Belarus football league continues as government resists imposing lockdown

first_imgMINSK: As Belarus resists imposing a lockdown to combat the coronavirus, its football league has stumbled into the international limelight as Europe’s only remaining top-flight competition.But players are worried about the health risks and only die-hard fans are braving matches. FC Slutsk fan Yahor Khavanski, 26, is “a bit afraid” but could not imagine quitting his weekend football fix.On Sunday he intends to don a surgical mask and an FC Slutsk scarf and “try not to touch anything” at a clash against rivals Belshina Bobruisk.”The stadium holds 2,000 people, but only 300 came to the last match. You can sit anywhere you want and keep your distance,” he said over the phone.Khavanski says he will keep attending matches, regardless of the risk. In his view, he faces “the same odds of being infected on public transport or in shops”.Life has continued as normal in Belarus, whose authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko has dismissed World Health Organisation recommendations to impose a virus lockdown.With a population of nearly 10 million, Belarus has registered 9,590 coronavirus cases. Neighbouring Ukraine, with four times the population, has registered fewer cases.The Belarusian Football Federation (BFF) has followed the government’s lead, saying it will not stop matches under the current guidelines.The BFF even announced this week its women’s league will kick off on April 30 following a two-week delay over fears players had come into contact with people infected with the virus. AgenciesAlso Read: Belarus football league continues amid of coronavirus pandemicAlso Watch: Veterinary College in Guwahati creates hand sanitizers to fight the shortage of Sanitizers in Assamlast_img read more

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Wisconsin tennis faces tough tests at Furman

first_imgThe Wisconsin women’s tennis team is out to prove something at the Furman Invitational this weekend. Though they’re not ranked yet this season, head coach Brian Fleishman believes that the tournament in Greenville, S.C., will show the voters something about the Badgers.The team is coming off a solid outing at the Milwaukee Tennis Classic, a three-day event in which it faced a talented field that included Alabama, Texas A&M and Marquette.”I was pleasantly surprised (with the team),” Fleishman said. “Overall, it was a good weekend.”Fleishman, a former coach at Wake Forest, is in his first year coaching at UW. He’s still settling into his role as the new coach of a team that he says is in “the big time.””We’re still in the honeymoon phase right now,” Fleishman said. “We’re still getting to know each other, and I’m trying to figure out how to coach each of them individually to make them perform better as a team.”With Fleishman still adjusting to the UW style of play, the Badgers won 10 of 21 singles matches at the Milwaukee tournament, taking five of seven from in-state rival Marquette. The winners of those five were junior Elizabeth Carpenter, sophomore Katya Mirnova, junior Erin Jobe, junior Elizabeth Dolan and freshman Jessica Seyferth.Seyferth already won two other singles matches and took home the tournament’s runner-up trophy.The team emphasis, though, is placed on doubles. The Badgers started slow last weekend, winning only one out of their first seven doubles matches against Texas A&M and Alabama during the first two days. Sunday, however, the combinations of seniors Chelsea Nusslock and Morgan Tuttle, Carpenter and Seyferth and Dolan and sophomore Kim Roberts railed against Marquette to take three of four matches. The team hopes to improve its doubles play for the Furman tournament and the rest of the season.”I think every time we go out and compete, we need to get better at doubles,” Fleishman said. “For not being together that long, [our doubles game is] going to get better.”Seyferth, a freshman out of Ann Arbor, Mich., has looked good so far for the Badgers. Ranked No. 1 in the Great Lakes region as a senior at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, Seyferth has come to the UW women’s tennis team and immediately established herself as a force to be reckoned with after her 3-0 weekend.”It’s a lot different,” Seyferth said when asked about the jump between high school and college tennis. “High school tennis is not very strong. But I think I’m ready (for college play).”Coach Fleishman seemed to share the sentiment. When asked about Seyferth, he gave his first impression of her from the Milwaukee classic.”[Jessica is] an unbelievable competitor, a positive energy on the court,” he said. “She’s very talented. … Sometimes one player can change the look of a team.”Seyferth figures to be a driving force again for the UW team as it rolls into Greenville. But it will definitely be a team effort as it focuses overwhelmingly on doubles. UW will be facing several ranked teams, including Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and host Furman. Seyferth, Carpenter, Nusslock and Tuttle will all have to play well for the weekend to be a success on the doubles front, and the five singles winners over Marquette last weekend will have to be on top of their games.The Furman Classic will give the team a chance to set the tone in Greenville and make its case for a national ranking. Facing tough competition this weekend will make that difficult, but the team is very confident of its chance to rise in the rankings.”Furman will give us a good indicator of whether we should be in the top 75 or not,” Fleishman said. “It will show us where we stand nationally.”last_img read more

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