Inside Lines: Call for 'boycott' gives 2012 organisers shooting pains
Sunday 03 May 2009
It is the word the 2012 Games have dreaded: boycott – one which has bedevilled the Olympics over the years. Now there is talk of one in London, though thankfully not of the Games themselves but potentially damaging nonetheless.
A group called the Sportsman's Association are calling for all connected with shooting not to assist with the running of the event in 2012 because of the decision to stage the sport at "unsuitable" Woolwich Arsenal, rather than world-famous Bisley. They are also orchestrating a protest march over the Government's "discrimination" against pistol shooting and the savage reduction in funding (75 per cent) which could end the Olympic dreams of talented young shooters like Charlotte Kerwood.
They want all judges, referees and club shooters not to volunteer their services in London. "Unlike Bisley, Woolwich will leave no legacy," says the Association's Albie Fox. British Shooting and the British Olympic Association are distancing themselves from the protest.
"Hosting the event at Woolwich in the 2012 heartland allows us to deliver a compact Games," says BOA chief executive Andy Hunt.
"Legacy is not always about bricks and mortar but bringing the Games to a new audience." The cuts imposed on shooting, ironically a victim of government-led targets, has caused the loss of able performance director John Leighton-Dyson, who is now coaching rivals Denmark.
No wonder the sport feels it has been shot in the back.
Floyd not in the pink
It seems the recession has hit Floyd Mayweather Jnr harder than any of his 39 opponents. We hear he has lost a sizeable chunk of his invested fortune hence his urge to fight again rather than sell off some of his jewellery. He is booked to face Juan Manuel Marquez on 18 July as a prelude to meeting the winner of last night's Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton blockbuster which would settle the world's best pound-for-pound conundrum once and for all. Expect Mayweather to link up with Don King if they can find an arena big enough to accommodate both their egos.
BoHo bridge sporting gap
The improbable cross-partymarriage of Tory mayor Boris Johnson and ex-Labour sports minister Kate Hoey – BoHo? – has got up more than a few political noses but it is turning out to be one made in sporting heaven for Londoners. Their new £15.5 million grass-roots game-plan is one of the most positive practical moves made to boost sports participation in the capital since the Olympics were won. Moreover, we applaud it because it restores the Panathlon, the terrific multi-sports schools event crushed under the heel of political expediency (rather like Hoey herself) when the UK School Games surfaced, as a vehicle to improve competitive sport for disabled kids.
Burnham faces a clubbing
Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, so moved by the Hillsborough memorial service at Anfield that he personally instigated moves to reopen police files, faces a grilling from sports leaders at the CCPR conference on Wednesday on what the Government plans to do to help ailing sports clubs in the recession.
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