China's Sun becomes first post-2000 ITTF year-end world No. 1

BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinas Sun Yingsha has made history by becoming the first post-2000 player to finish as the year-end world No. 1 in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) world rankings.Sun Yingsha in action during the WTT Champions Macao womens semifinal in Macao, China, October 22, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Born in 2000, Sun rose to top of the world rankings on January 30 for the first time. She topped the recently-released year-end world rankings with 8,270 points.The 22-year-old won titles at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Champions Macao and WTT Cup Finals in October, after helping China claim its fifth consecutive womens title at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Chengdu, southwest Chinas Sichuan Province."Starting the year as world No. 1 will be a new kind of pressure for Sun Yingsha. At just 22, Suns career is just getting started," read a WTT article on its website.Sun was followed by teammates Chen Meng, Wang Manyu and Wang Yidi. Japanese duo Mima Ito and Hina Hayata ranked fifth and sixth respectively. Other players among world top 10 are Chen Xingtong (China), Kasumi Ishikawa (Japan), Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong, China) and Han Ying (Germany).Reigning world champion Fan Zhendong of China led the mens singles world rankings with 7,700 points in the final edition of 2022."The last 12 months has been full of highs for Fan. When the biggest stage called the world No. 1 answered," said the WTT.Japans Tomokazu Harimoto followed in second. Chinas Ma Long and Wang Chuqin were placed third and fourth respectively.Other top 10 male paddlers include Truls Moregard (Sweden), Liang Jingkun (China), Hugo Calderano (Brazil), Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei), Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany) and Darko Jorgic (Slovenia).

Former US Open champion Thiem handed Australian Open wildcard

Former world number three Dominic Thiem was handed a wildcard to the Australian Open Friday, as he continues his comeback from a serious wrist injury.Dominic Thiem during his match against Alexander Zverev in their semi-final match during Day Seven of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 Arena in London, England, November 16, 2019. (Photo: VCG)The Austrian, who pushed Novak Djokovic to five sets in the 2020 Australian Open final, was sidelined for nine months with the injury sustained during the 2021 grass-court season.He has shown encouraging signs on his return to the tour, rising from outside the top 350 to 102 in the second half of this year, including semi-final runs at Gstaad, Gijon and Antwerp.His rapid ranking rise meant the 29-year-old only narrowly missed directly qualifying for the main draw of the Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on January 16.Thiem, a two-time French Open runner-up, won the US Open in 2020.Other wildcards went to American pair Taylor Townsend and Christopher Eubanks, and French players Diane Parry and Luca Van Assche.

Li Sun appointed chief coach of China's table tennis team

BEIJING, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Li Sun has been appointed chief coach of Chinas national table tennis team, after a three-day coach selection and communication meeting concluded on Thursday.File photo: CFPLi, 59, has mentored Grand Slam winners Wang Nan, Zhang Yining and Li Xiaoxia during his coaching career, and has been head coach of Chinas womens team since 2017.World champion Wang Hao was named mens head coach, and Olympic gold medalist Ma Lin was appointed head coach of the womens squad. Veteran coach Xiao Zhan will lead the mixed doubles coaching group.A total of 31 coaches participated in the presentation on Wednesday and Thursday. 24 were named in the list of national team coaches.On Tuesday, over 100 coaches in national and provincial teams exchanged ideas on team building, athlete management system, training methods and talent development."The coach selection and communication activity over the past three days offers an opportunity for coaches across the country to exchange ideas. Through this we can truly recruit and develop talents, and make Chinese table tennis prosper for the long term," commented Li.Wang said he had learned a lot from communicating with other coaches. "Everyone is fully ready to embrace new challenges, and I will go all out to make contributions for the sport of table tennis," he said."Being a national team coach is a great honor for everyone involved in table tennis," said Ma."The Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) organized this coach selection and communication activity with the aim of preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Those coaches applied for positions and learned from each other as well. Sharing knowledge is the biggest treasure of the Chinese table tennis team," concluded CTTA president Liu Guoliang.

