Thompson-Herah wins Commonwealth Games 100m as Titmus stars in pool

Thompson-Herah wins Commonwealth Games 100m as Titmus stars in pool
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Gold medalist Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah celebrates after the women’s 100m final athletics event at the Alexander Stadium, in Birmingham on day six of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, central England, on Aug. 3, 2022. (AFP)
Thompson-Herah wins Commonwealth Games 100m as Titmus stars in pool
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Australia’s Ariarne Titmus competes in the women’s 400m freestyle swimming final at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre on Aug. 3, 2022. (AFP)
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Updated 04 August 2022

Thompson-Herah wins Commonwealth Games 100m as Titmus stars in pool

Thompson-Herah wins Commonwealth Games 100m as Titmus stars in pool
  • Johnson-Thompson ended her drought since the 2019 world championships by racking up 6,377 points in the heptathlon to finish 144 points clear of Northern Ireland’s Kate O’Connor
  • On the final night of action at the Sandwell Aquatics Center, 400m world record holder Titmus beat a high-class field after her earlier triumphs in the 200m and 800m freestyle

BIRMINGHAM: Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah cruised to Commonwealth gold on Wednesday as Australia’s Ariarne Titmus completed a stunning individual freestyle treble on the last night of swimming action.

Elsewhere on the second day of track and field action in Birmingham, England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson claimed her first heptathlon title for three years as she retained her crown.

Jamaica’s Thompson-Herah finished a disappointing third behind compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson in the 100m at last month’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

But she was the only one of three in the field at the Alexander Stadium and she made no mistake, crossing the line in 10.95sec to win the title for the first time.

“Feeling good,” said the 30-year-old. “I didn’t have the best execution but nevertheless I had to dig for that one but I am still grateful to win my first Commonwealth Games.”

Johnson-Thompson ended her drought since the 2019 world championships by racking up 6,377 points in the heptathlon to finish 144 points clear of Northern Ireland’s Kate O’Connor.

“It feels incredible to do that in front of my home crowd,” said the 29-year-old, who finished a disappointing eighth at the world championships.

“It was the crowd who got me through the competition, especially the 800m when the noise was so loud.

“You know when you feel pain, you didn’t feel it, so I have got them to thank for that performance.”

Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala won the men’s 100m in a time of 10.02 while Scotland’s Eilish McColgan emulated her mother Liz McColgan in winning the women’s 10,000m.

On the final night of action at the Sandwell Aquatics Center, 400m world record holder Titmus beat a high-class field after her earlier triumphs in the 200m and 800m freestyle.

The 21-year-old dominated the race, touching in 3min 58.06sec to see off the challenge of Canada’s 15-year-old Summer McIntosh.

The Olympic 200m and 400m champion skipped the world championships in Budapest in June, where she would have faced US star Katie Ledecky, to focus on the Commonwealths.

She leaves Birmingham with four golds in total after being part of Australia’s winning team in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

“I came here with the goal to win all four. I believed I had the capacity to do that and I’m happy I did,” she said.

Titmus said it was crucial to have race practice in a high-pressure situation.

“I think that, back home, Australia really prides itself on success in the pool at the Comm Games,” she said.

“Potentially there’s more pressure here to win than at the Olympics sometimes because we are so dominant. Performing under that pressure is tough.”

England’s Ben Proud won his third straight Commonwealth men’s 50m freestyle title, dominating the field to win in 21.36sec.

“It’s a year ago since I was giving my interviews and burst into tears because of a bad swim at the Olympics,” said the world champion, who also won the 50m butterfly in Birmingham.

“So much has changed. This is really my redemption year. Something has clicked.”

Emma McKeon won a record-extending 20th Commonwealth medal as Australia brought the swimming events to a close by winning the women’s 4x100m medley relay.

The 28-year-old has won six gold medals in Birmingham to take her overall tally of golds to 14.

England’s Olympic 200m freestyle champion Tom Dean finally got his hands on a gold medal after six silvers, touching 0.08sec ahead of Australia’s Kyle Chalmers in the men’s 4x100m medley relay.

Australia finished with 25 swimming gold medals out of a total of 52, with the overall tally including swimming and para-swimming events.

Elsewhere on day six of the Games, England’s Georgina Kennedy beat Canada’s Hollie Naughton in four games to win the women’s squash final.

New Zealand’s Paul Coll won the men’s event, beating Joel Makin of Wales in a five-game nail-biter.

New Zealand also took gold and silver in the men’s cross-country mountain biking, with Samuel Gaze just edging out Ben Oliver while England’s Evie Richards won the women’s event.

Australia lead the way in the overall medals tally with 46 golds, seven ahead of England, with Canada in third place on 16.


