Posts tagged ‘Australian’
Despite tough economic times some people know no end to their generosity.
When we were searching for sponsors for our Super Rugby coverage of the Emirates Western Force’s Australian conference matches on the station, one individual who wished to remain anonymous bought the air time and donated it to the Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation.
The goal is for us to raise as much money as we can for this extremely worthwhile charity. The patron of the Charity former Australian cricketer Justin Langer kindly gave up his time to record the message asking for donations.
Progress has been steady but we are asking as many people as possible to help support this charity drive. It is a great cause and was a wonderful gesture from our very kind sponsor. $10 will help, and if you can’t afford that please share this link with as many people as possible.
Not surprisingly Sebastian Vettel has stoked the simmering embers of Australian sporting passion, by saying Mark Webber had never supported him and did not deserve to win the Malaysian Grand Prix. Vettel had been instructed by the Red Bull team to not pass Webber but he defied the team and took the line honours. After the race he apologised to a fuming Webber, but it now appears that this may well have been a manufactured apology.
The three-time world champion effectively retracted the apology he issued to Webber and implied that Webber had been guilty of the same crime on a number of occasions.”After all that has happened the past few years, Mark didn’t deserve to win,” Vettel said.
Many experts believe that this was Vettel trying to say that his actions were payback for Webber attacking him in the British Grand Prix two years ago, on that occasion Webber was ordered not to by his team.
In truth this is where F1 as a sporting event can be called into question. We have known for years that the races are many faceted. You have the manufacturers fighting for supremacy, as well as the drivers themselves. Rarely has the question as to which is more important been brought to the fore.
Vettel is a member of the Red Bull team, and judging by the instructions given to him they see the manufacturers title as being paramount, and should one of their drivers take out the championship then that is a bonus. Vettel it would appear sees it very differently. To him the drivers championship is the most important title. Which is not surprising, after all he is a very skilled driver, and the whole aim in the sport is to prove you are the best.
For a number of years drivers have won Grand Prix events around the world because their team mate has eased up and allowed the ‘number one driver’ to win. There have also been occasions where the two work together and prevent a challenger passing so that their team mate can take the chequered flag.
Surely F1 should always be about the driver and the manufacturers championship secondary? If you agree, then maybe you can understand why Vettel passed Webber, because he wants to win, and he wants to be regarded as the best in the world.
The British and Irish Lions Tour of Australia is just around the corner and the fact that tickets sold out in 15 minutes proves what a great sporting event the Lions Tours have become. With the team only heading to Australia every 12 years the series is one that no player or fan wants to miss.
Former All Black Justin Marshall suggested a few years ago that the Southern Hemisphere nations should form a composite side every four years in between the Lions Tours and take on the Northern rugby playing nations, and idea that probably had a greater appeal to the fans than it did the administrators. It certainly would be far more interesting than some of the games in the current European Tours. In the current rugby climate one has to wonder how many Australian players would force their way into such a team, which is bound to be dominated by All Blacks and Springboks.
The idea of a team from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales going on tour as one also did not have appeal when it was first raised, but luckily for those of us around today cricketers Alfred Shaw and Arthur Shrewsbury thought otherwise. As it was these two men who conceived the idea of a tour to Australia along with England Cricket Captain A.E. Stoddart. Little did they know the impact they would have on the game. (Shaw and Shrewsbury opened a sports business under this very name manufacturing cricket balls and bats. The business was later bought by Grays of Cambridge, who also own Gray Nicholls, so their influence on sport was immense).
The Tour took place in 1888 without the backing of the Rugby Football Union, and all of the players were not to be paid so that they maintained their amateur status. Was it representative of all of the ‘Home nations?’ As it happens it was, W.H. Thomas become the first Welshman to Tour Australia and New Zealand, while Angus Stuart although he played for Cardiff was in fact from Scotland; the latter stayed on in New Zealand and played for their national team in 1893. Arthur Paul from Lancashire wa sin fact the only Irish born player in the squad and was the principal goal kicker. He wrote his name into the cricket record books when with Archie Maclaren he established the then English batting record of 424 in a first class innings against Somerset. He also played in goal for Blackburn Rovers!
