Real Madrid sign the ‘Japanese Messi’ Kubo from FC Tokyo

first_imgNicknamed the ‘Japanese Messi’, Kubo was earmarked for a future at the Nou Camp but returned to Japan after Barcelona were found guilty of youth transfer breaches and handed a 14-month transfer ban by FIFA.Real Madrid, under returning boss Zinedine Zidane, are making sweeping changes following a disappointing, trophyless campaign last season.Kubo joins the likes of Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard, Serbian striker Luka Jovic and French defender Ferland Mendy in making moves to the Santiago Bernabeu in recent days. Real Madrid have signed Japanese striker Takefusa Kubo, with the Spanish club hailing the 18-year-old as “one of the most promising youngsters in world football”.Kubo, 18, is expected to have signed a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, and will go straight into Real’s B team, Castilla, in the third tier of Spanish football next season.“A technically gifted and hugely talented attacking midfielder, he possesses wonderful vision, quick feet and has an eye for goal,” the club said.Kubo, who made his Japan debut against El Salvador earlier this month, impressed for table-topping J League side FC Tokyo.He is currently in Brazil with the rest of the Japan squad preparing for the Copa America, where they are competing as a guest team, which begins later on Friday.Kubo’s arrival in Madrid will not be his first taste of Spanish football, having joined Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy aged nine. Kubo has been dubbed the ‘Japanese Messi’last_img read more

“Turbo” playing at the Wellington Regent Theater this weekend

first_imgMovies ahead at Regent Theater:Disney’s PlanesThe WolverinePacific Rim. Rated: PG, 1 hour, 36 minutes.Movie Synopsis: From the makers of Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda, Turbo is a high-velocity comedy about an underdog snail who kicks into overdrive when he miraculously attains the power of super-speed. But after making fast friends wit ha crew of streetwise, tricked-out es-car-goes, Turbo learns that no one succeeds on their own. So he puts his heart and shell on the line to help his pals achieve their dreams, before Turbo-charging his own impossible dream: winning the Indy 500. When: Friday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m and 7 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. This week at the Regent Theater: “Turbo” (Movie trailer is below). center_img Rotten Tomatoes rating (movie critics collective approval ratings): 64%. Audience review: 71% approval. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

