Tag Archives: guards

Paul Gascoigne health fears: Fans see former star struggle on stage at charity event

Fans fear for Gazza's health as former England star bursts into tears during event after slurring that he had been 'on the whisky for three days'The 45-year-old struggled to answer questions during charity appearance'Trembling' former England star ushered onstage by two security guards
He unleashed abuse before apologising to fans who had paid 100-a-headHis agent said Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' but had made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out'

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

12:29 GMT, 2 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:49 GMT, 3 February 2013

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Football fans expressed their fears over the health of former England star Paul Gascoigne as they watched the him burst into tears during a rambling appearance at a charity event.

The 'trembling' 45-year-old had to be helped onstage for a question and answer session in which he slurred responses and muttered a slew of curse words.

Guests at the event, who had paid 100 to see the footballer, described how Gascoigne apologised to the crowd, blaming 'three days on the whiskey' for his performance.

The Newcastle-born footballer, widely
regarded as one of the most gifted English players, has battled
alcoholism and drug use since retiring from the game in 2004.

The 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a
funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the exchanges with
his agent Terry Baker.

Gazza rose to national prominence during the Italia 90 World Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany.

Following
the breast cancer charity event, hosted by Northampton Town, a further 15 speaking
events were cancelled – some at former clubs where Gascoigne is
regarded as a hero.

Mr
Baker said that the former midfielder did not drink whisky and that the
comment had been a botched joke about being on a 'whisky diet'.

He said that Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' despite having made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out' but

He told The Sun: He probably shouldn't have gone out but he didn't want to let all those people down.'

Gazza

Paul Gascoigne

Struggles: The ex-footballer has long struggled with his alcohol addiction and drug use

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

One
attendee wrote an online account of the evening in which he described
how guests were told that Gascoigne was 'very ill' but had 'insisted on
appearing'.

The fan claimed
that guests were told the former Newcastle United and Lazio star would
be brought to hospital 'immediately afterwards'.

He said Mr Barker told guests that
his client had consumed two pints and that they should be 'patient' with
him, telling them to 'remember Gazza for the good times he gave us'.

Once ushered onstage, Gascoigne was asked who the best player he had played with was.

Paul Gascoigne

1990 World Cup

Fallen star: Gascoigne rose to prominence during the 1990 World
Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

According to the account, he answered: 'Bryan Robson. But he's a ****. They're all ****s. You're all ****s.'

After apologising, Gascoigne broke down again as he struggled to answer questions.

The performance was said to have left 'a lump in everyone's throat'.

Gascoigne's manager Matt Jones today said the former footballer had been 'up and down' recently.

He added: 'Paul is getting the help and support that he needs. I am in regular contact with him and his counsellors and just giving him the support that he needs.

'The reality is that Paul is an alcoholic. He has been very good of late but every day is a battle not to have a drink.'

Having won 57 caps for England after a glittering career in which he played for Lazio and Everton, the star tried to address his alcoholism on several occasions and has spoken about his attempts at rehabilitation.

Ospreys grant Ryan Jones testimonial year

Ospreys grant triple Grand Slam winner Jones testimonial year

, skippering the 2008 side.

In November, Jones also established a new record for most games as captain of Wales, surpassing Ieuan Evans' previous mark of 28.

Honoured: Ryan Jones, the Wales and Ospreys forward seen here being tackled by two Scarlets players, has been granted a testimonial year

Honoured: Ryan Jones, the Wales and Ospreys forward seen here being tackled by two Scarlets players, has been granted a testimonial year

At club level Jones has won four RaboDirect Pro12 titles with the Ospreys, as well as the 2008 Anglo-Welsh Cup, making 135 appearances since joining them in 2004.

Jones, who featured in all three Tests of the 2005 Lions tour of New Zealand, will officially launch his testimonial year at the Ospreys v Zebre RaboDirect Pro12 game on Friday.

Jones, who has chosen the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal as the official charity of his testimonial year, said: 'I am honoured and extremely humbled to have been handed a testimonial by the Ospreys.

