A CUT ABOVE THE REST The Cutting Room, Belvoir Street, Leicester, is an institution within hairdressing in the city. Managing Director, Mark Tomlinson, believes that their reputation is built on hard work, flair and customer care... “We’ve assembled a team of really talented hairdressers, all of whom contribute to the unique atmosphere of our salon, which our customers love.” There have been a few familiar faces amongst the clientele over the years too. “I remember being sat with Robbie Savage, whilst he was having a colour, and he’d only just realised that his new yellow Ferrari was a left-hand drive!” joked Tomlinson. So what about the current crop at the City?
“Gerry Taggart still comes in, the youth team lads use the salon and so does Jon Rudkin, the Academy Director. We would be more than happy to have the first team lads in and get them looking sharp for their march back to the Championship!”
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L HO W MOL P E L F soarmedia E T O ES T I R G N S S N T O I I S ET B P E ER A K R W S Y R M EMsoarphoto L A NG RY + F D E I R E D P C D E N R T D O E W A A E TI M DI G T S A E M C N T CO IM ITI E U L T R L A M E soarprint I W U N Y M OP IG ERC S Y C C ES M ET PH IA D OM FLGRA D S E C EA TO O I L HO W MOL S If you are looking for cutting edge design, an impressive web presence or an effective marketing strategy, then you've come to the right place. Soar Media are highly skilled and motivated to deliver surprisingly affordable media solutions. For more information and to view our online portfolio
Soar Photographic is a team of highly talented and versatile photographers who cover portraits, weddings and commercial photography. Based in Leicester, we can photograph you in your home, a location of your choice or at our recently refurbished studio in Leicester. For more information and to view our portfolio
call 07968 714 611 or visit www.soarphoto.co.uk
We promise to offer honest, straight to the point, lithographic print solutions to all potential clients, without the elaborate sales spiel. Having had strong links with the litho print world since 2003, we are now finally able to offer a packaged print guide to rival the competition.
Flyers printed in full colour with a machine seal onto both sides of a high quality, triple coated silk 300gsm board. Delivery usually within 3 working days of order. Note: Delivery to your premises is mandatory. Prices are inclusive of VAT.
For more information and a full price list for all our print solutions including: leaflets, business cards, comp slips, letterheads, posters, folders and pop-up banners
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Welcome to the first issue of Soar Magazine, Leicestershire’s premier sport, health and lifestyle publication.
08 Leicester Cricket 08 Academy
At Soar, we believe that sport has the capacity to unite and divide opinion more than most facets of modern life. It is that debate and detail that we will endeavour to bring to you, through scouring the city and county for the stories that matter. We are also keen to raise public awareness of health and fitness, through informative and relevant articles, which we hope will help to inspire an increase in participation. Our first crack at the above has seen us meet local treasure and County cricket skipper, Paul Nixon, on pages 30-33. Congratulations are due to Paul and his wife, Jen, who have just given birth to baby Isabella Rose. There is a fabulous four-page supplement on next year’s GB Special Olympics in Leicester and we’ve brought you a whistle-stop tour of summer sport with articles on cricket, tennis and the lesser known Ultimate. Our health section introduces Leicester’s very own International Trainer of the Year, Joe Hanney, healthy bites at the exquisite Long Bar and a feature on the heartbeat of our city, Leicester Market. There’s a lot more packed in and we look forward to hearing your feedback, so feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org And remember, if you’re still feeling blue about the Foxes’ relegation, then read on, as our proud sporting city is about to Soar once again.
06 LR Sport
10 Ultimate 13 Adam Popowicz 17 Special Olympics 22 Leicester Market 24 Long Bar 26 Joe Hanney 29 Directory 30 The Soar Point 30 with Paul Nixon 34 Legends Golf Day
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 return of unsolicited material or photographs, nor the claims made by advertisers, nor all of the views expressed by contributors.
Show the passion,
Dean Eldredge Editor Soar Magazine is produced by Soar Media Ltd LCB Depot, 31 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1RE T: 0116 2616 892 E: email@example.com www.soarmagazine.co.uk Editorial Director: Dean Eldredge Creative Director: Gary Webster Photos: Soar Photographic, Sian Between and Phil Sharp Print: Soar Print Website: Soar Media
Thanks to: Simon Bartlett, Matt Beavan, Mo Bobat, Liz Cresswell, Dave Eldredge, Peter Elliott, Monica Gibbs, Francesca Gibson, Joe Hanney, Steve Humphries, Paul Lees, Paul Nixon, Hina Parmar, Matt Pickering, Robin Pointon, Rory Palmer, Adam Popowicz, Gurdeep Sian, Sharon Stanton, Paul Suter, Steve Walsh
Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport Our Vision – Our Aspirations To make Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland the most sporting and physically active place in England.
Our challenges are to develop: • • • •
More players from all communities Better coaching regardless of where you live Stronger clubs that have ‘open doors’ Accessible facilities that meet all our needs
“Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport is a voice for sport across Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.” For further information visit our website www.lrsport.org.uk or contact 01509 226745 to find out more.
Promoting physical activity for adults across Leicestershire The Active Together Programme is a county wide project that aims to encourage more adults in Leicestershire to take part in at least thirty minutes of physical activity, on at least three days of the week. There are a whole host of low cost activities taking place in your local area including salsa, Nordic walks, urban street dance, dodgeball, yoga, gentle aerobics, tai chi and lots more. To find out what is happening in your area, contact your local Physical Activity Coordinator, or check out www.lrsport.org.uk/activetogether Blaby Charnwood Harborough Hinckley & Bosworth Melton North West Leicestershire Oadby and Wigston www.soarmagazine.co.uk
Hina Parmar Ian Matthews Marianne Boyle Kerry Anne Clarke Liz Cresswell Abdul Asghar Carla Lane
0116 2727704 01509 634836 01858 821284 01455 255875 01664 502378 01530 454830 0116 2572672
County youths get festival fever Fitness festivals are set to hit Leicestershire this summer as the Active Together Programme aims to encourage 16-24 year olds to take a keen interest in keeping fit and healthy. Soar Magazine takes a breather with Liz Cresswell, of Active Together Melton and Andy Reed MP, to find out how dodgeball, dancing and doctors is the way forward for Leicestershire youngsters…
ing Edward VII School, Melton Mowbray, will host the inaugural Active Together Fitness Festival on Monday 30th June, from 3-8pm. The event leads the way for other districts to launch their own festivals throughout the summer. “Visitors can try a number of exciting and stimulating free taster sessions that are ongoing throughout the day,” explains Cresswell, who believes that initiatives such as these are essential in ensuring that young people incorporate exercise in to their routine. “Having a fit and healthy lifestyle is important whatever your age and the fitness festival is a fun way of encouraging the 16-24 age group to actively participate.” Dodgeball, street dance, dance fit
and yoga taster sessions will be on offer. In addition to this a pharmacy will be on site, offering health checks for blood pressure, blood glucose levels, height, weight and BMI (body mass index). “We are hoping that some of the taster sessions that we offer during the festival will lead to people joining the same fun courses, over the rest of the summer,” enthused Cresswell. Active Together Melton have also managed to attract teenage advice service, Connexions to the festival, along with local leisure centre, Waterfields, who will be giving out free goodie bags. Andy Reed MP, Chairman of Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport, was understandably delighted with the announcement of the focus upon health.
