Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: US athletics legend Lewis attacks Trump

Sports Shorts: US athletics legend Lewis attacks Trump

August 06, 2019 13:38 IST

Summary of sports events and persons who made news on Tuesday

American sprint great Carl Lewis offered enthusiastic support for the Pan Am Games on Monday, but the nine-time Olympic champion had none for Donald Trump, branding the US president a "racist" and a "misogynist".

Lewis, who represented the United States at four Olympics and is widely regarded as one of the country's greatest athletes, arrived in the Peruvian capital ahead of the start of the athletics competition on Tuesday.

Carl Lewis. Photograph: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

When asked for his thoughts on equality in sport, Lewis launched into a scathing attack on Trump and his policies.

"In America we have a tremendous challenge, there are a lot of issues going on," the 58-year-old African-American told a packed news conference.

"We have a racist president, who is prejudiced, misogynistic, who doesn't value anyone outside of himself, so we have a major challenge in our country to deal with as well.

"That doesn't mean we can't fight for what is right for people, and look at others where they might not have the same opportunity, or may have been marginalized."

Lewis will be in Peru for six days as a guest of honor and will award medals for the 100 meters sprint and men's long jump.

While it is Lewis's first visit to Peru, his history with the Pan Am Games stretches back to his international debut for the United States at the 1979 edition in Puerto Rico, where he won a bronze medal in the long jump.

Lewis also competed at the 1987 Games in Indianapolis, Indiana, winning double gold in the long jump and 4x100m relay.

"I turned 18 in Puerto Rico that year and it was a very important time for me," recalled Lewis.

"My mother actually competed at the very first Pan Am Games in Argentina, and she spoke about that and how it affected her life, and in turn because of that she really wanted us to travel as kids.

"If it wasn't for her and what she believed in, especially the empowerment of women, I would not have been in athletics, so that experience was big for our family and extremely big for me."

Lewis was joined on stage by another US sprinter and former 100m world record holder Leroy Burrell, who agreed that multi-sport events like the Pan Ams could be life changers for individual athletes and countries.

Hosting the Pan Ams for the first time, Peru has already seen some of the rewards on the medal table as they enjoy their most successful Games ever with 23 medals.

But more important for Burrell was the legacy in the form of state-of-the-art facilities that will be left behind.

"We had an opportunity to go by the stadium today and the first thing I did was call back to the U.S. and say, 'Look at this, this is amazing, the facility is outstanding'," said Burrell, who is now an athletics coach.

"To walk into that facility today I was amazed. That's the foundation that a champion or two will be built on."

Belgian cyclist Lambrecht dies after crash in Tour of Poland

Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht has died after crashing during the third stage of the Tour of Poland, the 22-year-old's Lotto Soudal team announced on Monday.

Lambrecht was taken to hospital in a helicopter following the crash which occurred around 96km from the end of the Chorzow to Zabrze stage, the BBC reported.

"The biggest tragedy possible that could happen to the family, friends and teammates of Bjorg has happened... rest in peace Bjorg," Belgian team Lotto Soudal said on Twitter, without providing any details of the accident.

Race organisers added: "There are no words to describe this tragedy. Bjorg passed away following an accident on today's stage. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, team and the whole cycling community."

Lambrecht, racing in only his second season as a top level professional, was named the most promising youngster in the Criterium du Dauphine in June.

Pakistan appoints Olympian Khwaja Junaid as men's senior team coach

Pakistan has named Olympian Khawaja Junaid as the head coach of its men's senior national hockey team, two years after he was unceremoniously sacked from the same post.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation chief Brigadier (retd) Sajjad Khokar also named three other former players -- Sameer Hussain, Wasim Ahmed and Ajmal Khan -- to assist Junaid in the preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Junaid has earlier worked as head coach in Khokar's nearly four-year tenure and he was sacked after Pakistan's debacle in the World Hockey League in London in 2017. A furious Junaid had then lashed out at the PHF president and secretary and even accused them of mismanagement and financial bloopers.

Junaid was a part of the bronze-medal winning Pakistan team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.      

Earlier, the PHF had also named another a highly decorated Olympian, Manzoor Jr as the new chief selector, to be assisted by Olympians Khalid Hameed, Waseem Feroze and Ayaz Mahmood.

Manzoor junior has been among the harshest critics of the PHF set-up, particularly of Khokar and former secretary Shahbaz Ahmed who has now been replaced by Asif Bajwa.

Asked about the appointments of the very men who had been criticising him and the PHF, Khokar said at times people were misguided, at times mistakes were made but in the end they were all part of the hockey family and everyone wanted to see Pakistan hockey to prosper.

Khokar said Junaid, Sameer, Wasim and Ajmal were all former celebrated players and had given a lot to Pakistan hockey while some were also qualified coaches.

The new management is tasked with preparing the Pakistan senior team for a pre-Olympic qualifying tournament and also for South Asian Federation Games in Kathmandu.

AGENCIES
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT