Record Breakers

Review of the week: 27 October – 1 November 2015

Sonny Bill Williams 2011

Rugby World Cup Final

The generosity of Sonny Bill Williams (above) made headlines when he gave his medal to a young fan. But New Zealand was much less generous to its Australian opponents in the final itself. It led 16-3 at the break and killed a second half comeback to win 34-17.

Ma’a Nonu scored a contender for try of the tournament while Dan Carter, a contender for player of the tournament, kicked an impressive 19 points. It was a third Rugby World Cup for the All Blacks, a record which takes it ahead of both Australia and South Africa.

World Artistic Gymnastics Championships

Also on record-breaking form was Simone Biles (below), who won her third all-around title to equal Svetlana Khorkina and, with victories on the floor and balance beam, took her overall gold medal tally to an unprecedented 10. Kohei Uchimara extended his own record with a sixth all-around title and led Japan to its first team triumph since 1978.

Romania’s women looked like they will struggle to qualify for Rio. The test event will be their last chance but there was the consolation of all-around bronze for Larisa Iordache.

There were two firsts for Great Britain, which won its first medal in the women’s team event, and took its first gold on the men’s side, for Max Whitlock on the pommel horse.

Jamaica won places in next year’s Olympic test event for Reiss Beckford and Danusia Francis, but Dipa Karmakar of India might be a victim of the tough qualification rules, despite her fifth place in the vault. She missed the cutoff for the test event by just two.


IPC World Athletics Championships

There were world records galore, 54 in all. China topped the medal table but Tunisia had a remarkable fifth place finish. Its team included the overall top performer, Walid Ktila, a cerebral palsy wheelchair athlete, who won four golds in distances from 100m to 800m.

Ktila’s female counterpart, Hannah Cockroft of Great Britain, won three gold medals, as did Brent Lakatos of Canada in the T53 classification for athletes with spinal injuries.

The women’s wheelchair events were weakened by the absence of Tatyana McFadden of the United States, who instead set a unique record of her own in New York. She took the race there to win all four marathon majors in the same year for the third time in a row.

The bladerunning glory went to Richard Browne of the United States and Dutchwoman, Marlou van Rhijn, who each completed a sprint double of both 100m and 200m races.

But it was a disappointing championships for Brazil, which will look to rebuild before hosting the Paralympics next year. Alan Oliveira finished with just a silver and a bronze while Terezinha Guilhermina won two silvers, hindered by an injury to her guide runner.

Tennis and Hockey

Agnieszka Radwanska was the first Polish winner of the WTA finals, while South Africa became African hockey champions for both men and women. It seems set to maintain its stance that it will not take up its Olympic qualification places. In one sense, hockey is the first sport to finalise its Rio line-up but, in practice, it won’t be confirmed for some time.

Next week: The final stages of two World Cups, in U17 men’s football and in swimming


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