Koima clarified that the points for the four franchised clubs in the Conference League will not be carried over to the National Home and Away games.“It is not that we are cutting their points but they are going to start fresh again and fight for new points,” Koima said.Moreover, he said that there will not be any other finals but only the grand final match.“The four teams will play, and only the two top teams will play the Grand Final match. There will be no third and fourth playoffs,” he explained. The top two teams to play the grand final will be determined by their points in the two match rounds of the home and away matches.For the third and fourth positions, there will not be any match played to determine the places; however, they will be ranked according to their match points as stated in the new NSL regulations.All franchises are urge to play hard to be the top two to play the only final of the league , the grand final.
The athletes will be taking part in some much needed competition on the only useable synthetic track in the country- Sir John Guise Stadium.The usual Port Moresby competition will be held on Saturday afternoon starting at 1pm.Whilst, Sundays programme will only be for the Open and U20 male sprinters, with just the 100m and 400m events.Damien Kotou, the second athlete from Manus Province to represent PNG in athletics since Lyn Pokou at the 1995 South Pacific Games has attracted the attention of Athletics PNG.This is a result of consistent performances in the last couple of years and an impressive showing at the January training camp at the National Sports Institute. “Damien has been well supported by Manus Division of Education thanks to the efforts of his coach and mentor Sylvester Kitemong from Lombrum Primary School,”said APNG Secretary Philip Rehder.Kotou will however face his strongest test yet in the 200m with Lae based Emmanuel Wanga and Kokopo’s Leeroy Kamau both making the trip to Port Moresby.While further competition will come from the likes of David Guka and other Port Moresby based athletes in good form.Nineteen year old Ephraim Lerkin who was PNG’s top junior athlete in 2016 will run the 400m on Sunday afternoon with Mowen Boino who arrives into the country from his home in Port Vila on Friday.Boino will be keen to get in some hurdles practice over the next couple of weeks before heading to Thailand on June 12 and then the Oceania Championships in Fiji at the end of June.Sunday’s 400m promises to be a very strong race with Wanga, Kotou, Guka and the fast improving Morgan Tobeno (who has the fastest time in Port Moresby this year at 49.9s).Pacific Games representatives in the throwing events- Debono Paraka and Jacklyn Travertz are both expected to be in action this weekend, as will promising youngster Roland Hure in the high Jump. (File picture)
After listing a diverse range of achievements and business interests, the 41-year-old former two-time world heavyweight champion concluded: “I was capable of doing all this because of the global appeal of the sport of boxing.”Adding “the sport of” before mentioning the name of his chosen profession is a long-established conversational tick of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s – an attempt to saddle his perpetual campaign of self-aggrandisement with a sense of higher purpose benefiting the noble art as a whole.The element of circus around Mayweather always ran alongside dazzling wins brought about by immaculate skills until the announcement of his farcical encounter with MMA star and boxing novice Conor McGregor. The ringmaster and cynical profiteer is running the show in the knowledge the supreme sportsman barely needs to turn up in order to secure a 50th career victory.That sideshow’s appeal is obvious, but do not be fooled by the notion that Mayweather v McGregor now defines the engrossing, beguiling, warped and too-often disturbing boxing landscape.For it was this place of jarring and remarkable contrasts where erudite, multi-lingual gentleman Wladimir Klitschko perfected his craft as an amateur and professional for 27 years. Despite losing his final bout to Anthony Joshua and opting against a Las Vegas rematch with the man keen to emulate his near decade-long dominance of boxing’s blue ribbon division, Klitschko departs with dignity intact and ample respect – long overdue in some quarters – safely banked.Wow! So many people interested in my statement. Server broke down. So look here…https://t.co/iZnjFtxHeT— Klitschko (@Klitschko) August 3, 2017The process of Klitschko’s reputation maturing like a fine wine has been underway for a few years. His 23 world heavyweight title defences is bettered only by Joe Louis’ 