Kevin Na was on an emotional brink when he secured his playoff victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open which were played in his hometown, Las Vegas. Shortly after his success, he delivered an emotional speech in his mother tongue to his native fans in Korea, thanking them for their support and that they always believed in him.
Kevin Na moved to the United States from Seoul where he was born, when he was a young boy of eight years old. He played on the Asian Tour, and in 2002 he won the Volvo Masters of Asia. Na was also playing in the European Tour and the PGA Tour during 2004. During the next couple of years, his successes weren’t great. He landed the third position in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, fourth in the Honda Classic and 2005 he came in second place at the world-renowned FBR Open and Chrysler Classic of Tucson.
His career was somewhat held back due to first a hand injury and then a back injury. In 2011 he won his first PGA Tour after attempting it 211 times. He earned $792 000 in prize money after being on tour for eight days. After this victory, the 36-year-old Korean had almost seven years with no great success. Then last summer he had won at The Greenbrier and during early this year, he was victorious once again at Colonial. He was thus making this victory the third in a relatively short period for him.
The Open in Las Vegas
It was an exciting series of events as Na’s position wasn’t so great after losing his three-shot lead during the back nine. Then he made up with a clutch par putt when playing the 17th hole and ended up winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
At the 10th hole, Na made a triple bogey and then on the 16th he hit the waterhole on a par five and that made him lose his lead for the first time during the day when he hit a bogey. On the 17th hole, he managed a 25-foot par putt again which brought him back into a tie position with Cantlay whose ball landed in the water. On the 18th hole, he matched a birdie putt from Cantlay.
This day was a day riddled with mistakes, but the worse was made by Cantlay delivering three-putt from 45 feet and another one from inside 6 feet territory. Na closed 1-under 70, and when his four-foot par rolled in, he lifted his arms victoriously. Na’s victory made Cantlay the runner-up for the second time in a row in Las Vegas. Even though Cantlay reaped the benefits from mistakes that Na made, he made too many himself and Na gained the victory. Cantlay finished with a deficit of three shots, and he closed on 68 in the Open which was his first PGA victory three years ago.
Every single time over the past eight Rugby World Cup Tournaments, there have been specific teams which were without a doubt the favourites to win the Webb Ellis trophy. They are considered the leading organizations, and whether it is with love or hate, the globe acknowledges their greatness on the field. There have been many surprises over time too. Once again Japan reminded us that sometimes the underdog could surprise us when they defeated the much more favoured Ireland. Reflecting on five of these unexpected events, it is clear that some teams need more recognition than what they get.
Japan Beating Ireland – Hosting country, Japan managed to take the world by surprise when they defeated Ireland, currently second-ranked in the world. By half-time, Ireland was in the lead, only slightly and with far less of an advantage as that viewers have expected, but during the second half the sunset on Ireland and Japan roared to victory. For especially South African supporters, this was a déjà vu moment. Only this time around the green jerseys didn’t reflect the Springbok emblem.
Japan Defeats the Springboks – This was by far the biggest World Cup shock in 2015. More than that it was probably also the biggest stir in Test union rugby history. The Cherry Blossoms was under the guidance of Eddie Jones, and they didn’t bend their knee before the mighty Springboks, leaving the Boks defeated and embarrassed.
Fiji defeats Wales – Wales was kicked out of the tournament by none other than the underdogs from Fiji. This was the third time that Wales had to endure embarrassment from the South Sea Islands. During 1991 and 1999 it was the Samoans who forced the Welsh to bend their knees before their rugby superiority. During half-time already, the strong Welsh team were on their knees with a 25-10 score on the board. Then they fought back and were convinced of a win, but Graham Dewes, prop to the Fiji team muscled up for a last-minute score and Fiji went to the quarter-finals.
Western Samoa Crushing Wales – This legendary moment meant that for the first time in World Cup history, one of the leading nations in the world of rugby was defeated by a rank outsider. The Samoan team included names which later on became very familiar like that of Pat Lam, Brian Lima and Frank Bunce and they demolished the already bruised Welsh squad in front of a packed audience at Cardiff Arms Park.
France Defeating the All Blacks – Whether you want to call this a spectacular moment or some French flair, this game is serving until today as a reference to what can happen. The All Blacks were ahead with 24-10 by half-time, but the second half became an epic battle for the French when they started raking in some great tries.
