18 Nov 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

2:00 pm on 18 November 2021

Latest - An eight member Athlete Commission has been established by Drug Sport New Zealand to ensure there's an athlete perspective involved in its work.

The founding members of the commission are Tokyo rowing gold medallist Emma Twigg, former Kiwis captain Adam Blair, former Black Stick Shea McAleesee, Paralympic skier Adam Hall, weighlifter Tracey Lambrechs, Black Fern Ruby Tui, sprinter Portia Bing, and former skeleton racer Ben Sandford who will be the group's chair and has extensive leadership experience as WADA's Athlete Commission Chair and an NZOC Athlete Commission member.

Emma Twigg (NZL) gold medal winner in the women's single scull.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Rowing at the Sea Forest Waterway, Tokyo, Japan on Friday 30th July 2021.

Photo: Steve McArthur/Photosport Ltd 2021

DFSNZ chief executive Nick Paterson said the group which met for the the first time this week will act as an independent advisory group.

"Listening to athletes and ensuring our work is guided by their knowledge and perspectives is vital to our success and to clean sport in Aotearoa New Zealand," he said.

"It's great to see DFSNZ putting athletes at the centre of what they do and following through by establishing this Commission...as a Commission we look forward to advocating for athletes and makingsure the athlete voice is heard in every part of anti-doping," said Sandford.

Djokovic claims top four spot

Novak Djokovic claimed a spot in the last four of the ATP Finals with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Russian Andrey Rublev, while Stefanos Tsitsipas withdrew from the tournament due to an elbow injury.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic


The ATP said that the Greek world number four had suffered a right elbow injury, something he had been carrying since retiring from the Paris Masters earlier this month, and would be replaced in Turin by British world number 12 Cameron Norrie.

Djokovic, who won his opener against Casper Ruud on Monday, is looking for his sixth title at the season-ending event.

The 34-year-old and 20-times Grand Slam winner tops the Green Group standings with two wins from two and is assured of a place in the last-four.

Norrie will make his debut in the tournament later today against Norway's Ruud.

Norrie is the second alternate drafted in following Italian Matteo Berrettini's withdrawal on Tuesday with compatriot Jannick Sinner taking his place.


Sau handed 5 week ban

Fiji winger Eroni Sau has been handed a five week ban after being red carded during their Test against Wales at the weekend.

Fiji winger Eroni Sau.


Sau was sent off for a swinging arm that hit the head of Wales' centre Johnny Williams.

Sau appeared before an independent disciplinary committee via video link and accepted that he had made direct contact to the head of his opponent, but denied that he had committed an act of foul play.

However, the committee decided that the contact had been with force and a high degree of danger, meaning the referee's decision to issue a red card was upheld.

Sau will miss Fiji's game against Georgia this weekend and his club Provence's fixtures with Montauban, Mont de Marsan, Oyannax and Agen.

Federer won't play in Melbourne

Roger Federer will miss the Australian Open in January and is unlikely to return to competition until mid-2022 as he recovers from multiple knee surgeries, the former world number one told Swiss media.

Switzerland's Roger Federer uses a towel during a break in play against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz during their men's quarter-finals match on the ninth day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2021.

Photo: AFP

Federer, 40, also said he would be "extremely surprised" if he was able to play at Wimbledon, a Grand Slam he has won a record eight times with his last title coming in 2017.

The 20-times Grand Slam champion said he would be able to resume running in January and return to training on the court in March or April.

"I need to be very patient and give my knee the time to heal. The next few months will be crucial," Federer told Le Matin newspaper.

Federer is tied with Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the race to be the most successful men's singles Grand Slam champion of all time.


Wellington hoping to set target

Wellington hold a 105 run lead heading into the last day of their Plunket Shield game against Central at the Basin Reserve.

Wellington are 225/6 in their second innings with Nathan Smith on 60 and Callum Laughlan 25.

Central Stags allrounder Ben Wheeler has meanwhile had a day of cricket to remember, firstly with the bat - scoring his sixth first-class half century, before an incredible runout off his own bowling.

Left-armer Wheeler was following through from a delivery to Nick Greenwood when he fielded the ball one-handed off his own bowling, then spotted the batsman holding his pose outside his crease. A deft piece of timing, awareness and pinpoint accuracy saw Wheeler throw down the stumps with his right hand, and judging the perfect angle and moment to avoid any chance of hitting Greenwood himself.

Earlier Canterbury beat Northern Districts by two wickets in just over two days in Mount Maunganui.

EPL boss stands down

English Premier League chairman Gary Hoffman will step down at the end of January 2022, just 19 months after taking charge.

The confirmation of Hoffman's departure follows media reports that he was under pressure from clubs to step down in the wake of a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium's takeover of Newcastle United.

Hoffman, who was appointed in April last year and took over in June, was described as an "outstanding candidate" by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, but British media reported that he had lost the confidence of Premier League chairmen in recent weeks.

A majority of clubs opposed the Premier League's decision to clear Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, chaired by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to buy Newcastle last month.

Eighteen of the league's 20 clubs also voted in favour of a temporary rule to stop teams from agreeing sponsorship deals with companies linked to their owners, in a move to restrict Newcastle's new owners.

Hoffman's turbulent spell in charge also coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the failed breakaway attempt of the European Super League.