“It is great to see the Active Together Programme working with partners across the County, to provide expert advice. I would encourage everyone to visit the fitness festivals and use the information to become fitter and healthier, not just for summer, but for life.” Other Festivals Coming Soon Market Harborough Leisure Centre: Thursday 3rd July. For more information call Marianne Boyle on 01858 821 284 or visit www.harboroughsport.co.uk Blaby Festival Set to take place in September/ October. For more information call Hina Parmar on 0116 2727704.
Pushing the boundaries As the stereotype of cricket changes from sleepy gentlemen in Panama hats, to twenty over slog fests with pool parties on the boundary, there is no greater example of the game’s progression than the emergence of two twentysomething coaches, who are making their mark in Leicestershire…
he Leicester Cricket Academy is situated within an old-fashioned factory district, in Evington, but there’s nothing ancient about what goes on once inside. “This really is a great complex and the size and dimensions of it are conducive to great cricket and top class training,” enthused Matt Pickering, a jack-in-the-box personality, with an infectious humour. “We were 18 months in the process of searching for something suitable and prior to this place we had been rather nomadic, which isn’t great for your own identity by any means,” he added. “We opened in January, officially, but it was April 2007 before we started to work on the building itself,” stated Pickering’s polar opposite coaching partner, www.soarmagazine.co.uk
Mohammad Bobat. The dedicated and pragmatic twenty-five year old clearly does have a lighter side though, “he’s like a kid who has had too many e-numbers!” referring to Pickering, who admits, “I’m very excitable and very intense.”
coach beyond sixty hours a week if we had the time, as the demand is there,” says Pickering in a straightforward manner, “we also have people who come over from other counties, which is a true endorsement of our quality.”
“I think that our personalities are our strongest selling point. We instil the same ethics of hard work, good preparation and dedication to training, in to the people we coach,” says Bobat.
Bobat and Pickering genuinely care about their work. Both have full-time roles away from their coaching, but their dedication and passion to improving youth cricket is unrivalled.
Taking a look around the venue for only the second time, the first impression that hits you is the sheer size of the place. Local cricketers accustomed to small run-ups, in cramped and unrealistic conditions could not fail to be impressed. “The community needs our venue and our work. We could probably
“We hope that the lads we coach take the principles that we apply in to other aspects of life, such as their studies and their jobs. Mentoring is a crucial part of what we do and we’re sure that the lads benefit from this immensely.” Wise words indeed, especially when considering that many players in their twenties would be preoccupied with their batting or bowling averages.
“I’d say that we’ve taken a selfless step back from our own personal aims, in order to be able to help others progress,” added Pickering, who plays alongside Bobat for Barrow Town Cricket Club, in Division One of the Everards Leicestershire Cricket League. There’s definitely something refreshing about their attitudes, which ensure that many youngsters from the region are given the opportunity to learn without the pressures of a results-based environment. “If I’m coaching a lad and I think that he’d benefit from working with Matt, I’m happy to do that and vice-versa. We want parents and youths to feel that they are getting value for their money,” says Bobat, who spent many of his formative years under the tutorship of former Leicestershire player, Peter Booth, whilst enjoying great success as a key member of the Kibworth youth sides of the nineties. Bobat and Pickering are well known throughout the county and they face considerable competition from other venues and coaches. However, their confidence and trust in each other is undeniable. So how far do they think they can go within the game? “A lot of the top coaching jobs go to ex-players and that doesn’t
sit too well with me,” says the uncompromising Bobat. “You only have to think of Duncan Fletcher appointing Troy Cooley within the England set-up and the apprehensive response that decision attracted,” he adds, with a hint of cynicism towards the old boys network that has plagued the sport for years. And what of the state of Leicestershire cricket? “Having Paul Nixon and Tim Boon at Leicestershire is fantastic as they are both experts in their field,” proclaims Pickering, who bares a resemblance, in personality, to the energetic Nixon (see pages 30-33). “Kibworth winning the National Knockout Cup in 2004 and reaching the final last year is another example of the increase in standard across the board,” quips Bobat, who is hopeful that his current side, Barrow, will one day be able to set that standard. Finally, what of their attitudes towards mistakes or regrets? “I don’t have any regrets in life. I do what I think is the right thing at the time and that’s the way to live your life,” states Bobat, unequivocally, and there are few that could find the evidence to argue with him, or Pickering, who we are sure to hear a lot more from, over the coming years.
Mohammad Bobat, 25 ECB Level 1, 2 and 3 and Tutor Training Previous Clubs: Kibworth, Barrow Town, Nuneaton Current Club: Barrow Town What aspect of the game do you most enjoy? “It’s such a diverse sport and there’s always the opportunity to learn something new, regardless of how long you’ve been playing.”
Matt Pickering, 28 ECB Level 1, 2 and 3 and Personal Training Qualification Previous Clubs: Hinckley Amateurs, Hinckley Town, Earl Shilton, Kibworth, Canterbury C.C. (Australia), Delhi Blues (India), Atherstone, Barrow Town What aspect of the game do you most enjoy? “The constant strategic battle is so appealing, both mentally and physically. Being able to execute your plans is what sets apart the amateur from the top player.” For more information contact 0116 273 1777 for visit www.leicestercricketacademy.co.uk
What is Ultimate? Ultimate is a fast-moving team sport enjoyed by thousands of people worldwide. Comparisons can be made with other team games such as football or basketball, but truth is it is unlike any other sport. There are no referees, the rules are simple, but the strategies are complex. And it’s played with a flying disc...
o compete at the highest level, Ultimate players must possess a degree of speed, stamina and agility that is matched in few other sports. Yet it’s simple for newcomers to pick up and provision is made for competition at all levels of ability. Grab a disc and discover why many believe this is the Ultimate team sport.
Basic Rules Ultimate is a game for two teams of seven players, played on a pitch similar in size to a football field. The last eighteen metres at the end of the pitch are classed as ‘endzones’. A goal is scored by passing the disc to a member of your team standing,
or more likely running, in the endzone that your team is attacking. Players cannot run with the disc. When a player catches the disc, he or she must come to a stop. A team can therefore only move the disc upfield by throwing it from player to player. The defending team takes possession if the disc touches the ground, or if they make an interception by catching the disc or knocking it to the ground in mid-flight. The winner is the team that scores a set number of points (19 in major tournaments), with a lead of two or more points. Tight games can often last for two hours.
