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Make it a double: Brilliant Brownlees set to make a splash in quest for triathlon glory

Make it a double: Brilliant Brownlees set to make a splash in quest for triathlon glory

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 6 August 2012

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Had the man from the council got his way, Alistair Brownlee might not have made it to Hyde Park for what could be one of the most extraordinary stories of the London Olympics; a battle for triathlon gold not only with the rest of the field but with his younger brother, Jonathan.

Alistair suffered a serious achilles injury earlier this year and he has only recovered in time because of a special swimming pool he had installed in the garden of his Yorkshire home; one that incorporated an underwater treadmill that not only hastened that recovery but enabled him to keep training.

The installation was not without its problems, however. First came the need for a few mates to dig the hole and then the arrival of a planning officer.

Putting in the hard yards: Alistair and Jonathan during the Auld Lang Syne Race in Bronte country

Putting in the hard yards: Alistair and Jonathan during the Auld Lang Syne Race in Bronte country

‘The neighbours all claimed to be all right with it but one day some little man from the council came round and asked if I had planning permission,’ said Alistair. ‘I guess someone must have complained.

‘It has to be under 50 per cent of the size of your garden. Luckily, when we measured it, I think it was about 49 per cent. And that’s not because the pool is big by the way. It’s about 16 feet long.’

According to their coach, the chap did take some ‘persuading’. ‘He had to be convinced his measurements were slightly out,’ said Malcolm Arnold with a smile. It is just as well that he was. ‘I was really worried about the injury,’ said Alistair.

‘I was concerned it would snap again. When I discovered I had the tear, I thought, “I’m going to have to do something special here to get myself in shape for the Olympics”.

‘Aqua jogging is the most boring thing in the world. I was doing this in a public pool in public sessions, with kids jumping on my head and old grannies telling me I shouldn’t be there.

‘But once I had my cast removed I could get to use the new pool and I was up to almost normal running volume on the treadmill. I did it for five weeks, slowly making the transition into running.’

Head to head: Alistair and Jonathan finish the Blenheim triathlon

Side by side: Alistair and Jonathan finish the Blenheim Triathlon

It would have been terribly sad had the elder of the two Brownlees not been fit enough to compete. Last year, Alistair was crowned world champion for a second time, while Jonny was the World Under 23 champion the previous year, finishing second to his brother in the seniors in 2011.

In Alistair’s absence, Jonny started this season with two world series wins, with Alistair winning the round in Kitzbuhel on his return.

They are seriously committed. Having once been fortunate enough to spend a day training with them I could see as much.

Alistair is a former English schools cross-country champion who has also competed for Great Britain as a senior international cross-country runner. Jonathan is no slouch either and both of them were also county swimmers.

It makes them among the fastest in the open-water 1500m swim, while all those miles in the Yorkshire Dales make them hard to beat on the bike stage, too.

Threes a crowd: Sportsmail's Matt Lawton (centre) trains with Alistair and Jonathan on the moors above Leeds

Threes a crowd: Sportsmail's Matt Lawton (centre) trains with Alistair and Jonathan on the moors above Leeds

It is raw talent, however, that has allowed Alistair to overcome his injury setback so quickly.

‘When I looked at him in March I never thought he’d be in this position now,’ said Jonny.

‘He was depressed; he’d put weight on. He was different.

‘A few times I did feel a bit guilty, going out training without him. But all sportsmen have to be a bit selfish. I just thought, “Sod him, I have to look after myself”.’

When & where

The triathlon begins with a 1500m swim in Hyde Park’s Serpentine, and after a 43km cycle it finishes with a 10km run. The transitions are
an essential element of the race, as athletes can receive penalties or even be disqualified if they fail rigorously to follow the rules. For example, athletes must have their helmet on before getting on their bike and can leave the transition zone only after mounting their bike. It begins at 11.25pm on BBC1.

Even their closest rival, Spaniard Javier Gomez, accepts that there is nobody in triathlon who can live with the Brownlees on the run when they are at their best.

It is why this is so fascinating; this idea that, when it comes down to it, they will have to try and break each other in pursuit of gold.

They wanted to cross the line together, but they have been told they will be separated by photo- finish technology and have been threatened with disqualification.

And listening to them on Sunday you could sense Jonny would feel a little uncomfortable if he finished first. ‘It would feel a bit different because he’s my older brother and I’m used to him beating me,’ he said. ‘It would feel a bit strange; not normal.’

It isn’t normal. The whole situation. But for the best part of two hours it will be fascinating.

