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The Pro Sports Magazine April 2014

Amanda Davies Bill Predmore; Seattle Reign FC, Chloe Wilcox, Maggie Alphonsi, Shona Thomson, Jess Fishlock, Sophie Radcliffe Exclusive Interviews & Articles

SIM Unsung Hero, The Cyprus Cup, Canadian Rugby 5’s Sports nutrition, top tips and more...

April 2014 1 Photo Papaya Photography

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WELCOME For me, this issue has appeared at speed - but that shows the time of year and all the exciting sport that there has been as there is to come. With France winning the Six Nations it sets up an exciting World Cup in Paris in August. We are also more than half way through the Women’s Sevens World Series with New Zealand (last year’s winners) and Australia on the same points. You couldn’t ask for more excitement there if you tried! Then there is the T20 Cricket World Cup in Bangladesh and the levels of play have showcased what an exciting sport this can be, as well as being a credit to women’s sport. In Cycling the UCI BMX World Championship starts in Manchester in April with Caroline




Buchanan vying for another crown.

On the Soccer front the FAWSL and NWSL are kicking off in earnest with major player moves around the globe for the first time. There has also been the Cyprus Cup and there are now the World Cup qualifiers as well.

These are exciting times for women’s sport, not just in coverage but with more governing bodies offering central contracts all the time and many more women going full time as well, the latest being the England Cricketers. The access given and time spent with Amanda Davies and CNN was another unique insight into the world of sport as we look to grow the coverage of all things sport related.

the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust grows as we spend more time with our magazine charity. I spent time with Dame Kelly as well as 200 elite athletes learning more about the charity, how to give back and mentor but more in the next issue…. It has been a privilege to be working with so many governing bodies and an increasing number of athletes in such varied sports in the last two months. Enjoy this issue and share it with all your friends, athletes and teams! Thanks for reading and supporting the magazine.

In other news our association with Myak-Paul Homberger - Editor

April 2014 Issue No 009

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Papaya P h o t o g r a p h y

S P O R T S ● S P E C I A L I S T E V E N T S ● C O R P O R AT E E V E N T S

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International Contents


Contributors 6


Amanda Davies 8

Bill Predmore Seattle Reign FC 16 Chloe Wilcox 20


Amanda Davies - A day in the Life of a CNN Sports anchor


Sports International Magazine’s Outstanding Athlete


Shona Thomson 34 Jess Fishlock 40 Sports International Magazine’s Unsung Hero


Sports International in Cyprus 53 Sophie Radcliffe 58 Sports Explained: American Football 66 Canadian Rugby 5’s 72 Make a Pledge 80 Eating to beat Anaemia 83 Recipes and Tips 86 Thankyou’s 88 Contact 89

April 2014 Issue No 009

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Contributors Myak-Paul Homberger Aside from being a huge sports nut and champion of women’s sport, has numerous qualifications including being a BAWLA qualified weight training coach, two martial arts black belts alongside his instructor level in Urban Krav Maga. He is also an NLP practitioner and sociologist with an HND in RAB. Photography is his main passion and he has been published internationally. Myak has worked with men’s and women’s national teams, as well as with premiership teams and individual players.

Adam Barlow Adam Barlow’s passion for football began in 1994 watching Lincoln City in the lower leagues of the English football league system. In 2008 he took up blogging and started watching more semi professional football in order to gain an insight into the game at grass roots as he was keen to develop his understanding of the game at all levels. Watching the England Women’s team play and beat Serbia in a European Championship qualifier at Doncaster in 2011, he was very impressed by the skill of the players and quickly made the decision to learn and write more about women’s football. In 2012 he attended his first FAWSL game at Lincoln Ladies and started writing as the official fans’ blogger on the website. As time went on he became more engrossed in both writing and the women’s game, writing articles for the website and helping to compose the player profiles for the website. He now regularly reports for Sports International Magazine and would like to help give women’s sport the platform it deserves. Away from football his other sporting passion is Taekwondo, having trained in the sport since 1989 and achieving the rank of third Dan Black Belt and helping in the running of classes.

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Helen West Nutritionist Helen is a UK Registered Dietitian and a graduate of the International Olympic Committees Diploma in Sports Nutrition. Working in the British National Health Service (NHS), she has gained a wide range of clinical experience and is passionate about providing athletes with practical and evidenced based nutritional advice. She is currently working alongside leaders in the world of performance surfing to develop some nutritional guidelines for athletes training in Indonesia. Outside her day job, Helen loves to surf, run and blog about nutrition and healthy living. You can find more of her thoughts and insights into nutritional issues on her blog www.foodandnonsense. com

Myroslava Terlecky Myroslava Terlecky is a freelance photographer, videographer, blogger and podcaster on women’s football. From playing as a child to attending the Euros in Sweden in 2013, her interest in women’s football has deepened to cover all aspects of the game. Myroslava is a media production student and is now in her final year at university. For her final project she has decided to do a podcast, which combines her passion for football with her practical skills in the radio studio. Although her focus is in the radio studio, her media production degree has had her work on TV, film, documentary and photography. Sports photography is another passion of hers and she has photographed many women’s football fixtures including England vs Wales and the 2013 u17 Euros in the midlands. To follow her project go to: itsgameday To follow her photography go to: moshterlecky/

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Amanda Davies CNN Sports Presenter Interview and article by Myak Homberger Amanda Davies is at the top of her game - sports anchor for CNN worldwide, London Olympics host, Sochi host, World Cup in Rio host; the list goes on. Although not an elite athlete herself, I decided to put Amanda on the cover of this issue and to profile her because sport is about more than just the team or the athletes: in sport - and especially in womens sport - the media play a huge and increasingly important role.  As such, Amanda brings a wealth of experience and insight to sport that I value, especially as we talk about the ‘Holy Grail’ of more coverage of women’s sport and what can be done to change and improve this. Amanda’s love for sport and journalism came from her father whom she clearly still adores and who has been a role model to her. She talks with such fondness of her memories of being sneaked into football stadiums where he was commentating, watching him prepare and lug large amounts of equipment around, through to being picked up from school by him and going straight to the studio where he was doing the news and she would sit and do her homework. “I’m lucky to be close to my dad,” she says smiling about all those adventures. I spent the day with Amanda at CNN, following her around, observing her at work and talking about various things throughout the day. That, I believe makes this a unique article, as it tells about the person, the passion, the story and the private, personal moments. Three key things stood out for me and personified the day I spent with Amanda.   First, Amanda is passionate about sport - and it’s not just about the score lines, it’s about the stories and the people. It’s the world she lives in and 8 April 2014

Photo Papaya Photography

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wants to be in - and she has got to where she is because she has earned her stripes the painful way. Being an Oxford graduate and winning prizes in journalism didn’t stop her from beginning at the bottom as a runner. Amanda comments on hitting this reality that “’s hard when you go to Oxford and get told you are the best and then you end up doing photocopying. You are the lowest of the low and your degree means nothing.” From making tea to serving soup, doing photocopying or whatever is needed (including ordering and serving breakfast for twenty at 3am) is not glamorous or fun - but she did this and more in the pursuit of knowledge and learning. Doing extra shifts for a minimal £60, losing friends and having very little social life was all part of the price while she was learning and looking for those breaks. Hard work paid off and in a whirlwind (albeit one where you bang on every door) Amanda went from runner to editorial to on the road producer for the World Cup 2006 as the youngest producer for Sky Sports news - and then as a presenter with the BBC, which she acknowledges was a big punt