'It promises to be a wonderful and memorable year for not just me but for my family as well, who have been a big inspiration for me and have shared the highs and lows of my career.'

Triple Grand Slam: Jones has helped Wales to Six Nations clean sweeps in 2005, 2008 and 2012 (pictured)

Triple Grand Slam: Jones has helped Wales to Six Nations clean sweeps in 2005, 2008 and 2012 (pictured)

The first major event of Jones' testimonial year will take place on January 31 with a dinner at Cardiff Arms Park featuring guests from the Ireland and Wales teams ahead of their RBS 6 Nations opener the following weekend.

Ospreys chief operating officer, Andrew Hore added: 'Ryan is a wonderful servant to the Ospreys and his country, and to rugby in general.

'His record speaks for itself, his achievements in the game are testament to the hard work and effort he puts in every day, constantly striving to improve.

'He remains one of our most reliable performers, someone who leads by example on the field, and we are delighted to honour that commitment by granting a testimonial year to Ryan in recognition of his service.'

Phil Taylor apologises after ugly confrontation with Raymond van Barneveld

I reacted disgracefully! Taylor apologises after ugly confrontation with Barney

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UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 31 December 2012

Phil Taylor apologised for his ‘disgraceful’ behaviour after beating Raymond van Barneveld in the World Championship semi-final on Sunday.

‘The Power’, who will play Michael van Gerwen in the final, clashed with Barney after his 6-4 win at Alexandra Palace and the pair had to be separated by security guards.

‘I reacted disgracefully and I feel terrible,’ Taylor told Sky Sports.

‘I’m ashamed because I really like Raymond but he hurt me a little bit, that was all it was.

‘It was spur of the moment.’

Scroll down for a video of the incident

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Taylor and Van Barneveld clash

Sao Paulo win Copa Sudamericana after "security guards attack Tigre players"

Brazil nuts! Copa Sudamericana ends in chaos as final is abandoned after 'security guards pull guns and beat up players'

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UPDATED:

09:54 GMT, 13 December 2012

The image of Brazilian football in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup was seriously tarnished when the final of the Copa Sudamericana was abandoned as visiting club Tigre accused security officials of pulling guns on them and beating the players.

After a goalless first leg in Argentina, Sao Paulo took a 2-0 lead on home turf with goals from Lucas Moura and Osvaldo.

But things took a sour turn at half-time as fighting broke out between the players as they made their way off the pitch.

All over: The referee abandoned the match between Tigre and Sao Paulo

All over: The referee abandoned the match between Tigre and Sao Paulo

Scrap: Sao Paulo (in white) and Tigre ended up fighting before the referee called time on the clash

Scrap: Sao Paulo (in white) and Tigre ended up fighting before the referee called time on the clash

Tigre then refused to return for the second half, claiming their players had been attacked by security guards in the dressing rooms.

Chilean referee Enrique Osses abandoned the match after a 30-minute delay, awarding the victory to Sao Paulo, who were then presented with the trophy in a formal ceremony.

Tigre coach Nestor Gorosito claimed armed security officers had beaten his players and pointed guns at them during half-time. He said goalkeeper Damian Albil had a gun pointed at his chest.

'During the break, a big guy came in
with a gun,' he said on Fox Sports. 'Some policeman started to hit some
of my players. We tried to defend ourselves. They pulled two revolvers.
We’re not going to play anymore.

'My players fought with the security
people for 15 minutes. Then the police arrived and the incidents
continued. What happened is disgraceful. There are several players hurt, but none serious.'

Crossbar challenge: Fans managed to get on to the pitch after Sao Paulo won the Copa Sudamericana

Crossbar challenge: Fans managed to get on to the pitch after Sao Paulo won the Copa Sudamericana

Gorosito also complained about the treatment his team had received throughout their preparations for the match.

'We
trained two hours away from our hotel, and it took us more than an hour
to get to the stadium,' he said. 'We were unable to warm up on the
pitch.'

