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Dear Mrs Court, honouring a homophobic zealot is problematic for us

If only they could make me the media and communications director of Tennis Australia for a day, this is the letter I would send:

Dear Mrs Court,

Margaret Court in 1969, left, and in recent times.Credit:Press Association, Getty Images

On behalf of Tennis Australia, I note with interest your recent comments concerning the approach of the 50th anniversary of your grand slam, and your desire that you be accorded the same kind of public celebration we gave to Rod Laver for his own recent 50th anniversary, to wit: "They brought Rod in from America. If they think I’m just going to turn up, I don’t think that is right. I think I should be invited. I would hope they would pay my way to come like they paid for his, and honour me. If they are not going to do that, I don’t really want to come."

You went on.

"I think Tennis Australia should sit and talk with me. They have never phoned me. Nobody has spoken to me directly about it. I think they would rather not confront it."

Mrs Court, this is a rather difficult situation, as you will appreciate. Once again, we congratulate you on your many tennis achievements – more indeed, than any female player, ever. But we are, frankly, bemused by any suggestion that we haven’t honoured you. You’d surely agree the Margaret Court Arena is an extraordinary honour? And you would agree that our resistance – so far – against all calls to change the name because of your intensely unpleasant homophobic remarks, is a sign of our enduring goodwill?

The South Africans celebrated after prevailing in the Rugby World Cup final against England.Credit:Getty Images

In the case of the Springboks at the World Cup final though, it was the South African halfback Faf de Klerk who unveiled dozens of “Bok’s kicks”. Don’t worry about getting it to the back-line, just keep doing endless small kicks about 25 metres down-field to the opposing winger right by the sideline. As you rush up, the side-line cuts off one possible direction for the winger to go, so if you frame your angles right you can smash into him with his back to the wall and often either push him over the sideline or force an error. Repeat, dozens of times, and win the game!

And they did. It was deadly dull rugby, but effective – particularly against a team that would have murdered them in open play. England just never got into the match, and never looked like winning.

Beyond such churlish comments on their triumph however, the true highlight of the match came afterwards when the Springbok captain Siya Kolisi spoke – just as he was about to be the first black man to lift the Cup in triumph, as the winning captain.

Such poise! Such humility! Such charisma!

This was a bloke born the day before South Africa’s wretched Apartheid laws were repealed, now captaining his country to a glorious victory, with all of South Africa – black and white – right behind him. It was something unthinkable during the Apartheid era, and stunning proof of just how far that country has come in the last quarter-century.

And Kolisi is a man all of rugby can be proud of.

Ban the whip

TFF has already noted horse-racing’s extraordinarily blasé attitude to cheating, how proven perpetrators tend to be suspended for just short periods for things which would see them banned for perpetuity in other sports. The same blasé attitude was on display in the Melbourne Cup. The jockey who came second, Michael Walker, riding Prince of Arran, was proven to have whipped his horse with seven lashes more than the allowable amount. He was fined $10,000 for his trouble and banned for seven-meetings.

Reader Steve O’Reilly makes a very strong point in reply.

“Can you imagine a swimmer wearing a banned super suit and winning a Gold Medal? Or an NRL team breaching the salary cap and winning the Premiership? Perhaps a golfer using an illegal broomstick putter and winning the US Masters? Or the Wallabies winning the Webb Ellis Cup with 17 players on the field?

Yet, as a jockey, you can break the whip rule and still win a Melbourne Cup together with all the prizemoney and kudos that brings.

The obvious solution, for starters, is to ban the whip outright.

What they said

James Maloney, settling in with the Catalans Dragons: "French is a bit of a challenge, my wife and I went to the pharmacy to pick up a flu remedy and I think we ended up with a packet of condoms, which is a bit late for us with four kids."

Greg Norman, likening the hitting a golf ball – and I am not making this up – to being "as good as having an orgasm": "I’m deadly serious, there’s an absolute rush. The rotation of your body, the timing, the feel, the sound, the end results, the visual side of the ball taking off from the club face … it’s just such a sensual feeling." Someone will have to tell him the true joys of orgasms that are not self-imposed …

Greg Norman likened the hitting a golf ball to being “as good as having an orgasm”.Credit:AP

Greg Norman: "Very few people know this: when Tiger won the Masters this year, I wrote him a handwritten note and drove down my road, maybe a quarter of a mile, and hand-delivered it to his guard at his gate. ‘I said, “Hey, this is Greg Norman here. I’ve got a note for Tiger – can you please hand-deliver it to him?'" Well, I never heard a word back from the guy." It’s all right Tiger, you can come out from behind the couch. Look, we know what it’s like, but it’s OK, he’s gone now.

Fiona Crawford the co-author of Never Say Die: The Hundred-Year Overnight Success of Australian Women’s Football, on the historic pay deal which sees the Matildas get equal freight to the Socceroos: "At last they will be properly paid for playing rather than paying for the privilege of playing."

Eddie Jones after the World Cup final: "We weren’t good enough and we got beaten by a better team."

The Rugby World Cup final was a game to forget for England coach Eddie Jones.Credit:Getty Images

Headline in the Guardian following the World Cup win: "England were as miserable as the weather."

South African coach Rassie Erasmus: "In South Africa [pressure] is not having a job, having a close relative who is murdered. Rugby should not create pressure, it should create hope. We have a privilege, not a burden."

Francois Pienaar on this Springbok win against the one he captained in 1995: "This is bigger. It is a transformed team with 58 million people watching in South Africa, all races wearing green, which wouldn't have happened in my time."

South African captain Siya Kolisi: "We have so many problems in our country but a team like this, we come from different backgrounds, different races but we came together with one goal and we wanted to achieve it. I really hope we’ve done that for South Africa. Just shows that we can pull together if we want to achieve something."

Cathy Shabalala, a 25-year-old South African on the World Cup win: “As South Africans, this feels so great. We are not always like this. And the bonus is we have played against our old colonisers and we have beaten them! We have killed them!”

Ash Barty, after winning the Players Championship in China: “First and foremost, thank you to the shitty … ah, the city of Shenzhen.”

Twitter account of the MCG replying to claims it’s the fun police: “Hi Daniel, we can confirm there were no issues associated with the building of the ‘bucket pyramid’ at tonight’s T20 International.”

Wellington Phoenix player Louis Fenton not a fan of VAR: “I thought 100 per cent no pen. It didn’t f—ing hit my hand. It’s f—ed.”

Jason Taumalolo rated Tonga's sensational victory over Australia as a career highlight, topping the 2015 premiership he won with North Queensland: "That’s right up there alongside the premiership. I reckon it's probably one [better]. That was probably my biggest game. This is the highlight of my career."

Mal Meninga after losing to Tonga: "Anytime the Aussies get beaten it’s good for the game. That’s what we live with."

BetEasy’s chief executive Matt Tripp to The Australian: "Turnover has decreased on each of the major race days in the Melbourne spring carnival, and that has continued on Melbourne Cup day. There’s been a drop in the number of people having a bet on the major races themselves and this has been enough to drive down overall turnover."

Team of the week

Matildas. In a move that made headlines and lead sports bulletins around the world, they are now on the same pay deal as Socceroos.

Ash Barty. They don’t call her “Cash” Barty for nothing! Won $US11.3 million in this last season, second only to the $US12.3 million of Serena Williams in 2013, and the $US4.4 million she won last weekend was the largest tennis prize in history. And though just 23, she is now 24th on the list for most money earned in a career by a female player, ahead of such names as Seles, Capriati, Evert and Sabatini and surpasses male players such as Rafter, Courier and Safin.

Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry. Combined for a world record partnership of 199, a record partnership for any major women's domestic Twenty20 competition.

Tonga. Their victory over the Kangaroos last Saturday means they have beaten all of Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand in the last two years, giving league a much-needed fourth contender for what is otherwise a farce of international competition.

South Africa. Have now won the World Cup three times – equal to the All Blacks – a feat all the more impressive for the fact that they did not participate in the first two World Cups in 1987 and 1991.

Melbourne Cup. Shed 450,000 viewers in comparison to last year as #NupToTheCup took off on social media, and they had the lowest number of attendees in the last quarter-century. It happened in the same week that the Dapto Dogs – wonderfully – announced it was closing down, even if that decision is now in legal dispute.

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In the court of public opinion, that’s a double fault, Margaret

Margaret Court has asked for the same level of celebration as was afforded to Rod Laver.Credit:Getty

If only they could make me the Media and Communications Director of Tennis Australia for a day, this is the letter I would send:

Dear Mrs Court,

On behalf of Tennis Australia, I note with interest your recent comments concerning the approach of the 50th anniversary of your Grand Slam, and your desire that you be accorded the same kind of public celebration we gave to Rod Laver for his own recent 50th anniversary, to wit: “They brought Rod in from America. If they think I’m just going to turn up, I don’t think that is right. I think I should be invited. I would hope they would pay my way to come like they paid for his, and honour me. If they are not going to do that, I don’t really want to come.”

