Tokyo, Oct 13 (AP/UNB) — A third Rugby World Cup game in Japan was canceled before organizers decided it was safe enough for the tournament host to play Scotland at Yokohama on Sunday, a night after a deadly typhoon devastated parts of Japan.
Helicopters plucked people from flooded homes as rescue efforts went into full force Sunday morning in wide areas of Japan , including Tokyo, after Typhoon Hagibis unleashed heavy rainfall and damaging winds on the main island.
Rugby World Cup organizers made the decision at 6 a.m. local time to cancel the last Pool B game between Canada and Namibia, which was set to be played at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium. An evacuation order remained in place in the area and there had been landslides and flooding near the stadium in northeastern Japan.
World Rugby an hour later confirmed the U.S.-Tonga game at Hanazono Stadium in Osaka and the Wales-Uruguay game at Kumamoto had been given the all clear, but took several more hours to make the decision on the crucial Pool A game between Japan and Scotland.
The last of the 40 group-stage matches, it is also a quarterfinal decider. Scotland needs a win to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages, and had threatened to sue organizers if the game was canceled. Japan needed only to avoid defeat to secure a spot in the knockout stages for the first time.
Two of Saturday's three scheduled games were canceled two days before the typhoon made landfall south of Tokyo and moved northward, leaving at least seven dead and 15 missing.
Public broadcaster NHK gave a higher toll than the government of 10 dead and 16 missing as more details were coming in the from field.
"The major typhoon has caused immense damage far and wide in eastern Japan," government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said, adding that 27,000 military troops and other rescue crews were deployed for the operation.
Some 286,000 homes were without electricity. Flights and trains were canceled on Saturday, but several train services in the Tokyo area resumed early Sunday.
Japan's unbeaten run through the pool stage, including a comeback win over an Irish team that was ranked No. 1 ahead of the tournament, has captured the country's imagination. Head coach Jamie Joseph on Friday said his team wanted the game to go ahead just as much as Scotland did, so it could prove it belonged among the eight best teams in the sport.
While the New Zealand-Italy and England-France games were canceled without much backlash, Scottish rugby officials exerted more pressure on organizers after expressing frustration that there hadn't been enough contingency built into the schedule to cater for the potentially extreme conditions in the first Rugby World Cup staged in Asia.
World Rugby issued a statement saying the comprehensive assessment of the venue and infrastructure was done in partnership with government agencies.
The only game canceled Sunday was in Kamaishi, making it three for the weekend. It's the first time any games have been cancelled at a Rugby World Cup.
"Following extensive discussions with World Rugby, Kamaishi City and Iwate Prefecture, during which we considered every possibility to make this game happen, we had no option but to cancel the match to ensure the safety of the fans, team, volunteers, and all others involved," organizing committee chief executive Akira Shimazu said. "It was both a difficult and emotional decision to make, however, I feel it's the right decision and firmly believe both domestic and foreign fans will understand the decision was made to ensure safety."
Like the two games canceled Saturday, the Canada-Namibia result was logged as 0-0 and each team was given two competition points. Canada and Namibia were both winless, so the outcome had no impact on the quarterfinals.
"Kamaishi is situated in a highly mountainous area, including mountains directly behind the main stand of the stadium," World Rugby said. "There have been landslides and flooding in the vicinity of the stadium and along access roads to the venue following torrential rain throughout the night."
The Kamaishi stadium was built on the site where two schools sat before they were washed away on March 11, 2011, when the town was devastated by a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami that killed just over 1,000 local people. Uruguay had an upset win over Fiji at the stadium earlier in the tournament, when the tragedy of nine years ago was memorialized by the presence of Japan's Crown Prince Akishino among the sold-out crowd of 14,000.
"Our hearts go out to the teams and also their fans, but also the people of Kamaishi, who have been incredible during what has been a special journey in recent years," World Rugby tournament director Alan Gilpin said. "Nobody will be more disappointed than them, but also nobody would have better empathy with the decision."
Chicago, Oct 13 (AP/UNB) — Oleksandr Usyk dominated in his professional heavyweight debut, earning a technical knockout win over Chazz Witherspoon in the seventh round on Saturday night.
In his highly anticipated pro debut, Usyk (17-0) showed his dominance over Witherspoon in the third round, teeing off with an array of jabs. Usyk landed a series of combinations in the fourth.
Witherspoon spent most of the second half of the sixth round leaning on the ropes as Usyk had his way.
Witherspoon (38-4) showed a strong chin, never going down, but his corner saw enough and stopped the fight after the seventh round.
After dominating the cruiserweight division, Usyk expects to jump into title fight contention.
Usyk is the WBO's mandatory challenger for the winner of the Andy Ruiz Jr.-Anthony Joshua rematch on December 7.
The 2012 heavyweight gold medalist took the Wintrust Arena by storm. Usyk may have been fighting in the United States, but he had the majority of the crowd behind him while the Ukranian flag was prominent throughout the arena and the crowd loudly chanted his name.
