|KNOW THE BEST IN SPORT|
|February 23-March 1st, 2021|
What is an “amateur” anyway?
Originally, “amateur” categories in sport were created so that people (usually “gentlemen”) that enjoyed their sport but also had other everyday life obligations could compete against each other in more “fair conditions”. If any of them decided to be a full-time professional then they would have an advantage over the rest, but sport was just meant to be fun and not a lifelong dedication.
Such institution has been eroded over time. First it happened with Association Football already back in the XIX Century, when some players would be able to be paid to play or work for their teams. The institution of the “gentleman game” was left behind and as a result the sport globalized and has become a billionaire industry.
In other sports -also with an Anglo origin- such as Tennis professionals were at some point barred from playing in some of the most important tournaments, namely the Grand Slams. For those of us born in the Open era it is normal to see the best tennis players in the world competing at the Grand Slams, but the this era only started in 1968.
This week, the US Golf Association (which governs golf in the US and México) and The R&A (which governs it in the rest of the world) announced plans to eliminate all sponsor-related restrictions for “amateur golfers” and to allow them to receive up to $750 USD in tournaments.
It was just a matter of time. The reality is that “amateur golf” or “amateur tennis” are dominated by full-time players. Recreational players do not have a shot at beating, say, the top university-level players in the world. They indeed have to study at the same time but the practice time, physical preparation and competitive environment they receive cannot be equated along the recreational players that we see at Charity Pro-Ams.
Today, “amatur” has come to mean “inferior tier”. That is fine. From those tiers (such as the college or ITF Circuits) athletes can evolve into the professional arenas or move on to other things in life. But exactly because it is a training ground then it is in the best interest of the sport to allow them to have the best preparation possible without finances being an important burden. This will lead to better athletes, more well-rounded individuals and more accessible and inclusive sport. This is all good.
As for recreational players competing against each other, there will always be ways. In Auto Racing, Le Mans has implemented a GTE-AM category where “gentlemen drivers” team up alongside the world’s best. This is good. It brings money to the sport, world-class drivers are employed and the amateurs also get a chance to compete at the world stage.
Tournaments could implement policies such as “tournament exemptions”, hybrid teams and other ways so recreational athletes can also get a shot to be part of the party. But for the moment, realizing that “amateur” and “recreational” are no longer the same is a step in the right direction.
|Five things to know from last week|
- KO of the year!? Óscar Valdez (MEX) delivered a fulminating KO against Miguel Berchelt (MEX) to take the WBC Super Featherweight title, in what might be the KO of the year. He was not only impressive due to his single-hand KO: he totally dominated in the fight. Watch the highlights (Top Rank)
- 60th golden jump. Sara Takanashi (JPN) won her 60th World Cup gold -#1 of all time-, in Rasnov (ROU). Fellow Japanese Ryoyu Kobayashi won the men’s event. They are both candidates for winning the World Championship this week but don’t discount other teams out, sucha s Norway, that took the Mixed Team gold. (Watch her jump – FIS)
- Saudi Cup upset. The Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horse race, was won by Mishriff (IRL), mounted by 21 year-old David Egan (IRL) and trained by John Gosden (ENG). They pulled the upset against Charlatan (USA). Another pre-rae favorite, Knicks Go (USA), was fourth. Watch the race replay (BloodHorse)
- Alpine Worlds conclude. Lara Gut-Behrami continued to shine. She won gold in Giant Slalom after having taken the Super-G. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) won a total of four medals, including the Alpine Combined gold. Favorite Petra Vlhova (SVK) did send her to the bronze but the gold was for Katharina Liensberger (AUT). Mathieu Faivre (FRA) won the GIant Slalom and Parallel Giant Slalom. Watch Faivre’s Giant Slalom run (FIS)
- Lost Barcelona. FC Barcelona (ESP) looks lost at the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, after Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) beat them with a clear 4-1, including 3 goals by Mbappé (FRA). Porto had a very important win over Juventus (ITA) 2-1, Leipzig (DEU) lost to Liverpool (ENG) 0-2 and Sevilla (ESP) lost to Borussia Dortmund (DEU) 2-3. (Watch the Barcelona – PSG highlights – BT)
|GLOBAL PODIUM OF THE WEEK|
Gold: Novak Djokovic
Novak won his 9th Australian Open and his third consecutive, both singles records. This was his 18th Grand Slam, which places him two from the men’s singles record. It only took three sets and less than and hour and 45 minutes to defeat Daniil Medvedev (RUS). Naomi Osaka (JPN) beat Jennifer Brady (USA) for the women’s singles title.
Watch the extended highlights (Australian Open)
Silver: Dylan Alcott
(Australia, Wheelchari Tennis)
Alcott win his 19th and 20th Quads Grand Slam titles, and his 7th straight singles and 4th straight Doubles title at the Australian Open, both records. He won the Doubles with Heath Davidson (AUS). Alcott has won more Quads Singles Grand Slams than anyone else in history. Also impressive was Diede de Groot (NED), who took both the Singles and Doubles wheelchair triumphs. Alfie Hewett (ENG) and Gordon Reid (SCO) won their 4th straight Grand Slam in Wheelchair Men’s Doubles.
Watch the ceremony (Australian Open)
Bronze: Sturla Holm Lægreid
Sturla Holm Lægreid just won his first gold in a Biathlon World Cup this season yet he took four gold medals at the World Championship, three of them this week: the 20 km individual, the 15 km Mass start and 4×7.5 km Relay. He previously won gold at the 7×4.5 km Mixed Relay. He also secured the Crystal Globe as the #1 this season in Individual. Tiril Eckhoff (NOR) also won four golds (three last week) plus a silver and a bronze. Norway took a total of 7 gold medals, 5 ahead of France, who took 2.