Spirit Ultimate is a non-contact sport and most contact between players can be deemed a foul. There are no referees. Players make their own foul calls and it is the responsibility of players to settle disputes fairly, according to the guidelines laid down in the rules of Ultimate. This is part of ‘The Spirit of the Game’, a central philosophy behind Ultimate that largely eliminates the gamesmanship and off the ball incidents that can spoil other sports. “Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players and the basic joy of play.” (World Flying Disc Federation Rules). For more information visit www.ukultimate.com
Discovering the Ultimate sport “It’s a classic summer sport that everyone has played, but it’s important for people to realise that throwing a disc around with your dog is just the tip of the iceberg. We play seriously and Ultimate is a physically demanding sport.” These are the words of Great Britain Ultimate star, Matt Beavan. The twenty-three year old is a supremely confident individual. And no wonder.
two university teams and Red, the city team, who were unfortunately relegated to the third division.” “All of the Leicester teams are looking for people to join and Red are currently rebuilding after relegation,” he added.
true calling, “It was something all of our friends could get involved in and enjoy, and I still love the sport today as much as I did when I started out.”
“I started playing when I was 15 for a junior team in Leicester, working my way up the rankings over time,” and it didn’t stop there for Beavan, who has gone from strength to strength, “with my club team, we are desperate to be National, European and World Champions. With Great Britain, we won the European Championships last year, which was a phenomenal achievement and we want to win the World Championships this year.”
So why Ultimate? And what exactly makes this relatively unknown sport so special? “It’s a combination really,” ponders the man who plies his trade for Chevron Action Flash of Manchester, one of the top sides in the country. “Ultimate is the second fastest sport in the world behind ice hockey and the qualities of other team sports are prevalent, such as competitiveness, strength and camaraderie.”
Like most lads at school, Beavan played all of the usual sports like football, rugby and cricket, but Ultimate was where he found his
Soar spoke with Beavan about the state of Ultimate in Leicester, whilst he helped out at training with the city side, Red, “We have
Opportunities are also there for women within the game and there were plenty of girls taking an active part in training during our visit, “There is a very strong women’s division and the mixed division is great, where there are seven on a line that play, with three of each gender and then one player is picked as the seventh member,” added Beavan, who was clear to point out that some of the barriers to women in other sports were not common in Ultimate. “If you want to try a new sport, then come along to Nelson Mandela Park on a Thursday night. Don’t have any preconceptions though, as it has a lot more to offer than certain members of the press would have you believe.” This publication will most certainly vouch for that. Look out for Matt, who will be competing in the World Championships in Vancouver, between 2nd-7th August.
The Lord Mayor of Leicester’s Appeal 2008/2009 Special Olympics Leicester 2009 ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’
- oath of Special Olympics athletes
As the Lord Mayor of Leicester and first citizen it gives me great pleasure to support local Special Olympics athletes, as they prepare to take part in the 8th Special Olympics GB National Summer Games 2009, in Leicester & Rutland. Do you remember Friday 13th July 2007? An historic day when Special Olympics GB officials at the Town Hall, awarded the 2009 Special Olympics Great Britain National Summer Games to the city and people of Leicester. This is without doubt a wonderful opportunity for both the City of Leicester and Special Olympics GB. It is the one big moment in our city which can pull everyone closer together and leave a lasting legacy for people with learning disabilities – people with abilities.
I do hope the citizens of Leicester take this opportunity during my year in office to join with me to help in any way they can to get behind the Games either in a volunteer capacity, sponsorship & fundraising or a support role. My appeal aims to assist city and county athletes with learning disabilities to be able to compete in these Games and to help celebrate & research their achievements. I do hope that you will give generously to support this most worthwhile cause. I look forward to meeting you all during my year in office and to your support.
Lord Mayor of Leicester
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To make a donation contact: Leicester Games 2009 Ltd Tel: 0116 252 8507 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Love Game Strawberries and cream, Pimm’s and champagne bars and a bunch of bananas. It can only mean one thing – it’s summer and Wimbledon is upon us. Soar Magazine served up an onslaught of questions to county tennis star, Adam Popowicz, who duly volleyed them back… “The whole ‘Wimbledon’ thing is crazy. What do you base success on? The top ten in the world?” Adam Popowicz has seen tennis change for the better, after over a decade in the game. “We have a huge number of junior players doing very well and we need some of those to come through and compete in senior tennis. The debate is probably around whether there are enough quality coaches to work with these players or not. The Lawn Tennis Association say there is, some would argue otherwise.” The burly big-hitter has made quite a name for himself, with an array of silverware under his belt in junior tennis throughout the nineties and most recently within the men’s game.
“I won the under-14’s tournament without even being seeded. I loved the sport from the moment I picked up a racket, so to me winning a trophy so soon was just part of playing the game,” and the success continued at a rapid rate, “it wasn’t long before I was involved in the county team, which was a great thrill and I ended up winning the Under 16’s, 17’s and 18’s trophies.” Despite going on to enjoy success in the open age form of the game, Popowicz didn’t quite make it beyond county standard, but doesn’t blame the game for that. “Nowadays tennis is stronger in schools and I do wish that had been the case when I was in education. Perhaps though, this isn’t just
specific to tennis and is more to do with a health conscious drive to encourage kids to play more sport.” He does admit, however, that to play regular tennis to a reasonable level, he had to join a club, something which is not always possible for everyone. “There was never enough access to the sport within schools, which is a real shame. If kids wanted to get involved in tennis, it was private, or nothing really. It is better now and there are initiatives, through the council and parks, which allow kids the access they need.” continued on page 16
Pre-war Aylestone Road
The ground the W County forgot The first in our series of views of sporting venues in Leicestershire sees an ancient haven of greener y, in the city centre, with an intriguing stor y to tell…
Leicestershire CCC 1932
hen thinking of city centre cricket in Leicester, thoughts turn immediately to Grace Road and images of the successful Ray Illingworth sides of the mid-70’s; the mid-90’s side, led expertly by Jack Birkenshaw, or visions of the potential of the current side under Tim Boon. However, almost unnoticeable to the untrained eye, just off Aylestone Road, is a ground once used by cricketing greats such as W.G. Grace and Sir Don Bradman. The Leicester Electricity Sports and Social Club is shadowed by the Walkers Stadium and Odeon Cinema and is still utilised today by various sports and community groups. Between 1901 and 1946 the site was the home ground for Leicestershire County Cricket Club, before the move to their current home, Grace Road.
