Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Clint gets it wrong.......

Directed by Clint Eastwood, with Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, the movie purports to tell the story of how Mandela used the Springboks and the tournament as a mechanism to unite a divided nation.

The thesis of the film is that Mandela planned the campaign a year out from the World Cup to the extent that there are scenes of him in the film poring over the various qualifying groups, trying to work out who the Boks will face in the quarter-finals.

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Cape Town: A sporting spectacularThat much is poppycock. Those close to the Springbok camp at the time insist that Mandela's involvement was much more spontaneous, though no one doubts the sincerity of his approach and the close bond he eventually formed with Pienaar which continues to this day.

Mandela's first meeting with the South African squad came at a Bok training session in Cape Town before the opening game, which was when Hennie le Roux presented him with the Springbok cap Mandela would wear at the final.

Mandela's other iconic item of clothing, Pienaar's No 6 shirt, was almost an afterthought. It was the idea of Mandela's bodyguard who called the Springbok camp on the morning of the final against New Zealand to request a shirt. The Boks were given two jerseys per game, one to wear and one to swap, and Pienaar gave his spare to Mandela.

Far from a regular presence, Mandela actually only called Pienaar on a couple of occasions throughout the tournament, once before the semi-final with France, but the two men went on to become good friends with Mandela becoming a godfather to Pienaar's son.

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How are Swansea doing in the Championship?

Swansea football supporters with Police escort...Image by chrisjohnbeckett via Flickr
Swansea FC are doing well this year.......Until they came up against Nottingham Forest.......
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dwain the main man.......

Dwain Chambers, British athlete, at a march ag...Image via Wikipedia

It was the year when Dwain Chambers completed his tortured journey from “suicide bridge” to the brink of redemption. “It was like hanging on to a gust of wind,” is how he described trying to beat Usain Bolt in the 100 metres final at the World Championships. “Then I saw the clock and started laughing.”

There has been little to laugh about in recent times for Chambers, a man whose doping past means he is routinely termed a disgrace, pariah and cheat.

However, he is nearing the end of a remarkable year in which, handicapped by a ban from all leading meetings, he secured a gold medal, shattered a European record and came sixth in the fastest race of all time. Now, after recuperating from an injury effectively caused by Bolt, he says he is “grateful and humble”, and wants more. “I’m in love with my sport again,” he said.

Chambers, 31, has put any thoughts of retirement on hold and is aiming for gold medals at the World Indoor and European Championships next year. Like the Olympics, he is banned from the Commonwealth Games, but there will be no more legal challenges, just an acceptance of his lot and an empathy with other fallen heroes.

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He has watched the media furore surrounding Tiger Woods’s domestic issues with interest. While not equating their problems, he knows what it is like when the tide turns and opprobrium ensues.

“We are all human beings and what defines us as humans is how we pick ourselves up from our mistakes,” he said. “It’s a personal affair that should be dealt with behind closed doors because it involves his family. He’s made a mistake and I hope he can resolve it.”

Meanwhile, Marion Jones is trying to come back from a jail term for lying to investigators over her drug use. The woman whose “drive for five” at the Sydney Olympics was, literally, fuel-injected, wants a basketball career in the Women’s NBA, mirroring Chambers’s ill-fated attempt to gain a rugby league contract with Castleford Tigers last year. “If the basketball federation think she’s been honest enough and are prepared to give her a second chance then all I can do is wish her the best of luck,” he said.

“I hope she can re-establish herself. And I hope she sends out the message that the road we both went down was never the right one.”

Victor Conte, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative founder and president, who provided drugs for both, said he opened Chambers’s eyes when he first met him. “He came to me and was like, ‘So this is what Marion Jones does?’” Having revealed this year that he once contemplated suicide when he drove beneath an infamous bridge in Archway, North London, it is understandable that Chambers would back an outsider.

His journey towards acceptance has been tough, comprising a failed High Court attempt to get his Olympic ban overturned, being picked for Great Britain while knowing the selection panel was unanimously opposed to him, and having Lord Coe, Britain’s most influential athletics icon, say he would hold his nose when watching him run.