Kevin Pietersen hopeful of call up to England"s World Twenty20 squad

Pietersen hopeful of call up to England's World Twenty20 squad

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UPDATED:

22:28 GMT, 13 July 2012

Kevin Pietersen is hopeful he will be included in England’s squad for September’s World Twenty20 despite having retired from international limited-overs cricket.

Asked if he thought his selection for the tournament was being arranged behind the scenes, he said: ‘I think so.’

All smiles: Kevin Pietersen in action for Surrey this week

All smiles: Kevin Pietersen in action for Surrey this week

The England selectors name their preliminary 30-man squad for the tournament in Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Pietersen also hinted at a U-turn,
suggesting he could return to the 50-over game. ‘If they could sort my
schedule out, I would love to play for another three or four years in
all forms of cricket,’ he said.

Pietersen is certainly in form and hit an unbeaten 234 in the County Championship for Surrey against Lancashire.

Dilemma: Pietersen must make a quick decision

Dilemma: Pietersen must make a quick decision

Pietersen had initially wanted to call time only on 50-over cricket and carry on in Twenty20, but the terms of ECB central contracts prevent players picking and choosing their formats.

Pietersen reiterated his desire to play in England's World Twenty20 title defence later this year, however, he would have to act fast to claim a place.

England must meet an ICC deadline of July 18 to name their initial 30-man squad for the tournament in Sri Lanka in September.

'I've always said I want to play in Twenty20,' he said.

'But I needed to get away from the schedule. I cannot keep playing every single day's cricket. I've never been looked after. I cannot keep playing every warm-up game, I cannot keep practising every single day.

'There comes a time when I know what I need to do to be successful. I've got a young family and I cannot be on the treadmill all day, every day.'

Pietersen's decision to retire from England's limited overs matches has meant he has missed just one Twenty20 international, against West Indies, and the 50-over series wins over West Indies and Australia.

LONDON OLYMPICS 2012: Jenny Meadows pulls out of 800m in Helsinki

Olympic blow for Meadows as she pulls out of 800m in Helsinki

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UPDATED:

08:44 GMT, 28 June 2012

Pulling out: Jenny Meadows

Pulling out: Jenny Meadows

The Olympic dreams of Britain's Jenny Meadows suffered a massive blow on Thursday when she was forced to withdraw from the European Championships in Helsinki.

Meadows, who won bronze in the 800m at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009, has not raced all year due to injury, but was hoping to prove her fitness here before the Olympic squad is selected on Monday.

However, the 31-year-old Wigan athlete suffered a reaction to her Achilles injury on the journey to Finland and will not compete in the semi-finals.

The UK Athletics selection panel will not select any athlete 'who it has good reason to think will be uncompetitive at the Games due to, for example, injury, illness or lack of recent form,' but previous championship performances can also be considered and Meadows will score strongly on that point.

The good news for Meadows is that there are currently still three places available on the team after Marilyn Okoro and Emma Jackson, who could have sealed a place by finishing in the top two at the weekend's trials, were fifth and seventh.

Lynsey Sharp and Jemma Simpson, who were first and second in Birmingham respectively, could fill two places by recording the 'A' standard of one minute 59.90 seconds in Helsinki, but whatever happens there will be at least one spot up for grabs.

'It has been a battle to get back to full fitness after suffering an Achilles tear earlier this year,' Meadows said. 'I have never been fitter, having spent all winter training on the bike or the Alter-G (an anti-gravity treadmill) and mentally I was ready to come here and compete for a medal.

Disappointment: Meghan Beesley failed to progress in the 400m hurdles

Disappointment: Meghan Beesley failed to progress in the 400m hurdles

Tears: Sally Peake is consoled after failing to qualify for the pole vault final

Tears: Sally Peake is consoled after failing to qualify for the pole vault final

'But my injury seems to have reacted badly to the flight and whilst we all genuinely believed I would be ready to get to the start line, this setback means I'm so close yet so far. I know I'm selectable based on my previous seven 'A' standards, but it is no longer in my control.'

Elsewhere in Helsinki on Thursday morning, Meghan Beesley finished last in her semi-final
of the 400m hurdles, while Sally Peake failed to make the pole vault
final after clearing just 4.15m.

Peake was in tears after the disappointment, on the second day of an event that has only brought one bright spot for British athletics so far, a fine 5,000 win for Mo Farah on Wednesday night.

Manny Pacquiao beaten by Tim Bradley

World's end for Pacquiao as Bradley wins controversial split decision in Las Vegas

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UPDATED:

06:48 GMT, 10 June 2012

Manny Pacquiao has lost his WBO welterweight belt to Timothy Bradley after a controversial split decision victory for the challenger at Las Vegas' MGM Grand.

