WELLINGTON: New Zealand rugby bosses have confirmed the Canterbury Crusaders will keep their name for at least another year, despite a backlash following the mosque attacks in the team’s hometown of Christchurch in March.However, the team will drop the knight and sword image from its logo at the end of this year.Independent research commissioned by the Crusaders in the immediate aftermath of the shootings, in which 51 Muslims died, showed opinion was divided on the name.But “people on both sides of the divide are incredibly passionate about this club and what it represents to them,” Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said.New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey told Radio Sport that there was “no intention and never has been any intention that the Crusaders name would change in 2020.”But, he added, it was still being debated whether the name should change long-term.The nine-times champion Crusaders, the most successful side in Super Rugby, have faced criticism over their name since the March 15 shootings targeting Muslim worshippers attending Friday prayers.The Crusaders adopted the name when Super Rugby began in 1996, intending it as a nod to Christchurch’s strong links to England.However, there has been a growing opinion that the name is offensive because of its association with the crusades waged by Christians against Muslims in the medieval period.References to the crusades are said to have been written on weapons owned by the self-proclaimed white supremacist who has been charged with the mass murder.A market research firm has been commissioned to review possible options for the rugby team, which Mansbridge said would take into account “all relevant opinions and, most importantly, we are committed to doing the right thing.”The review will examine two options — dropping the Crusaders’ name entirely or retaining it but revamping the brand.They have already dropped their traditional pre-match entertainment at home games, which featured sword-brandishing horsemen dressed as crusading knights in chainmail and tunics adorned with crosses.But Impey said they could not consider an immediate name change because of existing contracts, particularly with merchandise manufacturers.Mansbridge said any change would not come into effect until 2021 when the Crusaders license is up for renewal.“In the meantime, the Crusaders name will be retained for the remainder of the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but an interim change to the logo will come into effect for next season, with the removal of the knight and sword image,” Mansbridge said.New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew described the removal of medieval theming as “an appropriate step for now,” but said any further consideration of the brand needed to be broader than a response to one event.Similar debates have raged in the United States over the names of sports teams with Native American associations, such as the Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.In 1997, the Washington Bullets basketball team became the Washington Wizards because then owner Abe Pollin did not want the side to have a name linked to violence.
Amir Khan to appear during Jeddah Season
JEDDAH: Amir Khan, the two-time world boxing champion, is set to appear for a one-off Fight Night event at King Abdullah Sports City Arena, on July 20 as part of the Jeddah Season festival. The Fight Night will be the culmination of a special “Boxing Week” organized by the World Boxing Council in the Kingdom of…
JEDDAH: Amir Khan, the two-time world boxing champion, is set to appear for a one-off Fight Night event at King Abdullah Sports City Arena, on July 20 as part of the Jeddah Season festival.
The Fight Night will be the culmination of a special “Boxing Week” organized by the World Boxing Council in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
It will feature appearances by Khan and others at a number of gyms across the region, including Fitness Time Gym, where they will engage in sparring demonstrations, open training sessions and meet and greets.
Saudi celebrities Qusai Kheder and Badr Al-Zaidan are also slated to attend.
Tickets for the Fight Night itself will be sold at Virgin Megastores and via the sharek.sa platform, as well as through Jeddah Season’s official website Jeddah.sa.
Raed Abu Zinada, the general manager of Jeddah Season, said: “Our aim is to organize activities that will enrich the lives of the community, as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aims to contribute to the arts, culture, sports and entertainment.
“The city of Jeddah is characterized by a rich cultural diversity, an extended historical heritage, and a strategic location on the Red Sea coast, making it a cultural hub.”
Boxing has become a major attraction in the Kingdom in the wake of the country’s success in various foreign tournaments by its male and female boxers.
Jeddah Season is one of a range of Saudi cultural festivals to be held across the country this year, established as part of the Quality of Life Program, a key component of Vision 2030.
