Tag Archives: sprint

Dwain Chambers stormed off the track after a poor showing at the European Indoor Championships

Chambers storms off the track after failing to qualify from European indoor heats

Laura Williamson


17:07 GMT, 1 March 2013



18:22 GMT, 1 March 2013

Dwain Chambers stormed off the track in anger after being eliminated in the first round of the men’s 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships this afternoon.

The 34-year-old, who won gold in this event in 2009 and a silver medal two years ago, missed out on automatic qualification after coming fifth in his heat.

Chambers’ time of 6.78 seconds – two tenths of a second down on his season’s best – was not enough to guarantee him a place in Saturday's semi-finals as a fastest loser.

Frustration: Dwain Chambers threw off his vest after failing to qualify for the final of the European Indoor Championships

Frustration: Dwain Chambers threw off his vest after failing to qualify for the final of the European Indoor Championships

The European indoor record-holder, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for the anabolic steroid THG in 2003, threw his British vest to the floor in frustration and ignored all interview requests as he left the Scandinavium Arena.

Chambers missed the UK trials in Sheffield to protect a back injury and looked out of sorts at the British Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham three weeks ago, when he finished fifth.

But the 2010 world indoor champion, who said earlier this year he finally feels ‘part of the team again’ after spending half his time training with UK Athletics’ sprint coach Rana Reider at Loughborough University, had insisted he would not compete in Gothenburg if he was not fully fit.

Speaking after his frustration had subsided, Chambers said: 'The performance was not what I expected and I can only express my disappointment because a lot of time and effort was put into me getting to these championships, and I want to apologise to the people whose time I feel I have wasted.

Out of sorts: Chambers, who has won a silver and gold at the last two championships, struggled to a time 6.78s, not enough to see him go through as a fastest loser

Out of sorts: Chambers, who has won a silver and gold at the last two championships, struggled to a time 6.78s, not enough to see him go through as a fastest loser

'I came here with all the intention
to do well and fight for a medal, which is always what I have been
renowned for doing, but the injury obviously took more out of me than I
had anticipated. So with that I'm really disappointed and feel bad for
letting people down.

'There was no pain. I think what
happened is that I spent all my time getting ready to get on the plane
injury free and I didn't prioritise my time to prepare for the

'I thought I was going to be all
right, but that was the wrong mind process I'd put myself into – I just
wasn't ready. I'm disappointed that I've let people down.

'In situations like these where you
want to do well, you expect to do well and people expect you to do
well…it hurts. I know what I'm capable of doing and it is
disappointing that I am not able to do that today.

'Now I'm just going to cheer on the rest of the team.'

James Dasaolu, however, cruised through
his heat to post the third-fastest qualification time, easing off before
the line to finish second behind Michael Tumi of Italy in 6.62 seconds.
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey also reached tomorrow’s semi-finals with a
season’s best of 6.65 seconds.

No such problems: Fellow Brit James Dasaolu (centre) made it through to the semi-final

No such problems: Fellow Brit James Dasaolu (centre) made it through to the semi-final

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey said: ‘It's a
seasons best – another good run and we'll take it lower, that's the aim.
It’s another opportunity and I think I've been quite lucky indoors. We
haven't really focused on it, so I've done some speed work over the last
few weeks.

‘Dwain and I
have been training together which has really helped. I'm just going to
take each round as it comes. I'm in a GB vest, so it's not about my
personal gain, it's about representing the country and showing what
we've got.

‘I stumbled out of the blocks a bit, so hopefully in the next round I'll go even better.’

James Dasaolu said: ‘I'm really happy, I wanted to qualify as easily as possible. I don't feel like I've exerted too much energy and I think that's what it's all about – using as little energy as possible. I've run a PB in pretty much every race, so I'm in good shape.

‘In the next round I'm going to be more aggressive and run through the line. It wasn't the quickest of fields, so I knew I didn't have to hammer the start, it was just about getting through.’

Track Cycling World Championships: Laura Trott looking to repeat Olympic omnium win over Sarah Hammer

Trott looking to repeat Olympic omnium win over dangerous American Hammer

Olympics bronze medallist Annette Edmondson fourth, just one point further back.

Trott is attempting to win an incredible sixth title at a major championships in the space of just 24 months.

Contender: Sarah Hammer, who Trott beat to the title at London 2012, leads the Brit by five points

Contender: Sarah Hammer, who Trott beat to the title at London 2012, leads the Brit by five points

She finished third in the flying lap before she came home 10th in the points race, leaving her needing to perform well in the elimination.