You went on:  “I think Tennis Australia should sit and talk with me. They have never phoned me. Nobody has spoken to me directly about it. I think they would rather not confront it.”

Mrs Court this is a rather difficult situation, as you will appreciate. Once again, we congratulate you on your many tennis achievements – more indeed, than any female player, ever. But we are, frankly, bemused by any suggestion that we haven’t honoured you. You’d surely agree the “Margaret Court Arena” is an extraordinary honour? And you would agree that our resistance – so far – against all calls to change the name because of your intensely unpleasant homophobic remarks, is a sign of our enduring good will?

Which brings us to the most delicate part of all . . .

You will recall a couple of years ago citing the bible as you proclaimed that the only legitimate love is that between a man and a woman. Your starting point was that when it comes to the LGBT+ community, we are not all equal beneath the Southern Cross, because they are the work of “the devil’’. This not only trashed the gays among your followers, it trashed you among our many followers, and it meant that honouring a homophobic zealot became problematic for us. For after you assert those with a different sexuality to you are not your equal, it is frankly a bit much for you to say you want equal treatment to Rod Laver, who has never brought anything but honour to the game and his name. At Tennis Australia, we have no religious views whatsoever, and welcome everyone. Nevertheless, seeing as the bible seems to be the only reference point you recognise, in the face of your loud attacks on us I feel I must cite St Paul’s advice in 1 Timothy 2:12, where the great saint says: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent.”

Or Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

Or 1 Corinthians 11:3-10: “The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man . . . For man did not come from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for women, but women for man.”

Margaret Court and Rod Laver.Credit:AP, Shaughn and John

I trust you see our point? At Tennis Australia, we believe in equality and inclusion. For us to publicly honour those who trash those values is problematic. And for you to ask for equal honouring to Rod Laver, when it goes against the teachings of the very bible you use to trash gays is . . . a bit much, frankly. And yes, I realise you may find it hard when people criticise you and ignore your achievements in tennis simply because they don’t like the views you have chosen to express. But that might be how the gays feel, when you discount and criticise them, simply because of the sexuality they were born with? The alternative to having no tolerance for intolerance is to tolerate it, in which case nothing would change. And we are changing, in tune with the world.

Nevertheless, we offer our regards, regardless,

Peter FitzSimons
Tennis Australia Media Director

Boks of kicks

“There are only three kinds of people in this world,” so the old saying goes. “Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who say ‘What the f**k just happened?’”

Last Saturday evening in Yokohoma for the final of the Rugby World Cup, those spots were filled, in order, by: 1. The Springboks; 2. The rugby public around the world; 3. The English team.
And yet, despite the fact that I am firmly in Camp 2, I still want a piece of the reaction of Camp 3.
How did England falter so badly? Where the hell was the team from the week before that completely decimated the once mighty All Blacks, who had themselves belted South Africa three weeks before that?

I mean, I always knew that England would struggle a little because of the powers of my Kiss of Death, and I acknowledged as much in my column:
“England,” I wrote, “is so strong, soooooooo strong I tell you, that they will even survive my Kiss of Death, and romp home . . . my pick might not knock ten or a dozen points off them, but there will still be plenty of points left over to best the Boks by as many.”

Ash Barty capped an incredible season with a big win at the WTA finals in Shenzhen.Credit:Getty Images

Team of the Week

Matildas  In a move that made headlines and led sports bulletins around the world, they are now on the same pay deal as Socceroos.

Ash Barty  They don’t call her “Cash” Barty for nothing! Won $US 11,307,587 in this last season, second only to the $US 12.3 million of Serena Williams in 2013, and the $US 4.42 million she won last weekend was the largest tennis prize in history. And though just 23, she is now 24th on the list for most money earned in a career by a female player, ahead of such names as Seles, Capriati, Evert, and Sabatini and surpasses male players such as Rafter, Courier and Safin.

Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry  Combined for an unbeaten 199 runs, a world record partnership in any major women’s domestic Twenty20 competition. Tonga. Their victory over the Kangaroos last Saturday means they have beaten Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand in the last two years, giving league a much need fourth contender for what is otherwise a farce of international competition.

South Africa Have now won the Rugby World Cup three times – equal to the All Blacks – a feat all the more impressive for the fact that they did not participate in the first two World Cups in 1987 and 1991.

Melbourne Cup  Shed 750,000 viewers in comparison to last year as #NupToTheCup took off on social media, and they had the lowest number of attendees in the last quarter-century. It happened in the same week that the Dapto Dogs – wonderfully – announced it was closing down, even if that decision is now in legal dispute.

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Pat Shurmur ramps up ‘urgency’ talk with Giants’ jobs on line

Pat Shurmur says he’s built for this. Then again, this is all he has known: This as in being the head coach of a losing a football team struggling to find wins.

“How does it wear on me? I’m built for this,” is what the Giants head coach said on Thursday in response to how a five-game losing streak was affecting his psyche.

The Giants are 2-7 and heading nowhere fast, but Shurmur clearly isn’t ready to concede the season and put his job in jeopardy. Perhaps that’s why he reportedly stood before his team on Wednesday and delivered a message threatening jobs and changes if the Giants don’t perform well against the Jets (1-7) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. “No excuses,” was the brunt of his message.

While Shurmur didn’t confirm exactly what he told his team Wednesday, he didn’t dilute its essential message.

“When you talk about youth, when you talk about injuries and when you talk about officiating those are all excuses in my mind that you just don’t go there,” Shurmur clarified before Thursday’s practice. “For me, it’s an urgency to win games. That’s what it’s about.”

It wasn’t Jim Fassel pushing his chips to the middle of the table during the 2000 NFC Championship season. But it did offer a glimpse into how meaningful Sunday’s game is to Shurmur and the Giants. The Yankees with their proud storied tradition, never like to lose to the Mets; and the Giants with their four Super Bowl trophies, never like to be beaten by the Jets.

For more on the Giants, listen to the latest episode of the “Blue Rush” podcast:

The backdrop for this year’s regular-season meeting adds even more pressure with the Jets coming off a loss to the previously winless Dolphins and looking like a team doubting itself from head coach Adam Gase to quarterback Sam Darnold. A loss to the Jets would be rock bottom to the Giants’ season the way losing to the Dolphins, 26-18 last week, was to the Jets’ campaign.

Shurmur tried to downplay Armageddon has arrived with a renewed sense of urgency.

“We’re always urgent,” he said. “You coach and play every game like it’s a playoff game and you do everything you can to win. There’s always an urgency to perform well and win.”

Whether Shurmur is indeed “built for this” remains to be seen. Ben McAdoo made a similar statement two years ago just before he got fired 12 weeks into his second season as the Giants head coach.

“I’m built for this. A calm doesn’t suit me,” he said. “A storm does.”

Shurmur, who started 1-7 last year, won’t lose his job during the upcoming bye week if the Giants are beaten by the Jets. There will be six more games remaining to create some sort of positive feeling heading into next season.

“I know we’re on the right path, and I know we’re just a few plays from getting over the top,” Shurmur insisted.

Maybe so, but that hasn’t been evident on the field, where the Giants rank 28th in total defense and 24th in total offense. The Jets, meanwhile, have the lowest ranked offense in the league at 32nd, while the injury-plagued defense is 17th.

It’s amazing how much the two franchises mirror each other: Two teams with embattled coaches trying to establish a new culture; two young potential franchise quarterbacks struggling to find some consistency; two defenses that can’t make big stops when it counts and two fan bases frustrated by the endless losing. At this point any win is a good win for either team.

“I feel the urgency to win … period,” Shurmur said, boiling Sunday’s game to the bottom line.

A win over the Jets would stop the bleeding for the Giants, but certainly won’t earn a pass for the remainder of the season. Shurmur hasn’t endeared himself to Giants fans with his decision-making, play-calling and clock management. But the reality that he has a young team and has endured injuries to key players also figures into the ultimate equation.

For now it’s about beating the Jets before the storm truly arrives.

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KSI vs Logan Paul rematch press conference: Watch live stream as YouTube stars come face to face again ahead of fight

KSI and Logan Paul come head to head for one final press conference this evening.

The YouTube stars will talk trash for the final time before they weigh in on Friday and fight on Saturday.

Undercard fighters Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney will also be present among others, and we’ll have all the live updates as well as the live video feed for you to watch.

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Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

  • Adam Hamdani
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Arsene Wenger, 70, can’t manage Bayern Munich because he’s TOO OLD, claims Chelsea legend Desailly – The Sun

ARSENE WENGER shouldn't be named the new manager of Bayern Munich because he’s TOO OLD, according to Chelsea legend Marcel Desailly.

The former Arsenal boss, 70, has been out of work since leaving the Emirates in the summer of 2018.

Wenger rejected a role as technical director of Fifa and has now been linked with the top job at Bayern Munich.

But fellow Frenchman Desailly reckons it would be a mistake, saying he shouldn't be on the sideline any more.

