30 Apr 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

4:00 pm on 30 April 2019
Laurel Hubbard.

Laurel Hubbard. Photo: Photosport

Latest - New Zealand weightlifter and former world silver medallist, Laurel Hubbard, has had an unsuccessful return to international competition at the Arafura Games in Darwin.

The transgender female weightlifter hadn't competed overseas since rupturing an elbow ligament at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Hubbard has since competed at the National weightlifting champs last September winning gold.

The 41-year-old competed in the 87kg-plus division, but was unsuccessful at all three snatch attempts at 110kgs.

Hansen to take Cron with him to Japan

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will take Waratahs assistant Simon Cron with him to Japanese club Toyota Verblitz after the World Cup, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Neither Hansen or Cron, who is the nephew of All Blacks forward coach Mike Cron, have confirmed the move.

Hansen, who will stand down from the All Blacks after the World Cup, was linked with the move to Japan last month.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read has signed to play for Toyota Verblitz after the World Cup.

Meech makes a great start

New Zealand sailor Sam Meech.

New Zealand sailor Sam Meech. Photo: World Sailing

New Zealand Laser sailor Sam Meech has won both races on the opening day of the French Olympic regatta in Provence.

The 28-year-old won silver at the venue in 2016 which confirmed his spot at the Olympics later that year - he went on to win bronze in Rio - and he was also second in Hyeres in 2018 when it was part of the World Cup Series circuit.

Meech leads the 69-strong fleet by five points from Olympic champion Tom Burton of Australia.

Tom Saunders is the next best of the New Zealanders in 17th place.

Shaun Johnson ruled out of NRL

Cronulla have suffered a massive blow with star half Shaun Johnson ruled out of NRL action for up to four weeks with a hamstring injury, but it could have been a lot worse according to Sharks' halfback Chad Townsend.

Shaun Johnson limps off injured.


The Sharks have confirmed that their marquee playmaker had suffered a hamstring strain in Saturday night's loss to Brisbane.

"He's pretty down at the moment to be honest," Townsend said of Johnson on Fox League's' NRL Tonight.

"He had a scan in the last 24 hours and it looks like he's going to miss a month of football which is disappointing for us because he's a huge part of our team.

"It is however best case scenario. There was fears that it could be a lot longer time on the sidelines so a month on the sideline and hopefully we can get him back as soon as possible."


Hales withdraws from England cricket squad

Alex Hales has been withdrawn from England's preliminary Cricket World Cup squad to avoid any "unnecessary distractions" ahead of the showpiece tournament.

Hales is serving a three-week ban for recreational drug use, the Guardian newspaper reported at the weekend.

A replacement for Hales in the World Cup squad must be named by 23 May, when final squads are submitted to the International Cricket Council.

Hales was fined and suspended for his involvement in a nightclub altercation with team mate Ben Stokes in 2017.

The 30-year-old was given a six-match one-day international ban in December. He had already missed two games and the remainder of the ban was suspended for 12 months so he could be available for selection.

The 50-over World Cup begins on 30 May.


Sterling named writers' player of the year

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has been voted Footballer of the Year in the annual vote of members of the Football Writers' Association.

Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates after scoring..

Raheem Sterling. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sterling has been a key member of the City team which is two wins away from defending their Premier League title and has also been a prominent voice in the campaigns against racism in the game.

Nikita Parris won the FWA's Women's Footballer of the Year award -- like Sterling, the 25-year-old plays for Manchester City and England.

The FWA said Sterling collected 62 percent of the vote of more than 400 members of the organisation which brings together journalists and others in the football media.

Sterling had 100 votes more than Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk, who on Sunday was named the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year.

Other players to receive votes from FWA members were Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Bernardo Silva and David Silva (Manchester City).


Semenya appeal decision expected this week

The decision on Caster Semenya's challenge to continue competing without any restrictions will be announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport later this week.

The double Olympic 800m champion is challenging the sport's governing body, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), over its decision to restrict testosterone levels in female runners.

South African athlete Caster Semenya.

Double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya. Photo: Photosport

The IAAF wants the South African and other female athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) to take testosterone blockers.

Under the new rules, which will apply to women events between 400 metres to the mile, athletes classed as having DSDs must reduce their blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a period of six months before they can compete. They must then maintain it below that level continuously.

Semenya has been waiting since February following her appeal against an IAAF regulation, which said female athletes classed as having DSDs gain an unfair advantage due to their higher testosterone levels.

Testosterone is a hormone that increases muscle mass, strength and haemoglobin - which affects endurance.

CAS had been due to announce its decision in March but postponed it several times.

Semenya's dominance of the middle distances has been labelled unfair by many of her competitors but the proposed restrictions have also been branded as discriminatory.


Arrests over Sala post mortem photos

Two people have been arrested after a photo purporting to show the post-mortem examination of footballer Emiliano Sala was posted on Twitter.

The Argentine striker died in a plane crash in January.

Police said there was no evidence to suggest a break-in at the mortuary with the pair arrested on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material.