Archive for the ‘Australian Sports’ Category

Camel Racing

camel cup

Camel racing is a highly popular sport in the Middle East in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Oman, and it has also become an increasingly high-demand sport in Australia. Despite prominent conceptions that camels are lazy, laid-back creatures that simply fill their humps with water and stroll around the desert, they are actually an incredibly agile and fast animal that can reach speeds of up to 65km/h and maintain velocities of 40km/h.

Camel Racing in the Middle East

Camel racing was originally staged as a traditional feature of weddings and celebrations, yet the development of customised tracks led to race meetings, which are held in the months between October and April and today culminate in the international camel race festival at Al Wathba in the Emirates. Child Jockeys are popular camel racers due to their light weight, however, revelations of child labor in certain countries in the Middle East has caused the ban of child jockeys under the age of 15 in many states.camel middle east

The Camels

Thoroughbred racing camels, namely the Omani (very light colour) and Sudania (tan colour) breeds, are put to the test when just two years old. They are initially trained to obey basic commands from a jockey and then a 2km gallop determines whether they have the propensity for racing. The chosen camels are then traditionally made to run every to help maintain and build their stamina. Their staple diet consists of dates, honey, alfalfa, milk and seeds. They were not allowed to drink the day before a race and unable to feed for 12 hours before the race. Depending on the saddle, jockeys can sit in front or behind of the camel’s hump.

Camel Racing in Australia

Back in the early 20th century, camel racing appeared in the form of picnic days in the Aussie outback. The first camel race ran in 1970 in the Todd River Bed as a bet between two friends, Noel Fullerton (see image below) and Keith Mooney-Smith.  The camel race proved to be so entertaining that the event grew, as did the prize money and today camel races are a recognised and incredibly popular event at many festivals, which are seen as major tourist attractions. Alongside a number of festivals in Queensland such as the Bedourie Camel Races and Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races, the Lasserter’s Camel Cup in Alice Springs is the preeminent annual camel racing competition in Australia. The Camel Cup follows the motto ‘temperamental, terribly unpredictable, very entertaining’, meaning that you are assured a hilarious and enthralling day out suited to all ages and interests.
camel cup winner

Race Rules

The Camel Cup is held every year on the 2nd Saturday of July at Blatherskite Park. This arena was built by volunteers in 1979 and is the only purpose built camel racing venue in the southern hemisphere, complete with a commentary and judges’ tower with telephone contact to the pits and central arena to keep crown members in the loop.

The general rules of the game stipulate sit-down starts, a maximum of fifteen camels per race and a public ballot held to decide the sponsor and name of each accepted camel and their barrier positions. There are four qualifying races to determine, with the help of the Chief Steward, which 15 camels will qualify to compete for the Camel Cup. The eventual winner of this rae will be awarded the Lion Perpetual Trophy until the next annual meeting.

A-League

A-League Minor Semi Final 1st Leg - Mariners v Roar

The Hyundai A-League is the highest level of professional football in Australia. Having its inaugural season in 2005, it replaced the previous NSL (National Soccer League) that had operated since 1977. There are currently ten teams contesting in the A-League. Nine of these teams are Australian based, the tenth being based in New Zealand. Growing in popularity of the last eight years of competition, the A-League has become worthy competitors to the existing football codes in the NRL and AFL. The Current champions are the Central Coast Mariners, defeating the Western Sydney Wanders 2-0 in the Grand Final on the 21st of April 2013.

Format of the A-League

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The A-league is played throughout the Australian summer, between the months of October and April. The season is divided into two parts – the regular season and the finals round. The regular season is a round robin style tournament where each team plays each other three times and collects points as they go along. The team that finished with the highest number of points at the end of the regular season is crowned the A-League Premiers, and wins a place in the AFC Champions League.

The Finals Series is a knockout competition played between the top six teams from the regular season. From the 2012/13 season, the top two teams are automatically entered into the second round of competition, meaning that they only have to win one game to progress into the grand final game. The winner of the Grand Final match is crowned the A-League Champions. They receive a playoff spot to qualify for the AFC Champions League.

Debates over the League Format

In recent years there has been great debate over the format of the A-League. Purists of the game believe that the winners of the regular season should be crowned champions of the A-League, and a separate knockout cup style competition be played out along side of it. The argument is that it is far more difficult to win the premiership, and it seems unfair that a team that finished sixth may have the opportunity to win the final trophy. The difficulty with this proposition is that there needs to be more than 10 teams for a cup competition to be viable.

The expansion of the A-league, whilst has been attempted, has not always been successful. Teams like Gold Coast United and the North Queensland Fury have been introduced to the league and have since disbanded due to financial issues. Future aims for the league hopes to introduce a second division of the league, with promotion and relegation at the end of the season. Such visions, however, must be implemented slowly and with effective management, due to the relatively weak financial state of the league.

Australia versus India 2013

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The Australian cricket team has just completed their latest tour of India, presenting what was arguably their worst performance of all time in the sub continent. Loosing in a 4-0 whitewash, the Indian team was on top from the very first day of the series.

After the last Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2011/12 where the Australians dominated overall, the men in green and gold went into the competition confident. With a number of controversies in recent years, the rivalry between the two teams has escalated to a new level.

The First Test

The first test in Chennai began with the Australian openers starting well, but a mid-innings collapse forced by spinner Ravichandran Ashwin restricted them to 380. The Indian response was stuttered also be the fall of a couple of early wickets, but a fight back from veteran Sachin Tendulkar and Cheteshwar Pujara brought the total to over a hundred. Virat Kholi scored a hundred, only to be overshadowed by captain MS Dhoni’s brilliant 224. This stance gave India a strong lead, which the Australian side dribbled past. India easily chasing down the target of the 50 in the final innings.

