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Des Kelly: Just man up like Rod Stewart and let your teardrops explode

Just man up like Rod and let your teardrops explode

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UPDATED:

23:55 GMT, 9 November 2012

There he was, sat at the front of the box, blubbing his eyes out and dabbing away the tears as if the cinema house lights had suddenly come up at the end of a double bill of The Bridges of Madison County and Kramer vs Kramer.

Only Rod Stewart didn't bother to pretend he was coughing or try to claim something had lodged in his eye like most men would.

He sobbed openly, taking great, heaving breaths and not caring a jot who saw the snot dangling from his distinctive nose.

Blubbering: Rod Stewart burst into tears after Celtic beat Barcelona at Parkhead

Blubbering: Rod Stewart burst into tears after Celtic beat Barcelona at Parkhead

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Celtic had beaten Barcelona and the singer showed the world what it meant to the legions following the club. Some scorned him for the outpouring, of course.

They laughed at how any grown man could shed tears at a football match. It happened with Paul Gascoigne at Italia 90, David Beckham in 2006 and John Terry in Moscow in 2008.

But they all had one thing in common; they cried for themselves in defeat. Stewart was not weeping in the stands at Parkhead because Celtic had lost.

Crying over a sporting setback is a fairly pathetic exhibition in self-pity,particularly by any supporter. Instead, he was weeping with uncontrolled joy.

Rodders was shedding tears of happiness because one of his life's ambitions was being realised right before his red-rimmed eyes.

This isn't a man who has been denied his share of excitement over the years. Stewart has had No 1 singles, he's had starlets and beauty queens.

But even so, he was able to appreciate that this was a truly special moment in his life.

He had seen the football club he passionately supports beat the best team in the world, arguably one of the best of all time, too, despite being given an ice cube in hell's chance beforehand.

And he was simply overcome. There was a period when fans only cried at a football match when riot police fired a few rounds of tear gas canisters into the away end.

But we've moved on and Stewart's burst of waterworks was an indication of soul and passion, rather than emasculating embarrassment.

Consoled: A friend grabs Rod as the jubilation gets the better of the pop legend

Consoled: A friend grabs Rod as the jubilation gets the better of the pop legend

Those tears were prompted by a mixture of shock, delight and regret that his Celtic-supporting father wasn't there to share it.

I dare say he'd had a glass or two as well to lubricate the senses.

Either way, he reacted as any proper bloke would do. Flinty-hearted critics argued that births, deaths and marriages are the only acceptable occasions when a man can justifiably weep.

Since Stewart has had eight children, three wives and is already past 67 years of age, I would say that watching Celtic triumph in Europe would rank as a vastly more unique emotional experience than seeing Baby No 8 squeeze into the world.

And yes, of course I'm joking. Seeing Celtic triumph was probably more emotional than the arrival of everything from Baby No 2 on.

Remember too, that although you love your family, the average football fan takes the vow of allegiance to their club way more seriously than any 'I do' muttered at an altar.

A marriage pledge can be sincere, but in your heart you know that your spouse is never going to win a Champions League group match, not even if Europe's top clubs are hampered by a tough domestic fixture schedule, financial fair play rules and a crippling injury list.

No real fan swaps teams. Stewart is on his third wife. Case proven. Besides, the stereotypical characteristics of masculinity are vastly overrated.

Historic: Tony Watt scored the second goal on a momentous night in Glasgow

Historic: Tony Watt scored the second goal on a momentous night in Glasgow

'Being a man' leads to dumb, unfortunate aberrations such as war, DIY and rugby league.

But negotiating the emotional template expected from the modern male is like tiptoeing through Stewart's bedroom in the dark after a lingerie party.

Something always trips you up. A regular complaint is that men are not particularly adept at expressing their innermost feelings.

This is based on the rather rash assumption that they have any. Don't be fooled. That was not the 'real Rod' at Parkhead.

When Stewart sings 'Wake up Maggie I think I've got something to say to you,' it is complete fiction. No bloke ever wakes up a woman to say something other than 'stop snoring', or 'give me back the duvet'.

It's a basic truth that men just do not feel comfortable expressing their innermost thoughts. Women can talk through every intimate detail of a relationship, often in telephone calls that last for several days.

Blokes do not. Probe beneath the small talk about the weekend's football results, delve right down into the deeper male psyche and you'll find heartfelt, passionate emotion for – the weekend's football results.

Some women even mistake silence for emotional depth. A couple can be travelling in the car, and, as the final scores come in, she will say: 'Do you know we've been going out for a year now'

Composed: Rod was a little calmer before Watt slotted in Celtic's second

Composed: Rod was a little calmer before Watt slotted in Celtic's second

This revelation will be met by a long pause. She'll think 'have I scared him Does he think I'm trying to push him into a relationship

Is he wondering where this is all going Maybe he's angry What have I done' At the same moment he's thinking: 'Arsenal lost. And a whole year Wow. I must get a new MOT for this car.'

She will rush home, call four friends and analyse what the silence meant.

He will turn on the TV, watch Gary Neville analyse the Gunners' leaky defence and make a note to ring the garage.

So let those tears flow, Rod. Words are never enough and weeping is the only manly way to express yourself.

