The World Athletics on Monday named American hurdler Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone the Female World Athlete of the Year, beating Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan and three others for the prestigious honour.
Amusan, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Peru’s Kimberly Garcia, and Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas were the other finalists.
Amusan took the world by storm when she ran 12.12s in the semi-final of the women’s 100m hurdles at the World Championships in Eugene, USA to break Kendra Harrison’s 12.20s World Record.
Amusan ran a faster time – 12.06s – in the final about one hour later to claim gold, although the time wasn’t deemed legal as it was wind-aided.
The Nigerian hurdler continued her blistering form by retaining her Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham, UK, setting a Games record of 12.30s.
She also retained her Diamond League trophy in her season-ending race.
Swede pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis was also named the Men’s World Athlete of the Year, while American teenager sensation Erriyon Knighton and Serbian javelin thrower Adriana Vilagos won the men’s and women’s Rising Stars awards respectively.
The World Athletics announced the American 400m hurdles Olympics and World Champion and World Record holder as the winner on its website.
McLaughlin-Levrone improved her own world 400m hurdles record by 0.78, first to 51.41 at the US Championships and then to an awe-inspiring 50.68 at the World Championships. That secured her a first individual senior world title, and she followed it by anchoring the US team to another 4x400m victory.
The 23-year-old made a statement with her first 400m hurdles race of the year, clocking 51.61 in Nashville in early June. At that point, it was the third-fastest time ever recorded, but the all-time list soon underwent further revisions.
Lining up at the US Championships at Hayward Field, McLaughlin stormed to victory in the 400m hurdles in 51.41, taking 0.05 off the mark she set at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“I think there’s a little bit more in the tank there,” she said after her US Championships win. “Hopefully when it’s time we can just empty it completely.”
Back at Hayward Field a month later, McLaughlin-Levrone obliterated her previous best, running 50.68 as the home crowd and the rest of the world watched on in amazement.
“All of my goals were accomplished this year,” said McLaughlin-Levrone. “We were able to accomplish everything we set out to do. It couldn’t have been any better, and I was so grateful that I was able to produce that performance in front of a home crowd.”
French Footballer Gets 30-Year-Ban For Punching Referee
An amateur footballer in France, described as a “fanatic”, was on Friday banned from playing for 30 years for punching a referee.
“The penalty is appropriate. These fanatics must not be able to set foot on a football pitch again. They have no place there,” said Benoit Laine, president of the Loiret football district in central France.
The 25-year-old player, who was not named by officials, was angry at being sent off while featuring for Entente Sportive Gatinaise in a local cup game on January 8.
He punched the referee so hard that the official was signed off work for two days.
The team was also kicked out of the tournament for the next two seasons.
Arsenal Defeat Manchester United To Maintain EPL Lead
Arsenal made a huge statement of their Premier League intent yesterday, coming from behind to beat in-form Manchester United 3-2 in front of a raucous Emirates crowd.
United forward Marcus Rashford silenced the home fans with the opening goal but an equaliser from Eddie Nketiah and a wonderful second-half strike from Bukayo Saka turned the match on its head.
But the visitors, dangerous on the break throughout the match, levelled the pulsating encounter when Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez headed in after Arsenal failed to clear a corner.
The Gunners poured forward in search of a winner and eventually got the goal they deserved when Nketiah turned the ball home in the 90th minute.
Earlier, defending champions Manchester City had closed the gap to just two points with their 3-0 win against Wolves, courtesy of Erling Haaland’s fourth hat-trick of the season.
Scott McTominay replaced Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, who was ineligible after picking up a fifth booking of the season in United’s midweek draw with Crystal Palace, with loan signing Wout Weghorst again leading the line.
New Arsenal arrival Leandro Trossard, who joined late last week from Brighton, had to settle for a place on the bench as Mikel Arteta named an unchanged team.
There is growing sense of belief at the Emirates that the Gunners can at last end their long wait for the Premier League title, which they have not won since 2004.
Arsenal flew out of the blocks, with Thomas Partey flashing just wide as they surged forward.
But it was United who broke the deadlock in the 17th minute in stunning style, when Bruno Fernandes found Rashford, who skipped past Partey with ease and powered a low drive into the corner of the net from 25 yards.
Manchester United Plot Summer Move For Napoli Striker, Victor Osimhen
According to a report by Italian media, Il Mattino, Manchester United are reportedly lining up a bumper offer for Super Eagles and Napoli striker star Victor Osimhen in the summer.
United recently added Wout Weghorst on loan and signing a striker in the summer transfer window will be a matter of urgency for the Red Devils as Dutch tactician Erik ten Hag will want to add a prolific forward to boost his squad.
Ten Hag has identified Osimhen as a target and will want to bring the Nigeria international to the Premier League next season.
“Manchester United are already lining up to sign Victor Osimhen, with many intermediaries already at work to bring him to the Premier League after this season,” Il Mattino reports.
The report states that the former Lille star is worth at least €150m.
United will be joined by Newcastle United and Arsenal in the race to acquire his signature.
But the 24-year-old Nigeria international has said he is focused on helping Napoli win the title and has asked his entourage to postpone any talks regarding his future until June.
Osimhen’s contract runs until 2025, with a salary of €4.3m per year. It will be difficult for Napoli to keep him by offering a new deal, also because Aurelio De Laurentiis doesn’t intend to offer bigger wages.
The Nigerian has played a key role for Luciano Spalletti’s side this season, scoring 12 goals and providing four assists in 14 Serie A appearances this season.