MISS MY ROSE STALKS PACE AND IS MOVED UP TO WIN VIA DQ IN $75,000 ANGELS FLIGHT STAKES; GRYDER & D’AMATO TEAM FOR SEVEN FURLONG WIN IN 1:24.30 ARCADIA, Calif. (May 4, 2019)–Originally second by three quarters of a length, trainer Phil D’Amato’s Miss My Rose, who was the recipient of a significant bump a furlong out, was awarded Saturday’s $75,000 Angels Flight Stakes via disqualification. Ridden by Aaron Gryder, Miss My Rose finished just off an official final time of 1:24.30.Although she broke slowly, headstrong favorite Hard Not to Love pulled her way to the lead five furlongs out and was shaded around the far turn by the original winner, Sneaking Out. With Gryder sitting chilly, Miss My Rose was fanned four-wide, but had a full head of steam until impeded.A first-out maiden winner going six furlongs on March 30, Miss My Rose was the 9-5 second choice in a field of five sophomore fillies and paid $5.80, $3.20 and $2.20.Bred in Kentucky by Venneri Racing and Flintridge Stables, Miss My Rose, a daughter of Magician, out of the Afternoon Deelites mare Ava G, picked up $47,400 for the win, increasing her earnings to $80,400.Sneaking Out, who finished 7 ½ lengths clear of the third horse, Hard Not to Love, was the 9-5 third choice with Rafael Bejarano and paid $3.00 and $2.10.Hard Not to Love, who proved a handful on post parade and during the running of the Angels Flight, tired badly to finish third, 2 ¼ lengths clear of Tiz a Master. Off at 3-2 with Tiago Pereira, Hard Not to Love paid $2.10 to show.Fractions on the race were 22.54, 45.19 and 1:10.65.
42% Jorge Velez123 Doug O’Neill74 32 27 $625,068 15 $613,787 29 $1,576,464 11% 1st 11 7 14% AMERICAN THEOREM’S NEXT WORK IS KEY $593,957 44% 18 7 2nd 45% J.C. Diaz, Jr.62 23% 10 5 (Current Through Friday, Feb. 21) 2 12 Bob Baffert57 ITM% 9 Philip D’Amato67 10 61% $1,552,784 5 17 12% 70% 22% 38% $981,476 $600,117 Tiago Pereira88 9 21 14 16% SANTA ANITA STATISTICS 25 7 3 35% 1st 2nd 51% 7 23% Steve Knapp35 22 9% 10% $883,476 26 44% 9 Victor Espinoza41 3 9 $551,881 $1,272,262 19 11 26 ‘FASHIONABLE FILLIES’ HERE ON MARCH 8 40% 12 7 $424,971 TrainerSts Flavien Prat120 7 33% Richard Baltas78 30% 21% 9 GLATT MAKES HIS MARK WITH RICK PITINO 50% 40% 8 53% Peter Miller55 48% Ruben Fuentes61 $1,325,052 6 21% 7 7 4 3rd 28% 2 $751,312 Money Won 8 49% 3rd Win% 11% 13 3 ITM% 12 5 Abel Cedillo179 15% 4 9 8 37% 13 Geovanni Franco63 Umberto Rispoli94 47% $1,181,321 Mario Gutierrez65 JockeyMts Joel Rosario115 $487,630 Win% VENETIAN HARBOR DRILLS FOR SA OAKS 10 $275,545 22% Money Won $627,367 GLATT, PITINO A WINNING COMBINATIONMark Glatt enjoyed a fantastic Friday when he saddled Tamaraandtheboys to win the seventh race with Assael Espinoza in the irons after sending out first-time starter Striking a Pose to register a $54.20 upset under Umberto Rispoli in the fifth race.Tamaraandtheboys, a four-year-old daughter of Clubhouse Ride, is owned by Glatt and 67-year-old basketball Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino, who campaigns as RAP Racing.“We each own 50 percent of the horse,” said the 46-year-old Glatt, a successful fixture on the Southern California circuit after departing from the Great Northwest. “We got together through a mutual friend, Bob Bone. He owns part of a three-year-old Cal-bred filly I train as well. But this is the first horse I’ve had for Rick.”Pitino’s career includes college tours with the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, and, on the professional level, the NBA’s Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.Striking a Pose, a four-year-old Washington-bred gelding by Majesticperfection out of the Smart Strike dam Striking Scholar, was making his debut in a maiden allowance test and won the mile event by three-quarters of a length.“He’s got a half-brother that won the (Grade III) Longacres Mile in back-to-back years,” Glatt pointed out, alluding to Stryker Phd, winner in 2014 and 2015 under Leslie Mawing for trainer Larry Ross. “It’s a Smart Strike mare and she’s had one other horse that had some ability, so she’s been a good-producing mare so far.”As for Rispoli, a two-time champion in his native Italy, Glatt is one of a growing number of horsemen and handicappers the rider has won over through 28 days of the Winter Meet, where he has 21 wins, good for fourth in the standings.