Daley Triumphs in Edinburgh

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Teenage diver Tom Daley left Edinburgh with a win after finishing first in the 10m platform final in the World Diving Series on Sunday.

The 18 year old Olympian, who took home a bronze medal at London 2012, came out on top of a four man field, producing a high-scoring final dive to seal his victory.

Daly admitted that the win will give him a boost after a post-Olympic slump. “It’s great for where I am right now in my training cycle and the whole four-year cycle,” he said. “To be scoring so high at this stage in the game isn’t quite surprising because I knew I could do it but it does come as quite a nice reward after all the work I’ve been putting in.“

“I haven’t necessarily been seeing the rewards in training recently so to come here and dive well gives you that extra boost”.

Daley was competing in only his second major event since the London Olympics last summer. After a sluggish start to the competition he was cheered to victory by the Edinburgh crowd, producing a great fightback to overtake his Russian rival Victor Minibaev with a final score of 542.15.

The World Diving Series took place at Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Pool this weekend. It was the first major event hosted at the pool since its recent refurbishment at the cost of £37m.

Chris Hoy Retires From International Cycling

By Steven Robson

Chris Hoy announces retirement in Edinburgh.

Chris Hoy announces retirement in Edinburgh.

Britain’s most decorated Olympian has today announced his decision to retire from international cycling.

Sir Chris Hoy, 37, had a very successful 2012, after winning his fifth and sixth Olympic gold medals in the team sprint and keirin events. He also set the Olympic record in London for the 750 metres team sprint by managing a time of 42.600 seconds.

The Edinburgh-born athlete had hoped to compete for Scotland in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, but said his fitness would not allow it.

Speaking to the country’s media at Murrayfield stadium, Hoy said: “Nothing would have given me more pleasure than to have been at Glasgow 2014, but I don’t want to make up the numbers.

“It’s a hard time – one moment at the end of your career when you have to say enough is enough.”

Hoy does not believe, however, that his decision will hinder Scotland’s medal chances in Glasgow: “It’s not as if it’s a one man band. I’ve had my time in the sun, it’s time to let other athletes have their share. It will be a successful Commonwealth Games.”

Speaking of what the future might hold, the six-time Olympic Champion said that he would become an advisor to both the Scottish cycling team and the Scottish Rugby Union, as well as charity work, but quashed speculation that he may take on a great outdoor cycle route: “I’m not going to be cycling around the world.”

Asked what he thought his greatest career moment had been, he said: “To stand on the podium in Athens and to hear your name followed by Olympic Champion – that is what it is all about. But to cap it all off with my sixth gold medal – that was a special day too.”

Hoy said he would still be based in Manchester but would not rule out moving back to Edinburgh at some stage; he added: “I am going to cycle for the rest of my life, and I look forward to getting others to do that too.”

Hoy’s wife Sarra summed up the mood: “It is very emotional, but it is good to come out in the open and announce it.”

Champs Or Chumps? – BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2012

Sports Personality Trophy.

Sports Personality Trophy.

The 59th edition of the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award is almost upon us.

On 16th December we will find out who has won the annual prize that is never far from controversy.

There is no doubt that 2012 has been a special year for British sport, but only one person can be chosen as the winner.

Provided the BBC don’t bottle it, ignore the panel and give the prize to ‘Team GB’ due to the mere fact that we hosted the Olympic Games, this should be a very close contest thanks to the number of incredible achievements from British sportsmen and women this year.

Unsurprisingly the list is overwhelmingly Olympic- and Paralympic-centric – just one of the twelve nominees, Rory McIlroy, did not win a medal at London 2012.

Primarily because he couldn’t.

We asked Edinburgh residents who they would vote for and here are the top three:

1. Andy Murray

2. Bradley Wiggins

3. Jessica Ennis

Having voted for their ‘champs’ of 2012, we also polled people about who their ‘chumps’ of the year would be – we offered a list of sporting pariahs from the last twelve months and here’s what the capital’s citizens told us:

1. John Terry

2. Lance Armstrong

3. Hulk Hogan

Who would feature on your alternative shortlist? Was your favourite Olympic or Paralympic athlete absent?

