Superal targets 3rd straight at Luisita

Princess Superal hopes to further hone up for the Symetra Tour as she seeks a third straight Ladies Philippine Golf Tour crown in the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Championship beginning Wednesday (April 4) at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac.

Superal deferred plans to play in her first Symetra Tour also set this week in California, opting instead to compete here and get better after scoring back-to-back victories in Tagaytay and Riviera last month.

But the field she’s facing in the P1.5 million event sponsored by ICTSI also get tougher with seven Thai aces signing up along with a host of amateurs out to keep a tradition in the country’s premier ladies circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

Former leg winner Saruttaya Ngam-usawan banners the delegation from the country’s perennial regional rival that includes Jaruporn P. Na Ayuttaya, Numa Gulyanamitta, Sarinee Thitiratanakorn, Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang, Thanuttra Boonraksasat and Ananya Vitayakonkomol.

But Superal will also have fellow local aces to contend with, including former three-time Order of Merit winner and fellow Symetra Tour campaigner Cyna Rodriguez and recent Eagle Ridge leg winner Chihiro Ikeda, who is expected to come into the 54-hole tournament in top shape after struggling in the last two legs with a slight hand injury.

Still, focus will be on the 21-year-old Superal, who broke a long LPGT title-spell with a record setting 16-shot victory at Tagaytay Highlands then followed it up with a five-stroke romp at Riviera two weeks ago.

“I feel good and pretty confident of my chances for another crack at the crown,” said Superal. “But the rest have also prepared hard for this during the break, so I expect a tough challenge.”

That could also come from the amateurs who have continuously proved their mettle against the best year-in and year-out, snatching one or two victories each season.

This week’s cast will be led by The Country Club mainstays Mikha Fortuna, Sofia Chabon, Laia Barro, Samantha Dizon and Mafy Singson with Kristine Torralba, Japanese Kelly Marutani and Sharon Park of Canana also in the hunt.

Other backers of the seventh leg of this year’s LPGT are Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZGm PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.(pr)

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Tight finish seen in Phl Junior Am golf

The Philippine Junior Amateur Golf Championship kicks off a busy summer schedule for the sport’s future stars with a huge field gearing up for a fierce showdown in the event firing off tomorrow (April 3) at the Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martires, Cavite.

Paolo Wong and Harmie Constantino headline the cast in their respective divisions with the former tipped to slug it out with the likes of Paolo Barro, Luis Castro, Carl Corpuz, David Guangko, Weiyu Gao, Miguel Ilas, Pierre Ticzon and Joaquin Velez among others.

Constantino, meanwhile, sets out to complete an unfinished business last year when she fell short of her title bid and lost to absentee Yuka Saso. But the many-time national team mainstay will still have her hands full this week with Nicole Abelar, Kayla Nocum, Sofia Legaspi, Junia Gabasa and Weifang Gao also vying in the event featuring the top and rising stars in the 17-and-under age group.

South Koreans Jang Yun Ji, Kang Da Yeon, Kim Seo Young and Baek So Wom are also expected to spoil the locals’ title drive in the four-day championship sponsored by MVP Sports Foundation and held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour.

Spicing up the event, organized and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines, are the Special Divisions for 18-years-old-and-above to be played over four rounds and 12-years-old-and-below set over 54 holes.

The top 40 players after 36 holes (boys) will advance to the final two rounds while the top 20 in the girls’ division will qualify for the last two rounds.

Others vying in the boys’ division are Cedric Aunzo, Perry Bucay, Santino Diokno, Joaquin Gomez, Liam Harvey, Miguel Ilas, Riggs Illescas, Francis Lanuza, Juan Laurel, James Luguban, Jermaine Melosantos, Masaichi Otake, Sean Ramos, Kristoff Soliven, siblings Delfin and Bernard Trinos and Japanese Gettykane Nakamura.(pr)

IOC President holds fruitful talks in Pyongyang with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un – DPRK commits to participation in future Olympic Games

News Release

IOC President holds fruitful talks in Pyongyang with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un – DPRK commits to participation in future Olympic Games

IOC President Thomas Bach was in the North Korean capital Pyongyang on Friday for meetings with political and sports leaders. Following an extensive “four eyes” meeting with Kim Jong-un, it was confirmed that the country is committed to its athletes competing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, as well as the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.

