With the clock winding down towards the July 4 opening ceremony for the Pacific Games, the advance touring party for the nation of New Caledonia arrived today (Monday).Chef de mission Christiphe Dabin on arrival spoke in French and told reporters through a translator that New Caledonia is not afraid and its sports people are here to win medals and maintain their top ranking.The 2011 Pacific Games host topped the medal tally when the Games was played in their capital, Noumea.Dabin said that 329 athletes will be competing in the 22 sports in the July Games.He said that Port Moresby’s humid weather will not affect their chances to win more medals like in the last Pacific Games.The first batch of New Caledonia athletes will arrive in Port Moresby on Saturday before the night opening ceremony.
Baru had a lift of 283 kg with a snatch of 120kg and clean and jerk of 163kg.He said he was expecting to win gold for Papua New Guinea.”This gold medal is for the people of Papua New Guinea and I feel so good making my country proud,” he said after the win.”I had been working hard to win the gold. I think my total lift is not good as I had aimed high for the competition.”Baru said he was hoping for the best for his country. Fiji’s Isikeli Dau finished third.In the youth and junior categories, Larko Doguape of Nauru finished first while Kiribati’s Takirua Betero came second respectively.
By Mike CollettEngland will qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals if they beat Montenegro and Poland in their final two Group H qualifiers and manager Roy Hodgson knows there is no room for error as they seek to secure their place in Brazil.Both matches are at Wembley and England go into them topping the group by one point from Montenegro, who are Friday’s visitors, and Ukraine, and three clear of Poland, who provide next Tuesday’s opposition.Hodgson, appointed just before last year’s European Championship, is confident England will complete the task and avoid the doomsday scenario of failing to reach the finals – something that last happened under Graham Taylor 20 years ago.“My life at the moment is these two games,” Hodgson told reporters this week. “As for the doomsday scenarios put before me, I won’t have to confront them because I believe, and am confident, in that belief that the team will do it.“Of course I am nervous, any coach worthy of the name is nervous when the whistle goes.“But I believe we have the players to complete the task. I am certain as I can be that we will achieve our aim.”England are the only unbeaten team in the group, and will look to preserve that record against Montenegro without left-back Ashley Cole, who will miss the match with a rib injury.The 32-year-old, who has played 105 times for his country, is likely to be replaced by Everton’s Leighton Baines but has not yet been ruled out of Tuesday’s match against Poland.Baines will win his 20th cap if, as expected, he lines up alongside Everton team mate Phil Jagielka with the back four completed by Chelsea’s Gary Cahill and Tottenham’s Kyle Walker.Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere are expected to play in midfield with Liverpool’s free-scoring Daniel Sturridge and the Manchester United pair of Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney up front.Rooney, Sturridge and Welbeck all missed the sterile 0-0 draw with Ukraine in Kiev a month ago.Joe Hart will keep his place in goal despite a recent loss of form.Wilshere is confident England will qualify and he is delighted to be in the mix after publicly expressing his regret after being photographed smoking a cigarette outside a nightclub last week.“I know what I did was wrong, it was a mistake and I have learnt from it and I have apologised,” he told reporters.Montenegro come to Wembley hampered by injuries to four players who are all likely to miss the match including captain Mirko Vucinic.Goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic, centre-back Marko Basa and midfielder Miodrag Pekovic have all been ruled out while defender Miodrag Dzudovic is doubtful because he has a back injury as well as an injured hamstring.Two years ago, in a Euro 2012 qualifier, Dzudovic was the player kicked by Rooney which led to the England striker’s red card 17 minutes from the end of a 2-2 draw in Podgorica.That match is one of three the two countries have played against each other and all three have ended all-square.Dzudovic believes another draw against England at Wembley and a win in their last match against Moldova could be enough to see Montenegro guaranteed a playoff place.“But we will go for a win against England because we can’t just roll over and throw away all the good work we have done in the qualifiers so far,” he said.“With the right attitude and self-belief we can finish in the top two and reach the playoffs.” read more
