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Djokovic flies out of Australia after losing court appeal

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Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic flew out of Australia on Sunday after a court upheld the government’s decision to cancel his visa, capping days of drama over the country’s COVID-19 entry rules and his unvaccinated status.

The unanimous ruling by a three-judge Federal Court bench dealt a final blow to Djokovic’s hopes of chasing a record 21st Grand Slam win at the Australian Open that starts on Monday.

The Serbian player went to the airport in Melbourne just hours later. Federal agents escorted him and his team from the business lounge to the gate, where he boarded an Emirates flight bound for Dubai. The flight took off shortly before 11 p.m. (1200 GMT).

In a rollercoaster ride, the world’s top men’s player was first detained by immigration authorities on Jan. 6, ordered released by a court on Jan. 10 and then detained on Saturday again pending Sunday’s court hearing.

Djokovic said after the ruling he was extremely disappointed as it meant he could not take part in the tournament.

“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country,” he said in a statement, and wished the tournament well.

Djokovic, 34, had appealed against Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s use of discretionary powers to cancel his visa. The minister had said Djokovic could be a threat to public order because his presence would encourage anti-vaccination sentiment amidst Australia’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

Chief Justice James Allsop said the court ruling was based on the lawfulness and legality of the minister’s decision in the context of the three grounds of appeal Djokovic’s legal team lodged.

“It is no part of the function of the court to decide upon the merits or wisdom of the decision,” Allsop said, adding that the three judges were unanimous in their ruling. Full reasoning behind the ruling would be released in coming days, he said.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic walks in Melbourne Airport before boarding a flight, after the Federal Court upheld a government decision to cancel his visa to play in the Australian Open, in Melbourne, Australia, January 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic walks in Melbourne Airport before boarding a flight, after the Federal Court upheld a government decision to cancel his visa to play in the Australian Open, in Melbourne, Australia, January 16, 2022. Photo: Reuters

‘Keep borders strong’

The player’s visa saga has dominated headlines around the world and fuelled a debate over the rights of people who opt to remain unvaccinated as governments take measures to protect their people from the two-year coronavirus pandemic.

The controversy became a political touchstone for Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he prepares for an election due by May. His government has faced criticism for its handling of Djokovic’s visa application.

Morrison welcomed the court’s ruling, saying the decision will help “keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe.”

“It’s now time to get on with the Australian Open and get back to enjoying tennis over the summer,” he said in a statement.

Djokovic had been granted a visa to enter Australia, with a COVID-19 infection on Dec. 16 providing the basis for a medical exemption from Australia’s requirements that all visitors be vaccinated. The exemption was organised through Tennis Australia.

That exemption prompted widespread anger in Australia, which has undergone some the world’s toughest COVID-19 lockdowns and where more than 90% of adults are vaccinated. The government said recent infection alone did not meet its standards for an exemption.

Weeping fans

But the player also had some support, especially in his native Serbia and from Serbians living in Australia.

Serbian prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Sunday, “I think that the court decision is scandalous, I am disappointed, I think it demonstrated how the rule of law is functioning or better to say not functioning in some other countries.”

In the Serbian capital Belgrade, Djokovic’s hometown, many support him though some felt he should have been vaccinated.

“I think Australia should be ashamed of itself and that the decision was not a just one. I am sorry for Novak as a tennis player and as a person,” said Danilo Mircic, a student.

“If I were him, I would get vaccinated and avoid problems in the future,” said Aleksandar Janjic, a middle-aged computer programmer.

In Melbourne, around 70 Djokovic fans, including young children, sang folk songs and chanted in the Federal Court plaza while they waited for the court’s ruling.

They gathered around a loudspeaker to hear the judge reading out the decision, but it took several minutes after the court adjourned before they worked out that Djokovic had lost. Two women were weeping, while others started up chants for a short while before the crowd dispersed.

“What they did today is everything except justice,” said Natasha Marjnovic, 44, a Djokovic supporter who was wiping away tears. “They killed a beautiful sportsman and his career and for all of us who love tennis.”

Disruption to tennis

The men’s tennis governing body ATP said “today’s decision to uphold Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa cancellation marks the end of a deeply regrettable series of events”.

