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Japan team at World Cup troubled by earthquake, hotel alarm

SARANSK, Russia --- Word of a deadly earthquake in Japan and an early-morning false alarm at a team hotel have given the country's World Cup squad some unsettling moments. Coach Akira Nishino, who built his professional reputation coaching Gamba Osaka, said he and a number of his players have acquaintances or loved ones affected by Monday's quake, making for an unwelcome distraction on the eve of the team's Group H opener against Colombia in Saransk. "The psychological impact is something I'm slightly worried about at this point," Nishino said through an interpreter before Monday afternoon's training session. "As staff members, we are consulting with them and I'd like them to be sett...Keep on reading: Japan team at World Cup troubled by earthquake, hotel alarm.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJun 18th, 2018

Tale of 2 cities: Olympics sponsors in Pyeongchang and Tokyo

em>By Youkyung Lee and Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press /em> SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Winter Olympics coming to South Korea in February offer an example of the Olympian efforts often required to meet corporate sponsorship goals. Tokyo tells a different story: The coffers are already overflowing for the 2020 Summer Games. It's a tale of two cities and two Olympics — winter and summer. Pyeongchang is a little-known destination in one of South Korea's poorest provinces. It is the 'little town that could,' bidding twice unsuccessfully for the Winter Olympics before winning on its third try. A final push enabled it to reach its sponsorship target of 940 billion won ($830 million) in September, with just five months to go. Tokyo is an established global capital, and the Summer Games usually generate more excitement — and more money. Organizers have raised 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion) in sponsorship, twice any previous Olympics. International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates describes it as a remarkable achievement. The divergent experiences of two Asian host cities illustrate the challenges that smaller bidders face, as well as South Korea's dependence on the big family-owned companies that dominate its economy. Not that Tokyo is home-free. The cost of the 2020 Games has nearly doubled from initial projections. As with most Olympics, taxpayers will have to foot a good part of the bill. ___ strong>WHERE 'CHAEBOLS' RULE /strong> Starting with the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has used mega-events such as the soccer World Cup to raise the profile of the country and its manufacturing exporters. Pyeongchang is different. The project was initiated by local politicians in an area long alienated politically and economically in South Korea's rise to prosperity. Some feared people would confuse the city's name with Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. They couldn't count on the automatic support of the huge family-run conglomerates, known as 'chaebol,' such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. 'When such mega-events were the nation-state's key project, the chaebol were called on and were expected to become the leading participants,' said Joo Yu-min, a professor at the National University of Singapore who co-authored a book on South Korea's use of mega-events. In the end, the national government brought the conglomerates in, first in the bid process, and then for sponsorship. That underscores both the outsized role they play in the economy and their close ties with government. They owe a debt to special treatment from the government, which in turn used them to industrialize the country after the devastating 1950-53 Korean War. After Pyeongchang's bid was rejected a second time, the government called on Samsung and others to help. The president even pardoned Lee Kun-hee, the patriarch of the Samsung founding family who had been an IOC member but voluntarily suspended his membership after being indicted for tax evasion. The IOC reinstated Lee in 2010 with a reprimand and some restrictions, allowing him to lobby heavily for what became Pyeongchang's winning bid in 2011. It took three years for the organizing committee to sign its first domestic sponsor, KT Corp., the country's second-largest mobile carrier. Again, the national government asked the conglomerates for help. All the major ones signed on, after the office of then-President Park Geun-hye made a special request and multichannel pressures for financial assistance, Joo said. Elsewhere, companies may weigh sponsorship decisions based more on the marketing benefits. 'In South Korea, companies make donations out of a sense of duty that they are being part of the national event,' said Park Dong Min, the executive director overseeing membership at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Sponsors who signed up late weren't willing to give as much, because there was less time to enjoy the marketing benefits. A bank that signed on less than a year before the Games significantly reduced its sponsorship. To top it off, a massive sports-related political corruption scandal rocked South Korea in 2016, just when Pyeongchang was making last-ditch efforts to raise sponsorship. 'Companies showed some reluctance' to sponsor the Olympics, said Eom Chanwang, director of the Pyeongchang organizing committee marketing team. 'Nevertheless, they still joined.' The scandal brought down Park, the president. Lee Jae-yong, the heir to the Samsung group, received a five-year sentence for bribery. Lee, who has appealed, had become de facto chief of the Samsung group after his father Lee Kun-hee, the IOC member pardoned in late 2009, fell ill. It was the younger Lee who signed an agreement with IOC President Thomas Bach to extend Samsung Electronics' sponsorship of the Olympics globally through 2020. Samsung declined interviews for this story. With the scandal still fresh in people's minds, major companies have held back from launching full-fledged marketing to promote the Games. 'Samsung traditionally has done consumer marketing through the Olympics, but because its chief is in jail, it cannot do as much these days,' said Kim Do-kyun, a sports professor at Kyung Hee University Graduate School of Physical Education. The Pyeongchang Games were the biggest victim of the scandal, he said. ___ strong>SUMMER OF '64 /strong> The president of Japan's biggest toilet manufacturer was seven years old when the Olympics first came to Japan. TOTO Ltd. made news in 1964 for its prefabricated toilet-and-bath units that helped speed the construction of a luxury hotel, the New Otani, in time for the Games. The company, now known for high-tech toilets that baffle some foreign visitors, is back as a sponsor of Tokyo 2020. 'I feel our company and the Olympics have been bonded by fate,' TOTO president Madoka Kitamura said at a sponsorship signing ceremony at the same hotel last year. The $2.7 billion in sponsorship for Tokyo 2020 is more than three times the original estimate. By comparison, sponsorship revenue was $848 million in Rio de Janeiro last year, and about $1.2 billion for both London 2012 and Beijing 2008. The Winter Olympics typically attract less, though Sochi, Russia, raised $1.2 billion in 2014. Analysts attribute Tokyo's success to both patriotism and a sense of nostalgia for the 1964 Summer Games. They were much more than a sports contest for Japan. They were a moment of pride, marking the country's return as an industrial power after the devastation of World War II and a seven-year U.S. occupation. 'All of Japan still recognizes the unique role that the 1964 Olympics played in Japan's stepping out onto the world stage,' said Michael Payne, a former IOC marketing director who now works as a consultant. 'Many of the CEOs of top Japanese companies would have been young kids back in '64 and are very aware of the role those Games played for the psychological recovery from the Second World War.' They grew up with the high-speed 'Shinkansen' bullet train, inaugurated in 1964; modern expressways and western-style toilets, all symbols of Japan's postwar economic growth. 'Now they have become business leaders, they want to contribute and leave something behind that can be remembered for the next 50 years,' said Masahiko Sakamaki, executive director of marketing for the Tokyo organizing committee. He said that memories of the recovery may have boosted interest in sponsorship, as Japan was still reeling from a deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami when Tokyo won the bid in 2013. Sakamaki said the organizing committee started receiving sponsorship inquiries as soon as it was established in 2014, before the official start of sponsorship contracts in 2015. There is so much interest that the IOC is allowing Tokyo to have multiple sponsors in some categories, instead of the usual one, including in aviation, newspaper publishing, electronics and banking. TOTO officials won't say how much they are contributing, but media reports say companies in its sponsorship category give between 6 billion and 15 billion yen ($53 million to $133.5 million). Tokyo 2020 wouldn't comment on those reports. 'We believe our presence as part of an all-Japan effort toward a successful Olympics will enhance our favorable brand image,' said Mariko Shibasaki, the company's senior planner for sports communication. Thanks in part to robust sponsorship revenue, the organizing committee has increased its contribution to the cost of the games from 500 billion to 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion). The sponsorship revenue makes up half of the income in the privately-run organizing committee's operating budget. Other revenue comes from the International Olympic Committee, marketing and ticket sales. The overall cost of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated at 1.4 trillion yen (12.4 billion) with the Tokyo government shouldering 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion) and the remaining 200 billion yen (1.8 billion) paid by the national government and local governments hosting events. ___ em>Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writer Stephen Wade in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this story. /em> .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

