Review of the week: 14 – 20 September 2015
There were accusations of unsporting behaviour on final day of the Solheim Cup. The US player, Alison Lee, with her ball inches lying just from the hole, assumed that Suzann Pettersen (above) would concede that she would make the putt. But when Lee picked up the ball, Pettersen refused to concede, with the result that Europe won the hole instead.
Pettersen later apologised and, if anything, the controversy seems to have inspired the American team into action. They took a huge 8 and a half points from the final 12 singles matches, and turned a 10-6 deficit into one of the greatest comebacks in golfing history.
Before its partition, Czechoslovakia had always been one of the most successful nations in slalom canoeing. Since 1992, of the two states which succeeded it, it is Slovakia which has performed the better but, this year, the Czech Republic has overtaken its neighbour.
The Czechs won two of the four gold medals in Olympic events, while neither Slovakia nor France, the other leading nation, won any. Jessica Fox of Australia won the women’s C1 for the third year in a row but this event will sadly not be on the programme in Rio.
Rugby Union and Athletics
The Rugby World Cup got underway and started with a major shock, as 80-1 outsiders Japan defeated the twice former champions, South Africa. It should be a major boost for development of the sport in Japan, which is also scheduled to host the 2019 World Cup.
As the All-Africa Games concluded, the most surprising outcome was the performance of sprinters from the Ivory Coast, who won five gold medals, including a women’s sprint double for Marie-Josee Ta Lou. Egypt topped the overall medal table by a wide margin.
Basketball and Triathlon
Last week was good for Italy, but this was Spain’s week, as it won the men’s EuroBasket. Pau Gasol (above) was the MVP, scoring 25 points in the final and a staggering 40 points in the semi-final against France. Losing finallists, Lithaunia, have also qualified for Rio.
Spain also took the first two places in the final race of the Triathlon World Series. Javier Gomez finished second to claim his fifth world title while Mario Mola won the event to finish second on the overall podium. American Gwen Jorgensen won a second women’s title and, in paratriathlon, Australia and the United States won three gold medals each.
Disability Sport and Tennis
Elsewhere in disability sport, two European Championships took place. Great Britain retained its title in wheelchair rugby but lost its dominance in para-dressage, as the Netherlands continued an incredible year in equestrian sport to top the medal table.
Finally, in tennis, Great Britain and Belgium won their respective semi-finals to reach a historic Davis Cup final in November. They have met in a final before but not since 1904.
Next week: The Road Cycling World Championships, men’s volleyball and archery