TSX DAILY: Walsh beats Crouser to start Brussels Diamond League final; Czechs eliminate Turkey in FIBA World Cup shocker & U.S. men vs. Mexico in 70th soccer meeting

≡ TSX DAILY ~ 6 September 2019 ≡

| 1. | LEADING OFF: Walsh beats Crouser to start Brussels Diamond League final

[Due to a late scheduling conflict, Lane One does not appear today, but will be back on Monday.]

The first clash of the titans at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels (BEL) came on Thursday in downtown Brussels as New Zealand’s Tom Walsh defended his 2018 title with an impressive win in the shot put.

Walsh tossed the 16-lb. ball out to 22.30 m (73-2) on his first throw and no one could match him. Brazil’s Darlan Romani reached 22.15 m (72-8) in the third round and American Ryan Crouser, the world leader, managed 22.08 m (72-5 1/4), but had to settle for third.

Said the winner, “It gives me great confidence knowing that I can come out and perform all of the time. I treat training and competition the same. I go in with the same intentions and the same routine. It’s now paying off with regular 22 m throws.

“I’ve been on the tour for six years now but my team and I learn something new every year. My season is coming right at the right time of year.”

Walsh was the first of 13 defending champions from the 2018 Diamond League to compete in Brussels; the other 12 will get their chance on Friday evening. Our full preview is here, but some of the most tantalizing events include:

● Men/200 mNoah Lyles of the U.S. is not only trying to defend his 2018 title, but could make history as the first man to win the Diamond League in both the 100 and 200 m; only Carmelita Jeter (USA: in 2011) has ever managed it.

● Men/400 m: The U.S. has owned the 400 m so far this year, but the top spot is hardly decided between Michael Norman (43.45 back in April!) and Fred Kerley, the defending Diamond League champ who won the U.S. title over Norman in late July. They will face off in Brussels for the first time since that race.

● Men/110 m hurdles: It’s been a long season for American star Daniel Roberts, no. 2 on the world list at 13.00 and winner of the Paris Diamond League meet at 13.08. He will face defending Diamond League champ Sergey Shubenkov (RUS), trying for his third straight title and Spanish star Orlando Ortega. A win for Roberts will confirm him as a medal favorite for Doha … and allow a fourth U.S. entry at the World Championships, which would be good news for Freddie Crittenden, who finished fourth at the U.S. Nationals by 0.01.

● Men/Triple Jump: American Christian Taylor has won six Diamond League titles and Portugal’s Pablo Pedro Pichardo won in 2018. But Will Claye – for so long in Taylor’s shadow – has owned the event this year and can confirm it again, ahead of the World Championships.

● Women/800 m: With the IAAF female eligibility rules in effect, American Ajee Wilson is now the favorite for Doha and can confirm her position with a win in Brussels, with most of the primary challengers in the race.

● Women/5,000 m: Sensational race in store with World Cross Country champ Hellen Obiri facing down Dutch star Sifan Hassan and emerging German threat Konstanze Klosterhalfen. This could be the race of the meet.

● Women/100 m hurdles: Jamaica’s Danielle Williams is the world leader and appears unbeatable. But she false-started out of the Jamaican nationals and a win in Brussels would confirm her place at the Doha Worlds. In the meantime, American Keni Harrison is trying to figure out how to beat her!

There is extra prize money for the finals: $50,000-20,000-10,000-6,000-5,000-4,000-3,000-2,000 for the top eight placers. There’s no live cablecast of the meet on any NBC network; the meet will be shown delayed at 11 p.m. Friday evening (Eastern time).

The Athletics Integrity Unit, the doping watchdog for track & field, confirmed on Wednesday that it would not appeal the withdrawal of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s proposed sanction against sprinter Christian Coleman.

However, in a statement, AIU Chair David Howman said: “We note that the [International Standard for Testing & Investigations] is currently under review by [the World Anti-Doping Agency] and we would support a change in the wording to ensure that in the future, filing failures are recognised when they occur and never backdated.”

The withdrawal on a technical application of the WADA rules is certain to be included in the ongoing review; the Coleman situation will be the reference point for the change.

| 2. | BASKETBALL: U.S. crushes Japan, faces Greece next, while Czechs upset Turkey

The final day of first-round play at the FIBA World Cup in China was a wild one, and while the U.S. advanced as planned, Turkey made an unexpected exit from the championship bracket.

The game of the day was in Group E, but not for the U.S., which pummeled Japan, 98-45, to move on to the second round without incident after escaping from Tuesday’s game vs. Turkey with an overtime win. Turkey and the Czech Republic were in a play-in game and it turned out to be a shocker.

After playing the U.S. so tough, it was assumed that the Turks would move on, but the Czech defense was stout and built a 43-35 halftime lead. The Turks got within three points early in the fourth quarter, but an 8-0 run stopped the bleeding and the final was 91-76.

Forward Vojtech Hruban led the Czechs with 18 and rebounding was key as the Czechs had a 41-26 advantage. The Czechs progressed to the second round; the Turks will now play in the 17-32 bracket.

