IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 2|2. Only a game


  • Identify the sports shown in the pictures and say what you know about each one, using some of these words to help you.

amateur / professional

indoor / outdoor

individual / team

local / national / international

  • Which sports are televised (broadcast on TV) where you live? Is it better to see whole matches or events on TV, or just edited highlights? Why?


Perfect Tenses

1. Complete the sentences with a verb from the box in a suitable simple or continuous perfect tense.

build do expect injure test win

1. Read this passage quickly, thinking about the content of each paragraph. Time yourself as you read.

* about 650 words



A Software that can identify the significant events in live TV sports coverage should soon be able to compile programmes of highlights without any human intervention. When this technology becomes commercially available, it will save millions in editing costs.

В Picking out the key moments from a game — whether it be snooker, rugby, baseball, football or basketball — is extremely labour-intensive at present. As the footage streams into a TV station or outside-broadcast truck, someone has to watch the action and keep notes on what happens and when. Only after that are the clips retrieved and put together to form a highlights package, which will probably amount to less than five minutes’ viewing per game when it is finally broadcast.

C However, as sports follow fixed rules, and take place in predictable locations, computers ought to be able to pick out the key pieces of play and string them together. Anil Kokaram and colleagues at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, are among the research teams trying to turn the idea into reality. They have decided to analyse table-based ball games like snooker and pool. These are the sports that a computer should find relatively easy to handle as the action is slow, the lighting is fairly consistent and cameras mostly shoot from fixed positions.

D The Trinity team uses the edges of the table and the positions of the pockets to work out where the balls are on the table. The software has the rules of the game programmed in, so it can track the moving balls and work out what has happened. For example, if a ball approaches a pocket and then disappears from view, the program assumes it has been potted. By working out how to detect foul shots — when a player hits the wrong ball — the team hopes to find a way to create a compelling highlights package for the sport.

E Until recently, the chances of getting similar software for football were not high. Involving a far greater number of moving objects (22 players and a ball) on a playing field whose appearance can vary with the weather and lighting, football had been proving an impossible challenge to developers, but then Carlo Colombo and his colleagues at the University of Florence in Italy started to approach the task in another way. They have found that they can compile highlights from footage without tracking either the ball or the moving players. Instead, they have looked at the position of the players in set pieces. Their software detects the position of the pitch markings in a shot to work out which area is in the frame (see graphic). Then, by checking the positions the .is players adopt in relation to the markings, the software can decide whether a player is about to take a penalty, free kick or corner, and whether a goal is scored as a result.

F The Florence team has not yet worked out how to enable the computer to determine when a goal is scored in open play. However, Ahmat Ekin, a computer scientist from the University of Rochester in New York, may be close to solving that problem. He has designed software that looks for a specific sequence of camera shots to work out whether a 55 goal has been scored. For example, player close-ups often indicate a gap in play when something important has happened, and slow-motion footage is another useful cue. Ekin also includes sound analysis so it is conceivable that the software could hunt for the commentator’s extravagant shouts of ‘Gooooaaal!’

G A Japanese electronics company has been trialling a simple highlights package that can cut down an hour of American football to around 14 minutes and an hour’s baseball to 10 minutes. Eventually, the firm wants to 65 develop highlights software for a new generation of video recorders, which would allow people to customise their own sports highlights packages from the comfort of their living rooms.

2. The reading passage has seven paragraphs A-G. Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-x next to questions 1-6.

3. Style extra

Match each time adverbial in these sentences from the reading passage with a time adverbial chosen from a-h.

This form of linking helps to structure a text and indicates the time sequence. Try to use it in your writing.

Test spot

In the IELTS Listening Module, everything is heard only once. The Section 1 task is always a conversation between two people. The topic is social or general and one speaker usually requires Information from the other.

Look at the questions before the recording starts and predict what you will hear.

