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Eliud Kipchoge up for another top award

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Marathon running king Eliud Kipchoge has been shortlisted for the BBC’s World Sports Star of the Year following a supreme year highlighted by his INEOS159 Challenge conquest.

Kipchoge knocked down one of sport’s greatest barriers last month when he became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours at a specially organised event in Vienna, Austria.

The World Marathon record holder completed the challenge by running the distance in 1 hour 59 minutes 40 seconds for a majestic achievement that attracted global acclaim.

The 35-year-old also won his fourth London Marathon title in April, sealing an incredible 11 marathon wins from 12 races he has started.

He was crowned World Athlete of the Year last week on Saturday along with American 400m hurdles world record holder Dalilah Muhammad during the annual awards ceremony of the sport’s governing body in Monaco.

Kipchoge will be rivalled by a stellar cast for the award, with South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi, American gymnast Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe also on the list.

Australian cricketer Steve Smith and Tiger Woods complete the six-person shortlist announced on Friday with voting set to be closed on December 6.

The winner will be announced on December 15.

Click here to vote for your World Sport Star of 2019.

 

NOMINEE PROFILES

Eliud Kipchoge

Age: 35 Sport: Athletics

One of sport’s great barriers was broken in October, when Kipchoge became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours.

He completed the 26.2 mile (42.2km) course in one hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds, six months after the Kenyan had won the London Marathon for a fourth time.

Siya Kolisi

Age: 28 Sport: Rugby union

History was made in stunning style as Kolisi, the Springboks’ first black captain, skippered South Africa to a 32-12 victory over England in the Rugby World Cup final.

The flanker was praised for his leadership in Japan and helping to unify a nation despite a difficult social and political backdrop.

Simone Biles

Age: 22 Sport: Gymnastics

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Five World Championship gold medals raised her record-breaking medal tally to a total of 25 as Biles continued to redefine what was possible in gymnastics.

The jubilant American twisted, tumbled and somersaulted her way to a 19th world title triumph on the floor in Stuttgart.

Megan Rapinoe

Age: 34 Sport: Football

Six goals from Rapinoe helped the USA win the Women’s World Cup in France as she claimed the Golden Boot for top scorer and Golden Ball for best player in the tournament.

Named the leading women’s player at the Best Fifa Football Awards, she also became known for her outstretched arms when celebrating goals, and powerfully expressed views on equality.

Steve Smith

Age: 30 Sport: Cricket

The thorn in England’s side, Smith enjoyed a prolific series to help Australia retain the Ashes despite being ruled out of the third Test after suffering a concussion.

He scored a total of 774 runs, at an average of 110, and was awarded the Compton-Miller Medal for the best player in the series.

Tiger Woods

Age: 43 Sport: Golf

Eleven years after his last major title, the injury-plagued Woods produced one of sport’s great comeback stories to win the Masters at Augusta.

The 43-year-old, written off by many golf fans and pundits as he battled serious injury problems, later equalled the PGA Tour record of 82 tournament wins with victory at the Zozo Championship in Japan.




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Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.

“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.

“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”

With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.

There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.

Rugby Championship

There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.

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That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.

South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.

“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.

‘Seven Nations’

Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?

Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.

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England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.

Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.

Super Rugby

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Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.

The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.

Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.

South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.

‘Pro16’

Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.

“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.

But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.

While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.

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Currie Cup

The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.

First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.

But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections

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By NATION REPORTER

Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.

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Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.

The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.

Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.

Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.

Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.

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