3 Sep 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

4:57 pm on 3 September 2019

Latest - Kiwi Mike Venus and Chinese Taipei partner Hao-Ching Chan are through to the semifinals of the Mixed Doubles draw at the 2019 US Open.

They defeated the combination of Kveta Peschke (Czech Republic) and Wesley Koolhof (the Netherlands) 6-3 7-6.

They'll play Latisha Chan (Chinese Taipei) and Ivan Dodig from Croatia for a place in the final.

Walsh prevails in the wind and the rain

Tom Walsh has collected another title ahead of this week's Diamond League shot put final in Brussels.

Tom Walsh at the Potts Classic 2019.


The reigning world champion has dominated the competition at the IAAF world challenge meeting in Zagreb, despite difficult conditions.

Beating back wind and rain, Walsh has produced a series of six throws in excess of 21 metres, highlighted by his final heave of 21.98

Four of his throws were further than the second place finisher, American Darrell Hill, who produced a best of 21.50.

"I'm in a good place now," Walsh told Croatian National TV. "I'm feeling really good with the World Championships coming soon."

All Whites forward on the move

New Zealand footballer Jeremy Brockie is switching clubs in South Africa after failing to make his mark at Mamelodi Sundowns.

Jeremy Brockie

Jeremy Brockie Photo: Photosport

The 31-year-old forward has joined Maritzburg United on loan for the rest of the season.

Brockie joined Sundowns in January last year after a successful three years at SuperSport United.

But he wasn't able to shine for his new club, scoring just two goals in 32 appearances.

Jeremy Brockie will want to rediscover his goalscoring touch and impress new All Whites coach Danny Hay, with New Zealand to return from the international wilderness in November to play friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Lithuania.

Top seeds fall at US Open

New champions will be crowned in the women's and men's singles at the US Open in New York.

Naomi Osaka.

Naomi Osaka. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Women's defending champion and top seed Naomi Osaka has bowed out in the fourth round, little over 12 hours after male counterpart Novak Djokovic also exited the tournament.

Osaka has been upset 7-5 6-4 by 13th seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.

The win meant Bencic improved to 3-0 this year against the 21-year-old Osaka, who came through an emotional straight sets win over 15-year-old American Coco Gauff in the third round.

Bencic will face Donna Vekic in the quarterfinals after the Croatian came from a set and match points down to beat Germany's Julia Goerges.

Australia make changes for fourth Ashes test

Top-order batsman Usman Khawaja has been axed from the Australian side for this week's fourth Ashes cricket test in Manchester.

Usman Khawaja top scored for Australia with 85.

Usman Khawaja top scored for Australia with 85. Photo: Photosport

He's been dropped to make way for Steve Smith's return from concussion.

Marcus Harris and Matthew Wade had been the other batsmen in the firing line.

But selectors want to give Harris, recalled for the third test after Cameron Bancroft was dumped, a chance to show his opening partnership with David Warner has a future.

Wade, having scored a century in Australia's series-opening victory, has been retained after modest returns with the bat at both Lord's and Headingley.

Fast bowler James Pattinson has also been left out and will be replaced by either Mitchell Starc or Peter Siddle.


Roy to drop down order

Joe Denly will swap places with struggling opener Jason Roy in the England batting order for the fourth Ashes test against Australia at Old Trafford.

Roy, who was handed his test debut after an impressive World Cup-winning campaign, has failed to deliver at the top of the order in the first three tests, scoring 57 runs in six innings with a highest score of 28.

Denly's patient half-century in the second innings of the third test, where he shared a 126-run stand with Root, set up the win for the hosts who were chasing a daunting target of 359 to level the series.

Australia's Steve Smith, who scored 378 runs in three innings, is set to return to the side after missing the third test due to concussion.

The fourth test in Manchester starts on Wednesday with the series level at 1-1.

- Reuters

India wrap up win over Windies

India have completed an emphatic 2-0 series sweep against West Indies, winning the second test by 257 runs in Jamaica after the hosts' batsman Darren Bravo was replaced by a concussion substitute.

