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Sport

Greater Manchester olympians won 16 medals for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics

They’ve done the region proud

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@wallsey_98 / Instagram & @chazworther / Instagram

Greater Manchester athletes won an astonishing sixteen Olympic medals for Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

This year’s delayed Olympic Games concluded last night, with Team GB bringing home an admirable sixty-five medals, ultimately placing them in fourth place just behind Japan, China and the US. 

And, incredibly, athletes from Greater Manchester played a huge role in our country’s success at the massive sporting event – so much so that, if Greater Manchester had competed as a team in the Olympics, we would have ranked eleventh in the medal table ahead of countries such as Brazil, Canada and Jamaica. Yep, we’re that good.

Let’s meet our champions…

James Guy

@james.g.guy / Instagram

Swimmer James Guy, from Bury, won three medals for Team GB: Gold in the mens 4x200m swimming relay, gold in the mixed medley swimming relay and silver in the 4x100m medley swimming relay. 

On his incredible achievement, Guy wrote on social media: “Olympic Champion! Something I thought I would never say.

“All the hard years of work and starting from the bottom as a junior to not having the Olympics I wanted in 2016. But we never gave up. We did it! Dreams do come true. We reset and we go again!”

Charlotte Worthington

@chazworther / Instagram

Manc born BMX rider Charlotte Worthington did the city proud when she recovered from a fall and ultimately won gold in the women’s BMX park freestyle.

On her motivation to win gold, Worthington said: “I think it’s been gold medal or nothing this whole journey. I think as soon as we set the goal of gold medal, it was go big or go home.

“I’ve learned that if you gamble and you give yourself that chance, it’s going to pay off better and going to feel better than if you hold off and think what could have been.”

Georgia Taylor-Brown

@georgiatb / Instagram

Georgia Taylor-Brown, from Manchester, won gold in the mixed triathlon relay and even overcame a tyre puncture to win silver in the women’s triathlon. 

Speaking of the high and lows of winning her medals, the twenty-seven-year-old cyclist told Sky News: “As a kid I always wanted one of these medals. I just wanted to be an Olympian.

“But then you think ‘that’s a dream I had as a ten-year-old. I’m twenty-seven, is it ever going to become a reality?’ And yeah this morning it did.”

Stuart Bithell

@stubithell / Instagram

Stuart Bithell, from Rochdale, won gold in the men’s sailing 49’er class. Speaking of his achievement, he told the Dorset Echo: “I think the exact moment [we knew we were going to win] was the very last gybe at the end.

“They gybe and we gybed almost simultaneously, and I could just see the bow coming up and we were on a little bit of a wave and just got a little bit of surge and I thought, that’s the one.

“This is my last Olympics, almost certainly. As you can image it’s so nice to go away with the gold.”

Matt Walls

@wallsey_98 / Instagram

Matt Walls, from Oldham, won gold in the men’s omnium cycling and silver in the men’s madison cycling. 

On his accomplishment, twenty-three-year-old Walls said: “There was a bit of an unknown because the last track race I did was the Euros last year. But I’ve been going well on the road, getting in some quality racing this year, so I knew I was good coming in.

“I just didn’t know how it would translate on the track, how the tactics would be, because it had been so long. But I came into the scratch race feeling good, came away with that win and then I knew I’d got a chance as long as I played it smart. I knew I’d got the legs so it could work out and it did.”

Laura Kenny

@laurakenny31 / Instagram

Harlow-born Laura Kenny snatched gold in the women’s madison cycling and silver in the women’s team pursuit cycling.

Posting onto social media following her win with teammate Katie Archibald, Kenny wrote: “I’m not even sure what to say. We worked so hard back in Manchester, gelling as a pairing. I have never felt so ready for a race.

“I felt so unbelievably nervous at the start and all I kept saying to myself was your with @_katiearchibald just listen to her, you trust what she says!

“Turns out we didn’t need to say very much at all. We knew where each other wanted to be and we stuck to our plan. I am so so proud of us and everyone behind the scenes helping us achieve this gold medal.”

Jason Kenny

@therealjasonkenny / Instagram

Jason Kenny, from Bolton, won gold in the men’s keirin cycling and silver in the men’s team sprint cycling – overall, he scooped seven medals. 

Kenny said, as per the BBC: “Seven gold medals is really special. When you look back on the ones you have already got, it seems pretty easy. Then when you try and get more, you remember how hard it is.”

On his future, he added: “Before today I had all but given up, I was counting my career in days and races as opposed to years, but maybe I have bought myself more time now.”

Keely Hodgkinson

@keely.hodgkinson / Instagram

Wigan’s very own Keely Hodgkinson, nineteen, brought home silver in the women’s 800m. 

The young athlete was sponsored by Liverpool-born millionaire Barrie Wells, who hailed her accomplishment as ‘incredible.’ He told ITV News: “I never expected her to win it, but I thought she could get second or third because she’s just fearless and she’s got great finishing speed.