The 32-year old Ukranian was originally supposed to make his heavyweight debut on May 25 against Carlos Takam, but a torn right biceps injury for Usyk derailed the scheduled bout.
Witherspoon was simply outclassed by Usyk, who came in at a heavy 242 pounds after accepting the fight this week. He replaced Tyrone Spong, who failed a drug test.
On the main card, Jessica McCaskill (8-2), fighting out of Chicago, defended her WBC and WBA World super-lightweight titles in a rematch against Erica Farias (26-4). The judges had it at 94-94, 97-91, 96-92 in favor of the champ. After a slow first round, McCaskill picked up the tempo and controlled the bout.
Dmitry Bivol (17-0) defended his WBA super world lightweight heavyweight title with a unanimous win over Lenin Castillo (20-3-1). Bivol knocked down Castillo in the sixth round, but that was the only highlight for the fans, who booed Bivol after the fight during his postfight interview in the ring.
"Maybe there are people who say, 'You are a boring fighter,' or something like this. But I try to win and I won," Bivol said. "Who wants to fight me? Who wants to try to beat me?"
In the undercard, Patrick Day was taken to a hospital after getting viciously knocked out in the 10th round by Charles Conwell.
Fighting at super welterweight, Conwell landed a right hand early in the 10th. That caused Day to stumble and seconds later Conwell landed a left hook that knocked Day to the canvas.
The 27-year-old Day, from Freeport, New York, was instantly knocked out and it wasn't clear if he regained consciousness. He was treated by a doctor in the ring and then was rushed off on a stretcher by paramedics and transported to the hospital.
Day was knocked down twice earlier in the fight. The promoter, Matchroom Boxing, did not have any immediate updates on Day's condition.
Later, DAZN reported Day never regained consciousness and began having seizures when he entered the ambulance and he was using a breathing tube at the hospital.
Rome, Oct 13 (AP/UNB) — Two years after failing to qualify for the World Cup, Italy's turnaround could not be more emphatic.
The Azzurri overcame Greece's defensive tactics for a 2-0 win Saturday and qualified for the 2020 European Championship with three matches to spare.
And qualification comes with quite a bonus: Italy is now assured of playing in the opening match of next year's tournament at home in Rome in June.
"We haven't really achieved anything yet but let's enjoy this moment," coach Roberto Mancini said. "We should be happy with the way the squad is playing. Italy still needs to work a lot to improve. But there's not such a big gap from the big European squads."
Brazilian-born midfielder Jorginho converted a penalty after the hour mark after a blatant handball by Andreas Bouchalakis. Then substitute Federico Bernardeschi scored from outside the area with a low, bouncing shot that was deflected.
Italy extended its perfect record in Group J to seven wins in seven matches. Add in a friendly victory over the United States last year and the Azzurri are in position to match the national team's record of nine straight wins set under Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s by beating Liechtenstein on Tuesday.
"I appreciate the comparison but Pozzo is a legend because he won two World Cups, not for a run of nine straight wins," Mancini said. "It was great to see the (Stadio) Olimpico full like this and we hope it will be even more magical next June."
It was nearly two years ago that Italy lost a playoff to Sweden and failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup — leaving the four-time champion out of soccer's biggest tournament for the first time in 54 years.
"The most important thing is that the fans have rediscovered their enthusiasm for the Azzurri," Italian soccer federation president Gabriele Gravina said. "We're definitely on the right track toward recovering what was lost in recent years."
Italy has a full 21 points, nine more than second-place Finland. The top two teams of each group advance.
Greece, which has five points, had already lost hope of qualifying.
There were nearly 60,000 fans at the Stadio Olimpico in anticipation of the qualifying celebration but they were kept quiet for much of the night as Greece defended in large numbers.
The visitors produced the only shot on goal of the first half while Italy was temporarily playing with 10 men due to a knock to left back Danilo D'Ambrosio. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made a one-handed reflex save on a dangerous effort from Dimitris Limnios.
Things got worse for Italy when winger Federico Chiesa, perhaps the Azzurri's best performer over the course of qualifying, limped off before the break with an apparent thigh issue. Chiesa was replaced by Bernardeschi.
"It's always tough when squads pull everyone back to defend," Mancini said. "We were too frenetic in the first half. We should have patiently moved the ball around to open up spaces. Instead, we attempted long balls and that's no good. It was a much more relaxed second half. We kept focused and achieved our goal."
Italy began to threaten more after the break and earned a penalty when Bouchalakis stuck out his arm to block a shot from Lorenzo Insigne that appeared on target.
Jorginho, who holds dual citizenship, sent goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis the wrong way after a nervous buildup to the spot kick as the referee took his time putting the players in order.
Fifteen minutes later, Bernardeschi took a pass from captain Leonardo Bonucci and scored his first Italy goal in more than a year.
