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Dec 15 14

Chad le Clos interview: I need to be more focused

by ZwemZa
Chad le Clos

Chad le Clos

South African swimmer Chad Le Clos has said that he needs to be more focussed next year, despite a number of successes in 2014.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a successful year, scooping two golds, a silver and four bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He also added a third Swimming World Cup title to his name, becoming the first swimmer to win the tournament three times and becoming the first man to win the series unbeaten.

FINA’s finest

2014 culminated in him being named the world’s best by FINA, the international swimming federation and Sportsman of the Year at the SA sports awards.

Despite his impressive haul this year, Le Clos believes that he was not on top form, telling GiveMeSport: “The beginning of the year, I wasn’t as focused as I think I was in previous years. Maybe that’s why I got sick and injured because I wasn’t prepared for all the travelling.”

The swimmer’s Commonwealth Games were almost ruined by illness; he suffered with asthma as a result of altitude sickness, which left Le Clos unable to swim for three weeks in the build up to the games.

“There was no way I could have got any more medals. I did the best I could and I am really delighted and proud of myself at the way things have turned out.”

Combined with problems caused by extensive travelling in the second half of the year, the South African believes that 2014 can act as a springboard.

“I feel that I can achieve great things and sure I can, I can pursue it, saying that it’s going to be a pretty hard year to beat, it’s going to be hard to beat 2014 definitely,” he added.

2016 Olympic plan

Le Clos is also planning next year with one eye on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro: “My pre-season wasn’t very good so my new year’s resolution is to get that right and just really, really put everything into the Olympic title.”

GiveMeSport

Dec 15 14

Adlington reveals her plans after pregnancy

by ZwemZa
Rebecca Adlington

Rebecca Adlington

Olympic swimming star Rebecca Adlington says she is planning a quick return to work after she has her first child in the summer.

The gold medal winner, 25, who retired after the London 2012 games, is due to give birth in June, but she wants to continue building a career as a television presenter.

The 25-year-old, who fell pregnant on her honeymoon with new husband Harry Needs, told the Mail on Sunday: “I’m planning to work through my pregnancy provided everything goes well.

“Women have been having babies for millions of years so there’s no need to wrap yourself in cotton wool. I’m due on June 4 and the World Swimming Championships are in early August, so I’d love to be ready to work by then.

“There are some great female sports presenters who manage to combine work with children. Sharron Davies is a mum and Gabby Logan brought her two kids with her to the Glasgow championships.”

Adlington, who has been swimming competitively since she was a child, won two freestyle golds at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and two bronze in London four years later.

The Mansfield-raised athlete was made an OBE in 2009 and appeared on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! last year.

She added: “As an athlete I’m used to pushing my body and putting up with pain but, as far as childbirth goes, I’ve never experienced that kind of discomfort before. I hope my sports training helps, but I’m not sure …”

Western Daily Press

Dec 15 14

Rome to bid for 2024 Olympics

by ZwemZa

Olympics2Rome will spearhead an Italian bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Monday vowing a strong campaign to win the event.

Italy became the first to announce a bid taking advantage of new International Olympic Committee rules allowing events to be staged in more than one city.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) during an end-of-year medals ceremony, Renzi said: “We are standing side by side with CONI because in September 2015 we will officially present our candidature to host the 2024 Olympic Games.”

The prime minister said Rome would be the centrepiece of the Games bid but that “all the cities, from Florence and Naples to Sardinia” could be involved.

“We don’t intend to simply participate in the bidding process, this is a challenge we would like to win. We will do everything we can until 2017 when the final decision is made,” added Renzi.

The Italian capital, which last held the summer Games in 1960, shelved plans to bid for the 2020 event two years ago due to concerns over rising costs as the country battled an economic crisis. Turin held the Winter Olympics in 2006.

But with new rules passed by the IOC last week allowing countries to stage competitions across several cities, potential bidders are now able to spread the costs.

Renzi said he would put together an “organisational structure” that would be “committed to making sure Italy wins this match”.

He added: “Rome will be the centrepiece of the project, then it will be up to CONI to decide which other cities will be involved.”