Business of Football - Philippines highlights football s growth in the country

MANILA -  The recent success of The Azkals, with their Asian Cup qualification, and their FIFA ranking at its highest at 111, has given football a renewed confidence, and a positive outlook in terms of the growth of the sport in the Philippines.   Football is now tipped to become the fastest growing sport in the country, with the largest potential for success commercially, and in terms of on-pitch success.  The sport which is currently number 3 in the Philippines in terms of popularity and participation, after basketball and boxing, is said to be still further behind compared to other sports, such as volleyball, billiards, etc., in terms of TV coverage. These were among the insights and trends gathered from top-notch executives of organizations such as AFC, PFF, PFL, LaLiga, Dentsu X, SMG Insight, Globe Telecom, RSportz, Toby Sports and Manila Times, at the ‘Business of Football - Philippines’, organized by MMC Sportz.  The sold-out event was attended by more than 185 local and foreign delegates on 18 May 2018 at the New World Makati Hotel.   MMC Sports CEO Eric Gottschalk says, “Research in this market, shows that TV is still the number one platform here in the Philippines, and is the number one medium that advertisers are looking for, to spend their budgets on.  We also learned that live TV coverage actually stimulates stadium attendance, and not vice versa.  If there’s more football on TV, we will see more fans in the stadium.  Currently football is not ranked among the top 100 TV programmers in the Philippines and is only number 3 sport in terms of participation and popularity after basketball and boxing.  Football needs media in order to drive commercial revenues for the clubs.”   “Now is also the perfect time to get involved in football since sponsorship and advertising opportunities are currently very affordable compared for example to basketball, but this is predicted to change within the next 6-12 months, as values are expected to increase sharply.  Football also needs to create more idols and heroes to attract more media coverage overall, other than just covering game scores. Each team has a unique story which just needs to be told,” says Gottschalk. Following the presentation about the Philippines Football League (PFL) it was agreed that the PFL now fills the lack of regular created football content as the leagues matches (87 in 2018/19 season) contribute year-round stories to keep football in the news. In the past, the main talking points were around the Azkals which only play very few home matches each year.      Public education about the game of football is also needed on all levels as many people in the Philippines are still not aware about the rules or aware of programs available like coaching academies, amateur competitions, or how and where to follow the professional league.  Ten thousand (10,000) qualified grassroots coaches are also needed to satisfy the local demand and to trigger strong football development and growths. Investors on the other hand are looking for consistency and credibility of the football product but with the PFL in the second season and foreign sponsors expected to invest in the Philippines, local brands should consider to follow suit.  On the sports retail side, only 1.5% of current retail sales are attributed to football, while basketball enjoys a healthy 46% market share. As a result, only limited line items and stocks are available in stores and entry level boots and replica jerseys are too high priced to be affordable for the average consumer. The national player registration program, MY PFF, has been launched with the objective to collect vital statistics and data about the football community which is urgently needed to support the youth football development strategy of the PFF and to develop a players pathway.  As FIFA has mandated to register the estimated 1.5 million players in the Philippines, the PFF has urged organizers and players to already register online as by next month only registered players will be allowed to participate in sanctioned events. The “Business of Football – Philippines” conference also announced 36 career opportunities related to sports and football, including positions in marketing, legal, competition management and coaching, with all these listing being available online with MMC Sportz or for direct inquiries with the PFF. In his closing remarks, MMC Sportz CEO Eric M. Gottschalk stated that “More importantly, Don’t Break the 12th Man! It is important that all stakeholders don’t forget to engage with the fans. The fans are the most important aspect of the development of football in the Philippines – if there are no fans of football then there is no media, no spectators, no players, no games, no business. Everyone is required to ensure we keep the fans (football consumers) engaged year-long and the first step would be to get the media behind the game. There is a strong football - community out there already and hopefully, we the TV broadcasters will take another look at football and give them at least some consideration on the program schedule.  I believe today’s conference was a great success.  We brought the football community together, stimulated thinking, exchanged ideas and transferred a lot of knowledge. Now it is up to the football stakeholders to continue the progress.  From our end (and with the approval of the PFF) we will stage the 2nd edition of BOF early 2019 and hopefully we will be able to report on some of the changes initiated today.”    Speakers who shared their insights include LaLiga Managing Director for South East Asia, Japan, Korean and Australia Ivan Codina, AFC Head of MA Services Domeka Garamendi, SMG Insight Managing Director Frank Saez, Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami, Globe Director for OIC, Citizenship and Advocacy Marketing Miguel Bermundo, PFL CEO Lazarus Xavier, PFF General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes, Ignite Sports Group Managing Director Michael Reyes,  Asian Replica Designs Founder & Owner Jonathan Mallinson, Quorum Group President & COO Jose Claudio, Jr., Mediapro Asia Director of Sales and Sponsorship Salauddin Sinnakandu, and MMC Sportz Marketing CEO Eric Gottschalk.  Organized by MMC Sportz Asia, the event was sanctioned by the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) and the Philippines Football Federation (PFF), and sponsored by La Liga, Dentsu X, SMG Insight, RSportz, Globe Telecom, Toby’s Sports, Manila Times and Platinumlist. - RELEASE  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2018

