What a year it has been for British sport, and as we are running into the closing straight of this year it is time to bring some attention to who will lift The BBC’s Sport Personality of The Year award. I have a feeling this year is going to be a tough one to call. With so many great sporting accomplishments by British sports men and woman during 2008. Here we highlight the contenders for the title of BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Oh dear, here we go again. Ive got a friend who has been watching English football teams underachieve for a lot longer than I have. It took him twenty years, relentlessly stating the obvious, that were not very good, to extinguish the optimism in me that this time it will be different, this time weve got the team/manager to do the business, go all the way, reach the final, win the thing. Now Im like him, along with many sports betting fans, expecting failure, doubtful even about qualification, a million miles from triumphantly wafting large silver cups around.
The Tour de France is well under way now and for those cycling betting enthusiasts not yet disillusioned by the plague of drug scandals which have dominated the race for several years, the romance of this spectacular event still holds true. Further interest is provided this year by the presence of Manx rider, Mark Cavendish, who won this weeks fifth stage. Cavendish, a sprinter, is one of his teams specialists along with the hill climbers and speed merchants who make up the team. Winning the fifth stage means he gets to wear the much coveted yellow jersey in the sixth leg.
This is an immensely gruelling race, run over twenty or so stages, or legs, and covering between 50 and 200 miles per stage. In the three weeks of racing riders get only one day of rest. Twenty teams of about ten members each compete for the overall best average speed over the various legs and, while it is prestigious to win a leg or legs, it is the rider whose total time is the lowest who wins for his team. Some team members are there to clear the way for the specialists but all act as a team.
The race has some very demanding days in the Alps, the Massif Central and the Pyrenees and incredible demands are made on the stamina of riders. Much has been made about the use of drugs in this competition and online betting fans will be relieved to hear that the French, anxious to rebuild the reputation of the tournament, have instituted one of the most rigorous drug testing regimes ever seen in sport. All riders are tested and there is the possibility on any day that any one of them will be called in for a check and shameful expulsion from international cycling is the punishment for anyone caught.
This summer promises to be a busy time with many major sporting and entertainment events happening all over the globe to keep online betting fans more than happy. In fact its such a busy summer betting calendar that we thought we would pick out a selection for you and also where you can get the latest free betting offers as well.
Oxford and Cambridge take each other on again in the 154th annual University Boat Race run from Putney to Mortlake on Saturday 24th March. Boat Race betting sites are favouring the heavier crew, Oxford, to win with Ladbrokes offering 1-2 on the Dark Blues and 6-4 on Cambridge. William Hill gives 4-6 on Oxford while the Light Blues are quoted at 11-10.
Cambridge suffered a calamity with the withdrawal of Shane OMara on medical advice on Wednesday to be replaced by fellow-American, Ryan Monaghan at stroke. Even so, Oxford expect a tough challenge from last years winners, Cambridge whose resolve will be all the greater in the face of this adversity. Oxford will fiercely fight to regain their crown, however, and with three wins out of the last four years must be regarded as a pretty solid bet.
The weather is going to be rough at the 5.15pm start time with 20mph headwinds making it a difficult race for both teams. Cambridge are traditionally renowned for their use of technical skill over Oxfords brute power and will be looking for an early lead with coach Dave Holland declaring that its not about being first to Mortlake, Its a race to be in front.
Both coaches will be hoping their crews respond well to the bad weather with this being a key to the success of either team. Insiders are confident that Oxford will take it but they also quietly mention that they are not quite as confident as they would like to be.
The controversy surrounding the athlete, Dwain Chambers, has once again raised the question of the place that drug use has or has not got in sport. This subject must be of interest to sports betting because the use of drugs by some sports competitors distorts the information used by punters in gauging the likely outcome of an event.
There are those who say that the subject of drugs in sport is a complicated one, but really it is quite simple. You either permit their use or you dont. While some commentators and athletes advocate their free use, the predominant position is that drug use should not be allowed. This latter view primarily takes into account the harmful side effects that almost all drugs have on the human body. Why, it is argued, should athletes have to risk damage to their physical well-being in order to compete effectively against those with an irresponsible willingness to jeopardise their health?
If there is a complication its in the question of how to deal with those found to have broken the rules. Do you adopt a policy of zero tolerance, as many propose, or should recognition of human fallibility be applied and room given for rehabilitation of offenders?
Clearly there are those who, young and impressionable, fall foul of pressure from unscrupulous coaches or an immature tendency to take short cuts and perhaps sympathy should be extended to them in the form of a second chance. Without this leniency, many future titans of sport might be sidelined before even reaching their prime. On the other hand, as has happened with the Tour de France, a sport can suffer to such a degree under the weight of mass drug use that it loses all credibility amongst competitors, spectators and online betting enthusiasts.
