Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Weekend Kickin'

The Asian Cup kicked off in the 4 states hosting it. There were interesting games as expected of any tournament. It will be interesting to see which of the countries come out unscathed and those that will be the surprise package(s) of the same. Vietnam started by surprising UAE to a 2-0 win.
Other fixtures were as follows;
Thailand 1-1 Iraq
Australia 1-1 Oman
Japan 1-1 Qatar
Today Malaysia face China
while Indonesia take on Bahrain

Where do we come in? First for the South Africans organizing the World Cup they would have to visit the 4 countries to take notes on such issues as;
Crowd control and management,
Sponsorship (especially for localized sponsorship as ensured in such tourneys),
Media coverage (TV, radio, print and lately Internet)
Copa America:

Brazilian players mob defender Juan after he scored his 1st goal for Brazil in the tournament.
The tourney got into the quarter-finals where Brazil proved their critics wrong by crashing Chile 6-1. Robinho again was the toast of the team scoring 2 goals with Julio Baptista,Juan, Josue and Vagner Love contributing the rest.
Other games had Uruguay beat Venezuela 4-1 with Diego Forlan scoring 2 goals while Argentina gave Peru a 4-0 lesson in football while Mexico run riot with Paraguay with a 6-0 score.
It will be interesting to see how far Brazil can take their game further as they look to grow from strength to strength. They have been criticized for playing a more defensive game. I would doubt that since they have the leading scorer of the tournament and what may matter now is to consolidate play to the Final.

Argentine Juan Riquelme runs for the ball from Peruvian player
Argentina will be their main threat as usual as they continue their flourish in this tourney. Their casual approach only belies the depth of talent the team has. They would be really be lifted by a Cup since their disappointing campaign in the 2006 World Cup where they had been touted to go all the way only to fall to the Germans in the 2nd round.
Top scorers as of last night have
Robinho (Bra) 6 goals,
Juan Riquelme (Arg) 4 goals and
Nery Castillo (Mex) 4 goals

The semis have :
Uruguay vs Brazil
& Argentina vs Mexico.


Australia's Wallabies vs South Africa's Springboks
Australia made their second comeback in as many weeks to upset the South African Springboks with a 25-17 win. Playing at home and bidding farewell to 2 of their half-backs, the Wallabies came from 0-17 to take down to the wire.

Formula One:
Ferrari also won the second race of the Grand Prix series with Kimi Raikkonen taking victory in the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone. Coming second however here was Fernando Alonso for the McLaren with Hamilton taking 3rd position a whole 39 seconds. This was disappointing to the home crowd who had cheered on the whiz-kid Hamilton to the pole position on Saturday.

The Finn showed why Ferrari seems to have a superior vehicle to the McLaren (-Mercedes), BMW Sauber and Renault. As I’ll keep saying the title ain’t even over yet. Hamilton will need some serious inspiration to keep the lead from the Flying Fiery Ferraris!
The kid still maintains a 12 point lead at the Driver’s standings with McLaren-Mercedes also leading the Manufacturers’ table.

I said here and I say again, the Williams sisters’ ain’t done yet. They showed where they have consistently featured on the top flight tennis and why we might have to watch them a little longer as they power their way back to the top (even though it ain’t easy as it appears).

Venus Williams won her 4th Wimbledon title (2000, 2001, 2005 and now 2007) by beating France’s Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-1 in what was a one-sided game. It was an interesting game which featured two seeds outside the top 10 (V.Williams 23rd and M.Bartoli 18th). That’s the lowest ranking to win a Grand Slam outside Serena’s 81st when she won the Australian Open early this year.
She seemed to have sought revenge for the sister who writhed in pain during her quarter-final game and had to exit the doubles game which they usually pair. They won the 2000 doubles title.

For the men’s tie, OK I got it half-way right since I said Roger Federer is the king on the grass court. As for his match, I was wrong since it was again Rafael Nadal which was another Grand Finale to watch.
The two last met a month ago at the French Open where Nadal played Federer to a quick one and sorted him out within 2 hours. This time it was a little longer taking 3 hrs and 45 mins. Federer rose to a 7-6 4-6 7-6 2-6 6-2. This means he’s won the tourney 5 times and emulated Swede Bjorn Borg who also won it five times in the early 80s. This battle ain’t over yet between the two top seeds who have dominated the men’s game in the last 2 years.

The Golden League Grand Prix events got the second leg with the Paris Golden League track and field meeting. Kenya’s hope one Paul K.Koech lost out on the jackpot (which consists of $1 million shared out among winners of all 6 events of the Golden League). The Kenyan was caught in a serious error where the last lap bell was rung prematurely only for the Kenyan to realize this late and try to catch up with the rest of the field (thus finishing 2nd overall). This left American Michelle Perry (100 m hurdles), Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva (women’s pole vault), Finland’s Tero Pitkaemaeki (men’s javelin) and USA’s Sanya Richards (400m flat).

All Africa Games:
July 11th-27th 2007
Kenya’s team last batch left the country on Sunday and is due to arrive in Algeria today. The Games start on 11th (Thursday). Kenya is represented in athletics, basketball, boxing, chess, cycling, rowing, swimming, tae-kwon-ndo, table-tennis and lawn tennis and volleyball.
Show-jumping will make its debut (and Kenya is also represented in this) as well as rowing. Chess and kick-boxing will be having their second appearances. The wide array of representation and disciplines should ensure Kenya get a large haul of medals, if most preparations and prospects are anything to go by. The Government’s incentives as well as sponsors should have the athletes fight for the very top. Well, there is no reason to hold back, get that GOLD!

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