SPORTS DAY: Caster set to ‘resist’ testosterone rules
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Semenya defiant as World Champs D-Day looms
Athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) hoping to compete at the World Championships must submit to new rules curbing their levels of testosterone from Wednesday, but Caster Semenya appears ready to resist the regulations. Athletics chiefs had set a Wednesday deadline for DSD athletes to submit blood samples to their medical team with a testosterone level below five nanomoles per litre, which they must maintain over the next four and a half months. But double 800m Olympic champion Semenya posted a picture of a clenched fist with the word “resist” on Twitter on Wednesday, a signal she will not comply. The International Association of Athletics Federations has been heavily criticised for the rules, with allegations that the science is flawed, regulations ethically dubious and potential medical side-effects unknown.
Downs’ legal team prepares to fight PSL appeal
The Mamelodi Sundowns legal team is preparing to fight the Premier Soccer League’s (PSL) appeal of the ruling by its disciplinary committee regarding the Pretoria club’s fielding of ineligible player Wayne Arendse in a game against BidVest Wits in October 2018. Arendse’s name was not on the team sheet handed to officials on the day of the game seven months ago and joined the team straight from the stands after Thapelo Morena’s injury. The committee issued a R250,000 fine to Sundowns and R50,000 to Arendse last week, but the PSL now says the decision was incorrect and have appealed to the SA Football Association in a bid to overturn the sanction. Sundowns general manager Yogesh Singh said their legal team was ready to fight the appeal.
Wallabies sponsor dumps Folau
Sportswear company ASICS dumped Israel Folau as a brand ambassador on Wednesday over homophobic comments, as former Wallabies coach Alan Jones slammed those punishing him as “sick”. The devoutly Christian player was found guilty of a “high-level” breach of the sport’s code of conduct after posting an anti-gay statement on social media, leaving his career hanging in the balance. He faces his lucrative four-year Rugby Australia contract being terminated, with the code of conduct panel taking written submissions from his legal team and the governing body before deciding on his punishment. Rugby Australia moved to sack him after he posted a banner on Instagram last month that read: “Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators – Hell awaits you.” It followed a similar tirade in 2018.
Valverde’s reputation on line after shock defeat
Ernesto Valverde’s future as Barcelona coach hangs in the balance after presiding over a second shock Champions League elimination following Tuesday’s incredible 4-0 surrender at Liverpool, in which he again showed his inexperience. Barca went into the semifinal second leg with a dream 3-0 advantage but, just as he had done in last season’s harrowing exit to AS Roma in the quarterfinals, Valverde fielded the same starting line-up as in the first leg. That decision ignored how fortunate his side had been in the first match, in which Liverpool spurned numerous chances and Mohamed Salah hit the post. His selection also wrongly assumed that his side would face the same conditions and challenges in the scorching atmosphere at Anfield as they had at the Nou Camp.
Hamilton favourite for Spain in big test for Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton is favourite to win the Spanish Grand Prix for a fourth time, and third in a row, on Sunday and retake the Formula One world championship lead from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Needless to say, Ferrari have another script in mind for a race seen as something of a litmus test for their title prospects. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc dominated pre-season testing at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya amid excited talk of Ferrari ending Mercedes’ five-year stranglehold on the sport. They return reeling from four successive Mercedes one-two finishes, an unprecedented start to the season by any team, and hoping an engine upgrade – brought forward by two races – will swing things their way.
England insist Ashes ball choice no stitch up
England will continue to use balls thought to favour their pace bowlers when they face Australia in a home Ashes series in 2019. Australia have not won an Ashes series in England since 2001, with their batsmen repeatedly struggling against the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad armed with the Dukes balls. A new Dukes ball with a less pronounced seam that deviates less off the pitch and so, in theory, ought to make life easier for batsmen, has been in use in English county cricket this season. But England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Ashley Giles said they had asked Dukes to make a batch of 500 to 600 balls to the same specification as those used for Test cricket in England during the past two seasons.
Disgraced Russia footballers jailed
A Moscow court found Russian footballers Pavel Mamaev and Alexander Kokorin guilty on Wednesday of hooliganism over a night of drunken assaults, and sentenced them to a year and a half in prison. Mamaev received one year and five months, while Kokorin was jailed for one year and six months. The court also convicted two of their co-defendants, including Kokorin’s brother, issuing similar sentences. The players have already served about seven months in detention, which will count toward their sentence. By Russian rules, a day in pre-trial jail counts toward 1.5 days in a colony. They will spend the remainder in penal colonies. Mamaev, a midfielder for Krasnodar, and Kokorin, a Zenit Saint Petersburg forward, attacked two officials in an upmarket Moscow cafe after a drunken night out in October 2018. They also assaulted the chauffeur of a TV presenter in a car park.
European captain gets wildcards reduced to three
European captain Padraig Harrington has opted to reduce the wildcards from four to three for next year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, the European Tour said on Wednesday. The change means nine players will secure automatic qualification – five from the world points list and four from a European list. Harrington will then select three wildcards to complete his 12-man line-up which will look to defend the trophy won in dominant fashion in Paris in 2018. “I am pleased that the (European Tour) tournament committee agreed to the change of wild card numbers,” Harrington said. “I have spoken to a number of people regarding the ninth player automatically qualifying for the team and in my experience, a player is more comfortable when he has qualified, hence my reasoning behind this change.”
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE