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International Sports: Summary of the latest news and action

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World sporting news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Tennis – Novak Djokovic

The world’s top three players all scaled dizzy heights in 2012 but Novak Djokovic ended the year staring down at his rivals after grinding down Roger Federer to win the ATP World Tour Finals title in brutal fashion at London’s O2 Arena yesterday.

The 25-year-old shed sweat and blood before dethroning Federer 7-6 7-5 in a showdown that provided a memorable climax to an incredible men’s season.

Since winning a fifth grand slam title at the Australian Open in a near six-hour epic against Rafa Nadal back in January, Djokovic’s reign has come under attack from both Federer and Britain’s Andy Murray, but after beating both in London he is clearly still the dominant force going into 2013.

World number two Federer has been all but unbeatable in the tournament since it switched to London in 2009 and was seeking a hat-trick of titles at the eye-catching Thames-side dome.

Cricket – South Africa trail
South Africa were 31 for one at lunch on the final day of the first test against Australia on Tuesday after the hosts had declared at 565-5 with a first innings lead of 115.

Australia captain Michael Clarke was unbeaten on 259 when he made the declaration, giving his bowlers more than two sessions to try and bowl the tourists out and claim a remarkable victory.

James Pattinson gave Australia hope by having opener Alviro Petersen caught behind by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade for five to leave South Africa on 6-1.

The young seamer also bowled Hashim Amla for seven but the world’s number one batsman was brought back to the crease for a no ball. Amla had reached seven alongside skipper Graeme Smith, who was 17 not out, at the break.

Clarke had sparkled again with the bat on a bright and sunny morning at the Gabba, adding 41 runs to his personal tally and taken the record for the highest individual score at the famous Brisbane ground.

The 31-year-old shared a partnership of 228 with Mike Hussey, who reached his 17th test century in 128 balls with a rushed single before being dismissed on the next delivery he faced.

Morne Morkel claimed the wicket, his third, with substitute fielder Faf du Plessis taking a fine catch at full stretch at short cover.

It was Clarke, who had resumed on 218 with his team on 487-4 in reply to South Africa’s 450, who shone brightest with the bat, however, and he crashed a Dale Steyn delivery back over the bowler’s head to bring up his 250 with his 28th four.

His innings, from 398 deliveries in 582 minutes, eclipsed England’s Alastair Cook’s 235 scored in the opening test of the Ashes series two years ago.

Matthew Wade provided back up with 19 runs from 35 balls and looked set for more when his skipper, determined to try and force a result, declared during the drinks break.

It was a remarkable turnaround for Australia, who were reeling at 40 for three when Clarke took the crease on Sunday afternoon.

South Africa’s number one test ranking is on the line in the series, which continues with matches in Adelaide and Perth after Brisbane.

Football – John Terry
Chelsea captain John Terry will be out for weeks, not months, after he injured his knee on his comeback against Liverpool at the weekend, the Premier League club said yesterday

Terry, who had missed the previous four domestic matches for the European champions while serving a ban for racially insulting Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last year, was hurt in a first half collision with Luis Suarez.

“Today’s MRI scans on John Terry’s right knee thankfully show no significant damage to the cruciate ligaments,” Chelsea said on their website.

Football – La Liga spat
Levante have published a heavily ironic response to a Real Madrid statement addressing reports of clashes between players and officials from the two clubs after Sunday’s La Liga match.

Spanish media reported that Real defender Pepe and Levante captain Sergio Ballesteros had been involved in a confrontation near the dressing rooms and the referee referred in his match report to a clash between an official from each club that had to be broken up by security staff.

Real won the game, which was played in atrocious conditions on a heavily waterlogged pitch, 2-1 after playing the second half without top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese was struck in the face by David Navarro’s elbow early in the match and the blow opened a gash below his left eye and caused problems with his vision.

It remains to be seen whether the Spanish soccer federation’s disciplinary committee, which typically takes action only on incidents that appear in the referee’s match report, will sanction the two clubs.

Golf – World number one Rory McIlroy adds further accolades
World number one Rory McIlroy added further accolades to his already bulging resume when he was named winner of the PGA of America Player of the Year award and the Vardon Trophy yesterday.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman, who clinched his second major title with a record eight-shot victory at the PGA Championship in August, was always likely to land both honors after triumphing a season-high four times on the 2012 PGA Tour.

McIlroy followed in the footsteps of his Ryder Cup team mate Luke Donald when he became the second player to win the money list titles in both Europe and the United States.

He is also a heavy favorite to become the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year, which is voted upon by tour members and scheduled to be announced early next month.

McIlroy comfortably held off the challenge of Americans Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar to claim PGA of America Player of the Year honours.

He finished with 100 points while Woods ended up with 66, Masters champion Watson and Dufner each totaled 50, Snedeker earned 36 and Kuchar 34.

McIlroy won the Vardon Trophy, first presented in 1937, with an adjusted scoring average of 68.87. Jim Furyk was second on 69.30 and Dufner third (69.45).

McIlroy, who secured the European Tour Race to Dubai title by finishing third at the Singapore Open on Sunday, is vying with Woods, Dufner, FedEx Cup champion Snedeker and Watson for the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award.

Those five players were named on Monday as the final nominees for the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Award.

The nominees for Rookie of the Year were Charlie Beljan, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, John Huh and Ted Potter Jr.

