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Her mother was seemingly anxious to get her home for some lunch after a morning at the Olympic Green tennis centre.

Something though had caught the ear of the little Chinese girl as she was hurried past Court 5 towards the exit.

She was maybe only four or five and for the next 15 minutes or so, she resisted every attempt to whisk her away.

Food could wait. She insisted on staying to watch something I suspect might remain with her for the rest of her life.

Continue reading "Vergeer's poetry in motion"

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If they come close to matching the exploits of their team-mates a couple of weeks ago they'll be able to put down a proportion of their success to Jaffa Cakes, Yorkshire tea, white vinegar and the Crafty Cockney.

The Paralympic cycling team are applying the finishing touches to what they hope will be a glorious final chapter for the sport here in Beijing, with a little help from those who set the wheels rolling during the Olympics.

The two squads pedalled side-by-side at the Manchester Velodrome in the build-up to the Games and have been busy swapping intelligence since arriving in China.

Some of it has been predictable, some of it less so.

Continue reading "Para-cyclists set to emulate Olympians"

I've been watching sport since my dad first dragged me along to watch Leicester City against Fulham in 1974 and if - in the intervening 34 years - I've experienced a more bizarre day in a sports arena than Saturday in the Taekwondo Hall in Beijing then it's temporarily escaped my memory.

I'm not often lost for words, but I was beginning to reach the bottom of the box by the time we left 12 hours after we'd arrived.

If the hour's confusion that surrounded Britain's Sarah Stevenson's unprecedented reinstatement wasn't enough, we then had Cuban heavyweight Angel Matos getting up off the floor after being disqualified and kicking the referee in the head.

Continue reading "Taekwondo needs to move with the times"

If the BBC ever decided to enter a team of their own into the Olympics then they would probably have me on the shortlist for the decathlon, or maybe the modern pentathlon. While I'm not exactly Daley Thompson, I am one of Auntie's sporting all-rounders.

Rugby union's certainly the day job, but you might also hear me talking tennis from Wimbledon, rowing from the River Thames or marathoning from Tower Bridge. I used to do football as well, but I never thought it'd catch on as a national sport, so gave it up.

Beijing will be my fourth Olympics, commentating on a third sport. I'll also enjoy a second Paralympics.

Once I've helped provide the soundtrack to the opening ceremony on 5 Live, I'll be matside in the judo and taekwondo hall for TV.

Fours years ago in Athens, I sat through the misfortunes of the British men's hockey team. In Sydney, I sat on the steps of the Opera House wondering if the triathletes really were going to be eaten by sharks. And in Atlanta I sat on various bar stools clocking up the beer miles with Boston's Sam Adams. (Don't worry, it was a busman's and I paid for the trip).

Should there be time in Beijing away from the intricate business of disentangling my uchi-mata from a juji-gatame, then I'll seek peace in an i-pod unhealthily full of heavy rock and folk music while wondering if there's anywhere to buy Walkers Smokey Bacon Crisps.

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