So, Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France this year. He is being heralded as one the greatest British sportsmen of all time. While taking nothing away from such an amazing feat of endurance and strength, I’d like to point out that he was actually born in Belgium. He claims his Britishness from his English mother. His father, however, was Australian. His parents split when he was two and his mother went back to England and Bradley grew up in Kilburn.
It’s a bit of a bugbear of mine that sports people seem to pick and choose their country-of-origin as it suits them. To my way of thinking, unless you’re born at sea, an easy way to determine which country a person represents, is to restrict it to where that person was born. With no wriggle room. An absolute.
As it is, England has a South African cricketer who was sick of the selection process in South Africa and decided, therefore, that he was English because of his heritage rather than his birth.
It makes a mockery of international competition. I could also cite the Australian born Irish cricketer, Trent Johnston who was made captain in 2005. He’s a very handy all rounder who, I assume, didn’t get a start in the Australian side so, having married an Irish woman and producing two kids, he qualified to play for Ireland.
I’m not denigrating any sporting achievements by any of these people, merely their choice of international allegiance. It seems to be that someone who can trace their ancestry back to the Norman invasion, could, conceivably, represent France. And anyone finding a link back to the Romans, should, really, be Italian.
Taking that to its natural conclusion, we should all, really, represent Africa.