Tag Archives: pace

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London 2012 Olympics: Keri-Anne Payne comes fourth in 10km open water swim

Pain for Payne as British marathon swimmer misses out on bronze by split seconds

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UPDATED:

13:04 GMT, 9 August 2012

Keri Anne Payne missed out on a medal in the 10km open swim by one second.

The world champion was forced to race at an uncomfortably fast pace but maintained her position in the pack throughout.

However by the time the leaders flicked on the burners, Payne was left floundering. Despite rallying in the closing stretch, the Britain was unable to make up the metres.

Afterward, Payne said: 'They played me at my own game and led from the front.

'Fourth in the world is not too bad. Not quite what I wanted for the crowd and everyone who worked hard to get me here.

'I was hurting for most of the swim. I was probably working a little bit too hard for how I would want to take the pace.'

More to follow…

Making a splash: Keri-Anne Payne was pipped to a medal in the women's 10km marathon swim

Making a splash: Keri-Anne Payne was pipped to a medal in the women's 10km marathon swim

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London 2012 Olympics: Ben Ainslie finishes sixth in first Finn race

Ainslie off the pace as British sailing star finishes sixth in first Finn race

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UPDATED:

14:31 GMT, 30 July 2012

Three-time gold medallist Ben Ainslie could only finish Monday's first Finn race in sixth place as Denmark's Jonas Hogh-Christensen proved he was no one-day wonder.

The 35-year-old Brit has been sluggish out of the blocks at previous Olympics but got off to a decent start yesterday, collecting two second places.

Hogh-Christensen was the victor in both races and impressed again this afternoon, finishing second to New Zealand's Dan Slater in Weymouth Bay.

Ainslie, meanwhile, had to settle for sixth place after a difficult start. The gold medal favourite had been close to Hogh-Christensen but lost ground upwind as he finished behind the Dane for a third successive race.

Down the order: Ainslie had to settle for sixth after a difficult start

Down the order: Ainslie had to settle for sixth after a difficult start

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Mo Farah wins final race before London 2012

Mo in mighty fine shape ahead of the Olympics as he eases to glory in final warm-up

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UPDATED:

20:09 GMT, 13 July 2012

Mo Farah delivered exactly the performance he needed to as he geared up for London 2012 in comfortable style.

The Britain won his 5,000m event at the Diamond League meeting in Crystal Palace, two weeks before the opening ceremony in Stratford.

Loving it: Britain's Mo Farah won the 5,000m at Crystal Palace with relative ease

Loving it: Britain's Mo Farah won the 5,000m at Crystal Palace with relative ease

Farah waited until the last two laps of his final race before the Olympics to hit the front and gradually wind up the pace, eventually winning by almost four seconds in a time of 13:06.04.

'I'm in great shape,' the 29-year-old said. 'It was important to work on my speed a bit. Conditions were not great but I love this track and this crowd and I'm looking forward to the Olympics. It's not long to go.

'I just have to think of it as another race and forget it's the Olympics, but I'm quite looking forward to it.'

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Dale Steyn targets England as South African bowler says he"s not aggressive

Dale Steyn exclusive: He's the best! He's the fastest! And he signs for Sportsmail

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UPDATED:

23:50 GMT, 11 July 2012

Dale Steyn smiles, a trifle too amiably for comfort perhaps, at the image of himself as the mean and nasty fast bowler determined to strip England of their status as the best Test team in the world.

‘Look at me,’ said South Africa’s spearhead. ‘There’s nothing to me. I’m actually skinny and small for a fast bowler. I guess I’m really lucky. I just have this gift for pace and I’m trying to make it work as often as I can.’

Do not be deceived. The man sitting before me, all 6ft and around 13 stones of him, is the undisputed No 1 bowler in the world, a fast man with a strike rate of 40, better than anyone in the history of the game to have taken more than 150 Test wickets. And he will be at the forefront of the battle of the two best attacks in the world that will go a long way towards deciding the outcome of the main event of this cricketing summer.

Speed star: Dale Steyn will be a threat to England

Speed star: Dale Steyn will be a threat to England

Steyn has been clocked at 97mph but more usually bowls in the low 90s. He also has an animated, aggressive streak that sees him displaying more than his fair share of emotion on the pitch. It is difficult to believe, as he chats away modestly for an hour, that I am speaking to the right man. He just seems too nice and has a fascinating explanation for his dual personality.

‘I’m not actually that aggressive when I go on to the field,’ said Steyn as he prepares for South Africa’s Test showdown against England, starting next Thursday at The Kia Oval. ‘I just try to play the part. Like Shane Warne played his part beautifully. People would go to cricket grounds to watch him, like it was a stage and he was the main performer.