Trott, whose boyfriend Jason Kenny was dumped out of the sprint in disappointing fashion last night, duly won but Hammer was the last rider to go out.

Shamed Victor Conte supplies supplements to Amir Khan

Shamed Conte supplies supplements to British light-welterweight Khan



00:36 GMT, 23 December 2012

Amir Khan, back on the world title
trail following last week's win over Carlos Molina, has taken nutrional
supplements supplied by Victor Conte, the man jailed for his part in one
of the world's biggest doping scandals.

Conte, sentenced to four months in
prison in 2005 for distributing steroids, is chief executive of a
company called SNAC System Inc, which issued supplements to Khan in the
run-up to his career-saving victory over Molina.

Comeback: Amir Khan after beating American Carlos Molina

Comeback: Amir Khan after beating American Carlos Molina

The 62-year-old was introduced to Khan via the Bolton man's new trainer, Virgil Hunter. Conte told The Mail on Sunday: 'I provided Amir Khan with supplements during his training camp with Virgil Hunter and special pre-fight supplements.'

A spokesman for Khan said: 'Amir did take supplements from a company called SNAC, which I believe is Victor Conte's company.

'Everything he took was declared to USADA, who were regulating the drugs tests for the Molina fight. Everything was cleared by them.'

Conte founded the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative [BALCO], which was raided in 2003 after evidence emerged that Conte had been providing performance-enhancing drugs to elite athletes such as five-time Olympic sprint champion Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and British runner Dwain Chambers.

Conte has since become an anti-doping advocate and has provided consultation for agencies including the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association [VADA], which caught Lamont Peterson earlier this year before he was due to fight Khan in a rematch.

Khan has stated several times his abhorrence towards drug use in boxing and is one of the few fighters to undergo random blood and urine testing.

The British light-welterweight is still bitter that his hopes of avenging a split-decision defeat by Peterson were scuppered when the American tested positive for a banned substance ahead of their proposed rematch.

Khan has said: 'There are a lot of fighters out there who might be taking [drugs]. Imagine me taking it – I'd be an animal. How many people are on this stuff You just don't know.'

When they were young…the 12 heroes who made us feel proud in 2012

When they were young: The 12 heroes who made us feel proud in 2012


23:56 GMT, 15 December 2012



00:27 GMT, 16 December 2012

Tonight the BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be announced to an audience expected to top 15 million viewers.

And in a year of extraordinary sporting achievement, at London 2012 and beyond, the final 12 contenders represent the cream of British sport.

NICK HARRIS and MARTHA KELNER talked to the people who know them best to find out what they were like … when they were young.


Age: 36

Nominated: For winning two gold medals at London 2012, in the team sprint and keirin, to become the British sportsman with the most Olympic gold medals in history (six), overtaking Sir Steve Redgrave’s five.

Chris Hoy

Future knight: A young Chris Hoy shows off one of his first prizes

Parents: David and Carol. Mum Carol says: ‘I am just as proud of the way Chris conducts himself when he loses, when things don’t go to plan or an opponent comes up with a moment of brilliance.

'Chris is able to handle winning and losing equally and I value that in life.

'When I hear Chris described as a true “Olympian”, that means more to me than all of the medals and honours.

Great Britain's Chris Hoy celebrates winning Gold in the Mens Team Sprint Final

Olympic glory: Hoy celebrates winning Gold in the men's team sprint final. He also won the keirin

'He was brought up simply to do things as well as possible and treat other people properly, whatever the circumstances.’

Plans for future: ‘I’m definitely not going to Rio,’ says Hoy. ‘Nothing will top London.’ He hopes to cap his career on a high at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.


Age: 18

Nominated: For winning gold in the 400m freestyle, one of the most thrilling swimming races of the summer, and another gold in the 200m individual medley to add to her two Paralympic titles won at Beijing in 2008.

Parents: Steve and Val. ‘It sometimes gets a bit surreal, you have to give yourself a pinch,’ says Val of the moment she saw her teenage daughter collecting her fourth Paralympic gold medal.

Ellie Simmonds Age 7


Golden girl: Ellie Simonds' infectious smile was there to see at the age of seven. She went on to pick up two golds in 2012 with the 400m freestyle final considered to be one of the most exciting races of the Games

She remembers having to say goodbye when Ellie went away before Beijing for a month’s training camp in South Africa.

‘She was only 12, my little baby, but she’s very mature and loved it.’

If Ellie does not win Sports Personality, Val is backing Mo Farah.

‘I’m a keen athletics fan and used to watch it all the time before swimming took over our lives,’ she says.

