22 Aug 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

11:52 am on 22 August 2019

Latest - Wellington's regional stadium has has got a new sponsor and will become Sky Stadium from next year.

An artist's impression of the Wellington Regional Stadium with it's new sponsorship.

An artist's impression of the Wellington Regional Stadium with it's new sponsorship. Photo: Supplied

Westpac has sponsored the stadium since it first opened in 2000, ending one of the longest partnerships in New Zealand sport

The new sponsorship deal is for six years.

Wellington Regional Stadium Trust chief executive Shane Harmon thanked Westpac for its sponsorship saying "Westpac has played a critical role in the success of the venue. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Westpac over the past two decades, developing the partnership at both the local and national level".

Boost for All Blacks Sevens

The All Blacks Sevens bid for Olympic gold in Tokyo next year has been boosted with the four Super Rugby players set to join squad for next season.

The Commonwealth Games gold medal winning All Black Sevens.

The Commonwealth Games gold medal winning All Black Sevens. Photo: Photosport

The All Blacks Sevens bid for Olympic gold in Tokyo next year has been boosted with the four Super Rugby players set to join squad for next season.

Caleb Clarke from the Blues, Etene Nanai-Seturo from the Chiefs, the Hurricanes Salesi Rayasi and Highlanders player Scott Gregory are to move into the Sevens programme.

The four players have all previously played for the All Blacks Sevens.

Salesi Rayasi was a member of the World Cup winning side last year while Etene Nanai-Seturo won Commonwealth Games Gold with the team last April.

Clarke, Nanai-Seturo and Rayasi will join the All Blacks Sevens squad after their provincial rugby committments while Gregory will remain with the Highlanders until March 2020.

The Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, and Highlanders are free to recruit an additional player to their 2020 squads.

The Crusaders are the only team to not have representation in the wider Sevens Squad.

12 year old to play Canadian Open

At 12 years, nine months and six days, Michelle Liu will become the youngest player ever to compete at the Canadian Women's Open this week.

The previous youngest was fellow Canadian Brooke Henderson, the current world number eight, who was 14 when she first played in the event in 2012.

Liu qualified for the event, which started in 1973, via the Canadian Women's Amateur Championship in July.

New Zealand's Lydia Ko, who is also playing this week, won the Canadian Open at age 15 when she was an amateur.


Djokovic and Osaka give top seedings

World tennis number ones and title holders Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka have been named the top seeds for the U.S. Open which starts on Monday in New York.

Naomi Osaka still feels bittersweet about her U.S. Open victory.

Naomi Osaka Photo: Photosport

Three-times U.S. Open champion Djokovic, who goes into the tournament having won his fifth Wimbledon title, is followed in the seedings by 2017 winner Rafael Nadal.

Roger Federer will begin his quest for a 21st Grand Slam crown as the third seed. He is followed by Austrian Dominic Thiem, Russia's Daniil Medvedev and Germany's Alexander Zverev.

Former champions in the list of 32 men's seeds also include Marin Cilic (2014) of Croatia who is 22nd and Stan Wawrinka (2016) of Switzerland who is 23rd.

French Open winner Ash Barty is seeded second behind Japan's Osaka, followed by Czech Karolina Pliskova and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep.

American Serena Williams, last year's finalist who is seeking a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, is seeded eighth while another former winner, Sloane Stephens, is 11th.


Gold again for Burling and Tuke

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have won the 49er class at the Tokyo Olympic Test Sailing regatta at Enoshima.

New Zealand sailors Peter Burling (R) and Blair Tuke (L).

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Going into the medal race the pair had already guaranteed themselves at least silver, with a Polish pair the only crew who could overtake them 13 points behind.

But Poland's opportunity was over before it even started when they started prematurely, meaning they had to return to the start line to clear their penalty. From then on, Burling and Tuke kept a cover on the Polish pair and eased to the gold medal.

They won three of the 13 races in Enoshima and were in the top four in six other races to highlight their consistency.

It's also a good omen because they won the Olympic test event in 2015 and backed it up with gold in Rio a year later and were third at the London test event and second at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech finished fourth in the 49er FX .

New Zealand will have two more sailors involved in today's medal races, with Andy Maloney fourth in the Finn and Sam Meech fifth in the Laser.

World Rugby removes women from World Cup title.

World Rugby has announced that its flagship 15's and sevens Rugby World Cup tournaments will no longer include gender in their titles.

New Zealand Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Faamausili celebrates winning the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup.

