Communications and entertainment company, which boasts Usain Bolt and Mo Farah among its brand ambassadors, named as the newest partner of the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Virgin Media has been unveiled as an official partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, with the deal also including the company being the presenting partner of athletics.
This means that athletics superstars Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, who are brand ambassadors for Virgin, could form part of an advertising campaign for the Glasgow event which will take place from July 23 to August 3 next year, with both athletes already having stated their desire to compete.
Chairman of Glasgow 2014, Lord Smith of Kelvin, said they are looking forward to working with Virgin Media to develop some exciting engagement and activation opportunities over the coming months.
Commenting on the presenting partner role, Michael Cavanagh, chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, added: Our track and field athletes are showing great early season form as they strive for selection and I know just how much they are looking forward to competing at Hampden (Stadium, pictured above) which is such an iconic venue for Scots.
The athletics competition will be world class and it is fantastic that Virgin Media are going to be the presenting partner.
Virgin Media join the likes of Emirates, Trespass and Ticketmaster in the Glasgow 2014 family of official sponsors. Speaking of the new partnership, six-time Olympic champion Bolt said: Virgin Media is a great company and I m delighted they have decided to continue their support of athletics by becoming a Commonwealth Games partner.
Athletics is a fantastic, healthy way of life for all ages of people, regardless of where they re from, continued the Jamaican sprinter, and Virgin Media s support of the 2014 Games is great for the sport.
Fellow ambassador, double Olympic champion Farah, added: Knowing that Virgin Media is supporting the 2014 Commonwealth Games is great news but I don t think I will be growing a Richard Branson beard this time!
I love competing on home turf and I hope to run in Glasgow in 2014. The Scottish crowd are always very passionate about athletics.
Having Virgin Media s continued support both personally, and as a sponsor of the Commonwealth Games, is a big boost to athletics.
Earlier this month Glasgow 2014 unveiled a family-friendly ticketing strategy which stated that two-thirds of tickets will be priced at 25 or less.
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UK Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson will stand down from his role at the end of June.
Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA UK Athletics has confirmed that head coach Peter Eriksson is to quit just five months in the job, threatening to undermine an expansive restructuring of the sport at elite level following the London Olympics.
Eriksson will leave his post at the end of June, having asked to be released from his contract in order to return to Canada to be with his family.
Performance director Neil Black will double up as head coach for the world championships in Moscow.
“Words cannot describe how disappointed I am to take this step.
There is no bigger job in athletics anywhere in the world, At present I have no plans, but accept that if I am to take any other job in sport it will be a step down’,” said the 60-year-old Swede.
Eriksson will lead the British team to the European team championships at Gateshead in June, before handing over to Black.
“Athletics in Great Britain receives the best possible support through the National Lottery, and that, coupled with the performance structure here means it is every coach’s dream to hold this position,” he added.
“However no job is more important than family and children, and personal circumstances mean that mine need me to be back in Canada.” Eriksson, who spent four successful years in charge of the Paralympic track and field team in the run up to the London Games, was made head coach in October last year as part of a wide ranging shake up in the wake of the departure of his predecessor Charles van Commenee.
Despite the success of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford, Van Commenee fell two short of his self-imposed target of eight athletics medals in London.
The radical shake-up saw Black appointed performance director by the chief executive, Niels de Vos, and Eriksson becoming head coach.
“This is a big disappointment but it could not have been foreseen six months ago, and Peter has been open with us on the personal challenges he faces,” said Black.
UK Athletics has also concentrated its services and coaches at a new centralised hub in Loughborough, a move that proved controversial with some coaches and athletes.
There was also a high turnover of coaches with several, including Ennis’s mentor Toni Minichiello, leaving the UK Athletics payroll.
Minichiello, who continues to coach Ennis in Sheffield, accused UK Athletics of a “lack of respect” and operating a “culture of bullying” after breaking off negotiations over a part-time contract.
