Colors: Yellow Color

Some 40-plus specially invited guests we amongst a large, exciting yet tearfully emotional, crowd as the ‘Pre Knockdown Game’ saw some of footballs former star names turn out to say their final ‘Good Bye’ as the bulldozers laid in wait to begin redeveloping the aging athletics venue in time for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.

The Birmingham Commonwealth Association (BCA), partnered by United Community Activity Network and supported by Birmingham City Council, held the Commonwealth event prior to its partial demolition and redevelopment with footballing hierarchy including; David Barnett, Tony Daley, Paul Devlin, Darren Byfield, Dennis Bailey, Darren Carter and Deon Burton just some of the star names who turned out for this absolutely ‘final’ sporting event before the diggers roll in.

With a barnstorming parade, by the Warwickshire and West Midlands Army Cadets to excite and make proud a large turn-out, the ‘kick about’ hosted by the legendary ‘Voice of Midlands Football’, Tom Ross, ‘kind of’ assisted by Ethics Committee Member at Office of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Rebecca Hemmings and bespoke poet Dave Wilks, all was set fair for a day of fun and frivolities at this, the very last ‘hurrah’ at the home of British Athletics.

Keith Stokes-Smith, chair of the Birmingham Commonwealth Association, said: “This free multi sports day was an opportunity for everyone to say their last ‘good-bye’ before the big redevelopment.

The event, with a commonwealth twist, was an ideal way for all to say their last ‘good-by’ and ‘hello’ to a new dawning for the Alexander Stadium as we move ever closer to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games”.

The Games are expected to take place between July, 27and August 7.

Immortalised at the club where he made his name, now former Wolverhampton Wanders and England footballing legend, Sir Billy Wright, has been further immortalised with blue plaque which was unveiled at his childhood home.

Wright, the first England player to notch up more than 100 caps, captaining them 90 times, has a statute outside Wolves' Molineux ground – in front of the main stand which bears his name - grew up on New Road in Ironbridge, in Shropshire, where the plaque was revealed.

At the unveiling, his daughters said it was "so exciting" to see their dad honoured. Vicky Wright was joined by sister Babette at the unveiling and both were set to stay overnight at the house for the first time afterwards.

She said: "My sister and I are honoured to be to be in the position where we can honour his memory. "The people of Ironbridge and Wolverhampton just adore him.

"My sister and I are really, really close, and we just adored him, he was the most incredible dad." Sir Billy spent his entire playing career at Wolves, making 490 appearances before retiring in 1959.

After hanging up his boots, Wright managed Arsenal and was married to Joy Beverley, of the 1950s pop group The Beverley Sisters – they were the original ‘Posh & Becks’.

The New Road house now home to Viv and Tony Moore; they said they were "thrilled" to be linked with its legacy.

The 45th WorldSkills Competition saw 1,354 young professionals from 63 countries and regions compete in 56 skills in the Russian city of Kazan, with India creating their own history by winning 4 medals there.

Demonstrating an exceptionally high level of vocational education and training, as well as teamwork abilities, a truly unforgettable event saw the young competitors challenging for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals as well as the Medallion of Excellence and the Albert Vidal Award.

With skills grouped into six sectors at the KAZAN EXPO International Exhibition Centre - including; Construction and Building Technology, Creative Arts & Fashion, Information and Communication Technology, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, Social and Personal Services, plus Transportation and Logistics – competition remained high and exciting during the week-long fare.

Team UK won four medals - two of them gold (Rebecca West, from Sussex Downs College, in Beauty Therapy and Nottingham University’s Haydn Jakes of, in Aircraft Maintenance), with Connor McKevitt, trained by Riverpark Training and employed by Wrights Accident Repair Centre, claiming a Silver in Car Painting, while Phoebe McLavy from Coleg Sir Gar, employed by Morgan Edward Salon, winning Bronze in Hairdressing.

The team were also awarded 15 medallions of excellence – which are given to competitors who have achieved the international standard in their skill.