Speaking on beIN Sports, Desailly revealed: "No, he should not be in the dugout. It's not for him any more.

"He has great possibilities to restructure, to build up the philosophy of the club, towards the first team and the academy.

"But as a frontline [manager], we don't see him anymore. He's 70 years old."

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Everton ace Andres Gomes could play again this season after successful operation on fractured ankle vs Spurs – The Sun

ANDRE GOMES could play again this season, his manager Marco Silva revealed.

The Everton star, 26, suffered a horror dislocated and fractured ankle on Sunday following a challenge from Son Heung-min.

But after successfully underwent surgery on Monday and now there is hope he could be back in action by the end of the campaign in May.

Speaking ahead of his side's clash with Southampton this weekend, Silva said: "It is not easy for us to give a sure date about when Andre Gomes will return.

"What's in our mind and the feedback we have had from our medical staff is that it is possible we will see him playing again this season.

"Of course as we saw in that moment it is a really serious injury. It looks really serious.

"After the surgery and exams they did, everything went really well. We are not 100 per cent sure.

"For sure we will help [him]. It is tough. It was good for him – he was with us here on Tuesday before he went home.

"It was for our group to spend some minutes with him and for him to feel their support as well.

"We will stay strong – it is always a tough moment for football players when something like that happens.

"Now is the moment for us to support him. We will work really hard.

"It was tough for Andre but also for the two players involved Son and Aurier."

SUPPORT FOR ANDRE

Gomes got his boot stuck in the turf when caught by Son at Goodison Park and then clattered into Serge Aurier, causing the agonising injury.

Son publicly apologised for the “accident” after scoring twice in Spurs' 4-0 win at Red Star Belgrade last night.

He later revealed he sent a message to the stricken Portuguese playmaker who is beginning his recovery.

The South Korean said: “I text him before I flew over here and he texted me back.

“I couldn't read it, after the game, but I still feel really, really bad about this. I feel really sorry.

“Football is a sport where something like this can happen. Nobody wants to see this situation. I'm just so sad this happened and that I was involved with this situation.

“It's been a really, really tough few days.”

The shattered Spurs striker was in tears and had to be consoled by a member of coach’s backroom team before he was shown a straight red card by referee Martin Atkinson.

That sending off was later rescinded by an independent panel- although Silva refused to be drawn on the issue of VAR and the decision to overturn the red card.

Gomes took to Twitter yesterday. to thank fans for their support and give a positive update.

He said: "Hi everyone. As you already know everything went well. I'm already at home with my family.

"I would like to thank you all for the support, messages and the positive energy. Thank you."



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Inoue vs Donaire LIVE RESULTS: UK start time, live stream, TV channel for World Boxing Super Series final – The Sun

NAOYA INOUE is facing Nonito Donaire today in the final of the bantamweight World Boxing Super Series.

'The Monster' Inoue, 26, puts his IBF title on the line against the veteran Donaire, 36 in his home country of Japan.

  • TV/live stream: Sky Sports Action
  • Pair made ring walks at 12.20pm GMT

Follow ALL of the latest updates below…

  • INOUE VS DONAIRE – ROUND THREE

    Donaire is cutting off the ring and stopping Inoue from getting into range, and blood is now running down the nose of the unbeaten Japanese.

    A lovely counter from Inoue is met with a flurry of punches from Donaire.

    Really good stuff from Donaire who is forcing the pressure and he is certainly fighting his fight.

    A clear round for Donaire.

  • INOUE VS DONAIRE – ROUND TWO

    Once again Donaire comes out as the aggressor, but Inoue replies with a quick one-two and then another combination wobbles the veteran boxer.

    Both fighters are happy to trade leather, but it's Inoue who is having the more eye-catching and hurtful punches.

    Every time you think Donaire is in trouble, he comes back with his own straight right and keeps walking forward.

    And Inoue is cut above the eye!

    Close round that, could go either way.

  • INOUE VS DONAIRE – ROUND ONE

    A cagey opening minute the two men who are just sizing each other out.

    Donaire looks to take the centre of the ring, but lightning jabs and hooks from Inoue push the 26-year-old back.

    With every punch thrown by Inoue the crowd goes wild.

    Credit to Donaire he is fighting fire with fire, but already there are gaps in his defence.

    First round goes to Inoue.

  • DON'T go anywhere, the first round is moments away!

    The national anthems have just been played.

  • A reminder that the WBA 'Super', IBF and Ring Magazine bantamweight titles are on the line as well as the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.

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NBA defends Kawhi Leonard’s sketchy load management

Kawhi Leonard is missing another high-profile game, but the NBA says that’s not a problem.

The NBA quickly quashed any concerns that the Clippers were breaking the league’s rest rule, also known as load management, with Leonard missing Wednesday’s nationally televised game against 2019 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks  — the first game of a back-to-back.

The league’s rest rule, implemented in 2017 says, “Teams can’t sit healthy players for high-profile, nationally televised games, and fines for violating that can be for at least $100,000.”

“Kawhi Leonard is not a healthy player under the league’s resting policy, and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the LA Clippers injury report,” league spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN. “The league office, in consultation with the NBA’s director of sports medicine is comfortable with the team medical staff’s determination that Leonard is not sufficiently healthy to play in back-to-back games at this time.”

This is believed to be the first time Leonard’s knee injury has been disclosed to the public.

Leonard missed most of the 2017-18 season with a quad injury and sat out 22 games with the Raptors last year in order to rest himself for the postseason.

Leonard, who should resume playing Thursday against the Trail Blazers, also missed the first leg of a back-to-back against the Jazz — also a nationally televised game — last week.

Wednesday’s move represents a “long-range” plan to keep the star healthy, according to ESPN, and based on the results that Leonard’s load management yielded last season — a championship with the Raptors — that seems like a wise move.

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The NHL seems to disagree about its cocaine usage

Is there a cocaine problem in the NHL? Depends on who you ask.

Several players in recent years have admitted to using the drug — including Oilers forward Zack Kassian and former longtime NHLer Nick Boynton — while others have been involved in higher-profile incidents.

“It’s really the secret that everybody knows,” one former NHLer told The Athletic, adding that ecstasy usage is on the rise, as well. “Guys are just popping molly on the weekends or before a team Halloween party or whatever.”

The topic of drug usage in the NHL made headlines this offseason when Washington Capitals star Evgeny Kuznetsov denied using drugs after video surfaced of him in a hotel room alongside a few lines of a white powder. Kuznetsov later tested positive for cocaine while playing for Russia at the world championship in May, and was issued a four-year ban by the International Ice Hockey Federation.

The NHL suspended Kuznetsov for three regular-season games for what it called “inappropriate conduct.”

While the NHL takes a lax stance to its drug testing — all players are tested, but are not suspended for a positive first test — cocaine has become a cause for concern around league front offices. The Athletic reports that one executive said rumors of top players “developing a reputation” for usage are “rampant.”

“Cocaine is a huge drug now,” Anaheim Ducks forward and former New Jersey Devils star Adam Henrique said. “It seems so casual, that it’s not a big deal; like having a beer almost, which is kinda scary. Where does it stop?”

But for other players, however, the level of concern seems to be much lower.

According to an anonymous ESPN poll, 58% of respondents said the NHL doesn’t have a cocaine problem, with 32% not being sure and 10% saying the league does.

“I don’t think there is a problem compared to the problem outside the NHL,” one player told ESPN. “It’s probably the same. I’d guess some people would use it to party, I’d assume, but what is a problem? How would you define ‘problem’?”

“Has anyone said yes to this question?,” another responded. “I really don’t think there is one, so I’d be shocked if someone said yes.”

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Arsenal in yet more misery as William Saliba suffers broken foot and facing lengthy spell out while at Saint-Etienne – The Sun

ARSENAL have suffered a fresh blow, with defender William Saliba suffering another serious injury.

The £27million summer signing is currently on loan at Saint-Etienne, from whom the Gunners signed him from in the summer.

And Les Verts boss Claude Puel has confirmed to the club's official website that the 18-year-old broke his fifth metatarsal against Monaco at the weekend.

Saliba had only been back to full fitness for five weeks, having had to undergo an operation on an abductor muscle injury.

After securing his signature in July, the Gunners allowed Saliba to return to his parent club in order to continue his development before arriving at the Emirates.

But this latest injury will be another blow for the young centre-back's progression.

Saliba was spotted at Arsenal's training ground back in September as he neared the end of his rehabilitation from his abductor operation.

And Saliba may have to check in to London Colney again, as he faces months on the treatment table.

The news comes on the back of yet another disappointing night for the Gunners.

Unai Emery thought that Shkodran Mustafi's header had secured an under-par Arsenal three points against the relatively unknown Portuguese side Vitoria in the Europa League.

But more kamikaze defending allowed Bruno Duarte to equalise in stoppage time.

And to make matters worse, midfield creator Dani Ceballos had to be substituted early in the second half after picking up a niggle.

Ceballos will now likely miss the Gunners' tricky trip to Leicester on Sunday – in a match that could see the Foxes climb nine points above Arsenal in the battle for top four.

