tops the preferred list of venues. To fill that, Golden Boy will top the bills with big international names in world title fights.

For example, former champion Sugar Shane Mosley is planning to come out of retirement to challenge Paulie Malignaggi.

Says Schaefer: 'While that is coming too early for our first UK promotion that is the kind of fight which could take place over there.

'Adrien Broner is a dynamic younger champion who would relish the chance to do his thing in England.'

Nor is it beyond possibility that Floyd Mayweather – who appreciates his large fan base in Britain and often talks of how he would love to fight in London – could make the trip in 2014.

Schaefer said: 'We will promote in the UK with same quality and style we do in the USA.'

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Tyson still all man

Mike Tyson has been forced to deny a spoof report which went viral in Asia – where it was taken as fact – that he has undergone a successful sex change operation to become a woman.

Just as well for the author that he did not say it to the face of the youngest ever world heavyweight champion.

He may have mellowed into a showman now but there was a glint of the old Iron Mike when he lisped: 'I never lose touch with my masculinity.'

Still the man: Mike Tyson had to deny spoof reports he had undergone a sex change

Still the man: Mike Tyson had to deny spoof reports he had undergone a sex change

Pacquiao v Mayweather still on the cards

The mega-bucks fight the world has been waiting so long to see may yet happen, despite Manny Pacquiao's brutal knockout by Juan Manuel Marquez.

Floyd Mayweather is scheduled to make his post-prison comeback in Las Vegas on May 4.

While that will probably be against Robert Guerrero, the Money Man has told the PacMan: 'Ease back in with an interim fight of your own to make sure there are no after-effects from that KO and we might look at my next date, in September.'

Chance: Floyd Mayweather could still fight Manny Pacquiao in a big-money bout

Chance: Floyd Mayweather could still fight Manny Pacquiao in a big-money bout

Munroe calls time

Rendall Munroe – who went from a dustbin round in Leicester to a world title fight in Tokyo – has retired following his super-bantamweight defeat by the fast-rising Scott Quigg.

He leaves the ring with his dignity and our admiration for a most worthy career.

Merchant hangs up his microphone

The doyen of American TV boxing analysts called his last fight on Saturday night, Nonito Donaire's victory over Jorge Arce in Houston.

Larry Merchant has hung up the microphone. He is 81 yet only last year, in a feisty post-fight interview in the ring, he famously told an angry Floyd Mayweather: 'I wish I was 30 years younger so I could kick your ass.'

I am doubly glad now that he and I had a long, reminiscent chat in Las Vegas on the eve of Pacquiao-Marquez a week earlier.

Thanks for the memories and all the wisdom, Larry. We will miss you at ringside.

Legend: Ringside analyst Larry Merchant is hanging up the microphone

Legend: Ringside analyst Larry Merchant is hanging up the microphone

Rafa Benitez"s bowling trip the new secret to success ahead of Monterrey clash

Is this Rafa's secret to success Benitez's bowling trip ahead of Monterrey clash worked a treat

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UPDATED:

18:54 GMT, 13 December 2012

He came to Chelsea with a reputation as a tactical genius. He introduced unorthodox zonal-marking and squad-rotation systems when he took charge of Liverpool in 2005. Now, though, it seems Rafa Benitez has uncovered a new winning formula.

The Blues boss took his team bowling on Tuesday night as they prepared for their Club World Cup semi-final tie against Mexican outfit Monterrey.

Chelsea won 3-1, Torres was back among the scorers and the players were having fun. Was this another Benitez tactical masterstroke

Tactical masterstroke Rafa's Ten-pin tactics paid off as Chelsea beat Monterrey

Tactical masterstroke Rafa's Ten-pin tactics paid off as Chelsea beat Monterrey

Having fun Oscar, David Luiz, and Ramires seemed to enjoy themselves

Having fun Oscar, David Luiz, and Ramires seemed to enjoy themselves

Ashley Cole didn't impress with his bowling technique and he was forced to wait on the team as punishment

Ashley Cole didn't impress with his bowling technique and he was forced to wait on the team as punishment

I know what I'm doing: Benitez may have lifted the Chelsea players' spirits

I know what I'm doing: Benitez may have lifted the Chelsea players' spirits

Not a lot has gone right for Rafa since he took over from Roberto Di Matteo as Chelsea manager. He started with back-to-back 0-0 results in the league followed by a 3-1 defeat at West Ham and an embarrassing early exit from the Champions League, the first time the holders have ever fallen this early.