25. He had 18 in succession during a second reign spanning nine years and seven months before being baffled to a limp loss by the maverick Tyson Fury in November 2015. Only Louis and Larry Holmes (20) boast more.Yet, Klitschko’s place in history is not given a free pass by those numbers. In May this year, after exhaustive polling of trainers, matchmakers, media and historians, Ring Magazine ranked Wladimir as the 16th best heavyweight of all time – one place above older brother Vitali.The silblings’ packaging as a pair did Wladimir few favours in as they moved towards the upper echelons of the highest weight class in the late 1990s. Boxing’s traditional American fanbase began to switch off as the country’s virtually unbroken dominance subsided. Naturally, the Klitschkos were to blame for this and not a dwindling and undisciplined pool of Stadeside talent.Vitali’s only defeats arrived via a shoulder injury against Chris Byrd in 2000 – one Wladimir would avenge to grab a first world title six months later – and on cuts after giving Lennox Lewis an almighty scare in his final outing.The elder Klitschko conformed to the heavyweight ideal of being a bone-shuddering toughman. Wladimir, on the other hand, displayed clear vulnerability and a career built around keeping a questionable chin out of harm’s way never truly chimed with the more bloodthirsty element of boxing’s clientele.Watch back as Wladimir @Klitschko was cheered out of the ring back in April pic.twitter.com/Vv1OcpYeFa— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) August 3, 2017A rocketing career on the back of 1996 Olympic gold tumbled to earth with a stoppage loss against journeyman Ross Puritty and Corrie Sanders extinguished his initial tenure as champion in a brutal five and a half minutes in Hannover back in 2003.Another humiliation at the hands of Lamon Brewster followed a year later, but, by this stage, Klitschko had the great Emmanuel Steward in his corner. It would prove a career-defining alliance.A masterful trainer with an encyclopaedic knowledge and instinctive feel for his sport, Steward set about remodelling Klitschko’s style. Underpinned by regularly under-appreciated footwork, his fighter would get back to basics and see off all comers behind a relentless ramrod jab and punishing straight right.Those two punches alone won many a fight at a canter, sometimes to Steward’s chagrin, as when a trumpeted unification against Sultan Ibragimov at Madison Square Garden in 2008 ended with both a landslide decision victory and boos.But consider a fighter exposed as vulnerable repeatedly and relentlessly besting men who, by definition of their weight class, were capable of knocking him senseless each time he stepped through the ropes. Klitschko’s feats of skill, longevity and bravery are of immense credit to him and a fillip to those railing against recent demonstrations that boxing simply boils down to boneheaded machismo.His retirement provides a timely reminder of historic accomplishments that will endure long after the circus leaves town in Vegas later this month.
The neighbours don’t get along but you’re still obliged to invite them all to the party. So where do they all sit?That’s the question facing South Korean President Moon Jae-in with less than 48 hours to go before the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.At any other Games, seating your top guests is standard fare: a host country’s leader and the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) take the top seats, surrounded by visiting heads of state and other VIP guests.For the Moon government, it’s proving much trickier. Two of his top VIPs are from the United States and North Korea, which have traded nuclear threats. And another is the prime minister of Japan which has tensions with both North and South Korea.South Korea wants to use the Games to re-engage with the North and encourage friendly encounters between Pyongyang and Washington, but is also anxious to avoid any awkward moments – a tall order, according to officials in Seoul.“This is a protocol headache,” said one official familiar with the logistics planning.Moon’s guest list includes US Vice President Mike Pence and two of the North’s most senior officials: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s younger sister and the North’s nominal head of state.Complicating things further, Pence on Wednesday promised tough new sanctions against North Korea. And as his guest at the Games opening ceremony, Pence is taking the father of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died last year after being imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months.