Tennis star and five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova came forth to admit that she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open for a banned substance that she claims she was unaware became illegal on January 1.The woman who has less than four times the Grand Slam victories than Serena Williams (she has 21), yet nevertheless has been the highest-paid female athlete in the world for 11 straight years, according to Forbes, got little sympathy in the urban community for the obvious and blatant disparity in endorsement earnings for someone who is much less accomplished than Serena.Moreover, it did not help that Sharapova took unsolicited shots at Williams’ love life with an alleged married man prior to one of their recent matches — despite the fact that Sharapova had not beaten Williams in over a decade. Yes, an entire decade.So when Sharapova was found to have taken the banned substance meldonium, social media had fun tearing into her — and laughed even harder when some of Sharapova’s flagship endorsers such as Nike and Porsche left skidmarks running away from the doped up athlete.Social media had a lot more to say. Check it out.
TG4 to broadcast the IABA Men’s and Women’s Irish National Senior Elite Boxing Finals next Saturday (23 February) All 18 Fights will be broadcast Live on YouTube while TG4’s main channel will have live coverage from 8:45pm to 11:05pm TG4 will provide extensive coverage of next Saturday evenings IABA Men’s and Women’s Irish National Senior Elite Boxing Finals from the National Stadium in Dublin. All eighteen fights will be broadcast live on TG4’s YouTube site to viewers both here in Ireland and all over the world. Coverage of the Finals will also be available on TG4’s main linear channel from 8:45pm onwards. The live coverage of the IABA Irish National Senior Elite Boxing Finals will be presented by Micheál Ó Domhnaill with commentary and analysis by Andy Lee, Kenneth Egan, Darren O’Neill and Seán Bán Breathnach. TG4’s live YouTube commentary will be provided by Cárthach Bán Breathnach. The live coverage will be produced by Waterford based company Nemeton TV. Ireland’s finest will go head-to-head for elite gold on Saturday in this special year which celebrates the 80th anniversary of the official opening of the National Stadium in 1939. AIBA World Elite champion Kellie Harrington, who won a gold medal at the 2018 Women’s World Boxing Championships
Young team may not make Shore Conf. tourney BY DOUG McKENZIE Correspondent With a young team that starts five underclassmen, Mater Dei boys basketball coach Bob Klatt expected his team to suffer from some growing pains this year. But the veteran coach (now in his 12th year) admits that even he is a bit surprised at just how frustrating this season has been to this point. “We lost seven games by a total of 20 points,” he said. “We’ve been right there in just about every game we’ve played, and have been leading in a lot of those games before finding ways to fall apart in the end.” The result is a 6-10 season that will leave the Seraphs on the outside looking in of the upcoming state tournament. “Our goal was to make the (postseason) tournaments, but we didn’t make the state tournament,” Klatt said. “We lost on Thursday at Keyport when their kid hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. “We still have an outside shot at making the Shore Conference Tournament, but there’s very little room for error.” The cutoff for the SCT is Feb. 10, which means the Seraphs will need to play nearperfect basketball over the next couple of weeks to get back to the .500 mark. And while Klatt knows his team is capable, he also realizes that his players need to develop that killer instinct needed to win the tight games. “I thought we’d have some growing pains this year, but not as many as we’ve had,” he said. “We’ve just been missing too many open shots down the stretch and not making our free throws when we need them. We had Rumson-Fair Haven beat but missed three front ends on one-andones in the final minutes.” The strength of the Mater Dei team has been its backcourt, where a pair of sophomores, Glenn Holik and Chris Jetter, has emerged as the team’s top offensive weapons. “Glenn is scoring about 15 points a game, and Chris is at about 14,” the coach said. “Those two have been carrying us all year.” The frontcourt is made up of three juniors – Dan Treubig, Nick Kelleher and Pat O’Boyle. O’Boyle is the tallest of the three at 6-foot-1. Sophomores Mike Gallo and Mike Glenn also see quite a bit of playing time, as do the team’s only seniors, Justin Vega and Jeremy Wedick. While the Seraphs’ record is a bit disappointing to Klatt, he is not at all disappointed with his team’s effort. “They come to play every day,” he said. “They definitely bring it everyday, andwe’ve been in every game but three this year.” And that paints a rosy picture for the future of this program. “We’ve got seven guys coming back next year, so we think next year’s going to be a big year for us,” Klatt said. “These kids are starting to realize how fast this game is and they’re getting better.” If the Seraphs are to qualify for the SCT, they’re certainly going to have to earn it. This week alone, they face the two top teams in the Shore’s Class B Central Division in Asbury Park (Monday) and St. Rose (Thursday). “It’s not going to get any easier for us, that’s for sure,” Klatt said. Then again, nothing’s