BBC BLOGS - Tom Fordyce

Archives for August 2011

Analysing Ennis - what next for GB heptathlete?

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Tom Fordyce | 15:22 UK time, Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Daegu, Korea

So, just like Mo Farah on Sunday night, British gold-medal favourite Jessica Ennis saw her dreams of a world title ebb away on the final straight of Daegu National Stadium.

Where Farah found himself hauled in by Ibrahim Jeilan, Ennis could not open the nine-second gap she needed in the 800m to force Tatyana Chernova back into silver.

For those who have watched her storm to World and European gold, and for those who had prematurely hung next summer's Olympic gold around her neck, it may have been something of a shock.

But was it? And where - if anywhere - did Ennis go wrong?

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Inside Jessica Ennis's battle for gold

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Tom Fordyce | 17:00 UK time, Monday, 29 August 2011

Daegu, Korea

If you found it tense watching on television as Jessica Ennis fought through the first day of her World heptathlon defence, it was nothing compared to the tortures being experienced inside the ropes.

Looking to get to the very heart of the drama, fascinated by the relationship between Ennis and coach Toni Minichiello and by what makes such a seemingly modest woman such a fearsome competitor, I have abandoned the media benches for a front-row seat at the biggest performance of Ennis's life so far.

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Bolt crashes out

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Tom Fordyce | 15:36 UK time, Sunday, 28 August 2011

Daegu, Korea

Who can beat Usain Bolt? we used to wonder.

Usually the response was "no-one". Only occasionally did someone say Usain Bolt himself. Never was the answer Jorge Salcedo.

Salcedo was the head of the IAAF technical commission that recommended, in August 2009, that the sport's current false-start rule be amended so that the first athlete to jump the gun would instantly be disqualified, rather than receiving a mere initial warning.

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Meeting the Blade Runner

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BBC Sport blog editor | 10:55 UK time, Saturday, 27 August 2011

For a man at the centre of the biggest story of these World Championships so far, Oscar Pistorius cuts a discreet and relaxed figure.

Dressed in black tracksuit bottoms and t-shirt, his signature Cheetah blades replaced by gleaming white trainers, he is sitting in a cafe opposite the athletes' village in Daegu, indistinguishable from any other tanned young sportsman whiling away the empty hours pre-competition.

Appearances can be deceptive. While Usain Bolt may appear on more billboards around town, it is the inclusion of multiple Paralympic gold medallist Pistorius on the start-lists that has commanded more column inches.

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To Sir, With Love

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Tom Fordyce | 12:07 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2011

When you watch Mo Farah line up for the world 10,000m final here in Daegu on Sunday as one of the favourites for gold, it would be easy to assume that it was all preordained - an inevitable synthesis of natural talent and years of dedication.

Easy, but wrong. Had it not been for a benevolent west London PE teacher named Alan Watkinson, Farah may never have pulled on a pair of spikes, let alone gone to a World Championships as Britain’s best male distance runner in a generation.

Farah was a troubled teenager with little English and even less experience of running when he first turned up at Feltham Community College in the mid-1990s.

On his first day at Oriel Junior School in Hanworth a few years before, the recent immigrant from Somalia via Djibouti had gone home with a black eye after trying the least appropriate of his three English phrases (“Excuse me”, “Where is the toilet?” and “Come on then”) on the playground hard man.

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Behind the scenes with Jessica Ennis

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Tom Fordyce | 13:43 UK time, Friday, 5 August 2011

It is a cold, damp Monday morning at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium. The grandstands are deserted, the only spectator a burly chap in overalls and ear-protectors pushing a lawnmower up and down the infield. Grey clouds race overhead on the stiff breeze.

Sizzling hot summer afternoons in Barcelona feel an awful long way off. So do balmy evenings in Berlin's Olympiastadion, and this in nothing like the humid nights to come in South Korea in a few weeks' time.

But the European and world gold medals won by Jess Ennis on those glamorous foreign shores are earned here, at the stadium where her heptathlon adventure began aged 11.

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2005 vs 2011: Composite England XI

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Tom Fordyce | 15:10 UK time, Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Put those stubborn ICC rankings to one side. After England's stunning 319-run victory in the second Test followed the 196-run demolition at Lord's, only the most intransigent of Indian fans would rate their current XI as superior to England's.

But just how good is Andrew Strauss's team? While we wait for the rankings to reflect reality, let's allow a little fantasy to fill the air.

The current side is both more statistically successful and held in greater affection than any England XI since Michael Vaughan's glorious Ashes winners of 2005. So, if given the chance to choose a composite team formed from the best of those two line-ups, who would you select?

The rules are straightforward: you are picking your players on their form at that time, not across their entire international careers. Your team will be playing at home. And, if the player starred in both 2005 and 2011, you must specify which version you'd prefer.

I'll get us under way. Phil Tufnell is next. Then it's your turn.

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