Perils of pedalling must be resolved

Cycling is the most dangerous sport most of us will ever participate in. Anyone who has risked Millbank roundabout in central London at rush hour, or navigated Lower Thames Street will surely agree.

If any good comes of the unpleasant coincidence that Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and his coach Shane Sutton suffered separate road accidents within a day of one another, it is that the peril of pedalling on Britain's roads is back on the agenda.

The main problem seems to be that many drivers seem to regard cyclists as an obstacle, to be impatiently swept aside.

Sort it: Shane Sutton (right) was knocked off his bike in Levenshulme on Thursday

Sort it: Shane Sutton (right) was knocked off his bike in Levenshulme on Thursday

Equally, a proportion of cyclists openly defy road regulations. The solutions require a fundamental change in the law and our road-using culture.

Here's how it can happen: 1 Any incident between a car and a cyclist should be considered the car driver's fault, unless it can be proved otherwise. That changes the duty of care and protects the vulnerable.

2 Any cyclist who hits a pedestrian should face the same sanctions for the same reason. Cyclists, too, have a duty of care.

3 Police should penalise any cyclist running a light as they would a motorist. Police must fine cyclists who do not make themselves visible with lights at night, as a driver without lights would be.

These laws already exist – so they should be enforced. It's not perfect. It's a long, uphill climb. But it's a start.

Jury is definitely out on Herbert’s race agenda

Legal joke. Here's a question: How many lawyers does it take to change a lightbulb

Answer. Lightbulbs should only be changed by fully qualified electrical engineers in line with current health and safety legislation.

Any breach of these guidelines will lead to a claim for punitive damages. You have to laugh at the tangles lawyers can wrap us up in. They do fine work when they defend the rights of the oppressed. At other times, they go too far. Take Peter Herbert. Please.

Too far: Peter Herbert reported Mark Clattenburg to the Met for a 'hate crime' after Chelsea alleged he racially abused players

Too far: Peter Herbert reported Mark Clattenburg to the Met for a 'hate crime' after Chelsea alleged he racially abused players

He just loves football, this fellow. Well, I'm not sure he does. But he certainly must love the notoriety it brings.

As I mentioned last week, the chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers seems intent on hitching a ride on any bandwagon associated with the national game.

This is the man who reported referee Mark Clattenburg to the Metropolitan Police for a 'hate crime' after Chelsea alleged that the official racially abused players, even though the lawyer was nowhere near Stamford Bridge. Now Herbert has put himself in the papers again by threatening to report Spurs to the police if fans chant the phrase 'Yid Army' – even when they are using it to describe themselves.

So if I call myself a white, Catholic, plastic Paddy, am I supposed to take offence at myself

It's a strange one. Comedian David Baddiel's opposition to the chant expressed on these pages was very lucid.

But if we spend our entire lives looking to find something to take offence at we will never be disappointed.

Just ask any comedian. Genuine racism is a problem. Since Spurs is run by a Jewish chairman, the previous chairman also happened be Jewish, and nobody attending White Hart Lane seems to take offence at the club's blunt self-parody, there doesn't seem any enormous 'wrong' to right here.

Herbert is stirring up trouble and it gets him noticed. But if his wider aim is to highlight the ridiculous nature of prejudice, it is failing.

He is actually making his own association look narrow-minded, intolerant and ridiculous. He is distracting attention from far more important issues and pushing himself to the margins.

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1: Rod Stewart"s in tears… should men really weep when a football result is too much?

Have I told you lately, this looks silly! Rod Stewart's in tears… should men (women and children) really weep when a football result is too much

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UPDATED:

13:05 GMT, 8 November 2012

Births, deaths and marriages – and not even marriages, really – are the only acceptable times for a man to shed a tear.

At a football match Do me a favour, Rod Stewart.

Possibly if you’re actually playing in a match and you’ve taken one in the unmentionables… and it’s below freezing… then yes, I’ll forgive a watery eye.

Scroll down for video

Rod Stewart in tears

Rod Stewart crying

Rod Stewart in tears

We are wailing: Rod Stewart finds beating Barcelona a bit too much

The rest of the time man up. It’s football, we love it, it matters. But not to the extent it should cause an emotional meltdown.

Your team lose, your team win;
whatever, they’re playing again in three day’s time. You should be more
disappointed if they draw. Draws are of little use to anyone. No one
leapfrogs five teams into a play-off spot after gaining a point.

But, let us imagine your team flukes a
result over the mighty Barcelona – or even better, beats Lazio away
(Dec, 2000) – this is a time for euphoria, mild man-o-man embracing and
wild drinking.

A Manchester United fan in tears as Manchester City win the title in 2012

A Scotland fan shows his emotion as they fail to qualify for Euro 2008

A Manchester United fan sees the title slip away and a Scotland fan suffers a loss

An England football fan cries after a 2010 World Cup second round defeat against Germany

England draw 0-0 with Algeria at the World Cup in 2010 - enough to make anyone cry

To be an England fan you need to have a degree in crying

It’s not the realisation of a life’s
work or the emotional outpouring of achievement having witnessed the
birth of your first child.

Roderick David Stewart, I put it to
you that – ever the showman – you were putting it on for the cameras. I
mean, you’re not even Scottish, for goodness sake. Your dad is.

