Glorious sunshine, streaming in through the gap in my curtains woke me this morning. Brilliant, I thought! A day of athletics at the BT Paralympic World Cup, and a big portion of my annual vitamin D was on the cards. The drive into Manchester with windows down and Prodigy’s “Out of space” playing on XFM was all too good. Something had to go wrong somewhere, didn’t it?
Upon arriving at the Regional Athletics Centre, Sport City, I suddenly realised that I’d be spending the day shooting into the sun. Focussing on harsh shadows moving towards me rather quickly, debating whether to expose for the highlights or the faces, and squinting until it hurt for the entire day. The sun at this time of year is indeed, more or less directly overhead alas not quite as much as I needed. Still, I thrive on challenge.
Personal records tumbled throughout the day, and British runner Graeme Ballard set a new world record of 25.12 seconds in the T36 Men’s 200m event. A tremendous achievement for a cerebral palsy athlete. The penultimate event of the day saw South African, Oscar Pistorius, leave his competition in the heat haze and romped home to victory unchallenged in the T42/43/44 Men’s 200m.
The fourth and final of my nights at the PDC World Matchplay in Blackpool, very much took on the theme of hairstyles. The night featured many a strange do. Denis Ovens’ own cut, I thought, wasn’t too dissimilar to my own (left).
Though perhaps the stand out cuts from the nights eight dartists were those belonging to Peter Wright and Simon Whitlock. Both, had seemingly had a certain length of time spent on them, and it was noted on the TV commentary that Peter Wright’s wife had spent upwards of two hours completing the intricate dragon design, dyed into her husbands hair. I wonder if it’s permanent? The dedication to detail was faultless, the design was finished off with a single green gem to signify the snakes eye. A matching shirt, and the unique look was most certainly achieved.
Simon Whitlock had spent a little longer than two hours on his hair. A pony tail trailed down his back to his upper waist. As someone who has had shaggy long hair, though tame by comparison to this length.. I am aware of how long it takes, and how much care needs to be taken! Blonde finishing to the neatly trimmed and spiked top of the head gave the overall look some brightness. But, this was not only the follicle feast provide by him, a lovely manicured beard hung down from the chin at a certainly impressive length.
Well, I gave it a go but I doubt I’ll ever be a writer for Hairstylist Monthly. Best stick to taking photographs eh!
Darts has always held a level of intrigue for me as to it’s level of sporting prowess. Following my four nights at this international tournament though, I do have a new found respect for the talents these guys have. Sure, they won’t be running 100m in sub 9.5 seconds, but they can hit those doubles when they need to. It is a sport in the true sense of the word, the preciseness of the throwing arms alone is enough to justify the competition, not to mention the hair dos.
The highlight of interest in the schedule on day four, was of course the goalball exhibition match between GBR and Sweden. I’d never even heard of the sport, before doing this event, let alone shot it. So a learning experience for myself was on the cards. What an experience it was! The sport is very difficult to get meaningful photographs from, as the distance between the two teams is great, and the visual action not all that exhilarating. Credit where it is due though, the athletes (whom are blind and blindfolded) have fantastic hearing and co-ordination skills.
Today, was purely basketball. I thought there was a goalball exhibition match on.. but was getting ahead of myself, as it is tomorrow.. so keep an eye out for that one! Four games shot today, which covers every team in the tournament, both men’s and women’s. I have a growing admiration for the talents of these athletes!
Day two of the BT Paralympic World Cup saw the start of the football competition. The first game up was Team GB v USA. The game is slightly modified to be 7 a-side, and a little shorter at 30 minutes per half. The athletes entered suffer with cerebral palsy.
Today marked the beginning of an important weeks sporting events in the paralympic calendar. To start off the BT Paralympic World Cup, was the athletics, taking place at the Sport City athletics track in Manchester. Many famous names were lined up to take part, in particular, one Oscar Pistorius (South Africa). He is of course, known for his controversial legs, which have proved a head scratcher for scientists and sporting bodies alike.
The afternoon of May 16th, provided host to a gathering of the world’s top sprinters. The coming together was for naturally, for competition, on an temporary built running track down Manchester’s Deansgate road.
A new world record (my 2nd of the year!) was set in the men’s 200m straight track event, with Tyson Gay romping home in 19.41 seconds – into a headwind. Fantastic to watch and a privilege to photograph!
Tonight, along with the guys from VideoInk I shot the local Manchester band D.I.L.E filming their video for their World Cup song, Skank for England. The word skank, I was assured, is a style of dancing.. and not what you might have though. Truth be told, I kinda already knew that from my student days. Anyway, a cracking evenings entertainment for the local folk at Hyde United. A very catchy song too, look out for it on the TV and keep an ear open on the radio!
The finished video courtesy of VideoInk
I’d spent 5 days in Sheffield earlier on in the tournament, however this was the biggie. The final. Neil Robertson had battled his way through to meet Graeme Dott. The stage was set for the showdown but playing late into the night soon began to show it’s effects as both players made errors in the final frames.
A bit of a mixed up promo shoot with this one! Shaunna Thompson and England Lacrosse came together to promote both the Manchester 150 event (16th May 2010) and the FIL World Lacrosse Championships (Summer 2010), which are also being held in the city.
Many thanks to Gary Eddleston for his help!
I was lucky enough to be at Elland Road (home of Leeds United FC) for this promising tie between two of the world’s best rugby league teams. What a tie it turned out to be! With Rhinos taking the early lead, Storm fought back and easily managed the win in the second half.