Thursday, 29 December 2011

Five Gold Rings

On the fifth day of Christmas...............well everyone knows this one.

Five gold rings.

In 2012 all thoughts of rings will stray to the Olympic rings as the hour of the London Olympiad approaches.  Except for Mrs FB whose jewellery based understanding of the term will remain firm.

Long suffering members of Fantasy Bob's world wide readership may bring to mind that he has previously expressed disappointment at aspects of the Olympiad and in particular the absence of cricket from the so-called Festival of so-called Sport.  Nevertheless FB is proud beyond words to live in a country where, notwithstanding that the economy is is dire straits and libraries and sports centres are closing daily, the Government can find an extra £40m to spend on the opening and closing ceremonies.

Impression of archery at Lords -
So the Olympic rings are of little interest to cricketers and the insult is compounded by the fact that the temple of Lords will be given over to the Olympic archery competition during July and August.  Apart from the 1900 Olympics in Paris, the subject of the link to FB's previous Wittering above, cricket has featured in only 2 multi-sport events - the Commonwealth Games in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur (in which S Africa beat Adam Gilchrist's Australia in the final) and the Asian Games in 2010 (won by Bangladesh).

A bid to get a T20 competition in the 2012 Olympics failed - and a similar attempt to get the sport into the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was also unsuccessful.  Lamentable.  But some progress has been made in that the IOC now recognise cricket as a sport (FB doesn't understand what they previously considered it to be) and further attempts are being made to get a competition a T20 competition in the 2020 Olympics.  If that doesn't appeal even to the dumbest marketing man then FB may have to give up biscuits.

However cricket authorities have an ambivalent attitude towards the prospect - the international calendar is already choc-a-bloc and it would be hard to fit another event into the schedules. England did not send a team to the Commonwealth Games in 1998, and India did not send a team to the 2010 Asian Games. Both are unlikely to support any Olympic bid now.   But, says FB, surely an Olympic competition would be more important and valuable than another tawdry Champion's League.

Guanggong Cricket Stadium
The wider development of the game would surely benefit from the exposure - just as other sports have - and the development of new facilities would take place. 

As a result of the Asian Games there is now a high quality facility in China, the Guanggong International Cricket Stadium in Guangzhou, which may stage Pakistan fixtures in the near future.  The stadium should also assist the Hong Kong Cricket Association in its development to ODI status.  The cities bidding for the 2020 Olympics are Doha, Baku, Istanbul, Madrid, Rome and Tokyo, and the winner will be announced in September 2013. Doha already can offer cricket facilities, but it would be a fine thing to see serious cricket played in any of the other locations. 

Perhaps an Olympic competition should feature age grade teams, as in soccer, and major nations could plug this into their development pathways - but FB fears that cricketers can expect little by way of leadership can be expected from the ICC.

Then cricketers could look to the Five Gold Rings with interest - and their cricketing true love could offer the alternative of a cricketing gold medal. 

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