Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco would like to see Rafael Nadal as the country’s flag-bearer in Rio de Janeiro, in part to make a statement after recent doping accusations made against him.
It is up to a group of federation presidents to pick the flag-bearer, but Blanco said on Wednesday that Nadal deserves to be chosen for what he has done for Spanish sports.
The former top-ranked tennis player was supposed to be the flag-bearer at the 2012 London Olympics, but got injured before the Games and was replaced by NBA player Pau Gasol.
Blanco also said Spain has been getting a bad reputation related to doping and called for the government to adapt to new requirements by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which earlier this month declared the nation a non-compliant with its regulations.
Speaking at a media event in Madrid, Blanco said having Nadal as Spain’s flag bearer would be important after the recent doping accusations made by former French minister for health and sport Roselyne Bachelot, who claimed on French television that the Spaniard’s seven-month injury hiatus in 2012 was “probably due to a positive doping test.”
“Spanish sports owe him a lot,” Blanco said. “In Beijing, he was the athlete who was followed the most by the international media and by other athletes. Rafa Nadal took Spanish sports to another level. I think he should be the flag bearer, especially after how he has been treated. He deserves to feel that Spanish sports care about him.”
A 14-time Grand Slam champion and gold medalist at the 2008 Olympics, Nadal has been one of the country’s biggest sports idols in recent years.
“Nadal is a reference,” Blanco said. “He was picked as the flag bearer for London, he should be picked again for Rio.”
Speaking about the new WADA requirements, Blanco said it was unacceptable for Spain to be unable to adapt its doping laws. He said that the government’s lack of action was hurting the image of the athletes abroad.
“Every country has adapted to the new code, there is no reason why we cannot do it as well,” Blanco said.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on