Haaland makes Premier League history with 20 goals in 14 games

LONDON, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Manchester City striker Erling Haaland made football history on Wednesday when he became the fastest player to reach 20 Premier League goals.Photo: CFPThe Norwegian international set the new record after scoring twice in his sides 3-1 win away to Leeds United, although he didnt celebrate the goals, given that he was born in Leeds when his father Alf-Inge Haaland played for the club.The 22-year-old has reached 20 Premier League goals in just 14 league appearances for Manchester City, and has played just 1,130 minutes of league football.Speaking after the match, he admitted that although he had been "irritated" at having to watch the FIFA World Cup on TV after Norway had failed to qualify, the mid-season break had helped him."I kind of recharged my batteries and to watch other people score and win games in the World Cup kind of triggers me and motivates me and also irritates me. Im more hungry and more ready than ever," he said.Meanwhile, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola warned there is more to come from the former Borussia Dortmund forward."I think he is still not at his best," said Guardiola, who nevertheless said Haaland is "always an incredible threat for the opponent. The numbers are unbelievable, but I have the feeling he is not just coming here for the numbers.""He missed chances, hopefully he can do better, but the numbers are exceptional, [he is] an incredible threat for us and always in the right position at the right time," Guardiola added.Manchester Citys next game is at home to struggling Everton on Saturday.

India to bid for 2036 Olympics: sports minister

India is planning a bid for the 2036 Olympic Games and will lobby for hosting rights at an International Olympic Committee meeting next year, the countrys sports minister has said.Indias Sakshi Malik celebrates after winning against Kirghyzstans Aisuluu Tynybekova in their womens 58kg freestyle bronze medal match on August 17, 2016, during the wrestling event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena 2 in Rio de Janeiro. (File photo: CFP)Prime Minister Narendra Modis government has been vying to establish India as a global sporting power and has shovelled money into domestic infrastructure. Ahmedabad in Modis home state of Gujarat -- Indias candidate for Olympic host city -- is the site of the largest stadium in the world, opened in 2020 and named after the leader. Sports minister Anurag Thakur told the Times of India newspaper it was the "right time" for his country to pitch for the worlds largest sporting event. "If India is putting in so much effort to promote sports, I can assure you that we will not only host the Olympics, we will host it in a big way," he said in an interview published Wednesday. Thakur said a roadmap outlining Ahmedabads pathway to hosting the Games would be presented at an IOC meeting next September in Mumbai with full government backing. The IOC has already awarded hosting rights for the next three Summer Olympics to Paris, Los Angeles and Brisbane. If Indias bid is successful it will become only the fourth Asian country to host the Games after Japan, South Korea and China. India previously hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010 but the event was marred by widespread accusations of corruption and mismanagement. Several other nations have announced their intention to bid including Indonesia, South Korea and Qatar.

Australian Open prizemoney hits record high

Pay rises are in store for players at Januarys Australian Open with organisers Thursday announcing a 3.4 percent boost in the total purse to a record Aus$76.5 million (US$51.6 million).The winners of the mens and womens titles at the first Grand Slam of the year will both take home Aus$2.975 million with players beaten in earlier rounds faring better than ever.Tennis court of Tennis World Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo: CFP)Anyone crashing out in round one will receive Aus$106,250, up 3.2 percent, while second-round players get a similar increase to Aus$158,850.Tournament director Craig Tiley said the total prize pool for the Australian summer of tennis, which includes Grand Slam warm-up events like the United Cup, would exceed Aus$100 million for the first time."It is critical to the continued success of the Australian tennis summer that we provide strong and relevant playing opportunities and ensure that the best players in the world are compensated appropriately," he said."At the Australian Open, weve upped prize money for every round from qualifying, through to the finals, with the major increases in the early rounds."These substantial rewards help players invest in their own careers and in many cases, set themselves up for success throughout the year."Australian Open prizemoney has increased by more than 321 percent, or Aus$58.32 million, in the last 20 years, when it was Aus$18.18 millionThe Australian Open gets underway at Melbourne Park on January 16.

