Inside Lines: London bid is given green bill of health

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The Independent Online

London's Olympic aspirations for 2012 have received a huge boost from one of the experts who helped convince the International Olympic Committee that Sydney was the best choice for the 2000 Games. Peter Otteson, one of the world's leading environmentalists and instrumental in delivering the Games in Australia four years ago, has given London the green light. Otteson was in the city last week, and reports that plans for the redevelopment of the Lower Lea Valley are "really good''. He says: "I've had a good look around and I am very impressed with the concept. What London is planning in terms of the environment and future legacy for the whole community is great." Otteson, who works for the Australian government in Canberra and has also advised Beijing on environmental issues, adds: "The London bid team clearly recognise the importance of the environment and the emphasis the IOC place on it. It is high on their agenda. In many respects there are similar elements to Sydney's Holmbush Bay area, which was si

London's Olympic aspirations for 2012 have received a huge boost from one of the experts who helped convince the International Olympic Committee that Sydney was the best choice for the 2000 Games. Peter Otteson, one of the world's leading environmentalists and instrumental in delivering the Games in Australia four years ago, has given London the green light. Otteson was in the city last week, and reports that plans for the redevelopment of the Lower Lea Valley are "really good''. He says: "I've had a good look around and I am very impressed with the concept. What London is planning in terms of the environment and future legacy for the whole community is great." Otteson, who works for the Australian government in Canberra and has also advised Beijing on environmental issues, adds: "The London bid team clearly recognise the importance of the environment and the emphasis the IOC place on it. It is high on their agenda. In many respects there are similar elements to Sydney's Holmbush Bay area, which was similarly run-down. To regenerate and transform that part of London will allow for a green corridor right down the Thames.'' He also believes that the compact location of the proposed Olympic complex will facilitate better security and transport arrangements. "The area has a remarkable foundation of waterways and the result could be outstanding. There are also strong socio-economic and health dimensions which will result from cleaning up the area, with housing made available." Otteson stresses that he has not seen the environmental files or visited the other bidding cities, but says: "I think London's plans could give them the edge.'' So it seems London is certain to get brownie points from the IOC for being green.

Brodie sees 'real' title at end of brutal road

"A real fight for a real title," proclaims the promotional blurb for Saturday's return encounter between Michael Brodie and Korean In-Jin Chi for the World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight championship at the MEN Arena in Manchester. It seems an apt label in view of the shenanigans surrounding last night's Ricky Hatton affair at the same venue, though the audience for Brodie's attempt to better the drawn result there against the naggingly aggressive Chi six months ago is unlikely to attract similar support. "Whatever they may say about Hatton, this kid's the most exciting fighter in Britain," claims Brodie's veteran manager, Jack Trickett. Unfortunately his box office appeal is not quite on the same scale, although Trickett says £30,000 worth of tickets have already been sold by Brodie for a fight that cannot fail to be anything less than one of savagely intensity. The hope is he will win through and perhaps fight Naseem Hamed's nemesis, Marco Antonio Barrera. Then some of the Hatton hoopla might settle on his shoulders.

Questions asked about sporting 'immigrants'

Could it be that some of those Romanians who slipped the loosely cast net of now ex-immigration minister Beverley Hughes on bogus visas are now playing in British sport? "A good question,'' says Jo Collins, of the Ice Hockey Players' Association, who is campaigning for changes in the criteria which allow sportsmen and women from overseas to work in sport here, often to the exclusion of home-grown talent. She says she knows of at least two Romanians, originally illegal immigrants, who have been playing National League ice hockey. She is writing to the Home Office to ask for the laws on the recruitment of cheap foreign labour to be re-examined.

Not every Aussie who comes here to impart coaching expertise ends up asa success story. With the failure of the British women's hockey team to qualify for the Olympics, the future of Tricia Heberle seems in doubt.

No decision has yet been taken on her offer to resign, but she seems unlikely to be asked to stay on following the indifferent performances in the recent Olympic qualification tournament in New Zealand. Under her stewardship the British women have slipped from third to fourth in the European rankings. They finished seventh in the Olympics, whereas going into Sydney four years ago they were second. Hers was a controversial appointment after the sacking of Jon Royce - her principal function with the Australian team had been video analyst - and the women's form has deteriorated since Heberle parted company with her No 2, Ian Jennings, an ex-paratrooper who had introduced a tough training regime. Things are not so jolly backstage, either, with the reconstituted England Hockey back in some disarray following the resignation of Southern Area chair Stella Plant.

In times when relationships between football writers and those in the game range from strained to hostile, Joe Melling, award-winning football editor of the Mail on Sunday, always managed to stay on the best of terms with players and managers alike.

All respected jovial Joe, a man of humour and integrity. As sports editor of the Lancashire Evening Post many years ago, I succumbed to the persuasive chat of the young Preston lad desperate to become a football reporter. Joe went from strength to strength, but that strength gave out a few days ago when, at 58, he lost his battle with cancer. Many leading personalities are expected to attend his funeral at St Anne's Church, Southview Avenue, Caversham, Reading, on Tuesday (11am).

insidelines@independent.co.uk

Exit Lines

Why should he give up his Olympic dream just because another individual stuffed up? Australia's former swimming champion Kieren Perkins slams calls for Craig Stevens to step aside to enable the disqualified Ian Thorpe to defend his Olympic 400m freestyle title... Lennox was made to feel like one of the family, although being 6ft 5in probably helped. Frank Maloney on introducing the then world heavyweight champ to Millwall fans as a West Ham supporter... Would you buy a second-hand Saab off this man? A Ken Bates broadside for Sven Goran Eriksson.

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