A year ago today I went to Lords Cricket ground for the second of three sessions at the Olympic archery venue. Here’s to the memories.
Back to Lords again. Same stand. Almost the same seats. It really is a great venue, compact, easy to get in and out of, pretty, great noise, nice pubs nearby… Apparently, last year, Im Dong-Hyun was asked what he knew of London ahead of the 2012 Games. He replied “Two things. It’s always raining and it’s a country of gentlemen.” The words ‘gentleman’ and ‘Lords’ remain almost as bound as Compton & Edrich. Perhaps they could have picked an even more dramatic location for the archery – Battersea Power Station, maybe, or Hampton Court Palace (which would have been entirely appropriate) – but Lords turned out to be a first-class arena to see it in, really, even if the archers complained about the wind patterns.
It was an exciting day, despite the lack of a final. I got to see Brady Ellison shoot amazingly against Mark Javier, and then collapse against Taylor Worth. (Although Taylor also knocked out Alan Wills; naturally, an Australian knocking out an Englishman at Lords cannot possibly be acceptable 😉 ). I saw Simon Terry demolish a well-ranked Japanese archer, and then fall to a 16 year-old from Moldova. And I got to see Ki Bo Bae, as the top ranked shooter, shoot against the bottom ranked shooter Rand Al-Mashhadani, from Iraq, in a hijab, who had got in as a wildcard by making the minimum qualifying standard – a sporting mismatch of almost Biblical proportions. She looked nervous as hell, and kept drawing and then coming down again. The British public responded as they always do to an underdog, with massive cheering support. She lost 6-0. Makes you proud.
This is probably the best picture I took, just as the light and the shadows started to look awesome on the field. No rain today.
So afterwards I’m ambling, slightly drunkenly (it was sunny, and there was beer) along the street behind Lords as the stadium is emptying, and there’s a little yelp from a couple of Korean teenagers in front of me. And… oh my living God… Ki Bo Bae and Kim Bub Min are walking down the road. In front of us.
So Kim Bub Min ends up taking a picture of me and Ki Bo Bae, right there. Jesus. That’s like Boris Becker taking a picture of you and Steffi Graf. He even takes a couple because I’m looking down in the first one. What a nice guy. She looks a bit scared, I look a bit creepy. We make a wonderful pair.
So they spoke to me in Korean, and I gave them a good luck, and they wandered off to more signing and photos. Why are these people wandering around in the street? I mean, these people are… Usain Bolt doesn’t just go and get the tube back to his hotel after his heats, does he?
Video today: Worth v Ellison last 16. Read about it here.