Unsporting hand

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SIR Clive Woodward famously left nothing to chance when he was this country’s rugby supremo. He took a lawyer with the England team to the 2003 World Cup – while Alastair Campbell was a poor choice as PR chief during the 2005 Lions tour to New Zealand.

It is mindset that Sir Clive appears to have taken to the British Olympic Association where he is deputy chef de mission. It is now suggesting that competitors do not shake hands during the London Games in case they catch a bug which could wreck their gold medal dreams.

As well as being totally unsporting – and the Olympics are, after all, supposed to embody the very best of sportsmanship – such a draconian approach to hygiene rules, one apparently taken straight from New Labour’s handbook on the “nanny state”, is likely to stifle the hopes of many by suffocating them in paranoia about what they can and cannot do.

Yet, while winning does matter, the objective of the Games is to embody the highest standards of sportsmanship – and that means competitors shaking the hand of their opponents in both victory and defeat.