Authors denoted in brackets. OW – Ollie Williams
2022 Winter Olympics
Almaty, the Kazakhstan bid whose 2022 candidacy has been almost entirely overlooked amid hubbub about cities dropping out and Beijing going for a summer-winter double, presented itself on Friday as the “compact and affordable” alternative to China for the Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, Beijing proposed dates for the Games which appear likely to conflict with the Super Bowl. (OW)
2024 Summer Olympics
Paris 2024? The French president says oui, but the city’s mayor is more of a peut-être. (OW)
Naomi Folkard came second at the first Indoor World Cup of the season in Marrakech. In the non-Olympic compound events, GB’s Naomi Jones took gold, leading my wife to remark that she looks exactly like Kirsten Dunst. “She does!”(OW)
Many, many headlines over the past few days have been varieties on the theme of “Ennis-Hill wants to defend Olympic heptathlon title”. Which fits into the rather large file marked “fairly bleedin’ obvious”, being the rough equivalent of publishing an article entitled “Manchester City would like to win trophy”, “Golfer prefers birdie to bogey”, or “Man still alive after avoiding death”. (My favourite in this category is “[Athlete name] eyes Olympics”, which is an atrocity of a headline.)
I digress. The nuances within the Ennis-Hill story are more interesting than the bland headlines: she acknowledges she is now a mum first and an athlete second, but she considers herself “still the same person” and wants to do both. (OW)
The gold postbox painted in honour of Mickey Bushell, a Paralympic 100m champion from London 2012, has been vandalised. (OW)
GB high-jumper Isobel Pooley reflects on a 2014 in which she equalled the British record. (OW)
I missed this last week – the Wall Street Journal’s European edition takes in the second set of matches in the UK’s new National Badminton League: (OW)
Each team raised a budget of about £40,000 and drafted players at auction. While the majority of players in the league are already centrally contracted with Badminton England—which will receive around £5.9 million ($9.4 million) in funding from UK Sport on the way to the Rio Olympics—a small handful is earning four-figure salaries for the six-game season.
The NBL has also rewritten badminton’s scoring rules to speed up matches and play more juicy points. There is now, for instance, a badminton power play that makes a single point count double.
More significant is the NBL’s presence on television. Badminton England puts up more than half the funding for the league and covers the TV production costs. It then supplies the programming to Britain’s major cable sports broadcaster, where each match night airs live over 21/2 hours. On Monday night, Loughborough Sport vs. Team Derby was up against Crystal Palace vs. Sunderland in the English Premier League, an NFL game replay, a low-interest soccer match from Spain and a golf tournament from Asia.
Absent UK Sport funding, British Basketball has agreed a £1.2m funding deal with Sport England for the next two-and-a-half years: (OW)
The sports minister, Helen Grant, agreed to try to broker a compromise that has ended with Sport England effectively agreeing to bankroll elite sport for the first time.
It will provide £1.18m of exchequer and National Lottery funding to British Basketball to support the men’s and women’s full international and under-20 sides until March 2017.
British Basketball has agreed to invest £592,000 of its own money and, as a condition of the funding, the women’s team will target a top-12 finish in the 2015 European Championship and the men’s team qualification for the 2017 European Championships.
Elana Meyers Taylor will have the chance to race in four-man bobsleigh this coming season, having finished third at US trials under new rules which allow women to pilot four-man sleds. Kaillie Humphries also finished third in Canada’s national championships a week earlier. Meyers Taylor, who had her husband Nic Taylor in the sled with her, now needs to come through a series of second-tier races to earn her place on the four-man World Cup stage.
(Keep an eye out for a CNN article on this, by yours truly, in the relatively near future. OW)
There were three gold medals and a silver for British boxers at the Golden Gong in Macedonia. (OW)
King, who shot to fame by winning gold at London 2012, suffered five broken ribs and a collapsed lung after coming off her bike in Wales. The 23-year-old, from Hamble, remained last night in intensive care in a hospital in Wales with her family at her bedside.
Dani, who is now based in Cardiff, was on a training session on Thursday afternoon with a group of around 10 riders, including Team Sky rider Luke Rowe.
Sixty miles into an 88-mile route, in Merthyr Tydfil, one cyclist hit a pothole covered by a puddle. Dani was brought down in the ensuing crash and another rider fell on top of her, her father Trevor King said.
Mr King, 54, said four other riders were treated in hospital but later released and the road had to be closed.
“Dani couldn’t feel her feet at one stage. She was put on a spinal board,” he added. “She said to us at one stage she was frightened to cry because she thought she was going to die she was in so much pain. It was very traumatic.”
Scans confirmed no such damage and it is thought this was just the effects of the cold.