Rome is the first city to officially announce it will bid for the 2024 Games, but the Eternal City can expect a tough competition.

The US Olympic Committee is to decide this week between Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston or Washington for a probable American bid.

The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DSOB) this month voted unanimously to bid to host the 2024 or 2028 Summer Games, with Berlin or Hamburg as the host city.

Paris is to decide in January whether to stage a bid and the Azerbaijan capital, Baku, and Doha – both beaten by Tokyo in the bid to host the 2020 Games – are potential candidates.

South Africa could be represented by bids from Durban or a joint Johannesburg-Pretoria bid.

Cities must make applications by September 15 next year. The IOC will choose a final list of candidate cities in May 2016 and make a final decision at a congress in Lima in mid 2017.

The IOC last week passed a raft of reforms to make hosting the Games a more attractive and more affordable for bidding countries. The changes allow the Games to be hosted by two cities, or two countries. The cost of bidding will also be cut.

IOC President Thomas Bach called the new rules “historic” and “a major step forward in the organisation of the Olympic Games.”

The 2014 Winter Games in Sochi cost Russia an estimated 50 billion dollars and IOC members believe the spiralling costs have put many countries off hosting the four-yearly showpiece.

Earlier this year Norway, Stockholm, Krakow and Lviv all pulled out of the running to host the 2022 winter Olympics, leaving just Beijing and Almaty in the running.

AP

Dec 15 14

Rio 2016 mascots named

by ZwemZa

Olympics1The mascots for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be named ‘Tom’ and ‘Vinicius’ after the singer-songwriters who wrote ‘The Girl from Ipanema’, organisers said on Sunday.

The names won 44 percent of votes in an online poll and were revealed on Brazilian TV show Fantastico.

The Olympic mascot will be named after Antonio Carlos Jobim, who was known more commonly as ‘Tom’.

The Paralympic mascot is named after Vinicius de Moraes.

The pair were instrumental in the development of bossa nova music and wrote dozens of songs together, most famously the tale of a young girl who passed their bar each day as she walked to Ipanema beach.

The announcement came 600 days before the start of the games, the first ever to be held in South America.

Reuters

Dec 15 14

Thousands brave Rio’s dirty waters in swim races

by ZwemZa

Thousands of amateur swimmers took to the brackish waters of Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach Saturday for an open-sea race that also brought out demonstrators calling for a thorough cleanup of the Olympic city’s chronically polluted waterways.

Swimmers of all ages in wetsuits and silicon swim caps took part in the Rei e Rainha do Mar, or King and Queen of the Sea competition, plowing through the murky waters and around giant buoys in packs of several hundred people as bystanders and locals cheered them on.

Saturday’s race, which is sponsored by Rio City Hall, took place near the south end of Copacabana where the 2016 Olympic marathon swimming competition and the swimming leg of the triathlon will be held.

Water pollution has become a hot-button issue here with 70 percent of sewage in this city of 6 million flowing untreated into the city’s waterways and just 2 ½ years to go before the start of the games.

While Copacabana is reliably among the cleanest of Rio’s beaches, it’s not considered safe for swimming year-round due to occasional spikes in the levels of fecal matter. Raw sewage on some of the once-swimmable beaches that dot the city are so high that beaches like Botafogo and many others on the picturesque Guanabara Bay, site of the Olympic sailing events, have effectively been abandoned.

Some participants in Saturday’s event complained about the state of the water in Copacabana, which was distinctly brown and dotted with plastic bags and other detritus.

Swimmers participate during the "King and Queen …

Swimmers participate during the “King and Queen of the Sea” competition

“Last year, when I got out, a diaper was stuck in my suit, and this year there were lots of plastic bags everywhere,” said Luan Kawata, an 18-year-old high school student who was among the top finishers in the 1-kilometer-long sprinting event. “The water’s quite dirty and that’s a problem.”

Roberto Pereira Rodrigues, a 55-year-old triathlete, complained that recent rains, which regularly flush raw sewage and trash into the ocean, muddied the waters for Saturday’s event.

“It happens every time it rains,” he said with a sigh as he applied Vaseline along the neckline of his wetsuit.