Family plays key role in Colter’s union push

first_imgFILE – In this Nov. 5, 2011 file photo Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, left, shakes hands with Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell after an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb. Colter has become the face of a movement to give college athletes the right to form unions and bargain.  (AP Photo/Lincoln Journal Star, Laura Pales, File)CHICAGO (AP) — Kain Colter’s grandmother often spoke about rights and equality, values she brought home from her job managing an office of a Colorado law firm.Those conversations planted a seed for Colter, who would go on to become a quarterback at Northwestern University — and the face of an exploding movement to give college athletes the right to form unions and bargain.“He understands that he’s been put on this earth to serve people,” Colter’s father, Spencer, said.From a start in sports at Cherry Creek High School in suburban Denver to a football revival at Northwestern, Colter has a circle of people around him who say they aren’t surprised he is succeeding in his fight.After a decision this week by a regional director of the National Labor Relations board who said full scholarship players can be considered employees of the university, he also could leave a legacy as the athlete who formed the foundation of a dramatic overhaul of college sports that could potentially give athletes a chance to fight for a piece of an industry that generates billions based on their performance.“Looking out for people and making sure people are treated fairly has always been in our family morals,” Colter said in an interview with The Associated Press in Bradenton, Fla., where he is training for the NFL draft. “Obviously people come from different backgrounds and different situations, but everybody deserves to be treated fairly and they deserve basic rights and basic protections.”Kain Colter, a former quarterback for Northwestern University, sits during an interview with The Associated Press in Bradenton, Fla., Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)Colter’s grandmother, Betty Flagg, died last month and was buried in some of his Northwestern gear. She only watched television when the Wildcats were playing. Colter, 21, said he thinks his grandmother would be proud of his role in the unionization effort.“We were talking at the funeral and they were telling stories about how she came from picking cotton to working as an office manager in the firm,” he said. The attorney at the firm described how she fought for certain employees to receive fair bonuses for their work.“She was doing that, fighting for their rights and fighting for them to be treated fairly, basically,” Colter said.Colter will never benefit from a union if one is formed, but was thrilled by the decision that moved the issue forward. Northwestern immediately said it would appeal the decision to labor authorities in Washington, D.C., and the NCAA came out strongly against the ruling classifying athletes as employees of the university.“Unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns these students are raising,” Alan Cubbage, Northwestern’s vice president for university relations, said Friday in a statement. “The life of a student-athlete is extremely demanding, but the academic side and the athletic side are inextricably linked.”Growing up, Colter was regarded as one of the top prep athletes in Colorado. Listed at 6-foot and 195 pounds, he played point guard on the basketball team and competed in the long jump and triple jump for track and field.“Whatever he chooses to do, he can do it, and I mean that sincerely,” Cherry Creek basketball coach Mike Brookhart said. “He’s just one of those kids that gets it and has it.”He had the most success on the football field, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a safety on Colorado’s 1990 national championship team, and his uncle, Cleveland Colter, who was an All-America safety at Southern California. Kain Colter helped the Bruins reach the state championship game during his junior year, accounting for 31 touchdowns.“He was one of the more respected kids at school,” said Brookhart, who coached Colter in football and basketball. “He was a great leader.”At Northwestern, he helped the Wildcats return to respectability in college football. He threw for 76 yards and rushed for 71 more when Northwestern beat Mississippi State in the 2013 Gator Bowl for its first postseason win since 1949.“When he got there, I really could see the fire in his eyes from Day One,” former Northwestern linebacker David Nwabuisi said. “He was always the kind of guy that was always trying to push the team further, always expecting more of us.”Nwabuisi said he helped recruit Colter to the school, and they quickly became friends.Colter set Northwestern records for single-season rushing yards by a quarterback and a career rushing yards by a QB. He also played some receiver with the Wildcats, and that’s the position he’s hoping to play in the pros.The union battle has taken a toll on his relationship with his college teammates and his former school. After the NLRB decision was announced on Wednesday, he took to Twitter to reiterate his love for coach Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern.“Kain’s never said that he’s been mistreated, never said that he doesn’t love Northwestern,” Spencer Colter said. “He loves Northwestern. He loves his coaches that he played for and his teammates.“But the bottom line is this is bigger than Northwestern. This is about all of college athletics and everybody understands that but nobody is willing to step out and make a change and Kain’s done that.”During hearings on the union effort earlier this year in Chicago, Colter presented himself as calm and precise — and wasn’t afraid to challenge the school.He spoke about abandoning his hopes of entering a pre-med program because of time demands Northwestern makes on football players. He said chemistry was offered at times that conflicted with football practice.“You fulfill the football requirement and, if you can, you fit in academics,” he said at the time. “You have to sacrifice one. But we can’t sacrifice football. … We are brought to the university to play football.”This week was pretty much business as usual after the NLRB ruling. Colter got right back to training at IMG Academy on the southwest coast of Florida, where he’s preparing for a possible late-round draft, or to get a free agent offer to come to an NFL camp.“To the people that think I’m shaking the boat, I’m changing the status quo, I’m a rebel, I’m this, I’m that — I’m just a guy out there doing what’s right, doing what I believe in,” he said.___Reynolds reported from Bradenton, Fla. Associated Press writer Michael Tarm in Chicago contributed to this report.___Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenaplast_img read more

Do NOT sack Pellegrini! Former Man City boss says under-fire Chilean should stay

first_imgStuart Pearce believes Manchester City should stick with Manuel Pellegrini.Sunday’s humiliating defeat to rivals Manchester United was the latest low in an underwhelming season for City, and Pellegrini is being widely tipped to exit the Etihad.But Pearce insists it is the squad that needs shaking up, not the coaching team, and hopes Pellegrini is given the chance to turn things around.“The club is at a stature now where they look to continually be in the Champions League and win Premier Leagues. The club will have a good look at themselves in the summer, but I’m not a big favour of turning managers over quickly,” the former City boss told talkSPORT.“I hope the manager stays in place. He has been around the block long enough to realise the squad needs freshening up drastically this summer.”Pearce believes City’s poor form – they have lost five Premier League games since the turn of the year – owes much to Yaya Toure’s fading influence.The powerful Ivorian midfielder was outstanding as City claimed the title last season, but has struggled to hit the same heights this term.“Where City have suffered historically is when Toure has either lost form or been away on African Nations tours,” said Pearce.“Manchester City have suffered in regards to his driving force within the team. Some of the best ever performances City have put on you can probably pointy directly to him and say, look, this is the guy that has driven the team and put in performances which have been outstanding.”last_img read more

