SPORTS DAY: I’m with Caster on this one, says Martina

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SPORTS DAY: I’m with Caster on this one, says Martina

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sports editor


ATHLETICS
Navaratilova backs Semenya in gender rule hearing
Tennis great Martina Navratilova has come to the defence of Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya ahead of next week’s landmark hearing on proposed rules that aim to restrict testosterone levels in female athletes. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has proposed rules that would force “hyperandrogenic” athletes or those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) to medically lower their testosterone levels below a prescribed amount. Track and field’s global governing body wants to introduce the rule changes to promote what it says will be fairer competition between all female athletes. But Semenya, the most high-profile athlete who would be affected by this, is challenging the legality of the IAAF’s proposals in a case that will be heard at the Court of Arbitration (CAS) in Lausanne from Monday.
BOXING
I was in so much tears‚ says new world champ Deejay
Deejay Kriel captured the IBF strawweight crown in Los Angeles on Saturday night in a fashion so dramatic it might have been scripted in nearby Hollywood. Kriel was behind by seven points on the cards of two judges going into the final 12th round at the Microsoft theatre – to win he had no choice but to stop unbeaten champion Carlos Licona. And he did exactly that. Kriel‚ who dropped out of high school on the East Rand to follow his dream of becoming a boxer‚ dropped the American three times to claim victory with 44 seconds of the fight remaining. Pretty impressive for a pugilist who went into the bout with a knockout ratio of less than 50%. Kriel’s record now reads 15 wins (7 KOs)‚ one loss and a draw; Licona’s career stats slipped to 14-1.
NFL
Kaepernick ‘still wants to play’
The lawyer for Colin Kaepernick said his client “absolutely wants to play” in the NFL again and that the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers would be good fits for him. Mark Geragos spoke with the US media a day after Kaepernick reached a settlement with the National Football League concerning a collusion grievance he filed against it. “I think you’re going to see ... within the next two weeks that somebody is going to step up and do the right thing, and you want me to predict who?” Geragos told ESPN. “Besides the Panthers, it would not surprise me if (Patriots owner) Bob Kraft makes a move.” The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback helped spark a wave of protests about US racial injustice in 2016 by kneeling while the American national anthem played during NFL games.
RUGBY
De Bruin lauds Lions’ defence after Jaguares win
Coach Swys de Bruin and captain Warren Whiteley lauded the Lions’ resilience on defence after they recorded their maiden win in Argentina over the Jaguares on Saturday night. The Lions ran out 25-16 winners, with flanker Marnus Schoeman dotting down three times for the visitors to help get their campaign off to a winning start. “Defence always tells me about the players’ mindset and how hungry they are‚” said De Bruin. “It was wonderful to see. The ball was wet and it was difficult to play an attacking game. We knew we had to back our defence. “At halftime I again challenged the guys about their defence‚” said De Bruin‚ whose team held a slender three-point lead going into the break. They took the strategic position not to overplay with ball in hand.
CRICKET
Sri Lanka sensation Perera hailed for heroics
Kusal Perera became a national hero in Sri Lanka on Sunday after scoring an unbeaten 153 to guide his country to a sensational first Test victory in SA. The country’s cricket legends and politicians lauded Perera, who has become a linchpin for the ailing national side since fighting off doping charges in 2016. Former skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who had staunchly defended Perera when he was suspended in December 2015, tweeted about the performance at Kingsmead in Durban on Saturday: “What an amazing win. One of the best if not THE best overseas win by (Sri Lanka). Kusal Janith Perera was unreal.” Sangakkara stood by Perera when he was wrongfully accused of doping in 2015. The International Cricket Council lifted the suspension in 2016 and apologised for the botched testing.
RUGBY
Bulls annihilation of the Stormers ‘near-perfect’
Bulls coach Pote Human has described his side’s highly impressive 40-3 Super Rugby win over the Stormers at the weekend as a “near-perfect” performance. The Bulls played attacking and at times devastating rugby as they scored four tries through Johnny Kotze‚ Jesse Kriel and a brace by debutant Rosko Specman. Man of the match Handrè Pollard dazzled as he converted all his seven kicks that included four conversions and three penalties. The Stormers’ penalty was scored by SP Marais. Their defence was able to stop the Stomers from scoring a try and they impressed with their line-outs where they managed to take the ball away from their visitors and their scrummaging was also on point.
FORMULA ONE
Williams to miss first day of testing
Williams will miss the first day of Formula One’s pre-season testing in Spain on Monday because they have yet to finish their car, the former champions said on Sunday. The delays had already forced the British team, last overall in 2018 with one of the worst-handling cars they have yet built, to cancel a filming day at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday. “Unfortunately, we have had to delay the start of our pre-season Barcelona test to Tuesday morning,” deputy principal Claire Williams said. “We have had an incredibly busy winter at Grove getting the FW42 prepared for the season ahead and, despite everyone’s best efforts, we need some more time before it will be ready to run.” Williams scored just seven points from 21 races in 2018, despite having the same engine as champions Mercedes.
SOCCER
Robben picks Anfield as his ‘worst stadium’
Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben has described Anfield as his “worst stadium” as he prepares for a return to face Liverpool in the Champions League last-16 clash on Tuesday. The Dutchman has some unhappy memories at the home of Liverpool, having suffered elimination from the European competition twice with Chelsea in 2005 and 2007, and with Real Madrid in 2009. “I think, if you ask (about) the worst stadium for me, it’s probably Liverpool,” the 35-year-old told The Guardian. “You always have your favourite opponent and there always has to be a negative one.” Robben, who is battling to overcome a thigh injury ahead of the fixture, said he remembers Liverpool as a “cup fighter team” but during his time at Chelsea they were never seen as one of the contenders for the Premier League title.
MOTOR RALLY
Tanak wins in Sweden to lead championship
Estonian Ott Tanak won Rally Sweden for Toyota on Sunday to take the lead in the world rally championship for the first time in his career. Finland’s Esapekka Lappi was second for Citroen, 53.7 seconds behind, with Belgian Thierry Neuville third for Hyundai and a further three seconds adrift in the second round of the season on icy and snow-covered roads. Citroen’s Sebastian Ogier, the six-times world champion who had led after winning last month’s Monte Carlo Opener, lost any hope of a top-10 finish after crashing into a snow bank on Friday and retiring. The Frenchman returned to salvage two points in the final power stage won by Tanak, who gained an extra five. Neuville took four and Lappi one.
SOCCER
Neymar’s father denies contact with Barca over return
Neymar’s father reiterated on Sunday that there has been no attempt to contact Barcelona over a possible return to Spain for the world’s most expensive player. Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee of €222m in August 2017 but has repeatedly been linked with a move back to Barcelona. “Barca are a huge club, we were very happy over there,” Neymar snr told TF1 on Sunday. “It’s impossible to leave a player like him out of these (transfer market) rumours. But it’s a lie, there hasn’t been a call with Barca ... There are two people who speak for Neymar: himself and me. Neither of us has spoken about this intention to return to Barcelona.”
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE

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