Whatever it is, a decision must be made soon

The Malaysia Open, a Super 750 event and one of badminton’s oldest tournaments, is set to be the second last event on the calendar this year to offer Olympic qualifying points. Slated for May 25-30 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, it is also expected to be the first international tournament to open its doors to fans since Covid-19 hit its peak last year. The deadly B.1.617 variant, which caused a “Covid tsunami”, in India has reached our shores. Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican recently said…

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From unknown to being the best in his position in the world

When Atletico Madrid paid Benfica 16m euros for the relatively unknown 21-year-old Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak in 2014, many people thought the Spanish side’s manager Diego Simeone had panicked following the loss of Thibaut Courtois to Chelsea Seven years on, Oblak can lay claim to being the best in his position in the world. His stats are remarkable and Simeone has had the last laugh Anyone wanting to sign the 28-year-old now would have to meet the club’s 120m euros release clause. “I think I was born to be a…

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Football has to keep changing and adapting to the times

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said on Tuesday that plans by 12 clubs including the Spanish giants to form a European Super League (ESL) were made to save football. On Monday, six Premier League teams — Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur — joined forces with Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and Italian trio Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan to launch ESL. “Football has to keep changing and adapting to the times. Football is losing interest. Something must be done,” said Perez “Football is the…

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Barcelona blew away Athletic Bilbao to win the Copa del Rey

MADRID: Lionel Messi scored twice, including a stunning solo goal, as Barcelona blew away Athletic Bilbao to win the Copa del Rey on Saturday. The cup was won and lost in a whirlwind 12 minutes in Seville, which saw Barca score four times to clinch an emphatic 4-0 victory, with Messi at his devastating best. Koeman took over a team at rock bottom, humiliated by a historic loss to Bayern Munich and wounded by the attempts of Messi to leave the club for free. But this 31st Copa del Rey…

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Giving up is not in our DNA

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says giving up on the Premier League title is “not in our DNA” even though their pursuit of runaway leaders Manchester City appears hopeless. The Norwegian believes his side are on the right track but admits adding to their 20 league titles is unlikely. “Of course we’ll never give up,” Solskjaer said after his side wrapped up a 4-0 aggregate victory against Granada in the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday, setting up a last-four clash with Roma. They are also desperate to claim their…

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Conor McGregor's trilogy fight to take place in Vegas

Conor McGregor’s trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier will take place before a capacity crowd in Las Vegas in July, said Ultimate Fighting Championship chief Dana White. It will mark the first time a capacity crowd has attended a UFC fight in Nevada since the Covid-19 pandemic. “I’m so happy to finally be able to say Vegas is back,” White said. UFC has staged events in multiple venues like Las Vegas, Florida and Abu Dhabi since the pandemic erupted, mostly behind closed doors with strict safety protocols. However with restrictions gradually…

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Team Sapura Cycling with high hopes for Turkey

A year without international action, Team Sapura Cycling are looking to mark their return to racing on a bright note at the Tour of Turkey on April 11-18. Sapura will be up against a strong field at the UCI ProSeries race which includes WorldTour teams such as Astana-Premier Tech and Deceuninck-Quickstep. The UCI Continental team, who left for Turkey yesterday, have included Danilo Celano (Italy), Jesse Ewart (Ireland), Ahmet Orken (Turkey), Nur Aiman Rosli, Zawawi Azman and national road champion Akmal Hakim Zakaria in their squad. “Danilo has been especially…

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A fighter has to adapt, said the Alligator

ONE Championship fighter Agilan Thani is not in a rush to get back in the cage after a string of mixed results. The 25-year-old admitted that preparing for fights has been a tricky affair in the pandemic era. “ONE Championship is a great company that has always kept me busy. “It is challenging, but a fighter has to adapt, and that is what I am doing now, said the fighter. “I don’t want to go into the circle (ring) unprepared. I am doing my best, and I think things are…

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Team Sapura Cycling have cancelled their plan to Greece

Team Sapura Cycling have cancelled their plan to race in Greece after one of their Italian riders tested positive for Covid-19. Team principal Sayuti Zahit revealed that Pierpaolo Ficara, who finished fourth overall in Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) last season, tested positive for the virus in Syracuse, Sicily last month. Sapura’s foreign riders have been training in their own countries since the pandemic struck last year. “Pierpaolo’s condition has improved, he has informed us that he has been discharged from hospital and is now undergoing home quarantine in Italy,”…

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Not to put unnecessary pressure on Lee Zii Jia

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will not put unnecessary pressure on Lee Zii Jia to deliver gold at the Tokyo Olympics. The 23-year-old has fired up the expectations of fans last month by unexpectedly winning the All England men’s singles title. However, BAM president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria yesterday stressed that their plan has always been for Zii Jia to deliver at the 2024 Olympics. So, Norza is playing down the talk of Malaysia gunning for gold at the Tokyo Olympics. BAM launched their “Wall of Champions” at the…

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