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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. IJF apologizes for judging error that allowed Riner’s Worlds win!
2. Russian bill would integrate sport in conquered territories
3. Ukraine skaters say no Russian re-entry until invasion ends
4. British Gymnastics head says his fed cannot do safeguarding
5. Cricket says 2028 inclusion could pay off for LA28
The amazing 11th Worlds gold for French judo superstar Teddy Riner last week in Qatar was an error, according to a statement from the International Judo Federation. Its Refereeing Commission stated that a move by Russian “neutral” Inal Tasoev in overtime should have counted as a score and won the match. Wow. A bill moving through the Russian State Duma would incorporate the conquered areas of Ukraine into the sports system of the Russian government, while a letter from the Ukraine Figure Skating Federation Athletes Commission asks the International Skating Union’s Athletes Commission not to allow Russian skaters to return to competition “until after the end of the Russian invasion.” The head of the British gymnastics federation says his body cannot handle the complaints concerning abuse and safeguarding issues and is asking for the government to take over. The International Cricket Council, making a final push to have the sport added to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, reportedly told the LA28 organizers that if included, media rights in India would go from $12 million to perhaps $268 million and LA28 could share in that rise, with the IOC’s agreement.
● World Championship: Ice Hockey (U.S. and Canada still undefeated) ●
● Panorama: Russia (2: Russian view of participation coming 25 May; no fencing re-entry so far) = Athletics (World Athletics’ content creator team announced) = Cycling (Denz wins Stage 12 sprint at Giro d’Italia) = Swimming (Haughey gets world leader at Barcelona Mare Nostrum) ●
● Schedule: No TSX post on Monday (22nd), but back at it for Tuesday. ●
IJF apologizes for judging error that allowed Riner’s Worlds win!
The highlight of the 2023 IJF World Championships in Qatar, the 11th Worlds gold for France’s iconic open-weight star Teddy Riner, was wrongly decided.
Russian Inal Tasoev, the 2021 European Champion, competing as “Individual Neutral Athlete,” fought Riner to a standstill in the final of the men’s +100 kg class, and as described in the IJF report:
“Both players tired quickly as the fight entered golden score and in the 4th extra minute, Riner again attacked with harai-goshi [a hip throw], and Tasoev appeared to counter, rolling Riner across his back but replays showed there was no nameable judo technique used or proper landing and so no score was given.
“Riner decided enough was enough and he grabbed Tasoev, circled around him and threw him with what he refers to as his ‘pourri-waza,’ meaning rotten technique, which we know as uki-waza [floating flip-over], a technique that has saved him countless times over the years. A waza-ari was scored for Riner and an unbelievable 11th world title was his.”
A 1-0 win for Riner, adding to his legend. But there was considerable controversy about whether Tasoev’s move against Riner should have been scored, and the IJF posted this statement on Wednesday (17th):
“In the final contest of the +100kg category of the 2023 World Judo Championships, between the athletes Teddy Riner (FRA) and Inal Tasoev (AIN), there was one situation where neither the referee on the mat nor the IJF Refereeing Commission gave any score.
“The attack of Teddy Riner in white judogi was blocked and countered by Inal Tasoev in blue judogi. The decision was to continue the contest, without awarding a score for the counterattack.
“After the competition, taking into consideration the current refereeing rules and the opinion of judo experts, we find that a score for Tasoev’s counterattack could be awarded.
“Herewith the IJF Refereeing Commission apologises deeply for its decision and informs that this kind of action shall be scored in the future, following the current judo rules.
“Also, the IJF Refereeing Commission analyses the shido [rule violation] and golden score situations, which we consider to be the result of an over tactical combat between judoka. In preparation for the IJF Congress in Doha, at the beginning of the year the national federations were asked to submit technical proposals but none were received.
“We are constantly working for the improvement of the refereeing system in order to achieve maximum transparency and fair play and after each edition of the Olympic Games, we analyse and we reform all those refereeing aspects which need to adapt to the evolution of sport, those which maximise transparency and fair play.”
The statement was signed by Florin Daniel Lascau (GER), Armen Bagdasarov (UZB) and Ki-Young Jeon (KOR).
Good for the IJF to issue the statement on the match, but the result remains and Riner, 34, who lost to Russian Tamerlan Bashaev in the Tokyo Olympic quarterfinals, but came back to win a bronze medal (as did Bashaev after losing in his semifinal), has had his amazing 11th world title cheapened in advance of his try for a third Olympic gold in 2024.
