Posts Tagged ‘winter sports’

High School Student at Center of Football World

Wang dalei. Image:

A year 7 high school student from the Gap has become the most sought after person on the internet and idol to billions of Chinese soccer fans.

12 year-old Stephen White was a ball boy at the tense, hard fought Asian Cup match between China and Saudi Arabia at Suncorp on Saturday night. With the scores locked at nil all the Saudi team were given penalty. Just prior to the penalty kick being taken by Neif Hazazi the Chinese goal keeper, Wang Dalei, turned to Stephen, who was standing behind the goal. Dalei and asked the Stephen (himself a budding goalkeeper) which way he should dive to save the goal.

“I was very surprised,” said Stephen to reporters after the game.

“He asked if he should go left or right. I told him left because that’s the way I always go in trying to predict where the ball will go.

“I was really excited when he saved it”

And so was Dalei.

And so were Chinese football fans half a world away.

Dalei warmed the hearts of sports fans all over the world by giving Stephen a thankyou hug after the final whistle. Furthermore Stephen was invited to attend China’s Monday night training session at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre. It is rumoured Dalei may present Stephen with his jersey.

China held on to win the game 1-0 and take a very big step towards securing overall honours.

“I love goalkeeping,” said Stephen, “it runs in my family. Stephen’s brothers Samuel, David and Dominic are also goalkeepers for their respective teams.

Their mother, Suzie, says her boys watch as much football as they can. “They focus on the keepers and everything they do.”

SBW Says Boxing Will Help his Rugby

Sony Bill Williams.

Sporting polymath Sony Bill Williams believes the gruelling boxing training will stand him in good stead for his return to Super Rugby.

Williams describes his six weeks of training as physical and mental torture. On January 31 he’ll see if it was enough as he takes on respected American Chauncy Welliver. The heavyweight clash will be the first Footy Show Fight Night held at Allphones Arena. It promises to be a torrid encounter with both men claiming to be at the peak of their fitness and skills.

But for Williams the clash is just the start.

Only a few days later Williams is expected to be thrown into the crucible – joining his Chiefs teammates for their final test against defending champions the Waratahs.

“I’m excited about potentially playing in that game,” said Williams to the Daily Telegraph.

“My fight will come first though, then I can focus on the match afterwards.

“I’ll had over to New Zealand with the Chiefs in early January and do some training at night with Tony Mundine.

“It’s a big year next season in a rugby sense and I know putting myself through this almost tortuous next six weeks will get me in the best possible condition – not just physically, but also mentally.

“It will be hard work, but it will definitely help me with my rugby too.”

Williams was full of praise for All-Black Dan Carter, who recently signed with French club Racing Metro. Carter signed a three-year deal supposedly worth three million a season.

“He is not just a good rugby player,” said Williams of Carter,, “ but a good bloke (too), and it is good to see him do well for his family.”

Danny Wicks to Make NRL Comeback With Eels

Danny Wicks looks set to make one of the most unlikely sporting comebacks in Australia’s history. The ex-Dragons’ and Knights’ prop will have his contract with the NRL officially registered next month. But he has already been snapped up by the Parramatta Eels in a one-year deal.

What makes this story incredible is that Wicks hasn’t played a first grade game in more than three years – after being jailed for drug trafficking.

In September 2011 Wicks was charged with eight drug-related offences. He pleaded guilty to a further three counts of supplying prohibited substances.

The judge remanded him to a maximum three years jail.

The ban imposed by the NRL ended in September 2014. The Parramatta football club swooped and spent the final months of the year negotiating with Wicks.

He’ll be on a short leash. The club and league have imposed strict conditions, none offering with a second chance.

Steve Gills, Wicks’ manager, told reporters for The Daily Telegraph that Wicks has been training hard since June.

“Danny has been training with the team and was in rehab with a hamstring injury prior to the break, but he is going well.

“He doesn’t have a contract registered with the NRL, but we are hoping to have it sorted in the next two to four weeks, hopefully.”

Wicks has used his time in Glen Innes jail well. He has lost 20kg but added significant muscle to his already gigantic frame. He has trained well, impressing coaching staff and players alike. Best of all, he appears to have lost none of his speed and skills.

Sea Eagles Start Pre-Season with ‘Six Hours of Hell’

Willie Mason. Image:

The Manly sea Eagles have begun pre-season training with what club recruit Willie Mason describes as, “six hours of hell.” The former Test and Origin forward believed the ordeals of the day would work to make the team mentally tougher.

