You’d think being a chess grandmaster would be enough for any man, but it’s not for Magnus Carlsen. The Norwegian took to twitter this week to inform his followers that he’s currently in pole position of the online Fantasy Premier League football competition. ‘So what?’ you may cry, but it’s actually quite some achievement considering he’s up against some seven million opponents.
Carlsen cited analytics firm Opta as part of the reason for his success.
“Since a lot of people are asking about my £FPL strategy, mine is the not so groundbreaking one of part stats and part gut feeling,” the Norwegian tweeted. “Part Opta-mist and part optimist.”
This is Carlsen’s sixth year in the competition, with his highest previously finish a little over 2400th place, so he’ll be more than happy with his current placing this year. The likes of Sadio Mane, Son Heung-min and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy feature in his team.
If you’re a boxing fan, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be well aware of Fury’s ‘Undertaker-like’ revival against Deontay Wilder. Fury was well up on the cards in the 12th round in the December 1, 2018 bout, when caught with punishing blows from Wilder that put him firmly on the canvas. Few in the Las Vegas Staples Centre will have considered that Fury would get up from such a punishing knockdown, but that’s exactly what he did. In doing so, he became the first of Wilder’s opponents to avoid getting knocked out in a fight.
Adding to that is the fact that many watching thought Fury offered something of a masterclass in the fight, and thoroughly deserved the win rather than a draw. Still, there’s hope for an epic rematch down the pipeline and so there’s an element of ‘to be continued’ to this, with talk of multiple fights between the pair in 2020 if the stars align and they remain undefeated prior to it. As we saw with the recent Anthony Joshua loss to Andy Ruiz jnr, that’s far from a formality. Wilder will likely face Luis Ortiz later in the year and that was far from a formality the first time around.
Below is a video clip to the epic 12th round in question, as well as footage of the only other two knockdowns in Fury’s career to date. As you can see, he does appear to have rather speedy powers of recovery, which is likely one of many reasons he’s as yet undefeated (record: 27W 0L 19KOs 1D).
In these hostile times, what can be a greater gesture of solidarity with your fellow man (or woman) than taking each other by the hand and marching forward through life? Brits Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown certainly hold to this philosophy and while taking part in the World Triathlon Olympic qualification event in Tokyo the race leaders decided to finish hand in hand.
Unfortunately for them however, doing so they contravened International Triathlon Union (ITU) competition rule 2.11.f, which states “athletes who finish in a contrived tie situation, where no effort to separate their finish times has been made, will be disqualified”.
Consequently both runners were disqualified, awarding the win instead to Bermuda’s Flora Duffy. So much for giving peace a chance!
If you’re like me, you’re well into the staples of sport. Football leagues and big games, perhaps a bit of rugby here, an athletics championships there. The Olympics. Boxing. Essentially mainstream sports where ‘you know what you’re getting on the tin’ so to speak. Of course though once in a while something will come on that’s a little different and catches your attention. The soap box challenge for instance, is a sporting challenge and event that both entertains and yet has a competitive aspect to it.
If you’re open to a broader range of sports though, you start to stray into competitive and yet slightly madcap sports like Thumb Wrestling. In this BBC Sport video we explore this weird and wonderful sport during the Thumb Wrestling World Championships in Norfolk. The competition is best of three rounds and a ‘professional thumb ring’ is used (well, would you expect anything less!). To a cry of “1,2,3,4, I declare a thumb war” the duel then begins.
4-time world champion Paul Browse guides us through this wacky world, from training regimes (lots of thumb ups!) and the thrill of lifting that thumbs up trophy!
“If you’ve not got a big strong thumb, then a small thin, agile thumb is just as good as that” enthuses the worldbeater!