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SA sprint star Akani Simbine upstages Olympic champion at Oslo Diamond League

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It was a good outing for South African sprint sensation, Akani Simbine, at the Oslo Diamond League held on Thursday night when he dusted current Olympic 100m champion, Marcell Jacobs of Italy, to take home the gold medal with time of 9.94 seconds.

Simbine was the standout performer in a strong field of some of the best sprinters which had the likes of Japan’s Abdul Hakim Sani Brown who finished second in 9.99 seconds and Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme who clocked 10.01 seconds to finish third, while Jacobs ran 10.01 to settle for fourth.

Simbine’s time was a season’s best for him after starting slow out of the blocks but produced a strong second half and a savage dip to claim victory ahead of the field.

Speaking after race, Simbine, 30, said:

“It ended up in the rain which probably influenced the race but at the end of the day we all have to run 100m rain or not and get to the line first.

“I did that today which I am happy with but I have a lot to work on and a lot to do. I am happy with my performance and I hope there will be more highlights coming up as we build towards the Olympic Games.”

“I put my marker out to the world today that I am here. The goal was the win today and I did that. Getting the win always helps with confidence as we get closer to Paris.”

Also speaking, Jacobs said his attention would now turn the 7-12 June European Championships in Rome.

“I am good but I haven’t yet run sub-10, but today it was important to get a good feeling in my race.

“I did that today and I start getting in shape to run the best in my home town in Rome at the European Championships in front of my people.”

Jacobs had won gold at the Covid-delayed Tokyo Games in 2021, and backed it up with a second gold in the 4x100m relay.

He followed his performances with victories over the world indoor 60m in Belgrade in 2022 and the 100m at the European championships later that year.

But he has suffered a number of injuries, something he says led him to moving from Italy to the United States to train in Rana Reider’s camp alongside Canada’s Olympic 200m champion Andre de Grasse and Sani Brown among others.

“The last two years have been difficult with injury but now I have moved to the US for training and have a new coach so things are going well,” Jacobs said.

“It is Olympic year and I want to defend my title of course, so I mustn’t push my body too quickly too soon but I will be ready,” he added.

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Sex scandal rocks Cameroon Volleyball Federation as officials accused of assaulting underage players

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Sex scandal rocks Cameroon Volleyball Federation as officials accused of assaulting underage player

A raging sex scandal is currently rocking the Cameroon Volleyball Federation ((FECAVOLLEY), which has seen officials scampering to deny the allegations.

According to local media, the Federation has been enmeshed in sexual misconduct involving coaches and underage players leading to a public outcry for investigation and transparency.

A whistle blower had raised an alarm with accusations that several young players, aged between 16 and 18, were impregnated by national team coaches, prompting a severe backlash and calls for an in-depth investigation.

However, in a statement on Friday, the Federation strongly denied the allegations involving sexual misconduct within its ranks.

In the statement, FECAVOLLEY addressed the claims head-on, distancing itself from the individuals involved and asserting its commitment to the ethical management and development of volleyball in Cameroon.

“The Cameroon Volleyball Federation, under the leadership of Mr. Julien Serge Abouem, wishes to inform both national and international public opinion that FECAVOLLEY is not involved in the tumult of moral affairs prevalent in the media, especially on social networks,” the statement said.

The scandal had come to light following revelations made by a professional player in an open letter where she condemned what she called the pervasive “droit de cuissage” (right of first night) and “organized debauchery” allegedly endorsed by the federation’s president.

The player’s accusations extended to the behavior of certain coaches whom she claimed were engaged in the harassment and sexual abuse of young female athletes.

The situation got worse when a sports journalist, Richard Naha reported that five underage volleyball players were currently pregnant as a result of relations with federation officials.

However, FECAVOLLEY’s statement vehemently denied any involvement with the indicted officials, referring to them as impostors who falsely claim to be associated with a so-called Cameroonian Federation of Volleyball.

“These individuals will not find a platform for expression at FECAVOLLEY, which continues to pursue its development plan harmoniously,” the statement added.

“FECAVOLLEY invites the necessary support for the implementation of public policies in the field of sports and physical education,” it noted.

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Moroccan novelist Leila Slimani makes history as she co-writes Paris Olympics ceremony script

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Moroccan novelist, Leila Slimani, has made history after she was selected alongside world renowned
historian Patrick Boucheron, and French screenwriter, Fanny Herrero, to write the script for the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

According to the Games organizers, the opening ceremony will be a spectacle that promises to be the contrary of a heroized story, cleverly subverting clichés with humor in a production that will also feature contributions from playwright and actor Damien Gabriac.

In an interview with Le Monde on Tuesday, Slimani and Boucheron shared how they envisioned the show within artistic director Thomas Jolly’s team.

“I had the concept of an immense spectacle, but I lacked a narrative to address the world,” Jolly explained, adding that having the four scripting is the ideal team.

The opening ceremony of the games will take place on July 26, and Jolly said it will break conventions as it will take place on the Seine River and amidst Paris’s iconic landmarks instead of a stadium like in previous ones.

“Along the riverbanks and bridges, 3,000 dancers and actors will present 12 artistic scenes, while national delegations will parade aboard boats,” Boucheron said.

He stated further that he drew inspiration from “the ceremony imagined by Jean-Paul Goude for the bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989,” a landmark event in live performance history.

“The parade subverted national stereotypes and boldly advocated for global mixing with an optimism that we seem to have lost today,” he emphasized.

According to him, Paris 2024 will be the opposite of the ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Games, which was “an ode to greatness and a display of strength.”

“The opening of the Olympics must speak to the world about France and speak to France about the world, aiming to be the opposite of a virile, heroized tale,centered around France as a promise of freedom.”

Slimani also describes it as “a very generous narrative, filled with joy, emulation, movement, excitement, and sparkle, not just the famous philosophical values that France often proudly exhibits, sometimes with too much assurance.”

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