Foreign teams, organizers impressed with Filipino crowds, hosting of FIVB World Tour Manila Open

The Philippines proved to the world that it can host a magnitude of an event such as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open.  Beach Volleyball Republic co-founder Charo Soriano was delighted that as first-time hosts, the country was able to hold a successful international beach volleyball tournament.  "I'm very much humbled and very happy. It's was very fulfilling to see the number of people watching and the amount of support that we are getting for beach volleyball -- not only for the Philippine team but even for other athletes as well," said Soriano.  Playing in front of a big appreciative crowd that packed Sands SM By The Bay, Japan’s Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori won their first World Tour women's gold medal following a quick 21-14, 21-18 conquest of Spain’s Maria Belen Carro and Paula Soria in the final. Germany’s Max-Jonas Karpa and Milan Sievers also snatched their first-ever FIVB World Tour men's gold, beating Russia's Petr Bakhnar and Taras Myskiv in come-from-behind fashion, 15-21, 23-21, 15-9. Filipino fans were treated to and spoiled with world-class beach volleyball action in the four-day, one-star tournament.     "Hopefully this is the start. This can be the catalyst for what we really want, which is beach volleyball to be here in the Philippines. And it’s a sport for the masses talaga. A sport that people can enjoy and that everybody can learn to love as well," Soriano said. Among the four Filipina pairs that competed, Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio advanced the most, making it to the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, reigning BVR national champions Karen Quilario and Lot Catubag secured a round-of-12 spot and were just a point away from advancing to the top eight. Both feats, Soriano considered to be a breakthrough for the sport in the country.  The Filipinas defied tremendous odds - especially with Rondina and Gervacio beating much taller and experienced pairs from the United States and Canada, and Quilario and Catubag, who pushed reigning Asian U19 champions Thailand to three extended sets before losing in a valiant effort.  "It's a very momentous event, this one," said Soriano, who herself competed along with Bea Tan. "First, because a lot of the Philippine teams really didn't have programs prior to this event. We have BVR, we have regional tours, we have national championships. But in terms of having a proper national training pool program, it's still non-existent. But despite that, we were able to garner wins in the first-ever FIVB tournament that we are entering as national team.   "Napakasaya po kasi we are very proud of the rest of the Philippine delegation. Even though our men's teams didn't really win, you can really see that they were competent. They were competitive."  The FIVB World Tour is a good gauge for those vying for slots in future beach volleyball tournaments like next year's Southeast Asian Games that the Philippines is hosting.  Soriano thanked Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. acting president Peter Cayco and secretary-general Ricky Palou for their support and overseeing the event. The event is supported by Dataland, Dataland Residentials, The Olive Place, Rebisco, Creamline, Globe, Maynilad, Gatorade, Tryp and Hotel 101. "We just need the proper support and of course, continous programs in time for SEA Games next year. That's really the goal and that's why we wanted to push for an international tournament as well in preparation for next year's SEA Games," said Soriano.  With the way the Manila Open has turned out, another one-star tournament in the coming years is not far fetched. "For sure, it won't be the last," said Soriano. "Being the first-time hosts and speaking as an organizer, we had setbacks as well, we had problems, but nothing that teamwork cannot fix.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 2018

Gilas confident of chances vs Japan, Taiwan

National team coach Chot Reyes is confident about Gilas Pilipinas' chances heading into its Fiba World Cup qualifying matches against Japan and Chinese Taipei later this month. The Philippines, which is aiming to book a return trip to the World Cup after its historic stint three years ago in Spain, faces Japan on Nov. 24 in Tokyo before hosting Taipei three days later at Smart Araneta Coliseum. "I think we have a very good chance against Japan, I think we have a very good chance against Taiwan," Reyes said during Gilas' sendoff at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pasig. But that's not taking Gilas' rivals lightly. In fact, Reyes cited several concerns that Gilas will have to deal with....Keep on reading: Gilas confident of chances vs Japan, Taiwan.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 18th, 2017

LOOK: Vera, Folayang lead Pinoy cast at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila

Reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon "The Truth" Vera and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang will be leading a strong Filipino continget to the the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City for ONE: Conquest of Champions on November 23rd.  Vera will be making his long-awaited return to the ONE cage when he defends his title against Italian Cage Warriors Heavyweight Champion Mauro "The Hammer" Cerilli.  Undefeated in three fights under the ONE Championship banner, Vera is coming off a two-year layoff, with his last fight happening back in December of 2016. Cerilli on the other hand is riding a five-fight winning streak.  In the co-main event, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Folayang tries to become a two-time champion when he battles Amir Khan for the vacant title.  Folayang is coming off back-to-back victories against a pair of tough Russian grapplers, while Khan is also on a two-fight winning streak of his own, with the latest being a submission victory over Folayang's Team Lakay teammate Honorio Banario.  Speaking of Banario, the former ONE Featherweight World Champion makes a quick return to the cage to face Korea's Dae Sung Park.  A top contender in the lightweight division, Banario has won five of his last six bouts. Park on the other hand, is on an equally impressive run of his own, winning seven of his last eight contests including a pair of wins under the ONE banner.  Also on the card, Jeremy Miado meets China's Peng Xue Wen, while Rockie Bactol kicks off the card against Japan's Akihiro Fujisawa.  Conquest of Champions will be ONE's fourth and Final event in Manila for 2018.    Catch ONE: Conquest of Champions on Friday, November 23rd LIVE at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 13th, 2018

ONE Championship: Angela Lee pulled from title bout with Xiong Jing Nan due to injury

A major change has been made to this Friday's ONE: Heart of the Lion card in Singapore, as main eventer Angela Lee has been pulled from her ONE Women's Strawweight World Championship bout against reigning titleholder Xiong Jing Nan.  ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong made the announcement on his Facebook page, Monday.  "I am bummed to announce that our medical team has deemed Angela Leeunfit to compete in ONE: Heart Of The Lion for this Friday November 9," Sityodtong revealed. "As such, I have made the decision to pull Angela off the card, despite her adamance to compete still in the world title fight against Jingnan Xiong."  Further expounded on the ONE Championship website, it was a serious back injury that forced Lee to withdraw.  Lee versus Xiong would have been ONE Championship's first female champion-versus-champion superfight, with Lee moving up in weight to challenge Xiong. A win for Lee would have made her the first female two-division champion in ONE history. As such, the main event will now be the highly-anticipated title unification rematch between reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes versus reigning ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon of Team Lakay.  Taking the co-main event spot will be Angela Lee's younger brother and former ONE Featherweight World Championship contender Christian Lee facing Japan's Kazuke Tokudome in a catchweight bout.    ONE Championship: Heart of the Lion will air LIVE on Friday, November 9th at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 5th, 2018

