Vonn dominates, renews bid to race men

Updated 02 December 2012
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Vonn dominates, renews bid to race men

LAKE LOUISE, Canada: Lindsey Vonn, who swept all three races last year at Lake Louise, easily won the downhill here Friday, her 12th World Cup title at the venue, giving credibility to her desire to race the men.
The four-time overall World Cup champion will race her second downhill of the season Saturday and a super-G Sunday.
“When you say you want to race the men, you can’t really not win the women’s races,” said Vonn, whose desire to race in the men’s event last week was turned down by the sport’s governing body FIS.
“I knew that and I definitely was trying to prove a point, I think mostly to myself, but to everyone else who doesn’t think I should race with the men. Hopefully it works out. Maybe it won’t, but I think my skiing will speak for itself.”
In a race disrupted by fog, Vonn clocked 1min 52.61sec to win her 27th World Cup downhill title overall. Almost half of those have come in the Canadian Rockies.
American Stacey Cook was a distant second, 1.73sec back with Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather sharing third, 1.74sec behind Vonn.
The race was halted for an hour and a half because of poor visibility after the run of starter number 25, Austrian Anna Fenninger. Vonn was already in the lead by then.
The 28-year-old American, who landed in the hospital earlier this month with a painful intestinal illness, looked like her old self a week after she was clearly exhausted after competing in a giant slalom in Colorado.
Vonn finished 21st in the giant slalom last week, then skipped the slalom.
“It seemed like everything was going wrong,” Vonn said.
“It’s hard sometimes to believe that you’re going to turn things around. I just keep fighting and every day, I keep trying my best. I was just so happy I was able to come out today and ski the way I wanted to. It was just a big sigh of relief.”
“The only thing I’m concerned about at this point is my energy level and trying to make sure I have enough energy for the next couple of days,” she said.
“It was a long time standing out in the cold today and hopefully I can just get some good recovery in today and maintain what I have and be able to ski the way I want to.”
In a rare move, Vonn skipped Thursday’s final downhill training run because of stomach problems.
“It’s just that my stomach is really sensitive, so I had some funny eggs or, I don’t really know what it was,” she said. “It seems like it doesn’t really matter what I eat, something can sometimes trigger it. I definitely wasn’t feeling well yesterday.”
Cook cried after completing the one-two American sweep and when she realized she would be on a World Cup podium for the first time in her career.
“Someone told me this was my 150th World Cup start. One hundred and fifty tries to get on the podium,” Cook said.
“Nine years of it. It’s a long time coming and my parents — they come to one race every three years. For them to choose this one was really special.”
Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who seized the World Cup overall lead with two giant slalom victories already this season, settled for 20th place.


Saudi Arabia step up their World Cup preparations by flying to Switzerland for training camp

Updated 34 min 11 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia step up their World Cup preparations by flying to Switzerland for training camp

  • Squad of 28 to be based in Zurich
  • Friendlies on the horizon against Italy and Peru

Juan Antonio Pizzi has taken a 28-man squad to Zurich for the final stage of the Green Falcons’ World Cup preparations.
The party flew out of Jeddah late last night and landed in Switzerland early this morning. There they will be joined by Fahad Al-Muwallad and Salem Al-Dawsari who will fly in from Spain after playing for Levante and Villarreal on Saturday night.
The three-week training camp in the Swiss resort town of Bad Ragaz gives Pizzi the chance to get stuck into some intense tactical and physical work with his players and decide which five players to leave out of his squad. He must whittle down his list down to 23 by June 4, which gives the players get two final chances to stake their claim for a seat on the plane in friendlies against Italy on May 28 and Peru on June 3. By the time they play Germany in Leverkusen on June 8, Pizzi will have named his party for the assignment in Russia.
Pizzi is clearly much nearer knowing who he will take as he has only made minor changes to the squad he named for the recent wins against Greece and Algeria.
Al-Ittihad goalkeeper Assaf Al-Qarni replaces his club teammate Fawaz Al-Qarni as the fourth stopper in the squad, as Pizzi looks settled on retaining Al-Ahli duo Yasser Al-Mosaileem and Mohammed Al-Owais in addition to Al-Hilal’s Abdullah Al-Mayouf. One of those four will fail to make the cut as no team takes four goalkeepers to the World Cup.
There were no changes in the backline where the former Chile boss is opting for harmony. Eight of the nine defenders called up ply their trade at Al-Hilal or Al-Ahli, while Al-Nassr’s Omar Hawsawi rounds off the selection. One defender might have to make way and Al-Hilal teammates Mohammad Jahfali and Ali Al-Bulayhi could well find themselves vying for one spot on the plane to Moscow.
Abdullah Otayf and Taisir Al-Jassim look to be firm favorites to make the starting XI in the base of midfield, while the third central spot is up for grabs. Hussein Al-Moqahwi has regularly featured in that position, but Salman Al-Faraj’s return from a long injury saw him start both friendlies in the Spain training camp. Abdulmalik Al-Khaibari could emerge as the more conservative midfield enforcer against stronger sides.
The center of the pitch is where the most intense battle of positions will take place. As many as three midfielders could be left behind come June 4. Ibrahim Ghaleb has already been left out and he may be joined by Al-Shabab duo Hattan Bahebri and Abdulla Al-Khaibari. One of Mohammad Kanno and Mohammed Al Kuwaikbi could be the last man to be dropped in two weeks’ time.
Up front, Harun Kamara, a surprise call-up for the recent friendlies, failed to retain his spot in the squad so Mohannad Assiri and Mohammed Al-Sahlawi will battle it out for the sole striker position.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al-Owais, Yasser Al-Mosaileem (Al-Ahli); Abdullah Al-Mayouf (Al-Hilal); Assaf Al-Qarni (Al-Ittihad)
Defenders: Motaz Hawsawi, Saeed Al-Muwallad, Mansour Al-Harbi (Al-Ahli); Osama Hawsawi, Mohammed Jahfali, Ali Al-Bulayhi, Mohammed Al-Burayk, Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal); Omar Hawsawi (Al-Nassr).
Midfielders: Abdullah Al-Khaibari, Hattan Bahebri (Al-Shabab); Abdulmalik Al-Khaibari, Abdulla Otayf, Salman Al-Faraj, Mohammed Kanno, Nawaf Al-Abid (Al-Hilal); Taisir Al-Jassim, Hussein Al-Moqahwi (Al-Ahli); Mohammed Al-Kuwaikbi (Al-Ettifaq); Salem Al-Dawsari (Villarreal); Fahad Al-Muwallad (Levante); Yahya Al-Shehri (Leganes)
Forwards: Mohammed Al-Sahlawi (Al-Nassr); Mohannad Assiri (Al-Ahli)