TSX DAILY: Winchester claims first U.S. gold at wrestling Worlds; Int’l Judo Fed suspends Iran; NBA stars Curry & Lillard in for 2020

World Champion: A happy Jacarra Winchester of the U.S. after winning the UWW 55 kg Freestyle title (Photo: UWW)

≡ TSX DAILY ~ 19 September 2019 ≡

| 1. |  WRESTLING: American Jacarra Winchester wins wrestling world title; more coming

The United World Wrestling World Championships in Kazakhstan saw its first U.S. medalist on Wednesday, in the first day of final in women’s Freestyle as Jacarra Winchester won her first Worlds medal.

Leading 2-0 after the first period in the 55 kg final, Winchester was taken down by Japan’s Nanami Irie in the second period to tie the match and then forced off the mat to go down 3-2. But staying disciplined and focused, Winchester attacked and obtained a single-leg takedown with a minute to go and it held up for a 4-3 lead as time ended. Japan asked for a review of a late takedown try, which was denied and Winchester got a final point for a 5-3 win.

It’s her first world medal in her second World Championships as she was fifth last year. But the medal count is just starting for the U.S.

Adeline Gray will go for her fifth world title tomorrow at 76 kg, and Forrest Molinari will fight for a bronze medal at 65 kg.

The Greco-Roman division was won – as usual – by Russia, which took its fourth team title in a row. It had gold medals from Abuiazid Mantsigov at 72 kg and a successful title defense at 97 kg by Musa Evloev. Japan also had two champions, in Kenichiro Fumita (60 kg) and Shinobu Ota (63 kg). The U.S. managed a fifth-place finish from Max Nowry at 55 kg. More here.

| 2. | JUDO: Iranian Judo Federation under “protective suspension”

“Following what happened during the last World Judo Championships Tokyo 2019, the International Judo Federation pronounces against the Iran Judo Federation a protective suspension from all competitions, administrative and social activities organized or authorized by International Judo Federation and its Unions.”

Wednesday’s announcement was a result of the finding of the IJF Disciplinary Commission, which noted that given Iran’s commitment letter of earlier in the year to refrain from discrimination against Israel and its action in violation of that commitment at the Judo Worlds:

“The Commission has a strong reason to believe that the Iran Judo Federation will continue or repeatedly engage in misconduct or commit any other offence against the legitimate interests, principles or objectives of the IJF.”

The suspension is preliminary and not finalized, but is immediately effective. The IJF notes that the decision is appealable to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In the meantime, the Iranian judoka in the middle of the controversy, 2018 World Champion Saeid Mollaei, (pictured) spoke with Time magazine from his undisclosed location in Germany.

“For once, I decided to live as a free man for myself, and prove to the world that I am a brave man.” he said. He said that his situation has been difficult.

“Even the clothes you can see on me (are gifts). I had nothing when I arrived in Germany. I just decided to come and I came. I had a lot of gifts from friends and this is how I live now, with the help of a few friends and the IJF. I’m still waiting to see what will happen later, how I can compete, but obviously from the very beginning of my arrival here in Germany I started my training. Where and how I will compete later, I don’t know yet.”

| 3. | BASKETBALL: Curry, Green and Lillard volunteer for 2020 U.S. Olympic team

The unhappy seventh-place finish for the U.S. men’s team at the recent FIBA World Cup in China had one silver lining. The team qualified the Americans for the 2020 Olympic tournament in Tokyo, Japan, eliminating any need for a qualifying tournament effort.

As only one of the 12 American All-NBA players from last season was a member of the World Cup team – Kemba Walker – the question was whether the top U.S. will compete in Tokyo.

The initial answer is yes. Since the World Cup ended last weekend, star guards Steph Curry (Golden State, pictured) and Damian Lillard (Portland) have both indicated they will play in Tokyo, as has Golden State forward Draymond Green.

These players know exactly what they are getting themselves into, as Green was a member of the 2016 gold-medal-winning team in Rio, and Curry was a member of the 2010 and 2014 World Cup winners.

The only member of the 2016 team who played in the recent World Cup was forward Harrison Barnes. He and Walker both stated they would be happy to come back and play in Tokyo. Who’s next?

| 4. | GYMNASTICS: Russians continue dominance at Rhythmic Worlds in Baku

The 37th World Championships in Rhythmic Gymnastics is starting off just the same as at all the recent editions: Russia on the top of the podium.

Through the first two individual events (of five), Russia has won the maximum four medals and the others have gone to Israel’s Linoy Ashram. Defending champion Dina Averina won again on Ball, with sister Arina Averina second and Ashram third.

However, it was Russia’s Ekaterina Selezneva who won in Hoop, with Ashram taking silver and Dina Averina third.