“He’s doing great,” Glatt said. “He’s excellent on the turf, but really rides everything pretty good. He seems very intelligent and he knows what to tell you after a race. His input has been very useful so far. It makes sense and I think they’re all reasons he’s doing well.”STREAKING VENETIAN HARBOR WORKS FAST HALF FOR OAKSIn her first recorded work since daylighting her competition by 9 ¼ lengths in the Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes Feb. 8, the Richard Baltas-trained Venetian Harbor drilled a half mile in a bullet 46.20 Friday at Santa Anita under Flavien Prat.“I was very happy to see she was so relaxed,” said Baltas, the meet’s leading trainer through 28 racing days with 19 wins. “I told Flavien my only concern was to keep her relaxed, within herself. I looked at the watch and it said 46 and one. I’ve never had a horse do that.”Although the Grade III Santa Ysabel, at a mile and one sixteenth, had been considered, Baltas said the three-year-old daughter of Munnings would likely pass the race.“I was glad to see she’s in good shape this morning. We’re gonna wait until the Santa Anita Oaks (Grade II, $400,000, at 1 1/16 miles April 4). I’ve had some good ones, but yes, she’s the best filly I’ve ever had. I’ve never had a horse do what she’s done and if we can keep her healthy and sound, there’s no telling what we’ve got.”Bred in Kentucky, Venetian Harbor, who is out of the Street Cry mare Sounds of the City, debuted at five furlongs on turf Nov. 15 at Del Mar, finishing a close second as the even money favorite. A 10 ¾ length maiden winner at 6 ½ furlongs on dirt here Dec. 29, she stretched out for the first time in the Las Virgenes and although she was a bit keen in the early stages, demolished her competition as the 1-5 favorite.Purchased for $110,000 out of the Keeneland September 2018 Yearling Sale, Venetian Harbor, with two wins from three starts, has earnings of $163,400.OHIO COULD MAKE HISTORY IN FRANK E. KILROE MILEOhio will attempt to become only the second back-to-back winner of the prestigious Frank E. Kilroe Mile when he runs in the Grade I race on turf March 7.The Brazilian-bred gelding posted a 9-1 upset in 2019 when he nosed out favored Catapult in a thrilling renewal of the race, which will be contested for the 62nd time this year.“He’s coming off a nice win in the same race he won in 2019, the Cotton Fitzsimmons atTurf Paradise,” said Michael McCarthy, who trains the venerable bay for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Bruce Treitman. “He’s doing very well and it’s not like he needs to run every 30 days, so we’ll pick and choose our spots since he’s nine years old.“But he still has plenty of gas left in the tank and still wants to run. The timing is right and fortunately it’s a Grade I, so it’s expected to be tough.“Our horse is doing well; you can’t fault him.”Ohio was claimed for $50,000 on June 10, 2018 at Del Mar. Overall, he has a 10-5-3 record from 33 starts with earnings of $585,293.Ga Hai is the only horse to win the Kilroe in consecutive years, in 1975 under Jacinto Vasquez and in 1976 with Fernando Toro up. The trainer was Gene Cleveland.‘FASHIONABLE FILLIES’ LUNCHEON TO BE HELD MARCH 8“Go West Young Lady!” A successful event for nearly two decades in Saratoga Springs, New York, Santa Anita will host its first “Fashionable Fillies” Luncheon in the track’s Chandelier Room on Sunday, March 8.The event is sponsored by The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, a charitable trust which provides, on a confidential basis, financial relief and assistance to needy members of the Thoroughbred industry and their families.“The Fashionable Fillies Luncheon has been a successful event on the east coast, and we’re excited to bring it to Santa Anita,” said Shannon Kelly, Executive Director of The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation. “We wanted to bring it west to engage the California racing community and show the important work that the Safety Net does for those in need in the racing industry across the country.”The Fashionable Fillies Luncheon, which takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., will include cocktails, lunch and the opportunity to shop with local vendors. Tickets are $150 each and all proceeds will be earmarked by the foundation to benefit the backstretch community of Southern California.Those interested in this very worthwhile cause are encouraged to respond by this Monday, Feb. 24 to Shannon Kelley at (212) 521-5327, or via email at [email protected] LINES: George Papaprodromou was pleased with Triple Crown hopeful American Theorem‘s five furlong workout Friday in 1:01.40 but will not announce the colt’s three-year-old debut race until after his breeze next week. “He worked