Picture perfect for world champ Matthew

Framed: The Hall of Champions entry is a massive honour, says Nick Matthew.
Framed: The Hall of Champions entry is a massive honour, says Nick Matthew.
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NICK Matthew can do no wrong.

The reigning world champion, ranked number one in the world rankings, was inducted into a prestigious Hall of Champions at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) yesterday.

A giant image of Matthew’s was unveiled alongside world heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, James Degale and Paul Goodison, who both won gold in Beijing and Winter Olympic gold medalist Nicola Minichiello.

It was two years ago the Hall of Champions was opened at the EIS by Lord Sebastian Coe to celebrate the success of Sheffield’s finest elite sports men and women.

Matthew, who went on a 35-match unbeaten streak in 2010, said: “It is a massive honour to be on the wall of champions.

“I have been training at the EIS since it opened 10 years ago. When I’m not around and not at tournaments, I train here two to three times a week so it has played a major part of what I have achieved in my career.

“It means a lot to me to be up there and I feel privileged to be alongside great champions like Jess.”

Matthew also scooped double gold in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, in October, winning the singles and doubles competitions. He partnered Adrian Grant in the doubles.

David Pearson, Matthew’s coach, has paid tribute to the 30-year-old for harnessing his talent, saying: “A lot of people would not have expected Nick to get on the wall.

“People thought that he would be a top 10 player at most but he has surpassed all expectations. We all underestimated him but his biggest asset is that he is so single minded and driven and that has spurred him on to the top.

“He has a close knit team at the EIS who have helped make him the player he is today and they deserved a lot of the credit.

“He is not the most naturally gifted of players but he has worked hard on his game and he has got to where he has in the sport through sheer guts and hard work. Nick is now arguably one of the greatest athletes in the country.”