Neil Bentley-Gockmann, chief executive of WorldSkills UK, said: "The members of Team UK, all under-25 years, championed the UK focus on skills development in front of a global audience, sending a strong message that the UK is a world-class place to invest, do business and create jobs.

"Governments, education and industry need to continue to work with us to make sure the UK stays at the cutting edge of global best practice in skills development."

Also speaking after the event, India’s Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey said: "This time we expect India to occupy a slot between one and 10 among 63 participating countries here...We are trying to bring forward the talents of the Indian youth".

One of the legacies of WorldSkills Competitions is the increased visibility of skilled professional education, as one of the tools of social and economic transformation.

The competition also provides leaders in industry, government, and education with the opportunity to exchange information and best practices regarding industry and professional education.

With developments officially now underway, the last hurrah for the Alexander Stadium – as we know it now – saw a host of record-breaking stars out to book their flight tickets for Doha and the 2019 edition of the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Müller British Athletics Championships.

Record-holder Dina Asher-Smith, European champion Matt Hudson-Smith, Eilish McColgan and, somewhat surprisingly, Ojie Edoburun, guaranteed their respective Team GB vests with Championship, Season and Personal Bests a-plenty at the Trials.

Triple European champion, Asher-Smith, who broke her own British Championship record and is planning to compete at 100m and 200m, said: "I'm just happy I've booked my seat for at least one of the events." On the possibility of doubling-up, she added: "It's all about the progression to the World Championships."

A hugely delighted Edoburun, 23, said he was "very, very happy" after claiming victory by one thousandth of a second.

"I'm not going to cry on TV. It's taken me so long to figure out what works for me, while seeing my peers excel," he said. "I was so scared, having flashbacks of all the bad trials I've had over the years."

On a day where many other stars such as Morgan Lake, Tim Duckworth, Harry Hughes, Rosie Clarke and Jodie Williams confirmed their places in the squad for Doha, it was a particularly fitting way to give the Alexander Stadium its big send-off before it undergoes major redevelopments in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in 2022, with Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, saying: “We’re now in an exciting phase of the design process where we would like to share our plans for the future with the community and hear their thoughts.

“The team has designed a redeveloped stadium which will meet the needs and aspirations of the community for generations to come. This is about creating a destination venue, shaping a legacy beyond the Commonwealth Games.”

The changes to the 40-year-old stadium will include an increase in permanent seating capacity from 12,700 to 18,000, allowing up to 40,000 during the Games through additional temporary seating.

The Perry Barr venue, which is the home of UK Athletics, will host the athletics plus the opening and closing ceremonies at the Games, set to take place from July 27 to August 7, 2022.

The brainchild of the late Sted Wallen, this Sunday (August 25) marks the 21st anniversary of the Birmingham Sports & Culture Day – the family-friendly fun day providing top-class international cricket, live music, children’s entertainment and an abundance of fantastic food and drink to wile the day away.

It will be two years – almost to the day – since one of the city’s greatest modern-day mandarins so suddenly parted, but his presence will be very much felt by the thousands who are expected to attend the mass day of celebration – and reminiscence – for one of Jamaica and the entire Caribbean’s, multicultural Birmingham’s, cricket’s and, in fact, life’s own greatest ‘son’.

Playing for the ‘Sted Wallen Memorial Cup’, stars of local national and first class international cricket will be at Handsworth Cricket Club, in Handsworth Park, Birmingham, this Bank Holiday where all of ‘his community’; that is everybody – man, women and children of all nations – get together to celebrate the true winner; Sted’s memory.

Start Time - 12:00.

The Vitality Netball Superleague is entering its 15th year and to help mark the occasion and continue building the excitement that surrounds the league, the 2020 Season Opener event is changing.

This season the opening round will be in addition to the normal 18 rounds. This will make the regular season 19 rounds long, giving fans more action-packed and thrilling netball to look forward to.

The fixtures for this extra round are determined by where teams finished in the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague. Reigning champions Manchester Thunder will take on second place Wasps Netball, third place Team Bath will play Loughborough Lightning and so on.

The new and highly anticipated Season Opener will see the teams return to Arena Birmingham on Saturday 22 February 2020.

