Inside Sport - - EDITOR'S LETTER -

1. You knew when this cricket dis­pute was ge¢ing se­ri­ous when a) the Ashes were threat­ened, or b) Mitch Starc signed an en­dorse­ment deal with a ri­val com­pany to Cricket Aus­tralia’s car spon­sor. Or was it when David Warner emerged as the most vis­i­ble leader of the play­ers in this dis­pute?

2. The Jeff Horn-Manny Pac­quiao fight was re-scored by five judges at the be­hest of the World Boxing Or­gan­i­sa­tion. Their con­sen­sus find­ings: Horn won six rounds, Pac­quiao four, and two were even. The WBO ba­si­cally leaves us where we were be­fore – in need of a re­match to fig­ure this out.

3. Jamie Whin­cup, steady ac­cu­mu­la­tor he, equalled the ca­reer wins record in Su­per­cars. Whin­cup’s vic­tory in Townsville was his 105th, ty­ing team-mate Craig Lown­des.

4. Ah, women’s ten­nis (par­tic­u­larly when Ser­ena Wil­liams is not around): Karolina Pliskova is elim­i­nated in the sec­ond round at Wim­ble­don, reaches no.1 any­way.The 25-year-old Czech reached the top spot with three 2017 vic­to­ries, in Bris­bane, Doha and East­bourne (yeah, we didn’t know, ei­ther).

5. For­mer for­eign min­is­ter Alexan­der Downer, who prob­a­bly should have a be€er grasp of diplo­macy, tries to claim Wim­ble­don semi-fi­nal­ist Jo­hanna Konta as an Aussie. Bri­tish tabloid calls it an “out­ra­geous slur”, de­spite the fact that Konta was born in Syd­ney.

6. James Hird will hand out the Norm Smith Medal at this year’s AFL Grand Fi­nal. It’s an odd one for the op­tics-con­scious league, but it is in keep­ing with the re­cent prac­tice of the grand’s best afield –Hird won it in 2000 – re­turn­ing to present the award.

7. The Hous­ton Astros, not­ing that out­fielder Car­los Bel­tran hadn’t made a play in the field for two months, hold a “funeral” for Bel­tran’s glove. Yes, the sea­son is so long and bor­ing, this is how play­ers pass the time. Of course, two days aer Bel­tran’s glove was buried, he made a run­ning catch on the sec­ond pitch of the game ...

8. It’s of­fi­cial: Aussie teams go 0-for-26 against New Zealand’s sides dur­ing the 2017 Su­per Rugby sea­son. As a fi­nal grace note, a crowd of only 9771 show up in Can­berra for the home fi­nal gi›ed to the Brumbies via Su­per Rugby’s su­per-con­trived for­mat.

9. In Rus­sia, the shirt re­ally does wear you. Next year’s World Cup host will pre­vent shirt­less fans from walk­ing around in pub­lic. “There will be no half-naked peo­ple roam­ing the streets and squares of our Rus­sian cities,” deputy in­te­rior min­is­ter Alexan­der Gorovoi‘said. We ab­so­lutely would take the Rus­sians se­ri­ously, par­tic­u­larly the terms they use to de­scribe their en­force­ment: “These cases will be rigidly sup­pressed.”

10. On the oc­ca­sion of Greg Nor­man turn­ing 62, the golf­ing great In­sta’d a pic­ture of him­self in the raw in the Colorado wilder­ness. Shark says he has a per­sonal trainer: “na­ture”.

11. Tokyo holds “Tele­work Day”, a dry run to ease the me­trop­o­lis’ con­ges­tion dur­ing the 2020 Olympics. Some host cities do test events; the Ja­panese in­stead test their com­muters. Games or­gan­is­ers hope flex­i­ble work ar­range­ments be­come part of the Olympic legacy, but they’re try­ing to change a fa­mously fas­tid­i­ous cul­ture in which three-hour trips to work are com­mon. 12. NewWorld Se­ries of Poker champ Sco‹ Blum­stein takes home US$8.15m in the third-largest main event field ever. For those home gamers out there, Blum­stein won with a deuce on river. 13. Sun Yang beats Mack Hor­ton in the 400m freestyle at the World Cham­pi­onships and lets loose a wild vic­tory cel­e­bra­tion. Hor­ton again in­sists there is no ri­valry be­tween them, just the ri­valry of clean ath­letes vs un­clean. Or the eter­nal strug­gle of light against dark­ness, or some­thing ... 14. Michael Phelps races a shark ... but not re­ally. The Olympic cham­pion’s selachi­mor­phic show­down turned out to be a vir­tual stunt. As one Amer­i­can sports com­men­ta­tor asked, why didn’t Phelps race Katie Ledecky in­stead? 15. Aus­tralian cy­clist Adam Hansen con­tin­ues his streak of 18 straight grand tours de­spite huge sad­dle sore. “It’s not as big as a ten­nis ball, but as big as a golf ball,” Hansen told a Syd­ney news­pa­per. ”It puts my other two things to shame.” 16. While Bernard Tomic was di­vid­ing the na­tion over the ethics of mail­ing it in at your job, an in­jured Nick Kyr­gios was found play­ing so­cial bas­ket­ball in Can­berra. When you get down to it, shouldn’t we be ask­ing whether we’ve got a fun­da­men­tally wrong-headed view that play­ing ten­nis is fun? 17. A re­cent study of 111 brains of ex-NFL play­ers found 110 had CTE, or the de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease caused by blows to the head. Note well: these brains were do­nated, and are not a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of all foot­ball play­ers. But the con­cus­sion is­sue con­tin­ues to in­spire dread – rugby league per­son­al­ity Ma‹hew Johns lent weight to it, writ­ing: “For­mer play­ers who talk about it are met with rolling eyes. Peo­ple who claim to be af­fected by it are viewed by some as po­ten­tial mon­ey­grab­bers, look­ing to dou­ble dip on the game in re­tire­ment. It beg­gars be­lief that so many con­tinue to ig­nore the clear med­i­cal ev­i­dence.” 18. A Su­per League match will be held ... in Wol­lon­gong. It’s the first time an English rugby league premier­ship match will be held out­side of Europe (beat you, Toronto!) It will surely be a great way to spread the sport to a place where it’s al­ready played. 19. The son of Dutch foot­ball leg­end Patrick Kluiv­ert signed a spon­sor­ship deal with Nike. Noth­ing so un­usual about that, ex­cept when you find out that Shane is nine years old ... 20 Track and field ath­letes cheated out of medals be­cause of dop­ing fi­nally re­ceived a cer­e­mony at the world cham­pi­onships in Lon­don, among them re­tired Bri­tish face-of-the-Games Jes­sica En­nis-Hill, who gets a hep­tathlon gold from six years ago.

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