Sky pulling out of sport
The future of Team Sky has been cast into doubt after their owner and sponsor, broadcaster Sky, said it would end involvement in professional cycling after next year’s season, the British-based outfit said yesterday. The decision means the team, who have won eight Grand Tours since 2012, would need to search for another sponsor to provide funding and continue to compete under a new name. 21st Century Fox, which owns a minority stake in Team Sky, has also confirmed that it would be the last year of their involvement in cycling. Team Sky was founded in 2010 with the goal of securing a Tour de France victory by a British cyclist for the first time, a feat they achieved just two years later when Bradley Wiggins triumphed. Chris Froome then claimed the first of four Tour de France wins a year later.
Varnish suing UK program
Former European team sprint champion Jess Varnish on Tuesday told an employment tribunal that British Cycling used to exert extreme control over their athletes, as she seeks to sue the body for wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination. Varnish was dropped by the squad before the Rio Olympics. She has alleged that she was the victim of bullying and sexist language. The case could affect how UK Sport offers grants to British athletes, forcing the body to introduce benefits and increased protection in the event of disputes or grievances. British Cycling said that Varnish was dropped on performance issues, but she said she was akin to an employee and therefore entitled to basic workers rights. Her witness statement said that aspects of the program, such as regular blood tests and social media control, were examples of “extreme control exercised over the lives of cyclists.” She also said that coaches would “listen through the [hotel] door to see if you were still awake” at training camps.
Warriors win annual award
The Golden State Warriors have become only the fourth team in history to be awarded Sports Illustrated’s annual “Sportsperson of the Year,” the magazine announced on Monday. The Warriors, who won their third NBA crown in four seasons this year, were honored with the award in recognition of their collective feats on court over the past five years. The Warriors have also set records for wins in a regular season, with 73 in the 2015-2016 campaign, as well as the longest unbeaten streak to start a season (24-0). “They are a generational phenomenon, the likes of which we might not see again for decades, if at all,” editor-in-chief Chris Stone said.
Tai wins opener in China
Taiwan’s world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying was untroubled in her Badminton World Federation World Tour Finals opener yesterday against Zhang Beiwen of the US, defeating her 21-15, 21-17 in 30 minutes. On the men’s side, Kento Momota rampaged past India’s Sameer Verma 21-18, 21-6 in just 36 minutes in Guangzhou. The Japanese star is looking to put the seal on a breakthrough year in which he has risen to No. 1 and become world champion for the first time. It is a far cry from 2016, when he was expelled from Japan’s Olympic team and banned for more than a year for visiting an illegal casino.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but