The Supreme Leader also praised President Bach and the IOC for the role they had played in mediating and bringing about an agreement for the participation of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

During the visit, which came at the invitation of the DPRK NOC, President Bach expressed his appreciation for the participation of the DPRK NOC athletes at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. “In particular, the joint march sent a strong message of peace,” President Bach said. “Now, on the political level, the discussions can continue in the Olympic spirit of understanding and peace.  We will continue to accompany this political dialogue through sport, by helping athletes to prepare for and compete in future editions of the Olympic Games,” he said.  This support has already begun, with immediate assistance to athletes from the DPRK NOC to compete in the table tennis World Championships, which are taking place in Sweden this April.

Earlier in the day, President Bach met representatives of the DPRK NOC, led by its President, Kim Il-guk, who is also the country’s Sports Minister. In a packed agenda, President Bach also discussed the IOC’s support for the athletes and sport in the country with the two Vice-Chairmen of the Workers’ Party, Choe Hwi, who is also Chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Choe Ryong-hae, who is also Vice-Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK.

The visit finished with a dinner hosted by the President of the Praesidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Kim Yong-nam, who had led the DPRK delegation to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

As well as discussing help for and future participation of athletes, President Bach visited several sporting facilities in an impressive city-centre complex, where he met athletes, Olympians and future potential competitors in the Olympic Games, in swimming, weightlifting and table tennis. He also met the figure skating pair, Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, who had competed in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

President Bach was accompanied throughout the visit by the IOC Member from North Korea, Professor Ung Chang.

Lassiter is PBA Press Corps Player of the Week

Marcio Lassiter highlighted his explosive performance in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals by making the game-winning putback to give San Miguel a 2-0 series lead over Barangay Ginebra.

Lassiter’s back-to-back hot-shooting performances earned him the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of March 6-11.

The 30-year-old Lassiter kicked off the All-Filipino conference Final Four by knocking down five triples as San Miguel administered a 102-90 beating of a weary Ginebra side last Friday.

The former Smart-Gilas shooter finished that game with 17 points, five rebounds and the same number of assists in 30 minutes as he more than made up for four-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo’s quiet offense in Game 1.

Two days later, the PBA’s fourth overall pick in 2011 completed SMB’s comeback from a 15-point deficit by scoring a putback off Fajardo’s missed layup to seal the Beermen’s heart-stopping 104-102 overtime win.

The Beermen are now up, 2-0 in the best-of-seven semifinal series against the crowd darlings.

Lassiter was on target in Game 2 after firing 25 points, laced with four three-pointers, to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in 46 minutes of action.

“Super Marcio” averaged 21 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the Beermen’s semifinal victories to beat teammates Fajardo and Arwind Santos, along with NLEX’s Cyrus Baguio and Kiefer Ravena for the weekly citation.

The Beermen will be gunning for a commanding 3-0 series bulge come Tuesday when they take on the Gin Kings anew at the Mall of Asia Arena.(pr)

International Women’s Day – IOC setting the stage for lasting change in sport

News Release

International Women’s Day – IOC setting the stage for lasting change in sport

In support of today’s International Women’s Day and the call to action to #pressforprogress, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is launching today an overview of 25 key recommendations from its Gender Equality Review Project, which focus on changing the conversation about women in sport holistically – from participation to representation and decision-making.

Covering five key areas – sport, portrayal, funding, governance and human resources – the 25 recommendations not only create an actionable roadmap to work with all of the IOC’s partners and affiliates around the world to advance gender equality within the Olympic Movement and the global sports community, but also reflect the efforts already underway by the IOC, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs) to promote greater participation, decision-making and leadership by women across all aspects of sport – to reflect and drive lasting change.

