Posted: 8/10/2012


          When I was at graduate school for sport in Loughborough in 1964 we went on an Outward Bound week in the rugged mountains and coast of North Wales, with sea kayaking, mountain climbing and more. One day we had a mountain race with maps and compass in pairs.

          My room mate John Whetton and  I set off in the time trial on and after a few hours in icy rain the mist set in and we became lost up a mountain, and it got dark. I knew we wouldn't be forgotten. I was a nobody but my mate was the world record holder for the indoor mile and recent World Student Games 1,500 metre gold medalist in Porto Alegre, Brazil and was due to compete for Team GB shortly at the Tokyo Olympics.  The fog finally lifted and we finally made it back home.

          I followed him to Tokyo to support him and other Olympian college friends. I hitch hiked part of the way and crossed Siberia by rail and then 3 days by ferry to Yokohama. John made the final in 8th place, which was won by Peter Snell of New Zealand, but later became European champion.  I had wanted to compete as a flyweight boxer but having been knocked out for the only time in my career by a boxer form Thailand, I had to sit out the trials. End of a dream.

          This afternoon I went to see the freshly painted gold post box on The Headrow in Leeds and then bought a sheet of 60p first class stamps featuring Yorkshire lass NICOLA ADAMS from Leeds who won the very first women's Olympic boxing gold medal in history for Team GB. She defeated world champion Ren Cancan of China in the flyweight division.

          There were only three divisions in this inaugural women's competition. Katie Taylor of Ireland beat Russia's Ofya Oshigava in lightweight while 17 year old American Claressa Shields won middleweight. For the first time EVER no USA male boxer won a medal. There are 10 male divisions and USA contested 9 of them without any success-or medals.