Inside Beijing: Edwards fights for future after Gavin blow
Sunday 10 August 2008
It has not been the best of weeks for boxing coach Terry Edwards. An investigation into the loss from his squad of leading man Frankie Gavin, in whom £75,000 has been invested this year, because of weight problems puts further pressure on the former cabbie who, despite his successes with his fighters over the past two years, is fighting for his job. Factions within the Amateur Boxing Association want him replaced by a younger man in the build-up to 2012. But Edwards has powerful allies in UK Sport, plus the British Olympic Association chief, Colin Moynihan, and the boxers themselves, some of whom say they will turn pro if he goes. "If Terry stays, I stay," Bradley Saunders said. Gavin is now certain to join the paid ranks, where he will be more comfortable at light-welterweight. Even though the Birmingham southpaw lacks the fizz of Amir Khan, he will command big money. A gold medal here would have seen his worth rocket, but his world title is a valuable bargaining chip among leading promoters, with Frank Warren tipped to make him a stablemate of his one-time spar-mate Khan.
Shooting could be a case of hit and mist
"There seems to be a light mist over Beijing," the Air Macau pilot blithely informed us as we were about to land. It was mid-afternoon and the runway lights were full on. Light mist? It was more reminiscent of one of those old London peasoupers, and the choking smog has come and gone all week. It will affect these Games, and not just the endurance athletes. New Zealand's trap shooters even planned for the murky conditions by creating special smoke screens back home through which they aimed at the released targets as they whizzed up to 75 metres away. Wise birds.
Now Romero may go for gold in the cold
What is it about Britain's female cyclists that makes them want to get their kit off? Gold medal hopes Victoria Pendleton and Rebecca Romero have both posed nude behind the handlebars to help to publicise Britain's potentially most successful Olympic sport. Talk about naked ambition. The redoubtable Romero is hoping to become only the second British athlete – and the first woman – to win medals in two different sports, a feat not achieved since the 1920s. After her rowing silver in Athens she is favourite for the individual pursuit gold here, and is even tempted to try for a third Olympic sport. "If I can manage one unique achievement here maybe I'd think about raising the bar more, possibly in a winter sport." Better get some clothes on, then.
Political room service at the Hotel Tibet
Last week we suggested that billeting a number of British journalists in the Hotel Tibet was a mischievous move by the Chinese. Seems it might have been rather more sinister. Apparently the hotel is owned by the puppet regime in Tibet, who receive the profits. Copies of the propaganda-packed house magazine 'China's Tibet', which condemns the "politically disrupting influence of demonstrations" during the Torch Run ascent of Mount Everest and terms the Dalai Lama "a hypocrite whose principle of peace is bogus" are in every room. What was that about not politicising the Games?
Why Bojo will have a glint in his eye for diva Dora
London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is cutting his Games visit to the final few days "for economy reasons", should find time to chat with former Athens mayor Dora Bakonyannis. So high was diva Dora's profile after 2004 that she is now Greece's foreign minister and may become prime minister, a route Bojo surely fancies.
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