Activists from nongovernmental group Meu Rio unfurled a banner reading “We don’t want to swim in sewage anymore!” It’s pushing for large-scale infrastructure projects to bring basic sanitation to much of the city,

Rio’s state government has pledged the city’s waterways will be clean by the Olympics and insisted in a statement earlier this week that “the health and welfare of the athletes is always our top priority.”

Swimmers participate during the "King and Queen …
Swimmers participate during the “King and Queen of the Sea” competition

The statement also detailed efforts that are under way to clean up Rio’s waters, including barriers at the mouths of rivers that trap floating debris and a fleet of garbage boats that ply the waters, removing larger pieces of detritus that experts warn could prove dangerous for competitors in the Olympic sailing events.

The United Nations’ special rapporteur for water and sanitation issues, Catarina de Albuquerque, said that while progress has been made, the situation here remains dire.

“What I saw in Rio was that people who are on the margins of society, people who are poor . still do not enjoy the human right to water and sanitation. That’s the reality,” Albuquerque said.

Luiz Lima, a Brazilian swimmer who competed in the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics and won the King of the Sea competition in 2008, compared Rio’s waters to Sydney Harbor.

“It was really polluted there, but they cleaned it up remarkably ahead of the Games,” said the 37-year-old. “I just hope our waters will be like Sydney Harbor by the time the Olympics are over.”

AP

Dec 15 14

China obtains third consecutive title in Beijing

by ZwemZa
getty images

getty images

Confirming the successes of 2012 and 2013, team China pocketed their third title at the ninth edition of the FINA Synchronised Swimming World Trophy, held on December 13-14, 2014 in Beijing (CHN).

A total seven national federations – Canada, China, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Ukraine – performed in the following events: Synchro Highlight Routine, Thematic Duet, Thematic Team and Free Combination.

The Chinese team delivered their performances brilliantly in the two-day competition, winning all four golds on offer. Russia impressed, beating Canada to finish second overall. Teams taking part in all events only were considered for the general standings.

Podiums by event
Synchro Highlight Routine: 1. CHN, 95.8335; 2. CAN, 92.1670; 3. RUS, 92.0000
Thematic Duet: 1. Li Ang / Ma Shuang (CHN) 95.3330; 2. Anastasia Bayandina / Daria Bayandina (RUS) 91.8335; 3. Nuria Diosdado / Blanca Delgado (MEX) 89.8335
Free Team: 1. CHN, 95.1665; 2. RUS, 91.8335; 3. CAN, 89.6665
Free Combination: 1. CHN 96.3335; 2. RUS, 95.1665; 3. ESP, 92.8335

Overall Ranking: 1. CHN, 382.6665; 2. RUS, 370.8335; 3. CAN, 362.8335; 4. MEX, 359.1665; 5. ESP, 357.8330

Podium of the previous editions:
2006 (Moscow, RUS): 1. Russia, 2. Spain, 3. Japan
2007 (Rio de Janeiro, BRA): 1. Russia, 2. Spain, 3. United States
2008 (Madrid, ESP): 1. Spain, 2. China, 3. Russia
2009 (Montreal, CAN): 1. Canada 2. Russia 3. Spain
2010 (Moscow, RUS): 1. Spain 2. Russia 3. Ukraine
2011 (Beijing, CHN): 1. Spain 2. China 3. Canada
2012 (Mexico City, MEX): 1. China 2. Japan 3. Ukraine
2013 (Mexico City, MEX): 1. China 2. Ukraine 3. Spain

Fina

Dec 15 14

Gauteng Sports Council takes issue with SASCOC

by ZwemZa

joffers1The Gauteng Sports Council takes issue with SASCOC over their failure to adhere to their own constitution in terminating the membership of the Western Cape Provincial Sports Confederation.

11 December 2014
Mr Gideon Sam
President SASCOC

Constitutional irregularities and recommendation on the decision by the SASCOC Board to terminate membership and restructure the Western Cape Provincial Sports Confederation

Dear Mr Sam

On the 28th November 2014 the Gauteng Sports Council (GSC) received a communiqué from
the CEO of SASCOC under the heading – Western Cape Provincial Sports Confederation (WCPSC). In the letter we were informed of the termination of membership of the WCPSC as well as the statement by SASCOC that it would manage the process of restructuring the WCPSC.

