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.

Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
peopleActress tells men: 'It's your issue too'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam