Sprinting great Bolt says ‘stressful situation’ trying to recover lost millions

Sprinting great Usain Bolt (pictured in this June 12, 2022 photo taken at  Soccer Aid 2022- England XI vs. World XI in London) has said it was a “stressful situation” trying to recover more than $12.7 million that has disappeared from his account. (Reuters)
Sprinting great Usain Bolt (pictured in this June 12, 2022 photo taken at Soccer Aid 2022- England XI vs. World XI in London) has said it was a “stressful situation” trying to recover more than $12.7 million that has disappeared from his account. (Reuters)
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Updated 28 January 2023

Sprinting great Bolt says ‘stressful situation’ trying to recover lost millions

Sprinting great Bolt says ‘stressful situation’ trying to recover lost millions
  • SSL said in a Jan. 12 statement that it had become aware of fraudulent activity by a former employee and had referred the matter to law enforcement

KINGSTON: World 100 and 200 meters record holder Usain Bolt said on Friday that it was a “stressful situation” trying to recover more than $12.7 million that has disappeared from his account with a Jamaican investment firm.

The 36-year-old Bolt earlier this month was informed that his account balance at Kingston-based Stocks and Securities Ltd. (SSL) had inexplicably dwindled to just $12,000, lawyer Linton Gordon told Reuters on Jan. 17.

“It’s tough you know, but I think through the years I’ve competed it has helped me to understand and focus on what matters,” Bolt told reporters on Friday.

He was speaking at the Gibson McCook Relays launch in Kingston where he was unveiled as the ambassador of the athletics meet, now in its 50th year.

“I will leave the matter in my lawyer’s hands and focus on my family, try not to think too much about it because it’s a stressful situation,” the 11-time world champion added.

SSL said in a Jan. 12 statement that it had become aware of fraudulent activity by a former employee and had referred the matter to law enforcement, adding it had taken steps to secure assets and strengthen protocols.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force said its fraud and financial investigation teams were probing “alleged fraudulent activities at (SSL) which are said to have affected the accounts of Mr. Usain Bolt among other individuals.”

Bolt’s account was intended to serve as a pension for the eight-time Olympic champion and for his parents, Gordon said.

Bolt retired in 2017 after dominating global sprinting for a decade, reviving a sport plagued by doping scandals and becoming a household name like Brazilian soccer great Pele and American boxing champion Muhammad Ali.

 

 


Jaguar roar back to dominate podium at Brazil’s inaugural Formula E race

Jaguar roar back to dominate podium at Brazil’s inaugural Formula E race
Updated 27 March 2023

Jaguar roar back to dominate podium at Brazil’s inaugural Formula E race

Jaguar roar back to dominate podium at Brazil’s inaugural Formula E race
  • Mitch Evans claims first win of the season for Jaguar TCS Racing at 2023 Julius Baer Sao Paulo E-Prix
  • Sam Bird joins teammate Evans on the podium with third place, while Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy takes second

Mitch Evans of Jaguar TCS Racing led home a one-two-three for the Jaguar powertrain, with Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) and Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing) crossing the line virtually together.

The trio finished just half a second apart to close out a dramatic inaugural Julius Baer Sao Paulo E-Prix in front of more than 23,000 passionate motorsport fans.

It was a flat out push to the finish at the rapid 11-turn Sao Paulo Street Circuit, with Evans managing to navigate his way through constant position changes to take the checkered flag first, from third on the grid. The New Zealander took the initiative and the race lead from his compatriot Cassidy as the race headed into extra laps following multiple safety car incidents.

His move on lap 32 proved to be decisive, with neither Cassidy nor Evans’ teammate Bird able to undo the leader’s defensive driving — despite Bird having collected a couple of extra percentage points of usable energy during his climb from 10th on the grid at the start. Cassidy had led the race more than once but will be more than satisfied to score three consecutive podiums for the first time in his Formula E career.

The victorious Evans said: “This has come at the perfect time. We had a tough start but the car has been quick so to finally get the victory and some points is incredible. A Jaguar one-two-three. Nick pushed me all the way — we pushed each other — both teams executed brilliantly. This is down to a lot of hard work, there is a lot of graft that goes in with simulations. To try and put these races together regarding strategy is not easy. I wouldn’t have wanted it much closer than that.”

