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Eritreans prone to sobbing 'cause Eritrea anagram of 'tearier'?

Ways to golden opportunity... 

By B Comber
Published: 9 September 2004

Paraguay, Ireland, Cameroon, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Syria, Mongolia, Eritrea, Colombia, India, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. What do these places have in common? Answer: their teams all came home from the Olympic Games with one medal apiece. In a spirit of equal opportunity, I therefore propose that the following sports be added to the Olympic programme next time, to give these nations a chance.

Paraguay: Spot The Flag-side. Flag-waving has always been a part of the Olympic Games, and Paraguay is the only country with a flag that is not the same on both sides. This combination of flag-waving with Spot The Difference will give them a fine chance of gold.

Ireland: With arms decommissioning and Riverdance, the Irish have a unique reputation for not using their arms. I therefore, propose a feet-only Pin The Tail On The Leprechaun event.

Cameroon: Since Mount Cameroon is an active volcano, and both French and English are official languages in Cameroon, I propose the institution of The Modern Bilingualism. The contestants will run towards a volcano in French, cycle round it in panic, and swim away from it in English.

Dominican Republic: Should win at least silver in the Being Confused With Another Country event. Their main rivals are expected to be Dominica.

Trinidad and Tobago: Strong favourites for the Tobagonning event - a summer version of the winter sport tobogganing - in which contestants slide down a beach on a turtle shell.

Syria: Spot The Ball. Each nation will bring along its own ball. Then the judges will attempt to identify which ball belongs to which country. The twist here will be to invite Mr John McEnroe to judge the event, bringing Syria extra points every time he says: "You cannot be Syria's".

Mongolia: There is a traditional sport in Mongolia that involves teams or horsemen trying to chuck a headless calf into the opponents' goalmouth. It sounds better television than polo, anyway.

Eritrea: No wonder Eritrean athletes are reduced to sobbing when their country's name is an anagram of 'tearier'?

Colombia: It is surely time the Colombians took the international Olympic Committee to the Court of Human Rights for all the drug testing they insist on doing. This must surely discriminate against the major drug-producing countries. Once this policy is reversed, we can look forward to an improvement in Colombia's international standing in sport.

India: With 29 Indians born every second, they should easily win either the Maternity or Synchronised Nappy-Changing event.

Hong Kong: Reverting to Chinese rule has, curiously, never been an Olympic sport. Coached by the last British governor, Chris Patten, they will have a good chance of gold.

United Arab Emirates: As the history of the Middle East has shown, Uniting Arab Emirates is no mean feat. The UAE should start firm favourites in the Synchronised Emirating.