“there was no ‘being a woman thing’: you got it right or you got it wrong” on the part of the BBC, but it paid off. The interesting thing is that at no point does Amanda talk about being a woman or the challenges faced as a woman in sport or in the media, except when I ask her. She says about her career progression that “there was no ‘being a woman thing’: you got it right or you got it wrong and when you got it wrong….wow wee…!” This for me is then the first of the three key things that make Amanda so successful: she has worked incredibly hard and in all areas to get where she is - and she has done so with a passion that is contagious.  The second is very closely connected to her work’s journey and is made clear by a couple of passing comments, as well as by observing her throughout the day. From her very first day Amanda made sure that she was nice to everyone above and below her, valuing their roles and learning from them. As I observe her interacting with cameramen, studio staff, make up artists, media teams and stars she is the same with everyone…she makes them feel that they matter, that she appreciates them and that in that moment they have her complete attention.   I watched, for example, as she did the live sports news worldwide from the 10 April 2014

Photo Papaya Photography Photo: Milton Boyne

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Photo: CNN/Amanda Davis

back of the studio - and when the news was finished, she could have exited through a door that would have taken her to her desk close by. Instead she took the long route through the studio and talked to the cameraman and into the control room, thanked and chatted to the team and then went back to her desk. It’s these sorts of things that make the support team walk through fire for someone - and it demonstrates how grounded she is. However, Amanda is also a working mother who travels the world and faces competing life and time demands. So as a woman and a mother - like so many other women - she wrestles with the work/life balance debate and her passion for her work. As she says: “For many, sport is a stepping stone to business or ‘real’ news, but I don’t see it like that. I genuinely love sport and the emotion of it.” Amanda is very thoughtful: this is clearly a subject close to the mark for her - but she wants to talk about it. “I love being a mum. It’s really 12 April 2014

hard though being a working mother, and I’m not sure I’ve got it right: I’m full of all the working mum guilt,” she admits. She does go away a great deal, but modern technology makes connecting with home so much easier and lessens the pain of being away. However, Amanda is also very clear on all the traps of being away, such as “not throwing all the rules out when you are home”, and she is always keen to learn and work at being a great mum. “I hope I’m doing the right thing,” she says as we finish the conversation about motherhood and work. For me her openness and the way she is prepared to talk about this subject speaks volumes about Amanda and who she is. Apart from all this, Amanda Davies is a passionate sports anchor, brilliant at her job and despite her position, knows where she has come from and the

Photo: CNN/Amanda Davis

Photo: Milton Boyne

work she has put in to get there - as well as valuing those around her and connecting with them. A string of accolades and achievements behind her and big opportunities ahead of her have not stopped her being able to remain genuine and real. She has achieved what she has because of what and who she is. This for me is what sets Amanda apart from so many and has made it a privilege to get to know her. Editors note: CNN allowed us complete access to both the building and the personnel for the day, nothing was out of bounds. Their desire to encourage female journalists, as well as their desire to be transparent, is a huge credit to them and we hugely appreciate all they did.

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NZ Football Fern captain 2012 Olympics

I really enjoy pulling on my Emvale gear either to train in or for recovery because I like how it is different from the main stream. It has a story behind it and I know that the gear is made with the thought of what is best for each athlete in mind. While I feel sporty wearing it, I also like that it is feminine and made for women.

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w w w. e m v a l e . c o m

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” - Bill Cosby




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Bill Predmore Seattle Reign FC

Photo: Seattle Reign FC

16 April 2014

By Myak Homberger

Bill Predmore is a successful entrepreneur who has set up a women’s Soccer team in the USA, Seattle Reign Fc. The interesting difference about Bill is that it’s not about throwing money at the club or about buying the best players, but it’s actually about building a belief, ethos and team. Bill has spent time at the grassroots of Soccer in the USA and so he understood the issues and challenges along with what was needed when he decided to start a Women’s Soccer team.  Bill is very clear that he wants to see Seattle Reign Fc becoming one of the best Soccer teams and clubs in the world. It is very easy to say these things, but as Bill talks more it is very obvious that this isn’t just talk. In everything he says as we talk, he is very clear: “If I was a player I would want to be part of a club where their obsession was as they woke up to make their women’s team the greatest in the world.”  This theme weaves through our entire conversation. This is a man who is building a team that has a foundation of a good ethos, an unswerving belief in the team and the future, and in what they want to achieve. The women’s team is their sole focus, so that creating the right environment based on their values makes the players want to play, and this is what is so exciting. As Bill says, “I want to build something that endures forever and is one of the world’s best Soccer clubs.”   The interesting thing with Bill is that although he has these aspirations, he is patient and realises that this will take time to build. His focus is on the Seattle area and fans first. “We have to demonstrate to fans we are worth their time and April 2014 17

money,” Bill comments. So yes, he wants to have the best club in the world, but not at the cost of not recognising their roots and the base support. This is an incredible view about building a following of loyal fans from source upwards and not losing where you are from. “My feeling was, we can be the best at creating an environment anywhere in the world for the players. Not something you can replicate with money or infrastructure. It’s a devotion to creating something,” Bill says as he reflects on what we have spoken about. 

“We have to demonstrate to fans we are worth their time and money,” What is being built here is a vision, an ethos and a team - and I believe it will deliver a world class team. This won’t happen overnight, but Bill is patient and in it for the long term. This is the final and most important thing for fans and players to hear: here is an owner with a long term vision who is completely committed to it. Good luck to Bill, Laura and the team at Seattle Reign Fc! Watch this space for more, but for now mark your calendar as something special is happening in Seattle….

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Photo: Seattle Reign FC

WE’RE READY, ARE YOU? THE FA WSL IS BACK Season kicks off 16 & 17 April

Get your tickets now at

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Chloe Wilcox Water Polo Player The impact of losing funding Interview and article by Myak Homberger Funding in sport is so often a tricky subject, irrespective of gender, but when funding is cut or withdrawn unexpectedly or mid-funding cycle, it comes as a huge shock to the athletes. Where it concerns funding in womens sport, it can furthermore make the difference between them playing or not, including representing their country. Chloe Wilcox has represented England for the last ten years and she was part of Team GB at the London Olympics 2012.  She plays Water Polo professionally in Spain during the season, returning as and when required for training camps, etc.  I had been talking with Chloe for a while about Water Polo and about doing an interview and we had been e-mailing back and forth trying to arrange a convenient time for the interview. In the midst of this I had a text message from Chloe saying that all their funding had been withdrawn. In our conversation later that week she was very open and didn’t hold back: it was a very full and frank conversation about the devastating impact 20 April 2014

of the unexpected announcement that week. Very clearly - and unsurprisingly - this was a very raw subject, but it allowed me to see first hand the impact that funding cuts have on athletes. So often we don’t understand what it means when funding is cut or withdrawn, other than that a particular sport maybe doesn’t have as much money to spend on general things and/ or grassroots initiatives any longer. Yes, funding is about those things - but at the end of the day funding has a huge impact on the athletes, as Chloe explained to me. As we sat talking for the first ten minutes or so, Chloe struggled to find words to explain what has happened. She is trying to come to terms with such a major shift in thinking. As she explains, “... suddenly we are having to plan for life without Water Polo. We all had plans and now they are gone.” She gave examples of some of the team talking about going back to university, taking up full time jobs and even going to Australia to play professional Water Polo there. In the space of less than one week a team of athletes are having to completely re-assess their lives and futures, for some with huge impact on