VIDEO: Rod's tears of joy as Celtic beat Barcelona…

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But Matt Fortune has a different view…

There is no way this can end well for me. Admitting crying at anything – even Forest Gump – for a man of my age simply isn't acceptable. But why is it not It's only a game, after all.

Though it's more than that. It's a habit, an emotional and financial investment (like a wife, though this one will be there long after the divorce papers have been signed)

.

Manchester City fan John Millington finds losing to Swansea too much

Manchester City fan John Millington finds losing to Swansea too much

A Leeds fan finds it too much after they lose to Doncaster in the 2008 play-off final.

A Leeds fan finds it too much after they lose to Doncaster in the 2008 play-off final.

A West Bromwich fan sees her team relegated in 2003

A West Bromwich fan sees her team relegated in 2003

Football keeps us ticking over when converstions run dry, when we
meet the boyfriend of your own partner's best friend, and when we've got
little else profound to say on Facebook.

It's a common ground with everyone the world over.

Football is a shoulder to cry on, the chance to switch off from the
rest of your worries for 90 minutes, without any idea of journey you'll
be taken on.

Middlesbrough fans after they were beaten 2-1 by West ham and relegated from the top flight in 2009

Middlesbrough fans after they were beaten 2-1 by West ham and relegated from the top flight in 2009


Arsenal fan at the end of the Carling Cup Final defeat to Birmingham

Arsenal fan at the end of the
Carling Cup Final defeat to Birmingham

On matchday, I buzz off the feelings of thousands upon thousands of
those in close proximity. What better joy is there than the mutual
thrill with others The highs are astronomical, enough to make your eyes
water.

But what goes up, must come down and down and down. No wonder football breaks your heart, as well.

Distressed: England lose 4-1 to Germany in Bloemfontein in 2010

Distressed: England lose 4-1 to Germany in Bloemfontein in 2010

Martin Samuel: Ryder Cup 2012: It might get even harder, but it can"t get any better than this

It might get even harder, but it can't get any better than this

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UPDATED:

00:26 GMT, 1 October 2012

In the end, it came down to four losers. One imagines, at times like this, that in a room on some celestial plane somewhere, there is a scriptwriter convulsed with laughter.

The 39th Ryder Cup, three days of sweat and tears, if not blood, tied at 13-13, would be decided by a shoot-out between four players who had not won a single point between them all week.

Steve Stricker versus Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods versus Francesco Molinari. Spot the odd man out. Yet Woods in a match-play format is like a replicant.

It won't get better: Europe's Ryder Cup team snatched victory on the final day at Medinah

It won't get better: Europe's Ryder Cup team snatched victory on the final day at Medinah

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Some said Davis Love sent him out as the guaranteed anchor man; others because, with the United States leading 10-6 going into the final day, what harm could he do in 12th position Plenty, as it transpired.

Woods, ticked off, led for one hole at the 13th and Molinari buckled slightly on the 17th, but the singular failure to master a player so completely in his shadow, put incredible pressure on those ahead. Stricker missed a vital putt on 17 to put Kaymer in the box seat.

His putt on the 18th was pitiful; a 24-handicapper would have been disappointed with the read. Kaymer, a former world No 1 and PGA champion, claimed the Ryder Cup for Europe.

Poor Stricker. The captain's pick, he ended the competition without a point, having formed a consistently losing partnership with Woods.

Then again, had Woods been safely back in the hutch, where he should have been, Stricker would not have been landed with such a burden.

Has 2012 been the best year for sport in Great Britain After this, there can surely be no doubt. The Olympics and Paralympics, the title decided with the last kick of the domestic football season, Chelsea the Champions of Europe, Bradley Wiggins the first Briton to win the Tour de France, Andy Murray the first tennis Grand Slam winner in 76 years.

And now this: Europe's Brookline, but without the boorish conclusion. How did they do it

Stand-out: Ian Poulter was in exceptional form all week

Stand-out: Ian Poulter was in exceptional form all week

Stand-out: Ian Poulter was in exceptional form all week

Stand-out: Ian Poulter was in exceptional form all week

RYDER CUP 2012

Read Derek Lawrenson's report from the final day at Medinah here

How did they beat an American team that had at last seemed to have mastered the concept of Ryder Cup unity Make no mistake: this is America's harshest defeat.

Worse than the annihilation at Oakland Hills; worse than any of the modern era Ryder Cups decided in Europe's favour. They thought they had it won.

We all did. They thought they were a good team. So did we. The reversal of fortune was quite stunning.

Just before 11am central time, Bubba Watson came bounding over the elevated walkway to the first tee. Not walking, as golfers commonly do. Bouncing.

There was no measure in his stride, no restraint, no casual saunter. He came down the stairs like a rock star, or one of those American quiz show contestants, plucked out of the audience and going obligingly crazy on their way down to the stage to meet the Price Is Right host.

As Watson leapt on to the tee, the noise level went up another decibel.

Planes may have been travelling over en route to Chicago O'Hare, train whistles might have sounded from the Metra Milwaukee District West Line.

