SPORTS DAY: This the last thing Rassie wanted to see

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SPORTS DAY: This the last thing Rassie wanted to see

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sports editor


RUGBY
Concern over injured Bok stalwarts
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus will be a worried man this week after two of his most experienced campaigners suffered injuries at the weekend. Stormers flank and current SA Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit looked visibly upset when he left the field with a shoulder injury during the Super Rugby clash against the Bulls at Newlands. Du Toit has been at his indefatigable best this season and the sight of his square shoulders slumped as he trundled down the tunnel was not a welcome one for Erasmus‚ Stormers coach Robbie Fleck‚ or fans. Bulls centre Jessie Kriel‚ who has also been in sparkling form this season‚ limped off the pitch with an ankle injury in the physical contest‚ which the Stormers won 24-23. There were no immediate updates on the players’ injuries.
SOCCER
Vardy batters Arsenal’s Champions League hopes
Jamie Vardy scored twice as Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football suffered another serious setback as familiar failings saw the 10-man Gunners lose 3-0 at Leicester on Sunday. It was the third time in seven days that the north London side, once renowned for an impregnable defence, had conceded three goals following 3-2 and 3-1 Premier League league defeats by Crystal Palace and Wolves respectively. Leicester’s Youri Tielemans opened the scoring at the King Power Stadium in the second half and Vardy netted twice for the Foxes after the visitors had defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles dismissed for two bookable offences before half-time.
ATHLETICS
Kipchoge smashes record for fourth London win
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge stormed to a record-breaking fourth victory in the London Marathon on Sunday with the second-fastest time yet seen over the distance. The Olympic champion’s time of two hours two minutes and 37 seconds was second only to the 2:01:39 he ran in Berlin in 2018. The 34-year-old, whose previous London triumphs came in 2015, 2016 and 2018, was in imperious form as he powered ahead from the 22km mark, with Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun second and third respectively. In the women's race, Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei improved on 2018’s second place to win her first London Marathon, finishing ahead of reigning champion Vivian Cheruiyot, with fellow Kenyan and three-times winner Mary Keitany in fifth.
TENNIS
Murray to attempt comeback if his body allows it
Former world No 1 Andy Murray said he is under no pressure to return to competitive tennis after hip resurfacing surgery earlier in 2019 but he would attempt to make a comeback if his body allowed it. The three-times Grand Slam champion said at 2019’s Australian Open that constant pain in his hip had brought him to the verge of quitting the sport but revealed last month that he was pain free after the procedure in January. “I have been hitting the ball from a stationary position but I haven’t been doing any movement,” Murray told BBC at Sunday’s London Marathon where he was invited to fire the starting pistol for the elite men’s race. “I don’t feel any pressure to get playing again but if my body will allow, I will try.” Murray had posted a short video on social media earlier this month which showed him hitting the ball in an outdoor court while rallying with a wall and followed that up with a video of himself playing a round of golf.
SOCCER
Sterling ‘finally getting recognition he deserves’
England and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling is finally getting the recognition he deserves for both his on-field performances and his work in fighting against racism, Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has said. Sterling has scored 29 goals for club and country this season, his most productive campaign yet. He was also awarded The Integrity and Impact Award this week for speaking out on a range of social issues, including racism. “A lot of his good work over the years has gone unnoticed and now he’s finally getting the recognition he has always deserved – as a top, top footballer and also as a very decent human being,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said in an interview with The Times.
OLYMPICS
2020 archery venue unveiled
The archery venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games was officially unveiled on Sunday, the first completed venue built specifically for the Games. The Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, located on a former landfill site, was set for completion in May but was ready by February. As well as the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic and Paralympic athletes’ village, eight new competition venues will be used for the Games. Yemenoshima is the first venue to be completed that was in Tokyo 2020’s original bid proposal. Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, a multipurpose centre on the outskirts of Tokyo that will be used for the Games, was completed in 2017 but was not built specifically for the Games. The rest of the venues will be refurbished facilities.
SOCCER
Neymar says he was wrong to hit fan
Brazilian superstar Neymar accepted on Sunday that he had made a mistake striking a fans who insulted Paris Saint-Germain players as they filed up to collect their French Cup losers’ medals. Neymar scored to put PSG 2-0 up after 21 minutes at the Stade de France on Saturday, but Rennes fought back to tie the game at 2-2 and win the penalty shootout 6-5 after extra time. As the players climbed the steps to receive their medals, shaking the hands of those nearby, Neymar, one of the last in line, struck one of the fans in the face. The blow was caught on numerous cellphones, including that of the victim, Edouard, a 28-year-old delivery driver from Nantes. “Did I act badly?” Neymar asked in an Instagram comment. “Yes. But no one can stay indifferent.”
CRICKET
Russell ‘hungry’ for West Indies return at World CupAndre Russell has represented West Indies in only a single one-day international since 2015 but his World Cup call-up was not surprising and the hard-hitting all-rounder is hungry to represent the Caribbean side again. Contractual disputes between the players and Cricket West Indies have weakened the team for several years now with the frosty relations famously culminating in the 2014 tour of India being called off midway through the series. There have been signs of a thaw recently, however, with a new leadership team in place at the board and the twice 50-over World Cup champions have included former captain Chris Gayle and Russell in their 15-man squad. “I wasn’t surprised that I was a part of the World Cup squad,” Russell said ahead of KKR’s home match against the Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens.SOCCERImage believed to be of Sala’s body appears onlineBritish police are investigating after a photograph believed to be of late footballer Emiliano Sala’s body appeared online. “We are aware that a picture reported to be of Mr Sala’s body has been shared on social media channels and are disgusted that somebody did this,” Dorset Police said. “It is clearly a very difficult time for Mr Sala’s family and they should not have to endure additional pain. “We are investigating this incident.” The image is believed to have been taken at the Holly Tree Lodge mortuary in Bournemouth, south England, following the plane crash that killed the 28-year-old striker.SOCCERBielsa sportsmanship confirms Sheffield promotionSheffield United’s promotion to the Premier League was confirmed on Sunday after Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa allowed Aston Villa to score in a remarkable 1-1 draw at Elland Road. Leeds fell five points behind The Blades with just one game remaining after the hosts stood aside to let Albert Adomah run from kick-off and equalise after Leeds took the lead through Mateusz Klich, while Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia was down injured. Bielsa had been confronted by Villa assistant boss John Terry as players on the field and both benches clashed following Klich’s controversial opener. Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi was sent off in the melee as the visitors’ club record 10-game winning streak came to an end. – AFP, REUTERS and TimesLIVE

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