Colors: Yellow Color

Tokyo Olympics organisers say they are not willing to see the event held behind closed doors - and that the Games "will take place this summer". International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said on 7 January there could be no guarantees of the postponed 2020 Games going ahead from 23 July. But a spokesman says it could even happen without the need for athletes or spectators to be vaccinated.

"Our position remains - we will deliver the Games," Masa Takaya said. "The IOC has made it is absolutely on the same page as Tokyo 2020." Sir Keith Mills, who was chief executive of the London 2012 Olympics, said he thought it was "unlikely "the Games will take place this summer. He reported that organisers should now be "making plans for a cancellation".

British Olympic Association chair and former sport minister Sir Hugh Robertson said he was "very optimistic" the Games would take place. "I've spoken to the IOC - everybody is working on the basis the Games will go ahead," he said. "There's been no talk of cancellation or postponement."

On whether athletes will be vaccinated for the Olympics, he added: "It wouldn't be appropriate to ask athletes to be fast-tracked. The BOA doesn't want to queue jump, but this will look very different in the spring." Takaya said that a decision on how many fans will be allowed inside venues in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic will be taken in March.

"We are not willing to see the Games taking place behind closed doors," he said. "We obviously want to see as many spectators as possible inside the venues, which is why we have been working tightly with the Japanese government and all international stakeholders, spearheaded by the IOC.

"We will see in spring how we can accommodate spectators inside the venues. We also have to see what guidance we get from the government regarding spectators and look at the situation around sports, both internationally and nationally." Takaya also dismissed a recent survey which suggested 80% of locals want the Games cancelled or postponed, saying that it was just one of a number of such polls.

"Most recent surveys show people want the Games to be re-postponed, but in that trend we see that people are willing to see the Games go ahead in some form, which is why we want to keep conveying how we are able organise the Games in this situation," he said.

Takaya said the Olympics could be delivered without mass vaccination, pointing out that "lots of sporting events are taking place in Japan" without one.

Japanese tennis players Shingo Kunieda, who lives in Tokyo, said that he thinks there's a 50% chance the Games don't go ahead now. "Globally, the situation is getting worse in some places rather than better, so all we can do is hope they find a way to make it happen safely."

UK Athletics (UKA) has announced it will commence the recruitment of a new board member, having made a number of decisions about the diversity of backgrounds, skills and experiences it sees as important for the organisation and the sport. The advert for the role, to be released by the end of the month, will highlight the UKA board’s focus on appointing an applicant from ethnically diverse communities, and with recent and relevant athlete experience.

The UKA board has recently increased from 8 to 12, following the addition of a director nominated by each of the four Home Country Athletics Federations. All nominated directors were men, and the UKA board is now looking to appoint a woman to this position. Chief Financial Officer Mark Draisey has volunteered to stand down from his position as a director of the company, to enable the process to happen and ensure board continuity. He will continue in his role as CFO, Company Secretary and Executive Champion for Race supporting the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda.

Nic Coward, chair of UKA said: “We are committed to driving positive change within our organisation and the whole sport, with a demand that all involved have an open and collaborative mind-set. Athletics is for everyone. That is a core belief at the heart of our Athletics Unified strategy. We will soon finalise and publish our Diversity Action Plan for the next four years, and one commitment is that the board of the sport’s governing body board should itself be from a diverse range of backgrounds, skills and experiences. As part of this, going forward, we have decided at least two of our board are to be from a minority ethnic background.

“Our Let’s Talk About Race programme created impactful conversations across the sport and within UKA, with board composition one of the very many issues initiatives that were considered. The change we are making also reflects our commitments to diversity as signatories of the Race at Work Charter, which addresses race inequality in the workplace.

“Mark Draisey has shown his personal commitment to our plan for change, and I look forward to working with him and everyone involved in the sport in delivering Athletics Unified.”

Current UK Athletics Board:

Nic Coward - Chair

Joanna Coates - CEO

Penny Avis - Senior Independent Director

David Abrahams – Athletics Northern Ireland Nominated Director

Gordon Arthur

Ian Beattie – Scottish Athletics Nominated Director

Stuart Cain

Peter Crawshaw – England Athletics Nominated Director

Mark Draisey – CFO – to stand down

Stephen Perks – Welsh Athletics Nominated Director

Anne Wafula-Strike

Mike Whittingham

Full details of the process including role description and how to apply will be released shortly through the UKA website.

US gymnast Nia Dennis's routine celebrating "Black excellence" has gone viral, with millions of views on social media after the floor routine by the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) athlete incorporated songs by artists including Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and Missy Elliott. She said Black Lives Matter protests inspired the performance, which saw her kneel with her fist in the air.

"I had to... for the culture," the 21-year-old wrote on Instagram. The routine wowed the judges and earned her praise from celebrities, fellow athletes and fans. A video shared by UCLA Gymnastics was viewed more than nine million times. She said that she wanted the routine to "be a celebration of everything (lack people can do, everything we can overcome".

Of the performance she said: "The subject of Black Lives Matter is so heavy. It is difficult for people to talk about - and sometimes you have to meet people where they're at, with a celebration.

"Every single song is a major Black artist, musician, from different time periods. They had a huge impact on Black culture, which has also had a huge impact on me. So I'm just literally celebrating what they've done and having the time of my life."

Sporting stars across the world are still taking the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd was murdered by a police officer knelt on his neck.

