Can Anybody Stop Michael van Gerwen?

For all Darts fans, this may be the exact question. For the 23 year old (yes he is that young!) is beginning to dominate the 2013 Premier League, destroying opponents weekly with his consistent high-scoring and checkouts.

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor has been in charge of the Premier League for a while now but has seen a sudden decline in form, buoyed by the spectacle of a man who is almost 30 years younger.

Already a World Champion at 17, MVG has taken over and currently sits top of the Premier League at 4 points clear.

His remarkable speed and throwing of tungsten makes van Gerwen a nightmare to play against. One must wonder how good he will be when he reaches the age of someone like Taylor; a scary thought.

Perhaps the most amazing match I have seen van Gerwen play is against James Wade in the World Championship Semi-Finals. 17 perfect Darts from MVG flew in from the oche – a sensational effort which may never be repeated – unless of course he does it again in the next match.

Watch van Gerwen’s 17 perfect Darts Here

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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

Raikkonen Wins Opening Race of 2013 Formula One Season in Melbourne

Kimi Raikkonen, driving under Team Lotus has won the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in the opening date of the Formula One Calendar in 2013.

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari took second and current reigning champion Sebastian Vetter came third.

Many eyes were on the Red Bull team of Vettel and Australian Mark Webber, who, after a much disrupted qualifier, found themselves taking pole position and second place respectively.

Webber has still not been able to gain a podium position in his native Grand Prix, and this will continue. His poor start, seeing him dropped to seventh proved key.

The opening of any Formula One is usually extremely tasty. Every driver is keen to get out in front and will do anything to ensure this. Quite surprisingly, the start in Melbourne seemed uneventful, with no collisions or a need for the Safety Car. Raikkonen had moved into fourth after beginning in seventh.

Much as any Grand Prix is, Strategy and Pit Stops proved essential, with Raikkonen requiring two stops; having to rely on his tyres. This proved to be a key element, with the Spanish Alonso stopping three times.

By lap 23, Raikkonen had moved into pole position and regained the lead from Lap 34 to hold on for the win quite comfortably.

If this race is anything to go by, the 2013 Season will be extremely tantalising and close. The credit goes to Team Lotus, but all eyes will turn to Malaysia next week for Race 2.

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.