‘As a fast bowler I have responsibility to lead the attack, lift up all the players who are in my team and, yes, be that little bit more aggressive. I can’t spin a ball a mile like Shane Warne but I can bowl it at 150 clicks (kph) and that’s how I can get people to say, “Something’s happening here”.

‘You want to stare the batter down or make him shake because it’s too quick. It gets people going, not just the crowd but the players too. So I play a role but off the field I’m really not like that.’

Steyn, 29, will not be short of a word for Andrew Strauss and the other England batsmen in the heat of battle.

‘Sledging isn’t really part of my game but sometimes it comes naturally. I don’t like to talk to batters. I like to let the ball do the talking. But there is a time and a place when you have to say something. Talk to him about his technique or whatever it is. There is a mind game involved.

‘I believe 80 per cent of cricket is in the mind and 20 per cent of it is skill. But you have to be clever about it. Some people just go out there and say the most stupid stuff. That can blow over the batsman’s head but when you are smart about it you can get inside a guy’s mind and put some doubt in there. Then that might spread through the rest of the team and you can cause some damage.’

Once upon a time the man who would go on to be a proud successor to South African pace bowling legends such as Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock was indeed considered too nice for his chosen profession. The young Steyn struggled to impose himself on the opposition and lacked the mean streak that now poses such a threat to England.

Getting nasty: Steyn strikes James Anderson with a bouncer at Headingley in 2008

Getting nasty: Steyn strikes James Anderson with a bouncer at Headingley in 2008

Then, one day during a Test against New Zealand at Centurion five years ago, everything changed when a nasty delivery from the fledgling fast bowler struck a batsman called Craig Cumming in the face.

‘When I started off I didn’t want to upset anybody,’ Steyn said. ‘When you are a new kid on the block you really don’t want to make a name for yourself for the wrong reasons and look like an idiot. Look at our recent tour of New Zealand, for example. Tim Southee is a good player and quite a nice guy but he shouted off his mouth just a bit too much and ended up getting dropped. So you have to be careful.

‘When I was younger I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to keep quiet. Maybe it was that series against New Zealand that proved the turning point. I took 20 wickets in that one and almost killed a guy. He was in pretty bad shape. He went to hospital, had a plate put in and I don’t know what else.

‘I’d made a little marker and from that point on I thought, “Maybe I can do this”. Mark Boucher would come and say, “Maybe it’s time you opened your mouth a bit now because we need you to do that”.’

Leading the attack: Steyn is ranked as the best bowler in Tests with 272 wickets to his name

Leading the attack: Steyn is ranked as the best bowler in Tests with 272 wickets to his name

He has rarely looked back. Now, he will lead an attack that includes the height and bounce of Morne Morkel, the emerging seam of Vernon Philander, the pace of the evergreen Jacques Kallis and the leg-spin of Imran Tahir against another bowling unit brimming with skill and options, that of England.

‘We’ve got a great side, a fantastic team,’ said Steyn. ‘Our team is full of quality individuals and when we all pull together it makes for a very strong cricket team. I’m looking forward to seeing what these guys can produce, not just myself. There is some big cricket coming up for us here and in Australia.

‘The ranking is something we are really striving for. You want to be the No 1 team in the world. You want to lead the way. You want other teams looking at you and saying, “What are they doing that we need to do” And when they get close to you we then step up again. That’s what we really want to do.

‘I feel like this is the best environment I’ve been involved in. Man for man we have some wonderful players. When I started we had some great cricketers such as Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini and some of the same guys we have now. The team hasn’t changed that much but the maturity of the guys has come on leaps and bounds since when I was first around.

‘The environment feels so professional. Not that it wasn’t before but, if this team played the team we had a couple of years ago, this one would be better.’

Adding extra spice: Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen will line up against some familiar faces

Adding extra spice: Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen will line up against some familiar faces

Adding extra spice: Jonathan Trott (left) and Kevin Pietersen will line up against some familiar faces

There is, of course, a fascinating sub-plot to this eagerly anticipated three-Test series. The presence of South African-born players like Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott, and even Strauss and Matt Prior, in the England side is an emotive subject, one that divides opinions. Only last week Trott felt compelled to say again that he was no mercenary and he considered himself totally English.

South Africa have also lost others, like Craig Kieswetter, who could so easily have been stepping in for the injured Boucher as the tourists’ wicketkeeper next week, and those who have chosen to use their Kolpak status to play as non-overseas players in English domestic cricket. Steyn has some fascinating views on the matter.