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Randy Orton agrees new ‘five-year’ WWE deal

Randy Orton has agreed a new contract with WWE which he claims is for “at least five more years”.

The veteran, who is currently on Raw, has been with the company since 2002 and will take his tenure as an active competitor beyond the two-decade mark with his latest contract.

The news was revealed on WWE’s new “Backstage” show which airs in the United States as part of their broadcast arrangement with Fox.

WWE Raw

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After it was confirmed, Orton tweeted: “The 3 most dangerous letters in sports entertainment- #RKO just re-signed with the 3 most dominant letters in sports entertainment – #WWE.

“Looking forward to p****ng off the #WWEUNIVERSE for at least 5 more years.”

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‘Red flag to a bull’: Daughter’s comment sparked Paralympic comeback

The competitive flame was still lingering for Eliza Ault-Connell a few years ago but it was a simple comment from her daughter that ultimately convinced the former Paralympian that her days in the racing wheelchair were not over.

Ault-Connell, 38, who nearly died from meningococcal disease as a teenager, has returned to top-level competition in wheelchair racing after more than a decade away.

Eliza Ault-Connell is set to return to Paralympic competition after an extended break.Credit:Simon Schluter

It was when she was preparing for the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing that Ault-Connell put her sporting career on hold when she found out she was pregnant with her first child.

Then while watching the Paralympics from Rio de Janeiro on TV three years ago – with three kids in tow and explaining to them what Mum used to do – Ault-Connell got the fire in the belly to return to the training track once again.

"I had the Paralympic Games on and my children were watching. I was showcasing what I used to do before they were born," said Ault-Connell, now also the director of Meningococcal Australia.

"They got excited, so much so my daughter said one day, 'I want to be a Paralympian.' I had to break the news to her that she actually had to have a disability.

"It was at that point that she turned to me and said, 'You know Mum, you used to be so cool when you used to do wheelchair racing.' That was pretty much a red flag to a bull. I knew immediately then I had to get back to my race chair and show them what I used to be able to do."

Fortunately the next Commonwealth Games on the calendar was on Australian soil – the Gold Coast early last year – and with the wheelchair marathon one of the events on the schedule, Ault-Connell immediately had her target.

Eliza Ault-Connell tackles the marathon at the Gold Coast Paralympics in 2018.Credit:Getty Images

She returned to international competition in style, winning the silver medal after finishing just 13 seconds behind fellow Australian Madison de Rozario.

Ault-Connell, who had both her legs amputated above the knee just two days after contracting the disease aged 16, is well on track to return to the Paralympic stage in Tokyo next year. But first she'll compete in a range of wheelchair racing distances at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai over the next week.

As a mother of three also juggling a busy job and training commitments, Ault-Connell has to balance her time well.

"My days are pretty book-ended with training, and with work and with children and other commitments now," she said.

"But I wouldn't have it any other way. I think now being a mother … I'm a far better athlete now in my late 30s than I was in my early 20s because I know how important balance is but at the same time I'm also critically aware of time efficiency.

Eliza Ault Connell.Credit:Simon Schluter

"I think looking back now on my 20s there was a level of procrastination that occurred. If I had to train I'd say, 'I'll do this and I'll do this first,' whereas now you don't get that opportunity when your days are busy.

"You just have to take that opportunity and you have to set your alarm early and you have to get up in the mornings. So that level of drive and desire to do what you do needs to be greater than ever.

"I'm loving the process more than ever.”

Ault-Connell plays a role in mentoring and supporting people who become disabled.

"We also need to consider that there are people in their 20s and 30s who somehow acquire a disability that they're never expecting to acquire in their life. They wonder how they're going to get back involved in sport," she said.

"Being an elite athlete is one thing but I believe that everyone regardless of ability has the right to participate in sport in whatever level."

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Granit Xhaka: Arsenal midfielder stripped of captaincy, says Unai Emery

Midfielder Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking over, Gunners’ boss Unai Emery has confirmed.

Xhaka, 27, was involved in an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 27 October.

The Switzerland international was booed as he walked off the pitch at Emirates Stadium, prompting him to cup his ear.

Emery later said Xhaka should have apologised to the club’s supporters.

“We make mistakes, we need to apologise and we suggested for him to do that,” said Emery at the time. “Really, he knows he was wrong and he feels inside very deep.”

However, Xhaka refused to go that far, although he did say he got “carried away” and reacted “disrespectfully” to fans.

“The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply,” Xhaka said in statement on Instagram last month. “I love this club and always give 100% on and off the pitch.

“My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months, have hurt me deeply.

“People have said things like, ‘We will break your legs’, ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’. That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.”

Xhaka, who has not played since, has been left out of Arsenal’s squad for their Europa League game in Portugal against Vitoria Guimaraes on Wednesday.

He joined the club in a £35m move from German side Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 and played in the 2017 FA Cup final as Arsenal beat Chelsea.

Xhaka, who is the captain of the Swiss national side, also helped the Gunners reach the League Cup final in 2018 and the final of the Europa League earlier this year.

Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League and play away at third-placed Leicester on Saturday.

Analysis

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport’s chief football reporter

Unai Emery’s decision to strip Grant Xhaka of the Arsenal captaincy was the inevitable consequence of his angry exchange with supporters during the draw with Crystal Palace.

The whole affair has been a mess of Emery’s making, starting with letting a blind vote among Arsenal’s players elect a captain rather than being strong enough to make the decision himself, ending with a figure who has never been a fans’ favourite and has had a chequered career at the club with the armband.

And while there is understandable sympathy for Xhaka because of abuse he has suffered on social media, it was impossible for him to continue as captain once he gestured and mouthed towards fans when he was substituted during the 2-2 draw.

Xhaka had not actually been subjected to any undue criticism from supporters during the game itself, a fact many have missed, with the frustrations inside the stadium only bubbling to the surface when he decided to make his slow-motion exit, almost goading and provoking fans before taking off his shirt and walking down the tunnel.

No matter what the human emotions are, it was an action that made this latest development predictable but also highlights Emery’s own uneasy handling of the captaincy succession after Laurent Koscielny’s departure.

It has turned up the spotlight on Emery and leaves a huge question mark over whether Xhaka has any sort of future at Arsenal.

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How Liverpool fans can watch both Carabao Cup and Club World Cup games

REVEALED: How Liverpool fanatics CAN watch the Reds at Aston Villa AND be at their Club World Cup match the following day 4,000 miles away in Doha!

  • Liverpool face daunting fixture pile-up in December with two games in two days
  • They will play in Birmingham in Carabao Cup just hours before Club World Cup
  • But Reds fanatics will be able to make both games if they part with £613 

Despite playing two games in two days 4,000 miles apart, Liverpool fans can still get to watch both games live.

The EFL confirmed on Tuesday evening that their Carabao Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa will take place on December 17 – less than 24 hours before their Club World Cup semi-final in Qatar.

And Reds fans can fly from Birmingham to Doha and still catch both games, to the tune of at least £613.

Liverpool will play two games in two days halfway across the world due to fixture congestion

Jurgen Klopp’s side will play in Birmingham on December 17 and then in Qatar a day later

It will be possible to make both games for diehard Liverpool fanatics – but to the tune of £613

A 7.50am local time flight from Birmingham Airport on the morning of December 18 will arrive in Doha at 17.30 – three hours ahead of kick-off at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

With three hours to spare from arrival to kick-off there is plenty of time.

The stadium is just a 31-minute drive from Doha International Airport.

On Tuesday Liverpool agreed to field two different teams on consecutive days on opposite sides of the world due to a pileup in the festive schedule.

It is a 30 minute drive to get from Doha International Airport to the Education City Stadium

Liverpool progressed to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals after beating Arsenal on penalties 

The League Cup clash with Aston Villa, which had been tentatively suggested for January 8, 2020, will now be played the same midweek as the three other last-eight ties.

But it is almost certain that the team that goes to Birmingham will be mainly youth players, as the first team will be in Doha for the Club World Cup.

Klopp has spoken about how he is concerned about his players’ welfare.

He has also criticised the footballing authorities for making decisions based on money and not common sense.

Klopp said: ‘The situation is clear. There would be a few solutions possible, but there was not one day where FIFA, UEFA, the Premier League, the Football League, that they have to sit at a table and think about the players and not about their wallet.’




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How long will Andre Gomes be out for, what ankle injury did Everton ace suffer and was Spurs’ Son given red card? – The Sun

TOTTENHAM and Everton players alike were devastated as Andre Gomes suffered a horrendous injury at Goodison Park.

The Portugal midfielder was left with a broken ankle, that left Spurs duo Son Heung-min and Serge Aurier physically distressed.

How long will Andre Gomes be out for?

Gomes has undergone successful surgery to fix his broken ankle at the Aintree Hospital and he has since been discharged.

Everton said in a statement: "Andre Gomes has now been discharged from hospital and will continue his rehabilitation under the care of the Everton medical team."

