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Olympic champ Kipchoge shows he& rsquo;s ready for Tokyo

Enschede, Netherlands—Eliud Kipchoge, the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder, won the Enschede marathon on Sunday in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics......»»

Category: sportsSource: thestandard thestandardApr 19th, 2021

Tokyo venues ready to forge Olympic dreams

Tokyo---From a state-of-the-art aquatics center to a historic martial arts arena whose roof resembles Mount Fuji, Japan’s Olympic sites are ready for action after a year’s coronavirus delay......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 14th, 2021

Hashimoto: Olympics must be held at any cost

Tokyo—Tokyo 2020 should be held next year “at any cost” given athletes’ efforts to be ready, Japan’s Olympic minister said Tuesday, a day after the IOC’s John Coates told AFP that the postponed Games would go ahead in 2021 “with or without Covid”......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsSep 8th, 2020

ABAP head hopes pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics to push through

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) is keeping its fingers crossed that the Tokyo Olympics will push through in July next year. “I’m just hoping that the Olympics will push through because this is our best chance,” ABAP president Ricky Vargas told Tuesday’s online version of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. Vargas was reacting to wire reports saying that over half of Tokyo residents that took part in a recent survey are not comfortable with the staging of the Olympics in 2021. They either backed a “further delay or an outright cancellation” of the Tokyo Olympics. The Philippines has qualified two boxers in Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno to the Tokyo Games, and had hoped for a few more to make the grade, including Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, and Ian Clark Bautista. “When I look at our boxers, we were ready (for Tokyo 2020),” said Vargas, who was joined by ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson in the forum and presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold PH, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and powered by Smart. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything came to a halt, including the rest of the qualifying tournaments. “We lost steam,” said Vargas. Picson said the Filipino boxers remain steadfast in their training even if there’s no definite schedule on hand. He said training is done mostly with the coaches’ online supervision. “But it’s not the same. Training online is not the same. We need to be able to go back to the gym and spar and box. Not only here but overseas as well,” said Vargas. “Given the situation, that is the next best thing,” Picson added. Vargas said it’s difficult to pin their hopes on a vaccine for things to be even close to what they used to be. “Mahirap hintayin ‘yung vaccine. They may have the vaccine but normally it takes years before we’d like to risk ourselves in getting the vaccine,” he added.   “It’s very sad if the Olympics will not push through at least next year. Or we wait for the next Olympics (in Paris in 2024),” Vargas said. “It’s a very tough decision. The IOC (International Olympic Committee), I’ve been reading, is having a very difficult time because of all the investment put in by the Japanese government,” he added. The ABAP chief had high hopes that the country could win the elusive gold in the Tokyo Olympics – through boxing. But the pandemic, somehow, had turned things around......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2020

LOOK: 2020 PBA D-League lineups

Eleven collegiate teams will challenge a longtime contender as the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup opens on Monday. In the first game of the developmental league, an age-old rivalry will be rekindled when Wangs-Letran duels EcoOil-La Salle in the middle of Filoil Flying V Centre. There, we will all get a glimpse of new head coach Derrick Pumaren's Green Archers: Manong will let Balti (@jbaltazar19) and The Mele-show (@AljunJayMelecio) do their thing as La Salle finally debuts in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/Q45UnFffIA — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 Here are the lineups for the other squads: Marinerong Pilipino Skippers Air Malonzo and GDL bros @javigdl22 and @juan_swish9 backstop veteran Marinerong Pilipino in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/rmbc57Ai4g — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 Wangs-Letran Muyang, @jeo_ambohot, @atoular, Fajarito, and Javillonar still stand strong for #NCAASeason95 champ Letran in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/HSOC3pDfx3 — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 Apex Fuel Mindanao-Baste The RK Ilagan (@Regillekent) Show is back on air for Baste in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/uW0eNAo5jL — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 ADG Dong-Mapua Victoria, Lugo, and Bonifacio are out to get more battle-ready for Mapua in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/OkMxt2wqFg — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 Builders Warehouse-UST UST will run and gun behind #UAAPSeason82 MVP Chabi Yo, Rookie of the Year @mark_nonoy , and 100 percent @cjcansino in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/FFiaC6FOMp — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 SeaOil-FEU L-Jay and RJ (@RjAbarrientos17) have finally reunited for FEU and it will feel so good for the Tams in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/UfPXoc1ay6 — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 Karate Kid-CEU The Jeff Napa era begins in CEU and he will have @justinarana16, Murrell, and @Jeriepingoy helping out in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/4QSIlZwpft — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 AMA Surprise top pick Reed Baclig shows us what he’s got as Andre Paras is back in the lineup for AMA in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/TO2oxHkewA — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 FamilyMart-Enderun Jayvee Marcelino (@jvcm19) and Tosi Tansingco reinforce Enderun in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/iteHS36tS5 — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 Diliman College Never ever count out UCBL king Diliman College in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/nMbGmJr2TF — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 TIP TIP is here to engineer quite the surprise in #PBADLeague. pic.twitter.com/G5l2nL0KfK — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) February 29, 2020 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 29th, 2020

