Two-time taekwondo world champion Sarah Stevenson announced her retirement on this day in 2013.

The announcement brought to an end a glittering career that also brought her four gold medals at the European Championships.

She also claimed Britain’s first ever Olympic medal in taekwondo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but was at the centre of controversy after appealing against a contentious ruling during her quarter-final loss to China’s Chen Zhong.

The appeal was successful meaning Stevenson was awarded a spot in the semi-finals and she went on to take bronze.

Stevenson’s first taekwondo world title came in 2001, and she earned her second a decade later in emotional circumstances as both her parents were critically ill.

Her parents died later that year and her career could have been derailed after suffering a serious knee injury, but she recovered in time to compete in her fourth Olympics at London 2012.

She failed to progress beyond the first round and, having not fought since then, reached the decision to retire and take up a role as a high-performance coach with GB Taekwondo.

Stevenson, then aged 30, said: “It has been a hard decision and it has been a long process but I think in just stepping away from the sport and having a break, waiting to seeing if I’m going to miss it or not – I realised I didn’t miss it.

“I didn’t feel in my heart that I wanted to compete again.

“I don’t really do anything half-hearted and I think it would be a mistake for me to continue if my heart isn’t in it.

“But I have no regrets and it feels good to say that. I am 100 per cent happy with my decision.”

Ben Whittaker revealed he missed his grandmother’s funeral in the lead up to Tokyo 2020 and feels his sacrifices are paying off ahead of his light-heavyweight clash with Leon Willings.

The 26-year-old, who continued his unbeaten start to his professional career with a stylish victory over Khalid Graidia in February, returns to action on the undercard of Fabio Wardley v Frazer Clarke at the O2 on Sunday.

Ahead of his seventh professional bout, Olympic silver medallist Whittaker revealed some of the difficult choices he has had to make in his life away from the spotlight.

“Not many people have seen the sacrifices I’ve made,” Whittaker told the PA news agency.

“The little things like when I ran before school, my dad would wake me up in the morning for swimming.

“Even more recently leading up to the Olympics I had to miss my grandmother’s funeral and not a lot of people see that. It’s a sacrifice and it’s paying off.”

Whittaker has amassed over 1 million Instagram followers after his showboating antics last time out gained the attention of supporters.


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He reiterated that despite wanting to entertain, he is looking to “win by any means” this weekend.

“I’m professional so I know when and when not to do it and at the end of the day a win is all that matters,” Whittaker added.

“If I start hopping on one leg, doing flips and I lose, the fans will be entertained. You’ve got to win and that’s what I’ll do. Anything else is a bonus.

“I predict a win. A win by any means.”

The undefeated Whittaker faces Widnes fighter Willings, who has a 7-1 career record, in what will be his second fight of 2024.

The Midlands man believes his ability will be too much for his opponent in London.

“I’m as confident as ever,” he said.

“He’s young and hungry and he’s got a winning mentality but I believe I’m just levels above and that will show on Sunday.

“If you don’t have confidence in this game there’s no point being in it because it’s a dangerous sport. I get my confidence from the work I put in and I make it look so easy because I train two to three times a day and cut no corners.

“I’m better than him in all compartments.”

One of the UK’s fastest deaf swimmers has spent more than 1,000 days campaigning against “discriminatory” policies that deny him funding.

Nathan Young, a holder of seven national records, is not entitled to any Government or National Lottery money to support his ambitions.

The reason is that UK Sport, the agency which allocates funding on behalf of those entities, is focused solely on Olympic and Paralympic sports.

As deafness on its own is not a discipline in the Paralympics, Wirral-based Young, 24, falls outside its criteria.

He is eligible to compete in the Deaflympics – the multi-sport event for deaf athletes sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee – but Great Britain does not financially back its entrants, unlike some other countries.

The only central funding available for solely deaf athletes is at grassroots level, with nothing for elite competitors such as Young.

That has left him needing to work and fundraise alongside his training to ensure he is able to meet the huge outlay needed to compete on the global stage.

For most of the last three years, he has also spent a large amount of his time running a campaign to get the parameters for funding changed, believing the current rules to be unfair.