In order to write this letter and to develop an opinion, we of course needed to consult with various entities such as the SASCOC constitution, some members of the Board, the CEO prior to the WCPSC letter, the Chief Director of the Western Cape Department of Culture and Sport, the president of the Western Cape Provincial Sports Confederation, and National Federations.

We will start with the second paragraph of the communiqué referring to the termination of membership of the WCPSC:

The paragraph in the SASCOC communiqué incorrectly refers to Article 11.3.1.5 of the constitution. The paragraph in the SASCOC communiqué states:

“…the Board has resolved to terminate the membership of your Provincial Sports Confederation as a member of SASCOC”.

The actual Article 11.3.1.5 of the SASCOC constitution states:

“suspend, fine and terminate the membership of any individual affiliated through their respective National Sports Federation to SASCOC or to suspend or fine any National Sports Federation or Member who infringes the Constitution, directives or resolutions of SASCOC, or engages in any act of misconduct, improper practices, misdemeanor, acts of defiance, or brings SASCOC and/or sport into disrepute; “

Therefore:
1. The board may suspend, fine and terminate membership of an individual
2. The board may only suspend or fine a National Federation or Member

Article 8.9 of the SASCOC constitution states specifically:
”Termination of Membership

SASCOC may, by 2/3rds (two thirds) majority resolution at a General Meeting, withdraw and cancel the membership contemplated by Articles 8.1 to 8.3 and 8.5 to 8.8 in which event the relevant Member will cease forthwith to be a Member of SASCOC.”

Therefore the Board can suspend a Member (not terminate a member) and the General meeting of SASCOC members is the only authority that may withdraw and cancel (terminate) membership based on a two-thirds majority.

This is a very important principle of the constitution where the actual members of SASCOC control the power of the Board specifically related to membership.

If the SASCOC communiqué had stopped at the second paragraph and furnished its membership with the exact reason for the “suspension of membership” then the GSC could accept the decision of the Board with the premise that the issue would be discussed at the next SASCOC meeting and suspension of the WCPSC decided upon by the membership as per the SASCOC constitution.

The next set of facts that the GSC would require is the report or enquiry that led to the Board’s decision and perhaps even the minutes of the Board. It is difficult for the GSC to accept broad statements such as “…failed to adhere to policy decisions and directives of SASCOC…” as well “…as continuous acts of defiance and failure to implement directives and resolutions of SASCOC…”

A proper structured investigation needs to be done and a proper report tabled with the specific failures to act on policies and directives of SASCOC and acts of defiance of the WCPSC listed for discussion at the SASCOC members meeting.

The SASCOC communiqué goes on further to state in paragraph three that:

“We will contact our National Federations to instruct their Provincial Federations within your Province to institute the necessary constitutional provisions to ensure that they are duly recognised by the Provincial Sporting Confederation within their geopolitical region.

Here SASCOC’s CEO (and the Board) is pre-empting the decision of two third of its members regarding the suspension of the WCPSC and assumes that the WCPSC is duly suspended and terminated.

This directive is not only unconstitutional but also flawed in process:
1. It incorrectly assumes that the Members of SASCOC have agreed to the suspension
2. It assumes that the issue of provincial membership and demarcations are agreed upon and that there is a common understanding of what a provincial federation is supposed to be.
3. It also assumes that all National Federations have function provincial structures and that this element still needs resolution.

At a previous meeting of SASCOC, the GSC raised the issue of demarcation of provincial federations but specifically the legal framework of provincial federations. In Gauteng we have accepted that provincial federations are co-ordinating bodies not a single entity that usurps responsibility, control and finances of the district sport structures.

The GSC differs from other Provincial Confederations in size, districts and population and all of those issues impact on creating the best possible sports structure in the Gauteng Province.
The SASCOC meeting recognised this and in fact nominated people from the floor to form a committee to make recommendations to SASCOC.

There are some federations who have not adhered to the SASCOC resolution of forming provincial structures because of this lack of guidelines as to what constitutes a Provincial Federation. In our province, rugby, cricket and athletics are not regarded as members of the GSC because our members have resolved to only recognise the provincial co-ordinating
structures. Football and the “smaller” codes of sport have conformed to the co-ordinating provincial sport format.

