Staff blamed for stampede
A stampede that led to the deaths of eight people outside an Africa Cup of Nations stadium on Monday was caused by a “reckless” decision to open a gate in the face of a “flood of people,” Cameroonian Minister of Sports and Physical Education Narcisse Mouelle Kombi said on Friday. “That entry gate was momentarily closed by security forces in the face of a surge of spectators despite other entry gates being in operation,” he told a news conference in Douala. The dead included a child, while 38 people were also injured. The minister also acknowledged that the number of security staff at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde was “insufficient” at the 60,000-capacity stadium for the last-16 match between the host nation and the Comoros.
Athlete cases increase
Daily COVID-19 infections among athletes and team officials at the Beijing Winter Olympics rose to 19 on Friday from two a day earlier, as Games organizers warned of more cases in coming days. Including the athletes and officials, 36 Games-related personnel were found to be infected — 29 when they arrived at the Beijing airport and seven already in the “closed loop” bubble that separates event personnel from the public, the organizing committee said in a statement yesterday. “It’s annoying that every morning you need to get up a little earlier specially to get a PCR test. I think that in a few days, it will be like brushing your teeth,” Russian hockey player Anton Slepyshev told RIA news agency. “Everyone is concerned that the test result will suddenly turn out to be positive, but the reality is such that we are living with COVID. We accept all the risks and fears,” he said.
Bernal was nearly paraplegic
Egan Bernal had a 95 percent chance of becoming a paraplegic, the Ineos Grenadiers rider said on Friday, following a serious crash during training in Colombia earlier this week that required multiple surgeries. The former Tour de France winner slammed into a stationary bus on the outskirts of Bogota on Monday, sustaining injuries to his spine, legs and chest. He was rushed to a hospital where doctors performed neurosurgery. “Having had a 95 percent chance of becoming a paraplegic and nearly losing my life doing what I love to do most, today I want to thank God, the Sabana University Clinic and to all its specialists for doing the impossible, my family and all of you,” Bernal wrote on Twitter. In a statement, the hospital said that the 25-year-old Colombian was recovering well but would undergo two more minor surgeries to treat fractures on the right hand and in the mouth.
De Vries wins opener
Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries on Friday started the new season in dominant fashion as he clinched victory in the opening race at the Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia, with teammate Stoffel Vandoorne making it a one-two for Mercedes. Dutchman De Vries trailed pole-sitter Vandoorne for the initial stages, but moved into the lead after the Belgian missed an attack mode activation loop following a safety-car restart. “This is what we have been working towards, so it is a very pleasing start to the weekend,” De Vries said after his second straight win in Diriyah.
ON ANOTHER LEVEL: In a pregame speech, Ohtani urged his teammates ‘to throw away their admiration’ for the US, because they ‘came here to surpass them, to reach the top’ Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout had dreamed of this moment, along with millions of fans throughout Japan and the US: the two biggest stars on the planet, longtime teammates, facing each other at 60 feet, 6 inches, the world title at stake. Of course, the count went full on Tuesday night, and Ohtani got Trout to swing under a slider on the outside corner, sealing Japan’s 3-2 win and their first World Baseball Classic (WBC) title since 2009. “This is the best moment in my life,” Ohtani said through a translator. Ohtani, the two-way star who has captivated fans across two continents, was
With cherry blossoms reaching full bloom in Tokyo, Japanese sports fans erupted in jubilation yesterday, after their compatriots defeated the US to win the World Baseball Classic (WBC). More than a hundred people gathered near Shimbashi Station in the city center to get special newspaper editions celebrating the victory. The scene quickly turned chaotic, with police officers jumping in to help hand out copies. “I am so proud as a Japanese national,” said Yuji Takeno, a 33-year-old company worker who was among those gathered in Shimbashi. “I also play baseball for leisure and it makes me want to work harder, that’s how
Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday said she struggled to understand the “hate” she encountered in the locker room amid strained relations between some players following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The world No. 2 has previously said she has nothing against Ukrainians and felt bad for them as Moscow’s action rages on. Belarus has been a staging area for the invasion, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.” “It was really tough for me because I’ve never faced that much hate in the locker room,” Sabalenka said ahead of the Miami Open. “There are a lot of haters on Instagram when you’re losing
When Shohei Ohtani reached second base after hitting a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth inning on Monday, he immediately looked up at the crowd and waved his arms, in a rare sign of emotion, as if he knew what was coming next. Ohtani’s clutch hit sparked a late rally, and moments later Munetaka Murakami delivered a walk-off, two-run double to lift Japan over Mexico 6-5 and into the World Baseball Classic final. Two-time champions Japan were to face the defending champions the US in yesterday night’s title game at 7pm in Miami. After Monday’s game, Japan team members rushed