“I’ve learnt that in life, success and failure come hand in hand, so treat those impostors the same,” he said. “I don’t get as mad as I used to. I’m having to re-educate myself in the sport, but it’s more fun than it’s ever been. I feel a lot, lot happier now. I can walk into an environment with my team-mates and people are not pointing the finger.

“There is not that animosity now. Most people have chosen to let it go. I’ve had a lot of support from Charles van Commenee [the head coach of UK Athletics] and the team. They’re people I hold in high regard and they are not throwing punches.”

Chambers has had a good year. He broke the European record on the way to the indoor 60 metres title in Turin in March. He missed out on the sub-10sec run he craved but reached the final of the 100 metres at the World Championships. However, Euromeetings, an umbrella body of promoters, has maintained its stance against booking those convicted of serious drug offences, and the inaugural Diamond League is also off limits.

“There’s no point crying over spilt milk,” Chambers said. “There’s no point chasing wild dreams and I’m just focusing on myself and encouraging others.”

The others include the younger members of the Britain team as well as those at his academy, which is designed to find future Olympic stars. “More youngsters in the GB team are looking up to me, seeing my struggle and wondering how I did it,” he said. “I want to drum it into their heads that drugs aren’t an option and will only hurt them and their sport.”

The sport is on a high thanks to Bolt. Chambers trained with the triple world and Olympic champion in 2006 in Jamaica and admitted: “I knew he was going to be special but never in my life expected him to be this good [at the 100 metres]. He always talked about running the 100 but Mr [Glen] Mills, his coach, wouldn’t let him. He’s just shown what was brewing inside his system.”

It was the sight of Bolt disappearing in 9.58sec in the World Championships in Berlin that led to Chambers’s injury. “I tore my left calf in the last 40 metres of the final,” he said. “I was in the fastest race in history, clinging to his coat-tails, and that was the result on my body. I remember seeing him at 60 metres, thinking, ‘He’s gone’, and, in that moment, my concentration went. I tied up because I tried to run his race.”

After three months out, his calf has healed and he has started training again. Still condemned to running in low-profile races until the major championships, he says it has taken time to digest a dramatic year and get himself mentally right.

The tattoo on his back says “Deal Wid Da Matta” and references past problems, but the man, himself, is looking ahead. “The past is the past,” he said, “but the future’s bright.”

Back in the fast lane

6 Dwain Chambers’s place in 100 metres final at World Championships in August.

12 Men who ran faster than him this year.

0 Europeans who ran faster this year.

6.42 Seconds it took to become third-fastest 60 metres runner in history in March.

1,500 Pounds made in six months in 2008. Now he says: “I get different rewards — by getting the trust of the public and putting something back into the sport.”

49 Months since his drugs ban ended.

4 British sprinters to have dipped under 10sec — Chambers, Linford Christie, Jason Gardener and Mark Lewis-Francis.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009



Tiger Woods and the overdose theory

Did Tiger Woods take something and then be involved in a curious car collision with himself? How did his car crash? What sort of state was he in?
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Tiger Woods and the President.....

President Barack Obama greets professional gol...Image via Wikipedia
Tiger Woods has not been seen for days. Is he all bunkered up ready for the onslaught that is bound to come.Following his car crash and his emotional crash will there be a financial crash? Tiger Woods is certainly in a pickle jar and his current actions don't seem to be helping........Here he is at better times advising the President.Obama......
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Where is Tiger Woods hiding out? Possibly in a jungle somewhere or in a favourite hotel or in a bunker? Certainly Not at home if the whispers are to be believed. I understand he's in conference with his accountant. Now, what can they be discussing?
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Sport & Rugby
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BBC Sport - Football - Defender Sol Campbell keen on joining Manchester United

BBC Sport - Football - Defender Sol Campbell keen on joining Manchester United
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Post Mortem - 'Thatcher has died ...'

