Hunter, one of the Cook Islands’ top-ranked athletes in the discipline, believes the Pacific Games are as good as it gets for paddlers because va’a – or outrigger canoeing as it is also known – is not an Olympic sport.“For us, this is the big event. This is basically it. We all want to win here,” said Hunter, who used to compete internationally in triathlon.Hunter won the bronze medal in the women’s V1 500m race on Tuesday and will also be competing in the V1 10km on Friday and V6 20km on Saturday.When she talked about the competition for her and other Cook Island paddlers at Port Moresby 2015, she said that all countries entered were looking strong.“We’ve pretty much medalled at all previous Games for canoeing,” she said.“So, we’re coming here pretty focused, but I have to say by the level of competition at these Games, everyone has really stepped up their game.”While Hunter was playing down her chances of winning gold in Port Moresby, she did finish sixth in her debut at this year’s Molekai solo in Hawaii.The Molekai solo is a gruelling 55km outrigger race starting from the island of Molekai and finishing on Oahu.As the first Cook Island women to compete in the race, Hunter said it was a real challenge.“I took me just under five hours,” recalled the two time Cook Island sportswoman of the year.“It was just a goal, I’ve been paddling for about 10 years, so Molekai solo is always like the big holy grail and something you want to do at some stage.”So, as Hunter continues to stay focused for her next races at Port Moresby 2015, she was keeping mum on whether she would do the Molekai race again.“I would not say never say never,” the 43-year-old said with a chuckle…..PACNEWS
The Sharks headed to Melbourne last week with the chance of winning their first minor premiership since 1999.That chance slipped away as the Storm prevailed by 20 points. Making matters worse, Cronulla wouldn’t even finish second with the Raiders leapfrogging them less than 24 hours later after flogging the Wests Tigers 52-10.Canberra welcome back prop Junior Paulo (back) who will start instead of now 18th man Paul Vaughan as Ricky Stuart’s men look to make it a whopping 11-straight victories.The Sharks have lost Joseph Paulo (knee) for a couple of weeks but coach Shane Flanagan has welcomed back Ricky Leutele. Leutele starts in the centres and Gerard Beale returns to the bench and will be joined by 18th man Kurt Capewell. Watch out Raiders: Retiring Sharks hooker Michael Ennis has missed one game this season and not only did it coincide with the last time his side faced the Raiders, it also signalled the end of Cronulla’s unbeaten run of 16 games. Ennis has laid on 10 tries this year from dummy half and averaged 36.3 tackles per game. His work in the middle was sorely missed against Canberra six weeks ago as opposition rake Josh Hodgson ran rampant. Watch out Sharks: Jordan Rapana and Joey Leilua have combined so well this year they now have their own couple name. ‘Leipana’ have scored just over a quarter of Canberra’s tries this year between them (Rapana 20, Leilua 11) while combining for 16 try assists and 245 tackle breaks. It spells bad news for Sharks’ left-edge players, particularly the competition’s biggest defensive battler James Maloney (99 missed tackles). Key match-up: Jack Wighton v Ben Barba. With Wighton cleared by the judiciary on Tuesday night, a highly-anticipated clash with Sharks counterpart Ben Barba beckons. Barba has been one of the NRL’s success stories in 2016. With 18 try assists and 15 tries to his name Barba has proved a perfect foil for Sharks halves James Maloney and Chad Townsend. Wighton benefits Canberra most as a running fullback (137.1 metres per game) but is more than capable of laying on tries with eight tries and 12 assists under his belt already this year. The history: Played 66; Raiders 31, Sharks 35. The Raiders and Sharks have traded wins in 2016. They last played in Round 22 when the Raiders prevailed by 16 points at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Since 2010 that these teams have traded two wins for two losses. What are the odds: Eighty per cent of money has been for the Raiders in the head-to-head market, and Canberra 13-plus is the best backed winning option with Sportsbet punters. Rapana is most popular in the first try scorer market ahead of skipper Jarrod Croker. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au.Match officials: Referee: Matt Cecchin. Assistant Referee: Alan Shortall. Sideline Officials: Rickey McFarlane and Jeff Younis.Televised: Fox Sports 1 – Live Coverage from 2:25pm. The way we see it: There seems to be too many points in the Raiders to deny them the win on Saturday afternoon. The Raiders haven’t scored scored less than 20 points in a game since their last loss to the Broncos back in Round 14. Cronulla have managed to score more than 20 points just once in their past six games. Raiders by 10 points.