In view of the IJF’s very liberal application of the International Olympic Committee’s 28 March recommendations on Russian and Belarusian re-entry, there have been no reported reactions from Tasoev.
Russian bill would integrate sport in conquered territories
As a continuing demonstration of the Russian view of its continuing war of aggression against Ukraine, a bill was adopted on its first reading on Wednesday in the State Duma that
“is aimed at the comprehensive integration of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions into the existing system of physical culture and sports in Russia.”
These are all area overrun by the Russians in their war against Ukraine begun in February 2022. The Russian news agency TASS reported:
“According to the document, representatives of the four new regions will be able to join the all-Russian sports federations, as well as create their own regional ones. …
“The new norms also extend social support measures for champions and prize-winners of the Olympic, Paralympic and Deaflympics, World and European Championships, and other international sports competitions to athletes who were members of the national teams of the DPR, LPR and Ukraine. According to the bill, they will receive scholarships, benefits, incentive payments and other social support measures established by the regulatory legal acts of the Russian Federation.”
Ukraine skaters say no Russian re-entry until invasion ends
“Allowing officials and athletes from Russia in any status or form participate in the ISU sanctioned events should be unacceptable until after the end of the Russian invasion. I would like to point out the fact that not a single representative or official has condemned the actions of the Russian military on the Ukrainian territory.
“Russian athletes continue to participate in the events in support of the Russian military. These events are sponsored by the Russian governmental regime. There are records of Russian figure skating coaches publicly stating their desire for Ukraine to cease to exist as an independent and sovereign nation.”
That’s from a 15 May 2023 letter to the International Skating Union’s Athletes Commission from Anna Khnychenkova, head of the Ukraine Figure Skating Federation Athletes Commission.
“We are thankful to ISU and everyone involved for continuing support of Ukraine and its athletes in this difficult situation. We are hopeful that the athlete committee will support our initiative of full and entire ban of Russian athletes and officials at all ISU international sanctioned events until the end of the Russian unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”
The International Skating Union banned Russian and Belarusian skaters on 24 April 2022, declaring:
“Until further notice no Skaters belonging to the ISU Members in Russia (Russian Skating Union and the Figure Skating Federation of Russia) and Belarus (Skating Union of Belarus) shall be invited or allowed to participate in International Competitions, including ISU Championships and other ISU Events.”
No change has been made in this stance as yet, but the ISU has not commented on the IOC’s 28 March recommendations to allow Russian and Belarusian re-entry as neutrals, a move primarily made to potentially allow athletes to compete in qualifying events for Paris 2024.
The next meeting of the ISU Council, which would be the first body to consider a change in the federation’s position, will be in June.
British Gymnastics head says his fed cannot do safeguarding
“Even if we had far more resources, I’m not sure we could ever escape from the fact that as a national governing body we sit in the middle, make the rules, and we’re investigator, judge and jury.
“I think that’s a pretty invidious place for any NGB to find themselves.”
That’s British Gymnastics Chair Mike Darcey in an interview with The Guardian, making the case for a government takeover of athlete safeguarding in sports, parallel to the way that UK Anti-Doping administers the country’s anti-doping programs.
“It’s time we bit the bullet. It’s time for the government to accept that it is time for action. We need, as a nation, to show that we care as much about athlete welfare as we do about the medal table.
“Such a body would also have clear economies of scale. Instead of asking 40 different Olympic sports to run their own systems we could have one centralised body as a centre of excellence. We would also take the conflict of interest out of the system, and everybody would rightly have much more confidence in the outcome. …
“Sports can get themselves into a tricky position where they either spend so much money on this that you put the financial wellbeing of the NGB in jeopardy, or you have to cut back on other areas. So it’s a series of unhappy choices, none of which are great.”
Darcey noted that while the situation is improving, the way that abuse cases are handled by British national federations is not uniform, take too long and there is a conflict of interest perceived by the losing side in any outcome.
It’s not clear that the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which has come for considerable criticism, would be a model for Britain. It is funded in significant part by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, but has also been called out for being slow and shallow in its case handling.
For Darcey, the answer is the government.
Cricket says 2028 inclusion could pay off for LA28
Sportico.com reported that the International Cricket Council has sharpened its appeal to be added to the program of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles by suggesting that the LA28 organizing committee could profit substantially from enhanced television rights sales in India.
The ICC reportedly prepared an estimate of the marginal additional television rights for India alone could be $201-268 million U.S. with cricket added to 2028, vs. the reported $12 million paid now to the International Olympic Committee for broadcast of the Games now for the Paris 2024 Games.
“[T]he ICC has pitched the possibility of a separate agreement under which LA28 could share in the economics of additional international IOC media rights, according to multiple people familiar with the pitch. Though an arrangement of that sort isn’t strictly forbidden, it’s not standard procedure, and it’s unclear if the IOC or LA28 would consider it.”
The IOC owns the television rights to the Olympic Games en toto, so it would be up to it whether it would share added revenues with LA28.
The ICC calculations were based on a six-team T20 tournament for men and women, a sped-up format which is better for television, with 20 total matches (10+10). It’s not clear what venue would be used, with LA28 averse to building anything new, and a baseball facility is likely large enough to handle a T20 tournament.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ≡
● Ice Hockey ● The IIHF men’s World Championship in Finland and Latvia continues with pool play through the 23rd, with the U.S. and Canada leading the groups.
The Americans are 4-0, with wins over defending champion Finland (4-1), Hungary (7-1), a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory over Germany and a 4-1 triumph against Austria. Games remain against undefeated Denmark, France and undefeated Sweden.
Canada is also 4-0, with an overtime win over Slovakia (2-1) and easier games against Latvia (6-0), Slovenia (5-2) and Kazakhstan (5-1).
The top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals on 25 May, with the semis on the 27th and medal matches on the 28th.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Russia ● The Russian Olympic Committee will “prepare recommendations on the participation of athletes in international competitions in a neutral status by May 25,” according to the Russian news agency TASS. The position will be reported by ROC chief Stanislav Pozdnyakov.
Russian officials at both the political and sports levels have railed against any and all restrictions placed against them due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including the IOC’s recommendations of 28 March.
The continuing slow roll-out of approvals by the Federation Internationale de Escrime (FIE) continues, with the Russian Fencing Federation confirming none of its athletes have been approved to compete in either the Foil Grand Prix or Epee World Cups being contested this weekend.
● Athletics ● Continuing its push for a higher profile, especially in visually-based social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, World Athletics named seven members to its new Content Creator Programme.
The project is initially designed to help promote and lift the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest (HUN) this summer. The new team, chosen “from thousands of creatives from all around the world” includes Brazil’s Joao Barretto, Haber Guo (CHN), Ellie Sunman and Maya Bruney from Great Britain, Dannel Flaveny (TTO) and Americans Charles Brockman III (13.80 110 m hurdles in 2022) and Katelyn Hutchinson (55.97 400 m in 2021).
● Cycling ● A calmer day at the 106th Giro d’Italia, with a first career Giro win for German Nico Denz, and no change in the overall leaderboard.
A big group of 27 broke away after 15 km of the 185 km route to Rivoli that included two important climbs, and a descent into the finish. Five men attacked with 90 km left and by the final climb up the Colle Braida with 28 km remaining, it’s only Denz, Latvia’s Tom Skujins and Australian Sebastian Berwick. Denz got to the line first in 4:18:11, with Skujins getting the same time and Berwick three seconds back. The rest of the field took nearly a minute to catch up.
The overall leaders stay in place, with Geraint Thomas (GBR) leading by two seconds over Primoz Roglic (SLO) and 22 seconds over Joao Almeida (POR). Things get harder now with climbing stages on Friday (to the Crans-Montana ski resort in Switzerland!) and Sunday.
● Swimming ● The second leg of the three-stage Mare Nostrum Tour was in Barcelona (ESP), with Tokyo two-time silver medalist Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong taking a women’s Freestyle triple.
She won the women’s 100 m Free on the first day in a world-leading 52.50, ahead of European champ Marrit Steenbergen (NED: 53.45) and Australian star Cate Campbell, the Tokyo bronze medalist just getting back to competition again, third in 54.07.
Haughey then won the 50 m Free in 24.67 over Steenbergen (24.86) and finally the 200 m Free in 1:55.56, with Steenbergen again second, this time in 1:56.10.
American Lydia Jacoby, the Tokyo 100 m Breast winner and still just 19, won her specialty in 1:05.84 to move to third in the world this season, and then took the 200 m Breast in a lifetime best of 2:24.03, now no. 10 on the year list.
U.S. sprint star Michael Andrew was busy, winning the 50 m Breast in 27.36, then third in the 50 m Free in 22.30, behind France’s 2012 Olympic winner Florent Manoudou (21.88). Andrew also collected a fourth in the 50 m Fly in 23.63.
The third and final leg of the Mare Nostrum series for 2023 comes this weekend in Monaco.
For our updated, 651-event International Sports Calendar (no. 2) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!