Although it is still unclear as to how long he will be sidelined for, the club have tweeted he is set to make a 'full recovery'.

The Everton star's leg was shown to have been protruding from his skin in horrific scenes.

Similar players to have suffered those kind of injuries include Arsenal duo Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo.

Ramsey was sidelined for nine months, after his tibia and fibula was shattered in 2010, before needing time in the Championship to get back to his best.

As for Eduardo, the Brazilian-born Croat also had an ankle dislocation in 2008, returning to action almost a year later.

What happened to Gomes?

The Everton star had been gliding through the Tottenham midfield, when Son Heung-min had tracked back to attempt to nick the ball.

But as he slid to steal the ball, coming from behind to get his legs tangled in Gomes', Serge Aurier stepped on the Portuguese star's right foot.

At first glance, the tackle did not seem too serious or dangerous, but moods soon changed as the severity of it was realised.

Later images showed as Gomes was challenged, his right foot got stuck in the turf, causing his ankle to fracture and dislocate as momentum took him over.

Medics quickly rushed onto the field of play as teammate Cenk Tosun cradled the midfielder's head as he screamed in agony.

Gomes was taken to nearby Aintree Hospital, where he will undergo surgery.

Was Son sent off?

Son was initially handed a yellow card for the offence by Martin Atkinson, but the referee upgraded it to a red after seeing the severity of it.

The South Korean was visibly distressed, with Dele Alli later telling Sky Sports: "Son is devastated, he’s in tears but it’s not his fault. He’s one of the nicest people you would want to meet and he’s not like that.

"He can’t even lift his head up he’s crying that much in the dressing room."

But the sending off has been deemed controversial by many, including ex-Liverpool defender turned Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher.

Yet, the Premier League released a statement after the game, saying: "The red card for Son was for endangering the safety of a player which happened as a consequence of his initial challenge."

Aurier did not picked up any card for his involvement, but was distressed and praying shortly after the incident, with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino choosing to substitute the defender as he was unable to carry on.

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12pm Man Utd news LIVE: Woodward ‘watched rugby final’ instead of United loss, Rice in January, Rojo staying EXCLUSIVE – The Sun

MANCHESTER UNITED are looking to bounce back from defeat at Bournemouth.

First up is Partizan at home in the Europa League.

Get all the latest United news here…

  • ARSENAL should have signed Harry Maguire instead of Nicolas Pepe.

    That is the belief of Charlton boss Lee Bowyer.

    Speaking about the Gunners on Sky Sports' The Debate, he said: “Defensively they are frail, they concede too many goals.

    “Their centre-halves have been a problem for years.

    “It's not just been this season, it's been for a while now, but they would rather spend £75million on a winger than a centre-back.

    “Maguire would have been perfect for them, why didn't they get him?”

  • ED WOODWARD missed the defeat to Bournemouth – because he wanted to watch the Rugby World Cup final instead!

    The Red Devils were beat 1-0 after Joshua King's goal on the brink of half time.

    But the executive vice-chairman did not occupy his usual spot in the directors' box on Saturday.

    According to the Daily Mail, Woodward is a huge rugby fan.

  • FABIO CAPELLO has urged Massimiliano Allegri to go for the Manchester United job.

    The ex-England boss told Radio Anch'io Sport: “He'd be a good fit at Bayern Munich, although I don't know how welcome Italians are in Germany after Ancelotti.

    “England's exciting, there's the possibility of working well and the Premier League is a championship that enriches you.

    “If I was Allegri, I'd go to Manchester United.”

  • UNITED have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, according to reports.

    That is because Real Madrid are understood to have revived their interest in the Borussia Dortmund winger.

    According to the Mail, Los Blancos are preparing a fresh summer move, three years after they missed out on Sancho.

    The England star, 19, left Manchester City in 2017 to join Dortmund where he has gone from strength to strength, cementing his place in Gareth Southgate's squad.

  • THOSE were the days…

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Why the Mets and Joe Girardi was never going to work

After Joe Girardi interviewed for a second time for the Mets managerial opening on Oct. 22, the team’s top brass wanted to keep him alive in the process. He wasn’t a clear front-runner and wasn’t eliminated. The Mets preferred to think about him for a longer period.

And the front office’s perception was that Girardi’s preference among all the openings was the Mets. But whether that was true or not, they also had heard what so many in the game had — that Girardi was the clear top choice with the Phillies, especially with owner John Middleton, and that Philadelphia wanted to move quickly.

Brodie Van Wagenen had laid out a multi-tiered process to find Mickey Callaway’s successor. But now the Mets had to at least contemplate whether they wanted to speed up or eliminate elements in case Girardi provided an ultimatum. That never became a factor because Girardi gave a courtesy call the next day to say he was taking the Phillies job and because no matter what, Van Wagenen, insists, “we weren’t going to speed up the process for anyone. The only way to be 100 percent sure about someone was to go through the whole process.”

That is how Girardi and Carlos Beltran became intriguing NL East rivals. Beltran played for Girardi with the Yankees from 2014-16. Now, he will manage against Girardi 19 times a year after being officially introduced Monday as Mets manager.

Girardi hovered over the Met managerial process because he was the only known serious candidate with previous managerial experience, which was made more appealing because he did 10 years already in New York with the Yankees and had won a championship. And he was the consensus fan pick.

But officials briefed on the Met process said Van Wagenen emphasized the need for a comfortable, casual relationship between the GM and a new manager to better forge a united front in a difficult, pressurized atmosphere. And word from inside was that Van Wagenen could not get to that place with Girardi.

Van Wagenen sidestepped the Girardi minefield multiple times at Beltran’s introduction by stating the managerial decision came down to what Beltran could offer rather than what anyone else lacked. Still, Van Wagenen made reference to wanting a situation in which he could “exhale” in comfort when visiting the manager’s office rather than “inhale” in concerned anticipation.

Girardi was gone by the time the Mets got to a final three of Beltran, ESPN’s Eduardo Perez and Minnesota’s Derek Shelton.

“Carlos won, the others didn’t lose,” Jeff Wilpon insisted. “I can’t say enough good things about Eduardo and Derek. They were excellent, excellent candidates. Neither lost. We really just felt great about Carlos.”

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Billy Joe Saunders defends slot on KSI vs Logan Paul undercard as Brit eyes super-fight vs Canelo Alvarez – The Sun

BILLY  JOE  SAUNDERS hit back at the snipers criticising him for being on the undercard of a fight between YouTube stars.

Britain’s undefeated two-weight world champion will be a support act for the Saturday night showdown between KSI and Logan Paul.

The rematch between the social-media celebrities, who boast millions of teenage fans, takes place at the Los Angeles Staples Center.

Boxing purists claim it to be a tragic sign of the times that the reigning WBO super-middleweight king Saunders is propping up a ‘glorified white-collar clash’.

Yet Saunders sees it as a chance to show his skills to a huge new audience and hopefully set up a career-defining super-fight against either Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin.

The 30-year-old reformed bad boy said: “I have always thought that ‘main event’ and ‘chief support’ is bulls***, the best fight of the night steals the show.

“Being told ‘you are top of the bill’ is b******* to me because long before the fight you know your opponent and your purse.

“The rest doesn’t matter as long as you put on a good performance. I made mistakes early in my career but now I want my name out there for the right reasons.

“I want the fights with Canelo, Golovkin and Danny Jacobs.”

The closest the southpaw has come to becoming a viral sensation was when a string of vulgar videos spread online last year, costing him a £100,000 British Boxing Board fine.

Now Saunders is relishing the chance to impress some of the almost 40million online followers the boxing novices have attracted.

The 28-0 ace, who will face Argentine Marcelo Esteban Coceres, 28, said: “I am looking forward to it because it is my American debut. I’m going to put my name out there.

“I can go to LA in front of 20,000 with two guys who got 10million-plus views in just their press conference.

“If I take five or ten per cent of their crowd with a good show then I am establishing my name in America and giving myself a better chance of getting a Golovkin or Canelo.
“You want to call it ‘undercard’, I just know I am on the bill, end of story.”

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7pm Tottenham news LIVE: Spurs appeal Son red card, Everton reaction, Gomes expected ‘to make full recovery’ – The Sun

TOTTENHAM were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at Goodison Park.

But the match was overshadowed by a horror injury to Toffees midfielder Andre Gomes and a controversial red card for Son Heung-min.

Get all the latest Spurs news here…

  • TOTTENHAM have appealed Son Heung-Min's red card for his leg breaking challenge on Andre Gomes.

    The Premier League initially explained the red was for “endangering the safety of a player which happened as a consequence of his initial challenge”.

    But Spurs have launched an appeal to the FA, according to the Guardian.

    If the appeal is rejected, Son will miss Tottenham's games against Sheffield United, bitter rivals West Ham and Bournemouth.

  • TOTTENHAM have offered Son Heung-Min counselling to help him deal with his leg breaking challenge on Andre Gomes.

