Wild Thing ban mars Sydney-Hobart start

Updated 26 December 2012
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Wild Thing ban mars Sydney-Hobart start

SYDNEY: The Sydney to Hobart yacht race got off to a controversial start yesterday with fancied supermaxi Wild Thing ruled out at the last minute due to paperwork issues.
Race favorite Wild Oats XI — tipped for a sixth line honors win and hoping to clock a new race record — led the 76-vessel fleet out of Sydney Harbor in record time and took a commanding lead early boosted by a strong southerly wind.
But the start of the annual 628-nautical mile bluewater classic was overshadowed by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA)’s decision to bar Grant Wharington’s 100-footer Wild Thing due to paperwork problems.
The 2003 line honors winner was among the top three race favorites but officials scratched it just three hours before the start citing incomplete documentation of major modifications extending the vessel to 100 feet.
It would have been Wharington’s 25th Sydney to Hobart and the veteran skipper said he had been “blindsided” and was “dumbfounded” at the decision.
“We are absolutely devastated to be told at the 11th hour that we are unable to race to Hobart,” a furious Wharington told reporters.
“We’re a bit stuck for words as to why it happened, the situation, we provided the documentation — I’ve got it in my hand.” Wharington said he had been granted approval to race on Wednesday and had received no indication in the hours before the decision that there was a problem.
He attended the final pre-race briefing Wednesday and was doing the last run-through with his crew on board the yacht, his phone switched off, when race officials announced Wild Thing’s disqualification to the media.
“As everybody turned their phones back on, (there were) obviously hundreds of messages that it was all over the press, that we were knocked out, and we were absolutely dumbfounded,” he said, blasting it as “nonsensical” and claiming he was the victim of a conspiracy.
CYCA commodore Howard Piggott said officials had been working with Wharington for days on the documents, giving him until 10:00 a.m. on race morning to file the necessary proof that his modifications met international standards.
“However, that has not been forthcoming, and the race committee has no option but to not accept the entry of Wild Thing,” Piggott said.
“This is the final decision of the race committee that puts safety first,” he added.

Piggott said it was disappointing but insisted the CYCA had made every effort and the matter was “out of our hands.”
“I believe we just have to get on with it now and go out and yacht race,” he said.
It is not the first time the daunting annual dash down Australia’s southeast coast has been dogged by controversy — as recently as last year there was an official jury protest accusing line honors winner Investec Loyal of misconduct.
Catastrophic weather during the 1998 edition sank five yachts and claimed six lives.
Wild Oats XI — piped in the final stages by Loyal in 2011 — is the hot favorite to take line honors for a sixth time and favorable winds may see its record of one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds set in 2005 tumble.
It made an impressive start, taking a one-minute, 35-second lead as it steamed out of the harbor under 20-knot gusts, ahead of fellow maxis Loyal, Black Jack, Loki and Lahana.
Conditions favor the larger boats, with a 60+ footer expected to be first over the line and the coveted line and handicap honors double on the cards for the first time since 2005, when Wild Oats made it a triple with a new race record.
Handicap honors take into account each boat’s dimensions, including sail area, whether it has a canting or fixed keel and age.


LIVE: Saudi Arabia 1 Egypt 1 - Mohamed Salah scores, Al-Faraj equalizes

Updated 11 min 48 sec ago
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LIVE: Saudi Arabia 1 Egypt 1 - Mohamed Salah scores, Al-Faraj equalizes

6.40PM: The Green Falcons have had a couple of free-kicks in promising positions in the last 5 minutes...both have been wasted, however. 10 minutes left...

6.30PM: That early bright start to this half is fading for Saudi Arabia as Egypt look to take control of the game, and Hector Cuper urges them on.

But what's this? Another two top saves from El-Hadary keeps Saudi Arabia at bay. They're not done just yet...

6.24PM: That's the end of the World Cup for Mohsen as the Egyptian No. 9 is replaced by Ramadan Sobhi.

Meanwhile, Aburadeah Aseri comes on for Bahebri for the Green Falcons.

25 minutes left.