Man United beats Forest 3-0, but Ten Hag wants a new striker

Manchester Uniteds Dutch manager Erik ten Hag (R) congratulates Manchester Uniteds English striker Marcus Rashford (L) at the end of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 27, 2022. (Photo: Agencies)As Erik ten Hag confirmed Manchester Uniteds ongoing search for a new striker, his existing ones made up for Cristiano Ronaldos departure in a 3-0 win against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial struck first-half goals in the game at Old Trafford as United moved to within a point of fourth-place Tottenham.However, if Uniteds manager is to guide his team to a top-four finish in his first season at the club, he is likely to need more firepower to cover the exit of Ronaldo, who had his contract terminated last month.Substitute Fred completed the scoring in the 87th minute — but Ten Hag was frustrated by a host of missed opportunities."We have to score more goals," he said. "We created so many chances and it takes us just before the end to score the third goal. We need to take this moment earlier." Rashford struck his 10th goal of the season and Martial scored his fifth in only five starts to highlight their potential as a partnership.But Ronaldos exit following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan has left Ten Hag with limited options in attack.United was linked with a move for Netherlands international Cody Gakpo, who was one of the standout performers at the World Cup. However, PSV Eindhoven announced it had agreed to sell the forward to Uniteds top-four rival Liverpool."I dont talk about individual cases. We are looking for offensive players, we are looking for a striker," Ten Hag said. "It would be good because of all the games coming, we are playing every third day and it is tough. I think we are always in the market, but it has to match the sporting...

Guangzhou going down shows China game lacks a goal

Guangzhou FC players cut dejected figures after losing 4-1 to Changchun Yatai on Tuesday. The loss relegated the eight-time Chinese Super League champion from the top-tier league. (Photo: China Daily)Counterproductive administration leaves home setup facing final whistleGuangzhou FC was once the biggest name, with the most lavish lineup, in the Chinese Super League, but even survival became a problem for the financially stricken giant after relegation from the top-tier league. The downfall of the eight-time CSL winner is just the latest example of domestic soccers current woes.After a 4-1 defeat to Changchun Yatai on Tuesday, Guangzhou FC, which was formerly known as Guangzhou Evergrande, failed to avoid the drop from the CSL one round before the end of the 2022 season. The club won only three matches, earning just 17 points so far. Hebei FC and Wuhan Yangtze River are the other relegated clubs. All three are facing financial difficulties.The relegation of Guangzhou FC was foreseeable, yet the news still dominated social media. Hashtag "Guangzhou FC relegated" was viewed more than 5 million times just an hour after the clubs match, with most expressing their disappointment, not just in the club, but the games status quo."The fans have been expecting the relegation of Guangzhou FC. So what the fans actually care about now are the three following questions. First, whether Evergrande Group will continue to invest in professional soccer? " read a commentary by Soccer News."Or in other words, whether the team will try hard to play in the second-tier league or chose to disband? Second, whether veteran Zheng Zhi will still be their coach? And thirdly, whether the teams core players, such as Wei Shihao, will still be with the club?"Guangzhou FC was once one of the most high-profile CSL clubs, as the expensive squad had foreign big names such as ex-Barcelona midfielder Paulinho of Brazil. The clubs former managers includ...

