Leicester aim for top spot, Chelsea need a lift

first_imgBy Martyn HermanWhen Leicester City lost at home to Chelsea in late April it briefly stalled their dash for Premier League survival and left their opponents one victory away from claiming the title.Chelsea went on to claim the crown and Leicester, with a stunning sequence of results, stayed up.But not even Leicester’s most optimistic followers could have envisaged then that, a few months later with Claudio Ranieri now at the helm, they would be hosting Tottenham Hotspur with a chance to top the table with a maximum nine points.Likewise, Chelsea’s fans could hardly have expected their club to be mired in an early-season trough that, with a certain sequence of results this weekend, could leave Jose Mourinho’s side bottom of the table.That is the unlikely scenario in store, however.Wins against Sunderland and West Ham United mean Leicester have collected 28 points from the last 33 available – the best tally of any side in the top flight.With confidence surging, goals flowing and a stuttering Tottenham visiting on Saturday (5pm), Leicester have every reason to expect their form to continue for another week at least.Algerian Riyad Mahrez leads the league scoring charts with three goals while the likes of James Vardy and midfielder Marc Albrighton have excelled.This week’s signing of Switzerland captain Gokhan Inler from Italian club Napoli has added to the feel-good factor sweeping the east Midlands.Not that Ranieri is letting the players get ahead of themselves.“I put the ice on their heads to keep them cool so we maintain a low profile,” the Italian said.“That is important for us.”Champions Chelsea are still looking for their first victory, having conceded five goals in their opening two games – including a chastening 3-0 defeat at Manchester City last week when skipper John Terry was substituted at half-time.It is their worst start for 17 years and they will hope to get back on track on Sunday at West Bromwich Albion (3.30pm) who themselves only have one point.After the distraction of Mourinho’s public dressing down for club doctor Eva Carneiro and speculation about talismanic Terry’s ‘demise’, Chelsea could do with a big statement of intent at the Hawthorns where they lost 3-0 in May having already secured the title.Manchester United and City will both be seeking to maintain their 100 per cent starts to the season, with United, who host Newcastle United in Saturday’s early kick-off (2.45pm), buoyant after taking a huge step towards the Champions League group phase with a 3-1, first leg victory over Club Brugges at Old Trafford on Tuesday.City, ahead of Leicester on goal difference at the top, face a trip to Everton (Sunday, 6pm).After two 1-0 defeats, newcomers Bournemouth visit West Ham (Saturday 5pm) looking for their first ever top flight points. Only Sunderland, who host Swansea (5pm), are also without a point after two games.last_img read more

‘Sluggish’ Bolt does enough in 100m heats

first_imgJamaican Usain Bolt won his 100 metres heat after what he called a “sluggish” start on Saturday, but looked pained after the race as he prepared to fend off the challenge of American Jason Gatlin for the Olympic crown.Bolt, who turns 30 on the final day of the Games, is aiming high in what he has said will be his final Olympics, bidding to continue his streak of gold in the men’s 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, the unprecedented “triple-triple”.He qualified in a leisurely 10.07 seconds, picking up the pace after lumbering from the blocks and looking stiff in his warm-up.“It wasn’t the best start, I feel kind of sluggish. I think it’s the fact that it’s the morning. I’m not usually running this early in the morning,” Bolt told reporters after the race which began at 12:42 p.m. local time in warm sunshine.“Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll feel much better,” he added of Sunday’s action when the semis and final take place late in the evening.He batted back questions about his leg, saying he was “good”.Gatlin, 34, produced the fastest time of the morning, 10.01 as the 2004 champion seeks to become the oldest man to win a medal in the 100m and the first to do so after serving two doping bans.“I am just staying focused, I went out there and executed my race in the first round and cruised to finish line,” Gatlin said.Asked if the race felt more special, given that it is likely to be his last Olympics, Gatlin replied: “Every Olympics is special but as you get older you understand the importance of running at Olympics.”Ben Youssef Metie, 29, of the Ivory Coast, notched the morning’s second-fastest time of 10.03, edging U.S. hopeful Trayvon Bromell’s 10.13, which was still fast enough to qualify.Canada’s Andre de Grasse, a 21-year-old who only took up running seriously three years ago after an early focus on basketball, ran 10.04.last_img read more

