Inside Lines: Why the next Adlington will not be an Essex girl
Sunday 16 November 2008
British sport is back in the swim thanks to the prowess of Rebecca Adlington, but this seems to have escaped the notice of the burghers of Redbridge in Essex.
They are closing for redevelopment one of only two swimming pools in the area which adjoins the Olympic citadel of Newham, much to the dismay of local residents and despite a covenant requiring the site to be used only for sports activities. The pool is popular with schoolkids, pensioners and minority groups in a relatively deprived area. A 200-strong protest march on the town hall and support from Duncan Goodhew has failed to move the Tory-led council. Says Diana Neslen of the Redbridge Swimming Association: "The Government want people to swim for free. Chance would be a fine thing here. You wonder where the next Rebecca Adlington is coming from." Obviouslynot Redbridge.
Hunt gets top BOA job
The British Olympic Association's appointment of a new marketing-led chief executive, now confirmed as the former Reliance Security head Andrew Hunt, 44, sees Simon Clegg shift to a full-time role as chef de mission for future Games from this week. While it is a sideways move for Clegg, who has not always seen eye to eye with the BOA chairman, Lord Moynihan, both he and cycling chief Dave Brailsford are tipped for knighthoods for their roles in Britain's Olympic triumphs.
Gymnastics in the balance
One of the most heartwarming British successes in Beijing was the bronze medal won by the 19-year-old gymnast Louis Smith. It inspired hopes that this can be converted to gold in 2012, when "Loopy Lou" (pictured right) perfects his routine at the O2. But Britain's first individual Olympic gymnastic medallist in a century fears the recession will bite into the funding needed to assisthim and others. "As cycling showed, you need money, coaching and facilities to win medals," he says. "We've only got four or five decent gyms. Mine has a three-year waiting list. Every-one likes watching gymnastics on TV but it seems sponsors don't want to get involved." It will be a shame if Smith's swing loses momentum.
Sorry, he's got a headache
The Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell's admission that the Government would not have bid for the 2012 Games had they an inkling that a recession was looming has an element of the bleedin' obvious about it. It also gives credence to the story that Gordon Brown, then Chancellor, held his head in his hands when he heard London had won, muttering "God, what have we let ourselves in for?"
Exodus after the Euros
Last night's European Amateur Boxing Championships in Liverpool saw the timely emergence of a prospective 2012 big hitter in the Hull bantamweight Luke Campbell. They may also mark the farewell appearance in the corner of the popular but disgruntled GB head coach Terry Edwards, now considering his future in light of the sport's recent upheavals. Should Edwards go, his exit will coincide with that of the nucleus of the Olympic squad. World champion Frankie Gavin has already turned professional with Frank Warren, and gold medallist middleweight James DeGale, welterweight Billy Joe Saunders and featherweight Joe Murray are now set to follow.
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