Twitter is Key – Idowu Finds out the Hard Way as Greene Wins GB Team Captaincy

by Stratton Craig

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It has recently been announced that Welsh hurdler, Dai Greene, will captain the GB Track & Field Team this year. While Greene is a medal hopeful, he is not the only one. What made UKA Head Coach, Charles Van Commenee choose the Welshman over other candidates, such as triple jump hopeful, Phillips Idowu?
Van Commenee stressed that Greene’s professionalism was a key factor in winning the captaincy. Both Greene and Idowu are avid users of Twitter. However, Greene’s conduct is much more in line with the values that the athletics governing body, the UKA, stand for. Last year, Idowu took to Twitter to announce his withdrawal from the GB team for a competition in Sweden – something Van Commenee wasn’t happy with. This followed with a public spat, and with Idowu refusing to curb his Twitter activity and tone. This could have been what has cost Idowu the captaincy that he has held in the past.
Van Commenee regularly expresses his dislike for sites like Twitter, but understands that they are a powerful tool in communicating with fans and gaining support. Rather than banning team members to use the site, Van Commenee expresses that media training is needed: ‘It’s not like we will forbid anything – it’s trying to influence and help athletes to use the medium in a smarter way.’ The appointment of Greene as captain helps the public buy into the team motto of ‘back the team’, with both their support and the purchasing of such merchandise.
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