22 Sep

Iran’s only female Olympic medalist says she has defected

first_imgRelatedPosts Trump instructs US Navy to destroy Iranian boats harassing it at sea Four journalists sentenced to death by rebels COVID-19: See list of countries Nigerian Government officials can’t visit Iran’s only female Olympic medalist has said on social media she had left her homeland. Taekwondo champion, Kimia Alizadeh, said this was because she had had enough of being used by Iranian authorities as a propaganda tool. She won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Alizadeh implied in an Instagram post that she had now moved to Europe. She wrote on an account she has used for some time, but it was not immediately possible to verify her location. “No one has invited me to Europe and I haven’t been given a tempting offer. “But I accept the pain and hardship of homesickness because I didn’t want to be part of hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery,” she said. In a reaction, Mahin Farhadizadeh, a deputy Iranian sports minister, said: “I have not read Kimia’s post. “But as far as I know she always wanted to continue her studies in physiotherapy,” the semi-official ISNA news agency reported. Alizadeh said the Islamic Republic’s authorities had attributed her success to their management and the fact that she wore the Islamic veil, which is obligatory in Iran. “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran whom they’ve been playing for years… I wore whatever they told me and repeated whatever they ordered. Every sentence they ordered I repeated,” she wrote. “None of us matter for them, we are just tools”. She said that while the government exploited her medals politically, officials would humiliate her with remarks such as “It is not virtuous for a woman to stretch her legs!” Alizadeh said at the time of her medal in the 57kg category that it had made her happy for Iranian girls. On Sunday she appeared torn by her decision. “Should I start with hello, goodbye or condolences? Hello oppressed people of Iran, goodbye noble people of Iran, my condolences to you people who are always mourning,” she wrote. In the past week, 176 people, many Iranians with dual citizenship, were killed when the Iranian military mistakenly shot a Ukrainian airliner down. Also, at least 56 died in a stampede at the funeral for an Iranian military commander killed by a US air strike. Alizadeh is the third top Iranian sports person to stop representing the country in recent months. In December, Iran’s Chess Federation said top rated chess champion, Alireza Firouzja, had decided not to play for Iran over its informal ban on competing against Israeli players. Three months earlier, the International Judo Federation said Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei had refused to return home over fears for his safety. This was after he ignored orders from his national federation to pull out of fights to avoid a potential final meeting with an Israeli.Tags: IranKimia AlizadehMahin Farhadizadehtaekwondolast_img read more

22 Sep

Bayern players accept pay cut

first_imgRelatedPosts COVID-19: NCAA to revoke erring airlines licence over non-compliance Club’s server collapses over ticket demand for first Bundesliga game in 11 years FRSC to Schools: We’ll arrest, prosecute drivers who flout COVID-19 rules Bayern Munich players have accepted a salary cut until the “end of the season” to help the Bundesliga champions through the coronavirus crisis, club president Herbert Hainer said on Saturday.In April, the Bayern squad took a 20 per cent reduction in salary, but Hainer did not specify how large the cut was this time. “It is very satisfying to see that our team understands the situation and will again give up part of their salary until the end of the season,” Hainer told German daily Bild.Bayern sit seven points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga with six games remaining as they look set to win a record-extending eighth straight title.The German top-flight season is scheduled to end on June 27, although Bayern could potentially also be in the German Cup final on July 4.Hansi Flick’s side are also still in the Champions League, after a 3-0 victory at Chelsea in their last 16 first leg before the coronavirus lockdown, but UEFA are yet to announce how it plans to end that competition.Tags: Bayern MunichBundesligaCOVID-19Pay Cutslast_img read more

21 Sep

Fantastic Frampton stops Martinez

first_img The 25-year-old Northern Irishman became the first man to stop the 26-year-old Spaniard with a superb right hand in the ninth, which saw Martinez hit the canvas. The referee gave Martinez the chance to show he could fight on, but it was quickly evident he was unable to continue as he stumbled towards the ropes at the Odyssey Arena and the celebrations began for Frampton’s corner. Carl Frampton secured the European super-bantamweight title on Saturday night with a stunning ninth-round knockout of Kiko Martinez in Belfast. Frampton looked comfortable in a cagey first round, but Martinez upped the tempo in round two and started to land some body shots on the Belfast fighter. The contest exploded into life in the fourth round, with a powerful left hook from the Spaniard catching Frampton off-guard. But the challenger hit back and began to chip away at his opponent before gradually assuming control and ending the fight in style in the ninth. “It feels amazing,” Frampton said on Sky Sports 1. “I just want to thank everyone who came out here. I just want the whole of Belfast to be proud of me. I want to be a world champion and I’m getting close.” The Belfast man played down the pre-fight tension between the pair in his post-match interview. “(It was a) very tough night. He was harder to hit than I thought. He’s tough as nails,” Frampton said of Martinez, who made throat-slitting gestures towards his rival at Friday’s weigh-in. “All that stuff at the weigh-in – that’s just macho-ism. He’s a nice guy and I’ll shake his hand. “I told him I’d outbox him at the start and I’d outfight him at the end – and that’s exactly what I’ve done.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

