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EDITOR’S COMMENT Welcome to a more compact version of Soar Magazine as we sharpen our focus to produce the best publication possible. As the football and rugby seasons approach what Sir Alex Ferguson famously dubbed as ‘squeaky bum time’, we speak to Leicester Tigers and England stars, past and present, Rory Underwood and Ben Youngs, about matters on and off the pitch at Welford Road.

Lineup Soar Sport 05 Ben Youngs 08 Sophia Candappa 09 Will Jefferson

We also feature Leicester City hot shot, David Nugent, who talks about settling into life with the Foxes and targeting a late surge into the play-offs. From one fans’ favourite to another, departing modern-day legend, Bruno Berner, speaks passionately about his time at City and what the future holds following his retirement.

10 Gemma Steel

Other local clubs are covered, with Leicestershire Foxes T20 hero, Will Jefferson, previewing the forthcoming cricket season, Loughborough Lightning’s, Sophia Candappa, talking netball and hockey star, Lauren Turner, recapping the team’s recent indoor success.

18 Kate Dennison

With the Olympics tantalisingly close, we catch up with more Leicester-based medal hopefuls, as Kate Dennison, Gemma Steel and Caitlin McClatchey talk about their preparations. We also gauge how the Olympic Park is shaping up following our recent tour of the facilities in London.

26 City Golf

As well watching and following elite sport, I know that many of our readers like to keep themselves fit, and this issue features a whole host of events and activities organised by Leicester City Council’s Sports Services team, including free swims and golf for all. Whether you’re getting active or simply watching others striving to achieve their sporting goals, I hope that the coming months give you plenty of moments to remember. Hopefully our next Olympic-themed issue, due for publication this summer, will be celebrating play-off victories for both Leicester City and the Tigers. Such success would provide the perfect platform for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and what promises to be a glorious summer of sport. Editor’s Comment in association with:

12 Lauren Turner 14 David Nugent 16 Leicester Rowing Club 20 ICON: Buno Berner 23 Year of Sport 28 Swimathon & Caitlin McClatchey Soar Health & Lifestyle 34 Dean Hodgkin 37 School Games 38 Marc Sagal 40 The SmokeScreen 42 2012 Focus 45 SAQ® International 46 SoarPoint: Rory Underwood 50 InPictures: DBA Award

Jon Reeves, Editor

Soar Magazine is produced by Soar Media Ltd Phoenix Square, Midland Street, Leicester LE1 1TG T: 0116 242 2851 E: Editor: Jon Reeves Design: Lewis-Ethan Healey Contributors: Chris Mortley, Hollie Sturgess Advertising: Call Soar Media on 0116 242 2851 Photos: Soar Photo & PA Photos

Thanks: Vicky Ball, Bruno Berner, Carla Broadbent, Sophia Candappa, Qasim Chowdary, Kate Dennison, Rob Fox, Shimul Haider, Dean Hodgkin, Jayne Hough, Steve Humphries, Jayne Hough, Will Jefferson, Jos Johnson, Caitlin McClatchey, Dan Mitchinson, David Nugent, Maks Orzel, Alan Pearson, Marc Sagal, Lee Skidmore, Gemma Steel, Lauren Turner, Rory Underwood, Ben Youngs. The copyright of all material is owned by Soar Media Ltd and may not be reproduced or published without prior consent. Soar Media Ltd take no responsibility for the claims made by advertisers, nor all of the views expressed by contributors.


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Despite being only 22-years-old, Leicester Tigers and England star Ben Youngs has already won the Premiership title, made 20 international appearances and represented his country at a World Cup...


AN OLD HEAD ON YOUNGS SHOULDERS The son of former Leicester and England star, Nick Youngs, Ben hails from excellent rugby stock and that kind of pedigree stood him in good stead as he broke into the Tigers first team as a teenager. Now one of the first names on the team sheet for both club and country, the ambitious yet affable scrum-half talked to Soar Magazine about his career to date, England’s 2011 World Cup campaign and what the future holds. Firstly Ben, how did you get into the game? Family played a big part. I started playing football when I was seven, but didn’t really enjoy it. After that, my dad suggested rugby. I had a go and that was it; it captured me. I played local rugby and was picked up when I was around 15 or 16. I moved down here and it’s been a rollercoaster ever since. Who were your inspirations as you were developing as a player? Harry Ellis and Austin Healey, although Austin pays me to say that now that I know him! What are your memories of your Tigers debut against Argentina in 2007 and becoming the club’s youngest-ever player later that year? I remember rocking in and being a lot younger than a lot of the players, but everybody made sure I was alright. It was a case of keeping my head down, working hard and not annoying anyone! It’s a very strange feeling walking into a dressing room packed with established

professionals and internationals. I guess I am proud of the record but I’m sure it won’t be long before some new kid comes along and takes it away! Was the 2009/10 campaign, when Leicester won the Premiership and you claimed an array of accolades, a defining season? Definitely, that was the breakthrough season for me and when I managed to knuckle down the shirt and kept hold of it for more than just a week or two. Does it help having your brother Tom at the club? If you’re having a poor run of games, it’s nice to see somebody

everyday that you can talk to about anything. You will always have your best mates, but family is something different. We both lean on each other pretty strongly and I am very lucky to have that bond here. What are your memories of your England debut against Australia in 2010? It was a very special day. Representing your country is huge, but when things go well and you’re in the groove, it’s the feeling afterwards that stays with you forever. To win in Australia on my debut was very special and it was a great tour. It was probably one of the greatest months of my life.


Despite England’s early exit at last year’s World Cup, it must have been another valuable experience? Nobody wanted it to end the way it did, but you learn a lot about yourself as a character and a player; perhaps that you aren’t as good at doing this skill or that skill as you first thought. You will always have your critics, but until you identify those criticisms yourself, you can’t change things. As a learning curve, the World Cup was massive. Austin Healey once described you as a ‘potential world-beater’. What did you make of that? I acknowledged it, but it was a weird feeling. To have somebody that you have looked up to say that was very special, but you have to take those kinds of comments in the right way. As long as your feet stay on the ground, it keeps you confident. Were you disappointed to see Martin Johnson step down as England head coach after the World Cup? Without a doubt. All of the players respected Johnno a huge amount

“The one to win for me is the Heineken Cup with Leicester, without a doubt.” and it’s always tough to see the kind of things that people wrote. Only the players truly knew what happened there. Every player backed Johnno and wanted him to stay, but at the end of the day, it was Johnno’s decision. I’m sure he will be involved in rugby again and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back at Leicester at some point. How do you relax away from rugby? Toby Flood and Tom Croft recently came down to mine in Norfolk and we did some clay-pigeon shooting on the farm. I like to get back to the countryside and bomb around on the quad-bike. Thankfully, where my parents live, it’s very peaceful – being able to go home and see friends and family allows me to switch off.

Finally Ben, what are your remaining ambitions? I want to win a Heineken Cup. Unfortunately that has been put on hold for another year, but that is my biggest aim. I want to play in another World Cup, keep competing in the Premiership and win that as many times as I possibly can. But the one to win for me is the Heineken Cup with Leicester, without a doubt. There is little doubt that with players of Ben Youngs’ calibre in the team, Leicester Tigers have every chance of winning another Heineken Cup, hopefully sooner rather than later. Ben Youngs was talking at the launch of the LV= Cup. Thanks to Premiership Rugby for their assistance with this interview.


Following another winter of change for Loughborough Lightning, Leicestershire’s premier netball club have made a slow start to the new FIAT Super League season. After losing the experience of Olivia Murphy, who has stepped off court and back into a coaching role, the onus is on some of the younger players to make an impact. One such player is 19-year-old midcourter, Sophia Candappa, who has already represented England at various levels. Sophia, who hails from Buckinghamshire, quickly progressed after getting into netball at First School. “I started playing aged 10 before joining a netball club at my local leisure centre in Windsor where I played once a week. My school teacher put me forward to Berkshire County trials and then I worked my way up the system from there. “I joined the Hertfordshire Mavericks in Super League and played for their youth squad. They then put me forward to England trials and I got through to play for the under 17s. I’ve stayed in the system since then, playing for the under 17s twice and under 19s for two years. Now I’m in the under 21s and I’m part of the national squad.”

“We’re just finding our feet and we’ll get better as the season progresses.”

WEATHERING THE STORM After impressing at youth level, Sophia was fast-tracked into the England senior squad last year, an experience she relished. “The highlight of my career so far was getting selected for the seniors tour of Australia and New Zealand, for three weeks in October. I got my first international cap against Australia, which was pretty awesome. My long-term aim is to get to a World Championship with the senior squad.”

and so is the gym. Our coach, Olivia Murphy, has captained England before so she has a lot of experience. It helps that she plays in centre court as well, so I’ve learnt a lot from her.” Despite some disappointing results so far this season, Sophia is confident that the team will soon start turning things around.

Since joining Lightning two years ago, when she started her Psychology degree at the University, Sophia has been extremely impressed with setup.

“We’ve got quite a new squad this year with a lot of young talent and a lot of England youth players. We’ve also got experience with players like Welsh international, Becky James. We’re just finding our feet and we’ll get better as the season progresses.”

