Wright, Perry set sights on Olympics

first_imgVOLLEYBALL: Jamaica’s female beach volleyballer, Kai Wright, said their fifth place finish at the Norceca Beach Volleyball tour in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on the weekend resulted from their passion and determination and believes she and partner, Danielle Perry, will make it to Rio this summer. Wright noted that Perry lives abroad so regular practice is not possible and tournament like these play an important role in their preparation. However, the main reason they went to the Dominica Republic was to gain experience and practice. “The main purpose was to prepare for the third round of Olympic qualifiers, get selected for the Pan Am Games, get practice, see other teams and get some experience going into the third round. “The tournament was very challenging. Every team played us competitively because we were the underdogs. Nobody expected anything from us, much less to get a big placing, so they came at us really hard. But we played real hard, worked together and achieved fifth place and it shows the passion we have for the sport,” said Wright. “My partner is from Florida so we don’t get to practice together much, but she is very passionate, she is very determined, she goes hard and plays really hard, she is very motivating, so I have a tremendous partner. Over the weekend we learnt a lot about each other playing wise and we are just working as a team,” she told The Gleaner. She thinks they are strong enough to seriously compete for a spot in the Rio Olympics when they travel to the Casova Women’s Beach Volleyball Olympic third round qualifiers in El Salvador next week. “The more we go and represent and play the more the results are coming, it means our performance is getting better every time and that is what we aim to achieve,” she surmised. “We are very prepared, we have camp where the overseas players come down and we train every day, two times for the day. Hopefully we’ll go to the third round and be ready mentally and physically and I am very confident we can reach the Olympics,” said Wright. “We have one week before we leave for the third round and we’re looking to qualify and put Jamaica on top. We want to pave the way for the younger volleyball players, so we will work hard, play hard and qualify for the Olympics,” she promised.last_img read more

Would love Steven Gerrard to succeed me at Liverpool, says Jurgen Klopp

first_imgLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he would love former England skipper Steven Gerrard to succeed him at the club.Anfield great Gerrard returned from his late career turn in Major League Soccer to take on the Reds U-18s in January and will coach them full-time next season.And now the Liverpool boss is delighted to have the former England skipper and believes one day he could succeed him in the top job.”It’s perfect that we can involve Steven. What a guy, he’s fantastic. He was one of the world’s best footballers ever,” Independent quoted Klopp as saying.”We had him last winter when he had a break in the USA (from LA Galaxy) and he had a few sessions with us, a few shooting sessions, and I thought what is that? His shooting. Unbelievable.””I told him when I leave, or the club sack me, I don’t care of course who’ll be my successor, but I’d love that he’d be it,” he saidGerrard, who joined the club in February in a roving coaching role, will take over the U18s for Neil Critchley.The 49-year-old insisted that he would do everything he could to make sure Gerrard gets all the information.”I’ll do everything I can to make sure he gets all the information he needs. Because when you join a club you have a big responsibility for the future, and the future of this club needs legends like Steven Gerrard in decisive positions,” Klopp said.advertisementlast_img read more

Cheltenham Gold Cup jockey Harry Cobden: I chatted football with Fergie … I didn’t understand it

