‘We’Ve Done It, Brisbane!’: Australian City Awarded 2032 Olympics

Employees work at the athletes’ village for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Zhangjiakou in northern China’s Hebei province on July 14, 2021. (Photo by Noel CELIS / AFP)

 

Brisbane was awarded the 2032 Olympics on Wednesday, triggering wild celebrations and fireworks as it became the third Australian city to host the Summer Games after Melbourne and Sydney.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach confirmed the widely expected result after delegates voted 72 to five with three abstentions at the IOC session in Tokyo.

“The International Olympic Committee has the honour to announce that the Games of the 35th Olympiad are awarded to Brisbane, Australia,” Bach said.

The announcement was greeted by cheers from the Australian delegates in Tokyo, while in Brisbane fireworks lit up the skies and crowds who had gathered for the vote went wild.

Brisbane’s victory looked a certainty after it was unanimously proposed as the single candidate for 2032 by the IOC’s 15-strong executive board in June.

“I’m so excited — I have so much pride for my state, for my people. Never in my lifetime did I think that this was going to happen,” said Queensland state premier Anna Palaszczuk.

“We”ve done it, Queensland! We’ve done it, Brisbane! This is fantastic, this is amazing –- tonight is your night, enjoy.”

READ ALSO: US NBA Star LaVine Gets Olympics All Clear After COVID-19 Scare

Australia has already hosted the Olympics twice, in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000, widely considered one of the most successful Games in recent history.

Hundreds of people packed Brisbane’s Southbank riverside precinct for the announcement, watching the city’s final pitch to the IOC on a big screen.

Rhys Cush, 24, one of those in the masked-up crowd, said he hoped to work at the 2032 Olympics and also attend as a spectator.

“I’m an extremely big fan. I even watched the softball this morning,” he told AFP. “I’m super excited about having the Olympics coming here.”

Lauren Granger, 42, said she hoped the 2032 Olympics would recreate the buzz of Sydney’s successful 2000 Games.

“We flew down to Sydney and we were at the Olympics and it was just such a great experience for our family,” she said.

“That was 20 years ago so we’d love to be able to relive that in 2032 with our kids.”

– ‘Historic day’ –

Home to about 2.3 million people and bookended by shimmering coastal sands, Brisbane is seen as more laid-back and less cosmopolitan than Australia’s sprawling southern cities.

Venues will be spread across Brisbane and nearby towns in Queensland state, including the Gold Coast which hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

There are hopes the Olympics will boost Brisbane’s profile, making it more attractive to tourists who tend to use it as a jumping-off point for attractions like the Great Barrier Reef.

A report in The Australian newspaper said the Games will cost Au$5bn, with the opening and closing ceremonies taking place at a redeveloped Gabba cricket ground.

“It’s a historic day not just for Brisbane and Queensland, but for the entire country,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Only global cities can secure the Olympic Games, so this is fitting recognition for Brisbane’s standing across our region and the world.”

The decision means the IOC has now secured hosts for the next three Summer Olympics, with Paris holding the event in 2024 and Los Angeles organising the 2028 Games.

The awarding of the 2032 Olympics was the first to take place with a new election method adopted in June 2019 in an attempt to counter application fees and a lack of serious bids.

For the 2024 Games, Bach complained the process had “produced too many losers”, after Rome, Hamburg and Budapest all pulled out of the running.

Bidding cities have become increasingly hard to come by in recent years as costs balloon and the economic benefits of holding the Games remain unclear.

The vote took place two days before the troubled Tokyo Olympics, which will start behind closed doors on Friday after a year’s delay because of the pandemic.

AFP

Pliskova Sets Up Brisbane Semi-Final Against Vekic

Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova hits a return against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia during their women’s singles quarter-final match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane on January 4, 2019. Saeed Khan / AFP

 

Former champion Karolina Pliskova moved into the semi-finals of the season-opening Brisbane International with a three set win over Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday.

Pliskova stormed through the first set and dropped the second set equally quickly before cruising through the third to win 6-1, 1-6, 6-1 and set up a semi-final against Croatia’s Donna Vekic.

The tall Czech was in imperious form in the first set and appeared set for a lightning-quick victory.