“The facilities are amazing and everything is on your doorstep. The netball centre is really good

For more information on Loughborough Lightning visit

SPORT “I went to a Bikram class on the Monday and Friday leading up to finals and it certainly helped. It gave me a state of relaxation and I ironed out the niggles in my body so that when I got to the hotel in Birmingham on the Friday night, I slept very well. I was full of energy on the Saturday and ready to play.” Jefferson remains disappointed with the team’s County Championship displays, but after a busy winter, he is now fully-focused on the upcoming season.

WILL POWER One of Leicestershire’s heroes from last season’s T20 finals day, opening batsman, Will Jefferson, showed nerves of steel as he produced the crucial runs to guide the Foxes through the semi-finals before top-scoring in the final.

a hundred and making it your day.”

The 32-year-old went on to claim the club’s Player of the Year Award in recognition of his consistency in all forms of the game last summer, but despite enjoying his best season since arriving at Grace Road in 2009, Will still sees room for improvement.

“It was such a special day. To score those runs under that pressure has done my confidence the world of good. My chance was the super over and it was great to top score in the final.

“I started with a couple of 90s and a hundred early on and it was there to be a 1,300 or 1,400 run season. I’ve already started to address that with the coaches; talking about really making it count when you get

One day when Will really made it count was during the T20 finals at Edgbaston last summer, when his heroics during the semi-final super over ensured the Foxes made the final.

“You can’t ignore the disappointment of the Championship. It was a very difficult season from that point of view. I’d like to kick on again. I want to be more consistent on a runs front and pass on my knowledge to the young guys. There are going to be opportunities and it’s a case of guys being excited by that, excited about putting on a Leicestershire shirt and winning matches. Ben Smith, who epitomises Leicestershire cricket, is a good signing on the coaching front and he’s here to see Leicestershire return to winning ways.” Read Will’s official Soar Magazine blog by visiting For more information on Bikram Yoga visit:

“You hear so many different stories about the day. One person told me that his son watches the super over every week. It’s nice how it’s touched people’s lives.” Will credits Bikram Yoga Leicester for helping him hit such heights.


It has been a pretty eventful few years for Whitwick’s Gemma Steel. The diminutive yet determined long-distance runner has been transformed from Charnwood Athletic Club member to a Great Britain star, challenging at the highest level and holding genuine hopes of starring in this summer’s Olympic Games. In 2008 Gemma was competing in the Leicestershire RoadRunning League and taking part in events across the county, but the unassuming 26-year-old has quietly and quickly progressed, adding a European cross-country bronze medal and the scalp of the legendary Paula Radcliffe to her British 10 mile and half-marathon crowns. Considering the whirlwind proportions of her career and the mileage she has clocked up, Steel has barely had time to draw breath in recent months, but she was happy to spare the time to discuss

her rapid development in the sport and how her life has changed as a result. “The first aim was to get into the Great Britain team as that’s always been a dream of mine and then, all of a sudden, I’ve gone from being the lowest scorer in the GB team to being at the top. “I gave up my job in April and I’m an artist now, illustrating children’s books, so I’ve got more time for that and to focus on my running. The training is a more professional environment now. I used to train at Charnwood with club runners and a different range of abilities. “I’ve always been competitive. Even when I trained at Charnwood I used to try and keep up with the men. Now I train with the elite athletes, but it’s still about trying to keep up with the men!” Although it seems like an almost instant journey to the big-time, Gemma, who was recently named

Leicester Mercury Sportswoman of the Year, has been a long-term, long-distance runner, as she explained. “I first started in year seven at school. Everybody had to do cross country and I came third without any training. So I realised I had a bit of a natural ability for it. I didn’t push myself when I was too young, it was from the age of 19 that I


started running at the local club in grassroots league races. “My partner Lee got me into running at the local leisure centre. He always had the enthusiasm and that got to me as well, it’s quite infectious. I went running with him, competed in league races and joined Charnwood Athletic Club in 2009. I got into the road relays team, won my first national gold medal and it went from there.” Despite the medals, finishing ahead of a true icon of women’s sport and defeating other notable longdistance runners, has provided Gemma with the most satisfaction. “Two of the biggest highlights were beating Paula Radcliffe on the road and beating Jo Pavey because I’ve always looked up to them as athletes. It was really weird asking for Paula’s autograph after I’d just beaten her! I’ve still got loads of respect for her because she’s done everything. “It was also great to get the quickest time at the road relays. Charlotte Purdue was a big rival of mine and I finally beat her, well kind of. Winning the European bronze medal was another big highlight and the team gold. I didn’t actually know until we got on the podium that we’d won, I thought we’d finished second, so that was a nice surprise.” Being so close to such impressive facilities at Loughborough has helped Gemma adjust to competing and training in the company of top class athletes. “I’ve lived in Whitwick, six miles away, all of my life so it’s really convenient to have these facilities

“It was really weird asking for Paula’s autograph after I’d just beaten her!” on my doorstep. Everybody just feeds off each other at Loughborough.” So after such rapid progression, what does the future hold for Gemma?

future lies in the marathon. At the minute, I haven’t got the confidence to do that because I was only running 60 miles a week this time last year, so it will be a big step up to the mileage I need to run for a marathon.”

“Hopefully I can be competitive in the half-marathon and the marathon and win the European cross country. I’ve always done road races at any distance, like 10 miles, 5 miles and half-marathons but never 1500 metres on the track. I’ve just gone straight into 10K, which is quite rare and might benefit me in the long run.

Another big step up would be to compete in London 2012, a notion that Gemma is beginning to get used to.

“I think I can do it on the track, even though I haven’t got the experience, but if you’re fit, you can run on any surface. I think my

If Gemma Steel has proved one thing already in her short career, it’s that anything is possible.

“A few years ago I wasn’t even thinking about the Olympics, it hadn’t even entered my mind, and now it’s just crept up on me and it could be possible.”


When Lauren Turner scored the winning goal in the 2012 Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals, she sealed an indoor double for the allconquering Leicester Hockey Club, who also claimed the title back in 2010. Now playing for Bloemendaal Hockey Club in Holland, the 21-year-old returned to play for ‘The Pukkas’ over the winter period, making a crucial contribution; something she hopes will continue for club and country. Lauren first got into hockey whilst studying at Kibworth High School, but was also passionate about another 11-a-side game. “Football was my first love. I was in the Leicester City academy for six years until I was 17. It was a difficult decision to make, but hockey was going better and I was breaking into the England team.” Lauren credits a couple of early influences as well as Leicester coach, Chris Mayer, for helping her make an impact in the sport. “I’ve got Jade Cockerill to thank for putting me forward to the county teams and Gaynor Nash who introduced me to club hockey. Chris Mayer also stands out. He’s really helped me grow as a player. You have to be mentally tough to

DOUBLE DUTCH cope with him berating you from the sidelines, but he’s a really good coach.” Turner recounted memories of her first training session with Leicester’s elite and lining up alongside Olympians. “There were a lot of GB girls like Crista Cullen, Helen Richardson and Jennie Bimson. I was still in my football world and rocked up to my first training session in my England kit, with my name and number on the back! But those guys are so down to earth and really helpful, and part of the reason I’ve done well.” So what was the thinking behind leaving Leicester to play in the Netherlands? “I grew up in Leicester and went to Loughborough University so I’ve always had the comfort of being at home. I wanted to experience something different and be an

important team member. At Leicester, it doesn’t matter too much if you have a bad game because there are so many good players. It’s important for me to figure out what I add to a team.” As she continues to map out her career, Lauren has plenty of longterm targets. “I’ll always come back to Leicester if I’m in England. At the moment, being in Holland is a short-term plan and hopefully I’ll have the chance to be centralised with England at Bisham Abbey because the 2016 Olympics is the dream. My other main aims are the 2014 Commonwealth Games and to win the European Cup with Leicester.” Whatever it holds, Lauren Turner’s future is likely to be both bright and orange. For more information on Leicester Hockey club visit:

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At 26-years-old, Leicester City striker, David Nugent, has already packed a lot into his career. A onetime England international, with Premier League experience and an FA Cup winner’s medal in his back pocket, the hard-working striker has tasted plenty of the highs that football has to offer. But there have also been frustrating times, particularly during his spell with Portsmouth when the likeable Liverpudlian admits that he lost his love for the game. Since signing for the Foxes in the summer, the smile is back on Nugent’s face as his goals, workrate and dynamism have made him a firm fans’ favourite and a vital part of the first team picture at King Power Stadium. Nugent revealed how much he’s relishing playing for the Foxes despite some disappointing results, and remains determined to fire himself and Leicester City back to the big time. “I’m enjoying my football again. I’ve been playing very well under Nigel Pearson, I’ve hit double figures and hopefully I can get a few more between now and the end of the season, and we can get into the play-offs.

