Inside Lines: Rugby could kick football's World Cup hopes into touch

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The Independent Online

England's acquisition of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup and the League version two years earlier is great news for rugger buggers but perhaps not so for footy fans and England's 2018 World Cup bid. What Gordon Brown hails as the UK's Golden Decade of sport, which includes the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, may rebound on England when Fifa votes next year, as one international bid expert points out. "Normally you would not expect rugby to be on Fifa's radar," he says, "but you can be sure England's rivals will be quick to make capital out of what could be seen as an overload of major events coming this country's way. If enough ears are bent Fifa could be influenced into taking the World Cup elsewhere so as not to be seen to be giving England a monopoly on global events." Worrying thought.

Something Special

It was a privilege to be asked to present some medals at the Special Olympics, surely the most understated event in our sporting calendar, and a humbling one. For some of the 2,400 kids and adults with physical or mental disabilities, just getting round a lap of the Leicester track or catching a glimpse of Gary Lineker numbered among the biggest days of their lives. The PM, his wife and the Olympics Minister turned up in support. At last some dosh has been extracted from the Government, helped by chairman Lawrie McMenemy's arm-twisting in his role as manager of the parliamentary football team. The other Olympics in 2012 may be 10 times as big but from what we saw last week they'll do well to be half as special.

Chris no longer cross

Since being given an image make-over by her new PR company, Berlin-bound Christine Ohuruogu's terse and tetchy days with the media are no more. Not that there was a hatchet to be buried, insists the world and Olympic 400 metres champion. She could not have been friendlier or more forthcoming when lunching with the Sports Journalists Association whose members twice declined to vote her their Sportswoman of the Year following her successive gold medal successes, "I think I get a fair press," she said, forgetting (or forgiving? ) the tensions which followed her ban for missing three drugs tests .

Still making waves

Following his infamous Olympic fall-out with Tom Daley, the boy wonder's ex-diving partner Blake Aldridge has not been treading water. While Daley was on top of the world in Rome, Aldridge was on top of a mountain in Switzerland – or rather plunging off it into a glacial pool 72ft below to win a gold medal himself and become the European cliff diving champion. He describes it as "the hardest dive I've ever done".

After at year which also had a degree of difficulty, including being ditched by Daley and beaten up in a Southampton club, Aldridge, 27, still has high hopes of competng in London 2012.

Tokyo's Jolly Green Giant

No, it's not David Haye's next opponent. He's Gundam, the world's largest robot, chosen by Tokyo as an "ambassador" for their 2016 Olympic bid and towering above a "Green Games" site. The hope is he will help clinch victory in a fight with Chicago and Rio which could be, er, Nippon tuck.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

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