World Sports Shorts: Late October

By Roger Childs

“After reviewing Lydia Ko’s petition, I have granted her LPGA Tour membership beginning at the start of the 2014 season,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan

Kiwi teenage golfing sensation now a pro

Ko in CWPGALydia Ko has taken the expected plunge into professionalism. She’s currently the world’s number one woman golfer based on the last 12 months’ performances.

Not surprisingly the world governing body has waived the 18 years age requirement and  admitted her into the LPGA Tour, the elite level for women golfers.

Commissioner Whan said. “It is not often that the LPGA welcomes a rookie who is already a back-to-back LPGA Tour champion.”

There have been some well publicised cases of teenage prodigies entering the professional sporting ranks and then crashing and burning. Tennis players Tracey Austin and Jennifer Capriatti and golfer Michelle Wie come to mind. However, it seems unlikely that the level headed Miss Ko will be one of those.

The Swiss tennis maestro still mixing it

FedererThe world’s greatest ever tennis player, Roger Federer, is no longer at the top of the men’s rankings. However, the 32 year old is still a force to be reckoned with. In the recent Basel indoor tournament, the Swiss went down in the final to top seed Juan Martin del Potro  6-7, 6-2, 4-6.

He is still on target to qualify for the climax on the tennis singles year: the Barclays’ ATP World Tour Finals in November. This is an indoor tournament and only the top eight players are included. Federer is currently ranked sixth, so should make it. He holds the record of six wins in the tournament and was the beaten finalist in 2012.

Odds-on favourites to contest the 2013 final are Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic: currently ranked one and two.

All Blacks with four tests ahead

The team has headed overseas: most to Japan for Saturday’s test and some straight to Paris for the later encounter with the French. Veteran stars Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, who have both been out with injuries in recent times, will get game time in Tokyo.

Coach Steve Hansen has the luxury of the test with the Japanese to experiment with combinations before taking on the European teams.

Toomaga AllenThe French were well beaten in the three tests out here mid-year, however they will be a tougher proposition at home. So too will be England and Ireland. The English soundly beat the All Blacks last year at Twickenham, however the Kiwis were stricken with a virus prior to that match. Our lads will be keen for revenge.

Wellington’s Jeff Toomaga-Allen has been added to the All Blacks squad to replace Canterbury prop Joe Moody. Moody is incredibly unlucky to have broken his leg late in the NPC final against Wellington. Ironically Toomaga-Allen was the tackler and the unexpected beneficiary.

Moody’s time will come and in the view of local rugby authority, Murray Ashley, Moody and Tomanga-Allen may well be props in the next World Cup with (Kapiti’s) Dane Coles hooking.

Beware sporting arrogance: cricket and netball

 Malawi v NZThe Australians have been known to demonstrate over-confidence in sport and have sometimes fallen flat on their arrogant faces. For many years they regarded our test cricket team as being so weak they wouldn’t invite us over the Tasman and sent B teams here.

There is a feeling that we should be thrashing Bangladesh on the present tour. We need to remember that after New Zealand was admitted to test cricket in 1930, it took 26 years to  win an international. Bangladesh did it in 5 years.

Back in 2010 they beat us 4-0 in the ODIs and, at the time of writing, it’s 2-0 in the current series.

With the current netball series against Malawi, the arrogance is again showing. The closer contest in the second test was put down to Silver Fern shortcomings. How about giving some credit to the play of a small African nation which is growing in the sport?