BACK TO THE BIG-TIME “I can’t keep making excuses. We’ve had time to gel and we’re playing well, it’s just at times the results haven’t gone for us. Maybe the expectation was a bit too high at the start of the season and that sometimes plays on your mind.” Despite a relatively disappointing season for the club, Nugent sees his move to Leicester City as a step up. “Leicester are a massive club that played in the Premier League for a long while, won cups and had some decent managers. There’s

a lot of potential but I think we’re underachieving in the league. We need to string a couple of results together to put a threat on the teams above us.” After being released by Liverpool as a 14-year-old, David had to be patient for his return to the big time. “When you’re a kid you just want to play football. I only thought about making it when I was a first year scholar at Bury, training with the first team. I made my debut as a 16-year-old that season and signed my first deal at 17, and that’s when I knew I could make it.” After four seasons in League Two, Nugent moved to Preston North End where he received a lifechanging call-up to the England squad. “Steve McClaren came to watch us against Ipswich at home and I had a massive stinker, so I don’t know why he picked me! My family had Sky and ITV round doing interviews and it was pretty odd, but that’s what happens when you hit the big time.


“It was just mad getting a taxi to the hotel, meeting John Terry at the front door and him showing me around; where my room was and where the boot and kit rooms were. It really settled me in so I thank him for that. I managed to score with my first touch and playing for my country is one of the best things to have happened to me. I’m not even thinking about getting called up again, I’m just concentrating on my club form. If it doesn’t happen then at least I’ve had my one cap.” Nugent’s journey to the big time continued in 2007 when he made it to the Premier League with Portsmouth, but despite claiming an FA Cup winners medal, things weren’t always rosy at Fratton Park, particularly at the beginning of his Pompey career. “I was a nobody really. I wasn’t playing games, I was on the bench and fell out with managers. It was important to get that love back for the game when I did well at Burnley in the Premier League. When you’re not playing you’re demoralised and don’t want to go to training, but when you’re playing, you’re waking up excited, looking forward to training and the games.

“I’m here for three years and I want to get to the Premier League with Leicester.” “In 2008 I played pretty much every game in the FA Cup because Jermain Defoe was cup-tied and I scored the winner against Ipswich in the third round. It was great playing in the semi and coming on for the last 25 minutes in the final, and I felt a big part of that FA Cup winning side.” Since ending his four-year association with Portsmouth in the summer, things have clearly gone well for ‘Nuge’ on the pitch at Leicester City and he’s also settled well off the field. “I’ve moved locally, about ten minutes from the training ground, so it’s perfect. I’m settled in with my girlfriend and my dog and we’re all happy. I’ve been to the Highcross and gone for food, been to the cinema and the casino. I’ve also

taken the dog up to Bradgate Park a couple of times to let him run riot, so it’s nice to get out and see a bit of Leicestershire.” So what does the future hold for Nugent and the Foxes? “The aim is to get in the Premier League. If it doesn’t happen this year, then we’ll damn well make sure it happens next year. I’m here for three years and I want to get to the Premier League with Leicester. It’s a great club with a great fan base and I’m really looking forward to the next few years.” If Leicester City continue to improve under Nigel Pearson there should be plenty to look forward to in the next few years.


STICK YOUR OAR IN One of the oldest sports organisations in Leicestershire, Leicester Rowing Club has been based in the heart of the city since 1882. As well as embracing that rich heritage, the club is very much focused on the future of the sport and getting more people on the water. Located on the Grand Union Canal’s ‘Mile Straight’, the club caters for all ages and abilities and has thriving men’s, women’s and junior teams. Club captain, Rob Fox, talked about the attraction of the sport and the setup at the club. “It’s very crew-based and you do make friends for life. After racing, people socialise, talking about the race and how much it hurts. It’s also a bit of a rowing tradition to have a second breakfast together after you’ve been out on the river! “We’ve got about 1000 metres to row along and we can have side by side racing. During our regatta, we have people lining the river cheering the rowers on. “British Rowing have been very good to us and they are determined to make rowing available to everybody. The Explore Rowing scheme has really benefited the

club and brought in a lot of senior rowers.”

And what would Maks’ message be to anybody considering taking up the sport?

As well as new rowers, the club is also on the look out for coxes, as Rob explained. “We would like to attract more people to cox the boats because that’s vital. It’s really good fun and if you’ve never done it before, you’d be made extremely welcome.” Men’s captain, Dan O’Hare, talked about what he gets from the sport. “I came into rowing quite late. I joined a beginner’s course, looking for a way to get fit and it’s certainly done that, but I’ve taken it to another level now and I’m a little bit obsessed! In a crew that’s working well together you’re pulling your weight for everyone else.” Maks Orzel, the club’s Junior Rep, talked about how the sport appeals to junior rowers and how getting on the river has benefitted him. “Every summer we do taster sessions for junior rowers. Everyone is so friendly and the club gives you excellent support. Coming here completely changed me. I was very unfit but the amount of training and the goals we set makes me extremely targeted. Rowing has made such a big difference to me.

“Everyone is so friendly and the club gives you excellent support.” – Maks Orzel, Junior Rep.

“We’ve got the Leicester Regatta on April 22nd so come down, have a look and get into the Olympic spirit.” Full membership at Leicester Rowing Club, including racing, costs £250 a year but you can be a recreational rower for £100. Junior membership costs £125 a year. For more information visit



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REACHING POLE POSITION One of British athletics’ most talented performers and someone with genuine Olympic medal hopes this summer, Loughborough-based pole vaulter, Kate Dennison, has already made her mark in an event that produces track and field’s greatest spectacle. Soar Magazine met the former British record holder, Commonwealth bronze medallist and World Championship finalist at Loughborough University’s High Performance Centre where she provided the inside track on her preparations for London 2012. Kate came into pole vault from a gymnastics background and after trying sprinting, focused her attentions on what she describes as another ‘crazy’ sport. “When I started in 2000 the sport was really beginning to establish itself and that was its first year in the Olympics. I got a lot of success very quickly and was competing internationally within the first year or two, and I just caught the bug.”

A unique track and field event, Kate revealed how pole vault provides as much frustration as it does satisfaction. “It’s an event on its own. The frustrating thing is that there are a lot of variables. When you look at a sprinter, it’s literally them and the track, whereas we’ve got a pole to use, a bar to go over and the stands move. You can produce the best jump of your life and it doesn’t get rewarded as it’s not about how much you go over the bar. “When you get it right, the feeling is just phenomenal. Pole vault has its ups and downs and can obviously be dangerous, but it’s worth it for that feeling. I love that it’s an individual sport. When you do well, it’s totally down to you and when you don’t, there’s no-one else to blame.” As well as different coaches over the years, Kate credits her parents for having a major role in her career. “My folks have been amazing. They’ve supported and followed me

around the world, experiencing it all with me. I’ve also had phenomenal support from the physios, medics and everything you get with the package. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all of that.” The 27-year-old detailed the highlights of her career so far and explained how realising her goals has left her determined to set and achieve new ones. “The first time I broke the British record was a massive highlight.


“Although it wasn’t the highest I’ve ever jumped, there was a massive relief as it had been on the cards for so long. Coming sixth in the World Championships was another highlight as it had always been my dream to make a World or Olympic final. After that, it’s about resetting your goals and thinking about medals. “Originally, my dream was to go to the Olympics, so after achieving that I had to create another dream. I didn’t make the final in Beijing but I had so much fun and just soaked it all up. That Olympics was about setting it up for the next one, hopefully I can build on that in London.” Kate’s preparations for the summer are approaching full flow following an injury sustained at last year’s World Championships and she provided an insight into the mental strength required to battle back to fitness. “It’s been a long haul back but I’m getting there. After getting hurt it means so much more when you’re on your way back. It was almost a career-threatening injury and every time you get up and jump is a blessing. You have to keep your head down, get through it and that makes you stronger.” Born in Durban, South Africa and raised in Alsager in Cheshire, Kate talked positively about her adopted home of Loughbrough and how being surrounded by world class athletes and facilities is a huge inspiration. “I moved here for the facilities and they are phenomenal. All of the athletes have the same goal. You’re surrounded by people that have

“When you get it right, the feeling is just phenomenal.” medalled at the Olympics or the Worlds and can see first-hand what it takes. It’s so positive and I think it’s the best place in the world for pole vaulters to train.” A big Manchester United fan, as well as regular trips to Old Trafford, Kate keeps her non-training time occupied with other activities. “I love photography and take my camera around the world because we go to some beautiful places. I love films, cooking and baking, which I’m getting really into. You have to watch your diet and baking for other people feels like you’re being naughty, but you’re not actually eating any of it! It’s nice to spend time with people that aren’t athletes. I’m someone that brings it to the track but I like to take my mind off athletics as well.”

With just a few months remaining until the biggest sporting event of Kate’s career, athletics is unlikely to be too far from her mind, but as well as a London focus, she has other remaining ambitions. “The first goal is the Olympic final. Once you’re there then anything is possible, but I also want to achieve what I believe I can jump. My personal best is 4.61 metres and I feel like I’ve got more to offer, but I won’t say how high I can jump yet!” Let’s hope actions speak louder than words this summer and Kate can hit the heights in London and vault her way to medal glory.