Morgan Ruig and Evan Shay, both 28, were on a polo trip in Beijing when they heard about the competition.They successfully applied to play as the Australian team and wore green blazers bearing the national logo.The men, who do not play professionally, left North Korea without problems after the event.The two-day tournament brought 85 participants from around the world to North Korea’s only golf course in Pyongyang.The Australian pair were chaperoned throughout their five-day trip which included a tour of the capital, where they placed a bouquet at a monument to the country’s leaders.”We were very nervous handing our passports over at the border. There are stories of people not coming home,” Mr Ruig told the Courier-Mail newspaper.North Korea’s later leader Kim Jong-il opened Pyongyang golf complex in 1987. It is claimed he shot 11 hole-in-ones on his first attempt at the sport.Mr Ruig and Mr Shay, who became friends at Brisbane Boys’ College, did not come close to beating the Supreme Leader’s supposed world-record 38 under par.”I hit 120 and my caddy told me I had bought great shame to my family,” Mr Ruig said.”We played very poorly… but we met some very interesting people.”Mr Ruig told Yahoo Sport that officials “thought it was quite funny”, and that they had no problems leaving the country afterwards.Despite their poor show, he said the whole trip was “character building”.”I wouldn’t recommend it to a light-hearted traveller. It was pretty hardcore but it was an amazing experience.”
The hosts’ Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau defeated Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot 7-6 5-7 7-5 7-5 in Rouen, eliminating Great Britain without the need for two scheduled singles rubbers on Sunday.Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund had previously lost singles matches on Friday, meaning Saturday’s doubles was a must-win for Great Britain but they were ultimately unable to keep the quarter-final alive into the final day.France, who haven’t won the Davis Cup in 16 years, asserted their dominance immediately on Saturday when Mahut and Benneteau snatched the opening set on a tie-break. Across the entire tie, it was France’s seventh consecutive set without Britain winning any.The rot was stopped, albeit briefly, by Britain’s doubles team when Inglot struck a majestic lob to gain control of the second set allowing Murray to serve his side onto the score-board. It would prove to be Britain’s finest moment of the quarter-final.Mahut, a former world No 1 at doubles, showed his class in the third set moments after wasting a set point by forcing another advantage for France, which they took to go 2-1 ahead.Mahut played a shot from the crowd’s side of the advertising hoardings in the stand-out moment of the final set, which France deservedly took to confirm a semi-final.
The match was played in Port Moresby this afternoon.Tries to Yoks Bagave and Michael Yanis took the Vipers to an 8-0 lead after 15 minutes of play.The Mendi boys hit back straight after the restart through a try from fullback Wesley Vali.Vali successfully converted a penalty kick at goal just before half-time to leave the score at 8-6, in favour of the home side.Points were hard to come by in the second half as both teams tried desperately to find the try line.The Muruks did in the 60th minute when they attacked the short side down the wing of Aiyako, who raced away to score out wide. Vali’s attempt to add the extras fell short.But the Muruks had enough in the tank to defend their four-point lead to the end and register their first win of the season.
Managing Director of SP Brewery, Stan Joyce said the company’s journey with the Golf Open has been an exciting and successful partnership over the last 12 years.“This prestigious event offers not only lucrative cash prizes for the golfing professionals, but great future opportunities on the Australian PGA Tour, as a very unique golfing event experience in PNG.”“I urge our family of sponsors and interested corporate companies to come forward and stand behind a prominent sporting event that promotes PNG.“We had a big year this year with 70 plus golfers and anticipate at least 80 professional golfers together with our amateur players in 2018.”President of the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club, Peter Del Monte thanked SP Brewery for their continued support.“It is with much exhilaration that we are proud that the PNG Golf Association has again invited the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club to host the 24th SP PNG Golf Open.“The PNG Golf Association has evolved over the years and is excited by the fabulous golfing opportunities on the horizon for the golfing talent that exists in PNG.”During the launch, Pacific Games dual gold medallist and PNG’s number one ranked female golfer, Kristine Seko was announced as the brand ambassador for the 2018 SP PNG Golf Open, which will get underway in April of next year.
