Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 612

11 AUGUST 202 2 52 SPORT Weekend is printed on certiäed, 100% recycled äbres, produced from sustainable sources in the UK Photography: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images, Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Dan Walker It has been a wonderful sporting summer so far. There has been somuch to watch, somuch to admire and so much to inspire the next generation. When I was a kid, I would soak up every sporting event, making notes on the Olympics, obsessively filling out myWorld Cup wallcharts and crying at everymusical montage. Over the past fewweeks, it has been great to seemy children watching the Commonwealth Games. The city of Birminghamput on an amazing show and there were many stories that shone. I have picked out a few. Duringmy time on Strictly in 2021, I got to know AdamPeaty well. We spent plenty of time on the dance floor and also had dinner together every Friday night. He is the ultimate competitor and it was fascinating to see how he applied his incredibly high standards to a discipline that was way outside his comfort zone. It was also interesting to see how someone who excels in an individual sport was such an inspiring team player. He wanted everyone to thrive and enjoy things just as much as he did. I’ve always been fascinated by themindset of a top athlete and they don’t comemore dominant than the ‘beast of the breaststroke’. Dancing isn’t his area of expertise but, in the pool, he is covered in confidence, bursting with belief and virtually unbeatable. The chink in his armour came 10 weeks ago, when he broke his foot. It would have been easy for him to write o the Commonwealth Games, but that is not the way his brain works. In the final of the 100metres breaststroke we witnessed a real rarity – Peaty (right) fading in the last 25metres of a race. He was well beaten gymnastics and hockey, but the event which produced the loudest screams was the women’s 10,000metres final. Scotland’s EilishMcColgan was racing in front of a raucous crowd which included her mumLiz, a double Commonwealth champion (1986 and 1990) in the same event. Eilish blew away her Kenyan rival Irine Cheptai on the final lap, with the whole of Birmingham screaming her on and the rest of the UK shouting at their TV screens. There is somuch strength in a powerful sporting story. When a victory comes against the odds or after years of struggle there is an extra shine on themedal. When England’s women won the Commonwealth hockey title for the first time, there were parallels drawn with the Lionesses’ wonderful Euros victory. I am convinced that somany other teams will find inspiration from theWembley win for SarinaWiegman’s side and it will be interesting to see how themen’s football season pans out after such a successful summer for the women. The newPremier League season began just as the Commonwealth Games was coming to a close. It is going to be a unique one, with themid-season break for the winterWorld Cup in Qatar, but there will be an air of familiarity about the rest of it. Manchester City and Liverpool will probably be the two dominant sides again and every footballing eye will be on City’s latest signing, superstar Norwegian Erling Haaland. He scored twice in the opening game of the season and could break all sorts of records if he stays fit. Chelsea seem to have spent well and Arsenal have some exciting acquisitions, while newManchester United boss Eric tenHag started with a wobble against Brighton. Meanwhile, West Ham fans will be dreaming that they can build on an impressive last campaign. I can’t wait to watch it all unfold. @mrdanwalker by compatriot JamesWilby, who put in a brilliant swim to win the gold and inflict his teammate’s first defeat in this event since 2014. Peaty didn’t even win amedal, he finished fourth. In his post-race interview, he reminded us that fighters come out punching – and that’s what the world saw in the 50metres final a few days later. The victory roar as he rose out of the water was wonderful to watch. Once a champion, always a champion. When I covered the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 I paid a few visits to the bowling green. I have kept an eye on the sport ever since, and last week spoke to Rosemary Lenton and PaulineWilson, who took gold in the Para women’s pairs. They have remarkable stories. Rosemary has been in a wheelchair for 20 years and Pauline had her leg amputated after medical complications. Pauline is a spring chicken at 56, Rosemary is 72. I also love the fact they were put together as a pair without knowing each other. It’s a bit like the bowling version of Simon Cowell constructing an all-powerful girl band to conquer the world. In theWalker household, we loved the diving, Gold glory Rosemary Lenton and Pauline Wilson with their medals Bowled over by inspiring tales of true champions SPORT PICKS OF THE WEEK ATHLETICS 11-21 August European Championships, Munich If the Commonwealth Games got your sporting juices åowing prepare for the next instalment as Germany hosts its biggest athletics event since the Olympics of 72. CYCLING 12 August-4 September Vuelta a España, Spain The änal grand cycling tour of the year will be without Slovenian star Tadej Pogacar, who has opted to prepare for the World Championships which start just a week after the race in Australia. FOOTBALL 13-14 August Premier League If you want to keep an eye on Erling Haaland, Manchester City entertain Bournemouth. But the pick of the games is probably Sunday’s London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham, who both started the season with a win.

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