Taiwanese take bronze
Taiwan’s Lin Yun-ju and Chuang Chih-yuan on Friday clinched a bronze medal in the men’s doubles at the World Table Tennis Singapore Smash after losing in the semi-finals. Lin and Chuang were bested by Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon of South Korea 13-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-5 in 47 minutes, dashing their hopes of competing for the gold medal. In the first game, Lin and Chuang established an early 10-8 lead, but failed to hold their advantage. They rallied in the second game, but the world No. 3-ranked South Korean duo forced the pace to closed out the next two games. Lin and Chuang took bronze, as did Japanese pair Yukiya Uda and Shunsuke Togami, who lost to Chinese duo Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin — who beat Jang and Lim in the final — in the other semi. There was another bronze for Taiwan in the mixed doubles after Lin Yun-ju and Chen Szu-yu lost against Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha of China 11-5, 11-3, 7-11, 11-9.
Monkeys sign Lee Da-hye
The Taoyuan-based Rakuten Monkeys on Friday announced the signing of South Korean cheerleader Lee Da-hye. Lee, a former member of the Kia Tigers cheerleading squad in the Korean Baseball Organization confirmed her move to Taoyuan and the CPBL on Instagram. “Last December, I received an offer from the Rakuten Monkeys. It’s not an opportunity that every cheerleader can have. I thought about it, and at the end of my thoughts, I decided to transfer” to Taiwan, Lee wrote, calling the transfer a “difficult decision.” In an earlier statement, Lee said she was “thankful for the stage offered by the franchise and being able to join the Rakuten Girls. It’s a chance for me to spread the [South] Korean cheering culture and learn Taiwan’s cheerleader culture. I hope you guys like my cheerful smile.” Lee said she would take this opportunity to go overseas as a stepping stone and a chance to grow. The 23-year-old, one of the most popular cheerleaders in South Korea, made her debut with the Tigers in 2019. However, the ensuing “Lee Da-hye mania” played a role in her eventual departure from the Tigers in October last year. Shortly before she left the Tigers, the leader of the team’s cheerleading squad implied that Lee was seeking to upstage the club’s players by releasing the squad’s schedule and taking pictures with fans.
Double tons power NZ
Double centuries yesterday for Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls powered New Zealand’s dominance in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Wellington. The Black Caps declared their first innings at an imposing 580-4 before reducing Sri Lanka to 26-2 at stumps on day 2. Williamson scored 215 and Nicholls posted a career-best 200 not out, with the pair’s third-wicket stand of 363 virtually batting Sri Lanka out of the contest. Their partnership was the fifth-highest by any New Zealand combination, and they became the country’s first batters to reach 200 in the same innings. Sri Lanka were 554 runs behind at stumps after losing two wickets for 26. Matt Henry removed opener Oshada Fernando for six before fellow seamer Doug Bracewell dismissed Kusal Mendis without scoring via a spectacular catch at point from Devon Conway.
Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying on Saturday crashed out of the BWF All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham, with South Korea’s Se Young-an denying the world No. 3 Tai a chance at a fourth All England title. In a replay of their semi-final showdown last year, the world No. 2 Se again beat Tai, saving four match points in a thrilling deciding game to prevail 17-21, 21-19, 24-22. Tai won the women’s singles title in Birmingham in 2017, 2018 and 2020. In the three times the two superstars faced each other prior to Saturday, Tai, 22, had only come out on top once, when
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