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Agnel's 'Apprenticeship' Of New Habits

Sep 20, 2011  - Craig Lord

News Round-Up:

France: missing a medal in solo events at the world championships in Shanghai has made European 400m freestyle champion Yannick Agnel hungry for success at London 2012, his first Olympic campaign. "I took a lot in, gained experience," Agnel told AFP at a tennis event in Nice. "I did an apprenticeship in new habits, new ways of approaching competition. That made me hungry for more." This season he has returned to studying - a business course with an option to read oceanography at some stage - after missing cerebral challenge from his regime last year: "I realised that the life of an elite sportsman with nothing else in his life is not the right way for me. I have a need to learn beyond swimming, a have a curiosity for broadening my horizons." Now into his Olympic season routine, Agnel, coached by Fabrice Pellerin in Nice, says that he has "rediscovered balance" after a season that was "chaotic at somer levels". 

London 2012: Two in three people missed out on getting Olympic tickets in the first rounds of sales. Now, those who missed out must wait longer still to find out whether they should make travel plans to visit the British capital next summer. "The contingency tickets will now go on sale next year," a Locog spokeswoman told reporters in a statement that confirmed what many did not want to hear: the majority of ticket sales have been delayed by several months. The longer the wait, the more difficult for people to make travel plans - and be able to afford them.

Portugal: The Portuguese national team, has gathered in Montemor-o-Velho for its first Olympic preparation camp of the season on the way to London 2012. The squad of Alexandre Agostinho (Portinado), Angélica André (Leixões), Alexis Santos (Sporting), Cátia Martinheira (Louletano), Diogo Carvalho (Galitos de Aveiro), Nádia Vieira (Gesloures), Duarte Mourão and Simão Morgado (Amadora) and Sara Oliveira (FC Porto (Dolce Vita) are under the guidance of head of selection Rui Magalhães, head coach Alexandre Dias and coach Élio Terrível (Galitos de Aveiro). Magalhães told reporters in Portugal that the camp would include a good deal of cross training, with gym, canoeing, cycling and running in the mix with eight sessions in water throughout the week.

Goal for swimming: Manchester City football club has revealed plans for a giant new training complex that the club claims will be the best in the world. The 80-acre site next to their stadium in east Manchester still needs planning permission - due in December - but would contain a 7,000-seat mini-stadium, 15 full-size pitches and sleeping accommodation for 72 senior and youth players. As part of a 10-year strategy, part of the club's commitment to the local community in tandem with its construction plans includes a new public swimming pool.

Tipping Point: Tennis, the sport oft cited by those in swimming who feel that the calendar is not too cluttered and call on top swimmers to compete more often, has reached a tipping point. Leading men’s tennis players could go on strike if the ATP schedule is not reformed, according to several of the world's top players, including Britain's world No4 Andy Murray. The 24-year-old Scot held talks with other players at the US Open and the issue will be debated ounce more at the Shanghai Masters early next month. Matters came to a head at the US Open where rain forced the likes of Spanish ace Rafael Nadal to play matches on three successive days then have one day off and travel to Europe to play in the Davis Cup. Players were also said to be "incensed" by the announcement last year by ATP chief executive Adam Helfant, who has since decided to leave the governing body, that the Paris Masters and the World Tour Finals would be played back-to-back. Murray told the BBC that a strike was "a possibility … I know from speaking to some players they’re not afraid of doing that (striking). Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but I’m sure the players will consider it … we need to have some say in what goes on in our sport. At the moment we don’t." The ATP hit back by noting that many finals have been cut back to best of three sets while prize money has been increased. The money argument misses the point, unless we still think as they thought in the days of gladiators.