Doping scandal: Unveiling the truth or ‘a declaration of war on athletics’

Doping scandal: Unveiling the truth or ‘a declaration of war on athletics’

“A declaration of war on athletics”. That’s how Sebastian Coe denounced the latest doping scandal to hit the sport. In recent weeks the world’s media has been acutely focused on athletics after mass allegations of doping within the sport were revealed. With no conclusive evidence, is this journalism at its best or just an overblown story trying to sabotage the sports reputation? Either way it looks like the media has made ‘a declaration of war on athletics’ and Lord Coe is prepared to fight back.  What are the results and are they conclusive? The leaked test results date back to between 2001 and 2012 when more than 800 athletes, including a third of all medalists in the last Olympics and World Championships, had suspicious blood test results. The two media outlets responsible for running this story are The Sunday Times and German Broadcaster ARD/WDR. They are arguing the failure of the IAAF in not following up on these suspicious results has led to cheating of an extraordinary extent. But is this conclusive evidence? Suspicious results are not actually proof of doping – and the media outlets in question agree on this too. So, could this just be a lot of hot air? Cycling: A doping case study Another sport that has been engulfed in doping allegations over the past few years is cycling. The Lance Armstrong era which dominated the world of cycling in the 90’s and 2000’s has been shamed by revelations that both he and the US Postal Team used performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong’s seven Tour de France titles have since been revoked and on-going lawsuits have left both...
Three talking points from the start of the Premier League

Three talking points from the start of the Premier League

It’s back with a bang, and there are plenty of talking points from the start Premier League. The Women’s World Cup, in particular the success of England’s Lionesses, abated our longing for football temporarily but August 8th has been a date in our calendar since the end of May. A summer of transfer speculation and revived managerial grudge matches whet our appetites for the launch of what’s predicted to be one of the tightest Premier League seasons in recent years. So, with round one completed, what are the main talking points from the start of the Premier League. Question marks over new managers looks to have been premature Without fail, the transfer market is always among the main talking points from the start of the Premier League. Some of the big moves this season have been on the managerial side rather than playing staff. However, not all the new managers have been tipped for success by the media. Claudio Ranieri’s return to the Premier League as the newly appointed Leicester manager was widely criticised. Gary Lineker described Ranieri as an “uninspiring choice” while others highlighted his recent poor record with the Greek national side (including a defeat to the Faroe Islands). However, the “tinkerman” will have gone some way to silencing his critics with an impressive 4-2 win against a Sunderland side that featured a number of new signings. Slaven Bilic is another new arrival with a big reputation. His exploits as manager for the Croatian national side won him recognition as a manager on top of his credentials as a former player. Unimpressive seasons at Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas left some...
Who will be in England’s Rugby World Cup line-up?

Who will be in England’s Rugby World Cup line-up?

With less than two months until the opening game at Twickenham, the question hanging over Stuart Lancaster is who will be in England’s Rugby World Cup line-up? Only 31 players will be chosen when the deadline for selection takes place in September. The current squad, who have just returned from a two-week high-altitude training camp in Denver, will be pushing hard to prove they are worthy of making the final cut – with fitness destined to be a pivotal issue. With 14 players still to face the axe, the England coach and the nation will be keeping a close eye on performance ahead of the three warm-up games in August. So what are the key factors when selecting a team and who will be in England’s Rugby World Cup line-up? Experience versus youth It seems the same debate takes place every few years when deciding the line-up for any team approaching a major international tournament – experience versus youth. That old chestnut. We saw this last summer in Brazil with the England football team and again for the recent European Championship qualifying games. Young talents such as Raheem Stirling, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw are exciting players who offer hope and vibrancy to a team that can occasionally appear flat. However, there are concerns they lack the experience required for competing under pressure on the highest sporting stage. When seeking reliability we have often tended to put our faith in trusted players like Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard – those that have been around the block and know what’s expected of them (even if they don’t always live up...