Category: Athletics


Immigration may seem a peculiar topic when talking about sport, but it is a subject that has been on my mind since Mo Farah became one of Britain’s most beloved sporting stars.

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the 'good immigration' bracket. (Image | NME)

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the ‘good immigration’ bracket. (Image | NME)

Few in this country will forget the sight of Farah winning gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the London 2012 Olympic Games: yet after the latter victory, Somali-born Farah had to deal with a journalist asking if he would have preferred to have run for Somalia, rather than Britain.

The 30-year-old gave the question short shrift, and has since developed into a sporting superstar, building on last year’s gold medals with two more at the World Athletics Championships last month.

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The World Championships in Athletics that follow an Olympic Games can often have the feeling of “going into the office the morning after the work Christmas party”. A bit of a let down following the thrill of the main event.

Expectation | As at the 2012 London Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Mo Farah, the main hope for British glory. (Image | Daily Express)

Expectation | As at the 2012 London Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Mo Farah, the main hope for British glory. (Image | Daily Express)

All the effort that went into the preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games can drain an athlete, both physically and psychologically. Where do you go once you have climbed Mount Everest?

For the world’s premier track and field athletes, they head to Moscow for the 2013 World Championships. From a British perspective, this is not a meet to be anticipated with a great deal of confidence.

Of the trio that brought us that magic hour last summer, Jessica Ennis-Hill is absent with injury, while Greg Rutherford has suffered injury problems, and struggled for form all year. Only Mo Farah heads to Moscow looking like a potential world champion in waiting.

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I love the Olympic Stadium: the sheer majesty of the arena, and the fact that Britain has something approaching its very own sporting citadel. It stands as proof positive that the country is capable of building high-profile arenas on time, and on budget, after the shambles that was, and is, Wembley Stadium.

Full house | A year on from the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Olympic Stadium remains a special place. (Image | CBBC)

Full house | A year on from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Olympic Stadium remains a truly special place, but one fraught with problems and contradictions. (Image | CBBC)

I love the sense of reverence you can feel from people as they make their way to the stadium. An intangible feeling of being part of something that is bigger than themselves.

I love the piquant aroma of positivity that seems to emerge from the place, like a perfume counter, making all that are in it feel a little more optimistic about life.

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LeBron James' ability to improve on his near perfect stats every season continues to confound NBA fans and pundits alike (Image | Getty)

LeBron James’ ability to improve on his near perfect stats every season continues to confound NBA fans and pundits alike (Image | Getty)

“King James” is somewhat of a fitting name for Miami Heat All-Star LeBron James given his recent string of performances. He is blowing the NBA apart, revolutionising what the people conceive possible on the basketball court.

He has always been the prodigy of the NBA – the one – in the Neo sense, but since he finally won his first title last year he has been metaphorically stopping bullets. After cruising through the opening months of the season, James has begun to turn up the heat.

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The phenomenon of the sporting egotist

Ego | Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as the most arrogant professional sportsman. (Image | Cristiano Ronaldo.org)

As William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage“. Many of the most fascinating stories in sport come from the athletes who view their profession as exactly that – a stage for them to display their talents.

Personally, I do not subscribe to the maxim that says sport is entertainment, especially when justifying its more oleaginous aspects.

I have always viewed it as an athletic contest between either individuals or a group of people to determine which is superior. The fact that this happens to be something that is engrossing is a happy coincidence, nothing else.

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First time | The Ealing Half Marathon was launched this year to immense popularity. (Image | Active Spirit Events)

Earlier this year I signed up for the Ealing Half Marathon in west London. Having started running daily last summer, I really wanted to test myself by getting into a situation where I would be forced to run 13.1 miles. Safe to say, there were many moments when I wanted to give up, sit down, lie on the floor, go to the pub, have a bacon sandwich or just go to bed.

I resisted these temptations, however. Crossing the line in a time of 1 hour 47 minutes, I had only failed to reach my pre-race target by two minutes. Not bad for a first attempt, I thought, as I finished alongside plenty of other knackered half marathoners, some running their first race, but most part of clubs or serial entrants.

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Blink and you’ll miss it | Usain Bolt clearly had a point to prove when he won both the 100m and 200m at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Image | TalkSPORT)

As Usain Bolt crossed the line in first in the 200m, cementing his status as the greatest sprinter of all time, the doubts and whispers about him and his chances disappeared into the London ether. Bolt, however, didn’t forget these. It must be said that, prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games, he had hardly enjoyed a successful season.

The 25-year-old began by running a slow (for him) 10.04 seconds in the a 100m meet at Ostrava, before being defeated in both the 100m and 200m by team mate and friend Yohan Blake at the Jamaican trials. Bolt has often mentioned that Blake trains harder than him, hence his moniker, “the beast”. Following Bolt’s epochal success in Beijing four years ago, had he taken his eye off the ball? Was there someone ready to make a Henry Bolingbroke style claim for Bolt’s throne?

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Marlon Devonish (left) and Dwain Chambers could be set to re-unite in the British 4x100m relay team this summer if the latter's ban is lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) appear determined to keep Dwain Chambers, arguably Great Britain’s most famous sprinter of the last decade (perhaps for the wrong reasons) and currently one of the fastest men available to Charles van Commenee, out of London 2012. So determined, in fact, that the BOA has taken its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) to overturn a World Anti-Doping Association (Wada) ruling that its unconventional life ban for athletes found guilty of using drugs is too excessive.

The likelihood is, it appears, that the ruling will be upheld and Chambers will available for selection.

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