Sports Diary
by Patrick O’Connor

WHO cares who won Wimbledon or the big fight in Hamburg, a far more interesting sports champion emerged last week.

Step forward Paul Beech, otherwise known as ‘Predatoe.’

Paul, from Burton on Trent, has just collected the World Toe Wrestling Championship men’s title for the seventh time.

This quirky event was held at the local pub in the Derbyshire village of Fenny Bentley.

It’s the 35th time the championships have been held and involves players locking big toes to try to force their opponent to the floor over three rounds.

They start each match competing with their right foot, then change to their left foot for the second round and if a deciding round is need, they swap back to their right.

Paul was the men’s champion whilst Lisa ‘Twinkletoes’ Shenton from Ashbourne flinched the female title.

Official rules include a ban on stimulants “except alcohol” and the referee starts each round by shouting “toes away.”

Being the sad person that I am, I have survived a mainly football-free summer by tuning into Eurosport for the live coverage of the Women’s Football World Cup.

The tournament is staged in Germany and has attracted healthy crowds. The standard isn’t as high as its male counterpart but the women’s game has come a long way with technique and fitness levels exceptional.

The only downside was listening to the excuse put forward by the North Korean coach for his side’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of the United States.

Kwang Min Kim claimed that some of his team was hospitalised with electrocution after being struck by lightning in a training match several days before the game.

“When we stayed in Pyongyang during training our players were hit by lightning, and more than five of them were hospitalised,” said Kim, who did not name the affected players.

“Some stayed in hospital and then came to Germany later than the rest of us. The goalkeeper and the four defenders were most affected, and some midfielders as well. The physicians said the players were not capable of participating in the tournament.

“But World Cup football is the most important and significant event for a footballer, so they don’t want to think about anything but football.

“The fact that they played could be called abnormal, the result of very strong will.”

Yeah right.

Still on the Women’s World Cup, I have little sympathy for the England striker Eniola Aluko who described the personal criticism she received on Twitter following the 1-1 draw against Mexico as “poisonous.”

The player missed several clear-cut chances to score and told BBC Sport: “It’s sometimes difficult to understand why people don’t get behind the team – they’re so quick to jump on the bandwagon and criticise – just get behind us.

“It feels like people love the negativity – I’m not interested in people who’ve probably never kicked a ball in their lives.”

She might make life easier for herself if she didn’t bother with Twitter at all or at least whilst she’s taking part in a high profile sporting tournament. Just don’t read it dear!

Andy Murray is no doubt once again feeling the disappointment of failing to get to the final of the men’s Wimbledon tennis championship, thus dashing the hopes of an entire nation which for a fortnight every year suddenly realises that tennis is a game we compete in.

But help is on the way in the shape of a new kid on the block.

Liam Broady just failed in his attempt to become Britain’s first winner of the Wimbledon boy’s title since 1962 when he lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 to Australian Luke Saville in the final.

Murray will no doubt be desperately hoping that in two or three years time Broady will be alongside him in the rankings to take some pressure off his shoulders.