Philippines well-represented in 2018 Global Martial Arts Awards

SINGAPORE - The Global Martial Arts Awards 2018, set to take place at the JW Marriott Hotel, South Beach in Singapore on 8 November, will bestow distinctive recognition onto superstar athletes, gifted coaches, innovative industry leaders, and media personalities that have left an indelible mark on the competitive world of martial arts in the past year. Honoring people that, on a daily basis, are playing pivotal roles in contributing to the growth and influence of martial arts around the globe, the Awards gives credit to outstanding individuals or entities in 16 categories: Martial Arts Hero of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Muay Thai Athlete of the Year, Kickboxing Athlete of the Year, Breakthrough Athlete of the Year, Bout of the Year, Knockout of the Year, Submission of the Year, Walkout of the Year, Event of the Year, Gym of the Year, Referee of the Year, Coach of the Year, Ring Girl of the Year, and Martial Arts Journalist of the Year. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545; min-height: 14.0px} span.s1 {text-decoration: underline}     Global Martial Arts Award – Nominees     Martial Arts Hero of the Year   Angela Lee Aung La N Sang Daniel Cormier Eduard Folayang Henry Cejudo Martin Nguyen Tenshin Nasukawa     Male Athlete of the Year   Aung La N Sang Gegard Mousasi Henry Cejudo Joshua Pacio Kevin Belingon Kyoji Horiguchi Tenshin Nasukawa     Female Athlete of the Year   Angela Lee Ayaka Hamasaki Kanna Asakura Rose Namajunas Seo Hee Ham Stamp Fairtex Xiong Jing Nan     Muay Thai Athlete of the Year   Kulabdam Kulabdam Sor Jor PiekuThai Muangthai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym Nong-O Gaiyanghadao Petchdam Kaiyanghadao Rodtang Jitmuangnon Sam-A Gaiyanghadao Yodlekpet TDed-99     Kickboxing Athlete of the Year   Giorgio Petrosyan Petpanomrung Kiatmuu9 Sittichai Sitsongpeenong Stamp Fairtex Takeru Segawa Tenshin Nasukawa Tiffany Van Soest     Breakthrough Athlete of the Year   Brian Ortega Derrick Lewis Kevin Belingon Kyoji Horiguchi Saygid Guseyn Arsanaliev Stamp Fairtex Xiong Jing Nan     Bout of the Year   Aung La N Sang vs. Ken Hasegawa Angela Lee vs. Mei Yamaguchi II Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Jo Nattawut Justin Gaethje vs. Dustin Poirier Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Tenshin Nasukawa Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero II     Knockout of the Year   Aaron Pico vs. Shane Kruchten Aung La N Sang vs. Ken Hasegawa Brian Ortega vs. Frankie Edgar Li Kai Wen vs. Rodian Menchavez Petchdam Kaiyanghadao vs. Josh Tonna Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev vs. Timofey Nastyukhin Yoel Romero vs. Luke Rockhold     Submission of the Year   Joshua Pacio vs. Pongsiri Mitsatit Ariel Sexton vs. Kota Shimoishi Shinya Aoki vs. Rasul Yakhyaev Renzo Gracie vs. Yuki Kondo Paul Craig vs. Magomed Ankalaev Adam Wieczorek vs. Arjan Bhullar Paddy Pimblett vs. Alexis Savvidis     Walkout of the Year   Andy Nguyen Aung La N Sang Eduard Folayang Heo Jae-Hyeok Rika Ishige Shannon Wiratchai Stamp Fairtex     Event of the Year   Bellator 192 ONE: Kingdom of Heroes ONE: Reign of Kings ONE: Unstoppable Dreams Rizin 13 UFC 220 UFC 223     Gym of the Year   American Kickboxing Academy American Top Team Evolve MMA Team Lakay Tiger Muay Thai Tribe Tokyo MMA Tristar   Referee of the Year   Atsushi Onari Jason Herzog Kemp Cheng Mark Goddard Mike Beltran Olivier Coste Yuji Shimada   Coach of the Year   Duane “Bang” Ludwig (Bang Muay Thai) Firas Zihabi (Tristar) George Hickson (Tiger Muay Thai) Javier Mendez (AKA) Mark Sangiao (Team Lakay) Matt Brown (ATT) Ryo Chonan (Tribe Tokyo)     Ring Girl of the Year   Arianny Celeste Camila Oliveira Lee Bom Yi Lee Ji Na Nithima Attasophonwatthana Red Dela Cruz Siena     Martial Arts Journalist of the Year   Ariel Helwani (ESPN/MMA Fighting) Chris Mohan (Malay Mail) Haider Yutim (Astro Awani) JM Siasat (GMA) Manabu Takashima (MMA Planet) Mike Bohn (MMA Junkie) Mike Murillo (Business World) Santino Honasan (ABS-CBN).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 1st, 2018

Napoli keeping pressure on Ronaldo-dependent Juventus

By Daniella Mata and Andrew Dampf, Associated Press MILAN (AP) — Last season Napoli pushed Juventus all the way in the Italian league before ultimately finishing second as the Bianconeri clinched a record-extending seventh Serie A title. This campaign, second-place Napoli is already six points behind Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Juventus. But the destination of the title is far from a foregone conclusion. Juventus proved it is not infallible when it dropped its first points of the season against Genoa last week. It also appeared lethargic in the first half at relegation-threatened Empoli on Saturday before rallying to win 2-1 — with two goals from Ronaldo. And the Bianconeri are arguably becoming too reliant on the Portugal superstar to rescue them when things aren't going their way. The 33-year-old Ronaldo has scored Juve's past four league goals as he shows little sign of being affected by a rape allegation in the United States. Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada last month claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. Ronaldo denies any wrongdoing. Ronaldo's two goals at Empoli — one a penalty and the other a 20-yard strike — maintained Juve's unbeaten start to the season. Napoli dropped vital points on Saturday as it needed a last-minute goal from Dries Mertens to snatch a 1-1 draw against Roma. However, coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his Napoli team is showing increasing signs of maturity. "I'm happy and proud," Ancelotti said. "We had a constant pressure despite conceding early, we created so many opportunities." FULLY FIT Just a few months after he thought he might have to quit football, Josip Ilicic is back to his best. Ilicic netted a hat trick in his first start of the season for Atalanta last week and did everything but score in his team's 3-0 victory over Parma on Saturday. The 30-year-old Ilicic spent most of the summer in and out of hospital with a bacterial infection. "As a man, the illness changed me a great deal," Ilicic said. "I want to thank everyone who stood by me during this difficult time. I look at the world differently now. I thought many times that I might have to give up football." SERIE B CHAOS A stay of execution has again upended a verdict in the lengthy saga over deciding which clubs belong in Serie B. On Wednesday, a regional appeals court overturned an Italian football federation decision from August that had reduced Serie B from 22 to 19 clubs. The earlier decision by the federation's emergency commissioner Roberto Fabbricini was made following the bankruptcies of Avellino, Bari and Cesena. Virtus Entella, Novara, Pro Vercelli and Ternana — the four clubs relegated at the end of last season — plus Catania and Siena, which lost in the Serie C playoffs, are all arguing for a place in the second division. However, on Saturday an appeal by the Serie B league temporarily overturned the decision from the regional appeals court. A final decision could be made at an Italian football federation board meeting on Tuesday. ___ Dampf reported from Rome......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 29th, 2018