Part of Leicester City’s 2009 League 1 title-winning side, former Swiss international defender Bruno Berner became renowned for his incredible work-ethic and will to win during his time at King Power Stadium. After beginning his career with Grasshopper Zürich in his homeland, Bruno enjoyed a career spanning over 15 years, during which time he also played for FC Basel, SC Freiburg and Blackburn Rovers.

moving forwards and is always attacking. I made a decision that I would like to play and prove myself in England if possible. Mark Hughes gave me that opportunity at Blackburn Rovers and opened that door for me.

Bruno answered your questions on Leicester City, life away from the beautiful game and what he plans to do now that he’s hung up his boots...

What were your first impressions of Leicester when you arrived in 2008? Rebecca, Loughborough I loved the diversity, which is something that has formed and continues to form part of my life and my desire to remain constantly open-minded. I really like that I have found a place in England where I can witness that diversity on a day-to-day basis – and not only see it, but also learn from it.

When did your passion for the game begin? Seth, Evington Everybody in the neighbourhood played, so I automatically got in touch with football. My brother, who is three years older than me, was a goalkeeper and when he went out with his friends, I wanted to go out and join him. How important was it for you to play football in England? Mitch, Leicester I’ve always admired English football and the way that it’s constantly

Your connection with Leicester City fans has always been strong. Why do you think that is? Dinesh via email I think that if you give 100% every time, you will be appreciated. I also had a strong belief that we would gain promotion with Nigel Pearson.

The moment he left, things changed – for the club and for me. But I was always a strong believer and I gave everything my all. I have enormous appreciation of the Leicester City supporters and you recognise and feel what they give to you on the pitch and vice-versa. It motivates you to do better on the next occasion. What’s next in your career? Rory, Huncote I’ve decided to retire from playing football. It is time for the next stage in my life and I am ready to take that step. I would love to stay in football. I would like to do my coaching badges, but you also need the right network which allows you to have the chance, as a young coach, to prove yourself. I try to network a lot, in both England and Switzerland. If a coaching opportunity comes up, I would love to take it. Who was your football icon growing up? Samantha, Hinckley


Definitely Ruud Gullit. I loved the way he played; he was very elegant, played with a lot of style and was superb with both feet. What has been your most memorable City game? Steve, New Parks It was the 3-0 home win against Nottingham Forest under Nigel Pearson two years ago. It was our first season back in the Championship and I think that it was one of my best performances. I scored the first goal of the game and I set up the third and we also kept a clean sheet. With it being a local derby, it was practically perfect.

Who is the best manager that you have played under? Ted, Leicester Nigel Pearson. He has magnificent humanity, in combination with good man-management and leadership. When I joined Leicester City, he was my tenth manager – and I have played under 12 as a professional. I always pick various aspects from the different managers that I have played under, but overall, Nigel is without a doubt the best manager that I have played under. What was it like doing National Service in Switzerland? Pam, Nuneaton I learned many skills. I learned how to throw a hand grenade, which was quite an experience and very loud! I was forced to carry my rifle with me wherever I went. It provided a lot of variety in my life and left me open-minded.

but the thing is, winning the League 1 title was just the first step. As soon as we had won that, I was thinking about winning promotion to the Premier League. Back to back promotion was my two-year plan – and we came close. Even though he didn’t realise his ambition of playing Premier League football with Leicester City, Bruno Berner will always be remembered as a cult hero and a consummate professional, both on and off the pitch. For more exclusive Bruno Berner content, visit his official website

What do you feel was the defining moment of your career? Narinder, Melton I look at my career as a whole and don’t pick out one special moment. I know some people will think that winning the League 1 Championship with Leicester City is one of them and it is to an extent,


As the football season reaches its climax… It’s time to think about presentation night!



• • • • • • • •

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100 DAYS TO GO To celebrate the landmark of 100 days to go until the greatest sporting show on earth, The London 2012 Olympics, Leicester will be hosting a sporting extravaganza on April 18th 2012. The day will start at 10am at the Live Screen Site on Humberstone Gate, where local primary schools will be invited to have a go at an Olympic sport. Activities will include mini tennis, athletics, wheelchair basketball, hockey and football, and young people will even have the opportunity to challenge professional players from the city’s four premier clubs, who will be part of the day’s activities. At lunchtime, a mini torch relay will take place, as the torch travels from the Live Site to Saffron Lane Sports Centre, where an afternoon of

sporting fun is planned for the city’s 15 secondary schools.

Local sporting coaches will also be on hand to provide advice.

One lucky athlete will be given the chance to run with the torch from the Live Site down to the canal, where it will be taken upstream by a team of rowers towards Leicester City Football club. From there, a cyclist will transport the torch to Saffron Lane Sports Centre.

This event has been organised in partnership with Leicester City Council, Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport and the School Sports Partnership.

The arrival of the torch at Saffron Lane will signify the start of the secondary school event, where children can sample a host of Olympic sports, including volleyball, Dri Tri (Row, Bike, Run), archery and table tennis. To complete a day of sporting extravaganza, parents and community members will be invited to attend Saffron Lane sports centre between 4pm and 6pm, to try their hand at an Olympic sport.

Councillor, Piara Singh Clair, Assistant City Mayor, said: ‘’This is a fantastic opportunity for the whole community to get inspired by the Olympics. We hope this event will encourage people to come and have a go at a new sport in a friendly atmosphere.’’ A diary of the Sporting Events being celebrated in the next three months can be seen on the next page.


Leicester’s Sporting Events in Spring 2012 Event Six Nations

Golf Festival


Date & Time


Live Site

March 3rd to March 18th

Enjoy this annual sporting event on the big

Various Times

screen at Leicester City’s Live Site.

Live Site


To celebrate the Masters Championship,

Humberstone Gate

Saturday April 7th

Leicester City Council and partners will be hosting a day of golf. Come along and join the

100 Days to go


fun and try your hand at golf. This free event is

10.30am – 4pm

open to all abilities.

Live Site and


To celebrate 100 days to go until the London

Saffron Lane Sports Centre

Wednesday April 18th

Olympic Games, Leicester City Council and partners will be hosting a day of sporting fun.

Times: 10am at the Live Site

Activities start with primary schools trying a number of Olympic sports.

12pm Torch Relay to

At lunch-time a torch relay by local sporting

Saffron Lane Sports

heroes will transport a torch to Saffron Lane


Sport Centre, where the arrival will signify an afternoon of Olympic activity for the city’s 15 secondary schools.

1pm at Saffron Lane

At 4pm, the general public are invited to Saffron

Sports Centre

Lane to try their hand at a variety of Olympic sports.

Torch Relay

Abbey Park


Celebrate the Olympic Torch visiting Leicester

July 2nd

City on its route to London. The day will include family fun activities and entertainment.

Time: 5pm – 8pm

Sports Fest

Live Site


Sports Fest returns for its seventh year,

August 25th

featuring a host of family fun activities themed around the Paralympics. This year will be bigger


and better, as the city celebrates the lighting of

10am – 4pm

the Paralympic torch.

* Some events are still to be confirmed and are subject to change. For further details and updates during 2012 go to


ACTIVE LIFESTYLE SCHEME Leicester City has high rates of some health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and cardiovascular disease, and related conditions such as strokes and heart attacks. Levels of obesity are rising in line with national trends that predict 40% of the population will be obese by 2025. All of these conditions can benefit from people being more physically active. Some people will build activity into their daily lives by walking or cycling to work, and using the stairs instead of lifts. However, many people need encouragement and support to help them take the first steps to becoming active on a regular basis The Active Lifestyle Scheme has been set up to help tackle these health issues in the city by offering people who are inactive or have a condition that could benefit from physical activity, the opportunity to participate in exercise under the guidance of qualified exercise professionals, at a convenient venue in the local community and at a special reduced rate. We now know that participation in regular exercise that makes us feel warmer and breathe a bit harder can help reduce the likelihood, or delay the onset, of disease and disability. Here are just a few endorsements of the Active Lifestyle Scheme: •

“My knee problem has improved as has my asthma,

I have made new friends and feel part of the community at Evington Leisure Centre.” •

“The scheme has helped me emotionally, physically and mentally and has got my life back on track. I am starting a job which I couldn’t do before.”

“Gets me out of the house to do something for myself, I feel much better in myself and my weight is coming down. A brilliant scheme.”

Don’t worry if you have never exercised before, our qualified instructors will arrange a one to one meeting to discuss the best types of exercise available to suit your needs. They will offer you all the help and advice you need to guide you on your journey to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.

a registered health professional, usually this means your GP or Practice Nurse, but your hospital consultant, nurse or physiotherapist can also refer.

To find out more information talk to your Practice Nurse or GP, call 0116 299 5585 or visit our website

You will need to be referred to the Active Lifestyle Scheme by


GET INTO GOLF Leicester City Council is encouraging more people to step onto the driving range and get into the swing of things this spring by giving golf a go at their two courses located within five miles of the city centre. Humberstone Heights, which is situated in the East of the City and Western Park in the West, both provide excellent facilities with wellkept greens, a variety of holes and a friendly atmosphere all par for the course. Humberstone Heights also provides panoramic views of Leicester and boasts a driving range, practice bunker, putting green and a pitch and putt course. The Golf 4 All initiative, which has been organised in conjunction with the Leicestershire & Rutland County Golf Partnership, has seen many new players deciding to take up the sport, including several groups of women who signed up to regular lessons after enjoying a free taster session. The ladies lessons are available at both courses and are open to beginner and novice golfers aged

16 and over. No equipment is necessary as this can be provided, and a course of five 90 minute classes costs just £25. PGA Professional, Lee Skidmore, who teaches at both courses talked about the success of the sessions so far. “We try and make it as enjoyable as possible and give the ladies a platform to get into the game. It’s been really successful, but the biggest success will be when they become members and then have a sport for life.”

