Archive for the ‘Sports controversies’ Category

Pistorius Trial Overshadows South African Com Games Team

Oscar Pistorus. Photo: utahpeoplespost.com

Oscar Pistorus. Photo: utahpeoplespost.com

As the South African Commonwealth Games team disembarked in Glasgow they were awash with questions about the absent Oscar Pistorius. And it seems they are not shy in adding their own impressions of the man once touted as a national hero.

Pistorius captured attention by running on artificial legs and running fast. He not only gave hope to many disabled athletes, he became an icon for the ingenuity, guts and fortitude of South Africans generally.

But all that changed when he was accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He is accused of shooting her through a toilet door in their South African home last year. The trial, a national and world sensation in its own right, is nearing its conclusion.

But many South Africans, most notably the athletes who had dealings with the man, have little sympathy for him. The general feeling is that he was loud, self-centred and prone to vicious outbursts. What made it all the more galling was the sanitized public image created for him and touted through the media. It is widely believed that many fellow Suth African athletes refused to room with Pistorius refusing to be drawn into his tantrums and quirks.

Despite being absent from the Commonwealth games team Pistorius is the most well-known and talked about member. Even with him half a world away many athletes are still in his shadow. Many are hoping the results of his trial will not overshadow their own medal efforts or, indeed, the Commonwealth Games themselves.

Griffin faces sack from Broncos

Broncos coach Anthony Griffin is expected to be given the sack today, after the return to the club of super-coach Wayne Bennett was made public.

Bennett is understood to have accepted a three-year contract worth $4 million dollars to return o the club at the end of the season.

Under Griffin’s tutelage, the Bronco’s have performed ‘adequately’. But their gut-wrenching loss to the Sharks a few weeks ago had many wondering what needed to be changed.  And while it is unfair to blame the coach for a team’s on-field performance the Broncos have made no secret of their wish to reclaim Bennett. For his part Bennett, somewhat churlishly, was quoted by News Corporation as telling the Bronco club directors he was ready to return and rebuild the club.

www.couriermail.com.au

www.couriermail.com.au

Griffin is understandably disappointed, but intends to honour his contract and see out the year. At the end of the season he will be a coach without a club, perhaps looking overseas for employment.

Bennett has had mixed success in his post-Broncos coaching. He led the St George Dragons to a premiership before leaving them floundering. While his time at the Newcastle Knights, most agree, has been an unmitigated disaster. The reason for the poor performance of the Knights has been attributed to off-field factors. But many wonder just how Bennett tried to mitigate the effects.

The Broncos board began pursing Bennett in May. They have had numerous meetings, and discussions with him and finally extended an offer too good for the coach to refuse.

The players were informed of the decision to sack their coach prior to the announcement made to the media.

What does it cost to be competitive in the Tour de France?

The governing body of the Tour de France has declared the lightest any competitor’s bike can be is 6.8 kilograms. As bikes get lighter their affordability decreases. Even at 6.8 kilograms most bikes are costing up to $13,000; but for most teams this is an acceptable price to ride at the Tour de France.

Most teams will have nine riders, each with at least two bikes (we’re up to $234,000) and a time trial bike of at least equal value ($351,000). Add to that the on-board computer (around $3,500) positioned on the bike handlebars and the price creeps up to $445,500 per team.

Team bikes in the Tour de France. Photo: roadcyclinguk.com

Team bikes in the Tour de France. Photo: roadcyclinguk.com

The specialised shoes ($400 each), carbon fibre wheels (anything up to $15,000 each), high protein food and electrolyte drinks add to the bill (budget for $200 per day per rider for the three week event). Now add in the cost of support vehicles, team doctors and physio’s, mechanics and coaches. Factor in the price of accommodation, warehousing the bikes and equipment each night.  And add to all this the cost of communications and technical support and the price of competing in the world’s greatest bike race becomes beyond the reach of all but a few dedicated, well-funded teams.

The equipment alone makes cycle racing at the top level prohibitive for all but the wealthiest teams. Riders unable to be picked up by such teams simply cannot compete, no matter how talented they are.

By limiting the minimum weight (and therefore the price) of each rider’s bike the tour de France organizers have taken the first tiny step towards making their event more accessible.

Tony Stewart Wins his Return Race After Year-Long Injury Lay-Off

Sprint car legend Tony Stewart has returned to speedway the way he left it. After a horrific flip nearly a year ago Stewart has been out of action while his shattered leg healed. He won his first race back from injury on Friday night. Stewart was pipped for first in the Q heat race by arch rival Daggett but managed to exact revenge in the Engine Pro sprints final for 2014.

Tony Stewart. Photo: Walgator.com

Tony Stewart. Photo: Walgator.com

Both races contained plenty of argy-bargy, with the body work of both leaders’ cars getting hammered on more than one occasion. The fierceness of the rivalry ensured that the winner of each race wouldn’t just be the best driver with the fastest car, but also the man with the most nerve.

The night began with 21 hopefuls wishing to contest the NASCAR Sprint cup Series, but Stewart showed up unannounced  Race marshals could think of no reason not to include him. Daggett and the other drivers were keen to pit their skill against him.