‘I’m very open minded about life, and people have to do what they have to do,’ he said. ‘I’ve got no problems with that. Pietersen, Trott and Kieswetter are the ones, really, and they’re fantastic players but I’m not saying we’re missing out because, if I look at our team, I feel who would they knock out I think they’d have a hard time getting into our team now. Seriously.

‘I’m happy for them that they’ve come over here and made good lives for themselves and achieved fantastic things in cricket but I’m not saying that we miss them at all. I’m sure they would have done just as well if they’d stayed at home but they play for England. We’ve got loads of guys at home who want to play for South Africa who are very good players. The Proteas want to achieve fantastic things. Obviously we don’t want players to leave to play in England, New Zealand and Australia but if they decide to do that what can we do

‘All I’d say to the England players is that they will soon be playing for the No 2 team in the world because we want to get to No 1.’

Previous: Steyn celebrates the wicket of Pietersen in Cape Town as England and South Africa drew the four Test series 1-1 two years ago

Previous: Steyn celebrates the wicket of Pietersen in Cape Town as England and South Africa drew the four Test series 1-1 two years ago

Steyn, who will be providing his insightful views for Sportsmail throughout the series, is particularly friendly with Trott, too friendly according to former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur, now in charge of Australia, who admonished his strike bowler for socialising with Trott during a Test on England’s last tour of South Africa.

‘Mickey was smoking his socks!’ he said rather colourfully. ‘I played at Warwickshire with Trotty and we were having lunch one day in Sandton. I vaguely remember Mickey saying that but, if you’re friends with someone, what’s the problem with socialising

‘When we walk on the field I’m still going to try to get him out. Trotty won’t be apologising if he hits me for four and I certainly won’t be apologising if I get him out. I know when we walk off the field I can still go up to him, hit him on the shoulder, smile at him and laugh with him. It’s fine.’

That spell with Warwickshire, along with an earlier stint in county cricket with Essex, did much to make Steyn the bowler he is today, even though he did not get off to the best of starts in England.

‘I loved county cricket and had a great time,’ said Steyn. ‘I was very young when I played for Essex, very immature and very useless. At one point I even said to Graham Gooch that they should keep their money because they were wasting it on me, I was so bad.

‘When I came back to play for Warwickshire I didn’t want to make the same mistakes. I played a lot better for them and lived up to the expectations the club had for me. That was important.

‘I apologise to Essex but when I came back I was a lot better cricketer. I learnt a lot from that, coming back to play against England for South Africa four years ago.’

Enlarge

Dale Steyn: Stats

That series ended in triumph for South Africa and the end of Michael Vaughan as England captain but it was not hugely successful for Steyn. In fact, his figures against England are not as good as his overall ones and he has something of a point to prove at The Oval, Headingley and Lord’s.

‘I did a bit of damage in the second Test in 2008 and did what I needed to do, which was down to playing here before, but then I broke my thumb and couldn’t play in the last two. I made my Test debut against England when I was really young and I didn’t quite know what was going on.

‘I was caught up in playing for South Africa, so those first three Tests I’ve statistically almost written off as a learning phase. For me I only really began counting my stats two years after I started playing Test cricket. I know a little bit more now but I’m still learning. My record is not terrible against England. I can live with it.’

Yet his mission now is to improve that record against England before going on to cement his name as one of the great fast men.

‘I’m
not a statto. I’m happy to play and win. I just want to stay fit and
strong and keep doing the things I’m doing. My biggest thing is for
someone to be sitting in a bar long after I’ve retired saying, “Do you
remember that guy Steyn He gave everything all day and was entertaining
to watch”.

‘I want to
be a part of the fast bowling legacy that has been around for as long
as cricket has been played. I have no idea what Joel Garner’s stats are,
or Malcolm Marshall’s, but I know I would have been s******* myself if I
had to go and face them. I just want to be considered part of that
elite group and then my job would be complete.’

With a smile on his face. Off the pitch, at least.

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British Grand Prix 2012: Lewis Hamilton says McLaren are "long way" behind Ferrari and Red Bull

We're a long way behind our rivals, admits Hamilton as McLaren falter at British GP

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UPDATED:

16:13 GMT, 8 July 2012

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button bemoaned McLaren's lack of pace after being unable to make an impact on their home Grand Prix at Silverstone.

McLaren had been bullish ahead of the British round of the championship, believing upgrades to the MP4-27 would lead to a strong performance on home soil.