“At the end of the day it’s discrimination,” said Young, whose campaign passed the 1,000-day mark in February.

“It’s completely isolating a whole disability. If I was a Paralympic swimmer, I would have been getting paid since I was 16 or 17. It could have been a career that I could have had.

“Right now, I train, I go to the gym but all the other things I should be getting as what you would class as an elite athlete, I don’t get any of it.

“Others have the best treatment available to them to keep them going mentally, physically and in every aspect. I should be getting physio, doing strength and conditioning but I get none of that.

“When I’m training right now, I’m thinking I should be working. It’s not what I should be thinking about.”

Young’s campaigning has involved giving numerous speeches and interviews as well as writing many letters and articles. He has also contacted MPs and, as part of a wider campaign with UK Deaf Sport, has even visited Parliament.

With UK Sport funding for recent Olympic/Paralympic cycles being around £300million, it is a source of frustration for Young that not even a relatively small amount can be found for Deaflympians.

“What we’re asking for is so little,” said Young, who might need to find around £3,000 to fund a trip to next year’s Deaflympics in Tokyo.

“UK Deaf Sport only asked for £4million for us (deaf athletes), which is so little when there’s £300-and-something million for Olympic and Paralympic sport.

“We’re getting the same responses. We keep pushing it and pushing it but it’s been over 1,000 days now and it’s been an exhausting journey.”

A UK Sport statement read: “UK Sport’s remit is specifically focused on investing in sports and athletes who are eligible to compete at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The Deaflympics falls outside of Olympic and Paralympic sport. We are therefore unable to fund athletes targeting this event.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “This Government is dedicated to making sport in this country accessible and inclusive for everyone, including deaf people.

“Sport England has committed £1.2million between 2022 and 2027 to boost deaf sport at the grassroots level through widening participation and supporting the development pathway for talented athletes.”

Sir Jason Kenny announced his retirement from a glittering racing career to move into coaching on this day in 2022.

Great Britain’s greatest Olympian with seven gold medals to his name, Kenny admitted to being “a little bit sad” as he called time on a phase of his life which had made him a household name.

The then 33-year-old, who had won a stunning keirin gold in Tokyo during the previous summer to claim a seventh Olympic title 13 years after his first in Beijing, had been planning to keep going until the Paris Games in 2024.

However, he admitted the opportunity to coach the British squad was one he could not pass up.

Kenny said: “It wasn’t an easy decision. I genuinely wanted to carry on to Paris, but I creak quite a lot these days and I always knew I wanted to go into coaching off the back of it, and this opportunity came along.

“I am a little bit sad, to be honest, because all I’ve known is riding and competing, but I’m quite excited to get stuck into the job.”

Kenny replaced Scott Pollock, who had served as sprint coach in an interim role following the dismissal of Kevin Stewart in November 2020.

He had retired once before, silently stepping away after winning team sprint, individual sprint and keirin gold at the 2016 Rio Games, without announcing his decision until he reversed it a year later.

Kenny said: “Last time, I didn’t realise it, but I was just cooked. I’d never really taken a break [in 10 years], so I just stepped away. Because I never planned on coming back, I completely switched off and got that re-fresh.

“In Rio, I was quite happy to see the back of it. But then since coming back and being refreshed, it’s a lot harder to walk away.”

Kenny was knighted in the 2022 New Year Honours List, while his wife and fellow cyclist Laura – formerly Trott – received a damehood after establishing herself as Britain’s most decorated female Olympian with five golds.

Ivy-Jane Smith hopes her push towards a place at next year’s Paris Olympics will continue to help shift perceptions and blaze a trail for young Romany and traveller girls to pursue careers in elite sport.

Like girls in her community, Smith left school at the age of 13, but was encouraged by her parents to continue her successful junior boxing career, which has lifted the Dorset light-flyweight to the brink of a place at the Games.

Smith, now 24, concedes that others within her wider community may not always have been so happy to see her pursue a less traditional path, but is comfortable assuming a role in helping to slowly change those attitudes.

