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  • Olympic Newsdesk -- Serbia Stunned At FIBA Worlds; Chinese Shuttlers Sweep


    Dirk Nowitzki stand-in Jan-Hendrik Jagla led Germany with 22 points and nine rebounds, including the three-point dagger. (Getty Images)
    Germany Shocks Serbia At FIBA Worlds

    Seven teams are without a loss after the opening weekend of play at the FIBA World Championship.

    USA, France, Brazil, Lithuania, Greece, Argentina and host Turkey have perfect 2-0 records.

    Sunday’s highlight came at Serbia’s expense. The fifth-ranked squad was upset 82-81 after a desperation three-pointer put Germany up five with a minute left in double overtime.

    Serbia played without Milos Teodosic and Thunder center Nenad Krstic, both suspended for their roles in a bench-clearing brawl earlier this month during an exhibition game in Athens. Germany was missing nine-time NBA all-star Dirk Nowitzki.

    Team USA breezed by Slovenia and Croatia ahead of Monday night’s matchup against Brazil.

    Top-ranked Argentina edged past Australia and Germany and will play Angola next.

    The 24-team field is divided into four groups of six for a week of prelims at four sites throughout Turkey. After a day of rest, the remaining 16 teams will stay in Istanbul for elimination rounds. The final game is slated for Sept. 12.

    China Sweeps Badminton Champs

    China stole the show Sunday as the Badminton World Championships came to a close in Paris.

    The Asian powerhouse swept all five titles for the second time ever.

    Top seeds exited early and often throughout the weeklong competition, including men’s defending champ and Beijing gold medalist Lin Dan as well as women’s top seed Wang Yihan, both of China.
    Chen beat Indonesian superstar Taufik Hidayat in straight sets to capture the men’s singles title. (Getty Images)

    From the carnage emerged still more Chinese shuttlers, with three of the five finals contested between countrymen.

    Jin Chen won the men’s singles titles, and Yun Cai and Haifeng Fu took men’s doubles.

    On the women’s side, Wang Lin won singles, and Jing Du and Yang Yu took doubles.

    Bo Zheng and Jin Ma left the 4,500-capacity Pierre de Coubertin Stadium with the mixed doubles crown.

    China also completed the sweep at the 1987 World Championships in Beijing.

    Russia Fights Off Japan At Combat Games

    Russia is atop the medal table after three days of competition at SportAccord’s inaugural Combat Games in Beijing.

    Medals were awarded over the weekend in judo, ju-jitsu, sumo and wushu.

    Russia leads with 19 total medals and seven gold. Japan is in second with 13 total but only two gold.

    Host country China has 10 total medals, eight of them gold.

    Karate and muaythai tournaments begin Tuesday.

    More than 1,000 athletes from over 66 countries are participating in 13 fighting disciplines, both Olympic and non-Olympic. Also on the program are aikido, boxing, kendo, kickboxing, sambo, taekwondo and wrestling.

    Four Beijing Olympic venues are housing the weeklong competition.

    More than 100,000 spectators, including five to 10 IOC members, are expected to attend the Games, SportAccord president Hein Verbruggen told Around the Rings last week.

    Events run through Saturday.

    Ceremonies Mastermind Gets Emmy, Joke
    Gunts was a good sport after Ricky Gervais aimed a punchline at the NBC director. (Getty Images).

    NBC Sports often wins awards for its Olympic coverage, but rarely does one of the network’s producers get a joke cracked in his honor on TV’s biggest night.

    That’s exactly what happened Sunday in Los Angeles when Vancouver opening ceremony director Bucky Gunts took the stage to accept his Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special.

    “I didn't know you could say Bucky Gunts on TV," quipped comedian Ricky Gervais as he presented the award.

    The opening ceremony broadcast also won creative arts Emmys last week for lighting and music direction.

    Gunts previously won Emmys for directing the Salt Lake, Athens and Beijing opening ceremonies.

    Arrangements for IOC Member Geesink

    The funeral of Anton Geesink, the judoka from the Netherlands who won gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, will take place Wednesday at a crematorium in his home town of Utrecht.

    International Judo Federation president Marius Vizer and European Judo Union president Sergey Soloveychik are among senior figures from the judo world attending the ceremony.
    Anton Geesink, moments before winning the gold in judo in 1964. (Getty Images)

    European Olympic Committees president Patrick Hickey will represent the IOC. Andre Bolhuis, president of the Dutch Olympic Committee, and former NOC leader Erica Terpstra will also be at the service.

    On Tuesday, hundreds of friends and teammates are expected to turn out to pay their last respects to Geesink at the sports hall named after him in Utrecht.

    Japanese judo leaders and organizers of the IJF world championships starting in Tokyo Sept. 9 are planning to hold a commemoration for Geesink during the competition.

    Geesink won his gold medal in the open (heavyweight) class at the 1964 Tokyo Games, the debut of the sport in the Olympics.

    An IOC member since 1987, he died Friday in Utrecht after hospitalization for an undisclosed illness. He was 76.

    Marathoners Support PyeongChang Bid
    The 5,000-strong field at the marathon’s starting line. (PyeongChang 2018)

    Five thousand runners gathered Saturday in Seoul to back the country’s efforts to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

    Two thousand athletes with a disability joined able-bodied participants at the city’s Olympic Park for the Hope Marathon.

    “It is an honor to be here today to see athletes of all ages and abilities unite in support of the PyeongChang 2018 bid,” race organizer and bid ambassador Youngjo Hwang said in a statement.

    “This demonstrates the support that the community has for the PyeongChang bid and we hope today has illustrated joy that sport can create as well its ability to inspire people throughout the region.”

    Written by Matthew Grayson.

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