On the brink of the Rugby World Cup to kick off in Japan, one record which is undoubtedly expected to be broken is the one standing for more than a decade. The record set by Percy Montgomery for the highest number of points scored for the South African Springbok team. The player chasing this record is Handre Pollard.
Montgomery is known for his trendy haircuts and white boots. The fullback of the Springboks played for his country during two World Cups. During 2007 he was part of the winning squad, just before he decided to hang up his boots for the last time. Montgomery debuted into the Springboks during the 1999 tournament. He was one of the strong forces on the field which led the Boks into the third place that year. During 2007 he was playing an instrumental role in gaining victory for South Africa and bringing the coveted trophy home once again. During the World Cups, Montgomery bagged a total of 111 points for the South African team, 12 points alone only from the final in Paris, defeating England for World Cup victory.
Second in Line
De Beer made his debut into the Springbok team at the same time as Montgomery. He managed his record when he managed five successful drop goals for South Africa while fighting it out with England in 1999. This number of drop goals remains a record number to take place during a tournament. De Beer only represented South Africa during the 1999 World Cup and managed a total of 97 points for the Springboks.
Third in Line
Pollard is standing on 93 points going into the tournament, and now it is only a complete lack of skill or injury which will prevent him from setting a new record within the Springbok camp. The 25-year-old is playing for the Bulls but also represented his country when playing for the Springboks in 2015. He is usually to be seen in the position of fly-half but was also part of the action in the past in the area of the centre.
Up to now, De Beer and Montgomery were the only South Africans to have made it to the list. This situation is expected to change soon, with Pollard bound to move up in position. Still, even though these three players have managed to set the record for the Springboks, it is a far reach to the top of the list. Currently still standing with Dan Carter playing for New Zealand in fourth place with 191, Michael Lynagh playing for the Aussies with 195, Gavin Hastings from Scotland at 227 and then miles ahead of them all, is Johnny Wilkinson who played for England with 277 points.
Over the past six years, the family of the seven-time World Champions was very tight-lipped regarding his condition. Only seldom reports would surface from close friends stating that he is unable to communicate or walk. In January this year, around his 50th birthday, his family made a statement they are doing all that is humanly possible and that he is getting excellent care. Otherwise, his wife Corinna has managed to keep her husband entirely out of the public eye. Therefore recent reports stating that the racing legend is conscious, are received with great excitement by his loyal fans.
Admitted in Paris
It was revealed this week that Schumacher was admitted to the George Pompidou hospital on Monday. Even though the hospital refrained from commenting at all due to privacy policies, it was revealed that a nurse did confirm that he is in their care and that he is conscious. During his time at the hospital, which seems like his third visit for treatment, he was also visited by Jean Todt, his former senior at Ferrari. Todt spent 45 minutes at the racer’s bedside. It also appears that over the past couple of weeks, Schumacher was also visited by other previous racing colleagues.
The reason why Schumacher was at the Parisian hospital is due to a very specialized form of stem cell treatment which he receives under the treatment of Professor Philippe Menasche. Menasche is the director of the Brain and Spinal cord institute at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital. This is where he initially examined Schumacher before sending him for treatment at the George Pompidou, where the 69-year-old professor is a practising cardiac surgeon. During 2014 Menasche was responsible for pioneering the successful transplant of stem cells unto a patient with heart failure. The assumption is that this is the same kind of pioneering work which he is applying to the legend as well. Stem cell treatment is used to aid recovery by reducing inflammation in the body. The stem cells distribute throughout the entire body and help the healing to take place faster.
The World is Starving for News about the Legend’s Condition
During December 2013, the entire world stood in shock when the news broke about his skiing accident and the severe head injury which he suffered when his helmet cracked open from the impact. For six months his medical team kept him under a medically induced sedation before he eventually was moved back home during September in 2014. Due to the tremendous amount of secrecy which his family maintained throughout his condition, fans haven’t had any real certainty about his actual state. Therefore rumours about him being conscious and seemingly better are well-received globally. One person who also urges the family to make some statement about the legend’s health is Nick Fry. Fry worked with Schumacher for three years at Ferrari and stated that millions of the fans have a genuine concern for their hero. Some update from the family would be much appreciated.
Since 2013, the international women’s team of Thailand has been present every year in the qualifying rounds for the ICCT20 World Cup. This year they are performing brilliantly, and there is only one game left to win, for them to make it to the World Cup, due take place next year in Australia. Considering the short history of cricket in this country, it is an extraordinary journey of immaculate success for these women.
