Spain beat Argentina 95-75 to win the FIBA Basketball World Cup for the first time since 2006 on Sunday.
Their victory in the final capped a stunning campaign for a squad considered among the rank outsiders when the 32-team tournament began.
The Spaniards scored first and never relinquished the lead, relying on swarming interior defence and superior rebounding to snuff out the offensive threat of 2004 Olympic champions Argentina.
Point guard Ricky Rubio racked up 20 points and three assists and Marc Gasol and Willy Hernangomez swatted three shots each as Spain pulled down 47 rebounds, 20 more than Argentina.
For Gasol it was the crowning achievement of an incredible year that saw him win an NBA World Championship with the Toronto Raptors before leading his national team to glory.
His 33 points in the semi-final victory over Australia put them in position to fight for the gold medal, but it was his defence that put them on the top step of the podium.
From the opening tip, the 34-year-old dominated the driving lanes to the basket that Argentina had used to such great effect against France, forcing them into outside shots that would not fall.
He was equally effective banging under the basket at the other end and he hit nine of his 12 free throws to maintain the gap between the two teams.
He and Rubio were rewarded for their performances in Spain’s unbeaten run to the gold medal with a place in the tournament’s five-man All-Star team, which was announced after the final.
There was to be no fairytale ending for the seemingly evergreen Argentinian Luis Scola, whose superb show against France had helped to carry his side into the final.
The 39-year-old power forward, his jet-black hair now flecked with grey at the temples, was kept well-shackled throughout.
And it was late in the third quarter before he notched up his first point from the free throw line.The 2019 win for Spain marks the second time they have won the tournament on Asian soil, having claimed the 2006 title by beating Greece in Saitama, Japan.
Earlier in the day, Nando De Colo netted 19 points as France shot 43 per cent from behind the arc to take their second consecutive World Cup bronze medal with a 67-59 win over Australia. (Reuters/NAN)
Husband of Slain Kenyan Runner Tirop Seeks Plea Bargain
The husband of slain Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop is seeking a plea bargain after initially denying a charge of murder, his lawyer said yesterday.
Tirop, a rising star in the world of athletics, was killed last October in her home in Iten, a high-altitude training hub in western Kenya for top runners.
Emmanuel Ibrahim Rotich was arrested after a dramatic late-night chase the day after Tirop’s body was found with stab wounds, and has been in custody ever since.
The 41-year-old denied a charge of murder at a November court appearance.
But in the latest twist in the legal saga, his lawyer Ngigi Mbugua told the Eldoret High Court that Rotich was willing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of attracting a more lenient sentence.
The prosecution said it was not against the idea of a plea bargain but wanted Tirop’s family to be involved in the process.
A hearing on Rotich’s request will take place on 22 September.
Ganduje Appoints Galadima Acting Kano Pillars Chair
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has appointed Ibrahim Galadima as acting Chairman of Kano Pillars Football Club.
The appointment is with immediate effect, the governor said.
Surajo Shuaibu Yahaya who had chaired the club was relieved of the job.
The appointment of Galadima who is Chairman of Kano State Sports Commission to oversee activities of Kano Pillars is part of routine exercise in sports administration of Ganduje, a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Abba Anwar said yesterday.
“As Kano Pillars is facing more competition in National Premier League (NPL) it will be good to have a leadership that will perfectly lead the Club.”
“Ibrahim Galadima, Chairman of Kano State Sports Commission, will now replace the current Chairman of Kano Pillars FC, Surajo Shu’aibu Yahaya.
“Galadima will serve in acting capacity, before the appointment of a substantive Chairman,” Ganduje said.
FIFA Emerges Best Global Sports Federation on Governance Standards
By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja
FIFA has been rated among the international sporting federations with the best standards of governance following a review conducted by the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.
FIFA was among seven out of 33 international federations who achieved a score of 175 points or more out of 200 and were placed in the top group, A1, which the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations described as “an exclusive group”.
The federations were divided into five groups according to their score, with the target score, regarded as satisfactory, set at 130 for full members of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.
It was the fourth such review conducted by by the association, with FIFA also placed among the leading international federations and the previous was in the year 2020.
The aim of the project, led by ASOIF’s Governance Task Force, is to promote and ensure a culture of good governance within the international federations and help drive continuous progress.
The review looked at five aspects of governance – transparency, integrity, democracy, development and control mechanisms – and these were further divided into ten sub-sections, with a score of zero to four awarded for each.
The review began with a self assessment in January and February this year where international federations were asked to complete a questionnaire and determine a score for each question, providing explanatory evidence for their decision. These assessments were then independently moderated by an external sports governance consultancy.
The assessment took place in the context of the ongoing global pandemic, which has severely affected sport, but was conducted before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has caused more uncertainty in the sporting world.
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