great, galloped out well but we have no plans yet,” the trainer said Saturday morning. “We should know after his breeze next week.” . . . Rafael Bejarano rides Legends of War for Doug O’Neill in the Ste 1351 Cup at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf Saturday in Saudi Arabia.LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:FEATURES: XBTV Saturday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on February 22nd, 2020Quick Questions With Exercise Rider Humberto GomezAndrew Lerner Shedrow Stroll: Get to Know Biddy DukeAndrew Lerner Shedrow Stroll: Get to Know RagerWORKOUTS:Appriciated (Becerra) 2-21-20Venetian Harbor (Baltas) 2-21-20Julius (O’Neill) 2-21-20United (Outside) and Affianced (Mandella) 2-21-20Gidgetta (Outside) and Untouched Elegance (Baltas) 2-21-20Eight Rings (Inside) and Ax Man (Outside) (Baffert) 2-21-20Croughavouke (Mullins) 2-20-20Game Winner (Baffert) 2-20-20I Want One (Lerner) 2-20-20 Brian Koriner32 24% 9 18 6 20 $875,302 16 35% $304,481 $1,777,754 12 12 42% 9 Mike Smith40 Michael McCarthy30 50% 8 20% 24 $295,662 67% John Sadler54 22 8 17% 17% $284,222 29% 7 2 Drayden Van Dyke95 13% OHIO IN FRANK E. KILROE STATE OF MIND 14
20 CENT SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOT CARRYOVER OF $62,716 INTO FRIDAY AT SANTA ANITA; TWO CONSOLATION TICKETS EACH WORTH $35,044.60 ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2020)–With a massive single ticket payoff of $605,997.20 (Canadian) on Friday, there is a two-day carryover of $62,716 in Santa Anita’s popular 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot into Friday. Although there was no single ticket winner today, there were two consolation tickets with six winners, each returning $35,044.60.With a carryover of $32,678 from Saturday, $131,204 in new money was wagered today, creating a total Jackpot pool of $163,882.First post time for an eight race card on Friday is at 1 p.m., with approximate post time for the third race, leg one in the Rainbow Six, at 2 p.m. PT.Admission gates will open on Friday at 11 a.m. with free parking and admission offered. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
SON HEUNG-MIN dedicated the first of his two-goal haul against Red Star Belgrade to Andre Gomes after the Everton midfielder’s horror injury.The South Korean star was left in floods of tears after his mistimed challenge on the Portuguese star last Sunday left him suffering a fractured and dislocated ankle.3 Tottenham star Son dedicated a goal to Andre GomesCredit: BT Sport3 The South Korean was devastated after his attempted tackle led to the Everton midfielder suffering a horror injuryCredit: EPA3 Gomes was left with a broken and dislocated ankle after getting his foot caught in the turfCredit: ReutersGomes, 26, was rushed to hospital during the 1-1 draw and had surgery on Monday – which the club confirmed went “extremely well”.Tottenham star Son, who was so distraught that he was unable to pick his head up in the dressing room, proved how much toll the events had taken on him on his return to the pitch just three days later.With Mauricio Pochettino’s side 1-0 up in Serbia thanks to Giovani Lo Celso’s first-half strike, the South Korean captain slammed home after being played in by Dele Alli.Instead of turning back to his teammates, Son went towards the camera and appeared to apologise to Gomes before bringing his hands together in prayer.Speaking after Spurs’ 4-0 win, the 26-year-old said: “It has been a really really few days.”I realise how lucky I am, the supporters, team mates, friends, everyone gave me messages.”I am really really sorry about the accident and the situation but I have to focus for the team, this is football, I have to respect and keep working hard.”I didn’t want to celebrate because I just want to respect the situation.”Of course, I still feel really sorry about this situation. It’s been a few tough days.”I wish Andre Gomes get well soon and best wishes.”I didn’t want to celebrate because I just want to respect the situation. Of course, I still feel really sorry. I wish Andre Gomes get well soonSon Heung-minThe celebration came just hours after Gomes spoke publicly for the first time, to thank fans who have offered words of comfort.In a video on Twitter, which was captioned “Thank you for your unconditional support”, he said: “Hi everyone. As you already know everything went well. I’m already at home with my family.”I would like to thank you all for the support, messages and the positive energy. Thank you.”His message comes a day after he was discharged from hospital, with Everton expecting Gomes to make a full recovery.Although a timescale on his return has not yet been made official, he is likely to be sidelined for between six months and a year.Son grabs Spurs second!A muted celebration from the Korean. