Boyman on Sport - My changing attitude towards the Commonwealth Games

Aaron Harris in action at the Commonwealth Games

Aaron Harris in action at the Commonwealth Games

First published in Sport Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

I HAVE to admit that I was not particularly excited by the prospect of the Commonwealth Games before it got under way.

In many ways, it seems a very antiquated event, a throwback to the days of the British Empire, while the quality of competition is quite varied.

In some sports, like track cycling, winning at the Commonwealth Games is very nearly as hard as winning a global title as the main two nations, Britain and Australia, are both involved.

In others, it’s not so strong, with athletics in particular suffering due to the absence of the USA.

As a result, it’s not a competition that all athletes take seriously. Jessica Ennis-Hill chose this year to have a baby and the top Jamaican sprinters, including Usain Bolt, failed to run in the 100m, while only Mo Farah will know whether he would have run had it been the Olympics.

Speaking to a friend before the Games, we were of the opinion that the event had probably run its course, but watching Aaron Harris in the triathlon last week showed me what it is all about.

Harris has been around for years, but has been something of a journeyman athlete, finishing consistently in the top 30 in global events, without really making a name for himself.

To be honest, I had almost forgotten about him before he had been selected for the English team, but at 26, he seems to have really upped his game.

Top-10 finishes in two World Triathlon Series events earned him a somewhat unexpected call-up, but he made the most of it, finishing sixth to raise his profile considerably.

It may be that Harris continues to put in solid performances on the triathlon circuit, but he may also be able to use his exposure in Glasgow to raise some sponsorship, or kick on to the next level thanks to the experience.

I’m sure there are similar stories in other sports across the Games, and everybody seems to be enjoying it, so long may they continue.

Basingstoke Gazette:

AS A CHELSEA supporter, I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the way the club seems unable to nurture young talent.

There are undoubtedly excellent young players at the club, but they never seem to be able to force their way into the first team.

Some of them have undoubtedly been good enough to do so, just look at what Daniel Sturridge has achieved since he joined Liverpool, for example.

A year ago, when Romelu Lukaku was sent out on loan for a second year running, I told a friend that I was worried he would become the next Sturridge. A talented youngster never given a chance, farmed out on loan and eventually sold to another club, where he goes on to do really well.

At least part of that premonition has come true, with Lukaku joining Everton yesterday. While £25million is a good deal for Chelsea, giving them a decent profit, I think he could have been given more of a chance at Stamford Bridge.

Last season, Jose Mourinho was crying out for a striker. Lukaku scored 15 goals for Everton. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Chelsea won the FA Youth Cup a couple of years ago, but how many of that team will ever become regulars? If recent history is anything to go by, it might be a big, fat zero.

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