As London waits to hear if its bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championship has been successful, accountants for sportsmen and women right across the UK are keeping their fingers crossed that Qatar edges it.
Many amateur athletes are already facing the hardship of trying to save for train tickets in time for the 2012 Olympics, a problem compounded by the prospect of eye-watering souvenir prices.
“It’s an honour to be chosen to represent your country, obviously”, admitted Sarah Temple, a discus user and keen javelinist.
“But with the economy the way it is, the bank won’t re-mortgage my flat to pay for more than three nights in the Travelodge for my mum. She’s probably going to have to hitch down, and take sandwiches.”
World Championships 2017
Doha offers the only glimmer of hope to Britain’s medal hopefuls, with long-haul flights to Qatar’s capital costing a fraction of a peak time travel card from Doncaster with use of zones 1 to 5.
“My kids dream of one day seeing the sites of Big Ben and Nelson’s Column, they want to compare them with the fakes we saw in Vegas”, explained Derek Frenshaw, a pommel-horsist from Manchester.
“But the prospect of buying two all-day train tickets, within the space of five years? Qatar might not have the best human rights record, but London’s prices are pure torture.”
“It’s no wonder the Russians and Chinese win everything, no-one else can afford to get here.”
Frenshaw’s determination to compete is typical of Britain’s amateur sportsmen, and he won’t let the prospect of financial destitution stand in the way of performing in front of a crowd of BBC employees, MPs and corporate entertainment agencies.
“I need my family around me if I’m going to beat my personal best”, said Frenshaw.
“Fortunately, I’ve found a very reasonable crack den where my parents can stay in 2012. The owner is a bit vague on how much it costs, but for some reason, the first night is free.”