Sports Shorts

Team GB will make Olympic history with male and female flag bearers

News and reactions from the world of sport, including English cricket and rugby joining the social media boycott

1

Tokyo Olympic Games 

Flag bearer change can leave a ‘real hallmark legacy message’

This summer’s opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympic Games will see Team GB have male and female flag bearers for the first time. The move has been “encouraged” by the International Olympic Committee as part of its plans for gender equality, The Guardian reports. The decision has also been “embraced with enthusiasm” by the British Olympic Association. 

Swimmer Anita Lonsbrough (Tokyo 1964), equestrian rider Lucinda Green (Los Angeles 1984) and judoka Kate Howey (Athens 2004) are the only three British women to have previously carried the flag. Mark England, the Team GB chef de mission, hopes the change will create a “real hallmark legacy message”.

2

English sport 

Rugby and cricket join social media boycott

Rugby union and cricket organisations in England will join their football counterparts for the boycott of social media. Starting tomorrow at 3pm, English football organisations will switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for four days in response to online abuse directed at players.

Premiership Rugby, clubs and the Rugby Players’ Association will be involved, the BBC reports. The England and Wales Cricket Board, first-class counties, women’s regional teams and the Professional Cricketers’ Association have also joined the protest. 

“We are committed to making Premiership Rugby a diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment for our staff, players and fans,” said Wayne Morris, the chair of Premiership Rugby’s diversity and inclusion group.

3

Champions League

Guardiola: don’t be ‘shy’ in second leg against PSG

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has urged his side not to be “shy” in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain - or risk elimination and missing out on the final.

In last night’s first leg City won 2-1 with Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scoring second-half goals. Marquinhos had given PSG a 15th-minute lead in a first half that the French giants dominated. 

The second leg will be held at the Etihad Stadium next Tuesday and Spaniard Guardiola said: “It’s halfway for the job and it is simple, if we play shy and not who we are, PSG have the quality to win 2-0. If we play like the second half or in our last games, we have the chance to reach the final.”

4

Tennis 

Defending champion Djokovic to miss Madrid Open

World No.1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from next month’s Madrid Open. In a tweet posted by organisers of the Madrid event, the defending champion said he was “sorry that I won’t be able to travel to Madrid this year and meet all my fans”.

As part of his preparations for the French Open, which begins on 30 May at Roland-Garros in Paris, the 18-time grand slam champion is expected to play tournaments in Rome and Belgrade next month. 

5

Formula 1 

Turkey replaces Canada on F1 2021 calendar

Ongoing international travel restrictions in Canada means Montreal will no longer host a Formula 1 grand prix in 2021. In a change to the schedule round seven will now take place in Turkey. 

The 2021 F1 Turkish Grand Prix will be held from 11-13 June at Istanbul Park. In November last year the race in Turkey saw Lewis Hamilton crowned world champion for a record-equalling seventh time.

F1 president Stefano Domenicali said: “While it is disappointing we cannot be in Canada this season, we are excited to confirm that Turkey will host a grand prix in 2021 after an amazing race last season. I want to thank the promoter and authorities in Canada for all of their efforts in recent weeks but the travel situation made our plans impossible.”

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