Tirade secured Games: Coe
A blistering tirade by Cherie Blair, the wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair, against then-French president Jacques Chirac played a key role in winning the Olympics for London, organizer Sebastian Coe said. In extracts from Coe’s book published in the Times yesterday, the former London Organizing Committee chairman revealed that Mrs Blair rounded on Chirac at a crucial Olympic reception over comments he made about Britain’s cuisine. The leader’s wife went at Chirac “like a banshee” at the 2005 event in Singapore, causing the embarrassed French leader to leave the function before he had chance to lobby potential voters on behalf of the Paris 2012 bid, Coe said. “I spotted Cherie heading like a heat-seeking missile towards the French contingent,” he recalled. “Above the hubbub her voice rang loud and clear. ‘I gather you’ve been saying rude things about our food,’ she said, at a volume that would have done justice to a packed courtroom. Her husband, who could hear as well as I could, had assiduously turned away,” the former Olympic champion added. Three days earlier, Chirac was heard telling Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder: “You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that,” at a G8 summit in Scotland. “After Finland, it’s [Britain] the country with the worst food,” he added. Paris arrived in Singapore as favorites to secure the 2012 Games, but was edged out by London in the final eliminator by 54 votes to 50.
Frost takes AT&T title
David Frost won the AT&T Championship on Sunday, beating Bernhard Langer with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff after overcoming a six-stroke deficit in the final round. Frost and Langer each shot six-under 66 to finish at eight-under 208 on TPC San Antonio’s Canyons Course. Second-round leader Mark Calcavecchia had a 74 to finish two strokes back. He bogeyed four of the first 11 holes. The 53-year-old Frost also teamed with Michael Allen to win the Legends of Golf in April and has three career Champions Tour victories. The South African won 10 times on the PGA Tour. It was the final full-field end of the season tournament. The top 30 on the money list qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Ganguly to retire
India’s record-breaking former cricket captain Sourav Ganguly is finally calling time on his career after deciding not to play in next year’s Twenty20 Indian Premier League competition. The 40-year-old Ganguly, who quit international cricket four years ago, has been playing in the IPL tournament since its inception — most recently captaining the Pune Warriors. However, he told yesterday’s Times of India newspaper that his body could no longer take the strain, even though he was contracted to play in the IPL next spring. “I had a wonderful time playing in the IPL for five seasons. It gave me a chance to keep playing top-class cricket even after quitting international cricket. But I can’t go on forever, and I have requested the franchise owners not to consider me for IPL 6. Twenty20 is a very demanding format. I will be almost 41 by the time IPL 6 ends. It would have been very tough for the body,” he told the paper. The left-handed Ganguly is the most successful captain in the history of the India national side, overseeing 21 wins in 49 Tests. He scored 7,212 runs in 113 Tests and 11,363 runs in 311 one-day internationals in a career spanning more than a decade.