Chelsea star eyeing ‘Arsenal, Man United or PSG’ move, claims agent

first_imgPeter Cech would like to join Arsenal, Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain this summer, according to his agent.The Blues goalkeeper is expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, after losing his first team place to Thibaut Courtois.Jose Mourinho admitted on Monday he is powerless to stop the Czech Republic star joining a Premier League rival.And Viktor Kolar, Cech’s agent, insists the 32-year-old is keen on a move to rivals Arsenal or Manchester United.“Arsenal, Manchester United or PSG are all top clubs. And Petr would like to join one of them – definitely.“Petr expects that Abramovic not Mourinho will decide about his future, based on their mutual agreement from last year.” Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech 1last_img read more

‘Reminds me of Yaya’ – Some Liverpool fans finally praise their ‘flop’ and ‘fraud’

first_imgLiverpool midfielder Fabinho finally made his Premier League debut on Saturday evening, playing just over 20 minutes of the Reds’ defeat of Huddersfield.The Brazil international, who was signed for an initial £40million earlier this year, has found his early life on Merseyside something of a disaster. Liverpool’s signings under Michael Edwards – will Minamino be the next big hit? 2 Fabinho came on and was composed today, he’ll definitely strengthen our midfield #LFC— Vinni (@Alvino_9) October 20, 2018 The belief is that Fabinho has not played much for Liverpool so far as he is not used to Klopp’s style of play, and his early performances have been heavily criticised by Liverpool supporters; his showing against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup was blasted, with Fabinho labelled a ‘flop’ and a ‘fraud’ by supporters.However, things appeared to have started to turn around for the former Monaco ace, with fans impressed by Fabinho as he helped Liverpool secure all three points against Huddersfield on Saturday evening. predicted Liked the little of what we saw from Fabinho today. Understand the reason why he’s been eased in, but see him taking over the 6 soon. #LFC— C. Coy (@coachcoy23) October 20, 2018 The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 I’d start Fabinho-Lallana-Gini next game, those three look solid yesterday #LFC— . (@shiddiq_r) October 21, 2018 Fabinho’s full debut for Liverpool came in the Carabao Cup – and it was not good gameday cracker Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury whoops tense changes I thought Fabinho looked really good when he came on yesterday. Got a feeling he’s gonna be a top player for us. Nice eye for a pass and really good running the ball in midfield. Reminds me a bit of ya ya toure! #lfc #fabinho— WelshRed🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🔴 (@WelshRed3) October 21, 2018 How Everton could look in January under Ancelotti with new signings Why isn’t Fabinho starting is Baffling. He legit did more than Henderson did but apparently he’s still adaptingI’ll take that over Henderson ngl #LFC #FabforStartingXI— Aniketh (@upthereds7) October 20, 2018 Liked what I saw from Fabinho from his appearance today. Big things to come from that man! #LFC— LFCEXPRESS (@LFCExpress15) October 20, 2018 Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City TOP WORK Thought Fabinho was excellent when he came on. Solidified the midfield and played forward with purpose and intent. Needs to play more now #LFC— George (@reid1892) October 20, 2018 Good to see Fabinho getting some minutes we need him up to speed,seems like he is now getting the urgency and intensity into his game #LFC— Andy46LFC (@didgy40) October 20, 2018center_img Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update Guardiola-inspired tactics: Is this how Arsenal will line up under Arteta? SORRY 2 latest Top teams win when they play poorly. We are creating the right situations but rushing the final pass or shot. Frustrating but it will come. Fabinho bright when he came on. Shaqiri excellent. #LFC #HUDLIV— Jamie Holme (@JamieHolme) October 20, 2018 He has not been trusted by Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, to represent his new team on many occasions, with his only start to date coming in the Carabao Cup.Fabinho hadn’t even made a Premier League appearance up until matchday nine, with his first appearance in England’s top flight coming as a second half substitute. I thought Fabinho was really good when he came on. He was really sharp and also quick on the ball. He deserves a start now #LFC— Michael (@MichaelLFC1892) October 20, 2018 Did Mahrez just accidentally reveal Fernandinho is leaving Man City this summer? Thought Fabinho was class was he came on. Passing was to a high standard, read the game well and read moments before they became dangers. Hope to see him more from now on. #LFC— Shivam Rughani (@ShivamRughani) October 20, 2018 Fabinho looked decent when he came on. Like a taller, Brazilian version of Wijnaldum. #LFC— Chris Berry (@chrisberry86) October 20, 2018 huge blow Fabinho played well today imo, he should start more often. Team vs Red Star should be Alisson – TAA, Gomez, VVD, Robbo – Fabinho, Gini, Milner – Shaq, Firmino, Salah #lfc— Jacob (@lfcjacob_) October 20, 2018 Most read in Premier League Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT Sky Sports presenter apologises for remarks made during Neville’s racism discussion revealed Fabinho slightly improved from recent outings and beginning to look more comfortable and confident. 👍 #LFC— David Comerford ⚽️🏁 (@Dave_Comerford) October 20, 2018 Supporters took to social media to comment of Fabinho’s performance against the Terriers, and you can see the best reaction below… Things were much better for Fabinho when he was introduced against Huddersfield Job done in the end can see salah getting his touch back and Fabinho looked solid when he come on if klopp has told them to hold back on attacking and then we go full throttle after Xmas then could be perfect plan #LFC— Darren Mountain (@DJDAZZA84) October 20, 2018last_img read more