“We are certain that, through the implementation of the 25 IOC Gender Equality Recommendations, we as the Olympic Movement – athletes, officials, commissions, federations and executives – can take real steps to enact effective change together,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “It is not just the right thing to do. It is in the interest of us all – the fans, the families, and every girl and woman who has been able to fully realise her dreams through athletic participation. As the leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC has an important responsibility to take action when it comes to gender equality – a basic human right of profound importance and a fundamental principle of the Olympic Charter.”

See the overview of the 25 recommendations.

The release of the 25 recommendations today not only underscores the ongoing commitment of the IOC to achieving gender equality in all aspects of sport, but also ties into the International Women’s Day call to action to #pressforprogress on gender parity. A more detailed report will be released later in the month.

These recommendations are just the beginning of the IOC’s work towards promoting gender equality in the sports world and beyond.  While women’s participation in sport is growing, with the ratio of female athletes competing in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 at 42 per cent being a record for the Winter Games, and, for the first time ever, equal numbers of women’s and men’s events on the last day of the Games, there is still much to be done to create lasting change in competition.

Change also goes beyond participation.  The 25 recommendations are shaping the narrative about women in sport from the inside out. In addition to providing more support for all aspects of the Games – including coaches and officials, the IOC is strongly recommending that organisations such as NOCs and IFs provide funding (including evening out prize money disparities) to promote gender equality and reflect diversity in gender within their management and membership. Without diversity in leadership, there cannot be diversity and support in policy.

As one example of spotlighting its efforts to implement the 25 recommendations, the IOC will co-host a panel discussion with UN Women, Procter & Gamble, NBC and UNESCO on the margins of the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York on 14 March. The event will focus on one of the five key themes of  the recommendations – the portrayal of female athletes in the media and its implications for participation – and will feature perspectives from, among others, Olympic medallists Donna de Varona and Maia Shibutani.  The discussion will be moderated by NBC Sports anchor Andrea Joyce.

In addition, the IOC has launched the 2018 edition of the IOC Women in and Sport Awards, which are given every year to women, men or organisations who have made remarkable contributions to the development, encouragement and reinforcement of women’s participation in sport. Applications close on 16 March.