Warriors Thompson makes history

first_imgIn fact, Klay Thompson shattered the record (previously 46 by teammate Stephen Curry) for the most points in the shot clock era (since 1954-55) by a player who played less than 30 minutes. Thompson made 21 of his 33 shots, including eight of his 14 3-point attempts, and Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle was there to witness it:By this point, his teammates have grown accustomed to seeing transcendent shooting performances. But in the first half Monday, when Thompson bested his previous career high for a half of 39 points, they reacted on the bench like kids on Christmas. Midway through the second quarter, after Thompson turned around to hit a contested three from the corner, Curry wandered down the sideline before jogging halfway up the tunnel to the locker room.“I ran out of real estate to try to keep my celebration going,” Curry said.Thompson, perhaps the best three-point shooter of all time not named Curry, seldom dominates the ball, hits shots in the flow of the offense and cares little for fame. This from a player who has netted 37 points in a quarter and 11 three-pointers in last season’s playoffs Game 6 at Oklahoma City.Soon after Durant signed with Golden State in July, a Yahoo Sports article quoted Thompson as saying, “I’m not sacrificing (expletive), because my game isn’t changing.” Those nine words rippled through social media and left many questioning his motives.Twenty-one games into the Durant era, the point Thompson was trying to make is clear. When his teammates realized Thompson was in a groove Monday, they found him in transition, off screens, standing idly in the corner — wherever he was open. Thompson hit four three-pointers in the second quarter, prompting fans to stand every time he touched the ball behind the arc.“I think all of our guys are cognizant of the fact that, when a guy has it going, get him the ball and him his career-high,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “That stuff is fun.”ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss writes that a big game from Thompson brings the Warriors together more than one from Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant…Every star has his hot streaks, but Thompson might be the star most defined by his. Curry’s greatness became dependable to the point of routine, but Thompson still has the claim of 37 points in a single quarter. He still has the claim of 41 points and 11 3-pointers in a must-win Game 6. Although Thompson’s cold snaps can be frigid, his hot streaks can summon the surreal.When Klay Thompson is on, it’s as though the shots fly before the thoughts. Although he might be unconscious, his teammates are highly aware of what’s happening. It’s a different experience than Curry or Kevin Durant in a flow, mostly because it’s so participatory. Curry and Durant call their own numbers, but Klay must get open and be fed. Screens are set with zeal, as teammates eagerly look for No. 11. On Monday, the communal joy extended to the bench, where Thompson’s 40-point half had Curry bounding about with deranged glee. Almost incidentally, Golden State had scored 80 points in a half, their second time doing so this season.Before it was surreal, it was workmanlike.“Think it started for me when I got a few layups in the beginning,” Thompson recalled. “That really opened up my game. Whenever I’m active off the ball, that’s when I’m at my best.”Thompson started off torching Monta Ellis for an array of 2-point baskets — a reminder of why the Warriors opted for Thompson over Ellis as their 2-guard of the future. Then Thompson found pay dirt racing behind an Indiana defense that looked every bit like the Pacers were feeling fatigue on the back-to-back.last_img read more

