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  • Federations Roundup - Sliding Season Begins; Tennis Ends; Baseball, Fencing Congresses


    Davis Cup Up for Grabs

    Tennis season comes to a close this weekend in Seville with the finals of Davis Cup.
    When Seville's Olympic Stadium last hosted the finals in 2004, Spain walked away the winner and an 18-year-old Rafael Nadal (second from right) the hero. (Getty Images)

    2009 champion Spain and 2008 runner-up Argentina will square off in the best-of-five format typical of the world’s largest annual team competition.

    World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will open the tie Friday against Argentine Juan Monaco with a chance to lengthen his streak of 18 straight Davis Cup singles matches won.

    Friday’s other match will pit fifth-ranked David Ferrer of Spain against 2009 US Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro.

    Lefty teammates Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco will represent the home team in Saturday’s doubles against 2002 Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian and partner Eduardo Schwank.

    Should a fourth and fifth match be required to crown a winner, expect Argentina to sub in Nalbandian for Monaco in Sunday’s reverse singles.

    Nalbandian is 10-1 in Davis Cup singles matches played on clay. Nadal and Ferrer are a combined 25-0.

    Softball Leaders Attend Baseball Congress

    Baseball bodies the world over are in Dallas, Texas for an ordinary congress of the International Baseball Federation.
    Softball and baseball missed out on rejoining the Olympic program ahead of Rio 2016. The IOC instead chose rugby and golf. (Getty Images)

    Atop the weekend’s agenda is whether the sport should team up with softball for its Olympic reinstatement campaign.

    A temporary commission tasked with analyzing the possible joint pitch will report Saturday to IBAF members as well as representatives from Major League Baseball, Korea Baseball Organization, Nippon Professional Baseball and Chinese Professional Baseball League.

    Around the Rings is told ISF president Don Porter and first vice president Dale McMann will also be on-hand to advance the ongoing negotiations between softball and baseball.

    Both sports were dropped post-Beijing but are now among eight shortlisted by the IOC ahead of a 2013 decision. It's expected there will be room for only one to join the program, currently capped at 28 sports.

    Sliding Season Opens

    The sliding center for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games gets an early test this week.
    Reigning men's skeleton World Cup winner Martins Dukurs. (Getty Images)

    The track in Igls, Austria is the opening stop for the International Bobsleigh and Toboggan Federation’s annual World Cup series.

    Martins Dukurs of Latvia and Anja Huber of Germany are the reigning skeleton champs.

    In bobsleigh, last winter’s trophies belong to Sandra Kiriasis of Germany, Alexsandr Zubkov of Russia in two-man and Manuel Machata of Germany in four-man.

    Women’s events at the two-time Olympic venue will run Friday after a press conference with FIBT president Ivo Ferriani and vice president Christian Reich.

    Innsbruck 2012 will also provide an overview of the status of preparations six weeks out from the opening ceremony.
    Men’s skeleton, two-man bobsleigh and the team competition are slated for Saturday with four-man bobsleigh left for Sunday.

    Perth 2011 Sets Sail

    More than 1,100 athletes from 78 countries are in Perth, Australia for the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.
    Perth is considered by some to be the world's most remote city. (Perth 2011)

    The two-week competition includes all 10 events on the program for London 2012 and will double as the sport’s main Olympic qualifier.

    The busy schedule begins Saturday with women’s match racing and doesn’t end until Dec. 18.

    Live coverage of all 10 medal races as well as daily highlights are available here.

    Fencing First

    The International Fencing Federation’s annual congress will convene in the U.S. for the first time ever this weekend.
    Three of the world's six top ranked fencers are Italians. (Getty Images)

    Mayor Michael A. Nutter will be in attendance Saturday at Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Hotel for the occasion as will USOC chairman Larry Probst.

    A record 233 delegates from 129 member federations are registered for the three-day affair.

    “This shows that our efforts in promoting fencing around the world have been fruitful and that fencing has truly become a universal sport,” FIE president Alisher Usmanov said in a statement.

    At the congress, FIE will open the call for candidates to host the 2014 world championships for both juniors and seniors.

    The world's six top ranked fencers of last season will also square off against Team USA’s best in an exhibition match.

    Written by Matthew Grayson.

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