10 Sep 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

2:05 pm on 10 September 2019

Latest - New Zealand surfer Ella Williams has provisionally qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics securing the Oceania slot after placing the highest of the Oceania surfers at the World Surfing Games in Japan.

Ella Williams (right) post heat at the World Surfing Games in Japan.

Ella Williams (right) post heat at the World Surfing Games in Japan. Photo: ISA Ben Reed

Williams finished 29th equal overall, while teammates Paige Hareb and Raiha Ensor finished 33rd equal.

Williams could be part of an exclusive group of 20 female surfers from around the world that will attend the first-ever Olympic surfing event in July next year.

But good performances by Hareb and Ensor could bump Williams out of her Oceania slot.

Hareb has three remaining events on the 2019 World Tour to push her cause for qualification.

World Surf League event heading to New Zealand

Piha Beach in west Auckland has been named as the first of eight stops on the World Surf League's new challenger series, starting next year.

The events will be contested by surfers attempting to qualify for the championship tour.

The challenger series will start at Piha in March and will culminate in Hawaii in December.

"We're excited to announce the Challenger Series for 2020," said Travis Logie, Senior Manager Tours and Competition.

"This new level of event and competition will provide greater opportunity for elite qualification, visibility for the next generation of surfers, and a marketing platform for our regional partners. The changes are also intended to allow a greater number of regional surfers to develop through the WSL Qualifying Tour system - with the update to this level, we will be able to answer the demand for increasing competitive opportunities."

Black Sticks to face South Korea for place at Olympics

The New Zealand men's hockey team will square-off against South Korea in Stratford in November for a place at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Blair Tarrant of NZ in the New Zealand Vantage Black Sticks v Belgium match. Pro League. Auckland, New Zealand. 1 Feburary 2019.Copyright photo: Alisha Lovrich / www.photosport.nz

Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2019 www.photosport.nz

The ninth-ranked Black Sticks have drawn the 16th ranked Koreans in a two match home series after New Zealand missed its first opportunity to qualify by losing the Oceania Cup in Queensland.

The women's Black Sticks have already secured a place in Tokyo by winning their Oceania Cup.

Another draw for NZ U-23 footballers

The New Zealand U-23 men's football team will take plenty of confidence into its bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after continuing its unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw against Australia in Campbelltown.

A defeat is yet to be suffered under the reign of head coach Des Buckingham, who led New Zealand to gold at the Pacific Games and has followed that up with a pair of draws against the old enemy from across the ditch.

His main focus for the two-match series in Australia was not on results though with preparing well for the looming Olympic Games qualifiers the most pressing priority.

He will be pleased in that regard as New Zealand again put in an impressive showing to force their way back into the game after going behind early.

Sri Lanka players boycotting Pakistan tour

Ten Sri Lankan players, including captain Dimuth Karunaratne and veterans Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews, have opted out of the upcoming tour of Pakistan over security concerns.

Sr Lankan cricketer Dimuth Karunaratne.

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sri Lanka are due to tour Pakistan to play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches between September 27 and October 9 and the board held a meeting with the players to discuss security arrangements for the tour.

Pakistan are looking to host their first test on home soil as part of the World Test Championship in December, since a 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore left six security personnel and two civilians dead while six players were injured.

The Sri Lankan players were briefed on the security situation in the country by the SLC's chief security advisor and were given the freedom to decide whether to take part or not.

- Reuters

England unchanged for final Ashes Test

England have named an unchanged 13-man squad for the fifth and final Ashes test against Australia at the Oval which begins on Thursday.

Jason Roy is bowled by Josh Hazlewood during the 4th Ashes Test Match between England and Australia at Old Trafford, Manchester on 6th September 2019. Copyright photo: Graham Morris / www.photosport.nz

Jason Roy dismissed in the fourth test Photo: 2019 © Graham Morris/www.cricketpix.com

Australia retained the urn after taking an unassailable 2-1 lead following their 185-run win in the fourth test at Old Trafford yesterday.

England are now looking to avoid their first series defeat at home to the visitors since 2001 when they lost 4-1.

England's batsmen struggled to impose themselves at Old Trafford, with only three scoring half-centuries, and former fast bowler Bob Willis said Jason Roy should be dropped for the final test after a string of failures.