Plans for the future: ‘She certainly has plenty more years to carry on swimming and get on the Sports Personality list again,’ says Val.


Age: 33

Nominated: For winning three wheelchair racing gold medals on the track this summer, before topping it by becoming road race champion, the final gold of the Games and his sixth Paralympic medal in total. He has also won the London marathon six times.

Parents: Jackie and David, a former soldier from Belfast, brought up David, who was born with a severing of the spinal cord, in a similar way to his three brothers.

Britain's David Weir

David Weir age 11.

Triple gold: David Weir aged 11 (right) and in action during this summer celebrated his success with his mum in a quiet pub

‘I never mollycoddled them,’ says Jackie.

‘We brought him up to expect taunts and told him not to worry because all kids get them, don’t they’ David would join in with everything.

‘When his mates had a kickaround, David would go in goal and use his sticks to save the ball,’ says Jackie.

He celebrated winning his fourth gold in London by having a quiet drink with his mum in their local pub in Richmond.

Plans for the future: He is not thinking about defending his titles in Rio in 2016 yet but the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are on the agenda.


Age: 35

Nominated: For winning a fourth Olympic gold this summer to confirm his status as the world’s greatest ever sailor.

Parents: Roddy and Susan. Roddy was a renowned sea captain and Ben was bred for maritime glory, given his first taste of sailing on a family holiday to Cornwall when he was eight.

Ben Ainslie

Britain's Ben Ainslie

Incredible career: Ben Ainslie has announced his Olympic retirement admitting he will never beat the buzz of Weymouth

/12/16/article-2248817-145DA7F8000005DC-915_306x454.jpg” width=”306″ height=”454″ alt=”Fourth time lucky: Katherine Grainger celebrates her gold medal after missing out in 2000, 2004 and 2008″ class=”blkBorder” />

Fourth time lucky: Katherine Grainger celebrates her gold medal after missing out in 2000, 2004 and 2008

Fourth time lucky: Katherine Grainger celebrates her gold medal after missing out in 2000, 2004 and 2008, and in her youth (right)

They knew how upset I was when we didn’t win gold at Beijing. All a parent wants is for their child to be happy, and seeing me so unhappy was very difficult for them.’

Plans for future: Says she remains undecided whether to attempt to win a fifth Olympic medal and second gold in Rio.

‘I’m certainly not burning my bridges and deciding that I won’t be at the next Olympics. I’m looking forward to getting back in a boat in 2013 and making a fresh start.’


Age: 25

Nominated: For becoming the first British man in 76 years to win a Grand Slam singles title (the US Open), having just won Olympic singles gold at Wimbledon, just a few weeks after losing on the same court against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon men’s singles final. Also won Olympic doubles silver.

ANDREW MURRAY TENNIS PLAYER FROM DUNBLANE. ANDREW IS PICTURED HERE AGED 8. Andrew Murray pictured during his first round Boys' Singles victory over Mykyta Kryvonos at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis

Andy Murray

Emotional year: After bursting into tears at Wimbledon, Andy Murray went on to grab gold in London 2012 before picking up his first grand slam

Parents: Judy and Will. Judy has been a consistent presence at courtside throughout his career after both parents, despite their divorce, helped him in his early years, funding his attendance at a Barcelona academy.

‘Both of my parents made a lot of sacrifices to give me and [brother] Jamie the opportunity to play tennis,’ he says.

Plans for future: Will certainly want to defend his Olympic crown in Rio in 2016 if fit and healthy but the demands of the singles circuit — and four Slams each year — will take precedence before then, starting with the Australian Open early in 2013.


Age: 32

Nominated: For becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France and for winning the time trial gold medal at London 2012.

Olympic cyclist Bradley Wiggins aged 2 on his first ever bike

Road racer: A two-year-old Bradley Wiggins on his first ever bike

Parents: Linda and Gary. His father was an Australian cyclist who drank heavily, was violent to Linda and who abandoned the family when Wiggins was two.

Linda supported her son’s fledgling career, taking him to Paris to see the Tour when he was 13.

When he won, he pointed to Linda and said: ‘Some dreams do come true. My old mum over there

Her son has just won the Tour de France!’

Bradley Wiggins

Hot favourite: Wiggins is the bookie's favourite to scoop Sports Personality of the Year after winning Olympic gold as well as the Tour de France

Plans for future: Wiggins has said he wants to return to track cycling for the 2016 Games in Rio. Whether he goes for another Tour de France triumph depends on whether Team Sky pick him or Chris Froome as their No 1.


