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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 winning…

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 people…

Niue, the small team with a Premier on the greens

By Dan Palmer In many ways the Commonwealth Games are summed up by the participation of Niue, a coral island in the South Pacific which locals like to call “The Rock”. Niue is not eligible for the Olympics, but this isolated home to fewer than 2,000 people has a place at the “Friendly Games” and…

Training on the runway – sport in Tuvalu

By Dan Palmer Tuvalu’s athletes have been training in an unusual place to prepare for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – the country’s international airport. Space in the Pacific island nation is at a premium, and with only one flight currently arriving a fortnight the locals have come up with an innovative solution. “At the…

Woody Lawrence, Dominica’s first Olympian

By Dan Palmer Woody Lawrence will not be unprepared when he takes on the role of Chef de Mission for Dominica at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The former competitive swimmer has held the position at five major Games and likes to know everything is in place well in advance. “I tend to be one of the…

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 was…

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 impact…

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. It…

Taking a tumble down a Liechtenstein rabbit hole

By Dan Palmer My experience of coronavirus lockdown perked up considerably when the computer game Football Manager 2020 suddenly became available for free. I’m never one to miss a bargain and the chance to sit in a virtual dugout seemed like a good way to spend the increased amount of spare time that had come…

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 public…

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 to…

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 Royal…

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. Dressed…


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