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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. Brisbane 2032 chief Liveris says stadium project might implode
2. Turkey adds troops to police force help secure Qatar World Cup
3. No. 1 U.S. women on the road at no. 4 England and no. 8 Spain
4. Tura and Chepngetich set to defend 2021 Chicago Marathon titles
5. Only 570 athletes in AIU’s worldwide track & field testing pool
The Queensland government’s giant redevelopment of the Brisbane Cricket Ground – known as The Gabba – might be canceled due to cost, according to Andrew Leveris, the President of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic organizing committee. In a speech, Liveris emphasized the importance of cost containment and the role of the private sector in the Games. With the FIFA World Cup in Qatar coming up quickly, Turkey passed legislation to send a small number of troops to help with security, the sixth country to pledge military support. On Friday, the top-ranked U.S. women’s National Team – soccer – will take on no. 4 England, the 2022 European champions, before a sold-out crowd in London’s Wembley Stadium in the first of four matches over the next month vs. teams ranked 2-4-8 in the world. Sunday brings the 44th Chicago Marathon, with defending champs Seifu Tura (ETH) and Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) ready to go again. The independent Athletics Integrity Unit released its testing pool list for the fourth quarter of 2022, with a total of only 570 athletes under close watch, including 85 Americans.
Brisbane 2032 chief Liveris says stadium project might implode
Andrew Liveris, the former worldwide head of Dow Chemical and now the President of the Brisbane 2032 organizing committee, told a Queensland Media Club luncheon on Wednesday that the government’s proposed A$1 billion renovation of the Brisbane Cricket Ground – known as “The Gabba” – might be scrapped.
“I’m a fan of The Gabba being what it is – I like that idea, as a Brisbane boy … but we don’t want to have a blown-out budget to do it.
“I am completely, 100 per cent hired, deployed to implement what we agreed with the IOC. If a change is needed … the binding agreements are great but they aren’t perfect.
“I’m sure that people responsible for looking at the cost, which is the government, will come eventually and say: ‘This is the better plan’.”
The government’s re-development plan for The Gabba, which the IOC has specifically said is a local project and not something it has asked for, would create a new pedestrian plaza and link it directly to the nearby public transit network.
While Liveris’ primary message was the beginning of a process to select an agency to develop the Brisbane 2032 “brand,” he also touched on what is already the hot-button issue concerning the 2032 Games: costs:
● “I take very seriously cost neutrality on the OCOG budget – which means revenue-raising … I know what it is to sell to customers. I want people to come well before the torch is lit and stay well after the flame is out.”
● “Brisbane 2032 in my mindset … is LA 2028 and London 2012 combined. We do, indeed, have government input and oversight, which also require the organizing committee’s finances to be cost-neutral – effectively making us privately funded. You can’t get there without the private-funding model.”
He also delved into the branding question, projecting a possible program concept:
“We are multi-dimensional in our attributes … we celebrate the achievements of our athletes and we are devoted to the education of our youth, and safety and security. I list that as uniquely Australian. We should label that, brand that and deliver it.”
Turkey adds troops to police force help secure Qatar World Cup
The Turkish Parliament approved a measure that will allow about 250 soldiers and a naval warship to be sent to Qatar to aid with security measures for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup that will start in November.
The Associated Press reported that the Turkish contingent would join with other visiting forces from France, Great Britain, Italy, Pakistan and the U.S. The U.S. Central Command has a forward headquarters in Qatar, southwest of Doha.
Turkey had already agreed to send some 3,250 riot police to the World Cup to help with crowd control. This group will include special forces, bomb experts and 50 bomb detection dogs.
No. 1 U.S. women on the road at no. 4 England and no. 8 Spain
With the no. 1-ranked U.S. women’s National Team qualified for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, time for a test in unfriendly settings with friendlies against two top European teams coming Friday and next Tuesday.
Wembley Stadium in London is sold out for the USA-England match that will kick off at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, to be shown in the U.S. on FOX. The Lionesses are the darlings of English football at present after their stirring European Championship win in July in extra time – at Wembley – over Germany, 2-1, before 87,192.
Striker Beth Mead was the co-leading scorer in the Euros with six goals, supported by Alessia Russo (4); it was Chloe Kelly who scored the title winner in the 110th minute. Mead and Kelly are on the squad for Friday’s match, as is defender – and 2020 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year – Lucy Bronze.
The U.S. women have a 12-4-2 all-time record vs. England, with the last meeting a 2-0 American win in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. The U.S. defeated England, 2-1, in an iconic match at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals. And the American women are 13-0-1 in 2022.
The match against Spain next Tuesday (2:30 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2) will be played in Pamplona; the Spanish women reached the Euro 2020 quarterfinals, but were eliminated by England, 2-1, in extra time.