Post Mortem - 'Thatcher has died ...'

Olympics 2012 -fullstory of the arrests

Want to get the Olympic village finished on time?
Got a problem with local skills?
Don't want to pay the full rate?

Get in the immigrants! Oh no you can't - Full story of the arrests below...............fullstory
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Monday, February 2, 2009

BBC - 606 - - A46842348 - Six Nations, one passion

BBC - 606 - - A46842348 - Six Nations, one passion

Barry John up for Auction!

Barry John puts rugby memorabilia up for sale

Feb 2 2009 By Darren Devine and Steffan Rhys

WELSH rugby legend Barry John last night explained his decision to sell off the most prized items of memorabilia from his glittering career by revealing: “Nostalgia means nothing to me.”
The fly-half, considered one of the greatest players of all time, said that while he regarded being picked for Wales as the most treasured honour in his career, the collection of mementoes amassed during his playing days held no great importance to him.
Just days before the start of this year’s Six Nations, John, known simply as “The King” to generations of Welsh rugby fans, is preparing to auction off items including his first Welsh cap, the jersey worn in his final appearance for his country, and a Lions shirt worn in the team’s only series win in New Zealand.
The items will be auctioned in Bonham’s, Chester, on February 25, and are expected to spark a bidding war among rugby fanatics that could send the total price spiralling towards £50,000.
Speaking to the Western Mail, John who was born in Cefneithin, Carmarthenshire said he had consulted his family over the decision, and explained that he hoped the mementoes would be acquired by someone who would truly value them.

He said: “I saw that former footballers including Geoff Hurst had put their memorabilia up for auction and I saw one or two rugby players doing it,” said John, 64, who lives in Cardiff Bay.

“I spoke to Jan [his former wife] and my four children about it. I asked Jan if she knew where my Welsh cap was and she said: ‘It’s in a drawer upstairs – somewhere’.
“I talked to two great friends of mine – I won’t say who but one is a former Lion – and asked what they would think if I did it. I thought there might be something wrong with doing it.
“But they said, ‘Do it’.

“I spoke to my children and thought about what I could leave to them. I’ve got four children and nine grandchildren but I only played 25 times for Wales so I haven’t got enough to go round.
“In an ideal world I would like to see all of them go to a museum. It’s far better than being in a ‘drawer upstairs’.

“I hope they go to a good place.”

He added: “Friends have asked about nostalgia and, amazingly, there isn’t any.
“Playing for Wales is the greatest thing to happen to any sportsman but I don’t feel that much nostalgia.
“When I handed them over, I just didn’t get that gut feeling. I felt it was the right thing. Why take them to your grave?
“But perhaps my mother, if she was alive, would have said no.
“Maybe 30 years ago I would have but the game has changed so much. Since 1996, when rugby turned professional, all of us look at the world in a more professional manner. The amateur ethos has gone.”
John said he did not know how much the items would fetch, but said financial necessity was not behind the move, adding that he was not selling his “This Is Your Life” book because of its importance to the family.
“Not at all,” he said. “Why have something languishing at the bottom of a drawer if it can be shared with other people?”
The items being sold, which are all expected to attract prices of between £5,000 and £10,000, include:
- The shirt worn by John in his final match for Wales against France in 1972, after which he retired, citing the pressures of fame;
- The Welsh cap awarded to John after making his debut against Australia in December 1966;
- The Lions shirt worn in the fourth and final test in the historic series against New Zealand in 1971;
- A portrait photograph of John, originally taken in black and white and tinted into colour;
- A blue Cardiff Rugby cap awarded for making more than 20 appearances in the 1967-68 season;
- John’s official blazer from the 1971 Lions tour.
Rugby historian Howard Evans, author of A History of Welsh International Rugby: 1881-2000, said John came from a fine tradition of supremely talented Welsh fly-halves.
He said: “Barry looked as if he was slow. He scored one of the great tries in ’67 at Cardiff against England where he beat about four or five Englishmen.
“He could change pace and he made it look as if he was hardly moving. He had an art of making it look like other people were running slowly – he glided.”
Jeffery Muse, regional director of Bonhams, said: “These sort of things are always very appealing to collectors. It’s difficult to know where to place [in terms of price] unique items in the market. There is reason to believe that they will raise several thousand pounds when you think of someone of Barry John’s stature.
“I would expect there would be some wealthy people from Wales and particularly Cardiff that would have a desire to own much of this material.
“Barry John is a larger than life character known to many people and his fame extends way beyond the borders of Wales.”
The sale will also feature a pair of golden football boots cast from Welsh legend John Charles’ originals which are expected to fetch between £3,500 and £5,000.
When I handed them over, I didn’t get that gut feeling. I felt it was the right thing. Why take them to your grave?