A step ahead? Nike s Vaporfly shoe changing marathon game

By PAT GRAHAM and ALEXANDRA OLSON Associated Press To pick the favorites in this year's Olympic marathon, just glance at the shoes of the runners on the starting line. Anyone wearing Nike's Vaporfly model may already have a head start. The shoe has shaken up distance running since the world’s largest sports apparel company introduced it four years ago, with technology credited for helping runners shave minutes off their times. To some, the advances are an exciting revolution. Others have called it “technology doping” that risks reducing marathons to a shoe competition. “Running is so simple. That's why people love it so much. Now we have a shoe that is blurring that," said Geoff Burns, a runner and Ph.D candidate at the University of Michigan's School of Kinesiology. The controversy prompted World Athletics, the sport’s governing body, to issue its most stringent shoe regulations in decades ahead of the Tokyo Games. But the Vaporfly escaped a ban, and the debate continues. Now, Nike has a new racing shoe that also squeaks by the new rules: The Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, which was unveiled at a flashy fashion show in New York on Wednesday night. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya wore a prototype of the shoe when he ran the world's first sub-2-hour marathon in an unofficial race in October. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei was also in a version of the shoe when she set the world record for women in Chicago last year. Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya wore a version of Vaporfly when he won the New York Marathon in November. All three of the men’s marathon medalists at the 2016 Rio Olympics laced up a version of the shoe as well. Vaporfly shoes have become a common sight at marathons all over, easily spotted with their neon green or pink hue. Many marathoners are gladly paying the $250 price tag on Nike’s website — and sometimes more — even as they wonder how much credit they can personally take for improved results. Bryan Lam, an amateur marathoner in Washington, D.C. said he spent $400 for a pair of StockX ahead of the London Marathon last spring because the version he wanted was sold out elsewhere. He ran the marathon in 2:59.30, seven minutes faster than his previous personal best, a result he called “insane.” It helped him achieve his lifelong goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon this year. “I’d like to think that it was because of all of my training for the London Marathon but I do think the shoes had something to do with my performance,” Lam said. “It’s definitely not a level playing field when those who can afford the shoes have that type of advantage." What differentiates the Vaporfly is a foam midsole that is lighter and less dense than others, allowing for extra cushioning without adding weight. The shoe also has a carbon-fiber plate that acts like a lever to reduce the work at the ankle. Independent and company-sponsored studies have found that the shoe gives runners a 4% edge in energy efficiency. The Air Zoom Alphafly Next% steps it up a notch with two “air pods" in the sole for extra cushioning. Both the Vaporfly and the Alphafly meet a World Athletic rule that limits the sole thickness to no more than 40 millimeters. The Alphafly will be available for sale to Nike members starting Feb. 29, meaning it meets a new rule that shoes must be available on the open market by April 30 to be allowed at the Tokyo Games. Kyle Barnes, an exercise science assistant professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, conducted a study around two years ago that compared the Vaporfly shoes to Nike’s Zoom Matumbo 3 (a track spike) and Adidas Adizero Adios 3. His findings showed about 4.2% more efficiency by wearing the Vaporfly model. Bottom line: Barnes estimated that slipping into the Vaporfly could potentially trim several minutes off a professional’s time and in the vicinity of 10 minutes for, say, a 4-hour marathoner. “It is a form of technology doping,” said Barnes, who co-authored the study with exercise physiology professor Andrew Kilding from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. “You're at a disadvantage not being in those shoes. ... Everything is happening so quick right now in the shoe industry.” World Athletics sought a middle ground in its recent decision, making clear that wearing the Vaporfly will not constitute cheating. But in tightening its rules, the Monaco-based organization signaled a new era of vigilance. The governing body said an expert working group will be created to assess new shoes entering the market and placed a moratorium on certain criteria for shoes. It also banned any shoe with a sole thickness of more than 40-millimeters, or that contains more than one plate. The Vaporfly controversy has drawn comparisons to the advantages that swimmers received wearing the Speedo LZR Racer, a full-body compression suit that trapped air for buoyancy and improved performance, leading to a slew of world records. Swimming's world governing body later banned all body-length swimwear. But the minimal technology involved in running has evolved only gradually, said Burns. The last major changes, he said, came in the 1960s and '70s, when shoe manufacturers developed EVA-based foam midsoles and all-weather tracks began replacing cinder tracks. N ike also is working on a fast shoe for the 100 meters. It's called the Nike Air Zoom Viperfly and as of now will not be at the Olympics because its design does not meet the new World Athletics regulations. Nike is looking at ways to adjust the shoe so that it will comply with regulations, according to a person familiar with the discussion. The person spoke on condition of anonymity of the ongoing process since it's not public. Other companies are also pushing the boundaries of shoe technology. Saucony has a carbon-plated shoe called the Endorphin Pro, which m arathoner Jared Ward wrote in a blog felt like the shoes were “pushing me forward into more of a half-marathon cadence.” Translation: It’s fast. Joyciline Jepkosgei won the women’s marathon in New York wearing an Adidas Adizero Pro prototype, which the company said in a statement conforms with the new rules. Adidas did not release details about the shoe's technical design. Hoka One One recently came out with the Carbon X, which was described as a cushioned, carbon-plated “speed machine” for a "propulsive, responsive ride.” “We’re all fans of the sport,” said Colin Ingram, director of product for Hoka One One. “We’re all for (technology advances) as long as we're able to do it within our own DNA when we decide to jump into the foray.” For the moment, though, Nike appears to hold a sizable lead over any rival. "I suspect they're three years behind, minimum, and so it'll take a long time before race results have any real integrity in a competitive sense," sports scientist Ross Tucker wrote in an email. “It turned athletes from 2:06 to 2:04. It decided results. It changed the relationship between physiological input and performance outputs.” Burns said a new era of advanced shoe technology could potentially disrupt the prevailing sponsorship model in running, in which shoe companies generally serve as the main sponsors of athletes. Burns said more athletes may look beyond shoe companies if a contract forces them to wear a shoe that puts them at a competitive disadvantage. "If you have guys bringing knives to a gunfight, it's not a good look for the knife sponsors," Burns said. American distance runner Roberta Groner doesn't have a shoe deal and trains in a variety of brands, including a version of the Vaporfly. She could be wearing that model at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Atlanta later this month. "I don't get into the science," Groner said. “I just go with how I feel.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2020

