Inside Lines: Big brother Vitali puts his title at risk in political punch-up

Who says sport and politics don't mix? Carl Lewis is the latest sports star to join the political fray following Imran Khan who aims to become president of Pakistan and world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao who has similar ambitions in the Philippines, where he is a congressman.

Test cricketers Arjuna Ranatunga and Sanath Jayasuriya sit on opposite sides of the Sri Lankan parliament. Antonio Rattin, infamously sent off against England in the 1966 World Cup, became an MP in Argentina, where ex-Pumas rugby captain Hugo Porta served as sports minister, as did Olympic hurdler Guy Drut in France.

Back home we have the Tory lords and ex-MPs Seb Coe and Colin Moynihan while paralympian Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson is a Labour peer.

But one sporting politico you would not want to heckle is David Haye-conqueror Wladimir Klitschko's big brother Vitali, 40, who leads the opposition party Udar (which appropriately translates as Punch) in his native Ukraine.

Giant Vitali has even put his WBC heavyweight title at risk by breaking training for next Saturday's defence in Poland against Tomasz Adamek to sort a political punch-up back home back where, he says: "Ukrainians are living under a dictatorship and total corruption, and it is my duty to fight this." Someone should get readyto duck.

Oscar row still running

Sky News called at the weekend to ask if I would give my views on Oscar Pistorius competing with able-bodied counterparts at the current world athletics championships and possibly next year's London Olympics.

I readily obliged, endorsing the doubts expressed in this column about the validity of his presence running on manufactured legs. Subsequently I have been engulfed by a storm of emails, ranging from reasoned argument to near hysteria, suggesting there might be an athletics division of the more anarchic elements of the Animal Rights group.

One from someone with a distinctly South African-sounding moniker even likened me to Colonel Gaddafi. Another proposed that 400m runner Pistorius – and others who use similar prosthetic devices – should be allowed to compete unilaterally but their results not recorded.

Alternatively I suppose their results could have the same asterisk that follows a wind-assisted record. But instead of 'wa' it would be 'ta', (technology–assisted). But do we really want to turn athletics into a version of Formula One with boffins and their technology being more important than the athlete?

Pistorius's presence certainly confused the hapless Channel 4 presenter Ortis Deley – now axed – who said that the South African double amputee would be making history "in the 400 metres hurdles." Now that really would have been something.

Anglo-American warfare

British and American troops will be at war with each other next month. In the ring.

The historic military fisticuffs marks the return of boxing, after a decade, to London's Royal Albert Hall. Armed forces from the UK and the US will battle it out in aid of the charity Tickets for Troops on 7 October.

Promoter Frank Warren is negotiating for two Hollywood stars to act as non-punching captains of the respective teams. Sylvester 'Rocky' Stallone is an obvious candidate for the US but how about Sir Michael Caine to lead the GB squaddies?

He did a bit of boxing as a youngster. But not a lot of people know that...

Life's a beach for Denise

Denise Johns, GB beach volleyball player, is having an eventful summer. She and partner Lucy Boulton defeated the Chinese Olympic bronze medallists to reach semi-final of the Horse Guards Parade Olympic Test event.

She then planned to marry GB men's star Jody Gooding at a beach ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina today. But along came Hurricane Irene.

"We rented a little house on the beach and my biggest fear was that it would be reduced to a pile of sticks by the time we got there," she said. Luckily it was still standing.

They are marrying in Charleston as a half-way house between friends in Britain and Denise's family in Ohio. US-born Denise, 32, whose parents are British, chose the venue because "it's kind of quaint".

The wedding dress is traditional but her choice of footwear is also kind of quaint – flip-flops.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot