A brilliant summer of sport
We’ve had a great sporting summer and Sunday was exceptional. Lewis Hamilton took a record-breaking sixth Grand Prix victory at Silverstone, while Novak Djokovic battled for nearly five hours and five sets with Roger Federer before claiming the Wimbledon men’s championship.
Federer was competing in his 12th Wimbledon final which he has already won eight times. He must rank as one of the world’s greatest sportsman, and at 37 - five years older than Djokovic - he is an extraordinary advertisement for athleticism and determination.
And then there was the Cricket World Cup. I was lucky enough to be at Lord’s on Sunday for the final and to witness England’s extraordinary win over New Zealand. It was an epic day’s sport which I will never forget.
Our sporting success this year has certainly not just belonged to the men. The whole country was proud of England’s women’s football team for reaching the World Cup semi-finals in France, and the Lionesses’ success marks a growing interest in women’s sport.
I hope this brilliant summer of sport encourages many more young people, girls and boys, to take part in their chosen game. Visiting Arundel’s Church of England School on Friday, I was pleased to hear how the children had enjoyed a visit to Arundel Castle Cricket ground to watch Australia ‘A’ play Sussex.
At this ground the wonderful Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation, a registered charity, gives young people from inner city areas and children with special needs the chance to play.
The Foundation’s inspirational Director of Cricket and Coaching, Johnny Barclay, is retiring after 33 years. He and his team deserve immense credit for encouraging and enthusing thousands of young people to play competitive sport.
And there’s one important lesson which all our young players of any sport can learn from the Word Cup final on Sunday. Interviewed moments after the championship had unexpectedly slipped away from him, New Zealand’s Captain, Kane Williamson, congratulated England and made light of the fluke rebound which cost his side crucial runs.
In a later press conference, despite his clear dismay at losing, he said that England “deserved their victory”. At the end the journalists gave him a standing ovation. We should celebrate not just England’s win but the way in which both sides competed and New Zealand took their defeat. That is how to play sport.
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