But after starting eighth and 16th respectively the pair were never a factor in the fight for the podium places and ultimately finished down in eighth and 10th as Mark Webber secured victory for Red Bull.

Bad day at the office: Button and Hamilton endured a difficult day at Silverstone

Bad day at the office: Button and Hamilton endured a difficult day at Silverstone

On the evidence of the last two rounds, here and at Valencia, McLaren are some way off the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari and Hamilton, who has now fallen 37 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso, knows there is plenty of work to be done before the German Grand Prix.

When asked how far the team are behind Red Bull, Hamilton said: 'A long way away, but we will keep working at it and hopefully catch them up.

'It wasn't a special race to be honest, I wish we could have done more for the fans, we tried as hard as we could but we just didn't have the pace today.

Out in front: Hamilton led the race after going longer on his first set of tyres

Out in front: Hamilton led the race after going longer on his first set of tyres

'I don't know why. I think I was in the lead at one point so I don't understand how you can be there and then go all the way back back to where I started, but I pushed all the way and did everything I could.

'I was flat out right to the end but for some reason we didn't have any speed.'

Hamilton also said he would take a look at the strategy McLaren used for him today. Hamilton started on the hard compound tyre and took the lead when those ahead of him stopped, but as his tyres started to go off Alonso easily caught and passed the McLaren. But Hamilton felt he could have stayed out longer, even though he was substantially slower than the leaders immediately prior to his stop.

Long way behind: McLaren have slipped to fourth in the constructors' standings

Long way behind: McLaren have slipped to fourth in the constructors' standings

He said: 'From what I can understand it must have been okay, but I will have to look at it afterwards to see how the strategy panned out.

'In the first stint my tyres were still good and I was almost holding on to Fernando on quite old tyres so maybe a one stop (strategy) would have been possible, I really don't know to be honest.

'We did everything we could but it was a really tough race for us, really tough.'

Champagne moment: Webber celebrates his second victory of the 2012 championship

Champagne moment: Webber celebrates his second victory of the 2012 championship

Button, now without a podium finish on home soil in 13 attempts, was similarly despondent, and believes that it is not just the Red Bulls and Ferraris who have got the McLarens beat on pure speed at the moment.

He said: 'I just don't think we are very quick at the moment. I think that's an issue for both cars.

'The Red Bulls look strong and even following the Williams around you can see they are very strong. They can put their car in certain areas I could not imagine putting the car and getting away with it.

'We have to find some pace, it's not just Red Bull and Ferrari that are quicker than us, I think a lot of cars are, I just don't think they got their strategy right today.

'We have a lot to work on and I am sorry to the fans we could not have a better result and fight at the front, hopefully we can do that soon.'

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Queens Park Rangers sign Samba Diakite on permanent deal

QPR complete deal for Diakite as Mali midfielder make permanent switch to Loftus Road

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UPDATED:

14:39 GMT, 27 June 2012

QPR have completed the permanent signing of Mali midfielder Samba Diakite from French side Nancy for an undisclosed fee.

Diakite has agreed a four-year deal with the Loftus Road club having initially joined on loan last season.

The 23-year-old made nine appearances for Rangers last term, receiving a red card on debut against Fulham and scoring the winning goal against Arsenal.

I'm staying! Diakite has signed a new deal to remain at Loftus Road

I'm staying! Diakite has signed a new deal to remain at Loftus Road

QPR boss Mark Hughes told www.qpr.co.uk: 'Samba was a real find for us in January, so we're delighted he's joined us permanently.

'He's a very accomplished footballer and he's made to measure for the Premier League.

'He's got good pace, strength and ability on the ball and he's going to be a great asset for us going forward. There's still so much more to come from him.

'He's only been exposed to the Premier League for a handful of games, so I'm sure he's raring to go and get back into the action again.'

Credit where it's due: Rangers boss Hughes is delighted Diakite is staying

Credit where it's due: Rangers boss Hughes is delighted Diakite is staying

Diakite was equally pleased to seal the move.

'It's a dream come true to sign this contract,' he said. 'I loved my time here on loan and I couldn't be happier to join QPR on a permanent deal.

'It's a fantastic club to play for and the owners have great plans for the future – I am just delighted to be part of it.

'This is a really exciting move for me.'

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Queen"s 2012: Jamie Baker beats Oliver Golding

Baker prepares to take on Tsonga after dispatching Golding with ease

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UPDATED:

14:36 GMT, 12 June 2012

Scotland's Jamie Baker set up a second-round clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after beating England's Oliver Golding in straight sets at the AEGON Championships on Tuesday.

