WHO concerned about eased virus curbs around Euro 2020

Croatia fans cheer before EURO 2020 match between Croatia and Czech Republic in Glasgow. WHO said Tuesday it was concerned about easing Covid-19 restrictions by Euro 2020's hosting nations. (AFP)
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Updated 22 June 2021

WHO concerned about eased virus curbs around Euro 2020

  • WHO is concerned about easing of restrictions in some of the host countries, said a WHO official
  • Britain Tuesday said over 60,000 spectators will be allowed at London’s Wembley stadium semi-finals and final

COPENHAGEN: The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it was concerned about the easing of Covid-19 restrictions by nations hosting Euro 2020 matches, noting that some were already seeing rising cases.
“WHO is concerned about easing of restrictions in some of the host countries,” Robb Butler, an executive director at WHO’s Regional Office for Europe, said in an emailed statement to AFP.
“A few of the stadiums hosting the tournament are now increasing the number of spectators allowed,” Butler said.
The UN health agency did not single out any cities, but Britain announced Tuesday that more than 60,000 spectators will be allowed at the Wembley stadium in London for the semifinals and final of the tournament.
Originally, it was intended to limit the crowd to 40,000.
UEFA has also been in talks with the UK government to ease virus-related travel restrictions to allow up to 2,500 VIPs to attend the final on July 11.
In some “host cities, Covid-19 cases are already on the rise in the area where matches will be held,” said Butler.
In areas where infection rates are on the rise, WHO Europe called on the cities concerned to act quickly.
“Learning from experience, we must act fast on signals showing increasing cases.
“Expanding testing and sequencing; stepping up contact tracing; and building very high vaccine uptake fast among those vulnerable and most at risk,” he added.
In Denmark, 29 cases have been detected in connection with the Euro games taking place in Copenhagen.
The reported infections involved people who were either already ill during the match or were infected during the game, Anette Lykke Petri, a health authority official, told a Tuesday press briefing.
“In theory, there could be more people infected,” she added.
In Denmark, the permitted audience has also recently been increased to 25,000, from 16,000. The higher number was first applied for last Thursday’s game between Denmark and Belgium.
In Budapest, games at the Puskas Arena, which has a capacity of 68,000, have been played to a full stadium.
UEFA had also stripped two cities, Dublin and Bilbao, from hosting games in the tournament because the capacities allowed were too low.
Among the host cities, Russia’s St. Petersburg in particular has reported an increase in the number of cases in recent days.
Meanwhile the trend has been downward in Spain’s Seville and in Rome, Italian authorities assure that no cases of Covid-19 linked to the competition have been detected.
While the situation across Europe has improved over the past two months, the WHO has nevertheless urged continued caution.
“Although we have come far, we have not come far enough,” Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, warned in early June.
Vaccine uptake was still too low to protect the region from a resurgence, he said.


Maxwell, Patel hat-trick help Bangalore thrash Mumbai Indians in IPL

Updated 27 September 2021

Maxwell, Patel hat-trick help Bangalore thrash Mumbai Indians in IPL

  • Harshal Patel flattened Mumbai’s batting with his medium-pace bowling

DUBAI: Glenn Maxwell’s all-round show and a hat-trick by Harshal Patel helped Royal Challengers Bangalore hammer holders Mumbai Indians by 54 runs in the Indian Premier league on Sunday.
In the first match of the day, M.S. Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings beat Kolkata Knight Riders by two wickets in a last-ball thriller to move top of the eight-team table.
Australia’s Maxwell held center-stage in game two with a quickfire 56 guiding Bangalore to 165-6 and then his off-spin got two key wickets including skipper Rohit Sharma, for 43, to bowl out Mumbai for 111 in 18.1 overs in Dubai.
Patel flattened Mumbai’s batting with his medium-pace bowling as he sent back Hardik Pandya (3), Kieron Pollard (7) and Rahul Chahar (0) to get his first IPL hat-trick and return figures of 4-17.
Skipper Virat Kohli also played a key part as he went past 10,000 runs in T20 cricket with a six off Mumbai quick Jasprit Bumrah and become the fifth international batsman to achieve the feat.
Kohli has been under the spotlight since announcing this month that he would step down as India’s T20 captain after the World Cup and the Bangalore captaincy after this IPL tournament.
Kohli’s team are still searching for an IPL title as they revived their campaign with a win after three straight losses this pandemic-hit season
The star batsman (51) came all guns blazing after Bangalore were invited to bat first and took apart the bowlers, albeit with some luck through dropped catches on nought and 37.
He put on key partnerships including a 68-run second-wicket stand with Srikar Bharat and then put on 51 runs with Maxwell.
Maxwell used the reverse sweep to good effect and hit six fours and three sixes in his 37-ball knock.
Bumrah took three wickets including Maxwell and AB de Villiers off successive deliveries to check the opposition but Bangalore’s total proved enough.
In reply, Sharma and Quinton de Kock, who made 23, started strongly but the duo’s departure saw five-time champions Mumbai lose momentum and sink to their third straight loss.
Earlier in Abu Dhabi, Ravindra Jadeja’s crucial cameo and 43 by Faf du Plessis helped Chennai Super Kings topple Delhi Capitals from the top of the table.
Needing 26 off 12 deliveries while chasing 172 for victory, Chennai reached their target on the final ball to record their third straight win.
The left-handed Jadeja, who made 22 off eight balls, smashed fast bowler Prasidh Krishna for two sixes and two fours in the 19th over to leave Chennai needing four to win off the final six balls.
Spinner Sunil Narine bowled the 20th over and tried to defend four runs. He took two key wickets including Sam Curran, for four, and Jadeja to take the match to the final ball with the scores level.
New man Deepak Chahar kept his calm to hit the winning run.


