Sean Ingle

Author's posts

Oct 02

Lure of cash and fame leaves sport caught in concussion’s moral maze | Sean Ingle

Muhammad Ali and Kevin Doyle came to different decisions about their careers but will scientific advances make decisions any simpler in the future?

There’s a story Larry Holmes tells about the night he fought Muhammad Ali for the world title, 37 years ago today, that gives an insight into the epic self-delusion of the greatest heavyweight champion of all.

From the first bell Holmes grasped that Ali wasn’t the same man he had sparred with for years. That he was weak and “slower than Heinz ketchup”. Yet Ali’s “damn pride” meant that he would not quit. It took 10 rounds before Ali’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, pulled him out. Before then Holmes had started praying that he wouldn’t damage his friend permanently.

Related: Football is heading for trouble over brain injuries caused by the ball

Related: Study links longer football careers to more severe cases of CTE

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/oct/02/cash-fame-sport-concussion-muhammad-ali-kevin-doyle

Sep 23

Champion Lizzie Deignan fades as Chantal Blaak wins world road race title

• Dutchwoman Blaak bursts into tears after surprise triumph
• Briton Deignan limps home in 41st spot after poor final lap

Lizzie Deignan’s audacious attempt to regain her world road race title three weeks after appendix surgery came to a predictable end in Norway as the Briton faded on the final lap to finish 41st as the Dutch cyclist Chantal Blaak claimed a surprise victory.

Related: Cycling World Championships: Chantal Blaak wins women’s road race – as it happened

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/23/cycling-world-road-race-lizzie-deignan-chantal-blaak

Sep 20

Tom Dumoulin takes world time trial with Chris Froome third

• Dutchman crowns superb season after Giro win in May
• It would have been nice to be fighting for gold, Says Froome

Chris Froome pushed his weary body to its limit in the pursuit of his first world time-trial championship, but on a day of sunshine and showers in Bergen there was no rainbow jersey – or gold medal – awaiting him at the end of it.

However the 32-year-old Englishman took immense satisfaction in a spirited effort on the final climb, which pushed him into bronze, behind the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, who obliterated his rivals on the 31km course to win in 44min 41sec – 57.69sec ahead of the Slovakian Primoz Roglic in second, with Froome 25sec further back.

Related: Tom Dumoulin wins Cycling Road World Championships time trial – as it happened

Related: Tom Pidcock wins junior world championship time trial in Bergen

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/20/tom-dumoulin-world-championships-time-trial-cycling-chris-froome

Sep 17

The ‘fix’ is in – but is it right that Russia will compete in the Winter Olympics? | Sean Ingle

Despite calls from UK and US anti-doping bodies for shamed nation to be banned from February’s games, IOC and Wada inaction could let them off the hook

‘It wouldn’t surprise me if the fix is already in,” warned Travis Tygart, the venerable head of the US Anti-Doping Agency, when I asked him on Thursday whether Russia will compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics. It was not so much pessimism as prophecy. Twenty-four hours later Alexander Zhukov, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, confidently predicted at the 131st IOC summit in Lima: “It will be a Russian team with the Russian anthem and Russian flag” in Pyeongchang.

Of course it will be. No one who follows the arcane politics of the International Olympic Committee believes otherwise. The fix is indeed in, just as it was before the Rio Olympics, when the IOC niftily side-stepped massive evidence of state-sponsored doping and allowed hundreds of Russians to compete, and again in what is now claimed to have been corrupted bidding processes for the Rio and Tokyo Games, in 2009 and 2013, when votes were allegedly traded for cash.

Related: Icarus film finds more than Greek tragedy in Russia doping scandal | Sean Ingle

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/sep/17/russia-doping-winter-olympics-wada-craig-reedie

Sep 11

Anthony Joshua feels he must knock out Kubrat Pulev to avoid failure

• WBC and IBF heavyweight champion faces Bulgarian in Cardiff next month
• Joshua has stopped all 19 of his opponents: ‘I like knocking people out’

Anthony Joshua’s words were cordial. The respect for his opponent obvious. But Britain’s WBC and IBF heavyweight champion also wanted to make something clear: if he does not knock out the Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev when they meet in Cardiff next month he will consider his night a failure.

“It is heavyweight boxing,” he said, during a disarmingly matter-of-fact soliloquy about the realities of his trade. “You have to knock someone out. It shows your timing is great, that you are a puncher, that you are a force to be reckoned with and that your aura is intact. Nobody comes to a boxing match to watch a 12-round fight, it gets boring. Unless it’s a brawl.”