6.21PM: Both of Egypt's goals at this World Cup have been scored by Salah, but Trezeguet came awfully close to joining the party as his towering header flashes just past the post with Al-Mosailem in the Saudi goal well beaten.

6.15PM: The intensity has just dropped out of this game now, and is beginning to look like the "dead rubber" we thought it would be. Saudi Arabia seem content to knock it around the middle just now, and Egypt are happy to let them.

6.08PM: Much better from Saudi Arabia who are attacking with a lot more intent at the beginning of the second half, they're pinning Egypt back into their own half at the moment.

5.45PM - HALFTIME: What a story for Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who pulled off a fantastic save to keep Egypt ahead. Magical moment. But the second penalty gives Saudi Arabia hope for the second half. 

The Salah goal opened the game up much more, and the Green Falcons produced some much better football to create opportunities. 

One last push in the second half could see them claim a famous victory.

5.48PM: After VAR review, the penalty is confirmed and Salman Al-Faraj buries it! GOAL FOR SAUDI ARABIA! At last...

5.45PM: A SECOND PENALTY TO SAUDI ARABIA...

5.40PM: PENALTY TO SAUDI ARABIA - And Fahad misses it...the wait for a goal at this World Cup goes on for the Green Falcons!

5.36PM: Salman has a glorious chance for Saudi Arabia, but his shot inside the box is blocked on the line and goes out for a corner. Green Falcons' best chance of the game.

5.30PM: That's given the thousands of Egyptian fans in this Volgograd Arena something to cheer about, and they're the ones making all the noise now.

5.22PM: GOAL - Who else? Mohamed Salah with a wonderful touch chips it into the net to give the Pharoahs a 1-0 lead...

5.20PM: As we've seen for the majority of this tournament, Saudi Arabia keep the ball reasonably well in the first two-thirds ... but they are just lacking that quality needed in the final third to turn possession into goals.

5.12PM: There's one glimmer of hope about this World Cup for Saudi Arabia - according to the statisticians, they boast some one of the best passing accuracy figures at the tournament. Having made 1,107 passes in their two games before today, they boasted an accuracy of 83.9%, just behind Spain on 91.3%. Iran were at the bottom with 61.3%.

5.07PM: Saudi Arabia win their first corner of the match... and it is comfortably cleared by the Egyptian defense. But that was better from the Green Falcons.

5.00PM: Here we go, Saudi Arabia and Egypt's final game of the 2018 World Cup is under way...

4.50PM: Al-Ahli's Alexis Ruano is watching the game and is hoping for a Saudi Arabia win by the looks of it...

Meanwhile, the Egypt fans are in good voice in the stands too...

4.40PM: Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi spoke before the match: "It's very easy with hindsight, after the results that we have had, to come up with situations that you'd like to change. But unfortunately we coaches have to take most of our decisions before things pan out.

"We've seen that certain concepts work, we've seen alternatives, we've tried to bring in new players as well, and this experience that we have had specifically in the run-up to this World Cup has been very important."

4.15PM: This must be some sort of record because there is 45 minutes to go until kick-off and we have not spoken about Mohamed Salah yet. The news El-Hadary will start and enter the record books has taken the spotlight away from the "Egyptian King". We reckon that both for him and the rest of the squad that will come as a huge relief. Cominginto this match there were reports Salah was ready to quit international football, such was the circus that his playing/non-playing created — the latest episode of which saw both player and team management deny that rumor.

4PM: EL-HADARY SET TO MAKE HISTORY —  So the last matches of Group A have arrived and while hosts Russia will be battling it out with Uruguay to see who goes though as group winners, the Green Falcons and Egypt have little but pride to play for in Volgograd.

The big team news that has come out so far is that Hector Cuper has had a heart and will start Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. That means El-Hadary will become the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup. Aged 45 years, five months and 12 days he will smash the record currently held by Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was aged 43 years and three days when he played against Japan in Brazil in 2014.

This may be a dead rubber, however, both sides will be keen to get a win. Saudi Arabia are looking for their first World Cup victory since 1994, while the Pharaohs are searching for their first win in the tournament ever.