Also on that first tour A.P. Penketh became the only man from the Isle of Man to ever tour with a British team for Rugby Union. Also of far greater consequence J.T. Haslam was credited with inventing the dummy pass.
The team played 16 games in Australia, where they won 14 lost none and drew two. In New Zealand they played 19 won 13 lost two and drew four. In addition to these games they played 18 exhibition games in Victoria which were played under Australian Rules, something that did not go down too well. Here they won six drew one and lost 11. No Test Matches were played and with only twenty two players on the trip the results are remarkable. Even more remarkable is the fact that Harry Eagles, a forward, played in every single Tour match; an achievement that no other touring player has ever matched.
The Rugby fraternity owe a great deal to these pioneers and it is worth remembering their feats as the Lions prepare to head down under.
With many overseas athletes about to reap the financial rewards of Olympic success in terms of new sponsorship deals and advertising contracts many Australian athletes – and the company’s they promoted – may be a little embarrassed that they were a little premature in paying out the big bucks. Consistency is the key to making it big financially in sport as the recent list of highest paid athletes from June 2011 – June 2012 proves.
Topping the list is Boxer, Floyd Mayweather jar with earnings in Australian dollars $79million, fellow boxer Manny Pacquiao is second with $57.6million. Tiger Woods surprised many by coming in third with $55million. Basketballer LeBron James was fourth with $49million and Roger Federer was fifth with $48 million.
Following in the next five places came another basketballer Kobe Bryant, golfer Phil Mickleson, footballer David Beckham with a meagre $42million, Cristiano Ronaldo was ninth with $39 million and NFL star Peyton Manning was tenth.
Only two women, both tennis players made the Forbes list of the 100 highest paid athletes, Maria Sharapova – $25million – came in 26th and China’s Li Na with $17million came in 81st.
Interestingly along with a list of the highest paid athletes Forbes also revealed the top ten richest sporting events and confirmed something that many had talked about and that could spell trouble for Football’s governing body FIFA. That is that the UEFA Champions League is the richest sporting event. The figures produced were based on prize-money paid out to winners of either single events or tournaments. They did not include an event’s total prize money or any season long competitions that don’t end in play off finals.
The UEFA Champions League came in first with prize money of $71.5million, the UEFA European Football Championship was second with $30.6 million and the FIFA World Cup third with $28.8million. Making up the top five were The Super Bowl with $14.4million and The World Series Baseball with $13.7million.
Golf”s FedEx Cup came in sixth followed by the Dubai World Cup Night horse race and then the UEFA Europa league. Coming in ninth and tenth are the World Series of Poker with prize money of $8.1million and the ICC Cricket World Cup with $3.7million.
Football may only have two players in the top ten earners but having four tournaments in the top ten shows exactly what pulling power and potential earnings are there are if the competition is run correctly.
NB All figures have been rounded up and down when converted from US dollars to Australian dollars.
Australian Michael Rogers has picked up another Olympic medal for Australia, even though he was not taking part in the recently finished London Games.
Back in Athens in 2004 Rogers finished fourth in the road race time trial, and missed out on a medal. The gold went to American Tyler Hamilton, silver to Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia and bronze to Bobby Julich from the USA. However following Hamilton’s recent admission of doping the IOC have announced that they will be stripping him of his Gold medal and assigning the medals.
The IOC asked for the documents from the US anti Doping Agency before re-allocating the medals.
To many sports fans with a passing interest in Cycling the last two years of the Tour de France have really managed to capture the imagination, and on both occasions the winners have been worthy of the crown. Cadel Evans last year as the first Australian to win the Tour and Bradley Wiggins this year becoming the first Englishman have helped revive the event, and have highlighted great sportsmanship.
Add to that the fourth victory in the sprints for Mark Cavendish and pictures of him with Bradley Wiggins and the romance came back to sport. These two cyclists were the dynamic duo who won a world championship title together and then despite being labelled as certainties to win Olympic Gold, blew it, and then fell out with each other and would not speak for months. No matter how bad a loss in competition friendship should never be sacrificed as a result.