At the Track World Cup in Guadalajara, Laura Trott helped relatively inexperienced team-mates Ciara Horne, Elinor Barker and Amy Roberts to women’s team pursuit gold, beating Canada. Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner won the men’s team sprint, but Australia beat the British men’s pursuit team. The UCI has a quick overview of lessons to take away from the Track World Cup here. (OW)
Meanwhile, Victoria Williamson and Jess Varnish are battling for the man-one role ahead of Becky James in the women’s team sprint. (OW)
The Associated Press says world number one Lee Chong Wei’s positive doping test has now been confirmed: (OW)
Lee, who has been temporarily suspended pending a hearing by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) doping panel, faces a potential two-year ban from competition. Lee insisted he had “never cheated.”
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) deputy chairman Mohamad Norza Zakaria confirmed Saturday that a test carried out on Nov. 5 in Oslo, Norway, on the “B” sample of an unnamed player had backed up the positive finding of the “A” sample from a doping control at this year’s World Championships in August.
Mohamad declined to identify the player. However, a senior Malaysian sports official confirmed to The Associated Press that it was 32-year-old Lee. The official did not give his name because he was not authorized to reveal Lee’s identity to the media.
Mohamad said the player tested positive for the banned substance dexamethasone, but the association believed he was innocent.
The AFP agency says it has documents which implicate Kenyan marathon runner Rita Jeptoo in “illegal doping dating back more than three years”. Meanwhile, a New York Times article examines the “gaping hole” in Kenyan anti-doping and beyond. (OW)
Britain is lining up a bid to host the 2019 European Championships in showjumping, dressage and paradressage. (OW)
British wheelchair fencer Piers Gilliver tells the BBC the money isn’t there to support his bid for Rio 2016. (OW)
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Russia’s European bronze medallist, won gold at the China Cup over the weekend, pushing compatriot Yulia Lipnitskaya into second. Three different Russian women have won the opening three Grands Prix of the season, a feat never before seen. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu finished second in the men’s event, won by Russia’s Maksim Kovtun, after a nasty warm-up collision with China’s Han Yan. (OW)
Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova will miss her home Grand Prix and the series final in Japan through injury, according to her trainer. (OW)
The men’s event was won by China’s Tu Xiao ahead of the legendary Dong Dong. (Someone needs to tell the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Tengizi Koshkadze is from the other Georgia.) In the related but non-Olympic tumbling discipline, Britain’s Rachael Letsche won world gold. (OW)
Canada’s women beat the US – again – to win the Four Nations Cup tournament. (OW)
What did you do for World Judo Day? (OW)
Eleven things you probably didn’t know (in their view) about the next Youth Olympics. (OW)
Former GB rower James Cracknell is heading into politics, but his prospective rivals are claiming it’s a stunt. (OW)
Male-to-female transsexual Kate Griffiths, 43, wants to become the first trans woman to compete in shooting at the Olympics. Here’s her personal site, with her full story. (OW)
“At the moment the International Olympic Committee (IOC) currently bans all transgender athletes from competing until two years after they have undergone genital surgery.
“That applies across the board and makes sense in sports like athletics where there is a clear gender advantage, but it isn’t fair in shooting.
“I have written to the IOC three times about my case but they’ve not even bothered to reply, but if I am selected to go forward to the next stage I will have the appropriate Acts of Parliament with me to show their rules are unlawful.”
Day one and day two reviews from the opening World Cup of the season in Salt Lake City. The 1,000m event was staged twice over the weekend: wins for Canada’s Marianne St-Gelais and Russia’s Viktor Ahn on day one, with Elise Christie fourth in the women’s event for GB on day two, matched by other half Jack Whelbourne in the men’s race. (OW)
Here’s a review of the weekend’s GB selection races. (OW)
GB’s Ed Drake is still going strong in ski cross. He’s heading into his second full season since switching from Alpine skiing. “There’s no reason why I can’t be mixing with the best in the world.” (OW)
An Aquatic Super Series meet scheduled for Australia in late January promises to be a fascinating early glimpse into possible 2015 World Championships match-ups. The three-day meet in Perth will feature Australia, the US, China and Japan. (OW)
Britain’s Paul Drinkhall reached the final of the Russian Open, which he considers his best career result to date. (OW)
The World Championships began in Almaty on Saturday – if you missed our guest post analysing each category in the build-up, it’s one of the most comprehensive previews I’ve ever seen. To follow updates from its author, Ognian Georgiev, at the event then head to his Facebook page. North Korea’s Om Yun Chol won the first gold medal of the event, telling reporters: “Our Supreme Leader [Kim Jong-un] told us before we left that we were going into battle, and we had to win.” (OW)
IOC president Thomas Bach to the national Olympic committees of the world, ahead of December’s “Agenda 2020” meetings: “The time for change is now.” (OW)
Sheikh Ahmad, often rumoured to be a puller of many behind-the-scenes strings within the IOC and its member organisations, has been re-elected to the presidency of the Association of National Olympic Committees. (OW)