Lee had a message to any local ladies thinking of trying the sport. “It’s fun, we’re very friendly here and there’s nothing to worry about. It doesn’t matter if you’re rubbish when you first start, I was when I started, and most people are! “Come in and see us or pick up the phone and we can talk you through it all. With the warmer weather coming up it’s the right time of the year to be starting to learn. I only need a minimum of five to start a new course up, so if anybody is interested just contact me or call either of the City Council golf clubs.”


Lee also teaches junior players in an academy at the Western Park course. He has over 30 children turning up every week, including one boy who walks all the way from Leicester Forest East with his mum. Two PGA professionals teach the children and classes are kept to a maximum of 12 to ensure more one on one coaching. A six-week course of junior classes costs just £30.

Getting into the SWING of it… Soar Magazine visited Humberstone Heights to watch the ladies being put through their paces and find out why they chose to take up the sport. Tracy Rochester-Jones I’ve been out for a few rounds on the course and I’m loving it. It’s harder than I thought but it’s enjoyable because I’m improving. It’s a really friendly club and there are always people there to give you advice. Sonia Bakari I saw the free taster sessions for women advertised so I decided to come and have a go because my husband has been on the driving range with my sons and they’re always telling me to have a go. It’s a sport that I’d never thought I’d try but it’s really good fun. Sue Marshall I’ve always liked pitch and putt so it’s a chance to learn the skills to go and play on the full course. Lee’s been a really good tutor and we’ve got some great facilities here in Leicester so it’s good to use them.

The Humberstone Heights and Western Park courses are keen to welcome new members, including beginners and those returning to the sport. Lessons are available for men, women, seniors (over 55’s) and juniors. To book onto one of the ladies or junior courses contact Lee Skidmore on 07890 394435 or email

Key Info: Humberstone Heights Gipsy Lane, Leicester, LE5 0TB Pro Shop – Tel: 0116 299 5570 Club House – Tel: 0116 276 1905 Western Park Scudamore Road, Leicester, LE3 1UQ Pro Shop – Tel: 0116 299 5566 Club House – Tel: 0116 287 5211

Sheila Kotak My husband plays golf and he’s the men’s captain here so I wanted to join him. I thought if I took it up I’d be able to understand when he was talking about it! I really liked the taster session so I signed up for the lessons. It’s great to get out and learn something new.



Swimmers across Leicester can take the plunge this April whilst raising money for several worthy causes by taking part in Swimathon 2012. Now in its 25th year, the Swimathon weekend is the world’s biggest fundraising swim, and has joined forces with British Swimming’s and the BBC’s Big Splash as well as Marie Curie Cancer Care and Sport Relief. Swimathon will take place in sports centres across Leicester on the weekend of April 27th and 29th, including Aylestone Leisure Centre, Cossington Street Sports Centre and Braunstone Leisure Centre. Participants can swim the Big Splash Mile for Sport Relief or the 2.5k and 5k distance challenges for Marie Curie Cancer Care. In total, the event will be featured at 645 pools throughout the UK. Olympic gold medallist and Swimathon president, Duncan Goodhew, said: “Swimathon offers

the ultimate challenge to swimmers and teams. These amazing swimmers have raised more than £34 million for charity since 1986, and, by teaming up with Big Splash, we’re aiming to raise record amounts for two important charities.” The launch of Swimathon 2012 in Leicester took place at Aylestone Leisure Centre on Thursday January 5th when top Great Britain swimming stars, including Olympic swimmer, Caitlin McClatchey and Commonwealth silver medallist, Joe Robuck, provided coaching tips for local youngsters. Speaking at the launch, Loughborough-based Commonwealth gold medallist, Caitlin McClatchey (right), gave her thoughts on Swimathon and provided an update on her preparations for London 2012. “I think Swimathon is a fantastic event that raises loads of money for charity. To get kids involved in sport is really fantastic. It’s great to give

something back to the sport and hopefully inspire people to take up swimming.” McClatchey comes from a talented swimming family, as her parents John and Louise swam for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and her uncle Alan claimed Olympic bronze, an association that certainly influenced Caitlin. “I kind of got into it because of my parents. I owe them a lot for taking me swimming early in the morning and things like that. I just loved the sport, meeting new people and making friends and I really


enjoyed working hard and being competitive.

Why take part in Swimathon? Our panel of experts give their views Harry Williams, 78, The UK’s oldest lifeguard, from Leicester “Swimming is a wonderful sport to keep you active. As kids, we used to swim in the river Soar from Thurmaston to Abbey Park. You’ve got to encourage young people and we do that in my life-saving class.”

“I think it has helped as if I’ve needed any advice, I’ve gone to them and they’ve been very understanding. It’s been really nice that they know what I’m going through and it’s great for them to be involved as well.”

Joe Robuck, Loughborough-based Commonwealth silver medallist “It’s great to get more people involved in swimming and it helps get people interested in sport. I enjoyed doing swimathons when I was younger and it felt good raising money for worthwhile charities.”

At the age of 26, Caitlin has already achieved a lot in the sport, but remains focused on her future goals. “My highlights so far have been winning two Commonwealth golds in Melbourne in 2006, being a finalist at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, winning world medals and winning the world short course in front of a home crowd in Manchester. I’m really pleased with how things have gone, but my ultimate goal is to win an Olympic medal.

Matt Bowe, swimming coach and Commonwealth silver medallist “When I was a young swimmer there were people like Adrian Moorehouse, Nick Gillingham and Duncan Goodhew involved with swimathon. The senior athletes help inspire people to get into the sport.” Nikki Kennedy, Marie Curie Community Fundraiser “Marie Curie is delighted to be part of the world’s biggest fundraising swim, with Big Splash and Sport Relief. In Leicestershire last year we raised over £50,000 for the nursing service, which is fantastic.”

“I have gained a lot of experience from the previous two Olympics so hopefully I can take that into London and be prepared for all the furore and excitement that is the Olympics Games.” To enter Swimathon 2012, call 0845 367 0036, email or pick up an entry form from any local participating swimming pool.

Penny Allsopp, Marie Curie Volunteer “My mum received care from Marie Curie in the last few days of her life. She was treated with dignity and the nurses have fantastic qualities. Every £20 raised is an hour of nursing care and every second counts.”

Where and When? Saturday April 28th Aylestone Leisure Centre 12pm – 3pm and 3pm – 6pm - 0116 233 3040 Braunstone Leisure Centre 9am – 12pm - 0116 229 3229 Cossington Sports Centre 2pm – 5pm - 0116 233 3229

Sunday April 29th Aylestone Leisure Centre 2pm – 5pm Braunstone Leisure Centre 9am – 12pm Cossington Sports Centre 1pm – 5pm


WATER WAY TO HAVE FUN As part of it’s commitment to get people active in 2012, four of Leicester City Council’s leisure centres are offering free weekly swims to local residents aged 16 and under. Spence Street Sports Centre, Cossington Street Sports Centre, New Parks Leisure Centre and Braunstone Leisure Centre have opened their doors to young people trying to improve their swimming technique, get active or those just wanting to have some fun in the water. Children under nine have to be accompanied by somebody aged 16 or over. Anybody aged over 16 will have to pay the normal fees. The free swims are open to all City residents and people don’t have to be members or phone ahead to book, for their chance to make a splash. Free swims will again be available during key school holiday programmes throughout 2012. Further activities are available for parents and toddlers and swimming

lessons can also be booked at any City Council swimming pool. Jos Johnson, Facilities Manager, at Spence Street, encouraged more young people to take the plunge for free. “Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise and also great fun. The free swims are already proving extremely popular but it would be great to see even more young people taking up this opportunity to enjoy free exercise. It’s ideal for those children who are learning to swim at school as they can continue to develop their technique whilst using our excellent facilities.”

