Inside Lines: A good guy becomes sport minister but Cameron misses trick
Sunday 16 May 2010
David Cameron now resides in his shared accommodation in Downing Street on an Obama-like ticket of "change". But we have to ask if sport has been somewhat short-changed? The new PM has missed a trick by again lumping sport together with media and culture under the roof of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Here was a perfect opportunity to give sport, which he has acknowledged as being important to society, health and the economy, and currently with the added governance of the Olympics, its own full-time ministry. We welcome the appointment of Hugh Robertson as the new sports and Olympic minister – he's one of the good guys in politics and has a grasp of what the job is about after five years robustly shadowing two Labour sports ministers. But he has to report to the DCMS overlord, Jeremy Hunt, a nice enough chap whose only known affinity with athleticism is a spot of lambada dancing. Cameron should have been bold enough to change the system and give sport what it deserves – a ministry of its own. Chelsea fan Robertson, 47, was at yesterday's FA Cup final alongside his new boss, who elected to cheer for Portsmouth. A club cricketer and hockey player, Robertson was also planning to stay up for the Amir Khan fight and will watch today's T20 final between England and Australia. He will need such stamina with tough calls to make on funding and Olympic legacy.
Punching for politics
Boxing's political contenders had different results in their elections. The multi-world champion Manny Pacquiao won by a landslide to get a Congressional seat in the Philippines. Here, the promoter Frank Maloney took a count in Barking – one of 1,300. That figure put Ukip's man in fifth place, behind the BNP's Nick Griffin but above the Loony Party. Maloney may have lost his deposit, but not his enthusiasm. "I learned a lot and I'll be back," he vows. But not in Barking.
Doctor's kick start
Most doctors would hardly prescribe a kick in the teeth as a recipe for good health. But Dr Fui Mee Quek, a female GP with a practice in Sutton, Surrey, not only recommends Thai boxing but promotes it in her role as operations chief of the MSA Muay Thai Premier League, which will be showcased at London's ExCel on Saturday week with a world-class bill featuring top Thai pros against the best of British. Muay Thai may sound like something with noodles from your local takeaway but it is an ancient martial art utilising knees, feet and elbows. So how come a medico advocates such violent behaviour? Dr Quek, a 45-year-old mother of three, says: "Some of my fellow doctors may raise an eyebrow but I believe it is a great way to get bodies working properly in the gym and it is a beautiful sport to watch. Compared to boxing and MMA there are fewer injuries and you can score well without hitting the head."
London's mascot mystery
London 2012's best-kept secret – apart from how much it will cost – will be revealed on Wednesday, when we will know the name and design of the Olympic mascot. There have been no leaks from HQ and nothing could be prised from the lips of Seb Coe and Co last week, not even if it is animal, vegetable or mineral. Though our suggestion of Percy the Pigeon at least raised a smile.
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