The SASCOC communiqué refers to requesting the National Federations to instruct the provincial sport federations to institute the “necessary constitutional provisions to ensure that they are duly recognised by the Provincial Sporting confederation”.

The National Federations cannot realistically carry out this instruction when SASCOC has not presented the National Federations and Provincial Sport Confederations with the accepted and adopted provincial demarcation and membership guidelines.

Provincial Sport Confederations membership, National Federations membership and Provincial Federation membership may therefore differ until these guidelines are finalised.

Therefore to hold Provincial Sport Confederations responsible or even National Federations and Provincial Federation responsible for not forming “duly recognised” provincial structures is unfair and no grounds for punitive action at this stage.

The last paragraph of the SASCOC communiqué states:

“The process of calling all provincial federations of the Western Cape to constitute a proper and newly elected Sports Confederation following democratic principles will be managed by  SASCOC.”

Sport is a provincial competency and the provincial departments of sport and the Minister of the Executive Committee (MEC) are critical to the structuring and running of sport in the provinces.
Provincial Sport Departments may partner with the Provincial Sport Confederations to carry out their mandates and this differs currently from province to province..

The National Sports and Recreation Plan (NSRP) clearly states that it is the provincial departments of sport that are the key partners of Provincial Sport Confederations and provincial sport structures.

The SASCOC communiqué does not have a reference to consultation with the Western Cape Department of Culture, Arts and Sport.

The GSC, for example, was formed in partnership with the district federations in the province but more importantly, with the MEC and the provincial department of sport.

The Western Cape Provincial Sports Confederation is one of the oldest sports confederations in South Africa and has had a sound working relationship with its Provincial Department of Sport and its MECs. It is inconceivable to assume that the Western Cape Department of Culture, Arts and Sport (DCAS) should be a spectator in this process.

The issue of the legal framework and autonomy of National Federations and Provincial Sport Confederations needs further introspection. In fact it applies to all sport structures founded through a constitutional process.

The constitution of a sports structure states that only the current members of a sports structure can dissolve it. The WCPSC is a legal entity formed by its members and it has a dissolution clause in its constitution.

SASCOC’s constitution states that its members can cancel or suspend the membership of a Member. It does not state that SASCOC can terminate the actual sports structure. Only the members of the sports organisation (in this case the WCPSC) can do so.

SASCOC should assist in the restructuring of its members (in this case the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation) but in consultation with the key stakeholders and in conjunction with the WCPSC and its members.

SASCOC itself is compelled in a case such as this to follow Article 29 that deals with “dispute mechanism and dissolution”.

The current WCPSC disputes the conclusions that the SASCOC Board has reached and the process that SASCOC is currently following.

SASCOC should also strictly adhere to the sub-sections of Article 29 in its own disputes with its members and follow the proper dispute mechanism, resolution and arbitration process.

The GSC recommends a round table discussion with the key stakeholders, DCAS, the existing WCPSC and SASCOC before the unconstitutional termination of membership and “take-over” of the WCPSC is implemented.

Article 8.9 of the SASCOC constitution states specifically:

”Termination of Membership

SASCOC may, by 2/3rds (two thirds) majority resolution at a General Meeting, withdraw and cancel the membership contemplated by Articles 8.1 to 8.3 and 8.5 to 8.8 in which event the relevant Member will cease forthwith to be a Member of SASCOC.”

Please let’s act within our constitution and follow proper process but even more importantly let’s solve this issue through dialogue and not unnecessary and hasty punitive action.

Yours in Sport

Barry Hendricks
President: Gauteng Sports Council

Sports Fire Daily

Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboy

Email Graeme at: graeme@butterbean.co.za

Disclaimer: ZwemZa encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on ZwemZa are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of ZwemZa.

Dec 15 14

Furniss insists confidence key to British swimming success

by ZwemZa
Bill Furniss

Bill Furniss

British Swimming head coach Bill Furniss believes the likes of Adam Peaty and James Guy are setting the standard for others to follow.