Pacquiao appeared to have done more than enough to take the decision, despite slowing down in the later stages, but was left stunned as two judges scored the bout 115-113 to the unbeaten Bradley and one handed the win to Pacquiao by the same score.

Defeat must now place the long-delayed but much-debated super-fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr in serious doubt.

World champion: Bradley celebrates after defeating Pacquiao to win the WBO welterweight championship

World champion: Bradley celebrates after defeating Pacquiao to win the WBO welterweight championship

The win improves Bradley's record to 29-0, with 12 knockouts, but there is sure to be considerable discussion about the manner of this result.

Pacquiao's entrance to the fight was delayed, with the Filipino reportedly using a treadmill working on tight calves.

When he did arrive, he started sluggishly in the opening round only to land three meaty lefts in the closing moments to apparently edge it.

What next The hotly anticipated fight with Mayweather may not happen now

What next The hotly anticipated fight with Mayweather may not happen now

What next The hotly anticipated fight with Mayweather may not happen now

Bradley was allowing too many lefts to land, but was working hard to keep himself in the game, landing decent right-hands in the second and third round.

Pacquiao nevertheless looked comfortable, boxing within himself but seemingly controlling the pace.
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On a hope and a prayer: Pacquiao has recently devoted his life to religion

On a hope and a prayer: Pacquiao has recently devoted his life to religion

Bradley enjoyed his best moments of the fight in the last three rounds as Pacquiao's control waned a little and the challenger unleashed an array of punches in the 12th to close on a high.

When the judges returned their verdicts the crowd reacted angrily and began to jeer, while Pacquiao looked incredulous.

Negative reaction from the boxing world did not take long to filter out via Twitter.

Controversy: Many spectators believed Pacquiao won the majority of the rounds and should have retained his belt

Controversy: Many spectators believed Pacquiao won the majority of the rounds and should have retained his belt

Controversy: Many spectators believed Pacquiao won the majority of the rounds and should have retained his belt

Amir Khan, who has been rebuffed by Bradley in the past, was critical of the verdict but quick to offer himself as a potential opponent.

In a series of Tweets, he wrote: 'What a robbery. Bradley did not win this fight. The crowd are booing while he's being interviewed.

'What a joke we had Manny winning by 5 rounds. Bradley how about you take the fight with me in December after I clean up the 140lbs weight.

Belt up: Bradley and Pacquiao share an embrace after the result was announced

Belt up: Bradley and Pacquiao share an embrace after the result was announced

Belt up: Bradley and Pacquiao share an embrace after the result was announced

'If Bradley wants it I'm ready, he turned me down twice. After I beat (Danny) Garcia I will offer Bradley the fight for the 3rd time.'

Khan had previously been critical of the judging in his own defeat at the hands of Lamont Peterson in December.

Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis also appeared unimpressed by the scoring.

He wrote: 'Unbelievable! PacBradley This is another stain on boxing. Even worse than my draw with Holyfield! Disgraceful.'

Disbelief: Pacquiao's hordes of fans in Marikina City, east of Manila cannot believe the result

Disbelief: Pacquiao's hordes of fans in Marikina City, east of Manila, cannot believe the result

Disbelief: Pacquiao's hordes of fans in Marikina City, east of Manila cannot believe the result

Mike Tyson claims British fans saved his life

Ex-champ Tyson claims he would have starved to death without his loyal British fans

Mike Tyson has thanked his British fans for saving his life.

The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world claims he would have 'starved to death' had it not been for his sell-out UK talk shows.

Tyson was declared bankrupt in 2003 despite earning almost 200 million during his boxing career.

Talking tough: Mike Tyson has thanked his British fans for their support

Talking tough: Mike Tyson has thanked his British fans for their support

As the 45-year-old returns to Britain for another round of shows next month, he told The Sun: 'Three years ago, I was homeless. I needed to keep the wolves from my door and the fans in Britain gave me that.

'I am so grateful. My most loyal fanbase is in Britain. If I had depended on love in the States, I would have starved to death.'

Tyson, who is a convicted rapist and also served time for drug offences and assaulting two motorists, appeared in the Hangover films as he tries to crack Hollywood.

Reformed: Tyson was in The Hangover

Reformed: Tyson was in The Hangover

He added: 'The Hangover has given me a
comeback in America but, in Britain, they loved me for all my flaws
before the movies came out.

'I have a one-man show coming up in Las Vegas called the “Undisputed Truth”.

