After Amir Khan's decision to decamp to the United States as boxing's new Golden Boy, Britain may lose his younger brother, Haroon, who, after being omitted from the GB squads being groomed for the London Olympics, is believed to be in negotiations to box for Pakistan in 2012. An outstanding 18-year-old amateur bantamweight who captained Young England, he was tipped by WBA light-welter champion Amir to emulate him and win an Olympic medal, but if he does it seems it could be in the colours of the country where their father Shah was born. After being overlooked for both the 21-strong GB podium and 11-man development squads named recently by performance director Rob McCracken, I understand that Haroon, who like Amir was born and brought up in Bolton, and Shah have been in discussion about the possibility of him boxing for Pakistan in 2012. This was the route Amir himself threatened to take when it seemed he was not going to be picked by the Amateur Boxing Association for the 2004 Athens Games because he was considered too young. The Khans are disappointed that Haroon, aka Harry, whose shorts are emblazoned "Baby Khan" and who has won most of his 70-odd bouts as well as several junior titles, has not been picked for either squad, in which there is considerable strength in depth at his weight. But McCracken says: "This is not a closed shop and if someone performs well in competition and shows they have the ability and dedication to make the grade they can force their way in."
Reds play political football
Hugh Robertson, the most convincing of the parliamentary sports spokesmen in a novel three-party Sporting Question Time organised by the Sports Journalists Association, has now hastily received an invitation from Manchester United to visit Old Trafford after he publicly revealed that they were the only Premier League club to reject his offer to pay a courtesy call in his capacity as shadow sports minister. Could the original snub have had anything to do with the fact that Ryan Gibbs is not the club's only left-winger? Sir Alex Ferguson is a passionate Labour supporter, and communications director Phil Townsend was once spokesman for two Labour sports ministers. Should be a fascinating piece of political footy when they meet.
Shay has Given his support
Wayne Bridge is not alone in receiving support from Shay Given. The Manchester City goalkeeper is backing the inclusion of a seven-a-side international football tournament for youngsters with cerebral palsy in the forthcoming BT Paralympic World Cup. "I think this is fantastic, especially as it will take place in Manchester, which has such great football history," he says. And he will be keeping a special eye on 19-year-old GB goalkeeper and captain Jordan Raynes. "I was the same age when I made my debut for Ireland. It will be very special for him." The BBC will again broadcast highlights and live coverage of the World Cup from the Manchester Aquatics Centre on 31 May.
Does he like that?
Graham Taylor is the new Head of Coaching at UK Sport. No, not him. This one comes from the world of Formula One, not Route One. He was formerly in charge of several F1 outfits, including Arrows, so he seems well placed to accelerate the development of elite coaching for O12.
Alan Hubbard, twice named Sports Diarist of the Year, has again been nominated in this year's SJA Sports Journalism awardsReuse content