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London 2017 World Athletics Championships Podcast

February 27, 2017 in Multimedia

This summer, the London Stadium in Stratford will host the 2017 World Athletics and ParaAthletics Championships.

These will be the biggest and most prestigious athletics events staged at the venue since the glory days of the 2012 Olympic Games.

But how many people are actually aware that the Championships are coming to the capital in August?

Crystal Davis and Lucas Chomicki visited the Queen Elizabeth Park, home of the London Stadium, to ask people there about the 2017 Worlds.

These events should be the highest-profile entries on the UK’s sporting calendar this year, but are they still flying under the radar with less than six months to go?

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King hungry for Badminton return after mixed debut in 2016

February 21, 2017 in Multimedia

Having dreamed of competing at Badminton Horse Trials her whole life, 2016 was the year that dreams came true for Emily King.

Seen as the pinnacle of the eventing scene, the three-day competition combines dressage, cross-country and show jumping in a test of a rider’s ability in all three disciplines.

The 20 year-old got off to a fantastic start in her maiden appearance in May of last year, ending the dressage event in second place overall, just 2.4 penalty points behind eventual winner Michael Jung.

However she could not continue her pursuit for glory after suffering a fall at the second to last fence of the cross-country event.

King’s leading horse, Brookleigh, suffered a tendon injury shortly before the incident and such are the time scales of a horse’s recovery, both horse and rider must now wait until 2018 for their second attempt at glory.

We caught up with the Team GB rider who shared her reflections on her Badminton debut.

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Audio commentary courtesy of FEI.

Main photo courtesy of Horse & Hound.

The flipside to AFC Wimbledon’s success story: Kingstonian FC

February 20, 2017 in Multimedia

Elephant Sport reporters Daniel Racheter and Shan Gambling visit Kingsmeadow Stadium – home of both non-league Kingstonian FC and League One side AFC Wimbledon.

Ryman Premier outfit Kingstonian originally took Wimbledon in, but the Dons are now their landlords and have sold the ground to Chelsea, who want to stage youth and women’s fixtures there.

Wimbledon have plans for a new stadium near the site of their old home in Plough Lane, while the Ks have been left looking for a groundshare for next season.

News on that is imminent as Daniel and Shan gauge the mood around the club during a match against Tonbridge Angels.

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‘Surfing can ride the Olympic wave at Tokyo 2020’

February 20, 2017 in Multimedia

Chris Moar Aguiar catches up with former professional surfer Sofia Marques to learn more about surfing becoming an Olympic sport and its long-term future.

Sofia surfed in competitions for 15 years after mastering the sport on the beaches of her native Portugal. She’s lived for long periods in England and Australia, but now resides in a little apartment in Coristanco, Spain.

Catch the interview here:

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Elephant Sport Podcast – The Rise of Online Streaming

February 1, 2017 in Multimedia, Opinion

Mike Newell and Lucas Chomicki investigate why more sports fans are turning to internet streaming to watch live events.

The increasing availability of illegal feeds is a growing problem for broadcasters anxious to protect their multi-billion pound investments in sports rights.

Sky and BT Sport paid £5.1bn between them for the current Premier League deal, but what happens when fans aren’t prepared to pay for what they view?

This vox pop features anonymous interviewees because of the subject under discussion.

 

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Elephant Sport Podcast – Transfer Deadline Day Special

February 1, 2017 in Multimedia

In this edition of the Elephant Sport Podcast, reporters Caleb Sage and Hassan Abdullah sit down with Kortney Hudson to discuss the 2017 January transfer window.

Chelsea supporter Caleb and Arsenal fan Hassan, share their views on their teams windows and give an overview on the ins and outs of the Premier League’s winter window wheeling and dealing.

Also discussed is the Chinese Super League, and how the huge transfer fees and wages being offered by its clubs are impacting on European football.

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Elephant Sport Podcast – Women’s Football Special

January 23, 2017 in Multimedia

In this edition of the Elephant Sport podcast, reporters Daniel Racheter and Shan Gambling discuss women’s football with Millwall Lionesses player Leanne Cowan.

Ahead of the upcoming Women’s European Championships in Holland this summer, Leanne gives her views on England’s chances after so nearly reaching the World Cup final two years ago.

Also discussed is the calendar changes that are set to go ahead for the Women’s Super League, moving the season to match the men’s calendar, running across the winter months.

Catch January’s Elephant Sport podcast here:

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Venezuelan baseball vs the US influence

January 10, 2017 in Multimedia

Venezuelan baseball players have slowly started dominating the Major League Baseball in North America. While many have been quick to attribute the successes of said Venezuelans to the US influence, baseball in the Latin American country has been carving out its own identity and style since 1941.