But her game dropped off slightly as Tomljanovic picked hers up to level the match.

However, the third was almost an exact copy of the first as Pliskova found her mark with her booming serves and the Australian had no answers.

Earlier, Vekic was in blistering form as she thrashed 2018 runner-up Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-0.

Vekic played what she later called “perfect” tennis, giving her Belarusian opponent no chance in the 56-minute demolition.

“I think today was probably one of the most perfect matches I’ve ever played in my career,” she said.

“Everything was going well for me. I was trying to be aggressive, trying to play my game and not give her time to be aggressive, because if she’s on, she’s on.”

The 22-year-old Vekic will finish the week inside the top 30, guaranteeing herself a seeding at the Australian Open.

Vekic burst onto the scene in 2012 when she reached the final of her first WTA tournament in Tashkent as a 16-year-old.

However, she said she struggled to live up to people’s expectations of her and her career suffered as a result.

“There’s ups and downs in every career, every sport — not only in sport, in life,” Vekic said.

“And I think I’ve already gone through that, and to say I’ve already gone through that at 22 I think is pretty good.

“So I hope it’s going to be a little bit more stable now.”

acd/kaf

Top Seed Svitolina Crashes Out In Brisbane

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina reacts on a point against Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich during their women’s singles second round match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane on January 2, 2019. Saeed Khan / AFP

 

Top seed and defending champion Elina Svitolina crashed out of the Brisbane International at the hands of Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Wednesday.

In a replay of last year’s final, Sasnovich reversed that result as she ousted Svitolina 6-4, 0-6, 6-3.

The Belarusian displayed some breathtaking shot-making in the first set before Svitolina stormed back in the second.

But Sasnovich continued to go for her shots and broke Svitolina twice in the third set to seal the victory and book a quarter-final against Croatian Donna Vekic.

Vekic continued her good form when she downed Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens in three sets 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-5.

Vekic looked in trouble when she was down 4-5 in the third with Bertens serving for the match, but the Croatian fought back to win the next three games and book her place in the quarter-finals.

“I’m really happy to have this kind of match in the first tournament, to see how much I can push myself,” she said.

“Obviously I can play long, play good and win, so I’m really happy about that.”

Estonia’s Annet Kontaveit caused a boilover when she beat fourth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova 7-5, 7-6 (7/1).

Kontaveit, whose compatriot Kaia Kanepi won this tournament in 2012, was too consistent for Kvitova, who was backing up after a three-hour first-round win over Danielle Collins late Tuesday afternoon.

“We played each other quite a lot of times last year so I knew it was going to be tough from the beginning,” Kontaveit said.

“I was just trying to hang in there in the second set. I’m just so happy.”

Latvian Anastasija Sevastova earlier thrashed British qualifier Harriet Dart 6-2, 6-0.

Former champion Karolina Pliskova downed fellow countrywoman Marie Bouzkova 7-5, 6-2 and will face off against Australia’s Alja Tomljanovic in the quarter-finals.

Tomljanovic secured her place in the last eight with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) win over Britain’s Johanna Konta.

AFP

Murray Upbeat After Winning Start In Brisbane

Andy Murray of Britain reacts on a point against James Duckworth of Australia during their men’s singles first round match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane on January 1, 2019. Saeed Khan / AFP

 

Former world number one Andy Murray was upbeat after making a winning start to 2019 with a straight sets victory over Australian James Duckworth in the Brisbane International on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Scot missed 11 months of last year with a hip injury and has slumped to a world ranking of 240.

He had not played competitively since pulling out of the China Open in September and started slowly against Duckworth before overcoming the Australian 6-4, 6-3 in a touch under 90 minutes.

Murray, who didn’t appear hampered with his movement, said he could feel his touch returning as the match progressed.

“It wasn’t particularly good tennis at the beginning, but I think one of the positive things for me was kind of instinctively I came up with some shots where I was kind of reading the game quite well, which is positive for a first match,” he said.

Murray said that while he was still playing in some pain, his hip wasn’t an issue.

“I didn’t feel particularly apprehensive… about my hip as such today, just because I’ve trained on it more and been here playing practice sets with guys, and I’ve just had a lot longer to get used to it,” he said.

