31 Jul 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

11:50 am on 31 July 2021

Latest - The New Zealand men's hockey team has missed out on a place in the quarterfinals in Tokyo.

A dejected New Zealand after their loss to Australia during the Men's Hockey Pool A match between Australia and New Zealand at Oi Hockey Stadium during the Tokyo Olympic Games, Tokyo Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

Photo: AAP Image

The Black Sticks have been beaten 4-1 by Argentina in their final round-robin game to finish fifth in pool A.

Kane Russell scored New Zealand's only goal of the game in the first quarter.

Argentina scored a goal in each period and progress to the quarterfinals at New Zealand's expense.

The New Zealand women's team sit third in their group ahead of their final round-robin game against China on Saturday afternoon.

Zverev ends Djokovic's bid for a Golden Slam

Novak Djokovic's bid to become the first man to complete the Golden Slam lay in tatters after he was toppled by Germany's Alexander Zverev in the singles semi-finals at the Tokyo Games.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic leaves the court after being defeated by Germany's Alexander Zverev in their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men's singles semifinal tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 30, 2021.

Photo: AFP

Zverev fought back from a set and a break down to pull off a staggering 1-6 6-3 6-1 win over the Serbian world number one to set up a final showdown with Karen Khachanov of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

Fifth-ranked Zverev is the first German man to make an Olympic final since Tommy Haas won silver at the Sydney Games in 2000.

Djokovic had arrived in Tokyo gunning for the Golden Slam - winning all four majors and Olympic gold in the same year - after triumphing at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2021. The US Open begins next month.

Victory in Tokyo would also have secured the 34-year-old Djokovic the only major honour still missing from his collection - an Olympic gold medal.

- Reuters

World record holder upset in 10,000 metres

Ethiopia's Selemon Barega sprinted the last lap to beat world record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and win a shock Olympic gold medal in the men's 10,000 metres.

Ethiopia's Selemon Barega celebrates after winning  the men's 10000m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 30, 2021.

Photo: AFP

The 21-year-old Barega powered down the home straight to cross the line in 27 minutes 43.22 seconds, ahead of world champion Cheptegei in 27:43.63.

Jacob Kiplimo, the youngest ever Ugandan Olympian when he ran the 5000 heats in Rio as a 15-year-old, posted a time of 27:43.88 to secure bronze in the first athletics medal event of the Games.

Barega, the 2019 5000m world championship silver medallist who set the second fastest 10,000 metres time of the year in June, was applauded by the Ethiopian delegation as he smiled broadly on a victory lap with his country's flag draped around his shoulders.

Cheptegei said he was experiencing mixed emotions.

"I have two feelings. "One is that I'm very happy to have won an Olympic silver medal today," he told reporters. "But the other side of me is really not satisfied with the result because I came here expecting to win a gold."

- Reuters

Fox off the pace in Tokyo

New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox is 10 shots off the lead after a lightning affected second day of the men's Olympic tournament in Tokyo.

Ryan Fox

Ryan Fox Photo: Photosport

Fox is even par through 15 holes of his second round to remain one-under par for the tournament.

He is tied for 39th place and will finish his round this morning.

American Xander Schauffele sits atop the leaderboard at 11-under par after carding an eight-under 63 in his second round.

Schauffele leads Mexican Carlos Ortiz by a shot, with four players, including Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, a further three shots back in a share of third place.

USA and Canada prevail in penalty shoot-outs

The United States and Canada set up a mouth-watering semi-final in the women's Olympic football tournament after both teams prevailed in penalty shootouts.

USA's forward Megan Rapinoe (R) and teammates celebrate after winning the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's quarter-final football match between Netherlands and the USA at Yokohama International Stadium in Yokohama on July 30, 2021.

Photo: AFP

After the US and the Netherlands were locked at 2-2 following 90 minutes and extra time, Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema and defender Aniek Nouwen had their spot kicks saved by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher as the Americans won 4-2.

Canada needed goalkeeping heroics of their own to reach the semi-finals for the third consecutive Games as Stephanie Labbe stopped two Brazilian spot kicks en route to a 4-3 shootout win.

Australia beat Great Britain 4-3 after extra time in their quarter-final and next face Sweden, who maintained their perfect record in the tournament with a 3-1 win over hosts Japan.

Goals from Magdalena Eriksson, Stina Blackstenius and Kosovare Asllani ensured Sweden's bid to improve on their Rio 2016 silver medal remained intact.

- Reuters

Ma Long claims his fourth table tennis gold

Olympic and world champion Ma Long celebrated exuberantly as he retained his men's table tennis singles title at the Tokyo Games, beating compatriot Fan Zhendong 4-2.

Gold medallist China's Ma Long poses with his medal during the men's singles table tennis medal ceremony at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 30, 2021.

Photo: AFP

The 32-year-old clinched his fourth gold medal at his third Olympics by winning 11-4 10-12 11-8 11-9 3-11 11-7.

Ma made a heart symbol with his arms as he became the first male table tennis player in Olympic history to retain his title.

In the men's bronze medal match, Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov scraped home against Taiwan's Lin Yun Ju, saving four match points in the sixth game before winning the deciding seventh.

The 32-year-old won 13-11 9-11 6-11 11-4 4-11 15-13 11-7, earning his fifth Olympic table tennis medal since 2008.

- Reuters

Warriors halt losing skid

The Warriors have won their first NRL match since May.

Euan Aitken celebrates the Warriors' win over the West Tigers at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, Friday 30 July 2021

Photo: NRL Photos

They have overturned a 10-nil halftime deficit to beat the Wests Tigers 18-16 in Brisbane.

Centre turned second-rower Euan Aitken scored a second-half double for the Warriors either side of a Bunty Afoa four-pointer.

The Warriors have jumped above the Wests Tigers into 12th place on the NRL ladder.

They are four points outside the top eight.

Meanwhile, the Brisbane Broncos have beaten the North Queensland Cowboys 37-18.

Stokes withdraws from England squad to focus on his mental wellbeing

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has taken an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect to prioritise his mental wellbeing and continue his recovery from an injury to his left index finger.

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Stokes, 30, has withdrawn from England's test squad for next week's series against India and will be replaced by Craig Overton.

The ECB said it fully supported his decision and it would "continue to help him during this period away from the game".

"Ben has shown tremendous courage to open up about his feelings and wellbeing," Ashley Giles, England's director of men's cricket, said in a statement.

"Our primary focus has always been and will continue to be the mental health and welfare of all of our people."

The five-test series between England and India stars on Aug. 4 at Trent Bridge.

- Reuters

European Super League plans revived

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus will continue with plans for a European Super League after a court ruled that governing body UEFA terminate disciplinary proceedings against founding members of the breakaway project.

European Super League Protests - London.


The three clubs released a joint statement welcoming a Madrid court's decision asking UEFA to revoke action against them for planning the creation of the Super League.

Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the last ones standing of the 12 clubs that signed up to the breakaway project in April, only for it to unravel when six Premier League clubs plus Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid withdrew.

"Our aim is to keep developing the Super League project in a constructive and cooperative manner... We remain confident in the success of a project that will be always compliant with European Union laws."

UEFA declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

- Reuters