Peaty enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2014, winning double gold and silver at the Commonwealth Games before taking home gold in four different disciplines at the European Championships, as well as setting a new 50m breaststroke world record along the way.

Most recently, he picked up three silvers in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and 4x50m mixed medley relay at the World Short Course Championships in Doha.

In total, the team claimed eights medals at that meet seven silver and one bronze as Great Britain went two better than the haul managed two years ago in Istanbul.

Like Peaty, Guy also climbed the medal rostrum in Qatar, setting a new British 400m freestyle record on the way to silver.

The performances typify a year of confident and successful swimming from Britain’s swimmers providing somewhat of a contrast from both London 2012 where they picked up just three medals and the 2013 World Championships which produced just one podium finish from the pool.

And Furniss believes preparation and a lack of fear about delivering on the big stage is key for the upturn in fortunes.

“Adam Peaty and James Guy are great examples of where we want to get to, James didn’t just break the british record, he took a sledgehammer to it and he clearly learnt from the 200m free earlier in the meet,” he said.

“There’s no fear and why should there be? It’s what you train to do, it’s what you prepare to do and for me competition is where you demonstrate your preparation.

“If you’ve planned well you should compete well and sometimes athletes get all sorts of other things that interfere with that and that is what we are trying to do with good behaviours to eliminate those other things.”

Sportsbeat 2014

Dec 15 14

BBC Sports Personality: Swimming coach named Unsung Hero

by ZwemZa
Jill Stidever (BBC)

Jill Stidever (BBC)

Coach Jill Stidever has won the 2014 BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero award after helping children learn to swim.

Stidever has spent nearly 60 years helping thousands of children with special needs.

Colleagues, parents, and some of the children she has inspired described the 77-year-old as “one-in-a million”.

Her work has helped in changing the perception of disabled sport and encouraging people to see disability swimmers as athletes.

“For my team, husband and all the rest who supported me, thank you very much,” said Jill Stidever.

“I had a seven-year-old boy win a race last weekend and he made a little speech thanking us for the medal.

“I have got tears and it was that that was particularly special. It was also special that parents have trusted their children to me over the last few years. I’m not the most conventional but I work new ways to help them. Thank you to all those who have supported me,” she added.

Stidiver, who lives near Hinckley in Leicestershire, works 40 hours a week coaching, raising funds and organising. And some of the children she has helped have gone on to swim at the Paralympics.

Graeme Chilvers, who works at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and is one of the people who nominated Stidever, said: “She gets parents involved, she gets Paralympians involved. She inspires people. The difference this is making is incalculable.”

Jill Codling, whose son Levi is coached by Stidever, said: “She has changed my son’s life. I was told he would never be able to swim but and he is now competing in the Nationals.

“Jill has empowered him and he is capable of anything,” added Codling.

After winning the BBC East Midlands Unsung Hero award for 2014, Jill’s husband Mick said: “She loves doing what she does.

“She will treasure this award as she will see it as a boost to all her swimmers, coaches and families alike, and a reflection on the joy of seeing a severely disabled person with a smile on their face as they succeed in achieving something very special – and it may not be just swimming – for the very first time.”

BBC

Dec 14 14

Ross Murdoch: I always had the ability to beat Michael Jamieson.. I just needed the self-belief

by ZwemZa
 Ross Murdoch, swimming gold medallist and Sports Personality of the Year

Ross Murdoch, swimming gold medallist and Sports Personality of the Year

If fighting talk was an 
Olympic sport Ross Murdoch would be draped in gold.

And, after the 2014 he’s just had, it’s easy to understand why the Scottish swimmer is in such a bullish mood.

By his own admission, he was a virtual unknown in Scotland a year ago – outside of a swimming pool, of course.

But now? Murdoch is a household name after his unforgettable 
Commonwealth Games success in 
Glasgow made him a national hero.

The 20-year-old is as grounded as they come and, as he says himself: 
“Complacency isn’t in my vocabulary.”

But you don’t defy the odds – and an entire country’s expectations – to stun Michael Jamieson in the 200m 
breaststroke final without a deep 
inner belief.