The additional round will contribute to the regular season and count towards each club total points, the other 18 rounds will see teams play each other home and away, deciding who finishes in the top four to fight for a place in the Grand Final. The top seven sides will qualify for the British All-Star Fast5 Championship along with the competitions’ defending champions.

The additional round means that each team will play the Season Opener as well as nine home and nine away fixtures.

With Vitality Netball Superleague television audiences up by 27% in 2019 compared to 2018, this new addition to the calendar contributes towards the growing demand for elite netball in the United Kingdom.

Mark Evans, Independent Chair of the Vitality Netball Superleague, said: “We are delighted to be returning to Arena Birmingham after a very successful event in 2019. It is always a wonderful start to the season and this year a change in format should see five really tight competitive games – making a great event even better.

“A re-run of last year’s Grand Final will be the highlight of the day but fans of all the clubs will be excited to see their favourites in action. The season itself should be our best yet, as the sport goes from strength-to-strength.”

The fixtures are as follows:

11:00 Strathclyde Sirens v London Pulse 12:30 Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm 14:00 Saracens Mavericks v Severn Stars 15:30 Team Bath v Loughborough Lightning 17:00 Wasps v Manchester Thunder

Surrey Storm Director of Netball, Mikki Austin, said: “Season Opener 2020 is sure to be a hugely exciting start to the season! Not only does the Vitality Netball Superleague provide world-class sporting action but also exceptional entertainment and events.

“With all teams under one roof you get a chance to look at all the line-ups really early on. This time though the formatting will be different, with this being a bonus additional round with a chance for teams to get some extra points on the board, we know how vital that can prove to be at the end of the year!”

The best in the country will descend on Birmingham this coming weekend as British titles and spots on the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for the IAAF World Championships are decided.

Dina Asher-Smith headlines a weekend of incredible athletics at the Alexander Stadium where the top athletes in the country compete alongside the up-and-coming.

Triple European champion from 2018, Asher-Smith is fresh off the back of a second-place finish in the 200m at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham but will contest the 100m where she’ll look to defend her title after clocking a Championship record on the way to victory in 2018.

In the men’s equivalent, Zharnel Hughes is huge favourite to claim his first British 100m title. Hughes’ time of 9.95 seconds at the Müller Anniversary Games makes him the fastest man in the field, with his presence in the 200m field as well an eye-catcher given no man has won both titles since Marlon Devonish in 2007.

In the women’s 200m, Beth Dobbin will look to defend her title in the same stadium where she broke the Championship record last year, with closest competition likely to come from Jodie Williams and Ashleigh Nelson among others.

In field action, European indoor silver medallist Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn)goes in search of a seventh British outdoor title in the women’s pole vault, while Commonwealth champion and world No.4 Nick Miller goes in the hammer throw. With both athletes already holding the world qualifying standards in their events respectively, they will look to secure a top-two finish to complete the job.

On the long jump runway - and having finally leapt the qualifying mark at last Sunday’s Müller Grand Prix Birmingham at the Alexander Stadium - Abigail Irozuru will be seeking to confirm her place on the team in Doha as she continues a fine return to the sport.

Sure to be hot on Irozuru’s heels, though all in need of the qualifying mark themselves, areLorraine Ugen, Shara Proctor and Jazmin Sawyers, with the trio all playing starring roles in a memorable competition last time out.

Leading the charge in the men’s 800m is European indoor silver medallist Jamie Webb, with his personal best of 1:44.52 set this year the quickest time produced by a Brit since 2013. With the event seeing eight athletes hold the world qualifying standard however, it is all to play for.

With only five of the eight qualifiers racing the 800m, the other three missing qualifiers have opted for the 1500m instead. Jake Wightman, Josh Kerr and Charlie Da’Vall Grice all hold the standards over both events,three of five in total who have the world qualifier in the 1500m with all of them racing the distance this weekend.

The women’s 5000m sees international medallists Eilish McColgan, Laura Weightman and Melissa Courtney as the leading trio coming into the event, with five out of the seven in total who have the standard racing.