WG Grace for London
According to records, 401 first-class cricket matches were played at the Aylestone Road Ground, with three matches played as recently as the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. There were even visits from touring sides of Australia, South Africa, West Indies, India and New Zealand. To add to the mystique surrounding the Aylestone Road ground, it was used as a wartime depot during World War II, which left the turf in such a bad state that the county team were moved to Grace Road. Recent publicity of the site has focused on Leicester City Council granting planning permission to the new site owners, Persimmon Homes, for housing development on one third of the ground. The permission is subject to replacement sporting facilities being provided on the remainder of the ground, including a cricket pitch, a bowls green, a multi-use games court and retention of the pavilion. Electricity Sports Cricket Club’s Honorary Secretary, Keith Webster, is hopeful that
Australia pose before playing Leicestershire in 1930. Sir Don Bradman pictured front row, fourth from left.
The Leicestershire Volu
nteer Regiment Drill
the ground will be a part of the sports community for some time yet. “This is one of the few remaining high quality amateur sports grounds left in inner city Leicester. It provides a valuable local low cost opportunity for youth in this deprived area, to participate in sport, in particular youth cricket which is of course popular amongst the Asian and
on the Ground during
Caribbean communities. We are hoping to invest in improving the facilities at the ground over the coming year, to enable greater use for youth cricket and football.” For further information on the progress of the ground and Leicester Electricity Sports Cricket Club visit www.electricitysports.co.uk
Aylestone Road Ground as it looks today
Photos courtesy of Leicester Electricity Sports Cricket Club
continued from page 13
one day he’ll have more of a say in the way the game is run locally and maybe nationally. He has a fresh and open approach, which is matched with a deep-rooted passion, accumulated over years of being immersed in the game.
Instead of being bitter about not breaking through to the professional game, Popowicz prefers to focus upon his pride in representing Leicestershire Lawn Tennis Club, who he refers to as being “the premier tennis club in the region.” He adds: “It’s the biggest club in Leicestershire and has a great junior system, which I started in. There are 18 all-weather tennis courts readily available and players range from novices to national standard. We’re also renowned as being a top social venue and the staff are second to none.”
own club is replicated when we mention the tightly knit community of Leicestershire tennis.
The greatest advert for the club, from a neutral perspective, is surely the diverse activities on offer, “there are squash courts, and functions and events can also be booked, ensuring that all ages are catered for. The key to the success of the club is the availability of facilities and the welcoming atmosphere.”
“When competing on a county basis, it is difficult to compare as we are a very small county. We’ve got a lot of talented players and our ladies teams are probably within the top five or six in the country. Veterans tennis is also very strong and people come from all over the UK to play against us, which is a great endorsement.”
The positivity that Popowicz radiates when talking about his
Spending time with the effervescent Popowicz leaves you hoping that
“To make genuine improvements, you’d have to start at grassroots and to some extent the LTA have done this,” he deliberates. “We desperately need to match this investment with enticing top class coaches from across the world, to deal with those in their teens who have the potential.” And what about his own future? “I want to continue playing for a long while yet and to improve as much as possible. I’d like to be involved with helping youth players, perhaps in a mentoring capacity, rather than out and out coaching. That way I’d be able to give something back to the game I love.” It would be a genuine travesty if Adam Popowicz, the big guy, with an even bigger heart, didn’t get that chance, one day.
Adam’s Wimbledon 2008 Ones to Watch
“This young Serbian Adesis. Ta, tam quamhas pra stormed consuli the rankings in the last couple ntesend ucibuss oliciaes talegil of years and is currently No.issenate 1 in the nestra modiussin detelar 2008 Fast, determined am ta,Tour scre,Race. que dictam in atium and incredibly talented, he has nonfeco nscepost que firmili cienam already beaten conest Federeridem this year in vit facierfece morei and could be the one opublis to challenge inclut vitusum patiam his Wimbledon supremacy.” verenat iculos conclem se nos cone www.soarmagazine.co.uk
“AnotherTa, young Serbian, Adesis. tam quam prathis consuli girl is fiercely determined and ntesend ucibuss oliciaes talegil powerful, with thedetelar potential to nestra modiussin issenate beatta,any woman in the world. am scre, que dictam in atium Already anscepost Grand Slam on nonfeco que finalist firmili cienam two she is undoubtedly in vitoccasions, facierfece conest idem morei ready vitusum to win Wimbledon, as well as inclut patiam opublis winning iculos over the male population!” verenat conclem se nos cone
“The firstTa, British lady since 1999 Adesis. tam quam pra consuli to qualifyucibuss outrightoliciaes for Wimbledon, ntesend talegil based current rankings, this nestra on modiussin detelar issenate could theque yeardictam she breaks am ta,be scre, in atium into the top 100. An experienced nonfeco nscepost que firmili cienam campaigner, with a successful 2008 in vit facierfece conest idem morei by hervitusum standards, could see Anne inclut patiam opublis achieve a notable scalp.” verenat iculos conclem se nos cone
The eighth Special Olympics are coming to Leicester next year, but how much do you know about this historic occasion? Let Soar Magazine guide you through one of the biggest sporting events to hit the city, with our four-page pull-out guideâ€Ś
SO let’s go! S
teve Humphries is a busy man. Whether it’s his phone ringing, the to-do-lists on his desk, or the breakneck speed at which he expresses his passion for the games, he is without doubt a man on a mission. “I want us to all buy in and aim to do something for people with learning disabilities and for the Special Olympics movement as a whole. Whatever we put in, we’ll get out and I know that Leicester won’t disappoint.” The charismatic Games Director was present in 1989, the last time the games were held in Leicester and during that time he has overseen a gradual resurgence in the profile of sport within the city. “I was just thrilled to be involved with our sporting future. Whilst on the field we were achieving success through football, rugby, cricket and basketball, the nineties saw us lose some of our sports venues and profile. Rectifying that was our main challenge.” Humphries is particularly proud of Leicester and its sporting heritage.
“I remember Tony Banks calling us the ‘Sporting Capital’ and that’s just how important sport is to the city of Leicester.” It is that pride that ignited Humphries’ desire to put Leicester back on the sporting map as a venue for a major event. “I remember January 17th 2005, listening to the likes of Lord Coe and Sir Steve Redgrave talk about the Olympics and the potential to ignite sport in this country. Being the most diverse city in the UK, outside of London, I felt that our involvement was an imperative.” Securing the games for Leicester was far from easy though, especially given the competition that Humphries’ team faced. “Our bid culminated with a direct battle against Southampton, who had never hosted it before. Once our politicians signed off our bid, we worked around the clock to ensure we were successful.” Was Humphries nervous about the impression that the technical team would form on their visit?
During the games, over 2700 athletes from 18 UK regions will compete in 21 sports, with the opening ceremony being held at the Walkers Stadium, on Saturday 25th July 2009. Prior to that, 1500 volunteers will be recruited to help with the running of the games and all will be trained in disability awareness, child protection and good practice. This is part of the vision that Humphries wants to create. “We are addressing the legacy of the games a year prior to the opening, by putting together a team of experts from business, sport and social arenas. This twenty-one sport spectacular will live long in the memories of everyone, of that you can be sure.” This in depth approach to ensuring that people with learning disabilities are catered for is something that Humphries and his team clearly value.
‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’ Oath of the Special Olympic Athletes
“To be honest, when they arrived, I said very little. The Leicester public said and did everything that was needed to secure this prestigious event.”
Lee Penfold, GB Basketball Player
“Independent analysis of the games will take place, alongside research
in to how our city can be more inclusive for those with learning disabilities. Improvements in these areas will, in my eyes, happen.” The games can also count on the support of the newly inaugurated Lord Mayor, Cllr Manjula Sood, the UK’s first Asian female Lord Mayor. “The Lord Mayor’s Appeal (page 12) will give a platform to showcase and educate the public about people with learning disabilities,” explains Humphries. But not everyone is on board yet. “Unfortunately, the national governing bodies of sport don’t have the Special Olympics as a link on their site, so we have a lot of work to do in that area. We need to ensure that once it is all over, we have no regrets.” So, to the most important people of the games, the athletes themselves. What does Humphries feel they want out of the competition?
“To be respected for their abilities as both a person and as an athlete. I’m inspired by every one of them to find that extra 10%, to make the games auccess.”
Humphries is keen to return to where we started and the indispensable role that the public have to play before, during and after this monumental experience.
• Special Olympics is a global organisation that provides sports training and competition to more than 2.25 million people with learning disabilities, in more than 160 countries
“It will be the reception from the police officer, the bus driver, or the citizen of Leicester, that will ultimately leave a mark on the visiting athletes. I feel certain that many will return to our city, in a recreational capacity, because of that reception.” The gauntlet has well and truly been thrown down to each and every sports enthusiast within the county. There is a role to play, whether volunteer or voyeur and if every individual shows half the passion of Steve Humphries, the event is sure to be an overwhelming success.
• There are almost 1.2 million people in Great Britain with learning disabilities
• Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of the late President of the USA, John F. Kennedy, founded the Special Olympics in 1968 • In Great Britain the programme currently serves over 10,000 people annually
Leicester Leys Leisure Centre
KeyFacilities The Special Olympics Leicester 2009 will utilise key sporting facilities across the city and will see all competing athletes based at Leicester Universityâ€™s new halls of residence, in Oadby. All the sporting venues in the city are within 20 minutes of the Halls of Residence accommodation and Games Village apart from the top class water sports venue at Rutland Water. Regular transport provision will be available along all the major routes pictured, during the games.
Babington Community Technology College
Leicester Bowling Club
Braunstone Leisure Centre
Abbey Park The Peepul Centre
Fullhurst Community College
Soar Valley Community College
Saffron Lane Leisure Centre
Leicester City Football Club
Humberstone Heights Goals Soccer Centre
Grace Road Aylestone Leisure Centre
Evington Leisure Centre
Tennis Centre Lancaster School
Halls of Residence Leicester University
*Venues subject to minor alterations
Soar Magazine were present at the launch of the Lord Mayor of Leicesterâ€™s Appeal 2008/2009. The event was held at the Peepul Centre on Friday 16th May in front of the local press, media and invited guests.
Solly the Lion, the 2009 Games mascot
Advertise TheReadership Our target audience is 18-35 year old males and females, who are concerned about their health and image and have an enthusiasm for sport, within Leicestershire. Our reader enjoys playing and watching sport, as well as keeping fit and eating healthily. (source: Soar Magazine survey, 2007) We are certain that everyone will find something of interest within our publication as we aim to find the story behind the story.
TheDistribution Soar Magazine will be distributed to key sporting venues within the county such as Loughborough University, Leicestershire sports clubs and stadia, and health clubs and gyms. Not only are sports participators catered for; we will be distributing to all high traffic venues such as bars, café’s, hairdressers and restaurants, to ensure that armchair enthusiasts are represented as well.
• FREE seasonal publication • Leicestershire focused • Sports, health and lifestyle • Distributed to key venues View our rates card at:
www.soarmagazine.co.uk Or get in touch:
T: 0116 2616 892
E: email@example.com Soar Magazine is produced by Soar Media Ltd LCB Depot, 31 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1RE
Marketing a brighter future It is arguably the most recognisable landmark of our city, has been on the same site for over 700 years and is visited by thousands of people from across the county and beyond. Soar Magazine caught up with Markets Manager, Nick Rhodes, to see how Leicester Market is keeping up with the times… “Unfortunately, due to new developments within the city, we have been ‘moved’ to the edge of the commercial sector,” admits Rhodes. “Historically, the centre was built around the market and the challenge for us now is to ensure that we remain as important to the public in the future, as we have done in the past.” It is easy to see where Leicester Market faces its greatest challenge. Look up towards the sky in our city and you’ll no doubt be greeted by the site of a crane. Chances are it’ll be something to do with Highcross www.soarmagazine.co.uk
Leicester, the iconic retail structure that is set to open on September 4th. Whilst this is good for the city, the shift of the commercial hub away from the Market will present obvious problems. So, how does Rhodes intend to fight this battle?
from Tuesdays to Saturdays and is split in to three sections; the butchery, the delicatessen and the fish. These areas are full of traders who are experts in their fields and offer a service to rival and better the supermarkets.”
“The market is open six days a week, Mondays to Saturdays and the cornerstone of the market is the fruit and vegetables section, with the freshest, healthiest and most affordable food in the region.”
It is clear that whilst the new developments across Leicester will serve the public’s need for a greater range of consumer choice, the market still has a fundamental role to play within the city.
For Rhodes, the appeal doesn’t stop there, “the fish market is open
“We have over 100 traders at any one time within the fruit and veg
market and a large percentage of those service local bars and restaurants, emphasising just how integral the market is to the retail community,” claims Rhodes. Surely for Leicester Market to survive, given the facelift that Leicester is currently undergoing, they will need to target new demographics, in addition to their existing customer base? “We have more and more ethnic food options on offer, which is reflecting the gradual change of the Leicester population,” points out Rhodes. “We have also earmarked the huge local student population and empathise with them not having a great deal of available cash. The fact that we are such an affordable and healthy option, should appeal to them.” And this is where you begin to realise just how much our market has to offer. Rhodes and his team have embraced themed markets to encourage more visitors, with the farmers’ markets being an example of just one of their successes. “The seller within these markets has actually produced or cultivated everything that they sell. We usually work with those based within a
thirty-mile radius of the city, which ensures people that they are buying locally grown produce and are supporting local traders.” And what of summer, which is sure to be a busy season, especially for the fruit and vegetables market? “This is soft fruit season, where strawberries and peaches sell extremely well,” explains Rhodes. “We also offer fabulous fresh salads, and meats from our butchery, which will be great for barbeques, providing the weather holds out!” Overall, you get the impression from Rhodes and from the traders beavering away at their stalls, that despite difficult circumstances, they will be around for a long while yet.