Photo: courtesy British Swimming

Photos: Alba Bonamusa Boix

Photo: Jesse Lennihan

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Photos: Alba Bonamusa Boix

Photos: S.Willy

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their lives - and as in the case of Chloe, who is coming towards the end of her career, having to weigh up her next steps very carefully now. Chloe is as committed and passionate an international athlete as any other I have spoken to. This is by now means a ‘tame’ sport, rather, it is regarded as one of the toughest. Chloe trains three times a day, six days a week, as well as being a nanny and teaching at an English school. “I love what I do,” she says of her sport and of representing Team GB. These are all athletes who have not only given of themselves to get to this point, they have represented their country at the highest level internationally and now many are faced with the possibility of not even having a chance to choose their international sporting future. With funding withdrawn, the training camps that were to take place from June onwards are now not happening. These were supposed to pull all the athletes from their various clubs around the world back to Britain, so they could train and focus on the European championships. This is where the conundrum becomes very clear…. If you don’t go and train, you won’t be ready as a team to play in the Europeans, if you don’t do well at the Europeans your rankings drop, if your rankings drop and you don’t qualify for the Olympics your funding is cut.  With no funding, Team GB could still go - but they would be going unfunded, on their own and they won’t be able to train beforehand. In so doing they will be unprepared to be successful at the Europeans and thus be creating a self fulfilling prophecy. This is a team that had £2.5million given to them for the Olympics and due to their success they were awarded £4.5 million for the next Olympic cycle.  “This September we were going into a centralised program for the Olympics,” Chloe says, still baffled as her voice trails off. From

having the next two years of your life planned - and with plans that included Rio, in the space of one e-mail you are needing to completely reassess your whole life and all your goals. But having said that, Chloe talks about July and what she could do. Should she turn her back on her country and stay in Spain playing there or go to Australia? If so, Team GB will lose a great player and someone who is incredibly passionate about her sport. With each player lost, the talent pool diminishes and people will wonder in years to come why there isn’t a Team GB team with clout on the international stage. In the final analysis, this isn’t about Team GB or UK Sport Funding, it’s about funding per se and it’s happening all over the world. It just so happens here to have happened to someone we know - and as a result we have seen the impact of funding cuts in the moment, as well as all the ramifications of it in their lives. Women the world over sacrifice to play for their countries and the little bit of funding that there is goes a long way, but in the same way when it is taken away it has an impact far beyond what many realise - and in some cases athletes walk away from representative sport for ever.  The London 2012 Olympics brought so much hope: to sportsmen and women, to young people, aspiring athletes, and to the country as a whole. May it be that in the future, funding for sport will increase rather than decrease. May funding become available from a variety of sources - individuals, organizations, businesses or sporting bodies - and may the funding be there for all those who wish to be great athletes, for those who already are great athletes - and also for those who aren’t necessarily great athletes but nevertheless deserve to be given a chance. April 2014 23

Photos: Papaya Photography

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Amanda Davies:

A Day in the life of a CNN Sports Anchor

By Myak Homberger In this issue you can read about Amanda, her journey and who she is - but here I would like to give you a flavour of a day in the life of a sports anchor for a major international news network. I recently spent the day with Amanda at the CNN studios, from early morning make up and meetings, all the way through to the live evening show.  I’m sure it will come as no surprise that there is very little glamour involved in the day to day of sports news. Yes, there are the red carpet events and jetting to meet F1 drivers and other celebrity athletes - but there is much more to it than that and this is what I wanted to find out. There are a couple of small televised slots during the day as well as the main evening sports show that Amanda hosts. These are a given and the

rest of the day is completely fluid with meetings, research and script writing being punctuated by these fixed slots. One of the things that stood out for me was the extent and instantaneousness of news and the sheer volume from all around the globe on every sport. Amanda and the team are constantly talking about stories, how they could fit into the main show and which stories may build or could become feature length stories. There is no let up in the thirst for the latest information, stories and debate about which takes precedent.  Amanda has to balance her time between the latest news, building a story, potentially interviewing people live or via video link and her deadlines to write the script. There is a  point where a line needs to be drawn as well as to how April 2014 25

Photos courtesy CNN/Amanda Davis

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these stories balance with the ‘other’ news in the world. This was very interesting to me - that she is not in a little sports bubble but that she is sensitive to the world news and how sport has to report sensitively around this.   It was very interesting spending the day with Amanda, observing how she worked and conducted herself in getting everything done. There are cameramen, runners, makeup artists and a cast of support staff and crew who are there to ensure that when Amanda is on the TV screen she looks great, sounds great and that the show goes without a hitch.  Despite all of this Amanda is very aware of her roots and there is no diva mentality in her as she speaks to people with respect and appreciation for their role in delivering the show. She has a gentle and genuine way with all levels of staff and people who are interviewed that puts them at ease and makes them feel important and that she is in that moment completely with them. It is great to watch how relaxed, calm and effortless she makes it all seem, as millions around the world watch the live show.  The show finishes and the first thing Amanda does is thank all of the crew individually for their help before walking back to start planning the next day. A consummate professional who has not lost touch with all the people who support the show and delivers each time - whilst having a calmness that oozes out of every pore. But don’t mistake this for not being focused… Amanda is steely focused - watch this space you will be seeing more of this talented broadcaster.

constant conversations about the evening shows news stories 12.00-12.15 mid-day show 12.15-4.30 script writing, planning for future feature programmes, meeting deadlines for evening show, interviewing people via video link, pre-show make up, in studio mic up, lights, etc. 17.00 live show Post show Amanda will stay until she has everything buttoned down for the next day and the rest of the week, especially if she is going to be out at all as she was this week. On top of this there are major events that will take her away from home for weeks at a time, as Sochi just has and then the Football World Cup will do. This is an extremely busy woman who is balancing Sports news with real world news in a sensitive way, whilst still being a mother and travelling at the same time. It’s a truly amazing feat to observe and she deserves all the credit she has had and will get in the future.

08.00-10.30 internal meetings and general planning for long term programs 10.30-12.00 make up, script writing for mid-day show, video link interviews for evening show, April 2014 27

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Photos courtesy England RFU





AT H L E T E Maggie Alphonsi By Myak Homberger Maggie ‘The Machine’ Alphonsi has earned the nickname - and if you have ever seen her play you will have witnessed a huge work rate and the bone crunching noise of her tackles. This is an athlete at the top of her game who has respect from her peers the world over. It isn’t only for her Rugby skills that we, as a magazine have nominated her as our ‘outstanding athlete’ for this issue. We regard her as one of the finest flankers in the world - but we also want to recognise Maggie’s inner strength and her passion and desire to help both the disadvantaged and the next generation of athletes. Maggie has set her sights high all her life and not accepted any adversity thrown at her throughout her life and has achieved so, so much - and it is for these reasons we have added her to this year’s shortlist. Margaret Alphonsi was born in Lewisham, London, in a tough council estate and a with club foot. Having been operated on at an early age and had her foot corrected, there was no

stopping her. She was determined to be different: she wanted to make her mark, to be known - and she formulated a plan: “I wanted people to know my name, it didn’t matter which sport,” Maggie says, reflecting on what drove her to get to where she is now. Countless serious injuries - including being out for the last two years - has not tempered her energy or focus. Now back playing for England and club again, she is focused on the upcoming World Cup in France this year. Photo: Papaya Photography Aside from being one of the best flankers in the world, what makes Maggie the truly remarkable person and athlete that she is? On a personal front I am very privileged to have know Maggie for sometime now and to have watched her play and get back up again after injury. 