This video essay deconstructs the history of Venezuelan baseball, as well as its relationship with Cuba and the US. Featuring quotes from an original interview with writer and historian Milton Jamail.

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‘There’s more to beach volleyball than tight clothing’

December 6, 2016 in Multimedia, UAL Sport

This edition of ES TV sees reporter Daniel Racheter interview University of the Arts London’s women’s volleyball player Francisca L. Dias.

Francesca discusses her experience of beach volleyball and the stereotypes surrounding it

She also explains that although British volleyball faces uncertainty at international level, with its funding drastically cut, the spirit and competitiveness in the university game is high – although UAL’s recent results haven’t been great…

 Produced and edited by Daniel Racheter and Shan Gambling

Watch the full interview here:

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Is video gaming a real sport?

December 6, 2016 in Features, Multimedia, Opinion

There is a grey area when it comes to determining if certain activities are a sport.

These can range from card games, chess and wrestling to fishing or pool. In recent years however, a new pastime has become part of the debate – gaming.

As with the other activities touted as sports, opinions are sharply divided. But those who argue that gaming should be considered a sport make a surprisingly strong case.

At first glance it might seem downright silly to call gaming a sport but there are a lot of commonalities between classic sports and playing on a console or PC.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of a sport is: “A game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to the rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job”.

The key word here is, of course, ‘physical’. Gaming is not a physical activity (button-mashing Tekken doesn’t count), no matter what level you compete at.

However, I don’t think that the lack of a physical aspect to gaming completely rules it out as a sport.

Similarities

Here are a few similarities between sport and gaming:

  • There is a competitive, individual/team activity.
  • They draw crowds (and big crowds at that). The big events even take place in stadiums and arenas and are broadcast on TV with pundits, analysts and commentators.
  • Both involve a high level of strategy, especially games like Defence of the Ancients (DOTA), League of Legends and even Call of Duty.
  • There is also the classic argument made by every gamer ever that playing requires high levels of reaction times.
  • They have rules and codes of conduct.

Experiment

So now we’ve established that there are a lot of close similarities, but re-read those points with the context of TV cooking shows.

Can it be both?

Can it be both? (Image Credit Pixbay)

Done? Again, apart from the stadiums and reaction times, they seem to somewhat match the aspects of sport, but that doesn’t mean that cooking should be considered a sport.

Michal Blicharz is a former judoka who now organises events on the Intel Extreme Masters circuit, an elite global pro-gaming tour.

He told the BBC: “I’ve sweated on the judo mat enough times to have a good opinion about it.

“Judo and e-sports are not that dissimilar. In terms of training you have to put in the same amount of hours, perhaps even more in e-sports.

“You study strategy, technique and opponents. All the elements are there – the excitement, the adrenalin, players crying tears of sorrow and joy.”

Prize pool

On top of all of that, professional gaming is becoming an exponentially growing business.

The prize money on offer at major tournaments such as League of Legends World Championship, Halo World Championship, and DOTA 2 International are now reaching similar levels to those of major sporting events.

E-sports has become a big bucks pursuit (Image Credit: Flickr)

The entire prize pool for the 2016 Defence Against the Ancients Championship reached over $20m with the winning team (Wings Gaming) receiving just over $9m.

Each team consists of five people which works out as $1.8m per player. The total of the prize pool at the US Open tennis was over $36m with the singles champions getting $3.5m.

It’s also worth pointing out that each year the prize pools at major gaming events have increased so it is not unrealistic that eventually pro gamers will be earning as much as top athletes.

Gaming also has a similar format as in sport when it comes to making it to the major tournaments.

A pro-gaming team first has to get into a Secondary Pro League which is a national event by competing in local and regional events. The winners and runners up of the Pro League are then seeded into the world championship.

 Verdict

So is gaming a sport? My personal opinion is that it isn’t, even though there are undeniable similarities.

I believe that it is acceptable to call it e-sports but it should become its own establishment with its own governing body rather being approved by sporting councils.

For me, watching someone playing Fifa on an Xbox or PlayStation and calling it a sport is almost an insult to all those athletes who put in the many hours training to improve their skills.

By no means am I saying that improving skill, ability and intellect in gaming doesn’t take time and effort and dedication, but rather that there is a difference.

Just like cooking is cooking, art is art, and music is music, so should pro gaming be pro gaming, or in this case, e-sports, but not sports.

Feature image of the League of Legends tourney courtesy of Wikimedia.

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