Halifax, in Canada’s Nova Scotia province played host to the 57th edition of the men’s World Curling championships.
The polished granite stones were slid up and down the rinks until there were just two teams left fighting for gold.
Defending champs Norway were hoping to become the first European nation to retain the title but standing in their way of glory were neighbours Sweden.
Sweden got off to the ideal start at the Scotiabank Centre.
Skip Niklas Edin – who won the world title with a different team in 2013 – helped steal three points in the first end to put holders Norway immediately on the back foot.
Norway skip Thomas Ulsrud and his team began their recovery in the second with one point and drew level with two more points in the third.
But after the Swedes scored another triple in the fifth end and again in the seventh, with Norway having chalked up only two more points, the writing was on the wall and Ulsrud and his team knew it.
Ulsrud eventually put his hands up in defeat and conceded the match in the ninth with a crowd-pleasing final stone, turning it on its side and rolling it towards the other end.
It left Sweden and Edin celebrating a second World title in three years and adds to the European crown this team won in November 2014.
Abu Dhabi win leg five
The fleet of the Volvo Ocean Race just completed leg five of their grueling round-the-world contest.
Following this latest effort from New Zealand to Brazil, which included a daunting trip through the unforgiving Southern Ocean, there’s a new overall leader on deck.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing won leg five.
British skipper Ian Walker and his crew completed the 6,776 nautical mile leg from Auckland to Itajai in 18 days 23 hours 30 minutes.
They also set a new 24-hour distance record on the approach to Cape Horn.
It was the team’s second triumph in the 12th running of the event after leg one.
In the general standings they now have seven point lead over Chinese syndicate Dongfeng, who failed to finish after their mast broke.
Leg four winner Mapfre, skippered by Spanard Iker Martínez, claimed second place – finishing 32 minutes behind.
The sixth leg begins on April 19 and will take the fleet to Newport in Rhode Island.
Check and mate
After three weeks of rip-roaring battles between 64 competitors Maria Muzychuk emerged victorious to become the 15th women’s world chess champion when she beat Russian Natalia Pogonina in the final.
The 22-year-old Ukrainian enjoyed a 2.5 to 1.5 victory in Sochi to be crowned Grandmaster.
The event was supposed to take place last year but was postponed due to problems with the venue and sponsor.
It means the clock won’t stop for the new Grandmaster who will have to defend her title in the same year against Chinese challenger and two-time Women’s Grandmaster Yifan Hou.
The word prodigy means a young person with exceptional qualities or abilities, Mima Ito definitely qualifies as Japanese sensation has taken the table tennis world by storm.
Ito is used to making history.
At 10-years-old she became the youngest person to win a match at the Japanese senior table tennis championships.
Last year she won the German Open women’s doubles with then fellow 13-year-old Miu Hirano, becoming the youngest-ever winners of a doubles competition on the World Tour.
Germany has proven a happy hunting ground for Ito and last month she re-wrote the record books once more.
At 14 years and 152 days she became the youngest ever singles winner on the tour when she beat local hero Petrissa Solja to win the German Open.
The now world number 15 is hungry for more and has set her sights on qualifying for the Japanese team to strike gold at the Rio Olympics.
Watch this space!!
At the deep end
Rules and regulations are often tweaked in sport to improve the game and increase the excitement levels for the spectators.
Water Polo is no different and this season a handful of rule changes are being tested – changes that have created some waves within the sport.
In October the international swimming federation FINA advised the world of Water Polo it will be testing new rules for the 2015 season.
One effort to increase the tempo and overall attractiveness of the sport is reducing the size of the field of play from 30 metres to 25.
Manuel Ibern is head of FINA’s rule review panel and said: ‘‘It is necessary to change something because we have serious problems with our sport, there is no movement and i think there is too much control of the ball and i think the evolution of our sport needs to go in another direction.
Brazil player Felipe Perrone added: ‘‘It’s a different way, I think probably for the audience it’s much more fun, a much faster game, more dynamic. The only thing maybe is I’m just worried that we get more time in attack and get too many exclusions, so this is the only thing that can happen in a high high level game.’‘
Although it’s widely recognised something needs to change to increase the sports popularity the pool size continues to meet mixed reactions from players and coaches.
Tony Azevedo of team USA said: ‘‘For me right now it’s just super uncomfortable, you know, I am used to opening up on the counter attack, I’m used to 30 metres.
‘‘Right now it seems like the game is a little more violent, a little more focused on swimming is not important, it’s more grabbing, that’s what I have seen so far.’‘
The reduction of the size of the pool is suppose to produce more movement, creativity, explosive speed and more goals.
There were certainly more goals at the World League intercontinental tournament in California – 61 more than last year’s event.
But whether or not an increase in goals will lead to an increase in popularity…only time and the spectators will tell.
We finish Sports United with a title winning dance by Simone Segatori and Annette Sudol who recently added the European title to their world crown at the European DanceSport championship in Spain. (See clip above)