    The 27-year-old was left in tears after his tackle on Gomes left the Everton midfielder with a dislocated and fractured ankle during yesterday’s 1-1 draw.

    South Korean international Son was sent off over the challenge, despite referee Martin Atkinson initially pulling out the yellow card to book the player.

    The ex-Hamburg winger was so distraught that he was unable to pick his head up in the dressing room, as Everton players came in to console him after the full-time whistle.

    And according to the Athletic, Son will be given psychological counselling by Spurs who will do all they can to help him.

  • EX-SPURS star Gareth Bale could be on his way to Manchester City.

    Real Madrid are ready to launch a stunning raid on the Blues by offering £70m and Bale for Raheem Sterling.

    Los Blancos have identified the England sensation as their next potential big-name signing and are ready to try and unsettle the in-form winger.

  • SON HEUNG-MIN is “really shaken up” following the Andre Gomes injury, according to Ben Davies.

    According to the Express, he said: “He's really shaken up. He's down about what happened.

    “I speak for everyone when I say sympathy for Gomes, I hope he's alright.

    “We will try to pick him up as much as we can. It's tough right now.

    “It's just about making sure that he realises he didn't go out there to hurt anyone, he thinks that people may see that in him but it's not the case.”

  • EX-PREMIER LEAGUE referee Dermot Gallagher can understand why Son Heung-min received a red card.

    He said: “Whatever the decision made on the day pales into insignificance for what happened to Gomes.

    “I wish him a speedy recovery. I just hope Martin Atkinson gets the support network he deserves because people will say it wasn't a red card – they may well be right – but if you're in that situation at that time I can fully understand why Atkinson took the action he did.

    “I defy any person refereeing at that level and to be involved in that situation to put their hand up and say 'I'd have done it differently'.”

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Tom Banton and Matt Parkinson hoping for England debuts in third T20I in New Zealand

Tom Banton and Matt Parkinson will be seeking England debuts when the T20I series against New Zealand continues in Nelson on Tuesday.

Banton’s Somerset team-mate Lewis Gregory and Worcestershire seamer Pat Brown made their England bows in Christchurch on Friday as the tourists won the opener by seven wickets.

Lancashire quick Saqib Mahmood then debuted in Wellington on Sunday in a game New Zealand won by 21 runs amid some untidy England fielding to level the five-match series at 1-1.


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Somerset opener Banton – the second-highest run-scorer in the 2019 Vitality Blast – could partner Dawid Malan at the top of the order at Saxton Oval, with Jonny Bairstow possibly rested.

Meanwhile, Lancashire leg-spinner Parkinson – who bagged 21 wickets in this summer’s Blast – could replace or play alongside Adil Rashid as England look to return to winning ways.

Banton and Parkinson have been limited to warm-up action only on tour so far – Banton recording scores of six and 11 in two innings and Parkinson taking a wicket in England’s second practice game.

Gregory – who dismissed Colin de Grandhomme with his first ball in international cricket on Sunday – does not believe a brace of low scores will dent Banton’s confidence, saying: “I’m not sure there’s too much going on up top with Bants so I’m not sure he’s going to be too worried!

“I watched him in the nets the other day, he was striking it pretty well, so if that opportunity comes for him I’m sure he’ll take it. There’s no real ceiling on him – I’ve no doubt he will succeed at the highest level.”

“He hits the ball 360 [degrees], he’s not too worried about what’s coming at him and he’s inventive and powerful. This format is seriously suited towards him.”

Malan (39 off 29), Chris Jordan (36 off 19) and skipper Eoin Morgan (32 off 17) all struck the ball pretty well at Westpac Stadium over the weekend before becoming three of nine England batsmen to be caught down the ground – Rashid the anomaly as he was bowled by Daryl Mitchell.

England’s decision to attack the long, straight boundaries in Wellington as opposed to the shorter, square ones was noted after they were dismissed for 155 in 19.5 overs in reply to New Zealand’s 176-8.

But their slapdash fielding received most criticism with five chances going down – James Vince grassing two regulation catches as well as a difficult one and Malan and Sam Billings shelling one opportunity apiece.

“When you drop that amount of catches it’s not a great reflection on the performance and the levels of fielding that we aspire to,” said Morgan.

“There were a couple of catches that went in the sun which made it look a lot worse but as regards our standard catches, we expect more.

“I think it’s more of an attitude with such a short turnaround [between games] – the natural default of any player is to step back and not commit to a 50-50 chance or their mindset changes to go back in their shell.

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Jepkosgei wins NYC in 1st marathon, Kamworor takes men’s

Joyciline Jepkosgei arrived in New York with a modest goal for her first marathon ever.

“My focus was to finish the race,” she said, a gold medal hanging around her neck.

Not bad for a novice.

Jepkosgei upset four-time champion Mary Keitany to win the New York City Marathon on Sunday with a historic debut seven seconds off the course record.

Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya won the men’s event for the second time in three years. He pounced when defending champion Lelisa Desisa dropped out after seven miles following a grueling victory at the sweltering world championships last month.

After pulling away from Kenyan countrymate Keitany with about three miles left, Jepkosgei crossed the finish in Central Park in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 38 seconds, the second-best run in course history.

“I didn’t actually know that I can win,” she said. “But I was trying my best to do it and to make it and to finish strong.”

The 25-year-old Jepkosgei holds the world record in the half-marathon but had never run a 26.2-mile race before. She looked pained climbing the final hill but strode confidently over the finish line.

It was too much for Keitany, a 37-year-old who collapsed after finishing 53 seconds later. She had won four of the previous five NYC Marathons.

“Sometimes a race is a race,” Keitany said. “Anything can happen.”

Jepkosgei is the youngest New York winner since 25-year-old Margaret Okayo in 2001. She also won the New York City Half-Marathon in March and is the first runner to win both events.

Kamworor made it a Kenyan sweep moments later with a final time of 2:08:13 on the course that traverses through the city’s five boroughs.

He kicked away from countryman Albert Korir in the 24th mile. Korir finished second, and Ethiopian non-elite runner Girma Bekele Gebre was third.

Desisa, who is from Ethiopia, was in 17th place at the seven-mile mark before leaving with pain in one of his hamstrings. He was attempting to defend his title 29 days after winning worlds in Doha, Qatar, in boiling conditions he described this week as “dangerous.” With a temperature of 84 degrees F (29 degrees C) for the midnight start, 18 of 73 men didn’t finish that race.

Sunday’s run started at an ideal 45 degrees F (7 degrees C).

The 26-year-old Kamworor finished third last year after winning in 2017. He was greeted at the finish line by mentor and training partner Eliud Kipchoge, who completed the first sub-2 hour marathon last month — a feat accomplished under conditions so tightly controlled it didn’t qualify for the record books.

“I didn’t want to disappoint him,” Kamworor said. “That gave me a lot of motivation. He inspired me to win that race.”

Kamworor, also the world record holder in the half-marathon, is the 10th multi-time winner in New York.

He was followed closely by Gebre, a former New York resident who returned to Ethiopia recently to train at altitude. He shaved about five minutes off his personal best to finish in 2:08:38.

The 26-year-old Gebre has no sponsor and no agent. He’s hoping this breakthrough will change that.

“I would like someone to arrange some races for me,” he said through a translator.

American Desiree Linden set the pace for the women early and was the top U.S. finisher at sixth. The 2018 Boston Marathon winner hasn’t decided whether she will go to the Olympic team trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29.

The 36-year-old wants to gauge her recovery before deciding whether to pursue a third Olympics.

“Right now’s not the time, just based on how my calves and my feet feel,” Linden said jokingly.

Kellyn Taylor, an American putting her firefighting career on hold to pursue the Olympics, finished seventh.

Sara Hall, another U.S. Olympic hopeful who has taken on an unusually heavy race schedule, dropped out in mile 18 after running the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 29.

Jared Ward was the top American finisher among the men at sixth place. He hoped the hilly New York terrain would prepare him for the rolling course in Atlanta.

“I hope that does set me up well,” he said. “I think I have some confidence.”

American 42-year-old Abdi Abdirahman bested his own over-40 record by finishing in 2:11:34. Australia’s Sinead Diver posted the second-fasted women’s time by an over-40 runner. The 42-year-old finished fifth overall in 2:26:23.

Manuela Schär of Switzerland won her third straight women’s wheelchair title, giving her eight consecutive marathon major victories. After rolling ahead of the record pace for much of the race, Schär crossed the finish about a minute off the mark at 1:44:20.

Daniel Romanchuk of the United States repeated as men’s wheelchair champion in another tight finish over Switzerland’s Marcel Hug. Romanchuk held off Hug by one second for the second straight year, crossing the finish line 1:37:24 England’s David Weir and American Aaron Pike were also within 10 seconds.

Last year, Romanchuk became the first American and youngest competitor to win the men’s division as a 20-year-old. He followed with victories this year at the Boston and London marathons. Hug took the New York title in 2016 and 2017.

Organizers were expecting around 52,000 runners to complete the marathon a year after a world record 52,813 crossed the finish.