Age: 30

Nominated: For becoming the first-ever female Olympic boxing champion, a feat she celebrated with a chicken wrap at Nando’s.

Nicola Adams

Olympic boxer Nicola Adams aged three.

Record breaker: Nicola Adams became the ever female boxing champion this summer

Parents: Mother Dee and father Innocent split up when Nicola was a child. When Dee could not get a babysitter, she took Nicola and brother Kurtis to an aerobics class.

Nicola, who had watched videos of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier with her dad, joined in with a boxing class instead.

‘It has been really tough for Nicola being a female boxer,’ says Dee. ‘I thought, “She’s doing this for her country and she isn’t getting the recognition she deserves”. But now she has made history. It is amazing. I am just so proud of her.’

Plans for the future: Back in training with TeamGB boxers in Sheffield. Next up are the European Championships, then the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where women’s boxing is debuting. Plans to defend her Olympic title in Rio.


Age: 26

Nominated for: Coping with the pressure of being the face of the Games and dominating the Olympic heptathlon, before sealing victory in the 800m.

Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis - aged 4

Super Saturday: Ennis played a huge role in one of the greatest nights of sport this country has ever seen

Parents: Vinnie and Alison took Jessica and younger sister Carmel to an athletics summer camp when she was 10.

‘I think they just wanted to get rid of me for a bit,’ jokes Jessica. But while Carmel did not like running, Jess thrived.

‘She always wanted to stand on the top of a podium and I’m just so proud of her,’ says Vinnie.

‘After all those years of going to low-key meetings when she was little with the rain and the snow and the early mornings, it has all come together and it’s just brilliant.’

Plans for the future: A spring wedding to childhood sweetheart Andy Hill means a delayed start to the 2013 outdoor season. Has not ruled out defending her heptathlon title in Rio but may switch to the hurdles.


Age: 23

Nominated: For winning his second major and being part of Europe’s winning Ryder Cup team.

Parents: Father Gerry McIlroy worked 100 hours a week and mother Rosie did night shifts at a factory in their native Holywood, in Northern Ireland, to save to send Rory to competitions in the US as a junior.

Rory McIlroy on his local golf course aged nine

Rory McIlroy f

In form: Rory McIlroy bagged his second major while playing his part in a hugely emotional Ryder Cup

It has paid off already but there could be a further 200,000 windfall for Gerry and three friends, who bet 400 at 500-1 that the then 15-year-old would win The Open before 2014.

‘It’s ridiculous really, isn’t it’ says Gerry. ‘You realise you can make more money on the golf tour in one week than some people make in a lifetime.’

Plans for the future: Greg Norman believes Rory McIlroy is more likely to break Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major wins than Tiger Woods. Golf will feature at Rio 2016, so McIlroy could add Olympic gold to his impressive medal cabinet.


Age: 35

Nominated: For winning four cycling gold medals in the Paralympics, including Britain’s first gold of those Games in the Velodrome, having narrowly missed selection to compete for Team GB at the Olympics.

Sarah Storey

 Sarah Storey

Ruling the roads: Storey picked up a phenomenal four gold medals at the Paralympics

Parents: John and Mary Bailey, who wore T-shirts at the Games listing every gold medal their daughter had ever won in swimming and cycling, as well as being ‘the Under-14s Cheshire table tennis champion’.

Storey was born without a functioning left hand and was bullied at school.

‘When I was at my lowest, my parents told me to keep looking to the future, that everything would be all right,’ she says. ‘It was the best lesson anyone could have taught me.’

Plans for future: Says that defending her four Paralympic titles at Rio 2016 would be ‘the ultimate dream’.


Age: 29

Nominated: For winning a historic Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m distance double in London and making the Mo-bot his trademark.

Parents: Father Muktar left Somalia as a young man to settle in London and met Mo’s mother, Amran, during a holiday in his homeland.

Mo Farah

Mo Farah,14

Party time: Mo Farah (aged 14 – right) created one of the most iconic images of London 2012

They married and brought Mo to London as an eight-year-old for the opportunity of a more prosperous life after weighing up the cost of parting him from his twin brother, Hassan, and two older brothers who remained in Somalia.

When Mo arrived at Feltham Community College as an 11-year-old he was barely able to speak English.

‘I was giving a javelin lesson and trying to instill some discipline into the boys,’ says PE teacher, Alan Watkinson.

‘I walked on to the field and Mo was swinging on the crossbar.’ Mo went the wrong way round the athletics track the first time he ran — but soon found his direction.

