Drawings by John Moss
Manchester Sports & Olympic Champions
gold-medallist at the 1998 Budapest European Championships and
silver-medallist at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, has been a
member of the Sale Harriers Running Club since the age of 18,
when he made his debut as a member of the 100 metres relay team
at the 1993 Stuttgart World Championships. He had spent much
of that year training in Australia with the likes of Linford
Christie and Colin Jackson.
He is also a keen footballer and played for two successful seasons
with Newport and at Weymouth Football Clubs, before returning
to athletics. During the 1991 and 1992 he had developed into
the most successful junior British athlete, with four Gold and
two Silver Medals won at International Championships to his
After several very successful seasons, his performance deteriorated
for a time with disappointing performances at the Olympic Trials
in Birmingham in 1996 and an unfortunate episode in Atlanta,
Georgia, where he was prevented from finishing the relay race
when a team member dropped the baton before it reached him.
The 1997 season saw victories in the 100 and 200 metres at the
Cardiff Games as well as a string of European successes including
a personal best over 200 metres. He went on to collect a Bronze
Medal at the World Championships in Athens in the 4 x 100 metres
At the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada, he went
on to take the Gold medal, though later, when he pulled a hamstring,
he was forced to observe the rest of the season from the sidelines.
Meantime he had joined the Eurosport Television Team
covering the World Athletics Championships and made guest appearances
on Breakfast TV and Radio.
The 2002 Commonwealth Games saw Darren still recovering from
injuries and not at peak fitness - nevertheless, native Mancunians
witnessed the delivery of his impressive run in the 200 metres
Final to win a Bronze medal for England. On the last night of
the Manchester Games, Darren and his team-mates were awarded
the Gold Medal for winning the relay race, ahead of the Jamaican
team, after a photo finish decision.
As the British and European Champion, Darren is regularly featured
in the media and has made numerous appearances on TV as well
as appearances on London's fashion catwalks.
Games 800 Metres Gold Medallist
Manchester Born and resident Diane Modahl is the three times
800 metres Commonwealth Games medal winner and Gold Medallist
of the 1990 championships in Aukland, New Zealand, where she
broke the existing 800 metres world record. She is, to date,
six-times British 800 metres champion and has attended four
Diane maintains that the turning point of her sporting career
came early when she was just eleven years of age, in her first
year at secondary school, when a talent-spotter from Sale Harriers
Running Club saw her during a school physical education class
and afterwards invited her to join the club. She went on to
become one of Sale harrier's leading athletes and medal winners.
But her otherwise illustrious career was to be hampered by a
particularly unpleasant drugs allegation - in 1994 she was sent
home, on the face of it in disgrace, from the Commonwealth Games,
accused of taking the hormone Testosterone. Diane vehemently
denied the charge and spent the following two years in a state
of what she described as "a living hell", appealing against
the charge - she was eventually totally vindicated and cleared
of the charge by the British Athletic Federation and her professional
status was reinstated. The International Amateur Athletic Federation
admitted that the laboratory which carried out the test had
made "fundamental mistakes".
During this difficult time, and as a sign of her strength and
resilience, she completed a Bachelor of Arts honours degree
in Media and Business Management at Manchester University.
In the 1998 Commonwealth Games she won the bronze medal, achieving
one of the fastest times in the world. She is still the British
record holder for the 600 metres, and currently works as a sports
presenter on BBC Greater Manchester Radio, writes a column in
"The People" newspaper, and is sports editor and journalist
for the monthly national magazine "Family Active". She
played a major role in the television reporting and presentation
of the XVII Commonwealth Games in her native City of Manchester.
Born in Longsight, Manchester in 1911, Sunny Lowry was the first
English woman to swim the English Channel. She had attended
Grangethorpe Road School and later the Manchester High School
for Girls, and it had been her ambition to swim the channel
since she was a very young girl. Sunny began her swimming career
at the Victoria Baths where she spent many hours in the pool,
participating in swimming competitions and developing her diving
skills. She went on to become a member of the Victoria Ladies
Later, Sunny and her sister went to Levenshulme Baths where
they trained for swimming competitions on Lake Windermere in
the Lake District where they were soon winning major prizes.