Related: Anthony Joshua to fight Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in Cardiff in October

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/11/anthony-joshua-kubrat-pulev-knockout-win-failure

Sep 11

Chris Froome and Mo Farah are united in success and disputed legacy

Cyclist may have ridden into history books with Tour de France and Vuelta a España double but he cannot escape the controversy surrounding his team

For many British sports fans success remains a powerful amnesiac. We saw an ample demonstration of that on Sunday as Mo Farah was roared on to victory at the Great North Run and Team Sky steered Chris Froome to a staggering triumph at the Vuelta a España to the delight of the union flag-waving supporters. The exuberant TV coverage barely mentioned that some of those responsible for both men’s success are under investigation by anti-doping agencies, either. No one, it seems, wants to pass wind in church.

Froome’s performance was particularly remarkable as he became the first cyclist to claim consecutive grand tours in the same year since Marco Pantani’s Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double in 1998. At the end of July he had admitted his fourth yellow jersey had been the hardest; yet 27 days later the Team Sky train was back setting a tempo so high it took the breath away not only of their rivals but of spectators too.

Related: Team Sky sourced Fluimucil in Switzerland before Wiggins delivery

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/11/chris-froome-mo-farah-united-success-disputed-legacy

Sep 05

Chris Froome dominates stage 16 time trial to tighten grip on Vuelta a España

• Froome wins by 29 seconds from Dutch rider Wilco Kelderman
• Briton holds lead of nearly two minutes in general classification

Chris Froome produced one of the most destructive time trials of his career to flay his last remaining rivals in this year’s Vuelta a España – and move inexorably closer to a historic grand tour double.

Only two riders in history – the Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault – have won the Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same year. Froome will surely become the third after nearly doubling his lead over the Italian Vincenzo Nibali with five stages remaining.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/05/chris-froome-wins-stage-16-time-trial-vuelta-a-espana

Sep 05

Anthony Joshua to fight Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in Cardiff in October

• Joshua returns to ring after stopping Wladimir Klitschko in April
• Pulev: ‘When I enter the ring he will have no chance to beat me’

Anthony Joshua has been warned to prepare for a brawl by the Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, after he was confirmed as the Londoner’s next opponent for his WBA and IBF heavyweight championship title belts.

Joshua, who has not fought since getting off the floor to stop Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in April, will be an overwhelming favourite when he faces the 36-year-old Pulev at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on 28 October.

Related: Joshua-Klitschko thriller the greatest fight Wembley has seen | Sean Ingle

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/05/anthony-joshua-kubrat-pulev-cardiff-october

Jul 31

Los Angeles reaches deal over hosting 2028 Summer Olympics

  • Paris expected to land 2024 Games after Tokyo hosts in 2020
  • IOC president Thomas Bach welcomes LA’s decision

Los Angeles has accepted a deal to stage the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games – which means that the 2024 Games will be heading to Paris.

The Los Angeles Organising Committee confirmed that it had signed a contract with the International Olympic Committee that will see it given £1.8bn to compensate it for stepping aside until 2028 and to help it increase participation for youth sports programmes.

Related: ‘The Olympics are dead’: Does anyone want to be a host city any more?

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/31/los-angeles-2028-olympic-games-host-deal

Jul 15

Russian doping mastermind benefited from London 2012 drugs ‘preview’

• Grigory Rodchenkov was invited to inspect laboratory before Games
• ‘Without this, all Russian doping situation will be collapsed’

The mastermind behind the Russian doping programme has revealed that he was able to corrupt the London 2012 Olympics only because he was invited to Britain by organisers and shown how they planned to catch cheats.

Related: Russian state doped more than 1,000 athletes and corrupted London 2012

Related: Sebastian Coe warns Russia faces longer athletics ban for failing to tackle doping

Related: Russia orchestrated state-sponsored doping cover-up, says Wada report

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/15/russian-doping-programme-olympics-london-2012-sochi-2014

Jun 21

Team GB athletes unlikely to receive reallocated medals this summer

• Goldie Sayers says she will be ‘gutted’ not to get 2008 Olympic bronze
• Legal challenges jeopardise London ceremony in August

Goldie Sayers will be “gutted” if she is one of the British athletes robbed of the chance to receive medals denied to them by drug cheats at a special ceremony at the world championships in London in August.