It added in a statement that decisions of legal authorities regarding public health must be respected.

Tennis Australia said it respected the decision.

On the tennis circuit, fellow players had become impatient for the media circus around Djokovic to end as it had become an unwelcome distraction, casting uncertainty over the draw for the tournament.

But several voiced sympathy for Djokovic following his legal defeat.

“There was a political agenda at play here with the elections coming up which couldn’t be more obvious,” Vasek Pospisil, a Canadian tennis player, said on Twitter.

“This is not his fault.”

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/sports/20220116/djokovic-flies-out-of-australia-after-losing-court-appeal/65264.html

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Việt Nam crush Philippines in Southeast Asian U19 event

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Striker Nguyễn Văn Trường (left) vies for the ball with Jaime Domingo Rosquillo of the Philippines in the 2022 Southeast Asian U19 Football Championship held in Indonesia on Monday afternoon. Photo VFF

Football

By Thanh Nga

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam crushed the Philippines 4-1 in the 2022 Southeast Asian U19 Football Championship held in Indonesia on Monday afternoon.

Following the goalless draw against Indonesia in the first match, Việt Nam were determined to secure three points.

From the off, Việt Nam were on the front foot. After missing two good chances in the opening exchanges, striker Nguyễn Quốc Việt found the net with his third early effort to open the scoring.

In the 16th minute, striker Nguyễn Văn Trường had a good chance to double the lead but after dribbling through the defence his effort was saved by Lance Jeter Aquino Bencio.

With the sun beating down in Indonesia, Việt Nam conserved their energy in the first half to ensure they never ran out of steam.

The Philippines pushed for an equaliser but couldn’t beat Cao Văn Bình in Việt Nam’s goal.

After the break, Đình Bắc’s pinpoint free-kick was met by Việt who headed home to double the lead.

In the 51st minute, the Philippines had the opportunity to narrow the gap when Sandro Reyes was clean through but his shot went over the crossbar.

However, two minutes later, Sandro Reyes did manage to claw one back for the Philippines.

As the clock ticked, Việt Nam made the game safe, with midfielder Nguyễn Văn Khang scoring from the spot after he was fouled inside the penalty area.

In the 77th minute, Antoine Ortega fouled striker Trường in the Philippines’s penalty area giving the referee no choice but to point at the spot for a second time.

Trường stepped up and cooly slotted home, Panenka-style to take the score to 4-1.

Việt Nam will next face Brunei on July 6, Myanmar on July 8 and then Thailand on July 10.

The regional event have attracted the participation of 11 teams who were divided into two groups, competing in a round-robin format. The first and second teams in each group win the right to the semi-finals.

The tournament will finish on July 15.

Việt Nam won the Southeast Asian U19 Championship once in 2007. VNS

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/sports/viet-nam-crush-philippines-in-southeast-asian-u19-event_335273.html

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Lan to run against powerhouses at world athletic champs

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Athletics

Quách Thị Lan (right) on her way to gold in the women’s 400m hurdles during the SEA Games 31 in May in Hà Nội. Lan will represent Việt Nam at the World Athletics Championship in the US. — VNA/VNS Photo

Thanh Hà

HÀ NỘI — Quách Thị Lan has earned a place at the World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon, the US, where she will face off against the best athletes in the world this month.

She is the sole Vietnamese competitor at the 18th edition tournament, receiving a wildcard position as Việt Nam did not earn any official berth from qualifications.

It will be her second time in the US. Lan enjoyed a one-year training course in Florida, the US, in 2015.

Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, general secretary of the Việt Nam Athletics Federation, said Lan was chosen as the most successful of the Vietnamese competitors.

The 26-year-old was the only track-and-field athlete from Việt Nam to compete at the Tokyo Olympics last July. Her presence in the women’s 400m hurdles semi-finals was Việt Nam’s best athletics performance at the Olympics.

Lan won the 400m hurdles in the 2018 Asian Games and 400m hurdles in the Asian championship in 2019.

She claimed two SEA Games titles in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay, and a bronze in the 400m last month.

Lan will travel to Oregon with her Bulgarian coach Vladimir Simeonov who also accompanied her at the Tokyo Games.

