Leave politics out of sport

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IT shouldn’t, but inevitably, the worlds of sport and politics collide. When it does it turns the pure pursuit of victory into the murky world of populism and propaganda.

Last night’s hockey match between Great Britain and Argentina, because Olympic Games’ stakes are so high, drew the nation’s media to see what reaction there would be between the teams after the infamous ‘Zylberberg video’.

This was former Argentina captain Fernando Zylberberg exercising around Port Stanley in the Falklands, including on a war memorial. The match was testy, with some hefty challenges thrown in. But, according to hockey experts, it was nothing out of the ordinary.

The questions still came though; ‘did this match mean more?’ ‘was there extra motivation?’

British captain Barry Middleton, a fine, articulate son of Doncaster, batted them away.

Here is a man who has put his life on hold to be at the Olympic Games. His coach Jason Lee talked of mortgage worries for his players and the sacrifices they have made to be in London.

Unfortunately when politics pokes its nose into sport you’re reminded of the real sacrifices that are made by men and women the same age as Middleton.

People who laid down their lives for the freeing of the same islands that caused the controversy last night. Middleton stressed that he and rival captain Matias Vila left their differences on the pitch.

Isn’t that the best place?

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