A local’s guide to Australia’s Gold Coast: 10 top tips

As the Commonwealth Games get under way in this sunny Queensland city, an insider offers tips on what to see and do – and where to eat and drink – away from the sporting action

A little piste of Christmas in the Austrian Alps

The high Alpine resort of Katschberg proves perfect for a family of mixed abilities, and December’s lantern-lit advent trail leaves everyone feeling festive

10 of the best winter sports resorts in Europe for skiing and more

Not everyone is thrilled by the idea of a week’s skiing and little else; here are ski bases with the full St Moritz array of winter fun but without the Swiss original’s steep prices

Thrills and spills: Melbourne gets serious in bid for Australia’s sporting capital title

There’s plenty for both local and visiting sport fans to enjoy in the Victorian capital, such as the grand prix, Asian fusion food and the 2017 AFL season

Giampaolo Pazzini, new Wembley’s first goalscorer, feels the emotions 10 years on

The striker took only 30 seconds to register the rebuilt stadium’s first goal for Italy Under-21s, ended with a hat-trick and is still moved by a standing ovation from England’s fans when he was substituted

Making a splash: cold water swimming

There’s something for everyone at the cold water swimming championships at the lido in Tooting, south London: medals for the fastest, an award for the best hat and a mass jump-in in aid of Crisis, the homelessness charity

Sports the Olympics Forgot – Donkey Jousting

This is an excerpt from the Donkey Jousting story in the book, Sports the Olympics Forgot

The sport of Donkey Jousting has taken place under the walls of Caernarvon Castle in North-West Wales since 1300 when King Edward I was building the castle that’s seen today by thousands of visitors. The original jousters were Welsh soldiers who were trying to tempt the English knights into a skirmish. As all horses had been commandeered by the English the jousters had to use donkeys instead and this just drew ribald comments from the knights who found the whole scene comical. To compound matters, the Welsh had to use willow branches instead of lances.

Realising that the English weren’t going to be tempted into a fight, the local Welsh people decided to enjoy themselves. To further parody the English knights the Welsh jousters dressed up in highly coloured garments and decorated their donkeys with rags and flowers. Some of the animals spent more time trying to eat the flowers than trotting around the jousting ‘field’ specially created for the occasion.

The tournament was run on a round robin basis where each jouster took on every other opponent over the best of three jousts. A point was scored if the willow branch touched either the shield or the armour of their opponent.

The biggest problem that riders had was making their donkey gallop at any speed; most donkeys trotted at best and often decided to nuzzle the opposing animal rather than running by. This led to the jousters hitting their opponents many times rather than just once, so quite often the counting judges had a problem counting the blows each had scored. Quite often one donkey would chase another donkey out of the field and in this instance both riders would be disqualified for failing to control their animals.