Underarms, Catamarans and Food Poisonings

Thank God it’s Saturday!
The medal table’s looking bare and the trophy cabinet runs the risk of being cleared out. Tonight that could all change. New Zealand sportsmen and women in Beijing to Cape Town are carrying the weight of a nation. Hopes are high, but so are the stakes. New Zealand is currently engaged in the four yearly “where are the medals?” debate and only several successes tonight will ease the nation’s collective anxiety. So what are our chances?
In the water is where we have set our sights, with several rowers poised to win medals. With the likes of the Evers-Swindells, Mahe Drysdale and Rob Waddell in the water, it is no surprise we have come into these Olympics with high hopes. However the semis were fairly disappointing, with most teams only just qualifying for their finals and some quality rowers dipping out.
The medal drought looks set to end, with good performances seeing athletes advance. Valerie Vili has her heat and final tonight and will have a lot of pressure on her shoulders, especially if the rowers do not produce the goods. Beatrice Faumuina may have enjoyed her Olympic experience but her result was disappointing, so there will be pressure for some of the other athletes to come through. Nick Willis has moved through to his semi tomorrow, so it will be good to see if he can advance. Track cyclist Hayden Roulston was impressive in his pursuit race and looks a real medal prospect. Alison Shanks in the woman’s competition looks equally promising. On the water board sailers and yachties also look to medals looming. All in all, there is cause for optimism in Beiing.

The rugby looks set to be a good match. The winner will be looking good to claim the Tri Nations this year. The All Blacks were awesome against Australia in Auckland and South Africa has had some changes in their squad. Still, the Springboks were strong against the Argentineans and are always tough at home. Their idiot coach’s latest “cheating” outburst shows their may be some nerves and may serve to encourage the All Blacks. His claims are intended to detract the refs attention from the areas the All blacks may dominate the Boks and also to defer focus from the two areas the Boks’ themselves bend the rules, offsides and tackles off the ball. I think the refereeing could be important in this game, especially as the game is likely to be close. Hopefully Wayne Barnes (yes, he is still refereeing!?) can’t influence the game from the sidelines.

So what does a sports nut watch? Even without the Olympics and the Tri Nations there is also some good league and provincial rugby. Even the bloody English Premiership starts this weekend!

And for those that want to plan in their weekend in advance, as I will, I’ve nabbed this from the Herald!


* Rugby: Bay of Plenty v North Harbour 2.30pm, SS1
* League: Warriors v Sharks 7.30pm, SS2
* Rowing: Men’s single sculls (Mahe Drysdale) final 7.50pm, women’s pair oar (Nicola Cole/Juliette Haigh) final 8.10pm, men’s pair oar (George Bridgewater/Nathan Twaddle) final 8.30pm, women’s double sculls (Caroline/Georgina Evers-Swindell) final 8.50pm, men’s double sculls (Nathan Cohen/Rob Waddell) final 9.10pm (TV One).
* Soccer: Arsenal v West Bromich Albion 11.30pm, SS2
* Rugby: Tri-Nations, South Africa v New Zealand, Newlands, Cape Town 12.50am SS1/Rugby Channel
* Athletics: Women’s shot put (Valerie Vili), qualifying 1.10pm, final 1.10am

* Chelsea v Portsmouth 12.25am
* Counties Manukau v Otago, Mt Smart Stadium 7pm SS1/Rugby Channel
* Rowing: Men’s lightweight double sculls (Peter Taylor/Storm Uru) final 7.50pm (TV One)




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