Ronaldo rape allegation moving on 2 legal tracks in Nevada

By Ken Ritter, Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — A lawsuit filed by a Nevada woman who claims Cristiano Ronaldo raped her nine years ago and paid her $375,000 in hush money has set in motion a two-track legal process in Las Vegas. One involves the lawsuit, which will proceed to a jury trial in civil court only if a state judge sides with attorneys for plaintiff Kathryn Mayorga on key procedural and statutory questions. The other track involves a police investigation that was recently reopened at the request of Mayorga, a former model and schoolteacher who alleges that one of the world's most famous athletes attacked her in the bedroom of his penthouse at a Las Vegas hotel in 2009. At the end of the investigation, police will decide whether to recommend that prosecutors file criminal charges against the 33-year-old soccer star from Portugal who plays for the Italian club Juventus and his national team. He has had lucrative contracts with other clubs including Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and Real Madrid. The Associated Press does not generally name people who say they are victims of sex crimes. Mayorga gave consent through her lawyers to make her name public. THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION Mayorga's attorneys say she underwent a medical exam to collect DNA evidence soon after the alleged attack in June 2009. But the investigation was ended because Las Vegas police said she only identified her attacker as a European soccer player — not by name — and did not say where the incident took place. The case was reopened in recent weeks at Mayorga's request. Her lawyers say she provided Ronaldo's name to detectives who interviewed her in 2009 and identified the location as the Palms Hotel and Casino. Police will turn over the results of the investigation to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson to decide whether to file criminal charges. A jury of 12 people would have to reach a unanimous verdict of guilt for a conviction on a felony sexual assault charge that could bring a sentence ranging from 10 years to life in state prison, depending on whether the jury decides if Mayorga suffered substantial bodily injury. Police have refused to release documents about the case. Officer Aden OcampoGomez, a police department spokesman, said Tuesday he could not comment about an ongoing investigation. THE LAWSUIT Ronaldo's attorneys have not yet responded to the lawsuit filed by Mayorga on Sept. 27 in Clark County District Court. William Terry, a veteran Nevada criminal defense attorney not connected with the case, predicted that Ronaldo's legal team will ask the judge to dismiss the lawsuit before they reply to its claims. "There will be a ton of issues to decide long before the case gets to a jury," Terry said after reviewing the lawsuit and statements by attorneys at the request of The Associated Press. "I think the whole complaint is vulnerable to dismissal." Before the lawsuit could go to trial, Judge Adriana Escobar would have to decide if too much time has passed since the alleged attack; whether Ronaldo or Mayorga violated a 2010 non-disclosure agreement that requires Mayorga to keep quiet about an encounter that Ronaldo's lawyers say was consensual; and whether documents cited in European news stories about the case are authentic. Mayorga's attorneys want to void the non-disclosure pact. The lawsuit claims Ronaldo used "fixers" to pressure Mayorga to sign. It also accuses Ronaldo or people working for him of conspiracy, coercion and fraud, defamation, battery, breach of contract and negligence for allowing details of the confidential settlement to become public in European publications. If the lawsuit gets to trial, a jury of as many as eight people would be asked to reach a majority decision based on a preponderance of evidence or the probable truth or accuracy of the allegations. That is a less-stringent standard than a criminal case. If jurors find in favor of Mayorga, they would be asked to consider possible monetary damages. Mayorga is seeking an unspecified amount greater than $200,000. TIMING OF THE CLAIMS Leslie Mark Stovall, a lawyer for Mayorga, has acknowledged that plaintiffs in personal injury cases in Nevada usually have two years to file a civil lawsuit. However, he says a psychiatrist diagnosed Mayorga this year with post-traumatic stress and depression "caused by Cristiano Ronaldo's sexual assault in 2009." As a result, the attorney says, Mayorga was not emotionally or legally competent to enter the non-disclosure agreement nine years ago. "We believe that we have the factual basis to ask the court to set aside the agreement so that we can litigate her original damages," the attorney said. In the police case, veteran prosecutors, defense attorneys and law professor Eve Hanan at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, agreed that the state could bring criminal charges despite the passage of time because Mayorga filed a police report. "There is no statute of limitations if there is a valid police report," attorney Tom Pitaro said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2018

PBA: With baby Tokyo, Lee inspired to work harder

Paul Lee has been playing well lately and now, he has more reason to be inspired for the Magnolia Hotshots. Lee has blessings upon blessings in the past couple of days alone. First, he agreed to a new three-year deal to stay with the Hotshots and then he welcomed his first child to the world, a lovely daughter with his wife Rubie. His daughter, who was born healthy Monday, has been given the name Tokyo after Japan's capital city. "Yun kasi gusto ng wife ko," Lee said on the name "Tokyo." "Napagusapan lang na favorite namin yung Tokyo sa Japan and dun din siya nabuo so...," he added. Against the Elite, Lee fired another 19 points on top of five rebounds and four assists. As the blessings keep coming, Lee is clearly just more inspired to play better. "Of course, first baby and then I got renewed sa team. Iba yung feeling na pag first baby so ayun dagdag inspirasyon for me to work hard kasi lahat na ng ginagawa ko is for my baby and for my family," Lee said. "Sana lang wag matapos," he added on his blessings. "Alam mo yun, work hard and ayun yung blessing to follow. Ayun lang." Being a new father though, Lee is expected to have some sleepless nights ahead. But he doesn't mind it at all. "Okay naman. Ayun nga sabi ko I'll do everything for my baby so ok lang yun kung magpupuyat ako. Part lang yun ng pagiging magulang," Lee said.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 10th, 2018

ONE Championship: Eduard Folayang gets ONE Lightweight World Championship shot in Manila this November

