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‘The murder of our national sport’: Russian athletes forced to compete under neutral flag

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Russian athletes are bitterly disappointment by the collective punishment and the option offered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which banned the Russian national team, while allowing only individual athletes to compete under a neutral flag and anthem.

Related Story : IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics

On Tuesday, the IOC declared Russia guilty of alleged state-sponsored doping, and banned the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) from competing in the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Athletes who can prove they are “clean,” however, will be allowed to compete, but not under the Russian flag.

The despair and bitter disappointment were clearly visible on the faces of Russian Olympic athletes in Davos Tuesday as the IOC announced their decision. Some stared down and others left the room soon after the directives were read out.

Those who can compete are now faced with a difficult choice. On the one hand, they spent years polishing their skills to perform on the world’s premier stage, but on the other hand, their sport spirit dictates they compete as a united national team, under the Russian flag.

Irina Avvakumova, a member of the ski jumping team, does not want to go to South Korea and perform under a neutral flag. “I do not know how other athletes will react, but I did not prepare for so many years to just go and compete without representing my country,” Avvakumova said, adding, that competing as neutral lack the “sports spirit.”

Russian snowboarder Nikolai Olyunin has not yet decided whether or not he is ready to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games under a neutral flag.

“The decision of the IOC did not shock me, it was all leading to this. We were ready,” Olyunin said, adding, that the snowboard federation will now wait and see how the situation develops further. “No one understands how to proceed further. I would like to compete for our flag, but at the same time, I understand that what has happened is a great disrespect to our country. I don’t want to compete under a neutral flag, but I still have to think about it.”

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Domestic matches abroad need approval of federations, confederations: UEFA

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FIFA

Brussels, Nov 20: The UEFA president asserted ton Tuesday hat any domestic league matches played abroad must be approved by the two national federations involved, as well as by the corresponding continental confederations.

At a press conference in Brussels, Aleksander Ceferin expressly avoided referring to the specific case of the controversial La Liga game between Girona and Barcelona planned for January 26, 2019 in Miami, reports Efe.

While the management of the two clubs are eyeing the potentially lucrative expansion into the United States media market, the plan is opposed by the Spanish football players’ union, the Spanish football federation and FIFA.

Ceferin refused to say if he was in favor of playing these kinds of matches abroad, citing the large number of different approvals they require.

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Women’s World T20: India continue winning run, beat Australia

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ICC Women's World T20

Georgetown (Guyana), Nov 17 : India continued their winning momentum as they outclassed Australia by 48 runs in Group B match of the ICC Women’s World T20 here on Saturday.

India displayed an all-round effort to register their fourth victory in as many games.

Chasing 167/8, Australia never looked in contention as they lost regular wickets to bundle out for 119 in 19.4 overs.

Ellyse Perry was the highest scorer for Australia with 39 runs in 28 balls.

Ashleigh Gardner (20) andABeth Mooney (19) also got tg the starts but failed to covert it into a big knocks.

For India, Anuja Patil took three wickets while Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav took two wickets each.

Earlier, opener Smriti Mandhana and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s knock helped India women post 167/8 before suffering a batting collapse.

While Smriti smashed 83 runs off just 55 deliveries, Harmanpreet contributed 43 runs to take their side to a good total.

The Indian eves kept on losing wickets at regularly but it was the 68-run partnership between the Indian skipper and the opener which took them to a fighting total in their last group game, as India have already booked a semi-final berth.

For Australia, medium pacer Ellyse Perry scalped three wickets for just 16 runs.

Brief score: India 167/8 (Smriti Mandhana 83, Harmanpreet Kaur 43; Ellyse Perry 3/16) vs Australia 119/10 (AEllyse Perry39; Anuja Patil 3/15)

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UEFA Nations League: Croatia edge past Spain 3-2

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Players of Croatia
File Photo

Zagreb, Nov 16: Croatia battled to the final whistle and prevailed with a 3-2 over Spain to stay alive in the UEFA Nations League.

Spain, with six points from four matches, retain the lead in League A Group 4, while Croatia go level on points with England at 4 after three matches, though the Three Lions have the advantage on goal difference, reports Efe news.

After beating England in the opener in London and routing Croatia at home, Spain looked set to cruise into the final stage until they lost 2-3 to the Three Lions in Seville last month.

That was the backdrop for La Roja’s visit to Zagreb to face the 2018 World Cup runners-up, anxious to dispel the memory of their abysmal performance two months ago in Spain.

The hosts, physical on defence and direct on the attack on Thursday, largely dictated the flow of play until the final seconds of the first half, when Spain’s Saul Ñiguez and Isco Alarcon threatened the Croatia goal.

With the score 0-0 and both teams needing a win, the 36,000 spectators at Maksimir stadium were treated to a second-half offensive display involving some of the most talented players in the game.

Just as Spain seemed to be getting the upper hand, a giveaway by Sergi Roberto left Croatia’s Andrej Kramaric alone in front of goal and he beat keeper David de Gea to put the hosts up 1-0 in the 54th minute.

Spain reacted furiously and the equalizer was not long in coming. Iago Aspas sent a deft pass to Isco behind the Croatia defence and the forward relayed the ball to midfielder Dani Ceballos for an easy goal in the 56th.

The visitors stepped up the pace and would have taken the lead if Aspas hadn’t hit the cross-bar with a strike from close range.

Instead, the next goal went to Croatia thanks to a rare mistake by De Gea, who had a chance to grab the ball before Tin Jedvaj headed-in after a corner to make it 2-1 for the home side with 20 minutes left.

But a blunder at the other end in the 78th minute let Spain get back into the game, as Sergio Ramos converted from the spot after a hand ball by defender Sime Vrsaljko.

The final stretch was all Croatia and Jedvaj completed the brace with a goal in the 93rd minute.

With the outcome, Spain, who have played all four of their matches, need Croatia and England to draw at Wembley next Sunday to be assured of advancing directly to the final stage.

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