“Dai looks like he’s come out of solitary confinement”

IAN COLE’s run through the week in sport and sports journalism through quotes, including world athletics from Daegu, US Open tennis from New York and the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand… oh, and some football from Wales, Scotland and England

Daegu champion Dai Greene: out for good behaviour?

“We’re going to start this morning’s action with the men’s 400-metre hurdles first round. And history in the making as Oscar Pistorius from South Africa makes history” Ortis Deley. Formerly frontman of C4 athletics. Poor bloke.

“Lemaitre has been running so fast, his French letters are hanging off him” Iwan Thomas demonstrating that it was not only in the studio that C4’s athletics coverage tripped up.

“He knows what it takes to create a world champion. There are no short cuts. We work in partnership. I have a lot of respect for him, he has a lot of respect for me, so we work well together. Considering he’s 71 years old he keeps me on my toes quite well” Dai Greene, world champion 400m hurdler, pays tribute to his coach Malcolm Arnold, who has been training world-beaters for 40 years.

“I’m told Dai doesn’t even recognise his family in the days leading up to competition. That’s great to see. You see other people saying ‘Hi Mum’ as they line up. Dai looks like he has come out of solitary confinement. He’s fireproof” Seb Coe gives Greene his seal of approval.

“It’s a world championships and if I had to take silver anywhere I’d want it to be here, because next year is the Olympics and I want gold there. I was devastated after the javelin. I knew I’d thrown it away. I haven’t shed any tears, but I might do soon” Jessica Ennis loses her heptathlon world title in Daegu.

“Mission accomplished. Now we just need one more medal in London – and it’s my job to find it. We have this crop of athletes that has to be closer to medals. Too many have failed in that group” Charles van Commenee, UK Athletics, rightly concerned that there were no British finallists on the Daegu track from 100 to 800 metres, men or women.

“I’m not disappointed. I have an 18-month plan. Everything we do is for the Olympics. This just falls in the middle of the whole scheme” Phillips Idowu surrenders his triple jump world title.

“I’m absolutely flippin’ livid. I was just looking at a few photos – and I’m in most of them. When I said I was going nowhere two of them grabbed me by the arms. You couldn’t make it up” David Lloyd, former Lancashire cricket captain and Sky TV commentator, is ejected by security heavies from the pavilion at Old Trafford.

Venus Williams: health issues

“I just got a sudden big cramp in my thigh. It could have happened anywhere but it was just bad luck it happened in public” Rafa Nadal slides under the table at his US Open press conference.

“I can come back, absolutely. Sjogren’s syndrome is something you live with your whole life but now I know what’s happening I have the chance to get better and move on” Venus Williams, five-times Wimbledon champion, is diagnosed with a disease which attacks the immune system.

“I’ve been wearing the tights for quite a while but normally I cover them up” Andy Murray is caught without his trousers, revealing compression tights which speed his recovery from a tough match.

“If ever there was the definitive example of ‘this is a marathon, not a sprint’, it is this event” Rob Walker, desperately reaching for the Commentators’ Bumper Book of Cliches less than a minute into C4’s coverage of the… 50km walk. Which is a walk, not a marathon. Or a sprint.

“When you’ve won two world bronzes, the gold medal must be that little bit more shinier” Katharine Merry, another C4 athletics commentator who could do with a little polishing.

“I’m extremely bad at losing and I don’t want to get good at it, but my absolute motivation is to make sure this is a happy, healthy, properly funded game with more people playing it, men and women, able-bodied and disabled” Giles Clarke, chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board.

“I’ve spent more time looking in the mirror. I’m sure some of you are going bald, so you know it’s a bit stressful. I made a decision to get it done. I thought ‘Why not?’” Wayne Rooney talks bout his hair replacement treatment.

“It took me 18 months to get over the England captaincy debacle. For 18 months I had no interest in helping anybody on the pitch or off it. I was not in a good place. It was a horrendous time. Then my baby boy was born and it was all about home, not cricket, for me” Kevin Pietersen, still going on about losing the England captaincy.

“Forget all the Royal Wedding stuff and how laid back he is. Tins is a warrior, a man who missed the last World Cup and has never been a Lion because of injury. He has copped his fair share of criticism over the years yet he can still put in a man-of-the-match performance, as he did against Ireland last week” Lewis Moody, England rugby captain, on World Cup team mate Mike Tindall.

“I want to show the people who think Kolo Toure needed a tablet to be a better footballer that it’s not the case. It was an accident” Kolo Toure returns to Manchester City after a six-month ban for failing a drugs test.

“It beggars belief that a referee can make mistakes of that magnitude in a match of this importance. At the same time, I take heart from what I saw. We have to channel our anger, use these injustices for our next match” Craig Levein, whose Scotland side suffer a debatable penalty equaliser against the Czech Republic and are then denied one of their own.

Gareth Bale: confident for the England match

“We’re not used to being 2-0 up so it was a new experience in the last half hour, but we did well to hold on” Aaron Ramsey, Wales captain, after a 2-1 win over Montenegro.

“We don’t have any fear when we play England” Gareth Bale and his team mates head for Wembley and a European Championship qualifier.

“What is becoming very clear is that unless prize money levels improve, not only are we going to lose owners but also horses to offers too good to refuse from richer racing countries” Walter Swinburn, Derby-winning jockey, gives up trying to make it as a trainer.

“Don’t listen to the British press. They are more miserable than me, and that takes some doing” Martin Johnson, England rugby manager, arrives in New Zealand for the World Cup and faces questions about England’s dull image.

“It is important for the players who stay with me to be proud to wear the England shirt. I was proud to wear the Italian shirt and I would stay with the squad whether I was in the first eleven or a reserve. If players prefer to stay at home, go on holiday, be with their families, I respect them but I need to decide the first eleven. Everyone is free to decide about their life” Fabio Capello, England manager.

“You never like to see a fellow professional injured, but this is a brutal sport and it certainly hit him hard. It’s a shame for him, but it could be beneficial because he can be dangerous” Stuart Broad, who broke India batsman Rohit Sharma’s finger in the one-day international at Durham.

“Rugby is like a sponge. It’s constantly soaking up knowledge acquired from other sports and other fields. Other sports tend to stay the same but rugby is ever-developing” Simon Shaw, the veteran England lock, reflects on the changes in his sport during his career.

“We’re not targeting one team to beat. We just want to win a game” Jacques Burger, captain of Rugby World Cup minnows Namibia.

“Every World Cup is different and this one will not be like four years ago. I discovered world-class rugby first-hand last time and some of the experience was painful” Yuta Imamura, the Japan centre, recalls his RWC debut.

“They’re really tough. I broke my jaw in the first minute the first time I played them, so I know they’re a pretty physical side” Sam Warburton, the understated Wales captain, looking forward to his side’s opening World Cup game against South Africa on Sunday.


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