And, of course, all this with the boos and groans of discontent from Chelsea fans in the background.

But in the last few days things appear to be looking up for the ‘fat Spanish waiter’. They won 3-1 at Sunderland and set off for Japan for what must feel like welcome relief from the scrutiny back home.

Above all, it appears the Blues are having fun in the Far East. They were mobbed by adoring Premier League fans when they arrived and now it looks like Rafa has found the secret formula to make Chelsea fire again.

Wrong sport: Juan Mata tries the shot-put with a bowling ball

Wrong sport: Juan Mata tries the shot-put with a bowling ball

Good technique: David Luiz shows off his bowling skills

Good technique: David Luiz shows off his bowling skills

Good job son: Torres was amongst the goals in Yokohama as Chelsea won 3-1

Good job son: Torres was amongst the goals in Yokohama as Chelsea won 3-1

All smiles: Whatever happened at bowling must have worked as Chelsea brushed aside the Mexican side

All smiles: Whatever happened at bowling must have worked as Chelsea brushed aside the Mexican side

But if the Blues come back having lost to Corinthians in the final it will be perceived as a worthless trip, as was the case when Liverpool lost to Sao Paulo in 2005.

At least Benitez has got Torres scoring again and team morale looks to be the best it has been since that famous night in Munich in May.

Hector "Macho" Camacho: Former boxing champion in serious condition after being shot

Former champ Hector 'Macho' Camacho in critical condition after being shot in the face in Puerto Rico

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UPDATED:

09:35 GMT, 21 November 2012

Former world boxing champion Hector 'Macho' Camacho was shot in the face as he sat in a car outside the Puerto Rican capital yesterday.

Doctors said he was in serious condition but is expected to survive.

Another man in the car, whose relationship to the 50-year-old Camacho wasn't immediately known, died in the attack in which at least one gunman opened fire on their vehicle in the city of Bayamon, according to a statement from police.

Bout: Hector Camacho, right, throws a punch at Troy Lowry in a 2001 fight

Bout: Hector Camacho, right, throws a punch at Troy Lowry in a 2001 fight

Camacho was rushed to Centro Medico, the trauma center in San Juan, where he was in critical but stable condition, Dr. Ernesto Torres, the hospital director, told reporters.

The bullet apparently struck him in the jaw but exited his head and lodged in his right shoulder and fractured two vertebrae, Torres said.

The doctor said the boxer, who was
trailed by drug and alcohol problems during a career that included some
high-profile bouts, could be paralyzed from the shooting.

'Camacho's condition is extremely delicate,' he told Telenoticias. 'His physical condition will help him but we will see.'

Fallen champion: Hector Camacho was shot in the face while in a car outside a bar in Puerto Rico

Fallen champion: Hector Camacho was shot in the face while in a car outside a bar in Puerto Rico

No arrests have been made in the shooting, police said.

Camacho representative Steve Tannenbaum said he was told by friends at the hospital that the boxer would make it.

'This guy is a cat with nine lives. He's been through so much,' he said. 'If anybody can pull through it will be him.'

The fighter's last title bout came against then-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, a loss by unanimous decision.

Tannenbaum said he was going to fight two years ago in Denmark until his opponent pulled out and that they were looking at a possible bout in 2013.

'We were talking comeback even though he is 50,' he said. 'I felt he was capable of it.'

Camacho was born in Bayamon, one of the cities that make up the San Juan metropolitan area. He won super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s.

Camacho has fought other high-profile bouts in his career against Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Camacho knocked out Leonard in 1997, ending what was that former champ's final comeback attempt.

Retired: Camacho's last title bout came against then-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, a loss by unanimous decision

Retired: Camacho's last title bout came against then-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, a loss by unanimous decision

Camacho has a career record of 79-5-3, with his most recent fight coming in 2009.

Drug, alcohol and other problems have trailed Camacho since the prime of his boxing career.

He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi.

While arresting him on the burglary charge in January 2005, police also found the drug ecstasy.

A judge eventually suspended all but one year of the sentence and gave Camacho probation. He wound up serving two weeks in jail, though, after violating that probation.

Twice his wife filed domestic abuse complaints against him, and she filed for divorce several years ago.

Test Match Special held to ransom by Indians: Don"t go picking on my dear old thing!