21 Sep

Brown injury woes continue

first_imgSunderland defender Wes Brown is unlikely to return to competitive action this season, Black Cats manager Martin O’Neill has confirmed. “It’s been a long time out for Wes, who has been beset with injuries,” O’Neill told the club’s official website. “He looked as if he was just settling at the time I came in, but hurt himself in January last year and we’ve not really seen him back since. “He had a setback out in Korea but it looked like he was making progress, but for Wes it’s been a case of two steps forward and three back. Chances are we probably won’t see him between now and the end of the season, but perhaps it’ll be one he wants to forget and start again next season.” Brown joined Sunderland from Man Utd in July 2011 on a four-year-deal for an undisclosed fee but saw his first season for the club cut short when he was injured during the FA Cup third round tie with Middlesbrough in January 2012. Following the injury to his knee in pre-season training for this campaign, the veteran defender has seen a specialist in London for scans and treatment. O’Neill confirmed Brown has been back in training but is unlikely to feature in any of his side’s remaining fixtures. “He’s joined in training on a few days and then has to take some time out again,” O’Neill said. “At the moment, however, I think he’s reversing that trend – it’s one little step at a time at the moment.” Press Associationcenter_img The former England and Manchester United player has been ruled out since he sustained a knee ligament injury during a pre-season trip to South Korea. The 33-year-old suffered a setback in his recovery in October and now looks set to miss Sunderland’s entire campaign, which continues with a trip to QPR in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday. last_img read more

21 Sep

Sammon gets nod

first_imgConor Sammon has been handed the task of filling Robbie Keane’s boots in Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Austria. The Derby frontman will partner Shane Long in attack with Keane having been ruled out of the game with a calf strain after a scan on Sunday. Elsewhere, manager Giovanni Trapattoni will keep faith with the bulk of the side which started Friday night’s 0-0 draw in Sweden with Glenn Whelan returning from an ankle injury in place of Paul Green. Team: David Forde; Seamus Coleman, John O’Shea (Capt), Ciaran Clark, Marc Wilson; Jon Walters, Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, James McClean; Shane Long, Conor Sammon. Press Associationlast_img read more

21 Sep

Jol eyes new middle men

first_imgMartin Jol is expecting another summer of change to Fulham’s midfield, with a host of players’ futures up in the air. Press Association After losing the likes of Clint Dempsey, Mousa Dembele and Danny Murphy last year, there again looks set to be another high turnover of midfielders at Craven Cottage. Giorgos Karagounis, Mahamadou Diarra, Chris Baird and Simon Davies have all yet to extend their contracts past the end of the season. The on-loan quartet of Urby Emanuelson, Emmanuel Frimpong, Stanislav Manolev and Eyong Enoh also see their stays expire in the summer. Jol knows he has some tough decisions to make over the coming months, and the Dutchman said: “We have to do something.” center_img He added: “If you look at the defence, I think we are fine. If you look at the midfield, I think Steve Sidwell is probably the only one left if you think of all the players we had six or seven months ago. “Up front, Mladen Petric we will talk to him as he is on a one-year deal (which expires). Sascha Riether we have an option in his loan (to make it permanent) and we will probably take that. “For the rest, I don’t see any problem but in midfield we can do something because there is only one or two left. Karagounis is also on a one-year deal so Sidwell is probably the only one who is on a long-term contract.” As well as shoring up his midfield, Jol wants to bring in a new goalkeeper. Regular number one Mark Schwarzer has yet to sign a new deal past the summer and understudy David Stockdale, currently on loan at Hull, is frustrated at a lack of opportunities in west London. “Mark Schwarzer is for us almost a hero,” said Jol. “He saves games for us so I would like him to stay but we are looking for a goalkeeper. “Neil Etheridge is young and has no experience. He will go on loan, 100 per cent, to gain experience to be the number one in the future. “We have Csaba Somogyi, who was man-of-the-match four times out of the last six games at Dartford, but we still look for a goalkeeper. We are looking for a good goalkeeper so if Mark decides to stay I have two good goalkeepers, plus Stockdale because he is still there. I have to talk to him.” last_img read more