Major Events Director, Cherry Alexander OBE said: “The Müller British Athletics Championships is one of the stand-out fixtures in the calendar for our sport and holds pivotal importance in the season.

“With places up for grabs in the team for the IAAF World Championships, and also several of the country’s leading para athletes competing here as a crucial part of their preparation for the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai later in the year, this is set to be a hotly-contested two days of domestic athletics action.

“In regards to engaging the local community, we are also playing host to another Couch to 5k for women only before the action begins on day two (Sunday 25 August) of the championships, with all of those who take part receiving a complimentary ticket to watch Sunday’s action.”

“Finally, we look forward to welcoming both fans and athletes to Birmingham for this bumper weekend of athletics, and once again we are delighted to have the support of BBC once again who are broadcasting the Championships across the network.”

When he finished breaking records on the track, Usain Bolt’s newest venture had a lot to live up to. But, with the latest Tracks & Records breaking records of its’ own, the legendary multi Gold Medal-winning ‘Sprint King’ is making sure that he’s first past the post – in a ‘fine dining’ way.

The first of what he intends to be a worldwide ‘explosion’, the fourth of the chain of restaurants, in London, in the UK, is already proving a massive hit for all connected.

Opened just a short walk away from the Liverpool Street train and underground tube stations in EC1, the concept is attracting a massive, regular, flow of high-profiled personalities, as well as ‘quality cuisine’ fans since its launch in October 2018.

Already wowing foodies in Kingston, Ocho Rios and Motego Bay,in Jamaica, this latest Tracks & Records, on Middlesex Street, is creating the most tantalising of aromas - with Bolt's own favourite scintillating dishes like; jerk chicken, pork and fried fish Caribbean-style spring roll and cassava,packed full of authentic seasonings and spices –is already proving to be a crowd-pleaser.And with over 100 varieties of authentic Jamaican rums available,for that perfect accommodating drink, along with a unique selection of signature cocktails, the Olympic champion’s bold, new dawning will prove to be the start of big things in Britain.

Split into two floors, there’s a large dance area downstairs where DJs can provide guests with music and entertainment until the early hours with a large space decked out with a variety of Bolt’s sports memorabilia, modern art and classic vinyl discs. Or, for something more intimate, you can spend your time away in a personally acquired booth.

Not one to rest on his laurelsTracks & Records – endorsed by. His Excellence Seth George Ramocan, CD, the High Commissioner for Jamaica. In London, and his lady wife, Dr Lola, both of whom have already maid several visits - offer an authentic Caribbean experience; with Olympic hero Bolt planning 15 further sites across the UK alone.

Charity cash raised at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon is on target to smash previous years – with donations through the Official Fundraising Partner up by a FIFTH on 2018.

Donations through Virgin Money Giving are already up by a fifth on 2018, when £24.8m was raised, contributing to the overall event total of £63.7million - a world record for an annual single-day fundraiser for a twelfth successive year.

The average raised per runner last year through the Virgin platform was £2,100, and organisers expect that to rise significantly for this Sunday’s event.

Meanwhile, research by London Marathon sponsor, Virgin Money, to find out what drives people to run a marathon shows that raising money for charity close to their heart was the main motivation for a fifth of those who have run one, while the same number did it for a personal challenge.

That’s compared to 22% of men and 14% of women who are inspired to run purely for the enjoyment of running. 12% of marathon runners have taken on a marathon to improve their fitness, whilst other personal goals like weight loss (9%) and mental or emotional health benefits (9%) are also big motivators. 10% of marathon runners find motivation in honoring a lost loved one.

Over two thirds (67%) of young Brits have running a marathon on their ’bucket list’ and of those surveyed 24% of men have already run one compared to 11% of women.

For marathon virgins, their biggest fear of participating in the event is not being fit enough (63%). Just over a quarter (27%) feel apprehensive about the amount of personal time training would require and another quarter (24%) cite fear of failure as a barrier to participation.

