Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 2nd 2017 Contents sports A37
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Bolt says no chance of loss
or comeback in final 'Worlds'
LONDON--- An encore for Us-
ain Bolt? Unthinkable. A loss in
his going-away party? Impos-
Track's fastest man and greatest
entertainer made both those points
clear Tuesday leading to his final
world championships this week.
It was an engaging hour filled with
reminisces, chats about his plans and
thoughts about where his troubled
and soon-to-be-starless sport might
Sporting the goatee he wears dur-
ing world championships,but not the
Olympics, the superstar who went 9
for 9 at the Summer Games, shat-
tering records while dancing and
smiling his way through the journey,
dispensed any notion he might come
back: "For me, the next champion-
ships should be fun because now it's
time to watch and see who can hold
their nerves," said the 11-time world
champion, who turns 31 on Aug. 21.
As for the possibility he'd change
his mind should he lose in Saturday
night's 100-meter final: "It's not
going to happen, so we won't have
that problem. Don't worry," he said.
He said he's looking forward to
a life of motivational speaking, oc-
casional soccer games with friends
and maybe dipping his toe into action
movies to keep the adrenaline flow-
ing. As for the past, one of Bolt's most
interesting revelations was that his
now-famous "To the World" pose,
which he debuted after winning his
first Olympic gold medal in Beijing,
was completely unplanned.
"It's just something that hap-
pened," Bolt said. "I guess it was by
the grace of God. It became big. For
me, it worked."
Almost every celebration since ---
the moderator said Bolt has taken
147 victory laps over his career ---
has been pre-planned, drenched in
Jamaican flags and reggae music and
every bit worth the wait. Among the
fewimpromptu moments came at the
last world championships, two years
ago in Beijing, when a photographer
riding a Segway accidentally upended
him during his victory lap.
Sharapova wins first WTA
match in US since 2015
pova played her first WTA match
in the United States since 2015 and
beatJennifer Brady 6-1,4-6,6-0 on
Mondaynightin the openinground
of the Bank of the West Classic.
Sharapova, a wild-card entrant and
five-time Grand Slam champion, won
the opening four games of the match,
lost the first three of the second set and
cruised in the third.
"I feel like I just want to hug every-
one and say thank you," Sharapova
said in an on-court interview. "It's
my first match in the States in a really
long time, and it's the closest thing to
home for me."
Sharapova served a 15-month ban af-
ter testing positive for a newly banned
drug at the 2016 Australian Open. She
returned in April and played in three
tournaments, but missed Wimbledon
because of an injury.
Top-seeded and reigning Wimble-
don champion Garbine Muguruza will
play 17-year-old American Kayla Day, a
6-4, 6-2 winner over Japanese veteran
Ana Konjuh, the No. 5 seed from
Croatia, won 6-3, 1-0 after New Zea-
land qualifier Marina Erakovic re-
tired from the match with an injury.
Seventh-seeded Lesia Tsurenko beat
Spain's Lara Arruabarrena 6-3, 6-3.
Barcelona has 'doubts' about
Neymar's future amid PSG rumours
SPAIN --- Barcelona is worried,
very worried,that Neymar might
be headed to Paris-Saint Ger-
main.The Brazil striker is expect-
ed to be at practice today, but no
one seemsto know if he'll accept a
world record transfer or show up
for training. Just in case, Barce-
lona is making moves to protect
26 million Euros ($30.7 million)
that would be paid to Neymar if
he stays in Spain, according to a
The official, who spoke on cus-
tomary condition of anonymity, said
"given doubts concerning the future
of the player and while the situation
is resolved" the money is being held
"What the club does with the
money, it does not know yet, given
the uncertainty of the future," the
official told The Associated Press.
The 25-year-old Neymar would
be due the money now as per his
contract renewal last year. But the
amount is tiny compared to the 222
million Euros ($262 million) that PSG
would have to pay to trigger the re-
lease clause included in Neymar's
Neymar is supposed to arrive in
Barcelona on Tuesday after some
publicity events in China --- both
personal and for Barcelona. He is
scheduled to return to training at
Barcelona's training grounds just
outside the city on Wednesday.
There are growing rumours that
Neymar, who has had four seasons
of winning trophies and scoring
spectacular goals at Barcelona, will
bolt for PSG. Part of the gossip sur-
rounding the possible transfer is that
Neymar was to meet with doctors in
Qatar for a medical. PSG is owned by
a Qatari company.