20 for 20: Pinoy Sports Personalities to Watch in 2020

As we enter a new decade, ABS-CBN Sports takes a look at 20 Pinoy sports personalities destined to shine in 2020.    Kiefer Ravena After an 18-month wait, Kiefer Ravena is finally back in basketball. Despite only playing in the PBA’s third conference, his impact was immediate, leading NLEX to the number 1 seed in the Governors’ Cup. The Road Warriors didn’t advance sure, but if Kiefer can impact a team that way in limited time, wait until you see what he can do with a full offseason.   Alex Eala At just 14 years old, Filipina tennister Alex Eala is already turning heads, and she’s yet to turn pro. With a runner-up finish at the ITF Mayor’s Cup in Osaka, Japan and her first ITF Juniors title in Cape Town, South Africa, Alex has had quite the fruitful year, leading to a career-best 11th-place ranking in the ITF Juniors table to finish the year.  Heading into 2020, Eala now has her sights set on turning pro as she plans to join more professional tournaments to raise her ranking even more. Expect the young tennis star to make even more headlines in the coming year.     Bryan Bagunas A vital cog in the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Bagunas is considered as one of the best Filipino volleyball players in this generation. Eyes will be on his blossoming international career playing as an import in the Japan V. Premier League.         Margielyn Didal While already a household name in Philippine skateboarding due to her success in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Margielyn Didal made even more waves in 2019. The 20-year old Cebuana reached the semifinals of the 2019 SLS World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and captured gold in the 2019 National Championships and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.  Didal is currently looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and if she can do so, it’s highly likely that the Pinay skater can become an even bigger star in the industry.    Marck Espejo After his spectacular collegiate career with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Marck Espejo's colorful career as part of the men's national volleyball team and in the club league continues to blossom. Just like Bryan Bagunas, Espejo will be showing his skills internationally with a stint in Thailand following a historic silver medal finish at the 30th SEA Games.   Yuka Saso After a decorated amateur career that saw her  participate in major tournaments such as the Ladies’ European Tour, the Summer Youth Olympics and claim top honors in the 2018 Asian Games, 2018 and 2019 Philippine Ladies Open, and the 2019 Girls’ Junior PGA Championship, 18-year old Pinay golfer Yuka Saso finally made the jump to pro in November of 2019.  With even more competitions in store plus a 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth in her crosshairs, it’s quite likely that we hear more about Saso in the coming months.  Carlos Yulo Perhaps no other young athlete in the Philippines shot to stardom faster than gymnastics phenomenon Carlos Edriel Yulo. After a gold medal finish in the floor exercise at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Yulo hauled in even more hardware in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, taking home two more gold medals and five silvers.  Yulo’s spectacular 2019 earned him a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and if his SEA Games and World Championships performances are any indication, Caloy is bound for another podium finish on the biggest stage there is.   Eya Laure Last UAAP season’s rookie of the year will return as the heir apparent of Season 81 MVP Sisi Rondina. With her national team stint, all eyes will be on the younger Laure as she reunites with older sister EJ as they try to bring University of Sto. Tomas back in the Finals after falling short last year. Hidilyn Diaz 2019 was another big year for Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, highlighted by her first ever gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Diaz also finished with silver medals in the 2019 Asian Championships and a bronze in the 2019 World Championships.  All those podium finishes are crucial in Diaz’s quest for another Olympics berth in 2020. Should the 28-year lock up another spot in the Summer Games in Tokyo, we could see another Olympic medal coming home.    Kat Tolentino  After initially announcing that she would not come back for her final season in the UAAP, Kat Tolentino changed her decision and will suit up for the Ateneo Lady Eagles once last time, providing a great morale-booster in their bid for back-to-back titles. Tolentino’s leadership will be tested as she will be leading a young team.      Joshua Pacio 23-year old Joshua “The Passion” Pacio proved to be the brightest spot for Philippine MMA stable Team Lakay in 2019. After opening the year with a questionnable decision loss to Yosuke Saruta, Pacio silenced any doubts in the rematch and regained the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a highlight-reel headkick knockout. Pacio would follow that up with another masterful performance, this time with a second-round submission win over top contender Rene Catalan before the end of the year.  2020 is shaping up to become another banner year for the rising Pinoy star, as he’s scheduled for another title defense on January 31st in Manila, this time against former champ Alex Silva of Brazil. A win for Pacio will solidify his claim of being the best strawweight ever in ONE Championship history.     Louie Romero The Adamson University freshman displayed great potential during the pre-season when she piloted the Lady Falcons to title win in the PVL Season 3 Collegiate Conference. Romero is expected to be a gem of a setter for the young Adamson squad hoping make a return in the UAAP Final Four. Manny Pacquiao While eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is certainly in the twilight of his professional boxing career, 2019 showed that he is still one of the best around. A successful title defense over Adrien Broner followed by an impressive dismantling of the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to capture the WBA’s primary world title proved that even at 40, Manny Pacquiao is still a big name in the sport.  With Pacquiao targeting an early return in 2020, more big names are lined up to fight “the People’s Champ”, including names like Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and even a title-unification bout against Errol Spence. Still, the biggest fight that is out there proves to be a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr, granted that “Money” finally bites.    Faith Nisperos A key addition for the repeat-seeking Ateneo de Manila University. The highly-touted rookie hitter will add height and firepower for the Lady Eagles in UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball. In the previous PVL Collegiate Conference, Nisperos flashed her scoring prowess, exploding for 35 points in one outing.   Robert Bolick The two best rookies of 2019 were CJ Perez and Robert Bolick. We know what we can expect from CJ, but Bolick is an interesting case as 2020 will be his return from knee injury. Bolick could still win Rookie of the Year, but even if he doesn’t, his return to Northport could push the reloaded Batang Pier from a Cinderella team to full-on PBA title contender.   Joshua Retamar His playmaking skills as well as his efficiency on net defense during the national team’s silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games makes him a setter to watch out for come UAAP. Retamar is an asset for National University’s three-peat bid.       Kai Sotto The Philippines' 7-foot-2, 17-year-old is opening eyes as he suits up for Atlanta-based The Skills Factory - so much so that he has already gotten interest from quite a few US NCAA schools. Before Sotto continues breaking the glass ceiling for Filipinos, though, he will go home for a while to wear the flag with Mighty Sports-Pilipinas in the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament.   Jema Galanza Coming off a great outing to close the PVL Season 3 highlighted by copping the Open Conference MVP award, expectations are high for Jema Galanza as Creamline aims to reclaim the PVL Reinforced Conference crown and complete an Open Conference three-peat.      Kobe Paras Many questioned just what the 6-foot-6 tantalizing talent would bring to the table for UP - but more often than not, he had all the answers as he led the Fighting Maroons to their second straight Final Four. In the end, Paras was actually the steadying force State U needed in what was a hyped up season. They may not have made it back to the Finals, but they still got much more motivation as they run it back for next year.   Pat Aquino What's next for the most decorated mentor in women's basketball? Pat Aquino followed up a six-peat for National U with the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in women's basketball in the SEA Games. Without a doubt, he will only continue steering the sport forward especially as the likes of UST and FEU are already gearing up to put up greater challenges in the new year.   Isaac Go Isaac Go is technically not the no. 1 pick of the 2019 PBA Draft but he is without a doubt, the no. 1 prospect of the year. His top selection from the special Gilas Pilipinas Draft is proof of that. Gilas Pilipinas has the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on deck in 2020 and as a new era dawns on the national team, all eyes will be on the biggest piece for the future that’s already drafted into the new Philippine squad......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

