Showing: 1 - 3 of 3 RESULTS

Palestine coach Makram Daboub: ‘The players are doing their best but it is not easy’ | Palestine

The 7-0 win over Bangladesh in Melbourne last week was about as smooth as possible a start to World Cup qualifying for the Socceroos, but this week’s follow up is set to be anything but that. The Socceroos have landed in a troubled Middle East, where they take on Palestine in a game that has been moved to the neutral venue of Kuwait due to the Israel-Hamas war.

Palestine have not played at home since 2019 and are no strangers to disrupted preparations. But they had been scheduled to play Australia in the West Bank city of Ramallah before the 7 October attacks, during which Hamas killed 1,200 people and took more than 240 people hostage. Since then, 13,000 residents of Gaza have been killed in the Israeli offensive and vast swaths of the territory have been reduced to rubble.

The game in Ramallah would probably have been the biggest to have taken place in Palestine since it became a full Fifa member in 1998. Given the difficulties in getting out of Gaza and the West Bank, Palestine had been training in Jordan since 24 October to ensure they could physically get to their upcoming games. Not all could. Ibrahim Abuimeir, Khaled Al-Nabris and Ahmed Al-Kayed are stuck in Gaza. Many of those who did report for duty are preoccupied with the safety of their friends and family there, as well as in the West Bank.

“Of course, they are worried about the situation and are watching the news in the hotel or on their phones all the time,” Palestine coach Makram Daboub told Guardian Australia in the buildup to Tuesday’s game (Wednesday AEDT). “They are all anxious. They are doing their best but it is not easy.”

Mentally, there are issues but the team are preparing as best

Read the rest

Wallabies veteran James Slipper ‘touch and go’ to be fit for Rugby World Cup opener | Rugby World Cup 2023

Australia are set to go into their first 2023 Rugby World Cup match without their most experienced player, former captain James Slipper. Head coach Eddie Jones did not sound confident about the chances of his veteran prop overcoming injury in time to pack down with the Wallabies against Georgia at the Stade de France a week on Saturday as he battles with a tendon problem in his foot.

“At this stage, it’s definitely touch and go for Georgia,” Jones told reporters at the Australian team base north of Saint-Etienne on Thursday. “He’s got a tendon problem with his foot. We believe we’ve got that under control and he’ll be back on the paddock after Georgia.”

Despite other injury problems in the squad also still lingering, including knocks to tight-head prop Pone Fa’amausili, hooker Jordan Uelese and centre Samu Kerevi, Jones was adamant that everything was on course in the preparations to face the Georgians.

Asked if he was confident everything was on track for the Wallabies to potentially make the final in France, Jones, in a rather better mood than at his fractious airport farewell in Sydney, responded: “The only thing we have to worry about is Georgia in 10 days time.

“Are we on track for Georgia? Yes, we are on track for Georgia. Then after we deal with Georgia, we get on track for the next game. That’s all we have to worry about. Those things [about Australia reaching the final] are for you guys to worry about, not for us.”

He was adamant the team was still developing despite his 0-5 start to life in his latest stint as national coach.

“You go in with a perception of how you think the team may be and then the players’ talents have really shone through and we’re just

Read the rest

‘Push through the pain barrier’: KJT and coach reveal her golden training runs | Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s coach has revealed the brutal training sessions – and mind games – that occasionally made her sick but turned her into a heptathlon world‑beater again.

Most people had written off the 2019 world champion after serious achilles tendon and calf injuries in 2020 and 2021, while Johnson‑Thompson also feared she was destined to fade into irrelevance after being way off the pace last year. However, the 67‑year‑old veteran Aston Moore had other ideas.

Moore, who guided Phillips Idowu and Ashia Hansen to world titles, quickly diagnosed that the 30-year-old was not fit enough when he began training her a year ago. And it was a series of weekly 800m sessions in Loughborough that proved to be the difference in Budapest.

“It was reasonably clear what was wrong,” Moore said. “Basically we had an athlete who didn’t have any petrol in the tank. I felt as soon as we could put some of that back in there – through hard work – she could get back.”

Going into the 800m, Johnson‑Thompson had to stay within three seconds of the American superstar Anna Hall to clinch gold. But while Hall’s personal best was nearly five seconds faster, Moore was not unduly worried.

“We did a lot of work in preparation. A Wednesday at Loughborough was always a day of trepidation because there was going to be a lot of pain on the track because of the work for the 800 metres. She did that all winter, up until about two weeks ago so there was no danger she was going to die. It was just a question of sticking with the job, which she did.”

Speaking on Monday evening after having just one hour’s sleep, Johnson‑Thompson said the sessions had sometimes made her throw up on the track but also

Read the rest