31 Jul 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

1:09 am on 31 July 2021

Latest - New Zealand boxer David Nyika has won his heavyweight quarterfinal bout against Belarusian Uladzislau Smiahlikau today and earned a spot in the semifinals.

David Nyika (right)

David Nyika (right) Photo: Photosport

He's now guaranteed to get at least a bronze medal.

It was Nyika's second unanimous points decision victory in Tokyo after easily winning his opening bout against Morocco's Youness Baalla.

He'll meet Muslim Gadzhimagomedov of the Russian Olympic Committee on Tuesday, with the winner going through to the gold medal bout.

Nyika says he has fought the 24-year-old Gadzhimagomedov before, and expects the semifinal bout will be a tough battle.

"I can tell you it's going to be a barn-burner," he told Sky.

"We've met in the ring before, he edged me out in a close one, and the ball's in my court. I've got everything to prove."

Adams, Wesche into shot put final

Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Valerie Adams is through to her fifth Olympic final after throwing 18.83 metres in qualifying at the Tokyo Games.

Dame Valerie Adams

Dame Valerie Adams Photo: Photosport

Adams, 36, won gold in 2008 in Beijing and at the London Olympics four years later, and is chasing a fourth medal after finishing second at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

She will be joined by 22-year-old teammate Maddison-Lee Wesche, who threw a personal best by 18.65m to qualify for the 12-strong final on Sunday.

The pressure was on, with only three throws to decide the finalists. Wesche smashed her personal best by nearly 20cm at the first attempt, backing that up with a third-round 18.53m.

Adams also started strongly with an 18.75m, dipped slightly in the second round with 18.59m then bettered the automatic qualifying standard of 18.83m on her third attempt.

Kerr soars through to Olympic final

New Zealand high jumper Hamish Kerr has flown through qualifying on his Olympic debut in Tokyo and will line up in Sunday night's final.

New Zealand high jumper Hamish Kerr in action in qualifying at the Tokyo Olympic Games, 30/7/21/

Photo: Alisha Lovrich

The 24-year-old comfortably cleared the opening height of 2.17m, followed by a tidy 2.21m.

After clipping the bar on his first attempt at 2.25m, Kerr flew over on his second go and his confidence continued, with another convincing clearance at 2.28m securing his place in the final.

"We knew it was there. We knew that if we executed our process we would get a good result, so I am just unbelievably stoked that I'm here and get to jump again on Sunday," Kerr said.

Solid start for NZ eventers

Equestrian newcomer Jesse Campbell has made a solid start in his Olympic debut, riding Diachello to 11th place on the first day of dressage at the Tokyo Olympics three-day event.

Badminton and Luhmuehlen winner Jonelle Price

Badminton and Luhmuehlen winner Jonelle Price Photo: Photosport

Campbell sits on 30.10 points, two places ahead of teammate Jonelle Price on Grovine De Reve with 30.7 penalty points.

Price, ranked seventh in the world, will be closely watching how her husband, team mate and world number two Tim performs on Saturday.

A rule change meant the teams can no longer drop their weakest scores and Price said that might have contributed to her "playing a bit of a safer game".

Britain's Oliver Townend, ranked world number one, rode his stallion Ballaghmor Class to an early lead.

China's Alex Hua Tian sits second and Germany's Julia Krajewski third, with team scores led by Britain, Sweden and Japan at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park.

Germany's Michael Jung, who won individual eventing gold in London and Rio, will compete tomorrow.

The cross-country and show jumping tests in the eventing competition are scheduled for Sunday and Monday.

Petch falls short of Olympic final

New Zealand BMX rider Rebecca Petch has bowed out in the semifinals of her maiden Olympics in Tokyo.

Rebecca Petch at Oceania BMX Champs, Te Awamutu, New Zealand 2019.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Petch has finished fourth, sixth and sixth in her three semifinal runs to finish sixth overall, with the top four advancing to the final.

The 23-year-old bounced back from a heavy crash in her opening quarterfinal moto to qualify for the semifinals.

Great Britain's Bethany Shriever went on to win gold ahead of double Olympic champion Mariana Pajon of Colombia, with Dutchwoman Merel Smulders claiming bronze.

Dutchman Niek Kimman won gold in the men's BMX.

Italian midfielder joins the Phoenix.

The Wellington Phoenix have signed Italian midfielder Nicholas Pennington for the next two A-League football seasons.

Ufuk Talay reacts during the A-League match,  Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Monday 8th February 2021.

Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

Born in Rome but of Australian descent through his father, Pennington joins the Phoenix from Olbia Calcio 1905 in Serie C, the third division in Italy.

"I'm excited to see what Nicholas brings to the table," Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said.

"I've watched him play in Italy's Serie C - which is a tough and competitive football league - and he's a young but seasoned talent who I think will adjust well to the A-League.

"I rate his consistency and the fact he's a hard-working, box-to-box player who gives his all every match; he plays as a 6 so he'll give us depth in that position and he'll have every opportunity to play to his strengths."

Olympians lead change in Gymnastics New Zealand

Olympians are among the four women selected to appoint an independent 10-member Gymnastics New Zealand Steering Committee (GNZSC) to implement changes in the sport.

Hockey New Zealand People & Culture Committee chairwoman Shane Collins.

Dr Shane Collins Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

A review last year into Gymnastics New Zealand identified several areas that needed to be addressed for cultural change.

The appointments panel includes: Dr Shane Collins (Independent Chair), Maree Burnett, Chantal Brunner and Dr Karina McHardy.

Collins is a former Olympian having competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics for the Black Sticks.

Burnett has held senior operational and governance roles across netball, equestrian and canoe/kayak.

McHardy represented New Zealand in artistic gymnastics - winning national titles and placing fifth in her age group at the 1992 World Tumbling Championships. She has coached gymnasts across different ages and levels, including elite.

Brunner is a two-time Olympian representing New Zealand at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 in long jump. She is chair of the NZOC's Olympians' Commission, a member of the executive board of the World Olympians' Association, the IOC Athletes Entourage Commission and the Foundation Board of the International Testing Agency.