Their making up and success on the Tour could spell bad news for Australia at the Olympics, but it will no doubt give the cycling events added interest. These two have been described as ‘the twin peaks of British cycling’ and they could set the Olympic cycling event on fire in their home country.
The road race is a unique Olympic event, as it is the only team event in which just one member of the winning squad ends up with a gold medal. On this occasion Cavendish is the man who has been nominated to take that honour and he will be propelled towards that goal by his team mates including the first Briton to win the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins. They do say a week in sport is a long time, and Wiggins has always known his role, so he will not be green with envy for his team mate.
Cyclist Bradley Wiggins has shown that the British still know how to behave when it counts. Currently leading the Tour de France and in a position to take advantage of the riders who rode over the carpet tacks thrown on the road by some idiot, he instead urged the peloton to slow down so that the thirty riders affected could catch up.
The throwing of the carpet tacks onto the road was something that you expect in the wacky Races and an act carried out by Dick Dastardly, rather than the premier road cycling race in the world. It is unlikely that the idiot responsible will be caught and that is why Wiggins act in fact nullified it.
The cyclists who crashed were travelling at reportedly 50-80kph and Astana rider Robert Kiserlovski was forced to withdraw from the race after breaking his collarbone in an accident related to the tacks.
Wiggins has been reported as saying “I thought it was the honorable thing to do, nobody should ever profit by somebody’s misfortune like that.It became quite apparent very quickly when all of the guys started puncturing at once. It wasn’t just one or two, it all started happening and was becoming dangerous.”
Should he de-throne Australian Cadel Evans such sportsmanship will no doubt endear him to many, and Evans can be grateful that his gesture has meant that he still has a chance to win back to back titles.
Supposedly interviews for the head coach’s position at the Emirates Western Force will be taking place in the coming week and one of the men in the frame is former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan. This would be a massive boost for the Western Force who one has to say have been perennial underachievers.
One does have to wonder however how all of the candidates are going to feel about the recruitment that has been done prior to their appointment. Most would have looked at the current playing squad and the structure at the club and would have formed ideas on who they would want to keep, who they would let go and how they would like to structure the club.
Whereas it is encouraging to see players such as Ben McCalman, Alfie Mafi and Richard Brown resigning for the Force, as well as some promising new players such as returning Wallaby Sam Norton-Knight, South African Sias Ebersohn and Australian sevens player Junior Rasolea, it may leave the new coach very little room to maneuvre in terms of bringing in players he knows and trusts.
The problem with signing players without the input of a new coach always gives him a ‘get-out of jail free card’ for that first season. He can turn around and state that he did not sign these players, he inherited them and they were not able to play the style of rugby he wished to play. One can only hope that the board has in fact already been liaising with the candidates and obtaining input before signing the new recruits. If not the Force’s loyal supporters could face another season where the team is slowly gelling, rather than firing from round one.
There is nothing worse than when administrators start to think they know what players are needed at a club and sign them without the coach’s input. Many other codes of football have suffered because of this.
It is also strange that the club should re-sign forwards coach Nick Stiles. This is not a criticism of Stiles abilities, but once again a new coach likes to be supported by people he knows and trusts. Frequently coaches who inherit their back room staff do not achieve what they should because there is a lack of honesty and frankness, which is essential behind close doors as they all take time to work each other out. Now the new coach will have to accept one of his key supporting roles has already been filled.
Then there is still the issue over club captain David Pocock and whether he is staying or leaving. Should he leave the board will need to take a good hard look at how they let the captain and the players dictate terms over the resignation of coach Richard Graham and force them to do a backflip. If he does opt to leave after they allowed this to happen one has to question their leadership at board level and whether they truly are the right people to be carrying the Force into the future.
If he wants to go, maybe he should leave, as a club is always bigger than one individual. Yes, he is immensely talented, but if he no longer wishes to pull on the jersey, then why stand in his way and try and make him change his mind?