Although born in Sweden, Eriksson moved to Canada in 1987 and rumours had circulated within the sport for some time that he had been considering a return home for family reasons.
Since he was first employed by UK Athletics in 2008, his wife and four daughters have remained in Canada.
After rumours circulated on an internet forum last month, Eriksson Tweeted: “Need to quash rumour not going anywhere other than WWT warm-weather training.
100% focused on Moscow 2013.” Eriksson, widely praised for increasing the Paralympics athletics medal count from 17 in Beijing to 29 in London including 19 gold, has attempted to project a much less abrasive, more inclusive style than van Commenee.
De Vos said the structure would be reviewed yet again at the end of the season in light of Eriksson’s decision.
“This is very much about the human face of performance sport, it is easy to talk about what it means for us but this is a personal issue and whilst we would love for him to stay, we can only be supportive and wish him the best,” he said.
“He did a superb job as the Paralympic Head Coach, having joined us four years ago and built a strong team around him.
The signs were there that he could make the same impact on our Olympic programme, and I know that he will want to sign off with a successful team performance in Gateshead next month.”
Peter Eriksson to leave UKA just seven months after taking over from Charles van Commenee
Peter Eriksson is to stand down as head coach of UK Athletics after only seven months of holding the position.
UKA confirmed the news on Wednesday, adding that the 60-year-old had asked to be released from his contract in order to return to Canada to be with his family.
Eriksson, who led the Paralympic programme to third finish on the medal table during the 2012 Paralympic Games before replacing Charles van Commenee as head coach for British Athletics, explained that he was disappointed to be making the move, but that personal circumstances require it. He also added that he currently has no plans to take on a role elsewhere.
Words cannot describe how disappointed I am to take this step, he said. There is no bigger job in athletics anywhere in the world.
At present I have no plans, but accept that if I am to take any other job in sport it will be a step down.
Athletics in Great Britain receives the best possible support through the National Lottery, and that, coupled with the performance structure here means it is every coach s dream to hold this position.
However no job is more important than family and children, and personal circumstances mean that mine need me to be back in Canada.
Born and raised in Sweden, Eriksson began his sporting career as a speed skater, competing in the World Championships of that sport in the Seventies before switching his focus to athletics. He attended the 1980 Olympic Games as an apprentice team coach for the Swedish athletics team and two years later began coaching disabled athletes and that soon became his area of expertise.
He moved to Canada in the Eighties and became head coach for track and field athletes in the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association, where one of his most successful charges was multiple Paralympic champion Chantal Petitclerc.
In 2009 Eriksson was hired by UK Athletics as head coach and performance director for the Paralympic programme. As part of that role he has coached a handful of the country s top disability athletes, including Hannah Cockroft who won two gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
He had signed a five-year contract with UKA as head coach, which would have see him through to the 2017 World Championships in London, but he will now continue in his position until just the end of June, leading the GB & NI team to the European Team Championships in Gateshead.
Performance director Neil Black will then oversee head coach duties for the remainder of the summer, leading the GB & NI team at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
Also describing Eriksson s move as disappointing, Black said: This is a big disappointment but it could not have been foreseen six months ago, and Peter has been open with us on the personal challenges he faces.
Working with Peter we have put together a team of elite coaches leading each of the event groups based at the Institute and they will able to help me cover the head coach duties for the summer with minimal disruption.
But for now we are looking forward to a strong team performance in Gateshead and I look forward to working alongside Peter towards this goal.
UK Athletics chief executive Niels de Vos added: This is very much about the human face of performance sport, it is easy to talk about what it means for us but this is a personal issue and whilst we would love for him to stay, we can only be supportive and wish him the best.
He did a superb job as the Paralympic Head Coach, having joined us four years ago and built a strong team around him.
The signs were there that he could make the same impact on our Olympic programme, and I know that he will want to sign off with a successful team performance in Gateshead next month.
Neil Black will ensure stability for the ongoing programme, and we will review the structure at the end of the season, but what is most important right now is we continue to focus on Moscow and the job in hand.