come easy to this team all season. Notes… While the SCT cutoff is Feb. 10, the state tournament cutoff is this Saturday; meaning teams must have a .500 record by the end of the day to be eligible. The SCT is slated to begin on Feb. 13 at the home of the higher seeds, while the state tournament will start on Feb. 25. It’s beginning to look like a quiet postseason locally, at least for the boys. Entering the week’s action, only CBA (13-5), Middletown South (13-4) and Keyport appear to be locks for either postseason tournament, while Holmdel, at 6-9, still has an outside shot at qualifying for the SCT. In addition, both CBA and Middletown South are still in the hunt for the A North title, with the Colts trailing division-leader Freehold Township by one game, and theEagles down two in the loss column. On the girls side, local teams are having more success, starting with St. John Viannney, who at 14-3 looks like the frontrunner for the top seed in the SCT. The Lancers could run the table on the rest of their schedule, making them a solid pick as the team to beat in the Shore. Raritan and Middletown South are also enjoying strong seasons, with the Rockets entering the week at 10-4, and the Eagles playing to a 10-3 mark. Both teams will play in both the state and Shore Conference tournaments. Mater Dei’s girls are also looking like a postseason team at 8-5, as is Keyport (9- 6). Meanwhile, the Holmdel girls have some work to do if they hope to qualify for the postseason, entering the week at 6-9.
By Josh ReichNorwich City sit five points above the relegation zone but new manager Neil Adams will be eyeing a daunting fixture list nervously as he seeks to ensure Premier League survival for the Canaries.Previously youth team coach, Adams was promoted to the top job on Sunday when Chris Hughton was sacked after nearly two seasons in charge, the club finally losing patience following a number of limp performances that culminated in a 1-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion the previous day.The change comes with just five matches remaining in the season, leaving Adams to navigate a tough run of fixtures beginning at Fulham, one position below 17th-placed Norwich, followed by games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.Having spent three seasons in the Premier League, four losses in the last six matches convinced the board a managerial change was needed if the team was to summon the resolve to make it a fourth.Despite enjoying some positive results in February, Norwich’s performances had become increasingly listless, with Hughton’s job coming under scrutiny following a number of public utterances by chief executive David McNally.Adams, who made more than 200 appearances for the club and guided Norwich to the FA Youth Cup last year, is undaunted by the task ahead, however, and has backed the team to do what was required to avoid the drop.“People know what this club means to me, and so it goes without saying that we will be doing everything possible to ensure that we maintain our top-flight status for next season,” he said in a statement on the club website (www.canaries.co.uk).“These final five games will be a huge test for us, and everyone must step up to the mark. But with the full backing of these magnificent Norwich supporters, we will have every chance of achieving our objective.”NORWICH HOPEFULNorwich will be hoping a change in manager will provide the necessary boost in fortune but as their rivals in the relegation scrap have shown, a new face in the dugout does not guarantee success.Sunderland, who face Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, replaced controversial Italian Paolo Di Canio with Gus Poyet in October when they had mustered one point from seven matches.They are still bottom, albeit with three matches in hand, but still have to play Everton and Manchester City.Nineteenth-placed Cardiff appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in January after a period of turmoil at the Welsh club when predecessor Malky Mackay fell out with owner Vincent Tan.They were one point above the relegation zone at that stage, but after just two wins in 13 matches, are six off Norwich and seeking divine inspiration to avoid an immediate return to the second-tier Championship.“We need to produce a miracle to stay up now,” the Norwegian said after Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace, one club who have benefited in a change of manager when Tony Pulis replaced Ian Holloway.“I am full of fight. If you produce a miracle – that sometimes happens in football – you are still capable of getting out of this and staying in the Premier League.”Fulham are onto their third boss of the season in German Felix Magath, following the sackings of first Martin Jol and then René Meulensteen.Saturday’s win over Aston Villa lifted them off the bottom to 18th on 27 points, one ahead of Cardiff and two above Sunderland, with Hugo Rodallega’s 86th minute winner giving Magath hope that all was not lost.“We take the win in the last minutes and that is a signal for everybody that we are fighting. We want to stay in the league.”West Bromwich Albion, level on 32 points with Norwich, have finally found some form under Pepe Mel.It took the Spaniard eight matches to record his first win at the club however, a wait Adams and Norwich will be desperate to avoid if they are to keep out of the bottom three come the end of the season.