Resuming after a rain delay on day two at Queen's, world no. 482 Golding defied the odds to keep pace with Baker in the first set.

British number three Baker came in to his own during the tie-break, however, which he won 7-1.

Level up: Jamie Baker has a tough test

Level up: Jamie Baker has a tough test

Ready to rumble: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Ready to rumble: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Golding then had an argument with the umpire following a dubious line call at the start of the second set and went on to trail 0-4.

He rallied momentarily, but Baker eased home to record a 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 win.

Baker, ranked 203 in the world, has played Tsonga once before in Lanzarote five years ago when the world number five won easily in straight sets.

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Bradley Wiggins claims yellow jersey at Criterium du Dauphine

Wiggins claims Dauphine yellow jersey despite Evans' stage one victory

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UPDATED:

16:36 GMT, 4 June 2012

Bradley Wiggins took the yellow jersey at the Criterium du Dauphine, narrowly ahead of stage one winner Cadel Evans.

The Team Sky rider had started the day in second place after a strong showing in Sunday's prologue and though he was a little off the pace in Monday's 187-kilometre stage to Saint-Vallier, his performance was enough to succeed Luke Durbridge in the race lead.

Yellow jersey: Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins is narrowly in the overall lead

Yellow jersey: Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins is narrowly in the overall lead

Leader of the pack: Wiggins

Evans, of BMC Racing, held off Saur-Sojasun's Jerome Coppel and Andrey Kashechkin of Astana in the final few metres to win the stage, four seconds clear of a peloton led home by Nacer Bouhanni.

Wiggins' group were a further 15 seconds back, but his total time for the two days was nonetheless a second quicker than that of Australian Evans.

Astana's Andriy Grivko lies third, while Edvald Boasson Hagen makes it two Team Sky riders in the top 10 in 10th.

Out in front: Australian Cadel Evans was the winner of stage one

Out in front: Australian Cadel Evans was the winner of stage one

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Sunderland want Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace

Sunderland boss O'Neill targets summer move for Palace teenager Zaha

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UPDATED:

08:37 GMT, 17 May 2012

Target: Sunderland are keen on Wilfried Zaha

Target: Sunderland are keen on Wilfried Zaha

Sunderland are ready to join the race to sign in-demand Crystal Palace winger Wilfired Zaha this summer.

The talented England Under-21 international has attracted attention from a host of suitors in the top flight and abroad, withe German club Hoffenheim among those interested.

And Martin O'Neill is the latest manager to emerge as a potential bidder for the 19-year-old Selhurst Park starlet.

The Northern Irishman is not wasting any time with plans to rebuild his squad this summer, following a disappointing end to the season when positive results tailed off.

Having been impressed with the impact of winger James McLean since introducing him to the first-team after replacing Steve Bruce at the helm last term, O'Neill wants to add more pace to his side.

Teenager Zaha fits the bill for the Stadium of Light boss, who is also keen to recruit relegated Wolves striker Steven Fletcher.

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Ferrari wins Giro d"Italia stage 11 but Cavendish fumes at late pile-up

Ferrari wins Giro d'Italia stage 11 but Cavendish fumes at late pile-up

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UPDATED:

18:12 GMT, 16 May 2012

Roberto Ferrari won the longest stage of this year's Giro d'Italia from Assisi to Montecatini as Great Britain's Mark Cavendish finished fourth.

Androni Giocattoli rider Ferrari was granted a clear run to the line after a pile-up on the final bend hampered many of the chasing pack, with Cavendish having to ease his pace to avoid the crash.

The Team Sky rider, who was angered by Ferrari after being injured in a crash caused by the Italian on stage three, trailed in behind Francesco Chicchi of Omega Pharma QuickStep and Tomas Vaitkus of Orica GreenEdge.

Victorious: Ferrari (right) wins stage 11 of the Giro, with Cavendish (left) in 4th

Victorious: Ferrari (right) wins stage 11 of the Giro, with Cavendish (left) in 4th

Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez retained the leader's pink jersey, which he took with a late attack on stage 10.

Team Saxo Bank's Manuele Boaro was at the head of the field for almost 230 kilometres of the 258km stage, having been part of an early six-man break and then pulled clear on his own around 30km from home, but was swallowed up again by the peloton.

Fellow Italians Mirko Selvaggi and Giovanni Visconti briefly led before Team Sky and Saxo Bank made parallel charges to the head of the field.

But the latter were badly affected by the late crash and Sky could not get Cavendish to the front either as Ferrari took the honours.