WHEN AND WHERE? Braunstone Leisure Centre Saturday: 12.30 - 2pm Cossington Street Sunday: 9am – 12pm New Parks Saturday: 12pm – 3pm Spence Street Saturday: 2pm – 4pm For more information visit:

Is proud to host



6.30-7.45PM 7.45-9.00PM



in association with:



Lack of time is often the main barrier preventing people from starting and sticking with a regular exercise regime, with nearly a third of us quoting it as the key saboteur of our best intentions. There always seems to be an endless number of tasks, commitments and temptations elbowing their way into the diary. But you can complete your gym session in half the time by getting on board this high speed train to quicker results… Tip 1 - Use your journey to the gym as your warm-up Cycle to the gym instead of driving, gradually increasing your pace along the way, ensuring you arrive ready to workout. If you usually hit the gym directly from work, slip your trainers on as soon as you clock-off, and with the rest of your kit in a backpack, power-walk your way there. Tip 2 - Drop the stretch before your workout The key to avoiding injury when exercising is to ensure your core body temperature is raised, hence the term ‘warm-up’. Studies have shown that beginning your session by stretching cold muscles could actually increase your injury risk. Tip 3 - Swap continuous pace for short intervals Replacing 40mins of steady state cardio with alternating periods of 8secs sprint and 12secs gentle pace for only 20mins can result in

TIME FOR FITNESS three times the amount of weight lost. You can apply this to running, cycling, cross training, swimming and even the punch bag. Tip 4 - Think PHA Peripheral Heart Action is the technique of alternating between upper and lower body exercises during your workout. Since muscles need oxygen in the blood to fuel the contractions that produce movement, the cardiovascular system needs to work much harder through the session, shunting the blood from one area of the body to another. This ploy will burn more calories and you will finish sooner. Tip 5 - Only do 1 set Performing two or three sets of a particular exercise, targeting specific problem areas, will not lead to better results. The vital factor

in shape and strength change is to ensure you reach momentary muscular fatigue. So, when doing your set of 15 tricep extensions, for example, select a difficult level of resistance to complete the set, so you should literally fail on the 14th or 15th repetitions. Dean Hodgkin was voted Best International Fitness Presenter at the One Body awards in New York and is a former three-time world karate champion. For more hints and tips on fitness checkout his range of workout DVDs at:

THEN... Don't die e c n a r o n g i of

NOW... Getting on with life LASS will be 25 years old in June 2012. LASS’s work and approaches have changed significantly over 25 years: in response to the changes in the HIV pandemic; the development and improvements in HIV treatment and management; and the expanding global community in which we live and operate. ‘Beyond the Tombstone’: Living a Life with HIV Life with HIV has changed a lot over the 25 years: people with HIV can now live long and healthy lives. People live into their old age and medication is easier to take. You can get tested and know your result in 1 minute. You can find out details about what we are doing in our 25th year on our website: from April 2012.

Workplace Challenge: Competition Programme is a series of inter-workplace sporting competitions for you to take part in! Each competition has links with either a local sports club or “Back2” sports programme so that you can have the option to continue with the activity after the competition ends! There are lots of sports to chose from, including Page 42 – LR Sport rounders, basketball, badminton, touch rugby and more! All events are £3 per person and Bottom half of page… the emphasis is on fun! PLAYING 4 HEALTH PROGRAMME

The 4 professional sports clubs based within the City of Leicester are working

Workplace Challenge: Business Games has been awarded inspire mark by theto2012 together toan deliver a unique programme local primary schools. Coaches from the clubs will run free multi-skills coaching sessions for 60 schools Games to get workplaces fit, healthy and active!

across the city, engaging around 3600 young people aged between 8 and 9 years old.

Businesses from across Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland are invited to attend Each school will receive five weeks of high quality coaching, focused around the take physical capabilities of the children rather than sports specific ability. Skills Loughborough University on Saturday 12th May 2012 to part in a range of team such as balance, coordination, running and jumping will aim to be improved sports and a series of fun sporting challenges over a one daytheevent. through sessions. The young people will then attend a festival at their local secondary school that will be run by trained young leaders.

The programme will culminate in a city wide festival at Leicester City Football Club in May 2012. This will bring together around 500 of the young people that have been part of the programme. Those that have shown the best attitude will be selected, using the Olympic values such as friendship, excellence and respect.


For more information on Playing 4 Health please contact Stephanie Dunkley, 0116 2528361,

The 4 professional sports clubs based within the City of Leicester are working together to deliver a unique programme to local primary schools. Coaches from the clubs will run free multi-skills coaching sessions for 60 schools across the city, engaging around 3600 young people aged between 8 and 9-years-old. Each school will receive five weeks of high quality coaching, focused around the physical capabilities of the children rather than sports specific ability. Skills such as balance, coordination, running and jumping will aim to be improved through the sessions. The young people will then attend a festival at their local secondary school that will be run by trained young leaders. The programme will culminate in a city wide festival in May 2012. This will bring together around 500 of the young people that have been part of the programme. Those that have shown the best attitude will be selected, using the Olympic values such as friendship, excellence and respect.

For more information on Playing 4 Health please contact Stephanie Dunkley: 0116 2528361, or email:

lEIcEStER-SHIRE & RutlanD ScHOOl gaMES The Leicester-Shire & Rutland School Games is a new approach to competitive school sport designed to motivate and enthuse all young people across Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.

Through your school, you could get involved in: Participating in Intra (Level 1) and Inter (Level 2) school competitions; with the chance to qualify for Level 3 and be a part of ‘Super-Series Finals’, and the ‘School Games Championships’ on 10th July 2012! Designing the Leicester-Shire & Rutland School Games Olympic Torch and Mascot! Supporting your Partnership area as a dance group, at the ‘Championships’! Being part of the volunteering workforce Come along and support your Partnership’s Teams as they compete at the ‘Super-Series’ and ‘Championships’!

Follow us on Twitter - @LR_Sport Find ‘Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport’ on Facebook ... to keep up-to-date with news and results on the Leicester-Shire & Rutland School Games

Find out more about the Leicester-Shire & Rutland School Games by visiting:



MANAGING ANXIETY with Marc Sagal of Winning Mind We’ve had some good questions sent in recently and for this column I thought I would do my best to answer one of them. See below for a question from Darren in Leicester… “I’m the captain of an amateur rugby team and I was hoping you could give me some advice about pre-match nerves. A couple of the players in the team suffer really badly before matches. How can they ensure that nerves don’t affect their performance?” Hi Darren, Pre-match ‘jitters’ are very common and even the best athletes will tell you that they get nervous before games. Common advice for managing nerves usually involves exercises like centering and relaxation to control physiological symptoms. These techniques can be useful and I would suggest you have the players in question look online for some resources that can help develop these kinds of mental skills. There are also a few good pieces of software (like one developed by a company called HeartMath - www.heartmath. org). But I’m a bigger believer in an approach that focuses on

acknowledging the nervousness and finding ways to accept associated feelings of anxiety. The idea is to learn to get comfortable with the discomfort itself. It would take too much time here to detail this approach but if you search for online resources on Mindfulness or Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) you can find some excellent work on this. The underlying causes of performance anxiety and pre-game nervousness vary but, by and large, they tend to involve the desire for a specific outcome. We all want to play well, and some of us worry about playing poorly, but it’s really the consequences of playing well or not that tend to be the biggest contributor to the anxiety. This focus on outcome can be very counter-productive. What I suggest is that athletes work to shift their definition of success from these more outcome-oriented objectives to more process-oriented goals – things over which they have more control. Winning and performing well is what gets attention and is often so important to us that it can increase pressure beyond what is useful or helpful.

Try modifying the warm up to include more game-like exercises. I’ve often seen teams play smallsided pre-match ‘games’ to get the ‘heart racing’ and ‘blood flowing.’ Good luck and be sure to let me know how things go! I will be attempting to answer more questions in future issues of the magazine. If you have a question for me please email: For more information on Winning Mind visit: Winning Mind’s clients have included... Manchester City FC, US Army Recruiting, J.P. Morgan, New York Rangers, Atlanta Braves, the Chris Evert Tennis Academy and the United States Marine Corps.

The Diamond Jubilee Awards will be given to Community groups who have shown that their community has done something exceptional and positive to develop a community spirit and has enriched the lives of its members and the wider community. 60 Diamond Jubilee Awards will be awarded during 2012, one for each of the sixty years of Her Majesty’s reign.

The Lord Lieutenant’s

Diamond Jubilee Awards

For Leicester and Leicestershire

To mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Lord-Lieutenant has launched an award scheme for community groups, which seeks to acknowledge the fantastic work that is undertaken by so many organisations in Leicester and Leicestershire for the benefit of our community.

Nominations can be made by the group themselves or by someone in the community who thinks a particular group deserves this recognition. What constitutes a ‘community group’ is flexible, but examples might include:  a bowls club whose members have regenerated a local park  a street that cares about its appearance and encourages a community spirit  a school that cares for its environment  a sports or social club that keeps going against the odds for the benefit of the community  a group which promotes inter-cultural and/or interfaith dialogue by bringing communities together  an arts or heritage society which brings art, culture and history alive and accessible to the whole community  a youth organisation encouraging young people to fulfil their potential and to be positive contributors to society  a community organisation working for the benefit of the local community Basically, we are looking for any examples where people are working as a team, and volunteering their time and energies, to enhance their community. The 60 Diamond Jubilee Award winners will be announced by 31st May 2012 and those groups will be visited by a Deputy Lieutenant, who will present the award on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant.

NomiNATe Now! Nomination forms are available to download (in Word format) from Please return the nomination form as an email attachment to: The closing date for nominations is 13th April 2012.