In Thailand, cricket has mostly been played by expats from abroad. In 2007, the new CEO of the Association of Cricket in Thailand, Mohideen Kader, has gone to great lengths to introduce the sport to the local communities to recruit young Thai players for the team. This effort to increase the popularity of the competition was further expanded during 2008; then the local government recognized cricket as an official sport of the country. Today cricket is being played throughout the entire country and has teams in all 14 provinces representing the age groups U15, U19 as well as both a male and female teams in the senior league.
Captaining the Thai Team
In the position of captain of the Thailand Women’s team is Sornnarin Tippoch. Tippoch came from a softball background when she was introduced to cricket during the 2007 drive to expand the sport. At that stage, she was already 20 years old, which would be considered as rather late by most, yet this didn’t stop her. Merely one year later she was leading the Thai team as captain. Tippoch’s career is a classic example of how the sport expanded in Thailand. She immediately loved the game, and since she felt that it was relatively much like softball, the switch over happened smoothly for her. She also soon realized that cricket might be a much better opportunity for her to represent her country on a professional level.
Growing As a Team
The team has been performing well enough every year to make it to the qualifying rounds, but during 2018 Harshal Pathak was employed as the new coach to the side, and since then their performance excelled. Some of the highlights which they managed to achieve are not only having four bowlers on their team with a record low of bowling averages of less than 500 balls, but also a record winning streak of 17 matches and winning the quadrangular series against Scotland, Netherlands and Ireland. This left them at the top of their group in the ICC T20 World Qualifiers. Pathak stated that when he joined, the team was already there with so much talent and ability, the only thing which he needed to provide was the right direction for them to follow and to get them there. He worked with them on improving their consistency as well as specific technical aspects of their game, and the results are showing.
There is a constant drive to expand the sport of soccer in the United States. Major League Soccer’s is also committed to providing the growing number of local soccer fans with clubs and stadiums. Thus the announcement was made this week that the town of St. Louis has been added as the 28th club in the league.
A Long and Winding Road to Success
During 2017, St. Louis had a bid to be included in MLS, but what it meant at that stage was a $60 million expense, paid out of tax revenue to be able to build a stadium. Using a referendum, the voters denied the payment. This was terrible news for the investment group which was at that stage in the process of getting a soccer club in St. Louis, Paul Edgerley. They ended up giving up on efforts, and the bid went cold.
Recently Carolyn Kindle Betz in her capacity as president of Enterprise Holdings Foundation started working with Jim Kavanaugh, the new CEO of World Wide Technology, to make this dream a reality. Kavanaugh is no newbie to the process since he was already involved during 2017 when he was still at Paul Edgerley. St. Louis is a town with a high soccer culture and getting their stadium would make sense. Therefore Betz and Kavanaugh as well as Andy Taylor, the executive chairman at the Enterprise Group, worked over many weeks with the rest of the Taylor family as owners of the club and the MLS, to achieve success. The main difference between now and 2017 is that the group has secure the majority of the funds needed for the construction of the stadium, from private funding.
The Future of St. Louis
The stadium is set to be built in Downtown St. Louis and the club will be based at this soccer-specific stadium. The stadium will also bring along some residential development with a new real estate development to be built surrounding the stadium. Even though the club of St.Louis will only join the MLS ranks in 2022, they are immediately set to work on a name, logo and team colours.
Regularly women are making a more and more impressive mark on the front of international professional sports. This is such a moment. The club of St. Louis’s ownership belongs to Betz, Kavanaugh and the Taylor family. Six women are in the Taylor family, and including Betz, this is the first club to join MLS which is predominantly female-owned.
The Change in the US Soccer Scene
Over time the increase in MLS expansion fee has risen dramatically. From when New York City FC joined MLS in 2013 for a $90 million payment, it now is estimated at $240 million. This is due to the increasing popularity of the sport in the US. Crowds are growing, and sponsorships are getting more profitable. It is indeed an era in US soccer history where it has become a lucrative investment to own a club.
In the blink of an eye, Andrea Dovizioso slipped past Marc Marquez, MotoGP World Champion, in a thrilling end to the Austrian Grand Prix. This win for Ducati on the final corner of the race left its mark on the Spaniard’s winning record.
