Inside Beijing: Edwards and his boxers set to quit 2012
Sunday 24 August 2008
Britain's boxing hopes for 2012 have been floored with the majority of the most successful Olympic team for more than 50 years set to turn pro if, as seems inevitable, head coach Terry Edwards is forced out by the Amateur Boxing Association. Middleweight hero James DeGale says: "If Terry goes, so do I and that goes for the majority of the boys." The boxers are furious at the destabilising effect of Billy Joe Saunders' suspension and claim the ABA reneged on promises of bonuses. The British Olympic Association will back Edwards in an investigation planned by Government agency UK Sport, who are unhappy with the ABA's financial administration, but it is unlikely the 65-year-old will be in charge for 2012. He may walk away this week due to perceived backstabbing by his bosses. It is an embarrassment for ex-sports minister Richard Caborn as ABA president. He will meet Edwards and ABA chief executive Paul King, who flew home without watching three fighters win medals. Caborn says: "There are differences that need to be resolved. I don't know why they're at loggerheads."
IOC turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy of nations
Iran's team handbook tells us how happy they are to have a team at the Games: "A magnificent opportunity for cultural exchanges between nations...helping nations and governments to become friends and develop a peaceful future for the world based on mutual co-operation." So how come an Iranian swimmer withdrew when drawn in the same heat as an Israeli, as happened similarly in Athens? As usual the IOC sit on the Great Wall of China, turning a blind eye as they do to Saudi Arabia's sexual apartheid, banning women from playing or watching sport, let alone competing in the Games.
Bubka's great leap towards pole position
The rising star of the Olympic movement is surely the pole vault legend Sergei Bubka. The personable 45-year-old Ukrainian who won six consecutive World Championships, an Olympic gold and broke the world record 35 times, has now become a member of the IOC executive board and is strongly tipped as an eventual successor to Jacques Rogge as president. But a spoke was put in the wheel of the sporting political ambitions of British cycling phenomenon Chris Hoy, 32, who failed to get elected as Britain's fourth IOC member, as an athletes' representative. No doubt because he was busy winning his three gold medals – the first Briton to do so in 100 years – while rivals for the post spent their time lobbying in the Games village.
Size really does matter for the Village people
The Olympic Village here has raised the bar for London 2012. The complex comprises 42 buildings, 3,276 spacious apartments with marble floors and king-sized beds, housing 10,000 athletes in unprecedented luxury. And no one beefs about the quality and variety of food. It seems appetites are healthy in other directions, too, with plenty of socialising between nations – and the sexes. Just as well that 25,000 Chinese-manufactured condoms have thoughtfully been provided. And there's the only complaint. Some western athletes reckon they are unusable as they are too small!
Will Ohuruogu miss out on a different kind of medal?
With talk of damehoods (Rebecca Adlington?) and knighthoods (Chris Hoy?), gongs will be flying about after Britain's Golden Games – deservedly. But will a little something be winging its way to Christine Ohuruogu? Traditionally her run merits an MBE at least but the missed drugs tests must create a dilemma.
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