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/emCKGLvy9c— 🇩🇪Ja! Watch the Bundesliga live on BT Sport🇩🇪 (@btsportfootball) November 6, 2019 In a statement released on Tuesday, Everton said: “Following a successful operation yesterday, Andre Gomes has now been discharged from hospital and will continue his rehabilitation under the care of our medical team.”Close friend and teammate Cenk Tosun, who grabbed the late equaliser in the draw, explained the horror of seeing Gomes’ injury first-hand.He said: “Everybody is so sad inside.”Some players, they nearly cried. Andre was in shock. His eyes were open so big. He was crying, shouting and screaming. I just tried to hold him and speak to him. I tried to tell him to stay calm.Son breaks down in tears as Gomes screams in agony from broken ankle Proof Martin Atkinson changed his mind on Son red card after horror Gomes injury Prem release statement on why Son was sent off after Gomes leg horror An independent panel overturns the decision to award Son a red card Everton confirm surgery for Gomes on Monday after breaking right ankle Son ‘in Spurs changing room in tears refusing to lift head’ after Gomes woe Tosun recalls harrowing moment Andre Gomes lay crying in shock with his eyes wide open after Son tackle Everton stars including Coleman went into Spurs dressing room to comfort Son “We couldn’t understand him. He was the one who had got the injury.”Son was originally going to be given a yellow for the challenge but the Premier League released a statement explaining why he was shown a straight red instead.Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino branded the decision by ref Martin Atkinson “unbelievable” and the club successfully appealed and the ban was rescinded.Everton star Andre Gomes thanks fans for their unconditional support in social media message after horror injury against Spurs
PHILIPPE COUTINHO holds no grudge towards Tottenham over his failed transfer, according to his agent.The Brazilian almost returned to the Premier League with Spurs last summer but a loan switch collapsed much to the anger of ex-boss Mauricio Pochettino.3 Philippe Coutinho almost joined Spurs in the summerCredit: Getty – ContributorThe 27-year-old instead joined Bayern Munich for the campaign where he has scored eight and assisted six in 22 Bundesliga appearances.It was suggested that chairman Daniel Levy pulled out of the deal over the player’s £150,000-a-week wage packet.But Kia Joorabchian insists his move to Tottenham did not fall through over financial reasons.Reported in the Daily Mail, he said: “Phillipe Coutinho has no personal issue with Daniel Levy and claims otherwise are totally false.”The deal did not collapse due to financial reasons.”Reports in Spain suggested yesterday that Coutinho will make a return to the Premier League his top priority when the transfer market opens.Bayern will not exercise a clause in his contract to make his move permanent for £100million.3most read in footballTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’ExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidNEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticREF RELEASEDChampions League ref Vincic released by cops after arrest in prostitution raidKEANE DEALEx Man United youth ace David Jones says Roy Keane negotiated a contract for himNICE RONCristiano Ronaldo goes on family bike ride with partner Georgina Rodriguez & kidsREF RAIDChampions League ref Vincic ‘arrested in raid into drugs and prostitution ring’Spurs have maintained interest with boss Jose Mourinho keen to make big-name signings.And they could even offer club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele to Barca to sweeten the deal.Chelsea are also supposedly interested with the Blues reportedly making contact with Barca over a potential deal.3 Daniel Levy reportedly pulled out of a deal over financial reasonsCredit: PA:Press AssociationHow Chelsea could line up with Coutinho and Dembele joining Ziyech if Lampard lands summer
