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Fire which wrecked Olympic cars not started deliberately

A fire that destroyed cars belonging to Olympic athletes Kelly Sotherton and Nathan Douglas is not thought to have been started deliberately.

West Midlands Police told the couple, who live in Sutton Coldfield, that the fire on their driveway might have been caused by a technical fault.3.30am yesterday. "The fire is not thought to have been started deliberately," the spokesman said.

The two cars destroyed by fire Credit: BPM Media (Midlands)

An Audi belonging to former Birchfield Harriers heptathlete Sotherton, who won bronze at the 2004 Olympics, was burnt out in the fire, and her partner's Honda was also written off.

Writing on her Twitter account, Sotherton, who retired in 2012, said: "Luckily no one was hurt. Neither car had been driven for 12 hrs. It was scary for a while, we were in the back garden to be safe.

The cars were completely burnt out by the fire Credit: BPM Midlands (Media)

"Luckily no damage to our house. It could have been a whole lot worse."

Douglas posted a picture of the wreckage on his Twitter page, showing a CD entitled Girl On Fire which survived largely intact.

"All the CDs in my car are ash, except for this one #Ironic #GottaLaugh," Douglas wrote.

Nottinghamshire's Olympic champions defend lottery funding

Nottinghamshire's Olympic canoeing champions Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott have defended the way lottery funding is targeted at sports with the best chance of medal success.

The pair, who won gold in the canoe slalom at London 2012, were speaking at the Nottinghamshire School Games at the University of Nottingham.

Earlier this month, UK Sport announced it was withdrawing lottery funding for British basketball, synchronised swimming, water polo and weightlifting.

It based its decisions on which sports have the best medal prospects for 2016 and 2020.

British Basketball was stripped of its entire £8.5m funding and will appeal the decision next month.

Baillie and Stott say UK Sport's remit is to achieve success at the elite level and it has to make difficult decisions with a limited pot of money. Stott also added that questions could be asked by the public if funding was directed towards sports which don't bring success.

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Olympic canoeist Tim Baillie retires

Tim Baillie and his Olympic Gold medal from London 2012... Credit: PA

Tim Baillie, Olympic canoeing Gold medalist, has retired at the age of 34.

The Aberdeen-born athlete lived and trained in Nottingham before winning Gold in the London 2012 Olympic canoe slalom, alongside teammate Etienne Stott.

Stott said:

"It's sad because it's the end of a chapter, but I respect Tim's decision and it is the right thing for Tim. He has helped me so much. He has made a huge contribution to the sport and to me as an athlete."

Elise Christie named Notts' Sportsperson of the year

Elise Christie, a short-track skater for Britain, has been named Nottinghamshire's Sportsperson of the year.

The 23 year-old Scotland-born skater was honoured at the 22nd annual Nottinghamshire Sports Awards last night (21 January).

Elise Christie after her victory of the Short Track European championship in Dresden, Germany, 19 January 2014 Credit: PA

Elsie remains a hopeful medal-winner at the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi after winning bronze over 1,000m at the European championship in Dresden, Germany earlier this year.

Elise Christie Credit: PA

Paralympic swimmer Oliver Hynd MBE was also awarded at the event, winning Disabled Sportsperson of the Year.

Ollie was supported by both Mansfield District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, and went on to win a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal at the 2013 Paralympic games.

Paralympic swimmer Oliver Hynd after receiving his Member of the British Empire (MBE) Credit: PA

Ollie said:

"These awards are judged by people involved in sport across the county and I was delighted to be able to attend. 2013 was another successful year for me and I am now looking at concentrating on the Commonwealth Games."

Other winners at the 22nd annual Nottinghamshire Sports Awards were:

Team of the Year - Nottingham Panthers

Junior Sportsperson of the Year - Ellie Downie (Ashfield district)

Sporting School of the Year – Rushcliffe School

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