“When I was playing in June, July last year, my hip was pretty sore.

“I hadn’t really practised much. I hadn’t played matches for a long time, and psychologically it was difficult.

“I was concentrating more on that than actually playing the match or my tactics, whereas, today I didn’t really think about it at all — I was just concentrating on the match.”

Murray now plays fourth seed Daniil Medvedev in the second round after the Russian received a first round bye.

Defending champion Nick Kyrgios battled past American Ryan Harrison in a rematch of last year’s final.

Kyrgios won 2018 final easily but he was pushed all the way by Harrison on Tuesday, eventually winning 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 7-6 (7/5) in two hours, eight minutes.

Kyrgios fired down 44 aces and Harrison 27, with the Australian just able to shade Harrison in the third set tiebreak.

The mercurial Kyrgios wasn’t happy with his groundstrokes and said he had only got through thanks to the quality of his serving.

“I was pretty poor — everything I did was pretty poor, except for my serve today,” he said.

“So I know that needs to get better. But that will come with more matches. I think the more matches I play, the more time on the court I have, I think that’ll get better.”

In other matches, Denis Kudla beat fellow American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, while Frenchman Jeremy Chardy outlasted Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

AFP

Pliskova Fights Back To Win Brisbane Opener

Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova hits a return against Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan during their women’s singles first round match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane on December 31, 2018. Saeed Khan / AFP

 

Karolina Pliskova said she refused to panic despite falling behind a set and a break to Yulia Putintseva in the opening round of the Brisbane International on Monday.

Pliskova, a former world number one, appeared headed for an early exit when she stumbled against Putintseva late in the first set.

But she recovered from 2-0 down in the second to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two and a quarter hours at the Pat Rafter Arena.

The 26-year-old Czech said despite surrendering the first set, she never felt in any real trouble against Putintseva.

“Even though I was losing a set and a break in the second, I was still pretty positive, because I felt (even though) I’m missing, it’s only small margins here and there,” she said.

“I just felt like the ball on the racquet felt pretty good.”

Pliskova has a good record in Brisbane, winning in 2017 and reaching the semi-finals in 2018.

“I feel it’s pretty fast, which is important for my game,” Pliskova said.

“I can hit some aces, which I did today, and if I play aggressive there is a chance that I am going to make a lot of points, so I feel good on this court for sure.”

Australian wildcard Kimberly Birrell pulled off a massive upset when she stunned world number 10 Daria Kasatkina in three sets.

Birrell, 20, had only ever won one match on the main WTA tour but showed great composure to come from 3-5 down in the third set to win 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) in three hours, six minutes.

“I was just trying to stay positive — I was just telling myself to just keep fighting and keep asking the questions,” Birrell said.

She will now play Lesia Tsurenko in the second round after the Ukranian beat Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-0, 6-2.

Birrell’s fellow countrywoman Destanee Aiava also moved into the second round with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) upset over Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic and will now play reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka.

Croatia’s Donna Vekic was too strong for Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, winning 6-1, 6-2 to set up a second-round clash against sixth-seeded Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, who downed Belgian Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4.

AFP

Kyrgios Bitten By Spider Ahead Of Brisbane Title Defence

'Unwell' Kyrgios Sorry For Shanghai Walk-Off
Nick Kyrgios of Australia hits a return during the men’s singles against Steve Johnson of America at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on October 10, 2017. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

 

Temperamental Australian star Nick Kyrgios revealed on Friday he was bitten by a spider over Christmas ahead of his defence of the Brisbane International.

The fiery 23-year-old posted a short video on his Instagram account showing him with what appeared to be a drip in his arm and being treated by medics.

“This spider bite outta contro,” a caption to the video said.

He added to his nearly one million followers: “Got a spider bite on my foot. Christmas different every year.”

Local reports said he spent the festive season in a Canberra hospital but was still on track to be in Brisbane for the tournament that starts on Monday.

Kyrgios finished his season early in October after an elbow injury forced him out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Returning home to prepare for 2019, the world number 35 admitted last month he was working through mental health issues that had plagued him throughout the year.

“I’m starting to see some psychologists and trying to get on top of my mental health,” he said then.