The group of players and trainers faced real and serious threats from hypothermia as they climbed up Mr Kosciuszko in bleak, freezing conditions. But the extreme challenge cultivated resilience, camaraderie and toughness.

“You go on a session like that,” said Mason to the Daily Mail, “and you soon discover it’s no secret why they’ve made the finals for the last 10 years and won four grand finals.

“The success at the club is driven by the players and a great coaching staff, who all did the climb with us.

“A few of the senior blokes said this is the standard and this is our culture.

“They said they wouldn’t be happy if anyone quit.

“The senior players got up at the end and said they would have been pissed off if we didn’t train hard and work as a team.”

And work as a team is what they did when one of the trainers was struck down with hypothermia. The players responded to the situation giving him warm clothing and administering first aid, before helping him down the mountain.

After battling the cold, the mountain, and their physical and mental demons the players returned to base. Upon their return they were given a surprise two-hour fitness session.

“So we had to put the wet gear back on and let’s say the boys weren’t exactly impressed,” said coach Singe with a wry smile.

“It was very quiet at first, but then Matty Ballin and Brett Stewart said ‘let’s go’ and that’s when they all started yahooing and carrying on.

“They had to complete the task, so they ran out there and challenged us saying, ‘what else have you got?’

“So we saw the best of the players. A bit of self-doubt and negative talk; but it was satisfying when they lifted to get home.”

Meet Andrew Luck, the World’s Best Sledger

Andrew Luck. Image:

When it comes to on-field sledging NFL star Andrew Luck is in a league of his own.

The 25 year-old Colts Quarterback has taken the game by storm, throwing for more yards in his first three seasons than anyone else in history and taking his beloved Colts to the playoffs in each year.

Luck has the arm, the timing, and the guts to command respect on the gridiron, but it’s his game sledging that really sets him apart.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Clark puts it thus: “Among NFL players, the gossip around Luck concerns a peculiar brand of on-field chatter so confusing and brilliant that no one quite knows what to make of it.”

What makes Luck’s chatter so disorienting for the defending side is that he “sincerely and enthusiastically” congratulates defenders when they tackle him hard. In a game of testosterone driven brutality, where aggression is the currency traded between teams, no one knows how to respond.

“In all the years I’ve played football I have never heard anything like it,” said Ryan Kerrigan from the Washington Redskins. He (Luck) will say “Great job!” or good hit!” when someone really sinks in the shoulder.

All the players who’ve heard it admit it is the weirdest thing they’ve ever experienced on the field.

Pass Rusher for the New England Patriots, Rob Ninkovich, said he was stunned last month when, after pole axing Luck after a snap, the quarterback complimented him on the hit.

Ninkovich stumbled for a reply, eventually stammering, “Thanks for … uh … accepting that hit ..?”

Nolan Carroll, a defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles, was shocked when he heard Luck say, “Great job Nolan!” as he picked himself up off the Astroturf.

Carroll said it took him a moment to realise that it was Luck who was complimenting him. “I’m like, ‘What’s going on? Aren’t you supposed to be mad?

“You know if you hear a quarterback get mad that you are in his head.

“With Luck, you thought you hurt the guy and you hear, ‘Good job!’ and you just say, ‘Aw man. So then I’m the one who gets ticked off …”

According to the Wall Street Journal article Luck most probably does this because he is a genuinely nice guy. Of course there may be a little gamesmanship as well. But that would be a distant second to his respect for good play and sportsmanship.

How Players and Their Money are Parted in the NFL

Warren Sapp. Image:

A stunning expose on money and NFL players shows that earning the big bucks doesn’t necessarily mean keeping them.

The book Is There Life After football looks at some of the financial catastrophes to have hit many recent layers.

The average NFL career is only 31/2 years long. Rookies start out earning $400,000 a season, and it just goes up from there.

And while mega starts like Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) bring in a cool $22 million a year, few others reach anything seven close to this.

Many players come from restricted financial backgrounds. So once they’re in the league it’s as though they’ve won the lottery. Before the ink is even dry on the contract they’re out living the dream – and paying for it.

Plus there is an intense pressure to ‘keep up’ with the teammates.