The cost of the preparation for the event also raises a few concerns, with people feeling that if they are going to do it, it should be done properly and with the right training and equipment. Within the list of items needed, 43% feel that healthy eating is a priority, followed closely by purchasing a new pair of running shoes (33%), stocking up on gels and energy drinks (27%) and buying a heart monitor such as a FitBit (16%).

58% of those polled feel that running a marathon would have zero negative effects on their life however for 16% of people there is concern that marathon training would negatively affect personal relationships and their sex life.

Over a third of the respondents are prepared to change their lifestyle and cut down on their eating and drinking habits as well as socialising in order to prepare for the event. Over a third are happy to cut down on things like alcohol and eating sweets or eating treats (34%). 28% would give up having late nights, while 17% would give up smoking and 16% would avoid partying.

Running in fancy dress is a huge part of this annual fundraising event. A fifth of the respondents feel that if their friends or family participate in the marathon dressed up, then this would encourage them to donate to their cause.

The most popular fancy dress choices people feel would motivate friends and family to sponsor are:

  • Donald Trump
  • An adult in a nappy
  • Dressing in a tutu
  • A nun
  • Lederhosen
  • A banana
  • A Smurf

Louise Hodges, Head of Consumer Communications at Virgin Money, said: “The psychology of running is fascinating and the reasons people choose to take on a marathon are innately personal and unique. Our research shows however that running with a purpose and cause in mind is the most motivating influence on both the runner’s motivation and the support friends and family offer them. We are delighted that this year’s fundraising efforts look set to smash all previous year’s records for the Virgin Money London Marathon.  Whatever their motivation we wish each and every runner every success at Sunday’s event and are so grateful to them all for going the extra mile for their chosen charities and causes. These are the heroes of the day and the reason why the marathon is an iconic event every year.”

Khadijah Mellah made history yesterday by becoming the first British Muslim jockey in the UK to win a race when landing the Magnolia Cup charity race on day three of the Qatar Goodwood Festival in dramatic style.

The 18-year-old, from Peckham, remarkably beat a field of 11 other riders in the female only charity race which included Olympian Victoria Pendleton and Vogue Williams.

She first learnt to ride at the charity, Ebony Horse Club in Brixton and her journey from South East London to winning at one of the world’s most famous racecourses will be the subject of a documentary, ‘Riding A Dream’, which will air later this year.

Of her incredible and ground-breaking achievement, Khadijah said, “That was such an unbelievable experience. It is just mind blowing to think that I was even in the same race as Victoria Pendleton, let alone to beat her and the rest of the women. Even in my wildest dreams I never imagined this could happen. I only sat on a racehorse a couple of months ago and I am just never going to forget this day. To be honest, I want to go back and do it all over again – what an incredible feeling!”

ITV Racing presenter, Oli Bell who is producing the film ‘Riding A Dream’ said, “That was completely and utterly amazing, I had my heart in my mouth the whole race. I can’t believe she’s done it and I couldn’t be prouder of Khadijah. We’ve been documenting her journey for the last six months and what she’s accomplished is nothing short of remarkable – it’s hard to overstate the extent of her achievement. She’s been learning to race-ride whilst also having to take her A-levels and a large period of this process was during Ramadan but she has taken it all in her stride, as was the case in front of a massive crowd. I hope that people will see what Khadijah’s achieved and feel inspired. This is a significant moment, not just in racing but in the wider sporting world.”

Charlie Fellowes who trained Khadijah’s horse, Haverland, and with whom she has been based for much of her training said, “Khadijah’s just a legend. I’ve never known anyone with so much focus and determination. I’ll be honest, when she came to the yard probably six – eight weeks ago, I wasn’t sure that she would make it. Racehorses are such highly strung animals and they are completely different to the horses that she will have ridden at Ebony Horse Club. But with every setback she has just worked harder. She’s turned up, put the hard hours in and she has done it. I had a winner here earlier this week but seeing her cross the finishing line in first place is definitely up there with that. I am absolutely thrilled for her.”