Such was the damage done to Stewart’s leg a year ago in Oskaloosam, Iowa, many were suggesting he retired. Stewart gave them his answer on Friday with a no-holds barred, death-or-glory display of speedway driving skill and determination.

Punch up in German MotoGP

Racing stewards were called in to separate a fight between two MotoGP riders. Dutch riders

Bryan Schuten and Scott Derroue duke it out in turn 1 of German MotoGP. Photo: www.theguardian.com

Bryan Schuten and Scott Derroue duke it out in turn 1 of German MotoGP. Photo: www.theguardian.com

Bryan Schuten and Scott Derroue were tussling for 23rd place in the early laps of the German Grand Prix when they collided and skidded into the Turn 1 Sand traps. Both riders were incensed, blaming each other and rose to their feet ready to brawl. Schouten believed Deroue had no business even attempting the manoeuvre where he did. Taking such a reckless chance cost him and his team valuable championship points.

Regardless of still being fully helmeted and protected by racing leathers both men began punching and pushing each other. The marshals managed to intervene and separate them. But as the colorful language flew and fists were being shaken, Schouten made one last effort to tackle Deroue to the ground.

Schouten later regretted this, but still laid the blame firmly on Deroue: “(I) Got hit in 2nd lap,” he Tweeted at 12:30am today, “after a not smart action from a other rider. Some things happened before wich made me gone crazy. Never will happen.”

For his brain-snap Schouten received a two point penalty against his racing license.

 

Almost forgotten was Australian Jack Miller who won the race – his fourth win of the season.

New Zealand Warriors Lift the Hearts of All Rugby League Fans With scrum Push Try

Thankyou New Zealand Warriors for showing the rugby league world the value of scrimmaging.

For too long scrums in rugby league have been an outright embarrassment. If the players don’t want to scrimmage then the formation should be removed from the game. But while it is still part of the game it ought to be contested with the same professionalism as every other aspect of the sport.

Warriors score after winning the scrum against the feed by Parramatta. Photo: www.triplem.com.au

Warriors score after winning the scrum against the feed by Parramatta. Photo: www.triplem.com.au

Instead there has been a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ not to contest the ball. But as this ‘agreement’ has become accepted, and coaches have taken their ‘winning’ the ball for granted, strategies have emerged.

One such strategy had coaches pulling all their forwards from the scrum, so that when their team ‘won’ the ball they wold have more larger attackers against a string of smaller defenders.

Coaches and players had previously defended the ‘no-contest’ scrum by saying it added to the spectacle – enabling more one-on-one attacks; as six men from each team were effectively taken out of play.

Purists argued that the no-contest scrum was (and is) not part of the game.

Rugby League scrums were already a joke:  The ball routinely being fed into the second row – sometimes even being pushed behind them, and straight to the feet of the lock. Referees have always been content to look the other way and allow play to progress.

On Saturday the New Zealand Warriors turned back the clock and showed just how complacent the rest of the league has become. Only ten meters out from their own line the Parramatta Eels fed the scrum and were pushed back by the Warriors. The Warriors were able to regather the ball and score another try – and good on them.

A news.com poll found that 94% of respondents wanted to see scrums contested. Not only is it simply complying with the rules of the game as they stand, but the contest adds to viewers’ enjoyment. 5% disagreed believing the well-documented dangers of scrimmaging out-weighed any benefts.

Gallen Hopes to Fight Kimbo Slice Later this Year.

Kimbo Slice was asked to fill the card of the Daniel Geal – Anthony Mundine fight, but found himself without an opponent. He raised eyebrows by sending an open invitation to Australian boxers – anyone game (or stupid) enough may apply.

Blues skipper Paul Gallen has signalled his gameness (or stupidity). He has put in motion processes to accept the challenge. Should the fight receive the stamp of approval it will likely be

Photo www.smh.com.au

Photo www.smh.com.au

only one of three fights Gallen is hoping for in the rugby league off-season.

Paul Gallen made his boxing debut prior to the 2014 football season. He clung on for an unconvincing victory against Herman Ene-Purcell after being knocked to the ground in the early rounds.

Lawyers for Gallen still battle to clear the footballer’s name as the ASADA investigation into drugs in sport drags ever on. Gallen is fighting to have his name removed from the drug inquiries Register of Interest which determines which players are worthy of closer scrutiny.

Lead up to Calcio Fiorentino Final

Calcio Fiorentino. Photo www.thetweetpig.com

Calcio Fiorentino. Photo www.thetweetpig.com

As the bruises fade from this year’s Calcio Fiorentino and the match between the Santa Maria Novella/Rossi (the Reds) and Santo Spirito/Bianchi (the Whites) is talked about and dissected, we at Outrageous Sports lament the sad state of football in Australia.

What am I talking about?

Calcio Fiorentino (also known as ‘historic football’ or the ‘Florentine kick game’) has just been decided in the Pizzza Santa Croce in Florence. The game is played over three matches between teams from each quarter of the city. The teams are Santa Croce/Azzurri (the Blues), Santa Maria Novella/Rossi (the Reds), Santo Spirito/Bianchi (the Whites) and San Giovanni/Verdi (the Greens). The three matches take place in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence in the third week of June, with the final having just been fought out on the 24th of June.