“As a young girl (in my community) you usually marry and have children early, and I haven’t followed that path and some people will probably have a problem with it,” Smith, who fights on home soil for the first time in six years in the GB Open in Sheffield next week, told the PA news agency.

“It’s my personal life and and at the end of the day you’ve got to be proud of who you are. I know there’s still an idea out there that everyone’s got to follow a certain way, and that’s the way it is.

“It’s not a nasty way, it’s just tradition, but if you keep following tradition you’re never going to know anything different. You see a lot more young girls staying in school these days and I think it’s slowly changing for the better.”

Smith’s boxing career has been fully supported by her parents, John and Ivy, since she was first encouraged to try boxing at the age of three. In her teens, Smith won a series of national titles and caught the eye of GB performance director Rob McCracken, who rated her one of the best young prospect he had seen.

But no sooner had Smith established her place on the GB development squad at the age of 18, than she chose to abruptly walk away from the sport, ignoring her coaches’ entreaties to return and barely so much as wobbling a punchbag for the next four years.

“I was quite a young 18-year-old and travelling up to the GB gym from Southampton got too much for me,” continued Smith, who maintains her decision had nothing to do with external pressure from others.

“I hit a point where I thought, I just don’t want to do this any more. I could feel myself not giving everything in the gym. It wasn’t because of any pressure, I just don’t think I was ready for it back then, and I just quit completely.”

Seemingly lost to the sport, Smith settled into a part-time job before feeling the familiar urging to lace back on the gloves at the beginning of last year.

“I was fed up in my job so I just went back for something to do,” said Smith, who by a twist of fate also happened to move to Sheffield, home of the GB Boxing set-up, during her extended lay-off.

“I started really pushing for it, I got selected for England again and I won a gold medal in a tournament in Poland in September, which got me back onto the GB squad.

“I’d always wanted to go to the Olympics, and even when I quit I had a few regrets and thought, ‘what if?’ Now it’s almost there, I won’t disappear again. I want to go to the Olympics in Paris and make a difference.”

After securing the Diamond League 400 metres title last year, Kirani James says his focus was on progressive improvement ahead of the Paris Olympics, and the former World and Olympic champion has taken the necessary steps to continue along that path, with the appointment of Chris Lawrence as his new coach.

The coaching change comes as the Grenadian, who ended fifth at last year's Budapest World Championships, takes aim at a fourth Olympic appearance and, by extension, 400m medal to build on his already impressive track record. James won gold, silver and bronze at the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Games, and with Lawrence, a former assistant to his late coach Harvey Glance, he is excited about the prospects.

In fact, James’ decision to work with Lawrence reflects his commitment to build on Glance’s legacy.

“I’m pleased that Chris will be able to accompany and help aide me to continue the journey and path set out by coach Glance,” James shared.

The now 31-year-old’s career journey has been nothing short of remarkable. He first came in the scene with victories at the Carifta Games, and World Youth Championships in the 200m. Those were followed by a stellar performance in the 400m at the 2010 World Under-20 (Junior) Games.

James later rose to prominence when he copped gold at the 2012 London Olympics, with the Rio silver and Tokyo bronze to follow, making him the first athlete to win all three medals in the 100-year history of the event.

Additionally, James secured a bronze medal at the 2015 Beijing World Championships, and a silver at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene. His successive Diamond League titles in 2022 and 2023, complemented his World and Olympic accolades, as well as his Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2014.

These accomplishments have established James as one of the elite athletes in the 400m discipline and Grenada’s first and only Olympic medalist.

As James and Lawrence prepare for the Paris showpiece, anticipation will be high in the ‘Spice Isle’, as their superstar seems poised to add yet another chapter to his already legendary career in the world of athletics, especially given his resilience, dedication, and proven track record.

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is confident that next year's Olympic Games in Paris will not only be a success, but more importantly, will serve to unite the world in peaceful competition.

"With the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 only months away, the athletes, the fans, the entire Olympic community, all of us, are looking forward to a new era of Olympic Games: younger, more inclusive, more urban, more sustainable," Bach said in his New Year's message.

"It is inspiring to see everyone in the Olympic Movement making this new era of Olympic Games a reality. Therefore, we can look forward with great confidence to the Olympic Games Paris 2024 as a symbol of global unity and peace," he added.

