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Persecution

If I was a young man today and faced with a choice between being a professional sportsman and a traffic warden, I’d probably opt for the peaked cap. Why? Because traffic wardens are treated with more dignity and respect.

Take the case of Andy Murray as an example. Andy has had back surgery recently. He is in the early stages of rehab, still many weeks away from resuming his tennis career, but mobile enough to keep an important appointment this week. There he was, spruced up and ready to go to the Palace, with his partner and his parents, to pick up his OBE, when there was a knock on his front door. He opened it and there was a man, a stranger, demanding that Andy piss in a bottle, and that he witness him doing so. And he had to, no choice, even though it made him late for his investiture. It’s called out of competition testing, it’s compulsory and those who do not make themselves available are labelled ‘drug cheats’ and banned from their chosen sports. Human rights? They don’t have any.

Such is the crazy world of any modern professional athlete. If I picked up a squash racket again, even at my advanced age, maybe there’s a Masters’ circuit I could play on. Would I consider it? Only if I could give the man with the bottle a simple message when he turned up at my door.

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