But the Barcelona official said the
"club is not aware of any medical
exam of the player with PSG." Ney-
mar's father, who acts as his agent
and is also named Neymar, arrived
in Barcelona on Monday. He was
swarmed by journalists at the airport
but revealed nothing about his son's
Neymar also remained mum about
his future while playing for Barcelo-
na during its pre-season tour in the
United States before heading off
to Shanghai to boost his brand as a
Last year, Neymar signed a con-
tract extension with Barcelona
through 2021, with his buyout clause
increasing to the current 222 million
Euros and 250 million ($288 million)
by 2018. The bonus Barcelona is now
trying to protect is from that deal.
If PSG does sign Neymar, the cost
of the transfer would more than dou-
ble the 105 million euros (then $116
million) that Manchester United paid
a year ago for France midfielder Paul
PSG starts its season on Saturday,
while Barcelona has until Aug. 13.
Two weeks ago, Barcelona pres-
ident Josep Bartomeu told the AP
that Neymar "is not on the market."
He then told ESPN that if Neymar
"wants to go . then they will have
to pay the clause, right down to the
Paris stops short of claiming
victory after LA announcement
PARIS---After failing three times
in recent bids, sheerjoy was expected
from Paris officials when Los Ange-
les ceded the 2024 Olympics to the
City of Lights.
Paris bid leaders, however, opted for a
diplomatic approach, stopping short of
claiming the 2024 Games were guaran-
teed to be organized in their city.
"Paris 2024 is proud to be working
together with the International Olym-
pic Committee (IOC) and our friends
in Los Angeles to reach a positive solu-
tion for both cities, the games and the
whole Olympic Movement for 2024 and
2028," bid committee co-chairman Tony
Estanguet said. "(The) announcements
are a sign of the progress being made and
the delivery of a good solution to the IOC
members in September in Lima."
The L'Equipe sports newspaper was
more enthusiastic on Tuesday, cele-
brating the French capital's victory by
running a front page headline claiming
"La Joie est Libre!" --- a play of words on
the expression "La Voie est Libre," which
means the way has been cleared.
Although optimistic, Paris bid lead-
ers remained cautious in their official
That attitude is consistent with their
position since launching the bid a little
but more than two years ago, which con-
trasted with the perceived arrogance in
previous bids for the 1992, 2008, and
The last time it bid, Paris was consid-
ered the favourite in the race for the 2012
Olympics, only to lose out to London in a
close vote in 2005 following a poor lob-
This time, they opted for a more hum-
ble and sports-driven approach, leaving
government officials in a supporting role
and making sure all the political hurdles
were cleared before going forward.
There was no direct reaction from
French president Emmanuel Macron,
a strong supporter of the Paris project,
and other officials said they would not
celebrate until a three-way deal between
Los Angeles, Paris and the Internation-
al Olympic Committee is officially an-
nounced on Sept. 13 in Lima, Peru.
Macron's office issued a statement on
Tuesday saying that the French president
spoke with IOC President Thomas Bach
and that France "took note of Los Angeles'
decision to bid for 2028 and to find a deal
with the IOC and Paris."
"French President Emmanuel Macron
welcomes this very important step to-
wards obtaining the games for France
in 2024 and remains very committed
to make our country's bid win with all
the French, the athletes, and all partners
involved," the statement said.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who played
a key role in convincing the IOC that Paris
was the right city for 2024 by hammering
the message that her city was not inter-
ested in hosting the 2028 edition, only
said she was confident a "win-win-win"
agreement can be secured ahead of the
IOC session in Peru.
"Paris and Los Angeles are two amaz-
ing global cities that are united in their
support of the Olympic cause and we
stand together now to help the games
thrive in 2024 and 2028," Hidalgo said.
"As today's announcement shows, dia-
logue between the IOC and the two cities
is progressing well."
Barring a major hiccup ahead of the
IOC session, Paris will be hosting the
Olympics for the first time in 100 years.
Besides 1924, the French capital also
hosted the Olympics in 1900. (AP)
Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt strikes his signature pose after a press
conference yesterday, ahead of the World Athletics championships in
London. PHOTO: AP
This Feb. 13, 2008, file photo shows
the facade of The Los Angeles
Memorial Coliseum. It was announced
on Monday that Los Angeles has
reached an agreement with
International Olympic leaders that
will open the way for the city to host
the 2028 Summer Games, while
ceding the 2024 Games to rival Paris.
Barcelona's Neymar, right, hurdles Real Madrid's Casemiro during their
International Champions Cup match on Saturday in Miami, Florida. AP
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