Q&A: A’s pitcher Fernando Rodney takes us under his crooked cap

first_imgFor more 2019 MLB preview stories, check out our Bay Area baseball guide.It’s safe to say Fernando Rodney is comfortable in his own skin. What else would you expect from the game’s eldest statesman and the No. 2 pitcher on the active saves leader list?If 45-year-old Bartolo Colon retires, the 42-year-old Rodney will assume the mantle of MLB’s most senior citizen.Playing for 10 different teams over 16 seasons, the right-handed, three-time All-Star has amassed 325 saves — second only to Craig …last_img read more

How Warriors stole Game 2 despite influx of injuries

first_imgThe Warriors scored a 109-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on … Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.[vemba-video id=”van/sc/2019/06/03/bang_b8828faa-f54d-4b20-8703-962ec56b313c”]TORONTO – The Warriors have a team full of unhealthy All-Stars.The Warriors’ identity, though, does not hinge only on their star players. It also rests on having a championship fabric that can absorb many tugs without getting ripped.last_img read more

Former Oakland A’s lefty Brett Anderson finds new home with Brewers

first_imgLeft-hander Brett Anderson is the latest addition to the quickly transforming Milwaukee Brewers, agreeing to a $5 million, one-year contract. The 31-year-old left-hander was 13-9 with a 3.89 ERA in 31 starts with the A’s last season.“We looked at Brett as a pitcher who has proven throughout his career that when he’s able to stay healthy, he’s been effective,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “He’s someone who throws strikes consistently. He keeps the ball on the ground, and we like …last_img read more

