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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 22 June 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 22 JUNE 2019 25 SPORT winners WINNERS A security officer is stopped by the umpire from invading the pitch during last Saturday’s North Melbourne-GWS Giants game in Hobart, as he mistakenly thought that the two players were arguing. PHOTO: ABC AFL security spike leaves fans feeling alienated ALEXANDROS ANYFANTIS AFL fans no longer seem to feel welcome inside their own team's home ground. After a recent game at Mar- vel Stadium, several members of the crowd rushed to their social media profiles to express their discomfort by the presence of the newly-introduced "Behavioural Awareness Officers". This course of action was instigated after the Mathew Nichols incident, where a fan was escorted out of the stands after referring to the umpire as a "bald-headed frog". When speaking to the press, Chief Executive of the AFL, Gillion McLachlan pointed out that there was no decision for a "crackdown" on fans and that the introduction of the added police force was an independent decision by the stadiums. He added however that it is not the AFL's wish to make fans feel uncomfortable in any way, and so they will be having discussions with the police in order to solve the matter as swiftly as police and people can feel at home once again at football grounds. Another incident sparked further agitation to diehard AFL followers when a hired security officer attempted to enter the pitch during the game between the North Melbourne vs GWS Giants game last weekend in Hobart. The officer rushed towards two of the players tussling for the ball, mistaking the incident for a fight. The umpire was forced to intervene and inform the man that it was actually part of the game, with TV commentators expressing their disbelief at the man's actions. "The whole thing is just ridiculous", said former champion Jonathan Brown, as fans on social media pointed out that security at stadiums is unaware "of our game's culture". These ideas were pushed further by the president of Hawthorn Hawks, Jeff Kennett. "I'm not being racist when I say this, but when I saw some of the footage, the people who make decisions while they wear these authoritative coats are not people who appear to have a great knowledge of our game. And yet they make judgments about what's correct and what's not correct," Kennett said during a radio interview, after dubbing the situation as "unacceptable". "Are we going to just em- ploy security guards or people monitors without any experience at all to come along and sit in judgement of people who have been going to football matches all their lives," he added. But McLachlan was quick to respond to Kennett's remarks. "If you call someone out based on their appearance and not their ability, you're racially stereotyping. And I have told Jeff that," he said. The AFL boss however seemed to miss the mark entirely regarding the secu- rity issue, as he stressed that the "vests needed to go". The comment signifies that, in his opinion, it was the "Behavioural Awareness" signs that had fans in turmoil, rather than the constant policing of their activities inside the grounds. Further adding fuel to fire. The implementation of strict legislation of the sport was followed by the announcement of a ban on Collingwood Magpie player Jaidyn Stephenson as a result of his involvement in a betting scandal. The 20-year-old had gambled several times on his own team's matches, an action that he described as "incredibly stupid" as he made a public announcement regarding the issue. The AFL issued the harshest penalty it ever has for a gambling violation, banning the young player for a total of 22 matches (with 12 suspended) and fining him a further $20,000. A lot of people came to his defence, claiming that while it was an irresponsible thing to do, the Collingwood player was mature enough to own up to his actions, while others added that the punishment was too severe. With all these events transpiring in less than a week, fans of the sport have been left feeling that they no longer have a voice, with the hashtag #boycottAFL becoming more and more popular on Twitter. The next few weeks may prove crucial for the future of the sport and how it is received by its supporters. MATILDAS There’s no other way we could begin this section. Despite losing their first game in the women’s World Cup to Italy (1-2), the Australian team bounced back in spectacular fashion, winning the last two games of their group against Brazil (3-2) and Jamaica (4-1) and sealing their spot in the round of 16. Their second game deserves special mention, as they were down by two goals against Brazil, yet they were able to find the mental strength to not only come back into the game, but take all three points as well. Sam Kerr, who provided all four goals in the last match against Jamaica and has found the net five times in total so far, seems to have taken a leadership role in the team as they now aim for the quarterfinals. They will play Norway tomorrow at 5 am. GREECE MEN’S VOLLEYBALL TEAM To go to the final of any European competition is no simple feat, no matter what sport you’re playing. SINNERS MARIA SAKKARI She tried her best, but she was up against the best. Sakkari put up a good fight versus world number one Naomi Osaka at the Birmingham Classic, yet unfortunately that didn’t prove good enough. The 23-yearold was able to win a set, bring the game back to level terms and really pushed the Japanese star, but in the end she seemed to be out of energy. This will definitely serve as a learning experience for Sakkari, who still has plenty to show the tennis world. GREECE HANDBALL TEAM Greece was defeated by North Macedonia 27-23 in Strumica, missing out on a position within the finals of the EURO 2020 handball tournament. In front of 2,500 people, the Greeks managed to claim an early lead, but just a short while before half time, the home side was able to turn the tables on them and the visitors never recovered. Despite the best efforts of the Greek players, it was a lack of experience that lead to their disqualification but they will certainly be better equipped to try again in future competitions. Maria Sakkari KOSTAS DOUVALIDIS The sprinter just barely missed out on the limit required to qualify for the World Championships in the 110 metre obstacle course. Douvalidis’ time at the recent sporting event was 13.51, while he needed to make the finish line by 13.46 if he was to find a spot in the competition that will be held in Doha. Nonetheless, this was a solid performance by the former Mediterranean champion and one that hopefully he can build on in the near future. sinners & by alex anyfantis Just as every week, we choose the Winners and Sinners of Greek and Australian sport A likely face on any Australian website or newspaper today. PHOTO: AP/ LAURENT CIPRIANI And the Greek volleyball team was able to do just that, warding off the opposition of Austria, Hungary and Bosnia to seal first place in their group and advance to the final of the Silver European League. The Greeks had five wins and just a single loss (away to Austria) in their efforts to make it out of the group and now they will face Romania in a home-and-away final with the hopes they will be able to bring the trophy back to Athens. The two games will be held on June 26 and 30. MARIA BELIMPASAKI The 28-year-old from Crete showed that she’s returning to form in the recent sporting event that was held in Samorin of Slovakia. Belimpasaki ran the 400 metres in 51,96 seconds, winning first place, while also improving her own personal record for the season, which was previously recorded at 52,04. It was the sixth time the European Champion was able to run the distance in under 52 seconds, and as she herself has proven, she could soon be able to lower her personal best of 51,80.
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