Less than two weeks to go before the 24th Olympic Winter Games begins in Beijing, athletes across Europe are getting ready to go for Olympic glory.
— European winter sports elites wish Beijing 2022 success and work hard to continue their Olympic glory.
— Europeans thumb up for the Beijing 2022 organizers who put the health and saftey of athletes on top agenda and apply strict anti-COVID measures.
— Europeans spoke highly of China which demonstrates its commitment to Olympic values and ideals.
KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE
When 49-year-old Claudia Pechstein learned that she qualified for the Beijing Games, the German speed skating icon felt she could “hug the entire world.” She will now become the first woman to compete in eight Olympic Games, crowning her illustrious career.
German bobsleigh athlete Francesco Friedrich, 32, winner of 13 world championships and double gold medalist at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, is practicing hard as he is looking forward to further improve his medal tally in China.
Figure skaters Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis, both 28, will be the first pair from Finland to compete in ice dancing at an Olympic Winter Games.
Juulia Turkkila/Matthias Versluis from Finland perform at the Finlandia Trophy competition in Espoo, Finland, in October 2021. (Photo by Antti Lehto/Xinhua)
“It has been our dream for a long time, and it was an unbelievable feeling to find out that we had secured the spot on Finland’s Winter Olympics team,” Turkkila said. “We want to prove that it is possible to reach the top in ice dance even for athletes coming from a small country.”
Croatian cross-country skier Vedrana Malec, 32, has already visited China three times. She is preparing to have “good fun” at the games, although she is aware that the conditions are expected to be tougher this year than during the previous Winter Olympics.
“I haven’t had the chance to test the tracks being built in China, so it will be a huge challenge for me. Nevertheless, I expect a friendly reception and I will target the top spot,” she said.
Spain’s 33-year-old snowboarder Queralt Castellet will compete in her fifth Winter Olympics and her expectations are “as high as possible.” She, too, is shooting for a gold medal, of course.
Brothers Liu Shaolin, 27, and Liu Shaoang, 24, born to a Chinese father and a Hungarian mother, won Hungary’s first Winter Olympic gold in the short track speed skating 5,000-meter relay in PyeongChang. They, too, are working hard to defend their title in Beijing.
“To be able to compete in Beijing is a big thing for us,” Shaolin commented.
Queralt Castellet of Spain competes during the women
In recent months, the organizers of the Beijing Winter Games have repeatedly said that protecting the health and safety of the athletes, the Olympic personnel and the spectators from coronavirus is their “biggest challenge.” All those involved will have to follow strict public health measures.
Spyros Capralos, president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), spoke highly of the Chinese organizers’ coronavirus measures.
“China is doing a tremendous job preparing for the Games by trying to prevent all sorts of problematic situations that may arise from the spread of the virus,” he said.
Coronavirus testing and quarantining are far from comfortable procedures, but most of the athletes have expressed their understanding and support.
“For sure, it’s going to be a little bit inconvenient, but it’s necessary,” 27-year-old Swiss snowboarder Jonas Boesiger said. “I feel safe with all the precautions and it’s going to work out. It should be a pretty safe event. I don’t see any problem.”
Jan Scherrer, Boesiger’s teammate in halfpipe, believes the strict COVID rules are good for everyone. “We all know that it’s going to be a special year and we should accept it. There will be a lot of restrictions and pressure on the athletes, but that’s just the time we are living in now. I’m still excited to go there.”
Spanish snowboarder Castellet said that during her preparation for the Beijing Games, she had to “change mentality and adopt a philosophy of living one day at a time and being more aware of the possibilities each day brings.”
She said she was confident that the organizers will have everything under control: “I’m sure they’ll do a good job in Beijing because they really want to do everything possible to make sure these Games go ahead.”
British skeleton athlete Laura Deas came to Beijing in October 2021 for Test Event, and didn’t believe that the strict COVID-19 policy at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games could be an issue.
“I have to say it (Test Event) was incredibly well organized. We felt very safe and very well looked after. And I’m expecting to go into a very similar environment as the Test Event was. I feel like I know what’s coming,” the Olympic bronze medalist said.