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Andre Gomes injury UPDATES: Latest as Everton star ‘set to make full recovery’ after surgery, Spurs to appeal Son red – The Sun

ANDRE GOMES suffered a horror fracture dislocation in his ankle against Tottenham at Goodison Park on a day when football took a back seat.

The Everton midfielder has undergone surgery in a bid to fix the break, with the club revealing that he is expected to 'make a full recovery'.

Son Heung-min was left in tears after taking out the Portuguese star, whose injury was so horrific that TV couldn't replay it in slow motion.

A red card was produced for the Korean, who, along with Serge Aurier appeared more concerned with Gomes' well-being than the outcome of the game.

Follow updates on the Everton midfielder's progress below…

  • EX-PREMIER LEAGUE referee Dermot Gallagher can understand why Son Heung-min received a red card.

    He said: “Whatever the decision made on the day pales into insignificance for what happened to Gomes.

    “I wish him a speedy recovery. I just hope Martin Atkinson gets the support network he deserves because people will say it wasn't a red card – they may well be right – but if you're in that situation at that time I can fully understand why Atkinson took the action he did.

    “I defy any person refereeing at that level and to be involved in that situation to put their hand up and say 'I'd have done it differently'.”

  • Mason Holgate says Everton players were desperate to get a result against Spurs for Andre Gomes.

    The Toffees got a 97th-minute equaliser through Cenk Tosun after Dele Alli's opener.

    He said: “It's hard to cope with. I have been on the pitch for two, I saw James McCarthy's as well, and both were the same in that everything goes flat.

    “You just have to get together and make a stand as a team but the game goes flat and you can feel the whole mood changes.

    “'It is hard when something like that happens to get going again but we showed fight and went again.

    “But it shows what we are about as a team. We got together and I think it drove us on a bit more once we got going, trying to do it for him.

    “It was really flat (in the dressing room). It was like we had been beaten.

    “He is all our friend and our team-mate so we are all gutted and wishing him the best.”

  • Dele Alli witnessed the incident first hand and had this to say about it…

    The Spurs star said: “The injury wasn’t nice to see, you never want to see that happen and all we can do is send our best wishes, wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he’ll come back.”

  • Everton legend Tim Cahill has told Gomes that 'we're all with you' in an Instagram post.

    View this post on Instagram

    We’re all with you, Andre Gomes. ??? • • • #getwellsoonandre #gomes #andregomes #recovery #everton #efc #blues #toffees #evetot #premierleague #pl #Repost @everton • • • • • • Goodison Park

    A post shared byTIM CAHILL 417 (@tim_cahill) on

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Georgina Rodriguez wears dazzling blue dress and Cristiano Ronaldo a bright red suit at MTV EMAs 2019 in Seville – The Sun

ONE of football's most famous couples stole the show yet again as Cristiano Ronaldo wore a striking red suit to the MTV Europe Music Awards.

The Juventus star and girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez wowed fans on the red carpet in Seville as they stood out with their bold choices of attire.



Ronaldo, 34, was back in red with a matching jacket and trousers combo.

He topped off the look with a white t-shirt and white Nike trainers.

Rodriguez, nine years his junior, stunned in a blue dress that showed off her incredible figure.

The pair headed down the red carpet hand-in-hand as photographers desperately scrambled to take the perfect shot.

Ronaldo also took to Instagram to share a picture of the loved-up duo alongside the caption: "The Show started with Love."

Rodriguez played her part in the night by taking centre stage to present the award for Best Collab to Rosalia and J Balvin.

Just 24 hours before the award night, Ronaldo played the full 90 minutes in Juventus' narrow 1-0 win against rivals Torino.

The £67.5million summer signing Matthijs de Ligt grabbed the winner that ensured the Old Lady moved one point above Inter Milan to the top of the table.

Rodriguez, a former shop assistant, is patiently waiting for Ronaldo to pop the question.

He recently told Piers Morgan: "She helped me so much. Of course, I’m in love with her.

"We’ll be [married] one day, for sure. It’s my mum’s dream as well.

"So, one day. Why not? It’s great. She’s my friend. We have conversations. I open the heart for her and she opens the heart for me."



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The Show started with Love💏

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

The Show started with Love?

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Liverpool could lose Adam Lallana for free this summer with clubs in China and MLS keen on transfer – The Sun

LIVERPOOL could lose Adam Lallana for free this summer with the midfielder emerging as a key target for clubs in both the Chinese Super League and MLS.

The England star is in the last year of his contract at Anfield and is able to sign a pre-agreement with any non-Premier League suitors in January.

The 31-year-old is highly regarded by Jurgen Klopp, who admires the playmaker for both is experience in the squad and his versatility.

Although Lallana is yet to be officially offered fresh terms to extend his stay on Merseyside, the Reds are ready to discuss an extension, according to the Telegraph.

The former Southampton captain made his first Prem start since March in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday, deputising for Fabinho who is one booking away from a suspension.

Klopp said: "It was not so difficult because we had a look at the things we needed against Villa and I think you saw how good Adam Lallana worked in that system.

"It's a game (Villa) where we had a lot of possession. We had to see how Adam recovered from midweek, but at the moment he is fine. The decision was not so difficult.

"Adam did really well, he played a really good game. In a game like this, you need that kind of deeper playmaker. That's how it is.

"From that position, pass the ball, chip the ball, all that stuff. And he did that. He had a lot of ball recoveries, was good in the air, it was a good game."

The best thing a footballer can do when you have the opportunity is play well and that’s what Adam is doing

On his contract, he added: “I don’t know exactly what will happen in May, for anybody by the way, but the best thing a footballer can do when you have the opportunity is play well and that’s what Adam is doing.

“Now is the second time in a row, when he came on against (Manchester) United he was good.

“After a long time he had with some injuries here and there, he is in outstanding shape physically. That’s the most important thing for a career and all the rest, we will see.”

Lallana has suffered an injury-plagued past few seasons at Anfield, and would likely be offered longer terms with the promise of more regular football from clubs in China and America.

There were reports that the former England International's three-year deal that he penned at Liverpool in 2017 contained the option of an additional 12 months.

In this case, the Reds could trigger the clause to automatically tie Lallana down until 2021 to avoid losing him for free.

But that would take him beyond his 33rd birthday and it is yet to be seen whether Liverpool would want the £110,000-a-week star on their books for that long.

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Frustrated Cam Newton out several weeks, weighing options

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 3

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 3 are here. Check out what’s clicking on Foxnews.com

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is going to miss several more weeks due to the Lisfranc injury sustained earlier in the season and he will be using this weekend to weigh surgery options following a visit to renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Sources told Rapoport that Anderson did not recommend surgery following Friday's visit and there is no timetable for his return.

Newton, 30, has reportedly been frustrated with how long his Lisfranc injury is taking to heal because he wants to compete, according to the outlet.

NEWTON'S STATUS FOR ARIZONA UNCLEAR AFTER REAGGRAVATING FOOT

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) walks off the field following the Panthers 20-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

He hasn't played since the Panthers Week 2 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team, however, has performed arguably better this season with Newton out of the lineup.

They've won four of the last five games with rookie backup Kyle Allen, who has looked pretty good for a first-year player, despite throwing for only 158 yards against the stingy defense of the San Francisco 49ers in a Week 8 loss.

FILE – In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen (7) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Charlotte, N.C. With Cam Newton reaggravating his foot, the team is looking at the possibility of starting Kyle Allen on Sunday against Arizona, the first of four road games in the next five. Allen has just one career start. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)

Cam Newton's record, if you include the game he was injured — is 0-2 this season, so the team isn't exactly rushing him back before he's ready to play.

"We've got to make sure he's ready," Panther's head coach, Ron Rivera, said of Newton, according to ESPN. "The last update I got, more so than anything else is he's going through his rehab. We'll see. Right now, we're going into this game with Kyle as the starter."

DRIVER WHO KILLED CLEVELAND BROWNS' CHRIS SMITH'S GIRLFRIEND WON'T FACE CHARGES

Rivera said the team's decision on Newton would be made based on the diagnosis they get from Dr. Anderson. Sources told NFL.com that the injured reserve is also on the table for the quarterback, which would end his season.

"He's going up and probably seeing one of the best foot doctors," Rivera said on Friday, according to Rapoport, "and whatever we get from the doctor, I think will probably really impact the decisions going forward."

“The biggest thing is we want to support him and be there for him and hopefully when he is 100 percent we can move forward,” Rivera added.

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Now that the second opinion is in the book, Newton and the Panthers will use the rest of the weekend to weigh his options and decide on the next course of action for their franchise quarterback.

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Niko Kovac SACKED by Bayern Munich after 5-1 drubbing by Frankfurt and Jose Mourinho favourite to take over – The Sun

NIKO KOVAC has been sacked by Bayern Munich after showdown talks with the board this evening.

The Croatian chief was axed after their 5-1 drubbing by Eintracht Frankfurt over the weekend.