Wake up Rory! Rory McIlroy (right) almost missed his tee slot, but still managed to beat Keegan Bradley (left)

Wake up Rory! Rory McIlroy (right) almost missed his tee slot, but still managed to beat Keegan Bradley (left)

Impressive: Bradley put in a brilliant shift at Medinah

Impressive: Bradley put in a brilliant shift at Medinah

Medinah is not a quiet course. Yet nobody would have heard a cannon roar above the sheer wall of raucous nationalism. Watson milked every last drop of emotion from it.

He shook hands, he handed over his cap to a boy in the front row. He posed for the official photograph and puffed his chest out.

This was going to be America's time. 'Remember, everything they invented, we perfected,' Tom Watson told his team when captaining the United States at The Belfry in 1993.

He was talking about the game of golf. America believed they was about to update that message here in Illinois.

The Americans had seen what it took to win a Ryder Cup, and sought to refine it.

After two days they had all but overwhelmed what many believed to be Europe's strongest team.

It took one of the greatest rearguard actions in the history of sport to tame them, and to send this tournament to a quite astonishing conclusion.

The Europeans wore Seve blue. He would have loved this, the stuff of life itself. In an uncommon reverse, America, having won the pairs events, lost the singles badly, 8 to 3.

It was a Herculean effort from Europe to unpick so much damage from the pairs events on Friday and Saturday. America looked to be a team on fire. Europe has the best golfers, but America played better in tandem this week.

How strange is that Indeed, early in the day, it seemed Europe were close to falling apart.

Rory McIlroy got his central and eastern time zones mixed up and almost missed his slot on the tee to great hilarity from the Chicago crowd.

He took it all in good part – he even won his match, bless him – yet it raised the question: how was he left to travel to the match alone

Come here you! Jose Maria Olazabal (right) embraced Luke Donald after he blitzed Bubba Watson in the singles

Come here you! Jose Maria Olazabal (right) embraced Luke Donald after he blitzed Bubba Watson in the singles

Not today: Phil Mickelson lost his match to Justin Rose on day three

Not today: Tiger Woods conceded the final hole to half his match with Francesco Molinari

Not today: Tiger Woods (right) and Phil Mickelson (left) both failed to win their singles matches

Where was the logistical back-up, the gofers, the assistance

No sporting event takes place with as many sundry members of humanity as the average Ryder Cup game. Where were they all Didn't anyone think it strange that there was no sign of the world No 1, 30 minutes before he was due on parade

'Wakey-wakey, Rory,' the locals taunted. Unfortunately for Keegan Bradley, he did just that. And so did Europe's big beasts.

Webb Simpson, an impressive presence in the first two days, lost to Ian Poulter, the stand-out performer on this European team.

Luke Donald trounced Watson. In the most surprising win of the day, Paul Lawrie beat America's form golfer Brandt Snedeker 5&3.

Suddenly, mission impossible was on. Yet spare a thought for the Americans. Nobody can claim they lost because they did not care this time.

There is a new generation of American golfers that have shown the old timers the way this week.

They were not raised on childhood memories of American domination, or the idea that Sam Ryder's trophy was no big whoop.

Nerves of steel: Martin Kaymer held firm and putted on the 18th to ensure Europe retained the Ryder Cup

Nerves of steel: Martin Kaymer held firm and putted on the 18th to ensure Europe retained the Ryder Cup

They grew up on the good old US of A getting a hiding; and they did not like it. They haven't always won, those boys like Watson, Bradley and Jason Dufner, but they came here with the game face that said 'not on my watch' and it has dragged others along.

Even in defeat, America have embraced the team ethic, Woods' petulance on the last day aside.

Get a few old soldiers in or wear a big hat: that used to be the limit of American team sophistication.

So it needed a quite stunning display of singles matchplay from Europe to produce this win, plus a last chance saloon tactic from Jose Maria Olazabal that royally paid off.

Trailing 10-6 he had no option but to frontload the team and hope for an early hit. Yet the drama was created by America's young generation taking on the old continent at its own game.

In doing so, they demanded new levels of energy and excellence from some of the greatest golfers and inspired them to new heights.

It was quite breathtaking to watch, impossible to predict almost to the last. Europe beware, though, from here as American resolve stiffens, it may get even harder. It is hard to imagine, though, that it will get better.

Time for champagne: Sergio Garcia (left) and Graeme McDowell celebrate with a drop of Moet

Time for champagne: Sergio Garcia (left) and Graeme McDowell celebrate with a drop of Moet

London Paralympics 2012: Samantha Baker claims Great Britain"s first equestrian gold in individual dressage

Brilliant Baker claims Great Britain's first equestrian gold in individual dressage

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UPDATED:

14:30 GMT, 1 September 2012

Natasha Baker's 12-year dream came true amid cheers and tears at Greenwich Park as she won a first British equestrian gold medal of the London Paralympic Games.

Baker, from Uxbridge in Middlesex, scored a Paralympic Grade II record 76.857% on Cabral to claim the individual dressage title, but only after a powerful twin German challenge fell just short.

Defending Paralympic champion Britta Napel scored 76.048% for second on Aquilina 3, with Angelika Trabert and Ariva-Avanti (76.000per cent) third.

Golden glory: Natasha Baker celebrates at Greenwich Park

Golden glory: Natasha Baker celebrates at Greenwich Park

But it was an emotional Baker's day as she fulfilled the vow made to her parents Lorraine and Phil in 2000.