Wales’ Number 10 debate strikes up - WalesOnline

Wales’ Number 10 debate strikes up - WalesOnline

Shane vows mind games won’t hurt Wales title bid - WalesOnline

Shane vows mind games won’t hurt Wales title bid - WalesOnline

King Nadal in Melbourne......

On Tennis: Nadal's finale in Melbourne brings Federer to tears

Three years ago Roger Federer wept in the arms of Rod Laver as he accepted the winner's trophy at the Australian Open. There were more tears this week Down Under, with the Swiss not too happy this time.

How could he be, after dropping yet another five-set thriller to nemesis Rafael Nadal? Federer must have thought he had Nadal right where he wanted him, given the bullish Spaniard spent more than five hours on court in his captivating semifinal against another Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco, two days earlier.
Nadal's 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 win in 4 1/2 hours denied Federer the historic 14th Grand Slam and has to be an even bigger blow to the world No. 2 than last July's Wimbledon defeat that ended 9-7 in the fifth. Federer sobbed during the trophy presentation, Laver nearby, receiving consolation from none other than Nadal, who acted like a big brother.
"In the first moment you're disappointed, you're shocked, you're sad, then all of a sudden it overwhelms you," Federer said. "The problem is, you can't go in the locker room and take it easy and take a cold shower. You can't. It's the worst feeling."
The stars seemed aligned for Federer. He landed on the gentler side of the draw, avoided defending champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals and had an extra day of rest between the semi and final.
But Nadal, not picked by many to win the title because of ongoing knee problems and Andy Murray's emergence, is a different specimen. He rallied from 4-2 down in the first set and thwarted all six break points in the third. Indeed, winning the third was the turning point. (Curiously, Federer actually won more points altogether, 174-173.)
Federer's serve always seems to malfunction against the scurrying Mallorcan, and it happened again: The first serve percentage stood at 51.
Federer felt he played a "terrible" fifth set -- Nadal didn't. Like at Wimbledon, Nadal protected his serve gamely in the decider, conceding a miserly three points.
It's now six Grand Slams for Nadal at the tender age of 22. He's a U.S. Open away from completing his Grand Slam collection.
He's the undisputed No. 1 and will be for a while.
SIZZLING SERENA: How dominant was Serena Williams in the women's final? Here are some stats that prove the point: Her unfortunate victim, the affable Dinara Safina, won only eight points the first set, and in the entire match, Safina triumphed on six points behind her own second serve.
The 6-0, 6-3 rout was so inevitable that journalists began wondering what the shortest finals in Grand Slam history were. Safina lasted 59 minutes, by the way, not close to any records.
The tennis gods were on Williams' side throughout the fortnight, too. Trailing rising star Victoria Azarenka by a set in the fourth round, the Belorussian quit in the middle of the second, succumbing to a virus. In the quarterfinals, the always-jittery Svetlana Kuznetsova couldn't finish Williams off, failing to serve out the encounter in the second set.
As usual, Williams picked up her game when it really mattered, steamrolling Elena Dementieva, the hottest player on the tour, in the semis before dispatching Safina.
After claiming the U.S. Open, a second Serena Slam is very much a possibility. Williams collected major No. 10, three more than older sister Venus.
"Well, I wanted to get to 10," Williams said.
Less important to Williams, she regained the No. 1 ranking from the disappointing Jelena Jankovic.
NOT AGAIN: Australian Open organizers had a tough fortnight. A riot broke out between rival fans, a streaker invaded a doubles match involving the Williams sisters, the extreme heat policy was called into question, and scheduling turned out be a major gripe, especially for Djokovic.
Officials blundered by making Djokovic's quarterfinal tilt with Andy Roddick an afternoon affair a round after the Serb finished extremely late. To boot, the pick of the day's matches usually features in the evening, and it didn't take a genius to figure out Federer's encounter against Argentinean Juan Martin Del Potro, which ended up being played at night, would be a dud. Djokovic and Roddick, meanwhile, had ample history following their ill-tempered meeting at the U.S. Open.
While he got shafted by the schedule, there's no excuse for Djokovic retiring -- again -- in a big match. He quit in the fourth set against Roddick, undone by the oppressive heat. Roddick didn't appear bothered by the 105-degree temperatures one bit.
A-ROD'S OZ: Roddick can't be disappointed with his exertions Down Under. He put away foes he should have -- and then got Federer. Federer reads Roddick's bullet serve well, and it's no contest when the two engage in baseline rallies.
Roddick trails Federer 16-2 in their head-to-heads, and to get a third victory he needs the latter to have one big off-day, as was the case in Miami last year.
Perhaps they'll meet in the first round of the Davis Cup world group in March, when the U.S. hosts Switzerland in Birmingham, Ala..
"Overall I think it was a good event," Roddick said. "There's a whole laundry list of positives."
SECOND SERVES: Out injured, Maria Sharapova dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since 2004. ... Federer advanced to his 18th Grand Slam final, one shy of Ivan Lendl's men's record.