How must a non-drug-using athlete feel to have pushed themselves, for months and years, to the limit on the training ground and having sacrificed many of the normal pleasures of youth to even suspect that the athlete edging past them in the peak contests of their sport, is doing so because they took the easy route of ingesting a performance enhancing drug?
I know where I stand. And I believe most genuine sports betting fans stand with me.
The British Darts Organisation (BDO) World Championship starts on Saturday. Played out at the Lakeside Leisure Centre, widely regarded as the home of darts, this is still the title that most players want to win. Online betting enthusiasts should note that, despite an exodus of talent to the PDC championship, the BDO draws the new up-and-coming talent from all quarters.
The luck of the draw means the tournament opens with a replay of last years final between champion Martin Wolfie Adams and Phil Nixon. In the final Wolfie was six up when Nixon came back to even the match leaving the final set as the decider it should be a must see encounter.
Its hoped that second seed, Gary Anderson, will have overcome his demons for this years challenge after departing in the first round of six previous starts. Sports betting fans should note that this year sees him up against the Aussie, Simon Whitlock, if he makes it through the first round.
Mark Webster is top seed and in good form right now. Robert Thornton, winner of the World Masters in Bridlington should be watched along with Ted Hankey and John Boy Walton who will be keen to make their mark this year.
There is a strong movement afoot to recognise that darts has transcended the pub and moved into the arena. There is significant pressure for the sport to be included in the Olympics, for the first time, in London in 2012. This tournament will be another step along that route to the proper recognition of darts as a sport in the same league as golf, snooker and bowls.
Michael Owen returns to the England Football fray after a long term injury stay away and Michael Vaughan returns to the England Cricket setup. It would be cruel to bet against them completing their matches but that’s what betting’s all about.
We wish them well on their return and hope that they can both prove that they are worth there places so soon after returning from recovery. Questions marks will be over whether they are match fir and have played enough to be sharp at the highest level.
Michael Owen will be a boost to the England front line, as Steve McClaren mentioned this morning, “we need strikers”. It’s worrying that we don’t have the strength in dept to the England squad, even now. We strive to find goal scorers of Owens’ calibre and pace to support Rooney and create some space for them both to use in attack. Owen will pull defenders off Rooney more as he shows he can outflank them with his superb turn of speed.
The return of Owen will make a difference to Football Betting Odds in Englands’ favour.
Michael Vaughan in the cricket, on the other hand, is a worry as to whether he can just stay fit for one test at the moment but, more importantly, he could do with a big score to prove that he is worth his place. We have too many players now that could develop quickly for England if their given their time to learn and improve their game in the test arena. Shah didn’t take his first chance in the first test against the Windies but make no mistake – he is a player of class and will be back!
That said, if Michael Vaughan can get going again, cricket betting on England will show us as favourites more often than not. He will strengthen our middle order but he will have to be consistent with Bell and Collingwood constantly proving tha they’re now permanent fixtures in the England test side.
For most of Sven Goran Erikson’s reign as England manager, I have argued with my friends about football betting and the correctness of foreign managers for international teams in sport.
It’s not necessarily the point that they won’t have the passion and desire of a native manager but more that, if 2 countries are going to play each other, the team – which after all includes the coaching and management staff – should all be from that country!
An argument against my reasoning was that, with reference to football, countries that are behind in the game and may still be developing, won’t have the ability to catch up with the dominant international sides unless they receive coaching and management from the best in the world. I agree that this is the case and I think their may be a case for concessions for these countries until they reach a certain level, from which they should be expected to stand on their own feet and produce good managers of their own.
Another argument was “How are England ever going to win for the Football World Cup if we don’t try to get the best manager in the world?” Well, basically, I feel that if we can’t produce our own manager, but we might have the best players in the world (hyperthetically speaking of course!!!) then we as a country are just not good enough! Look at Brazil – in their victories in the world cup they deserved to win because they were complete Brazilian teams. So, if we can’t win games with British management then that is the area that needs to be focused on to improve our internal development.
More so, from my point of view though, is my point above : For example, If international sports teams are going to compete against others then each team should be made up of personnel, including coaches and Management, from that country. If we has won the tournament in 2006, I would have regarded it as slightly hollow. Let’s see how the 2010 World Cup goes.
The same applies to our national cricket team at present. No dis-respect to Duncan Fletcher, but if we win the ICC Cricket World Cup this year (I did say “if”) then is it “England” who have won or will Zimabwe be celibrating it as theirs?