On your marks . . . get set . . . go!   A global sporting event may be upon us, but for some this summer matters of even greater personal significance are happening closer to home.

 This August there will be a great deal of huffing and puffing going on in East London. There will be running and jumping, throwing, swimming, rowing, diving, sailing and cycling - plus much more. 

But for some, who won't actually get much closer to a stadium than their sofas, there will be another demanding prize to compete for this summer – a new home. Competitors won’t be representing their country but they may well be representing their families. 

Like top-flight sport, house buying takes a great deal of preparation. It is not an easy undertaking. It takes the long distance stamina of a Mo Farah and sometimes the sprint speed of a Usain Bolt. It takes the versatility of a Jessica Ennis, the grit of a Steve Redgrave, the tactics of a Ben Ainsley and the agility of a 16-year-old Russian gymnast, named Olga. Buying a home is not as pretty as Tom Daley in a 10-metre dive or perhaps as explosive as Chris Hoy in the velodrome. But winning this discipline - and it does take discipline - means dedication, planning and some sacrifices. 

Winning the perfect house is a great personal achievement. But unlike so many sports there are no silver and bronze medals for being a runner-up. There is not even a gold medal for winning. But, besides satisfaction, comfort, safety, investment and shelter, there is one other prize for the winner - he or she can choose to plant a laurel in their new garden. 

Whether you are competing for gold or for a new property this August, we wish you well.