Photo taken on Oct. 23, 2021 shows the National Ski Jumping Center in Zhangjiakou competition zone of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, in Zhangjiakou, north China
COMMITMENT TO THE IDEALS
Against the backdrop of the huge challenges posed by the pandemic, HOC President Capralos said he was convinced that by hosting the Olympic Winter Games, China demonstrates its commitment to Olympic ideals.
“China shows that the power of sport can bring us closer together by focusing on our shared values,” Capralos told Xinhua. “Beijing 2022 will once again teach us the important values of Olympism, which are solidarity, fair play, respect and friendship. And these values take on even more importance in these difficult circumstances we all are facing.”
Moreover, China’s decision to protect the environment by proposing to host “green, inclusive, open and clean” Games will set a precedent, Capralos said.
In the eyes of several winter Olympic athletes, China serves as an example of how a major world event should be organized.
“The Chinese are top-notch organizers. I believe everything will work in China, and the sports fields will be perfectly prepared,” said Croatian cross-country skier Malec.
Photo taken on July 15, 2021 shows the barrier-free toilet facilities at the athletes
Jasper Carlson, national coach of the Danish Skating Union, believes that China has done a great job in hosting sports events. “They have ultra-modern facilities. For us athletes and coaches it is a good place to be.”
“China is different from Switzerland. It will be an awesome experience for us to see this completely new culture and the new city in wintertime,” said Swiss snowboarder Boesiger. “I am looking forward to being there again.”
The Liu brothers have sent their blessings to Beijing and encouraged their Chinese fans to keep supporting them just as they support the Chinese skaters.
“We expect to bring home good memories from Beijing — along with big smiles,” Shaoang said.
Snowboarder Castellet also had a message for winter sports fans in China. “I’m really looking forward to going there and we’ll do everything we can to show off our sport at its highest level,” she pledged. Enditem
Photo taken on Oct. 27, 2021 shows China
Gold medalist Liu Shaolin (R) of Hungary and his brother silver medalist Liu Shaoang of Hungary celebrate during the awarding ceremony after the men
The ban on Thailand hosting or flying its flag at international sporting events is set to be lifted in February, according to Thai authorities.
Last month, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) slapped Thailand with a one-year ban for failing to update its anti-doping law in line with WADA’s global guidelines. However, the country has now updated the relevant law and should be removed from the blacklist at WADA’s meeting next month, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Friday.
“Once Thailand has been removed from the blacklist, the country will be able to host sports events and use the national flag in international sports competitions,” Thanakorn said.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday asked the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) to inform WADA that the country published the newly amended 2012 Sports Doping Control Act in the Royal Gazette on December 31 in line with the agency’s requirements.
Prayut also ordered Thai agencies to maintain regular contact with international agencies and keep regulations updated, as this issue affected the morale of athletes and citizens and the reputation of the economy and country.
“The government is ready to support Thai athletes in various sports competitions, especially the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam between May 12 and 23,” Thanakorn added.
Four Thai athletes will next month be able to fly the flag at the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is exempted from the ban. Mark Chanloung and Karen Chanloung will represent Thailand in cross-country skiing while Nicola Zanon and Mida “Fah” Jaiman will compete in the slalom events.
Honda in partnership with the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) and IMG, held the Honda LPGA Thailand National Qualifiers 2022 where Chanettee Wannasaen won today for a second straight year with an outstanding performance on the Old Course of Siam Country Club in Pattaya.
Chanettee shot a two-day seven-under-par137 total to earn a place among a world-class field at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2022 in March.
Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd. President and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Noriyuki Takakura congratulated Chanettee on her victory and said the National Qualifiers were part of their commitment to help raise the local game to international standards, while giving young Thai women golfers the chance to improve and go “Beyond Greatness” aligned with the tournament’s theme for the year.
“The National Qualifiers has proven to be an effective platform to launch professional careers,” said Mr. Takakura. “It has also been widely accepted and has become a good vehicle to encourage the development and nurture the amateur ranks of up and coming Thai golfers.”
“With the ever growing support of the Sports Authority of Thailand, IMG and the LPGA, Honda has been humbled to see local women’s golf grow in leaps and bounds. With this, all of us at Honda would like to congratulate Chanettee for putting on a brilliant showing to win the Honda LPGA Thailand National Qualifiers and justifiably earn a spot to compete on the world stage and alongside the game’s best players at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2022.”
