I’ve been in Beijing for most of the week, helping build a tennis workforce over there and also supporting the boys in the China Open.
Andy’s progress has been amazing as it’s still very early days in his recovery and return to playing singles, but it doesn’t surprise me that he is making an impact on the court – though I admit I’ve not missed the stress of watching him play these longer matches.
I still found time to catch up on the World Athletics Championships and I was thrilled to see Dina Asher-Smith storm to victory in the 200m, and take silver in the 100m in Qatar.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s gold in the heptathlon was another absolutely outstanding achievement.
Yet I couldn’t help feel sad at the image of Dina holding her Union Jack aloft in celebration in front of row upon row of empty seats.
The scenes of the deserted 40,000-seat Khalifa International Stadium in Doha have marred the event.
The championships are the showpiece for athletics and when they were held in London two years, ago they were a virtual sell-out, with record ticket sales and athletes competing in front of massive crowds. To go from that to staging it in a small country of fewer than three million people makes no sense.
Add to that the excessive heat – as evidenced by the women’s marathon in which half the field failed to finish due to the conditions – and it was a recipe for disaster.
And when you think that all of those athletes have trained hard all their lives working towards that event and then there’s no one there to witness them reach their peak, it really makes me angry.
It’s exactly what happens when organisers put money before athletes and fans.
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