Hello and a very warm welcome to Sports United – a show that spans the world to bring you a variety of thrills and spills from the highest levels of sporting competition.
After Bordeaux in 2006, France were again given the nod to host the Track Cycling World Championships.
Last week some 380 cyclists from 37 nations flexed their leg muscles over five days of racing at the brand spanking new National velodrome on the outskirts of Paris.
Australia smashed the world record to win gold in the women’s team pursuit.
Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins shaved almost three seconds off the previous mark to upset four-time reigning champions Great Britain.
Frenchman Francois Pervis thrilled the partizan crowd when he successfully defended his one kilometer time trial title.
Pervis crossed the line in a winning time of 1 minute 0.207 seconds to beat German Joachim Eilers and claim his second gold of the champs after also retaining his keirin title.
Gregory Bauge sent the crowd into wild celebrations when he won his his fourth men´s sprint title.
The popular Frenchman beat Russian Denis Dmitriev in the final for his ninth career world crown.
As Bauge celebrated his ninth Australian Anna Meares secured her eleventh to become the most decorated women’s world champion of all time.
The 31-year-old won the Keirin on the final day of competition.
Along with a time trial silver and sprint bronze this edition Meares took her career tally to 26 world track medals surpassing previous record-holder Sir Chris Hoy.
Back to World Cup business
Between them Tina Maze, Anna Fenninger and Mikaela Shiffrin won all the female individual gold medals at the Alpine Ski World Championships earlier this month.
Now fully recovered from their gold-medal winning celebrations the trio were back in World Cup action, but not all of them continued their winning ways.
Fresh from winning two gold medals at the world champs in Colorado Austrian Anna Fenninger carried her winning momentum into the restart of the World Cup with success in a Giant slalom.
The 25-year-old expertly navigated the 53-gate course in Maribor, Slovenia to claim her second win of the campaign.
It also put her firmly at the top of the discipline standings.
Slalom sensation and world champion Mikaela Shiffrin was not to be outdone on her return to world cup competition.
The American dominated the field in Maribor to win her 12th career slalom world cup race – a record number of victories in the discipline by a teenager.
It was the 19-year-old’s third success of the season.
Tina Maze won the downhill and super combined at the world champs but her return to world cup action in front of her home support was disappointing to say the least.
She crashed out of the giant slalom and the slalom and now has Fenninger just 84 points behind in the overall world cup standings.
Samsonov extends record winning title tally
The Table Tennis World Tour stopped off in Qatar last weekend for the third leg of a demanding year-round series.
The elite players gathered in Doha with one goal – the top step of the podium.
Well it was former European champion Vladimir Samsonov who reached the podium summit.
The 38-year-old Belarussian bounced back from his first round elimination in Kuwait the previous week to beat Olympic bronze medallist Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the Qatar final.
In a lopsided affair the former world number one beat his German rival four games to one to lift a record-extending 27th tour title.
On the women’s circuit seventh seeded Romanian Elizabeta Samara shocked the star-studded field for her third career tour title.
The 25-year old marked a spectacular recovery from knee surgery in November to stun third seed Han Ying of Germany four games to nothing.
Judo is my life
With the Judo Grand Prix season now off and running thanks to three days of battles in Dusseldorf recently, we thought we would shine our spotlight on perennial contender Ilias Iliadis and discover a little more about the Greek former Olympic and current world champion.
Iliadis said: ‘‘When I was a child I was a bad, bad boy and I went into a Dojo I see this respect, respect for everyone, the coaches, respect towards the tatami.
‘‘I chose this – this is my sport, this is my life.
‘‘It is not important that you are strong or not – it’s important to lose him power (take his power away).
‘‘First you must learn respect for your opponent and then after you must win.
‘‘When I fight I want to feel him, the first time I want to feel how strong he is, how he (moves) left to right. And after I try my best.
‘‘I feel adrenaline, I feel powerful…it’s the best feeling ever.’‘
Gladiators on bikes
As exciting names for sporting championships go – it doesn’t get much better than the Ice Speedway Gladiators.
Like true gladiatorial battles danger is always close by but this sport always gets the thumbs up from the spectators.
It features methanol-burning 500cc 4-stroke engined bikes with attitude.
The treadless tyres are littered with large spikes for grip and to make things even more interesting all the bikes are brake-less.
Russia’s Vitaly Khomitsevich is the 2003 world champion and explains: ‘‘Ice is the same for everybody, you prepare your motorcycle for every type of ice. It is good when the ice is soft, when the weather is good like today. It’s a good practice today.
‘‘We pump pressure into the tyres and into the suspension. We try to choose the correct amount of pressure in relation to the rider and type of ice track. After doing that I release the clutch and off I go.’‘
The championship is now a little over the half-way stage.
Khomitsevich is currently fourth in the standings which are led by compatriot Dimitry Koltakov.
The penultimate round takes place at Assen in the Netherlands starting the 7th of March.
Knocked for six
He hadn’t hit a century since June 2013.
But West Indies master blaster Chris Gayle silenced his critics in style last week during a group match against Zimbawe.
He bludgeoned his way to the first double century in World Cup history.
The left-hander hit a record 16 sixes before he was out for 215.
Check the clip out above for our short highlights clip of his