“She finishes faster than anyone in the world. Incredible achievement.”

Josh Bugajski

@realjoshuabug / Instagram

Stockport’s Joshua Bugajski won bronze in the men’s eight rowing.

Bugajski, who has an unusual background in rowing having grown up in a deprived part of Stockport, gained viral fame for his scathing comments on his coach, Jurgen Grobler’s methods.

“I’m going to be brave and say something the crew don’t want me to say. I popped a bottle of champagne when Jurgen retired. I had three very dark years under him, I’d be coward not to say on behalf of the guys who are back home and didn’t make it onto the team and that got the darker side of Jurgen.

“It’s the end of an era for British rowing but it’s the start of a much better era. We’ve had six boats come fourth, on the cusp of a medal, and we’ve had two medals. Come Paris we’ve got a lot of potential but we need to be honest about where it went wrong.”

Sport

Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow complete 10k race together

What an effort!

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@WillGreenwood / Twitter

Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow completed the Leeds 10k over the weekend, with Sinfield pushing his former team-mate and friend in a specially-adapted wheelchair.

Burrow was tragically diagnosed with motor neurone disease back in 2019, and in the following years has managed to raise millions of pounds for charity.

The Rugby League legends joined their former team, Leeds Rhinos, to raise money for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and the Rob Burrow Centre for MND appeal.

Sinfield said it was ‘brilliant’ to complete the course with his good friend when speaking to the media afterwards.

He told the BBC: “It’s been a while since we have been able to do some sort of running or activity.

“We have been waiting on this [wheelchair] to get delivered, it’s our first run with it today and we came 39th.

“Thankfully it stayed in one piece and hopefully he enjoyed it, I know I did.”

Sinfield added: “A lot of people were clapping, I think Rob has been such a huge inspiration to everybody that people have been really happy that we have been out on the course for it. It’s been a really nice day.”

Sinfield took charge of a team that ran seven marathons in seven days to raise more than £2.7m for motor neurone disease research back in 2020.

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Championship footballer comes out and becomes only openly gay professional footballer in Britain

‘For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be a professional footballer’

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Sky Sports News

A Championship footballer has come out as gay, making him the first current professional footballer in Britain to do so.

Blackpool forward Jake Daniels, seventeen, said he has received ‘amazing support’ from his teammates after opening up about his sexuality. 

In an interview with Sky Sports News today, Daniels said his original plan was to wait until he had retired before coming out, but says he felt ready to ‘be myself’ after ‘such a long time of lying’ about who he is.

He said: “But I just knew that was just such a long time of just lying and not being able to have what I want.

“For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be, and now I am, a professional footballer. I asked myself if I should wait until I’ve retired to come out. No other player in the professional game here is out.

“However, I knew that would lead to a long time of lying and not being able to be myself or lead the life that I want to.

“Since I’ve come out to my family, my club and my teammates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental health.

“Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.”

Daniels said he knew he was gay at around the age of five or six, but admitted that he initially believed football and being gay didn’t mix.

He explained: “So all the way through my life I was like, ‘It’s fine, you’ll get a girlfriend when you’re older and you’ll change and it’ll be fine’.

“And as you do get older you realise you just can’t… and it’s just something you won’t be able to do.

“I’ve had girlfriends in the past to try and make all my mates think I’m straight, and it was just a massive cover-up. So it has been a struggle.”

And speaking of when he first told his teammates, Daniels said they were ‘kind of shocked in a way’ and asked why he didn’t tell them earlier.

He said: “The captain was one of the main people I told and he was just asking loads of questions about it and was like ‘I’m so proud of you’.”

He added: “Everyone has been so supportive and so proud of me and it just shows what a bond we have as a team and everyone is like a family to each other.”

Daniels is the first British male professional footballer to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzelsperger also came out as gay after his retirement in 2013.

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Sport

Manchester City confirm they’ve reached deal to sign Erling Haaland

City have confirmed they’ve reached a deal to sign striker Erling Haaland this summer

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Manchester City have confirmed that they’ve reached a deal to sign striker Erling Haaland this summer.

Haaland will join City on a permanent deal from Borussia Dortmund on July 1st.

According to journalist Fabrizio Romano: “City will pay €60m [not €75m] release clause to BVB, plus commission to be added.

“His salary will be worth £375,000/week, same level as de Bruyne. Medical has been already completed.”

The club said in a statement: “Manchester City can confirm we have reached an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of striker Erling Haaland to the Club on 1st July 2022.

“The transfer remains subject to the Club finalising terms with the player.”

Earlier today City boss Pep Guardiola refused to answer questions about Haaland at a press conference, saying: “Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City have told me I am not allowed to say anything until the deal is completely done.

“I cannot talk, I am sorry. We will have time to talk.”

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