RUGBY WORLD CUP
All Blacks stay in black
New Zealand will play the World Cup final in their traditional all black strip despite France, who will be in white shirts, winning the toss for choice of colors ahead of Sunday’s match at Auckland’s Eden Park. Historically, shirt color never used to be an issue between the two countries, with France wearing navy blue and New Zealand, this year’s World Cup hosts, black. However, the decision of France’s US-based kit suppliers Nike to develop a darker blue shirt for the 2007 World Cup caused problems ahead of a quarter-final clash against New Zealand in Cardiff. Eventually, after much debate, France played in blue and New Zealand an unfamiliar gray in a dramatic match the French won 20-18. Traditionally in rugby, unlike soccer, if there was a clash of colors between the two teams it was the home side who would change. However, France team manager Jo Maso said yesterday his side were happy to change as a mark of respect.
Contaor to skip Tour of Italy
Two-time champion Alberto Contador reaffirmed his decision to skip next year’s Tour of Italy on Sunday, preferring to concentrate on capturing a fourth Tour de France crown. “Next year, I am going to think about other objectives, like the Tour de France,” said Contador, who first announced that he would not race the Tour of Italy in August. However, the Spaniard has not turned his back entirely on Italy as he plans to race in the Tirreno-Adriatico. “Due to the good memories I have of Italian fans on the roads during my two Giros, I will take part in next year’s Tirreno-Adriatico — a race which I have yet to win,” he said.
100-year-old breaks record
A 100-year-old runner became the oldest person to complete a full-distance marathon when he finished the race in Toronto, Canada, on Sunday. Indian-born Fauja Singh earned a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records for his accomplishment. It took Singh more than eight hours to cross the finish line — more than six hours after Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara won the event for the fourth straight year — and he was the last competitor to complete the course. Event workers dismantled the barricades along the finish line and took down sponsor banners even as Singh made his way up the final few hundred meters. Family, friends and supporters greeted Singh when he finished the race. “Beating his original prediction, he’s overjoyed,” his coach and translator Harmander Singh said. “Earlier, just before we came around the [final] corner, he said, ‘Achieving this will be like getting married again.’ He’s absolutely overjoyed, he’s achieved his lifelong wish.” Sunday’s run was Singh’s eighth marathon — he ran his first at age 89.
Hernandez told to fight again
Yoan Pablo Hernandez was ordered on Sunday to grant deposed IBF cruiserweight world champion Steve Cunningham a rematch within 120 days after the Cuban controversially won the belt two weeks ago. The IBF said that the American fighter’s facial cuts, which were suffered by a clash of heads in the third and sixth rounds, should not have prevented Cunningham from continuing the bout. Hernandez, 26, won the belt in Neubrandenburg, Germany, after English referee Mickey Vann stopped the fight before the seventh round because of two deep cuts. Two of the judges, Pawel Kardyni (59-54) and Dave Parris (58-55), scored the bout for Hernandez, while the third, John Foster (56-57), opted for the defending champion on Saturday night.
Transgender athletes are to have an ally in the White House next week, as they seek to participate as their identified gender in high school and college sports — although state legislatures, the US Congress and the courts are all expected to have their say this year, too. Attorneys on both sides say they expect US president-elect Joe Biden’s Department of Education to switch sides in two key legal battles — one in Connecticut, the other in Idaho — that could go a long way in determining whether transgender athletes are treated by the sex on their birth certificates or by
Fickle winds produced farcical scenes yesterday on day two of the America’s Cup challenger series in Auckland, as the so-called “flying” yachts spent almost as much time in the water as above it. “I’m not sure today is a really accurate read because it’s so puffy, it’s shifty,” British sailing legend Ben Ainslie said after his Ineos Team UK maintained their perfect start to the Prada Cup series with a third straight win. The series would determine which of the 23m yachts — which fly above the water balanced on hi-tech foil arms — would challenge defending champion Team New Zealand for
DOUBLE VISION: The men’s duo of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin downed the South Korean pairing of Choi Sol-gyu and Seo Seung-jae to secure their place in the final Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying yesterday easily defeated Mia Blichfeldt in her women’s singles match to advance to the finals of the Yonex Thailand Open in Bangkok, while Chou Tien-chen crashed out of the tournament. Tai quickly ousted world No. 18 Blicheldt, of Denmark, in 34 minutes, winning 21-8, 23-21. The world No. 1 today must overcome Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain, who took down An Se-young of South Korea yesterday 21-18, 21-16. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s Chou fell to Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long after a tough 66 minutes of play. While Chou, the world No. 2, bested Ng in the first set,
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.