Commonwealth Games: Coe raps long-distance Collins

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When Napoleon said what he did about wanting his generals to be lucky he probably thought it unnecessary to add he also wanted them to be there. If not quite at the epicentre of battle, then somewhere in the vicinity. Within 12,000 miles, certainly.

In the heat of the track and field competition here, while England's athletes have been losing "the dashes" - finishing third in the medal tally, behind Australia and Jamaica - Dave Collins, the performance director of UK Athletics, has been watching the Games on television back in Britain.

Sebastian Coe raised a questioning eyebrow yesterday, saying: "If I were a director of coaching, I'd want to see the whites of the athletes' eyes. You need to see how people respond and you can't do that unless you are here."

Collins gave his response via a teleconference call with Britain's athletics writers after the close of play in the MCG. "This is a surprise to me," he maintained. "Why would I be there? I'm not part of the England Commonwealth Games organisation. I'm not accredited to the England team. So if I'm there I'm there as a UN observer. I have enough people there. Half of my performance staff are there."

Bill Sweetenham, the performance director of British Swimming, and Dave Brailsford, the performance director of British Cycling, also happen to be here, not to mention Tony Blair, the right honourable performance director of the British Government, a notable onlooker in the MCG yesterday.