“The selection by the sports leaders and coaches is based on different criteria. But I think that I am chosen because of my peak, which will fall in that period,” Lan told Việt Nam News.

“On my side, I have been working hard in my career and hope to contribute as much as possible to the nation. The world championship will be a good opportunity that will push me up and I will show off my ability as a Việt Nam representative,” she said.

Lan said she was honoured to be selected for the first time at the world event. After a short time visiting family after the SEA Games 31 success, she has been back in action to prepare for the event.

“My coaches and I are in an intensive training course. As you all know, my drive to the finish line in the last metres is not good. I understand my weakness. Together with my coaches, I will have to improve that.

“In a long-term job, we will have to build up a suitable plan which will fix my weaknesses and lift my results.”

In the coming event, which is scheduled from July 15-24, Lan will face the world’s strongest runners, including Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin who broke her own world record in the 400m hurdles at the US track and field championships last week.

“To me, participating in the championship and competing against world-leading athletes is an honour. I will have the chance to learn from them and enrich my knowledge and experience for my career. It will help me to strive to run as well as they can,” Lan said.

The Vietnamese athlete said she is not under any pressure of high results but is encouraged to run as best as she can.

Lan will run in the 400m hurdles qualification on July 19. If she qualifies, the semi-finals will be held a day later, while the finals are on July 22.

At the previous world championship in 2019 in Qatar, Việt Nam sent youngster Ngần Ngọc Nghĩa to compete in the men’s 100m event. He did not make the finals. — VNS

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/sports/lan-to-run-against-powerhouses-at-world-athletic-champs_335205.html

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Something fishy going on at Everton

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Tottenham Hotspur are favourites to sign Richarlison from Everton. AFP Photo

Paul Kennedy

I’ve never been to Scott’s seafood restaurant in London’s exclusive Mayfair district, and chances are I never will.

It looks proper fancy, and although I’m sure worth every penny, a little expensive for my modest tastes. (Fish, chips and mushy peas will set you back VNĐ1 million).

According to one English national newspaper, on Monday evening earlier this week two men met there for a dinner meeting.

They were Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy and his good friend and Everton FC counterpart Bill Kenwright.

It seems the pair were discussing the sale of Everton striker Richarlison to White Hart Lane with the price thought to be somewhere in the region of $60m.

The 25-year-old Brazilian is a great talent, already a regular in his national team and still has his best footballing years ahead of him.

He will be a fine addition to Antonio Conte’s Tottenham side and could be the difference that will see Spurs finally win a trophy, their last being the Carling Cup in 2008.

But the big news here for me is not Tottenham’s attempt to buy the Brazilian, but Everton’s willingness to sell.

Maybe by the time this column is printed, a deal will have already been completed, and Richarlison will soon be revealed as a Tottenham Hotspur player.

Good news for Spurs, awful for Everton.

Last season the Blues hung on to their place in the Premier by the skin of their teeth. It was touch and go as the campaign drew to a close but in the end, helped massively by a galvanised supporter base, Everton clung on.

This coming season could see one of two things happen. Either they take on board the scare of last, and use it to push on and improve, or they spend another season desperately fighting for every point in the hope of survival.

In Frank Lampard they have a good, young, keen and willing manager, ready to do all he can to improve the club.

But it seems the willingness from those who hold the purse strings to sell their best players could be the death of Everton.

There have also been rumours surrounding the futures of striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and midfielder Anthony Gordon.

Goalkeeper Jordon Pickford, also England’s number one, is another soon out of contract. If those three, on top of Richarlison, also decide to leave Goodison Park then I fear for their future.

Everton are what you would class as a ‘selling club’. It’s highly unlikely a mega-star will choose the Blues over the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea.

But that said, Everton need to do all they can to hold on to their very best players, for at least next season, before deciding to cash in.

Selling the likes of Richarlison may bring a tidy profit, but it could just send Everton spiralling headfirst into the Championship.

And that will be something Evertonians will find hard to swallow, even if it is served with the best possible oysters on the menu at Scott’s. VNS

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/sports/something-fishy-going-on-at-everton_335150.html

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