The American women will come back to play no. 2-ranked Germany in two games on 10 and 13 November in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and Harrison, New Jersey.
Tura and Chepngetich set to defend 2021 Chicago Marathon titles
The 44th Chicago Marathon is set for Sunday (9th), with powerful fields for both men and women, featuring Doha 2019 World Champion Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya. A $460,000 prize purse, with $75,000-55,000-45,000-30,000-25,000 for the top five men and women is set.
The top men’s entries:
● 2:03:40 in 2019: Herpasa Negasa (ETH)
● 2:04:09 in 2021: Bernard Koech (KEN)
● 2:04:21 in 2021: Elisha Rotich (KEN)
● 2:04:27 in 2021: Dawit Wolde (ETH)
● 2:04:29 in 2021: Seifu Tura (ETH)
● 2:04:48 in 2022: Stephen Kissa (UGA)
● 2:04:53 in 2021: Abayneh Degu (ETH)
● 2:05:13 in 2019: Benson Kipruto (KEN)
● 2:05:18 in 2019: Shifera Tamru (ETH)
● 2:05:47 in 2021: Eric Kiptanui (KEN)
Negasa has the fastest time in the field, but has never won a marathon in 11 tries from 2013, but has been second four times, including a 2:04:49 in Seoul this year. Koech has not run this year, but finished fifth in Chicago in 2014; he is also winless in 12 starts. Rotich won in Paris in 2021, but hasn’t raced since. Wolde set a lifetime best at Rotterdam in 2021, but hasn’t raced since.
Defending champ Tura was sixth at the 2022 World Championships marathon in Eugene and won in 2:06:12 in Chicago in 2021. Kissa was second in Hamburg this year in a national record of 2:04:48 in his debut; he failed to finish in the Tokyo Olympic 10,000 m final last year. Kipruto has run Boston three times – winning in 2021 – but this his first time in Chicago; he was third at Boston in 2022.
The top women’s entries:
● 2:17:08 in 2019: Ruth Chepngetich (KEN)
● 2:18:34 in 2018: Ruti Aga (ETH)
● 2:20:10 in 2022: Celestine Chepchirchir (KEN)
● 2:20:18 in 2022: Vivian Kiplagat (KEN)
● 2:20:19 in 2021: Haven Hailu Desse (ETH)
● 2:22:45 in 2019: Waganesh Mekasha (ETH)
● 2:23:08 in 2019: Emily Sisson (USA)
Defending champ Chepngetich is the favorite, based on her brilliant 2019 Worlds win in the midnight heat in Doha, plus her six wins in 10 career marathon starts. She won in Chicago in 2021 (2:22:31), but did not finish at the 2022 Worlds marathon in Eugene. Aga has run Boston and New York, but not Chicago; she hasn’t competed in 2021 and hasn’t finished a marathon since 2020.
This is the first U.S. race for Chepchirchir, who was fourth in Seoul (2:2010) in April.
Kiplagat also has a sensational career record of seven wins in 15 career marathons, including a win in Milan this year (2:20:18) and a fifth in Chicago in 2021. Hailu Desse won the 2022 Rotterdam Marathon in 2:22:01 and Chicago will be her first U.S. race and fifth career marathon.
Sisson is best known as a 10,000 m star, winning the U.S. Trials in 2021 and finishing 10th in Tokyo. She has run exclusively on the roads in 2022; this will be her third career marathon after a 2:23:08 sixth in London in 2019 and then dropping out of the U.S. Olympic Trials race in Atlanta in 2020.
The race will be shown online only in the U.S. – outside the Chicago area – on Peacock, from 7-11 a.m. Central time on Sunday.
Only 570 athletes in AIU’s worldwide track & field testing pool
The Athletics Integrity Unit, the independent group responsible for anti-doping programs (among other things) for World Athletics, published a complete list of its “Testing Pool” as of 1 October.
These are the highest-profile athletes in the world and are watched with extra care by the AIU. But the list is pretty short!
Only 570 athletes are included on the 40-page roster; the U.S. leads with 85 athletes (15%) of the entries. The rest of the top 10:
● 69: Kenya
● 65: Ethiopia
● 25: Jamaica
● 19: Great Britain
● 18: China
● 14: Poland
● 13: Spain
● 13: Japan
● 12: Russia
There were 17 countries in all with 10 or more athletes listed. Obviously, national anti-doping organizations watch many more competitors from their countries, but it’s interesting to see the relatively small number of “stars” who are watched with extra care by the AIU.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Judo ● Japan started brilliantly at the 2022 IJF World Championships in Tashkent (UZB), taking victories in the men’s 60 kg and women’s 48 kg extra-lightweight classes.
Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Naohisa Takato won his fourth World title by defeating Mongolia’s Enkhtaivany Ariunbold, who won his first Worlds medal. Natsumi Tsunoda won the women’s 48 kg title, her second consecutive Worlds victory. She won over Germany’s Katharina Menz, who also took her first Worlds medal.
The championships continue through the 14th.
● Table Tennis ● The ITTF World Team Championships, being held in Chengdu (CHN), are now in the playoff stages, with a politically-charged women’s semifinal between China and Chinese Taipei scheduled for Friday.
China has, as expected, zoomed through the tournament with a 6-0 record so far and has not lost a single match (18-0). Chinese Taipei finished 2-1 in Group 6 and then won its elimination matches against India and Singapore. The Chinese have won the last four women’s team titles.
In the second semi, Germany (5-0) will face Japan (6-0). Like China, the Japanese have not lost a set (18-0), while the Germans have won 15 of 20 matches and edged Hong Kong, 3-2, in their quarterfinal match. The U.S. women finished 1-3 in group play and did not advance to the playoffs.
In the men’s quarterfinals, China (5-0) will face Sweden (4-0) and Portugal (3-1) will play Japan (5-0) in the upper half of the bracket, with South Korea (5-0) and Hong Kong (3-2), and Germany (4-1) and France (4-1) playing in the lower half. The U.S. finished 2-2 in Group 1 and did not advance to the elimination round. China has won nine men’s titles in a row.
● Volleyball ● The second round of pool play at the FIVB Women’s World Championship in The Netherlands and Poland continues through 9 October, with the eight-team playoffs to start on 11 October.
In Pool E, Italy, Brazil and China are all 6-1, with Belgium and Japan at 5-2, with three days of matches remaining.
In Pool F, the U.S. was beaten by Poland, which placed fifth at the 2021 European Championship, 25-23, 25-20 and 25-18. The group continues to be led by Serbia (7-0) with Turkey at 6-1 and the U.S. at 5-2. The American women, the Tokyo gold medalists, have games left with Turkey (7th) and Thailand (8th).
The top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Errata ● Some readers of our Thursday post saw an Item 5 headline about French cities refusing to put up fan festivals for the FIFA World Cup “Qatar 2024.” The event is in 2022; sorry about that.
● Athletics ● The finalists for the International Fair Play Committee’s Fair Play Award for the 2022 Eugene World Championships has been narrowed to three finalists:
● High Jump: Inspiring performances while their country was being invaded by Russia for men’s bronze medalist Andriy Protsenko and women’s silver winner Yaroslava Mahuchikh.
● Women’s Vault: Tokyo Olympic winner Katie Nageotte of the U.S. ran to help British star Holly Bradshaw after her pole snapped during warm-ups. Bradshaw withdrew and Nageotte again came to her defense, this time on Twitter.
● Women’s Heptathlon: British star Katharina Johnson-Thompson, the 2019 World Champion, knows the pain of failure and consoled Germany’s Sophie Weissenberg after the latter failed to record a legal long jump and withdrew.
The winner will be announced by World Athletics in December.
● Cycling ● Doping continues to be an issue in cycling, with seven Portuguese riders reported suspended and receiving sanctions of three to seven years. None are from top-level UCI World Tour teams, but continental-level riders for the now-suspended W52-FC Porto team. VeloNews reported:
“Joao Rodrigues, who won the 2019 Portuguese tour as well as the 2021 Volta ao Algarve, sees a four-year ban from the UCI for anomalies in his biological passport and an additional three years for a ‘possession of a banned method’ from Portuguese authorities.”
Six others received three-year sanctions use of banned substances and prohibited methods.
● Football ● With the 2022 World Cup getting close, FIFA released its new men’s world rankings, with Brazil continuing as no. 1, but Belgium close behind.
The cumulative points-based ranking showed the reminder of the top 10 to include Argentina, France, England, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark. The U.S. men are ranked 16th and its other opponents in Group B of the World Cup are ranked 19th (Wales) and 20th (Iran).
How much stock should be put in these rankings? Consider: Japan completely outclassed the U.S. last month in a neutral-site friendly, 2-0, and is ranked 24th.
● Short Track ● The International Skating Union is pumping up its six-stage Short Track World Cup for 2022-23 with a “Crystal Globe” trophy – just like in skiing – for the overall men’s and women’s series winner.
Skaters can get points for their 12 best placements, but no more than six in any one distance (500-1,000-1,500 m). Prize money of $20,000-13,000-9,000-6,000-4,000 will be awarded to the top five men and women in the seasonal standings.
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