“How close should the North Koreans and Americans sit, when Washington has been so public about sanctions and pressure against North Korea? And who takes a higher seat?,” the official said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.Speaking in Tokyo en route to the Olympics, Pence flagged the new sanctions in an effort to pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear and missile programmes. He called it the planet’s “most tyrannical and oppressive regime”.While in South Korea, Pence will also visit a memorial for 46 South Korean sailors killed in 2010 in the sinking of a warship that Seoul blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.Final arrangements for the opening ceremony have yet to be confirmed, but South Korea assumes Pence will want to keep his distance from Kim Yo Jong, 28-year-old sister of the North Korean leader, as well as from ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, said another official in Seoul on Wednesday.Kim Yo Jong is a senior propaganda official who is blacklisted by the US Treasury Department for alleged rights abuses and censorship.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who met Pence on Wednesday and agreed they could “never accept” a nuclear-armed North Korea, is also among some 20 heads of state and top political leaders to attend the Games.Japan has historically strained ties with both North and South Korea, having occupied the peninsula for decades leading up to World War Two. Tokyo and Seoul also have a territorial dispute over islands in waters between the two countries.To avoid offending Japan at the Games, a South Korean figure skating pair decided to change the lyrics of a popular Korean folk ballad that will form part of their routine, dropping a reference in the song to disputed islands.An Olympics organising spokeswoman said Moon’s office was managing the seating chart for the VIPs and that the committee had yet to be briefed on the final decision.A spokesman for the Blue House declined to comment.“Normally you have one side (of the seating) which belongs to the IOC and the other side which belongs to the organising committee and the host country,” IOC President Thomas Bach told a news conference.“I will not make the mistake to try to interfere in the seating of the host country and organising committee. This would be a recipe for disaster.”KIM ABOVE PENCE?Pence is due to arrive in South Korea on Thursday, coinciding with the arrival of the North’s ceremonial leader, who is the most senior North Korean official to enter the South since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce.Kim Yong Nam is president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, while the reclusive country is ruled by Kim Jong Un, the third-generation hereditary leader.If Pence were to meet Kim Yong Nam, he would be the most senior U.S. official to meet a North Korean leader since President Bill Clinton met Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok, a special envoy of Kim Jong Un’s father Kim Jong Il, at the White House in October 2000.“Kim Yong Nam is a nominal head of state; he should be seated closer to Moon than Pence. Yet Pence is from South Korea’s steadfast ally,” said Christopher Green at the International Crisis Group think tank.“These kinds of major events always throw up seating plan conundrums, and this is no different.”Moon for months has tried to bring North Korea to the Games in the hope that better inter-Korean ties would help reduce the risk of a fresh war on the Korean peninsula, and are hoping that its participation would lead to rare talks between the old foes.But there is a risk all this goodwill could backfire, warned Lee Kang-rae, a former presidential official in charge of diplomatic protocol.“It would not look good if North Korea and the United States would sit side by side and remain icy and confrontational the whole time, and those images are broadcast for the whole world to see,” Lee said.
David Silva underlined his importance to Manchester City’s impending title success with both goals on Monday in the 2-0 Premier League win over Stoke City.The Spaniard put City ahead in the 10th minute, finishing off a move of stunning simplicity with a confident strike from a Raheem Sterling low cross.Stoke, next to bottom in the table, showed plenty of endeavour but City were always in charge and Silva doubled the advantage five minutes after the break, converting after a swift exchange with Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus.Pep Guardiola’s City are 16 points clear of second-placed Manchester United and need just three more wins from their remaining eight games to be sure of the title.