David Fleming, Engagement Manager from the charity Ebony Horse Club was on course with a group of ten young riders from the club to watch Khadijah compete. He said, “We all got a real kick out of watching Khadijah do so brilliantly. It takes a special kind of person to do what she has done and that’s why we put her forward to ride in the race and be in the documentary, ‘Riding A Dream’. Ebony Horse Club is a special place and we support 160 children and young people each week with horse related activities. To see one of our riders win at Goodwood is amazing and hopefully more of them will want to get into racing after today.”

‘Riding A Dream’ has been funded by Great British Racing, Goodwood Racecourse and the Racing Foundation as official partners. It is directed by Mattia Reiniger and Tom Bolwell, and produced by Oli Bell and his brother Philip Bell.

Statistics gathered by the anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out shows that reports of racism in English football has risen by 43%.

And, according to the charity’s chief, Roisin Wood, the claim is that reported racist abuse in the game can be linked to Brexit.

Figures released have marked an increase last season; from 192 to 274, with the charity’s director declaring, "I think you can't not link them together.

"We're seeing a lot of reports of 'go back to where you came from' which we haven't seen for a while which seems to be on the back of Brexit."

Reports of abuse in professional and grassroots football have increased by 32% to 422, up from 319 during 2017-18. A further 159 reports were received via social media, with faith-based discrimination - including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism - rose by 75% from 36 to 63, a higher percentage than any other form of abuse during the period.

“It is the seventh consecutive year reported incidents of discrimination within football have increased, with the 581 total reports is more than double the figure from five years ago”, Wood said.

"If we're seeing a rise in hate crime, the Home Office, and other bodies, are seeing a rise in hate crime.

“And it's linked because that's what is going on in society at the moment.

"Some of the social media reports we've seen you wouldn't want anyone to see.

“Education is key to combating racism”, said England manager, Gareth Southgate:– which must mean ‘in all aspects’ of the game – from boardroom to grassroots!

 

 

Some of football’s leading figures descended onto West Bromwich Albion’s The Hawthorns to join members of the late Cyrille Regis and to play their part in the official launch of the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust and to unveil the flagship ‘Strike a Change’ mentoring programme launched in the name of the late former England international.

With former players, who were inspired by him, there to support the legend’s widow, Julia and brother, Dave, community trusts and foundations from all six West Midlands clubs (Albion, Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Walsall) came together for a series of workshops, with local heroes sharing their knowledge and wisdom with more than 100 young people.

A two-year programme supporting 14 and 15-year-old disengaged students with a passion for football the scheme presents a unique opportunity to work across geographical boundaries and club rivalries.

“I didn’t realise I could have a career in football until I saw Cyrille,” said former England international Les Ferdinand – who is now director of football at QPR, the. “With that kind of impact he made on me, to see this programme coming to fruition is exactly what modern football needs.

“I hope they listen and be prepared to learn”, said former Wolves player Gavin Mahon.

James and Adam Chambers became the first twins to play for England and both recalled the impact Regis had on them as they made their way through the Albion ranks shortly during his time there: “Don’t worry about what you CAN’T do”, James said. “Concentrate on what you CAN do”!

Cyrille’s former teammate at Vila, Tony Daley, added: “His presence and integrity made a huge impact on me – during my playing career and my life in general, with his calmness making me feel relaxed through some of my dark days”.

“Think big and listen - especially to your parents” brother, Dave said. “Not every young person has a parent or family member to guide them through times of hardship.

“I’d like to express huge gratitude to all six clubs for coming together in Cyrille’s name for a programme of real meaning. It’s humbling. We’re truly honoured”.

“Mentoring was a passion for Cyrille”, Julia said. "It was the part of his job as an agent that he loved the most.

"So we thought what better way than to start the charity and a mentoring scheme."

"I would like to see all these young boys and girls dream big to believe in themselves and understand that they can achieve what they put their mind to achieve. I would like to see them inspired and to grow as individuals."

The ‘Strike a Change’ mentoring scheme provides a unique opportunity to work with young people across geographical boundaries and club rivalries, exploring major issues such as Equality, Mental Health and Social Responsibility.