Organisers have offered to host extra ceremonies for Sayers and other British athletes, including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Jo Pavey and Kelly Sotherton, who also missed out on medals at Olympic Games and world championships owing to athletes subsequently found to have taken performance-enhancing drugs. Yet because of legal challenges it appears unlikely the reallocation of medals will happen before 10 August, when the ceremonies are due to take place.

Related: Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jo Pavey in line for special London medals ceremony

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/21/team-gb-athletics-medals-drug-cheats-2008-olympics

Jun 18

Sporting scandals will sail on until athletes are free to rock the boat | Sean Ingle

With allegations surfacing about Britain’s bobsleigh and canoeing setups, UK Sport faces an urgent need to empower its athletes to blow the whistle

A couple of days ago I asked a UK Sport insider why more athletes do not go public with their concerns. “Put yourself in their shoes,” came the reply. “One path is potentially well rewarded. And then there’s another that comes after speaking out. If you are a rational person, do you want to travel down the road of a Brian Cookson or a Jess Varnish? There is a massive disincentive to rock the boat.”

One can see their point. Cookson, having enjoyed a long career in sports administration, is now president of the UCI, earning £235,000 a year. Varnish, having spoken out about the problems in British Cycling – and having been largely vindicated – finds herself marginalised and ostracised. At 26 she also knows her career in elite sport is probably over. What would you do?

Related: British Bobsleigh team told: keep quiet about bullying or miss Olympics

Related: Police investigate suspended GB Canoeing coach after child grooming and sexual assault claims

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/18/athletes-british-bobsleigh-canoeing-uk-sport

Jun 15

UK Sport ignored red lights about problems at British Cycling

It has been toned down from the draft but Annmarie Phelps’s review of British Cycling shows how UK Sport either missed, or wilfully ignored, numerous attempts to tackle problems

UK Sport has long prided itself on a high-performance system that it insists is “the envy of the world”. Yet the way it deflected and muzzled criticism of how it had failed to spot deep-rooted problems at British Cycling on Wednesday suggested world-class levels of obfuscation, too.

It had been expected Annmarie Phelps’s independent review into the climate and culture of British Cycling, which appeared after 14 months in utero, would be slimmer and more watered down than a draft version of the report leaked in March. And so it was.

Related: British Cycling: Annamarie Phelps denies ‘whitewash’ over diluted report

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/15/uk-sport-red-lights-british-cycling-annmarie-phelps-review

May 29

Kell Brook was brave, not a coward, for realising he was hurt | Sean Ingle

Those who shout loudest are best advised to engage their brain before their mouth, as in the case of those who called him a quitter against Errol Spence

It took until Sunday morning for a CT scan to confirm that Kell Brook’s left eye socket was fractured and for him to explain what it was like trying to stand toe-to-toe with the world’s best welterweight while suffering double vision and a ring that appeared to be moving. But, really, we knew it was a bad one long before then.

It wasn’t just that the stabbing accuracy of Errol Spence Jr’s punches had blown Brook’s eye up like a marshmallow. It was also that, as the fight entered the championship rounds, he began rapidly blinking and pawing at his eye with his glove, as if trying to swat away a wasp from under his eyelid.

Related: Errol Spence Jr stops Kell Brook in 11th round to win IBF welterweight title

Related: Eduard Gutknecht undergoes surgery after George Groves fight

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/may/29/kell-brook-eye-injury-dangers-boxing

May 21

Mayweather-McGregor would be mismatch, so why is everyone talking about it? | Sean Ingle

A massive cheque with plenty of noughts on end could lure Floyd Mayweather back to ring in what would surely be one of the most one-sided bouts of his career

Some scientists and Silicon Valley smarts increasingly believe that nothing we experience is real, and that life is just a giant computer game created by a far more sophisticated super‑intelligence. This theory even has a name: simulation hypothesis – although, disappointingly, it has nothing to say about whether Cristiano Ronaldo might stay on his feet more in a parallel universe.

If these folk are right, then perhaps we should also start asking whether our silicon overlords have got bored with Earth: The Game and decided to tweak the programme radically. And maybe having shown just how gullible we are when swallowing any old political nonsense, they want to do the same with sport.

Related: The forgotten story of … Muhammad Ali v Antonio Inoki | Andy Bull

Related: Andre Dirrell title fight ends with uncle punching opponent and fleeing ring

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/21/floyd-mayweather-conor-mcgregor-superfight