Sports in brief - 2011-09-15

  • 2011-09-14

Lithuania’s Virgilijus Alekna has won the 2011 men’s discus Diamond League race, finishing second in the final 2011 Diamond League discus event in Zurich, Switzerland, holding off Germany’s Robert Harting by a point. Estonia’s Gerd Kanter would finish the season in third place with nine points, eight behind Kanter. The 39-year-old Lithuanian was showing he still has what it takes, recording one third placing and three second placings alongside two event wins to claim the title. Given that he is still proving himself to be a world beater, despite his age, there is no reason for Alekna not to continue competing in the Olympics next year. 32-year-old Kanter began the season strongly, recording two firsts in his opening three Diamond League meets. However, three fourth place finishes would prove costly, denying him any valuable points. Also competing in Zurich last week was Latvia’s Ineta Radevica, who was able to record her first podium finish of the Diamond League season in the final leg of the women’s long jump. Her third place finish would be good enough to see her earn two points and finish in fifth place overall in the standings, a long way behind run-away champion Brittney Reese of USA, who completed the season with 23 points.
Of the four Baltic cyclists who entered the Tour of Spain this year, only Latvia’s Aleksejs Samarotins and Estonia’s Tanel Kangert would cross the finish line on Sunday at the end of the 21-stage tour. Kangert would finish the tour in 64th position, two hours, 10 minutes and 40 seconds behind overall tour winner, Jose Juan Cobo of Spain, while Samarotins would finish second to last in 166th position, five hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds behind Cobo. Rein Taaramae of Estonia and Ignatas Kovolauskas would both retire on the 17th stage having completed their required roles for their respective teams. While talk prior to the race had been of Taaramae to complete the race with a top ten finish, his focus instead was on helping his Cofidis teammate, David Moncoutie, of France win the King of the mountains jersey for a fourth successive year. Having successfully achieved his goal by sticking with Moncoutie throughout the mountain stages, Taaramae retired from the race once Moncoutie looked certain of retaining his jersey. Taaramae can still take a lot of positives from the race, including his first ever Grand Tour stage win, going at it alone on the 14th stage to win the 172.8km stage by 25 seconds over his nearest rival.  
Following the tragic events in Yaroslavl, the beginning of the KHL season was temporarily delayed, with the first teams instead taking to the ice on Monday. Dinamo Riga would have to wait until Tuesday, traveling to Kazan to play Ak Bars. It would not be a happy journey, however, as the hosts took the match with ease, 5-2. Dinamo Riga was on the back foot from the opening minute when they conceded their first goal of the new season in just 37 seconds. Before the end of the opening period, they found themselves slipping further behind when Ak Bars grabbed a second in the 12th minute. The onslaught failed to let up in the second period as Ak Bars went on to score a further two goals before Dinamo Riga had a chance to open their 2011/2012 account. When they did finally score, it was good news for the Riga club with newest signing, Canadian Jamie Lundmark, showing promise by picking up the goal in his first competitive game for the club. Another of their off-season signings, Swede Fredrik Warg, offered up the assist for Martins Karsums when Dinamo Riga claimed their second goal midway through the final quarter. It would prove in vain, however, with the hosts claiming a fifth and final goal on a shorthanded play in the final minute. Dinamo Riga now plays Atlant in Moscow on Thursday evening before returning to Arena Riga for matches against Dinamo Moscow on Monday and Dinamo Minsk on Wednesday.