I have always thought Caviar extremely over-rated and could never see what all the fuss was about. There were some sceptics who were saying the same about the equine version, Black Caviar. That was until this weekend.
Horse racing and horses seem to have a real hold on Australians. As one dinky-di Australian said at the weekend ‘any sport that gives you a day off work has to be worth following,’ which is a pretty hard statement to argue against.
The Melbourne Cup of which he mentions really does stop the nation. Phar Lap who died way back in 1932 is as well known in this country and Sir Donald Bradman and far better known than most of the previous heads of state.
There have been other horses appear and be compared to the incomparable Phar Lap. Phar Lap created his own legend. In his first race Phar Lap finished last. He did not place in his next three races. He won his first race on 27 April 1929,he then didn’t race for several months but was then entered in a series of races, in which he moved up in class. Phar Lap took second in the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick on 14 September 1929. It was only then that the racing community started showing him some respect.
As his achievements grew, many tried to halt his progress. In 1930 criminals tried to shoot him after he had finished track work, luckily they missed, and he went on to win the Melbourne Stakes that very same day. Three days later he won the Melbourne Cup.
In a racing career that lasted four years, Phar Lap won 37 of the 51 races he entered. In 1930 and 1931 he won 14 races in a row, and incredibly from his win as a three-year-old in the VRC St.Leger Stakes until his final race in Mexico, Phar Lap won 32 of 35 races. He was apparently beaten by a short head and neck in the three races that he did not win, except for the 1931 Melbourne Cup where he finished eighth when forced to carry 10st 10lb (68kgs), more than most jockeys!
Black Caviar thanks to her win at Royal Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes has won 22 races in a row, and has confirmed her place as one of the greatest sprinters of all time. It was incredible that so many Australians stopped what they were doing on Saturday evening to watch this mare race.
The win was incredible on so many levels. Most horses that travel in the other direction to try and take the Melbourne Cup back to Europe or the Middle East come to Australia 6- 8 weeks in advance. Black Caviar flew to the UK two weeks before the race.
Not only that but while many were criticising her jockey Luke Nolen who stopped riding her in the last 100metres as is the norm, because she is usually home and safe by then, it transpires that she had sustained a grade-four tear of the quadriceps and a grade-two tear of the sacroiliac during her courageous victory. Thus proving that she is a very special horse with the true Australian never-say-die attitude, and one that fully deserves to be placed on a pedestal alongside Phar Lap.
Trust me when I say I no longer think Black Caviar is over-rated, the fish eggs? Sadly they still are!
Indonesian football is walking a tightrope at the present time, and many predict FIFA to intervene in the next few weeks and suspend it from International football and even from FIFA itself.
With the world’s attention on the European Championships this could be the ideal time for FIFA to step in and suspend Indonesia, as it would be a move that would be lost in the columns written about the tournament in Poland and Ukraine; Therefore avoiding negative publicity for the games governing body.
FIFA has long had concerns over corruption allegations within the game in Indonesia. They have also not been impressed with the ongoing leadership tussle of the PSSI, the body running football. The country was also at the centre of a match-fixing investigation into their 10-0 World Cup qualifying loss to Bahrain in February.
What has now intensified the pressure on Indonesia is the death of three fans at the rebel league, Super Liga’s fixture between Persija Jakarta and Persib Bandung at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium last weekend.The same stadium where two fans died in November.
FIFA told the PSSI to rein in the Super Liga, after the November incident, but now the fact that those running the Super Liga have publicly stated that they cannot be held responsible for the rioting at the game, it is expected that the game’s governing body will feel this is the final straw and a decision will be made on June 15.
Super Liga official Syahril Taher has been quoted as saying “We organised the match but we will only say if it’s proven that they were fighting over football.
This could unfortunately have ramifications on the Australian players currently earning a living in Indonesia, especially those playing in the rebel league. The possibility of all players in the rebel league receiving International bans has again been raised. Which would be a great shame for young players simply trying to make a living playing the game they love.