Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 600

4 8 12 MAY 202 2 SPORT Weekend is printed on certiäed, 100% recycled äbres, produced from sustainable sources in the UK Photography: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images Clare Balding SPORT PICKS OF THE WEEK FOOTBALL 14 May Chelsea v Liverpool, Men’s FA Cup Final, Wembley Liverpool have not been scared to talk of a possible quadruple this season and they will be out to repeat their victory over Chelsea in the League Cup. FOOTBALL 15 May Chelsea v Manchester City, Women’s FA Cup Final, Wembley Having just clinched the Women’s Super League title, Chelsea take on a resurgent City team in what should be a classic encounter. BASKETBALL 15 May Men’s and Women’s British Basketball League Play-Off Finals, O2 Arena, London It’s the biggest day in British basketball, with the men’s and women’s play-offs both being staged at the same venue. Among the 22 goldmedals won by TeamGB at the Tokyo Olympics last summer was a first teamgold in eventing for 49 years. Eventing combines the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Inmy opinion, it’s themost all-round test of horse and rider, working together as a team in very di erent phases. Precision, athleticism, bravery and stamina are all required and, when it comes to the BadmintonHorse Trials, the oldest andmost prestigious three-day event in the world, the cross-country course is bigger, longer andmore di cult than anything you’d find at an Olympic Games. For Laura Collett, who was part of the Tokyo goldmedal team, Badminton was ‘a dreamworld’ as she posted the best ever score in the event’s history to win the title for the first time. It was a British 1-2-3 as Collett and her horse London 52 held o the world champion Ros Canter and the world number one and fellowOlympic goldmedallist Oliver Townend. “That horse is amazing,” she said afterwards, fighting back the tears. “He is a superstar and I’m so lucky. This has been a childhood dream since I came here onmy auntie’s shoulders when I was three. I can’t believe it.” Collett’s rise to the top is evenmore remarkable when you know that she had a fall nine years ago that nearly ended her life, let alone her career. Every rider has to cope with bad injuries and they know that falling o is part of the job, but this one was a shocker. Laura was in an induced coma for six days, su ered fractured ribs, a punctured lung, a lacerated liver, fractured a shoulder and has continued to su er fromblurred vision in one eye. She was only 23 at the time and, for most people, a di erent gear helped by leading goalscorer SamKerr, who fired home two wonder goals. They ultimately won 4-2 and althoughmanager Emma Hayes said she never panicked, it has been a tough campaign from start to finish and they have been pushed all the way by Arsenal. The latter now face the challenge of trying to retain their goal machine VivianneMiedema, who is weighing up her future. Miedema has made such an impact that a statue of her was unveiled at the Emirates Stadium. It was the first statue of a current female footballer in this country but it was only temporary – it was not commissioned by the club or the FA but by her sponsors, Adidas. There is still a long way to go. I was in Barcelona last weekend (which could end up asMiedema’s new home if rumours are to be believed) where the football chat is dominated by the women’s side. Having set newworld records for attendance at the Camp Nou, Barcelona Femení are charging their way to the league title and havemade it to the Champions League final, where they will face Lyon on 21May. Dominating news in Spain, however, was the rising star of the tennis world, 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz. Having beaten his countryman and idol Rafa Nadal in theMadrid Open, Alcaraz then defeated Novak Djokovic (the first man ever to beat themboth on clay in successivematches) and pulverised Alexander Zverev in the final. A bit like Laura Collett, Alcaraz was fulfilling dreams he had as a child, when he came toMadrid to watchNadal then Djokovic lift the title. Here he was, beating themboth and being hailed as the best player in the world. Men’s tennis has an exciting new superstar – and the Spanish are delighted that he’s one of their own. @clarebalding that would have been the end of any hopes of a life riding horses at the top level. She’s made of tough stu though, and was back in the saddle weeks later. NowCollett can reflect on fulfilling her lifelong dreams – and she’s not done yet. In London 52 she has a horse which can perform for many years at the very highest level and with whom she has developed a wonderful relationship, based on trust and hours and hours of hard training. It was a great result for Badminton to celebrate the return of crowds, with more than 180,000 people attending. While that was happening in Gloucestershire, the air south of London was filled with the roars from the Kingsmeadow stadiumas Chelsea’s footballers secured their third successiveWomen’s Super League title. It had been nip and tuck all season with Arsenal, and at half-time in their final matches, Chelsea were losing toManchester United and Arsenal were drawing with West Ham. With only a point between themand Arsenal with the better goal di erence, the title looked to be heading to north London. Chelsea, however, moved into POETRY IN MOTION Laura Collett and London 52 on their way to claiming glory at Badminton Raise the bar and aim high – dreams can come true