This is dominance: a Russian has won every individual event in the last four World Championships – that’s 20-for-20 – plus the first two in Baku. Plus all but one event in the prior four (2009-10-11-13) and nine of 10 in the two before that (2005-07). That’s 48-of-50 coming in, and now add two more, with three events remaining this week. Look for results here.

| 5. | WEIGHTLIFTING: Om wins fifth world title (with a world record) to open IWF Worlds

It’s the “World Championships” season and the International Weightlifting Federation’s annual championships is underway in Pattaya (THA) with a record performance.

North Korea’s Yun-Chol Om won a fifth world title in the lightest men’s division, now 55 kg. He lifted a combined total of 294 kg (~ 648 lbs.), a new world record and sixth of his career. He set a world mark in the Clean & Jerk (166 kg/~366 lbs.) along the way. He also won the Olympic title in 2012 and silver in 2016. And he’s still just 27.

The lightest women’s class, 45 kg, was won by Saziye Erdogan of Turkey at 169 kg (~ 373 lbs.).

The Egyptian weightlifting federation was suspended for two years just prior to the start of the championships due to seven doping violations at the 2016 African Youth Championships, which was held in Cairo! The penalty, which would keep the Egyptian out of Tokyo 2020, will be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But it knocks them out of the 2019 Worlds. More here.

| 6. | BOBSLED: Humphries denied release by Canada, refuses to re-join its team

The drama surrounding twice-Olympic gold medalist Kaillie Humphries of Canada continues.

After filing a complaint with Bobsled Canada Skeleton alleging abuse by coach Todd Hays (an American) last year, she demanded her release by the federation so that she could join the U.S. Bobsled Team after just marrying former American sledder Travis Armbruster.

On Tuesday, a judge in Calgary ruled that the Canadian federation does not have to release her to compete in another country. Her suit for C$45 million against the Canadian federation continues; for its part, the federation said that it completed its investigation into her harassment complaints and found no wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, she told the Canadian Press by email that “I will not be returning to Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton with the administration as it exists at this point. It’s been made very clear I am not wanted by them, and I do not feel safe psychologically and physically.”

In the meantime, triple Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor (pictured) of the U.S. is pregnant and will miss the 2019-20 bobsled season as she is expecting in March.

Taylor said that she and husband Nic Taylor were told a pregnancy might not happen. “When we were told by doctors that this might not be possible, I put all my efforts into winning two gold medals in 2022. However, they were wrong and now I have the chance to live this dream. We are excited for our little miracle.”

| 7. | FIGURE SKATING: Canadian Ice Dance stars Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue retire

Although widely expected, the retirement announcement finally came on Wednesday for decorated Ice Dance stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

The pair began their skating careers together way back in 1997 and continued through 22 years, with an astonishing list of achievements, including:

● Five Olympic medals, including Ice Dance golds in 2010 and 2018 and the Team gold in 2018;

● Seven World Championships medals, including Ice Dance golds in 2010-12-17.

They made the announcement in video shown on their Twitter accounts; “We still feel like the most fortunate kids in Canada,” Moir said. “But it just feels like the right time to say goodbye.”

| 8. | ATHLETICS: Still no funding for Bahamas team to attend World Champs

Despite having the favorite in the women’s 400 m in Shaunae Miller-Uibo and a medal favorite in the men’s 400 m in Steven Gardiner, there is still no funding resolution for The Bahamas to send its team to the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Qatar.

Federation chief Drumeco Archer said on Tuesday that “There has been a long tradition of the government underwriting that cost – it’s never been a consideration. In 2015, we received $150,000 and in 2017, we received $140,000. This is no different than what our expectations are now.”

Where the federation requested $116,000 for costs to attend the Worlds, only $25,000 was promised. Possible assistance from Pan Am Sports has come to nothing and some of the nine qualified athletes may end up going to Doha on their own – certainly Miller-Uibo and Gardiner could do this – and ask for reimbursement later.

| 9. | GAMES OF THE XXV OLYMPIAD: Queensland ‘32 decision due by the end of the year

“If the Games do not offer real benefits to this state then, of course, we will not pursue them.”

That’s Annastacia Palasczuk, the Premier of the Australian state of Queensland,  speaking to the Brisbane Times about the now highly-publicized potential bid for the 2032 Olympic Games, now under study.

That examination is to be completed by the end of the year and then the politicians will decide whether to, and how to, go forward – or not – with a bid for the Games. Palasczuk has more than welcoming the world in mind as a reason for getting the Games.

“This is not just about a couple of weeks of competition. It is about accelerating decades’ worth of jobs investment. It’s about getting things off the drawing boards and into our lives.”

The bid is not without complexities, such as how an Olympic Village(s) would be arranged and the need – at least for the Games – of a new stadium. Those things don’t come cheap.

What Palasczuk and the rest of the bid promoters have done is place significant pressure on any other potential suitors for the 2032 Games. Those could include Germany, India, Indonesia, Korea and others, but if the Queenslanders can place an enticing bid in front of the International Olympic Committee quickly, they might be able to steal the Games. And that’s exactly what they are hoping for.