In 1965, civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr. took a knee during a march in Selma, in Alabama. NFL star Colin Kaepernick started kneeling symbolically during the pre-game national anthem in 2016, in protest at oppression of African-Americans in the US.

Multi-award winning Miss Dennis said she was not able to attend the Black Lives Matter protests last summer because she was recovering from shoulder surgery but was "definitely out there in spirit". The judges awarded her a score of 9.95 out of 10 for the performance on Saturday, helping her team to victory against Arizona State.

US rapper Missy Elliott was among those to show her approval, sharing the video on social media and tweeting: "Snappin". Former US First Lady Michelle Obama wrote: "Now that's what I call fierce! You're a star."

It is the second time Nia Dennis has gone viral for her gymnastics. Last year, she made headlines for a routine set to a medley of Beyoncé songs.

Newcastle Eagles have won the BBL Cup for the seventh time after overcoming London Lions 84-77 in one of the most dramatic finals in its history. It’s the fifth time they have won the Cup in the last decade - although their first since 2017, up to which point they had won three in a row – it comes after coming from behind at the death to secure a second piece of silverware already in Ian Macleod's tenure as Head Coach.

Eagles had led by as many as 15 points as Justin Gordon and Rahmon Fletcher scored 14 each in the first half, when a 10-1 push over the first quarter break and an 8-2 burst in the second stanza made it 40-28 three minutes before the break. However – despite playing the game with just seven players as the rest of the squad had to self-isolate under COVID-19 protocols – Lions mounted a brave second half comeback. A scintillating 16-2 third quarter run got them back within one, and they followed that with a 19-7 surge in the fourth quarter to snatch a 76-69 lead with four minutes to play as Justin Robinson, Orlando Parker and Kevin Ware, twice, hit big triples.

But the Eagles proved incredibly resilient to halt that momentum as, from there, they burst out of a timeout to score 12 straight points when a corner three from Gordon tied the game, before Louis Sayers did the same from the opposite corner to give Newcastle the lead for good at 79-76 with two minutes to play. It was a nervy finish until, with 30 seconds remaining, Gordon dragged down a huge offensive rebound – his 15th board of the game, a Cup Final record – enabling Fletcher to make a big score inside the paint that made it a two possession game at 81-76 and settled the tie.

The MVP award went to Justin Gordon as he finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. He said: "I can't even describe it right now, I'm just happy to enjoy this moment with my teammates. It was a crazy game, but we stuck it out and got the win. We're just going to enjoy this as a team for a little bit, and then get back to the regular season games”. Rahmon Fletcher led the scoring with 21 points.

Prior to that, Leicester Riders made it three BBL Championship wins on the bounce with a 90-58 defeat of Glasgow Rocks behind 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists from Corey Johnson. The hosts scored 20 straight points in the first quarter to dominate from the outset, Zach Jackson hitting 10 in that spell; and followed that with a 9-0 opening to the second stanza, before holding Rocks to just eight in that period, for 48-22 at the half and no way back for the visitors.

 

Former Aston Villa and Celtic manager, Dr Jozef Venglos, has died. The first manager from outside Britain or Ireland to take charge of a top-flight English team, the Slovakian made history when he was appointed at Aston Villa in 1990.

Lasting only one season at the Birmingham club he was replaced by Ron Atkinson after Villa finished 17th in the league. He also served a single-season stint with Celtic in 1998-99, which included a memorable 5-1 derby win over Rangers but no trophies.

Dr Venglos was the assistant coach when Czechoslovakia won the European Championship in 1976 and had two spells as manager, taking them to third place at the 1980 European Championship and the quarter-finals at the 1990 World Cup.

He was later Slovakia's first national team boss after it gained independence in 1993.

In a long career he also served as national team manager for Australia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Malaysia and Oman and took charge of Fenerbahce and Sporting Lisbon.

Holding a doctorate in Physical Education and also specialised in Psychology he had been selected by FIFA on various occasions to lecture at the FIFA academies throughout the world.

Leading a host of worm tributes, former Villa striker Stan Collymore tweeting: "Sad news that Dr Jo Venglos has passed away.

"First ever foreign manager to manage in the English top flight with Villa, didn't last long but always came across as a decent man. Rest in peace, Dr Jo."

He was 84.

British Athletics has confirmed the cancellation of the British Athletics Indoor Championships, due to be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena February 20-21.

The decision was taken in light of the ongoing pandemic to ensure the safety of all those due to participate; athletes, coaches, technical officials, volunteers, event and venue staff as well as protecting the Glasgow community. At the present time, the process of testing all those attending the Championships from across the UK, seen as an essential measure, would not sufficiently mitigate the risks.

British Athletics recognises our wider social responsibility to reduce COVID-19 transmission and to not over-burden the NHS. Whilst elite sport has been granted the privilege of an exemption to enable training and competition to continue, the logistics of safely staging a national championships comprising approximately 500+ attendees based across the UK and overseas need to be balanced with the risks to those involved, the local community, and the current medical climate.

With the European Indoor Championships currently scheduled to take place in Torun, Poland 5-7 March British Athletics acknowledges that the cohort of athletes vying for GB & NI team selection will need competition to enable qualification.

Therefore, alternative provision that enables smaller, COVID-19-compliant event qualification opportunities is being explored and will be confirmed to eligible athletes by British Athletics in due course.