first_img Pinterest Twitter Sean Ingle Read more On 1 June last year, while racing at Market Rasen, Cobden fell off Mick Thonic and broke his neck. It was a severe break and, if it had occurred a few millimetres to either side, he could have been paralysed. “That’s right,” he says with a relieved smile on a grey day at Newbury racetrack. “It was a bit worrying because, as one consultant said, ‘You might not be able to ever ride again.’ It was a proper fracture straight through my C2 vertebra after I got unseated at the last and whiplashed off the ground. It was a tingle to start with but when your adrenaline calms down, everything starts to go rigid. It was a lot more serious than I thought.”Did he suffer terrible pain? “Not at all,” Cobden says breezily. “The more falls you have, the more you cope with pain. When I was 16 it hurt every time I hit the deck. Pain’s all in the mind. Now I just try to brush it off, and get on with it.”Cobden sounds like a typical jockey – brushing off a broken neck as if it is comparable to a pesky cold. Yet how long did he endure the bleak prognosis that he might never ride again? “A week, maybe. It worried me a little but I was fairly positive. I was more interested in getting out of hospital. And I was very fortunate to be all right. I had four months out and it wasn’t that bad. I had a great summer and I didn’t really follow the racing. It was the best way to deal with it. If I thought about falling off, I wouldn’t be in the right job.”Cheltenham is more dangerous than most tracks and at last year’s Festival seven horses died. “There are more runners and it’s very competitive,” Cobden concedes. “You go very fast and that’s why there are more fallers. Last year didn’t look good to the public. But jockeys get upset when there are fatalities. We don’t treat them like machines. We love them and they’re really well looked after.“It’s obviously terrible to lose a horse you’re racing. It’s happened to me once – three years ago at Cheltenham. It was on the day I won the Greatwood Hurdle on Old Guard. Looking back, I was clueless. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I did, but I was hanging on for dear life. Pointed it in the right direction, followed everyone else and won. Two races later, in the last of the day, the conditional jockeys’ race, my horse broke its leg galloping. It was horrible. But the vets are very quick and dealt with it brilliantly.”Cobden brightens again when we turn to Clan Des Obeaux and the Gold Cup. “He’s a very good horse and we know each other well. I’m hoping there won’t be any dramas and he will come back safe and sound.”Does he believe Clan Des Obeuax, who is favoured by some to beat Presenting Percy, can win? “Yeah. I’ve got a massive chance. I wouldn’t get off my horse to ride any other at the moment. I quite like Native River [who won the race last year]. He’s a little under par this year but, if the ground goes soft, he’s also got a massive chance.I don’t sit at home and think I’m going to win the Gold Cup. It might be different the night before – but I haven’t got flustered over it so far, even if it’s the best race of the year. The National can throw up an odd winner that wouldn’t even get to the start of the Gold Cup. This one counts most.”Cobden and Clan Des Obeaux won the King George on Boxing Day in imperious style. “He was so dominant,” Cobden says. “He travelled well, jumped beautifully, and that was the best race I’ve won in a scorching gallop. But Cheltenham is massively different. You get downhill and uphill fences, you’re always on the turn. You need a real champion to win round there.” Pat Kelly, quiet man of horse racing, could make big noise in Gold Cup Since you’re here… Cheltenham Festival 2019 interviews Thrills of Cheltenham Festival week can’t mask racing’s uncertain future Topics Share on WhatsApp Attention this week will focus on the racing and, after having “my first winner at the Festival last year on Kilbricken Storm, who was a 33-1 outsider [in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle]”, Cobden is optimistic about his other rides. “Give Me A Copper in the Ultima Handicap [on Tuesday] has a massive chance and Topofthegame also has a huge chance in the RSA [Alliance Chase on Wednesday]. He’s a very big, raw horse but he’s getting straightforward to race. It’s a hard race to win but I like his chances. I’ve also got Quel Destin in [Friday’s] Triumph Hurdle. He’s a very hardy little horse – that could win.”Cobden is also fortunate that, despite being taller than most jockeys, warnings he would grow too much have not materialised. “I wanted to be a jockey when I was 12 and got into pony racing. People told me my feet were too big and I’d grow too much. ‘Don’t get your hopes up, boy’, and all that. Thankfully I didn’t get too big. I’m 5ft 10in now and they say you stop growing at 20. Hopefully they’re right.“I’m not very disciplined when it comes to diet. Last night I had a roast dinner and I had a fry-up this morning. But over the last two weeks I’ve had 50 rides. I also walk around the track every day and take the dogs out when I get back. As long as I do that I can have nice food sometimes.”While Cobden’s ultimate ambition is to become champion jockey, he is close to fulfilling his immediate target of riding 100 winners this season. “I broke my neck after 30 days and missed four months so it looked unrealistic. But I’m up to [96] winners so it’s looking pretty good.”Cobden grins when asked about the prospect of winning a few more this week, including the Gold Cup. “That would be a fairytale, wouldn’t it? I’ll definitely feel very lucky if it happens.”• Harry Cobden is fourth in the Stobart Jump Jockeys’ Championship. Go to greatbritishracing.com Harry Cobden and Clan Des Obeaux (right) clear the last to win the Betfair Denman Steeple Chase from Terrefort and Nico de Boinville at Ascot last month. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Share on Twitter Support The Guardian Share on LinkedIn Share via Email Horse racing Facebook Read more Harry Cobden is lucky. At the age of 20 he will ride Clan Des Obeaux, the joint-second favourite, in his first Gold Cup on Friday. He will also enter the Cheltenham Festival as the 10-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls’s stable jockey in one of the most coveted positions in racing. Clan Des Obeaux is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and Cobden tells some amusing stories about hanging out with Fergie even though, as he cheerfully admits, he knows nothing about football. Just days before the biggest week of his life, Cobden also knows he is far luckier for a different reason. Share on Pinterest A serial champion owns a share in the horse, too. “He’s a lovely man,” Cobden says. “I’ve met him three or four times. He’s inspirational and the sort of person you could listen to all day. I went to Old Trafford because of him last month.”Is Cobden a Manchester United fan? “No. I’m not a big football fan. I know nothing about football but it was a great experience as it was the first game I’ve ever been to. It was Man U v PSG and we went to Sir Alex’s box afterwards and chatted about the football. I didn’t really understand it. He said things which totally went over my head. I still loved listening to him and the PSG supporters were crazy. It was pretty fantastic.”Cobden does not think much about football as his work for Nicholls is so demanding. The Ditcheat trainer’s yard is in fine form and Cobden has some excellent horses this week. Yet ever since the brilliant Ruby Walsh relinquished his position to concentrate on racing in Ireland, other jockeys have struggled as Nicholls’s retained jockey. Even more than the good fortune in riding for Nicholls, there is sustained expectation. “Obviously there’s pressure riding for Paul and you have to perform,” Cobden agrees. “But as long as I’ve done the best I can, I’m happy.”Does he think about getting fired? “You never know what’s round the corner and no one’s ever got a safe job. It could happen one day, couldn’t it? It will happen one day. But hopefully not in the near future. We all look back to Ruby. He’s different class and an inspiration to me growing up. He won all the big races and he’s amazing.”Twiston-Davies is also an excellent jockey but the pressure wore him down. “He did the right thing for him and I get on very well with Sam. We’ve always been good friends, and if he’s ridden a horse I’m riding, or vice versa, we help each other. He still rides a few for Paul.”It must be more complicated riding alongside Bryony Frost, another gifted young jockey, at Nicholls’s yard? “As in?” Cobden asks, looking briefly defensive.The pair used to be a couple and Frost has received far more attention than Cobden – even though he is Nicholls’s retained jockey. “Yeah, I was seeing her a bit. She’s great for racing, because she’s always passionate, isn’t she? The cameras like it, the press like it. There were certain things in the paper but the press likes to make a story out of it. I still get on really well with Bryony. We’re going up to Kelso together tomorrow. To make Ditcheat the best team, everyone’s got to get on.” Share on Messenger … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Facebook Cheltenham Festival Reuse this contentlast_img read more