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On Thursday 2nd May 2013 Sandbach School athletics squad travelled to King s Macclesfield to attend the annual athletics field event competition. Sandbach took over fifty athletes to Macclesfield to compete in a variety of events ranging from the various jumps to the different types of throws.
The Sandbach athletes were up against some serious competition and to aid them the sun was shining. Despite some tough competition the Sandbach athletes came out on top by the end of the afternoon with some brilliant performances by all years present.
Special mentions go to Joe Jones (Year 9), Tom Whittaker (Year 8) and Sam Anderson (Year 7) who amongst others won their individual events.
The next event is on the Tuesday 14th May in Macclesfield at the athletics track (behind the leisure centre) this event is the first round of the English School Athletics Association Track and Field Cup 2013.
This event will involve a mixture of athletes from years seven to ten.
If your son is involved he will be able to get details of the event from his team captains or the M/ic Athletics Mr Sanders.
Sandbach School Physical Education Department
The war against drugs in sport is never-ending and the stakes are higher than ever.
Unfortunately many of the participants are, too.
The idea that governing bodies in charge of the games people play are genuinely serious about exposing performance-enhanced cheats is something of a myth.
We have seen it in athletics, cycling and now horseracing.
Organisations love to boast their sport is fair and honourable as they back-slap sponsors, right up to the precise moment when their faces are rubbed in the unholy chemical mess.
Then a clean-up reluctantly begins.
But to avoid the impression their game was filthy all along, the miscreants are usually painted as evil rogues or sad aberrations.
Busted: Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was handed a suspended prison sentence Natural justice suggests we should be hounding these people out of sport like angry villagers with burning torches and pitchforks chasing Bela Lugosi.
But too many interested parties simply look the other way while they reach for a syringe full of platitudes.
Top competitors know the truth.
They confront it every day.
Just take a look at what two great British sports stars, Andy Murray and Paula Radcliffe, felt about the latest drugs scandal in Spain.
When police raided the clinic of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes to bust one of cycling’s many doping rings, the officers involved in Operation Puerto found more than 200 different bags of blood on his property.
It then transpired the stash was not just the preserve of a cluster of cheating cyclists.
Fuentes told a court that many of the frozen samples of plasma belonged to Spanish track and field athletes, tennis players, boxers and footballers.
He said he could even put a name to each bag of tainted corpuscles.
But the Spanish justice system didn t want to know.
Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria ordered that all the evidence from one of the biggest doping scandals ever uncovered should be destroyed.
Her verdict was the case was an investigation into cycling alone.
Any other discoveries would be beyond the court’s remit, compromising the privacy of other individuals involved.
At this point you might subscribe to the idea that the judge is a great defender of freedom and liberty.
Or you might think she could be acting at the behest of the Spanish government in an almighty cover-up because the evidence threatens to lay waste to the country’s football achievements, tennis triumphs and much more over the last decade.
US Open champion Murray made his anger known.
He raged it was beyond a joke and the biggest cover-up in sports history , adding, Why would a court order blood bags to be destroyed? Marathon world record-holder and anti-drugs campaigner Radcliffe also demanded answers.
She said: This makes me so mad.
Spanish government do something.
Do the right thing.
Does this judge understand what they have done? I feel like showing up on their doorstep.
Anger: Andy Murray reacted in rage at news the blood bags were to be destroyed I m proud Murray and Radcliffe have spoken out.
Not enough athletes do this.
We should never forget to be appalled by the systematic cheating that takes place before our eyes.
But rarely do we see potential evidence destroyed in public.
It’s usually a seedy secret.
The idea that it could happen now in the name of justice is a disgusting perversion of the meaning of the word.
In court, Fuentes was given a pathetic one-year suspended for endangering health , but the story goes on and, coincidentally, another revelation just 24 hours after the verdict raised further questions.
Over in Brazil the former Barcelona and Chelsea midfielder Deco failed a drugs test.
He tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide, a recognised masking agent and weight-loss drug which also reduces pressure on the capillaries and aids cardio performance.
When Fuentes’s premises were raided in 2006, Barcelona were winning the Champions League employing their revolutionary, non-stop passing game tactics with Deco in their side.
There is no suggestion he is implicated with Fuentes.
Let me make that clear.
But maybe we could check those blood bags just to make sure.
Want love, Jose? Look in a mirror Jose Mourinho says he wants to flee those nasty Spanish types and return to the bosom of English football where he is loved .
No doubt there is plenty of adoration for the self-styled Special One on these shores and he will add entertainment to the rough and tumble of the Premier League.
But no matter how much these people may profess their devotion to Mourinho, it is unlikely ever to match the all-encompassing love he has for himself.
London calling: Jose Mourinho looks set to return to Chelsea for a second stint QPR stuck on the grid Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes looked understandably shell-shocked as his team dropped out of the Premier League with barely a whimper.
After watching his millions disappear down the relegation drain, he tried to rally supporters with a message on Twitter.
Sorry to all QPR fans, he said.
But the plan goes on, now more than ever.
We owe it to you.
And everyone instantly thought: You mean there was a plan? Fernandes added: It took three years to get Caterham right.
Crash:Tony Fernandes (right) watched as Queens Park Rangers were relegated to the Championship So the plan is for QPR to emulate the Caterham F1 team.
The same Caterham team who finished joint bottom of the constructors championship with no points in their first season (as Lotus Racing); collected no points in the second season, and currently sit in joint last position with no points after four races this year.
Not much of a plan, is it? I remember a previous Rangers chairman was also involved in F1.
But Flavio Briatore was accused of telling one of his F1 drivers to plough straight into a wall.
At least this QPR side crashed all by themselves.
Rodgers on track While Luis Suarez has a break, here are some significant numbers to chew upon concerning Liverpool before tomorrow’s Merseyside derby.
During their first seasons in charge, Kenny Dalglish, Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez all lost 14 league games.
To date, Brendan Rodgers has lost nine.
This Liverpool line-up has scored more league goals than any Anfield side during the past 20 years and there are still three games to go.
Work in progress: Brendan Rodgers has impressed at Liverpool so far this season Rodgers’s team have also collected 14 clean sheets, a total surpassed only by Manchester City with 15.
Statistics can be used in many ways and the most important number of all is their current league position of seventh.
But the signs are encouraging.
With more investment and added consistency, Liverpool should continue heading in the right direction.
All hail Bale My vote for Footballer of the Year went to Gareth Bale.
I wrestled with the Tottenham Hotspur player’s tendency to fall to the floor, possibly due to sudden movements of the Earth’s tectonic plates.
But I weighed this against his explosive contributions to the season and general demeanour and decided he was a worthy winner.
In my view, Bale’s individual performances put him narrowly ahead of Robin van Persie, while the South American arm-muncher on Merseyside ruled himself out.
I intend to be there to see Bale receive another deserved trophy at the ceremony on Thursday night.
He is a credit to the Premier League and I hope he remains here.
OUTRAGED CORNER No 1 OUTRAGED CORNER No 2 West Bromwich manager Steve Clarke was said to have slammed TV presenter Adrian Chiles for daring to suggest Peter Odemwingie might be a contender for t**t of the season at the club’s annual awards bash.
I m outraged, too.
That Clarke cannot find something more appropriate to be outraged about than a harmless joke concerning a player who slaughters his own club on Twitter and randomly turns up at other football grounds on transfer-deadline day.
Is anyone looking forward to the PFA Player of the Year dinner in 2014? Not after the so-called race storm surrounding Reginald D Hunter’s entirely predictable comedy routine.
The American’s stage act has always drawn upon the liberal use of the N-word and I mean liberal, in every sense.
But now the players union bash is likely to be the most antiseptic, po-faced, irony-free corporate borefest known to mankind.
Sorry, I mean personkind .
You ve got to be careful: it’s easy to offend people these days.