Inside Lines: Olympic squaddies set for square-bashing
Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of the camp chosen for British athletes to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics. Is it a military secret, we wonder? The announcement on Tuesday is certainly being orchestrated with military precision, scribes not even being made aware of the venue for the media conference until they sign up for it tomorrow. All of which tends to suggest that the Army's Aldershot barracks has got the nod over Bath University, Loughborough and Millfield as the training base for the 750-strong squad. Aldershot would certainly have the backing of the Government, with the Ministry of Defence keen to boost the Army's sagging public profile. Aldershot has excellent sports facilities, including an Olympic-sized pool and running track – several Olympians have trained there in the past – and the unique advantage of built-in security. The British Olympic Association's chief executive, Simon Clegg, happens to be a former Army major, though he denies any suggestion of bias. But it seems likely that the 2012 recruits are set for some square-bashing.
Calzaghe hits the jackpot in Las Vegas
Joe Calzaghe will be 36 when he meets Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas on 12 April – the "super-fight" will be confirmed this week – but as heavyweight contender Matt Skelton, 39, tells us on page 78, age is all in the mind in sport these days. The Welshman is expected to earn around £10 million for his first – and probably last – excursion to the US, and it is also likely to be another coup for the subscription TV channel Setanta, whose other big hits include David Haye v Enzo Maccarinelli on 8 March and Skelton's world challenge against Ruslan Chagaev in Dusseldorf on Saturday.
Should FA be at PM's Becks and call?
Gordon Brown playing at being Fabio Capello and personally picking David Beckham for England's 2018 World Cup bid team has caused eyebrows to be raised at the FA. While they welcome Beckham's involvement, albeit with some caution because of his heavy commitments, the feeling is that they and not Downing Street should be recruiting the squad. However, any suggestion that Beckham will lead the bid can be discounted. His will be strictly a midfield role, with, as first revealed here, Prince William striking up front. The Palace have responded positively to the FA's own request for William to act as the diplomatic spearhead of the bid, which inevitably is already being tagged as "The Posh and Becks Campaign".
Zimbabwe proves tough test for Government
Any decision on Government intervention to call off Zimbabwe's 2009 cricket tour to England is proving especially vexing because of possible implications for the 2012 Olympics. While the Government dare not seek to ban Zimbabwe from the Games, because the IOC would not allow it, there is every prospect that President Robert Mugabe would withdraw the Zimbabwe team in protest at a tour cancellation, and that several other African nations would follow. As London don't want an Olympic boycott spoiling the parade, Mugabe knows he has Britain on a sticky wicket.
No need for memory test now their number's up
Freed up to compete in Beijing, Christine Ohuruogu should make a note of this number to put in her 2008 Filofax: 07786 202407. This is the new number for athletes to text any updates to their whereabouts so that they don't miss UK Sport's out-of-competition drugs tests. Don't forget it, Chris.
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