Football stadiums are normally a cacophony of noise as rival supporters cheer on their respective teams.
But nearly 20,000 fans remained quiet for 43 minutes to honor the victims of the Morandi Bridge collapse as Genoa’s football team returned to action on Sunday for the first time since the tragedy earlier this month.
Supporters of the Italian club had called for “a deafening silence of 43 minutes, one for each child, worker, student, father or mother who are no longer with us today.”
For most of the first half against Serie A rival Empoli the atmosphere in the Luigi Ferraris stadium was muted and sombre, even when Genoa went 2-0 up.
After 43 minutes the names of the victims of the August 14 catastrophe were displayed on big screens to rapturous applause and from then on fans returned to their usual vocal support.
Banners commemorating the disaster were displayed around the ground and at other Serie A stadiums over the weekend.
Genoa won Sunday’s match 2-1.
Serena’s catsuit consigned to closet
Serena Williams has played down the news that her superhero-like catsuit will be banned for the 2019 French Open.
Bernard Giudicelli, the French Tennis Federation president, said in an interview with Tennis Magazine that Roland Garros, one of the four grand slams, is introducing a dress code.
He insisted the new rules at the French Open – a tournament Williams has won on three occasions – won’t be as strict as Wimbledon’s all-white policy, but are being implemented because he thinks “that sometimes we’ve gone too far.”
“It will no longer be accepted,” he said of the catsuit. “One must respect the game and the place.”
But Williams, who is preparing for the US Open which gets under way Monday, quashed suggestions of any rift.
“We already talked, we have a great relationship,” Williams said of Giudicelli in Sunday’s press conference.
“We talked yesterday – everything is fine guys,” she laughed.
Manchester City held to draw by upstart Wolves
It’s not often perfectionist Pep Guardiola is happy with “good point” following a draw, much less one against a newly-promoted team.
But Wolverhampton Wanderers aren’t like any other team promoted to England’s Premier League in recent years.
Backed by wealthy owners and with super-agent Jorge Mendes pulling the strings behind the scenes, the Midlands club have acquired talented players many thought were above them.
Mendes’ Portuguese connection convinced sought-after starlet Ruben Neves to join while Wolves were still in the Championship, along with this season’s signings of Portugal internationals Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio.
Having won promotion to England’s top flight at a canter, Wolves fans have hope that their club can one day emulate the success and rapid rise of Saturday’s opponents.
Time will tell whether the club can compete at the highest echelons of English football, but a deserved 1-1 draw against the reigning champions isn’t a bad way to start.
Heavyweight boxer wins after one second
Nigerian boxer Efe Ajagba earned the easiest victory of his career Saturday – after opponent Curtis Harper left the ring after one second.
Once the boxers’ had touched gloves and the opening bell had sounded, Harper turned away from his opponent and climbed through the ropes, leaving the arena to a cacophony of boos.
According to boxing journalist Jordan Hardy, Harper said his move was in protest against money, writing on Twitter that he “walked out of the ring because he’s not getting paid enough to fight and that he wants respect.”
Promising heavyweight fighter Ajagba, a 24-year-old who represented Nigeria at the Olympics, extended his unbeaten run (6-0, 5 KOs) after Harper was officially disqualified after one second.
Ajagba’s camp claimed there was another reason behind his walkout.
“He defined what the most feared man in boxing means – no punch necessary,” Ajagba’s promoter told ESPN.
“A look and the opponent runs, runs out of the ring.”
‘Unified Korea’ team off the mark
Following on from the goodwill generated by fielding some joint teams at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last February, South Korean and North Korean athletes again banded together at the Asian Games, where a Unified Koreas team won its first gold.
Women dragon boaters from both north and south of the border shared their first gold at an international sporting event Sunday, edging out rivals China.
Elsewhere in the tournament, the Unified Korea women’s basketball team impressed against Thailand, with a 109-63 win, while the North’s Rim Jong Sim also claimed weightlifting gold.
The Unified Koreas team has come a long way since their first, tentative outing in Pyeongchang, when official North Korean cheer squads sat in the stands, chanting in unison and waving a flag showing a united Korean Peninsula.
But while the two country’s athletes hit new heights and relations between the two Koreas continue to improve, negotiations between North Korea and the US have run into trouble, with US President Donald Trump criticizing Pyongyang’s commitment to the denuclearization process.
Catalans Dragons break English clubs’ 122-year hold on trophy
French rugby league club Catalans Dragons produced one of the biggest upsets in the sport’s history, beating Warrington at Wembley to win the Challenge Cup.
The trophy, one of the most prestigious in rugby league, had never been won by a team outside of England in its 122-year history.
Just as they had done in the semifinal, the Dragons – with three Englishmen of their own in their ranks – started at a blistering pace and opened up an 8-0 lead inside 10 minutes.
Though Warrington are the fourth most successful club in Challenge Cup history – having won the competition eight times – the Dragons were never overawed.
“The progression of the club and the team through the 11 years is awesome and a great achievement for Catalans and for rugby league in France,” captain Remi Casty told BBC after the 20-14 win.
“Warrington came back well but we never gave up and we kept fighting to win.”