'From the age of 10 when I watched the Sydney Paralympics on television I said I would come to a Paralympic Games and win a gold medal,' recalled the 22-year-old.

'But to come to my first Games and win gold, I never expected that in a million years.'

Magic moment: Baker won gold at her first Paralympics

Magic moment: Baker won gold at her first Paralympics

Baker's mother remembers the day
well, adding: 'When she told me, I didn't doubt her. Growing up, she has
always been a very positive, determined young lady.

'So when she did announce to us at
that young age that it was what she wanted to do, I thought “yes, I do
believe you can, and you probably will”.

'As a young child, she was a very good swimmer, she played the violin and the piano, but she kept coming back to the riding.'

Despite an early draw in the 23-rider competition, Baker delivered a calm and controlled performance, sparking what is expected to be a Games gold rush for the dressage quintet of Baker, Lee Pearson, Sophie Wells, Deb Criddle and Sophie Christiansen.

But she had an anxious wait of almost two hours before the 18 remaining riders completed their dressage tests and she could finally relax.

'This is just the most incredible feeling in the world – and I get a post box and stamps now!' said Baker, who suffers from transverse myelitis, which is an inflammation of the spine that affects nerve endings.

'I had an early draw (fifth), and I stayed out the back of the arena for a long time and was texting my boyfriend Sam, who was among the crowd watching, to see what was happening. It was close, and I have literally got no nails left.'

Baker, who is not riding as a British team member but an individual, will now concentrate on Monday's Grade II freestyle competition and the chance of a second gold.

'Hopefully, I can go out on Monday and do the same thing again. That would be incredible,' she said.

'I had always wanted to be a rider, and to be here and do what we've done today is just incredible. The horses make it what it is – they are just amazing animals.

'If you get too big for your boots, they are great levellers and will bring you back down to earth. If I have inspired one person to go out there and do any sport, then I will be over the moon. It was Lee Pearson and the other riders who inspired me when I was 10 years old.'

Roll of honour: Baker took gold from Germany's Britta Napel (left) and Angelika Trabert (right)

Roll of honour: Baker took gold from Germany's Britta Napel (left) and Angelika Trabert (right)

Baker's mother is acting as groom during her time in Greenwich, and she accompanied her daughter to the medal podium.

'A lot of hours, a lot of training and a lot of sacrifices have gone into this,' she said.

'It is our lifestyle – the horses are our lives – and this is just mind-blowing. There have been lots of tears, but lots of happy tears.'

London 2012 Olympics Watch BBC video highlights from day seven

Watch BBC video highlights from day seven at the Olympics

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UPDATED:

07:32 GMT, 4 August 2012

It was another golden glory day for Team GB as Victoria Pendleton bagged gold in the keirin and women's double sculls pair Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins sealed their places in the history books at Eton Dorney.

The medals flowed thick and fast for the hosts as Karina Bryant landed a bronze in Judo and Rebecca Adlington was in floods of tears after coming third in the 800m freestyle but failing to defend her title.

You can watch highlights of day seven on the video player below…

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London 2012 Olympics: Qatari"s historic run ends after 20m

Qatari's historic run ends after 20m as 17-year-old Al-Malki pulls up with injury

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UPDATED:

21:31 GMT, 3 August 2012

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The first Qatari woman to compete at athletics in the Olympics saw her participation end after only 20 metres.

Noor Al-Malki, 17, pulled up with a hamstring injury and failed to finish her 100m heat.

She was carried off the track by officials after bursting into tears. But with a personal best of 12.73sec, she was unlikely to qualify.

Nightmare: Al-Malki failed to finish her 100m heat

Nightmare: Al-Malki failed to finish her 100m heat

London 2012 Olympics: Team GB athletics squad to be revealed

Cry all you want but I won't pick also-rans, slams Van Commenee ahead of Team GB unveiling

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UPDATED:

06:32 GMT, 3 July 2012

Tough stance: Van Commenee announces Team GB on Tuesday

Tough stance: Van Commenee announces Team GB on Tuesday

Floods of tears and heaps of appeals are head coach Charles van Commenee’s expectations for Tuesday’s announcement of Britain’s Olympic team.

Anyone told they have not been picked who then turns to social networks before the official announcement will find themselves in serious trouble. All have had to sign up to an official gagging order.

And anyone who misses out on selection should not seek his shoulder to cry on. He made plain when the European Championships ended in Helsinki, with few of the 80-strong team improving their cases for selection that he was not in his job to make friends.

‘If our policy was to be represented in every event in the Games you make different decisions. If it is about medals and performances you make choices and usually when you make choices you make other people unhappy,’ he said.

‘That comes with the job. It was the task given to me, performance, not keeping everybody happy.’

Every athlete given bad news on Tuesday can appeal but only on the grounds that the selectors had their facts wrong or did not properly employ their own published criteria.

‘I expect a heap of appeals because people are desperate. The fact that one (Jenny Meadows) has said “I will appeal” without knowing the reasoning of the selection panel I find very peculiar.

‘I would say, “Listen first to what the reasoning is and, if you think that the reasoning is not right, then appeal”.