Must-see sports events for 2020

The sports and the action never stop. That will only continue as we usher in a new year. PBA in January The 44th season of the PBA is far from over as Ginebra and new-age rival Meralco are all-set to go at it for all the glory in the Governors’ Cup Finals. The first and oldest professional league in Asia will then take a two-month break before tipping off its next season in March. There, rookies like Roosevelt Adams and Mike Ayonayon will make their much-anticipated debuts during the Philippine Cup Dubai International Basketball Tournament in January Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano. Kai Sotto. Dave Ildefonso. Jamie Malonzo. Andray Blatche. That is the core Mighty Sports-Pilipinas has come up with for the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament. That young and talented lineup is sure to go all-out as it tries to improve on its third-place finish in the invitational tourney a year ago. NCAA volleyball in January Arellano will protect its throne from several oncomers in the brand new season of NCAA women’s volleyball while Perpetual hopes to do the same over at the men’s side. The Lady Chiefs will follow the lead of Regine Arocha, as always, as they set out for a fourth consecutive championship. UAAP volleyball in February Ateneo ended La Salle’s three-year reign last season and now, the archrivals remain in championship contention in UAAP women’s volleyball alongside UST and FEU. National U is also out to extend its rule in the men’s tournament even as the likes of FEU and Ateneo are ready and raring to put up a new challenge. Gilas Pilipinas in February The Olympic dream is yet to turn into reality for Gilas Pilipinas, but the Philippine national team remains primed for more international action in the first-ever FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. There, the Filipinos will fight over the right for an automatic advance into the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup. NBTC in March The best of the best young talent in the Philippines come together anew in the latest National Basketball Training Centre League National Finals. There, NCAA king San Beda and UAAP title favorite National U are poised to wage war with the other champions from all over the country. And of course, the All-Star game is and will always be a must-watch. NCAA basketball in July For the first time in quite a while, it’s not San Beda that has a target on its back in NCAA basketball. Instead, it will be Letran which will have to fend off the hungrier Red Lions as well as determined LPU, San Sebastian, and Mapua. Tokyo Olympics in July The Olympics are upon us once more and this time, it is closer than ever to home as Japan hosts the world meet in Tokyo. Already headed there while wearing the flag are EJ Obiena for men’s pole vault as well as Carlos Yulo for artistic gymnastics. UAAP basketball in September Ateneo remains on top of UAAP men’s basketball, but will now defend its title without the championship core of Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt. In Women’s action, National U is still the standard, but teams such as UST and FEU keep coming closer and closer. ABL is ongoing A new champion will be crowned in ABL 10 and as of right now, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas is at the head of the pack. MPBL is ongoing The Philippines’ only regional league is only getting bigger and better in its third tournament, the Lakan Season, which continues to roll along......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2020