Team Lakay lightweight star Eduard Folayang will have the opportunity to become a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion when meets Singaporean Amir Khan for the vacant world title on ONE Championship's November card in Manila.  ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong took to Facebook to make the massive announcement regarding lightweight crown.  "I am excited to announce that Eduard Landslide Folayang and Amir Khanwill face each other for the ONE Lightweight World Championship on November 23 in Manila!" Sityodtong's post read. "The stakes could not be any higher for both warriors in what will be the biggest fight of their careers. Eduard wants to reclaim his title and go down as the greatest Filipino martial artist in history. Amir wants to become Singapore's first homegrown World Champion in history, and stamp his legacy as the greatest Singaporean martial artist the world has ever seen." The announcment comes just days after it was revealed that two-division champion Martin Nguyen was forced to relinquish the title after an injury left him unable to defend the title.  (READ: Martin Nguyen relinquishes ONE Lightweight World Championship) The 33-year old Folayang first captured the ONE title back in 2016 with a third-round destruction of long-time champion and Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki in Singapore. Folayang would lose the title to Nguyen a year later.  The Team Lakay star is currently riding a two-fight winning streak with back-to-back unanimous decision wins over a pair of gritty Russian grapplers.  The 23-year old Khan on the other hand, is coming of an impressive first-round submisison win over Folayang's Team Lakay teammate Honorio Banario in Shanghai, China back in early-September. Khan is also currently riding a two-fight winning streak and will be challenging for the world title for the first time in his career.  Sityodtong also clarified the decision to have Folayang and Khan battle for the title instead of putting it up for grabs during the upcoming lightweight title-eliminator bout between former champion Aoki and former world title challenger Ev Ting set for October 6th in Bangkok, Thailand.  "On a related note, we did debate making the October 6 bout between Ev Ting and Shinya Aoki a world title bout, but decided against it. They have both spent months preparing for a 3 round non-title fight, and it would have been unfair to ask them to do a 5 round title fight on such short notice." He would go on to announce that the winner of the Folayang-Khan contest will face the winner of the Aoki-Ting with the world title on the line in Japan in 2019.  "Barring any injuries or unforeseen circumstances, I fully expect the winner between Ev and Shinya to face the winner between Eduard and Amir in Tokyo." A win for Folayang on November could mean Team Lakay's fourth undisputed world championship in 2018. Geje Eustaquio is the current reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion, while Joshua Pacio captured the ONE Strawweight World Championshp just last September in Jakarta.  ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon will have the chance to unify the titles when he takes on Bibiano Fernandes in Singapore on November 9th.  By the end of 2018, Team Lakay's trophy case could very well be laden with ONE world championship gold. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 1st, 2018

Stewart, Wilson propel US to 100-88 win over China

By Doug Feinberg, Associated Press SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Spain (AP) — After a quiet first half, Breanna Stewart felt she needed to be more assertive on both ends of the court. She certainly made her presence felt in the final 20 minutes. Stewart scored 21 of her 23 points in the second half and A'ja Wilson added 20 points to help the United States beat China 100-88 on Sunday in the second day of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup. "I needed to be more aggressive. There were a few things that I could have done better — defense and rebounding. Focus on that and the offense comes," Stewart said. China trailed only 36-35 midway through the second quarter as the U.S. was still trying to figure out a lineup that worked on offense and defense. The Americans then closed the half on a 12-4 burst. Wilson had six points during the run. Layshia Clarendon, who played a few minutes in the first game, also provided a spark off the bench in the spurt. She had two points, two assists and two rebounds. The Chinese team hung around in the third quarter and trailed 60-54 before Stewart, who played in China the past few winters, took over. She scored nine of the next 11 points and China couldn't get within seven the rest of the way. "She was trailing a lot, and obviously the defense sucked down. The post players did a great job rim running," U.S. coach Dawn Staley said. "That left Stewie wide open at the top of key and she took advantage of them time and again. That's what we come to expect, Stewie like things. We needed her to be that way to give us some separation and widen our lead in the third quarter." The Americans were still missing Brittney Griner, who suffered a slight sprain of her right ankle in practice Friday. Griner said after the win over Senegal she would have played if it was an elimination game. China was able to exploit the lack of Griner with its own 6-foot-9 center Han Xu. Han showed an impressive array of post moves as well as a deft touch from 10 feet. The 18-year-old finished with 20 points and left to a warm ovation from the crowd with 20 seconds left. "Coach encouraged us to play with confidence. The U.S. is a very good team. We just went out and enjoyed ourselves," said China guard Shao Ting, who had 10 points. The Chinese team, which is the youngest in the tournament with the average age 23 years, lost to the U.S. by 43 points in the 2016 Olympics. The U.S. (2-0) hasn't lost to China (1-1) in six meetings in the World Cup. The Americans won the first five meetings by an average of 25.8 points. The victory was the Americans' 18th in a row in the tournament and 43rd in the past 44 games in the World Cup. The only blemish over the past 20 years was a loss to Russia in the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup. Sunday's game came on the 12th anniversary of that loss. CHINA CONNECTION: Many of the U.S. players have competed in China in the offseason. Stewart, Griner, Morgan Tuck, Jewell Loyd and Tina Charles all have spent time there. Wilson will be headed there this year. "You're having some of the top WNBA players going over there to China and showing them the standards of what we put ourselves through," Stewart said. RECOVERING: Elena Delle Donne played only 3 ½ minutes on Sunday. She suffered a bone bruise in the WNBA playoffs and is still recovering. She said that she and Staley would talk before each game to discuss how she was feeling. Delle Donne said after the game the back to back was difficult. SCOREBOARD: It was a great day for Africa with both Senegal and Nigeria winning. It's the first time in the history of the tournament that an African team won a pool play game, let alone two. Senegal beat Latvia 70-69 and Nigeria edged Turkey 74-68. In other games, Canada beat South Korea 82-63; Australia routed Argentina 84-43; Japan edged Belgium 77-75 in OT; France beat Greece 75-71 and Spain topped Puerto Rico 78-53. UP NEXT China: Will face Senegal on Tuesday with second place in the group at stake. U.S.: Will face Latvia on Tuesday looking to continue its dominance......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 24th, 2018

