Auroras Encore Wins the 2013 Grand National at Aintree

As an avid football fan, I have felt inclined to sometimes place a bet on a team, likely to win. This has of course, seen highs and lows with perhaps more losses than victories despite the odds.

Aintree is always a spectacle for many, like me who don’t follow Horse Racing. It is of course the Grand National, with 40 of the best jockeys and horses, competing over a 4 mile course in Liverpool.

The focus is mainly on the stakes from the bookies, and from today’s result, the shock at the horse that came in at first.

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At 66/1, Auroras Encore, trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Ryan Mania eventually won the John Smith’s Grand National.

All of the 40 runners sustained no injuries so the plaudits and memories will lie solely on a rank outsider.

For the bookies, a brave man would have initially placed a bet on Encore. Other runners such as Ap McCoy on Colbert Station and the favourite Seabass ridden by Katie Walsh failed to record a win.

As a viewing sport, Horse Racing will always be unfamiliar to me and will appear very rarely on my blog. However, as widely acknowledged event, The Grand National does interest many.

For me, it is the conduct held at the event. It is one of the many sporting events where there is a certain tradition and pride held at Aintree for over 100 years.

It is for this reason why The Grand National will always hold a special place in British sporting history and the beauty of National debutant Ryan Mania winning means that there will be some rare smiles on very happy faces.

Photo Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/grand-national/9976698/Grand-National-2013-66-1-outsider-Auroras-Encore-takes-it.html

Haven’t you Run Before? – Mo Farah

The title of this Blog Post may seem alarming, but in fact these were the words uttered by LaTanya Norton, a Journalist in America for WDSU after Mo Farah won the New Orleans Half-Marathon in a British record 61 minutes.

The mistaken anchor could not have been more wrong. As a representative of Great Britain, Farah brought home two Olympic Gold’s in distance running and is now considered a national hero. When asked this stunning question, Mo Farah hesitated and to his credit, took the mistake on the chin and carried on the interview as normal.

I have linked the sensational clip below.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/video/2013/feb/26/mo-farah-us-tv-video

Hot Off the Press – Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail

Cue back to September 8th 2012 at the Olympic Stadium. I am bursting for the toilet, leaning forward to the edge of my stadium seat waiting for the powerful but poignant sound of a gunshot to be let off. The arena, of 80,000 willing spectators is now silent. Thousands of eyes focused on one man in green and gold, poised to do what only he can do.

 It is the T44 400m final. Having recorded a fantastic qualifying time already, that man Oscar Pistorius is the sure favourite to do it all again, as he did in Beijing.

46.68 seconds later, I have a new hero. It is that man from South Africa, and his determination and tenacity to blow everyone else out the water was astounding.

At this point it was all about Oscar. I was able to go to the toilet knowing that my expectations were fulfilled and my lasting memories of the Paralympics would be all about Oscar.

Everything for me was about Oscar. Prior to his Paralympic efforts, Oscar had become the first to take part in both the Paralympics and the Olympics. All the campaigns were about his story and his achievements. After so many years of a stigma towards disabilities, Oscar, almost singlehandedly, had transformed this, and made it cool.   

Go to around 5 months later, and that same location where he gave up his life to become a 6-time Paralympic champion, Oscar Pistorius is now charged with the shooting and murder of his girlfriend in a Pretoria Court.

Valentine’s Day 2013 is one that I will never forget. Not because of any kind of romance, but because my hero of the Summer is perhaps a murderer.

I will not go into the ins and outs of the trial as I do not feel it is right. After all his status or anything else, someone has lost a life, due to his actions that night.

Heroes seem hard to come by. Prior to his outing as a drugs cheat, Cyclist Lance Armstrong for me represented all the qualities a person, let alone a sportsperson needs. With 7 Tour De France titles to his name and his overcoming of Cancer, it was later none that everything he represented in Cycling was a lie.

In the case of Pistorius, whether he is found guilty or not, he has still shot and killed someone. As I write this, the case is at the point where a decision is being made to determine whether Oscar Pistorius is to be granted bail or not. Magistrate Nair has taken what seems a lifetime and the decision has been made to Grant Oscar Pistorius Bail.

For me however, I personally only have the memory at the moment that the man in the green and gold with prosthetic legs is not my hero Oscar Pistorius. He is the killer of a young woman in South Africa; the place where everyone loved him, like those around the world. Only time will tell after this first step in the court case what the outcome will be.   

The Work of a Communications and Media Manager – Richard Dorman

The role of a Media manager at any sporting team seems to be one that gets passed by with a certain amount of disregard, perhaps because not many know what the role entails.

As Exeter City head of Media and Communications Manager, Richard Dorman explains that the role is not limited to just website and programme editing. This, of course forms the basic part of his job but there is a lot more to it.

“My role involves the coverage of the football side of the club including the first-team on matchdays (reports and live social media coverage), pre- and post-match interviews and managing coverage of the Ladies’ team, under-18s, and etc. I am the first point of contact for local and national media. But it is by no means limited to these things.”

Having been in the role for just ten weeks so far, taking over from Peter Evans who held the position for three years, Richard will be looking to enhance his role even more with his own personal ambitions in the summer:

“I’m picking this job up as a blank canvas, so in truth I am just trying to learn the job at the moment.”

As quite a minor League Club in the Football pecking order, Richard’s role involves promoting the team from outside local territory, to improve fan coverage across the globe.

He was also able to offer a lot of experience to the role which involved working in similar fields:

“It involved lots of work, almost all of which unpaid. I worked for several football clubs in writing for web and programme and assisting at away games.”

Part of his role as a Journalist, was to build up a host of contacts also in the industry which he could also to refer to when he applied for the role.

“I also worked for Comic Relief during the Sport Relief campaign as well as working as a Communications assistant for the British Olympic Association in the build-up to and during the Olympic Games.”

The experience that Richard was able to offer made him a suitable candidate for the job, and he, like all Communications and Media Officers, offer a strong role in the makeup of any sporting team or club.