According to the club's Twitter, Kovac and the German giants agreed a mutual separation.

Jose Mourinho is now favourite to take over, with the ex-Manchester United manager looking for a new job.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger and Max Allegri have also been linked with the vacant post.

Bayern fans having been calling for the ex-Frankfurt man to go for a number of weeks.

The Bavarians side lie down in fourth in the Bundesliga, having lost twice in the league this season.

They are already four points off top placed Borussia Monchengladbach, and behind rivals Dortmund.

It is understood Kovac himself offered to resign after the humiliating loss at the weekend.

Hansi Flick will take over until further notice. He will manage the team against Olympiacos and Borussia Dortmund.

Kovac said: "I think this is the right decision for the club at the moment. The results, and also the way we last played, made me come to that decision.

"My brother Robert and I thank Bayern for the last one and a half years. During this time, our team has won the championship, the DFB Cup and the Supercup.

"It was a good time. I wish the club and the team all the best. "

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Judd Trump claims World Open Snooker title in China

Judd Trump claimed his second ranking title of the season with a 10-5 win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the World Open final in China.

The world champion held off a mini-fightback from the Thai to clinch victory with breaks of 136 and 61 in the final two frames in Yushan.

Trump, who is also the world No 1, did most of the damage in the first session as he opened up a 7-2 lead on the back of runs of 58, 96, 78, 90, 85 and 68. He was also gifted a frame when Thepchaiya was forced to forfeit after failing three times to get out of a snooker.

It could have been even worse for Thepchaiya had the world No 37 not fluked a respotted black to take the ninth frame.

Trump moved within two of victory after a break of 64 at the start of the season session but Thepchaiya fought back by reeling off three successive frames.

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Jazz-Clippers odds: L.A. Clippers favored in close game against Utah

The Los Angeles Clippers (4-2) are being spotted a handful of points in a Sunday matchup against the Utah Jazz (4-2) at Staples Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.

We analyze the Jazz-Clippers odds and lines, with NBA betting advice and tips around the matchup.


Place a legal sports bet on this NBA action or other games at BetMGM.


Jazz at Clippers: Key injuries

Jazz: PG Emmanuel Mudiay (hamstring) will sit Sunday. C Ed Davis (fibula) is out for a minimum of four weeks.

Clippers: SF Paul George (shoulder) remains sidelined.

Jazz at Clippers: Odds, lines, picks and betting tips

NBA odds courtesy of BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports for a full set of today’s betting odds. Odds last updated at 9:15 a.m. ET.

Prediction

Clippers 104, Jazz 98

Moneyline (ML)

Both teams were off Saturday. The Jazz suffered a 102-101 loss at the Sacramento Kings Friday night. The Clippers took down the San Antonio Spurs by a 103-97 count at home on Halloween. L.A. is a perfect 3-0 on home court with Utah entering Sunday at 3-1 on the road. The Jazz won Wednesday’s meeting between the two in Utah by a 110-96 score, but Clippers SF Kawhi Leonard sat out for rest.

Side with the CLIPPERS at -189. The Jazz outscore the opposition by an average of 101.0-94.0 per game while the Clippers score 114.2 points per game to every 109.5 points scored by their opponents. Utah’s 98.67 possessions per game rank 29th in the NBA with Los Angeles ranking 18th with 101.67 possessions per game. Look for the Clippers to control the pace at home and tire out the Jazz.

New to sports betting? A $10 bet on the Clippers returns a profit of $5.30 should they win outright.

Line/Against the Spread (ATS)

Get better value on the home side with the -128 to cover a modest spread of -3.5 points. The Jazz are 2-4 ATS overall and 0-3 as the visitors. The Clippers are 3-3 overall but have managed to cover in two of three home games thus far. Three of L.A.’s four wins came by double-digit margins, and it last won by six points over the Spurs.

The Jazz lost by nine points on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers in their second game of the season. Their other two road contests were each decided by a single point with a win and a loss.

Over/Under (O/U)

Take the UNDER 212.5 (-105). The Jazz enter Sunday ranked No. 1 in the NBA with a defensive rating of 95.4. The Clippers rank just 18th at 107.4, but they held their last two home opponents below 100 points.

Want some action in this one? Place a bet at BetMGM now. For more sports betting tips, visit SportsbookWire.com.

Esten’s NBA betting record: 8-14

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3pm Arsenal news LIVE: Mourinho-Sanllehi ‘meeting’, Aubameyang considering future, Emery should be replaced by Nuno – The Sun

UNAI EMERY'S Arsenal future is up for speculation with the Gunners now having won only one of their last five Premier League games.

The latest dispiriting result was blowing their lead against Wolves to draw 1-1 at the Emirates – despite Mesut Ozil starting once again.

Follow ALL of the latest updates below…

  • ARSENAL have denied that they've met with Jose Mourinho as speculation mounts about current Unai Emery's future.

    There was speculation this morning that the Gunners' head of football Raul Sanllehi and the Portuguese boss had dinner and the Special One had shared his vision for the club with the Spaniard.

    However, a club source has told PA that such a meeting never happened and the pair haven't had a conversation for years, according to The Independent.

    Emery is under huge pressure after a series of poor results.

    Yesterday, Arsenal drew 1-1 at home to Wolves, which followed a2-2 draw at the Emirates with Crystal Palace a week earlier.

    And last month, the Gunners were stunned by Sheffield United – losing 1-0 at Bramall Lane.

    Couple that with having to deal with a fallout between club captain Granit Xhaka and the fans – Emery faces the most testing time during his Arsenal reign.

  • ARSENAL fans have hijacked Unai Emery's birthday message on the club's official Twitter page with a emeryout hashtag.

    Fans immediately flooded the comments section by demanding his “present” be to quit the Emirates, with others starting an 'emeryout' hashtag.

    One supporter tweeted: “Happy bday but sorry it's time to go.”

    Another said: “As a birthday gift he should get sacked.”

    A third added: “Good Ebening but it's time to go!!!!!!!!!! Love you Unai but emeryout.”

    “Happy birthday Unai Emery. The best birthday present the club can give you is a £6M cheque buying off the remainder of your contract, thanking you for your services and wishing you the best of luck for the future.

    “You get the money and we get our Arsenal back. A win win for all,” a fourth proposed.

  • THIS would be a huge blow to the Gunners if it happens.

    According to reports, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is considering his future after the club's latest bad run.

    A contract offer is said to be on the table, claim Goal, but the Gambian striker is “keeping his options open” because he's frustrated by Arsenal's lack of progress.

    Aubameyang's current deal expires in 2021, and the club are said to be desperate to tie him up after losing Aaron Ramsey onthe Bosman ruling when his contract came to an end.

    Come the summer, he will have one year remaining, and could well discuss a move away.

  • IS Jose Mourinho the man to lead Arsenal to glory?

    The Portuguese boss has reportedly met and dined with the Gunner's head of football Raul Sanllehi as the club's hierarchy begin to lay the groundwork on hiring a new manager.

    According to The Times, he had dinner with Arsenal chief Sanllehi, with the Portuguese said to have impressed with his vision for their squad.

    Unai Emery is under huge pressure after his faltering side drew at home with Wolves 1-1.

    They've failed to win their last three games in the Premier League, and fans have been vocal about the Spanish manager's tactics this season.

    Arsenal's players have also allegedly mocked Emery's English accent, as a division between the squad threatens to destroy team morale.

  • View this post on Instagram

    Good to be back in @premierleague action, but not happy about the result at home. Many things to work on. We have to keep moving forward with our heads held high ??⚽ #COYG #M1Ö @arsenal

    A post shared byMesut Özil (@m10_official) on

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Who is Valtteri Bottas' wife Emilia? Mercedes F1 driver's partner and Olympic swimmer

EMILIA Bottas, who's married to F1 driver Valtteri Bottas, has been labelled one of the most beautiful WAGs of F1.

But what else do we know about the blonde swimmer who represented Finland in the Olympics?

Who is Emilia Bottas?

Bombshell Emilia, who was born on October 11, 1992, is a Finnish swimmer who has smashed records in the pool.

As well as swimming, she is also a horse-riding enthusiast, and has taken part in a number of showjumping competitions.

It is no surprise that the blonde beauty has a number of endorsements under her belt, having starred in coconut water ads and for skincare brands.

When was Emilia Bottas in the Olympics?

The talented star has been in the Olympics three times, in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

In her first competition she was just 15 years old and competed in the 100m butterfly ranking 46th.

In the 2012 Olympics, she did the 100m and 200m butterfly and the 200m individual medley, and in 2016 she was part of the 4 x 100m medley relay.

When did is Emilia Bottas marry F1 driver Valterri Bottas?

Emilia and racing driver Valtteri Bottas started dating back in 2010.

The pair tied the knot in September 2016 at St. John's Church, Helsinki.

Last year told MTV Finland that she was “not afraid” of Valtteri’s racing career, but was “aware of the risks” that came with the job.

 

 

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