Tigre president Sergio Massa said
Wednesday was one of the most shameful days in Brazilian football
history and urged the Argentinian Football Federation (AFA) to take
strong action.

Massa told the AFA official website: 'We need to show the people everything that happened, the assaults and injuries.

'When we went into the dressing room after the first half, there were 15 security people that were hitting the players. They struck us.

'For Tigre today was an historic day. The referee told us he was going to suspend the game and ended up doing that. It was all a mess, football should be a celebration.'

Tigre security chief Ruben Pasquini said in La Nacion newspaper: 'It was an ambush. They were waiting for us. (Midfielder Ruben) Botta has an injured eye. They put a gun in the chest of Albil. (Midfielder) Gaston Diaz was also hurt.'

Solid back four: Police stand outside the dressing rooms after the Copa Sudamericana final was abandoned

Solid back four: Police stand outside the dressing rooms after the Copa Sudamericana final was abandoned

You're not coming on: Security guards line the pitch as the officials make their way off

You're not coming on: Security guards line the pitch as the officials make their way off

Referee Osses said: 'We did not see anything, but we have heard some things about what happened.

'We saw there were some injuries to the Tigre players but I don't know what caused them.'

CONMEBOL official Romer Osuna said: 'The referee abandoned the game because it was not right to play on.

'This decision is final. It is a shame that a continental final finished in this fashion.'

The city of Sao Paulo is one of the
host venues for the 2014 World Cup, although matches will be played at
Corinthians' Arena de Sao Paulo and not the Morumbi.

Massa felt the incidents had cast a shadow over Brazilian football.

Explosive: Sao Paulo supporters celebrated as fireworks lit up the sky

Explosive: Sao Paulo supporters celebrated as fireworks lit up the sky

'It's one of the most shameful pages in Brazilian football. We came to play a game of football, not a war,' he said. 'All this makes us very sad.

'We don't want to win or lose a game in the offices but the AFA are going to have to make a strong protest.'

Sao Paulo had dominated the first half with Lucas, playing his final match before joining Paris St Germain, at the heart of everything.

He scored the opener in the 23rd minute, pouncing on the ball to fire home after Willian Jose's progress towards goal had been blocked.

Lucas turned provider for the second, playing a fine ball for Osvaldo to run through and lift the ball over Damian Albil.

Cop that: Police officers patrol the pitch after Tigre players refused to be play on and the match was called off

Cop that: Police officers patrol the pitch after Tigre players refused to be play on and the match was called off

However, Lucas had also been on the receiving end of several tough challenges, with one elbow to the face drawing blood.

Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, who had handed Lucas the captain's armband at the end to allow the departing star to lift the trophy, was shocked by the way the match ended, but claimed the Tigre players had been overly aggressive on the pitch.

'We don't know what happened, but the Tigre players came to Brazil to fight, not to play,' he said. 'I really don't know what happened in the dressing rooms.'

Capture the moment: The Sao Paulo players pose for pictures after their controversial triumph

Capture the moment: The Sao Paulo players pose for pictures after their controversial triumph

London 2012 Olympics: Laura Trott with David Beckham

Trott and Becks! New golden girl of cycling mingles with the stars after Olympic glory

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UPDATED:

07:54 GMT, 9 August 2012

Being an Olympic champion affords you certain privileges, one of which it seems is mixing with royalty and the most famous man in the world.

So after winning two gold medals aged just 20, Laura Trott wasted no time in making the most of her new-found fame.

One of the gang: Laura Trott, David Beckham and Jason Kenny mixed at the beach volleyball finals

One of the gang: Laura Trott, David Beckham and Jason Kenny mixed at the beach volleyball finals

One of the gang: Laura Trott, David Beckham, Jason Kenny and Constantine Louloudis all mixed in at the beach volleyball finals

The new queen of British cycling met a real life prince in our very own Harry and later posed for pictures with David Beckham after all four were in the crowd at the beach volleyball in London's Horse Guards Parade.

