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  • The Other Sports of Liverpool

    Liverpool is famed for association football and the two premier league teams, Everton and Liverpool, who play in the Premier League. However this is not the only sport that is played in the city and Liverpool is home to many other events that receive international attention. Each April Aintree Racecourse hosts the Grand National which is televised around the world. The race brings to an end four days of racing and signals the end of the festival that is attended by around 150,000 spectators. The feature race has been run since 1839 and is renowned for the test of stamina it produces as the horses have to run over four and a quarter miles jumping 30 fences.

    The fences, such as “Bechers Brook” and “the Chair”, have become famous around the world as the difficulty of the obstacles has made it a feat for many horses to just finish the race. Over the years, the fences have been scaled down as protest groups have complained about the numbers of horses that were being put down following the falls.

    The infamous “Bechers Brook” at Aintree

    Another sports that is popular in the city is boxing. There are 22 amateur boxing clubs in the city and Liverpool was the most represented city in the UK team that represented the country at the 2012 Olympics in London. Many boxers have won Olympic medals, including George Turpin, Robin Reid and Tony Willis. The city has also produced many successful professional fighters. In the 1970s John Conteh won the World Championship light heavyweight title which he held for four years. In recent times, Tony Bellew has held the World Cruiser weight title between 2011 and 2016.

    He has swapped between the weight divisions, and his battles with rivals Nathan Cleverley and David Haye has sold out many arenas, and has captured the imagination of the sporting public. His success has resulted in him appearing in a rocky movie “Creed”.

    The city has a number of local golf courses that include the Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake which has hosted the British Open Championship on twelve occasions. However, this is just one of many links golf courses that are available to Liverpudlians. The City has produced many fine rugby players over the years and the city’s biggest club was formed in 1857 making it one of the oldest open rugby clubs in the world. The club was at its strongest during the 1970s and 1980s with many of its players, including Mike Slemen, Dewi Morris, Nigel Heslop and Fran Cotton, going on to play international rugby.

    Mike Slemen playing rugby for England

    Rugby League is also extremely popular with St Helens, one of the top sides in Super League, being located just to the east of the city. The club was formed in 1873 and was one of the founder members of Rugby League in the country.

    St Helens have been league champions on 13 occasions and have also won the national cup competition, the Challenge Cup, on 12 of their 21 finals visits to Wembley Stadium. Ruby League is now a more popular spectator sport than rugby union, although the region is famed for the rugby that is played in its local schools.

    There are many sportsmen (and women) from the city who have excelled in individual sports. Katrina Johnson-Thompson, winner of the gold medal at in the heptathlon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, is from the city, as is Curtis Robb who ran in the 800 metres at the 2012 Olympic Games. Steve Smith who participated in the high jump for Great Britain for many years also competed for Liverpool Harriers the city’s athletics club. Liverpool is home to a wide variety of sports and many of its competitors have gone on to earn international recognition.