Plans for the future: Could run the marathon as well as the 10,000m at Rio in 2016, but that would be a tough challenge.

Track World Cup nightmare for Jason Kenny

Kenny crashes spectacularly as hosts' Track World Cup campaign falters



00:00 GMT, 18 November 2012

Three-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny crashed at high speed on day two of the Track World Cup in Glasgow as the hosts missed out on gold on another eventful day at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Jess Varnish and Becky James, who combined to win team sprint gold on day one, won individual sprint silver and bronze, respectively, but Kenny's bid for the keirin title ended when he hit the Siberian pine at 75 kilometres per hour.

The 24-year-old from Bolton was able to ride around to show there was no significant damage and is scheduled to compete in the sprint on Sunday.

Taking a tumble: Home favourite Jason Kenny crashed out of the keirin final

Taking a tumble: Home favourite Jason Kenny crashed out of the keirin final

Taking a tumble: Home favourite Jason Kenny crashed out of the keirin final

British Cycling sprint coach Iain Dyer said: 'He looks a bit second hand and he feels a little bit second hand. Nothing's broken. He's taken a lot of skin off. That skinsuit's already in the bin.'

The Olympic sprint champion was supreme in the early rounds, but had to wait for his chance in the final due to a temperamental motor-paced Derny bike.

When the race did get under way at the third attempt, Kenny was well positioned with one lap to go and was making his move on the back straight when he lost his balance and tumbled to the track.

Kenny took Quentin Lafargue with him and both riders were quickly on their feet nursing skin abrasions, with the Frenchman undergoing assessment by medical staff.

Stefan Boetticher of Germany avoided the incident to win ahead of Peter Lewis (Jayco) and Takashi Sakamoto (Japan).

Dyer added: 'He (Kenny) got caught in a bit of a drag race with Stefan Boetticher, the German guy, which he didn't really want to take on at that point on the race.

'He was looking for the wheel, looking to get into the slipstream again and he was keeping an eye on Lafargue behind him.

'I think both Boetticher and Jason were looking behind at exactly the same time, both moved in the same direction and Jason never saw it coming, he just smelt it and heard it.'

Partisan crowd: Jessica Varnish and Rebecca James went against each other in sprint semi-final

Partisan crowd: Jessica Varnish and Rebecca James went against each other in sprint semi-final

Partisan crowd: Jessica Varnish and Rebecca James went against each other in sprint semi-final

Kenny was not the only Briton to crash out of the keirin.

Lewis Oliva, competing for Wales-Team USN, crashed on the final corner of his semi-final heat and was taken away on a stretcher. He was diagnosed with mild concussion and will be monitored by team medical staff overnight.

There was a happier conclusion to the day for Varnish.

The 21-year-old focused on the specialist starting role for the team sprint for the Olympics, but her 2012 Games ended in disappointed following a takeover infringement.

Following the retirement of Victoria Pendleton, Varnish is diversifying and riding all four sprint events in Glasgow.

She qualified second fastest and negotiated the early rounds successfully before edging to a 2-1 semi-final win over James.

Varnish was then beaten 2-0 by Kristina Vogel of Germany in the final.

'It was good,' Varnish said. 'It's nice to be actually in a final. I just want to be able to step it up another level now. I'm not in the best shape, so I've not played all my cards.

'It's really nice to gain experience at the moment and build on to the worlds (in Minsk in February).'

James, who like Varnish is to ride the keirin on the final day, responded from her semi-final defeat to beat Hong Kong's Lee Wai Sze in the ride-off for bronze.

The 20-year-old Commonwealth medallist said: 'It's been such a hard day, getting three rides up against Jess was really tough and then missing out on the gold/silver ride-off was hard.

'I had to get my head round it and I did not want to come away with no medal, so I'm really happy.'

Jonathan Dibben placed fifth in the men's omnium as Germany's Lucas Liss won by one point from world champion Glenn O'Shea of Australia.

Dibben was third in the final event, the one-kilometre time-trial, which Liss won to secure gold.

The men's individual pursuit was won by Denmark's Lasse Hansen in four minutes 20.875 seconds, with Ireland's Martyn Irvine second in 4mins 22.745secs, a significant personal best.

Olympic and world champion Laura Trott was in fourth place at the halfway stage of the women's omnium.

The 20-year-old was fourth in the flying lap, ninth in the points race and won the elimination race, an event she appears to have mastered.

Australia's Ashlee Ankudinoff was in first place, but just a point better off than Trott with three events to go.