Trott, who won gold in the team pursuit and them individual omnium, was attending the women's bronze and gold medal matches with new boyfriend Jason Kenny, himself a double Olympic champion.

And earlier that day... The 20-year-old double gold medal winner shares a joke with the giggling prince

And earlier that day… The 20-year-old double gold medal winner shares a joke with the giggling prince

Dutch courage: She takes a quick swig of lager, while Harry tries to follow the action on court

Fancy a drink But it seems Harry prefers his bottled water

Meanwhile, Beckham, who played a key
role both in the winning of the Olympic bid and also the opening
ceremony, was with his three sons Brooklyn, Cruz and Romeo.

On the court, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States won gold in the all-American final.

The
duo claimed their third consecutive Olympic title after they defeated
number six seeds Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in straight sets.

USA v USA: Kerri Walsh Jennings dives for the ball during the beach volleyball gold medal match

USA v USA: Kerri Walsh Jennings dives for the ball during the beach volleyball gold medal match

China's Zhang Xi misses a point in the bronze medal match against Brazil

China's Zhang Xi misses a point in the bronze medal match against Brazil

In the earlier bronze medal match,
Brazil's Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca staged a dazzling
comeback to beat China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi after being within two
points of losing.

Juliana
and Larissa, the reigning world champions, arrived in London as the
favourites but their dreams of gold unravelled when they were upset in
the semi-finals by Kessy and Ross on Tuesday.

London 2012 Olympics: British beach volleyball duo reach last 16

British duo Mullin and Dampney get lucky and reach last 16 in beach volleyball

PUBLISHED:

17:10 GMT, 2 August 2012

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UPDATED:

17:10 GMT, 2 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Great Britain duo Shauna Mullin and
Zara Dampney snatched a lucky loser place after slipping to a 2-0 defeat
against Russia in their final Pool F clash on Thursday.

Mullin and Dampney won their opening
match against Canada but were heavily beaten by Italy in their second
preliminary phase clash, meaning they needed victory against Russia to
be sure of securing a place in the knockout stage.

High point: Zara Dampney, right, and Shauna Mullin celebrate making a point

High point: Zara Dampney, right, and Shauna Mullin celebrate making a point

Their opponents also needed a result to ensure their progress and proved too strong, winning 25-23 21-13 at Horse Guards Parade.

Mullin and Dampney, who finished third in their pool with four points, will now be keeping a keen eye on tthe draw as one of the four lucky losers.

Russian duo Evgeniya Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova edged a tight first set, with the latter growing in confidence as the match went on.

Hands up: Mullin spikes the ball over Evgenia Ukolova

Hands up: Mullin spikes the ball over Evgenia Ukolova

Mullin stole points with some smart
cross-shots and spikes, but the Russians finally took the set when
Mullin fired into her own net.

The British pair took umbrage with some strict refereeing decisions, with Russia finding a different gear in the second set.

Shauna Mullin of Great Britain

Ukolova took control at the net on
her way to 25 points, with the eastern European pair easing to a 21-13
victory to secure their place in the round of 16.

Mullin said: 'I am really
disappointed obviously. We had three set points in the first set but we
couldn't close it out and we were a bit aggressive with our serving. I
think we should have made them play a bit more.

'We're disappointed with the second set.

'That was a match we had to win to get in the top 16 and not have to play this evening so we could recover, but now we have to go back and there's lots of hard work to do before the match.'

A raucous crowd did their best to inspire the duo, and Mullin was overwhelmed by their efforts.

'We actually work quite hard on being in a bubble on the court,' she said.

'We need that to focus and to be able to communicate.

'We've never experienced this much support before and it's unbelievable, and of course we hear them in between points.'

Dampney added: 'They've supported us the whole way. We really appreciate it.

'It's all or nothing tonight. We'll relax, eat, chill, stretch and talk to our coaches. We have to regroup and then we'll be ready to go out there fighting.'