John Cena Voices New Ad Council PSA In Support Of Learning And

first_imgTo coincide with Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia and ADHD Awareness Month this October, Understood.org and the Ad Council announced today the release of a new public service advertisement (PSA) featuring voice talent and characters from the upcoming 20th Century Fox animated movie, “Ferdinand.”Video: Don’t Judge a Bull by His Cover (:30) | Learning & Attention Issues | Ad CouncilThe TV PSA, narrated by John Cena (voice actor of Ferdinand the bull).In the film, Ferdinand is mistakenly believed to be a dangerous beast and fighter because of his size. The film’s theme, “don’t judge a bull by his cover”, also reflects the mission of the October #BeUnderstood campaign from Understood and the Ad Council. Learning and attention issues, like dyslexia and ADHD, are often mistaken for laziness or unintelligence. Although these issues may not be as visible as others, they are real and common, impacting 1 in 5 kids. With early identification and support, children with learning differences can thrive. In fact, many successful adults have learning and attention issues. The campaign seeks to address misperception and build nationwide understanding.The PSA features characters from the film that remind audiences that everyone has been misunderstood at some point in life, but that with the right support, everyone can reach their full potential. Viewers are invited to visit Understood.org, a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), to learn more about these issues and access free resources.“Like Ferdinand, many kids with learning and attention issues feel misunderstood,” said Mimi Corcoran, president and CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. “Learning and attention issues may not be as visible as other health issues, but they are just as real, and just as deserving of universal support and understanding.”“We’re honored to partner with the Ad Council and Understood.org,” said Zachary Eller, Executive Vice President, 20th Century Fox. “Ferdinand, like many kids today, is misunderstood. We want kids everywhere to know that it is okay to be dif­­ferent, it’s okay to be feel like you don’t fit in. Like Ferdinand, there is a unique path for everyone to follow.”The new PSA is the latest extension of the partnership between Understood.org and the Ad Council which encourages parents, educators, and the public to understand and support children with learning and attention issues. When these issues go without identification and support, children struggle. Students with specific learning disabilities drop out of school at three times the rate of all students.“We are so grateful to 20th Century Fox for bringing us Ferdinand’s story to help create understanding and empathy for children living with learning and attention issues,” said Lisa Sherman, President & CEO of the Ad Council. “Families of children experiencing these challenges can find fantastic resources at Understood.org.”Throughout October, the #BeUnderstood campaign is supporting awareness for learning and attention issues through a variety of initiatives. For more information, visit Be.Understood.org or explore the hashtag #BeUnderstood.last_img read more