UEFA is not investigating Manchester City under Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules after the Spanish football league (LFP) called for an inquiry into the English club and backed the decision of European soccer’s governing body to look into Paris St Germain’s spending.The LFP called for UEFA to look into the two clubs’ finances after they each splashed out over 200 million pounds in the last transfer window.“PSG and Man City’s funding by state-aid distorts European competitions and creates an inflationary spiral that is irreparably harming the football industry,” LFP president Javier Tebas said in a statement on Monday.PSG have been owned by the Qatar Sports Investment fund since 2011 and Premier League City were bought by The Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.La Liga requested that they be investigated in August, saying both clubs have sponsorships which “make no economic sense and lack fair value”.“There is no investigation into Manchester City with regards to FFP regulations. Any reports mentioning such an investigation are unsubstantiated,” UEFA said in a statement.UEFA opened a formal investigation last week into PSG to see if their transfer spending has contravened the break-even rules of FFP.“PSG is a habitual offender and has been violating UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations for years,” Tebas added.“It is important that UEFA doesn’t just look at the most recent player transfers, but at PSG’s history of non-compliance. The transfers are merely the result of years of financial doping at PSG,” he said.The French club signed Neymar from Barcelona for a world record fee of 222 million euros.City brought in seven players including Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy for a combined 215 million pounds, more than any other club has spent in a single transfer window.Manchester City said they had no comment to make about the situation. PSG were not immediately available to respond.
The first instalment of what Formula One fans hope will be a genuine season-long tussle kicks off on Sunday as four-time champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel lock horns at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.This year marks the first that two quadruple champions are competing in the same season and their battle to see who joins Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio in second place on the all-time list with five titles promises to light up the series.Michael Schumacher leads the way on seven world titles.Hamilton emerged well on top for Mercedes at the end of 2017 after Ferrari’s Vettel made the early running, but their rivalry added plenty of spice, the pair banging wheels on the track in Azerbaijan and exchanging threats off it.Hopes are high for more tense duelling to spark interest in a championship that has generally proved a procession for the Silver Arrows, who have swept the drivers’ and constructors championships in each of the past four years.Much will depend on whether Ferrari’s SF71H can keep German Vettel within striking distance of Hamilton in his Mercedes W09, which the Briton raved about during pre-season testing.On that score, the jury is out.Lap times at testing can be misleading but there remains a conviction that Mercedes will head into Sunday’s race at Albert Park, as always, the team to beat.“We know that Mercedes is a little bit ahead of everyone and is dominating the sport for the last four years,” McLaren’s twice world champion Fernando Alonso told Reuters on Wednesday.“And they are the big favourites again to start the new season.”PERFECT TARGETMercedes are eager to see what the W09 can do at the lakeside circuit in Melbourne, with technical director James Allison saying it would “blow away” the W08 which garnered 12 race wins in 2017 and a fourth consecutive constructors’ title.Hamilton, however, was guarded about their opening weekend prospects, believing Red Bull could be as much a threat to the Silver Arrows as Ferrari.“I think at this time of the year everyone is trying to hype someone else up and we are the perfect target because we are the world champions,” the Briton said at a Melbourne event with sponsor Petronas on Wednesday.“From what I understand, I think Red Bull and Ferrari are very close. Potentially we are either level, just behind or maybe just ahead of the Red Bulls as far as I’m aware.”Ferrari have kept a low profile in the lead-up to the race but home hope and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo emerged on Wednesday to express hope for a “statement” performance.“Every year, the team works hard to build a fast car but, come testing, we’ve never really had much to show for it,” the Australian told reporters.“This year, we obviously had a bit more so, from a team perspective, we’re feeling much more prepared.”There will be fingers crossed in the McLaren garage as Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne put the new Renault-powered car through its paces, the once formidable outfit having split with Honda after three miserable years.Albert Park will see a number of debuts, with Formula Two’s Monegasque champion Charles Leclerc and Russian Sergey Sirotkin having their first races for Sauber and Williams respectively.The much-maligned halo, a cockpit head protection system, will also make its race debut along with ‘Grid Kids’, aspiring young drivers who have replaced the female models who paraded on track in seasons past.