Dates for the Diary Farmers’ Market (Wednesdays) June 25th, July 30th and August 27th Service Awareness Event Tuesday June 10th - Thursday June 12th Summer Solstice Thursday June 19th Market Festival Friday August 8th and Saturday August 9th
“Leicester Market is without doubt the area that reflects the city better than any other and is a fantastic advert for all that is unique about Leicester,” Rhodes proudly states. The truth is, there is a certain excitement and thrill about being around Leicester Market that simply cannot be replicated in a supermarket. From the camaraderie of the traders, to the array of vibrant colours on show, it really is a captivating place to be. Let’s hope that’s how it remains, as the heartbeat of our city, for many years to come.
Steve Francks of Theresa’s Salads, in the Leicester Fruit and Vegetables Market: “We offer a wide selection of fruits, salads and continental products, such as ginger, garlic and rainbow spinach. Everything we sell is fresher than the supermarkets and at about a fifth of the price too.”
Adam Wakefield of L. B. Hunt’s stall, in the Leicester Fish Market: “We have quality goods, at rock bottom prices. Our produce reads like a who’s who of fish from around the world, all under one roof, so come down and give us a try!”
LONGING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT? S
exy, stylish and skimmed milk with muesli? Confused? Well read on, because the Long Bar is about to kickstart your summer…
However, beyond the contemporary décor and mouth-watering drinks is a characteristic that will set them apart from the average city boozer or wine bar.
“We wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere for Leicester workers and professionals, rather like a top-class hotel bar,” explains the vivacious PR and Marketing Manager of the Long Bar, Sharon Stanton.
“The healthy breakfast idea was my own, which originated from spending time in Chiswick High Street, where museli and skimmed milk were readily available,” recalls Stanton. “Perhaps when people don’t want a fried breakfast, but
want something wholesome and filling, this will be the option for them,” she adds. And the choice for the health conscious individual isn’t just limited to cereal. “There’ll be plenty of other options such as herbal teas, freshly squeezed juices and for those who want to be a little more indulgent, French toast with maple syrup and fresh fruit on the side,” lists Stanton, who is acutely aware that
“We are launching a Martini Club between 5-7pm, Mondays to Fridays, to offer the discerning customer an exclusive experience after a hard day at work.” Stanton has spent a considerable amount of time in London and alongside her husband, Jonathan, and his brother, Guy (joint owners), they have a clear vision to make the Long Bar one of the premier venues in the city. Homemade blueberry pancakes with maple syrup
sometimes the 100% healthy option just isn’t enough.
in for cheap thrills, often to the detriment of their pocket or health.
“Our aim is to offer tasty and attractive food, using locally sourced produce. We will support local businesses and be as environmentally friendly as possible,” she adds. An ethical outlook, which is a refreshing approach in an industry that is obsessed with packing the punters
The summer promises to be a challenging period for the Long Bar, as they aim to establish themselves as part of the fabric of Leicester life. “We’re very excited about creating a summer vibe here, through Alfresco eating, which we’re sure will entice customers in to our bar.”
So, the next time you find yourself at a loose end, craving a cocktail, or peckish for pancakes, you’ll know exactly where to go. The Long Bar is on Market Street, Leicester and is open from 9am, Mondays to Saturdays. For more information, or for private room hire, call 0116 254 6115 or visit www.longbar.net
Apple and Ginger Mojito Non-alcoholic
Take 12 mint leaves and muddle with an inch of fresh ginger. Add the juice of half a lime and 3 teaspoons of brown sugar (better quality for a better taste). Serve in a tall glass, half topped up with freshly pressed apple juice, crushed ice and stir well. Fill with ginger beer and garnish with apple slices and mint leaves.
Award-winning mixologist, Jay Decker, is the Manager of the Long Bar. After ten years shaking his way around Birmingham, London and Australia, he’s ready to reawaken your tastebuds...
“It’s essentially the English summer in a glass,” explains Decker. “The alcoholic version is one of the biggest selling cocktails in the world, so you can see why this is a success.” “The ginger gives this drink a real tang. It’s a healthy alternative, without alcohol or creams and is very easy for anyone to put together.” Happy drinking!
The best things come to those who weight Looking to shape up for the summer? Well look no more. International Personal Trainer of the year 2008, Joe Hanney, took time out from his demanding schedule to talk to Soar about being the best in the business, battling the bulge, and body busting burpees, amongst other things… “I get results for people and if I don’t they get their money back. I don’t do much in the way of advertising, but I do rely on endorsements from my clients and that’s the best form of marketing you can have.” Joe Hanney has quietly assembled a successful niche business as Leicester’s foremost personal trainer. Using Greens, on Byford Way, as a base for semi-private sessions, Hanney can also be found across various parks in the region,
running his thriving women’s fit camps. “It has come to the stage that demand for our services is so high that people are on a waiting list now for semi-private training and we have had to expand our fit camps across Leicestershire. I am thrilled that I am able to help people to take better care of themselves and they are waking up to the fact that their health is the most important thing.”
So what is his secret to being able to guarantee results for individuals looking to lose weight? “We don’t waste time on exercises that produce little return. We focus on burpees, lunges and squats, which centre on the main muscle groups and burn calories faster. Our exercises also produce an afterburn, which ensures that calories will be lost even when you’re resting, after the session has finished.”
Despite Hanney’s ambitious claims, he is a very considered and mature individual, whose determination has been the foundation for his meteoric rise within his industry.
with people travelling from as far as Australia and China. Many of Joe’s clients attended the awards to support the man that in their words ‘has changed our lives.’
“When I set out to do something, I tend to place my goals very high and attempt to get as close to them as possible.”
“I was nominated by clients and colleagues, which is obviously flattering. Winning the award this year gave me further belief that I’m doing things right and I’ll be striving to stay at the top of my industry for years to come.”