By Ian RansomMELBOURNE, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Petra Kvitova will compete in her first Grand Slam final in five years after ending the fairytale run of unseeded American Danielle Collins with a decisive 7-6(2) 6-0 victory and will meet Japan’s Naomi Osaka who overcame Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova by 2-1 sets.The match between Kvitova and Collins was riven with tension, with a delay to close the roof during the first set due to the stifling conditions and a malfunction of the net cord sensor at the start of the second that left server Collins fuming.Kvitova capitalised on the American’s distraction to break her three times in succession on the way to an emphatic victory that made her the first Czech woman to reach the Melbourne final since Jana Novotna lost the 1991 decider to Monica Seles.“It means everything. I really worked very hard, finally I made it deep in this tournament,” Kvitova said in her on-court interview.“I am going to enjoy the final whatever happens. I am very, very happy.“The first set was very tight. I was very nervous. I am glad I came through the tiebreak.”Collins was angered when the net cord technology failed at 15-30 when she was on serve during the opening game of the second set.Having won the point, she was made to replay it and remonstrated with chair umpire Carlos Ramos.The technology gave up another phantom beep on Collins’s replayed serve and Ramos told both players there had been a malfunction.Re-starting with a second serve, Collins gave up a backhand unforced error to concede two break points.She saved one with a big backhand winner but netted on the second.From there, things quickly went downhill for the American as the Czech ramped up her power game and roared to 5-0.Collins conceded another unforced error on her forehand to give Kvitova match point and the Czech fired her 30th winner to claim a clinical win.Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates after defeating Czech Republic’s Karolina PliskovaU.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka staved off a fightback from Karolina Pliskova to reach her maiden Australian Open final with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 win on Thursday and set up a title clash with double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.Osaka hit winners almost at will from both her forehand and backhand and broke Pliskova’s service games twice while facing not a single breakpoint to canter through the first set.Pliskova, who had stunned Serena Williams in the quarter-finals, failed to live up to her reputation as a big server but showed a lot of pluck to level the match with a second break at 5-4 after the players had an early trade of breaks.Osaka converted her only breakpoint opportunity in the decider while her opponent wasted four and the 21-year-old made it to her second straight Grand Slam final with her 15th ace to seal the match in an hour and 53 minutes.
Adidas celebrated its 70th anniversary on Friday with appearances at its Bavaria campus by sponsored athletes such as tennis veteran Stan Smith and German football legend Philipp Lahm, as well as celebrity partners like Pharrell Williams.Adidas opened a new building resembling a football stadium and housing 2,000 employees at its sprawling site outside the town of Herzogenaurach.“This puts us in a perfect position for the future, continuing on our international growth track,” Chief Executive officer Kasper Rorsted told employees.Adidas, whose shares fell on Thursday after it warned profitability will be squeezed in the second half of the year by higher sourcing costs and price cuts, has its roots in a shoe factory set up in Herzogenaurach in 1924 by brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler.The two, who made spikes for athletes including gold medalist Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, fell out during World War Two and went on to found separate firms: Adolf set up Adidas on Aug. 18, 1949, after Rudolf registered his company Puma the previous year.Both companies grew to become global giants, although Nike overtook Adidas and Reebok – later bought by Adidas – to become the biggest U.S. sports brand in the 1980s, leaving Adidas in second place and Puma lagging further behind.Both companies still have their headquarters in Herzogenaurach where they employ thousands of staff.