FIBA WORLD CUP: SMC stars get first shot as Gilas challenges Iran

Whether you will stick to Gilas Pilipinas or go with the simpler Team Pilipinas, the fact remains, a new era for the Philippine national team will officially start Thursday. Gilas continues its bid to return to the FIBA World Cup as round 2 of the Asian Qualifiers tip off, pitting the Philippines against Iran to start the action in the merged Group F. [Related: FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers: Chot Reyes steps aside as NT coach] It's unclear whether or not coach Yeng Guiao will take over full time from coach Chot Reyes, who officially stepped down two days ago, but the fiery mentor gets his first crack in these Asian Qualifiers as his version of Team Pilipinas look to score a road win against the Iranians, a longtime rival of Filipinos in international play. Coach Yeng's version of Team Pilipinas will feature Scottie Thompson, Raymond Almazan, Beau Belga, Alex Cabagnot, Paul Lee, JP Erram, Marcio Lassiter, Allein Maliksi, Gabe Norwood, Ian Sangalang, Christian Standhardinger, and Asi Taulava. [Related: FIBA WORLD CUP: Scottie in, Greg out in Gilas vs. Iran] After round 1, the Philippines sports a 4-2 record, with the two defeats coming from Australia. Meanwhile, Iran has compiled a strong 5-1 mark and is in the middle of a five-game winning streak. The merged Group F also include the Boomers, Japan, Qatar, and Kazakhstan. To qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Gilas needs to finish at least third in its new group. The Philippines is currently third, one full game behind Australia and Iran. A win against the Iranians on the road will be a huge boost to Gilas' World Cup bid without a doubt. The Philippines-Iran match will tip off at 8:30 p.m. Manila time.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 12th, 2018

Threat of typhoons, earthquakes reality for Olympic planning

TOKYO --- An IOC inspector working on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics says a powerful typhoon and a deadly earthquake that hit Japan in the last 10 days have been a wake-up call for organizers. The most powerful typhoon in 25 years left 11 dead in the Osaka area of western Japan when it struck Sept. 4. A few days later, a deadly earthquake hit the northern island of Hokkaido and killed about 40. John Coates, an Australian who heads the inspection team, says what happened "has hit home to me." Coates helped organize the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He says organizers there simulated disasters, but he adds "you don't have to dream anything up in this country, it's very sad to say." He s...Keep on reading: Threat of typhoons, earthquakes reality for Olympic planning.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 12th, 2018

FIBA WORLD CUP: Team Pilipinas set to leave for Iran to start round 2 of Asian Qualifiers

Team Pilipinas is off to Iran to start round 2 of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Gilas had one last morning practice on Monday and the national team is off to Tehran in the evening. The Philippines will take on Iran on September 13. No final 12 has been announced still and Team Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao said last week that the lineup will be revealed once they're already in Iran. And so, all 16 players will make the trip. [Related: FIBA WORLD CUP: Yeng says Gilas will take 16-man pool to Iran] Gilas currently has a pool that includes Beau Belga, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Scottie Thompson, Asi Taulava, Alex Cabagnot, Japeth Aguilar, Allein Maliksi, Ian Sangalang, Matthew Wright, Raymond Almazan, Christian Standhardinger, Marcio Lassiter, Greg Slaughter, Stanley Pringle, and Poy Erram. However, for the Iran game, Wright and Aguilar are suspended while Guiao will have to drop either Standhardinger or Pringle due to eligibility issues. [Related: FIBA WORLD CUP: Slaughter cleared as local for Team Pilipinas] The Philippines is part of a merged group F with Australia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Japan, and Qatar. Team Pilipinas is sitting at third place so far with a 4-2 record behind the Boomers (5-1) and the Iranians (5-1) themselves. Gilas will take on Iran at 8:30 p.m. (Philippine time) on Thursday.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2018

Top women s college players practicing with Team USA

By PETE IACOBELLI, AP Sports Writer   COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Dawn Staley told the U.S. national team players, many returning to college soon, to keep working and improving no matter who is on the court.   Staley, the women's national team coach, held a three-day training camp as players began preparations for the FIBA World Cup in the Canary Islands this month. Many of America's best players are tied up with the WNBA playoffs and Staley brought in several of country's top college players to beef up practice and gain valuable experience before vying for a spot on the Olympic roster.   "We just have to keep moving forward. We can't worry about who we have, who we don't have," Staley said this week. "We have to implement the style of play we want on both sides of the ball and just fill players in."   Some of those fill-ins won't start playing for another two months when the college season tips off. The young camp roster includes guard Sabrina Ionescu and forward Ruthy Hebard of Oregon, Final Four hero guard Arike Ogunbowale and forward Jessica Shepard of Notre Dame and guard Tyasha Harris of Staley's South Carolina Gamecocks.   New York Liberty center Tina Charles is the most accomplished veteran in camp — and the only one with Olympic gold from 2012 and 2016.   Charles, 29, said part of her mission this week is to make the younger players feel as welcome by the veterans as fellow UConn alums Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird did when Charles first played with the national team in 2009.   "I'm trying to do the same thing here, make them feel comfortable, allow them to play their game, talk to them," Charles said. The WNBA playoffs have kept veterans like Elena Delle Donne, Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd, among others, tied up. Staley said some of those players may join when their pro teams get eliminated.   For Staley, its full speed ahead, no matter how young and wide-eyed some of the faces.   Ionescu was winded after her first practice Monday, trying to pick up the increased pace of the game.   "I think at every level, it just gets harder and harder," said Ionescu, reigning Pac 12 women's player of the year. "They were just definitely a lot stronger, quicker and had a better understanding of the game and adjustments."   Ionescu believes this experience will help when she's older and competing for a national team spot.   Ogunbowale, who hit back-to-back game winners against Connecticut in the national semifinals and Mississippi State in the title game, spent her offseason as somewhat of a celebrity. She was a guest on Ellen DeGeneres' show and on "Dancing With The Stars." At camp, she's simply a rookie trying to soak up lessons.   Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike spoke to the team before the first practice, urging them to ramp it up early and don't be afraid to compete. "We're all here for the same reason," Ogunbowale said. "We're all here to get better."   Camp ends with a split-squad scrimmage at South Carolina's Colonial Life Arena before they head north for a game with Canada in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on Saturday and another with Japan at in Washington, D.C., on Monday.   The first practice overseas is in France on Sept. 13. The Americans will play three exhibitions in France and head to Tenerife, Canary Islands. World Cup pool play starts on Sept. 22 against Senegal.   Staley's not certain who'll be on the bench when that game starts, but isn't worried about it.   "We have to move forward to the ones that are committed," Staley said. "And that are going to help us compete for another World Cup gold medal."  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 6th, 2018

Robotel: Hotel in Japan staffed by robot dinosaurs

The reception at the Henn na Hotel east of Tokyo is eerily quiet until customers approach the robot dinosaurs manning the front desk. Their sensors detect the motion and they bellow "Welcome." It might be about the weirdest check-in experience possible, but that's exactly the point at the Henn na (whose name means 'weird') chain, which bills itself as offering the world's first hotels staffed by robots. The front desk staff are a pair of giant dinosaurs that look like cast members of the Jurassic Park movies, except for the tiny bellboy hats perched on their heads. The robo-dinos process check-ins through a tablet system that also allows customers to choose which language -- Jap...Keep on reading: Robotel: Hotel in Japan staffed by robot dinosaurs.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 31st, 2018

