Beijing Diary

THE armoured personnel carrier may have gone but security is noticeably tighter around certain Olympic sites. Yesterday access areas to the Olympic Village, Media Centre and the Bird’s Nest Stadium were patrolled by troops in full combat fatigues with automatic weapons cradled in their arms.

ONE of our photographic colleagues spotted an interesting sign in the lost and found section of their department. “Found: Fire. Contact desk for details.”

THE South Korean Archery team which won gold at the weekend have revealed the secrets to their success. To make themselves immune to external stimuli they practised at noisy venues to grown accustomed to crowd noises. Earlier this year they had an unusual training regime at a military base. One of the techniques they faced was having snakes put into their clothes so they could learn to overcome their fears.

Another trick came from assistant coaches who would jump out at night pretending to be ghosts.

THE Chinese gymnast Lin Ning who lit the Olympic flame in Friday’s dramatic opening ceremony is reaping the rewards of his high wire act.

Share prices in his company which makes athletics equipment have been selling like hot cakes for the past week netting the former gold medallist over 20 million EURO.

CHINESE athletes have a slight advantage at these Games and not just because of the venue. This month’s Psychology Today found that those wearing red uniforms usually end up with more points than those wearing blue outfits.

THE musical choice during intervals is varied at different venues. Blondie’s The Tide Is High is proving popular at the weightlifting while Dancing Queen is the number one hit at the Water Cube.

ON Tuesday we had Sergio Garcia in the swimming pool and now the Beijing Bureau’s entertainment division informs us that Brad Pitt is heading to China. Sorry ladies, the real Brad is alas up to his oxters in nappies and baby feed along with Angeline and the twins. This Bradley spearheads the Aussie boxing team who are bidding to end a 20 year Olympic medal drought.

TOGO hailed French-born Benjamin Boukpeti for winning the West African country’s first ever Olympic medal on Tuesday and said it would make sure he was suitably honoured. Boukpeti pipped Ireland’s Eoin Rheinisch to the bronze with a powerful run in the final of the KI Kayak at Shunyi Park. Until the white water kayaker’s bronze medal triumph, many Togolese had no idea who he was bar the odd mention in the sports pages of local newspapers.

Born to a Togolese father and resident in France, Boukpeti has been to Togo only once, as a baby. Boukpeti, 27, who chose to compete for Togo in Beijing when it became clear he was too old for France, said he now had a “very good reason” to visit the African nation after stunning the field and spectators at the Olympics.The first non-European male kayaker to win an Olympic slalom medal, Boukpeti—the world number 56 in his sport — received by far the biggest cheers from the packed crowd.

“We are very pleased with Benjamin Boukpeti’s achievement,” said Eloi Salakoffi, director of sport at Togo’s Sport and Leisure Ministry. “We will have to make sure he is suitably honoured,” said Salakoffi, adding Togo would do all it could to arrange for Boukpeti to visit the country to celebrate.

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