MOST READ China counts sharp rise in coronavirus cases, 2 in Beijing San Sebastian’s Grethcel Soltones and Alyssa Eroa, who are gunning for their fourth straight crown, turned back Perpetual Help’s Marjito Medalla and Maria Aurora Bianca Tripoli, 21-19, 21-18, to seal their fifth straight win to move half a game behind the the talented Viray duo.The Virays and the Soltones-Eroa tandem will face off Saturday for the right to advance to the finals outright where the sweeper clinches the twice-to-beat edge.The Red Spikers are gunning for their first ever title in the sport while the Lady Altas their fifth crown.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Warriors, Cavs return from All-Star break with wins Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town Beggar dead in Quezon hit-and-run incident LATEST STORIES Taal Volcano continues to emit steam, ash from weak explosions Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos View comments 2 ‘bookies’ bet collectors held in Quezon The Taneo siblings, meanwhile, flattened San Sebastian’s Christian Calonia and Jahir Ebrahim, 21-14, 21-17, to stay just half a game behind Badua and Presnede with a pristine 6-0 record.Lyceum and Perpetual Help part ways Saturday with the winner going straight to the finals where it will be assured of twice-to-beat advantage.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC return“The boys have trained hard with an intention of winning it this year,” said Lyceum coach Emil Lontoc in Filipino.In the women’s action, San Beda twins Maria Jeziela and Maria Nieza Viray dumped Lyceum’s Czarina Pauline Orros and Cherilyn Jhane Sindayen, 21-19, 21-13, to seize the solo lead with a perfect 6-0 slate. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Perpetual’s Relan and Rey Taneo. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOLyceum’s Jhonel Badua and Joeward Presnede pulled off a pair of three-set wins while Perpetual’s Relan and Rey Taneo hacked out a straight set victory to remain undefeated in the NCAA Season 92 men’s beach volley tournament at the beachfront of Subic Park Hotel Friday.Badua and Presnede survived Arellano’s Kenneth Aliyacyac and Joshua Esguerra, 17-21, 21-18 at 15-12, and Mapua’s Rey Arth Andaya and Sam Damian, 21-13, 17-21 at 15-12, to help the Pirates nail their seventh win in row.ADVERTISEMENT Palace: Crisis over ABS-CBN franchise unlikely Motorcycle taxis ‘illegal’ starting next week — LTFRB board member Prince Harry: ‘No other option’ but to cut royal ties
“There are still four more games and we can’t afford to relax in the final stretch,” said Santiago after their game at Filoil Flying V Centre. “We just have to be consistent to win those games.”NU and UST are on a predicament where one slip can potentially cause a downward spiral.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnFar Eastern University and University of the Philippines, both at 5-5, are still in contention for the third and fourth spots that are currently owned by NU and UST.Santiago said the Lady Bulldogs just have to take things one step at a time to retain their position. Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite ‘It’s not my shame’: Why Filipino women are calling out sexual misconduct on social media Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Jaja Santiago of National University towers over UE blockers during their game in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO / STNational University skipper Jaja Santiago said on Sunday the Lady Bulldogs can’t afford to be complacent as the elimination round of the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament nears its end.NU turned back University of the East in four sets 25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, and improved to 6-4 to move into fourth spot behind University of Santo Tomas.ADVERTISEMENT Palace: Crisis over ABC-CBN franchise unlikely Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparc ‘1917’ takes top honor at the Producers Guild Awards Prince Harry: ‘No other option’ but to cut royal ties Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town Duterte promises to look for funds to establish rail transport in Cebu ‘Bad Boys for Life’ debuts so good with box office top spot MOST READ Taal Volcano evacuees warned against going home Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos Read Next View comments LATEST STORIES Taggart a good fit for ROS, says Chan Santiago added they don’t want to put too much on their shoulders and they just have to play each game while improving as a team.“There’s really not that much pressure but I think we just have to improve as a team,” said Santiago who had 23 points in the match. “We just have to polish our service and receive and we have to take it step by step.”The Lady Bulldogs, numbers-wise, are the worst in the reception department with an efficiency rating of 22.54 percent. NU is also the worst team in terms of digs averaging 12.12 digs per set. In comparison, La Salle is the best receiving team with a 41.86 percent efficiency and UST has the best diggers with the Golden Tigresses averaging 16.26 a set.ADVERTISEMENT
