Andrew Tong: Chinese are no match for Russian Roulegg
Sunday 31 August 2008
So the Chinese weren't too impressed by the British contribution to their Olympic climax. Or by our triptych of what it means to be successful in modern Britain: the bumbling toff, the football megastar and the talent-show queen. They think we'll never match their opening ceremony in four years' time.
And they're quite right. But we mustn't play them at their own game. Rather we should regale them with all the sports we invented but which the IOC won't allow in the Olympics. Not cricket and rugby, but games at which we're the best in the world, such as toe-wrestling, mountain bike bog-snorkelling, egg-throwing and, of course, worm-charming.
These charming pursuits featured on 'Rory and Paddy's British Adventure' (Five, Wednesday), in which comedians Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness travel the land trying their hand at bizarre practices.
Let's hope "The Toeminator" is there in 2012 grappling with Alan "Nasty" Nash, who can hypnotise chickens with his evil stare. They could dig out of retirement the gloriously named Thomas Shufflebottom, who set the world record for worm-charming in 1980 – 511 from a patch of grass three metres square. He's the king of the twittlers, tweakers and twangers.
Then we could round it all off with a game of Russian Roulegg. The contestants are given six eggs, five of them hard-boiled, and have to take turns slapping them into their own foreheads. Boris Johnson should definitely take part. He was born to have egg on his face, as well as all down his front.
The double Olympic swimming gold medallist Rebecca Adlington chose 'The Charlotte Church Show' (Channel 4, Thursday) to reveal the secret of her success. She used to train in a public pool which – well, there's no delicate way to put this – had a lot of human faeces in it. No wonder she's so quick; they do tend to follow you around. It just goes to show that, with not a little effort, you can turn any substance into gold.
The NatWest Pro40 match between Somerset and Worcestershire (Sky Sports 1, Thursday) proved that in these times of Twenty20 mania the much-maligned 40-over form of the game – the one that most people play of a weekend – can still thrill the crowds: 598 runs, and a last-ball tie.
Rather than jettison the league entirely from 2010 in favour of its younger, swifter rival, why not make the 50-over Friends Provident Trophy into 40 overs a side to avoid the dull 10 overs in the middle of each innings? Then we could even consider a suggestion that was mooted before Twenty20 came along and may have even inspired it: two innings of 20 overs each, to make batting under floodlights equal for each side. But it seems the authorities are too blinded by the money.
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