Wales training camp in Poland – chilling route to supreme fitness

EXCLUSIVE: Cold play… Wales discover a chilling route to supreme fitness



23:04 GMT, 5 November 2012

Over the past year, Wales have narrowly lost a World Cup semi-final in New Zealand and won a Six Nations Grand Slam.

Many suggest their improved form is down to the emphasis they put on a brutal training regime. Sportsmail spent a day at their punishing camp in Poland and decided to take the (icy) plunge.


It’s pitch black. A path laminated with ice leads through a snowy wood to Spala’s Centralny Osredek Sportu. It is a gargantuan, grey, Communist block from the 1950s with what look like giant Lego pieces attached to it in seemingly random formation. Within this complex lurks every conceivable apparatus used to torture athletes in the name of elite performance.

Life in the freezer: George North (above) and Jonathan Davies (below) leave the cryotherapy chamber

Life in the freezer: George North (above) and Jonathan Davies (below) leave the cryotherapy chamber

Life in the freezer: George North (above) and Jonathan Davies (below) leave the cryotherapy chamber

The conditions are Spartan, but tough stints in the cryotherapy chamber mean the coaches can cram in three times the usual volume of training on a given day. As team manager Alan Phillips puts it: ‘We try to break them but they keep coming back for more.’


Wales’ head of physical conditioning Adam Beard has the team in the pool before 6.30. This session is called a ‘cardiovascular primer’. It is too exhausting to be considered a warm-up. Some players are asked to sprint on the spot while fully submerged to starve themselves of oxygen, others are doing timed lengths.

Imagine 30 huge men doing extreme aerobics in goggles and swimming hats. It is ideal exercise because it keeps their heavy upper-body weight off their feet while working them hard. Beard is a calm Australian who commands respect. ‘We’re not good swimmers here,’ he says, ‘but that’s no bad thing because the more inefficient they are in the pool, the harder they have to work.’

Dip in the pool: The players are put through their paces in the water

Dip in the pool: The players are put through their paces in the water

Dip in the pool: The players are put through their paces in the water


The food is basic but the players have an endless supply of fruit, sports meals (think healthy Pot Noodle) and protein in every conceivable form. It is no gastronomic feast but it is fuel. The players are measured on everything from stiffness to energy to general mood, and that information is used by the medical staff and physios to tailor regimes and help prevent injury. ‘We know how long they sleep and how they feel,’ says Beard.


The thermometer hovers around freezing and piles of snow mark the corners of the pitch. Running specialist Frans Bosch works on sprint technique and running economy with the backs, before Shaun Edwards takes over for defensive drills. The session is meticulous and not one ball is dropped.

Beard says: ‘When rugby came into the professional age we borrowed from weightlifting and track and field. Now we’re trying to find our own way. We film everything and take stats on everything. Frans looks at movement in a different way. If you’re more efficient at movement, you use less energy.’

Dominant: Wales have emerged as the major force in the northern hemisphere of late

Dominant: Wales have emerged as the major force in the northern hemisphere of late


I accept an invitation to join the cryotherapy. I am given socks, gloves and a sweatband to prevent frostbite. All sweat must be wiped dry or you will burn (one player suffered frostbite on a particularly sensitive part of his body when he ‘forgot to shake’). You spend 30 seconds in a holding chamber at -70C to give your body a chance to adjust before entering the second chamber for two minutes and 30 seconds at -130C.

In Gdansk, where Wales went before the Six Nations, a machine extracts liquid nitrogen so the room remains clear. Here, the fog intensifies as it gets colder until you cannot see your nose. The players play ‘word association’ and if you make a mistake you have to crouch down where it is even colder.

When the time was up I was so disorientated I couldn’t find the door. The science is simple enough. In the extreme cold your body tries to protect vital organs by withdrawing blood from the limbs, taking lactic acid and muscle damage with it (as well as lancing pain and getting rid of inflammation). Once you’re out, 10 minutes on a static bike flushes your system clear five times faster than an ice bath.

No rest for the wicked: The players head back into the cryotherapy chamber

No rest for the wicked: The players head back into the cryotherapy chamber

Beard makes the forwards do a 30-minute fitness session on the static bike straight after to gain the full benefit. Luckily, I play inside centre.


While the players are refuelling on rice, pork and vegetables, acting head coach Rob Howley explains the philosophy behind the punishment. ‘It is the opportunity to spend time with the players 24/7 and, as you can see, there’s not exactly much else to do. The players can be selfish and simply work on getting their bodies to the level the international game requires. You don’t get to spend 12 hours a day working on the finer points of your game at any other time.

