London: Ryan Giggs, captain of team GB’s football team, is a worried man. He fears that the British national anthem will be met with a chorus of boos when it is played ahead of their game against Uruguay in Wales tomorrow. The Football Association of Wales has for long been opposed to the idea of a British team. They share these reservations along with the Scots and Northern Irish who argue that the concept of drafting such a team could hamper their single nation status within soccer governing body Fifa.
It’s not just the associations. People feel the same way too. The fact is, however, that the four parts of the United Kingdom compete as individual teams in non-Olympic international soccer competition. Those who watched Britain’s game against Senegal and the UAE last week would know that Giggs himself did not sing God Save The Queen. Giggs, who became the oldest goal-scorer in Olympic soccer history, 38 years, 246 days, completes a line-up of five Welshman in Team GB. Perhaps, this could be his finest hour in the international stage because as a Welshman, he hasn’t managed to play in a World Cup, European Championship or any other major tournament. They say that in life, you play with the cards you are dealt with.
Staid and formal Wimbledon has been replaced with a peppy and vibrant new look for the Olympic tennis competition. The authorities have decided to do away with all the tradition and stiff upper lip formality and the place has undergone a huge transformation since the same players from the ATP and WTA Tour trooped into its hallowed portals, except that this time, they are playing for their country and not as professionals. The traditional whites have been replaced by tennis gear of luminescent colours and the latest fashion is on show.
The Olympic rings are on display everywhere and the traditional British racing green of the Championships is nowhere to be seen. Raucous fans, chattering media, flags from multiple countries, and crying babies are forcing the umpires to mutter “quiet please” as they are supposed to do, but the fact of the matter is that nobody really cares.
The Olympic cauldron has been lit again and shifted to a new location. The flame had actually been extinguished during the shifting process and this is very unlike other Olympic Games when it is considered a bad omen for the flame to be put off.