Ex-champions Guangzhou relegated from Chinese Super League

Two-time Asian champions Guangzhou FC were relegated from the Chinese Super League (CSL) on Tuesday following a 4-1 loss to Changchun Yatai in Haikou, Hainan Province.Guangzhou players encourage each other ahead of the 11th round of games at the Chinese Super League in Haikou, Hainan Province, August 7, 2022. (Photo: Xinhua)The result coupled with a 3-0 win for cross-town rivals Guangzhou City against Shenzhen FC meant Guangzhou cannot finish higher than 16th in the 18-team top flight.Yan Dinghao gave Guangzhou hope of securing the win they needed when he cancelled out Wang Jixians ninth-minute opener, but three second-half goals sealed the fate of Zheng Zhis side.Guangzhou, owned by property developers China Evergrande Group, won the Asian Champions League title in 2013 and 2015 as well as eight Chinese Super League crowns.Relegation ended Guangzhous 12-season stay in the Chinese Super League, with the club winning the title every year from 2011 until 2017 before reclaiming the trophy in 2019. They were runners-up in 2018 and 2020 and finished third last season.Former World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro was manager of the club as recently as 2021. Compatriot Marcello Lippi also had a stint as boss from 2012-2014.Guangzhou Citys win also meant Wuhan Yangtze were relegated after they lost 3-1 to Chengdu Rongcheng, joining Hebei FC in dropping down into China League One.At the top of the standings, goals from Nicolae Stanciu and Davidson earned Wuhan Three Towns a win over Zhejiang FC that kept Pedro Morillas side within one victory from securing their first CSL title as they top the standings with superior goal difference ahead of Shandong Taishan.After a goalless first half between Shanghai Shenhua and Henan Songshan Longmen, Henan broke the deadlock in the 58th minute through Wang Shangyuans penalty kick. Shanghai found an opportunity in the right flank in the 87th minute as Jiang Shenglong assisted He Longhai to level the game 1-1."...

Posters: Top 10 Chinese athletes of 2022 10 Photos

Posters: Top 10 Chinese athletes of 2022

Gu Ailing claimed gold medals from the women's big air and halfpipe and a silver in slopestyle at the Beijing Winter Olympics, becoming the first freestyle skier to win three medals in three different events at a single Winter Olympics. (Posters produced by Huang Jingjing, Zhang Jian and Lin Yuan; Sources: Xinhua)Gao Tingyu won the men's 500m speed skating gold medal with an Olympic record of 34.32 seconds at the Beijing Winter Olympics on February 12, becoming China's first ever male Olympic gold medalist in speed skating.Su Yiming won a gold medal in the men's big air and a silver in slopestyle at the Beijing Winter Olympics, becoming China's first Olympic snowboard champion.Xu Mengtao won China's first Olympic gold medal in the women's freestyle skiing aerials at the Beijing Winter Olympics, after she teamed up with Jia Zongyang and Qi Guangpu to claim silver in the mixed team aerials.Wang Jianan took Asia's first ever men's long jump gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, the US in July.Sui Wenjing and Han Cong triumphed at the Beijing Winter Olympics, winning China's second Olympic figure skating title after Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo did it in Vancouver in 2010.Yang Hongqiong won three gold medals in the sprint, middle, and long distance sitting at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. The 33-year-old Paralympic debutant became the most decorated Chinese Para-Olympian and was named the flag bearer of the Chinese delegation at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Winter Paralympics.Zheng Qinwen reached the round of 16 at the French Open and advanced to the third round of the Wimbledon Championships and US Open. The 20-year-old rose over 100 places to finish 25th this season in the WTA rankings and was named the 2022 WTA Newcomer of the Year.Zhang Weili, China's first-ever UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) world champion, reclaimed her UFC strawweight crown at the age of 32, defeating two-time title holder Carla Esparza.Chen Yuxi and Quan...

PSG stars Mbappé, Neymar fired up as French league resumes

Paris St Germains Kylian Mbappe and Neymar during training at Ooredoo Training Centre, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, December 27, 2022. (Photo: Agencies)Paris Saint-Germain stars Kylian Mbappé and Neymar could take out their World Cup frustrations on struggling Strasbourg when the French league resumes on Wednesday.Coach Christophe Galtier said Tuesday that both players are ready for league leader PSGs match at Parc des Princes, even though Mbappé has had little time off since France lost a wild World Cup final to Argentina in Qatar on Dec. 18.Mbappé became only the second player to score a hat trick in the final but was inconsolable after Les Bleus lost on penalties to Lionel Messis Argentina following a 3-3 draw.Still, Mbappé returned to training with PSG just three days later."Kylian had some great games, he was the tournaments top scorer (with eight goals)," Galtier said. "His wish was to join up with us pretty quickly. That doesnt mean he wont get some time off to recover further down the line." Galtier said Achraf Hakimi — who played for surprise semifinalist Morocco — and Mbappé are ready for both Strasbourg and a crucial match at second-place Lens on New Years Day. The coach doesnt consider it a physical risk to select them in consecutive matches so soon after the tournament."I dont think so. Hakimi and Mbappé wanted to come back and play in these two games," Galtier said. "As long as theyre physically and mentally in good shape, theres no reason for us to miss out on playing them." Neymar resumed training on Dec. 22 and is highly motivated."From a psychological point of view, he really wants to play. Thats a good sign," said Galtier, who gave assurances that Neymar is not feeling any lingering effects from the right ankle injury he sustained against Serbia early into the World Cup.Neymar broke down and couldnt stop crying after Brazil lost to ...

