Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: Biles, Hamilton and Messi win top Laureus awards and an agreement is in place for Wilder vs. Fury III

Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 18 February

1. Biles wins third Laureus gong

American gymnastics star Simone Biles has won the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award for a third time. 

The 22-year-old was a five-time gold medal winner at last year’s world championships and has also won four Olympic golds. She is tipped to add more titles at this summer’s games in Tokyo. 

Speaking from her Olympics training base in Houston, Biles said: “This means the world to me. I want to thank my family and friends.”

Five-time Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci praised Biles for her domination of the sport.

She said: “There cannot be many sportsmen or women who dominate their sports the way she has in gymnastics.

“We have to keep remembering that she is just 22, and she is likely to win another stack of gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics.”

2. Hamilton and Messi share men’s award

For the first time ever there was a joint-winner of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award with six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and Barcelona superstar footballer Lionel Messi sharing the gong. 

In a video message Messi said: “I am honoured to be the first to win this award being a sportsperson coming from a team sport, and not an individual sport which is usually the case.”

British driver Hamilton used his acceptance speech to call for more diversity in F1. He said: “I’ve grown up in a sport that has very little to no diversity and I think it’s an issue we’re continually facing. It’s all of our responsibility to use our platform for that, to push for gender equality, inclusivity, for making sure we are engaging and trying to represent where the world is today.”

2020 Laureus awards: the winners 
  • Sportsman: Lionel Messi and Lewis Hamilton  
  • Sportswoman: Simone Biles  
  • Comeback: Sophia Floersch  
  • Team: South Africa men’s rugby team  
  • Sporting moment: India men’s cricket team  
  • Breakthrough: Egan Bernal  
  • Sportsperson with a disability: Oksana Masters  
  • Action sportsperson: Chloe Kim  
  • Academy exceptional achievement award: Spanish Basketball Federation  
  • Sport for good award: South Bronx United  
  • Lifetime achievement award: Dirk Nowitzki

3. F1: Imola bids to replace China 

Imola circuit director Roberto Marazzi has revealed that the former Formula 1 venue has submitted an application to the FIA to replace the Chinese Grand Prix, which has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Marazzi said: “We have indeed submitted an application to the FIA and the F1 organisation to replace the Chinese GP. We have not yet received a response. I expect it is difficult to get everything arranged.”

F1: could Imola take China’s place in the 2020 grand prix calendar? 

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4. The Champions League is back!

European football’s top club competition, the Uefa Champions League, returns this evening with two round of 16 first leg ties. Premier League leaders and holders Liverpool travel to Spain to take on Atletico Madrid while Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain. 

Tonight’s UCL last-16 first leg fixtures 
  • Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool (8pm, live on BT Sport 2) 
  • Borussia Dortmund vs. Paris Saint Germain (8pm, live on BT Sport 3)
Tomorrow’s UCL last-16 first leg fixtures 
  • Atalanta vs. Valencia (8pm, live on BT Sport 3) 
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. RB Leipzig (8pm, live on BT Sport 2)

5. Newman crash mars Daytona 500

Yesterday’s Daytona 500 in Florida, Nascar’s biggest race, was overshadowed by a huge crash involving American driver Ryan Newman. The 42-year-old is in a serious condition but his injuries are not life-threatening, Nascar said in a statement.

Denny Hamlin won the race and became the fourth driver in Nascar history to secure back-to-back victories at Daytona International Speedway.

The first fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury ended in a split-decision draw

Harry How/Getty Images

6. Wilder vs. Fury for a third time?

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will go head-to-head in their huge WBC heavyweight title rematch this weekend, but according to the British challenger there’s an agreement already in place for a third fight whatever the result in Las Vegas. 

Fury said: “I think the money is too big not to have it. This is the prizefighting game and there is too much money in the pot for him not to want the rematch, even if he loses.”

Wilder vs. Fury II: fight guide, preview and predictions 

7. England women thrashed by Sri Lanka

England women’s cricket captain Heather Knight admits that the ten-wicket defeat by Sri Lanka should give the team a “kick up the backside” ahead of the T20 World Cup which starts this week in Australia.

Knight said after the warm-up defeat: “It was a disappointing performance, but I’d rather we got it out of the way ahead of the World Cup.

“It might give us a little kick up the backside, which might not be a bad thing. We’re still in a good place.”

England start their T20 World Cup campaign on Sunday against South Africa in Perth (11am, live on Sky Sports).

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8. Lampard: VAR is soul destroying

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard described the video assistant referee (VAR) as “soul destroying” after three crucial calls were made in the Blues’s 2-0 defeat against Manchester United last night.

When asked about the controversial decisions Lampard said: “I’ve seen it again and VAR is there for that and they didn’t get it right. Harry Maguire should have been sent off, that’s clear, and that obviously changes the game.”

‘Soul destroying’ for Lampard: reactions to Man Utd’s VAR-cical victory

9. Sexist or common sense? 

Ex-England boss Fabio Capello has “reignited the debate” about reducing the size of the goal for female footballers. 

In a panel discussion at the Laureus World Sports Awards with Jill Ellis, the World Cup-winning former United States head coach, Capello said: “I think the goal for the women is too big… every time when you shoot at the goal, for the ’keeper it’s really difficult.” 

Ellis, who coached the US to their second successive World Cup victory last summer, “respectfully disagreed” with the Italian, saying: “The purity of the game is the purity of the game and we all love that. We’ve grown up with the game and I don’t think we feel that we need to modify that.” 

10. Back pages: Wenger has his say on Man City

Metro reports that former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Uefa for banning Manchester City from the Champions League for two seasons for breaching Financial Fair Play rules. 

“It is important for the clubs to work with the natural income they have,” said the Frenchman. “The point of sport is basically to win, but by respecting the rules. 

“We celebrate the best in every sport but we need to know they respect the rules. If that doesn’t happen it is not real sport so that’s why it’s so important. Once you play in a competition you agree to the rules.”

Today’s back pages

Wenger backs Uefa over Man City ban and Chelsea are left feeling blue

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