(AFP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron counted on a little help from French President Francois Hollande to tell him the rules of handball as the pair took in a match at the London Olympics on Monday.
Cameron admitted he had little idea about the sport, which has a low profile in Britain unlike in France, who are the reigning men’s Olympic champions.
So the prime minister turned to Hollande as they took in the women’s match between France and Spain at the Copper Box venue on the Olympic Park, which ended in a thrilling 18-18 draw.
France had crushed Great Britain’s men 44-15 in a handball match on Sunday.
But if there was any consolation for Cameron it was that the match was played in London rather than Paris — the British capital having beaten the City of Light in the 2005 contest to host the 2012 Games.
“Handball isn’t our game,” Cameron told BBC TV before watching the France-Spain match.
“I’m not totally clear on all the rules — perhaps President Hollande can give me a little tutorial as we watch it together.”
Afterwards, he seemed much more on the ball.
“It’s a new game for us, it’s a game that France has been playing for a long time, but it’s very exciting,” he said.
Hollande said it was a shame Paris had not won the right to stage the Games, but also noted that the 2012 Olympics had cost far more to stage than expected back in 2005.
He also could not resist reminding Cameron of France’s vastly superior medal haul so far.
“I would like to congratulate David Cameron and his government for what they have achieved,” he said.
“They have staged the Olympic Games — we would have liked to have had them — but London won and London has laid on a great example of organisation, a beautiful opening ceremony and good medals for France.”
Hollande was also in the Aquatics Centre to watch Frenchman Yannick Agnel shred a star-studded field to win the 200m freestyle gold.
He jumped to his feet and applauded as Agnel completed the final 50 metres.
Earlier, he watched France win two bronze medals in the judo as the French team continued its strong start to the Games.
At the Athletes’ Village, Hollande met Muffat, who won the women’s 400m freestyle, and Celine Goberville, who won a silver medal in the women’s 10m air pistol shooting.
Hollande also met basketball star Tony Parker, who admitted France got off to a “bad start” with a 98-71 defeat to the United States’ ‘Dream Team’.
The president told the basketball team to treat it as “just a training match”. (*)
SOURCE : AFP
Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2012