Americans win back Ryder Cup with a record margin of victory

Updated 27 September 2021

Americans win back Ryder Cup with a record margin of victory

  • Sends a strong message with their youngest team by giving Europe its worst loss ever

SHEBOYGAN, Wisconsin: The Americans won back the Ryder Cup and perhaps a whole lot more Sunday, sending a strong message to Europe with a powerful performance from their youngest team in history.
The Americans won back the Ryder Cup and perhaps a whole lot more Sunday, sending a strong message with their youngest team by giving Europe its worst loss ever.
They never lost a session. They rode the experience of Dustin Johnson, who won all five of his matches and leaned on six Ryder Cup newcomers who combined for a 14-4-3 record.
Daniel Berger won the final hole in the final match for the final point and a 19-9 victory, breaking by a half-point the record margin since Europe became part of the Ryder Cup in 1979.
Scottie Scheffler, one of six Ryder Cup newcomers for the Americans, took down the No. 1 player in the world with a 4-and-3 victory over Jon Rahm as the scoreboards around Whistling Straits quickly filled with American red.
The final blow came from Collin Morikawa, at 24 the youngest player on the team and already a two-time major champion. He holed a 3-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole that assured the Americans at least the 14 1/2 points they needed.
The Americans had an 11-5 advantage going into singles and needed only to win three matches and halve another.
Europe’s Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger all failed to win a point. Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, part of the backbone of European experience, did not win a match until singles, and by then it was too late.
The next step is winning on the road, which the Americans haven’t done since 1993. Europe still has an 11-9-1 advantage since the Ryder Cup was expanded in 1979 to include the continent.


Choi wins at Pebble Beach for 1st PGA Tour Champions victory

Updated 27 September 2021

Choi wins at Pebble Beach for 1st PGA Tour Champions victory

  • Bernhard Langer, who has 41 PGA Tour Champions wins, had an uneven final round of 4-under 68 that included seven birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey

PEBBLE BEACH, California: K.J. Choi shot a closing 4-under 68 Sunday for a two-shot victory over Bernhard Langer and Alex Cejka at the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach for his first PGA Tour Champions win.
The 51-year-old Choi reeled off four consecutive birdies from Nos. 5-8 and played the front nine in 5 under. The South Korean had eight pars and a bogey on the back nine for a 13-under 203 total in his first victory since 2011, at The Players Championship.
“So very special ... my dream is winning,” Choi said.
The 64-year-old Langer, who has 41 PGA Tour Champions wins, had an uneven final round of 4-under 68 that included seven birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey.
The 50-year-old Cejka, who has two victories on the over-50 tour, started quickly, opening with three straight birdies, and four in the first five holes. He went on to bogey Nos. 6 and 8 and played the back nine in 2 under for a 68.
Choi, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, had a previous best finish on the senior circuit of tie for second at the 2020 Sanford International, where he lost in three-man playoff.
Ending the long winless run made this victory more special for Choi.
“The first win is exciting,” he said. “It’s a not easy still.”
With his second-place finish, Langer, the event’s 2017 champion, moved past Jim Furyk and Jerry Kelly into first place atop the Charles Schwab Cup standings as the season winds down.
“It’s fun,” said Langer, who last won at the Cologuard Classic in March 2020. “It’s fun to be in contention for the Schwab Cup once more. That’s what really everybody wants to be at here, I think. And especially we didn’t have one last year. If we had, I would have won that one, maybe. But we didn’t.”
“So it’s a very tight race, considering we’re having a two-year season, and there’s like eight guys in the running, or seven, or whatever. That’s pretty unusual. So it will be interesting the next few weeks and see who’s going to end up on top.”
Scott Dunlap finished fourth at 10 under after a final round of 6-under 66. Steven Alker (67) and Paul Stankowski (68) tied for fifth another stroke back.