‘As a coach, you need to see players under these conditions before you select them. You’d rather find out before a Test, so we manufacture those conditions here. This facility is unique. It allows us to put those players under pressure, not only from a physical perspective but mentally as well.’

1.30pm: DRILL BITS

A tactical session in the team room is followed by a gruelling but technical training session on the pitch that runs for precisely 41 minutes – the average length of time the ball is in play during a Test match. The session has been meticulously planned by Howley and Beard and there is a strict 30-second transfer between each drill. Things get heated at times, but quickly calm down. At the end, when players are doubled up in exhaustion, Beard delivers a one-word surprise: runways. Essentially a minute of sprinting, with a few ‘down-ups’, repeated six times.

Time to wrestle: The players move into the gym

Time to wrestle: The players move into the gym

Time to wrestle: The players move into the gym

Team-mates go up against positional rivals and the competition makes it torturous. It is a crude and cruel speed endurance test. Then the forwards head straight to the weights room.


The forwards work with a mixture of heavy weights and medicine balls. It is short, hard, vein-popping work. Beard explains: ‘In the weights session we look at mechanical power under fatigue which is a key component of rugby. We try to replicate the ability to be able to perform explosive efforts and accelerate the body very quickly in whatever minute of the game.’

Wrestling is next — a key drill for rucking and mauling. Second rows Bradley Davies and Alun-Wyn Jones fight in a bout that produces world-class wedgies. Between fights they do abdominal work and lob heavy medicine balls at each other. Captain Sam Warburton takes on hooker Matthew Rees and the pair start grunting with exhaustion, producing a sound that has to be heard to be believed.


Cryotherapy: see above. And shiver.


After dinner, Warburton sums up what distinguishes the training camps from the rest of the year: ‘All you have to do is turn up on time and train,’ he says. ‘Everything else is provided for you. You can be selfish and concentrate on yourself. The players like that. I get confidence in my game from putting in so much physical work.’

Pumping to the music: Next up is a weights session

Pumping to the music: Next up is a weights session

Pumping to the music: Next up is a weights session


The day’s final session is the most enjoyable: hypertrophy training (essentially weightlifting). There are 15 stations in the room and the players split into groups and choose which weights to do to pumping music. Jamie Roberts picks the track list while resident DJ Gethin Jenkins is in France.

Some work for 45 minutes or so, others stay longer. It is noted who stays and who leaves. This training does not increase power but, Beard explains, if you add mass and maintain speed that increases your momentum.


The players are spent. Beard is impressed. ‘When we first came here it was about us cracking the whip. “You have to do this, you have to do that”. Now the culture drives that. We have a liability board for those who aren’t training hard enough and the punishments are horrific. But nobody has come close to being on that list.

‘Before the World Cup we were fit enough to play but we weren’t fit enough to do the training the coaches wanted. We’ve provided that for the coaches and now we want to go to the next level. The technical and tactical should be what they focus on, not any physical limitation. We need to provide them with that platform, because if we don’t, we have failed them.’

Wales face Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia on consecutive weekends in the Dove Men Series at Millennium Stadium, starting with the Pumas (Saturday, KO 2.30pm). Tickets, starting at 10 for children and 25 for adults, are available at: www.wru.co.uk Tel: 08442 777888.

St Nicholas Abbey beaten in quest for second Breeders" Cup win

St Nicholas Abbey beaten in quest for second Breeders' Cup win



23:59 GMT, 3 November 2012

St Nicholas Abbey failed in his attempt to win back-to-back runnings of the $2million Breeders' Cup Turf.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained
five-year-old had been fancied to produce his best, and bounced back from
his 11th place in the Arc back on his favoured fast ground and racing
on the permitted US medication Lasix.

But, although close enough when he launched his challenge for the lead at the crown of the home turn, St Nicholas Abbey never looked like pegging back half-length winner Little Mike.

So close: But St Nicholas Abbey (left) couldn't beat winner Little Mike

So close: But St Nicholas Abbey (left) couldn't beat winner Little Mike

Second was the leading US hope going into the race – Point of Entry – with St Nicholas Abbey a further three-quarters of a length back in third.

O'Brien said: 'He didn't quite pick up like he did last year but he had a tough enough race in the Arc on heavy ground for a horse who wants fast ground.

'He ran a fair race and I didn't think that anything went wrong.

'He had a nice position and came with a good run. We had said to Joseph not to chance the inside rail but come out. We wanted to be safe.'

French filly Shareta finished fifth and O'Brien's other runner Treasure Beach ninth in the 12-horse line-up.

