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General sport

Bloodstock agent Charles Gordon-Watson on the chase for champions – At Home

Posted June 16, 2017

 Financial Times
 
As one of Britain’s top spotters of equine pedigree, the Brexit-backer laments how foreign owners are taking over UK flat-racing.
One of Britain’s leading bloodstock agents, Charles Gordon-Watson, lives in a house steeped in history. His home is part of the 5,000-acre Sydmonton estate near Newbury, Berkshire, which dates back to the 16th century. Inside, he has surrounded himself with paintings and objects that make up a visual history of his life.
We are in a magnolia-coloured room he calls “the drawing room in old-fashioned terms”. He is perched on a beige-coloured fender surrounding the fireplace. The fender is like the one at White’s, his London club, whose members include the Prince of Wales. Gordon-Watson, 57, has been mixing in such high society since he was a child. As an eight-year-old, he was taken to see his first football match at Arsenal in the chairman’s chauffeur-driven Bentley and lunched in the club’s ornate boardroom. It made him temporarily an Arsenal supporter but he has long since switched to Chelsea. To read the rest of the article please click here.

Tamasha on the seas

Posted March 29, 2017

Tamasha on the seas

SportsPro Magazine

Award-winning journalist and author Mihir Bose returns to the city of his birth, Mumbai, to discover the sport of Powerboat P1, and reflect on the many challenges of putting together an event from scratch in a unique marketplace.

P1

Indians love tamasha, a rich word which means fun, frolic, excitement and surprise all rolled into one. The Indian Premier League, the world’s richest cricket league, is great tamasha, as are Bollywood movies. Between 3rd and 5th March the sea front in south Mumbai, which saw powerboat racing come to the country for the first time, provided the latest tamasha. The only problem for the organisers was that, unlike Bollywood movies where the surprise comes at the end, here the tamasha’s surprise came even before the event had begun and very nearly stopped this grandly titled Indian Grand Prix of the Seas being staged.

The first surprise was in February at the press conference being held along Mumbai’s historic sea front, where George V had landed back in 1911. James Durbin, the chief executive of Powerboat P1, was talking to a local television reporter when he saw something that was certainly not in the script: a bulldozer approaching the site. It had been sent by the city’s Municipal Corporation, which claimed that Procam, the local organiser, had not paid dues of UK£326,190 for organising the Mumbai Marathon the previous month. [Procam disputes this]. The bulldozer swiftly demolished the stage that had been built and the chief minister of the local state government of Maharashtra who was on his way to the event, deciding he did not want to be in the path of a JCB, ordered his car to be turned around.

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Wada president Craig Reedie: Russian sport’s ‘culture of cheating’

Posted July 30, 2016

Financial Times – Saturday At Home

Wada president Craig Reedie recalls his shock at discovering how far Moscow officials went to falsify athletes’ samples.

The view from Sir Craig Reedie’s garden is beautifully serene, looking out towards the Campsie Fells and Ben Lomond. The drive to his house passes through the quiet streets of Bridge of Weir, a village so intimate that none of the houses needs numbers, they have only names. His house, Senara, is named after a farm in Northern Ireland where his wife, Rosemary, comes from. Yet just seven minutes earlier I was at Glasgow airport.

The scale of it is enormous. The Moscow laboratory passed every test it had from a Russian athlete to the ministry

Reedie, 75, is the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada). He moved to Bridge of Weir in 1969 and this is his fourth house in the village, having downsized 15 years ago from a much larger house when his son and daughter left home. When I express surprise that this idyllic setting is part of Glasgow Reedie sets me straight. “Glasgow has got a lot of nice, lovely places, too.”

With that he smiles. In fact, the setting would make an ideal Visit Scotland poster. By contrast Rio, where the 2016 Olympic Games will kick off next Friday, is undergoing a public relations crisis. A recent banner at Rio airport read: “Welcome to hell. Police and firefighters don’t get paid. Whoever comes to Rio will not be safe.”

To read the rest of the article please click here

Coming clean – can sport regain our trust?

Posted May 23, 2016

Drugs scandals, institutional corruption and jail time for former stars – sport’s reputation has taken a pounding.  It’s time to explain what’s been going on…

Image courtesy of flickr user Yann Caradec

No three modern athletes could be more different than Victoria Pendleton, Maria Sharapova and Adam Johnson. The first is a double gold medal-winning Olympic track cyclist; Sharapova a Grand Slam tennis champion; and Johnson a footballer whose skills earned him 12 England caps and £60,000 a week.

Yet they share one thing in common: they all are – or were – considered role models in society.

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Discrimination is always a battle about power

Posted March 30, 2016

London Loves Business

Vladimir Lenin’s great dictum “who, whom” was never better illustrated than in the last month in two different sports, tennis and racing. The founder of the Soviet Union’s phrase, “the whole question is who will overtake whom”, has always been understood to mean who will have power. Back in 1921 Lenin was talking about the class struggle, with sport now it is the struggle for women to have the right to be treated as the equal of men.

Raymond Moore, the now disgraced former chief executive of the Indian Wells tennis tournament, clearly feels that women in tennis should not. As he put it, “In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, because they ride on the coat-tails of the men. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have.”

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