As Indians hold TMS to ransom, we say: Don't go picking on my dear old thing!

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 29 October 2012

A cynic, wrote Oscar Wilde, knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. If that is the case, then the people who run cricket in India must be among the most cynical operators in the world of sport.

For the privilege of broadcasting next month's four-Test series on the radio, the Board of Control for Cricket in India have demanded an additional payment of 50,000 from the BBC. As night follows day, the BBC have refused to stump up the cash — licence-payers’ money — pointing out their agreement contained no clause to that effect. If the parties cannot resolve their differences, then Test Match Special will fall silent, leaving thousands of listeners feeling deprived.

Does it matter Yes it does. Since it came on air in 1957, TMS has established a proud reputation as the best-loved sports programme in British broadcasting. In view of the regard in which it is held across the world, it may well be the best-loved sports programme to be heard anywhere.

Much-loved: Henry Blofeld (front) on the BBC's Test Match Special

Much-loved: Henry Blofeld (front) on the BBC's Test Match Special

Its unique appeal is that, although it is principally about cricket, outside events keep on intruding, so that a commentary on a day’s play can become a window to the world.

There is leg-pulling, a cascade of in-jokes, a good deal of silliness and, of course, given that each day has intervals for lunch and tea, plenty of cake-scoffing. As a result it continues to attract listeners, many of them women, whose interest in cricket may only be incidental.

Two men, above all, were responsible for setting that welcoming tone: John Arlott and Brian Johnston. Even now, 32 years after he stood down from TMS, it is possible to hear Arlott’s earthy Hampshire voice as he described the streaker (‘freaker’, he actually said) who disturbed the Lord’s Test of 1975: ‘Not very shapely as it is masculine, and I would think it has seen the last of its cricket for the day…’

Lunch guests: stars who have joined the fun at TMS include singer Lily Allen (top) and Harry Potter actors Tom Felton and Daniel Radcliffe (bottom)

Lunch guests: stars who have joined the fun at TMS include singer Lily Allen (top) and Harry Potter actors Tom Felton and Daniel Radcliffe (bottom)

Lunch guests: stars who have joined the fun at TMS include singer Lily Allen (top) and Harry Potter actors Tom Felton and Daniel Radcliffe (bottom)

Arlott, a poet and author, was the conscience of TMS. Its gadfly spirit belonged to Johnston, an Old Etonian who had won the MC for gallantry in the Second World War and could never take sport too seriously.

It was Johnston, in concert with Jonathan Agnew, who in 1991 provided the most celebrated moment in the show’s history, the ‘leg over’, which forced hundreds of motorists all over the country to pull over as they laughed themselves silly.

After half a century of loyal coverage, a Test match without TMS is like the Tower of London without the ravens. It is what listeners instinctively reach for, even if their memories insist the programme is not what it used to be. The fact that it exists, longueurs and all, in a world attracted to more immediate and strident forms of commentary is cause for celebration.

If you were being critical, you could say that some members of the current team lack either the gravitas or the grace of those who helped to establish the programme in the public consciousness.

Unmistakable: TMS great John Arlott was also a poet and wine connoisseur

Unmistakable: TMS great John Arlott was also a poet and wine connoisseur

You could say that Michael Vaughan ‘goes at the ball too hard’, to use a metaphor from the game he played so well, that Phil Tufnell’s cultivated urchin act wore thin years ago, and that Geoffrey Boycott, so good at talking about others, is less accomplished when the subject turns to himself.

You might also say that the commentary box discipline that was taken for granted when Arlott and Johnston were behind the mic is not always maintained today.

A degree of jollity is part of the show’s charm, hence Henry Blofeld’s enduring appeal, addressing all before him as ‘My dear old thing’, but there are times in the present set-up when you wonder what everybody is laughing at.

Carrying the torch: BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew (right) with former England captain Michael Vaughan (left) in the commentary booth

Carrying the torch: BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew (right) with former England captain Michael Vaughan (left) in the commentary booth

Yet, taken all in all, the programme still works because the canvas is broad enough to accommodate occasional foibles and failings. It is dedicated to cricket and, most of the time, it shows listeners the game as they like to see it. And in Agnew, the BBC’s cricket correspondent, it has one of the outstanding voices in sports broadcasting.

