With just three weeks of training, newcomer Shauna-Kay Hines made history by becoming Jamaica’s first contestant and medallist in a World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) event, having walked away with a silver medal in the US Open Para Taekwondo Championships in Las Vegas last Wednesday. “She missed the gold by one point!” her coach Conrad Jenkins said. In preparation to compete in the WTF Para Taekwondo in the 2020 Tokyo Para Olympic Games, Hines will have to now compete at the international level to add to the six points she gained in the world ranking system. Twenty athletes from seven countries – USA, Canada, France, India, Mexico, Japan and Jamaica – competed in the US Open Para Taekwondo Championships. Coach Jenkins said Hines was selected to represent Jamaica through an assessment and interview process, by meeting the minimum impairment criteria by the WTF Para Taekwondo Department Classifiers, as well as training and fighting with male black belt holders in Jamaica. “She had no previous experience in Taekwondo, but was a long-distance track athlete,” Coach Jenkins said.
Mourinho has certainly never been shy of a challenge. He’s in relaxed form as he talks to Sport. But ask him a question that he isn’t fond of, and you tend to get a short reply – perhaps even accompanied by a basilisk glance as if you had just offered him one of Mrs Benitez’s homemade fairy cakes.Ask whether the behind-the-scenes politics of Real Madrid could be tough to handle and he shrugs airily: “No, no”. A subject he’d perhaps rather not touch. Are there any situations he looks back on in his managerial career and wished he’d handled better? “Always.” Anything specific? “No, always. But you cannot go back with your decisions, so I don’t even think about it.”He’s far more effusive when asked about his players. His tone picks up immediately when discussing English football’s 2014/15 player of the year, Eden Hazard: “Look, if I compare my first match with him with my last match [of last season] with him – he is amazing. Because my first match with him was a friendly match in Malaysia, two years ago, where I was so disappointed with his light attitude.“The last one was in Australia, after a crazy season, after a 24-hour flight – and he was man of the match, which should be a friendly game. So if I compare the levels of ambition, professionalism, respect, believing in himself, the status he wants to be, I see a huge difference – now, he’s at the top of his game. Fantastic. He’s 24, so a lot more to come from him. He’s getting better and better.” Is there one overarching quality that Mourinho looks out for in a player?“A footballer is a combination of qualities,” he replies. “A player without talent is not a top player, but a player without a great mentality, attitude, commitment, ambition is not a player too. A player without a tactical knowledge of the game is not a top player – but I would say that the tactical quality is something a good manager can give to a player. The talent? No. So I prefer a player with talent and after that, try to give him other qualities that maybe he doesn’t have.”Moulding talent, bonding with his players and getting the best out of them is – alongside his tactical acumen – the secret of Mourinho’s success. Yet he isn’t too fussed about keeping hold of the material evidence. He famously threw two 2006 Premier League medals into the crowd at Stamford Bridge. This year, he gave the league title medal to his daughter. Are there any mementos that he’s kept for himself?“All – I kept them all,” he says, grinning and tapping his finger to his tanned temple. “The moments, I kept them all; the feelings, I kept them all. This is the most important thing for me. Obviously I have some medals, some shirts players gave me and some pictures. But not in that way of… an office with everything organised with all the trophies laid out. No, no – I don’t have that.”Smart move. After all, even if he was of a mind to wallow like a hippopotamus in his successes, even a big office can get filled. There’s infinite space in Mourinho’s memory bank – and he’s of a mind to add plenty more achievements to his list of triumphs yet.Jose Mourinho is an ambassador for BT Sport. As well as 38 live Premier League games and 25 FA Cup matches, BT Sport Europe will show all Champions League and Europa League matches exclusively live. Visit btsport.com/europe Jose Mourinho This interview appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the free iPad app from here, and follow on twitter @sportmaguk“My favourite victory? It was a defeat that gives me more pleasure,” says Jose Mourinho, coolly contrary as ever.Sport had made a mental bet that we could guess which single match win the 52-year-old would say was his career favourite ahead of our exclusive interview. Unsurprisingly, he’s outfoxed us.“The defeat in the semi finals of the Champions League against Barcelona with Inter in 2010,” he explains. “We beat Barcelona at home 3-1. We play in Barcelona, the second leg with 10 players for more than one hour. We lost 1-0 and qualified for the final. I think my biggest happiness in football was that one, because I felt the Champions League was ours – and I knew what that Champions League meant for Inter. They were chasing it for 50 years.”Sport’s internal predictor had the right tie, wrong leg. We thought that Mourinho might choose that 3-1 win at the San Siro, when he went against conventional thinking and went at Barca with three forwards (Diego Milito, Samuel Eto’o and Goran Pandev) plus Wesley Sneijder. It was a swashbuckling victory against the world’s best attacking team, pulling down Pep Guardiola’s tactical trousers in the process.Jose, however, prefers the backs-to-the-wall second leg. Of course he does. Critics might say it’s further proof that he cares nothing for the thrill of aesthetics; that success, whatever the method, is his sole aim. Typical Mourinho. His supporters might point out that it’s proof he’d rather shine attention on the grit and gumption of his players, than dwell on his own strategic brilliance in the first leg. No wonder he inspires such loyalty. Typical Mourinho. 