Cometh the hour...
David Mbaziira 24th July
Well it’s been a great few days for British sport, I’m just going to focus on my personal highlights and there are lots to choose from.
On Friday a young female talent in athletics reaffirmed why we should all be getting excited, you never want to create extra pressure and burdens of expectation, but I recall a conversation I had with one of our Ambassadors the former Chelsea footballer Paul Elliott, who said to me, “If you are good enough you are old enough”. A fair point and who am I to disagree, elite level sport is about performing on the biggest stage. So with that in mind remember the name Jodie Williams. The teenager from Hertfordshire won the European Junior 100m and 200m titles over the weekend, the former in 11.18 sec a new personal best and UK record. She won the world junior title last year and is now the best ranked 200m in the country. Jodie 17 has decided to focus on her education rather than travel to the senior world championships in Dagu, South Korea next month. London might be too soon for medals but Rio 2016 is looking good. It would be great if she could start to challenge the best at world level and inspire other girls to want to emulate her in the blue ribbon events of athletics. Staying with the track Mo Farah produced another performance of pure class to beat former world champion Bernand Lagat in Monaco with a new British record in the 5,000m he is now the man to beat in Dagu.
KP produced a great innings in scoring a double hundred at Lords. Dravid ‘the wall’ lived up to his name and his 103 saved India in the first innings. An intriguing last day is in prospect after Prior’s 103 no and his partnership with Broad added 162 runs to leave India needing a big performance but they aren’t ranked no1 by the ICC for nothing!
Amir Khan proved he is the hottest property in British boxing with his masterful performance against Zab Judah (click here to read more). When I think about my favourite boxers, they were the guys who didn’t duck anyone, who wanted to unify titles and fight the best. For me the middleweight division and the Haggler, Sugar Ray, Hearns and Duran bouts between 1980 and 1989 was real box office (if you haven’t it read Four Kings by George Kimball). It would be good if we can see Amir Khan have the opportunity to unify the division. Can we dare to dream, could the Mayweather fight happen? If it does that would be a fight on par with the greats of the past.
Going in to the German Grand Prix it was supposed to be about either Vettel or Weber from Red Bull or Alonso. I heard the BBC commentators talking on Friday about how McLaren would really struggle and be way off the pace. Well it’s a good thing that Lewis Hamilton doesn’t listen to anyone because his performance today was something else, especially passing Alonso on lap 33. To beat the best when your car isn’t as good shows just how good a driver he is, roll on Hungary.
We also had a great silver for Rebecca Addlington in the 400m freestyle in Shanghai, Tom Daley came 5th as we saw Qui Boi raise the bar in the 10m diving final.
Finally Mark Cavandish, embarrassingly unknown within Britain but in France acknowledged as one of the greats in sprint cycling. Hopefully Cavendish’s green jersey victory in this year’s Tour de France will change things. He is the first British rider to win a jersey since Robert Millar won the Polka dot King of the Mountains jersey in 1984. Cavendish has won 20 stages overall and 5 stages in this year’s race. It was Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche who first got me hooked on this great annual institution that takes over France, and I have nothing but admiration for men prepared to push themselves beyond human limits daily and risking serious injury and in some cases death. Mark Cavendish is worthy of our adulation and his considerable achievements on the toughest stage of all have proved he is already a legend.