The third Test of the series might have been a dead rubber but Michael Cheika’s men had a point to prove to their trans-Tasman enemies – and they did it, ending a run of seven straight defeats to score their first win over New Zealand since August 2015.Australia scored three tries to two, showing new-found grit to close out the match as New Zealand mounted a late rally in front of 45,107 supporters who braved constant rain.Two crunch second-half penalties from Reece Hodge – in the 64th and 78th minutes, both from beyond the halfway line – iced it for the Wallabies.The All Blacks could could have levelled the scores in the 73rd minute after Rieko Ioane’s try but Damien McKenzie couldn’t land a difficult conversion attempt from out wide.It was sweet relief for Bernard Foley, whose own wayward goalkicking nearly cost the Wallabies yet again after he missed three of his four shots at goal.Foley kicked two from six in the second Bledisloe Test, when New Zealand prevailed in the dying minutes in Dunedin – but the world champions couldn’t conjure up the same magic this time around.Just like that clash, this one also started with an early intercept try to the Wallabies.Will Genia’s pressure and tackle on Lima Sopoaga created the opportunity, forcing him to cough the ball up right in the path of Hodge, who galloped 70m to score next to the posts.But Australia’s 7-0 lead lasted only seven minutes. New Zealand replied quickly through Waisake Naholo, who went over untouched on the overlap.Sopoaga converted and then nailed back-to-back penalties to extend the visitors’ lead to 13-7, with Australia struggling to keep the ball in the slippery conditions.Eventually they strung some passes together and it worked.Israel Folau darted between Naholo and Liam Squire to cap off a well-worked crossfield move in the dying embers of the first-half.Bernard Foley was off target with a follow-up kick that would have put them in front, so it remained 13-12 at half-time.Foley missed another penalty attempt in the 51st minute and could have had one more shot in the 56th from right in front, after an offside penalty.But they opted for an attacking line-out – a decision that paid off handsomely.It led to Marika Koroibete crossing on the other side of the field for his fourth try in three Tests, steamrolling McKenzie to make it 17-13. It was a lead they didn’t surrender.New Zealand beat Australia 54-34 in Sydney and 35-29 in Dunedin during the Rugby Championship and so were already assured of retaining the Bledisloe Cup for a 15th successive season. Photo: PHOTOSPORT Waisake Naholo goes in for the All Blacks first try. 3rd Bledisloe Cup rugby test match, Australia v All Blacks, Brisbane, 2017
The energy from the home side getting aggressive when the game started. It was then captain Isake Katonibau, who told the PNG players, “to men up”. Play the game and stop acting like kids. It was PNG who begged the team to come, “so play rugby like men and stop behaving like children”.Fiji went on to win gold in both men and women’s.For Fijiana it was even more special. Having lost to Australia in the first game, Fijiana met them in the final again but this time, it was Fiji that reigned.The Karate teamPerhaps the most successful team in the Pacific Games raking in seven gold medals. The secret behind this team’s success was dedication and discipline. Karate section manager Lavorne Qio said the athletes trained early in the morning and in the afternoon.She said if it was not for the commitment of the athletes, the team would not have been able to achieve the seven gold medals.Toea WisilShe is the reigning Pacific Sprint Queen and the sporting star in PNG. Toea Wisil rarely makes public appearances and when she does, she gets mobbed by fans. Every two steps of the way, there is someone who wants a picture taken with her.Wisil remained true to what was expected of her. She ran a brilliant 100m and 200m and even won the 400m event.The PNG women 4x400m relay team which she was a part of also won gold medal.Wisil had just one regret from the Pacific Games, that was not able to win the 4x100m relay.My last glimpse of Wisil was at a Port Moresby club, where she came with her friends on the night of the closing ceremony. She rarely had a minute to herself. Every second patron coming to take pictures or have her sign autographs.Banuve TabakaucoroBanz was simply outstanding. He came and he set the tracks on fire and much to the dismay of the PNG fans, Tabakaucoro remained the fastest man in the Pacific.He ran a brilliant in the 100m. He ran smartly in the heats, not stepping on the paddle yet, fasts enough to outclass all those running with him.During the 100m heats, PNG photographers gathered to compare shots of Tabakaucoro when one exclaimed, “he looks so calm”.In the 200m, he set a Pacific Games record just 