badminton: Father is accused of head-butt

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The Independent Online
The father of England's top women's singles player, Joanne Muggeridge, astonished spectators at the English National Championships by becoming involved in an incident with one of the sport's leading coaches.

Vic Muggeridge was accused of head-butting Tom John, who had been giving noisy support to Nicola Beck and Joanne Davies during their unexpected doubles victory over the second-seeded Muggeridge and Gill Gowers.

John said of Saturday's incident: "Vic came running at me when no one expected it. He threatened to beat me up and head-butted me. I was not hurt but I was amazed. He had a camera tripod and I was afraid to go outside because of what happened."

Joanne Muggeridge, who was also unexpectedly beaten in the singles, returned home yesterday with her father, who said: "I can't believe it. As we walked together we just touched. It might have looked like a head-butt but it wasn't. If I had wanted to hit Tom I would have picked my moment. Why would I want to?"

However, John's version was supported by several witnesses, including Anders Nielsen who later became a surprise winner of the national title by beating Darren Hall. "Suddenly Vic came charging up from nowhere and butted Tom," Nielsen said. "Mrs Muggeridge intervened as they were brawling."

John said he was unlikely to make an official complaint. Geoffrey Snowdon, chief executive of the Badminton Association of England, said the association would not take action unless a complaint was made.

Feathers flying, page 29

Results, Sporting Digest, page 29