Inside Lines: Bouquets for Bedford but London's transport goes down the Tube
Sunday 02 May 2010
The London Marathon is the greatest pro-am mass participation event in the world, something of which Britain can be justly proud. Simply magnificent, brilliantly staged by Dave Bedford and his team. The way that race director Bedford got every international elite competitor to the starting line this year amid the volcanic ash crisis was a masterpiece of organisation.
The former world 10,000m record holder, 60, has been beavering away on the marathon's behalf for 18 years yet he hasn't received a gong while many lesser (but less rebellious) athletes have been honoured. Let's hope that whoever is sports minister by this time next week will push his case, and consider why the likes of Youth Charter leader Geoff Thompson and Tessa Sanderson (to whom we send our best wishes on her marriage to British judo chief Densign White this weekend) are consistently snubbed by those who select candidates for sport's quangos. It is time some of our more street-wise personalities were brought into play in the administration of British sport, and they don't come any wiser than "Bootsie" Bedford in the streets of London. But there is another aspect to the Marathon which is not as worthy of our applause: the transportation arrangements for the thousands who lined those streets on Sunday. Dangerously overcrowded Tube platforms, cancelled trains, unhelpful station staff and the majority of escalators either not working or closed. At one stage an anguished Aussie voice was heard to yell: "Bloody hell, this is where they're going to hold the Olympics?" That's what concerns me. I have no doubt that London will deliver a spectacular dream Games, but getting to and from them may be a nightmare. Presentation could be London's glory; transportation its nemesis.
Khan's visa break
Because of earlier motoring offences, Amir Khan is apparently having difficulty in obtaining a work visa for his US debut defending his WBA light-welterweight title against Paulie Malignaggi in New York on 15 May. Curiously, on his Facebook page, Khan suggests it may have something to do with his surname. He has had to break training in Los Angeles to fly to Vancouver, where the Khan camp say the problem should be resolved shortly with the US Embassy. Hardly ideal preparation for a scrap which, as we forecast, will be shown live by ITV in the early hours of next Sunday. So anxious are his US promoters for him not to lose touch with his home fans that a token deal may be struck with the BBC for a later transmission. His erstwhile stablemate Kevin Mitchell's Sky-televised interim world lightweight title battle with Michael Katsidis on Saturday looks set for a 15,000 plus crowd at Upton Park.
Spinning for sport
One man keeping a keen eye on the election result is Simon Greenberg, the former Chelsea communications chief now assisting England's 2018 World Cup bid. If the Conservatives win, he is lined up for a plum Government spin doctorate which will embrace sport.
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