His majestic display 
at Tollcross in the summer, that got him on to the 
winner’s podium, has merely boosted that 
confidence further.

So if Jamieson, the poster boy of Glasgow 2014, has plans to oust Murdoch in the pool next year he should be aware that he has a fight on his hands.

The kid, who was named Personality of the Year at last week’s Sunday Mail Scottish Sport Awards, said: “Michael had it all his own way since the Olympics in 2012. He’s been British champion for the past 
two seasons.

“But it regularly happens in sport that someone comes up from the bottom who is young, hungry and will do anything to get what they want.

“I’m that person, I’ll do anything to be the best.

“In the build-up to Glasgow 2014 , I was very aware that everyone was talking about Michael and no-one was taking any notice of me.

“If I’m honest, it was something that I couldn’t avoid. A couple of days before the 200m final, I was in a car with Michael and Robbie Renwick.

“Going along the roads in Glasgow, there were pictures of Michael on 
billboards everywhere. As soon as you entered the city, it was all about him.

“Nobody else was mentioned, in any sport, really. He wasn’t just ‘the man’ in swimming, he was ‘the man’ of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“But from the Scottish trials, prior to that, I was catching Michael down the last length. I knew I was.

“And it was from that point, I started to believe my coach Ben Higson.

“He’d always told me the only thing stopping me from beating Michael was myself. Ben said ‘If you don’t believe you can beat him, you 
never will’.

“That was something I changed. In training I was swimming so well, I was confident no-one could do what I was doing.

“Come the Commonwealth Games, I’d decided it was my time to shine. I knew if I was with him in the last 50m I was going to give it my best shot.

“Michael always spoke about winning gold and breaking the world record. Even I was being asked about whether he could do it.

“My reply was always ‘Well, he can try but I’ll be trying 
as well’.

“I was never just going to let him have it. If he’d beat me, fair enough, but I wasn’t going to roll over and let him kick me.”

So how is Murdoch’s relationship with his rival now? He revealed that Jamieson has barely spoken to him since that 
sensational night in July.

But whatever competitive differences they might have in their pursuit for glory, Murdoch will always regard his fellow Glaswegian as a pal.

He said: “I’d like to consider Michael as a friend but he’s a fairly quiet guy. So I’m not exactly sure where we stand.

“Around poolside there is a competitive rivalry that everyone has. It doesn’t 
matter how close you might be.

“You could be brothers and still have that. Look at the Brownlie brothers in triathlon, they’ll fight each other to the death for an Olympic gold.

“Michael and I have not spoken about the 200m final. I remember in the call room for the 100m breaststroke semi-final, Michael said to me ‘Ross, what time did you do in that final 50 last night’?

“I thought it was around 31.99. He said: ‘You do know that no-one in the history of the world has ever gone 31-anything on a last 50’?

“I didn’t know that – but it certainly put things in perspective for me.

“We’ve been civil since then. He had a party at his parents’ house after the Games and I was there. We had a laugh and were fairly sociable.”

Before long the pair of them will be battling it out in the pool again for 
medals, with the World Championships in Russia on the horizon.

Murdoch admits his life has changed since winning gold in his home city. But he’s adamant his dedication, desire and single-minded will to win will never wane while he’s able to compete.

He said: “People now recognise me and want to say hello or wish me well. The general support for me as an 
athlete has gone through the roof.

“It’s different being in the limelight. But nothing will change me as a person.

“I’m still training as hard. Things I was doing well last year, I’m doing the same if not better now. So I’m still the same person – but it’s nice to know now that my home nation is right behind me.

“If you’re going to do something, do it right. I don’t do half-hearted attempts.

“I’m doing it because I want it. I want 
to go to the Olympics and try to 
get on the podium. I do it because I love it.

“When I’m back in 
January I’ll be 
training differently. I’ll be even better. I want to take my body to a place it has never been before.”

Winning Students is a 
scholarship scheme supporting talented athletes studying in Scotland like Ross.

Funded by the Scottish Funding 
Council and managed by Stirling 
University, athletes receive financial help and support to achieve their sporting and academic goals. Since 2008 more than 900 scholarship awards have been made worth £3m. Find out more at www.winningstudents-scotland.ac.uk

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