Defending world champion Stoffel Vandoorne (DS PENSKE) started in pole position and led the way early on, fending off Antonio Felix da Costa (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) during the first round of ATTACK MODE activations until the race reached its halfway stage.

The lead was almost impossible to track on lap 14 with three or four changes over that tour alone and Cassidy coming out on top.

But Vandoorne would end up sixth after struggling for usable energy from his time at the front. Da Costa had slipped to fourth and briefly made designs on the podium but wound up settling just outside the podium positions. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS PENSKE) headed his teammate home for an eventual fifth spot.

Standings leader Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) had it all to do from 18th on the grid and managed to slice his way through the pack to seventh position at the checkered flag, with Jake Hughes (NEOM McLaren Formula E Team) finishing eighth, just ahead of teammate Rene Rast in ninth and with Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing) rounding out the top 10.

Meanwhile, Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti Formula E) suffered another non-finish after contact from Dan Ticktum’s NIO 333 saw his 99X Electric shoved into Wehrlein’s Porsche.

Wehrlein maintains his Drivers World Championship lead on 86 points from Dennis with 62 points, while Cassidy moves into third just a point behind the Brit. TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team heads Envision Racing 144 points to 103 points with Jaguar TCS Racing third on 83 points.

Runner-up Cassidy said: “I am super happy with the podium today, with a race like that you can’t not be happy right. That was Formula E at its best, so much fun in the car, I hope it was a good watch. Very strategic, Sam did a great job as well, one-two-three Jaguar, pretty cool. I knew (how much energy Sam Bird had), that was a lot of the reason for getting Mitch to go on. I knew to get the win would be pretty difficult and that I would have to do something special on Mitch to turn that round, but I was at a high risk of finishing third.”

Germany is the next stop in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship for rounds seven and eight and the 2023 SABIC Berlin E-Prix double-header on April 22 and 23.


Most unwanted? How sports treat the Russia problem

Most unwanted? How sports treat the Russia problem
Updated 27 March 2023

Most unwanted? How sports treat the Russia problem

Most unwanted? How sports treat the Russia problem
  • IOC says it wants to continue its ban “on flag, anthem, colors or any other identifications” from the two countries but is seeking a pathway to let their athletes compete

PARIS: International sports bodies are taking wildly varying stances on allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams to compete while the war in Ukraine continues.

With the Paris Olympics fewer than 500 days away, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it wants to continue its ban “on flag, anthem, colors or any other identifications” from the two countries but is seeking a pathway to let their athletes compete.

That strategy will be discussed again this coming week when the IOC executive board meets.

Here, AFP Sport looks at how sports are handling the dilemma.

While World Athletics on Thursday lifted the ban on the Russian track and field federation for state-sponsored doping, its athletes remain barred from competition while Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine continues. The body’s president Sebastian Coe said “the unprecedented sanctions” imposed on Russia and Belarus by countries around the world “appear to be the only peaceful way to disrupt and disable Russia’s current intentions and restore peace.”

Russian and Belarusian players are allowed to compete on the main ATP and WTA tours but not under their flags or country names. They are banned from the Davis Cup and BJK Cup tournaments. Players from Russia and Belarus were also banned from Wimbledon last year although Moscow-born Elena Rybakina, competing for Kazakhstan, won the women’s singles title.

Russia was thrown out of 2022 World Cup qualifying and are banned from Euro 2024 qualifying which started this week. Instead Russia played a friendly in Iran.
Belarus are not banned from Euro qualifying but they must play home games at neutral venues while their clubs are still allowed to enter European tournaments.
Denis Rogachev, the head of the Russian Football Union, said “negotiations are underway” to play in the Central Asian championship in June and that “a negotiation process is underway with UEFA and FIFA on a phased return.”

The sport has not yet lifted the ban on Russians and Belarusians, which means none have so far qualified for Paris or this year’s World Championships in October. The next opportunity for teams and individuals to book a place for the worlds, where Olympic places will be up for grabs, are the European Championships in Turkiye in April. Russians and Belarusians were not included in the European draw on Tuesday, the cutoff point for competing. Switching to Asia could offer an Olympic pathway to Russians.

Russian fighters were allowed to compete at the recent women’s world boxing championships in India, a move which prompted a boycott by countries including United States, Ukraine, Canada, Sweden and Britain.