“Around the locker room, players’ cars, clothes, houses and ‘bling’ are constantly scrutinised,’ says the book. ‘If they’re not up to par, they’re ridiculed.”

Roman Oben, a former offensive tackle, is given as an example. He deplored buying and driving fancy cars for their own sake, and so showed up for training in his Toyota Land Cruiser with 68,000 miles on the odometer. He was mercilessly taunted by everyone.

And then there is the guilt pressure put on the high-earning stars by their family and friends. The book is littered with players attempting to help out those closest to them only to find their friend or family member having less idea about how to handle money than they do themselves.

Bernie Kosar, as an example, signed a $6 million contract with the browns in 1985. He attempted to look for an agent to handle his money, but was persuaded to let his father do it. Kosar played and deposited his bonus cheques in the belief his father was paying off his mortgage and bills. He later learned that his own father already had a $1 million contract with the team and that what he thought had been loans to other family members were, as far as they considered them, gifts.

Kosar blew about $15 million.

But worst of all, says the book, are financial advisers (don’t we know it).

“Regulated or not,” says the book, “shady advisers have made quite a mark on the NFL financial scene.

“Before closer scrutiny was instituted, at least 78 players lost more than $42 million between 1999 and 2002 because they trusted money to agent and financial advisers with questionable backgrounds.”

“You think of sharks in the ‘hood, you think of gang bangers and drug dealers You haven’t seen nothing ‘til you step into some of these white-collar criminals,” said one of the authors.

Think of Warren Sapp, during his spectacular career as a line backer he amassed an incredible $82,185,056. And yet he ended up with a bank account showing $826.04. In 2012 he was forced o file for bankruptcy.

FIFA Woes Continue

Jerome Valcke. Image:

Secretary general of FIFA Jerome Valcke has called the current disarray of his organisation, in the wake of the ethics report into bribery and corruption, “sad.”

“It’s sad for FIFA definitely and it’s sad for our reputation and for the image. It’s sad for commercial partners, it’s sad for all the people who are supporting football.”

The secretary general assured the world that neither of the major sponsors, Sony or Emirate

s airline, were considering withdrawing their support.

“Both Sony and Emirates have nothing to do with the situation we are facing these last day,: said Valcke.

The report into corruption in the bidding process was compiled by prosecutor Michael Garcia. It has found widespread and systemic failures in the football governing body. Despite this governors within FIFA are adamant the report must not be released to the public. The reason for the secrecy was to “mainly to protect 75 persons who have made a deposition and were given confidentiality.” One of whom was Valcke himself.

Investigator and author of the report Michael Garcia has recently objected to the way ethics judge Joachim Eckert has used and interpreted his work. He has appealed to FIFA  (the defendant!) citing “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations” of his work.

Secretary General Valcke could only shake his head and admit it will take years for FIFA to rebuild its reputation. “I know that football is still a very strong product and I am not really concerned with FIFA’s finances for the future … We are doing a great job.”

Qatar stadium. Image:

Qatar stadium. Image:

FIFA Ethics Report Slams Australian 2022 World Cup Bid

In what must surely be one of the worst cases of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ a FIFA ethics report has attacked Australia for its tactics in attempting to secure the 2022 World Cup. The report specifically pointed to Australian “efforts to conceal certain key relationships in the process.”

It found “potentially problematic facts and circumstances” in the bid. However, the report curiously said these findings didn’t affect the integrity of the vote.

Australia initially attempted to secure the 2018 World Cup; but withdrew to focus its attention on the 2022 Cup.



After spending $46 million wooing the FIFA delegates the hosting rights were given to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

The report found a “prima facie case” of two Australian consultants violating bidding and ethics rules. They allege connections existed between a financial syndicate hiding behind the dubious banner of “football development” and the bidding process.

“The Report concludes that the Australia 2022 bid team did undertake specific efforts to gain the support of a particular then FIFA Executive committee member. It suggests that there have been efforts to conceal certain key relationships in this context.

“Certain devices employed by the bid team and its consultants were seemingly aimed at hiding ties with individuals close to the Executive Committee member concerned, while taking advantage of their influence over the member to further the bid strategy.

“According to the Report, there have been communications between one particular consultant of the Australia 2022 bid team that show the relevant consultant executed his strategy of using his purported relationship with high-ranking FIFA officials to create the appearance he was influencing the bidding process.”