Jumping the gun: Meadows does not expect to be selected

Jumping the gun: Meadows does not expect to be selected

‘A lot of athletes don’t want to understand the policy. It is the culture these days, a phenomenon in society that people find it more difficult to accept a decision, so they go to court or stick a middle finger up or start protesting.

‘I expect a lot of athletes to make a last, desperate attempt to get to a home Games,’ said Van Commenee, who warned that athletes who have just one A standard performance should not expect selection.

Performances in Helsinki confirmed his belief there should be no passengers on the Olympic team.

‘So many went out in the first round. That has a mental effect on the team’s performance. It’s not helpful for the profile of the sport,’ he added.

‘Keeping the bar high is a good thing for a team’s performances. Our selection criteria for the Games are based on athletes having to produce their standard twice, an indication that it is not a fluke.

‘I have always thought that should be the way and here, where we didn’t stick to it, I got confirmation. We have had many over the five days who went out prematurely.

Standard-bearer: Mo Farah (second right) enjoyed success in Helsinki

Standard-bearer: Mo Farah (second right) enjoyed success in Helsinki

‘I adopted the lowest possible standards here to make sure that in the last week of qualification people had a chance. It was the best thing to do given the calendar of this year.’

He made clear it will not happen again. There were athletes on this team, he said, that will neve compete in a major championship again. A team, as such, did not exist because athletes were flying in and out just to attempt qualifying performances.

‘There were no captains, no moment when the whole team were together. You could hardly call this a team,’ he said.

But he was glad he had not asked those he expects to be medal contenders in London to perform in Helsinki, with the exception of Mo Farah and Robbie Grabarz who asked to compete.

‘I’m happy we return home with the best athletes undamaged and healthy,’ he said.

Wimbledon 2012: British talent shines through

High five! Wonder Ward leads march of the Brit bunch at Wimbledon

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UPDATED:

22:49 GMT, 26 June 2012

Two huge roars across the All England Club, separated by just a few minutes, sent out the message loud and clear: British tennis doesn’t always need to be about Andy Murray.

Moments after Elena Baltacha defeated Italy’s Karin Knapp, James Ward triumphantly raised his arms in the air after beating world No 36 Pablo Andujar for his first ever win at Wimbledon.

Brit special: Elena Baltacha produced the goods in the round one

Brit special: James Ward produced the goods in the round one

Brit special: Elena Baltacha and James Ward produced the goods on Tuesday

The 25-year-old was soon joined in the second round by British women’s No 1 Anne Keothavong, who swept aside Spain’s Laura Pous-Tio 6-3, 6-3. With Heather Watson having won on Monday that makes it five Brits through to the second round for the first time since 2006, when Tim Henman, Andy Murray, Richard Bloomfield, Martin Lee, Jamie Delgado, Sarah Borwell and Melanie South all made it.

Laura Robson and Johanna Konta were unable to join this year’s winners as they bowed out despite taking much higher-ranked opponents to the wire.

After sealing a gutsy victory, delighted Baltacha ran over to Judy Murray — her Fed Cup captain — who told her she will also be going to the Olympics, news that saw them both burst into tears. ‘I was very emotional,’ said a tearful Baltacha.

Baltacha has endured what she called a ‘nightmare’ few weeks, losing her British No 1 spot, contracting conjunctivitis and struggling with a neck problem which meant she didn’t practise her serve for five days leading up to the match.

Upsetting the odds: Ward's win over Pablo Andujar proves British tennis isn't just about Andy Murray

Upsetting the odds: Ward's win over Pablo Andujar proves British tennis isn't just about Andy Murray

All that against the backdrop of potentially missing the Olympics she was so desperate to be a part of.

‘I think everything I’ve been feeling over the past three weeks has all come out in those tears,’ she added.

Up next for Baltacha is last year’s champion Petra Kvitova, a match she admits she has little chance of winning, although it could give her another chance to play on Centre Court.

‘The first time I played on Centre I remember crying for probably an hour before I went on because I was overwhelmed that they put me on such a big court. Have I got a shot at beating her Probably not but you never know.’

Ward was facing an opponent in Andujar with whom he was already familiar as the pair were formerly hitting partners. It soon became clear on Court 14 that the contest would be closer than the 137 places that separated them in the rankings.

Blotch on the copybook: Laura Robson was undone by former Grand Slam champion Francesca Schiavone in three tough sets

Blotch on the copybook: Laura Robson was undone by former Grand Slam champion Francesca Schiavone in three tough sets

Neither was able to establish a firm grip during four sets in which the balance of power shifted on numerous occasions.

And it appeared as though the match was slipping away from the British No 2 until a disputed call in the sixth game of the final set went Ward’s way when the Spaniard slipped over.

Ward asked if his opponent was OK and received a rebuke from the umpire who had misinterpreted the Briton’s comments. ‘I’ll keep my mouth shut in future,’ he said later.

From there on, Andujar failed to win a game, but Ward insisted such a performance had been coming after a recent improvement in his form.

‘I’ve not been playing like someone with my ranking recently,’ he said, ‘I’ve been unlucky to meet guys at the top of their game. But Pablo is a very good player. He has wins in clay-court tournaments for fun and he’s not ranked 36 in the world for nothing.’

Ward’s triumph was tinged with disappointment as he had been hoping for a wildcard entry into the Olympics, but there was some good news.