Little Mike was the winner of this year's Arlington Million in August but had been beaten almost 30 lengths by Point of Entry on his last run.

Earlier O'Brien had won the Juvenile Turf for the second year running with Ryan Moore-ridden George Vancouver. O'Brien's Turf Sprint contender Starspangledbanner faded into 10th of 14 after leading for much of the six and a half furlong race.

Female jockey Rosie Napravnik became only the second girl to ride a Breeders' Cup winner when successful on Todd Pletcher-trained Shanghai Bobby in the Juvenile.

The Coolmore Stud partners had bought a half share in the colt earlier in the week.

The only previous female winner is Julie Krone, successful on Halfbridled in the 2003 Juvenile Fillies.

Adam Gemili trains his sights on Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt

British sprint sensation Gemili trains his sights on big guns and sub-10 secs run



21:12 GMT, 16 October 2012

Rising star: Adam Gemili is making an impression

Rising star: Adam Gemili is making an impression

Sprint prodigy Adam Gemili hopes he can run under 10 seconds next year after receiving elite funding from UK Athletics.

The 100 metres world junior champion produced a confident performance at the London Olympics and just missed out on the 100m final.

Olympic silver medal winner Yohan Blake, 22, was the youngest man to break 10 seconds, which he did at the age of 19 years and 196 days.

But Gemili, who turned 19 on October 6, ran 10.05sec in Barcelona at the World Junior Championships in July and he said: ‘I hope to go under 10 seconds in the next year. With a full winter training, working on my technique and staying injury free it could happen.

‘Competing in London has done a lot for me. Winning the World Juniors was amazing, being in London and going against the real deal, Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Yohan Blake, it was nerve-wracking. But it just showed me that it’s not impossible to get to the level they’re at.’

Sports pictures of the day: October 8

Sports images of the day: Our picture editor's selection


12:56 GMT, 8 October 2012

Each day, MailOnline sports picture editor Dave Muir will choose his favourite photographs from around the world in the past 24 hours.

Enjoy today's selection right here…

Bobby Labonte and David Gilliland crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway

Bobby Labonte and David Gilliland crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Talladega Superspeedway

A cheerleader of the New Orleans Hornets slam dunks the ball during the half time show at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico

A cheerleader of the New Orleans Hornets slam dunks the ball during the half time show at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico

Real Madrid's Pepe heads the ball over teammate Xabi Alonso

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) cannot make a catch over Buffalo Bills free safety

Up in the air: Pepe heads the ball as Real Madrid take on Barcelona (left) while San Francisco 49ers take on Buffalo Bills (right)

Cincinnati Reds' Ryan Ludwick hits a solo home run during the National League division baseball series against the San Francisco Giants

Cincinnati Reds' Ryan Ludwick hits a solo home run during the National League division baseball series against the San Francisco Giants

Usain Bolt vows to defend Olympic sprint titles at Rio 2016

Bolt rules out switching to 400m by vowing to defend Olympic sprint titles at Rio 2016



14:50 GMT, 8 October 2012

Usain Bolt has revealed he plans to defend his Olympic sprint titles in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and not switch disciplines.

The Jamaican declared himself a 'living legend' after retaining his 100 and 200 metres crowns in London this summer, as well as being a member of his country's victorious 4x100m relay team.

He has previously hinted he could seek a new challenge in Rio, saying he wanted to have a go at the long jump, while he has continually been linked with the 400m, despite repeatedly insisting he does not want to step up in distance.

Vow: Bolt speaks in Auckland, New Zealand on Monday

Vow: Bolt speaks in Auckland, New Zealand on Monday

But, speaking on a trip to New Zealand, the world's fastest man confirmed his only intention is to go for a third defence of his sprint crowns in Brazil.

'Rio is about going and defending my titles,' Bolt said in Auckland. 'I don't want to try any different events at Rio, because at Rio I will just defend my titles to show the world that there is a possibility that I can do it again. To do the three-peat, that is the focus.'

Bolt's main focus for next year are the World Championships in Moscow and he claimed he would not be taking things easy now the Olympics are over.

Legend: Bolt won three more gold medals in London

Legend: Bolt won three more gold medals in London

Legend: Bolt won three more gold medals in London

He added: 'It's all about hard work. When I was doing great when I was young, people used to say I was fast for my age, but I have put a lot of work into since I was a senior athlete.

'I continue to work hard, continue staying focused and pushing myself so for me that's the focus right now to see how fast I can go and I definitely try to go faster each year.'

Bolt was also delighted with the West Indies' victory in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

'I love cricket, it is my first love, but I don't play much,' he said.