Elections for athletes commission

first_imgAthletes from sports not on the Pacific Games program this year will have the opportunity to vote in Port Moresby at the PNG Olympic Committee Office.The elections are held every four years, coinciding with the Pacific Games where athletes have the opportunity to vote for their peers. Those elected will represent them on various committees about issues affecting them.The Chairperson and the Deputy Chair of the AC will also sit on the Board of the PNG Olympic Committee.They also work with other regional and international AC bodies to provide learning and developmental opportunities for athletes on different topics.Two elections will be held during the Samoa Games; one is the PNG AC elections to vote for athletes to become members of their Commission.The other election is for the Pacific Games Council Athletes Commission (PGC AC) which current Deputy Chairperson of the PNG AC, Ryan Pini, has been nominated for a second term.The current PNG AC led by Karo Lelai as the Chairperson is encouraging other athletes to come forward and take up the responsibility as young leaders.“This is a great opportunity for athletes to gain experience in sporting administration and be the next generation of leaders,” Lelai said.Nominations for athletes to become PNG AC members can only be done by the National Federations. PNG AC advises that sports can nominate athletes from another sport if they wish to.Nominations will open on May 7th and close on June 7th. Nomination forms will be sent out by the PNG Olympic Committee.Lelai and her team have been in office since the last AC elections which were held in Port Moresby during the Pacific Games in 2015.In that time they have raised the bar in their role in ensuring that athletes’ concerns and views are taken onboard by various sporting bodies when making decisions on different agendas.Their work has attracted the attention of regional AC bodies with Lelai being elected as the Chairperson for the Athletes Commission of the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC AC) and the Association of National Olympic Committee Athletes Commission (ANOC AC).Meanwhile, Pini has also been busy with his election as a member on the Pacific Games Council Athletes Commission (PGC AC) and the FINA Athletes Commission.The PNG Olympic Committee has nominated him for another term on the PGC AC and PNG athletes are urged to support this campaign by voting for him during the Games this year.(A recent Team PNG media blitz in Port Moresby)last_img read more

PNG Orchids documentary praised

first_imgThe film premiered this week (8 April) in London’s Covent Garden district, the cultural hub of the city, and had to be moved to a bigger cinema screen after attracting a near sell-out audience. Most had never had the opportunity to watch a film about PNG.The High Commissioners of New Zealand and Tonga attended the premiere with large numbers of their staff members, alongside representatives from the Australian High Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Foundation, the Rugby League International Federation and other sporting organisations, including the Pacific UK Sports Club.The film’s director, Joanna Lester, who grew up in London before moving to PNG to work in rugby league, also attended during a visit to launch the film in the UK.Kiap, who has been PNG’s representative in the UK since 2011, said the film tells the story of the next generation of ground-breaking PNG women who are changing their country through sport.“This film intends to portray that, from a difficult environment, women are coming out of the woodwork and fulfilling their dream to play rugby league, to represent their country, but most of all to excel in their sport and to exercise their right to open all doors and to walk through them,” she said in her opening speech.“I know the difficulties only too well. We live in parallel universes in PNG, where women have to emerge from one universe and cross to the other in order to find their voice and potential, to define themselves according to their dreams rather than according to cultural prescriptions.“The PNG Orchids are perhaps two generations from me. The mental shift has been great from my time to theirs. The emerging women of PNG are finding that they have the power to determine their own destiny through education, through sport.“If there is a critical mass of them to deflect cultural dictates which include domestic and other forms of violence against them, to set up examples of freedom to choose, then they leave a legacy for those following them.“This film’s tagline is, ‘Can one team realise the dream of millions?’ I say it has to, and it will. Until recently, rugby league was seen as a men’s sport. But if you go to watch a women’s rugby league game now in PNG, I am sure you will see that more than half of the spectators will be men.“That is a huge indication of barriers coming down and a huge investment of social capital in women in rugby league.“I thank Joanna for this film, for her effort to use this medium to bring change to women’s status in PNG, as well as to show that changes are happening. I wish her success as she takes the film to other UK cities and hope that her audience will recognise the determination of young PNG women to set their own goals and to find ways of reaching them.”The launch of Power Meri in the UK is supported by Rugby League World Cup 2021, which will be staged in England.The women’s and men’s tournaments will run alongside each other, and the number of countries in the women’s world cup will increase to eight (from six in 2017). UK Super League clubs are organising and supporting screenings of Power Meri, using the story of the PNG Orchids to promote women’s rugby league in England between now and the world cup.Since its release in October 2018, Power Meri continues to screen in cinemas across Australia, and NRL clubs including the Dragons and the Bulldogs have shown the film to their players.It has also been selected for film festivals in the USA and French Polynesia.(PNG High Commissioner, Her Excellency Winnie Kiap, centre left, and ‘Power Meri’ director Joanna Lester, centre right, were joined by Tongan High Commissioner, Titilupe Fanetupouvava’u Tu’ivakano, second from left, and New Zealand High Commissioner, Sir Jerry Mateparae, second from right, at the film’s London premiere)last_img read more