 


Lewis Hamilton wins 100th Formula One Grand Prix

Updated 26 September 2021

Lewis Hamilton wins 100th Formula One Grand Prix

  • The champion reached the unprecedented century in his Mercedes after being stuck on 99 since the British Grand Prix in July
  • Hamilton also claimed the championship lead by two points from Max Verstappen, who finished second

SOCHI: Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix for his 100th Formula One Grand Prix success on Sunday.
In treacherous rain the seven-time world champion reached the unprecedented century in his Mercedes after being stuck on 99 since the British Grand Prix in July.
Hamilton also claimed the championship lead by two points from Max Verstappen, who finished second.
After taking his 100th chequered flag 14 years after his first in Canada Hamilton told his team on the car radio: “Phew. That was hard work man!“
The 36-year-old Briton looked destined to come away for the fifth race stuck on the 99 mark with McLaren’s Lando Norris firmly in command up front.
But with five laps to go, the rain that had been threatening the 15th round of the championship for so long arrived, causing mayhem.
With cars fitted with slicks starting to lose grip and coming in for intermediates Hamilton joined them, leaving Norris leading.
But with three laps left and Norris a sitting duck and sliding all over the circuit Hamilton eventually hit the front to finally nail the magic number of victories.
After jumping out of his car he said: “The rain came, it was very opportunistic, the team did a great job, I’m grateful for the points.”


Joshua wants Usyk rematch ‘110 percent’

Updated 26 September 2021

Joshua wants Usyk rematch ‘110 percent’

  • Usyk's victory extended his unbeaten professional record to 19 wins
  • Joshua is determined to face Usyk again

LONDON: Anthony Joshua said he was “110 percent” likely to activate a rematch clause with Oleksandr Usyk after losing his world heavyweight titles to the Ukrainian in stunning fashion in London on Saturday
Usyk gave a boxing masterclass in recording a unanimous points victory to deprive Joshua of his World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization belts in front of the dethroned champion’s home crowd of more than 66,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
His victory extended Usyk’s unbeaten professional record to 19 wins and scuppered the prospects of an all-British world heavyweight title unification bout between Joshua and Tyson Fury.
It also meant Usyk became just the third cruiserweight world champion after Evander Holyfield of the United States and Britain’s David Haye to also take a heavyweight title, with the 34-year-old achieving the feat in just his third professional contest in the heavyweight ranks.
The contract for this bout, however, contained a rematch clause.
And Joshua, who previously lost his belts when beaten by Andy Ruiz in New York in June 2019 before regaining the titles in a rematch in Saudi Arabia six months later, is determined to face Usyk again.
“A hundred percent, 110 percent,” he told a post-fight press conference. “I’m ready to get back to training.
“There’s an old saying ‘If you want to go down as a great fighter, don’t fight southpaws’, especially good ones. He (Usyk) is a good fighter.”
Joshua suffered a badly swollen right eye which required medical attention in a fight where only the bell appeared to save him from a last-round knockout.
“I couldn’t see in the ninth round,” explained Joshua. “My eye was shut, but it was a good experience, because in adversity, you’ve just got to learn to control yourself... it’s the first time it’s happened in a fight.”
Joshua, sounding remarkably upbeat despite a convincing loss, insisted: “I’m a different kind of animal. I’m not a sulker, this is a blessed opportunity to be able to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world.
“Straight away I’ve already been watching the fight and figuring out what I could have done better.”
Joshua’s defeat put paid to a fight anytime soon with Fury, who defends his World Boxing Council heavyweight title against Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas next month — the third time the pair have met after a split-decision draw and a win for Fury.
Joshua, however, insisted: “I’ll fight Tyson Fury, Wilder, without the belts. It’s great, it’s legacy but with or without the belts I’ll fight whoever.”
Usyk, three years older than Joshua, also made light of giving away three inches (7.62 centimeters) in height as well as nearly 20lbs (nine kilogrammes) in weight during his latest triumph in London following a heavyweight gold medal at the 2012 Olympics — a Games where Joshua took the super-heavyweight title.
“London is a really lucky city for me but not a single professional victory can be above an Olympic gold,” said Usyk via a translator.
“At this point it is the biggest fight in my career but it wasn’t the hardest one. I cannot say (who was) but, most likely, it’s ahead of us.”
Most of Usyk’s wins have come outside Ukraine, with the new champion — who spent three months in a preparation camp away from his wife and family — adding: “I would love to have the rematch at Olympiyskiy Stadium in Kiev.”
But Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, suggested any rematch would be in Britain, in February or March.
Hearn said a defeat by the “outstanding” Usyk was easier to accept than the “bolt from the blue” that was the first Ruiz fight.
“I think in a strange way he (Joshua) enjoyed the fight because I think he knows he learnt so much and, deep down he knows he was beaten by the better man tonight,” he said.
“I think you need to credit him (Joshua) because he could have swerved that fight easy and maybe we should have, but that’s not really what he’s about.”
Hearn, who questioned whether Usyk could hit the same heights again after a “perfect fight,” added: “Anything can happen, but AJ will, I promise you, be much, much better than that in the re-match.”

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