Fiao'o Faamausili Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2017 © INPHO 2017

In a first for a major sporting federation, the women's designation will be dropped from Women's Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand which will now be named Rugby World Cup 2021, starting the global roll out.

World Rugby says the move will ensure that the competitions have equal billing from a brand perspective, regardless of whether the events feature men or women.

The purpose is to elevate the profile of the women's game, while eliminating any inherent or perceived bias towards men's only competitions and tournaments, which traditionally haven't specified gender.

Good start for paddlers

New Zealand's Lisa Carrington has won her heat of the K1 200 at the Canoe Sprint World Championships in Hungary.

Lisa Carrington competing at the Canoe Sprint World Championships in Portugal.

Lisa Carrington Photo: Photosport

Carrington easily won her heat in a time of 38.53, the fastest qualifier for this weekend's semi-finals.

She is a six time world champion and two-time Olympic champion in the event.

Carrington is also competing in the K1 500 and the K4 500.

Meanwhile para-canoeist Scott Martlew is through to the finals in the men's K1 200 after winning his heat and semi-final.

Twitter to discuss racist abuse

Twitter representatives will meet Manchester United and British anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out after the club's midfielder Paul Pogba became the latest player to be subjected to online racist abuse.

Twitter is planning changes to the platform aimed at curbing the abuse some users receive.

Twitter is planning changes to the platform aimed at curbing the abuse some users receive. Photo: 123RF

France international Pogba was a target of online abuse after he missed a penalty in Tuesday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard last week urged social media companies to take action after 21-year-old striker Tammy Abraham was targeted after the team's UEFA Super Cup loss to Liverpool.

"We have always maintained an open and healthy dialogue with our partners in this space, but we know we need to do more to protect our users," Twitter said in a statement.

"Racist behaviour has no place on our platform and we strongly condemn it.

England women's coach Phil Neville, a former United player, urged the football community to boycott social media for six months to send a message.

A study released by Kick It Out said it received 159 reports of discrimination via social media in the English professional game last season.


Roy passes concussion test

England batsman Jason Roy has passed a concussion test after being hit in the nets ahead of the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

The 29-year-old was struck by a throw-down from former international Marcus Trescothick, who is working with the team in a temporary capacity, during practice yesterday.

Roy was assessed after impact and was able to continue batting, but also required a follow-up check on the eve of the match to determine any delayed symptoms.

Roy will undergo a further check on the morning of the match, the England and Wales Cricket Board indicated, but is now expected to take his place at the top of the order.

The issue of head injuries has become a major talking point in the series after Australia batsman Steve Smith was struck in the neck by a 148km/h bouncer from Jofra Archer at Lord's.


Money doing all the talking in golf?

Rory McIlroy is concerned that overpublicising the US PGA Tour's $23 million FedEx Cup payday could be distancing golf's superstars from everyday fans.

McIlroy is one of 30 players at this week's Tour Championship who are vying for the lion's share of a $94 million bonus pool.

The Tour Championship is the finale of the PGA Tour's playoffs series and much fanfare has been made of the winner's bonus being bumped up $8 million from last year.

But McIlroy, who won the 2016 FedEx title when it awarded a $16 million prize, admits promoting those large sums can come across as 'rich players getting richer'.

"The money is nice ... but I don't think it needs to be front and centre. I don't think that's what the fans care about."

"How can we make ourselves more relatable to the fans? Having $23 million (publicised) probably isn't the best way," four-time major winner McIlroy said.


Ivanisevic up for Hall of Fame

Big-serving left-hander Goran Ivanisevic, a former Wimbledon champion who won two Olympic bronze medals, headlines the list of four candidates up for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Spanish great Conchita Martinez, twice French Open winner Sergi Bruguera and doubles specialist Jonas Bjorkman were the other nominations announced today.

Ivanisevic, who was known for his serve-and-volley style of play, was ranked 125th in 2001 when he was given a wildcard into that year's Wimbledon.

The towering Croat made the most of his opportunity as he went on to knock out three players who were former or future world No.1s before he beat Australia's Pat Rafter in a five-set battle in the final.

Ivanisevic, who remains the lowest-ranked player to win Wimbledon and the only male player to win a grand slam singles title as a wildcard, also collected a singles bronze and doubles bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.


O'Brien favourite for Knights job

Adam O'Brien has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Nathan Brown at Newcastle as the Knights ramp up their search for a new NRL coach.

Newcastle boss Phil Gardner declared on Wednesday that the Knights would embark on a search for character, with a new coach wanted by November.

Gardner also confirmed senior Newcastle players would be consulted in the process, after Brown confirmed he would quit at season's end.