London 2012 Olympics beach volleyball: Great Britain lose to Norway

Great Britain 0 Norway 2: Beach volleyball duo exit competition without winning a set

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 1 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
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Britain's John Garcia-Thompson and Steve Grotowski bowed out of the men's competition at Horse Guards Parade with a third straight preliminary phase loss.

The home favourites gave the Westminster crowd plenty to cheer in their contest with Tarjei Viken Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr, but in the end it was the Norwegian pair who prevailed in straight sets, 22-20 21-13, to condemn Britain to last place in Pool F.

Britain needed to win today to stay alive in the competition but this latest defeat brings an end to their participation at the first hurdle.

Down and out: Norway celebrate while Team GB leave the tournament

Down and out: Norway celebrate while Team GB leave the tournament

Grotowski and Garcia-Thompson nevertheless have more than held their own on the biggest stage in the sport over the past few days, a fact even more remarkable given that Britain's male beach volleyballers have not received any Government funding since the end of 2010.

Grotowski and Garcia-Thompson defeated this Norwegian pair in their only previous meeting, and harboured genuine aspirations of securing victory on the Olympic stage at the third attempt.

As in their defeats to Canada and Brazil, the opening set was a tight affair, and when Britain moved ahead at 11-10 on a Grotowski spike, the crowd sensed it might be their afternoon.

Out of reach: Great Britain's John Garcia-Thompson misses the ball

Out of reach: Great Britain's John Garcia-Thompson misses the ball

The two teams remained locked together all the way to the business end of the first set, and when Garcia-Thompson's spike saved set point at 19-20 it seemed Horse Guards might erupt.

The home side looked as though they had saved another at 20-21, but somehow Spinnangr's bump just crept over the net after a thrilling point that Britain looked the most likely to win.

The agony of the first set loss evoked unwanted memories of their first two matches, when similarly spirited efforts ended in a narrow loss that gave way to an even heavier defeat in the second set.

Pure delight: Norway celebrate their win

Pure delight: Norway celebrate their win

And before long that same pattern began to emerge as the Norwegians opened up immediate daylight.

Two aces in a row brought Horse Guards to its feet and the score to 8-11, but the Scandinavians remained the more aggressive at the net with Spinnangr attacking well.

When seven match points were brought up everyone inside the arena knew the game was up, and defeat was sealed when Skarlund blocked at the net to send Norway into the knockout round.

London 2012 Olympics: Britain"s beach volleyball men lose to Brazil

Britain's male beach volleyball duo put up strong performance but lose to Brazil

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UPDATED:

23:02 GMT, 30 July 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Britain's Steve Grotowski and John Garcia-Thompson suffered a second straight defeat at Horse Guards Parade but not before putting on a valiant performance against a strong Brazilian team.

The pairing of Ricardo Santos and Pedro Cunha simply had too much power and experience for the British duo, who now must win their final Pool F match against Norway on Wednesday and hope other results go their way if they are to avoid elimination.

The customary boisterous crowd at the 15,000-seater Westminster arena inevitably did their bit to help the British players, but the Brazilians nevertheless wrapped up a 2-0 (21-17 21-12) win that sees them through to the knockout stage.

Valient effort: Steven Grotowski (left) and Juan Garcia-Thompson could not overcome Brazil

Valient effort: Steven Grotowski (left) and Juan Garcia-Thompson could not overcome Brazil

Grotowski and Garcia-Thompson were going up against a team boasting one of the legends of the game in Ricardo, who has three Olympic medals to his name – including a gold from Athens in 2004.

Nevertheless the British pair began well, surging into a 3-1 lead only to see the seventh seeds rattle off six straight points to establish a commanding edge.

Brazil continued to pull clear but Garcia-Thompson had the crowd on their feet with a superb diving dig that sailed over the heads of the South Americans to bring the set back to 12-7.

Samba boys: Brazil's Pedro Cunha (right) and Ricardo Santos

Samba boys: Brazil's Pedro Cunha (right) and Ricardo Santos

Another superb retrieval by the 33-year-old had Horse Guards jumping again as the Britons closed to within three.

