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When money's not right to mention


Shane Williams. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Shane Williams. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile


Shane Williams. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

A story told by Shane Williams on TV3's 'Clubhouse' last week of his father profiting to the tune of £50,000 when he became Wales's record try-scorer brought to mind the similar, but less triumphant, tale of a young Irish Olympian at the Beijing Games.

Williams described how he was actually en route to a Test match when his father phoned, informing him of a bet made many years earlier that was now about to reap such a massive dividend if he scored the single try that would overtake the record of Gareth Thomas.

It wasn't the ideal pre-Test information for a player to have to process, albeit Williams would ultimately go on to obliterate Thomas's mark.

Warren Gatland had insisted he sidestep interaction with media that week to avoid unnecessary focus on the record but, after that phone-call from his father, Williams said "I remember just walking to the changing-room shaking like God-knows-what!"

In 2008, a young Irish competitor in China took pretty much the same call, advising them that a bet had been placed whereby an Olympic medal win would secure €40,000 for their family.

It was an extraordinarily ill-timed call and one that appalled the coaching staff working with the athlete, a first-time Olympian.

And, in this instance, the dividend did not materialise, thus compounding the regret that competitor was cursed to carry.

Irish Independent