Highlights of the second day at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Tuesday (times AEST; GMT+11):2345 KERBER CRUISES PAST COCCIARETTOFormer world number one Angelique Kerber showed no signs of the back injury that hampered her Australian Open buildup as she claimed a 6-2 6-2 win over Elisabetta Cocciaretto.2340 ZVEREV BACK TO WINNING WAYSAfter three consecutive defeats at the ATP Cup, German Alexander Zverev finally got his 2020 campaign on track with a 6-4 7-6(4) 6-3 win over Italian Marco Cecchinato.2330 MCENROE JOINS BUSHFIRE RELIEF FUNDRAISING EFFORTAmerican John McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, has announced a pledge of $1,000 for each set Nick Kyrgios wins for the remainder of the tournament.Home favourite Kyrgios is already set to donate A$200 ($137) for every ace he hits during the Australian tennis summer.“I know a lot of people share the same view, but I just want to tell you personally that I’m proud of you,” McEnroe told Kyrgios in a post-match interaction after congratulating him for his opening round victory.“From this point forward, I want to donate $1000 to the bushfire relief fund for every set you win the rest of this tournament.”2200 KYRGIOS GLIDES PAST SONEGOHome favourite Nick Kyrgios fired 14 aces and racked up 37 winners in an impressive 6-2 7-6(3) 7-6(1) win over Italian Lorenzo Sonego.2155 MEDVEDEV MARCHES INTO ROUND TWOFourth seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia recovered from a mid-match blip to overcome American Frances Tiafoe 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-2 as he secured a place in the second round in Melbourne for the third consecutive year.2054 HALEP WINS TRICKY OPENER AGAINST BRADYRomania’s Simona Halep came through a tight opening set where she saved three set points before beating unseeded American Jennifer Brady 7-6(5) 6-1.2041 TSONGA TO HEAD HOME FOR TREATMENT ON BACK ISSUEJo-Wilfried Tsonga said he retired from his encounter with Alexei Popyrin due to a back problem and would return home to France for further treatment.“I have a back problem and it bothers me when I play. It’s new and I’ll have to go home and talk to my doctor and see what I need to do about it,” the 34-year-old said.1917 FRENCHMAN TSONGA RETIRES WITH INJURYFrance’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2008 runner-up, was forced to retire from his match against Alexei Popyrin due to an injury while trailing the Australian 6-7(5) 6-2 6-1.“He was my favourite player as a kid, when he reached the final I was jumping around in my living room,” Popyrin said. “To see him in pain is not the way I wanted this to end.”1838 MUGURUZA SURVIVES SCARE, ANISIMOVA CRASHESGarbine Muguruza, who retired from the Hobart International due to a viral illness, overcame its lingering effects to beat qualifier Shelby Rogers 0-6 6-1 6-0 while Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas stunned 21st seed Amanda Anisimova 6-3 4-6 6-3.1710 MILESTONE FOR WAWRINKAFormer champion Stan Wawrinka celebrated his 200th Grand Slam match with a 7-5 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 victory over Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur.1654 MILLMAN HAPPY TO GRIND OUT RESULTSJohn Millman is no stranger to long, draining matches and while the Australian said he would like to get some quicker wins under his belt he will stay true to his own brand of tennis.“I’d love to go out there and win super-quick points. That’s just not how I’m built. And I think I can take a bit of pride in how I go about my business,” Millman said after beating Ugo Humbert 7-6(3) 6-3 1-6 7-5.1645 NADAL STROLLS PAST DELLIENWorld number one Rafa Nadal began his quest for a 20th Grand Slam title to equal his great rival Roger Federer with a routine 6-2 6-3 6-0 victory over Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien.Should the Spaniard repeat his 2009 success in Melbourne, he will become the first man in the Open Era to capture each of the four majors at least twice.1557 SHARAPOVA CASTS DOUBT OVER MELBOURNE RETURNFormer champion Maria Sharapova said she was unsure if she would be back at the Australian Open next year after the wild card suffered a third successive first-round exit at a Grand Slam.“I don’t know. I was fortunate to get myself to be here… it’s tough for me to tell what’s going to happen in 12 months’ time,” the five-times Grand Slam champion, who has been hampered by a shoulder injury, told reporters.1544 KYRGIOS PREDICTS ‘BIG THINGS’ FOR AMERICAN PAULAmerican Tommy Paul drew praise from local favourite Nick Kyrgios following his 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over Argentine Leonardo Mayer for his first Grand Slam main draw victory.