Theoretically, drivers from Russia and Belarus can compete as “neutral” drivers in Formula One. But the only Russian driver, Nikita Mazepin, was dropped shortly before the start of the 2022 season by the Haas team. F1 also dropped the Sochi Grand Prix from its 2022 schedule, and canceled plans for annual races to be held in St. Petersburg starting this season.

Russia and the Soviet Union have won the annual ice hockey world championship seven times but on Thursday the International Ice Hockey Federation banned them for a second straight year saying that “it is not yet safe to reincorporate the Russian and Belarusian teams.”

With its Olympic qualifying process about to start, the International Fencing Federation decided on March 10 to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part, although it said it was up to the IOC whether they could compete in Paris. The German, Finnish and Swedish fencing bodies responded by canceling events they were due to host.

Russians and Belarusians were banned from the world championships in Budapest last June and July. For now, aquatic sports are among those playing a waiting game. Governing body FINA told AFP in February: “At this time, there are no further updates regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in World Aquatics competitions.” That means they are still banned from the world championships in Fukuoka in July, but the sport’s Olympic rules means swimmers have until late next June to match the qualifying times.
 


Boutier beats Hall in playoff to claim 3rd LPGA victory

Boutier beats Hall in playoff to claim 3rd LPGA victory
Updated 27 March 2023

Boutier beats Hall in playoff to claim 3rd LPGA victory

Boutier beats Hall in playoff to claim 3rd LPGA victory
  • With the victory, Boutier claimed her third LPGA victory and became the winningest French player on tour

GOLD CANYON, Arizona: Celine Boutier beat Georgia Hall with a birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday to win the LPGA Drive on Championship.
Boutier forced a playoff by making a testy birdie putt at the par-5 18th to close out a 4-under 68, matching Hall (65) at 20-under 268 in the LPGA’s first full-field event of the season.
Playing the 18th hole again, neither golfer found the green with their second shot of the playoff. Boutier, chipping from nearly the same spot as she did in regulation short and right of the green, pitched to about 4 feet. Meanwhile, Hall hit her second shot into a greenside bunker, blasted beyond the hole and failed to convert her birdie effort. That set the stage for Boutier’s winning birdie putt.

Celine Boutier plays her shot on the 17th tee during the final round of the LPGA Drive On Championship on March 26, 2023 in Arizona. (Getty Images/AFP )

With the victory, the 29-year-old Boutier claimed her third LPGA victory and became the winningest French player on tour, moving past Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Anne-Marie Palli. She had previously won the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open and 2021 ShopRite Classic
After three birdie-filled rounds at Superstition Mountain Golf Club, the final round started with 17 players within three shots of the lead and stayed to form. Hall made the most of her fourth round, posting one of three 7-under par scores, including going 6 under on the back nine to charge into the early lead.
Japan’s Ayaka Furue closed with a 65 and finished third at 19 under. Na Rin An of South Korea was alone in fourth at 18 under with a closing 67, while American Ally Ewing (67) and South Korea’s Jin Young Ko (68) were another stroke back in fifth.
 


Andreescu and Sabalenka march into last 16 in Miami

Andreescu and Sabalenka march into last 16 in Miami
Updated 27 March 2023

Andreescu and Sabalenka march into last 16 in Miami

Andreescu and Sabalenka march into last 16 in Miami
  • Andreescu will face in the next round Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat world No. 9 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-6 (10/8), 6-3
  • Sabalenka will next face Barbora Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open winner, who beat American Madison Keys 7-6 (7/4), 6-3