'Film of me going to prison will be screened behind me and I will get naked there in front of people.

'That's what I call it, being naked with my clothes on. Just telling the truth.'

That will include talking about the tragic death of his four-year-old daughter Exodus, who died in 2009 after becoming tangled in an exercise treadmill.

'My daughter dying changed my life and I met people who dragged me back from the brink,' Tyson added.

'There were ex-Hell's Angels in my recovery programme who helped me so much.

'I saw people who had millions, I saw people who were homeless and they all had problems.

'Yet around them were people who would go to an airport at 4am just to talk you out of a bad place.

'They drag people out of the gutter — now my mission is to help people like that.

Past: Tyson (left) became the youngest heavyweight world champion in history

Past: Tyson (left) became the youngest heavyweight world champion in history

'I have survived all that I have been through and it's left me with such passion for life.

'When I had all that money I was the most miserable, wretched b*****d around.

'Now I have got energy and great potential to be a better person.'

LONDON OLYMPICS 2012: Derek Redmond"s looking to help torchbearer Dad over the line this time

Redmond's looking to help torchbearer Dad over the line this time

family support: Jim Redmond makes sure Derek finishes his race

family support: Jim Redmond makes sure Derek finishes his race

Derek Redmond might not have won an
Olympic medal, but the image of him tearfully hobbling across the
finishing line in last place helped by his father nearly 20 years ago in
Barcelona remains one of the most enduring in the Games' history.

Now Jim Redmond, who famously jumped
from the stands when the British record holder broke down with a torn
hamstring after 150metres of his 400m semi-final, is the one with the
Olympic dreams after being chosen to be a 2012 torchbearer, while his
son takes on a new sporting challenge as co-owner of a superbike racing
team.

While his father is guaranteed a place at London 2012, Redmond says: 'The one thing I'm gutted about is they've given the old man accreditation for the Games and I haven't got any yet. I can't believe he's got that and I haven't.

'But it's nothing new. Every major championship I've competed in Dad always had better accreditation than me. I used to have to go to him to get into certain places.'

Redmond, 46, says Barcelona typified their close relationship and he is only too happy to help get his father fit for the torch relay.

'He's getting himself in shape and he's going to come down to the gym with me and get on the treadmill. I keep on joking that if he breaks down then I'll come and help him. See if I can turn the tables.'

That semi-final in the Montjuic Stadium was the last competitive race Redmond ran.

Even American President Barack Obama has referred to the iconic image in a speech.

Bike ace: Derek Redmond

Bike ace: Derek Redmond

'It possibly got me more fame than becoming world champion, European champion, Commonwealth and British champion mixed up together,' says Redmond.

'It did change my life. Not the way I expected it to and it wasn't the way I planned the whole of the '92 Olympics to go. It's what happened and, as they say, the rest is history.

'In life, not just in sport, when things happen to you, you deal with them. I just dealt with it the way that seemed natural to me.'

But for two years afterwards Redmond, who expected to win a medal, struggled to move on from the disappointment.

'I went through the “Why me” phase, “What have I done to deserve this”

'I went through a stage when I thought the world owed me, athletics owed me, and they should all just stop and press pause until I got back in shape and then we can carry on.

'But I came to the conclusion that all I did was pull a muscle in a race. There are people in the world who suffer real problems and I just decided to get on with my life and stop crying over something that isn't going to change and you can't do anything about.'

Today Redmond, a motivational speaker, lives in Northampton with wife Maria and her two children, Lucia and Paola. He also has two children, Elliott and Grace, from his previous marriage to swimmer Sharron Davies.

Motorcycle racing gives him the thrill he had from athletics, but it was not an obvious career choice.

His interest in bikes began eight years ago with the film Biker Boys.

Three years later it intensified, and he jokes: 'I made the biggest mistake of my life doing my first track day at Donington. That was it, I was hooked.

'I hated the first two sessions. It frightened the **** out of me. But once I found my own level, which was at the back of the novice group, I just loved it. I came off there buzzing the way I came off an athletics track. I've played basketball at a professional level. I've played rugby as a professional. I didn't get the same buzz.'

From there, he moved on to endurance racing and has set up his own team, joining forces with John Dimbylow to form Splitlath Redmond.

They will compete in the British Superbike Championship starting on April 6 and other road and endurance races. Redmond also hopes to have a role at London 2012, in the media or with a sponsor, and he knows he cannot shake off what happened in 1992.

He still receives letters and emails each week about it.

'There are even people who weren't born when it happened who are getting something from it and that's pretty big and special.'