The Second Test

The second test brought the teams to Hyderabad, where after winning the toss and electing to bat, the Australian top order collapsed again. Whilst Michael Clarke’s 91 held the team up, this was not the Australian captain’s biggest impact on the innings. Making the unusual decision to declare at 237/9 towards the end the day’s play in an effort to gain early wickets, he felt the decision back fire incredibly when India summed a total of 503. A double century from Pujara was the highlight of the innings. The visitors weren’t able to match the total in their second innings, giving the Indian side a massive win. Interestingly, this made Australia the first team ever to declare in their first innings and then loose by an innings.

The Third Test

The third test was marred by controversies from within the Australian ranks. Four players – vice captain Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja – were made ineligible to play on the grounds that they failed to complete a homework task set by Coach Mickey Arthur. Clarke later stipulated that the ban was as a result of a series of misdemeanors, and not an isolated incident.

After the first day was washed out, The Australians managed to score a total of 408, with Mitchell Starc scoring an agonizing 99. The Indian response of 499 was highlighted by debutant Shikhar Dhawan’s record breaking opening stand of 187. Australia, responding with 223, set a target of 133 for the Indians. Because the first day was lost, the last day became a thriller as the Indians battled to reach the target in time. Jadeja and Dhoni, however, didn’t let the match get out of hand, taking the side over the line with a few balls to spare.

The Fourth Test

The final test saw Australia dismissed for 262 in the first innings, and fight back of sorts saw them dismiss India after they only took a ten run lead. It seemed that this final game, whilst not being critical in terms of winning a series, would be the tight game that we all were hoping for. This hope fell apart right after Australia was dismissed for 164 in the second innings. With the help of an 82 from Pujara, India eased to the target and won the series 4-0.

This test series was historic in the sense that it was the first in which India had won four matches to win a series. Ashwin was named Man of the Series with his 29 wickets. The Australians will look to rebuild over the next few months before their crucial series in England for the Ashes.

Physical education in Schools

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Physical education in schools plays a central role in breaking down barriers to participation in sport,” the report says. “It provides significant health and social benefits. It was concerning to learn from experts Australia-wide that the education system no longer reliably provides the platform upon which much of the nation’s sporting activity is based.”

That proposal has universal support in the national sports community, which has noted with concern the dramatic drop in the physical abilities of young athletes coming into the elite system in the past 20 years as physical education has declined in schools.

“The young athletes we saw 20 years ago were vastly superior in all-round fitness and general co-ordination,” says Australian Institute of Sport athletics coach Craig Hilliard. “The ones we see now lack fine motor co-ordination.

Tennis

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Playing Sport over 35

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Association Football or ‘Soccer’ is the world’s most popular sport. There are over 240 million registered players worldwide and many more recreational football players.

Most football injuries affect the lower extremities, which are defined as the groin and pelvis, hip and thigh, knee, calf, foot and ankle. Research shows that most football injuries are caused by trauma, such as a collision with an opponent or landing awkwardly from a jump. Approximately one quarter to one third of all football injuries are due to overuse and develop over a period of time.

When reviewing the published literature on football injuries, the overall incidence of injury in football is between 9 and 35 injuries per 1000 hours of football in adults, and between 0.5 and 13 injuries per 1000 hours of football in adolescents. It is clear that the older the player, the more likely they are to get injured.

The research also shows that more injuries occur during competitive matches than occur during training. There is also a sex difference in football injuries with female players having a higher injury rate than males.

Outrageous Sports in Australia

New Zealand All Blacks

The All Blacks are known for the awesome display of complete manhood. The Haka continues to impress audiences all over the world.

Cricket

cricket-sydney

Cricket is a team sport for two teams of eleven players each. A formal game of cricket can last anything from an afternoon to several days.

Although the game play and rules are very different, the basic concept of cricket is similar to that of baseball. Teams bat in successive innings and attempt to score runs, while the opposing team fields and attempts to bring an end to the batting team’s innings. After each team has batted an equal number of innings (either one or two, depending on conditions chosen before the game), the team with the most runs wins.

(Note: In cricket-speak, the word “innings” is used for both the plural and the singular. “Inning” is a term used only in baseball.)
Equipment

Cricket Ball:

Hard, cork and string ball, covered with leather. A bit like a baseball (in size and hardness), but the leather covering is thicker and joined in two hemispheres, not in a tennis ball pattern. The seam is thus like an equator, and the stitching is raised slightly. The circumference is between 224 and 229 millimetres (8.81 to 9.00 inches), and the ball weighs between 156 and 163 grams (5.5 to 5.75 ounces). Traditionally the ball is dyed red, with the stitching left white. Nowadays white balls are also used, for visibility in games played at night under artificial lighting.

Cricket Bat:

Blade made of willow, flat on one side, humped on the other for strength, attached to a sturdy cane handle. The blade has a maximum width of 108 millimetres (4.25 inches) and the whole bat has a maximum length of 965 millimetres (38 inches).

Wickets:

There are two wickets – wooden structures made up of a set of three stumps topped by a pair of bails. These are described below.
Stumps:
Three wooden posts, 25 millimetres (1 inch) in diameter and 813 millimetres (32 inches) high. They have have spikes extending from their bottom end and are hammered into the ground in an evenly spaced row, with the outside edges of the outermost stumps 228 millimetres (9 inches) apart. This means they are just close enough together that a cricket ball cannot pass between them.

Bails:

Two wooden crosspieces which sit in grooves atop the adjacent pairs of stumps.