Being in her company is always a pleasure. She is down to earth, humble and a genuine person - which given her achievements and accolades is even more remarkable. The mark of her character is seen when I spent time with her the day before her MBE was announced and again the day after April 2014 29

Photo: Papaya Photography

30 April 2014

and it wasn’t until I mentioned it that she acknowledged it and just said “….oh that’s kind of you, thank you”. Maggie has been awarded an MBE for services to Rugby Union; she has over 60 caps for England, seven successive Six Nations titles, the Sunday Times sportswoman of the year award, the first ever female winner of the Pat Marshall award from the Rugby Union Writers’ Club, the only woman ever to have been asked to be an ambassador for the Rugby World Cup (2015); she was named in the Powerlist 100 of the most influential people of African and AfricanCaribbean descent in Britain for three years running, countless club wins, being club captain - to name but some of her achievements.  This is a list that shows she has achieved her goal from all those years ago quite conclusively. Maggie is excited about the Rugby Wold Cup in Paris this summer as England joins the world competing for this honour. However, a Rugby World Cup medal is the one thing that has alluded her in her trophy cabinet thus far - and Maggie is looking to right this! Apart from all of this, we haven’t mentioned her coaching, mentoring or charity roles. How she fits it all in, is something even she wonders about sometimes: “I just do it, I love doing it,” she comments about her schedule.  What Maggie has done is to be one of the pioneers of women’s Rugby: being one of a group of women who at one time only dreamt of the support and coverage that the new crop of players are enjoying. “Young people are very lucky with the opportunities they have now,” she comments. But would she, given her time again, swap place with the younger players? “No, I’m glad I have done it the way I have,” Maggie says after reflecting on the question for a while. She is happy to have been a trailblazer - and happy that it is part of her legacy having been at the forefront of the modern women’s Rugby game.  In a way, Maggie can be summed up by a recent observation of mine at the Six Nations match.  As the final whistle went, Maggie walked over to all the fans and kids waiting to speak to the players. It would have been so easy to go in for a shower after a tough match like that but she spent almost 30 minutes talking with them. It’s the self sacrifice, that extra mile with Maggie. Covered in mud she took the time to walk all the way down the side of the pitch, signing things, having photos taken and stopping to talk. She would ask groups of Photos courtesy England RFU

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girls, did you enjoy the game? what position do you play? what club do you play for? - talking and encouraging them as they spoke. Such incredible passion for the sport and such humility to talk to them and about them and letting them revel in the attention. She is a true role model, mentor and someone who will leave an incredible legacy when she retires. As we come to the end of our time, I ask Maggie about looking back at what she has achieved and she says, “I will look back when I retire, otherwise it will overtake me - and I need to focus.’ It is this focus that has made Maggie ‘the Machine’ Alphonsi, the machine, the athlete, woman, friend and person that she is today.

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Photo Credit:

“I am thankful for all of those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.” - Albert Einstein




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Photos: Papaya Photography

Marathon Runner Interview and article by Myak Homberger Different things motivate different people - just as different things trigger different responses in people. So in 2010, when a close member of Shona Thomson’s family was diagnosed with cancer, it dramatically affected Shona and the family in the way it does families all over the world. For Shona, however, something else also happened that would change her life. “The realisation that life is short kick-started me,” Shona reflects on this catalyst for a complete change in lifestyle. Shona’s love of marathon running started with the New York Marathon and the realisation that running could release negative emotions in a very real and good way for her. The first marathon only fed the desire for the next and then the next as she sought yet the next marathon challenge. Completing marathon after marathon, Shona ran her seventh marathon in September 2013 - a huge achievement!  In just under three years, Shona completed the ‘seven marathons on seven continents challenge’ that had started with just one marathon: North America (New York, November 2010); Europe (London, April 2012); Africa (Comrades, June 2012); Antarctica (Antarctic, November 2012); South America (Rio, July 2013); Australia (Perth, 2013) and Asia (Vietnam, September 2013). Shona became the first Scottish woman and only the third British woman to become a member of the Seven Continents Marathon Club. At the time of this interview, there were fewer than 100 members of the club (and less than 20 women), including the remarkable Ranulph Fiennes. As well as this remarkable achievement, Shona has completed a number of other challenges too, including the Three Peaks Challenge in 2008, the Caledonian Challenge in 2010, Kilimanjaro in 2010 and the Jurassic Coast Ultra in 2011. Her latest challenge - “it’s the icing on the cake for me”

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“it is very difficult to judge how far you have run or to what extent you can use landmarks to aim for,�

Photos: courtesy Shona Thomson

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Photo: courtesy Shona Thomson

- will be running a marathon at the geographic North Pole. Yes, the North Pole! Running in the North Pole is not without its challenges though. Shona says that it takes 50% longer to run in those conditions. It’s very hard to gauge how hard you are pushing your body, so that it’s only when you stop that you feel how cold you are - and then the delayed response from your body kicks in. Compared to running the South Pole (which Shona has already run) it is far more risky for various reasons, including the fact that there are polar bears. At which point she laughs and says “...yes polar bears, oh well…”  It may sound flippant, but she is very aware of all the challenges she faces from frostbite, hypothermia, snow blindness, frozen eyeballs, 38 April 2014

changeable weather, exhaustion and a landscape that looks the same and so “ very difficult to judge how far you have run or to what extent you can use landmarks to aim for,” she says. It seems strange that what sounds like the most challenging of all her marathons is ‘the icing on the cake’? “It is going to be very emotionally rewarding for me,” Shona says of the marathon. It is the final piece of a puzzle that has been built over the last few years - and is the stepping stone from part time adventurer to full time mentor, coach and motivational speaker. Already so active, Shona is always looking to support others in any way she can and is a constant source of help and information for those she connects with. At no point does she say ‘you need to make an appointment, or I charge for advice’ - she

willingly gives to those wanting to make a difference.

Photo: courtesy Shona Thomson

Shona has achieved all she has achieved so far despite various physical challenges - “….at any one point I only have 3 or 4 toenails…!” and having a very rare blood condition that until now she hasn’t talked about. Shona has been very private about this, as she is about many things. For her it’s about the adventure, the running and the positives it can bring to life. It’s not about her and her condition. She is a fighter determined to push herself and find peace and fulfilment in her running. During this time Shona’s family member has also recovered from cancer and is in full remission - and Shona is forever a different person. Going forward, Shona is wanting to share her experiences with the next generation and with those who find themselves in similar situations to her and so she wants to be mentoring women to run marathons, as well as setting up a course for underprivileged children that will culminate in them doing a half marathon. In addition, Shona will be working with the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ television series. 

“The realisation that life is short kick-started me”

“I want to use what I have learnt to encourage and inspire others,” she says of her desire to see women being able to connect with running and dispel negative emotions through running. This is about one woman’s discovery that changed her life and her excitement at giving back. She has given up her high profile City job to do what she is passionate about and that will give so many others a fresh perspective. What an incredible inspiration!

April 2014 39

Photos: courtesy Seatlle Reign FC

Jess Fishlock By Myak Homberger

Jess Fishlock is one of the busiest Soccer players in the world we have spent time talking to her for this article while she was in Australia, America, Wales and England over the last few months! Captain of the Welsh Football team and a Seattle Reign FC player, she has played for Cardiff, Bristol, Glasgow City, AZ Alkmaar and Melbourne Victory on her journey to greatness. Despite being so busy combining representative football for Wales as well as Seattle FC and Melbourne Victory in the off season, Jess has always found time to talk with me - which in itself says a lot about her. Regarded as one of best midfielders in the world, Jess has won respect and accolades from her peers by the plenty. In the WSL (Women’s Soccer League) she was awarded the 2011 Club Player of the Year, 2011 Fans Player of the Year, and was voted in the WSL All-Star Team, as voted for by the WSL managers. Jess was also awarded the 2012 Club Players Player of Year, 2012 Fans player of year and 2012 FA WSL Players player of year, voted by 40 April 2014

Photo: Papaya Photography

April 2014 41

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Photos: courtesy Seatlle Reign FC

managers and players of the FA WSL League; as well as making the NWSL and W-League teams of the year for the last two years plus winning League titles. All of this and she, in our view, is still in her ascendancy as a player. Jess is a good player in terms of skill, but also because of her workload, commitment to the team, her belief in a good ethos and her focus. When she broke her wrist in the England qualifier, not only did she play on but played in a cast for the next qualifier in Montenegro. “It was such an important match for us and I didn’t want to let the team down,” she says of the fact that there was no doubt in her mind that she would play. 