21 Sep

Dzeko hails Pellegrini influence

first_img Dzeko, 27, made clear his frustration at often being restricted to substitute roles last season but, despite sometimes being criticised for his finishing, he ended the campaign with 15 goals. Sergio Aguero and new signings Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo will be challenging for places up front next term but Dzeko seems ready for the challenge. He told City TV: “I feel different, better. I feel the I have more confidence, the manager gives me more confidence. That is an important thing.” Pellegrini has referred to Dzeko as a “top striker” and backed him to reproduce the form that made his name in Germany. When asked if that support was important, Dzeko said: “Of course it is. I think you can see on the pitch how I play. “I feel different, also because you know someone who is important has trusted you. It is good, for now it is looking good.” Dzeko has impressed during City’s pre-season campaign, scoring in both Barclays Asia Trophy games against South China and Sunderland and then putting two past AC Milan in the Audi Cup in Munich. There had been speculation over the Bosnian’s future but new boss Pellegrini has spoken of his faith in the player, who has not consistently impressed since his £27million arrival from Wolfsburg in 2011. Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko feels a “different” player following the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini as manager.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

21 Sep

Rodgers not considering title bid

first_imgLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists he has not even considered the prospect of making an unexpected title challenge despite the club setting the early Premier League pace. Liverpool conceded their first goals of the league campaign at the Liberty Stadium, having won their opening three matches 1-0, and their defensive record has improved since the back end of last season. But Rodgers stressed there had been no significant change in the things he was asking the team to do and their progress, which sees them on an unbeaten league run of 12 matches spanning this campaign and the last, was more about familiarity. “Initially when I came in last season the emphasis was on football and naturally when you come in with these sort of ideas everyone forgets about what you want defensively and focuses only on the ball,” he added. “The players have not been asked to do anything different from what we’ve always asked. “There is a greater understanding of how we want to work and over a period of games we’ve had that resilience as well as quality in our football. There is great confidence within the group. “What we’re doing now is marrying together all of the qualities we work on every day, which are the football qualities, physical and mental qualities. That’s what you need if you’re going to succeed in the Premier League.” But there is no doubt their early form has generated additional positivity in and around the club as they seek to secure a return to the Champions League after a four-year absence. “I haven’t even considered that (a title challenge) at all – the only focus is the next game,” said Rodgers. “We’ll assess it after 10 games, see where we sit there, then the halfway point and we’ll probably have a more realistic idea of where we can be. “At this moment, we’ve played four – won three and drawn one – and we’re in a good moment. “There’s a lot more to come. We’ve made a good start. People will talk that it’s early stages, as will I, but these are hurdles you have to get over. “We’re on 10 points already; at the end of last season we finished on 61 points and we talked about those extra 10 points that might have taken us into the Champions League – at this early stage we’ve got them. “I believe the team has still got a lot of improvements to make because of the nature of what I’ve seen in the games and the potential we have in the players. “We’ve got to sustain that but I’m really happy that in these early stages we’ve shown at least potential. I think that potential can grow even more.” Press Association The Reds were the last top-flight side to surrender their 100 per cent record in Monday’s 2-2 draw at Swansea but the point gained was enough to take them back to the summit. Despite an impressive start Rodgers knows bigger tests lie ahead and he urged caution in making any snap judgements for another six matches. last_img read more

21 Sep

Saints duo earn Pochettino plaudits

first_img Southampton also picked up a fifth clean sheet of the season, with goalkeeper Boruc pulling off a string of fine saves to keep the visitors at bay. “He was incredible,” Southampton boss Pochettino said of the Poland international. “He did ever so well, but it just shows we have full trust in his performances and his skill, and also in our other keepers. “We were able to keep another clean sheet, which was a massive positive for us, but Boruc has our full trust to be our number-one keeper. “I don’t know what happened in the past, but in the eight months I’ve been here he’s been excellent for us. “There’s great competition between the three main goalkeepers and behind in the youth teams, so we’re very happy with the great atmosphere between them.” While Boruc was Southampton’s best defensive player, goalscorer Lallana shone going forward. After taking a while to adapt to life in the top flight, the 25-year-old has impressed for Saints this term, leading to suggestions he could follow Rickie Lambert into the England set-up. “I’m very happy for Adam,” Pochettino said of Lallana, who was called up for England’s World Cup qualifier with Ukraine in September 2012 but did not play. Press Association Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Artur Boruc and Adam Lallana after they starred in Southampton’s hard-fought Barclays Premier League victory over Swansea. “He’s a great bloke and a great professional and he’s very passionate about this club, about Southampton, so I’m happy for him. “I’m very happy that he scored and for everything he represents – all the good values at this club. “It’s not my decision in the end, but if he keeps performing as he did today he’ll be actually very close to getting that call up to the national side. “I don’t like to talk about what I’ve done in his game. It’s an overall group of people who are helping to make this club better. “I want to thank him for his kind words, but there’s a structure at this club to help everyone improve and that goes from the chairman to the cleaning lady. “The one person who deserves all the praise for his improvement is the player himself. His performance has been amazing over the last few games.” Swansea counterpart Michael Laudrup, meanwhile, was left ruing missed opportunities after seeing his side fail to follow up Thursday’s Europa League win against St Gallen with another positive result. Michu and Wilfried Bony were denied by fine Boruc saves, while Saints academy graduate Nathan Dyer hit the inside of the post before half-time. “I don’t know if frustration’s the right word, but I think there are always positives and negatives in every game,” the Swans boss said. “Before we started this season, we said it would be difficult for the team and we’ve seen a lot of cases around Europe of teams who have to play on Sundays. “I can only say we are doing well, and are playing well in all the games after midweeks. “Today was the seventh game in 20 games. I thought it could be some players tired. You play every three days, but I really didn’t see that. “It’s true Southampton were the best team in the first 10 minutes, but since the goal I think we dominated the whole game. “The second half we dominated form the first to last minute, but maybe not creating the same number of chances.” Saints emerged 2-0 winners from a pulsating, end-to-end encounter at St Mary’s, despite spending most of the match on the back foot. The Swans dominated the majority of play but fell to strikes from captain Lallana and substitute Jay Rodriguez as Saints secured a third successive league triumph. last_img read more