Write no more than three words or a number for each question. Don’t write any numbers out as words, as this Is unnecessary and takes too long. Make sure you can pronounce all the letters of the alphabet, as you may have to write down a spelled name.

1. You are going to hear a conversation between a Scottish student called John and a Finnish student called Pirkko about the Tampere Student Gaines in Finland. Before you listen, look at John’s notes and decide what is needed in the spaces: numbers or words. Predict possible answers in pairs.

2. Listen to the conversation and fill in the missing information.


Recording script

John: Hello, Pirkko. I’m phoning to let you know that my college basket ball tc3m are very keen to come over to Finland to take part in the Tampere Student Games.

Pirkko: Well, that’s great We re hoping to make it a really special event this year, as its the 80th anniversary of Finnish Student Sport!

John: Fantastic! We’re all looking forward to coming. Let me just check — the games start on May 19th, right?

Pirkko: Oh, that was the provisional plan when you first contacted me. that they’d run horn the 19th to the 23rd. But we’ve cut the programme by a day, so non it’ll begin on the 20th, still ending on the 23rd. There’s going to be an opening ceremony on the first evening.

John: We don’t want to miss that, do we! And how moth is the entry fee for the Games?

Pirkko: This year its gone up from 16 to 18 euros  a day per person. I’m afraid, but you get a lot for that.

John: How do you mean?

Pirkko: Well, of course it covers the competition entrance, but you also get three meals a day and even floor space if you want it — we can’t manage beds for everyone!

John: Sounds a bit bask to me. Can you recommend a hotel?

Pirkko: Well, Tampere is quite a big city, so there are a lot of hotels. The Homeland would be convenient if you come by train, or maybe you’d prefer the Hermica, as it’s offering a reduced rate for participants in the games. It’s spelt  H-E-R-M-I-C-A. It’s a very nice hotel.

John: And where is it exactly?

Pirkko: Well, that’s the other good thing from your point of view. It’s in the Hervanta district of  Tampere, near the University of Technology.

John: And why is that good for us?

Pirkko: Because all the basketball matches are taking place near there.

John: Oh, I see.

Pirkko: Look, why I don’t I give you the website address, and then you can look up the programme and find out anything else you need to know.

John: Good idea. So, what is it?

Pirkko: OK, it’s — that’s S-E-double L-G-A-M-E-S dot com.

John: Brilliant, I’ll have a look now. Thanks, Pirkko.

Pirkko: See you soon, then. Bye, John.

3. Pronunciation. Numbers and letters

Sometimes it is difficult to hear the endings of numbers correctly. Listen again to two examples from the recording. Then circle the numbers you hear.

Examples: Ifs the 80th anniversary of Finnish student sport. It’s 18 euros a day.

Intensifying adverbs

In the recording, Pirkko said that the Games would be a really special event. The adjective (special) is made stronger by the adverb (really) that precedes it. While this use of really is typical of informal spoken language, many intensifying adverbs are used in academic writing. Try to learn which adverbs collocate with certain adjectives and verbs, to sound natural.

1. Choose the adverb that collocates with each adjective or verb in these sentences.

2. In the following sentences IELTS candidates have used adverbs that do not collocate with the verb. Replace each one with an adverb from the box.

Use each adverb once only. 

carefully closely considerably extremely highly severely significantly

Example: Medicine has improved and life expectancy has therefore highly increased, increased significantly.

1. Brainstorm the questions below with a partner, writing down your ideas and any useful vocabulary. Then discuss the questions with a different partner. Try to use intensifying adverbs in your discussion. This will help you in Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking Module.


  • What are the benefits of becoming a member of a sports club?
  • Do you think enough sport is taught in schools nowadays?
  • Why do international sports competitions sometimes encourage strong nationalism?
  • Is it always important to win at sport? Why or why not?

HW tasks

1. Put the verbs in the following sentences into a suitable simple or continuous perfect tense.

EXAMPLE: Thompson (not/make) hadn’t made the first team all season, but last Wednesday he was finally selected.