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Sport is often considered to be a young person's game but a leading professor says changes in training methods could propel older athletes back into the limelight during this summer's sporting calendar.

Sheffield Hallam University Professor Edward Winter says a trend that has seen golfer Tom Watson (60), darts champion Martin "Wolfie" Adams (53) and world snooker quarter-finalist Steve Davis (52) achieve recent success shows no sign of abating.

Edward, professor in the physiology of exercise at Sheffield Hallam's Centre for Sports and Exercise Science, said that Davis' recent performances at The Crucible suggest that older sportspeople can defy the age barrier.

He said: "Although the bodies of older sportspeople may suffer a little more wear and tear, there are more and more stars from an older generation who are taking their opportunities and enjoying a second spell in the limelight.

"Much of this is to do with the changes of sports participation. People such as Steve Davis benefit from having snooker as their day job rather than as a past time, so they are able to keep their eye on the ball for much longer and with greater results.

"It is certainly preferable to enjoy a long career rather than to retire and miss being in the limelight, or feel you haven't reached your full potential.

"So much more is known about the physiology of sport that athletes are much more aware of their own conditioning needs and can plan for a long career at the top of their game."

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