South Africa’s 2008 sports highlights

first_imgMatthew Moir successfully defended his longboard title at the ISA World Surfing Games in Portugal, while Travis Logie made it all the way to the final of the Mr Price Pro in Durban before he was stopped by Australia’s Chris Davidson. After looking back at the top South African sporting performances, achievements, and results of the year that was 2008, two South African athletes stand out above all others: Natalie du Toit and Trevor Immelman. Earlier in the year he had demonstrated his ability to beat the best when he won the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain. Flag bearerIn Beijing, she became the first disabled person to the Olympic flag of her country. She later became the first person to carry her country’s flag at both the Olympics and Paralympics. By comparison, later in the year, world number one Australia lost their four-test series in India 2-0, with the Indians’ victories coming by 320 runs and 172 runs. Du Toit proved to be one of the outstanding athletes of the Paralympics, winning five gold medals, to lead South Africa’s challenge. The South African Sevens team finished second in the 2007/08 IRB Sevens World Series behind a dominant New Zealand team. Their season included ending the Kiwis’ 47-match unbeaten run in the final of the Adelaide Sevens. Tiger Woods’ threatImmelman maintained his challenge in the third round, posting a 69, which was bettered by only three players. Ominously, one of those players was world number one Tiger Woods, a four-time winner of the Masters, who was expected to make a final round charge. Immelman’s tumourGolfer Trevor Immelman enjoyed a strong finish to 2007 when he won the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Shortly afterwards, competing in the SAA Open at Pearl Valley, he was forced to pull out of the tournament after he struggled with his breathing and experienced pain around his ribcage. Tests revealed a tumour about the size of a golf ball. 100 test capsOn an individual level, Percy Montgomery made history by becoming the first South African to win 100 test caps. He retired with 102 caps to his name and a number of important SA records, including the most points (893) and the most points in a test (35 versus Namibia). In the eight PGA Tour events preceding the year’s first major, the US Masters, Immelman failed to make the cut four times. His best finish was a tie for 17th. His next best result was a tie for 40th in the World Golf Championships-CA Championship. In the last tournament before the Masters, the Shell Houston Open, he missed the cut. Although her swim didn’t go as well as she would have liked – she finished 16th – Du Toit’s participation, along with that of Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka (whose right arm ends just below the elbow, but who plays left-handed), was the first by an amputee in the Olympics in over a century. Bafana BafanaOn the football front, Bafana Bafana suffered a slump following the shock resignation of coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. His replacement Joel Santana took over slap bang in the middle of African Cup of Nations qualifying and when South Africa failed to earn a place for the 2010 competition in Angola it came as little surprise. He moved into the sole lead after two rounds on eight-under-par 136 after a second successive 68. Only Steve Flesch with a five-under 67 bettered Immelman’s second round effort, while Brandt Snedeker matched it to trail by just one shot. Four South Africans, after good years in 2008, have qualified to compete on the prestigious ASP World Tour in 2009: David Weare, Greg Emslie and Jordy Smith will be part of the men’s tour, while Rosy Hodge will take part on the women’s tour. The South African team was outstanding, capturing 21 gold, three silver and six bronze medals to finish sixth in the final medal standings. And as much as their achievements impressed, their collective attitude exceeded even those achievements. SA cricket team shinesThe South African cricket team enjoyed a very good year in 2008. The series highlight was a victory over England in England, while the Proteas’ first test win over Australia in Perth in December was a record-breaking achievement that many feel was SA’s best ever test result. Breaststroke world record holderCameron van der Burgh, however, set two short course world records in the breaststroke and they remained not only unbroken but unchallenged. He became the first swimmer to crack 26 seconds for the 50 metres and 57 seconds for the 100 metres. Also on the water, South Africa’s canoe marathon competitors showed their mettle at the World Championships in the Czech Republic where Ant Stott and Cam Schoeman won the men’s gold. The year 2008 was a big one on the world’s sporting calendar with Beijing garnering the spotlight as it hosted the Olympic Games and the Paralympics. The two events contrasted sharply in terms of South African success. Fast bowler Dale Steyn’s exceptional achievements were recognised by the ICC when he was named Test Player of the Year. In 14 tests, he captured 86 wickets at an average of 18.10 – 28 wickets more than the next highest wicket taker, Brett Lee of Australia. The rest of the year, Immelman’s result were far from outstanding – he admitted he had been ill-prepared for the demands that came with winning the Masters – but for four glorious days he ruled the world of golf at Augusta. Olympic GamesFor SA sports’ fans, the Olympics unfolded with a sense of disbelief as medal hopeful after medal