Earlier this month, the IOC announced its decision to have a limited number of Russian and Belarusian athletes compete in Paris as neutrals under "strict eligibility conditions."

The decision applies to athletes who do not support the war in Ukraine while removing the option of a blanket ban due to the invasion.

"We are longing for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 to unite the entire world in peaceful competition," Bach said.

"People are exhausted and tired of the antagonism, hostility and hatred they encounter in all areas of their lives," he opined.

The former Olympic fencer also pointed out that the Games will be the first with full gender parity.

"Our expectations of these Olympic Games are shared by billions of people. In these difficult times we live in, people all over the world are exhausted and tired of the antagonism, hostility and hatred they face in all areas of their lives," Bach noted.

"Deep in our hearts we all long for something that unites us. Something that unites us despite our differences. Something to give us hope. Something that inspires us to solve problems peacefully. Something that brings out the best in us," he stated.

Double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes announced her retirement from athletics on this day in 2005.

Holmes had been a regular medallist at middle distance events, including winning bronze over 800 metres at the Sydney Olympics, but injuries had stopped her from hitting the heights until the Athens Games came along in 2004.

At the age of 34, the Kent runner achieved her dream by securing gold in the 800m before claiming her second gold a few days later over 1,500m.

Holmes had planned to bow out at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 but brought forward her retirement plans.

The former army sergeant revealed at a press conference she had been badly affected by the death of a man she met while visiting her physiotherapist in Ireland.

She said: “I met a guy in Ireland called Tim O’Brian, a friend of my physio Gerard Hartmann. We met for lunch and he was full of life. I went back to South Africa and heard two days later from Gerard that he only had four weeks to live.

“He died only a few weeks ago of cancer. I was totally shocked, overwhelmed and uncontrollable in terms of my feelings. Something clicked in my mind. You never know where your life is going so why not make the most of everything?

“I have achieved everything I ever wanted. I am a double Olympic champion. I have nothing to prove to anyone, including myself. I have done and surpassed what other people will continue to dream of.”

Holmes hung up her spikes having won 12 major medals across a 10-year span, including Commonwealth golds over 1,500m in 1994 and 2002.

Since retirement, Holmes has mentored young athletes, worked in TV and as a motivational speaker and written several books. She was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year’s Honours of 2005 and appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment in 2018.

Kieran Reilly has talked up his chances of winning a BMX freestyle gold at the Olympic Games next year, following a series of landmark victories in 2023.

The 22-year-old from Gateshead said victory in Paris was “always going to be the goal” and he does not have his “head in the clouds” as focus turns to the showpiece event.

Reilly won the National BMX Freestyle Championships in Nottingham last month, which added to the gold medals he won at the European Games in Krakow in June and the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow in August, beating reigning Olympic champion Logan Martin in the latter.

He shot to fame in January 2021 after breaking a world record by completing the world’s first triple flair on a BMX.

Reilly, a Red Bull athlete, told the PA news agency: “I think the year I’ve had this year, the biggest growth for me has been confidence, learning so much about myself that I can beat these riders who, growing up, [were] guys that I idolised.

“It took a while to really flip the switch on my mindset and want to beat these guys, and I’ve done that this year at the biggest events.

“Everyone who attended the Tokyo Olympics was at the World Championships in Glasgow, and if beating the Olympic champion wasn’t going to give me the confidence to beat him at the Olympics then I don’t know what was.”

BMX freestyle will appear at the Olympics for a second time after making its debut at the Tokyo 2020 games, with a total of 24 riders – 12 men and 12 women – competing at La Concorde Urban Park in Paris.

Two qualifying events in Shanghai and Budapest will be held in May and June next year to determine who will appear at the Games, but Reilly said the showpiece event was already firmly in his thoughts.

“The competitive mindset I have, the second I qualify for these Games the mindset and goal switches from getting there to getting gold and that’s always going to be the goal,” he continued.

“I think that gold is a good goal for me – I haven’t got my head in the clouds thinking that, and when I get to Paris that’s going to be what I’ve got my sights set on.”