Serena ~ An All-time GREAT ???

Serena set to join the elite idols of tennis

SERENA Williams said it was “uber-cool” to join her idols in the elite group of women with 10 or more Grand Slams on Saturday after reaching double figures with her fourth win at the Australian Open.

Williams, who is also the reigning US Open champion, said she would now aim to repeat the “Serena Slam” of 2002-03, when she held all four majors at the same time.

The American became only the seventh woman to reach a perfect 10 at the Grand Slams with a crushing 6-0, 6-3 win over Russia’s Dinara Safina at Melbourne Park.
Williams, who also reclaimed the world number one ranking, said she was thrilled to join the likes of Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova but did not yet feel comfortable being compared to such legends.
“I idolised Steffi Graf,” she said.
“When I played her I was like ‘Oh My God, it’s Steffi Graf’ and Martina Navratilova was someone who was my role model, so when I think of these greats I don’t really think of my name, I think of them.
“I think people are starting to think of me in those terms, which is uber-cool, I can’t even get my mind around that.”

Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles in her career and Navratilova claimed 18, with Margaret Court the all-time leader on 24.

Williams’ Australian win brings her within striking distance of Billie Jean King, who collected 12 singles Slams in a career spanning 20 years.

The 27-year-old said she did not know how many Slams she could win.
“I never think about it,” she said.
“I just feel I never want to stop playing. I’m playing and enjoying myself and if I win Grand Slams that’s great.”

Asked if she could repeat the Serena Slam, she relied: “The Serena Slam would be awesome to do again. With the likes of Dinara playing and all the other girls, it’s going to be tough but I’m in for the challenge.” — Sapa-AFP

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sports Commentary - Times Online - WBLG: Should Chris Hoy have been the only Olympian Sir?