For good measure: Andy Murray kept up his side of the bargain with an easy win

For good measure: Andy Murray kept up his side of the bargain with an easy win

The prize- money for reaching the second round was enough for the Arsenal fan to reconsider his decision to give up his season-ticket at the Emirates. The 14,500 will be ample for Ward to renew. A win over No 10 seed Mardy Fish on Thursday and he might be able to afford a corporate box.

Keothavong reached the second round for the fourth time in her career, seeing off world No 102 Pous-Tio comfortably after a topsy-turvy start to the match.

She said: ‘Does this mean everyone is going to write something good Brits winning matches at Wimbledon. Isn’t that what everyone wants For Wardy to come back and win a match like that is brilliant.

Marching on: Anne Keothavong beat Spain's Laura Pous-Tio in straight sets

Marching on: Anne Keothavong beat Spain's Laura Pous-Tio in straight sets

‘I think it’s been great. The better all the Brits do, I think the better all round for everyone.’

Robson became the British No 2 on Monday, breaking into the world’s top 100 for the first time, and cruised to the first set 6-2 against former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone. But the Italian rallied to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

‘I thought I was in control and then just made a few mistakes and let her get back into the match,’ said Robson. ‘She’s a Grand Slam champion and took advantage of that completely.’

Konta, who only received her British passport last month, impressed but paid the price for not taking her chances in the match held over from Monday against world No 32 Christina McHale, losing 6-7, 6-2, 10-8.

The 21-year-old, who was born in Sydney to Hungarian parents but has lived in Eastbourne since 2005, said: ‘I’m happy I was able to bring out the level that I want to start playing at. But I’m kicking myself. I had opportunities I didn’t take.’

Jamie Baker’s hopes are in the balance after rain stopped play with the Scot a set and a break down against Andy Roddick.

London 2012 Olympics: Kate Driscoll qualifies for trampoline

Tears of joy for Driscoll after trampolinist confirms Olympic qualification

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UPDATED:

21:56 GMT, 3 June 2012

Kate Driscoll, Britain’s top ranked trampolinist, was in tears when she earned her Olympic place by winning the final GB trial at the North West Gala in Liverpool on Sunday.

It was a fitting moment because Driscoll’s seventh place in last year’s world championship gave Britain its single place.

Jumping for joy: Kate Driscoll has qualified for the London Olympics

Jumping for joy: Kate Driscoll has qualified for the London Olympics

Masters 2012: Bubba Watson beats Louis Oosthuizen in play-off

Bubba swings into history… and busts into tears after thrilling sudden-death win over Oosthuizen makes him Masters champion

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UPDATED:

00:28 GMT, 9 April 2012

Bubba Watson versus Louis Oosthuizen in a sudden-death play-off for the Masters last night represented the homegrown hero with a swing all of his own against the groomed South African with a classic style.

In the end, following a gripping afternoon where the leading contenders showed us everything from an albatross to a full-blooded shank, it was Watson, the man who has never had a golf lesson in his life, who defied all the laws of logic to win with one of the great shots in golf history at the second extra hole. From out of the trees he deliberately hooked a wedge to set up a game-winning par.

Looking good in green: Bubba Watson dons the prized jacket

Looking good in green: Bubba Watson dons the prized jacket

Need a hand Prior champion Charl Schwartzel helps Watson put on the green jacket

Need a hand Prior champion Charl Schwartzel helps Watson put on the green jacket

Blubba: Watson bursts into tears after winning the Masters

Blubba: Watson bursts into tears after winning the Masters

Tears of joy: Watson with his mother Molly

Tears of joy: Watson with his mother Molly

bubba

bubba

Winner: Watson with his mother and caddy (left) and with sudden-death opponent Louis Oosthuizen (right)

Victory: Watson (right) hugs his caddie Ted Scott after winning his sudden death playoff

Victory: Watson (right) hugs his caddie Ted Scott after winning his sudden death playoff

Whoever thought there’d be a man in a
green jacket called Bubba Watson had missed from eight feet at the
first extra hole but was not to be denied. Welcome to the new John Daly
folks, without all the hang-ups about drink and countless marriages.
When it was over he duly became Blubber Watson, crying uncontrollably
while saluting the considerable number of Masters patrons who stayed
behind to salute his triumph.

Watson had shot 68 and Oosthuizen 69 to finish on 10-under-par totals of 278.

Another fabulous Sunday at the
Masters saw the luckless Lee Westwood shoot a final-round 68 to finish
tied third. On the 18th there was a characteristically majestic iron
shot and a typically defiant birdie but as ever the Englishman will look
back on a litany of missed putts.

Wonder shot: Watson heads into the rough to line up his miracle shot on the 10th in sudden death

Wonder shot: Watson heads into the rough to line up his miracle shot on the 10th in sudden death

Shake: Watson and Oosthuizen prepare for their play-off

Shake: Watson and Oosthuizen prepare for their play-off

Pleased: Oosthuizen celebrates his birdie putt on the 15th

Pleased: Oosthuizen celebrates his birdie putt on the 15th

Almost unbelievably after three
rounds he had taken 19 more putts than Mickelson and it didn’t get much
better in the final round either. At the 12th he missed from seven feet
for a birdie and again from 12 feet at the 16th but the killer miss was
at the par-five 15th, where a wondrous second shot finished just seven
feet from the hole.