Chanettee wins National Qualifiers to earn a place among world-class field at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2022
Chanettee closed with a four-under 69 today to win by one stroke from Trichat Cheenglab. That followed up the four-under she carded yesterday when she led the tournament by three shots after the first round.
Happy with her deserved win, Chanettee said: “It might have appeared to be a comfortable victory in the end, but there were a lot of nerves out of there. I put in a lot of preparation for this tournament and I am very happy to have won. It’s a very proud moment for me to qualify for the Honda LPGA Thailand 2022 and it has been an amazing experience.”
Chanettee wins National Qualifiers to earn a place among world-class field at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2022
“I would like to thank Honda, the Sports Authority of Thailand and IMG for organizing this event and especially for giving golfers like myself this huge opportunity. I would also like to thank my father, my family and friends for their support in getting me here again today. Now I look forward to the Honda LPGA Thailand 2022, where I will do my best and hopefully make them proud again.”
Trichat gave a decent account of herself in the second round with her 66 the low round of the tournament. She followed up her first day even-par 72 with her six-under today for a 138 total and she will definitely have more opportunities to go one better.
There was a three-way tie for third place where Benyapa Niphatsophon, Natthakritta Vongtaveelap and Pavarisa Yoktuan all finished on 142. Benyapa shot a one-under in the last round to match her 71 of yesterday, while Natthakritta, still an amateur player, posted a two-under 70 today and Pavarisa also had a 71 today.
The Honda LPGA Thailand National Qualifiers 2022 held at Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course in Pattaya, Chonburi Province from 18-20 January had a total of 62 women in the field. Chanettee, along with three other invited Thai players will participate in the US$1.6 million Honda LPGA Thailand 2022 at the same venue from 10-13 March, where Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn is the defending champion.
Chanettee wins National Qualifiers to earn a place among world-class field at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2022Chanettee wins National Qualifiers to earn a place among world-class field at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2022
The first Thailand Mixed event of 2022 will tee off between February 10-13 at the Springfield Royal Country Club in Cha-am, Petchaburi with a total prize money of Bt3 million up for grabs.
The tournament, one of the five Thailand Mixed series this season, features a field of 132 players who will compete in a four-day stroke play format with only top 60 and ties, after 36 holes, moving forwards to the weekend rounds.
Eligible players are former champions of Thailand Mixed series in 2021, top 70 in the Thailand Mixed Tour rankings, former amateur champions of the Thailand series in 2021 and invites from international tours (PGA, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Asian Tour, PGA of Australia, Sunshie Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour, Japan LPGA Tour, KLPGA Tour, ALPGA Tour, China LPGA Tour, Thailand Golf Association) and from TrustGolf Tour sponsors.
TrustGolf founder Dr. Prin Singhanart says: “Last year, we introduced the Thailand Mixed, a new dimension for local golf which saw the men and women play against one another. We had been through thick and thin especially organising the Thailand Mixed events under the COVID-19 pandemic. But in the end, we successfully organised all five Thailand Mixed events and brought them all to a perfect conclusion.”
“This year, we will continue organise the Thailand Mixed which will serve as a springboard for Thai players to sharpen their skills before they enter the international arena. In addition, we have our plan to develop the TrustGolf Tour to the international standard within the next 12 months,” Dr. Prin said.
To underline its commitment to support players to the global stage, TrustGolf will grant top two female players on the Order of Merits from Thailand Mixed 1-3 slots into the TrustGolf Women’s Scottish Open which will take place between July 28-31 in Scotland this year.
The Thailand Mixed is organised by TrustGolf, an indoor training center with advanced technology. It is supported by the Sports Authority of Thailand, the National Sports Development Fund, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Bangkok Bank, B.Grimm Company, Bond Holdings, AISPLAY, Bridgestone, Trust Pharmacy, Trust Live Streaming, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Aquella Golf and Country Club and S.Khonkaen, Springfield Royal Country Club.
One Championship’s tenth-anniversary show – One X – was already stacked with top talent. Now, the organization just added another epic world championship fight to the highly anticipated card.
One bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao will defend his belt against former One bantamweight kickboxing World Champion Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov on 26 March at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Nong-O has been a staple in One Super Series since debuting in April 2018. He won the world title in just his third fight and has successfully defended against top-ranked contenders like Saemapetch Fairtex and “The Steel Locomotive” Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym.
The undefeated One Super Series star will be looking for a fifth successive world title defense against Ramazanov, who once held the bantamweight kickboxing strap. He lost the belt to Capitan Petchyindee Academy in January 2021 but has since moved back to Muay Thai.
Nong-O Vs. Ramazanov added to ONE X
Under the new rule set, Ramazanov last defeated Pongsiri PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym by KO to earn the No.4 spot in One’s bantamweight Muay Thai rankings and the title shot against Nong-O. This news comes after the announcement of three previously released bouts.
One atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee will return to action to defend her belt against One atomweight World Grand Prix Champion Stamp Fairtex. Also, One flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes will have his title defense against No.2 ranked Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu.
Finally, the fight of the night will be a special-rules MMA and Muay Thai super fight between legendary Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and One flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon.
The hybrid rules bout will occur over four rounds, with the first and third rounds taking place under Muay Thai rules and the second and fourth rounds happening under MMA rules.
FIFA held an online award ceremony “The Best FIFA Football Awards” on Monday in Zurich, Switzerland.
The highlight of this event was FIFA FIFPro Men’s World11, which was the award to form a squad with the 11 best football players.
The goalkeeper was Gianluigi Donnarumma from Paris Saint-Germain FC and Italy.
Three defenders were David Alaba from Real Madrid CF and Austria, Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus and Italy, and Rúben Dias from Manchester City FC and Portugal.
Three midfielders were Kevin De Bruyne from Manchester City FC and Belgium, Jorginho from Chelsea FC and Italy, and N’Golo Kanté from Chelsea FC and France.
Four attackers were Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and Norway, Robert Lewandowski from FC Bayern Munich and Poland, Lionel Messi from Paris Saint-Germain FC and Argentina, and Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United FC and Portugal.
Meanwhile, Robert Lewandowski also won The Best FIFA Men’s Player while Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas from FC Barcelona Femení won The Best FIFA Women’s Player.
German coach Thomas Tuchel from Chelsea FC won The Best FIFA Men’s Coach while Senegalese goalkeeper Édouard Mendy from Chelsea FC won The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper.
Argentine winger Erik Lamela from Sevilla won the most beautiful goal award FIFA Puskás Award for when he was playing for Tottenham Hotspur and scored against Arsenal on March 14, 2021.
Fans from Denmark and Finland won the FIFA Fan Award for their gesture during the UEFA Euro 2020 when the crowd waited for news on Christian Eriksen’s health after he collapsed during the match. Finnish fans chanted “Christian!” while Danish fans responded with “Eriksen”.
Denmark national team and Danish medical team and coaching staff also won the FIFA Fair Play Award for giving CPR to Christian Eriksen, shielding him from cameras, and comforting his family.
Beijing will be an exemplary host city of the forthcoming 2022 Olympic Winter Games, said Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis, also sending his warm wishes to China.
“I’m certain that Beijing will be an exemplary host city of the Olympic Winter Games. And of course, I look forward to enjoying all that it has to offer, knowing full well that this sportsmanship, fair play and solidarity on display will uplift and inspire all of us,” the Greek official said in a video message to organizers.
Beijing will host the Winter Olympics from February 4 to 20, to be followed by the Paralympics. It will become the first city ever to host both Summer and Winter Olympics.
This achievement has a special meaning for Athens and Greece, Bakoyannis said. Beijing is a sister city of the Greek capital and its feat is a true testament to the city’s commitment to the values of Olympism, he explained, congratulating the Chinese capital.
Moreover, there is a profound bond between the two countries and civilizations, he added. China and Greece have coexisted for millennia, and although they are not geographically close, they share a long and deep devotion to preserving the values and wisdom of their ancestors, the mayor stressed.
“I also want to send to everyone celebrating the Spring Festival our warmest wishes for a Happy New Year. May the year of the Tiger provide us with the strength to face challenges along the way, bring us prosperity and happiness. May we all enjoy a year of peace and good health,” he concluded.