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Author Archive for Donald McRae

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Peter Shilton: ‘Maradona’s the greatest player in history but I don’t respect him’

England’s most capped player has never forgiven Diego Maradona for his failure to apologise for the 1986 Hand of God goalFifty years since his England debut, and 30 years since his final appearance as one of the great World Cup goalkeepers at Italia 90…

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Ellie Simmonds: ‘Going into Rio, swimming for me had been life or death’

Having been pushed to the brink of retirement before the last Paralympics, the swimmer took a year out. Now, reunited with her old coach, she cannot wait for Tokyo“A lot of the time, when I swim, I close my eyes because it is definitely lonely,” Ellie …

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Ellie Simmonds: ‘Going into Rio, swimming for me had been life or death’

Having been pushed to the brink of retirement before the last Paralympics, the swimmer took a year out. Now, reunited with her old coach, she cannot wait for Tokyo“A lot of the time, when I swim, I close my eyes because it is definitely lonely,” Ellie …

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Death of a fighter: Patrick Day loved boxing, but it killed him | Donald McRae

Friends tell the story of a fighter who did not need to box but chose to, and how his death at the age of 27 after a knockout punch has left them bereft “When the time came to say goodbye, I told Pat I loved him and I appreciated him,” Patrick Aristhen…

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Peter Hain: ‘Stopping South Africa’s rugby and cricket teams hit them right in the gut’

Peter Hain was 19 when he realised sport was the way to bring down apartheid in South Africa – a fight captured in a powerful documentary called Stop the Tour“I was a source of great hatred,” Peter Hain says with a wry smile as he remembers how, 50 yea…

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Peter Hain: ‘Stopping South Africa’s rugby and cricket teams hit them right in the gut’

Peter Hain was 19 when he realised sport was the way to bring down apartheid in South Africa – a fight captured in a powerful documentary called Stop the Tour“I was a source of great hatred,” Peter Hain says with a wry smile as he remembers how, 50 yea…

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Peter Hain: ‘Stopping South Africa’s rugby and cricket teams hit them right in the gut’

Peter Hain was 19 when he realised sport was the way to bring down apartheid in South Africa – a fight captured in a powerful documentary called Stop the Tour“I was a source of great hatred,” Peter Hain says with a wry smile as he remembers how, 50 yea…

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Claire and Alex Danson: ‘We were told she might not survive. The family were very scared’

A year after Alex Danson suffered a freak injury on holiday, her sister was paralysed in a crash. The athlete sisters tell their story“I think most of the time I’m still just the same,” Claire Danson says as we sit beneath a cold and darkening sky in t…

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson: ‘I didn’t want to be at the Rio Olympics but I’m ready for Tokyo’

The world champion has been revitalised by a move to Montpellier and has put the lows of 2016 and 2017 behind her“In a way I crave those moments now,” Katarina Johnson-Thompson says of the quiet and the solitude that helped her become the heptathlon wo…

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Rick Reilly: ‘Donald Trump will cheat you on the golf course and then buy you lunch’ | Donald McRae

The sports writer says Donald Trump’s golf antics reveal a lot about the President and leave him terrified for the United States’ future“Donald Trump is the worst cheat ever and he doesn’t care who knows,” Rick Reilly says as he describes a man he has …

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Rob McCracken: ‘Anthony Joshua knows there’s no room for error’

GB Boxing’s performance director, who also trains the former world heavyweight champion, has overseen major changes in the men’s and women’s games over the past 10 yearsWhile Rob McCracken sits through a meeting that is partly about Anthony Joshua’s ri…

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Warren Gatland: ‘I would’ve gone into a final against England feeling we could win’

The former Wales head coach on what might have been at the World Cup, looking forward to the Lions and whether he’ll one day coach the All Blacks“Absolutely,” Warren Gatland says when he is asked if he would still love to coach the All Blacks one day. …

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Vincent Kompany: ‘You never learn as much as when you get your arse kicked’

The former Manchester City captain – ‘100% Congolese, 100% Belgian, 100% Manc’ – on the ‘beautiful adversity’ of his new challenge at Anderlecht, racism and Brexit“Every chapter in my life has started with a setback and a struggle,” Vincent Kompany say…

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Ben Stokes: ‘I think I was driven by the idea of not letting anyone down’

England all-rounder discusses his two extraordinary innings this summer, embracing his fears and his views on the captaincy“The whole redemption thing?”Ben Stokes says as he raises an eyebrow on a quiet morning at Lord’s. He does not look convinced as …

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Wilf McGuinness: ‘I thought Munich was the end, that United were finished’

The 82-year-old former Manchester United player and coach talks about the air disaster, Sir Matt Busby and playing for £20 a weekWilf McGuinness is 82 but his face lights up with vivid memories of the man who had such an impact on his life. “Matt Busby…

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‘One of my greatest experiences’: Eddie Jones recalls South Africa years | Donald McRae

England’s coach enjoyed Rugby World Cup success with South Africa in 2007 and prepares for Saturday’s final as a huge admirer of the team and countryFour months and nine days after he hit the lowest point of his coaching career in Pretoria, Eddie Jones…

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James Milner: ‘I’m not a fan of VAR … the atmosphere is being ruined’

The Liverpool midfielder on the trouble with refereeing technology, the title race and why he talks in Spanish in his sleepBefore we explore the unglamorous roots of this story, James Milner captures the pain and glory of losing and winning a Champions…

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Regis Prograis: ‘Hurricane Katrina changed my life for the better’

The WBA super-lightweight champion says the disaster ‘took away everything’ but forced him to grow up, and explains why he will treat himself to a new bookshelf if he beats Josh Taylor “If I didn’t read as much as I did, and study the history, I’d prob…

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Oisin Murphy: ‘Now I’m champion jockey, I want to do it again’

The 24-year-old who will be crowned champion jockey on Saturday discusses weighing-room hard knocks and the long journey to his finest moment“It will be quite a moment,” Oisin Murphy says as he looks forward to this Saturday afternoon at Ascot when he …

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Jane Couch: ‘I wish I hadn’t been the first in boxing … I’m damaged’

Britain’s pioneering former fighter and five-time world champion, who won a landmark case for women in 1998, is rediscovering her lust for life after enduring a torrid time in the sport“I just think I’m damaged, like really damaged,” Jane Couch says qu…