A Duel Inside the Spielberg Red Bull Ring
The Spielberg Red Bull Ring was the scene where a duel between these two riders took place on Sunday. The Italian remained wheel-to-wheel with his rival for nine out of the 28 laps. Chasing Honda the entire time. Marquez had a 59th MotoGP pole start but moved into the front when only three more laps were remaining. Dovizioso was stuck to him the whole time, and when the last corner of the previous lap appeared, the Italian took his chance and sped past the Spaniard in the blink of an eye. The race left Marquez on 230 points. This is still a 58-point lead to Dovizioso’s 172 with 11 of a total of 19 tracks done.
The Austrian Track
Winning on this Austrian ring remains elusive for Marquez, while Dovizioso expressed his surprise with the results. He said that he was aware of the fact that it was his last chance to try and he just did something wild and crazy, and it worked out well. The Frenchman, Fabio Quartararo, racing for Petronas Yamaha, started with leading the first four laps and ended the race off being third. The other great Italian, Valentino Rossi, managed a fourth position on his Yamaha. He was followed by his teammate Maverick Vinales in the fifth position. Alex Rins on his Suzuki came in sixth.
Ducati had an unbeaten run over the past couple of years at the Spielberg Red Bull Ring. Since they joined in 2016, Ducati has been winning every single race. Dovizioso has been on the podium for all of them and in the winning position in 2017. After the race, Marquez stated that he had problems with controlling excessive sliding due to the wrong kind of rear tyre which he has chosen for the race. Nevertheless, he admitted that Dovisiozo had an incredible run on the track.
Moto2 race Action
It was a great moment though for South African, Brad Binder when he finished first and took his first win for the season after having some challenges with performing during the first part of the season on his Red Bull KTM. Not only could he celebrate his 24th birthday with a victory, but also made an end to a year-long dry spell in winning anything since last October. This win is an excellent way for KTM to move towards the end of the season. They have announced earlier on that they will mainly be focusing on MotoGP in the future and is quitting the Moto2 class at the end of the season. This expected break from Moto2 for KTM is expected to be around five years long, yet this is not a problem for Binder since he is moving in 2020 to the premier category.
Canada is celebrating its 40th year of delivering on world-class tennis, and they are enjoying unprecedented success in the international arena.
Forty years ago tennis was a sport for the select few. The Canadian stars were trained in private clubs and the entire tennis scene was immersed in an unhealthy presumed privilege. Today that picture has changed entirely, and most of the outstanding tennis talent delivered by the country is stemming from elsewhere in the world — the children of immigrants. Félix Auger-Alisassime is a teenage sensation whose father is originally from Togo in West Africa. Vasek Pospisil has roots in the Czech Republic. Milos Raonic is a child of Montenegro. Bianca Andreescu started her tennis career in Romania, the homeland of her parents. Fernandez’s parents lived in Laval in Ecuador. What seems to be the common denominator between all these stars is that somewhere in the more recent history, their parents moved from elsewhere to settle in Canada.
Their parents decided to make the sacrifice of working hard to provide a better future for their children. Tennis is no longer only for the Canadian elite. It isn’t only the children of immigrants who achieve success through hard work on the court. Eugenie Bouchard is from Canadian decent, and even though she has been going through a couple of tough times on the court, she is very dedicated and hard at work to achieve great success. They are very successful. For the first time in history, four Canadian male players are represented on the ATP 100 rankings. Canadian teen sensations Leyla Annie Fernandez and Bianca Andreescu are climbing the ladder of success on the women’s rankings. Some of the young Canadian talent to keep an eye out for is Felix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca Andreescu.
There are many reasons why Felix is considered to be the 2019 breakout player. Not only is he dominating much more seasoned players, but he also moved up to be the youngest player featuring on the top 100. He defeated Tsitsipas during the Indian Wells, Grigor Dimitrov had to bend the knee before him at Queens Club and so did Nick Kyrgios. He also became the youngest star to reach the semi-finals during the Miami Open. The youngster is only 18 years old, and already he has the tennis world at his feet.
Her most inspiring attribute is coming back from dire situations. This year Andreescu is moving up the ladder at a tremendous speed and recently became the fifth Canadian to enter the courter finals since 1979 in the Rogers Cup. Her motto driving her to success is that if you don’t succeed, you need to find a way to deliver what is required to bring you back to where you belong. The 19-year-old star is currently 27th ranked on ATP rankings and is promising an exciting contribution to the future of Canadian tennis. Indeed it is no longer the face which was presented forty years ago by the Canadian tennis elite.