Port Moresby will host the tri-nations series between May 24 to 30 as part of the country’s preparations for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup later this year in PNG’s capital city.Cole says the visit of these two teams will show her players the level they will need to reach if they want to compete on the world stage.“Japan and the United States are two of the best countries in the world.“The technical quality and speed of Japan and the heart and athleticism of a team like the USA is something PNG has never played against.”Cole expects these matches to be a huge learning experience and she believes that’s what her team needs at this point.“We have some players who have played in OFC events, others who have never played outside of local competitions in PNG,” she says.“I am proud of the progress the players have made over the last few months.“They have improved in so many areas but they need to take their game to another level again if they want to compete in the World Cup.“These games will give us a good gauge of where we are now and where we need to get to.”Cole says the tournament will be an important first step for her players in figuring out how good they can be.“These games will help my players understand that little things matter, that we still need to improve our fitness and that we need to keep focused and improving every single day.“We have made great progress but we are not there yet, not even close, our best football is still to come.“Our players have to see the top level if they want to rise to that level.”Cole, who is the former head coach of the Boston Breakers in the National Women’s Soccer League, says the tournament will also provide her with valuable insights as to which of her players can step up to earn starting positions come the World Cup.“I want to see who can handle the pressure in a game situation and how quickly they can adapt to the different styles of play.“Who can apply the concepts we have worked on in training by transferring them to the games.”The former goalkeeper says it’s an exciting period for football in Papua New Guinea which will also host the OFC Nations Cup at the end of this month.“Football is the second most popular sport in PNG and for women it seems to be the top sport.“The country is still very young, so every opportunity for the fans to go and watch players wearing the national badge is a big deal.”Cole also believes that hosting the OFC Nations Cup and the FIFA U-20 Women’ World Cup will offer PNG a huge opportunity to grow the game.“My hope is that the U-20 Women’s World Cup is just the beginning of great things to come from this group of players and for the PNG women’s national program.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has agreed a new two-year contract with the Premier League club, according to British media reports on Tuesday.Wenger’s future was the subject of intense speculation during the season, with a section of disgruntled fans and pundits calling for the long-serving Frenchman to leave.A formal announcement from Arsenal confirming that Wenger has decided to stay is expected on Wednesday, the BBC reported.An Arsenal spokeswoman told Reuters the club was due to issue a statement on Wenger’s future, but did not say if the manager had put pen to paper on a fresh deal.Wenger, 67, has been Arsenal manager for 21 years, winning three Premier league titles and seven FA Cup trophies, but the club could only manage a fifth-place finish this season.Arsenal will miss out on the lucrative Champions League next term for the first time since Wenger took charge in 1996.They did end the season with silverware, however, after beating Premier League champions and favourites Chelsea on Saturday to give Wenger his record seventh FA Cup success.
The head of the United States Congressional Staffers’ delegation visiting Liberia, Paul Grove, has said that rebuilding a post-conflict country is measured not in years, but decades. Mr. Grove was making reference to Liberia’s reconstruction process, which he said can in no way be achieved in a few years, especially after such a devastating civil crisis that was recently compounded by the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). “Emerging and rebuilding from a conflict situation is a long-term process that takes time to achieve,” Mr. Grove pointed out. Mr. Grove, who said he had visited Liberia in 2003, noted that Liberia has made remarkable progress under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Speaking at the Foreign Ministry when he led his delegation to pay a courtesy call on President Sirleaf on Tuesday, Mr. Grove said there is a lot of interest about Liberia in the United States, and recommended that it is important for President Sirleaf to visit the United States, after a long absence due to Ebola epidemic, to hold talks with US Administration officials. Though Liberia has made considerable progress against the EVD, Mr. Grove advised that in the short-term, Liberians must remain vigilant in preventing the re-emergence of the Ebola virus disease and focus on getting to zero and maintaining the trend. “In the medium and long-term, you must seek to reflect recovery and endeavor to maintain the previous level of success,” he admonished, adding, “Liberia also needs new approaches to strengthen its educational and healthcare systems.” He acknowledged that Liberia is on top of the Ebola crisis, and expressed the hope that the rest of the affected countries in the region can copy from Liberia’s practices and interventions that led to the very high level of progress. President Sirleaf welcomed the team and thanked the U.S. government and people for the level of support to Liberia, over the years, with particular reference to the period of the Ebola outbreak. She indicated that the massive U.S. government support helped Liberia achieve the success it has recorded to