Europe, Super game mooted
European champions Toulon of France and Super 15 winners the Otago Highlanders of New Zealand are hoping to face off in Hong Kong on Feb. 6 next year, the French Top 14 side announced on Wednesday. The one-off fixture brings together triple European champions Toulon with the Highlanders, who landed their first Super 15 title last month. “Toulon and the Highlanders have sent off a request for agreement from their respective federations,” Philippe Spanghero, manager of organizers SL Events, told reporters. “When that’s obtained we’ll put together a proposal to World Rugby to get all the required authorization.”
Costa Rica coach resigns
Costa Rica national coach Paulo Wanchope has resigned following involvement in a fistfight in Panama. Wanchope was watching his country’s under-23 team play in Panama on Tuesday when the scuffle broke out. Costa Rica’s soccer federation on Wednesday said in a statement that Wanchope had decided to “step aside.” Local news reports indicate Wanchope was irritated at refereeing during Tuesday night’s pre-Olympic match, which ended 0-0. Video of the incident shows Wanchope angrily opening a gate to the field and shoving a youth standing behind it, while apparently receiving a shove from a man standing beside the gate. Wanchope then turns and punches the man, who kicks and hits him before police intervene.
App to log racism reports
Fans and players in England who experience or witness racism or discrimination at soccer games or on social media will be able to upload videos and pictures of incidents via a mobile phone application. Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out says is enhancing the ability of people to confidentially report incidents to ensure there is more conclusive evidence to assist investigations. The app, which is available on Apple and Android devices, did not previously have a feature to allow users to report racist abuse on social media. Research for Kick It Out this year estimated that an abusive post toward a Premier League player or club is made once every 2.6 minutes on average. The app accounted for more than one-third of the reports received by Kick It Out last year about abuse in the professional game in England.
Sharapova tops ‘Forbes’ list
Maria Sharapova again topped the list of highest-earning female athletes over the past year, Forbes magazine said. For the 11th consecutive year, the Russian headed a list dominated by tennis players, who occupy seven of the top 10 spots. The 28-year-old Sharapova, who won the French Open last year, collected US$6.7 million in prize money, but her total estimated earnings were US$29.7 million, according to Forbes. The Forbes list also includes earnings from appearances, licensing and endorsements, personal business interests and, in some cases, salary. World No. 1 Serena Williams was second at US$24.6 million, while motor racing driver Danica Patrick is the top non-tennis player, in fourth place with US$13.9 million. The only other non-tennis players in the top 10 are No. 8 Ronda Rousey (mixed martial arts) and No. 9 Stacy Lewis (golf). Tennis is one of the few big-money sports where the earnings of women are somewhat comparable to men, though Sharapova’s income was significantly less than the US$67 million earned by Roger Federer, the top tennis player on the latest Forbes men’s list.
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She