But despite staying in touch, the home team were unable to bridge the gap and Brazil did enough to take the first set despite a valiant effort by the Britons on set point.

Brazil took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second, however, as Ricardo's dominance at the net and on serve began to tell.

Last chance: The team must win and hope other results go their way

Last chance: The team must win and hope other results go their way

A little of the fire seemed to have gone out of the belly of the British duo, and when the scoreboard read 12-5 to Ricardo and Cunha, even the crowd became subdued.

An ace by Ricardo brought up 10 match points, and though the Britons delighted the crowd by saving two of those, defeat was not much longer in coming.

London 2012 Olympics: LIVE – day three including Tom Daley

LIVE: Olympics – follow all the latest action unfolding on day three

|

UPDATED:

03:00 GMT, 30 July 2012

You can keep track of all the latest news, views and pictures from the Olympic Park and beyond with our live coverage. This is your ultimate guide to all the action as it unfolds during London 2012…

Olympics essentials

Sport-by-sport schedule

Live results and stats

Medals table

Latest picture gallery

*Live coverage starts from 8am*

Life's a beach: The beach volleyball takes place at Horse Guards Parade

Life's a beach: The beach volleyball takes place at Horse Guards Parade

London 2012 Olympics: Beach volleyball crowd need drug testing – Des Kelly

Olympic diary: Drug testing needed for hyperactive beach volleyball crowd

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 29 July 2012

What the sport of beach volleyball needs to introduce if it wants credibility is a vigorous programme of drug testing. Not for the competitors, but for everyone else in the stadium.

I went along to the magnificent Horse Guards’ Parade location half expecting the audience to be dotted with potential candidates for the sex offenders’ register, wearing bottle- bottom glasses and with anoraks on their laps.

Instead, I found a wild-eyed crowd behaving as if they had simultaneously overdosed on E-numbers, caffeine, anti-depressants, beer and more beer.

Spectacle: Dancers perform in the stands during a beach volleyball match

Spectacle: Dancers perform in the stands during a beach volleyball match

More from Des Kelly…

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27/07/12

Des Kelly: A message to all the Olympic moaners… BELT UP!
20/07/12

Des Kelly: I swear, it should not have come to this
13/07/12

Des Kelly: The man to trust at Arsenal is not RVP, Usmanov or Kroenke… it's Wenger
06/07/12

Pearce got it right, and backing Beckham makes you a loser too!
29/06/12

Des Kelly: A victory made only in England
22/06/12

Des Kelly: The FA forced Levy to do the dirty on Harry… and Redknapp deserved better
15/06/12

Des Kelly: England don't stand a chance, right So just enjoy Euro 2012
08/06/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

There is no doubt, if you want noisy, almost inexplicable levels of happy-clappy glee from a paying public then this is the place to be. When the British teams were on court this weekend, the place was a permanent Mexican wave. At times it made darts night at Alexandra Palace look serene.

But beach volleyball should really be classified as an endurance event, since the main challenge is to endure the endless SHOUTING from the stadium announcers.

Even when a point is being played the people on the public address seem to regard this as an unwelcome interruption in the true business of the day —which is listening to them yell at eardrum bursting volume.

The male announcer bellows: ‘LONDON! ARE YOU READY’

Crowd: ‘Yay!’

Announcer: ‘I CAN’T HEAR YOU! LONDON, ARRRRE YOOO READY’

This happens approximately every minute, so I assume the announcer is only unable to hear because he is deaf from his own shouting. But I am certainly ‘ready’. Ready to rip the PA man’s larynx out with my bare hands and feed it to the swans on the nearby Serpentine.

Incredibly, the female co-announcer is worse. Between points someone called ‘Charlie’ shrieks about ‘TEEEM GEEE BEEE’ with a dead-eyed smile that suggests an inner loathing, before trying to coerce the crowd to start a conga. But they are far too busy doing their endless Mexican Wave.