India's captain Virat Kohli (C) celebrates beating Australia in the first Test in Adelaide. 10 December 2018

India celebrate a Test victory. Photo: AFP

Bravo was struck on the helmet by a short delivery from Jasprit Bumrah in the final over on Monday (NZ time), but batted on and saw out the last two balls at Sabina Park in Kingston.

He returned for the start of day four, but lasted only three overs before deciding to retire hurt on 23 and left the field to be examined by a doctor.

Jermaine Blackwood was named as a concussion substitute and went out to bat following the fall of the fourth wicket.

Blackwood scored 38 runs but it made little difference to the final outcome as West Indies, chasing 468 for victory, were bowled out for 210.

India dominated the short two-Test series, part of the inaugural World Test Championship, having won the opening encounter in Antigua by 318 runs.

India also extended their unbeaten streak against West Indies to 23 tests. They last lost to the Caribbean team in Kingston in 2002.

- Reuters

Sri Lankans slapped with fines

Sri Lanka have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate against New Zealand in the first T20 international in Pallekele.

The Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga.

The Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The home side were ruled to be two overs short of their target after time allowances were taken into consideration in the Black Caps five-wicket win on Monday (NZ time).

ICC match referee Andy Pycroft imposed a fine of 40 per cent of their match fee on all 11 Sri Lanka players

Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga pleaded guilty to the offence after the end of the match and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing.

The second match of the three-match series is on Wednesday morning.

Toner absent for Ireland

Lock Devin Toner has been the surprise omission from Ireland's squad for the Rugby World Cup.

Ireland lock Devin Toner.

Ireland lock Devin Toner. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Coach Joe Schmidt left Toner out of his 31-man group, as Jean Kleyn edged out the experienced Leinster second-rower less than a month after making his international debut.

A near ever-present throughout Schmidt's six years in charge with 67 caps, the 2.10 metre tall Toner's lineout abilities were sacrificed for Kleyn's power up front after the South African-born lock qualified to play for Ireland just last month.

Schmidt was able to name a strong squad after no major injury concerns emerged since flankers Sean O'Brien and Dan Leavy were ruled out at the end of last season, meaning reserve flyhalf Joey Carbery travels while recovering from injury.

Ireland, who face hosts Japan, Scotland Russia and Samoa in Pool A, will complete their preparations against Six Nations champions Wales this weekend before they open their World Cup campaign against the Scots on September 22.

- Reuters

France name RWC squad

Number eight Louis Picamoles has been included in France's 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup for his last participation in the sport's extravaganza.

France rugby coach Jacques Brunel.

France rugby coach Jacques Brunel. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 33-year-old, who is expected to quit international rugby after the tournament in Japan, will take part in his third World Cup after coach Jacques Brunel preferred him to Francois Cros.

The list was drawn from a preliminary squad of 37, with notably Felix Lambey and Romain Taofifenua being omitted.

France will take on Argentina, England, Tonga and the United States in Pool C.

- Reuters

Namibia name veteran halfback

Scrumhalf Eugene Jantjies will go to his fourth Rugby World Cup after being named in Namibia's 31-man squad on Monday for the tournament in Japan that starts later this month.

Jantjies, 33, is one of 15 players in the squad with previous World Cup experience as Welsh head coach Phil Davies seeks to steer the country to a first ever victory at the global showpiece event.

Namibia have appeared at the last five World Cups, but have lost all 19 matches, though they did show a marked improvement under Davies in 2015 and narrowly lost 17-16 to Georgia.

They may well fancy their chances of breaking their duck having been pooled with Canada this year, along with heavyweights New Zealand and South Africa. Italy are the fifth team in the pool.

- Reuters

Kepu to call time on Wallabies

Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu said on Monday he will retire from international rugby after the World Cup in Japan, bringing the curtain down on a career that has brought him more than 100 test caps.


Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Kepu became just the ninth Australian test centurion when he played world champions New Zealand in Yokohama last year, and the nation's first prop to reach the milestone.

He will be honoured with a farewell ceremony in front of home fans after the Wallabies' final World Cup warmup against Samoa in Sydney on Saturday.

Japan will be the 33-year-old's third World Cup before he heads to England to play with Premiership side London Irish next season.