Australian Open results

first_imgResults from the Australian Open Men’s Singles matches on Thursday: 2nd Round 5-Dominic Thiem (AUT) beat Denis Kudla (USA) 6-7(6) 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-3 26-Adrian Mannarino (FRA) beat Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3 7-6(4) 5-7 6-3 Maximilian Marterer (GER) beat Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-4 4-6 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3 Tennys Sandgren (USA) beat 9-Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 6-2 6-1 6-4 14-Novak Djokovic (SRB) beat Gael Monfils (FRA) 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-3 21-Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat Tim Smyczek (USA) 6-4 6-2 7-6(2) (ESP) Hyeon Chung (KOR) beat Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 7-6(4) 6-1 6-1 4-Alexander Zverev (GER) beat Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3 Julien Benneteau (FRA) beat 7-David Goffin (BEL) 1-6 7-6(5) 6-1 7-6(4) 25-Fabio Fognini (ITA) beat Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-1 19-Tomas Berdych (CZE) beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3 2-6 6-2 6-3 (ESP) 12-Juan Martin del Potro beat Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-4 7-6(4) (ARG) 6-7(0) 6-4 Marton Fucsovics (HUN) beat 13-Sam Querrey (USA) 6-4 7-6(6) 4-6 6-2 Nicolas Kicker (ARG) beat Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-2 7-5 1-6 7-5 29-Richard Gasquet (FRA) beat Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-2 6-2 6-3 2-Roger Federer (SUI) beat Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-4 6-4 7-6(4) Results from the Women’s Singles matches on Thursday: 2nd Round 1-Simona Halep (ROU) beat Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-2 6-2 Lauren Davis (USA) beat Andrea Petkovic (GER) 4-6 6-0 6-0 18-Ashleigh Barty (AUS) beat Camila Giorgi (ITA) 5-7 6-4 6-1 Naomi Osaka (JPN) beat 16-Elena Vesnina (RUS) 7-6(4) 6-2 Bernarda Pera (USA) beat 9-Johanna Konta (GBR) 6-4 7-5 20-Barbora Strycova (CZE) beat Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-3 6-4 29-Lucie Safarova (CZE) beat Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-2 6-4 6-Karolina Pliskova (CZE) beat Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) 6-1 6-1 Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) beat 3-Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 7-6(1) 6-4 26-Agnieszka Radwanska beat Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 2-6 7-5 6-3 (POL) 21-Angelique Kerber (GER) beat Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-4 6-1 Maria Sharapova (RUS) beat 14-Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 7-6(4) (LAT) Ana Bogdan (ROU) beat Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 1-6 6-2 6-3 17-Madison Keys (USA) beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-0 6-1 (RUS) Aliaksandra Sasnovich beat 28-Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3 6-1 (BLR) (CRO) 8-Caroline Garcia (FRA) beat Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-7(3) 6-2 8-6last_img read more

Federer eases past Gasquet into fourth round

first_imgRoger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2 7-5 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet on Saturday evening that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title.The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena.Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time.Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals.last_img read more

Emery eager for Arsenal to continue entertaining at Sporting Lisbon

first_imgUnai Emery wants to see his Arsenal side continue to be entertainers as they look to move a step closer to the Europa League knockout stages with victory at Sporting Lisbon.The Gunners head to the Portuguese capital on a 10-match winning streak and have scored at least three goals in five of their last seven outings.Only Manchester City have scored more Premier League goals than Emery’s men, who wrapped up a 3-1 win over Leicester on Monday with a superb team goal finished by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.It is the second game in a row in which a free-flowing attack led to a memorable goal after Aaron Ramsey completed a similar move in the recent thrashing of Fulham – and Emery is keen to seemore of the same.“We want the balance – the balance to score a lot and also not to concede a lot of goals,” he said.“But for me the individual goalscoring statistics for the players is very important, as it is for the supporters to be excited with many things on the pitch. Scoring goals is important for thisspectacle.“For me, with this balance we want to score a lot and with different players. I want our strikers to have a lot of chances to score but also to find the balance defensively.”While the likes of Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil have been rightly receiving the plaudits for their attacking efforts, summer signing Lucas Torreira has also played his part.The Uruguay midfielder joined from Sampdoria and had to wait five games to be handed his full debut by Emery.But the tough-tackling 22-year-old has quickly established himself as a fans’ favourite, with fellow midfielder Granit Xhaka full of praise for the recent addition.“You can see that he’s important for us because he’s strong in defence and in duels,” he said.“He can play easily from side to side and going forward, he helps with our balance.“Lucas gives us good balance in the team between offence and defence. He lets me play my game with the ball and go a bit more in front. I am happy with him and the other guys playing in the midfield.”Both Arsenal and Sporting have won their opening two matches in Group E so any winner at the Estadio Jose Alvalade will be in prime position to progress when the pair meet again next month.For that reason, Emery has brought a strong squad with him, despite the fact kick-off in Lisbon comes less than three days since the victory over Leicester.“For us first this competition is very, very important and the opposition tomorrow is a very good team with a very good experience in this competition and with good players,” Emery added.“In this moment we are two teams both in the first position and our mind is to arrive first in this group and to continue in our way thinking how we can improve.“Tomorrow is a very, very big match – it is important for our confidence. We want to win against Sporting.”last_img read more

