Not many people would have heard of Willie Murphy, but the 77-year-old from New York is a World Powerlifting Champion.
At 47kg, Murphy lifts over double her weight and can also do one-handed pull-ups and push-ups.
She only started training at a local gym in Rochdale, New York a number of years ago, and has since go on to be win several national accolades.
In 2014, she won her division in the three categories – power curl, deadlift and bench press – at the World Championships in Atlanta.
To cap off these glittering achievements, she was named ‘Lifter of the Year 2014’ in January.
“They see I’m old and I’m not being pushed around in a wheelchair,” she told USA Today.
“I can shovel my own snow. And I can push my car if it gets stuck in the snow… I’m almost 80 years old and I am still living high.”
Murphy is an inspiration for people and to see her collect awards at national level proves that hard work can result in success at any age.
Chinese badminton superstar Chen Long will be the player to beat at the upcoming BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals, which will be staged at the Hamdan Sports Complex from December 17-21. The reigning world champion, who won the title in 2012, is the highest-ranked player in the draw.
Chen has been one of the big stars of this year’s 12 elite BWF Metlife Superseries tournaments that have together served as the qualifying path for the Superseries Finals, winning titles in Korea and Denmark and making it to the Final in England, India and Hong Kong.
After Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei was ruled out with a temporary suspension for an alleged doping violation, Chen took over the top spot in the official BWF Destination Dubai Rankings with 68,260 points this season, earning the right to lead a field that also includes Jan O Jorgensen, Son Wan Ho, Kento Momota, Kenichi Tago, K Srikanth, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Tommy Sugiarto.
After missing out on last year’s Superseries Finals, Chen is eager to not just win the crown but also entertain the crowd and build a legacy for the event.
Looking forward to performing in Dubai and regaining the title, Chen said: “For all of us, as players, we are obviously looking forward to our duels there, but I personally feel we must also remember that it’s not just the outcome of the game that is very important but also the process.
"As an athlete, it’s important to be fully integrated into the whole package. By this, I mean you must enjoy the joy the game brings, entertain everybody who have paid to come and watch you and also attract more people to take up the game, by displaying your skills and showcasing the best this magnificent sport has to offer – that way you can build a legacy as well.”
After winning the Korea Open in January 2014, Chen had to endure a seven-month title-drought before winning the World Championships in Copenhagen. China's No. 1 player in the men's singles, Chen worked hard to improve during his warmup routines in northeast China's Shenyang city this year, and also made some changes in his technique.
In the absence of his biggest rivals in the recent past – legendary 2011 winner Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei, the spotlight is now firmly on Chen, who will be the biggest draw-card in the men’s singles discipline of the season-ending extravaganza.
However, Chen said this year’s field is still one of the most formidable ones ever, and that he didn’t focus on individuals before an event, adding: “Irrespective of who’s up against me at tournaments, I have always relied completely on my own strengths to get as far as I can, and tried to adapt my game according to the match-situation.”
At the 2012 BWF World Superseries Finals in Shenzhen, Chen beat Vittinghus, Daren Liew, Tago, Yun Hu and Du Pengyu en route to the title in his native China. Outlining his goals for this edition, he said: "If I can win the men's singles championship and help my nation complete a gold-medal sweep there, it will make things perfect in Dubai."
Chen had visited Dubai in October, taking part in a coaching clinic with kids as a part of Shuttle Time Dubai, the grassroots development programme which has been introduced to create a legacy from the event of increased community participation in badminton. Looking forward to returning to the city, he said: “I’m really eager to play the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals, especially after my enjoyable visit to the city. Hamdan Sports Complex is an amazing venue and I think all the players will love it.”
Praising the local initiatives that are spreading awareness about the game in the UAE, he said: “I enjoyed introducing schoolchildren to the charm of badminton, which is one of the best ways to promote the game. In addition, by hosting the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals, Dubai will give badminton enthusiasts the chance to see current and future stars from close quarters. I look forward to meeting players from the United Arab Emirates again."
Tickets for December’s BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals are on sale at www.ticketmaster.ae, Prices start from AED 20, with those under 18 years entering for free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. For more information about the event go to http://www.destinationdubai.ae/
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a football coach, then you may want to sign up for the FA International Foundation course with now only a few spaces remaining.
Organised by It’s Just Football, and held at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence in Dubai, the nine-day course in January, will be delivered by a qualified coach from the English Football Asssociation, featuring practical and theory elements of coaching.
The course will include a range of practices that can be used to help develop players of all ages and abilities.
While the theory focuses on dealing with players as well as the qualities needed to be a coach, the practical elements include dribbling with the ball, shooting, heading, goalkeeping, passing and control.
You will also be given the chance to work with young players while being assessed.
Throughout the course, all students will receive support and guidance towards completion of the assignments.
Upon completion, the qualified tutor will provide detailed feedback on your performance and will advise you whether you need to do more coaching or advance to the Intermediate course, to be held in April at the same location.
It’s not the first time that It’s Just Football has organised the FA courses with their previous two courses being a huge success.
“This type of FA coaching course is very popular and January’s course looks set to be another success,” said Chris Brown, managing director at It’s Just Football.
“The course is open to people who want to develop their football coaching knowledge further. They will get to learn what is required to become a coach during the nine-days with the course involving practical and theory activities.
“It certainly won’t be easy but it will be lots of fun and hopefully by the end of the course, they will be able to walk away with some valuable coaching knowledge.”
The price for the course is Dh5,000 for cash, cheque or bank transfer payments or Dh5,100 for those who wish to pay by credit card.
The course will take place every day between January 15 and 23. Classes will be held between 18:00 and 21:30 apart from Fridays and Saturdays which run from 09:00 to 17:00.