BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for August 2011

UK athletes struggling to meet high expectations

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David Bond | 17:10 UK time, Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Britain's head coach Charles Van Commenee vowed to deliver seven medals at these World Championships.

At the half way mark the team have three. And with plenty of medal prospects due to compete between now and Sunday, UK Athletics insists there is no need to panic.

Dai Greene in the 400m hurdles, Phillips Idowu in the triple jump and Farah again in the 5000m could yet put a golden gloss on events here in Daegu.

And yet there is already a sense that Britain's athletes have been a little disappointing.

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Why Bolt shock could be good for London

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David Bond | 19:48 UK time, Sunday, 28 August 2011

Usain Bolt's dramatic disqualification from the 100 metres final will place the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) under intense pressure to reconsider its one false start rule.

When the governing body finally introduced the law last year - plans to bring it in in 2005 had been thrown out by IAAF president Lamine Diack - there were many critics who felt it was simply too harsh.

Had Dwain Chambers and Christine Ohuruogu been the only athletes to fall foul of the rule, then the IAAF would have probably moved on quietly. But when your gold-plated, number one global superstar is denied the chance to produce the sort of exploits athletics so desperately needs to grab the world's attention, then that's another matter altogether.

These championships were already struggling to get the profile they deserve and once enjoyed (holding them every two years is actually the biggest self-inflicted handicap). Remarkably, local organisers failed to sell out the Daegu Stadium for the night of the mens 100m final even though they had already reduced its capacity from 68,000 to 45,000.

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World Championships struggle in bid for centre stage

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David Bond | 15:42 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2011

Everywhere you look in Daegu there is a poster, banner or sign promoting these World Championships. The Koreans are certainly giving the event the hard sell.

Despite that, this is not a city wild with anticipation. Low key would hardly do justice to the build up.

South Korea is not a track-and-field hotbed and even after the 1988 Seoul Olympics the sport failed to take root here (unlike Japan).

Baseball and football are far more popular - I can vouch for that having spent four weeks here during the 2002 World Cup - and it tells you everything that the local organising committee turned down offers from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to send their leading ambassadors to the country to promote the event. Even Carl Lewis was told not to bother. The reason? No one would have known who he is.

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Why Man Utd Asian float could backfire on Glazers

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David Bond | 21:44 UK time, Wednesday, 17 August 2011

With gross debts of £515m and annual interest payments of £45m it looks like a no-brainer for Manchester United's owners, the ultra-secretive Glazer family, to try to raise a large sum of money with a partial flotation in Asia.

Initial estimates suggest the Americans could bring in anywhere between £400m and £600m for selling off 25 to 30 per cent of the club's parent company.

That would value the club at around £1.7bn and not only potentially help reduce the bond the Glazers took out in January 2010 but pay down any other private debts the Glazers have.

Despite announcing the controversial and hugely expensive PIK loans which helped them acquire the club back in 2005 had been paid off last November, the suspicion in the City and among United fans groups is that the loan was simply transferred from one group of hedge funds to another single hedge fund.

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London passes early tests but big challenges to come

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David Bond | 09:43 UK time, Wednesday, 17 August 2011

London 2012's series of test events has been going well.

From equestrian at Greenwich back in July, to triathlon in Hyde Park, beach volleyball on Horse Guards Parade and men's road cycling on Sunday - all have been well-supported and have gone smoothly.

But Monday's basketball was the first competitive action within the Olympic park and the first time that large numbers of spectators have been given a taste of what their experience of the Games might be like.

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The 3,000 fans were greeted by airport-style security checks - body searches, bag scans and metal detectors. Most seemed reassured but one or two grumbled about the amount of time it took to get into the venue.

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Football's social conscience

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David Bond | 15:42 UK time, Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Premier League is increasingly confident Tottenham's game against Everton will be the only casualty of the competition's first weekend of the new season.

With Tottenham High Road still a crime scene and the club so close to the rioting and trouble which sparked the wave of copycat attacks across London and the rest of the country, that fixture was always vulnerable.

But barring any further trouble the nine remaining fixtures should go ahead. The League's chief executive Richard Scudamore told me today that it was important that national life got back to normal as soon as possible, not because of the need for the football juggernaut to get back into top gear, but because it would send a message to those bent on causing mayhem.

At the Premier League's new season launch at the luxury Landmark Hotel today there was much discussion about what role football and footballers can and should play in the sorts of communities fractured by this week's events.

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Riots raise fears for London 2012 security

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David Bond | 12:01 UK time, Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Given the disturbing scenes we are seeing across London and the rest of the country, the impact on sport is of relatively minor importance.

But there is no question the pictures of the capital burning, which are being beamed around the world, will seriously damage Britain's and London's image with a year to go until the Olympics.

And the rioting raises yet more serious questions about the Metropolitan Police's capacity to secure the Games next summer.

The Football Association's decision to cancel tomorrow night's friendly against the Netherlands at Wembley is a sign of how major sports events can get caught up in the wider issue of dealing with serious public disorder.

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