Like his predecessor, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, ‘Aggers’ is a model of balance and knowledge, and — mock not, for it is less prized than it was — he speaks intelligible English. They ought to put a preservation order on him.

In fact, looking at what TMS has achieved in the past 55 years, it is not absurd to say it has done more to advance the cause of cricket throughout the world than anything or anybody else. Which is why the Indian board, who think the game now belongs to them because they have set up the tipsy run-feast called the Indian Premier League, should reconsider their greedy request.

Half a century from now, the IPL should be no more than a distant memory, and a vulgar one at that. TMS will, God willing, still be going strong, japes, cakes and all. Now, let’s get back to watching some cricket.

Rylands Morgans joins Liverpool as head of sports science

Rodgers raids former club Swansea to hire new sports science chief Morgans

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UPDATED:

12:46 GMT, 3 October 2012

Brendan Rodgers has recruited former Swansea head of sports science Ryland Morgans to his coaching team at Liverpool.

Morgans, who left Swansea last week to ‘develop his career elsewhere’ after Michael Laudrup hired Oscar Garcia to a similar role in the summer, becomes the fourth member of Rodgers’ former Liberty Stadium backroom staff to head to Liverpool.

Analyst Chris Davies, performance consultant Glen Driscoll and assistant Colin Pascoe all joined the Northern Irishman shortly after his move in June.

Straight to work: Liverpool have hired Ryland Morgans as their new head of sports science from Swansea

Straight to work: Liverpool have hired Ryland Morgans as their new head of sports science from Swansea

Paralympians can shine brightly on any stage – Des Kelly

These real diamonds can shine brightly on any stage

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UPDATED:

23:45 GMT, 7 September 2012

If you watched the Paralympics without your jaw dropping open in wonderment, or an awestruck tear collecting in the corner of an eye, then I suggest you may have had your soul amputated.

What a triumph the 2012 Paralympic Games have been; what a momentous event for the country. Britain can feel thoroughly proud of itself for staging yet another unforgettable spectacle.
But, from this point on, everything changes. It has to.

Oscar Pistorius broke down barriers as the first amputee to compete at the Olympics alongside able-bodied competitors. Now the sport has the chance to go a giant carbon-fibre stride further.

Star quality: Hannah Cockroft celebrates winning her 200 metres race on a thrilling Thursday night of Paralympic action

Star quality: Hannah Cockroft celebrates winning her 200 metres race on a thrilling Thursday night of Paralympic action

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If I were a Diamond League promoter writing out cheques for the likes of Usain Bolt to stroll to 200m victories at meetings across Europe, I’d be considering a punt on staging more Paralympic races as part of the programme. They do happen on occasion at the moment, more as a novelty than a permanent fixture. But just look at the value athletes like Hannah Cockroft, David Weir and Jonnie Peacock would bring to any stadium.

Their historic treble success on Thursday night wasn’t so much an echo of London 2012’s ‘Super Saturday’ as a full-volume reprise of that truly golden evening.

Don't tell me a crowd wouldn't want to
watch Weir in any stadium. He had 80,000 people screaming him home on
Thursday night in an 800m wheelchair event that had all the tactical
twists of a two-lap foot race, plus a Formula One-style crash on the
second corner and some brutal Ben Hur wheel-to-wheel brinkmanship. It
was epic stuff.

While Bolt and Yohan Blake avoid one another in Diamond League sprints so they can both collect a winner’s bounty, I’d be just as happy to pay to see Peacock, the fastest Paralympian in history, take on all comers in a time that is just a few tenths of a second off his more celebrated contemporaries, despite the inconvenient absence of one leg.

Certainly, the tension before the T44
100m final between Peacock, Pistorius and Co was reminiscent of the
night Bolt faced Blake on the same track. With a nailbiting false start
and Peacock bringing the crowd to a complete hush beforehand, it was
laden with drama. The six million who tuned in to watchChannel 4 agree. Promoters take note. The changes are already beginning to happen and the boundaries continue to blur.

The Rugby World Cup 2015 organisers this week recruited Debbie Jevans, the London Olympics director of sport, and talks are already underway to try to incorporate Paralympic rugby, or ‘Murderball’ as it is commonly known, into the programme.

This is not a sop to political correctness or some box-ticking exercise in political correctness. The public is demanding it.