The report also found FIFA itself made “certain payments” to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).These payments were comingled with personal funds of the then CONCACAF President, who was also a FIFA Executive committee member.

But FIFA were more concerned with pointing the finger at the Australian delegation. They cited the report finding: The Australian 2022 bid team had diverted federal government funds set aside for relief in Africa “towards initiative in countries with ties to FIFA executive committee members with the intention to advance its bid to host.”

The report glossed over the suspended OFC representative Reynard Temarii and attempts by Mohamed bin Hammam to fund his legal fees in return for depriving Australia of a vote:

“According to the report, Mr Bin Hammam met with Mr Temarii on November 25, 2010, encouraged Mr. Temarii to appeal the FIFA Ethics Committee’s decision, and offered to arrange for the payment of Mr. Temraii’s legal fees incurred in this respect.

Further, this was an attempt to persuade Mr. Temarii to appeal the Ethics committees’ decision and thus eliminate a vote for Qatar’s competition in the FIFA World cup bidding process.

“Mr Temarii’s conduct and correspondence with Mr. Bin Hammam, shortly after he received the one-year suspension, suggest that Mr. Temarii was aware that his appeal would benefit Qatar’s bid.

“However, there is no direct link between Qatar 2022 and any payments of Mr. Bin Hammam to Mr. Temarii.



“Still, it is evident that Mr. Bin Hammam supported Qatar’s bid and that his actions with respect to Mr. Temarii influenced the voting process by eliminating votes for Australia (a direct Qatar 2022 competitior) and England.

“Notwithstanding this, it should be noted that, given the outcome of the December 2, 2010 vote, the difference it would have made if Mr. Temarii would have participated in the vote would not have been significant. Therefore, the occurrences presently relevant did not affect the outcome of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole.”

Chris Kimbrough Shatters World Beer Mile Record

Mother of six, runner, and super-hero Chris Kimbrough has smashed the existing world beer mile record. Once thought unbeatable Chris slaughtered Seanna Robinson’s 1997 record of ^:42.0 by an astonishing 13 seconds.

The event challenges athletes to drink four beers and run a mile – all of it against the clock.

And don’t think this is a wimpy, lmid strength event either. The Official Beer Mile rules require the beer contain at least 5.0 per cent alcohol by volume.

Chris Kimbrough Image:

Chris Kimbrough Image:

44 year-old Chris Kimbrough, of Austin Texas, made her Rouge Racing Team proud by slamming down all four of her local brews – Alternation Ale – at room temperature and clocking a world record time of 628.6.

Athletes must drink a beer at the start line and one beer roughly every 400m enroute to completing the 1609 meter course.

And while it might seem a pleasant distraction to drink a beer after running each 400 meter lap, drinking while puffing is not for the faint-hearted. Runners can be disqualified for spilling too much beer and not finishing their beer.

In fact, it has now got to the point where some runners will train specifically for this event!

“The run part wasn’t that hard for me,” Kimbrough said. “The last two (beers) were harder to get down because I felt like there was this air here, so it wasn’t going down. Having all those beers in (my) stomach didn’t really bother me as much as I thought it would. I think learning how to get the burp out more before you get to that next beer would probably help.”

The World Beer Mile Championships take place in Austin on December 3.

I hope you’re ready.

Titans James Roberts Arrested for Being a Public Nuisance

Beleaguered NRL club the Gold Coast Titans have had to discipline another player for unruly behaviour. James Roberts was arrested in Surfers Paradise last Saturday night. He was on the glitter strip celebrating the V8 racing carnival when he refused to comply with the orders of a police officer to move away from an incident they were attending.

Roberts was charged with being a public nuisance and obstructing officers of the law.

While this may seem a petty offence the NRL integrity unit have decided to investigate to make sure there is nothing more to the matter.

This is Roberts’ third infraction with the police – all of them because of alcohol.

Roberts was released from the South Sydney and Penrith Panthers clubs for more serious – alcohol fuelled – offences.

The Titans have a long history of picking up talented but troubled players. Greg Bird, Maurice Blair, Paul Carter are just a few on their roster who have been taken into the fold and nurtured by the club.

And while the Titans are unable to take those offences into account, should they decide to penalise Roberts, the NRL can.

Roberts is touted as being the fastest runner playing the game today. He has been tipped to be a Blues Origin player of the future.

Losing him would be as damaging to the struggling Titans as it would be to Roberts himself.