It is likely that those two events will be only competitive BMX meets before the Olympics and Reilly acknowledged “there’s a lot of unknown” going into the Games, but he insisted he hopes to debut some new tricks of his own and would “have some surprises” ready for Paris.

He is currently practising these tricks at his training base – Adrenaline Alley in Corby, Northamptonshire – but this remains one of very few purpose-built professional riding areas in England.

Reilly said BMX was now at a position where it deserves greater investment in facilities, particularly with the UK’s recent success in competitions and its growing popularity.

He said: “Now I think, on the British Cycling Team, we have seven or eight guys and three girls and they all are podium potential at the Games and at every single World Cup.

“We have arguably the biggest [and] one of the most competitive teams of riders going into any of these events, so it almost makes sense for a sport where we have this potential to dominate, why wouldn’t you try and find that missing factor and help with facilities?”

Reilly stressed the investment was even more critical as more people now take BMX seriously alongside more established sports, such as football and swimming.

He added: “Now parents are pushing their kids into it. It was more of a hobby that parents weren’t really supporting.

“A lot of kids went into playing football for a Saturday team and riding their bikes was just a side hobby. Now parents have seen that you can have a career in this sport.

“I’ve seen a lot more parents at the skate park now rooting on their kids and entering their kids in amateur competitions.”

Jessica Ennis-Hill announced her retirement from athletics on this day in 2016.

She had won Olympic gold in the heptathlon at London 2012 and silver at Rio 2016, and retired as a two-time world champion.

Ennis-Hill, then 30, released a statement on her Instagram account to announce her decision and admitted it was “one of the toughest decisions” she had ever had to make during her successful career.

The Sheffield-born heptathlete returned to competition after the birth of her son Reggie in July 2014 and went on to win the World Athletics Championships in Beijing in 2015 having already achieved the qualifying standard for Rio.

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It was her second world heptathlon title after previously achieving the feat in Berlin in 2009 while claiming silver in 2011.

Ennis-Hill’s senior breakthrough came at her only Commonwealth Games in 2006 where she picked up bronze, finishing behind winner and team-mate Kelly Sotherton.

But she was destined for more greatness and won gold at the 2010 European Championships before claiming the World Indoor Pentathlon title in the same year.

The victories were part of her dominance of the sport between 2009 and 2012 ahead of her success at London 2012.

She won the 100 metres hurdles before coming sixth in the high jump and 10th in the shot put. A personal best of 22.83 seconds saw her finish second in the 200 metres and Ennis-Hill was also second in the long jump before she threw a personal best of 47.49 metres in the javelin to finish 10th and put her on the brink of glory.

She earned the Olympic crown with a season’s best of two minutes and eight seconds in the 800 metres to win the race.

Ennis-Hill then called time on her career following the 2016 Olympics after she narrowly failed to retain her Olympic heptathlon title-winning silver behind Belgian Nafissatou Thiam at Rio 2016.

She won the 800m – the final discipline of the competition – but it was not enough to overtake Thiam, who won by 35 points.

Beth Potter cried every day after making the switch from athletics to triathlon but she now stands on the brink of qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

The 31-year-old Scot won the Games test event in the French capital last month and a top-three finish at the World Triathlon Championship Finals in Spain on Sunday would see her meet the selection criteria for the British team.

Whether she qualifies this weekend or not, there seems little doubt Potter will be part of the British line-up next summer, joining a notable list of athletes who have competed at the Olympics in two different sports.

It was after using her summer holidays from her day job as a physics teacher to race in the 10,000 metres in Rio in 2016 that Potter decided to throw her eggs in the triathlon basket.

“I think I probably had doubts until last year,” she told the PA news agency.

“It’s been really hard. I think those around me, the guys I train with, my boyfriend and my mum and dad, will know how hard it’s been. Even that first year I was in Leeds I probably spent every day pretty upset and wondering whether I’d made the right choice. I think I probably cried every day.”

Potter used family motivation to keep her going, saying: “I always did know it was never going to happen overnight, these things never do, it always takes four or five years.