Get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter page and let us know who would get your vote.

Olympic Athlete Unable to Train in Edinburgh

Napier Graduate Lynsey Sharp was turned away from Meadowbank Stadium this week as result of poor ground management.

The Olympic athlete who performed well in the Olympics over the summer, progressing to the semi-final of the 800m, has complained about the lack of professional facilities in Edinburgh.

Sharp said: “The sports facilities in Edinburgh are not up to scratch. Essentially, the track was closed and I couldn’t do my session because the groundsman was on holiday this week”.

Due to the adverse weather conditions this week the Meadowbank track was frozen.  However there is equipment available to de-ice tracks. If the facility had better ground management processes in place, Sharp could have trained despite the frosty conditions.

In June of this year Sharp, who graduated with a 2:1 in Law, was a model student and athlete who successfully managed to balance her intensive study and training.

Sharp Gets Set at Graduation Picture © Edinburgh Evening News.

The Napier Union president Tom Zanelli commented on the matter:

“Well to be honest I think it’s pretty disgraceful that the weather should have any effect on training facilities at that level”.

Sharp is one of the best athletes in Scotland, if not the UK, who needs to train daily. It is extremely important for athletes to follow a specific training programme routinely, therefore for one days training to be completely ruined it can severely affect development.

In further reflection on the incident Zanelli claimed:

“It’s something that needs to be addressed before younger, talented Scottish sportspeople move away down South due to poor facilities”.

In Edinburgh and indeed Scotland this kind of occurrence is not an isolated incident. There is the common opinion amongst elite athletes that Edinburgh Council and the Government withhold funding for sport. As a result, facilities such as Meadowbank are under staffed and outdated.

However government officials claim that a huge amount of funding has been injected into Glasgow in the build-up to the 2014 commonwealth games. Therefore as an unfortunate side effect of this it is apparent that facilities in Edinburgh are falling behind.

The newly elected Edinburgh Napier University Sports president Dan Parker took a more measured approach to problems with sporting venues in the city:

“Scottish weather has a negative effect on our teams and athletes. It hampers training and competition, from October onwards venues become flooded and frozen on nearly a weekly basis”.

What is worrying about this incident and the overall issue with sport in the capital city is that our home grown talent are constantly faced with barriers whether it be our local sporting facilities struggling to cope with the adverse weather, 0r simply a lack of funding made available to elite or amateur sportsmen and women.

Sharp admitted that when she has been unable to access the appropriate training places in the past due to poor weather conditions, she has been forced to train in a walkway which used to be an old railway. A rubbish strewn and dimly lit tunnel is hardly the kind of place an Olympic athlete should be training.

One of Edinburgh Napier’s strength and conditioning coaches, and past football professional, Alex Rawcliffe described the revelation as, “pathetic”.

He went on to say, “More of an effort should be made to implement preventative methods of reducing the effects of snow, ice, rain. It would be great if Scottish sport had access to more funding however most sports persons know that if they want quality services and facilities, they have to travel great distances to get them”.

If the Scottish government has a lack of available funding for the capital’s sporting centres then it is imperative that the organisation and structure of what is available is improved immediately.

Sharp, in one of her latest Twitter posts said “It would appear that, overnight, the groundsman is back from his holiday and they have acquired equipment to de-ice the track”.

The personnel in charge of procedures must be more urgent with their response to adverse weather conditions, otherwise our best athletes will continue to be at a disadvantage.

New Olympic torch route illuminates games’ diverse history

Boris Johnson with torchbearers in new uniforms.
Photo credit: London 2012 Olympics

The Olympic torch will start its 8.000 miles journey on May 19th and will visit every British nation and over 1.000 communities, as well as stunning landmarks like Stonehenge or Isle of Lewis in Scotland. It will need an average of 115 people each day to carry the torch to its final destination in the Olympic Stadium in London July 27

In total 8.000 people will carry the flame along the decided route. 7,300 people were nominees from the public, with a story of achievement or involved in local communities.