Yes, he over-borrowed a touch, and that was all that
was needed to see the ball follow the contours of the hole and finish
right behind it, a quarter-inch from dropping. That’s the fractions
deciding majors these days.

This latest top three means he
becomes the first man in the history of the game to muster seven such
finishes without winning a major. He already was the only man to finish
in the top three in all four majors without winning one.

Any fears that this 76th edition
would struggle to maintain the breathless excitement of the first three
days were instantly dispelled when Oosthuizen began with a stroke of
genius that earned him a unique place in the tournament’s fabled
history.

Stroll: Watson and Oosthuizen walk over Hogan's Bridge

Stroll: Watson and Oosthuizen walk over Hogan's Bridge

Friendly: Paul Lawrie (left) and Lee Westwood shake hands after completing the final round

Friendly: Paul Lawrie (left) and Lee Westwood shake hands after completing the final round

An ideal drive down the par-five
second had left the 2010 Open champion with 260 yards to the flag. One
perfect swipe and a wonderful helping of good fortune later, and the
ball fell gently into the hole for the first albatross the tournament
has seen on that hole.

It is 77 years since Gene Sarazen
pulled off the first albatross at the Masters, at the 15th hole. It
helped him to victory and became known as the ‘shot heard around the
world’.

Oosthuizen’s magical blow was certainly heard all around Augusta
National. It was only the fourth albatross seen at the Masters, and the
first to be televised.

As if that wasn’t drama enough, we
then had Phil Mickelson making a jaw-droppingly bad decision at the
par-three fourth that saw the lefty play two right-handed shots in a row
and run up his second triple bogey of the tournament.

Deep: Phil Mickelson stayed close to the leaders

Deep: Phil Mickelson stayed close to the leaders

The three-time champion and
overwhelming favourite sliced his tee shot into the trees at this tough
short hole. Instead of going back to the tee and playing three, he tried
to hit it right-handed and almost missed it. He then tried again and
skewed it.

For two minutes the Masters had become the Hackers as
Mickelson’s madness threw the tournament wide open. He fought back to
finish alongside Westwood but you can’t win the Masters with two triple
bogeys.

On the fringes of contention were Ian
Poulter and Padraig Harrington, with both coming up short of making the
big play that would have entertained thoughts of a win.

Both however,
will be immensely encouraged going forward, with Poulter finishing on
five under after a 69 and the Irishman one worse after a gut-wrenching
double at the last. Justin Rose finished alongside him on four under
after a 68.

Wait: Oosthuizen stands on the 10th green

Wait: Oosthuizen stands on the 10th green

Good show: Matt Kuchar waves to his fans

Good show: Matt Kuchar waves to his fans

Not his day: Hunter Mahan lines up a putt on the tenth

Not his day: Hunter Mahan lines up a putt on the tenth

Oops: Westwood looks at a a shot in the rough

Oops: Westwood looks at a a shot in the rough

For his compatriot, Luke Donald, the
card in his back pocket might have said he shot the same last-round
score but to say the tournament as a whole wasn’t what the world No 1
envisaged would be a vast understatement.

There might have been a time
when he’d have sugar-coated the overall verdict but he’s become too good
a player to indulge in such hoodwinking and be happy with tied 32nd.

Not the one: Luke Donald did not enjoy a good Masters

Not the one: Luke Donald did not enjoy a good Masters

‘Regardless of how well I played
today I leave here disappointed,’ he said. ‘It’s not a nice feeling
waking up on Sunday morning at a major and knowing that no matter how
well you do it is not going to be good enough.’

Donald had a 10-minute conversation
with his performance coach Dave Alred – given the nature of both men,
you can be sure a tho-rough debriefing will follow – in which they
talked about the fine margins that make all the difference.

They will
look at the four three-putts Donald racked up, which is about the same
as he had for the whole of last year, never mind one event; two double
bogeys on par five holes.

Mess: Rory McIlroy endured a disappointing Masters

Mess: Rory McIlroy endured a disappointing Masters

Donald was the first in the
clubhouse of the trio of favourites who, if they had been horses, would
have pulled up lame.

Next up was Tiger Woods, turning in comfortably his
worst performance at the Masters as a professional. Here was yet more
evidence that Woods is now just another good golfer, who looks a
world-beater when he wins but plenty of frailties show up when he does
not.

Woods’s worst finish here had been tied 22nd but here he was tied
41st after a final-round 74.

Disappointment: Tiger Woods finished on the same score as McIlroy

Disappointment: Tiger Woods finished on the same score as McIlroy

Then came Rory McIlroy, who looked
every bit as deflated at the end of this event as he had when he closed
last year with an 80.

Who could have envisaged the Northern
Irishman shooting 77-76 over the weekend There are not many days when
he looks 22 but this, assuredly, was one of them.

He finished alongside Woods, just as
Sports Illustrated had predicted. So far down the pecking order,
however, was not quite what they had in mind.

Sand trouble: Oosthuizen hits from a sand trap on the 10th

Sand trouble: Oosthuizen hits from a sand trap on the 10th

Aiming high: Watson hits his tee shot on the 15th hole

Aiming high: Watson hits his tee shot on the 15th hole