Inside Lines: To solve Team GB's Olympic kit row, the only way is ethics

 

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The Independent Online

One hundred days to the Olympics; one hundred years since the sinking of the Titanic.

This week's milestones are purely coincidental, of course, but crossed fingers will be much in evidence as the Games organisers tread the final stretch of a road to London that may be paved with gold but is also strewn with banana skins. Luckily none will be the size of an iceberg, though as the theme tune goes for the hilarious BBC mockumentary Twenty Twelve "There may be trouble ahead".

And there already is. Even before the 100-day countdown begins on Wednesday, Locog and the British Olympic Association are having to explain why, for "the most ethical Olympics ever", Team GB's adidas-branded, Stella McCartney-designed kit is being manufactured in "slave labour" sweatshops in Indonesia which breach the human rights of the workers, as exposed by The Independent.

Depending on the conclusions of an inquiry, there could be calls for the shoes, shirts and swimsuits to be replaced. Costly, but surely ethical.

Curry in favour in long run

If 2012 needs a centurion to help mark 100 days to go, they might well call on Londoner Fauja Singh. He's actually 101 but, astonishingly, today will be running in his third Newham Classic 10km.

A Punjabi-born Brit who lives in Ilford, he took up running only 12 years ago after the death of his wife and son. He has completed several marathons, including in London, and puts his longevity and stamina down to "ginger, curry and tea".

Last year he ran the 10k in under an hour. The annual race through West Ham Park, deep in 2012 territory, is organised by Olympic legend Tessa Sanderson who has assembled the largest-ever field of 1,500 with 56 nationalities.

Sanderson, whose Foundation nurtures local Olympic and Paralympic athletes, will flag off the race. She tells us: "When we started the run in 2009 it was at the request of local residents who felt they did not want to miss out on the buzz that winning the bid to host the Olympics would bring."

Good on her.

Boys of the old brigade

Running alongside Fauja Singh in Newham today will be 85-year-old Ronnie Cooper, who boxed in the 1948 Olympics. Yet he is by no means alone among fellow British competitors from those Games still athletically active.

At 88, Tony Summers, who swam the 100m backstroke in the huge water tank used in those London Games 64 years ago, has just won a gold medal over the same distance in the Welsh Masters in Swansea.

The feat was all the more remarkable as Summers, from Bishop's Castle in Shropshire, took part in this race not long after surgery to remove cancers from his ear and neck. He says he was "pretty drained" from the operation and had been able to train only briefly. "Normally I'd swim six races but in the circumstances I felt I should limit it to just one. But as soon as I got in the pool, I came alive."

He is now back to swimming every day and doctors are confident he will make a full recovery.

Board are not boxing clever

Just like the FA, the British Boxing Board of Control are being embarrassed by erring officials. They have just suspended a timekeeper after Enzo Maccarinelli was literally saved by the bell when on the floor in a British title fight. Unfortunately it rang 37 seconds early and the Welshman went on to win.

Now they have been forced to axe referee Marcus McDonnell from officiating in next weekend's British lightweight title fight between Derry Matthews and Anthony Crolla in Oldham after he tweeted to say how pleased he was to get the bout, adding: "I like Derry, one of the sport's nice guys."

Board secretary Robert Smith says he is "disappointed" with McDonnell. The body is under fire in the aftermath of the Chisora affair, and one leading promoter has called for the resignation of chairman Charles Giles.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

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