The rest are athletes and celebrities. Every torchbearer will wear a white Adidas uniform with gold shards representing the flame.

History

In Ancient Greek people believed that fire had sacred qualities. They used torches in front of temples as well as for cultural festivals. During the Olympic games the torch and relay were important elements to celebrate the event. During the Games, a sacred flame burned continually on the altar of the goddess, Hera, while heralds traveled throughout Greece to announce the Games.

When the modern Olympic games started in 1896 the torch relay didn’t play a role. The first modern relay happened in1936 during the Games in Hitler’s Berlin. Back then 3.3000 torchbearers carried the flame from Olympia, over eastern Europe to Germany. After that the relay became ritual in opening the Games.

Every four years the flame is lit from the sun’s rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, in a traditional ceremony among the ruins of the home of the ancient Games.
After short stops in Greece the torch is handed over to the new Host City in a ceremony in the Panathenaiko stadium in Athens.
Then the announced Torchbearers spread the message of peace, unity and friendship in their journey through the Host Country. Although today the actual meaning and spirit of the torch relay might have gotten lost in a commercialised society, it is still a huge honor for the chosen people to be part of this international mega event.

Finally the Flame is extinguished on the final day of the Games, at the Closing Ceremony.

Design

For every new game the design of the torch changes. From 1936 until now no torch compares to another. This year it was designed by east Londoners Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who won a contest run by the 2012 Organising Committee and the Design Council. The golden Torch reflects the 8.000 miles and its equal number runners by an inner and an outer aluminium alloy skin, held in place by a cast top piece and base, perforated by 8,000 circles. Since a lot of the runners will be quite young the torch was designed to be as light as possible and weighs only 8.00 grams.

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport said: ‘This is a big day in the Olympic preparations – the Torch Relay will now come to life for millions of people. The excitement will be increasingly infectious as people all over the UK now start to plan where they’re going to go to see the Olympic Flame and cheer on local Torchbearers.’

Olympic rings set to sparkle

Edinburgh Castle was originally intended as the Olympic ring location, but was vetoed due to public outcry.

By Alagappan Muthu

The Edinburgh skyline will feature a shiny new addition this summer in celebration of London 2012. The Olympic rings due to be erected in the Mound in Princes street gardens will also be lit up.

Officials from the Olympic committee and Edinburgh City Council are hopeful the new site would serve as a focal point for the public to meet and celebrate their athlete’s achievements.

“I feel that this site will be well received by the Edinburgh public and more than conforms to the city’s history and architecture”, said deputy council leader Steve Cardownie

Originally the games committee proposed to have the iconic logo on Edinburgh Castle. But it was met with outcry and Historic Scotland, caretakers of the castle, vetoed the proposal. Before Christmas, Edinburgh Evening News conducted a survey to determine which place would be best to display the insignia. The Airport was the most popular choice, followed by the Fourth bridge. The Mound came in third. Midlothain council also offered its Hillend Ski Center in the Pentlands as a potential site, but financial issues ruled this out.

The Mound has been the site of the city’s Christmas tree and has been seen as a popular representation of Edinburgh. After the Olympics, it will serve as site for the Paralympic logo as well. However both installments are yet to be granted planning permission.

Will the Olympics ring true in Edinburgh?

by Kirsten Hayley Waller

That outside of Edinburgh Castle could have the Olympic Rings displayed. Photo: S.Johnson

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is applying to Historic Scotland
to place the symbol of the Olympic rings on Edinburgh Castle during August 2012.

The rings will measure 8.5m in height and 18m in width, and will be displayed on the north-west rampart of the castle.