FIFA announced this week that a unanimous decision was made that the 2023 Women’s World Cup will allow 32 teams to participate. This is equal to the number of teams participating in the Men’s Cup since 1998 and putting the two events on a level playing field.
Women’s Football Growing Undeniably
The great success that the Women’s World Cup had this year in France, as the hosting country, made it clear to all that women’s soccer is growing into a much larger sporting event. The event in France recorded record viewing numbers from all over the globe. It is considered to be the Women’s World Cup which was the most-watched in the history of the tournament. To keep up with the momentum which the competition created, FIFA made the change to allow an expanded version of the match. This was according to Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA. He also mentioned that he is very excited about this becoming a reality for women’s soccer and that this is only the first of many more proposal to enhance the game.
Updates on Hosting Requirements
Currently, eight countries have placed bids on hosting the event, of the nine states which were expected to bid by October this year. These include Australia, Argentina, South Africa, South Korea, Bolivia, New Zealand, Japan and Colombia. These countries, as well as other eligible countries, will receive updates on the new bidding requirements to host the more significant event. Those who have already placed their bids are now allowed to withdraw from the game if they so decide and others can still add their request. The process is due to close again in December this year and then during May, next year FIFA will announce the hosting country for the 2023 event. FIFA made this decision remotely, and it came ahead of a formal meeting, which is due to take place later this year in Shanghai.
Allowing for Better Opportunities in Women’s Soccer
By expanding the event to 32 teams, many more women will now have the possibility of qualifying to play on the international level. Since the tournament is seen as the top of the pyramid of women’s soccer, being hosted only every four years, it is vital to give all women dedicated to the sport, a fair chance of excelling in it. It will also mean that much smaller clubs will now have a goal to work towards and start to prepare their teams to qualify on an international level. The decision made by FIFA is considered a great stride towards strengthening the future of this sport for women. Since 1991 when only 12 teams were participating, the event has grown to the 24 teams which competed in France. The United States National Women’s Team were the champions this year. Ultimately FIFA is aiming at strengthening not only the desire to achieve but also to develop the much-needed infrastructure to accommodate these events.
This year the Shiseido WTA Finals taking place in Shenzhen is the highlight in a series of a great play. After the season-long ranking, based on the Porsche Race Rankings, eight of the best is determined to compete against each other for an actual record-breaking amount of money.
A Record in Sport History
After signing with Shiseido, the WTA Finals winner is set to win a historically record-breaking sum of money. This was made possible by the generosity of the name-bearing sponsor. The total prize money for the tournament has been doubled since last year from $7million to $14million, and the undefeated champion in the singles stand to win $4.75 million. This amount is exceeding not only the prize money for all four the major grand slams but also the price money of other international sporting events. These include the Masters Champions, the ICC Cricket World Cup, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Tour de France.
The History of the WTA Finals
The first finals were held in 1972 in Florida’s Boca Raton. The amount on the champion’s check back then reflected $25 000. Since back then it was held in 12 different cities from various countries. During the years the list of hosts included the United State, Europe, the Middle East as well as Asia. When Singapore passed the honour on to Shenzhen during a 10-year hosting deal, it was considered to be a landmark in history.
Since the first finals, there have been 22 champions lifting the Billie Jean King Trophy in the air. The most successful of these was Martina Navratilova, who had the honour of holding it high eight times during her career, followed by German pride, Steffi Graff and the US Serena Williams both winning five times. Of the most recent 16 champions, eight were undefeated. With the 2018 winner, Elina Svitolina, being the most recent.
Shiseido is the largest cosmetic company in Japan and ranks as the fifth-largest in the world. They are known for their involvement in tennis due to having Naomi Osaka, the tennis sensation from Japan, as their brand ambassador. Shiseido is committed to the empowerment of women. They want to not only create better opportunities for the younger players but also create a great synergy between the company and the WTA Finals. The tournament’s slogan “Sparks Will Fly” is to celebrate the new relationship. Their marketing campaign is going to include some of the most influential women in the world of tennis, with Jennifer Zhang being the face with whom they start with. Zhang was the first Chinese female umpire in the WTA tour.
Shiseido considers the WTA as a leader in the world of professional sports when it comes to enabling equal opportunities for females. This is a perfect alignment with Shiseido’s vision and ideals of empowering women. Both sides are also very pleased with having Shenzhen being the hosting city. Shenzhen is a city which is in the lead of all innovation trends currently in China and maybe even the world.