Category Archives: Sport

Brighton’s title push

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 Brighton Manager: Chris Houghton – Source: TheFA

Brighton play QPR in a decisive Championship game in the race for promotion.

A victory at Loftus Road tonight will put Brighton in pole position for the title.

The game is set to kick off at 7:45pm tonight. Brighton are one point behind leaders, Newcastle.

QPR sit in 16th and have lost their previous two matches at home.

Securing three points will ensure a small advantage for the seagulls going into the last six games.

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Source: BBC Sport

Formula 1 cancels practice

Poor weather Conditions have led to the cancellation of the second practice at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The medical helicopter was unable to land due to a lack of clear visibility.

The weather conditions forced Formula one to cancel practice but conditions are said to become worse on race day, with the rain expected to return.

Source: YouTube

Lewis Hamilton reacted on twitter to the postponing of the second practice:

 

Grand National Donate 10k

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Grand National – Source: Manchester Evening News

Saturday the 8th of April marks the return of the biggest horse racing event of the year, the Grand National.

Rule the world won last years race, with the Last Samuri finishing in second place.

Although the runner-up will look to rectify last years defeat. The Last Samuri is not considered to be clear favourite with odds of winning at 14/1.

Vieux Lion Rouge seems to be the clear favourite in winning the Grand National with odds at 10/1.

Below are the list of the top ten favourites to win the Grand National:

Horses Jockeys No. Odds
Vieux Lion Rouge T Scudamore 16 10/1
Definitly Red D Cook 17 11/1
More of That B Geraghty 2 12/1
Blaklion N Fehily 10 12/1
The Last Samuri D Bass 1 14/1
Cause of Causes J Codd 14 14/1
Ucello Conti D Jacob 18 14/1
Pleasant Company R Walsh 21 14/1
One for Arthur D Fox 22 16/1
Saphir Du Rheu S Twiston-Davies 5 18/1

The Grand National on Twitter:

 

Can Southgate bring England to international triumph?

England’s national team still needs work despite the young talent coming through.

Why the current national team still needs work to bring them the all-important glory?

The England football team in recent years has had some of the greatest players representing the nation.  The likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Gary Neville and David Beckham. Yet, they never fulfilled their full potential on the international stage and it has been a long time coming.  Wayne Rooney being sent off in the quarter final against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho. At the time, it was inevitable the loss would soon follow.  The defeat back in 2006 could have been the year for England to rectify a 40 year wait for the World Cup.

Current England Manager, Gareth Southgate has a handful of players who could become world class. The likes of Marcus Rashford who has been sensational for Manchester United last season scoring two goals against Arsenal.  He managed to score on his debut for England’s U21’s, which has given the fans something to look forward to in the future. Harry Kane is another player who has the potential to become world class for both club and country, scoring 19 goals so far this season for Spurs.

The embarrassing loss to Iceland in the Euro’s still showed some weaknesses in the side; one thing is for sure the mentality of team needs lots of developing. Some tactical decisions made by Roy Hodgson at the time, were questionable throughout the tournament. Harry Kane, a centre forward, yes a CENTRE FORWARD taking corners in the tournament will always be something that will haunt fans.

Why Captain Wayne Rooney, should no longer be a starter for the side or even in the squad?

WAZZA

Source: Reuters

Wayne Rooney in his recent years has lost his fighting edge that we all grew up with and adored about the Manchester United skipper.  England’s record goal scorer is not the goal machine he once was, the man who you could rely on to get you the last-minute goal. Simply put, he is no longer the game changer.

Rooney has settled as a leader of the side and with his midfield role. But, his playing style has proven to be a liability for both club and country. The fact that he is no longer a regular starter for United could mean that should England qualify, he might not make the list.

His goal tally has dipped in recent seasons, with only managing to score two goals so far this season for Manchester United:

wazza goals

Source: Asllan Gecaj

England have always had the players to compete in the top level, but do the regular fixtures cost the players?

Many managers in the Premier League, have had their say on the fixtures in critical times of the season. Jurgen Klopp, in the festive period discussed his issues with Liverpool’s schedule: “I would never say Boxing Day is not a good idea as I love it and I have absolutely no problem. But now having a match day with two days between there should be another possibility.”

Jose Mourinho, current Manchester United manager has expressed his views on United’s upcoming run of games: “It’s difficult to play Monday night, it’s difficult to play with ten men, it’s difficult to play Rostov. It’s difficult to play 12 o’clock on Sunday.”

The FA Cup, the EFL cup and the league itself as well as teams playing in Champions League and the Europa League, all have a mountain of fixtures to deal with on a monthly basis. Which could be taking a toll on English players who want to compete for their country on the international stage.

Where should Southgate focus his efforts?

Gareth Southgate has only managed three teams throughout his managerial career, the current England squad, the England U21s and Middlesbrough FC.

Southgate has a win percentage of 82% with his England U21s. Which is higher than his current squad and his time at Middlesbrough FC.