LOCOG have also submitted planning applications for other heritage sites, all over the UK, in a bid to make the 2012 games feel less London-centric.

A spokesman said they would not comment on ongoing applications and “would wait to hear the results.”

He explained the thinking behind this application was to ensure that there was “benefit across the UK for these games.” The plan is to “use the rings to draw attention to UK landmarks.”

The committee hope this will encourage foreign visitors to visit other parts of Britain, in addition to visiting London, for the Olympic Games.

LOCOG has worked with the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland and Edinburgh Council to establish the best location for the rings to be displayed.

The logistics of installing, maintaining and dismantling the rings will be undertaken by the Organising Committee, using funds from the central government in Westminster, and not from the Scottish Executive.

Historic Scotland released a brief statement to Napier News,  saying “We have received a Scheduled Monument Consent for a temporary application for the Olympic Rings installation at Edinburgh Castle which is going through the due process.”

The Cockburn Association, who promote the conservation of Edinburgh’s landscape and architecture, have previously expressed their disgust at this plan. The Director, Marion Williams, said “I think it’s daft, insulting and ridiculous. They should leave the castle alone and get on with having the Olympics in London. Edinburgh has other things to worry about at the moment. “I’m not grumpy about the Olympics, but I am grumpy about London stamping its mark on Edinburgh.”

What do you think about the Olympic Rings coming to Edinburgh Castle? Contact Napier News and let us know.

Councilman pleads Government to back ‘active’ Edinburgh scheme

byLori Carnochan and Emma Craig

A Labour Councillor has condemned the Scottish Government for its lack of support for an active youth scheme.

The scheme is being run by the East of Scotland Institute for Sport with the goal of making Edinburgh the most physically active capital in Europe by 2020. [Read more…]

Meet Usain ‘Bolts’.

James Bradley.

A new Olympics is being planned by China next year for robots.

The event will be held in the north-eastern city of Harbin.

Harbin is home to the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) which already boasts a successful robotic football team.

The competition is only open for humanoid robots, which means that to enter the robots must be human shaped, with two legs and two arms.

This is a change from many other robot competitions which sees a multitude of differently shaped robots depending on the task needing done.

Such as with the ‘Robogames’ which sees a multitude of differently shaped robots taking part in competitions.

According to Hong Rongbing a professor for HIT there events will include; dancing, combat, athletics as well as some non traditional events such as cleaning and medical care.

He went on to say that the aim of the competition is to push forward innovation and make robots more flexible and more intelligent.

The competition will test the robots on their ability to do tasks as well as gauging their intelligence and movement.

Over 100 teams are expected to enter the competition with over 20 countries being represented in over 16 events.

There have been an influx of different robot orientated competitions in the last few years, with a robotic world cup, and even an ‘exotic’ robot competition which replaces traditional sports and tests robots on their ability to mix drinks and smoke cigarettes.

There are even robot driving events where cars are programmed to drive through certain conditions over lengths of road to gauge their performance.

However the robot Olympics will have face their strongest competition from the ‘Robo games’ which has been seen as the highest form of organised competition for robots in the last few years.

Tall and Talented

By Tracy Norris

Are you exceptionally tall and athletic?Tall and Talented

Do you dream of being on the Olympic podium?

Then you just might have what it takes to compete for Great Britain in the Rio Olympics in 2016.

UK Sport launched Tall and Talented today.  The programme is looking for athletes who might be capable of winning medals in sports such as rowing and basketball, where height is a real advantage.

You may never have tried these sports before, but don’t let that put you off.  Many of the athletes discovered in a similar talent hunt just 2 years ago, are looking forward to competing in London in 2012 in sports they had never tried before their potential was spotted.

One such athlete is 21 year old Samantha Fowler from Glasgow.  She had reached county level at high jump and badminton but is set to row for Great Britain at the Olympics in 2012.  “Although

Samantha Fowler, Olympic rowing hopeful for 2012

Samantha Fowler, Olympic rowing hopeful for 2012

training is hard and requires immense commitment, I am taking a step closer to getting to the Olympics every day” she says.