Unforgettable: ParalympicsGB served up a memorable night of action - including Peacock's 100m victory

Unforgettable: ParalympicsGB served up a memorable night of action – including Peacock's 100m victory

Unforgettable: ParalympicsGB served up a memorable night of action - including Peacock's 100m victory

Unforgettable: ParalympicsGB served up a memorable night of action – including Peacock's 100m victory

I admit I found some of the talk before the Paralympics infuriating. There were accusations it was just a distant relation of the elite event, a shadow circus living on the reflected glory of the main Games.
We were told there were no genuine stars beyond Pistorius. Some wondered out loud whether it would be a glorified charity event or an expensive school sports day.

There were sneers people were turning up only because they missed out on the ‘real’ ticket ballot, and that the medals would be devalued because of the lack of competition in certain events.

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But the Paralympics actually showed us an astonishing array of fierce competitors being the best they could be in their class. Every sport always has divisions and groupings, either by sex, age, weight, engine size or equipment. You name it and there is a classification of some sort in play.

The fact that the Paralympics have to take into account myriad differences of physical and mental capability does not diminish the fact that the competitors are still number one at what they do.
Yes, some of the labels are confusing and the system could be simpler but, in time, the T44 amputees’ category might be as familiar a phrase as the Under 21s or light-middleweights.

As for the supposed lack of ‘stars’ on show, Ellie Simmonds, Sarah Storey, Cockroft, Weir and Peacock are right up there in the firmament of stellar sporting names in this country.

I’d certainly recognise them ahead of some of our rowers, cyclists and track and field medal winners from the ‘main Games’ — not because they are special cases to be patronised and indulged, but because they are outstanding athletes finally receiving some overdue profile. If you’ve seen any of the blind long jump or the wheelchair rugby, you won’t have any doubts about the courage and competitiveness on view.

Flying the flag: The Paralympians have provided as much entertainment as their Olympic counterparts

Flying the flag: The Paralympians have provided as much entertainment as their Olympic counterparts

Flying the flag: The Paralympians have provided as much entertainment as their Olympic counterparts

If you’ve seen the unique skills of the quad wheelchair tennis players serving with their feet, or the swimmers that race with no arms, there can be no doubting the prowess or the athleticism required.
I’ve tried blind football with the GB Team and banged the drum for them ever since. These boys are part Lionel Messi, part human sonar navigation system.

Plenty more to talk about…

Tune into my Press Pass show on talkSPORT on Sunday at 6pm where we will dissect the coverage of England’s World Cup qualifier and the Paralympics.

I’ll also be at the Team GB parade as a guest of Hawksbee and Jacobs live from Trafalgar Square on Monday afternoon.

I've also trained with the British
wheelchair basketball team in Spain. Beforehand, I asked the players not
to be condescending and 'take it easy' on me. I reminded them of how
infuriating they find it when strangers flash a sympathetic look their
way because they sit in a wheelchair and pointed out I didn't want the
same in reverse.

They duly responded. Throughout a metal-and-bone-crunching afternoon they beat seven types of excrement out of me, forever earning my respect in the process.

So be in no doubt this is a level of sport deserving of a stage. It is just as full of the blood of competition, burning ambition, dedication and dexterity as the main 2012 Games and it is pathetic to suggest otherwise.

There were even concerns voiced that this Paralympics was somehow a waste of money. Britain’s 328 Paralympians were given nearly 50m over four years from Lottery cash and Government funding. It sounds a lot, but to put it into a different context, that’s about the same as Wayne Rooney will earn in four years. For that, London has put on an event that could change attitudes and behaviour forever.

Rough and tumble: There's no love lost on the basketball court

Rough and tumble: There's no love lost on the basketball court

Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of
thousands of youngsters will grow up with an indelible memory of the
night they witnessed sportsmen and women either in wheelchairs, or
blind, or with one arm, or no legs doing truly extraordinary things in
the pursuit of Olympic glory.

Hopefully, they will grow up learning to look beyond the wheelchair or the white stick. Hopefully, they will see the person not the disability. Hopefully, they will remember when they started to question the accuracy of the word ‘disabled’.

That would be a fine way to mark London's 2012 Paralympics and ensure Britain's greatest-ever sporting summer lives on forever.

Gerrard just cannot win…

It is the ultimate loaded question for England managers and captains. At some point, each and every one of them is led towards the trap.

