If you are a sports enthusiast like me, then you’ll understand that it’s that special time of year when you know a huge summer of sport is within touching distance.
THE FIFA WORLD CUP, WIMBLEDON, International Test and One Day Cricket, Australia visiting Sussex for an international cricket friendly, The Open and US Open Golf, and of course, this all culminates with what is always an epic few days regardless of the result – the 2018 Ryder Cup in France.
However, it’s important to note how each of these international tournaments can be linked to our own local sporting success stories.
Just recently I had the pleasure of attending the Worthing 10k run along our promenade. This event seems to improve every year both from an organisational and logistical point of view but also in terms of competitiveness too. Just shy of 2,500 runners took to our streets in incredibly hot and humid conditions and events like this continue to bring out the best in people. Spectators line the streets offering support, cheering the names of strangers running past, and providing their well-deserved congratulations at the end.
What’s more, this year saw a truly astonishing time of 30min 32sec as James Westlake broke the course record for the men’s race with 53-year old Elspeith Turner winning the female race in a time of 37:24. Truly inspirational, particularly for the hundreds of children in attendance. My personal satisfaction was topped off at the end when one of my twin sons said “Daddy, I’d like to be a runner when I’m older”. And that there, is what it’s all about – inspiring the next generation.
As locals, we shouldn’t take events like the Worthing 10k and the Worthing Half-Marathon for granted. We are very lucky to have these on our doorstep. It provides us with another platform to showcase and celebrate our wonderful local sporting talent, for which there is plenty.
However, as the dust settles on events near-by, attention, particularly for football enthusiasts, will now turn to Russia and the FIFA World Cup. Whether you are a football fan or not, it’s hard to escape the coverage of our men’s national team as they look to install some pride back into the team, which has failed at recent major tournaments. In fact, we haven’t reached a semi-final at a major tournament since 1996 and not at a World Cup since 1990.
This lack of success is in stark contrast, however, when compared to the Worthing College Football Team. Following an intense training camp in Verona, Italy, the Worthing College Men’s Football Team 1st XI returned to win the County Cup whilst the 2nd XI went top of the AoC SE League. In addition to this, Worthing College’s Women’s Rugby won the national cup and the Men’s Rugby won the East Berks 7’s tournament.
I’d also like to end this column by saying a huge and well-deserved congratulations to the Brighton & Hove Albion Under 23 team, who this year gained promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1. Having played for the club from 16-18-years old myself, I can certainly relate to the joy, ecstasy and excitement those lads are feeling this summer. Well done guys! Here’s hoping you can emulate the senior team and work your way right up to the top of the footballing ladder and, like the first team have done this season, sustain your place amongst the elite.