Netherlands World Cup ace Gakpo Liverpool bound

LONDON, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Liverpool have reached an agreement with Dutch side PSV Eindhoven to sign forward Cody Gakpo.Cody Gakpo celebrates his goal during their World Cup clash between Netherlands and Qatar at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, November 29, 2022. (Photo: CFP) PSV issued a statement confirming that "PSV and LFC have reached an agreement on the proposed transfer of Cody Gakpo. The 23-year-old attacker will leave for England, where he will be subjected to the necessary formalities ahead of the completion of the transfer."The player impressed in the recent World Cup, scoring three goals as the Netherlands progressed to the quarter-finals of the tournament.He has also scored 12 goals and given 14 assists for his club in all competitions so-far this campaign.Southampton and Leeds United were interested in the forward this summer, but Liverpool have now moved to complete the deal and provide cover for long-term injuries, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota.The transfer window opens for clubs in England on January 1st and in theory Gakpo could make his Liverpool debut away to Brentford the following day.

Key players likely to miss out as La Liga returns to action

MADRID, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- La Liga gets back into action after the break for the World Cup, with the 15th round of matches played from Thursday to Saturday.(File photo: CFP) The games kick off with Girona, one of just two sides in La Liga who had no players at the World Cup, entertaining Rayo Vallecano and looking to forget their exit from the Copa del Rey against third-tier Cacereno last week.The next game is a key clash in the battle to play in Europe next season with sixth-placed Betis at home to fourth-placed Athletic Club Bilbao.Athletic have everyone fit and available, although Betis have a doubt over the fitness of Argentinean World Cup winner Guido Rodriguez, who has only just returned to training.Atletico Madrid could be without Nahuel Molina and Antoine Griezmann for their home game against bottom side Elche, and Atletico coach Diego Simeone needs a positive return after an irregular start to the campaign.Elche are the other La Liga side with no World Cup players and sit rock bottom of the league with just four points and no wins this campaign. However, the fact they have won their two Copa del Rey ties since the arrival of Pablo Machin as their third permanent coach of the season implies they could be improving.Friday gets underway with a mid-table match between Getafe and Mallorca, before Celta Vigo and Sevilla play a vital game.Celta are fourth from bottom of the table, while Sevilla slipped into the bottom three before the break.While Celta have been able to clear their injury list in the past weeks, Sevilla have Alex Telles out with an injury he suffered in Qatar, while Thomas Delaney is also missing with a knee injury.Argentina winger Papu Gomez is also a doubt along with fellow countrymen Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel after reaching the World Cup final, while Moroccan duo of Yassine Bounou and Youssef En-Nesyri were involved in the tournament until the penultimate day.Second from bottom Cadiz face Almeria in an Andalusia derby, with Cadiz needin...