Aiman halted Kingad’s offense in the second round with a reverse triangle choke, but the Baguio native still found a way to pummel his opponent with his elbows late.Kingad would then survive a triangle choke in the final two minutes in round three before finishing the bout with another round of strikes.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnKingad kept his immaculate record intact at 5-0, while Aiman (2-2) saw his two-fight win streak snapped.Stefer Rahardian takes control of Eugene Toquero. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netStefer Rahardian also took control of Eugene Toquero to emerge victorious via unanimous decision in their flyweight bout. MOST READ On the edge of America, census begins in a tiny Alaska town Danny Kingad dominates Muhammad Aiman. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netDanny Kingad kept Team Lakay’s record in ONE: Kings of Destiny unscathed as he beat Muhammad Aiman via unanimous decision Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.Bucking an inadvertent low blow early in the bout, the 21-year-old controlled the first round with his ground game, nailing his Malaysian foe with strikes.ADVERTISEMENT Canadian military mobilized to help Newfoundland dig out Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Dozens wounded as Iraqi protesters up pressure on government Ai-Ai delas Alas on Jiro Manio: ‘Sana pinahalagahan niya ang naitulong ko’ Toquero survived Rahardian’s rear-naked choke attempts in the first two rounds and even had the chance to lock in the guillotine on the Indonesian late in the second round before the bell rung.But the fighter out of Bali MMA was too much for the Filipino fighter, taking him down numerous times in the final round to win in the judges’ scorecards despite Toquero’s late flurry of strikes.Rahardian (6-0) remained unscathed in his MMA career, while Toquero (8-5) dropped to his third straight loss.Xie Bin submits Chan Rothana. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netChinese bantamweight Xie Bin made Chan Rothana tap out to a D’arce choke with 1:46 in the second round.The 19-year-old took the Cambodian to the ground early but had to wiggle out of a guillotine choke late in the first round.ADVERTISEMENT Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos LATEST STORIES Xie (3-2) made sure he won’t make the same mistake again, choking Rothana (4-3) out early in the second round.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SpaceX launches, destroys rocket in astronaut escape test Palace: Crisis over ABC-CBN franchise unlikely Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Keys to Victory: UST-La Salle Final 4 match-up Presidency bid needs ‘deep reflection’ – Sara Duterte Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town View comments
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. McGregor ignited the hype in May 2016 by posting a mock-up of a fight poster on Twitter. Mayweather responded three weeks later with his own less polished version of a poster, and the unbeaten champion claimed he had started the rumors of a McGregor bout.With little to lose and immeasurable wealth and fame to gain, McGregor used his public platform in promoting his UFC bouts last year to take repeated jabs at the 40-year-old Mayweather’s age, declining skills and unwillingness to end his retirement.McGregor turns 29 next month, making him decidedly middle-aged in pro sports, yet he takes humorous delight in painting himself as a raw youngster going against a grizzled old-timer.As recently as December, Ellerbe said a Mayweather-McGregor fight would never happen because the UFC’s top brass wouldn’t allow it. UFC President Dana White also acknowledges he was once lukewarm about the possibility, believing Mayweather wouldn’t risk his legacy.And then in January, McGregor posted a cartoon on Instagram in which he stood over a flattened Mayweather, holding both fighters’ championship belts aloft. As a bonus, McGregor’s caption read: “Call me CJ Watson!” in a biting reference to the former NBA guard who had a relationship with Josie Harris, the mother of Mayweather’s children.Mayweather replied eight days later with an Instagram post of an infographic comparing the fighters’ net worth. In the caption, Mayweather instructed McGregor: “Before you ask for $25 million, be worth more than $25 million.”Vegas sports books introduced a betting line on the bout in