Reports yesterday said Turkish Cypriot football clubs have unanimously approved a deal signed in Zurich early this month that could see the reunification of football on the island.Forty-two clubs approved the deal, with the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot association saying it was only the beginning.“There is a long way to go,” Hasan Sertoglu said, and it will be travelled together with the clubs and the Turkish Cypriot people.The Cyprus Football Association (CFA), which approved the deal on November 18, was not sure that the Turkish Cypriots had approved the deal that was signed in Zurich.It was suggested that instead of approving the deal, the Turkish Cypriot clubs authorised Sertoglu to try and change the provisions of the agreement.Reports said the CFA will not agree to any amendments.The landmark agreement would see the Cyprus Turkish FA become a member of the CFA as an association in accordance with CFA rules.The CFA will continue being a member of FIFA and UEFA. It will also remain the governing body responsible for organising, servicing and administering football in Cyprus as well as any international football activities in the country. Both parties agreed on the setting up of a steering committee to work towards implementing the agreement. read more
By Iacovos ConstantinouAPOEL’s stay at the top of the table lasted just four days as they were unexpectedly beaten by Ermis Aradippou on Saturday, while AEL edged past Anorthosis in a seven-goal thriller.In the relegation scramble, Doxa’s win means that three teams are separated by just a couple of points.Few expected Ermis to end APOEL’s 23-match unbeaten run but they proved more than a match for the champions. APOEL were lethargic and predictable and their coach Donis assumed responsibility for the defeat.Tagbanjumi gave Ermis the lead early in the second half with APOEL unable to break down a resolute Ermis rearguard until the 80th minute when defender Antoniades equalised from close range. And just when everybody was expecting APOEL to turn the game around, Zarkovic netted the winner five minutes from time.AEL took full advantage of APOEL’s defeat after overcoming a stubborn Anorthosis 4-3 in Limassol. It was a see-saw battle of a game with both teams leading at one stage. AEL’s most valuable player of the season, Monteiro, came to the rescue once again with two goals, the second late on that proved to be the winner.Apollon had the chance to get within two points of APOEL but they failed to defeat Omonia in their game on Sunday. Apollon had taken the lead in the 36th minute against the run of play through Abraham but two late strikes from Omonia’s Maltese international Skembri were enough to give the Nicosia giants all three points.Doxa revived their chances of remaining in the top flight when they defeated fellow strugglers Ethnikos Achnas by a solitary goal. This was Doxa’s first win since they crushed Alki back in February.Aris continued their effort to beat the drop with a draw against AEK Larnaca. Aris had taken the lead through Yousef but a 73rd minute penalty by Pavlou levelled the score. Aris’ coach Ton Caanen who was dismissed by the referee said after the game: “It was a fair result but I believe that the penalty decision was a harsh one. We managed to collect five points from two very difficult away games. I am proud of my players.”In the last game of the weekend Nea Salamina crushed AEK Kouklion 4-1. The team from Kouklia have accepted the fact that they will be relegated as they are now eleven points adrift of safety with just four games remaining. read more
By Michael HannEngland new boy Harry Kane is a “real handful” with all the attributes a top striker needs and will have no problem making the step up to international level, defender Gary Cahill said.The 21-year-old Tottenham Hotspur striker has enjoyed a meteoric rise this season, bagging 29 goals in all competitions, including 19 in the Premier League, and his fine form has been rewarded with a first senior England call-up.Kane celebrated being included in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley on Friday (9.45pm), and the friendly against Italy in Turin four days later, with his first Premier League hat-trick on Saturday as Spurs beat Leicester City 4-3.Chelsea’s Cahill has come up against Kane three times this season and knows all about the youngster’s eye for goal after he scored twice in Tottenham’s surprise 5-3 Premier League win at White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day.“To score a hat-trick in the match leading up to your first England call up is ideal. His confidence must be sky high,” Cahill told a news conference.