21 Sep

Sarries edge past Connacht

first_imgAviva Premiership leaders Saracens were made to fight tooth and nail for a 23-17 opening win in the Heineken Cup, needing a late Owen Farrell penalty to edge past a hugely determined Connacht side. A brace of penalties from Farrell were the only scores of a defence-dominated second half at the Sportsground, as 8/1 outsiders Connacht – inspired by man of the match Kieran Marmion – stayed in the hunt for a shock victory. They almost got it right at the death as bodies piled in close to the Sarries line, but replacements Aly Muldowney and Paul O’Donohoe were held up short and the relieved visitors got out of Galway with the points. This entertaining Pool Three opener seemed to be going to script early on as converted tries from Chris Wyles and Chris Ashton saw Saracens stride into an early 14-3 lead. But, despite a further penalty from Farrell, Mark McCall’s men were reeled in by half-time. Scrum-half Marmion and Danie Poolman both touched down with the latter’s score – converted by Dan Parks – getting Connacht back level at 17-17. A second Farrell penalty put the visitors ahead again in the 53rd minute and the England and Lions fly-half decisively added his fifth successful kick of the night with five minutes to go. Quarter-final and semi-final appearances in successive seasons have certainly whetted Sarries’ appetite for European success and they laid down an early marker here with Wyles and Ashton’s scores. United States international Wyles scorched home for the sixth-minute opener, following some smart link-up play between Farrell and David Strettle straight from a lineout. With his centre partner Joel Tomkins running the decoy, Wyles was set free and he showed good pace to finish off with Farrell converting. Connacht, wearing an all-black strip, respond through the boot of Parks, who swung a difficult penalty over from the right. However, the power-packed visitors put the pressure back on from the restart. McCall’s side gave evidence of their expansive ability as backs and forwards suddenly flooded forward, including the strong-carrying Mako Vunipola. His front-row colleague Schalk Brits was standing wide on the right to put Ashton over for a neat finish in the corner. Farrell’s crisp conversion widened the gap to 11 points – just reward for Sarries’ high level of execution and the control shown by half-backs Farrell and Neil de Kock. But their Connacht counterparts, Parks and Marmion, drove the province back into the game in the second quarter, with the hosts also tightening up their defence after some costly missed tackles. Poolman did well to hare after a high kick and Marmion profited, collecting the ball out wide and cutting through from the left for an opportunist 18th-minute try. Parks tapped over the simple conversion. Sarries answered back with a long-range Farrell penalty but Connacht exerted more control approaching the break. Their forwards grew in stature and a spell of patient build-up play was rewarded just past the hour mark when South African Poolman stepped inside two defenders to score, with quick passes from John Muldoon and Marmion creating the chance. Parks converted but missed a late penalty as the sides went in all square, and Saracens regrouped to force the issue on the resumption with George Kruis and scrum-half De Kock both going close. George Naoupu leaked a penalty near the Connacht line which allowed Farrell to boot his side back in front, but the hosts’ gritty defence continued to frustrate Sarries. After conceding a huge amount of territory, heroic Connacht had their opportunity to build from a penalty far out and their forwards probed before Saracens won a scrum and eventually cleared from their 22. The game remained in the balance as Farrell flicked a drop goal effort wide, however Saracens did enough to claim a tight six-point verdict in the end – the key moment seeing a Steve Borthwick-led maul set up Farrell’s match-winning penalty. Press Associationlast_img read more