February.Mayweather had clearly warmed to the idea of fighting McGregor by March, when he told fans in Britain that he would come out of his latest retirement to take on the challenge. That same month, McGregor showed up in a fur coat at fellow Irishman Michael Conlan’s boxing debut at Madison Square Garden and harangued the assembled media with a rant punctuated by his latest catchphrase: “I am boxing!”After posting a video on April 20 in which he shadowboxed and insulted Mayweather’s courage, McGregor took a brief break from his social media pursuit of Mayweather after his first son was born in May.Mayweather went back to his usual retirement métier: Posting photos of himself surrounded by the trappings of outlandish wealth. Ai-Ai delas Alas on Jiro Manio: ‘Sana pinahalagahan niya ang naitulong ko’ China reports 17 new cases in viral pneumonia outbreak Swing Out Sister back to PH this April For Ina, portraying a zombie is like an ‘out-of-body experience’ Floyd Mayweather Jr. attends a news conference Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Las Vegas. Mayweather will face Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight boxing match in Las Vegas on May 2. APNobody truly knows whether Floyd Mayweather’s boxing match with Conor McGregor will turn out to be a unique spectacle or an overhyped debacle.The only certainty is that the next 2½ months of hype will be a masterpiece of fight promotion from two of the best ever to play that game.ADVERTISEMENT Presidency bid needs ‘deep reflection’ – Sara Duterte Manny Pacquiao on Floyd Mayweather: Let him enjoy retirement PLAY LIST 00:44Manny Pacquiao on Floyd Mayweather: Let him enjoy retirement01:49Pacquiao to Mayweather: Want fans to stop asking for rematch? Then fight me again00:50Trending Articles01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Trump’s impeachment defense, prosecutors dig in Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer And then the megafight was on, after remarkably simple negotiations among the UFC, Mayweather Promotions and Showtime.A national press tour is expected to kick off soon. Mayweather and McGregor will spend the summer showing off their promotional gifts for a fight that started as a social media argument — and became the main event of the year.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Curry, Durant committed to keeping Golden State on top View comments Mayweather and McGregor revealed their plan Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) to fight on August 26 in Las Vegas. In an appropriate move for a fight that grew into reality after two years of verbal jousting and several months of social-media skewering, the two titans of their respective sports confirmed the news on their Instagram accounts.And in another preview of what everyone should expect during their summer of promotion, McGregor’s post included his photo opposite Floyd Mayweather Sr., the boxer’s 64-year-old father, with a straight-faced caption: “THE FIGHT IS ON.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnSPORTSBreak new groundFew athletes in recent sports history have sold their sports better than the imperious Mayweather and the loquacious McGregor.Both fighters have spent years crafting outlandish public personae characterized by a few common themes: cartoonish arrogance, a fetishistic obsession with money and an eagerness to make reckless pronouncements about their opponents, their opponents’ fans — and, increasingly, each other. They’ll use those gifts to ratchet up the hype during a hot summer culminating in their desert showdown. Along the way, they might even sell the skeptical portion of the public on a fight that — as even its promoters acknowledge — could turn out to be a colossal mismatch.Mayweather apparently learned about McGregor’s verbal skills even before his fighting acumen, according to Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe. McGregor rapidly rose from obscurity to multi-division UFC dominance only because he coupled his mixed martial arts skills with attention-grabbing soundbites.“This kid, he’s been making a lot of noise,” Ellerbe said, recalling the reason that he first introduced Mayweather to video of McGregor’s punching power.In this file photo, Conor McGregor stands on a scale during the weigh-in event for his fight against Eddie Alvarez in UFC 205. APMayweather and McGregor have traded innumerable shots online and through the media while this fight evolved from a preposterous barroom fantasy discussion into a real thing.McGregor even talked about it back in 2015, when he told Esquire that he would “kill (Mayweather) in less than 30 seconds” and affirmed his interest in the bout while appearing on Conan O’Brien’s talk show.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ LATEST STORIES Gerald: Just because I’ve been bashed doesn’t mean I’d stop working