There’s nothing complicated about the query. On a quiet news day someone collects the microphone at a press conference and asks: ‘Can England win the World Cup’

As loaded questions go, it’s right up there alongside: ‘Have you stopped beating your wife’
Every answer, be it ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is a headline. Any doubt or hesitation causes controversy.

No win situation: Gerrard was asked if England can win the World Cup in Brazil

No win situation: Gerrard was asked if England can win the World Cup in Brazil

Since Steven Gerrard is the player with the armband these days the football grenade was duly tossed in his direction when Roy Hodgson’s side were preparing for last night’s qualifier in Moldova.

His dilemma was this. If Gerrard said England had ‘no chance’ of winning the World Cup, he would be pilloried for being defeatist and failing to motivate the squad.

If he said ‘England can — or even will — win the World Cup’, he would be accused of parading the arrogance that has long been the nation’s downfall.

So Gerrard opted for the more measured approach. He trod a fine line between realism and hope and said: ‘We have to have faith — miracles do happen.’

And the reaction He was pilloried for being both defeatist and arrogant.

Greed and loathing

Cristiano Ronaldo is 'unhappy' with his life at Real Madrid. It seems adulation, 250,000 a week, a team built around him and a sumptuous lifestyle are apparently not enough.

Ashley Cole is unhappy too. He is in contract negotiations with Chelsea and the question appears to be whether he will be paid 5million for one year or 10m for two.

Lewis Hamilton is holding out for more cash at McLaren as his 75m five-year contract comes to an end this year.

On and on it goes. Do these people have any idea how preposterous they sound in the current economic climate Does anyone believe they have an inkling of how they are perceived by the public

Hand to mouth: Ronaldo is trying to get by on 250,000-a-week

Hand to mouth: Ronaldo is trying to get by on 250,000-a-week

So the story goes

The story doing the rounds is Manchester United’s purported 38m bid for Brazilian superstar Neymar is the esult of a misunderstanding.

Apparently, someone got hold of the wrong end of the stick when Sir Alex Ferguson declared there would be ‘nay more signing for United’.

London 2012 Paralympics: Oscar Pistorius beats Alan Oliveira in relay

Revenge is sweet! Pistorius holds off rival Oliveira to win relay gold for South Africa

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UPDATED:

23:52 GMT, 5 September 2012

Oscar Pistorius gained revenge for his shock 200 metres defeat by holding off his Brazilian conqueror on the final leg of the 4x100m relay to claim a belated first gold medal of London 2012.

The 25-year-old brought the South African team home in a new world record of 41.78 seconds to crown a night which saw the great blade debate take another twist.

Revenge: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius (right) shakes hands with Brazil's Alan Fonteles Oliveira

Revenge: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius (right) shakes hands with Brazil's Alan Fonteles Oliveira

Golden boys: Pistorius and his team-mates Samkelo Radebe, Zivan Smith and Arnu Fourie

Golden boys: Pistorius and his team-mates Samkelo Radebe, Zivan Smith and Arnu Fourie

Pistorius was pitted in direct
opposition with Alan Fonteles Oliveira and American Blake Leeper, both
of whose long blades he had fiercely criticised in the wake of his shock
loss on Sunday.

But he held off the Brazilian strongly down the home straight to roars from the crowd.

Brazilian and American disappointment was compounded when both teams, who had come home second and third respectively, were disqualified.

Winners: South Africa set a new world record in the relay

Winners: South Africa set a new world record in the relay

Winners: South Africa set a new world record in the relay

London 2012 Paralympics: Oscar Pistorius escapes punishment for Alan Oliveira outburst

Relief for Pistorius after blade runner escapes punishment for Oliveira outburst

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UPDATED:

11:21 GMT, 4 September 2012

Oscar Pistorius will not face censure for his comments on regulations governing prosthetic running blades, the International Paralympic Committee said.

The South African apologised for raising his concerns over the length of some rivals' blades immediately after being beaten to T44 200 metres gold by Brazil's Alan Fonteles Oliveira on Sunday night.

IPC communications director Craig Spence said 'There will be no disciplinary action against Oscar for his comments.'

Outburst: Pistorius questioned the legality of Oliveira's running blades

Outburst: Pistorius questioned the legality of Oliveira's running blades

A date is still to be set for a meeting between Pistorius and the IPC, with arrangements being taken place through official channels.

'We're waiting for the national Paralympic committee of South Africa to go through the relevant channels and contact the IPC and then the meeting will be set up,' Spence added.