Watch the highlights for the World Championship’s second week (IBU)
|GLOBAL SPORTS AGENDA|
Ski Jumping, Cross Country Ski and Nordic Combined have their World Championships .
The UEFA Champions League will have the second leg of the Round of 16. World Champion Bayern will play this time
Mexican boxing will also have a big week, as Pound for Pound #1, Saúl Álvarez (MEX) will try to defend his Super Middleweight World Titles against mandatory challenger Avni YIldirim (TUR), also trained by a Mexican. Likeable Julio César Martínez (MEX) will also fight to defend his World Title, against McWilliams Arroyo (PUR).
The UCI World Tour’s UAE Tour will conclude this week.
Formula E will have its first race of the season, in Saudi Arabia.
FIS World Cup (ITA, BUL)
Indoor Archery World Series Online Finals
Domestic Cups (Final Copa do Brasil de Futebol Ida, etc.)
Domestic Leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A, Liga MX, Brasileirão Assaí, etc.)
UEFA Champions League Round of 16
World Athletics Indoor Tour – Gold (ESP)
Aussie Rules Football:
AFL Women’s Regular Season
ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (Riyadh Street Circuit, KSA x2)
FIA World Rally Championship – Arctic Rally Finland
NASCAR Cup (Auto Club Speedway, California)
World of Outlaws Sprint Cars (Paige, USA x2)
XXIX Championship of Russia. Super League – 2020-2021 Stage I
Serie Nacional de Béisbol de Cuba Semi-Finals
NBA Regular Season
Campeonato Parejas Clasificación Liguilla
Magic City Jai-Alai
Main nue Pro individuel Groupe A
WPBSA – WST CAZOO PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP 2021
PBA Players Championship Finals
World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association Super World Super Middle Title – Saúl Alvarez (MEX) vs Avni Yildirim (TUR)
World Boxing Council World Fly Title – Julio César Martínez (MEX) vs McWilliams Arroyo (PUR)
International Boxing Federation World Minimum Title – Pedro Taduran (FIL) vs Rene Mark Cuarto (FIL)
2019–21 ICC World Test Championship (Various)
T20 International: New Zealand vs Australia
Women’s ODI: New Zealand vs England (x3)
FIS World Championship (DEU)
PDC – Super Series 1 (ENG)
PDGA Elite Series (USA)
CSI5*, Global Champions Tour/League (USA, QAT)
CDI5* Dressage (USA)
Arena of Valor – RoV Pro League 2021 Summer
Arena of Valor – Arena of Glory Spring 2021
Call of Duty League 2021 – Stage 1
Clash Royale – No Tilt Worlds 2021
CounterStrike – Intel Extreme Masters XV – World Championship
FIFAe Club World Cup (Zonal)
League of Legends Spring Seasons (LCK, LCS Spring, LEC, LPL)
PUBG Mobile PUBG Global Invitational.S 2021
Quake Pro League Season 2: Stage 2
Starcraft Brood War – AfreecaTV StarCraft Team League Season 2
Starcraft II – IEM Katowice 2021
Gainbridge LPGA (USA)
PGA Tour Puerto Rico Open (PUR)
PGA Tour World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession (USA)
2020–21 EHF Champions League group stage
Horse Racing (Flat):
Chipping Norton Stakes, Surround Stakes, Australian Guineas (Australia)
Clásico Independencia Nacional (DOM)
Natale di Roma e Circo Massimo (ITA)
Haunui Farm WFA Classic (NZL)
Cape Derby (RSA)
Kontinental Hockey League Regular Season
NHL Regular Season
MASL Regular Season
Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship (Glendale, California x2)
World Cup Snow (FIN, LVA)
Nordic Combined Ski:
World Championship (DEU)
Para Alpine Skiing:
La Molina 2021 WPAS World Cup
7th Fazza Para Archery World Ranking Tournament
Para Sport World Cup (SUI x2)
WPSB World Cup (ESP)
COPA APERTURA Fem
WPL – The Founders Cup
Pink Polo Thai Polo
UCI World Tour – UAE Tour (ARE)
FISA World Virtual Indoor Rowing Championships
Rowing (Intellectual disability):
FISA World Virtual Indoor Rowing Championships
Super Rugby Aotearoa
Super Rugby AU
ISSF World Cup Shotgun (EGY)
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series
iRacing – Bathurst 12HR
Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup
FIS World Championship (DEU)
FIS World Championships (FRA)
Red Bull Magnitude
ATP 500 Rotterdam Open (NED)
XXIV Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial (UKR)
*This agenda is based on official information at time of publication. All events are subject to change and/or cancellation.
Sport’s best values
|Virtuosity: André Dufraisse|
André Dufraisse (FRA) passed away, aged 94. He was described as the “virtuoso del sottobosco” by the Italians. He was one of the first big stars of cyclo-cross, winning five consecutive World Championships, from 1954 to 1959. Here is a short video of the 1954 edition.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Anytime I’ve had a chance to win, I haven’t been the guy that went low and today I was, so I can take a lot of confidence from that…That’s something that I wanted to happen today to just prove to myself on Sundays that I can put myself in the thick of it and shoot a number. At the end of the day I’m going to be able to look back on that and have a lot of positives to take from it.”
Tony Finau (USA)
PGA Tour tournament winner
After yet another second place, this time in a playoff against Max Homa (USA)