When the words ‘summer’ and ‘Britain’ are normally placed alongside each other it normally leads to disappointment. But this summer, minus the inevitably bad weather, has been a scorcher for British sporting achievement. Here are the British sporting triumphs that have truly defined the summer of 2017:
Great Britain’s men’s 4x100m team crowned champions on home soil
For hosts Great Britain the World Championships had been quite disappointing until the final Saturday night where two silvers and a gold in the space of an hour lit up the London Stadium. Mo Farah had already slipped to a surprise second in his final major championship track race in the 5000m and the women’s 4x100m team had also claimed the silver medal before the night’s crowning triumph. The team, consisting of Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Daniel Talbot and Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake, stormed to a surprise triumph ahead of a strong USA team in a dramatic relay that saw Jamaica fail to finish after Usain Bolt seized up in his final major championship race.
The shock win was seen as somewhat of a major redemption for the men’s 4x100m after clocking up six disqualifications from their last seven major championship appearances. Perhaps the most painful of all was the disqualification at the same venue five years ago in the Olympics which saw two of the winning team’s members Talbot and Gemili fumble their changeover. The relay is certainly an event of fine margins with much stress placed on the chemistry of its four runners. The team won the race with an impressive time of 37.47 seconds, a new British record and the 14th fastest time in history. It wasn’t quite Super Saturday but it came pretty close. JO
England’s Young Lions Roar Loudest
When it comes to Great British sporting achievements, football isn’t a sport we always associate with international praise. As a nation, we find ourselves bemoaning lacklustre performances over hopeful barbecues and refreshing beers to drown our sorrows in. However, on June 11th 2017, history was made as the England Under-20s side roared their way to victory in the U20s World Cup, defeating a spirited young Venezuelan side in the process.
With key performances from young talents such as Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke, Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tottenham Hotspur’s Josh Onomah, the Young Lions performed admirably throughout the tournament, captained by Bournemouth’s central defender Lewis Cook. It was hard to avoid echoes of the successes of 1966, and sports channels made no effort to conceal the similarities. With Dominic Solanke earning plaudits throughout the tournament, as well as garnering the sought-after Golden Ball for Player of the Tournament, and Calvert-Lewin scoring the all-important goal during the 1-0 win in the final, England’s footballing future has never looked brighter. MP
England edge India to win women’s cricket World Cup in a gripping finale
The last time the England women’s cricket team won the World Cup was 2009. Back then, Anya Shrubsole non-playing squad member. Eight years on, and England have triumphed for the fourth time in their history; but this time Shrubsole is the jewel in the crown. India’s quest for glory would be complete should they surpass England’s innings of 229 and with Punam Raut and Veda Krishnamurthy pushing India closer and closer. With 28 runs needed, w44 balls left and seven wickets remaining, the target didn’t seem like much of a tall order. Up steps Shrubsole. Four overs remained and an early wicket boosted Shrubsole’s confidence, who lacked match practice coming into the tournament. Shrubsole then proceeded to claim three wickets from three overs.
Her next contribution came in assisting Sarah Taylor’s removal of the bails to oust Pandey. But with 12 balls remaining and India needing just 11, England needed Shrubsole to step up again. She began with Sharma, caught at midwicket for Shrubsole’s fifth and the final, decisive wicket came just one ball after Jenny Gunn’s potentially momentum-shattering drop- a catch that would’ve sealed victory. It could’ve been a massive precursor but fate seemed solely in Shrubsole’s hands today. A yorker saw the final Indian batswoman fall, completing a stunning spell of six for 46 for Shrubsole and claiming an emphatic fourth World Cup title for the England women’s cricket team. JO
England’s Women attempt World Cup victory emulation
After winning the World Cup for the first time in twenty years back in 2014, England’s Women were looking forward to what they hoped would be a winning return to the world stage. Starting their title defence against Spain on August 9th in Dublin, the ladies stormed into the competition with two back-to-back scores of 56 against Spain and Italy. With the ladies showing no signs of easing into the tournament, they charged into each game, leaving everything on the pitch at the end of eighty minutes.
They followed their hugely successful opening two games with a 47-26 win over the USA Women, before a semi-final victory against France’s Women set them up for a final against the All-Blacks. Saturday 26th August came around, and the England Women’s team stepped out, hoping to emulate their successes of three years ago, with dreams of lifting the World Cup once again. Despite their best efforts, England were unable to overcome a spirited New Zealand side, in a game that ended 32-41. Their performance throughout the tournament are to be commended however, playing as they did despite knowing that their contracts would not be renewed. Another World Cup final however, is a superb success for the England Women’s Rugby team, who have enjoyed a lot of recent success. MP
Chris Froome wins a historic fourth Tour De France
Having finally crossed the line at Champs-Elysee in Paris, Chris Froome is now within one title of equalling the all-time record of five Tour De France titles shared by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. Froome secured the title at the penultimate stage of this year’s tour, finishing 54 seconds ahead of Colombian rider Rigoberto Uran. Having gone right down to the wire, this fourth title may end up being his sweetest, having been forced to take the toughest route to the yellow jersey. Froome failed to win a stage, finishing third four times throughout the gruelling endurance race but clearly his consistency and grit was a key factor this time around. It was a factor that faced Bernard Hinault in 1982: Froome approached Paris without a stage win and questions over his ability to get the job done. It’s a fair assessment perhaps; maybe Froome wasn’t at his best this season but crucially he ground out a result. Maybe the similarity Froome shares with joint Tour title record-holder Hinault is a promising omen for his next title bid. JO