The manager quite bluntly, needs to win matches for the side. Whether it is against countries like San Marino or France. The only way the team will improve and grow in confidence is if they beat every team they face.

Southgate needs to ensure past experiences with the England side does not affect the players. The previous loss to Iceland, the devastating defeat against Germany in the 2010 World Cup. Let’s not forget the defeat against Croatia on home soil where the side lost    3-2,  costing them the opportunity to qualify for the Euro’s back in 2008.

Countries such as San Marino and Iceland should be team’s fans expect to win against. Whereas teams such as France, Germany and Italy especially in the international tournaments are the greater challenge for the side. A win against teams like that will always prove to more beneficial.

The teenager who coaches 70 year olds

Whilst many teenagers spend their time sitting in front of a console. Some are busy training 70 year olds.
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Meet Ben Wesson, a young 17 year old lad studying electrical installation at Bromley College, but what makes him different from your average teenager?

Well to start off with, he is far from a typical teenage boy. Ben’s represented Bromley in the London youth games in Judo, winning multiple awards in the process. Not only has he taken part in the youth games, but he’s managed to begin coaching Judo classes.

Whilst drinking his hot chocolate on a Sunday morning, he caught me off guard with the age of one of his students he has coached: “The oldest student I have had was a 70 year old man. He still comes to train.”

He began to criticise the thought process of a modern day coach by highlighting their lack of experience in competition: “The problem with some coaches, is that they have never competed and they will go based on their word. They will stick by it as if it is gospel.”

So where did the interest for Judo begin? Sitting back, slouching in the chair he began to share his personal anecdote: “Originally, I started off with Karate. My mum got me into it. We was looking through a booklet and we just decided I should go and give it a try. I’ve been doing it for about ten years. I got one off a black belt, then I decided to transfer into Judo.”

After his Karate coach recommended that he should transition into Judo, it was inevitable he would find success. Ben managed to complete three gradings in the space of four months: “After I got introduced to Judo, there was a point where I took it more seriously than Karate.”

After discovering Ben has won bronze all the way up to gold in the youth games, which is a great achievement in itself. I began to wonder, how does someone at a young age prepare for a huge event? For most people his age and many older than him, music seems to be the key: “On my way to a competition, I listen to my music which is metal, different for some but works for me. When I’m warming up I listen to fast sort of metal, so the drum beat is going to be fast and I will do my exercises to that.”

Despite winning multiple medals and having such a huge number of achievements at a young age, what is the ideal future plan for this particular teenager? Not many of us, at his age had a clear plan, but Ben is considering to become an official rather than a competitor in Judo: “If I was going for the Olympics I would look to be a referee and not a competitor.  The competitive aspect, especially in judo means you will never have a long competitive career. So it makes more sense for me to be an official.”

Although becoming an official is still part of his plans, he has not completely removed coaching as an alternative option for his career path: “It has a lot of commitment involved in it, there is a lot of stuff that I am required to do so I have less time for competition and whatever. At the start it is quite a balancing act with school work, judo and coaching.”

Judging by his previous success, whichever path he decides to go on. It is obvious Bromley will have a name to remember.

Waiter turns boxer to raise money for charity

A young waiter from a restaurant in Bromley decides to do his part for charity by putting his body through the ultimate test.

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Credit: Alex Zaharia

Alex Zaharia, a waiter at the Cow and Pig in Bromley. Spends 30 plus hours a week on his feet, greeting and serving customers, taking down reservations as well as being a bartender, is an exhausting task in itself. Yet, he still manages to maintain a training regimen for his passion, boxing.

Alex took part in his first competitive fight hosted by Bromley Fight Night. Alex who’s ring name is Vlad Tepes, lost the three-round bout by points losing 30-27 to his opponent Wesley Low. It was clear from the first round to the last that Alex was nervous as his opponent was already undefeated coming in to the fight. Which was noticeable as the commentator highlighted: “the irony is Tepes looks like he knows what he is doing, but he is just not doing it.”

The Romanian powerhouse was very defensive throughout the fight; he was very agile, dodged most of the punches but his style allowed his opponent to carefully pick his shots. It was only towards the end of the third round where he began to show some more of his offensive style.

In boxing, opponents swinging at each other to connect with a shot to the head is always more of a thrilling spectacle, we were rarely treated to such a scene. There were more body shots than head shots as both men were being cautious of one another. Wesley Low was timing his body shots as he could not afford to be greeted by a fist to the temple considering the size of Alex.  Despite it being a charity event, it was clear both men wanted to win, perhaps one hungrier for the victory more than the other but there was a level of respect achieved for both fighters at the end.

Credit: Alex Zaharia

Although many see boxing as a physical test, considering two people enter the ring to cause as much damage as possible for only one to walk out victorious. The waiter turned boxer has a contrasting view: “The real fight is actually with yourself. When you lose, you actually lose against yourself before losing against your opponent.”