“I’ve played against him three times this season and he has been a real handful each time.“He is a fantastic talent. He can hold the ball up, he can run in behind, he has two good feet. He has all the key attributes that a striker needs.“Is he ready to start? That’s down to manager of course. We have top strikers all chomping at the bit and who are all capable of starting – Harry is in that bracket. I’m sure he feels ready to play.”Kane will compete alongside forwards Wayne Rooney and Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck for a place in Hodgson’s starting line-up after Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge withdrew from the squad with a hip injury.Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has been equally impressed with Kane’s “sensational” progress this season.“From the start of the season to the level he is playing at now, he has gone up two or three levels,” Carrick said.“What has impressed me the most is that as the spotlight has increased on him, his performances have only improved and improved. That’s a good sign.“I’m sure that shows that this season is not a one off – I think he’s got a big future ahead of him.” read more
By Greg StutchburyMartin Guptill could not have found a better time to rediscover his form as he scored a World Cup best 237 not out on Saturday to lead New Zealand into the semi-finals against South Africa.Guptill’s innings, which eclipsed Chris Gayle’s 215 from earlier in the tournament, anchored New Zealand’s 393 for six that gave the World Cup co-hosts a 143-run victory in their quarter-final against West Indies.The score was the first one-day international double century by a New Zealand batsman and followed the 105 he scored against Bangladesh in the final pool game on March 13.“I’m still not really sure what happened today,” Guptill told reporters. “It hasn’t sunk in yet.“I am incredibly proud of what happened today and hopefully moving forward we can win another game and then another one after that.”A firing Guptill has shortened the odds of Brendon McCullum’s side becoming the first from New Zealand to lift the World Cup, though until last week the 28-year-old seemed to be struggling to build an innings.Prior to the Bangladesh game he had been getting starts.He made 49 in the opening game against Sri Lanka and then was in double figures in the next three matches before he scored 57 against Afghanistan.That released the pressure valve and Guptill began to do what he does best against Bangladesh.Play straight, work the ball into gaps to turn the strike over and, when it was full, loft the ball in the arc between wide mid-off and deep mid-wicket.He repeated the recipe on Saturday against West Indies.The fact Guptill was the first New Zealander to pass 200 in a ODI, was not really a surprise.He scored 189 not out against England in 2013 and he said on Saturday that looking back at that innings, he felt he could have achieved the mark then.“I did muck around in the middle overs of that innings but I wouldn’t take it back at all,” Guptill said. “To set the record and then break it again today is pretty amazing and I just have to try and do it again I guess.”Consistency has been Guptill’s biggest problem in the past and he turned to New Zealand’s best batsman in modern times, Martin Crowe, for help.Crowe stripped it all back to basics.Move your feet. Play each ball on its merits. Play straighter. Wait to hit the ball square until you were in.He said Crowe, who has terminal cancer, had sent him a message on Friday to just put the ball into gaps.Guptill, who lost three toes in an industrial accident as a teenager, was roared off field by the 30,268 crowd at the ground and he admitted that he had never felt he would experience that feeling.“It’s pretty cool. I’ve never heard anything like that before.” read more
Croatia needed a touch of Luka Modric magic to beat Turkey 1-0 in their Euro 2016 Group D opener on Sunday, gaining a measure of revenge after their bitter quarter-final elimination by the same opponents at Euro 2008.Inspirational playmaker Modric put Croatia in front with a fine volley from 25 metres that bounced in front of diving Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Babacan shortly before halftime of a tense affair at Parc des Princes.The Real Madrid midfielder, who missed the opening penalty for Croatia in the 2008 shootout, made amends with an impressive display, organising his side with calm authority.A cloud of smoke after the goal suggested flares had been launched from a section of the stadium packed with Croatia fans. A smoke bomb was later thrown in behind the Croatia goal.No other incidents were reported in a game under tight scrutiny after the ugly