0.03 seconds short of Olympic qualification. Those were the only two gold medals he won.In the 4x400m relay, Tabakaucoro was the anchor and had it not been Nelson Stone running for PNG, Fiji would have had the gold medal. Tabakaucoro’s biggest regret was not being able to win the 4x100m relay as well.This was just poor choice of runners. Albert Miller Jr who started the relay was just not fast enough. PNG started well and ended well.Tabakaucoro tried his best but Kupun Wisil of PNG was 30 metres ahead by the time he received the baton.The women’s 4×100 relay teamSisilia Seavula, Makelesi Tumalevu, Elenoa Sailosi and Younis Bese caused the biggest upset on the tracks.In an event where PNG was supposed to win, Fiji prevailed. PNG knew that Fiji had fast women and the home team made a tactical change. Toea Wisil was to be their second runner and the burden fell on Tumalevu.Seavula started the race very well. PNG and Fiji changed baton and Wisil tore up the tracks and crowd started cheering but it was to let Wisil know that the unknown Tumalevu was fast closing the gap.Sailosi who was on the last bend did marvellous work to ensure that Bese received the baton first. Bese has had to settle at second best behind Wisil since 2013, but now with no Wisil around, the smiling assassin finished first.The Fiji team outclassed the host nations in the baton interchange.The venuesTaurama: this venue housed the Taurama Aquatic Centre and the BSP Arena. The swimming pools were marvellous, so was the court which hosted basketball and then volleyball, karate and tae kwon do. Sitting was temporary showing that venue had not been fully finished.Caritas: the Caritas Complex was perhaps one venue that was finished. It hosted table-tennis, bodybuilding and boxing.Steamship Racquet Club: one venue that was not new. This hosted the lawn tennis and squash.Bisini: this was home to football, touch, lawn bowls and cricket. Before the Pacific Games, this was homes and empty space and supposedly the headquarters of the PNG Rugby Union. The spectator stands were temporary and to get from one end of the venue to another took more than half an hour. The size of the football fields was questionable as well.Sir John Guise Stadium: this was divided into four parts. The ground where the track and rugby games were held, the Power Dome where weightlifting, powerlifting, basketball and netball took place, the beach volleyball sands and the hockey turf.The ground where rugby was played was small and finished just after the tryline. Half of the try area was carpets which looked like grass. The ground was sand itself and there were a lot of bruises. The stands were beautiful even the temporary ones. This is where the opening and the closing ceremony was held. During the rugby sevens, it started raining, teams were housed under the main stand and after two hours of rain the teams had no dry area.The Power Dome was a beautiful venue. Finished in time and containing world-class features.Sir Hubert Murray Stadium: this was being worked on even when the Pacific Games was in its first week but after completion, this venue had the best pitch.Medal TallyIt was not until the second week of the Pacific Games when the situation regarding the medal tally was finalised. All teams/countries were asked to give their data so the data committee could check the data they had.Information flow was not the efficient and different venues rarely shared information with each other. The best organised was Taurama where the team headed by Constance and Cyrill kept all media informed of upcoming events and results were available five minutes after the event. No other venues operated with such efficiency.Despite the minor setbacks, it was an amazing experience for all.The athletes had the best time. The Games Village was a hive of activity and allowed athletes to make new friends. The people of Port Moresby turned out to be very good hosts. According to some, the games ensured Moresby was the safest it had been in years and there was hope that it would stay this way. Hopefully, Tonga is able to deliver a better experience. Tonga is taking help from PNG to help them organise an event which would be international in nature as well. They have four years to do that. The facilities were classed as world class and there was a rush to finish them. There were security concerns which the Papua New Guinea Government quashed by having the police and military on the streets.In Fiji, sporting bodies were getting their best together.According to FASANOC president Joe