So, if you are aged 15-20, over 5’11” (females) or 6’3″ (males), already competing at county level or above in any sport and think you have what it takes, then apply online at www.uksport.gov.uk/talent by 16 November.

As Fowler says “Tall and Talented is a once in a lifetime opportunity…you have nothing to lose”.

Golf and Rugby Return to Olympics

By Leroy Carter and Peter Simpson

Two of Scotland’s most popular sports golf and rugby union are set to return to the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced.

The IOC voted to include the two sports in the 2016 games at their Congress in Copenhagen on Friday.

Gordon Mckie, the Scottish Rugby Union‘s Chief Executive, welcomed the decision, saying that “rugby will be given a massive global boost as a consequence of this decision”.

Both sports have appeared at the Olympics in the past. Golf was only played twice, while 15-a-side rugby was part of the programme until 1924. [Read more…]

Parliament splash out on building during economic slump

By Matthew Robertson

Taxpayers have once again paid the price, as it has been announced that over the last five years, they have had fork out over £4 million for maintenance costs for the Scottish Parliamentary buildings in Holyrood.

This coming off the back of numerous occasions of over expenditure demonstrated by the government, such as the 2012 London olympics, is another kick in the teeth for the general public and is another example of how this country constantly fails to keep its financial budgets in order.

MSPS are perhaps the most illustrious of names of people who have lined up to criticise the cost of the famous buildings, as they blamed the “extravagant” designs for the high costs in maintenance.However, things such as security and cleaning lead to the buildup of cash spend on this project.New figures which were recently published this year show that a bill of £1.3 million was reached last year alone. This was mainly down to unscheduled maintenance such as the varnishing of the oak poles at the front of the building, reconstruction of the elevators and the cleaning of the premises such windows and flooring.

The figures also showed that one contractor, Norland, was paid a total of £5.1m for mechanical, electrical and fabric maintenance and work on security projects.When asked whether they felt that the money was well spent, Norland replied”We, along with the parliament feel that the finances spent of maintenance were necessary and will provide the country with a building they can be proud of”.

For a building which has been open for five years now, it could be said that there are some areas for improvement. For example a Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said “Holyrood is a unique building which is used by up to 1,000 people every day as well as more than 350,000 visitors a year. Naturally this has an impact on maintenance. We constantly review and develop our maintenance plans to ensure that cost-effective solutions are delivered.”

But when times are as tough as they currently are, this particular government debacle is hardly music to the public’s ears.

Olympic Boxer In Drugs Probe

by Michael Fern
frenchand2
Saunders in the Beijing Olympics

A British Olympic boxer was held by police yesterday under suspicion of dealing in cocaine.

Bradley Saunders, 22, was arrested along with his girlfriend yesterday afternoon. A sniffer dog found a tin of white powder after a tip-off led police to investigate the light welterweight champion’s home in Sedgefield, County Durham. The powder is currently being analysed by the police.

A neighbour who wished not to be named told the Northern Echo: “It was during broad daylight, so plenty of people saw them go into the house and garden with sniffer dogs. People were talking about it within hours and gossip will soon spread.

“I only hope it isn’t true. A lot of people supported him in the Olympics and it will be sad if someone who could be a role model was charged with drugs offences. It would be a real waste of talent and opportunity.”

The couple have been released on bail pending further inquiries after being held overnight in Spennymoor Police Station.

‘Buzzing’ Saunders previously courted controversy in the media after his second-round defeat in the Olympics, when he said he was relieved to have lost and be returning to his wife and 2-year-old son. He later said after a media attack led by the Daily Mail that his comments had been taken out of context.

He had said: “I’ve been training for two years now. To know I’ve not won a medal has taken a big weight off my shoulders.

“The weight of everything: my job, training, boxing all the time, not seeing my little boy. I want to live a local boy’s life now.”

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