You may have followed the latest six nations encounters, your domestic football leagues and teh end of the ski world championships but there was a whole host of other sporting triumphs this past week. Don’t worry if you missed all the alternative action because we’re about to bring you up to speed from the four corners of the globe.
India off and running at World Cup
Australia and New Zealand are jointly hosting the 11th edition of the Cricket World Cup.
Among the match day one results Australia thrashed England, New Zealand knocked Sri Lanka for six while Ireland shocked the West Indies.
But a record one billion people tuned in to see two of the sports fiercest rivals lock horns in Adelaide when defending champs India took on neighbours Pakistan in their Pool B opener.
Having won their previous five world cup encounters against their rivals defending champions India proved again stiff opposition from the crease as they batted first.
Thanks to fine innings from Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli, India took the game away from Pakistan.
Virat Kohli thrilled the crowds when he reached the 100 mark.
He eventually finished on 107 as the holders set a chasing target of 300 for 7.
Pakistan had 50 overs to reach 301 for the win but their chase was jittery and error-riddled.
Having shined with the bat earlier Virat’s equally solid hands in the outfield didn’t help Pakistan’s cause either.
A fine stand by Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq wasn’t enough to hold up the rest of his teammates who eventually collapsed 76 runs short of their target.
It left India celebrating their sixth consecutive World Cup match against their rivals and an ideal start to their title defence.
Ogier continues to set the pace
Sebastien Ogier began the defence of his World Rally Championship title by winning the season-opener in Monte Carlo.
Round two took place in the snowy forests of central Sweden and what a thriller it turned out to be.
It went down to the wire in an exhilarating second leg.
VW’s Ogier was in a very tight three-way battle for the win with teammate Andreas Mikklesen and Thierry Neuville, with only a 15 km special left.
When leader Mikkelsen made a costly error Ogier’s flawless drive proved enough to overturn a three-second deficit to take victory ahead of Neuville with Mikkelsen in third.
Ogier becomes the first non-scandinavian to win the event twice whilst maintaining his perfect start to the season.
Fiji win Sin City stop
With rugby returning to the Olympic fold in Rio 2016 the annual Rugby Sevens World Series has added importance this year as it offers Olympic qualification spots.
After Australia, Dubai, South Africa and New Zealand the 16th running of the series touched down in Las Vegas for the 5th of nine stops.
Fiji reached the final of Las Vegas having brushed aside all who stood in their way.
It was no different against defending champions New Zealand in the showpiece match.
The talented Pacific Islanders enjoyed a 35-19 victory for their second success after round one in Australia.
Fiji are third in the standings now only two points behind New Zealand but 7 points off leaders South Africa.
The top four out of the 15 core teams at the end of the season qualify for the Olympics.
The sixth stop is in Hong Kong at the end of March.
Landing in the ski jump record books
It’s been a record-breaking weekend in the world of ski jumping.
Slovenia’s Peter Prevc set a world mark of 250 metres at Vikersund in Norway on Saturday but that honour only lasted 24 hours much to the delight of the home crowd.
There’s nothing like setting a record apart from doing it on home snow.
That’s exactly what 23-year-old Norwegian Anders Fannemel did whilst competing in the world cup event on Sunday (Feb 15).
His stunning effort of 251.5m landed him firmly in the record books only a day after they had been re-written by Prevc.
Despite producing the longest jump in history it was not enough for the victory, his second jump was well short of the initial mark leaving Severin Freund to enjoy the World Cup win instead.
Spotlight on Ding Ning
Table tennis is almost considered a religion in China – a country that has dominated the sport for decades.
This week we shine our spotlight on the ‘creme de la creme’ of the female game in China and the World.
For Ding Ning table tennis began at the age of six.
Unable to sit still whilst waiting for her mother to finish coaching a local basketball team she picked up a paddle and started to play in the room above.
It was the beginning of a very successful relationship.
Now 24 she is already a world champion, a two time world cup champion, an Olympic team gold medallist and Asian champion.
The left hander, nicknamed ‘Big Baby’, has now reached the dizzying heights of the world number one ranking and in 2014 was voted female player of the year.
The only thing missing from her impressive list of achievements is Olympic singles gold – watch out for Rio 2016.
The ups and downs of ski mountaineering
Being alone at the top of the world is something Kilian Jornet is very used to.
Aside from being the best trail runner on the planet he’s also at the leading edge of the emerging discipline of Ski mountaineering.
The 27-year-old Catalan explains what this lung-busting, leg-burning sport involves.
On the different disciplines Jorent said: ‘‘Team racing is races by teams of two or three people up to around 3,000 to 4000 metres elevation. Going up and going down in really technical mountains.
‘‘The individual race is the same, going up three or four uphills on different mountains only by yourself.
‘‘Then there is the vertical race and it’s only going uphill – between 600 and 1,000 metres of elevation.
‘‘And then there is the sprint – it’s a really short race, about three minutes with an uphill, a transition with a walking part and a downhill.’‘
On the equipment used he said: ‘‘We use the same gear as alpine skiing but (the skis) are really, really light. With the bindings you have the possibility to go up (the mountain), so it acts like a cross-country ski binding. But for the downhill you can lock (the binding) so it acts like an alpine ski.
‘‘In the uphills we glue a skin to the (base of) ski to keep the ski on the uphill. We take (the skin) off in able to ski downhill.’‘
On next week’s show we take to the tatami with the world’s best judokas who are looking to make their mark on the new season and we see what it’s like to be a gladiator, on a motorcycle, on ice.
To sign off this wek’s edition we take a look at the Grand Final of the Snow Polo World Cup in China.
17,000 kilometres away from their sun-drenched home, Brazil brought the heat to the snow-capped field of Tianjin to beat the USA and lift their maiden title. (See clip above)
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