Federer says a star s legacy isn t at risk with late decline

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Roger Federer arrives for his interview at the precise appointed time, steering his white sedan into a parking spot in an industrial area dotted by art galleries about 15 minutes from his luxury apartment in this home-away-from-home. After obliging a selfie request from someone on the street, Federer makes his way up to a second-story loft area and sits. He crosses his legs, kneads his right calf and winces. “Just started training. I'm surprised I could walk the stairs as good as I have,” Federer says with a laugh. “My calves are, like, killing me. Just getting back into it. The shock on the body is, I don't want to say 'immense,' every time, but I've been on vacation for two weeks. The shock just hits you hard.” Ah, the ravages of age. Federer, who won the first of his men's-record 20 Grand Slam titles when he was 21 and now is 38, explains to The Associated Press that he must “go back to the drawing board” after “just missing out on The Big One,” a reference to his fifth-set tiebreaker loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July. So all of just two days into Federer's preparation for next season -- he flies to Melbourne on Jan. 9, a week before the Australian Open draw -- he is taking a 48-hour break, sitting out his two-a-day fitness sessions and not lifting a racket. No one this old has won a Grand Slam title in the professional era. As a younger man, Federer says, he didn't allow himself such a respite, working six or eight days in a row to get going. But now? The “waves,” he calls them, making an undulating motion with his famous right arm -- time on, then time off -- offer his body a chance to recover. They also let him “go through the wall” on the day before a rest period, because “otherwise, you maybe would hold back just ever so slightly, because you just don't know how you're going to feel the next day.” Federer recognizes that continuing to play tennis at a high level long past the age when many greats of the past were done (his idol, Pete Sampras, competed for the final time at 31) means he repeatedly faces questions -- from fans, from the media, from those around him -- about how long he will continue on tour. And while he can't provide a definitive answer -- because, quite simply, he says he doesn't have one -- Federer is willing to discuss this aspect of the subject: He does not consider it important to walk away at the top of his game and the top of his sport. When he's told about a newspaper opinion piece from way back in 2013 -- 2013! -- that posited he should quit then to avoid ruining his legacy, Federer just smiles and waves his hand. He knows, of course, that he's managed to reach another seven Grand Slam finals since the start of 2014, winning three. But he also says the notion that an older athlete could harm his or her status by hanging around too long is nonsense, no matter what the decline looks like. “I don't think the exit needs to be that perfect, that you have to win something huge ... and you go, 'OK. I did it all.' It can be completed a different way, as long as you enjoy it and that's what matters to you," Federer says. “People, I don't think, anyway, remember what were the last matches of a John McEnroe, what were the last matches of a Stefan Edberg. Nobody knows. They remember that they won Wimbledon, that they won this and that, they were world No. 1. I don't think the end, per se, is that important.” That doesn't mean, of course, that he isn't as competitive as ever or doesn't want to win a 21st major championship -- above all, No. 9 at Wimbledon, after it slipped away despite two match points in 2019 -- or his first Olympic singles gold at the Tokyo Games next year. Or win any tournaments, for that matter, which would push him closer to Jimmy Connors' professional era record of 109 trophies (Federer has 103). He's still good enough, after all, to be ranked No. 3 — having spent a record 310 weeks at No. 1, he is currently behind No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Djokovic — and to go 53-10 with four titles this season. If it seems as though the rest of the world is insisting it needs to know when and how retirement will arrive, Federer says it's not something on which he expends a lot of energy. Not anymore, anyway. “I mean, I don't think about it much, to be honest,” Federer says. “It's a bit different (now) that I know I'm at the back end of my career. But I feel like I've been toward 'the back end of my career' for a long, long time.” So much so that when he got sick while on a skiing trip in January 2008 with what eventually was diagnosed as mononucleosis, he vowed to stay off the slopes, a decision he stuck to, although not without some regret. His children -- twin daughters, 10, and twin sons, 5 -- all ski, and he and his wife, Mirka, have a home in a resort in his native Switzerland. Yet Federer sticks to his role as “the chief 'getting the kids ski-ready' operator guy.” “I was like, 'OK, you know what? That's a sign. I'm going to stop skiing, because I don't want to get hurt at the back end of my career. Maybe I have another four good years left in me. This was (12) years ago now. So it shows you how long ago I've been thinking: 'Maybe I have another four years. Maybe I have another three years. Maybe I have another two years.' ... I've been on this sort of train for long enough for me not to actually think about it a whole lot,” he says. “But sure, sometimes with family planning, discussions with my wife, we talk a little bit sometimes. But never like, 'What if?' Or, 'What are we going to do?' Because I always think, like, we have time for that and then we'll figure it out when that moment comes." Even his agent, Tony Godsick, who has represented Federer since 2005, raises the topic. “It would help make my job easier,” Godsick says in a telephone interview. “I don't want to know for my own personal travel. Or I don't want to know to have the scoop before anyone else. I want to know so I can plan. ... I mean, he won't go on a retirement tour, but I'd like to have some advance notice, maybe throw some more cameras around when he's out playing, so we can capture some more footage.” Godsick pauses, then spaces out the next five words for emphasis: “But. He. Really. Doesn't. Know.” “I really do think he has the flexibility to actually not decide ... until he feels like it's the time. And that will come when Mirka says, 'I can't do it anymore,' and 'I can't be on the road with the kids,' and 'The kids are not enjoying it.' Or his body might say, ‘Hey, Rog, stop pushing me so hard,'” Godsick says. “Maybe it's a time when he realizes on the practice court he doesn't either have the motivation or the ability to get better. And at that point, then maybe he says, 'I certainly have squeezed all the juice out of this lemon in terms of innovating and getting better.' And I don't think that time is there yet. Which is good news.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

Harden-Westbrook duo ready to do something really special

By Michael C. Wright, NBA.com HOUSTON -- Well-dressed men in the Texas heat scurried, snatching keys and pointing directions to the visitors arriving, car after car. On the third floor, down the hall from a mezzanine overlooking a lobby, sparkling with custom Calcutta marble flooring, they all gathered in a quiet, dim room, just steps away from two Rolls-Royces bathing in the sun gushing through floor-to-ceiling glass. Here in Uptown, at Tilman Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel -- a 38-floor, $350 million property housing a Rolls-Royce showroom and Bentley and Bugatti dealership, below a heliport -- the Houston Rockets' owner has turned the team’s annual media day into a posh, star-studded event. With good reason, too. Houston’s blockbuster July trade that sent Chris Paul off to the Oklahoma City Thunder for picks and pick swaps for Russell Westbrook reunites MVPs and former Thunder stars with James Harden already in the fold for a squad now at the forefront as favorites in a now suddenly wide-open Western Conference. “I think we are a better team,” Fertitta said. “It’s gonna be extremely exciting to have one of the greatest scorers of all time, and one of the most athletic people that has played the game. I know I’m really excited. I hope they don’t let me down.” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks this all-star pairing “could be really special.” “It’s so exciting because James Harden is like the best half-court player I’ve ever seen, honestly,” Morey said. “Then, Russell is maybe the best transition player, one of the best of all time as well. If you put those things together, I think we have a chance. Now, you’ve got something really special.” Searching for same goal The reality is it’s been seven years since Westbrook and Harden last teamed with Oklahoma City in the 2012 NBA Finals, and while both have developed into MVP winners and perennial All-Stars, neither has made it back to The Finals. So, burning hotter than the pomp and glitz at the Post Oak Hotel this hot summer day is the question of whether this will all work for a pair of ball-dominant stars, accustomed to running their own respective shows. They’ve certainly got a believer in former Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins. “They’ve played together in OKC. These two former MVPs still are in their primes. There’s no way that it’s not going to work,” Perkins told NBA.com. “Am I guaranteeing they’re going to win a championship? No, I’m not doing that. But I still believe this might be the most dynamic backcourt we’ve ever seen in NBA history. We probably haven’t seen a point guard and a shooting guard like this on the same team in forever. You can’t really name one going into the season that’s better than these two guys. I just think it’s going to work.” Now retired from the NBA, Perkins joined a 21-year-old Harden and a 22-year-old Westbrook in 2010-11, when he was traded there in the middle of the season from the Boston Celtics to OKC. Perkins describes the childhood friends and former Thunder teammates as “two guys that were still trying to find their identity” back then. Still, both were destined to reach the levels they currently occupy, he says. “When I first got there, those guys were working, man. They turned out to be some beasts, dog,” Perkins told NBA.com. “Gym rats, I’m telling you. It was unreal the amount of work those guys were putting in. Russ was always the heart and soul of the team. There was no debate about it to me. He gave the team swagger. With James, we just knew it was only in due time. People always say they should’ve kept that team together in OKC. But James wouldn’t have been able to be the player he is today if he hadn’t left. Plus, James was deserving of having his own team.” Now that he’s had it since joining the Rockets in 2012-13, Harden welcomes Westbrook, who like himself, began playing the game as a child at the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in South Central Los Angeles. Interestingly, Westbrook and Harden are the only players over the last five seasons to score more than 10,000 points. Westbrook nodded in agreement with the notion his new uniform provides somewhat of a new lease on life, after spending the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City. Harden, meanwhile, pointed out how his new teammate “doesn’t have to stress or worry about the pressure of carrying an entire organization,” because that responsibility now falls on them both. “I think it’s good for both of us because we understand the amount of energy and effort, time and commitment it takes to be able to do that for an entire season,” Westbrook said. “Now, being together on the same team, I think it’s important that we can lean on [one another], sacrifice, and not do as much to still have an impact on the game. I think [what] a lot of people don’t know is we have a friendship first outside of basketball. I think me and him communicate and understand each other. In the games, it’s going to be easy.” 