Inside Lines: More writs than right-handers as Olympians threaten to sue
Sunday 14 December 2008
Two of Britain's Beijing ring heroes, James DeGale and Tony Jeffries, and head coach Terry Edwards are threatening legal action against the Amateur Boxing Association. The two boxers, who have now turned pro, are poised to sue over bonuses they claim were promised before the Olympics but have not been paid. The pair have given ABA bosses until tomorrow evening to arrange a meeting to settle the situation, otherwise they will issue writs. DeGale says he is due £20,000 as a gold medallist and Jeffries £5,000 for his bronze. They are also demanding an apology from ABA president Richard Caborn, who accused them of "biting the hand that feeds them". Edwards has taken legal advice and will seek damages unless the ABA chief executive, Paul King, retracts comments made in a radio interview last week when he said the coach was informed by letter before the Games that the medal bonus scheme had been withdrawn. "This is blatantly untrue," says Edwards. "There was no communication whatsoever." He meets Derek Mapp, chair of the newly formed British Amateur Boxing Association this week, to discuss his future but he looks certain to quit. Embarrassingly for the umbrella body, Irish coach Gary Keegan has again turned down an offer to become the sport's performance director. "We have a few management problems to resolve," Mapp admits.
Olympic call-up for Hoey?
Someone else embarrassed by management problems is the London mayor Boris Johnson, following the resignation of his discredited Olympic Board representative David Ross. Who will be Bojo's new Games "watchdog"? The straight-talking former sports minister Kate Hoey would not be welcomed by some of the 2012 hierarchy but as his sports commissioner she is ideally placed to keep the careful check on costs and legacy that is now needed more than ever.
A Hoy there for an upset
Rebecca Adlington will know by now if she is to become a Dame in the New Year Honours (unlikely in view of her tender years) but few seem to doubt she will be dubbed BBC Sports Personality tonight. A record £1 million of punters' money makes her odds-on favourite over Lewis Hamilton. But we wouldn't be surprised if a surge of votes from Scotland and Britain's burgeoning bikies swings it for Chris Hoy and saves the bookmakers having to reach for the smelling salts.
Super Simmonds walks tall
In any other year Eleanor Simmonds, who like Adlington won two two golds at the Water Cube, would have been a serious contender for the Beeb's top gong. Instead this delightful 13-year old Paralympian, Britain's youngest-ever individual medallist, vies with diving's Tom Daley and tennis's Laura Robson as the Young Sports Personality. Small she may be, but there's no one more deserving to be seen walking tall.
Banking on Brailsford
Cycling chief Dave Brailsford reveals that among his job offers after Beijing were two from investment banks. A more likely banker is that he will become Sir Dave soon.
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