“I’m a believer that you have to keep pushing yourself to keep growing and learning...”

Jess is a tough player in the mold of the greatest: team and loyalty are the top of her list. This is made clear when I talk with her about the Welsh team. She may wear the captain’s armband but she talks at length about the team and that they all have their individual skills and that as a team they work to each other’s strengths. This brings a closeness and connection that is invaluable, she says. Why is Jess such a formidable player? The foundations she has built and the way she conducts herself have given her a solid stance. She doesn’t stand still, she wants to and needs to push herself, to evolve all the time. “I’m a believer that you have to keep pushing yourself to keep growing and learning,” she says of her career to date and in particular of her time in Seattle. “Seattle has taught me a lot, the pressure was unlike any I have experienced”. The interesting thing for me is that despite all the accolades and the world-class teams and players she has played with and for, her values guide her and they are important to her. “If you lose playing the way you want with the right ethos, you then have a core of players that unite in an amazing way.” This is a commentary on her career and values, but also about what is being built at Seattle Reign FC by Bill Predmore, the owner, and Laura Harvey, the General Manager. It is at odds with a lot of popular culture but….I think it is one that is going to bear significant fruit over time.  April 2014 43

44 April 2014

Photo: Papaya Photography

Photo: Papaya Photography

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Photos: courtesy Seattle Reign FC

46 April 2014

Jess stands on the shoulders of giants - the women who went before and whom she strives to emulate and improve on, with a firm set of values guiding her. This makes her not only a good player who sets herself the highest of standards, but one who won’t waver due to her focus and values. Jess is an athlete of outstanding character who is recognised as such by her peers the world over. Jess has grown a lot in the last couple of seasons and is very ready to acknowledge that. “I have learnt a lot about myself, I’ve grown as a person and a player,” she reflects about the last couple of seasons. The good thing is that she isn’t introspective but determined to be the best, recognising what needs to be worked at and what she is good at, whilst also knowing where she has come from. It’s a great balance to have and one that will continue to pay dividends. We look forward to the 2014 season and what it holds for Jess.

Will you support Dame Kelly Holmes’ vision to engage, enable and empower disadvantaged young people?


Resilience, confidence and self belief: these are all traits an Olympian, Paralympian or world champion needs to compete at top level. They are traits we all need to succeed in life, whatever we choose to do. But they are also what many young people lack, through no fault of their own. Every young person the DKH Legacy Trust supports is mentored by a world class athlete, giving them the chance to be the best they can be.

So far we’ve reached 104,000 young people... By 2016 we’ll reach 200,000 Will you help us and take on a fundraising challenge? fundraising/events

April 2014 47

“If we stop worrying we can achieve so much more.” - Sophie Radcliffe


International 48 April 2014


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April 2014 49


HERO Anna Mayes Interview and article by Myak Homberger Anna Mayes is the successful Head Coach of the England Netball Team and as part of our series on Unsung Hero’s I wanted to understand why she was so successful and what is it that she does behind the scenes that makes the team so good and in the ascendancy that they are enjoying? As with so many unsung heroes, Anna is very humble and after my initial introduction and commentary on her, her first words were “thank you, it’s humbling to hear positive feedback like that.” With a background in Sport Science and Coaching [Sport and Exercise Science (BSc Hons.), Sport Psychology (MSc), Sports Massage Therapy (Dip.) and Sports Coaching], Anna has an incredible understanding of herself, her vision and the ethos for the team. “I’m a strong believer in experimental learning,” she says of her own experiences and those of the team. This for me is the theme of the conversation and I believe part of what makes her so successful. Her ability to learn from every situation and to see that in a positive way - means that she and the team never see themselves as ‘victims’ but instead that it is about continual learning. “Performance doesn’t travel in a straight line,” Anna says, talking about her view of sport, life and the highs and lows it brings. She wants to learn from every aspect of life and she is imparting this to the team.  If you are learning, then responsibility needs to be taken and this requires maturity and awareness and this is the cornerstone of how Anna Mayes functions. She is very clear that she and the team are all 50 April 2014

responsible for their actions, saying that performance standards and behavioural excellence, day in and day out, are paramount and a standard requirement - not an optional extra. She is very clear on personal and team awareness and this theme weaves through our conversation. Anna comments on this by saying, “The more self-aware we can become the more we can shape the actions we take”, whilst also continuing to say that “you need to look at yourself before you look at others”.  This is about putting the focus on the person, to understand themselves and continue to improve. What this brings out is a more confident player, a team that understands each other better and a coach who can communicate effectively, not just in the relaxed moments but when the chips are down and the pressure is on.  Only once you take responsibility for yourself and are self-aware can you ask and answer a few questions that Anna believes are key to defining you and your actions:  Whose opinion matters to you? What’s your support network?  What’s your story?  What do you want to represent? On the surface one can answer them quickly and flippantly - but to reflect and think over these questions is exactly what Anna wants of her team and




Photo: courtesy England Netball

April 2014 51

Photo: courtesy England Netball

of herself. She thrives on this curiosity and it has been the making of this team. Anna has created an environment where selfawareness, learning and responsibility are safe things to be doing, where you improve as a person and as a team and the interesting thing is that of the three themes that make up our conversation not one of them works independently of the other, it’s a hand in glove system that creates something complete and is exciting for the individual and the team. This is what is so interesting about Anna Mayes and her style. Her final words to me: “I feel like I am one piece of that journey and I am very fortunate to have the people I work with.” Spoken like a coach without an axe to grind, a leader comfortable in her own skin and aware of all surrounding her, taking on no external pressures that don’t conform to her ‘story’. An Unsung Hero through and through. 52 April 2014

Sports International

in Cyprus.

By Adam Barlow With no major international football championship for the England women’s football team in 2014 the Cyprus cup has gained extra significance this year. Although England are in the middle of qualifying campaign for the 2015 World Cup, the bulk of these games will have been one sided affairs which haven’t really tested the Lionesses. This is why the Cyprus cup (held annually) is so important; as it provides the team with competitive matches against similarly ranked sides, and will thus give Mark Sampson a very good idea of where this fledgling England side is in its development.  England, who won the championship last year, were drawn in Group A alongside Euro 2013 quarter finalists Italy, Finland, and Canada who host the World Cup next year. When looking at the games the second round of fixtures stood out to me as England took on Finland at 2.30pm followed in the same stadium by Canada v Italy. The chance to cover these games, see England’s development and also check out Canada, a side that will be in the mix in 2015 was far too good to pass up so plans were made and Sports International became one of the few media outlets to cover England in Cyprus Before I made it out there, England had already got off to a great start beating Italy 2-0; courtesy of a penalty from Karen Carney on the stroke of halftime and a Toni Duggen strike midway through April 2014 53

the second half. Canada had despatched Finland 3-0 to give the group a one sided look early on. Having never been to Cyprus I had no idea of what to expect from the island or the tournament so it was with a little trepidation that I set off. However once there I found it to be one of the most relaxing places I have ever been to.  There seems to be little code of conduct on the roads as we experienced on the drive up to the stadium but overall it’s a fantastic place to visit. Sun, sea, and football, you can’t go wrong really.  The two games we covered were played at the GSZ Stadium; home of Cypriot side AEK Larnaca. The first thing that struck me was how relaxed everything was. Admission was free with no stewards anywhere to be seen, and just a huge gate open to let fans in. No turnstiles and certainly no electric turnstiles.  The stadium holds about 13,000 with fans seated on both sides with no seating behind the goal. Only one side was open today but with only a few hundred fans in it was more than enough. The seats are very steep and 90% of the stadium is uncovered. I must admit to quite liking this old school stadium and I imagine the atmosphere is fantastic on European nights under the lights. The press box is situated right at the top of the main stand and although basic was more than adequate and had that feature that is quite rare in Cyprus, decent Wifi reception.  The Cyprus cup is also about experimenting  and making changes to line ups to give all the squad a game, so for the Finland game it was good to see former Sports International cover star Carly Telford start in goal and Alex Greenwood make her first start in an England shirt. Even with the much changed eleven England ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. Thanks to goals from Anita Asante in the first half and further second half goals from Gemma Bonner and Eniola Aluko. Speaking to us after the game Mark Sampson was pleased with England’s effort and admitted 54 April 2014