'Sit back and watch the show' Perkins saw signs of maturity from Westbrook last season, when the guard at the detriment of his own stats, deferred to Paul George in crucial situations. But both Westbrook and Harden in 2018-19 ranked in the top 15 in usage rate. So, the phrase uttered most often at media day above the guests clutching cold drinks at the hotel pool was “figure it out.” Everyone, whether Fertitta, Morey, coach Mike D’Antoni or the players, seems confident in the duo’s ability to do so. Harden already said he’s willing to take a backseat to Westbrook. “If Russ has got it going, and Russ is having one of those games that we’ve all seen before, guess what I’m going to do?” Harden asked. “Sit back and watch the show, and vice versa. You can’t sit up here and say, ‘Oh, Russ is going to have the basketball for the first half, and I’m going to have the ball the second half.' No, things happen through the course of the game that you just flow with and go with.” Perkins believes that Harden welcomes the opportunity to defer to someone else, given the physical demands of his playing style. Harden ranked No. 3 last season in minutes per game (36.8), while Westbrook was fourth (36.0). “If you’ve watched James throughout the course of a game, the things he did, he had to do because nobody else was stepping up at the time. James wants somebody else to step up so that he can take a backseat sometimes,” Perkins told NBA.com. “If you watched Russ on the court last year, what a lot of people don’t realize is that he deferred to Paul George a lot. Russ took a backseat. You’ve got to understand, too, that he’s matured, man. He’s starting to show that he can be a better leader. Think about it. When you have kids, man, and you start having a family, sh--, your whole thought process changes. You know what I mean? I just see the maturity in Russ. To me, they have to just get it done. There’s no debate about it. Like, to me, the most pressure is on Mike D’Antoni.” Entering the final year of his contract after extension talks broke down over the summer, D’Antoni will proceed cautiously throughout the preseason implementing Westbrook (who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery). D’Antoni and Morey believe Westbrook, one of the game’s most lethal penetrators, will excel in D'Antoni's wide-open offense (which focuses on keeping shooters posted on the perimeter as guards drive in). Morey mentioned that under D’Antoni, guards have historically produced career years. “You look historically at players that have worked with Mike, guards especially, they always play better,” Morey said. “I think it’s just the way he sets up the team, sets up the offense. He finds ways to get people to do the things they do well more, and again, like he said, we’re not here to change anybody or do anything. Historically like pretty much every guard that’s worked with, Mike has had their career year. That’s gonna be a little tough with Russell, given that he’s had so many.” Wearing a salmon-hued polo shirt, D’Antoni discussed plans to stagger the minutes of Harden and Westbrook throughout the season. The expectation is Harden rests in the neighborhood of 13 minutes per game, while Westbrook sits 16 minutes. In his first preseason game -- a 134-129 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Tokyo -- Westbrook logged 20 minutes, finishing with 13 points, two rebounds and six assists. D’Antoni said the final five minutes of games are “the most important thing” for Westbrook to figure out as the team approaches the regular season. “They both want to do this. So, we’ll just sit down and work it out,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t have to tell someone they have to do this, or they have to do that. We’ll figure it out together. But just the vibe of being able to discuss things, the respect they have [for one another] will translate. We’re in a good spot. Right now, it’s great. All we’re trying right now is to win a title. That’s the only agenda that anybody has, and we’ve just got to figure it out.” When word first spread about Houston’s acquisition of Westbrook, opinions naturally flowed about how he’d fit alongside Harden. Westbrook is a career 30.8% 3-point shooter on a squad that has led the league in 3-point attempts four of the last five seasons. He’s also a ball-dominant, high-usage player just like Harden. Still, everyone, insists they won’t ask Westbrook to change his style of play. That puts the pressure squarely on D’Antoni to tweak what Houston does on the floor. “The system they’ve run, just shooting layups and shooting threes with no in-between game, you have to change that with Russell Westbrook, because one of his main things is his mid-range pull-up,” Perkins explained. “The pressure is on Mike D’Antoni. Does he have to change up his style of play? Yes, he will, in order for Russell Westbrook to be who he is. We all know that Russ is not a three-point shooter. Bottom line is they’ve got two of the top 10 players in the league now, if not top 15. "These guys get it done. Back in the day when they were in OKC, they were trying to find out who they were as players. Now, it’s a whole lot different. Now, they know who they are. They’ve done everything to accomplish all the individual accolades. They only thing they haven’t done is win a championship. It’s not the players. Houston has all the players.” In addition to the glitz, glamour and star power for a franchise starving to add more Larry O'Briens to its trophy case. Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2019