When all is said and done, though, McIlroy will overshadow everyone else after his stellar 2012 campaign.

The richly talented Northern Irishman has made a habit of beating the game’s best style in when given the chance and he claimed PGA Tour victories this season at the Honda Classic, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship.

McIlroy clinched the Arnold Palmer Award as the PGA Tour’s leading money winner, with earnings of $8,047,952, and was delighted to follow that up with the European Tour order of merit on Sunday with two events remaining.

Horse racing – Jockey charged
Leading Australian jockey Damien Oliver was charged today with two offenses related to placing a bet on another horse two years ago.

The 40-year-old, who admitted to the wager, was stood down from the sport immediately pending a hearing on November 20, Racing Victor

— Reuters

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hong Kong partially locks down, forcing thousands to undergo Covid screening

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Hong Kong’s government is forcing a partial lockdown until 10,000 residents of an area in the Kowloon peninsula, complete a Covid-19 test. The 2 day lockdown in the city’s poorest neighbourhood of Jordan, comes after a new strain of the coronavirus was identified, making it the 1st lockdown that the city has seen.

The area, which features many deteriorating buildings and 150 stacked housing blocks, has confirmed 162 confirmed cases of Covid-19 this month, with the ratio of virus detected in sewage samples from buildings there was higher than that of other areas.

Over the last 2 months the city has been hit by a 4th wave of infections with authorities struggling to bring the daily numbers down. Such clusters have hit the low-income neighbourhoods the most, which are notorious for cramped conditions in districts such as Yau Tsim Mong.

In recent days, health officials began mandatory testing in some 70 buildings in the area but the government has now decided to test everyone much to the confusion of local residents. As rumours of a lockdown were leaked to the local media, the government didn’t officially announce the measure until this morning. The area is also home to many ethnic minorities, mainly South Asian Hong Kongers, a community that often faces discrimination and poverty.

Earlier in the week a senior health official was criticised when he suggested ethnic minority residents might be spreading the virus more readily because “they like to share food, smoke, drink alcohol and chat together.”

The health official’s comments also came as a video was released of predominantly white migrants dancing at a packed brunch on the more affluent Hong Kong Island. But those who agreed with the health official pointed to cramped conditions, not race or culture, as being the cause of the virus spreading more easily.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Thai PM is ready to work closely with the US President

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Thai PM is ready to work closely with the US President | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PM and US President

Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha sent a letter of congratulations to US resident Joe Biden. He says the Thai government is ready to work closely with the US government to promote cooperation in all aspects and all levels.

He also says that Thailand and the US have a long relationship that dates back over 200 years. And, as Thailand is the US’s longest standing ally in Asia, he hopes the US, under President Biden “will not turn its back on the country”.

He also called for cooperation between the 2 countries in handling the global pandemic together, saying “the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has taught all countries a lesson and that the world is facing historic changes, with the most important thing being “for all of us is to come together face to face and to cooperate with one another”.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Wuhan remembers Covid-19 lockdown on 1 year anniversary

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Wuhan remembers Covid-19 lockdown on 1 year anniversary | The Thaiger

Wuhan is remembering the Covid-19 lockdown that 11 million residents endured on today’s 1 year anniversary. The 76 day lockdown on January 23, 2020 saw public transportation shut down by 10am and a ban on anyone exiting the city, unless they were given special permission. In a city the size of London, locking down painted an eerily quiet landscape.

But such an anniversary today has been met with silence by Beijing as no lockdown commemorations have been planned, almost as though the lockdown never happened. A commentary in the Beijing News professed “mixed feelings,” praising the aggressive lockdown as a model for the world, while noting Wuhan’s sacrifices and the looming virus threat.

“We must not lose the hard-won results of the epidemic to negligence, and must not let the epidemic rebound. Pay tribute to Wuhan. Pay tribute to the strong and fearless Chinese people!”

Despite the government’s reluctance to acknowledge the anniversary, Wuhan’s lockdown ordeals remain fresh the memories of Chinese people, especially as localised Covid-19 clusters have spread across China. Such popups in Covid cases have prompted Beijing to implement mass testing and lockdowns in other areas.

76 year old Huang Genben, is one of those who remembers. He says he spent over 2 months in a hospital last year fighting the virus as he spit up blood, expecting to die, but agrees that such a lockdown was necessary.

“When I closed my eyes at night I didn’t know if I would open them again.”

“We can tell from the results that the policy of the government was correct, the cooperation of Wuhan citizens was correct. I feel pain seeing the epidemic all over the world.”

Today, the streets of Wuhan seem to be the stark opposite of what it was 1 year ago, with elderly dancers spinning in parks and crowded bars selling “Wuhan Stay Strong” craft beer, while the rest of the world is still dealing with the fallout of the pandemic.

But 58 year old street vendor Xu Jiajun, contradicts the somewhat merry street scenes as he says things have changed since the pandemic began.

“The situation is not good. I don’t have a stable income like I did before.”

As the Covid-19 virus is generally believed to have spread from a Wuhan wet market where exotic animals were sold as food, World Health Organisation experts are almost finished with a 2 week quarantine in Wuhan where they plan to investigate the coronavirus’ origins.

Worldwide, the virus has been responsible for killing at least 2 million people, but in China authorities have reported fewer than 5,000 deaths, with the vast majority coming from Wuhan when the pandemic most probably originated.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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