Djokovic back in Australia a year after being deported

Former world number one Novak Djokovic arrived in Australia on Tuesday almost one year after he was deported for refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19, tennis officials said.(File photo: CFP) The nine-time Australian Open champion was initially banned from the country for three years after losing a high-stakes legal battle in January over his vaccine status. Australia has since lifted its requirement for visitors to show proof of vaccination against Covid.The government confirmed in November that the unvaccinated Serb was no longer barred and had been granted a visa allowing him to play in the opening Grand Slam of the year, which starts next month. Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said he hoped local fans would embrace Djokovics return. "We welcome him back to Australia," he told reporters. "I think as we speak hes landing in Adelaide and I think that he is going to be again the player to beat. "I have a great deal of confidence in the Australian public. I have a lot of confidence that the fans will react how we hope they will react."Tennis Australia confirmed that Djokovic had touched down.Djokovic, who has won 21 Grand Slams, has been criticised for his part in the saga, which played out as rolling anti-vaccination protests took place in Australias major cities. He is scheduled to play in the Adelaide International, beginning Sunday, as he warms up for the Open in Melbourne. "Over the years Ive been really fortunate to start very strong in Australia and I love playing there," the world number five said in Dubai last week after ending 2022 with a record-equalling sixth ATP Tour Finals crown. "After obviously what happened earlier this year, hopefully I can have a decent reception there and hopefully that can help me play some good tennis." Djokovic last set foot in Australia nearly a year ago, claiming he had obtained a medical exemption to enter the country without being vaccinated ...

Winningest golfer in history, dies at 83

Kathy Whitworth responds to the crowd as she prepares to tee off during the Tournament of Champions at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York, in 2006. Former LPGA Tour player Whitworth, whose 88 victories are the most by any golfer on a single professional tour, died on Saturday. [Photo/Agencies]Whitworth, the most successful LPGA player with a record 88 titles, passed away suddenly on SaturdayKathy Whitworth set a benchmark in golf no one has ever touched, whether it was Sam Snead or Tiger Woods, Mickey Wright or Annika Sorenstam. Her 88 victories are the most by any player on a single professional tour.Whitworth, whose LPGA Tour victories spanned nearly a quarter-century and who became the first woman to earn $1 million for her career on the LPGA, died on Christmas Eve, her longtime partner said. She was 83.Bettye Odle did not disclose a cause of death, saying only that Whitworth died suddenly Saturday night while celebrating with family and friends."Kathy left this world the way she lived her life — loving, laugh and creating memories," Odle said in a statement released by the LPGA Tour.Whitworth won the first of her 88 titles in the Kelly Girls Opens in July 1962. She won six majors during her career and broke Mickey Wrights record of 82 career wins when she captured the Lady Michelob in the summer of 1982.Her final victory came in 1985 at the United Virginia Bank Classic."Winning never got old," Whitworth once said.All that was missing from her career was the US Womens Open, the biggest of the womens majors. Upon being the first woman to surpass $1 million in career earnings in 1981, she said, "I would have swapped being the first to make a million for winning the Open, but it was a consolation which took some of the sting out of not winning".Sorenstam referred to her on Twitter as the LPGAs all-time victory leader and a "total class act" who will be dearly missed."Thanks for setting t...

Scaloni set for new Argentina contract

BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Argentine football chief Claudio Tapia said Monday that he is confident Lionel Scaloni will continue as national team manager following the Albicelestes World Cup triumph.Scalonis contract expires on December 31 but the Argentine Football Association (AFA) wants to secure the 44-year-old on another four-year term after he led the South American country to its third World Cup title in Qatar earlier this month.Argentinas coach #00 Lionel Scaloni touches the FIFA World Cup Trophy during the trophy ceremony after Argentina won the Qatar 2022 World Cup final football match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 18, 2022. (Photo: AFP)"I have no doubt that he will continue to be the head coach of the Argentina team," AFA president Tapia told reporters eight days after the Albicelestes dramatic penalty shootout victory over France in Lusail."We are both men of our word, we shook hands, we said yes to each other. He is currently traveling but as soon as he comes back we are going to finalize it."Scaloni originally took charge on an interim basis in the wake of Jorge Sampaolis sacking after the 2018 World Cup. The former Deportivo La Coruna winger is now seen as indispensable, having guided the Albiceleste to the Copa America and World Cup titles in the past 18 months.

