Outside Edge: It's good to be on the bench

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The Independent Online

Sporting achievement is often described as "a dream come true", and that is exactly what happened at Spain's inaugural National Siesta Championships in Madrid. Contestants lie down on sofas in a shopping mall and try to fall asleep for 20 minutes. They are awarded a maximum of 20,000 points if they snooze for the full duration, while extra points can be picked up for good posture and even loud snoring. "The mission of the championship is to spread the idea that the nap is something of ours that must be defended and practised because it is healthy and good for everyone," say the organisers, who are worried at the decline of the Spanish tradition. But it was clearly a case of not dropping off in Benidorm when the Moroccan stunt rider Mustapha Danger had to be rescued after getting stuck trying to ride a motorbike across a high wire between the 43rd floors of two hotels 610ft above the ground without a net. He negotiated the 1,640ft crossing second time around. He still had to pay his mini-bar bill.


The number of temples that two Buddhist monks will visit on a 500-mile pilgrimage through China – on their knees. Masters Zhiyuan and Hanliang will also stop their crawl every third "step" in order to bow to Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, as a sign of respect. At least their feet won't be hurting.

There's a yawning gap in defence

More news from Slumberland. Four footballers playing for the Peruvian club Hijos de Acosvinchos collapsed on the field during a promotion clash against Sport Ancash. It was claimed that Ancash's coaching and medical staff handed them water bottles to drink from, and hospital tests showed they had traces of benzodiazepine, a drug used to treat insomnia, in their blood. Ancash went on to win promotion to the First Division with a 3-0 victory. LaShawn Merritt, the Olympic 400m champion, has been banned for 21 months after failing three drugs tests. He had ingested banned substances which were contained in a male enhancement product called ExistenZe. He said: "To know that I've tested positive as a result of a product that I used for personal reasons is extremely difficult to wrap my hands around." Perhaps he'll try the pole vault next.

Good week

Maria Sharapova, Russian tennis player, and Sasha Vujacic, Slovenian basketball player for the LA Lakers, are engaged to be married... Gili Shem Tov, lesbian television presenter, and professional dancer Dorit Milman will become the first same-sex couple to appear on Israel's version of Dancing With The Stars... And Chris Scott, who was appointed last week to coach the Geelong Cats, and his brother Brad, who is in charge of the Melbourne Kangaroos, become the first twins to manage teams in Australian Rules Football.

Bad week

Jean-Pascal Mignot, the Auxerre defender, becomes the first player to be sent off before he had even got on the field after the substitute argued with the referee Olegario Benquerenca in a Champions' League tie against Ajax... The Cardiff Half-Marathon, found to be 211 yards short of the regulation 13.1 miles after the course was altered to avoid a scaffolding obstacle... And the Glastonbury music festival, cancelled next year because too many portable toilets will be required at the 2012 Olympics in London.

From fox in the box to cat in the hat

In the week that George Best's 1968 European Cup-winner's medal was sold at auction for a whopping £156,000, the sale of a lost manuscript by Dr Seuss called All Sorts Of Sports for £21,668 rather went under the radar as well as the hammer, but that's not surprising since even by his standards it was pretty nonsensical: "I could play baseball... golf... or catch. Or I could play a tennis match. There are so many sports, let's see... I could bowl, jump hurdles, or water ski. I could blumf. Or blumf blumf blumf blumf blumf." To be fair, he died before he finished it. But the relic of the week has to be the solid gold Monopoly set worth £1.2m which has been put on display on Wall Street. Designed by jeweller Sidney Mobell, it has diamonds instead of dots on the dice, a ruby in the chimney of each house and sapphires on the hotels. Bizarrely, it has only been played once, by Mobell and former Prime Minister Edward Heath. George Osborne won't be playing it any time soon.