hopeful came up short of the mark. The Games began on 8 August and it took until 18 August for relief to be provided as South Africa faced the ignominy of finishing the Olympics without a medal. Requiring 414 for victory, Graeme Smith and company made it look easy. He and AB de Villiers scored centuries, while Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy weighed-in with fifties to take South Africa to a six-wicket victory. It was the second highest successful run chase in test history. Kathryn Meaklim also excelled by finishing third in the women’s standings; she won 18 races and added six silver medals and two bronzes to finish with more medals than any other woman. Paralympic Team SA was clearly a happy collection of athletes and the joy they exhibited while competing in Beijing was contagious. It made the Rainbow Nation very proud while, at the same time, restoring the faith of the country’s fans in its athletes. SwimmingThe SA swimming team deserves honourable mention despite not being able to win a single medal. They established numerous African and South African records, but the rate at which world records were broken and improved upon in the pool was unprecedented in the history of the sport. Immelman had the tumour removed; it was, thankfully, benign, but it sidelined him for some time. As a result of this, the 2006 PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year struggled with his form. Richard Sterne, in the co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tours’ Joburg Open, Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and South African OpenHennie Otto, in the European Tour’s Italian OpenErnie Els, in the PGA Tour’s Honda ClassicRetief Goosen in the Asian Tour’s Johor OpenCharl Schwartzel in the European Tour’s Madrid MastersTim Clark in the Australian PGA’s Australian Open By the end of the year, however, it appeared as if Bafana might have started to turn the corner under Santana. They won four matches in succession – beating Malawi 3-0, Equatorial Guinea 1-0, Ghana 2-1, Cameroon 3-2 – to provide the team’s fans with reason to be optimistic ahead of the 2009 Confederations Cup, which South Africa will host in June. A three-test series against India in India finished in a 1-1 draw only after the hosts had prepared a third test pitch in Kanpur that drew an official warning from the International Cricket Council (ICC) because it was substandard. It helped the Indians level the series in three days as their spinners profited from a surface that resulted in deliveries keeping low and kicking. Equestrian winsPhillipa Johnson won two gold medals in equestrian events and Ernst van Dyk captured gold in the men’s hand cycling individual road race. His victory made him only the second South African to win the prestigious Masters title, emulating his idol, Gary Player, who had previously won the event in 1961, 1974, and 1978. Sonia Pinter was runner-up in the 40-44 age group after a tight five-game battle against Australia’s Sarah Nelson and Lisa O’Grady finished second in the 50-54 age group. Hilton Langenhoven also claimed three titles – in the long jump, 200 metres, and pentathlon. Fanie van der Merwe did the 100/200 double in the men’s T37 class, while Ilse Hayes won the women’s F13 long jump. Paralympic teamAfter the disappointment of the Olympics, South African sports’ fans were disillusioned and, generally, lowered their hopes about what the Paralympic team might achieve. They need not have worried as the South African team shone, providing the Games with some of its outstanding stars. SpringboksIn 2007 the Springboks were crowned the Rugby World Cup winners. Not surprisingly, 2008 failed to live up to the standards set the year before, but there were some exceptional results along the way. Just a day before capturing the world title, Stott had finished third in the individual race. In November, Du Toit received the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) Youth Leadership Award at the European Parliament in Brussels. The prestigious honour recognises young leaders with an astonishing track record of performance and/or social responsibility. On the boxing front, Cassius Baloyi made history when he beat Mzonka Fana on points to win the IBF junior-lightweight title. It was his sixth world title, a feat unmatched by any other South African boxer. Masters squashSouth Africa’s Masters Squash team, as they have many times previously, proved themselves to be a world power at the Eighth World Masters Squash Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. Besides the series win in England, there was a continuous roll of success for South Africa during 2008. After beating Pakistan in Pakistan towards the end of 2007, there were test series wins over the West Indies (2-1), Bangladesh in Bangladesh (2-0), and Bangladesh in SA (2-0). SA golf victoriesSouth African golfers continued to excel on tours around the world. Apart from Trevor Immelman’s victory in the US Masters, a good number of other player won tournaments in other parts of the world. They included: Joining Natalie du Toit at the forefront of South Africa’s gold medal winning achievements was “The Blade Runner”, Oscar Pistorius, who completed the triple of the 100 metres, 200m, and 400m in the men’s T44 class. She was also awarded the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award, which is presented at every Paralympic Games to one male and one female who best exemplifies the spirit of the Games and inspires and excites the world. International Boxing Hall of FamerBrian Mitchell