4 His methods and actions have always divided opinion, but the first 10 years of Mourinho’s managerial career were an unstoppable, undeniable success. He came, saw and conquered in Portugal with Porto, in England with Chelsea and in Italy with Inter. Then, at Real Madrid, the machine stalled.He brought triumphs – a Copa del Rey in 2011, a La Liga title with a record 100 goals – but delivering Europe’s biggest prize for the 10th time, and toppling Barcelona for good, were not achieved. When he left in 2013, Real were still searching for La Decima and Barcelona were champions of Spain.In the midst of Mourinho’s eventful three-year spell in Madrid, Chelsea won their first Champions League. How did he feel watching a club that means so much to him, starring many players he had nurtured, triumph in 2012 without him?“You know… [it] was almost my team, so it was a great feeling,” he says. “I think Chelsea finally, in the moment where nobody was expecting, got what Chelsea deserved for so many years. Before that, Chelsea lost a semi final with a goal that was not a goal, lost a semi final on penalties, lost a semi final against Barcelona that was one of the biggest scandals of European football. Lost a final on penalties too. So it was a process where Chelsea [were] so many times so close – that for the club to win the trophy was a big emotion.”It’s a curious quirk of Mourinho that, despite his multiple triumphs, he’s quick to reel off old grievances – refereeing errors or so-called ghost goals – where he feels success has been unjustly snatched away from his teams. Perhaps being unwilling to let go of setbacks is part of what makes him such a relentless winner. At least until 2012/13 and 2013/14, that is. He finished both seasons – his last with Real and his first back with Chelsea – without a significant competition win.For most mortal managers, that’s nothing out of the ordinary. But for Mourinho, a coach-cum-silversmith whose reputation is built on the hard currency of delivering trophies, two seasons was a drought. Then, having expertly filled gaps in his Chelsea side with Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, Mourinho’s second-season success syndrome kicked in. A League Cup victory, a Premier League win that he made look easy, and the old trophy factory was back up and running.“Better – much better,” says Mourinho of how he compares as a manager now to his first spell at Chelsea. “More experienced, more stability, better at reading the game, better in the training methodology. On the top of that, 10 years later, I don’t have that objective of going to other leagues, of trying new experiences or other clubs. I did what I wanted to do. I won in the three countries where it meant a lot for me to win – apart from my own country – and in this moment, I am more a club man than an individual manager.” Music to Chelsea fans’ ears. Having reclaimed the Premier League, however, a Champions League with Chelsea is the holy grail. A mighty challenge, especially with a certain nimble Argentine about.In May, Mourinho claimed that: “In 10 years’ time, without Lionel Messi, the map of European football is going to change.” Is that how important he sees Messi in the game?“Of course, of course. Because you see Barcelona before Messi – they were champions of Europe, I think once, twice? [Once, in 1992, although Messi wasn’t a regular in the team that won in 2005]. With him is very, very normal to win competitions, to win Champions Leagues, to win finals. They change the manager – it doesn’t matter who the manager is – the one who is always there is Messi.“He won with [Frank] Rijkaard, with Guardiola, with [Luis] Enrique. So I think, in this moment, nobody has any doubts that he makes a huge difference in football. In 10 years’ time, it is difficult to have another one immediately – so I think football will have to wait a few decades to have another one like him. So there will be always a Champions League with Messi, and a Champions League without Messi.”On top of this, and despite his oftstated love for the combative nature of the English game, Mourinho views the challenge of competing for the Premier League and Champions League together as unique.“It’s not just the number of matches, not just that you play four competitions – because some other countries, they also do this; it’s the intensity, the competitiveness of every match,” he says.“The fact that you don’t have a winter break is also very important, because every other country has a winter break. They are back to the second phase of the Champions League, after a winter preseason and in their best condition – and the English teams exactly in their worst moment, which is the hangover after the crazy December and January. So, yes, it is more difficult for an English team to do, for example, a treble.”Mourinho’s old sparring partner Sir Alex Ferguson is the only manager to do so with an English club. Ferguson also claimed that his biggest challenge each season was to take a group of players who had just won the league title and ensure they didn’t become complacent, that they were still hungry for more the following year.“Agree – yes,” says Mourinho, but he doesn’t see a concern on that score with his current Chelsea squad.“I know them. They are not an old group that reached something and after that has no more energy or ambition or drive to go for more. It’s a young group and it’s too early for them to be happy with what they achieved. So I believe that it’s going to be more difficult, obviously – because every club wants to beat the champions, so even the three clubs that are coming from the Championship are a threat – but I believe that the team will be ready for that.”“This is a special challenge for me as well, because this is a new team in Chelsea we are building. You have really a new generation. We are trying to make this second generation so successful – as successful as the one that just finished a few years ago. This is a very good motivation for me and for them.” 4 4 4