“Only the beginning. This kid is gonna do big things,” Kyrgios tweeted.1537 THIEM TOO GOOD FOR MANNARINO AGAINFifth seed Dominic Thiem maintained his 100% record against Adrian Mannarino, winning an eighth career meeting with the Frenchman 6-3 7-5 6-2 to move into the second round.1510 ANISIMOVA BIG FAN OF LOCAL CANDYAmerican teenager Amanda Anisimova has had plenty of time to indulge her sweet tooth ahead of her first-round meeting with Kazakh Zarina Diyas. “Why is candy in Australia so good? So underrated,” the 18-year-old tweeted before the match.1445 BENCIC HAPPY TO LET SHAKY SERVE HELP BUSHFIRE RELIEFBelinda Bencic, who has pledged to donate $200 for bushfire relief efforts with each double fault she serves at the Australian Open, said she could easily had more than the four in her win over Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.“It’s great. I could have done more, but I didn’t,” a smiling Bencic told reporters before being reminded that she also hit four aces. “Yes, so I can maybe donate (for) both.”1421 KEYS MOVES INTO SECOND ROUND, SHARAPOVA CRASHESAmerican Madison Keys, a semi-finalist here in 2015, blasted 29 winners in a 6-3 6-1 win over Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, while 19th seed Donna Vekic fended off former champion Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-4.1352 FOGNINI COMPLETES COMEBACK AGAINST OPELKAItaly’s Fabio Fognini, the 12th seed, battled back from two sets down to beat unseeded American Reilly Opelka 3-6 6-7(3) 6-4 6-3 7-6(5) in a match lasting three hours and 38 minutes.In other first-round matches carried over from a rain-hit opening day, Milos Raonic beat lucky loser Lorenzo Giustino 6-2 6-1 6-3 while Marin Cilic downed Corentin Moutet 6-3 6-2 6-4.1257 PLISKOVA DOWNS MLADENOVICBrisbane International champion Karolina Pliskova maintained her unbeaten start to the year with a 6-1 7-5 win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic while sixth seed Belinda Bencic advanced to the second round with a 6-3 7-5 victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.1143 KONTA BUNDLED OUT BY TUNISIA’S JABEURBritish 12th seed Johanna Konta was the first big-name player to be knocked out on Tuesday when Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur thrashed her 6-4 6-2 in just over an hour on 1573 Arena.The pair were one of the first matches to start on Tuesday after rain played havoc with the draw on the first day.Konta has been troubled by a knee injury for more than a year and had not played in more than four months as she tried to regain her fitness ahead of the season opening Grand Slam.Jabeur sealed victory when Konta’s defensive backhand sailed over the baseline and she now faces either Madison Brengle or Caroline Garcia in the next round.1049 PLAY UNDERWAY EARLYPlay got underway early on the second day on the outside courts after a number of matches were suspended on day one due to torrential rain in Melbourne.The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast clearing weather with a high of just 22C (71.6°F).Smoke from bushfires that affected qualifying has dissipated and Victoria’s Environmental Protection Agency rated the air quality as good.
Loan signing Odion Ighalo scored twice as Manchester United beat second tier Derby County 3-0 on Thursday to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals and leave their all-time top scorer Wayne Rooney on the losing side.Championship Derby started well but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men took control when defender Luke Shaw broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute with a shot that bounced off the turf and over goalkeeper Kelle Roos.Shaw then provided the assist for Ighalo to muscle through and poke home United’s second in the 41st minute.The 30-year-old Nigerian striker, who arrived at Old Trafford in January on a deal to the end of the season from China’s Shanghai Shenhua, doubled his tally in the 70th minute with a left-footed shot off a rebound.United travel to Norwich City in the last eight after the Premier League’s bottom club beat Tottenham Hotspur, managed by former United boss Jose Mourinho, on penalties on Wednesday.Rooney, who joined Derby this season after a stint with MLS side DC United, had a great chance to equalise but the midfielder’s 36th-minute free kick drew a fingertip save from United keeper Sergio Romero.The bearded 34-year-old was then booked for a hard tackle on Scott McTominay.United were without captain Harry Maguire, who suffered an ankle injury in training.“He rolled his ankle in training. He had to stay at home and hopefully he’ll be OK for the weekend, but I’m not sure,” said Solskjaer, whose side host City in Sunday’s Premier League Manchester derby.