All-rounder Ben Stokes is the only English batsman to average over 50 in the series with 354 runs in four matches.

- Reuters

NBA ban ninja headwear

New Orleans Pelican guard Jrue Holiday.

New Orleans Pelican guard Jrue Holiday. Photo: Photosport

"The ninja-style headwear is not part of the NBA uniform and hasn't been through the league approval process," NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN in a statement.

"Teams have raised concerns regarding safety and consistency of size, length and how they are tied which requires a thorough review before consideration of any rule change.

"When some players began wearing them last season, we didn't want to cause a disruption by intervening midseason, but we notified our teams in May that they would not be part of this season's uniforms."

Among the players known for wearing the headwear in the past are Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Afghanistan beat Bangladesh

Rashid Khan picked up six second innings wickets to lead Afghanistan to a famous 224-run win over Bangladesh in the maiden test match between the two sides at Chattogram.

Racing against time to complete a win with less than four overs left in the weather-hit match, the longest-format rookies bundled out the hosts for 173 in their second innings amid a drizzle and fading light.

The 20-year-old Rashid, who became the youngest test captain ever during the one-off match, took six for 49 in the second innings to finish with 11 wickets in the match to go with his knock of 51 with the bat in the first innings.

Playing only their third test match after being inducted as a test-playing nation two years back, it was the second victory for the strife-torn country.

Rahmat Shah's 102 - the first century in the format by an Afghanistan batsman - and a 92 from Asghar Afghan allowed the touring side to post 342 in the first innings.

- Reuters

Roglic strengthens grip on Vuelta a Espana

Primoz Roglic tightened his grip on the Vuelta a Espana, while Jakob Fuglsang earned a solo triumph in stage 16.

Jumbo-Visma rider Roglic extended his lead in the overall standings to two minutes 48 seconds after his closest rival, Spain's Alejandro Valverde, lost 23 seconds on the Slovenian in the spectacular Asturian mountains.

Astana rider Fuglsang finished in four hours, one minute, 22 seconds for his first Grand Tour stage win.

The Danish rider's chances in the Tour de France were ruined by two crashes with Astana saying he was in the form of his career.

Fuglsang emerged from the 21-rider breakaway to leave his opponents behind and claim a lone triumph.

British Team Ineos cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart came in second, 22 seconds behind Fuglsang, after finishing third in Stage 15 on Sunday.

Another Astana rider, Luis Leon Sanchez, took third ahead of Deceuninck-QuickStep Briton James Knox.

- Reuters

Barty reclaims No 1 World Ranking

Australia's Ashley Barty has reclaimed the No.1 spot in the WTA rankings less than a month after losing it, while US Open champion Bianca Andreescu moved up to a career-high fifth after her maiden grand slam win in New York.

Ashleigh Barty looks on in disbelief after winning the 2019 French open title.

Ashleigh Barty looks on in disbelief after winning the 2019 French open title. Photo: Photosport/Panoramic

Andreescu beat Serena Williams 6-3 7-5 in Saturday's final to maintain a 13-match unbeaten run, where she also won the Canadian Open, to break into the top 10 for the first time in her career.

French Open champion Barty exited the tournament in the last 16 but regained the top spot after last year's champion Naomi Osaka was also knocked out at the same stage.

The Japanese, who also beat Williams in last year's final, slipped to fourth in the rankings with Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova and Ukraine's Elina Svitolina leapfrogging her to move up to second and third respectively.

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep fell two places down to sixth while Williams fell one spot to ninth despite her run to the final.

- Reuters

Former IAAF legal adviser banned

Habib Cisse, a former legal adviser to disgraced IAAF ex-president Lamine Diack, has been banned for life for corruption and fined $25,000, the IAAF Ethics Board said.

The IAAF said its ethics panel had found Cisse guilty of helping to cover up doping violations by Lilya Shobukhova "and other Russian athletes".

Cisse was accused by independent investigator Dick Pound in 2016 of being part of a clique run by Diack that covered up organised doping in the sport.

Diack, who is to be tried in France on charges of corruption and money laundering, diverted the handling of Russian doping cases to Cisse, who was serving at the time as the Senegalese's personal lawyer.

- Reuters