For further information please contact the Lieutenancy Office on 0116 305 6060. 39

#Unfollow After the blockbuster success of its 2011 intervention, The SmokeScreen is returning this year with a sequel focusing on marketing and product placement of cigarettes throughout mainstream media. The SmokeScreen is a unique social marketing intervention that aims to reduce the number of 11 to 15-year-olds taking up cigarette smoking; an age group that are under the most influence to start the addiction and become lifelong smokers. Over the last twelve months, The SmokeScreen has been visiting secondary schools across Leicester with one core message… Don’t become a replacement smoker. Now, in addition to that message, the intervention is encouraging young people to ‘#Unfollow’ the tobacco industry. Initially, The SmokeScreen was presented to smaller groups of young people, but as the intervention progressed, more and more schools requested presentations to whole year groups.

This meant that approximately 200 young people can learn about The SmokeScreen in just 30 minutes and a whole school could be reached in a single morning. The first intervention was also evaluated by the Oxford Health Alliance who recognised the unique and effective approach of this type of campaign. They published their report as part of a global health project called Community Interventions for Health. In total, approximately 7,500 young people in Leicester City alone have already signed up to say that they will not take up smoking and the brand has now developed, with the aim of reaching even more young people. Plans are now in place to continue to reach a mass audience, with The SmokeScreen Mediology visiting schools across Leicester in March, when an estimated 12,000 young people will be reached in one month. The SmokeScreen is now focused on marketing and product

placement, and the ways that consumers are surrounded by images of celebrities and wellknown characters endorsing cigarettes, with the result that the act of smoking is both glamorised and normalised. Even though direct advertising of cigarettes has been banned for years, this more subtle approach still has an impact and it is documented during the presentation by two powerful videos, showing that many films, video games and music videos still heavily feature smoking. After the presentation, young people are invited to sign-up with The SmokeScreen and ‘#Unfollow the tobacco industry’, meaning that they are choosing to disassociate themselves with the industry and all of its marketing tactics. An informative comic style booklet with incentives play a central part of the interactive presentation and have been carefully put together to appeal with designs that young people are familiar with.

A host of comic book-styled villains have been created to help illustrate the various different messages conveyed by the intervention. Here are three of the characters documented in The SmokeScreen Intelligence Archive.




Since birth, Tobacco Industry, has been busy in growth, preparation, shipment, advertisement and distribution of tobacco. Now, his skills have developed and he is the master of devious plans.

Retro used to be a big player in tobacco advertising. She used well-known images, cartoons and people to make smoking more popular. She is now a washed up relic from the past.

Product Placement was initially held back by the limitations forced on him by his former enemy, Mass Media. Now they are successful, having negotiated a deal for teamwork that has created shared benefit.

“We learnt valuable lessons from last year which allowed us to assess which messages resonated with young people and looked to develop these into the latest concept for The SmokeScreen. We took feedback from young people and teachers as well as learning from the evaluation which all helped to shape our approach for this year.

and this is one of the key tactics used by the Tobacco Industry.”

DIRECT BENEFITS FOR SCHOOLS - Nicotine withdrawal in the classroom often presents as bad behaviour and mood swings. Fewer smoking students equals less disruption. - Smoking causes less oxygen to reach the brain which means reduced concentration and attention span.

Qasim Chowdary, Specialist Advisor for Young People at STOP!, who developed The SmokeScreen concept in collaboration with Commonunity Arts, explained the thinking behind the new approach.

“It was important that the identity of the brand was familiar to provide continuity but we also wanted it to progress both visually and in terms of the messages we are conveying. One of our key points has been to show people that smoking isn’t an act of rebellion. By taking up smoking they are conforming to the messages coming from advertisers

For more information or to book The SmokeScreen intervention at your school, contact Find The SmokeScreen on the Web Join The SmokeScreen Facebook group / thesmokescreen Follow The SmokeScreen on Twitter @TheSmokeScreen


MAKING 2012 A YEAR TO REMEMBER If you’re a born organiser and love a good get-together, why not become a Local Leader and plan your own 2012 Olympics event? Thousands of people around the UK have already signed up to make the Games local by celebrating with their friends, family or neighbours. From holding a community barbeque or sports quiz to organising your own ‘opening night in,’ there are many ways to get involved with the nation’s festivities.

cycling more regularly with my son.” and “Finding a good balance between work, family and friends.” My Games My Legacy is supported by a number of local ambassadors including Former Olympic Gymnast Avril Lennox, MBE, Former Paralympian and Wimbledon Champion, Jayant Mistry and Youth Olympic Champion, Sam Oldham. View people’s pledges and make your own at: pledges

Sign up at www.london2012. com/localleaders to get tips on planning your celebrations. Call for Pledges People across Leicester and Leicestershire are being encouraged to create their own legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of an innovative campaign. My Games My Legacy aims to get people thinking about the Olympic and Paralympic values of Respect, Excellence, Friendship, Determination, Courage, Inspiration and Equality by pledging to do something which will have a positive impact on their life. Pledges made so far on the campaign’s web pages include “Getting my bike repaired and

A delegation, including Deputy City Mayor Cllr Rory Palmer, will travel to London to take part in a flame lighting event on Saturday August 25th. The flame will then travel back to Leicester, where it will form the centrepiece of this year’s Sport Fest that same day. Nationally, four Flames will be lit as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay, one each in London, Greater Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Once the flame celebrations have taken place, the four Flames will eventually be united at the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement, to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame. This Flame will then be carried on a 24 hour overnight relay to London and the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games on Wednesday August 29th.

Photos courtesy of Jon Heming

London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay Leicester will have the great honour of being the only place in the East Midlands and one of only 34 nationally to host a Flame Celebration as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay.

100 days to go the Games A series of community based sporting events will take place across the city and county from April 14th – 22nd to celebrate the landmark date of 100 days until the Games (Wednesday April 18th). Visit uk/100days to find your closest event and get involved!

Thanks to Inspire LeicesterShire, Soar Magazine were fortunate enough to tour the Olympic Park in London in February to see first-hand how the facilities for London 2012 are shaping up. Young Citizen’s Eye reporter, Hollie Sturgess, was also invited on the tour and wrote about the experience… Ever since 2005 when London saw off opponents Paris in a bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Britain has been eagerly awaiting the completion of the Olympic Park and all of its subsequent venues. Now, with just four months to go until the 2012 opening ceremony, all of the stadia are ahead of schedule and starting to dominate the East London skyline. With the eyes of the World on London this summer, can it meet and exceed the bar of expectation which has been set by incredible past Games? London could well outshine the breathtaking moments of Athens in 2004 or Beijing in 2008 by embracing the traditional culture that comes with hosting the Games and putting a very British twist on it. Great moments aren’t made great by man-made plans, but rather come from the hearts of those involved. My recent tour of the Olympic Park very much confirmed these thoughts. The Olympic Park is beyond remarkable and doesn’t fail to inspire those least interested in the Games and its values.


Shimul Haider (left), 2012 Games Legacy Director for LeicesterShire, with Hollie Sturgess at the Olympic Park in London. Photo courtesy of Inspire LeicesterShire

It was extraordinary to hear the literal ‘wow‘s’ from those sat on the tour bus and witness the simultaneous clicking of cameras as the bus approached each landmark. Everything I witnessed on the Olympic Park tour substantiated my judgment that the Games mean more to the communities around the Country than just sport. In an unstable and particularly unpredictable time, the Olympics and Paralympics really can be the glue that holds society together. During 2012 we will hopefully see

the return of community cohesion, ensuring the legacy left by the Olympics is so much bigger than originally envisaged, and something that is felt for years to come. To find out more about Inspire LeicesterShire and how the legacy of The Games will be felt in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, visit: or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.



Leicester is not unfamiliar with success stories, however when you take a look at the incredible growth of one business that has become synonymous with the city over the years, its story stands out amongst others. In 1987, Mark Smithson repaired and cleaned-up second-hand cookers; selling them from a shop whilst transporting his renovated appliances to customers in a used van. Fast-forward 25 years and it’s difficult to go anywhere in Leicester without seeing the presence of Mark’s company – Marks Electrical. An extensive top-of-the-range showroom, a fleet of delivery vehicles, a multi-million pound warehouse and an incredible online sales operation is what has become of that small repair shop,

with Mark himself developing into one of Leicester’s most successful businessmen. 2012 sees Marks Electrical celebrate a quarter of a century of business, during which time the size and scale of the company has increased massively. A huge supporter of Leicester City, Marks Electrical sponsor the Family Stand at the club’s King Power Stadium. The electrical retailer also sponsor Mark Smithson’s local cricket club, Kirby Muxloe and now run their very own Radical Racing team, with Mark as one of the team’s drivers. Competing in the circuit’s SR3 series, winning both the UK and European Championships last year, Marks Electrical Racing are competing in the more powerful and faster SR8 series in 2012.

Steve Walsh, who are both good friends of Mark and the company, were joined by Leicester’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Robert Wann, as well as local business and members of the media. Robert Wann gave his reaction to the landmark occasion. “A lot of businesses are established in Leicester and many fall by the wayside, but here, you have a lad that started off 25 years ago in a tiny electrical repairs shop – and now he has a multi-million pound showroom and warehouse. However, he has still kept his feet on the ground, supporting local sports clubs and giving a lot of money away to charity.” Leicester City’s Club Ambassador, Alan Birchenall, also praised the success of Marks Electrical.