was never a six-time world champion, but then he never needed to be as he retired as an undefeated world champion. His brilliance was recognised early in December when he was elected to enter the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Immelman’s lead was two shots with one round to play. The best was yet to come when, at the end of the year, in the first two events of the 2008/09 season, Paul Treu’s charges went unbeaten as they captured the Dubai Sevens and then, for the first time, the George Sevens. The victory on home soil was especially sweet for the team and the loyal George fans. Van der Burgh dominance of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup, during which he set the world records, was reflected in his winning of the overall title. Downhill MTB world champGreg Minnaar won the Mountain Bike World Cup downhill title for the third time in 2008, following on previous titles in 2001 and 2005. Woods managed to make up three shots by posting a 72 to the South African’s 75 over the last 18 holes, and while he moved up to take second place, he still finished three shots behind Immelman’s final total of eight-under-par 280. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material Surf-skiing superpowerSouth Africa also proved itself the strongest surf-skiiing nation in the world when SA paddlers claimed the top five places in the men’s event at the Durban Surf Ski World Cup. Besides Natalie du Toit, three other swimmers won gold in the swimming pool: Shireen Sapiro in the women’s S10 100 metres backstroke, Kevin Paul in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB9, and Charl Bouwer in the men’s 400m freestyle S13. Surfing starsSouth African surfers made their mark and it was the older generation which stood out most. Team South Africa won the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships in Peru, with individual gold medals going to Heather Clark (Masters Women), Marc Wright (Kahunas) and Chris Knutsen (Grand Kahunas). Playing under the first black coach in Springbok history, Peter de Villiers, the Boks achieved their first ever win over the All Blacks in Dunedin – by 30 points to 28 – to bring to an end a five-year unbeaten run on home soil for the New Zealanders. Long jumper Khotso Mokoena finally ended the drought by capturing silver with a best leap of 8.24 metres. Sadly for the majority of South Africans, his medal winning performance was greeted by relief more than by joy, but it was a highlight nonetheless. Motocross world championTyla Rattray became the third South African to win a motocross world title when he clinched the MX2 title in September at the Italian Grand Prix in Faenza. Previously Greg Albertyn and Grant Langston had won world titles. Du Toit, an inspirational paraplegic swimming star whose left leg was amputated just below the knee after a motorcycling accident in 2001, made history when she qualified for the Beijing Olympic Games in the open water swimming event. She booked her place by finishing fourth in the 10-kilometre race at the World Open Water Swimming Championships in Seville. Outplayed the bestSomehow, however, over the course of four wonderful days it all came together for the South African star as outplayed the best players in the world to capture the Masters title at Augusta, the only permanent home to a major event. 24 December 2008 Later in the year, sprint ace Roland Schoeman went on to set a world record in the short course 50 metres freestyle. It was subsequently broken by France’s Amaury Leveaux. Later in the year they recorded record victories over three of the rugby world’s leading rugby powers. At Ellis Park, the Springboks crushed Argentina 63-9. At the same venue, they drilled Australia 53-8. Then, on their end of year tour of the United Kingdom, they handed England their worst ever loss at Twickenham, triumphing 42-6. Mitchell’s career record 46 wins, one loss and two draws. He successfully defended his WBA junior lightweight title 12 times and also won the IBF title. He was a world champion from 1986 to 1991. But back to Beijing. Trevor Wilkinson won the men’s 45-49 title, Michael Bester topped the 55-59 age group, and John Irving won the 75-plus category. Pierre Roodt was runner-up in the 50-54 category. Immelman took the first round lead with Johannesburg-born Justin Rose – the man he had out-duelled for the Nedbank Challenge title, with a four-under-par 68. He won three times on the seven-stop series, taking victories at Fort William, Mont Saint Anne and Canberra. Jean Grainger won the women’s 65-69 title, beating fellow South African Antoinette Morris 9-0, 9-3, 9-1 to win the title, while Averil Heath won the 70-plus category. Hank McGregor won the men’s title for the second time, while Alexa Cole won the women’s title as SA claimed four of the top five women’s places. Highly regarded as both a cricketer and a person, in May, Pollock was voted onto the MCC World Cricket Committee, a prestigious group of 18 former cricketers, whose goal it is to safeguard the values of cricket, including aspects relating to the laws or spirit of the game. During 2008, Rattray recorded 13 podium finishes out of a possible 15 and also won four grands prix. Shaun Pollock retiresAt the beginning of the year, Shaun Pollock retired after the tour by the West Indies. He completed his test career with 3 781 runs and 421 wickets, the most wickets ever by a South African and the eighth most in the history of cricket. Pollock also scored 3 519 runs and claimed 393 wickets in one-day internationals.last_img read more