scenes that marred Saturday’s match between England and Russia in Marseille.Technically the better side, the Croatians, who had one foot in the last four eight years ago until they fell to Turkey on penalties, kept alive their hopes of surviving a tough group also featuring holders Spain and the Czech Republic, who face each other in Toulouse on Monday.Turkey, who had failed to qualify for a major tournament since their impressive Euro 2008 campaign, now face a struggle to reach the knockout stages.Turkey looked nervous in the opening stages and Croatia dictated the pace, with Modric, named man of the match, and Ivan Rakitic pulling the strings in midfield.The game was lively but with no clear chance for either side until Croatia midfielder Milan Badelj offered the first shot on target with a volley from 20 metres that failed to surprise Babacan.Seconds later, Turkey threatened for the first time with a header by Ozan Tufan from a fine Gokhan Gonul cross.The game became scrappy with quite a few fouls, notably from Turkey, and Croatia defender Vedran Corluka had to play most of the match with a bandaged, bleeding head after being elbowed by striker Cenk Tosun while fighting for a high ball.Croatia looked in command after the break and created a few opportunities, notably when captain Darijo Srna rattled the crossbar from a free kick after Rakitic was brought down outside the box.Playing a major tournament in France brings back sweet memories for Croatia, who lost in the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup to host nation France before beating the Netherlands to finish third. read more
As reported by ABC News this week, the Hunters will use the Broncos facilities as their training base when they travel up to Queensland to play Intrust Super Cup matches next season.Speaking from Rabaul, Marum said he was very happy and excited that a big club like the Broncos is keen on supporting the Hunters and help them progress along in the Intrust Super Cup. “It will be a good thing for me and the boys as we will be working together with one of rugby league’s top coaches Wayne Bennett,” said Marum.He said the team is equally excited about the news as they prepare to head into their third season in the Intrust Super Cup.
The Organising Committee, who have today moved into their new headquarters in Pyeongchang, is asking people across the globe to submit entries into the “OPEN! Mission Relay” competition.It officially began yesterday to coincide with the 600-days-to-go milestone until the first-ever Winter Games to take place in South Korea get underway with the Opening Ceremony on February 9, and will conclude on August 12.They are asking for ideas in four categories – potential Torch Relay routes, Torchbearers, mode of transportation and creative content in promoting the event.Applicants are invited to submit places where they think the Torch should visit, how it should be carried and who should be given the honour of running with it during the route.Those behind the winning concepts, which will be included as part of the Torch Relay planning process, will be given the opportunity to participate in the flame lighting ceremony in Greece.The second-placed entrants will be offered the chance to be Torchbearers during the route.Pyeongchang 2018 are describing the open contest as a “new and fresh approach” to the Torch Relay, which is a key event in the build-up to any Olympic Games.”Pyeongchang’s OPEN! Mission Relay is a fresh approach to the iconic Torch Relay, and Pyeongchang 2018 aims to engage the passion of winter sports fans around the world in completing our project,” Pyeongchang 2018 President Lee Hee-beom said.”I look forward to being pleasantly surprised by bright and creative ideas that will make the 2018 Torch Relay even more special.”The news comes as Pyeongchang 2018 officially moved their operation from Seoul to a new building located near the Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza.They had been operating split offices between the host city and the capital but will now be based in Pyeongchang in a headquarters which spans 10,408 metres squared and can accommodate more than 700 employees.Pyeongchang 2018 admitted operating two headquarters caused “increased inefficiency” but they now expect “enhanced teamwork and efficiency as well as streamlined internal communication”.Construction work on the building began in November 2015 and was recently finished by Serveone, an affiliate company of technology giants LG Group.The first Pyeongchang 2018 Executive Committee meeting at the facility took place today and was chaired by Organising Committee secretary general Yeo Hyung-koo.Those interested in submitting an entry can do so by clicking here. read more