Nick Kyrgios has his toughest assignment to date at this year’s US Open when he faces second seed Roger Federer in a third round encounter at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday, while Maria Sharapova takes on Jelena Ostapenko in a clash of big hitters.Five-times champion Federer eased through the opening rounds with typical Swiss precision, winning both matches in straight sets, while the hot-blooded Kyrgios was gently chided by the chair umpire to try harder before coming through his last match.The Australian has two four-setters under his belt and more than enough talent to give the evergreen 37-year-old Federer a fight — if he can contain his volatile temperament and get the most out of his potent serve.Kyrgios, who has clocked one of the fastest serves at Flushing Meadows this year, won his first-ever match against Federer in 2015, but has lost three in a row since, including one walkover.Similar to Federer, Sharapova has yet to drop a set, but that could easily change against the 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko, who can match the Russian’s raw power from the baseline but is also prone to fits of inconsistency.They face each other in the first match of the evening session on Arthur Ashe and current form suggests a contest mixing a lot of clean winners against plenty of unforced errors.Two-times champion Novak Djokovic is last up on Arthur Ashe against French 26th seed Richard Gasquet, while over at the Louis Armstrong Stadium both the men and women’s fourth seeds will attempt to reach the last 16.First up, Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber of Germany meets Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova for the 13th time in their career, having managed to edge ahead in their head-to-head with victories in both meetings this year.Alexander Zverev, who has been quietly impressive under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, takes on fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the last match of the day session.Elsewhere, women’s fifth seed Petra Kvitova and men’s seventh seed Marin Cilic are also in action in the evening.
By Frank PingueNEW YORK, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic’s U.S. Open title defence came unstuck on Sunday when a nagging shoulder injury forced the world number one to retire from his fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka, prompting a chorus of boos from the crowd at Flushing Meadows.Wawrinka was leading 6-4 7-5 2-1 when Djokovic decided he could not continue, the pair embracing at the side of the court before the Serb walked off with his head down low but his left thumb stuck high in the air.“The pain was constant for weeks now. Some days higher, some days with less intensity, and obviously taking different stuff to kill the pain instantly,” said Djokovic, who has won the U.S. Open three times.“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.“You just know when you know, I guess, when you feel like you’re not able to hit the shot anymore.”After dropping the second set, Djokovic immediately called for medical attention and sat courtside without his shirt on while the trainer gave him a massage.He returned to the court but the 16-times Grand Slam winner was still clearly hampered by the issue and after being broken to love following a double fault decided he could not go on.The shoulder injury nearly saw Djokovic retire from his second-round match on Wednesday but the 32-year-old seemed to have recovered by Friday, saying he was almost pain-free after winning in straight sets to reach the last 16.While frustrated in his bid to inch closer to Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20 career Grand Slam titles, Djokovic was confident there would be plenty more chances to add to his collection.“It’s a long road ahead hopefully for me,” he said. “I hope I can play for many more years. I’m planning to. I mean, I don’t see an end behind the corner at all.“Now it’s a matter of keeping my body and mind in shape and trying to still peak at these kind of events that are majors and that are the most significant in our sport.”Djokovic was off the pace in a lacklustre first set against three-times Grand Slam champion Wawrinka but seemed to right the ship in the second when he took a 4-1 lead.But a determined Wawrinka, with his serve clicking, fought his way back and twice held to love en route to taking the set for a 2-0 lead.Wawrinka, who had not faced Djokovic since beating him in the 2016 U.S. Open final, said he could see his opponent was struggling but did his best to focus on his own game.“For sure I could see some little thing that he was in trouble,” said Wawrinka, who will face Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals.“But I was most likely, most of the time, focused on myself because I know how well he can fight. I know how well he can come back. Doesn’t matter how he’s feeling on the court, and that’s what I was focusing on.” Results from the Grand Slam, US Open Men’s Singles matches on Sunday .. 3rd Round .. Andrey Rublev (RUS) beat 28-Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 7-6 7-6(5) 6-3 .. 4th Round .. 5-Daniil Medvedev (RUS) beat Dominik Koepfer (GER) 3-6 6-3 6-2 7-6(2) 3-Roger Federer (SUI) beat 15-David Goffin (BEL) 6-2 6-2 6-0 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) beat Alex De Minaur (AUS) 7-5 6-3 6-4 Results from the Grand Slam, US Open Women’s Singles matches on Sunday .. 3rd Round .. 13-Belinda Bencic (SUI) beat 21-Anett Kontaveit (EST) (Walkover) .. 4th Round .. 5-Elina Svitolina (UKR) beat 10-Madison Keys (USA) 7-5 6-4 16-Johanna Konta (GBR) beat 3-Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-7(1) 6-3 7-5 8-Serena Williams (USA) beat 22-Petra Martic (CRO) 6-3 6-4 18-Qiang Wang (CHN) beat 2-Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 6-2 6-4