date, making specific reference to the Department of Defense support to efforts which ensured the construction of Ebola Treatment Units across the country, building the capacity of members of the Armed Forces of Liberia, and enhancing the logistical and transportation needs of the fight against the disease. She emphasized that the Ebola outbreak impacted all sectors of the country, including the economy, education, healthcare, infrastructural programs, agriculture and food security, and also left behind a huge orphan population of over 3,000 children. She acknowledged the role of Liberian communities and the citizenry in general, in containing the further spread of the disease. President Sirleaf updated the delegation on efforts aimed at reopening schools, and restoring the educational sector, restoring normal healthcare services, as well as steps taken to bring back concessionaires, contractors and partners who left the country during the height of the Ebola crisis. She also highlighted progress on the UNMIL’s transition process with regards to national security. In response to an inquiry from the delegation, the Liberian leader named the elevation of agriculture, education, healthcare and other social services, land ownership, and jobs as expectations of the Liberian people. She also stressed on the critical importance of energy for increased economic activities, private sector development and industrialization. The delegation is in the country to assess the impact of the US assistance to the Ebola response and to see what lies ahead. It was led by Majority Clerk, Senate Appropriation Sub-Committee for State and Foreign Operations and Related Programs, Mr. Paul Grove. It included Staff Member of the same committee, Mr. Adam Yazerski; Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Ms. Luara Friedel; and an official at the Department of State, Mr. Paul Radamacher.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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But any hopes Wenger’s recent problems would be erased in historic fashion were brutally dashed by Robert Lewandowski’s second half penalty and Laurent Koscielny’s dismissal for conceding that spot-kick.Wenger cut a forlorn figure as Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa netted before Arturo Vidal’s double fired Bayern into the quarter-finals with a 10-2 aggregate victory.It was the first time Arsenal had conceded five at the Emirates and by the closing stages, there was a funereal atmosphere on an evening that started with Arsenal fans staging a protest march calling for Wenger to quit and ended with a chorus of boos and banners held up proclaiming: “Enough is enough – Wenger out”.It was yet another chastening experience in the Champions League for Wenger, who has now seen Arsenal eliminated in the last 16 for seven successive seasons.With their Premier League title hopes in tatters and even a top four finish far from guaranteed, Wenger’s 184th Champions League match as Arsenal boss may well prove to be his last as speculation grows that he will terminate his 21-year reign at the end of a wretched season.Having restored Alexis Sanchez to his team despite reports the Arsenal forward wants to leave after being dropped for Saturday’s loss at Liverpool, it was a sign of the misery to come for Wenger when Danny Welbeck was taken ill in the pre-match warm-up, forcing Olivier Giroud into the line-up.Arsenal would have to make history to go through as no team in the Champions League era had overturned a four-goal deficit and many Gunners fans gave them no chance judging by the swathes of empty red seats around the Emirates.– Embarrassing –Even the stay-aways wouldn’t have predicted such an embarrassing loss when Walcott struck in the 20th minute.Taking possession wide on the right flank, Walcott advanced unchecked by the ponderous Bayern defence and, from an acute angle, he unloaded a powerful strike that flashed over Manuel Neuer’s unconvincing attempted save and into the roof of the net.Walcott had a penalty appeal turned down after Xabi Alonso caught the winger and he was close to a second goal when he surged onto Shkodran Mustafi’s pass before firing into the side-netting.But Giroud, unmarked eight yards out, wastefully headed over from Aaron Ramsey’s cross early in the second half, and that would prove Arsenal’s final chance.When Lewandowski got behind Koscielny in the 55th minute, the Arsenal defender’s panicked response was to trip the Pole, conceding a penalty and earning himself a red card.Lewandowski picked himself up to send David Ospina the wrong way with a clinical spot-kick and the Emirates immediately fell into anarchy.Faced with an inevitable exit, Wenger retreated to the dug out as insults rained down on him from frustrated fans, and his players waved the white flag as well.Fittingly, Bayern’s second goal in the 68th minute came about after Sanchez was caught in possession on the edge of his own penalty area, with Robben gleefully picking the Chilean’s pocket before slotting past Ospina.That opened the floodgates and Costa curled home in the 78th minute before Vidal punished woeful defending to make it four two minutes later.With Arsenal’s players just waiting to be put out of their misery, Vidal waltzed through to make it five in the 85th minute and Wenger’s agony was complete.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Embarrassed: Arsenal collapse againLONDON, United Kingdom, March 7 – Bayern Munich condemned Arsene Wenger to more humiliation as 10-man Arsenal were eliminated from the Champions League with a crushing 5-1 defeat amid furious protests against the beleaguered Gunners boss on Tuesday.Aiming to stage an incredible recovery from a 5-1 first leg deficit, Wenger’s side briefly looked capable of a famous escape act when Theo Walcott opened the scoring in the first half at the Emirates Stadium.