Inside Lines: You can't bank on Eubank the 'plonker'

The column that runs rings round the rest
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The Independent Online

Chris Eubank has been called many things in his lifetime, from prat to poseur. Now he can add another to the list – plonker.

That was how the head of Angola's Olympic team, Antonio Monteira, described the former world super-middleweight champion after their only boxer, heavyweight Tumba Silva, failed to make the weigh-in and was disqualified from the tournament. As a result, opponent Italian Clemente Russo had a walkover and Silva was out of the Games without throwing a punch.

Eubank, 45, who has set up a boxing academy in Anglola, and was here as Silva's coach apparently thought the weigh-in was in the evening and not the morning."

So Silva didn't show up, leaving Monteira very cross with Chris. "That plonker of a coach, for there is no other name, failed to go to the technical meeting or the weigh-in.

The athlete was inconsolable and cried like a child when I told him. He had put his whole life into this fight and is inconsolable."

Hardly the best, Chris.

Dip into history for an example of taking a dive

Going into the tank, as they used to call it in the bad old days of boxing, is nothing new at the Olympic Games.

In the wake of the bans imposed on eight women's doubles badminton players – four from South Korea, two from China and two from Indonesia – who tried to manipulate their draw by deliberately losing round-robin matches, came the now backtracked admission by the British cyclist Philip Hindes that he crashed on purpose in the team sprint, gaining a re-start.

At the London 1948 Games, two British rowing gold medallists won the final after taking a dive in the heats.

The late Bertie Bushnell, who partnered Richard Burnell in the double sculls at Henley, later revealed they did the same as the badminton baddies: "Dickie decided we should lose the first heat so as not to meet the Danes [Ebbe Parsner and Aage Larsen] in the semi-final.

"I wouldn't have had the nerve to do that. We could have won, but we didn't, and came into the semis through the repêchage, avoiding the Danes."

I suppose a stewards' inquiry is a bit late now.

Coaches on road to recognition

According to the British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan, coaches have been missing the bus at these Olympics. He rightly points out that more often than not they are the unsung heroes of many great performances and are due for more recognition. This will be applauded by Frank Dick, the former national athletics coach who believes London 2012 could be a watershed for those in the engine room of sport. In fact, he is wondering if it is time for coaches to have their own union.

No doubt this will be a hot topic for discussion at the first ever Olympic watering hole for coaches in the Global Coaches House at Limkokwing University in London's Piccadilly. Says Dick: "There has never been a place for coaches to meet up during an Olympic Games but it's much more than a social gathering. The idea was to assemble a venue where the coaching community could get together, discuss ideas and analyse performances".

Dick, president of the European Coaches Association, adds: "Coaching as a profession is not properly regulated. It is time our house was put in order. If coaches are not properly regulated they will continue to be abused. It is not a political thing, but there is a growing call for coaches to have their own union."

Fall of Pride and rise of prejudice

Pride has taken a bit of an Olympic fall. Gay Pride, that is. The London 2012 Pride House, to be set up on Clapham Common as a hub for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community at the Games, has had to be scrapped because of a lack of sponsorship.

After the success of the Pride House at the Vancouver Winter Games it was set to be one of the largest Games social meeting places in London, with an anticipated 250,000 visitors. A further setback for gay athletes, officials and spectators hoping to be at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014 is that there will be no Pride House there either after a Russian judge ordered the project to be abandoned, describing gay activities as "an extremist threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the Russian federation".

Natasha needs luck of the Irish

Another giant leap for Olympic womankind today — the debut of female fighters. Of Britain's trio middleweight Savannah Marshall is top seed and flyweight Nicola Adams second. Both should medal, but lightweight Natasha Jonas has drawn the short straw — a likely quarter-final against the world's best woman boxer, Ireland's Kathy Taylor. Tough luck Tash.

Nothing new in Chinese whispers

Suggestions that the success of teenage Chinese athletes, such as the 16-year-old swimming sensation Ye Shiwen, is all down to drugs and a training regime tantamount to child cruelty are old hat. Remember Ma Junren? He was the track coach who trained several world-class middle and long-distance female runners whose times caused as much cynicism as Ye's. Ma's altitude training was vigorous and there were persistent Chinese whispers drugs were involved.

This he denied, although six of his squad were dropped from China's team for the Sydney Olympics after failing blood tests. He was axed as a coach from the Chinese Olympic team.