LeBron considering return to US Olympic team under Popovich

em>By Tom Withers, Associated Press /em> INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James might make another run at Olympic gold with Gregg Popovich. James, who already has two gold medals, said that Popovich taking over as coach of the U.S. team will influence his decision on whether to play in the 2020 Tokyo Games. 'It factors a lot,' James said Saturday as the Cavaliers prepared to host Popovich's San Antonio Spurs. 'I've said that before. He's just a great mastermind of the game of basketball.' James skipped last summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to get rest after leading Cleveland to an NBA championship. But he's still connected with Team USA and Popovich replacing outgoing coach Mike Krzyzewski could be enough to draw James back to the Olympics. James will be 36 in 2020, but his game is showing no signs of decay and the three-time NBA champ has relished his previous Olympic appearances. He was a key member of the American teams that captured gold in Beijing (2008) and (2012), performances that helped him and the U.S. squad erase some of the disappointment from taking bronze in Athens (2004). Krzyzewski, the Duke coach who led the U.S. team to three consecutive gold medals, had a hand in naming Popovich as his successor. For James, the pick was perfect. 'Team USA is in good hands with him,' James told The Associated Press in 2015. 'It was in good hands with Coach K. It's almost like 'The Godfather.' We hand it off to Michael Corleone now.' Earlier this week, James said he considers Popovich, who has led the Spurs to five NBA titles, 'the greatest coach of all time. I've said that over and over and over. You have to be sharp, mentally and physically, when you go against his ballclub. If you were an NFL player, it's probably the same as going against a [Bill] Belichick team. 'What they're going to do, they're going to do and you have to try to figure it out.' James has lost twice to teams coached by Popovich in the NBA Finals — in 2007 with Cleveland and in 2014 with Miami. He admires the way the 67-year-old coach has adjusted and adapted over the years. 'A guy that's been able to do what he's done in an era of basketball where it's changed so much and he's been able to have a growth mindset and be able to change with the game,' James said. 'Obviously Tim Duncan was a huge part of that because Timmy was allowed to change with the game as well, but he's just continued to build around Timmy and Manu [Ginobili] and Tony [Parker] and bring pieces in and out throughout his whole tenure.' On Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), the Spurs will play their first game without center Pau Gasol, sidelined indefinitely with a broken left hand. James said that won't change San Antonio much — because of Popovich. 'It doesn't matter who is in the lineup for the Spurs,' James said. 'They'll play Spurs basketball and Pop will have them ready. I mean, what's their record, 33-9, I believe? And if you asked me how things would change without Timmy D., they still pushing forward, man. It's just nothing out of the ordinary.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2017

Japan& rsquo;s host towns pull out over pandemic

TOKYO—Hundreds of Japanese towns and cities have been forced to rethink plans to host Olympic teams because the coronavirus will prevent public appearances and require costly safety measures......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 27th, 2021

Olympics in peril? Japan faces new virus emergencies

Tokyo---Japan’s government is to declare virus states of emergencies in Tokyo and three other regions on Friday, exactly three months before the Olympic opening ceremony, as new infections surge......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2021

Petecio won& rsquo;t allow Olympic opportunity to go to waste

Nesthy Petecio will no longer let her chance to win a medal in the Tokyo Olympics slip away......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2021

Olympic torch relay barred from Osaka& rsquo;s public roads

Tokyo---The Olympic torch relay will be barred from public roads across Japan’s Osaka region as virus cases there spike, prompting officials to declare a medical emergency, the governor said Wednesday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2021

Japan swim star Seto takes aim at Phelps& rsquo; 400 IM record

Tokyo---Japanese swim star Daiya Seto has set his sights on claiming one of Michael Phelps’ world records at the upcoming Tokyo Games, after winning at his country’s Olympic trials on Saturday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 5th, 2021

Ray of light: Olympic torch relay starts after year& rsquo;s delay

Iwaki, Japan---The Tokyo Olympics torch relay got underway on Thursday after a year’s coronavirus delay, with officials hoping it will be a “ray of light” after the problems caused by the pandemic......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 26th, 2021

Tokyo rites& rsquo; chief quits after & lsquo;Olympig& rsquo; proposal

Tokyo---The creative director for Tokyo’s Olympic ceremonies resigned on Thursday for suggesting a female comedian appear as a pig, just weeks after the Games’ chief stepped down over insulting remarks about women......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 19th, 2021

Razon to provide Tokyo-bound athletes, coaches with vaccines

Business tycoon Enrique Razon guaranteed to provide the Philippines’ Tokyo Olympic bound athletes and coaches with the COVID-19 vaccines......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 10th, 2021

Simmons 1 of 9 NBA stars on Australia& rsquo;s Olympic team

Melbourne---Two-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles and San Antonio Spurs’ Patty Mills were included Wednesday in Australia’s Tokyo Olympic squad as they target an elusive gold medal......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 4th, 2021

Japan extends virus emergency

Tokyo —Japan’s government is set to approve a month-long extension of its coronavirus state of emergency on Tuesday, less than six months before the pandemic-postponed Olympic Games open in Tokyo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 3rd, 2021