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Tales in Sport

Sports stories by Dan Palmer

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The day before Tokyo – a mad petrol dash to Euros heartbreak

By Dan Palmer Maybe it’s because enough time has passed, or maybe the Lionesses’ stunning success has erased enough of the pain. But I’m finally ready to tell my story from the day England heartbreakingly missed out in the final of last year’s European Championship. I’m an extremely pessimistic sports fan and England’s men winningContinue reading “The day before Tokyo – a mad petrol dash to Euros heartbreak”

Seventy-two Chefs de Mission pieces? Completed it, mate

By Dan Palmer At first, it seemed like a simple enough task.   The team at insidethegames were preparing for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and I took on the challenge of interviewing the Chef de Mission from every competing country and territory.  Granted, that meant getting in touch with and speaking to 72 different peopleContinue reading “Seventy-two Chefs de Mission pieces? Completed it, mate”

A multi-storey car park and the Brownlee brothers, the story of a Gibraltar triathlete

By Dan Palmer The Commonwealth Games is a rare chance for athletes from non-Olympic nations to rub shoulders with the very elite of sport. When Gibraltar’s triathlete Chris Walker raced at Glasgow 2014, he did so against a field which included England’s dominant Brownlee brothers. Challenging for a medal was never on the agenda, butContinue reading “A multi-storey car park and the Brownlee brothers, the story of a Gibraltar triathlete”

Sea voyages, rabbits and a 189-year-old tortoise – the story of sport in St Helena

By Dan Palmer When the British needed somewhere remote for the exile of Napoleon Bonaparte – a place from where return was impossible – they opted for St Helena. The rocky, volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean is one of the most isolated places on earth, and home to a population of just 4,500Continue reading “Sea voyages, rabbits and a 189-year-old tortoise – the story of sport in St Helena”

MMA should have Olympic chance on an equal footing

By Dan Palmer If you stay in a hotel with MMA fighters, you might see some different things. Take my visit to the swimming pool during last month’s International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) World Championships in Abu Dhabi, when I bumped into Bahrain’s super heavyweight Pasha Kharkhachaev. The two-time and back-to-back world champion wasContinue reading “MMA should have Olympic chance on an equal footing”

Zharnel Hughes, Hurricane Irma and an angel in the outfield – sport in Anguilla

The expectation of fans at Birmingham 2022 means next year’s Commonwealth Games could be particularly special. With COVID-19 forcing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be held behind closed doors, the prospect of cheering crowds at a multi-sport event once again is a tantalising one.  Cardigan Connor, Anguilla’s Chef de Mission for Birmingham 2022, certainly knows the impactContinue reading “Zharnel Hughes, Hurricane Irma and an angel in the outfield – sport in Anguilla”

Bowls in a school corridor: Commonwealth Games passion in the Falkland Islands

By Dan Palmer You would be hard pushed to find a team more enthused about the Commonwealth Games than the Falkland Islands. The tiny archipelago at the foot of South America is home to a little more than 3,000 people but, according to their Birmingham 2022 Chef de Mission Andrew Brownlee, they live and breathe the movement.Continue reading “Bowls in a school corridor: Commonwealth Games passion in the Falkland Islands”

Manipulating time and space – why more people should know about Kaori Icho

By Dan Palmer “Who is the greatest Olympian?” is a topic that sports fans have debated for decades, and they will continue to do so for as long as the Games are contested. Most of the time when this argument is picked and pulled apart, it is the names of the most decorated athletes whoContinue reading “Manipulating time and space – why more people should know about Kaori Icho”

A frosty forecast for Beijing

By Dan Palmer One of the questions journalists hoping to work for insidethegames get asked at interview seems to be a very simple one. “When are the next Olympics?”  It is a question, however, which catches many out – especially if the next Games are of the Winter variety.  The Olympics, of course, do not take place every four years. ItContinue reading “A frosty forecast for Beijing”

2030 Grudge Match: Qatar and Saudi Arabia battle for the Asian Games

By Dan Palmer Bidding races for major Games no longer capture the public’s attention like they once did.  In days gone by, at least a handful of the world’s most famous cities would place themselves on the start line for the right to host the Summer Olympics.  With perilous financial situations becoming the norm and increasing levels of publicContinue reading “2030 Grudge Match: Qatar and Saudi Arabia battle for the Asian Games”

The European Championships were spoilt and now the World Cup will be too

By Dan Palmer In 2016, Portugal won a single game of football from seven attempts and were crowned as the champions of Europe. What would normally be considered a poor run of results was enough to triumph at Euro 2016 in France because of UEFA’s misguided decision to expand the tournament from 16 teams toContinue reading “The European Championships were spoilt and now the World Cup will be too”

The Re-Arrangers: How to put on a sports event at short notice

By Dan Palmer Nasser Majali, the secretary general of the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC), was at home on a Friday in January when the phone rang. On the other end of the line was Prince Faisal bin Hussein, the JOC President and the brother of King Abdullah II. “Where are you Nasser?” asked His RoyalContinue reading “The Re-Arrangers: How to put on a sports event at short notice”

Arabian fights and the sporting ambitions of a controversial Kingdom

By Dan Palmer There is a time and a place for small talk and, usually, passport control is not it. Convention dictates that this must be a stern affair, with smiles at a minimum as important procedures take place. Nobody had told the official stamping me in at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, however. DressedContinue reading “Arabian fights and the sporting ambitions of a controversial Kingdom”

If you can’t be bothered to cover your event, then why should anyone care?

By Dan Palmer Back in 2005, my university friends and I formed a football team in Sheffield. In a move which would certainly raise a few more eyebrows in the current climate, we played in the kit of the Russian national team. One of the squad mysteriously secured a job-lot at a knock-down price andContinue reading “If you can’t be bothered to cover your event, then why should anyone care?”

“We had to do something” – Taekwondo’s mission of hope in Jordan’s desert

By Dan Palmer In 2015, World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue was travelling to London with a plan forming in his head. His sport had just witnessed a very successful World Championships in Russian city Chelyabinsk, and was looking forward to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but the Korean’s mind was elsewhere. At around the sameContinue reading ““We had to do something” – Taekwondo’s mission of hope in Jordan’s desert”


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