Given that obesity is rising within the UK, the challenges facing Hanney are made all the greater. According to the NHS Direct website - www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk, ‘obesity is when a person is carrying too much body fat for their height and sex. A person is obese if they have a Body Mass Index - weight in kilograms divided by their height in metres squared - of 30 or greater.’ Reports in the popular press would have you believe that over a quarter of Britons are now classed as obese and Hanney feels that it’s no surprise. “Think about it…you only have to go in to McDonald’s and you are guaranteed to be offered a ‘supersized’ version of your meal. It’s just too easy for people to say yes.” Hanney’s unwavering one man mission to get Leicestershire fit is admirable, to say the least, but how did the former apprentice footballer know that personal training was the career for him? “I was once on Leicester City’s books and then played semiprofessional level for Tamworth and Nuneaton, but the football industry wasn’t something I wanted to be involved in. I wanted to be able to control my own destiny and not leave it in the hands of others.” It didn’t take long for the former Lancaster Boys pupil to make an impact either, “I found that people
Joe received the International Personal Trainer of the year at the International Fitness Showcase Awards
“Weight loss is a very simple concept, but there is no getting away from the fact that you have to work hard to achieve results.” were losing weight very quickly when they worked with me and that inspired me to follow this career path further.” Such focus has resulted in Hanney winning the prestigious International Personal Trainer of the Year Award for 2008, after being the runner-up in 2007. The International Fitness Showcase event was held at the impressive Winter Gardens, in Blackpool, and was attended by the elite of the fitness industry,
There is little doubt that Hanney is an asset to Leicestershire. His work is genuinely making a difference to the lives of those who may have become disillusioned with the challenge of keeping fit. He is adamant that hordes of people are “kidding themselves by paying hundreds of pounds in gym memberships, whilst never truly committing to their goals.” “Weight loss is a very simple concept, but there is no getting away from the fact that you have to work hard to achieve results. We set out the map for people and give them the tools to do it, but ultimately it’s down to the individual to follow their path.” Joe is offering a free consultation to all Soar readers. So if you are interested in being a part of the Joe Hanney Weight Loss revolution, then contact Joe on 0844 844 2471, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.joehanney.com
Finish First with a Career in Sports Graduates working in the sports industry donâ€™t need to be athletic.
Leicestershireâ€™s growing portfolio of sporting successes, where better to start a career search in this competitive but adventurous sector than HotProspects?
From coaches and personal trainers, to physiotherapists and alternative therapists, and from accountants and marketing managers to dieticians and legal representatives, there are hundreds of people who work inside a single professional sports team. Outside the team, tens of thousands of sportswriters and sportscasters cover clubs, players, events and news. Project managers organise major sporting events, and sports consultants work with the government and regional sports
boards on keeping sports in the political agendas. In fact, in the UK alone, over 600,000 people are employed within the sports industry and with
Anybody with a university degree, seeking to work inside todayâ€™s business of sports, whether part of the action or part of the vast supporting network that surrounds it, is encouraged to get in touch with HotProspects, the East Midlands Graduate Recruitment Service. Candidates who register online at www.hotprospects.org.uk and get their CV seen by the right people in the right industries will get ahead of the competition!
Leicestershire & Rutland Golf Union www.lrgu.co.uk
Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre www.lopc.co.uk
Leicester Marathon www.leicestermarathon.org.uk Leicester Walking Club www.leicesterwalkingclub.org.uk
Leicestershire Gymnastics Assoc. www.leicestershiregymnastics.co.uk
Leicester Rowing Club www.leicester-rowing.co.uk
Leicestershire Hockey Assoc. www.lmha.co.uk
Leicestershire Rugby Union www.leicsru.net
Local Leisure Centres
Leicester City Council www.leicester.gov.uk/sport
City of Leicester Swimming Club www.swimsquadleicester.co.uk
Leicester Karate Club www.leicesterkarateclub.co.uk
Leicestershire Lawn Tennis Assoc. leicestershire.totaltennis.net
Ultimate Leicester Ultimate Club www.leicesterultimatefrisbee.co.uk
Leicester Cycle Speedway Club www.leicestermonarchs.co.uk
Donington Park www.donington-park.co.uk Mallory Park www.mallorypark.co.uk
Leicestershire & Rutland FA www.leicestershirefa.com
Leicestershire Netball Assoc. www.lcna.co.uk
Basketball Leicester Riders Basketball Club www.ridersbasketball.com
Badminton Leicestershire Badminton Assoc. www.lbabadminton.org
Cricket Leicestershire & Rutland Board www.lrcb-cricket.co.uk
For up-to-date information on activities in your area visit www.lrsport.org
the soar point
with Paul Nixon After more than 20 years as a professional cricketer, Paul Nixon has a reputation to be envied. Heâ€™s the farmerâ€™s son done good and he talks fast on his upbringing, that world cup game and a bright future for the county. Words by Dean Eldredge
the soar point Dean Eldredge: Let’s begin with your upbringing in Carlisle… Paul Nixon: Well, I was born in Carlisle, but was brought up in Penrith on a flat piece of land, within a valley. My father was a farmer, who was passionate about cricket and football. Incredibly, he played cricket for 44 seasons and played football in to his fifties. I owe so much to him as he pushed me away from the farming and urged me to concentrate on my sport. DE: So how did the area compare to living in Leicester? PN: The sad thing was that Cumbria C.C. was only a minor county and Carlisle United F.C. had limited success. We did have the famous moment when our goalkeeper, Jimmy Glass, scored from a corner in the 95th minute to keep the club in the Football League. However, to watch county cricket, I had to travel quite a way to see the likes of Lancashire or Yorkshire. DE: What were your first recollections of cricket? PN: With my father being involved with Carlisle United, my first memories were of playing football and rugby until the age of 15. I actually captained all three sports at county level and at the age of 16 I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to work at Lord’s, as a member of the ground staff. My breakthrough came in 1987, when Leicestershire’s wicketkeeper, Phil Whitticase, picked up an injury. I was offered a trial for the 2nd XI and earned a playing contract with the club. Two years later I made my first-team debut. DE: Looking back over your career, who would you say has had the most influence on you? PN: Firstly, my father, who invested so much time in me, both in terms of coaching and in ferrying me around from home, to training and matches. The likes of Nigel Briers, Photos: Phil Sharp
James Whitaker, Jack Birkenshaw and Bobby Simpson have all had an influence, but I think that Briers would have to stand out as he believed in me when I was young.
cricketer and thankfully Duncan Fletcher and Michael Vaughan bought in to that, which culminated in us coming so close to beating Sri Lanka...
DE: Moving on to this season. Where do you gain your optimism from, given that the club has had some difficult years of late? PN: It starts with the people that we’ve signed, who are not only very good cricketers, but are also excellent characters. This is supported by the backroom staff, who have great belief in our players and through what Tim Boon (Senior Coach) has done, which is tremendous. We have a conveyer belt of young talent coming through and they will be ready for the challenges ahead. Add all this to the club maturing from the last couple of seasons and I see many reasons to believe we will be successful.
DE: That game was really something… PN: It was a classic example of a senior player (Nixon) working well with a younger talent (Ravi Bopara). We were so close. So close. I still believe that if I’d been at the crease at the end, we would have won. It was incredible…and I’ve watched the video at least a hundred times, wondering whether I could have played any differently.