Photo: Myroslava Terlecky

April 2014 55

56 April 2014

that their good performance had given him “Selection headaches” for the next match. The press box was near enough deserted for the second game as Canada took on Italy.  As the sides walked out they were welcomed by the sound of angle grinders and welding as workmen carried out some repairs inside the corner of the stadium. The England coaching staff had stayed behind to watch the match and they saw a workman like display from the Canadians who raced into a 2 goal lead at halftime and went on to win 3-1 despite some dreadful challenges from the Italians who lost their cool. To their huge credit Canada kept theirs even when Sophie Schmidt received an elbow to the face that required 5 stitches. After the game the Canadian players and staff were more than happy to chat and sign autographs for the fans.  And it is this friendliness that I will take away from the Cyprus Cup. The event is a real celebration of woman’s football and players are more than happy to mingle and chat with fans both in the stadiums and around the towns. It really is a fantastic event and shows sport at its best. We will definitely be back next year. 

Photo: Myroslava Terlecky

April 2014 57

Photo: Gareth Davies Photography

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Sophie Radcliffe Photos

Adventurer and Endurance Athlete April 2014 59

Article and interview by Myak Homberger I have, over time, been very privileged to meet extreme athletes and adventurers doing all sorts of truly remarkable challenges around the world. So for me, I wanted to get into the mind of an athlete like this, why do they do it and what makes them tick? Sophie Radcliffe comes to our conversation having spent a few days in Spain power gliding, white water rafting, skiing and rock climbing with sky diving to follow in a couple of days. It’s safe to say she ticks the extreme/endurance/ adventure box! What on earth does the ‘bucket’ list of someone like that look like?! Sophie talks with an enthusiasm that almost makes me want to sign up for the next adventure - until she informs me that a ‘fun’ weekend is: to cycle to Paris from London and be back to start work Monday. I opt for the coffee and a chat with her instead.  As with all things, it starts with an idea. “I love nothing more than coming up with an idea 60 April 2014

of something I want to do and then going and doing it,” she says of the initial plan. But even plan such things? As I ask the questions in different ways to get to the essence of her motivation it’s fascinating to see the theme and the incredible life lessons that can be taken from them. “That is exactly what I am wanting to do,” she says. “What drives me is the application in the real world.” So often adventures are just that: adventures - but what Sophie is wanting to achieve here is something different, something that allows ‘ordinary people’ to do extraordinary things and in so doing improve their real world lives - and that’s fascinating and exciting to see.  For Sophie adventure is about a huge number of different things - but they all melt down to the same fundamental things in essence. It’s about knowing more about yourself, accepting yourself, enjoying the world and connecting with it in a way technology has made us lose sight of. From the initial planning phase through to the actual adventure Sophie enjoys each moment. But the adventure/challenge for her is about so, so much more. From seeing the early morning mist as you climb into a kayak in the silence, to sunrises and scenery of various landscapes and countries, they all produce a visual inspiration for the very physical and mental challenge ahead. Surrounded by friends, being outdoors with people who love what they are doing all forms part of the experience for her. It also creates a bond that is often very deep as they all combine to achieve their common goal. It’s about digging deep and doing something that makes her feel so alive that “….you feel like you can overcome anything after completing a challenge,” she says.  For me the interesting thing is that although it is about the visual stimulation, the auditory experience, the bonding of friends old and new and the ‘rush’ of the activity, for Sophie there is Photo: Gareth Davies Photography

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“..I love nothing more than coming up with an idea of something I want to do and then going and doing it,...”

Photo: Gareth Davies Photography

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Photos: courtesy Sophie Radcliffe

another dimension and it is this that is fantastic. For her, this additional dimension is about understanding yourself, learning about yourself and in many ways unlearning so many things and assumptions. This then gives you confidence in knowing who you really are and understanding what that knowledge means to you as an individual. It’s about getting to a point where you don’t need the validation of others, because you have achieved so much and proved to yourself what you can do. Most importantly, it provides perspective. “If we

“I’m a believer that you have to keep pushing yourself to keep growing and learning...” April 2014 63

“If we stop worrying, we can achieve so much more,”

Photo: Reuben Tabner

stop worrying, we can achieve so much more,” Sophie says of getting to that point. Sophie takes on challenges, yes. But these challenges aren’t purely for the sake of a challenge or another adventure - for her, it is about connection, friends, the outdoors and overcoming. And most importantly, it’s about self-improvement and being able to integrate that back into the real world where most people live 9-5 lives. This approach has had a dynamic impact on Sophie’s life and also on those around her as they connect with her vision of balancing adventure with everyday life. A wonderful way to live!

64 April 2014

Photo: Gareth Davies Photography

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Photos : Jari Turunen/WWC2013FI

66 April 2014

Sports Explained

American Football Everyone has heard of the American Football Superbowl, its big pop-star performances, record viewing figures and crazy money for adverts etc. -  but how many know about Women’s American Football? We spoke with Roope Noronen, President SAJL – FINLAND and Vice President of the IFAF as well as Finnish international player Elina Kero to help us understand more about it. April 2014 67

Photos : Jari Turunen/WWC2013FI

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Women’s American Football has the same rules as that of their male counterparts, starting in 2006 as semi contact (flag), becoming full contact in 2008 with the first World Championship being held in 2010. From then on it has grown from strength to strength with 66 national member federations in six continents under the governing of the IFAF currently. The Women’s World Championships program is run under the International Federation of American Football which is the IOC recognized governing body of American football organizing events in tackle, flag and beach flag football.  Speaking of being selected in 2008 for the Finnish team, Elina Kero said “it was a really big thing to be selected, an honour.” For her and the rest of the team, as with so many female sports women around the world, she works full time whilst fitting in between 5-7 training sessions and a match (season depending) each week.  In 2013 the World Championships were held in Finland with USA winning, Canada taking silver and Finland taking bronze. (It was played though with a 3-year cycle to get into the four year cycle better suited for IFAF competitions. So the next competition will take place in 2017).

they saw the tackles were real and that surprised them!” Elina laughs. “To win over [sic] Germany was amazing because they are very good team to get our bronze medal,” she says describing the tough finals. This is a sport that is growing with nations and fans alike. The commitment from all the athletes in this and so many other minority sports is huge, but by 2017 when the next World Championship takes place it may have become mainstream? In the meantime if you would like more information please visit for the governing body, and link to the competing countries in 2013: USA - Canada - Finland - Germany - Sweden - Spain - For those of you new to Womens’ American Football, enjoy your new found sport! And thanks again to Roope Noronen and Elina Kero for their time and patience.

