IOC boss lauds Sochi
Newly elected International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach said on Thursday last week that Russia was ready to provide “excellent conditions” for athletes at the Winter Olympics in February next year. “We are very pleased with preparations,” Bach told a news conference in Tokyo where he was visiting for the first time since the Japanese capital won the right in September to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. “The athletes will have excellent conditions in Sochi,” said the German, who visited the Black Sea resort last month where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bach said the quality of the Olympic village was good and it was close to competition venues. “Having stayed in quite a number of Olympic villages, I can say I was really, really impressed,” he said.
Video replays shunned
Golf took another stand against video evidence on Tuesday by announcing a new decision that it would not penalize a player whose ball moves at rest if the movement is only detected by enhanced pictures. It was the second time in the last two years that the US Golf Association and Royal & Ancient have established new guidelines involving video. The next edition of Decisions on the Rules of Golf effective from Jan. 1 will include three new decisions, the most significant being 18/4. It says that when “enhanced technological evidence” shows that a ball moved, it will not be deemed to have moved if not “reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time.” Decision 18/4 was an offshoot of Decision 33-7/4.5 in 2011. Under that decision, officials can waive disqualification for an incorrect scorecard if a player was unaware of a rules violation.
Germany player killed
It has been confirmed that former Germany youth international Burak Karan, 25, died during an air raid on the Syrian town of Azaz last month, after allegedly traveling there to assist anti-Assad forces. Tributes from his teammates and managers have been pouring in. Kevin-Prince Boateng, the former Tottenham and Milan midfielder, wrote on Twitter: “RIP my brother Burak. K!! I will never forget our time together, you were a true friend. Burak was a close friend of mine in my youth. What happened afterwards I don’t know, nor can I influence it!!!” A video of Karan posted on YouTube fueled speculation that the player became radicalized after retiring from sport. It shows him wearing a turban and carrying a machine gun. Text below the video claimed that “he left home to fight fisabilillah [for the sake of Allah] against [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad’s injustice.” Karan’s elder brother Mustafa claims he had traveled to the Turkish-Syrian border mainly to collect donations and guarantee their fair distribution.
Ban for dangeous tackle
Australia center Tevita Kuridrani has received a five-week suspension for a dangerous tackle on Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony in Australia’s 32-15 victory in Dublin on Saturday. Kuridrani received a straight red card for the tackle in the 72nd minute and appeared at an International Rugby Board disciplinary hearing on Tuesday. The suspension ruled Kuridrani out of Australia’s final two games on their end of season tour against Scotland and Wales, placing greater pressure on coach Ewen McKenzie’s playing stocks. McKenzie suspended six players from their game against Scotland after they breached team protocols in the lead-up to the Ireland Test.