Review of the week: 7 – 13 September 2015
It was pizza and gelato all round for sports fans in Italy this week, as it had two major victories, both of them unexpected. Flavia Pennetta (above) defeated her compatriot Roberta Vinci in the final of the US Open, while Fabio Aru won the Vuelta a Espana.
Aru’s success came while cycling for the Astana team, after its leader Vincenzo Nibali had been disqualified. Also Italian, Nibali had shown too much of the national love for fast cars and had held onto the team car as it accelerated towards the front of the race.
In New York, Hungary was also celebrating as Dalma Galfi took the girls’s singles and, with Fanny Stollar, was one of two Hungarian semi-finalists. The country has yet to win a senior singles titles during the Open Era but looks like it might soon break that record.
New Zealand followed up its rowing triumphs last week, as South Korean born golfer Lydia Ko won the Evian Championship. Germany dominated the European Eventing Championship as its occupied five of the top ten places in the individual competition, Michael Jung taking gold for a third time, and it won the team event by, well, a canter.
Wrestling and Rhythmic Gymnastics
Saori Yoshida of Japan (above) claimed a remarkable 13th title at the World Wrestling Championships. She has been reported as saying that she has no childhood memories except of wrestling, a story which has a whiff of exaggeration about it. I certainly hope that it is not true because, even with such dominance, I am not sure it would be worth it.
Kaori Icho won a 10th world title. The two Japanese fighters have three Olympic gold medals apiece and will be going for a fourth in Rio, a record for a wrestler of either sex.
But Russia topped the medal table with four gold medals. It continued the tradition of its wrestlers being from the more far-flung regions of the country, two of its champions hailing from the disputed territory of Dagestan and the other two being born in Siberia.
Russia blew away all comers at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships. Aged just 17, Yana Kudryavtseva won five gold medals for the second competition in a row.
All-Africa Games and Commonwealth Youth Games
In Brazzaville, South Africa was by far the top nation in swimming, winning 25 of the 42 golds on offer. This inevitably raises the dreaded race question but the explanation has more to do with wealth and the number of swimming pools. The rule-proving exception is Tunisian Olympic champion, Oussama Mellouli, who benefited from college in the US.
In Samoa, Australia topped the medal table, with a particularly impressive performance in swimming, while Malaysia unexpectedly won all five gold medals available in squash.
Next week: The men’s EuroBasket, the Solheim Cup, canoe slalom and wheelchair rugby