“What an incredible experience - but also for all the people that came to watch for the first time,

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“Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.” - Unknown


International 70 April 2014



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72 April 2014

Photo credits: Canada Rugby

Candian Rugby

15’s By Myak Homberger

Ahead of the final match of their tour of France and England I spent an afternoon with the Canadian Rugby 15’s team and aside from enjoying the time with them, I learned more about a subject I thoroughly enjoy. The ethos of a team is always a fascinating subject, as here with the Canadian Rugby team. It’s so easy to be riding high with being the best team in the world, the best funded and so the list goes on - but you get the picture.  With the Rugby World Cup 15’s tournament in France this August qualifying nations are looking to lift the trophy. Aside from the 6 Nations and Black Ferns v England series there is very little - and in some cases no Rugby 15’s - played outside of the World Cup, meaning that most teams haven’t played together for at least two years, sometimes more. There are some special series ahead of the World Cup, but nothing on a regular basis.  So just like most, if not all countries, priority is being given to the Rugby 7’s squad in Canada ahead of its inclusion in the 2016 Rio Olympics. This then means that any 7’s players are making an additional commitment to play 15’s - and yet so many do and it’s this desire and ethos that in part gives the team that drive. It’s an extra sacrifice above all else. So given that there are two styles of

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74 April 2014

Photo credits: Canada Rugby

April 2014 75

Photo credits: Canada Rugby

rugby, that they last played together two years ago and 15’s isn’t the priority - how does a team like this come together and work together? The buzz from the team/players in the hotel lobby through to training and in all the conversations I had with players and staff was so positive and with a real sense of honour at being afforded such an opportunity. “It’s an amazing opportunity..”, “... you feel so privileged...”, “….hearing the anthem gives us such a powerful emotion...”, “…..deep inside we all love 15’s…..”, are just some of the comments that came through. These are athletes who love what they are doing and have found a way to connect quickly out of necessity, yes, but also out of a desire for the same things born from their common vision. All of this is driven by coach Francois Ratier, who is a French Canadian by birth but spent many years in France learning his art, finally coming back to Canada with the men’s U18 squad. His views are very interesting and very clear and a couple of simple things have created a remarkable system and has instilled an ethos in the team that is rock solid. “We work the same with the women as with the men,” he says very matter-of-factly, which will be news to many an ear. He doesn’t understand why there would be any difference. “It’s the same game?” With this fundamental in place, his next step 76 April 2014

was to ask the team once they assembled, what they wanted the other teams to think of Canada? “We wrote the words down, and these have created the measure that we check ourselves by now,” he says.  Without wishing to give away their secrets, the interesting thing was none of the words were ‘win’ or ‘winning,’ he laughs when I mention this. When I press him for a definition, he says “of course we want to win - but that comes from doing the other things.” Francois such a calm, balanced view of where the team is at and how an international team with all the challenges we have talked about can be built and motivated, that you can’t but help but be won over. It’s about doing things right by the team, giving them responsibility and having an ethos that the whole of the team has created - and the other things will come. This is about a team and what they are standing for and measuring themselves against, not about outside expectations but rather their own - and this is incredibly exciting to watch and have been a part of.

“I’m not coaching players on the field; I’m coaching them off the field. It’s not PlayStation game (sic). They are on the pitch and they need to make the decisions...” Francois’ style of coaching is different to some - and it places a huge responsibility on the athletes - but in turn, paradoxically, it provides huge freedom. “I’m not coaching players on the field; I’m coaching them off the field. It’s not PlayStation game (sic). They are on the pitch and they need to make the decisions,” he says of his view about personal responsibility and ownership as well as his coaching style. “I give the direction and they have to find the answers, it makes them better,” he explains further.  On the pitch this translates into personal ownership on a higher level. They ask a lot of questions of each other and of themselves and as he quite rightly points out, “you don’t need someone yelling at you to catch the ball….you know you didn’t and need to.” His view is that the players need to talk and answer the questions for themselves. The coaching staff can then help the players fix the problems, making for a more personally responsible player. He is very clear that athletes know when they haven’t performed and April 2014 77

Photo credits: Canada Rugby

so he works with them from a different place, to assist, provide the vision and give them the tools (as he calls it) to answer the questions for themselves. 

“I want to encourage them to take risks, to make mistakes because then you learn and get better...” One of the most interesting things for me was his relaxed and open minded approach to mistakes. “I want to encourage them to take risks, to make mistakes because then you learn and get better. My goal is to make less and less mistakes. It’s a big step for a coach to make in this day and age of a results driven world, but the interesting thing is that it’s paying dividends. The team is incredibly connected, they are playing good Rugby and they beat France (who won the 6Nations this year) once on their tour. The individual sense 78 April 2014

of ownership and responsibility that has been given to them means that on the field there is less panic and off the field they are pulling in the same direction. Given the vast distances between players back in Canada they make a huge effort to stay in touch and talk regularly as Kelly Russell, the team captain commented: “we focus a lot of regular comms, it’s important for all the girls….”  She adds “I can’t say enough, how committed and great the girls are.” This comment not just about the tour, but also of how they have worked to remain connected despite long distances and full time jobs. This is about athletes who have been given huge responsibility by a coach who believes in them - and this is repaid in total commitment. In addition, this is manifested in a tangibly positive atmosphere and drives them to want to stay in contact outside of their ‘contracted’ times because they ‘have something’ and they want it to grow and develop.  This is a team marching to the beat of a different drum.

Photo credits: Canada Rugby

April 2014 79

#MakeAPledge Uniting the Rugby family Rugby is a sport that unites men and women of all ages and from all backgrounds to get together to train, to play, to coach, to heal and to support. They meet together as a group of people who have a common interest and whether that is as a competitor or as a spectator, they all have the same bond. Making them a family who hold the same values. The armed forces also have that same ethos, which is why Rugby Spy have chosen Headley Court as their official charity. When players are injured in rugby, they’re still able to be part of the team. They act as “waterboys” or runners. It’s not so straightforward for those injured in combat, but it’s still important that they can be part of the team.   RugbySpy would like to try and support those overcoming injury and the problems associated with that by “putting them back on the team” and we don’t think that it’s always about money. Not everyone who would like to contribute or support is able to do so financially and often money isn’t the problem. RugbySpy would like to ask the rugby family to look at what unites 80 April 2014

Photo: courtesy Headley Court

them and pledge time and skills that may be of use to those within the armed forces overcoming injury or disability. They would act as central coordinators and run the scheme for 12 months and after that period, look to see if we can expand or improve what we are offering. We think these pledges could fall into several categories: Time:  visiting, calling, emails to those wanting social contact. Many professional rugby players would gladly get involved here. Professional Skills:  Most of our people play rugby as a hobby. In their daily lives they are solicitors, accountants, surveyors, builders, teachers etc. We would suggest that people in these types of roles pledge time, which can be used by individuals to help and support them. Photos: courtesy Headley Court

Occupational skills: Again through the rugby community we work with coaches, nutritionists, pilates and yoga teachers etc. Again, they would be able to pledge time to add to the facilities offered by the rehabilitation centres. Industry contacts:  Rugby allows us access to most of the Premiership clubs, kit manufacturers including Raging Bull who have already offered help nationally and sports specialists. We do also have involvement in theatres, music and other areas where we could certainly access tickets.   All in all, this scheme is only limited by what we say no to. It can work for all the rehabilitation centres but possibly in the beginning we may need to work with a smaller area just for the sake of ensuring that there are no problems. People can show their support through visiting the centre and pledging their time or a skill to Headley Court. This will be aimed at a wide of variety of people connected to our rugby April 2014 81

family, ranging from someone offering to run a photography workshop to a yoga class. However, to ensure that the skills being offered as a part of the pledge are appropriate ones, they will have to fit in categories that we have designed (as mentioned above.) RugbySpy’s pledge will be to cover the travel expenses (subject to prior agreement) of all those who decide to get involved. This means that every person or group of people that decide to make a pledge will have their travel expenses covered by RugbySpy, allowing those making a pledge to get involved, just simply through offering their time to the patients at Headley Court. In difficult economic times, the #MakeAPledge Campaign will allow people to get involved and support a charity where they may not have been able to if it was purely a financial contribution being asked of them. However people will also be able to make a financial contribution to Headley Court, through the RugbySpy website and or whilst attending Ibiza Tens. For further information please contact:

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Eating to beat Anaemia, Are you getting enough 26




By Helen West Feeling sluggish, weak and tired are symptoms athletes can easily attribute to being ‘run down’, illness or over-training. However, if these symptoms continue to occur over a prolonged period of time, it could possibly be due to iron deficiency.  