SOLAIRE PHL OPEN: Mamat, Meesawat wrest control as Lewton fumbles

STA. ROSA, Laguna – Former champion Mardan Mamat of Singapore birdied the difficult backside par-3s of The Country Club in impressive fashion but fumbled on the daunting closing hole and dropped to joint lead with Thai Prom Meesawat at 70 at the start of the 100th Solaire Philippine Open at The Country Club here yesterday.
Englishman Steve Lewton actually kept it a three-way logjam in one stretch at the back in a separate flight but the defending champion wavered at the finish, bogeying two of the last six, including the 18th, to fall to joint third with Korean Taehoon Kim at 71.
The elite field struggled on the long layout that measures up to 7,735 yards despite the absence of the wind early on and majority floundered when the gusts started to whip up in afternoon play, sending the scores soaring and the players tumbling off the crowded leaderboard in the record $600,000 event presented by Solaire Resort and Casino.
But Mamat, 50, and Meesawat stood up to buck the challenge and seize control in a kind of start that could lead to a shootout in the next three days over a course where small mistakes could lead to big numbers.
“It’s very fortunate to play under-par in this course. It’s not easy out there but got a lucky break in some of the holes and made a couple of putts,’” said Mamat, a five-time winner in Asia, including the Phl Open at Wack Wack in 2012, and the Singapore Masters in 2006 that also served as a European Tour event.
He used a 3-wood on the 276-yard No. 11 and banged in an 11-foot putt then hacked a 9-iron to within two feet and drilled it. But he missed grabbing the solo lead with a closing bogey after missing the green and a bad chip, enabling Meesawat, who had two victories in Asia, including a playoff win over Miguel Tabuena in 2016 in Taiwan, to get a shared view of the top.
The Thai veteran banked on a three-birdie string from No. 8 to put himself in early contention for the top $108,000 purse in the 72-hole championship organized by the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.
Lewton, who nipped absentee American Johannes Veerman in a playoff here last year, looked headed to taking up from where he left off – putting up a three-under card after 12 holes. But he bogeyed No. 13 then dropped another stroke on the tough par-4 closing hole.
Jay Bayron thought he had all figured out the Tom Weiskoph-designed course with a three-under card after eight holes, sparking hopes for a big start for a local player who missed the Open title by one in 2011 at Wack Wack. But he bogeyed the long par-4 No. 9 and though he recovered the stroke with a birdie on the par-5 10th, the veteran Davaoeño campaigner reeled back with three straight bogeys from No. 11 then traded two birdies with the same number of bogeys in the last five holes to finish with a 72.
Other even par scorers were Malaysians Bin Jailani Amir Nazrin, Leun Kwang Kim and Nicholas Fung, Aussie David Gleeson and Alvaro Arizabaleta of Colombia,
Miguel Tabuena, winner in the rain-shortened Open at Luisita in 2015, eagled the 10th but bogeyed two of the next five and slipped to joint 11th at 73, including American Nicolas Paez, Dutch Guido Van der Valk and multi-titled Tony Lascuña, Gerald Rosales, champion of the all-peso Open in 2000, and Lloyd Go, who topped the PGT Q-School recent at Splendido.
A slew of others also turned in impressive starts, only to stumble on the terrors that lurked on the bunkers, roughs and greens of the dreaded layout with the winds coming into play late in the day.  Lascuña had a one-under card with six holes to play but dropped three strokes on the tight par-4 No. 4 and dropped to 73 after a birdie on No. 8 while Go blew a two-under card after seven holes at the back as he bogeyed four of the next seven, needing to birdie the par-5 eighth to save a 73.
Two weeks after edging Tabuena with a five-under overcall card to claim the TCC Invitational crown, Micah Shin found the layout not to his liking this time, tripping with a two double-bogey-marred 40 start at the back. He birdied No. 3 but bogeyed the next three and ended up with a 78.
At joint 63rd, the 21-year-old Korean-American is barely in the 65-player plus tie cut line unlike a host of other pre-tournament favorites in the event sponsored by ICTSI, Meralco, PLDT, Smart, Bulgari, Diamond Motor Corp., BDO, Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Amon Trading, Dynamic Sports and Custom Clubmakers.
Jhonnel Ababa, one of the hottest local players with back-to-back victories on the PGT Asia last January, gunned down three birdies but fumbled with five bogeys, including three in a five-hole stretch from No. 11. He wound up with a 74 and tumbled to joint 16th with Jerson Balasabas, Rico Depilo, American John Kelly, England’s Matt Killen and Kwang Leun Kim of Malaysia.
Angelo Que, a former Open winner who won three titles here at TCC Invitational, failed to recover from an OB mishap on No. 4 as he limped with three more bogeys against two bogeys for a 75, six shots behind the leader in a tie with 12 others.
Clyde Mondilla, the reigning PGT Order of Merit winner, shot himself in the foot with a fat 80 marred by seven bogeys and a double bogey against a lone birdie while two-time champion Frankie Miñoza virtually bowed out with an unlikely 87 marred by two double bogeys, one quadruple bogey and seven bogeys in a birdie-less round.(pr)

IOC confirms negative results

IOC Statement

The final notification of all remaining test results from the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) delegation has been received from the Doping-Free Sport Unit (DFSU).

The IOC can confirm that all the remaining results are negative.

Therefore, as stated in the Executive Board decision of 25th February the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee is automatically lifted with immediate effect.(pr)

Just keeping the sports community posted.