Inside Lines: England must play the Games over Delhi, says Kelly
Sunday 28 March 2010
England have been warned they will face a political storm if they decide to pull out of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi for security reasons, with a boycott of London 2012 threatened by some Asian nations. A decision has yet to be made by Commonwealth Games England following suggestions by a Whitehall source that there was "no chance" of a team being sent to Delhi because of the risk of terrorist attacks. But the organisation's president, Dame Kelly Holmes, insists: "As far as we are concerned the Games are going ahead and we will be sending an England team." The double Olympic gold medallist also hits out at those athletes who are refusing to go either for security concerns or, like Jessica Ennis, because the October event does not fit in with their schedules. "I am disappointed that a few athletes have said they don't want to compete. It would become a political issue if we pulled out and have an effect on us as a nation for 2012. Security is always a factor, but we have top-level security guys out there and if they suggested our athletes were at risk then it is an absolute no-brainer – we won't go. But they haven't done anything of the sort."
Woodward stays put
The Rugby Football Union have moved swiftly to quash suggestions that Sir Clive Woodward would be returning to Twickenham as overlord of the English game, thus avoiding an unseemly tug-of-war with the British Olympic Association. The BOA chairman, Lord Moynihan, would strongly resist any attempt to lure Woodward away from his post as performance director, as he sees him as a key figure in the run-up to 2012. With the Games just over two years away, Woodward seems keen to remain involved – as does the UK Sport chief, John Steele, which is disappointing news for the RFU, as he is the man they want to replace departing chief executive Francis Baron.
Ladies who punch
The view of WBC heavyweight champion Vitaliy Klitschko that women's boxing "makes me feel nausea" will get short shrift from females fighting to get into Britain's Olympic squad. It is good to see that among those in contention for the three places available when women's boxing makes its debut in 2012 is the 27-year-old lightweight Amanda Coulson from Hartlepool, whom we first met five years ago when she was helping to pioneer the sport here as a sort of suffragette of sock. Then there were about 70 women boxers in Britain. Now there are 700. The articulate Coulson shrugs off Klitschko: "You will always get some people who are negative, saying women shouldn't box, or it is handbags at 10 paces. But the sport has evolved dramatically and has as much skill and technique as men's boxing." Hartlepool seems a hotbed for women's boxing, producing another squad member in the middleweight Savannah Marshall, 18, who won the European Union title in her fifth bout and is known as The Silent Assassin because she has little to say but is a ferocious finisher in the ring. She is a hot tip for a medal, together with Britain's most successful female boxer, the flyweight Nicola Adams, 27, from Bradford, the World Amateur Championships silver medallist.
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