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Short track mixed team relay gives China first Beijing gold

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2022)

China won a first gold medal of their home Winter Olympics when they claimed the short track speed skating mixed team relay title on Saturday (February 5) ahead of Italy and Hungary.

Ren Ziwei, Wu Dajing, Fan Kexin and Qu Chunyu clocked two minutes 37.348 seconds over 2,000 metres in the final to kick off the host country’s Games in style at the Capital Indoor Stadium.

Wu won China’s only gold medal at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang.

China won five titles at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and three in Sochi in 2014.

Walter Wallberg of Sweden soared to gold in the men’s freestyle moguls event, unseating favoured champion Mikael Kingsbury of Canada who took silver.

Wallberg, 21, fist-pumped the air and threw down his skis after he landed a Cork 1080 in a lightening fast run that lasted less than 24 seconds.

The slick performance earned him a final score of 83.23, as he edged his Canadian rival.

Wallberg’s win, four years after he was 21st at Pyeongchang 2018, was a surprise as Kingsbury, the most decorated moguls skier in history, was tipped to extend his winning streak.

Ursa Bogataj sent Slovenia into raptures when she won the women’s normal hill ski-jump gold, with compatriot Nika Kriznar claiming bronze as Germany’s Katharina Althaus had to settle for silver as she did four years ago.

No Slovenian had previously won an Olympic ski jumping gold, though Peter Prevc claimed silver and bronze in Sochi in 2014, the year the women’s event was added to the programme.

Bogataj nailed her second jump and joined her team mates in an anxious huddle as Althaus prepared to launch.

The German delivered a clean, long effort but it fell just short in points.

A blistering skiing display by Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe brought his team back form the dead as they claimed victory in a thrilling sprint finish to win the gold medal in the 4x6km mixed biathlon relay.

France took silver, nine-tenths of a second behind the Norwegians, with the Russian Olympic Committee team winning bronze, a further six-tenths of a second off the pace.

Boe’s brilliance allowed Norway to overcome some minor disasters as they seemed to set themselves up for victory only to throw the chance away before he rescued them at the end.

A superb display of shooting allowed Eduard Latypov to maintain a lead for the Russians as many others struggled, but Boe’s blistering power put Norway back in the mix ahead of the last lap behind the French in third place.

The Norwegian closed the gap and then decided to bide his time before accelerating into the home stretch to blast past his opponents, triumphantly punching the air as he crossed the line.

Dutchwoman Irene Schouten won gold in the women’s 3000m speed skating, coming from behind with her skating pair in the latter half of the race to extend her winning streak this season.

She finished the race with an Olympic record of three minutes 56.93 seconds

Italy’s Francesca Lollobrigida, who had led in the early stages of the final race, could not hold on to her lead and ended just over a second behind Schouten, winning silver.

Schouten’s time bettered the mark of 3.57.70 that Claudia Pechstein skated to win 3,000m gold at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

Germany’s Pechstein, competing at a record-equalling eighth Winter Olympics at the age of 49, finished 20th and last, but became the oldest female Winter Olympian.

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Ireland beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in first T20I match of series

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(Last Updated On: August 10, 2022)

Ireland beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in the first of five matches in the T20 International in Belfast on Tuesday.

George Dockrell hit the winning boundary off the penultimate ball to lift Ireland on to 171 for three after they were set a target of 169.

Afghanistan’s total of 168 for seven had been boosted by 30 runs off the final two overs, with Ibrahim Zadran clubbing 29 not out off 18 balls.

Afghanistan’s top scorer, opener Usman Ghani, struck two sixes and six fours in his 59 off 42 balls.

The two sides will meet again on Thursday at the same Civil Services Cricket Club venue in Stormont for the second time in their five-match series.

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Former international cricket umpire Koertzen dies in car accident

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(Last Updated On: August 9, 2022)

Rudi Koertzen, former international cricket umpire from South Africa, died on Tuesday in a car accident in the country, ESPNcricInfo reported citing his family.

“He went on a golf tournament with some of his friends, and they were expected to come back on Monday, but it seems they decided to play another round of golf,” his son Rudi Koertzen jr said.

Koertzen, 73, was on the International Cricket Council’s elite panel of umpires for eight years and officiated in 331 matches, a record at the time of his retirement in 2010 that has since been surpassed by Pakistan’s Aleem Dar.

“It is a very big loss, foremost for his family and then for South Africa and cricket,” Dar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricInfo.

“I stood in so many games with him. He was not only very good as an umpire but also an excellent colleague, always very cooperative on field and also always willing to help off the field.

“Because of the way he was, he was also well-respected by players.”

Koertzen died while driving from Cape Town to Despatch in Eastern Cape, where he lived with his family, ESPNcricInfo said.

Koertzen still umpired occasionally in amateur cricket in his hometown of Despatch in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

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ACB names players for five-match T20I series against Ireland

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(Last Updated On: August 1, 2022)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Monday announced the 16-member squad for the five T20I matches against Ireland scheduled to take place this month.

All matches will take place in Ireland and start on August 9. The tournament will run through until August 17. 

According to the ACB, the team will leave for Ireland on Friday.

Mohammad Nabi will captain the team. The other players are as follows: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicketkeeper), Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Darwish Rasooli, Karim Jannat, Afsar Zazai, Azmatullah Umarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad, Fazal Haq, Farid Malik, and Naveen ul Haq.

The reserves are Qais Ahmed, Usman Ghani, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Najat Masoud.

Noorul Haq Malikzi, the ACB’s head of the selection committee said: “We have selected a team for Ireland, which I am sure will have great achievements, because our priority is talent, young players, their performance and strength.”

The Afghanistan Cricket Board says that one of the goals of these competitions is to prepare for the Asia Cup and the World Cup, which will start in September and October respectively.

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