Olympic skate star helps launch Mideast’s largest park in Sharjah

Olympic skate star helps launch Mideast’s largest park in Sharjah
Updated 29 November 2022

Olympic skate star helps launch Mideast’s largest park in Sharjah

Olympic skate star helps launch Mideast’s largest park in Sharjah
  • Final phase of facility at megaproject Aljada was designed by Australia’s Keegan Palmer, the sport’s first-ever gold medalist

SHARJAH: Aljada Skate Park, the largest facility of its kind in the Middle East, has opened in Sharjah.

Located in the Madar family entertainment district of the Aljada community, the facility was opened by Australia’s Keegan Palmer, the skateboarding Olympic gold medalist, who designed its third phase.

Launched by developers Arada and spread over a 90,000 square foot (8,361 square meter) area, Aljada Skate Park contains sections for every level, from beginner to professional.

The pro-level phase of the facility contains design elements inspired by famous skate parks from around the world, including Bondi Beach and Salt Lake City, where Palmer has competed. This includes a large vert wall that can also be found at the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, where he won the gold medal in 2021.

“This is not only the largest but also the most challenging and creative skate park anywhere in the region,” said Palmer. “Aljada Skate Park is now a focal point for the growing skate community here in the UAE, and I’m very excited about the future plans that we have for this amazing facility.”

Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, group CEO of Arada, said: “Our strategy has always been to deliver world-class facilities to inspire residents and visitors to our communities, and Aljada Skate Park is no exception. We’re delighted to support this rapidly growing sport here in the UAE and will shortly be sharing our plans to put Sharjah on the map as a global destination for professional skateboarding.”

Among those who joined Palmer and Alkhoshaibi at the park’s launch on Nov. 26 were Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, vice chairman of Arada, and Sabatino Aracu, president of World Skate, the global governing body.

Over the course of the weekend, skaters from across the UAE and beyond heard Keegan talk about his Olympic and Aljada journeys, as well as the chance to learn tricks at special clinics. In addition, another of the world’s top skaters, Pedro Barros, who won silver at Tokyo in 2021, also impressed the crowd with his skills.

On Saturday, skaters were able to show their skills and compete to win prizes during the Skate & Chill event hosted by California shoe brand Vans. The organizers gave away prizes for the best tricks performed over six sections of Aljada Skate Park, with visitors also treated to a festival atmosphere along with giveaways, a DJ, food and the opportunity to customize the brand’s shoes.

Special guests from the Gabriel Can Foundation, which aims to teach children diagnosed with autism to skate, were given a warm welcome with an hour-long event designed for them.

Spread over a 24 million square foot (2.2 million square meter) area and with 25,000 homes, Aljada is Sharjah’s largest-ever project. Since opening in early 2020, the Madar at Aljada entertainment district has welcomed over three million visitors.

The first phase of Madar contains the Aljada Discovery Center, the Zad food truck district, a free-to-enter drive-in cinema, a children’s adventure playground, an indoor events space, and an outdoor amphitheater. Scheduled to open next year, the second phase of Madar will contain a Wellfit gym — Sharjah’s largest fitness space — and a BOUNCE trampoline park.


Chelsea draws trip to Manchester City in FA Cup third round

Chelsea draws trip to Manchester City in FA Cup third round
Updated 29 November 2022

Chelsea draws trip to Manchester City in FA Cup third round

Chelsea draws trip to Manchester City in FA Cup third round
  • Chelsea will head to Manchester when the big guns enter the competition over the weekend of Jan. 6-9

LONDON: To reach a fourth consecutive FA Cup final, Chelsea will have to go through Manchester City in the third round.
Chelsea will head to Manchester when the big guns enter the competition over the weekend of Jan. 6-9.
The Blues have made it to Wembley in each of the last three years, but have ultimately gone down to Arsenal, Leicester and Liverpool respectively.
Liverpool, which beat Chelsea on penalties last season to lift the trophy for the eighth time, launches its defense at Anfield against English Premier League struggler Wolverhampton.
Erik ten Hag will get his first taste of world football’s oldest club competition when Manchester United hosts Everton. West Ham makes the short trip to Brentford, and Southampton travels to Crystal Palace.
Premier League leader Arsenal and high-flying Newcastle drew away games at League One sides Oxford and Sheffield Wednesday.
Tottenham hosts League One’s Portsmouth, and Brighton travels to Middlesbrough in FA Cup winner Michael Carrick’s first taste of the competition as Boro boss. Championship rivals Cardiff host Leeds, and Burnley go to Bournemouth.
Nottingham Forest and Fulham both face second-tier opposition on the road in the shape of Blackpool and Hull respectively.
Aston Villa welcome fourth-tier Stevenage, and Leicester face either fifth-tier Dagenham & Redbridge or League Two’s Gillingham.