To commemorate the company’s 25 years of business, Marks Electrical celebrated with a day of festivities at the company’s showroom on King Richards Road.

“Mark is always at the many charity fundraising events that I also attend and he really does own a superb facility. Every electrical appliance under the sun is here and it is superb value.”

Numerous famous faces from Leicester marked the company’s milestone occasion as Leicester City legends Alan Birchenall and

For more information or to see the range of goods available at Marks Electrical, visit:



- WARMING UP ON THE MOVE with Alan Pearson, Managing Director of SAQ® International It is widely recognised that the most effective way to prepare for a training session or pre-game is to warm up dynamically, which simply means warming up on the move. In the past the standard procedure was to use static stretching. Recent research has indicated that this style of pre training / game preparation is more likely to cause injury than prevent it and can impede performance. Ask yourself these questions… 1. Do you pull a muscle standing still or when moving? 2. Did your school teacher stop the class before morning break, where you would go out and run around the school yard playing games including dodging, jumping and swerving, to do five minutes of static stretching? 3. A cave man bumps into a sabre tooth tiger, do you think he did some static stretching before running away? The answer to all of these questions is likely to be no.

Humans are dynamic creatures, we are made to move. This is why physical activity is so important. Dynamic Flex will: - Increase body temperature, specifically core (deep) muscle temperature - Increase heart rate and blood flow - Increase breathing rate - Increase elasticity of muscular tissues - Activate mental alertness Dynamic Flex drills comprise of: - Skips – across, out, high - Lateral running - Hurdle walks - Buttock flicks - Fast feet - Jumps - Lateral forward and back foot work - High knees - Squats - Turns Use Dynamic Flex in your next warm-up and expect a more dynamic, injury-free performance. SAQ’s previous clients have included Barcelona FC, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, the England Rugby Team and Nike.

For more information on SAQ® International visit:


The Soar Point with:

RORY UNDERWOOD Words by Jon Reeves


England’s record try scorer and one of the highest profile names in world rugby, Leicester Tigers legend, Rory Underwood MBE, cemented his place as one of the game’s all-time greats during a career spanning two decades. His pace and finishing ability made him one of the most dangerous wingers in the world and despite largely playing in rugby’s amateur era, Rory was a genuine athlete and one of the fittest players around. Off the field and off the ground, Underwood was an RAF pilot and expertly combined taking to the skies with playing top flight rugby. Now part of the board at Leicester Tigers, Rory spoke exclusively to Soar Magazine in the impressive surroundings of Welford Road’s Caterpillar Stand, about his memories of playing for club and country, how the game he loves has changed and what the future holds.

developing as a young adult, that you start getting more awareness of the game and I really kicked on at that age. JR: When you look back at your career now, how do you assess what you achieved? RU: To get 85 caps and 49 tries for England; I’m very proud of that. There are one or two memories that you wouldn’t necessarily relish but I’ve had lots of good times, spending a lot of time on flights and in hotels with team-mates. I’ve been to some fantastic places through rugby and I’ve got loads of very happy and proud memories of what I’ve achieved. JR: How fondly do you remember your time with Leicester Tigers? RU: I joined Leicester Tigers in 1983 and spent the first two or

three months doing my time in the extras. Then I burst into the first team and was playing alongside Clive Woodward, Paul Dodge, Les Cusworth, Dusty Hare and Nick Youngs. As a young 20-yearold playing in the backs it was just fantastic and a great way to develop your game. The senior pros were brilliant with me. I could not have picked a better place to come. It was basically a case of them letting you have a go and they’d be there to help you out. JR: As well as playing rugby, you were also in the RAF. How difficult was it juggling both? RU: In those days I was playing rugby as a hobby. I joined the Airforce and that was my job. I was going through flying training and went to Cramwell. Alan Old mentioned me to Tigers and they invited me to train and play. The

Jon Reeves: What are your earliest memories of playing rugby? Rory Underwood: That’s very clear. I was living in Malaysia and played football at first before starting main school at the age of 11 where they played rugby. My first knowledge of rugby was sitting in the form room with the headmaster and being given a piece of paper explaining the positions and the game. You had to fill out a form explaining what experience you had and what position you’d like to play. I put down winger as I was a winger in football because I was quite quick. For the first two or three years I was just getting used to it and tackling wasn’t initially my forte. You’d get the ball and run but it wasn’t until the age of 15 or 16, when you’re


Airforce looked after me really well. They recognised that they had somebody who could be a useful advocate for them. At certain times I had to miss games and various other things but the Airforce have been excellent. JR: What were the highlights of your rugby career?

RU: Just representing my country and running out at Twickenham was fantastic. I’ve been to three World Cups, I’ve won three Grand Slams and one or two triple crowns. There have been some great victories, including against New Zealand in 1993 and Australia 1988. I scored three tries against Argentina, five against Fiji and I went on two tours with the British Lions. JR: You played alongside some great players, when you look back now, which ones stand out as the best? RU: The Grand Slam winning England team of the 1990s had some excellent players, with Wade Dooley, Paul Ackford and Martin Bayfield and Dean Richards, Peter Winterbottom and Mike Teague - the names just run off. I keep meaning to check this, but we had a midfield four at 10, 11, 12 and 13 of Rob Andrew, Will Carling, Jerry Guscott and I, and we must’ve played a lot of games together between 1989 and 1996.

JR: And who were the toughest players you came up against? RU: John Kirwan and I played a few seasons against each other and Trevor Ringland from my very early days, when he played for Ulster and Ireland. People talk about the players being too big now, but those two were big boys. JR: What do you make of the modern game of rugby? RU: I still enjoy the game I love. It’s moved on and developed, but the players are athletes now. We were trying to keep fit part-time alongside jobs, whereas these guys are training full-time. The science, the technology, the diet and the training has just moved way, way ahead of what it used to be. JR: How would you assess how Leicester Tigers has progressed as a club? RU: The big change with Tigers has been from being a club to a PLC. Obviously Tigers were lucky that the change from the amateur


to professional game was easier because of the existing fan base, which has obviously helped and is still benefiting us now, but there are still different challenges. I’ve loved every second of the last four years on the board at Tigers. JR: You also run your own company, looking at team development, clearly something you have a huge understanding of… RU: When I came out of the Airforce about ten or 11 years ago I set up a training company, which I ran until three years ago when I decided to set up my own company called Wingman, which is basically a performance management consultancy. I go into companies and organisations and help their individuals and teams to be more effective and dynamic and to understand communication and inter-relationships between staff. JR: You also have a role with the Leicester Sports Partnership Trust… RU: It’s great to be involved in something that’s not just about rugby, involving the community and looking at health, fitness and lifestyle. We’re trying to get all facets of the city to work together more effectively to use a budget that is always decreasing.

“Just representing my country and running out at Twickenham was fantastic.” a week and trying to squeeze in swims when I can. I love playing golf and relaxing at home.

JR: What do you do to relax? RU: I try and keep in shape and have been doing triathlons for the last three years. I compete in sprint triathlons, I’ve no desire to do an Iron Man or anything like that but it gives me something to focus on. I’m normally out every weekend cycling, running two or three times

JR: Finally Rory, how would you like to be remembered as a player? RU: I suppose it would be what people say to me, which makes me very proud, and that’s a prolific scorer who always used to squeeze in the corner.

Rory Underwood’s record breaking displays for England as well as his longevity at Leicester ensure that his efforts will always be remembered as much more than that.


INPICS DBA REACHES THE GOLD STANDARD… The D unton Bassett Arm s wa s re c ently gi ven the Go ld Award by the Goo d E a ting Guide i n recogni ti on o f the ir Chinese cuisin e. C ha irm an of Har borough C o unc il, Cllr David Be at y, p re s e nted the owner o f t h e D B A a nd Lei cester ’s L ord M a yo r, Rob Wann, with th e a wa rd a t a speci al fun cti on he ld a t the pub on Mon day 13th Fe br uar y.

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The Dunton Bassett Arms AWARD W I N N I N G PU B / R ESTAU R A N T & P RE MI ER AC C O M M O DATI O N

Good Eating Guide’s Gold Award Winner • Warm, Friendly Atmosphere • HUGE Selection of Fine Wines • Award Winning Chinese Restaurant • Premier Accommodation • Superb Sunday Carvery Set in the heart of rural South Leicestershire, the Dunton Bassett Arms is a warm and welcoming pub, with log fires and real ales. Accompanied by an extensive fine wine list, the fantastic contemporary restaurant and premier accommodation offers an exceptional experience.


W W W.DUNTO NBAS S E T TA R MS . C O. UK 9 Bennetts Hill, Dunton Bassett, Leics, LE17 5JJ | Tel: 01455 209 786 - 07980 603 214



IT’S GETTING HOT IN HERE / 0116 2619262 59 Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RB


Soar Magazine Issue 16  

Latest Issue of Soar Magazine with articles from Bruno Berner, Rory Underwood, Ben Youngs, David Nugent and Gemma Steel

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