Italy beats China 2-0 to reach World Cup quarterfinals
RENNES, France: Tears were still flowing from Saki Kumagai’s eyes more than 30 minutes later.With victorious Dutch rivals passing her on the way out of the stadium, Japan’s captain seemed to find solace in speaking about the penalty long after it cost her team a place in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup.With Tuesday…
RENNES, France: Tears were still flowing from Saki Kumagai’s eyes more than 30 minutes later.With victorious Dutch rivals passing her on the way out of the stadium, Japan’s captain seemed to find solace in speaking about the penalty long after it cost her team a place in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup.With Tuesday night’s game entering the 90th minute locked at 1-1, Kumagai’s outstretched left arm blocked the shot Vivianne Miedema had aimed into the right side of the net.“It had my hand for sure,” Kumagai said. “It’s difficult to accept but it’s also sad. I know that is football.”Referee Melissa Borjas pointed to the penalty spot and Lieke Martens netted her second goal of the game in the 90th minute to seal a 2-1 victory that sent the Netherlands into the quarterfinals for the first time.“We have made history,” Martens said. “I’m not usually taking the penalties but I felt really good this game. I asked Sherida Spitse if I could take it and she gave it directly to me and I felt quite relaxed about it.”The reigning European champions will need to maintain that composure as they prepare for a meeting with Italy on Saturday after going one stage further than their Women’s World Cup debut four years ago.“We were standing in the circle after the match and we were so happy, yelling at each other,” Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman said. “We were saying, ‘Let’s continue writing history.’“It is journey’s end for Japan, which won the 2011 tournament and was the runner-up four years later.The strength of the second-half display counted for nothing.As befitting a meeting of the Asian and European champions, the game produced some of the slickest action of the World Cup. A backheel flick set up Martens to send the Dutch in front in the 17th minute and Yui Hasegawa equalized in the 43rd to complete a slick passing move.But the post, crossbar and goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal thwarted Japan’s pursuit of a winning goal.“I think we lacked the clinical edge,” Japan coach Asako Takakura said. “We have to accept the result, we’re defeated, we’re very disappointed and for all the players I feel very sorry for them and frustrated.”With the last Asian team eliminated, the Women’s World Cup will have a record seven European teams in the quarterfinals. Norway and England meet in Le Havre on Thursday and France takes on the United States the following night. After the Netherlands plays Italy on Saturday, Germany and Sweden will meet.“It’s really tough to be here,” Netherlands forward Miedema said. “Sometimes it kind of feels like a Euros.”That is a title already won by this team, thanks to Miedema’s goals in the final two years ago on home soil.The fans won’t have far to travel for the World Cup quarterfinal, with Valenciennes around two hours’ drive from the Netherlands.It will be another chance for the orange-clad fans who danced and sang their way in a convoy to the stadium on Tuesday to stamp their mark on this tournament.They were certainly given a game to savor, and an audacious opening goal.Martens flicked in the opener after evading her marker to meet a corner and send the ball through the legs of Yuika Sugasawa into the net.Sugasawa had a quick chance to tie, only to hit the post. But Japan did equalize by completing an intricate move.Hina Sugita squared across the penalty area to Yuika Sugasawa, who passed back to Mana Iwabuchi on the edge of the penalty area. After holding off Jackie Groenen on the turn, Iwabuchi slipped the ball through to Hasegawa, who was free to delicately dink a shot over Van Veenendaal into the corner of the net.It was some way to make the most of a first shot on target for a team that failed to score in two of its three group stage games.But parity nearly didn’t last long.Miedema received the ball from Shanice van de Sanden but with only Ayaka Yamashita to beat struck straight at the Japan goalkeeper.Van Veenendaal came to the rescue of the Dutch in the second half by denying Emi Nakajima as Japan chased the winner.“Japan is a world class team and you saw that today,” Miedema said. “In the second half you can see they have loads of quality on the pitch.”
Saudi Arabia’s biggest celebration of motor racing returns with Formula E back at Ad Diriyah
Saudi Arabia’s biggest celebration of motor racing returns with Formula E back at Ad Diriyah RIYADH: This year’s Formula E season will kick off with a doubleheader in Ad Diriyah in November, backed by a huge festival of off-track action, music, culture and heritage. The 2019 “Saudia” Ad Diriyah E-Prix promises to eclipse the inaugural 2018…
Saudi Arabia’s biggest celebration of motor racing returns with Formula E back at Ad Diriyah
RIYADH: This year’s Formula E season will kick off with a doubleheader in Ad Diriyah in November, backed by a huge festival of off-track action, music, culture and heritage.
The 2019 “Saudia” Ad Diriyah E-Prix promises to eclipse the inaugural 2018 edition, with two races, instead of one, being staged at the stunning UNESCO world heritage site of Ad Diriyah, and with crowds of up to 100,000 expected to attend.
Last year’s sell-out E-Prix featured music icons such as David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias, One Republic and the Black-Eyed Peas, performing as part of the racing championship’s debut in the Middle East.
2019 will see Porsche and Mercedes competing for the first time, boosting the number of cars on the track. Plus, Ad Diriyah will be ready to welcome even more international tourists, after the surrounding At-Turaif district finalizes its ambitious development program.
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA), said: “Formula E’s arrival in the Kingdom was a watershed moment for us, one that thousands witnessed together.
“The 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix excited our nation through its exhilarating action, heroes and entertainment. Thanks to the ambitions of Vision 2030, it was the biggest festival of sport, music and culture the Kingdom has ever seen.
“This year we look forward to igniting an even bigger season of motor racing for Formula E, to welcome even more international visitors, and to create another unforgettable moment for our people.”
In a recent interview with the UAE’s The National newspaper, DJ David Guetta hailed the 2018 event, which included the country’s first unsegregated concerts.
“I’m really proud that I’ve done this. There is obviously a very big effort in Saudi to open to music and to artists. And as an artist, I play for the people and the people were obviously so happy,” he said.
“It was incredible to see men and women dancing and letting go of everything. It was a great honor for me to be part of this.”
Last year saw travelers from 80 different countries flock to the event, taking advantage of the first-ever 30-day tourism visas issued under the new online Sharek immigration system. For 2019 the process has been enhanced to make visiting the Kingdom even easier.
The 2019 E-Prix will be the second of a 10-year partnership between Formula E, the GSA and the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF). The event will be staged again by promoter CBX, which successfully created the racetrack and venue in the heart of the heritage site.
Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal, president of SAMF, said: “In 2018 the track proved itself a world-class venue for motorsport, hailed by racers as one of the most exiting they have faced.
“This year sees even more teams enter the championship, with Porsche and Mercedes entering the fray. Last year Ad Diriyah was the launchpad for the new ‘Gen 2’ race cars and the exciting ‘Attack Zone’ innovation. This year will be the first time drivers will have an additional 10 kilowatts (kW) of power available when using the ‘Attack Mode,’ rising from 225kW to 235kW.
“Add to that, a double header — two races instead of one — with a total of 24 cars competing. This will fire up Saudi Arabia’s passion for motorsports, and we are ready to welcome Formula E back.”