ASIAN GAMES: Gold medal winner Saso eyes Youth Olympics next

JAKARTA — Yuka Saso, owner of an individual gold in golf at the 18th Asian Games that also towed the women’s team to the crown, intends to bring her winning act to the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires is hosting in October. The Filipino-Japanese was still in could nine over the double-gold victory on Sunday but she couldn’t wait to buckle down to serious training for the YOG. The Asian Games gold medals were  overwhelming for Saso and teammates Bianca Pagdanganan and Louis Kay Go that they could not seem to get over their success that easily. “These [gold medals] are really, really big. The Asian Games are like the Olympics,” Saso, 17, said. “I’m proud of myself, my team and everyone who supported us.” Their coach, Rick Gibson, a journeyman on the Asian Tour who has won the fabled Philippine Open, was as ecstatic as the young girls. “Unbelievable,” Gibson said. “Wow, these girls!” “It’s my honor to be part of the team, to be part of NGAP [National Golf Associaton of the Philippines] and put the pieces [of these championship team together.” Saso’s path to the gold medal—and so as the team’s—were laced with sheer talent and destiny. An eagle-3 in the 18th and final hole coupled with the collapse of erstwhile leader Liu Wenbo, who had a quadruple bogey in the same hole, spelled a double victory for the Philippines four days after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first gold. The 17-year-old Saso was in her best form when it mattered most at the Pondok Indah Golf and Country Club course, rallying from four shots down to end a gold medal drought that started after Ramon Brobio won the men’s individual title in the 1986 Seoul Games. Pagdanganan also clinched bronze in individual play as the Philippines dominated the podium for the first time in the Games.  “I just never lost faith in myself and I never doubted this team form the beginning,” Saso said. “We are all fighters and we really fought hard for our country.” Although still in their teens, Gibson said Saso and her teammates already possess the experience to excel under pressure and win major tournaments. “Yuka is a US NCAA champion. She has the makings of a world champion,” Gibson said. Gibson confided that it was only Pagdanganan and Go who walked the course ahead of the Games. “Yuka? She didn’t join the two girls. But she knows the course, she played there three years ago,” he said. The YOG are set October 6 to 18 and Gibson said Saso is eager to get back to the course and prepare herself for another gold. Saso’s No. 48 world ranking qualified her for the YOG. She will be joined by Luis Miguel Castro, who also played here in the Games along with Lloyd Jeferson Go and Ruperto Zaragoza but finished eighth behind Japan, China and South Korea. “The girls have shown that Filipinos could win in the Asian Games,” Gibson said. “It was a great day for Filipinos.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2018

ASIAN GAMES: Philippines looks to end 24-year medal drought in athletics

JAKARTA — If Eric Shawn Cray can just make a repeat performance of his semifinal running in the 400m hurdles of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, there is a big chance he might win the gold in the 18th Asian Games. Cray, whose pet event was originally set on Monday, will try to qualify first in the re-scheduled 400m hurdles at 11 a.m. on Sunday and hope to take it from there in an effort to win the Philippines’ first medal in the Asian Games in 24 years. The 29-year-old Cray ran the 400m hurdles of the Rio Olympics in a blistering 49.37 seconds, which if he did during the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, would have easily dislodged the 49.71 of gold medal winner, Bahrain’s Ali Khamis, who is defending his title here. And from the looks of it, the Filipino-American is in tip-top shape. The two-time 400m hurdles champion of the SEA Games (Myanmar and Singapore) is coming off a gold medal in the 400M hurdles of the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships. He was also the silver medalist in the 60M Run of the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. “If everything goes right, many of our athletes can spring some surprises,” said Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Dr. Philip Ella Juico. Cray, who finished sixth with a 51.47 in the Incheon edition of the games, has improved since that performance. He had 50.04 in the World Championships in Beijing, China in 2015, before submitting a 49.07 during the 2016 World Challenge in Kawasaki, Japan, where he earned a silver. In the same World Challenge, this time in Madrid, Spain, also in 2016, Cray ran a scorching 48.98, his personal best, to likewise earn the silver, before his title-clinching 49.57 in the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar, only last year. The last time the Philippines bagged an athletics’ medal of any color in the Asian Games was during the 1994 Hiroshima Asiad, courtesy of Elma Muros, whose 6.41-meter leap in the long jump competitions was worth a bronze. Aside from Cray, three more from the athletics’ team here plunge into action as marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, hurdler Clinton Bautista and long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang get going. Tabal, the marathon queen of the 2017 Kuala Lumpur  SEA Games, starts the PH campaign for the day with the marathon at 6 a.m. “This is a special opportunity for Tabal to prove herself against the North Koreans, Japan, China and some of these middle eastern countries,” said Juico, “I don’t think she will be wanting in spirit. According to the report I got, she’s ready, she’s well-conditioned, she spent most of her time in Tuscany, Italy (training). We are hoping for the best as usual.” After Tabal, Bautista, the bronze medalist in the same Malaysia SEA Games, takes his turn as he tries to qualify in the 110M hurdles at 10 a.m. A four-time SEA Games long jump queen whose reign began in the Manila edition of the meet in 2005, Torres-Sunang makes what could be her last hurrah in these games as attempts to advance in the finals of the long jump competitions starting at 10:30 a.m. Meanwhile, SEA Games decathlon gold medalist Aries Toledo began his bid on a bright note as he placed second in the first event of his discipline, clocking 10.84 in the 100M behind Saudi Arabia’s AL QAREE Mohammed Jasem Al Qaree (10.77). He later ranked 4th in the high jump and eighth in the shotput. Newcomer Kristina Knott was scheduled in the 100M heats later in the day.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2018

Japan ends badminton drought; India crushes Hong Kong

JAKARTA, Indonesia --- There's no disputing this was a gold medal that ranked up there with a world title. Japan's drought-breaking win over China in the women's team badminton final was among the most-watched medal matches Wednesday at the Asian Games. Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi sealed the team's 3-1 win in the best-of-5 series. They won 21-16, 21-11 victory over Huang Dongping and Zheng Yu. Japan hadn't won the title since 1970, and China had held it for two decades. "China's our biggest rival and I am extremely pleased to win this," Takahashi said "I am privileged to have won both the Uber Cup and the Asian Games, which doesn't happen very oft...Keep on reading: Japan ends badminton drought; India crushes Hong Kong.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2018