Greece, which was one of the tournament favorites coming in, had to struggle to beat New Zealand, 103-97, to qualify for the second round. The NBA’s Most Valuable Player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, was finally unleashed and scored 24 points, had 10 rebounds and six assists.

In the second round, the 16 remaining teams were advanced to four new pools, out of which the top two will advance to the quarterfinals. The scores and statistics from the first round are factored in and the overall records will be used for determining advancement.

The U.S. is in a pool with 3-0 Brazil, 2-1 Greece and the Czechs. Only two games are played in this round by each team and the American squad will face Greece on Saturday and Brazil on Tuesday. More here.

| 3. | CYCLING: Gilbert wins Stage 12 of La Vuelta, but no change on the leaderboard

Belgian star Philippe Gilbert broke away from the field on the final climb of Stage 12 of La Vuelta a Espana and won for the sixth time in this Grand Tour.

He attacked on the climb up the Alto de Arraiz, a short but challenging hill just 12 km from the finish. He raced to the front, then had to hold off a series of chasers on the descent to the finish line in Bilbao.

Local riders Alex Aranburu and Fernando Barcelo finished 2-3, just three seconds behind. But the main contenders were well back, saving their strength for the mountain stages coming on Friday and Sunday.

The contending group began with 15th-place Marc Soler (ESP), who finished 3:02 back and included the leader, Primoz Roglic (SLO) and second-place Alejandro Valverde (ESP), among others. With the race now past the midway point:

1. 44:52:08 Primoz Roglic (SLO)
2. +1:52 Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
3. +2:11 Miguel Angel Lopez (COL)
4. +3:00 Nairo Quintana (COL)
5. +3:05 Tadej Pogacar (SLO)

Friday’s 166.4 km stage includes seven significant climbs and finishes straight uphill at Los Machucos in the Pas Mountains. Saturday’s stage is tamer, with 13 smaller climbs along 188.0 km, but Sunday is more misery, with four Category-1 climbs, finishing straight uphill to the Santuario del Acebo with almost 800 m of elevation in the last 12 km.

In the Boels Ladies Tour in the Netherlands, Lorena Wiebes led a 1-2-3-4 Dutch sprint finish and took the race lead, with three stages remaining.

Thanks to the time bonus for winning the stage, Wiebes now has a seven-second lead over countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten and eight seconds over Lucinda Brand (NED). The top 29 riders are all within 29 seconds of each other. The race finishes Sunday.

| 4. | FOOTBALL: U.S, men face Mexico for the 70th time, a friendly in New Jersey

The last time we saw the U.S. men’s national team, they lost by 1-0 against Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Chicago. On Friday, the U.S. will play Mexico again in the first of two friendlies before the CONCACAF Nations League gets started in October.

The game will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time, and shown on FS1 and Univision.

The U.S. has a mix of veteran and (mostly) younger players, including forwards Christian Pulisic and Josh Sargent. The primary midfielders will be younger: Sebastian Lletget, Wes McKinnie and Wil Trapp.

The U.S.-Mexico series began all the way back in 1934 and Mexico has won 35 of the first 69, while losing 19 and tying 15. Since 2000, the U.S. has a 14-8-6 mark, however. More here.

| 5. | BOXING: AIBA Executive Committee confirms next Presidential election in 2020

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) Executive Committee met in Turkey on 31 August and the federation posted a summary of the actions taken, including the postponement of the selection of its next president until 2020. The federation has been suspended from its role in governing Olympic boxing by the International Olympic Committee until after Tokyo 2020.

The meeting summary confirmed that Interim President Mohamed Moustahsane (MAR) was asked to stay on, that an Extraordinary Congress will be held in December to vote on new regulations and another Extraordinary Congress will be held in March 2020 to elect a new president.

Executive Director Tom Virgets (USA) was let go and “The position will remain vacant until AIBA financial situation becomes better.” The Executive Committee also disbanded all of AIBA’s commissions, with new commissions to be elected “in the coming weeks.”

As regards AIBA’s finances, the announcement noted that “The report confirms AIBA’s current financial challenges. The EC unanimously agreed that bankruptcy is not an option.” They may not have another.

In the meantime, the men’s World Championships will begin next week in Russia, with 450 fighters expected. The event will be for prestige only; Olympic qualification will only be from events held next year and overseen by the International Olympic Committee’s working group on boxing.

| 6. | THE LAST WORD: “Snokyo” Games on the way for 2020?

The latest idea from the Tokyo 2020 organizers to keep everyone cool next summer is snow.

It was announced on Thursday that snow machines would be brought to the test event for canoeing in mid-September, to be used to “sprinkle spectators” in order to beat the expected high summer heat.

A spokeswoman said “We haven’t decided definitively that we will use this system next year for the Olympics, but we want to test it to see how effective it is. We’re open to trying all potentially useful ideas.”

= REAX = Good for the organizing committee for trying what would appear to be an odd idea. This is exactly what test events are for.