Inside Lines: GB women's boxing coaches suspended after 'incident'

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The Independent Online

Two male women's boxing coaches, one of them a former top amateur champion, have been suspended after an incident at a GB training camp in Portsmouth. Head coach Mick Gannon and assistant Chris Bessey have been relieved of their duties by the Amateur Boxing Association of England pending a disciplinary hearing next month. The ABA chairman Keith Walters confirmed to The Independent on Sunday that the pair are now "on gardening leave" but declined to discuss details of the alleged offence except to say that it did not involve any sexual harassment. I understand the incident followed an alleged drinking bout. Both are ex-servicemen. Gannon is a former Army PTI, and Bessey, who won six ABA titles at welterweight and light-middleweight, is a former warrant officer and Army coach who was awarded the MBE for services to boxing. In September, they were in charge of the women's Olympic squad team who returned from the World Championships in Barbados with two silver medals. Their suspensions follow those of two British Olympic gymnastics coaches, Andrei Popov and Sergei Sizhanov, who were sent home after an alleged drunken bar brawl at last weekend's World Championships in Rotterdam.



Mills can get FA shipshape

The Football Association's blatantly self-interested decision to abolish the rule barring candidates from within the game to succeed Lord Triesman as chairman may have displeased sports minister Hugh Robertson, who wants a fully independent candidate, but it opens the way for a man who surely would have the full approval of the Government. Step forward – please – Sir Keith Mills, one of the architects of London's 2012 victory as Seb Coe's deputy – a role he now fulfils on the organising committee. Freed of his America's Cup commitments since the withdrawal of Team Origin, with whom he won the Clipper round-the-world race in 1999, the entrepreneurial Mills, 60, has proved himself a popular and able figure in global sport. A Tottenham Hotspur director, he is on England's 2018 World Cup bid team, alongside Lord Coe, as an executive director. The founder of Air Miles, he would bring much-needed commercial and political nous, and some order to the chaos at the FA, whose list of candidates include acting chairman Roger Burdon, Sir Alan Sugar, Tesco chief executive Sir Terence Leahy and former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein. Mills clearly is better qualified to run the FA, especially if England win the bid and a World Cup needs organising.



Tessa's Indian summer camp

It wasn't just home advantage that enabled India to win so many medals in the Commonwealth Games. More like an away game in east London. Scores of athletes prepared at Tessa Sanderson's brilliant Newham Academy last summer, among them 17 medal-winners. The result was that India won as many medals in these Games as they had in their previous 18. The Olympic javelin champion worked with the Indian High Commission and Rahuld Pawar, strategic director of the Indian Sports Federation, to provide the athletes with coaching expertise and top-level competition. "We are hoping to repeat this before 2012," says Sanderson, hailed as a sporting goddess in India but, sadly, largely overlooked by those who run British sport. Her academy goes from strength to strength – "we are having to turn away people because we don't have the funding" – as does the new Tessa Sanderson Foundation and her regular 5km runs through West Ham Park. More than 1,700 took part in this year's Newham Classic 10km, which she is organising again on 10 April next year. Further details from tsfa.co.uk.

Naz throws hat back in ring

Former world featherweight champ Naseem Hamed is making a comeback to boxing – as a manager. He revealed to me last night that he has signed the light-heavyweight Callum Johnson, a member of GB's 2012 Olympic squad who won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Naz, 36, says: "I have missed the buzz in boxing. I believe Callum will help bring the excitement back." Johnson, 25, will make his debut on Frank Warren's World Championship bill in Glasgow on 4 December.

Three-D Day in Manchester

David Haye's fight with Audley Harrison on 13 November on Sky Box Office will be the first World Heavyweight Championship to be shown in 3D. Haye is 8-1 on, which suggests the bookies think Audley, 39 last week, is a one-dimensional fighter. But several good judges are convinced he will upset the odds.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

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