Snowboarders hit back after ‘dangerous’ Winter Olympic final

Miyabi Onitsuka of Japan crashes during the women's slopestyle final at Phoenix Snow Park during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. (AP)
Updated 12 February 2018
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Snowboarders hit back after ‘dangerous’ Winter Olympic final

PYEONGCHANG: Angry snowboarders have hit out at the “really dangerous” women’s slopestyle final at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, saying it should have been canceled or postponed after vicious winds caused a string of crashes on Monday.
The vast majority of the athletes competing in the event, including eventual gold medallist American Jamie Anderson, took a fall at the frigid Phoenix Park, where high winds forced Sunday’s qualifiers to be scrapped and also delayed the final for more than an hour on Monday.
It was not the first event to be affected by the swirling winds in Pyeongchang, as the prestigious men’s downhill skiing had to be moved to Thursday after falling victim to the conditions.
None of the snowboarders suffered major injury as gusting winds wreaked havoc, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Ski Federation (FIS) are sure to face awkward questions as to why the final was not postponed.
Enni Rukajarvi mastered the conditions better than most and took bronze behind defending champion Anderson and Laurie Blouin of Canada, but the Finn said her achievement had been overshadowed.
“Most happy that no one got hurt really bad,” she said.
Asked whether it had been the right decision to hold the event, she replied: “It wasn’t. It was better in the practice, but then it got really bad, so they should have canceled it or moved it.”
The 27-year-old added: “The weather was bad and too dangerous and I got a lot of wind in my run, so that was bad, too. I had a fall and hurt my chin a little bit so it wasn’t too nice.”
On Sunday, the 17-year-old Tess Coady, the youngest member of the Australian team in South Korea, was forced out of the Games after wrecking her left knee in training. Coady blamed the weather and Austrian rival Anna Gasser said: “So many people got hurt because of the wind already.
“Even yesterday, the practice we did in the morning was dangerous,” added Gasser after finishing 15th in the slopestyle.
Gasser called it “a lottery” and said: “I don’t think it was a fair competition and I’m a little disappointed in the organization that they pulled through with it.
“From my point of view I think it was not a good show for women’s snowboarding.”
Elsewhere in Pyeongchang on day three, German biathlete Laura Dahlmeier became the first double gold medalist of the Olympics by capturing the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit.
She had previously won the 7.5-kilometer sprint at the weekend.
With a healthy lead, Dahlmeier grabbed a German flag from a fan in the crowd about 50 meters from the finish line and began waving it as she crossed.
Dahlmeier entered the games ranked fourth in the world but had never won a gold medal. She is quickly becoming the darling of the German team.
After hitting all 10 targets in the sprint, Dahlmeier was nearly perfect again in her second race, hitting 19 of 20 shots to cruise to a victory by more than 29 seconds over Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kuzmina, who edged France’s Anais Bescond for silver.


Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

Updated 22 July 2019
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Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

  • Princess Nourah thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future

RIYADH: Princess Nourah bint Saad has officially become the first Saudi woman to be president of a sports club. Italian news outlet Corriere Della Sera reported recently that the princess had successfully acquired the Umbrian football club Spoleto.

Speaking at a press conference, the princess thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future. 

“Football is a family passion, and Italian football is followed all over the world. This is why I chose to invest in Umbria,” she said. 

Princess Nourah chose the team after considering several aspects. “Spoleto is a small, amateur football organization where it is possible to work with the aim of growing and aiming for promotion. But we cannot fail to consider the value and beauty of the city of Spoleto, which is famous throughout the world.” Spoleto is a member of Serie D of the Italian non-professional football association, Lega Nazionale Dilettanti.  The association represents more than 12,000 football players and 400 football teams across Italy and is considered the fourth-ranked league in the country. Under the princess’s presidency, the team aims to ascend to Serie C in the near future, and further in the long term.

Spoleto announced that they have formally registered for the Excellence Umbria 2019/2020 championship and the Regional Junior Championship 2019/2020.

This purchase marks the Saudi royal family’s second venture into sports club ownership. Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad co-owns English Premier League football club Sheffield United.