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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Big name sportsmen
By Thrumbert Sponge-Ffyinngtonn Smythe
BBC Sport's exotic name correspondent

British tennis might be in the doldrums right now after relegation from the world group of the Davis Cup - but there is a bright light on the horizon.

His name? Amadeus Fulford-Jones.

Alright, he might be world number 1,153 at the moment, but he is on the rise - and none of the 1,152 above him have a more exotic moniker. Not even Mardy Fish.

Yet Mr Fulford-Jones may yet require a visit to the deed poll office if he wants to join the big boys of colourful sporting names, as our in-depth investigation shows.

Daniel Batman

Australian 400m star Daniel Batman
Batman hates drawing attention to his unusual surname
Fresh from battling evil arch-villains such as the Joker, and the Penguin, Batman is now winning plaudits running the 400m for Australia.

Obviously, that's a silly thing to say. Batman is a fictional comic character while Daniel Batman is a real athlete who holds the Australian Indoor 400m record and will be hoping for success at the 2004 Olympics.

Although, thinking about it, the Aussie does have a butler called Alfred and he does live in a secret cave where he parks an unfeasibly stylish black car...

Tim Spooneybarger

Baseball is chock full of interesting names, but Spooneybarger just gets the nod ahead of Dick Burns, largely on public decency grounds.

A relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, Spooneybarger's surname conjures up all kinds of exotic images.

Well one exotic image, really. That of an enormous barge. Shaped like a spoon.

Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas

The full names of Sri Lankan cricket players are mini-novels in themselves, and anagram fans, such as Richard Stilgoe, have been known to spend months toiling over the possibilities.

Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas - or Chaminda to his friends - not only boasts one of cricket's longest names, but also 216 Test wickets in a distinguished career.

Honourable mentions to cricket icons Dickie Bird and Jack Russell, of course, but they simply cannot match Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas.

Gregor Fucka

Barcelona legend Gregor *****
***** is one of Barcelona's biggest stars
One of the finest players in European basketball, Gregor also has a surname which is very colourful.

Standing seven feet tall in his bare feet, Fucka has been rattling in the points for Barcelona, and has previously been linked with a move to the Indiana Pacers.

Rumours that he abandoned his career in soccer because every time he put his name on the teamsheet the referee sent him off are completely made up.

Wolfgang Wolf of Wolfsburg

Eat your heart out, Arsene Wenger of Arsenal. For three years in Germany, club and manager names were unified in a manner we are unlikely to see again.

Sadly for all of us, Herr Wolf was sacked by Wolfsburg in March this year - the club foolishly placing such qualities as results and success above having an appropriately-named boss.

Happily, Wolf has found a new job at FC Nurnberg - all we need now is for him to change his name to Nurnberg Nurnbergsson.

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