“It was in line with my sister finishing her medical degree in Sheffield. I gave myself until then, if I’m not making a living out of it by then or things are just not going how I thought they would then I’ll probably just quit and go back to the day job. Luckily I beat her to that. She’s just finished her training.”

Potter grew up doing swimming alongside her athletics but she was a cycling novice when she made the transition to triathlon aged 25.

“It’s not as easy to pick up skills like that as an adult because you have the fear, you know what’s going to happen if you come off,” she said. “It’s not like a kid where you just bounce off the ground. You know you’re going to hurt yourself.

“There was just a lot of doubt. I found that quite hard, constantly trying to believe in myself and constantly be like, it is going to work, I’m just not quite there yet. Getting to grips with a completely different sport.

“It was a very steep learning curve. Getting thrown into the world series and drowning, basically, way out of my depth. There was one way that I could race. If I had an easy swim and an easy bike then that would be fine.

“The way racing has been the last couple of years it’s not been ideal for me but now I’ve got my bike and my swim up to those levels, I’m trying to turn myself into an all-round athlete that can win from any position.

“It’s been quite good this year how I’ve managed to win and get on the podium in different events and in different race scenarios.”

Potter has put together a brilliant 2023 campaign, winning world series races in Abu Dhabi and Montreal and then getting the better of big French rival Cassandre Beaugrand in a head-to-head finish at the test event.

A repeat in Pontevedra would see the winner crowned world champion, although Potter’s main target remains booking her spot in Paris.

“My goal at the start of the season was to qualify for the Olympics,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to be in the running for the world title. I knew I could be up there but I didn’t expect it to come down to the wire.

“It’s a bit of a chicken and egg where I think if I just focus on doing the little things right, I’ll probably get the Olympic qualification and finish wherever on the podium.”

Olympic silver medallist Alex Yee is in the running for the men’s title having also won the test event, and the British team look well positioned to continue their brilliant run of success in the sport next summer.

Potter is currently the leading woman in the absence of the injured Georgia Taylor-Brown, individual silver medallist in Tokyo, and her gold medal-winning mixed relay team-mate Jess Learmonth, who recently gave birth to her first child.

Potter praised the coaches in Leeds who have kept the faith through the last six years that her move to triathlon would pay off.

“They’ve stuck by me through thick and thin so I owe it to them because they believed when I was nothing,” she said. “They can see a reward now hopefully. It was a bit bonkers to do it but I definitely think it’s been the right decision.”

Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Christopher Samuda welcomes discussions to possibly include cricket in the Olympic Games for a second time in its history, as he believes it will provide the much-need shot in the arm required to move the sport forward, financially and otherwise, from a Jamaica and Caribbean perspective.

With the executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set to deliberate new sports to be welcomed into the fold, cricket is said to be among those being strongly considered for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

According to reports, men’s and women’s Twenty20 cricket is heavily favoured to make the cut to become an Olympic sport for just the second time since the 1900 Paris Games, as IOC president Thomas Bach is reportedly a big fan of bringing the sport on board, given its mass appeal in countries such as India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Those three nations are by no means world-beaters in other Olympic sports, but if cricket was included for 2028, the tournament would no doubt command the attention of sports enthusiasts, especially with England, Australia and New Zealand, expected to be involved.

However, it is understood that organisers would only allow cricket at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles under the condition that flag football –a non-contact version of American football –would also be added to the Games.

Still, Samuda believes cricket being considered is a win, in and of itself for the sport, and if it does in fact get included in the 2028 multi-sport showpiece, the move could have a far-reaching impact on Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, especially at a time when there are overwhelming concerns about the failure of West Indies cricket.

“The JOA welcomes discussions on the inclusion of cricket on the agenda for the LA 2028 Olympic Games as an expression, not only of inclusivity, but also of global sport maturing in response to diversity and imperative of engaging a fraternity which has, as others, become highly commercial,” Samuda said.

“A sporting, but also, a cultural institution in the lives of West Indians, a name historically inherited with colonialism which geopolitical historians now show a preference for the Caribbean.