The charity is focused on three areas Julia discussed with Cyrille before his sudden passing last year – grassroots football, breaking down barriers, and mentoring.

Great Britain couldn't sign off their best ever performance at a FIBA Women's EuroBasket with a maiden medal at the event, but leave Belgrade proud of an amazing and historic success.

Missing out on the bronze medal to local favourites Serbia who secured a comfortable 81-55 success, Chema Buceta and his team can reflect not only on their best ever finish by some distance, but a place in next year's Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.

Temi Fagbenle may also soon have a further reasons to celebrate, since her 23 points solidified her as a leading candidate for the Tournament All-Star Five.

"We were beaten by the better team and they were better in all areas," said Rachael Vanderwal after the contest.

"It's been a long tournament and both emotionally and physically we just weren't there tonight. But the big picture shows how far we have come. From not even qualifying in 2017, to fighting for a medal."

Great Britain head coach, Chema Buceta stated: " Serbia had a great day but we need to look at that big picture which Rachael (Vanderwal) talked about. We are here talking about Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. This is amazing.

"Of course we would liked to have won this game, but we are playing against a great team, like we did in the Semi-Final against France.

"We have to be very happy with what we have done in this tournament. we have raised the level on the court, but now other people involved have to make sure they also do more," added the play-caller."

Leading middle-distance running stars have today been confirmed for the Emsley Carr Mile race which will take place at this year’s Müller Anniversary Games.

The competitive field will not only include nine British runners for the London Stadium crowd to get behind but will also feature 1500m indoor world record holder Samuel Tefera (ETH), London 2017 bronze medallist Filip Ingebrigsten (NOR), double Olympic medallist Nick Willis (NZL) and European and Commonwealth bronze medallist Jake Wightman (GBR).

Founded in 1953, The Emsley Carr Mile is one of the most famous races in the history of athletics with some of the world’s leading runners claiming the title including Lord Sebastian Coe (GBR), Steve Ovett (GBR), Haile Gebrselassie (ETH), Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) and Bernard Lagat (USA).

The iconic race, which was inaugurated in the memory of former News of the World editor Sir Emsley Carr, was last won by a British athlete in 2017 when Jake Wightman claimed the title with a time of 3:54.92.

Wightman, 24, who won both European and Commonwealth 1500m bronze last year, has been confirmed as one of the leading Brits in the field for the Emsley Carr Mile at this year’s Müller Anniversary Games.

One of the highlights of the distance running calendar also takes place tonight in Highgate at the Night of the 10,000m PBS event, where Wightman will be supporting the event by taking over British Athletics’ social media channels.

Edinburgh AC athlete Wightman said: "This is a really special night in the calendar at the Night of the 10,000m and I’m excited to be there in person to be able to take over British Athletics’ social media to help be a part of this great event.

“There will be a massive crowd at Parliament Hill tonight for the Night of the 10,000m for real quality athletics in London, and for me I know that my big night in London comes in a couple of weeks’ time when I’ll race in at the Müller Anniversary Games in The Emsley Carr Mile.

I was buzzing to win the event in 2017 and it had real significance in my confidence and development the following year. On top of that, I know from experience that the support I will receive at the London Stadium is like nothing else, so I’m sure it make all the difference as I take on a world class field."

IAAF President and previous winner of the Emsley Carr Mile, Lord Coe said: “I have fond memories of running in and watching The Emsley Carr Mile. In fact winning it in 1977, beating Filbert Bayi of Tanzania put me on the back pages of the UK national newspapers for the first time. It is one of the must-not-miss running events that attracts audiences from across the world.

“Previous editions of the Emsley Carr Mile have seen some of the biggest names in global athletics compete – and claim the title – and this year looks set to continue that trend as the world’s most iconic middle-distance race comes to the London Stadium.”

The Müller Anniversary Games takes place just ten weeks before the IAAF World Championships in Doha.

The two-day Diamond League event has seen history made on numerous occasions in recent years, with some memorable performances from British names such as Sir Mo Farah, Laura Muir and Dina Asher-Smith, while para athletics stars Kare Adenegan and Sophie Hahn both broke world records at the 2018 edition of the event.

