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“Hands off, leave Caster Semenya alone”: parliamentarians support Olympic champion

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South African Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa has urged politicians to unite across the Caster Semenya case and support her in a legal battle against rules proposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The association suggested regulations at which women with naturally higher testosterone levels must to control it and undergo treatment to attend international competitions.

The South African parliamentarians supported Olympic 800 m champion in her on-going legal fight with the IAAF:

“ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT, WE STAND IN SUPPORT OF THE HAND-OFF CASTER CAMPAIGN,” SAID UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT CHIEF WHIP NQABAYOMZI KWANKWA.

“HANDS OFF, BACK OFF AND LEAVE CASTER SEMENYA ALONE,” ADDED THE NATIONAL FREEDOM PARTY’S NHLANHLA KHUBISA.

The three-judge panel at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to make a final decision on or before 26 March.

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Graham Henry joins ‘League of Nations’ revolt – says it would ‘kill Rugby World Cup’

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WELLINGTON – World Rugby’s proposed ‘League of Nations’ competition will kill off interest in the Rugby World Cup, former All Blacks coach Graham Henry warned Friday after a player revolt over the plan.

Henry, who steered New Zealand to World Cup victory in 2011, was dismissive about the blueprint, which will reportedly involve 12 nations playing annually in a competition along the lines of football’s UEFA Nations League.

“The players don’t want it, they’re overplayed now, so it’s not going to happen,” he told TV3.

Henry predicted rugby’s showpiece tournament, which is played once every four years, would not survive if the proposal went ahead.

“It’s going to kill the Rugby World Cup because you’re going to have a mini-World Cup every year, so people are going to lose interest,” he said.

International Rugby Players, the global body representing professional players, has also strongly condemned the plan, with president and reigning world player of the year Johnny Sexton saying it places commercial interests ahead of player safety

New Zealand players’ association chief executive Rob Nichol said players felt they had been “dismissed and disrespected” by World Rugby as it reportedly contemplates a 12-year deal with a major broadcaster to set up the competition.

Aside from player welfare, Nichol said other key concerns were the lack of a promotion-relegation element in the competition and the way it locked out Pacific island nations and emerging powers such as Georgia.

“We’re not going to let a commercial land-grab happen here at the expense of player welfare and the integrity of the international game,” he told Radio Sport.

‘No simple solution’

Pacific Rugby Players chief Aayden Clarke was concerned rugby union would wither in island nations such as Fiji, Samoa and Tonga if they were excluded.
“It’s going to have a huge impact,” he told stuff.co.nz.

“We’re going to see players withdrawing from Test rugby and signing three- to four-year deals with French or UK clubs,” he said.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read is among those who have spoken out against the concept and his employer, New Zealand Rugby, moved to assure players Friday that their voice would be heard.

NZR chief Steve Tew said no final decisions had been made and expressed frustration the latest version of the planned competition had leaked less than 24 hours after it was finalised.

Tew said there were a number of fundamentals his organisation would insist on – including a pathway for developing countries, including the Pacific, and no additional workload on players.

“There’s no simple solution to this, but New Zealand Rugby remains committed to working through the proposals with the right people in the room,” he said.

Tew said World Rugby would discuss the plan at meetings later this month.

World Rugby has refused to confirm leaked details of the competition but insists players’ concerns are being addressed.

“Now it’s out in the open, I think transparency will be good for the process,” Nichol said.

“Provided World Rugby take it on board, maybe with a little bit of humbleness, and reach out to the players to get things back on track.”

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Guardiola hails ‘fantastic’ City as they edge out West Ham

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LONDON – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised his side’s “incredible” performance after a 1-0 win at home to West Ham on Wednesday saw them keep pace with Premier League leaders Liverpool.

City dominated the early stages at the Etihad and could have had several goals, but in the end they had to make do with a 59th-minute penalty from Sergio Aguero, awarded when West Ham’s Felipe Anderson was ruled to have tripped Bernardo Silva in the box.

Victory left reigning English champions City in second place, just a point adrift of Liverpool, who thrashed Watford 5-0 at Anfield on Wednesday.

“It was a very hard result, but the performance was incredible,” Guardiola told the BBC.

The Spaniard added: “Had we scored one or two in the first five minutes the game would have been completely different, but we did very well.

“The game became a little bit flat. We started the second half really well. We just didn’t score enough goals to make the last 15 to 20 minutes a little bit more relaxed,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager insisted.

“We fought a lot to be close to Liverpool. The result could be better, but the way we played is fantastic.”

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WWE Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens

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The New” Daniel Bryan has a new opponent.

His name, unfortunately for Bryan, is Kevin Owens, and the circumstances of how he took the place of Bryan’s original challenger Kofi Kingston proved to be somewhat surprising for all involved, including the WWE Universe and The Dreadlocked Dynamo.

Just when Kofi was about to finally sign his contract and take his destiny in full view of The New Day, Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Bryan, WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon suddenly appeared and replaced the 11-year veteran with KO, citing his opinion that the former Universal Champion who has been out of action with a double knee injury was “more deserving” and “more qualified.”

That’s a bitter pill to swallow for Kingston, who was named the challenger by Shane following an hour-long performance in a Gauntlet Match, a second-place finish in the Elimination Chamber and a pinfall victory over Bryan in a Six-Man Tag Team Match.

Tune in to WWE Fastlane to see if the returning Owens can capture his first WWE Championship when the event streams live on Sunday, March 10, at 7 ET/4 PT on the award-winning WWE Network!

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