“Cricket’s inclusion will give the sport in Jamaica and the Caribbean a well needed fillip and an opportunity for capital to commercialize the sport for its own sustainability without compromising Olympic values, for at the JOA, we celebrate character and merit as pre-requisite to rewarding monetarily,” he told

The number of sports contested at the Olympic Games has rapid increased in recent times.

With the addition of golf, some 38 sports were played at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, but that number jumped to 46 at the Tokyo Games, as 3x3 basketball, BMX, karate, rugby sevens, baseball, softball, skateboarding, surfing and speed climbing were all added.

The number will drop to 45 for next year’s Paris Games with the culling of baseball/softball and karate, while breakdancing has been included for the first time.

Twenty20 cricket already enjoyed somewhat of a test run at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with an eight-team women’s tournament.

Barbados was a part of that historic tournament which saw Australia, India, and New Zealand, winning the medals.

On that note, Samuda weighed in on the views of whether Jamaica and other Caribbean islands would compete individually or collectively under the West Indies umbrella.

“The debate as to whether the Caribbean should compete as individual countries, as obtained in the Olympic movement, or collectively as the West Indies, should consider that independence encourages the development of talent and accentuates a national identity and pride which are priceless qualities of nationhood,” Samuda shared.

“As small as we are in the Caribbean with bigger countries having an unfair numerical advantage, our instincts at surviving and our ability to do so admirably, has been demonstrated in other sport such as football and track and field,” he added.

In any case, Samuda pointed out that once the business model of the sport is properly aligned with the prospects, then the potential exists for positive spinoffs, financial and otherwise, from a qualifying tournament alone.

“Cricket still has the ability of mass appeal and its inclusion in the Olympic Games will serve to deepen its capital, and the playing of qualifying tournaments, if the sport’s business model is right, will heighten interest across generations and gender and attract investment,” he reasoned.

“Sport is a qualitative investment in the human capital and there are many social and cultural values that can be learnt at the crease over and above the boundaries of sport,” the JOA president noted.

England spinner Sarah Glenn says cricket would be the perfect fit for the Olympic Games.

International Olympic Council president Thomas Bach has hinted in a recent interview that he would like to see T20 cricket added to the roster of sports at the 2028 Los Angeles games.

Glenn was part of the squad that represented England at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and would relish the chance to play in LA.

“Definitely, cricket is a sport that can fit anywhere and it would be exciting if that happens,” she said.

“It will be a weird feeling because we are used to driving towards the World Cup and Ashes, they are such unique events for us.

“It will have a weird feeling to start with but it would develop into something that we would really want to win and take charge of, a bit like when we were in the Commonwealth Games.

“We didn’t know what to expect, the opening ceremony was very different, but once we got out there it was just a game of cricket.

“Hopefully, it could also open cricket to a new audience that is invested in to the Olympic Games. We always want to push our game forward.”

Glenn is part of the England squad that is hoping to wrap up a T20 series win over Sri Lanka.

Heather Knight’s side were pegged back in the three-match series on Sunday, meaning Wednesday’s match at Derby is the decider.

It is the perfect venue for Glenn, who was born in the city and has many special memories at the County Ground.

“It is really special, I grew up playing here and grew up coming to watch the cricket and asking for autographs afterwards,” she said.


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“So it is quite a special ground and I will definitely be engaging with the crowd after the game as well.

“Back then I didn’t know as much about women’s cricket, it wasn’t in the public’s eye as much and seeing that young girls can have female cricketers as role models is really exciting.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to now be giving autographs, but it naturally just happened because I enjoyed the game. It will be nice to chat to fans after the game and hopefully inspire them.”

Lauren Bell will not be involved for England after she pulled out of the match, and forthcoming one-day series, due to illness.

Stars from both ends of the experience spectrum are among those boasting gold medal hopes for Great Britain at next year’s Paris Olympics.

With one year to go to the Games, the PA news agency picks out five of the potentially biggest headline-grabbers.

Sky Brown

Aged just 13 when she won skateboard bronze in Tokyo in 2021, Brown is back and looking better than ever ahead of Paris, having scooped X Games and Dew Tour titles in 2022 and followed them up by being crowned women’s park world champion in Sharjah in February.

