Mother of UK Olympic medal winner dives into TV row

Updated 10 January 2013
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Mother of UK Olympic medal winner dives into TV row

LONDON: The mother of British Olympic diver Tom Daley has laid into the head of British Swimming for criticizing the 18-year-old’s decision to appear in a celebrity television show.
British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes had said Daley, who won bronze in the men’s 10 meter platform at last year’s London Games, was “putting the cart before the horse” with his role in ITV show Splash.
Sparkes said Daley had “yet to achieve his full potential” in the sport but his proud parent hit back.
Rather than criticize her son, who was one of only three British medal winners in the pool, Debbie Daley said the governing body should be grateful for his success rather than question his commitment.
“Tom was one of the few major success stories for British Swimming this summer... and possibly one of the athletes that helped you retain your job,” she said in an open letter to Sparkes, published in the Daily Mail.
“Surely you should be thanking Tom and showing your support and gratitude?“
Debbie Daley said her son’s decision to appear in the show that features celebrities diving had not impacted on his professional commitment.
She highlighted the fact that he competed in the world junior championships in Australia in October, winning two golds, while many of his TeamGB team mates were celebrating their Olympic success.
“For an individual who is normally so motivated, going back to intense training after the climax of the Games was a real struggle,” she added.
“Everyone else was taking long holidays, partying, celebrating exams, while Tom had to get straight back to diving. You must remember what you did the summer you were 18 years old?
“However, Tom didn’t want to back out. While the competition had no real incentive for him, Tom had made the commitment to his performance director Alexei Evangulov and to British Diving and — despite me trying to convince him otherwise — he got his head down and ploughed on.”
Following the publication of the letter, the diver tweeted: “My mum is amazing.”
A British Swimming spokesman said Sparkes would not make any further comment.


Malaysia mosque bans tourists after ‘sexy dance’ goes viral

Updated 25 June 2018
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Malaysia mosque bans tourists after ‘sexy dance’ goes viral

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian mosque has banned tourists after a video of two female visitors in skimpy outfits dancing in front of the Muslim holy site went viral online.
The pair, of East Asian appearance and believed to be foreigners, were filmed doing the dance in skimpy shorts and tops exposing their midriffs on a wall outside the main mosque in the city of Kota Kinabalu, a popular site for visitors and tour groups.
Residents and local Muslim groups were incensed by the risqué moves outside the holy site on Borneo island, which is renowned for its huge blue and gold dome and ornate minarets.
An outraged onlooker can be heard in the video saying: “Why don’t they just fall off the wall?”
Mosque chairman Jamal Sakaran at the weekend slammed “the unacceptable behavior by foreign tourists” and announced a temporary halt to any tourists visiting the mosque in Sabah state, adding the move was to preserve the sanctity of Islam.
The nationality of the women involved was not clear.
State Tourism Minister Christina Liew told The Star newspaper legal action would not be taken against the pair as they were likely unaware of the severity of their actions. But authorities wanted to track them down to explain “that something they deemed as ‘fun’ was actually disrespectful and not right in Sabah.”
Large numbers of tourists — both local and foreign — visit the mosque, often during a brief stop in Kota Kinabalu before heading into the jungles of Sabah to see the jungle-clad state’s abundance of wildlife.
Tourists can usually visit mosques in Muslim-majority Malaysia, where most practice a moderate form of Islam, but are advised to wear modest clothing.
It is not the first time that foreign visitors have landed in hot water for disrespecting local culture in Sabah.
In 2015 four Western tourists pleaded guilty to obscenity charges for taking nude photos on popular peak Mount Kinabalu, an act some in the country blamed for causing a deadly earthquake.