Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: Time for Clare to take the lead at Crufts

A weekend of people who should know better, prancing about indoors in ill-fitting clothing with mad hair, many of them making a fool of themselves and not living up to expectations — it could be the World Indoor Athletics or Crufts, take your pick.

Raising the woof: This wee doggy won Crufts and looks absolutely nothing like a certain presented called Barker but well done to Aldana Yamile whose prayers were answered in Turkey

Both were on the new home of sport — More4 — although it was very sad that Ortis Deley had not made it as he obediently listened to the command of ‘stay’ after his performance at the outdoor version last year.

Not to be deterred he did pop up on our screens at the weekend, manhandling Suzi Perry around a studio in Let’s Dance for Sport Relief and it was certainly a relief for us all that he hadn’t made it to Turkey.

It meant that we were again guided through three days of hopping, skipping, jumping and occasional running by Rick Edwards, a man better known for presenting T4, while Iwan Thomas, a man of a certain age who should know better, tried to impress with his groovy clothes and down with the children looks. You’re nearly 40, you’re impressing no-one.

There was one near 40-year-old who did impress was a lady called Aldana Yamile, who finally got to jump for GB after stints with Cuba and Sudan and the good news is she has now been cleared to compete in the London Olympics although who for at this stage is unclear.

Back to Rick, who wore pink, red and then lovely green and blue stripy socks with his plimsoles over the course of the weekend against the backdrop of the retro studio with a massive ‘4’ written on the wall. Predicting Mo Farah’s result obviously.

It wasn’t a good weekend for him, tumbling over the line behind a line of Africans, putting the knee out of his slacks in the process, and then Rick offering hope of a reprieve that he had been pushed or someone had been found on a grassy knoll just past the long jump it, but fourth he finished and fourth he stayed.

The unbeatable Jessica Ennis was beaten —again — but is still lovely and will still be hyped to high heaven over the next few months while there was a silver for GB captain Tiffany Porter, who is as British as mom’s apple pie.

It mattered not to commentating duo John Rawling and Rob Walker, but the normally unflappable Rawling was clearly affected by his companion as he asked us to listen to the ‘roar of applause’ for Aldama.

There was some disapproving eye-brow raising at drugs cheat Justin Gatlin’s win in the 60m ahead of clean-cut Dwain Chambers in third but once again the biggest star of the show was New Zealand shot put chucker Valerie Adams.

A woman who would make Gerry nervous, she’s fantastic and managed to beat a lady from Belarus called Ostapchuk who looked the spit of darter Colin Lloyd but with that name could be a lollipop lady on Coronation Street. Think about it.

But while all this was going on, that’s when there wasn’t a commercial break, back in blighty Clare was leading the way in the canine cacophony that is Crufts.

It seems a waste to me, although Peter Purvis in commentary was an unexpected bonus, so why don’t we swap?

Surely a man called Walker would be perfect to commentate? “It is, quite literally, a dog and it’s licking its” — you get the picture. As for a presenter? Well it’s a bit uncool for Rick, but we need someone simpering and posh.

Sue Barker would be perfect, and the winning mutt was the double of her while Clare could go and do some proper sports presenting although dog’s dinner Thomas better stay where he is.

Belfast Telegraph


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