Del Piero magic inspires Sydney FC as A-League kicks off

Updated 11 October 2013

Del Piero magic inspires Sydney FC as A-League kicks off

SYDNEY: Alessandro Del Piero scored a superb goal and set up another to get Australia’s A-League season off with a bang by leading Sydney FC to a 2-0 win over the Newcastle Jets at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday.
The Juventus and Italy great’s arrival on a A$4 million ($3.78 million) two-year deal last season helped fire what was hailed as a breakthrough season for the league but the returns for Sydney FC on the pitch were not as sensational.
Del Piero was a class apart but his 14 goals in 24 appearances were not enough to drag the twice champions into the playoffs that decide the league title at the end of the season.
Installed as club captain for this season, 38-year-old Del Piero had looked off the pace in a sometimes physical encounter of the sort Newcastle’s marquee signing Emile Heskey might have enjoyed had the former England striker not been injured.
A crude hack at Del Piero’s ankle by former Netherlands defender Kew Jaliens in the 28th minute slowed his pace even further and there were only glimpses of the skill that won him 91 Italy caps.
With nine minutes remaining in the half, though, his teammates finally got him the ball in space and facing goal.
Although he lost possession in the initial challenge, the ball fell kindly for him in the penalty area and, in a blur of back-heels and faints, he wriggled through three defenders and lashed the ball past goalkeeper Mark Brighitti.
Sydney’s second goal went to Joel Chianese on the hour mark but it was Del Piero’s tackle, followed by another surging run toward goal and perfectly weighted pass that allowed the young midfielder the room to finish with a flourish.
The 20,000 crowd was down on the 35,000 who turned up for the corresponding fixture for Del Piero’s first start last year but Australia’s glamor club will not care too much if the Italian can help them to a third title next May.

Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

Updated 11 December 2019

Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

  • Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation

MOSCOW: Russian high jump world champion Maria Lasitskene on Tuesday accused her country’s own sports authorities of failing to protect athletes from the deepening doping crisis, in a rare public broadside at top officials.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday handed Russia a new, this time four-year, ban from top global sporting events, including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup, for tampering with laboratory data.

The ruling means Russian athletes cleared to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will do so under a neutral flag. But Lasitskene and some other Russian track and field athletes face additional obstacles to being cleared for competition.

“I’ve already missed one Olympics and one-and-a-half years of international competition,” Lasitskene wrote in an open letter addressed to Russia’s sports authorities.

“And it seems that’s not the end of it. So who ultimately is to blame? Who’s going to give me back what I’ve lost?” she wrote in the letter published on Russian sports media outlet Championat.Com.

Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation, which has been suspended for doping since 2015, and has been one of the few Russian athletes to voice her anger publicly.

World Athletics, the global body governing athletics, last month halted the reinstatement procedures for Russia’s athletics federation after its president and six others were provisionally suspended for serious breaches of anti-doping rules.

As a result of these fresh sanctions, World Athletics also said it was reviewing the process it has used in the past to clear some Russians, including Lasitskene, to compete internationally as neutrals.

“Why have we arrived at a situation when an athlete is supposed to be delighted about getting neutral status?” Lasitskene wrote.

“Was the Sports Ministry and Russian Olympic Committee really happy with the Russian athletics federation’s work?”

The president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, on Monday dismissed the sanctions against Russia as inappropriate and excessive.