New look for Formula E season 9 as Gen3 era set to begin

New look for Formula E season 9 as Gen3 era set to begin
Updated 29 November 2022

New look for Formula E season 9 as Gen3 era set to begin

New look for Formula E season 9 as Gen3 era set to begin
  • World’s best electric race car arrives for pre-season testing in Valencia next month
  • India, South Africa and Brazil to host races for the first time, as Maserati and McLaren debut in Mexico City on Jan. 14

LONDON: Formula E has unveiled a fresh new look ahead of season nine of the ABB FIA World Championship, with the debut of the Gen3 car accompanied by new races, cities, teams and sporting formats.

The Gen3 — the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built — will make its competitive debut in round one in Mexico City on Jan. 14, following pre-season testing next month in Valencia.

The championship will continue with three new cities hosting Formula E races for the first time: Hyderabad, India (round four on Feb. 11); Cape Town, South Africa (round five on Feb. 25) and Sao Paulo, Brazil (round six on March 25).

McLaren and Maserati are new to the Formula E grid next season. They will join some of the biggest names in motorsport including Jaguar, Porsche and Nissan among the 11 teams and 22 drivers competing for world titles.

Sporting regulation updates include a return to racing over laps; rookie drivers taking a seat for teams in FP1 sessions; and a plan to introduce a 30-second 4 kilowatt-hours “Attack Charge” boost at select races, made possible through the development of the most advanced EV battery in the world today.


Swiss loss sets up enticing rematch with Serbia 

Swiss loss sets up enticing rematch with Serbia 
Updated 29 November 2022

Swiss loss sets up enticing rematch with Serbia 

Swiss loss sets up enticing rematch with Serbia 
  • Group G game between Switzerland and Serbia has been one to keep an eye on
  • It's not just because of the talented players on both teams, but because of the political tensions they brought on the field

DOHA: Switzerland’s loss made their upcoming World Cup rematch all the more enticing, and with a lot more on the line.

Ever since the match schedule was made in April, the Group G game between Switzerland and Serbia has been one to keep an eye on. Not just because of the talented players on both teams, but because of the political tensions they brought on the field when they met at the last World Cup.

Four years ago in Russia, Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka celebrated his goal against Serbia by making a double-headed eagle with his hands — thumbs representing the heads of the two eagles, fingers fanned to look like feathers. The figure is considered to be an Albanian nationalist symbol.

Xherdan Shaqiri added another goal in the final minute of the game, and did the same thing with his hands as the Swiss won 2-1 in the second of the three group matches.

Xhaka and Shaqiri both have ethnic Albanian heritage and family ties to Kosovo. They were teenagers growing up in Switzerland when Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, something the Serbs still don’t recognize 14 years later.

Both players were fined by FIFA during the tournament, and the government of Albania opened a bank account for people to contribute toward paying the 10,000 Swiss franc ($10,500) penalties.

On Friday, only one of the two teams will be able to advance to the round of 16 in Qatar. Brazil, who beat the Swiss 1-0 on Monday and defeated Serbia 2-0 last Thursday, have already assured themselves of a spot in the knockout round.

The Swiss likely need only a draw at Stadium 974, and Shaqiri should be available to play after sitting out the match against Brazil with a muscle injury.

Xhaka, now 30 and a mature leader for his country, brushed aside the controversial match from four years ago.

“(There’s) nothing in the history behind these two games,” the Arsenal midfielder said. “We are Switzerland, they are Serbia, that’s it. We are here to play football — them, us as well.”

Still, the Serbian delegation at this year’s World Cup has already made the politics of Kosovo an issue.

Serbia’s locker room ahead of their opening game against Brazil displayed a national flag with territory that included Kosovo and the slogan “No Surrender.” FIFA opened a disciplinary case against the Serbian soccer federation on Saturday.

The Kosovo Soccer Federation formally complained to FIFA after a photograph circulated and the country’s sports minister, Hajjrulla Ceku, described the image as using the World Cup to promote “hateful, xenophobic and genocidal messages.”

The Swiss advanced to the round of 16 in 2018 after a draw with Costa Rica in their final group match, while the Serbs were eliminated after losing to Brazil. This time, the teams go head-to-head in their final group game.

“Of course, the history is the history,” said Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who also played against Serbia four years ago in Kaliningrad. “But in this moment it will be the game that is important.

“We know this game already,” Sommer added. “We had it in Russia.”


Juventus board of directors and president Agnelli resign

Juventus board of directors and president Agnelli resign
Updated 29 November 2022

Juventus board of directors and president Agnelli resign

Juventus board of directors and president Agnelli resign
  • The stunning move follows a preliminary investigation by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office into fraudulent accounting

TURIN, Italy: Juventus’ board of directors and president Andrea Agnelli resigned en masse on Monday.

The stunning move follows a preliminary investigation by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office into fraudulent accounting, of alleged hidden payments to players.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Juventus said 23 players agreed to reduce their salary for four months to help the club through the crisis. But its claimed the players gave up only one month’s salary.

A shareholders meeting rescheduled for Dec. 27 was postponed again to Jan. 18 to choose a new board.