N Korea pull out of qualifiers
North Korea have pulled out of next month’s qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Asian Football Confederation said Sunday. “The Asian Football Confederation has today confirmed the withdrawal of the DPR Korea Football Association from the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” it said in a statement. No reasons were given for the withdrawal, but South Korean media reported earlier this month that Pyongyang had said it would skip the qualifiers over COVID-19 fears.
Twenty arrested in melee
Three police officers were on Saturday injured and more than 20 people arrested after Rangers fans packed the streets of Glasgow to celebrate winning the Scottish Premiership with an unbeaten record. Steven Gerrard’s side had already been confirmed as champions two months ago, but fans gathered in large numbers outside Ibrox Stadium for a 4-0 win over Aberdeen. Fans ignored pleas to disperse, as they marched from Ibrox into Glasgow city center. Riot police helped disperse the crowds as scenes turned violent. “As celebrations continued sections of the crowd became increasingly disorderly, property was damaged and people were assaulted,” said Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland, Police Scotland’s divisional commander for greater Glasgow. “Our officers became the focus of the crowd’s attention with missiles and flares being thrown at them. So far, we know that three officers have been injured and more than 20 people have been arrested.”
Tampering known: Bancroft
Cricket Australia is open to examining any new information about the 2018 ball-tampering scandal after Cameron Bancroft suggested that the team’s bowlers were aware it was going on, it said yesterday. Bancroft served a nine-month ban after being caught on television hiding yellow sandpaper, which had been used to rough up the ball, in his trousers during the third Test at Cape Town against South Africa. Bancroft in an interview with the Guardian suggested that some bowlers also knew of the plot. “Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said in a story about his path back from that defining moment. Asked again if some of the bowlers knew, Bancroft replied: “Yeah, look, I think, yeah. I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”
Kieran Read retires
Former All Blacks captain and two-time World Cup winner Kieran Read on Saturday announced his retirement from professional rugby aged 35. Read made the announcement before his Toyota Verblitz team was beaten by the Panasonic Wild Knights in the semi-finals of Japan’s Top League. In a social media post Read wrote: “I’m looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family.” He is the third most-capped All Black with 127 test appearances in the back row, including 52 as captain. He was a member of New Zealand teams that won the 2011 and 2015 World Cups and was voted World Rugby Player of the Year in 2013. He also won four Super Rugby titles with the Christchurch-based Crusaders.
For Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin, there were no chances left: Either beat the world’s top-ranked men’s doubles badminton team from Indonesia for the first time or see their Olympic hopes dashed in the preliminary round. The world No. 3 Taiwanese duo answered the challenge, edging past Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in their final Group A match 21-18, 15-21, 21-17 to qualify for the final eight knockout round. “We finally made it,” Lee wrote on Facebook after beating the Indonesian duo. However, he said that the competition still had a long way to go. “We’re happy not only because
INTO THE SEMIS: Top seed Tai Tzu-ying hit two stunning backhands in quick succession while on the floor in her quarter-final, prompting disbelieving gasps and cheers Taiwanese badminton stars Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin yesterday advanced to the gold medal match of the men’s doubles, while Taiwanese top seed Tai Tzu-ying got off to a rough start in a nail-biting women’s singles quarter-final against Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, but rallied with a series of flash backhand smashes. Lee and Wang beat Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-11, 21-10 in their men’s doubles semi-final to set up a shot at the gold medal against China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, who had a 24-22, 21-13 win over Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik. Tai rallied from a game
‘BOSS CHARACTER’: Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin said they had ‘crawled out of hell’ and have nothing to lose in a match against the world’s No. 2 pairing Badminton duo Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin made history in Tokyo yesterday by becoming the first Taiwanese shuttlers to advance to an Olympics semi-final after they edged their Japanese rivals in the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles. The world No. 3 Taiwanese duo defeated Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 21-16, 21-19 in 44 minutes at the Musashino Forest Plaza. By reaching the final four, the pair have recorded Taiwan’s best ever showing in Olympic badminton, surpassing a quarter-finals finish by Lee Sheng-mu and Fang Chieh-min in the men’s doubles at the London Games in 2012. After clinching the hard-earned victory, Lee dropped to
CLOSE CALL: In what was almost an upset, Brian Yang kept Chou Tien-chen on his toes for more than an hour, but the world No. 3 managed to hold on for the win Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying yesterday reminded the world why she is No. 1 when she had France’s Qi Xuefei struggling to match up through their 25-minute encounter. Tai, who beat Qi 21-10, 21-13, had a rough start to the Tokyo Olympics, taking longer to fend off two hugely inferior opponents earlier in the Games. The 27-year-old has a history of slipping up at the Olympics, despite performing exceptionally in other competitions. Tai, who became world No. 1 in 2016, has won the All England Open title three times and was a gold medalist at the 2018 Asian Games. “This is the first time I