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Iron is an important mineral involved in many processes in the body including haemoglobin production, DNA synthesis and energy metabolism. Clinically low levels will result in symptoms such as feeling weak or tired, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath and pale skin.   How much do I need? The daily recommended intake for iron is currently the same for athletes as the general population. However, athletes from some sports are thought to have a higher risk of deficiency due to higher iron requirements. Athletes who have high blood volumes (greater blood volume = more red blood cells) may require more iron and some may experience extra iron losses through sweating and small bleeds caused by strenuous exercise.  For female athletes this is on top of the extra iron all women need to cover the losses from their monthly period.  Your iron requirements will vary depending on your age, sex and health status. Age












Getting enough iron in your diet doesn’t have to be taxing and there are several simple dietary habits you can implement to help you meet your requirements: Be sure to include a variety of iron rich foods (such as those listed) in your diet Include a source of vitamin C (fruit juice, fruit, broccoli etc) with products with non-heam iron sources (like fortified breakfast cereal) as this helps improve absorption. Avoid drinking tea or coffee at or around meal times as the tannins in these drinks reduce iron absorption.  Avoid adding wheat germ or bran to meals as it contains phytates which reduce iron absorption. Include lean red meat in your diet 1-4 times per week (80-100g) Non-meat eaters can boost iron intake by including legumes with 84 April 2014




a vitamin C source at meal times or by using a cast iron pan once or twice a week to help increase the iron content of the foods they are eating.

Good Sources of Dietary Iron include:

Heam Sources • Red Meats • Offal (Do not consume when pregnant due to high vitamin A content) • Poultry • Pork • Fish, particularly oily fish Non-Heam Sources • Beans (lentil, kindey, soy etc) • Dark leafy green veg e.g. spinach, kale • Fortified foods e.g. rice, breakfast cereals, bread • Eggs If iron deficiency anaemia is suspected, the best way to determine whether you have a problem is to seek professional help. Single blood tests in athletes can be misleading as intense exercise can lead to a temporary increase in plasma volume and falsely give the impression that iron status is low.  This is known in the literature as ‘sports anaemia’ and in most cases this does not require any treatment.  The gold standard for addressing a low iron problem is a combination of dietary assessment, symptom assessment and ongoing monitoring of blood levels by a qualified practitioner. 

April 2014 85

Delicious & easy to make

MALT LOAF Recipes and Tips Photo Credit: Zac Peatling

Recipe Ingredients

14g Dried Yeast

350g Strong white bread flour

2T Sunflower oil

150g Stoneground wholemeal

250 ml Warm water (not hot)

flour Âź t salt 1 T Brown sugar 3 T Malt Extract 2T Black Treacle 200g Dried Dates 86 April 2014

Method Chop the dates (large ones in quarters, small ones in half). Lightly sprinkle with a bit of flour and coat the dates with the flour (this prevents them from sticking together). Place dry ingredients in a large bowl, being initially careful to keep salt and yeast separate. Mix dry ingredients together well.

Add the malt extract, black treacle and oil, mix together. Add the dates and then slowly add the water to the mixture. Fold the mixture over and in (not kneading, as that will squash the dates) for a few minutes until the mixture comes together. The mixture will be very wet and sticky - this is as it should be. Divide between 2 x 1lb. loaf tins. Smooth the tops with the back of a spoon. Cover and leave for approx. 3 - 3 ½ hours or until doubled in size.

malt extract, this will allow it to drop off the spoon easily. You could use honey instead of malt extract on top of the loaf for a different taste, although it does remain more sticky.

Place in the pre-heated oven at 170C fan. Bake for 35 minutes until the loaf has a deep brown texture.

Malt Extract

Remove from the oven and from the tins. Place on a rack to cool (with a tray underneath to catch any drips from the malt extract). Smooth a teaspoon of malt extract over the tops of the hot loaves with the back of the spoon. Leave to cool for at least one hour before eating. Serve sliced, with butter. Hints Very lightly coat the tablespoon measure with oil before measuring the treacle and

Good-for-you ingredients Dates Dates are an excellent source of dietary fibre (for gut health, helping to reduce cholestrol and lowering the risk of heart disease). Dates also contain minerals, especially potassium and magnesium; and are a good source of Vit.B6. Dates provide a great energy boost.

Malt extract contains B Vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Black Treacle (Molasses) Black treacle or molasses is a rich source of calcium (for bone health) and iron (forZac Peatling Photo Credit: healthy blood and transporting oxygen around the body). Molasses provides good amounts of magnesium (for transmission of nerve impulses, bone and heart health). It also contains other minerals such as potassium, manganese, copper and zinc. Molasses is a good source of natural carbohydrates. By Isa du Toit

Recipes and Tips sponsored by

The haricot bread company Hand-crafted Artisan Bread

April 2014 87

Thank you’s Each issue brings fresh stories, athletes and new

along with all the staff that made time for us, thank

only possible with the openness and giving of their

it was very refreshing to be afforded such access.

sports to feature in the magazine. These stories are time by the following people.

Sophie, for sharing not only her passion and vision

but giving her time to help other people whom we

have introduced to her on the road to pursuing their dreams. Jackoatbar for being such big supporters

you very much. In an era of secrets and closed shops Julia for all your help and support, you are a star! Alison thank you for all your behind the scenes

effort, really appreciate it. Megan and Bryan for all your help and support in being able to write and deliver an article on such a great team.

of women’s sport on a very practical level. Shona

Chloe Wilcox for your openness at such a

interview and her constant support of the magazine.

thoughts. Jess for all your time chatting around the

for a very entertaining photo-shoot, such a great

The Sporttape crew for being so nice, supportive and generous with all our endeavours.

The numerous governing bodies that have given

us such amazing access, thank you, especially the FA and FAWSL. Glenn, you have been a legend, thank you sir! To our charity partner The Dame

Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust, it has been an honour to spend time with you and all the athletes and seeing

the amazing work you do in the communities. To the amazingly helpful Roope Noronen, President SAJL – FINLAND and Vice President of the IFAF, your

patience was so appreciated and Elina your time and

challenging time and sharing your innermost

world and the fab photo-shoot, you rock! Seattle Reign FC for all your support, we can’t wait to

see what the season brings. Adam and Myroslava for their coverage of the Cyprus Cup, your input, thoughts and passion are amazing! Helen, your

articles are always amazing and your passion and

support for women’s sport is great, thank you. Anna Mayes such a fascinating time spent with you, we

look forward to chatting more, thank you. RugbySpy for all your support and the amazing work you are

doing in giving back to communities, it’s a privilege to be involved.

stories were great, thank you so much.

I am sure I have forgotten people, but thank you to

Maggie, for your friendship, sharing your life and

amazing stories, thank you. It’s people like this who

humility, you’re such an inspiration. Bill Predmore for your time and sharing your vision for a world

class team, appreciate how busy you are. Amanda

everyone who has made this such a varied issue with make women’s sport so enjoyable and I consider it a privilege to be doing what I do.

for all your time amidst your hectic schedule and

openness to talk about anything. CNN for allowing

us complete and unfettered access for a whole day,

The views and opinions expressed by the writers in this magazine are their own and not necessarily those of Sports International Magazine. © Copyright 2014 Sports International Magazine. All Rights Reserved 88 April 2014




Contact Subscribe free on line: Keep up to date on our blog: or on twitter: @sportsinternationalmagazine Advertising contact: Editorial contact: SPORTS




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