We have 'no limit' in basketball World Cup, says China head coach Djordjevic

BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Aleksandar Djordjevic, newly appointed head coach of the Chinese mens basketball team, has told Xinhua that he has high expectations for his side at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.Aleksandar Djordjevic. (Photo: VCG)Djordjevic arrived in China in mid-November and has since started selecting players from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) League. He made notes and rated players with stars while watching games at courtside.The 55-year-old Serbian said that the CBA league has strong game intensity and physical contact, and many talented young players have left a deep impression on him."First of all, a player must have a good sense of professionalism and honor. Putting on the national team jersey is the highest honor a player can achieve," Djordjevic said on Monday."Beyond that, players need to be aggressive and intelligent. In my basketball philosophy, elite players have to interpret the game and their positions well. They must not only understand what they can bring to the clubs but also be clear about their roles in the national team," he added.Djordjevic believed that building the national team is not about selecting the countrys best 12 players but choosing the most suitable 12 people to maximize the teams strength."My ultimate goal is to build up a strong entity with each player eager to pass the ball selflessly," he noted.The FIBA World Cup, which is scheduled for late August 2023, will be a big test for the Chinese team. Djordjevics side will seek a breakthrough in the World Cup to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.Despite the tight schedule and immense tasks, a passionate Djordjevic said that "the goal has no limit.""I never say that someone we play against is better than us before the end of the game. My goal for every team I coach is to win medals," he said.For the off-season, Djordjevic said that physical training is one of the national teams top prioritie...

Tennis: China's Wang Qiang withdraws from Australian Open

Wang Qiang of China celebrates a point during the Wimbledon in London, UK, June 29, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Chinas tennis player Wang Qiang has withdrawn from the upcoming Australian Open, citing shoulder injuries, according to organizers. The 30-year-old had previously participated at the first Grand Slam event in the season for eight consecutive years, with her best result in 2020 when she upset Serena Williams to reach the last 16. Screenshot from the Twitter account of Australian OpenMeanwhile, other seven Chinese female players, including Zhang Shuai and Zheng Qinwen, are expected to compete in the event.Teenager sensation Zheng, who was just named as WTAs Newcomer of the Year of 2022 earlier this month, is already in Australia in preparation for two WTA 500 warm-up events in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open. Zheng Qinwen of China returns her shot against Garbine Muguruza of Spain during the San Diego Open in San Diego, U.S., October 11, 2022. (Photo: CFP)On the mens side, Chinese player Wu Yibing and Shang Juncheng will start their journey through qualifiers, while Zhang Zhizhen, the first Chinese male player to reach the top 100, is one step away to enter the main draw, as he is first in line of alternates. The Australian Open will kick off on January 16 and last for two weeks in Melbourne.

Brazil pursuing Zidane for manager's job - reports

Zinedine Zidane has emerged as a frontrunner to assume Brazil's vacant head coaching job, according to media reports in the South American country.Zidane has been linked with the France managerial role but could make Brazil a priority if Didier Deschamps remains in charge of the Les Bleus, newspaper

Lionel Messi to sign new contract with PSG after World Cup success

Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates during his teams Champions League clash with Maccabi Haifa FC at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, October 25, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Lionel Messi has agreed in principle to renew his contract with French giants Paris Saint-Germain, ending speculation that the Argentina captain could make a shock return to his former club Barcelona.Earlier this week, Barca president Joan Laporta publicly declared that he "would love" Messi, who is out of contract in June after two years in France, to come back, adding the seven-time Ballon dOr winner will always hold Barcelona in his heart.But it has only been 16 months since Messi left the Spanish powerhouse, and according to multiple media outlets, the 35-year-old is set to remain in Paris for at least another year after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar.Lionel Messi (C) of Argentina lifts the World Cup trophy after his teams win over France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar, December 18, 2022. (Photo: CFP)ESPN revealed that Messis father Jorge will sit down for talks with PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi and sporting director Luis Campos in January when the Argentinian superstar returns from his 10-day break after the World Cup. Even though contracts details, including duration, wages or bonuses, have not been ironed out yet, there is an informal agreement that Messi will stay at PSG.World-renowned Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague, who has a close relationship with Messi and wrote the first authorized biography of the football icon, also claimed that Messi has reached an "agreement in principle" with PSG to sign a one-year deal with the option of another year."Messi is happy with it all and when back from his holidays the agreement will speed up," said Balague. "His life in Paris is balanced, happy, everybody is enjoying it and he has a real possibility of winning the Champions League again. Plus, it will...

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