Rodan, the Pacific Games was almost equivalent to the Olympic Games for some sports and for some island nations as well.This was to be my first trip to Papua New Guinea, the “Land of the Unexpected” and believe me I was a bit anxious.There was no one in Fiji who had said “have a good time”, in fact whenever had I mentioned that I was going to be spending 19 days in Port Moresby, all I seemed to be getting was “stay safe.”But despite the warnings, the Pacific Games was a very memorable experience.The following according to me were the highlights of the games.The opening ceremonyThe organisers of the Pacific Games had contracted the same company that had done the opening ceremony for the London Olympic Games and Port Moresby was abuzz. Streets were closed and people lined up for almost a kilometre to get to the ticket booths.The teams or the different countries had lined up from 3pm and along with them the various tribes and cultural performers.The tall stages were on either side and the centre stage where the performers and teams passed through. The night concluded with fireworks with more than 15,000 in attendance and a million more on television.Fiji’s first goldManueli Tulo stands at five feet six inches and weighs at 58kg but he is a giant when it comes to weightlifting.Tulo had a personal vendetta this time around. After being told to leave the weightlifting academy by Paul Coffa, Tulo had some scores to be settled.The little giant won three gold medals and then made amends with Coffa.The power of PNG fansWhenever the host nation PNG is playing, the sport is one that has mass appeal and beware the extra man — the fans. Fiji got its first taste of PNG fans’ behaviour when the basketball men’s took on the home side in Taurama.The PNG fans only cheer their team for every action but booed the opposition as loudly as possible — sometimes disturbing their concentration.Captain Marques Whippy after the game admitted, the crowd had unsettled the team leading to their loss.The Fiji sevens teamsThe Fiji sevens team were being awaited with much anticipation. To the PNG fans , the Fiji team were superstars, who they had watched on television only. To make things more interesting, the home side was pitted to play Fiji in the first game.
The country’s flagbearer Vai had an easy game winning all her sets against Samoa, 11-6,11-2 and 11-5.In another result, Miriam Peni finished 6th in the finals with a season’s best time of 12:38s. Beupu Noki lost his first match in boxing while Ryan Maskelyne did a personal best (27:70s) in the 50m butterfly and Savannah Tkatchenko went in at 1:10.46 and did 1:12.48 on the clock. In tennis, Matthew Stubbings beat his Fijian rival and Violet Apisah was victorious over Barbados in their first singles round. Bea Ovia was unlucky in the women’s weightlifting, missing out on the bronze by just 0.01kg (bodyweight).The Commonwealth Youth Games started on September 5th and will end on the 11th.
The 23-man squad including 23 players and three goalkeepers looked prepared as they walked out of the terminal and set foot on the bus. Captaining the team will be Roy Krishna while Ba’s defender, Alvin Singh was selected as the vice-captain. Fiji will take on New Zealand at 6pm this Saturday in its first pool match. However, from the eight teams New Zealand, New Caledonia, Tahiti and Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa the teams that have already arrived were the defending champions Tahiti, Vanuatu, Samoa and New Caledonia. New Zealand and Solomon Islands are set to arrive on Saturday when the games kick off.
The eleven categories are male athlete of the year, female athlete of the year, team of the year, national performance of the year, community sports initiative, junior male athlete of the year, junior female athlete of the year, best sportsperson with a disability, sports official of the year, sports media of the year and sports photo of the year.From the 140 nominees for the awards in different categories, SP sports award committees, chaired by Moses Koiri, have picked the top three nominees for each category for the finals.Moreover, SP Brewery thanked the family of sponsors for supporting the event and making it possible and hopes that it will be a memorable one.Also, among the guests and awardees tomorrow evening will also feature one of Australia’s basketballer and former NBA star Lauren Jackson. She will be a guest speaker at the awards.The event will be staged at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, downtown Port Moresby, starting at 6pm.