British Athletics has announced it has started a ground-breaking new partnership with industry experts PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to improve how the Olympic and Paralympic World Class Programmes work with performance data and analytics.

One of the world’s largest professional service firms, PwC will work with British Athletics’ Olympic and Paralympic World Class Programmes as the Official Data Intelligence Partner to improve the support and value delivered to coaches and athletes through the provision of enhanced information and insights.

PwC will provide a range of services from data acquisition and modelling to reporting, visualisation and advanced analytics, generating insights not previously possible from the full range of data sources available to the Programmes.

The British Athletics World Class Programme is UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded initiative to support the delivery of success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The partnership with PwC aligns and supports the strategic aim to win more medals in more events at Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black said: “This is an absolutely ground-breaking partnership for British Athletics to work with PwC and I am thrilled to welcome them into the sport.

“The sport of athletics is statistically and data rich, but there are limitations as to how successful it is if it is not recorded and interpreted correctly, and then provided to coaches and athletes in a way that they can make use of it – whether it is in planning a year or altering the focus of their day-to-day training.

“We truly believe that by more effectively and efficiently using data and analytics, British athletes across the Olympic and Paralympic World Class Programmes can be the best prepared in the world.

With the help and support of PwC and their services, our athletes and coaches will have fast and effective access to data and analytics, all in one place, which is something we have up until now not been able to provide.

“The improvements will be gradual but continuous as new capabilities are developed and there is a learning of what can actually be valuable to ultimately help athletes achieve their goals. It is a very exciting time for our sport to have this input.”

Alex Cooke, Data Intelligence Partner at PwC, said: “Our Data Analytics team support many organisations to get more value from their data and gain competitive advantage or disrupt their industries by optimising their insights operating models. Over the years athletics has brought the country many memorable moments and we are delighted to be partnering with British Athletics to ensure, through the use of data insights, we bring more success in the future.”

Jon Andrews, Head of Technology and Investments at PwC, said: “We’re really excited to partner with British Athletics in this initiative. Working with them, we hope to collectively combine the power of technology with human insight to help them and their athletes achieve superior performance. Speed is of the essence to stay ahead and we aim to bring our experience of mining data to give athletes and coaches more objective information to help them make better decisions.”

After a unanimously agreed by clubs to conduct a feasibility study into the idea at a shareholders' meeting last month, and in the wake of the massive impact made by England during the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the English Premier League has moved a step closer to taking over the Women's Super League from the Football Association.

It follows recent talks between the Premier League and FA, but no timeframe has yet been proposed.

The FA, who set up the WSL in 2011, has overseen its development, seeing the WSL becoming the only full-time professional competition with 12 teams for 2019-20 with Premier League-affiliated clubs making up 13 of the 22 sides in the women's top two divisions, with the top flight securing a £10m sponsorship deal with Barclays.

Attendances, though, have dropped below an average of 1,000, and some Premier League clubs now feel there is significant scope for growth in sponsorship and broadcasting deals, especially after England reaching the World Cup semi-final - which was watched by record television audiences.

A spokesperson for the FA said: "We can confirm that we are supporting the Premier League in exploring the long-term feasibility of the Premier League running the Women's Super League. This is a purely exploratory project and based on a long term timescale”.

Continuing, the spokesperson said: "The FA is proud that it set up the first European women's professional league and the relevant player pathways as part of its commitment to growing the women's game. We have recently established a joint WSL/Women's Championship Board with the clubs to oversee the future strategy and policy of the professional game.

"It is this Board that will recommend the best way forward to The FA as it determines what is in the best interests of the leagues. However, The FA has always been clear that it is open to an external body running the WSL in the long term, as The FA's remit is to support the game from grassroots to elite teams."

Further to that, it is also understands that talks are ongoing about the possibility of playing multiple matches at Premier League stadiums on the opening weekend of the 2019-20 WSL season, which starts on Saturday, September 7 - during an international break for the men's sides.

Any possible takeover, though, could still be several seasons away.