The Wallabies have flown brought outside back Jack Maddocks and uncapped loose forward Rob Valetini in to prepare for the Samoa test, with coach Michael Cheika expected to rest a number of key players.

- Reuters

Spain roll on in China

Spain celebrated their second successive win at the basketball World Cup in China after a commanding performance from their Toronto Raptors centre Marc Gasol gave them a 73-63 win over plucky Puerto Rico.

Memphis Grizzlies Center Marc Gasol  driving to the basket while Oklahoma City Thunder Center Steven Adams  plays defense.

Marc Gasol driving to the basket for NBA side the Memphis Grizzlies. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Serbia, the tournament favourites alongside holders United States, also made it two out of two with a 126-67 demolition of the Philippines while 39-year-old forward Luis Scola rolled back the years in Argentina's 94-81 defeat of Nigeria.

Spain struggled against a physical Puerto Rican side in the first half before Gasol, who won the 2019 NBA title with the Raptors, nailed 11 points in the third quarter for the 2006 world champions.

Scola, who moved to China in 2017 after a 10-year career at five different NBA clubs, amassed 23 points and 10 rebounds as Argentina overpowered the Nigerians.

- Reuters

Lukaku calls for more action

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has made a plea to football federations and social media platforms to do more after he was subjected to racist abuse in Inter Milan's 2-1 Serie A victory at Cagliari.

Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United.

Romelu Lukaku during his time with Manchester United. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Playing only his second match in Italy after his move from Manchester United, Lukaku appeared to be the target of monkey chants from the home crowd at the Sardegna Arena as he prepared to take the decisive penalty.

Cagliari described the behaviour of the fans involved as shameful after the latest in a string of incidents involving the club but also said that "both Inter Milan and Cagliari supporters enjoyed a lovely evening together in the name of their passion for football."

Several black players have suffered online racist abuse in recent weeks, including Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Chelsea's Tammy Abraham and Kurt Zouma.

Racism has been a long-running problem in Italian football where authorities have been criticised for not taking strong enough action.

- Reuters

Bennett backs Coote

St Helens fullback Lachlan Coote has become the second Australian-born rugby league player to be called up by Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett.

Coote, who has British ancestry and played for Scotland in the 2016 Four Nations Series, joins Warrington five-eighth Blake Austin in a 29-man performance squad to prepare for the end-of-season tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Coote played over 150 games in the NRL with Penrith and North Queensland, and represented City Origin and the Australian Prime Minister's XIII, prior to his move to the English Super League.

Former Canberra star Austin has also represented City Origin after playing for the Portugal national team.


Battle continues for van Niekerk

World record holder Wayde van Niekerk said he would not defend his 400-metres title at this month's World Championships in Doha as he had yet to recover from a knee injury.

South African runner Wayde van Niekerk.

South African runner Wayde van Niekerk. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Olympic champion suffered the injury while playing a charity touch rugby game in October 2017 and has not raced internationally since.

The 27-year-old South African recently returned to training after enduring a number of setbacks, but said he was in no rush to return to competition as he looks forward to the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

Van Niekerk beat Michael Johnson's 17-year world record in the 400m at the 2016 Olympics and was set to take on the 200m as well before his injury.

- Reuters

Judoka under pressure from Iran federation

An Iranian judoka is refusing to return home over fears for his safety after he ignored orders from his national federation to pull out of fights to avoid a potential final meeting with an Israeli, the International Judo Federation says.

The IJF said Saeid Mollaei was pressured by Iranian authorities to drop out of his quarterfinal and semifinals at the world judo championships in Tokyo last week to avoid fighting Israel's Sagi Muki in the final.

The IJF said Mollaei had been repeatedly ordered to withdraw from fights to avoid the chance of bouts with Israelis, both by the country's National Olympic Committee and the government, and that security personnel had been sent to his home in Iran.

This is not the first time athletes from Arab nations or Iran have been ordered to pull out or refuse to compete with Israeli athletes in Olympics or other international competitions.

Since its Islamic Revolution in 1979 Iran has refused to recognise Israel and the two have been arch-enemies for decades.

- Reuters