Reds vs Blues in Calcio Fiorentino. Photo: www.thetweetpig.com

Reds vs Blues in Calcio Fiorentino. Photo: www.thetweetpig.com

And when I say ‘fought out’ I mean it.

Matches take place within a 50 minute time period on a field twice as long as it is wide. The field is divided into two identical squares with a goal net along each end.

Each team is comprised of 27 hardy souls with no substitutions are allowed. A Pallaio throws the ball towards the centre line, a canon is fired, and the contest begins. Players on either side try ‘by any means necessary’ to shoot the ball into their opponent’s goal. Tactics like head-butting, punching, elbowing and choking are all part of the game. Sucker punches and having more than one opponent attacking another are frowned upon and now attract immediate expulsion. With each goal the teams swap sides, the Pallaio throws the ball along the centre line and the brutality begins again.

The 27 players are divided into 4 goalkeepers, 3 fullbacks, 5 halfbacks, and 15 forwards. Each team’s Captain and Standard Bearer sit in a tent, in the centre of their goal net, and do not take part in the carnage. However they may organise strategies and step in to separate players should the fighting get out of hand.

Calcio Fiorentino. Photo" www.thetweetpig.com

Calcio Fiorentino. Photo” www.thetweetpig.com

The game is controlled by a referee, six linesmen, a Judge Commissioner, and Master of the Field. Players are not permitted pads, mitts, mouth pieces or any type modern body protection equipment.

This is the Great Grandpappy of football. It is football for men. The players of Calcio Fiorentino are amongst the fittest, most highly trained fighters on earth. There is nothing else even remotely like it. All other codes of football are but prissy, weak, pale reflections.

Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse to Investigate Dropping of Charges Against Scott Volkers.

The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse will investigate events leading to the decision drop sex charges against swim coach Scott Volkers. The roles of then Queensland attorney-general Rod Welford, the director of public prosecutions Leanne Clare, her assistant Paul Routledge and other legal figures will come under scrutiny.

A former CMC investigation into the probity of officials involved in the case found no evidence of misconduct or interference by the Department of Public Prosecutions. It did, however, isolate a number of errors made by the DPP in their handling of the case, noting there “were more defects than one would ordinarily expect to find in an examination of a matter of this kind.”

Following a twelve-month investigation, Scott Volkers was ordered to stand trial on seven charges of indecently dealing with a minor. This was in 2002. Six months after his arrest all charges were dropped. The DPP believed the evidence constituted ‘no reasonable basis’ from which to expect a conviction.

The announcement was met with a storm of outrage from alleged victims. Lawyers and politicians raised questions at the time over ‘procedural issues’ and called for the CMC to investigate.

Scott Volkers. Photo www.smh.com.au

Scott Volkers. Photo www.smh.com.au

In 2010 the Commissioner for Children and Young people refused to issue Volkers with a Blue Card, allowing him to work with children.

Volkers was recognized as one of Swimming Australia’s great coaches. He guided Samantha Riley and Susie O’Neill though the high points of their career and substantially enriched the depth of national swim talent.

Volkers was accused by several of his former charges of inappropriate behaviour, including fondling a 13 year-old girl. He has stridently denied any wrongdoing. For the last two years Volkers has been coaching in Brazil. He will be bringing a squad to Australia in August for the Pan Pacific Games.

Laser Pen Light Furore as Russians Draw with Algeria

Igor Akinfeev in game against Algeria. Photo: www.theguardian.com

Igor Akinfeev in game against Algeria. Photo: www.theguardian.com

The world has been stunned by the apparent use of a green laser pen apparently being used to distract the Russian Goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev, moments before Algeria scored an equaliser.

In a tense, hard fought competition, Algerian striker Islam Slimani slotted the ball past the goalie with a second-half header. The goal brought Algeria 1 – 1 and allowed the Desert Foxes to progress into the last 16.

The Algerians were behind for most of the match after Alexander Kokorin scored in only the sixth minute. A pinpoint accurate header slammed into the back of the net sending the Russians into raptures. For the rest of the match the Russians peppered the Algerian goal, but to no avail.

Set plays between Kokorin and Aleksandr Samedov looked certain to sizzle by the Algerian keeper. But Rais Mbolhi was everywhere. He single-handedly kept the Algerians in the game with his athleticism, skill and desperation.

Mbolhi’s finest moment came 21 minutes from fulltime when Samedov broke through the defensive line to zero in on the Algerian goal. He looped a beautiful cross to Kerzhokov who swooped in from the right. Kerzhokov’s strike was low and and fast as a bullet. Mbolhi batted it away and secured the ball on the Russian’s second attempt.

Replays of the Algerian equaliser clearly show the light from a laser pen wavering across Akinfeev’s face. Match officials are taking this disruption very seriously. Whatever the outcome, the result will stand.

This means the Desert Foxes now have the opportunity to exact revenge on West Germany and Austria.

In 1982 the Algerians were bundled out of the World Cup when Germany was all but allowed to win 1 – 0. The result benefitted both teams at the expense of Algeria and the treachery has never been forgotten.