Jessica Gadirova

The precociously talented 18-year-old gymnast won world all-around gold in Liverpool last year and followed it up by winning this year’s European crown. Having been part of GB’s stunning bronze medal team triumph in Tokyo, Gadirova is well equipped to target her sport’s ultimate individual prize.

Keely Hodgkinson

Silver linings are no longer enough for the 800-metre star who was pipped by American rival Athing Mu at both the Tokyo Olympics and the subsequent World Championship. Gold at this year’s European Indoors in Istanbul will have whetted her appetite to go one better when her rivalry with Mu resumes in the French capital.

Carl Hester

After three straight Olympic medals in team dressage – including gold at London 2012 – 56-year-old Hester is targeting a fourth in what will be his final Games. Having missed last year’s team world silver in Denmark due to an injury to his horse, Hester will be determined to go out on a high.

Tom Dean

While Adam Peaty takes a well-deserved back seat, Dean has splashed into focus as he bids to better his historic haul from Tokyo 2020, at which he became the first British swimmer to claim more than one gold medal at a single Games in 113 years.

Two-time Olympic champion Helen Glover says coming out of retirement after the Tokyo Games felt like more of “a natural decision” as she targets further success.

The 37-year-old made her comeback to compete at Tokyo just one year after giving birth to twins and narrowly missed out on a podium spot with a fourth-placed finish.

However, Glover has come out of retirement for a second time to target a potential fourth Olympics in Paris next year and says the decision is “working well” so far.

“I think this time actually felt like a more natural decision,” she told PA news agency.


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“When I started to come back for Tokyo, that was way more left field, didn’t see it coming, it was purely from circumstance.


“I spent that whole year going up to Tokyo thinking ‘can it be done?’ and having done it, it made me think – I spent so much time thinking you’re trying to change things, push barriers and move things around to make it work to be a mum coming back into sport.

“Now I know it can be done – how well can it be done? I think there were so many unanswered questions, now they’ve been answered it’s like ‘we can get to work now’.

“It really excites me and I think that after Tokyo, coming back and spending some time with family, there was no real reason for me to retire.

“It’s working well with family life, my body still is in good enough condition to do it.

“I think until the day that something slips, either my body can’t do it anymore or the kids don’t become a priority, that’s the day that I will stop doing it.”

Glover’s return has already seen her earn two silvers this year rowing in the women’s four at the World Rowing Cup II and the European Rowing Championship.

An Olympic spot is up for grabs at the World Championships in September and, although her Olympic medals were won in the pair, Glover insists competing in a four has not changed her preparations.

“It’s not been too different from the pair,” she said.

“I think essentially if you’re in a boat with somebody else, you’re turning up for them, you’re being at training on time, you’re having to tow the line along with the rest of the team.

Glover has three children with her husband, the television presenter and naturalist Steve Backshall, and became the first mother to row for GB at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, she admits the unpredictability of balancing parenthood alongside being an athlete is something that she has had to relax with.

“I think it’s definitely less kind of predictable than I expected, once you have a family, you just don’t know what you’re going to be doing in two weeks’ time,” Glover said.

“I can have a run of a good few weeks of training and think ‘yeah, I’ve got it nailed, everything’s fine’ then suddenly someone will get chicken pox and everything changes.

“I think that unpredictability is something I’m having to relax a little bit with, it goes a little bit against the elite athlete mindset of everything having to be perfect.”

Glover was speaking ahead of the launch of Team GB’s Mini Mascot campaign, where five children will get an extraordinary opportunity to be part of Team GB as the official mascots to the team.

Once selected the five Mini Mascots will experience extraordinary moments on the journey to Paris 2024, from meeting the athletes, to sending Team GB on their way to the Games.

For Glover, reaching a potential fourth Games would be “even more special” with her children able to watch on in Paris.

She said: “I think I’ll be in great shape to go to the Games, but I never want to say I’m there because I know a lot can happen!

“I think reaching a fourth Olympics Games would be something I wouldn’t have believed in my wildest dreams; it’ll be even more special because my kids can be there watching from the finish line.”

Parents or guardians can nominate their child to become a mascot by entering their details at

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