Sports Commentary - Times Online - WBLG: Should Chris Hoy have been the only Olympian Sir?
Jan 19 (Reuters) -

Wales manager Warren Gatland named onMonday the following 28-man squad for the Six Nations. Squad:

Forwards: Gethin Jenkins, John Yapp, Adam Jones, Rhys
Thomas, Matthew Rees, Huw Bennett, Ian Gough, Alun-Wyn Jones,
Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies, Ryan Jones (Captain), Jonathan
Thomas, Daffyd Jones, Andy Powell, Martyn Williams, Robin

Backs: Mike Phillips, Gareth Cooper, Stephen Jones, James
Hook, Gavin Henson, Andrew Bishop, Jamie Roberts, Tom Shanklin,
Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Mark Jones, Lee Byrne

Federer ~ Don't count him out just yet.......

Don’t count out Federer just yet
By DALE ROBERTSON Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
Jan. 17, 2009, 10:56PM
Federer in recent Australian Opens• 2004 – Won title, beating Marat Safin in the final. • 2005 – Reached the semifinals, losing to Safin. • 2006 – Won title, beating Marcos Baghdaditis in the final. • 2007 – Won title, beating Fernando Gonzalez in the final. • 2008 – Reached the semifinals, losing to Novak Djokovic.
Everybody thinks this will be Andy Murray’s year and, if it’s not, it will be Rafael Nadal’s year again. Or perhaps Novak Djokovic’s.
Almost nobody seems to believe Roger Federer has much gas left in his tank after he surrendered the No. 1 ranking to Nadal in 2008. Never mind that he did take the season’s last Grand Slam, claiming a modern-record fifth consecutive U.S. Open. Or that he did thump Murray, practically a consensus favorite to claim his first major at the Australian Open, in straight sets in the Flushing Meadow final.
But Federer himself is one guy who insists reports of his demise are absurdly premature. He asserted recently — before Murray beat him in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi and again last week in the Doha semis — that “I have been dominating for several years and obviously I think I can do it again. I expect 2009 to be a very good year.”
A bout of mononucleosis got him off to a slow start last year, and Nadal’s continued evolution from being a good player into an all-time-great candidate formally spelled the end of the Swiss’ 4½-year run on top when the Spaniard emerged victorious in their for-the-ages Wimbledon final.

Ranking not priority

History and the computer-point differential between Federer and Nadal weigh against his bid to return to No. 1. In the 36 years of the ATP computer system, only Ivan Lendl in 1989 reclaimed the top spot the year after he lost it. But that’s not Federer’s front-and-center priority anymore. Rather, he’ll pick his spots carefully as he attempts to surpass Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Slam titles.
Federer, 27, remains one behind Sampras with 13. Given that Sampras won three of his after turning 27 — and Andre Agassi won five of his eight — the odds favor him accomplishing the feat, even if Murray’s for-real emergence as an elite adds a layer of complication.
The Scotsman’s entry into the who’s-the-king-of-the-hill conversation has balanced the halves of the men’s draw in the major championships. The two semifinals are now equally challenging matchups if the seeding holds up. The Big Three have become the Big Four and the likelihood that any one of them can hog three of the four Slams, as Federer did in 2004, 2006 and 2007, appears minuscule.

It’s far more probable that each of them will claim one, the democratic norm before Federer took over the ATP Tour in 2004.
Nonetheless, it would be foolish to count out Federer anywhere except at Roland Garros, where all appears hopeless for him.

Different at Wimbledon

But Wimbledon’s lawns remain a level playing field. The five sets and five hours he and Nadal battled it out there in July only spoke to their respective greatness, not to any dramatic paradigm shift or changing of the guard. Healthy, Federer remains the Wimbledon favorite. For the near term, Murray will find the pressure crushing — no Brit has won since Fred Perry in 1936 and he will be reminded of this fact hourly for the fortnight — and Djokovic lacks the right grass-court stuff.

The Serb is the defending champion in Melbourne, though, and Murray is playing the best tennis of the four right now, having defeated each of the others in ’09. (He’s also 6-1 vs. Federer of late.)
That’s why everyone has fallen in love with him.
A reasonable response. But falling completely out of love with Federer is dumb.
Sure, he could lose Down Under, even early. Still, should he seize that fourth Aussie title two weeks hence, it won’t be an upset. Not yet, not this year.