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Faster, Higher, Stronger: The evolution of sport

Looking at the changing nature of sport to deal with a need for speed Photo:

We live in a time of unprecedented change, from technology and entertainment to politics and the news, sometimes it feels hard to keep pace with the latest developments.

The world of Sport is also not immune to change and over the last few years some of our favourite sporting past times have undergone a similar transformation.

In the first of three special reports, our Sports correspondent Donovan Blake has taken inspiration from the Olympic motto of Faster, Higher, Stronger, to see how sports are evolving... And we start with our need for speed.

T20 has changed the image of cricket Credit: ECB

Think of cricket - there's nothing more traditional. The sound of leather on willow, the light spattering of applause. Slow. steady.

But since 2003 there's been a new kid on the block. Twenty 20. Cricket on caffeine.

Designed to attract new audiences it's not difficult to see why so many have taken to it.

Both Essex and Northants regularly draw in big gates for their T20 Blast fixtures. And while the feats of bowlers and fielders capture the fans attention, it's big hits, boundaries and sixes which mostly drive fans wild.

Tom Westley: big fan
Tennis
Introduced the Tie-Break Tens as a faster format for the game of tennis.

"You're looking to score a boundary off every ball and if that's not achievable then at least get off strike, so the intent to take risks I suppose. you're going to take a lot more risks in T20 cricket than you ever would in a four day game."

– Tom Westley

It may not happen in this country, but many believe T20 could well overtake the longest forms of cricket in other test playing nations. It's also helped the ECB to promote it's softball project aimed at women, and the All Stars initiative for children aged five to eight. Shorter, quicker games to entice players to the sport as early as possible. And not difficult to market.

Rugby Sevens
Golf
Golf Sixes - a knock out competition for two players over six holes.

And it's not just cricket that's gone for a faster format - Rugby has also seen a rise in popularity of its short form of the game Rugby Sevens

Bury St Edmunds rugby club in Suffolk have one of the most popular around. Take the numbers away, and you get a greater freedom of expression on the field. But there's still a core of discipline required to be successful.

And while we've had five a side football for some time, the current generation of netball players now have the Fast Fives. All fuelling the adrenalin rush sportsmen and women often crave.

Propelling yourself at high speed is nothing new. Track cycling and BMX riding for instance.

While the thrill of riding without brakes still attracts a loyal band of fans to the region's speedway circuits.

But as technnology advances in this digital age, thrill-seekers are catching onto a new fast-paced activity.

Drone racing. Using FPV or First Person View Drones, are springing up across the region.

It's not hard to see why - the sport has become a big hit, with a big glitzy multinational league, currently wowing TV audiences.

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