Premier League not given green light to return yet

first_imgThe Premier League still faces a fight to convince Government officials it is in a position to be able to complete the current season behind closed doors.Despite extensive contingency planning, including for the potential of playing the remaining matches at neutral venues, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden warned the game is yet to get the “green light”.Neutral venues are expected to be discussed in a meeting of Premier League clubs on Monday, while other mooted options for restarting the season have even involved the possibility of playing games abroad.But Dowden told BBC Radio 4: “They’ve not been given the green light.“If we can get a plan that works then I’d like us to be able to go ahead with it because I think it would be good for the nation, it would be good for football as a whole.“I’m really hopeful we can get this up and running but public safety must come first so it’s only if we’re confident of that that we’ll be able to proceed.”Expectations of a minor easing of Government lockdown restrictions from Monday have fuelled hopes that football and other sports may receive a clearer sign of when they can resume.Meanwhile in Germany the Bundesliga announced this week that it will resume matches on May 16, behind closed doors and subject to players being tested for coronavirus.In readiness for a change in circumstances the Premier League has been in talks with the Government and broadcasters about showing some games free-to-air.Dowden, who indicated he will meet with FA, Premier League and English Football League officials again on Thursday, added: “It’s not just the Premier League, it’s the rest of football and indeed other sports that could potentially take place behind closed doors.”Rugby union, cricket and boxing are among the other sports making plans to return behind closed doors, although promoter Eddie Hearn has ruled out staging Anthony Joshua’s next world heavyweight title defence without fans.last_img read more

Helterbrand to sign one-year extension with Ginebra

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. We are young Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Team ‘Trabaho’ scores championship title at the last leg of Smart Siklab Saya Manila WATCH: Damian Lillard debuts rap album with single ‘Growth Spurt’ BREAKING: Solicitor General asks SC to forfeit ABS CBN’s franchise “He will be back. He will sign for another year,” said coach Tim Cone on Friday.Seldom used throughout the season, the 2009 Most Valuable Player reminded everyone his worth to the team in the Governors’ Cup Finals, proving to be a vital cog in Ginebra’s memorable series against Meralco.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSCone plans to speak with Slaughter, agentAnd Cone believes the 40-year Helterbrand still has some gas left in his tank.“He is ready to play. I think he is going to help in the build up for next season,” he said. Ginebra’s Jayjay Helterbrand. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAfter helping end Ginebra’s eight-year title drought, Jayjay Helterbrand gets one more crack at it before he calls it a career.Helterbrand, the other half of the Fast and the Furious duo, is set to extend his career for one more season to help the Gin Kings sustain the breakthrough they had in the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ EDITORS’ PICK 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas BREAKING: Solicitor General asks SC to forfeit ABS CBN’s franchise Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 Cone shared that Helterbrand and the management is yet to talk about the extension, but he expects to see his veteran point guard on the hardcourt once the preparations for the 2017 season begin on the second week of November.“The intention on both sides is the same so I expect the deal to be done,” he said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine Brad Pitt wins his first acting Oscar as awards get underway View commentslast_img read more