View comments MOST READ 7 NPA members surrender in Isabela province Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Missile-capable frigate BRP Jose Rizal inches closer to entering PH Navy’s fleet Joshua Smith vs June Mar Fajardo. PBA IMAGESJoshua Smith came up with the game-winning basket despite playing through a foot injury to lift TNT over San Miguel Beer, 104-102, for a 1-0 headstart in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Smith, who was noticeably limping, hit a hook shot over the Beermen’s three-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo with 1.6 seconds left to win it for the KaTropa.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Swing Out Sister back to PH this April For Ina, portraying a zombie is like an ‘out-of-body experience’ Gerald: Just because I’ve been bashed doesn’t mean I’d stop working Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer A dream fulfilled for Christian ‘Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance PLAY LIST 01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance00:50Trending Articles02:51SEA Games 2019: PH’s Josie Gabuco boxing light flyweight semi final (HIGHLIGHTS)01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Amer, Jose, Alas relish chance to don PH colors anew, reunite with pals Ai-Ai delas Alas on Jiro Manio: ‘Sana pinahalagahan niya ang naitulong ko’ Castro had a near triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists while Pogoy, who is playing in his first game in the finals, showed no signs of first-time jitters with a team-high 27 points on 5-of-9 3-pointers.The Beermen rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter with Charles Rhodes tying the score at 99 with 1:35 left and Chris Ross knotting the count again at 102 with 7.6 ticks remaining before Smith’s winner.Rhodes got off to a hot start before cooling off the rest of the way. He had 31 points but 21 of which came in the opening period and went scoreless in the middle quarters.Fajardo added 18 points and 13 rebounds while Chris Ross also posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 assists with seven rebounds to boot.Racela expects de Ocampo and Reyes back for Game 2 on Friday night also at the Big Dome.ADVERTISEMENT “It’s good that Joshua had the presence of mind to attack June Mar. They’re actually denying everyone so he really didn’t have a choice but to go in,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela. “He has a big heart.”“It’s always crucial to get the first win. We wanted to get that first win and we did it tonight without Ranidel and Ryan and that’s something that is very important to us.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnSPORTSBreak new groundSmith, who is still listed as day-to-day, finished with 21 points and nine rebounds in just under 27 minutes.TNT missed the services of its key veterans Ranidel de Ocampo (flu) and Ryan Reyes, whom Racela said is dealing with a “minor injury,” but the KaTropa still had their main man Jayson Castro and a fast-rising star in Roger Pogoy to pick up the slack. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.
Jonathan Newnham booked a place on the national team for the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships (CAGC) after winning the National Trials last weekend. Newnham won the trials, which were held at the Caymanas Golf and Country Club, with a total of 303 strokes. He had rounds of 75, 73, 80, and 75.Newnham is pleased with his overall performance at the trials and is now looking forward to the CAGC.”There were a lot of positives. I was pleased with the way I was able to stay focused mentally and adjust because there was some tough competition out there,” Newnham told The Gleaner.He said that the heat affected the competitors, but he was able to manage the conditions and still perform effectively. Newnham expressed his pleasure at testing himself against the best golfers in Jamaica and coming out on top.TOUGH HEAT”It (the heat) definitely made it tough out there. I think everybody suffered a little bit because the course was so firm and made it very difficult. All the same, I was able to grind it out,” Newnham told The Gleaner.Finishing four shots behind Newnham was William Knibbs, a talented golfer who attends college overseas. Knibbs’ scores were 77, 75, 79, and 76 (307). Sean Morris and O’Shea Haye tied in third position with 311. Mark Newnham (Jonathan’s father) was one stroke behind on 312.Tied in sixth position were Junior Golfers Sebert Walker, Jr and Justin Burrowes on 314 shots. Both finished first and second, respectively, in the Junior Trials and are members of this year’s team to the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships in Trinidad and Tobago next month.Kei Harris, top female Junior golfer, ended the Trials with 313 and Michele Gabay on 343.The Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship will be held in the Dominican Republic from July 30 to August 5. The team will consist of six males and four females. The selection committee will meet shortly to finalise the members.- Lanze White
Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) presidential candidate Vishu Tolan has said that if elected, more staff will be employed to meet the needs of the association. Tolan, who is the current JOA first vice president, will be running against the body’s secretary general Christopher Samuda on Tuesday, to replace outgoing president Michael Fennell. “The first thing we’re going to do is we’re gonna employ a general manager/CEO, along with staff to meet the federation’s needs,” Tolan told The Gleaner. Samuda made similar promises to Tolan’s regarding the association staff, in his manifesto. He said that he has plans to restructure and enhance the competence of the JOA staff for greater output. However, Tolan said that his tenure, should he win, will not be a complete departure from how Fennell operated the association as president. He said he intends to continue the work done by the previous administration. “We will build on the excellent foundation that previous boards, headed by the Honourable Mike Fennell, OJ CD, have established and will seek to ensure that every sporting organisation affiliated with the JOA realises their full potential,” Tolan said in his manifesto. In his manifesto, Tolan also said that he plans to create a long-term strategic plan which will see Jamaica qualifying 100 athletes across 12 sporting disciplines for the 2024 Olympic Games. He also plans to support increased opportunities for development and training for local sport administrators. Samuda, on the other hand, said in his manifesto that “any successful organisation has at its core, a strong and viable corporate governance structure”, and that the JOA is no different and must lead. He said that he intends to achieve this by affirming the JOA’s board of directors as the primary policymaking body for members; strengthening the board’s secretariat as the implementation arm of the board of directors; Samuda also stressed transparency as important to him, should he win. He said that he intends to “enforce the obligation of directors and staff members to make full disclosure, to declare conflicts of interest, to observe confidentiality and to be professional in conduct.” He added that he would ensure that all member association will be treated equally, with regard to monies given to them. This will be through enforcing board policies focused on funding. Apart from the presidential race, other sports administrators in Jamaica would be involved in elections against each other for positions within the organisation. Tuesday’s election will take place at the JOA’s headquarters on Cunningham Avenue, in Kingston and 36 of Jamaica’s sporting associations will cast one vote for each position. Excellent foundation
World Youth leaders Kevona Davis of Edwin Allen High and Britany Anderson of Vere Technical High School highlighted action on yesterday’s second and final day of competition of the JAAA National Junior Championships inside the National Stadium. Following her personal best and world leading time of 11.24 seconds to win the Under-18 100 metres on Friday’s opening day, Davis improved her time on the world list as she became the country’s fastest-ever female youth athlete in the half-lap event, sprinting to victory in an impressive 22.97 seconds. Anderson, who owns the top four times in the world in the girls’ Under-18 100m hurdles, dipped under 13 seconds to capture the event, but her winning time of 12.94 seconds had a positive wind reading of 2.3 metres per second, just above the allowable 2.0 m.p.s. Manchester High’s Daszay Freeman, 12.98, was second while Holmwood Technical’s Shanette Allison took third in 13.08. Anderson’s Vere Technical teammate, Amoi Brown, got the better of Wolmer’s Girls’ Janeek Brown in the Under-20 event. Amoi won in 13.39 with Janeek second in 13.51 and Gabrielle McDonald, third in 13.58. Both Xavier Nairne (Under-18) and Christopher Taylor (Under-20) scored easy wins in the 200m. Nairne raced to a winning time of 21.17 while it was an easy stroll for Taylor, who clocked 20.77. Rusea’s High’s Brithon Senior took the boys’ Under-18 110m hurdles in 13.69 ahead of Tarjmaar Miller of Jamaica College, second in 13.98. World leader DeJour Russell missed the race as he was down to compete among the seniors. Overseas-based Damion Thomas captured the Under-20 boys’ 110m hurdles in 13.53. Jamaica College’s Philip Lemonious was second in 13.54. – R.G.
Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi says his team will try to play an all-action, possession-based style in the World Cup’s opening game despite their outsider status. Pizzi was renowned for his emphasis on attack and constant pressure when winning the Copa America with Chile in 2016. But he’s had just seven months with Saudi Arabia since he was appointed in November to prepare them for Thursday’s opening game against Russia Bert van Marwijk led Saudi Arabia through qualifying but left when he couldn’t agree on a new contract. Edgardo Bauza replaced him for just two months before Pizzi took charge. Saudi Arabia are at the World Cup for the first time since 2006 and have not won at the tournament since 1994. – AP The issue of legalising abortion in Argentina has reached the national team at the World Cup in Russia. Goalkeepers Wilfredo Caballero and Nahuel Guzman were asked about it at a news conference at Argentina’s base in Bronnitsy as lawmakers in the South American country debate whether to allow abortions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancies. Chelsea keeper Caballero said he opposes it because he’s Catholic but acknowledged it could be OK in very serious situations. Guzman called it inappropriate to discuss the issue so far from home but emphasised people’s general freedom to choose. Current law punishes women who get abortions with one to four years in prison except in cases of rape or if a woman’s life is in danger. All action for Saudis Two animals have predicted different winners for the World Cup’s opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Achilles the cat at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg picked the home team. The cat was presented with two plates of cat food one marked with a Russian flag and the other with a Saudi one. Achilles hesitated before going for the Russia plate. Spartak the lemur picked Saudi Arabia at a separate ritual at Yekaterinburg Zoo. Abortion debate Striker Kylian Mbappe has declared himself fit for France’s opening World Cup Group C game against Australia on Saturday after taking a knock to his ankle in training. The 19-year-old cut short his training session Tuesday after a challenge from behind by central defender Adil Rami. Mbappe fell following the heavy contact and stayed on the ground for several moments. Mbappe said yesterday it was just a scare and maintained he is “100 percent fit.” He said he wanted to carry on training but was advised to go off as a precaution. Mbappe fit for Saturday Different winners
It has now been 20 years since Jamaica’s historic appearance at the FIFA World Cup in France. Some of the members of that team recall some of the memories of that campaign for The Sunday Gleaner’s Rachid Parchment. Aaron ‘Wild Boy’ Lawrence was the understudy to captain and national goalkeeper Warren Barrett during Jamaica’s 1998 FIFA World Cup campaign. Although he did not get as much playing time as Barrett, he cherishes the memory of that tournament as a groin injury to the captain meant Lawrence got his chance to play in Jamaica’s 2-1 win over Japan. Rachid Parchment: What was your reaction at the final whistle on the day Jamaica got the 0-0 draw with Mexico to qualify for France 98? Aaron Lawrence: On that day, I was over the moon to know I’m a part of a team going to the World Cup. We made a dream become real and we got there. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me in my life. RP: How much did that qualifying campaign unify the nation? AL: Throughout the whole campaign, everyone was like a family in Jamaica. Seeing people up and down the road with their flags, travelling from various parts of the country to come to the National Stadium to be a part of history, it was a joy for me to be a part of that moment. RP: Were you nervous about what it would be like to perform on that stage? AL: It was exciting to be there, to get to France and see all the different things and all the people. They welcomed us, and it was exciting. I even told my roommate, Robbie Earle, I was going to play in the final game. They said I was going to start in the first game (against Croatia), but it didn’t happen. So I said whenever I get a chance, I’m going to show Jamaica and the world that I am one of the nation’s best keepers ever. I proved it to them in the last game against Japan. RP: What else did you discuss with Earle? AL: I said to him before the Croatia game, ‘Robbie, yuh know yuh gwain score today? And when you score, you better salute me ’cause I tell yuh, yuh gwain score.’ And it happened. So it was fun for us. No one expected us to be there, and no one expected us to do well. So we just went to have a grand time. RP: Did you have culture shock being in France? AL: Yeah, man! There was a lot of different things we saw there. In the community we were based, people painted a house in black, green, and gold. It was overwhelming for us to see how the people reacted to us. It was a great feeling – travelling to different places and seeing how people react to you. RP: What was your feeling throughout the Japan game? AL: I thought, ‘We can’t lose this game.’ We targeted Japan because we said if we don’t win against Croatia and Argentina, which we knew was going be tough, Japan are not supposed to beat us. It was their first time at the World Cup, and we were more powerful in the football world back then. I told myself, ‘They can’t score on me.’ Even when they got that ‘fluke goal’, I was upset because it was poor marking, but afterwards, we tightened up and said we’re not giving up any more. We’re going to lock shop, and that’s what we did. That was one of the highest and greatest moments of my life. I have a son and a daughter, but in a football sense, it was the greatest moment of my life.