Inside Lines: Joanna's brave Gurkhas fire a volley for Team GB 2012 hopes
Sunday 05 July 2009
The Kent International Sitting Volleyball Tournament is taking place in Canterbury this weekend. So what? Hardly ball-grabbing compared to Wimbledon, you may say, but the event could have a significant impact on London 2012. For among those taking part are a number of Gurkhas, some who have lost limbs fighting with British Forces in Afghanistan. Sitting volleyball is a Paralympic sport and, it transpires, one which, like the able-bodied version, is popular among the Gurkha community. There are hopes that several of them will be good enough to create history by representing Britain in the Paralympics. Coach Rob Wood, of MKA Partnership, one of the organisers, says: "Ghurkas show the same sort of military ethos on the sports field as they do on the battlefield. The way they train and commit themselves makes excellent athletes." These, of course, are the people the Government didn't want to stay here until Joanna Lumley shamed them in to a U-turn. Now they could be medal-winners for Team GB in 2012.
Don't count Andy out says sparmate Amir
Andy Murray need look no further for advice on how to come back after a shattering ko defeat than his good mate – and occasional sparmate – Amir Khan. The pair have been close friends since London's 2012 bid and keen fight fan Murray has visited the Bolton gym where Khan taught him to box – though unfortunately not yet clever enough to outpoint 'Rocky' Roddick. But Khan, who himself has had to climb off the floor to become a world-title contender, predicts his pal will fight back to win Wimbledon. "Andy is a warrior," he says. "I know that from being in the ring with him. He's tough, resilient and knows how to counter-punch." Murray hopes to be at the ringside for Khan's big night against Andreas Kotelnik in Manchester on Saturday week. He and Khan have much in common. Both are 22, don't touch alcohol and have matured mentally and developed physically since switching to new coaches.
Don has King of Pop on Kong bill
It did not take our friend Don King long to climb aboard the Michael Jackson memorial bandwagon. He of the electric chair hair, who promoted Jackson's Victory Tour in 1984 and brokered his world-record sponsorship deal with Pepsi, has chosen to give "my good friend" a traditional ringside 10-bell count during his boxing bill at Sunrise, Florida, next Saturday. No doubt Jacko would have been thrilled to be featured on the undercard of the IBF bantamweight championship which King has decorously labelled "King Kong versus The Raging Bull". That's showbusiness for you.
Daley the delivery man
If you see Daley Thompson pedalling past your door next week he's not auditioning for a place in Dave Brailsford's UK team planning a future assault on the Tour de France. He's on his bike as a courier for a 337-mile trip from Old Trafford to Downing Street to highlight the solutions he believes sport can help provide to help combat youth crime and gang violence. When, somewhat saddlesore, he reaches No 10, he will deliver a report commissioned by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation called "Breaking the cycle of violence".
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