With the Benny Hill theme playing and young dancers writhing up on the sidelines, the whole beach scene resembles a nightmare spin off of ‘Take Me Out’ on ITV2. And when the PA man encourages the crowd to ‘Get the clap going’, I wondered if Paddy McGuinness had missed his true vocation.

But rather than storm the commentary
booth and beat the announcers to death, the crowd buy into this,
possibly because they know it will be the only time they will experience
the ‘sport’, or because they are all drugged up on Nurofen. Either way,
they cheer absolutely everything.

Best of British: Zara Dampney (left) and Shauna Mullin got the host nation off to a good start

Best of British: Zara Dampney (left) and Shauna Mullin got the host nation off to a good start

Announcer: ‘Let’s hear it for THE FIRST OFFICIAL!’

Crowd: ‘Yay.’

Announcer: ‘Here come the GUYS THAT RAKE THE SAND!’

Crowd: ‘Yay.’

Announcer: ‘LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE RAKE!’

The game itself doesn’t need the forced ‘atmosphere’. Although it remains ludicrous that this is an Olympic sport rather than some Californian holiday activity, beach volleyball can be entertaining.

The men’s game is more athletic and competitive than the women’s. And although the Team GB — sorry, TEEEM GEEE BEEE! — duo of John Garcia Thompson and Steve Grotowski lost to Canada, the din was such it was almost possible to ignore the fact that Britain’s men had just been defeated at a beach sport by a nation that mostly consists of glacial ice sheets.

They were even times in the first set when GB looked like they had a shout. It was just never as loud as the announcer’s.

The men are rarely mentioned because the women wear bikinis and that’s all anyone appears to care about. I might find that exciting, too. But not right now. I’m afraid I have a headache.

LYCRA LADS' NEW RECRUIT

Mark Cavendish might have failed to deliver gold on Saturday, but Lizzie Armitstead brought home silver 24 hours later to ensure the country’s love affair with two-wheels will continue to grow.

Some estimates claim the number of people cycling in London is up by 150 per cent since 2002. But is the host city of the 2012 Games genuinely ‘cycle friendly’

The best way to find out was to climb on a ‘Boris Bike’ and ride from east London to the road race
finish on The Mall. So I pulled on some unnervingly tight cycling shorts, a Team GB shirt and a
cycle helmet. Improved aerodynamics boost speed, which is why you never see a hairy Formula One car, but I drew the line at shaving my legs to reduce wind resistance like the professionals.

Contrasting fortunes: Mark Cavendish was out of luck (above) but Lizzie Armitstead won silver (below)

Contrasting fortunes: Mark Cavendish was out of luck (above) but Lizzie Armitstead won silver (below)

Britain's Elizabeth Armitstead holds her silver medal during the victory ceremony for the women's cycling road race

I can only assume this body hair explains why I was unbelievably slow. Or it could have been the
Boris bike, a brilliant innovation that you can hire for 1 a day from docking stations all over
the capital. But to ensure the contraptions are never stolen, they have been made entirely of lead and weigh more than a steam locomotive.

Inconveniently, there are no bike docking stations near the Olympic Stadium. Probably because the bank that sponsors the scheme are not part of the Olympic ‘family’.

I rode in from nearby Victoria Park instead, taking in the sights, carbon monoxide, choking black diesel fumes and dodging vans when a bus wasn’t inches from my rear mudguard.

On the way, I was pleased to note New Cavendish Street has a cycle lane and a specialist shop. And I can confirm London is getting better for bikes. It truly is a cycling city when the centre of the city is closed off entirely for the Olympics.

DAILY X-RAY

My five-inch replica of the Big Ben clock tower makes it through the scanners. This pointy souvenir could be used to poke politicians out of glad-handing photographs with any British medal winner.

Long wait: The media queue to get through security at the Olympics

Long wait: The media queue to get through security at the Olympics

DAILY MOAN

Beach volleyball players say squirrels are causing problems by burying acorns in the sand at Horse Guards Parade. They should give thanks they aren’t playing on an actual beach near London. The dogs bury far worse at Southend. Then they’d have a real problem.