The Centralian Advocate Fri 28 May 2021
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FRIDAY MAY 28 2021 SPORT 45 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Sevens star pulls out of Tokyo Games AUSTRALIAN womens sevens rugby star Emilee Cherry dubbed GOAT by her teammates has called time on her career and pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics. It was the intention of the 28-year-old to go out on top in Tokyo and help defend the gold medal Australia won in Rio four years ago. But Cherry said her body post pregnancy and the uncertainty of Covid had convinced her to retire. Cherry, renowned for her cool head and on-field vision, had forced her way back into the national side after the birth of daughter Alice in June 2019 with husband Dan. Mentally and physically, Cherry had planned for the Tokyo Games to be her final stint in an Aussie jersey, but the 12-month delay was too much of a juggle. My body has told me its had enough, and the Covid situation with schedules changing so much, and juggling Alice and childcare and Dans schedule ... we made the decision to step back and play a support role going into Tokyo, Cherry said. Australian coach John Maneti said: Emilee has given so much to the team, program and jersey, and its sad to see her go. The timing of her departure is unfortunate as I know the whole team was excited to give her the send-off which she deserves however, I know this wont affect the squad heading into the Games. Cherry added: I have been emotional about the decision and some of the girls have tried to talk me out of it. I think some of the others believe its a joke and Ill still come back and play. But now I feel relief and just think myself lucky to have had an amazing 10 years with the team. The 2014 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, hence the nickname GOAT (greatest of all time) is still working with the squad in the lead-up to Tokyo helping out with analysis and skills. While other teammates have had higher profiles, Cherry is a once in a generation player and the Australia side will miss her vision and pressure plays. But while the postponement was too much load for Cherry to carry, the superstar centre said the delay would put her teammates in good stead. A gold medal might have been out of the sides reach 12 months ago, but that is not the case now. The delay will help the girls. Theyve had an extra 12 months and in that time theyve improved speed, fitness and strength, Cherry said. We still have another Oceania series against New Zealand before the Games and I think compared to the rest of the world, weve had a better preparation. This team can win Olympic gold and be the best team in the world. SELINA STEELE OLYMPICS REPORTER Emilee Cherry, pictured during a training session, has pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Brett Costello Naomi Osaka will no longer do media. JAPANS Naomi Osaka said Wednesday that she would not take part in news conferences at the forthcoming French Open, believing that some post-match inquests are little more than kicking a person while theyre down. The world number two, a fourtime Grand Slam title winner, says she will donate the fines she will ac crue to mental health charities. I am writing this to say that I am not going to do any press during Roland Garros, the 23-year-old announced on Twitter. I have often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this rings true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one. Were often sat there and asked questions that weve been asked multiple times before or asked ques tions that bring doubt into our minds and I am not going to subject myself to people who doubt me. Under tennis tournament rules, all players are required to hold press conferences after each match. They also perform media duties before a tournament. Osaka regularly packs out media rooms due to her standing in the sport and her charismatic appeal to reporters. She fields questions in Japanese and English and is regarded as one of the worlds most marketable stars. Last year she made $37 million, more than any other female athlete. She added: I believe the whole situation is kicking a person while they are down and I dont understand the reasoning behind it. The French Open gets underway in Paris on Sunday. Osaka to boycott media at French Open for her mental health AFP FORMER doubles world number one Jamie Murray has strongly criticised French Open organisers for cutting prizemoney in his event and labelled the official players hotel an absolute toilet. Murray will take part in the clay-court Grand Slam with Brazilian partner Bruno Soares when it gets underway in Paris on Sunday. But the 35-year-old Scot, the brother of former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, is unhappy that prizemoney in doubles competitions has been slashed by 23 per cent. Total prizemoney has been cut by around 10 per cent, while for a second successive year the event has been shifted in the calendar. Murray, who has won seven mens and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, said the French Tennis Federation (FFT) did not care about the players. On top of twice moving their event dates to suit themselves, The @FFTennis continues their we dont give a **** mentality by cutting the doubles prize fund by 23%, Murray wrote on Twitter. Thanks for actively supporting all players across the tour. Ps. Your official hotel for doubles players is absolute toilet. Murray rages on prize cuts AFP Softballers go for gold THE Aussie womens softball team will head to Japan early in a bid to get some games against top-class competition before they take on the worlds best at the Olympics. Australia has competed at four previous Olympic softball tournaments earning a spot on the podium each time but the gold medal remains elusive. A squad of 23 will depart for Japan on May 31. They will play a series of games against professional Japanese teams for about four weeks.