MIAMI GARDENS, Florida: Former US Open winner Bianca Andreescu and world number two Aryna Sabalenka cruised into the last-16 of the Miami Open on Sunday with straight sets victories at Hard Rock Stadium.
Sabalenka’s power was simply too much for Marie Bouzkova with the Belarussian breaking serve twice in the opening set on the way to a 6-1, 6-2 victory.
Any chance of a comeback from Bouzkova vanished when she was broken in the opening game of the second set and Sabalenka was in no danger on her serve, not facing break point at any time in the 66 minute encounter.
Andreescu looks a player reborn and she oozed confidence as she enjoyed a 6-4, 6-4 victory over American Sofia Kenin.
The 22-year-old Andreescu, the 2019 US Open winner, has been impressive so far having beaten Emma Raducanu and world number 10 Maria Sakkari in the previous rounds.
In a match with few rallies, Andreescu dominated with her serve game, with a 70 percent first serve percentage and it was not until mid-way through the second set that Kenin caused any real problems.
Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open winner, broke Andreescu to cut the lead to 4-3 but despite the improved forehand from the Floridian, Andreescu kept her cool and won with her first match point.
“These victories are definitely very sweet and I’ve had many tough matches against Sofia, so it feels really good to get through,” said Andreescu who converted all three of her break points.
“I definitely feel like I am getting better match by match, even physically. Like I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling very fresh,” she added.
Andreescu will face Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova in the next round after she beat world number nine Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-6 (10/8), 6-3.
In a good day for Russian women, qualifier Varvara Gracheva reached her second straight WTA 1000 fourth round with a straightforward 6-1, 6-2 win over Polish lucky loser Magdalena Frech.
The 22-year-old Gracheva also made it to the last 16 as a qualifier at Indian Wells.
There will also be a strong Czech presence in the fourth round with Petra Kvitova, Barbara Krejcikova and Marketa Vondrousova all winning on Sunday.
Two-times Wimbledon winner Kvitova beat Donna Vekic 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), surviving a strong effort from the Croat in the second set.
“She was always coming back after a (service) break, and it wasn’t really easy already in the first set. ... It was very difficult, she played very well, she served very well,” said Kvitova.
Barbora Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open winner, beat American Madison Keys 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 while Vondrousova beat out-of-form compatriot Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 6-2
Romanian Sorana Cirstea made it to the fourth round in Miami for the first time in a decade after beating Czech Karolina Muchova 7-5, 6-1.
The 32-year-old, now coached by Swedish former Australian Open winner Thomas Johansson, is enjoying a mini-revival after also reaching the same stage in Indian Wells last month.


World champion Francesco Bagnaia avoids Marquez mayhem to win MotoGP opener

World champion Francesco Bagnaia avoids Marquez mayhem to win MotoGP opener
Updated 27 March 2023

World champion Francesco Bagnaia avoids Marquez mayhem to win MotoGP opener

World champion Francesco Bagnaia avoids Marquez mayhem to win MotoGP opener
  • Marc Marquez crashed and wiped out home favorite Miguel Oliveira on lap three to leave the way clear for Bagnaia

PORTIMAO, Portugal: World champion Francesco Bagnaia won Sunday’s season-opening Portuguese MotoGP after a costly mistake by pole-sitter Marc Marquez.

Ducati star Bagnaia coasted across the line ahead of Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales in the Algarve sunshine to follow up his win in MotoGP’s inaugural sprint 24 hours earlier.

Marquez crashed and wiped out home favorite Miguel Oliveira on lap three to leave the way clear for Bagnaia to get his championship defense off to a perfect start.

Bagnaia leaves Portimao with a maximum 37 points from the first of the 21-race season.

“That’s the start me and my team wanted,” the Italian told motogp.com. “We have to keep going like this.”

He then joked that after Saturday’s 12-lap dash in the sprint “I’m not used to such a long race.”

Bagnaia’s compatriot Marco Bezzecchi, riding Ducati’s VR46 bike, came in third to complete the podium.

If it was reasonably plain sailing for the world champion it was anything but for Marquez.

A rare moment of madness from the Spaniard provided the main drama of the afternoon.

The pole sitter clipped Jorge Martin and then his out-of-control Honda slammed into the back of Oliveira’s KTM, wiping out the Portuguese rider who had high hopes of a podium finish in front of his home fans.

Marquez received a hostile reception from some of the fans on his return to the pits where he quickly made his way to Oliveira’s garage to offer his apologies.

The six-time former world champion suffered a suspected hand fracture as well as a time-penalty.

Martin, facing an uphill task to get back into the race, eventually slipped out with six laps left.

Oliveira had led fleetingly, following a quick start from the second row on the grid, before Bagnaia forged to the front, seconds before Marquez made his intervention.

Vinales was encouraged by his promising start to the season.

“I feel good, I missed the chance to overtake because ‘Pecco’ (Bagnaia), I knew, had a little more (pace). “I’m actually really happy — we are going to fight in the front.”