Sunny began to swim long distances at sea and could soon swim
from their holiday home in Rhos-on-Sea to Colwyn Bay and back.
With the complete backing of her father, she made her first
attempt at a Channel crossing, fortified with a protein rich
diet of 8 eggs a day and 4 hours daily training supervised by
coach Jed Woolfe. Her first abortive attempt ended just short
of the French coast. When strong winds and currents forced the
attempt to be called off.
Sunny's third, (and successful), Channel attempt was made on
the night of 28th August 1933 when, at the age of 22, she set
off from from Cap Gris Nez near Calais to swim to St Margaret's
near Folkestone. She successfully completed her swim in 15 hours
41 minutes - the first ever English woman ever to swim the Channel.
In July 2003, at the age of 92, she was inducted into the International
Marathon Swimming Association's Hall of Fame and in 2001, at
the age of 94, she was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours
Lists for services to swimming in the North-West. . The two-piece
heavy woollen swimming costume which she wore during her record
swim is now on show at the Cross Channel Museum in Dover. Sunny
Lowry died at the age of 97 on 21 February 2008 at Warrington
of Rugby Football
William Webb Ellis was born on the 24 November 1806 in Salford.
After the death of his father, his mother moved with her two
sons to live in Rugby in Warwickshire in order to get them a
good education at the celebrated Rugby School. Ellis attended
the school from 1816 to 1825, and was successful in both academic
studies and sports.
Later, he won an exhibition to Brasenose College, Oxford, which
he attended from 1825-1828, and where he gained a Cricket Blue.
In adult life he became chaplain of St George's Chapel in Albermale.
Ellis's notoriety comes from an event at Rugby School during
a football training session in 1823, when, as a 16 year old
schoolboy, he caught the round ball and instead of standing
still, he ran with it, and that, so the story goes, is how the
game of Rugby Football began. In fact, some authorities have
it that he might actually have been demonstrating the ancient
Irish game of 'caid', which was similar to rugby, and may have
been introduced to William by his father who had been stationed
as a soldier in Ireland. Many schools at that time played a
game similar to rugby and football, which had few rules, many
played by their own rules, and touching or holding the ball
was not uncommon - what Ellis did differently was that he actually
ran with the ball and placed it in the net.
An official split between what became Soccer Football and what
was to become Rugby Football took place in 1863 when the Football
Association was formed. Later, in 1871, representatives from
rugby clubs across the country met to form the Rugby Football
Union and draw up their own common code of laws.
A statue of Ellis as a young boy carrying a football can be
found in the grounds of Rugby School. William Web Ellis died
on 24 January 1872 in Mentone, France and is buried in the cemetery
& USA Basketball Player
John Amaechi was actually born in Boston, Massachusetts in the
USA on 26th November 1970, but he and his two sisters were brought
up by their mother in Manchester. John attended Stockport Grammar
School as a boy, where he soon showed himself to be an up and
coming rugby player. However, by the age of 16 his main interest
had changed to basketball and, under coach Joe Forber, he developed
his skills and realised an ambition was to play professional
basketball. To this end, he moved to the States, to live in
Toledo, Ohio, and within two years he had been recruited by
an American High School and subsequently by Penn State College
to play in the top USA Basketball Conference.
Next, he was recruited by Cleveland Cavaliers in the National
Basketball Association, where he became the first English player
ever to start a game in the NBA. His game has taken him to Italy,
Spain, France and Greece to play in top leagues in all these
countries. He also played for the Utah Jazz team, spent two
years with Orlando Magic, with the Houston Rockets and at the
New York Knicks.
On a completely different front, Amaechi has been actively involved
in the Prevent Child Abuse campaign in America since 1997, as
well work for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Children (NSPCC) in the UK.
Recently, he has returned back to England - first, to play for
the Manchester Magic Basketball Team and secondly, to oversee
the construction of the Amaechi Basketball Centre (ABC) in Manchester,
a £2 million facility of which he is the sole benefactor.
Since the late 1990s, Amaechi has run the most successful Basketball
Camps in both the United States and England.
also: Amaechi Basketball