The supremely talented but combustible Kyrgios has become infamous for his public outbursts and meltdowns on court.

His win in Brisbane was his only title success in 2018.

AFP

Aloisi Resigns As Coach Of Brisbane Roar

John Aloisi. Credit: @brisbaneroar

 

Former Socceroos star John Aloisi quit Friday as coach of A-League strugglers Brisbane Roar after a poor start to the season.

Aloisi, who secured Australia’s place in the 2006 World Cup after slotting home a winning playoff penalty against Uruguay, said it was in the best interests of the club that he stand down.

“For the past three-and-a-half years, I have given every minute of my life to make the Brisbane Roar a success,” he said in a statement.

“Upon reflection of the current situation, I have made the difficult decision to stand down effective immediately as I believe this is in the best interest of the playing group and football club.”

The Roar are ninth in the 10-team A-League table with just one win and five losses from nine matches.

The club said Darren Davies would take over as interim coach until a new one is appointed.

AFP

Brisbane International Results

John Millman of Australia hist a return against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov during their men’s singles second round match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane on January 4, 2018.
SAEED KHAN / AFP

Results from matches played at the ATP/WTA Brisbane International at the Queensland Tennis Centre on Thursday (X denotes seed):

Men

Second Round

Denis Istomin (UZB) bt Jared Donaldson (USA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2

Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-2

Kyle Edmund (GBR) bt Chung Hyeon (KOR) 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 6-4

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL X1) bt John Millman (AUS) 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-3

Women

Quarter-finals

Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3

Elina Svitolina (UKR X3) bt Johanna Konta (GBR X5) 1-6, 7-6 (8/6), 3-2 ret

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT X7) bt Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 6-2, 6-4

Karolina Pliskova (CZE X2) bt Kaia Kanepi (EST) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2

AFP

Muguruza, Stephens To Contest Brisbane International

File: Gabrine Muguruza of Spain looks on during her first round Women’s Singles match against Varvara Lepchenko of the United States on Day One of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Richard HEATHCOTE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

Grand Slam champions Garbine Muguruza and Sloane Stephens have been confirmed to play the Brisbane International in January, organisers said Monday.

Wimbledon winner and world No.2 Muguruza and this year’s US Open champion Stephens will join defending champion Karolina Pliskova, ranked three in the world, in a strong women’s field.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal and third-ranked Andy Murray are the star drawcards in the men’s event as they prepare for the Australian Open.

“Brisbane was the start of a successful season for me in 2017 and it was an easy decision to play again next year,” said Muguruza, who will make her third consecutive appearance in Brisbane.

After winning her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Muguruza rose to world No.1 in September and was named the 2017 WTA Player of the Year.

“The conditions are perfect leading into the Australian Open; the weather, the stadium and the strong competition all help when you are preparing for the first Grand Slam of the year,” she said.

Stephens will play in Brisbane for the first time.

“2017 was a real game changer for me, and I want to continue that momentum into next year, starting with Brisbane and the Australian Open,” she said.

The tournament runs from December 31 to January 7 with the Australian Open starting in Melbourne on January 15.

AFP

Peter Greste In Australia After Release From Egyptian Jail

gresteAfter spending over 400 days in an Egyptian jail, Al-Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste, has returned to Brisbane, Australia, following his release from prison.

At a news conference, the journalist described his relief and praised the long campaign to free him and his colleagues.

Greste said, “I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to be here. This is a moment that I’ve rehearsed in my mind at least 400 times over 400 days.”

Mr Greste and two of his colleagues were arrested in 2013. They were convicted of spreading false news and aiding the banned Muslim brotherhood.

He had been sentenced to seven years on charges rejected by Al Jazeera that included aiding a terrorist group in a case that had attracted widespread attention and criticism of Egypt’s leadership and judiciary.

His colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, remain in prison.

Egypt’s President, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, issued a decree in November 2014 granting him the power to deport foreign defendants convicted or accused of crimes.

“If it’s right for me to be free then it’s right for all of us… I think that Egypt now has an opportunity to show that justice doesn’t depend on your nationality,” Greste said at a Brisbane news conference, flanked by members of his family.