Then it wasn't long before the Stadio Olimpico was rocking to the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" — the soundtrack to Italy's last title at the 2006 World Cup.
Dhaka, Oct 12 (UNB) – Bangladesh U-21 Hockey team clinched the Walton five-match practice series 3-0 with one match to spare crushing the touring Oman U-21 Hockey team by 4-1 goals in the 4th match at Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium here on Saturday.
Hosts Bangladesh Youth Hockey team made a good start in the series defeating Oman by 5-1 goals in the opening match and defeated them by 2-0 goals in the 3rd match after playing 2-2 draw in the 2nd match.
Bangladesh will play Oman in the 5th and last match on Tuesday at the same venue at 4 pm.
In the day’s match, Mahbub Hossain opened the account for Bangladesh scoring a field goal in the 2nd minute (1-0) while Ashraful Islam doubled the margin scoring from a penalty corner in the 13th minute (2-0).
Captain Sohanur Rahman Sabuj sealed the victory for Bangladesh scoring twice from penalty corners in a span just three minutes (40th and 43rd minutes) (4-0).
Rashad Al Fazari netted the face-saving goal for Oman just two minutes before of final whistle (58th minute) (4-1).
Before the day’s match, President of Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) and Chief of Bangladesh Air Force Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat distributed the crest among the players.
Besides, BHF Vice-Presidents Abdur Rashed Shikder, Dr Mahfuzur Rahman, Sajed AA Adel, Zakir Ahmed and Mohammad Yousuf Ali were also present on the occasion.
Dhaka, Oct 12 (UNB) — Dhaka Division and Barishal Divison were leading against Rajshahi and Sylhet Divisions in their respective matches on the 3rd-day of the four-day National Cricket League (NCL) at Fatullah and Rajshahi on Saturday.
Rajshahi vs Dhaka: Replying to Dhaka Division first innings total 240 runs, Rajshahi Division resumed first innings with overnight total 173 for 6 in 66 overs, and were bundled out for 197 runs in 77.5 overs to trail by 43 runs in the innings at Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah on Saturday.
Left-arm pacer of Dhaka Division Sumon Khan bagged five wickets conceding 50 runs in 27 overs while Salahuddin Sakil took three wickets.
Later, Dhaka scored 206 runs for 6 in 80 overs in the 2nd innings to extend their overall lead by 249 runs with four wickets in hand with Raqibul Hasan making 65 and Taibur Rahman not out 67 runs.
For Rajshahi, Taijul Islam took three wickets and Farhad Reza bagged two. With the day’s three wickets in the second innings, Taijul’s wicket-tally raised to seven in the match.
Rangpur vs Khulna: Rangpur Division resumed first inning with overnight score 169 for 5 in 72 overs and were all out for 227 in 100.1 overs against Khulna Division on the 3rd day at Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna on Saturday. Tanbir Hyder and Suhrwardy Shuvo made half centuries.
For Khulna, Abdur Razzak bagged four wickets while Al Amin Hossain and Rubel Hossain took two wickets each.
In reply, Khulna scored 192 for three in 67 overs at the end of day three with Imrul Kayes (29*) and Soumya arkar (8*) in the crease.
Khulna posted 136 runs in the first wicket stand as both of their openers - Robiul Islam Robi (76) and Imran Uzzaman (71) scoring fifty each and are still trailing by 35 runs with seven wickets in hand.
Dhaka Metro vs Chattogram: The match between Dhaka Metro and Chattogram is almost heading for a draw at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.
Resuming the first innings with 66 for two in 24 overs, Dhaka Metro stretched their first innings total to 349 for 7 in 122 overs at the end of day-3.
In the eighth wicket stand, wicketkeeper-batsman Zabid Hossain and Shahidul Islam added 148 runs with Zabid making unbeaten for 81 and Shahidul not out 82.
For Chattogram, leg-spinner Minhajul Abedin Afridi bagged three wickets.
Earlier, Chattogram posted 290 all-out in 122.5 overs in the first innings.
Sylhet vs Barishal: In another Tier-2 match at Shaheed Qamaruzzam Stadium in Rajshahi, Sylhet tumbled for 86 runs after resuming 68 for 3 in 31 overs.
Kamrul Islam Rabbi, the right-arm pacer of Barishal, bagged six wickets conceding 24 in 16.1 overs while Nuruzzaman took three wickets.
In reply, Barishal scored 231 for eight and declared their first innings securing the 163-run lead in the first innings.
Shahriar Nafees (63) and Fazle Mahmud (70) hit half centuries.
For Sylhet, Rejaur Rahman took three wickets.
Sylhet lost two wickets scoring 27 in 11 overs in their second innings at the end of day three. Sylhet are trailing by 118 with eight wickets in hand. Imtiaz Hossain (14*) and Enamul Haque Jnr (1*) were at the crease to end day three.