DE: Surely one of the challenges that you will face this season will be to knit together a clutch of young players, Kolpak players and new signings, and mould them to your own winning mentality… PN: Yes and no. We use a ‘buddy’ system, where we match a senior pro with a young player. Our youngsters are like sponges and they soak up the wisdom from the more experienced guys, which will benefit them in the long run. We are also trying to get our cricketers to be more self-aware, by investing in the mental side of their game. DE: Moving on, how much of a surprise was it to be selected for the 2007 Cricket World Cup? PN: To be fair, I’ve always known, since I was a kid, that I’d play international cricket. Everything I’ve done in cricket was geared to reaching that standard, which began with sprint training as a teenager until 11pm and has seen me play in Australia and in a World Cup. I’m a good, honest and consistent
DE: How did you cope with the press and public reaction to what was deemed as a poor campaign? PN: Their opinions are important, but you can’t take everything to heart. As long as you can clean your teeth at the end of the day, knowing that you gave your best, then the rest is out of your hands. DE: Talking of the end of the day, how do you relax away from the game? PN: I keep myself busy with a property development in the Bahamas, with friends www.portstgeorge.com. I also enjoy watching the City, the Tigers and playing golf with the rest of the County lads.
DE: I couldn’t have imagined you as a sofa and soap opera type… PN: Haha! I don’t watch TV at all. The only time I do nothing is for two weeks every year, when I go away with the missus and just lie on a beach. The truth is I do enjoy being busy… DE: Do you think that is linked to you being an only child? PN: Without a doubt. I don’t enjoy my own company at all! Seriously, I’m a nightmare on my own and I love to be around other people. Last year was the World Cup and my benefit, so I kept myself very busy. DE: Going back to the game itself, you’re known as a very competitive individual. What role do you believe sledging has within cricket? PN: There are lines and boundaries that you really shouldn’t cross. Steve Waugh refers to it as ‘mental disintegration’. I remember, as a kid, giving Graham Gooch and Robin Smith a bit of stick and they both went on to get hundreds! As long as you do your research and ensure that you don’t go too far, then I think it’s part and parcel of the game. DE: What are your thoughts on the work of your colleague, Jeremy Snape, in terms of the
mental side of the sport? PN: He’s just been out at the IPL (Indian Premier League) and has completed his psychology degree, alongside playing county level and at the top level for England. The work that he does with mental and physical pre-ball routines is firstclass and we have kids as young as 10 now working on this…
more than anything. We were the only two players that played for the club, whilst living in Canterbury. I picked him up, took him out to eat and generally helped him to settle in the area, the same as I would have done for anyone in that situation. We got on so well and he has such an aura around him, rather similar to that of Martin Johnson.
DE: What tips do you have for those that suffer from nerves in sport? PN: In terms of preparation, I would keep a diary and make notes on everything that you do. We have our personal encyclopedia and it helps us to pinpoint where we are going wrong. Too many people worry about uncontrollable elements. A common mistake is to look at the opposition and say, for example, “Look at the size of them, they’re much bigger than us!” A large sportsperson doesn’t necessarily mean a successful one and either way you can’t control their size, so it’s best to just get on with your own game.
The dedication of the man was never more evident than after playing cricket all day, he would switch on his laptop to check what his children had done at school, in Australia, the previous day. He would then e-mail the tutor his thoughts back and would also reply to his children. He’s a truly great man and is a real leader in every aspect of the term.
DE: You mentioned Steve Waugh earlier and I’ve read that you were quite close when you played together briefly at Kent. How did that relationship come about? PN: It was through circumstance
DE: What could you take from him, even though you were only together for a few weeks? PN: The refreshing thing was that he was nervous himself before games, believe it or not. His preparation was second to none and he would always emphasise to everyone the positives. In British society, we are too keen to point out negatives, or the worst in people, which is often to our detriment. DE: Moving back to Leicester as a city, what does it mean to you? PN: Back in 1987, I didn’t even know where Leicester was, let alone know anything about it! The nineties were an amazing period, in terms of sport. The likes of Martin O’Neill, Steve Walsh and Muzzy Izzet were great chaps and the camaraderie was tremendous. In fact, we even had Pat Howard, from the Tigers, field for us as a substitute in one game! This city has been great to me and only recently I put my name down to support the ‘One Leicester’ brand, because I really feel the place is going in the right direction.
the soar point
DE: Do you see yourself always having a base in Leicester, beyond your cricketing career? PN: I would imagine so. I may want to move slightly further north, but we’ve got so many friends here and it’s a city that will always have a place in my heart. DE: You mentioned the success of the sports teams of the nineties, what do you think to the current crop? PN: In professional sport it is all about small margins. It’s been a difficult year for the City. The Tigers are always going to be there or thereabouts as they are an institution. With ourselves, it is important that we learn from our Twenty20 successes and build upon that. One thing is for certain, I haven’t felt as excited about my cricket for a long while. DE: Tell us about the dynamic between yourself and Tim Boon? PN: It goes back years, as he used to help me when I started out, by hitting balls at me when he opened the batting with Nigel Briers. We have complete trust in each other as people, and as professionals, and he’s been a good friend of mine for twenty years. In my view, he is the best technical coach in the world.
Our pre-season this year has been the best I’ve ever had. The training has been that varied that we’ve had Olympic athletes, psychologists and tai chi experts in to work with us. DE: Anything you would change about the game to improve it? PN: Well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see regional cricket happen in England, such as Boddingtons Manchester vs Vodaphone London. The concept and structure of the IPL in India is thrilling for players and fans alike. Powerplays are also a great addition, as I’m a strong believer in weeding out mediocrity. DE: What was your experience of the Indian Cricket League? PN: Nothing short of magnificent. The Indian public’s love for the game is phenomenal and with the 2010 Commonwealth Games being held there the economy is looking a lot stronger. I stayed in Delhi and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. DE: What do you envisage doing once your career in cricket comes to an end? PN: I’ve just signed a three-year deal, so hopefully my legs will hold up until then…
DE: I did read a quote from you saying that the 2011 World Cup is still a realistic aim of yours… PN: I called it and who knows? If I’m taking catches and averaging good scores throughout 2010, then why not? Personally, age shouldn’t be an issue. Mark Ramprakash is the best batsman in the country, yet he’s still not selected for England. DE: Do you still see yourself being involved in the game when you pack away the gloves? PN: I love coaching and I’ll look at getting some coaching qualifications over the next couple of winters. I’ve also got business interests and I’m quite entrepreneurial at heart, but I’ll just see how things go over the next three years. DE: Finally, Paul, what would you like to be your cricketing legacy? PN: To be thought of as a fun, positive guy, who gave his all for his team, whatever the situation. Before then though, I want to win trophies for Leicestershire. It is a dream that I’m determined to make a reality.
Leicester Legends get into the swing of things Some familiar faces from Leicestershire sport turned out for a Bank Holiday bonanza of golf for Legends International Events, at Glen Gorse Golf Club. Given that Leicester City F.C. had just been relegated two days prior to the event, the stars donned brave faces for the cameras, as they helped to raise funds for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Legends International Events aim to raise ÂŁ35,000 for the association as part of a calendar of events. For further details, visit www.legends-international.com Pictured clockwise, below, are Paul Nixon, Gerry Taggart, Muzzy Izzet, Matt Elliott, Steve Walsh and Phil DeFreitas.