For Alex, boxing has always been more of a mental battle than a physical battle. It is the mindset of the fighter that separates you from everyone else; despite losing on points, he is still motivated to push himself: “I lost by points, I lost but I was not beaten. Knowing that I was not beaten, helps me keep my ego up.”

Not only was it a daunting task for Alex, to maintain a training programme, to overcome both physical and mental challenges in preparation for the fight. He, himself expressed one tribulation that had become difficult to keep consistent. Of course, we are discussing his diet: “The pressure begins, especially when you are on a diet because that is when you want to go to a Mcdonalds and eat as much as you can.”

Alex, with a comical tone discussed his emotions coming into the fight and how he felt prior to stepping in the ring: “I was relaxed, I was a bit nervous. It’s like when you buy a ticket for a rollercoaster, all your friends are going and you already bought the ticket, so that’s it my friend you need to dance, there is no way back.”

As the conversation developed, I discovered a strange superstition that Alex was told by his friends to carry out before the fight: “If you want to talk about superstitions, the only thing I did which I got from my friends, is just before you have an actual fight, they go to the barber and have a haircut. They say it brings good luck if you do it.”

Initially, the waiter did not start training as a boxer. It was more of something that came across to him by chance. For Alex, training in the gym, living the healthy lifestyle and attempting to gain that bodybuilder physique was always his number one priority at the time: “I always wanted to get big and in shape. But one time I came across a boxing lesson. The way these small guys, I mean they were tiny, hitting the bag, the power, the precision. Then I thought to myself what is the point in having all this muscle.” Despite having one match so far in his boxing career, the way in which he discussed the sport with such passion, it was clear boxing was more than a sport for him.

It was more about than just winning by knockout or by points, or giving your opponent the beating of a lifetime or even receiving the biggest whooping of your life. Sipping his small Americano, he leaned back and began to talk at a slower pace than what he had been using throughout the afternoon: “In boxing, you get a lot of respect. Not only from people but for yourself and if you do not respect yourself you can’t exactly have respect for anyone else.”

The Full fight between Vlad Tepes (Alex Zaharia ) vs Wesley Low

Credit: Bromley Fight Night

Roma’s stadium won’t be built in a day

Rome is a complicated city; every mayor seems to fail at the job and Romans swing from extreme pride to complete criticism. The main city’s football team stadium project is no stranger to this.

Roma’s president James Pallotta wants to create a stadium for its team, who currently shares the state-owned Olympic Stadium with Lazio. He stated that all the money spent on the project will come from private funds, as well as the billion euros that will be put in the extension of one metro line. Along with the stadium the plan included three skyscrapers, restaurants and shops that would have created 12.000 new jobs (prioritising local Roman citizens).

So what’s not to like?

One of the main arguments against it concerns the area chosen for the project, Tor Di Valle, where there is (or more appropriately was) a hippodrome. Some claimed this area has an architectural and cultural value, but Roma’s Facebook page posted a video shot by a drone of the disastrous situation of this territory.

Rome’s ex urban planning chief was strongly against the plan, calling it an “eco-monster”. His opinion is supported by some art critics who believe this would ruin the city’s skyline. It should be considered that this infrastructure will be nowhere visibly near important historic landmarks. The stadium’s architect will be Dan Meis, the same who designed facilities such as the Seattle Seahawks stadium and the Lakers’ Staple Centre and the three skyscrapers project would have been handled by the famous Daniel Libeskind, who also designed the new World Trade Centre after 9/11.

 

Vittorio Sgarbi, an art critic famous for his blunt statements said that he will continue fighting against this project and declared that “if they don’t change their mind I will call Isis and ask them to put bombs in the skyscrapers and everything will be solved.”

 

stadium-roma

Source: Leggo.it

 

The stadium will also give a new experience to the team’s supporters, who are used to seeing the games from quite a distance due to the all-weather running track in the Olympic Stadium that won’t be in the new one.

Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi and her populist party Five Star Movement, is split on the matter. Even if those against it mostly aim to a reexamination of the area, do that they won’t operate and build on that many hectares. The party has already withdrawn Rome’s nomination for the 2024 Olympics, so denying this project would send a clear message.

The final agreement with the city council was on March 3rd and its outcome can be considered a loss for international investors in Italy, but not for AS Roma supporters who will have their stadium anyway. Half of the ground of the original plan was cut and they eventually settled for shorter buildings instead of skyscrapers.

This drastic change has brought the American investors to change their mind on some of the public works that they were going to fund. Most of them included roads, a bridge and the transports needed to get there. This also is why those who were previously in favour are now reluctant to accept the changes considering the weight they had on the project itself.

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Source: IlTempo.it

The land they were going to build on has been reduced by 50%, with 60% less in the business park (the area not related to the stadium itself).

In a time of crisis for Europe and Italy, we should ask ourselves if pride is worth more than innovation. When this is not undermining the country’s own investors, we should be welcoming and supportive of those who would want to invest and help the economy.

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