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Today’s sports wrap

AFL Awards, another Aussie pole-vault record & more.

The All-Australian team has been named at the AFL Awards night, Australia smashed South Africa in their first T20 cricket match, the Australian women’s pole-vaulting record has been broken, and the Boomers have qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Bontempelli takes out player’s MVP as Greene named All-Australian captain

Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli has won his second Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFL Players Association’s (AFLPA) Most Valuable Player.

“It’s certainly a proud achievement to be in the position I am,” he said after accepting the MVP award.

“The award is obviously a prestigious one. It doesn’t make it any less special [winning it a second time]. It’s nice to know people respect your game and how you play it.”

Bontempelli was also named the AFLPA’s best captain of the 2023 AFL season and was later named All-Australian vice-captain, backing up GWS Giants star Toby Greene, who was appointed the captain of the side.

Greene took over as the club’s sole captain after being co-captain alongside Stephen Coniglio and Josh Kelly the year prior, helping the Giants to a top eight finish.

“Probably something I didn’t think would ever happen in my career – it’s an amazing achievement. I will never forget it,” Greene said.

Other winners on the night included North Melbourne rookie Harry Sheezel claiming the Rising Star award and Zak Butters taking home both the AFL Coaches Association (AFLCA) Player of the Year as well as the AFLPA’s Most Courageous Player.

Marsh leads Australia to T20 victory

In his first game as Australia’s T20 cricket captain, Mitchell Marsh produced a night to remember with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 92 runs off 49 balls as Australia defeated South Africa by 111 runs.

Fellow Western Australian Tim David finished with 62 not out as they posted 6-226 in the first innings.

Marsh said it’s always nice to kick off a three-match series with a win.

“My job is to score runs, so it was nice to get a couple,” Marsh said.

“I thought Tim David was fantastic, the way he batted took the pressure off me. It was a really good partnership, and he batted beautifully.”

Australia’s bowling line-up was weakened after leg spinner Adam Zampa was forced to withdraw from the game due to illness. Debutant Tanveer Sangha took 4-31 as his replacement, restricting the South Africans to just 115 before they were bowled out.

Nina Kennedy breaks Australian record again

Just a week after sharing World Athletic Championship gold with American Katie Moon, Nina Kennedy has broken her Australian pole-vaulting record in the Zurich Diamond League.

Kennedy won with her best effort of 4.91m as Moon finished second, clearing 4.81m.

The Australian nearly crashed out at 4.76m after missing her first two attempts to clear the bar, but she went on to clear 4.81m, 4.86m and 4.91m in her first attempts.

Moon only jumped five times in the final, clearing 4.66m, and 4.81m on her first attempts. She would pass after failing her first attempt at 4.91m before being unable to clear the 4.96m bar in her final two attempts.

Kennedy, who now owns the highest mark cleared this year, was in shock after the competition.

“I am really surprised, and I am so happy. This is all my dreams come true, I love Zurich,” she said.

Boomers qualify for Paris 2024

The Australian Boomers have qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics overnight, as New Zealand was knocked out of the FIBA World Cup.

While the World Cup is its own stand-alone competition, the tournament also plays a role in Olympic qualification. The highest-ranking African (1), Americas (2), Asian (1), European (2) and Oceanian (1) nations at the World Cup automatically qualify for the Olympics, as other nations will have to go through pre-games qualifiers.

New Zealand lost overnight to Greece 83-74, finishing third in Group C and being knocked out in the process.

This result gave Australia a ticket to Paris for men’s basketball, as they finished second in Group E and advanced into the second phase of the competition.

Tsitsipas knocked out of the US Open

Stefanos Tsitsipas has been knocked out of the US Open in the second round by un-seeded Swiss Dominic Stricker.

The 128th ranked Stricker beat the seventh seed 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 in the four-hour match.

Tsitsipas has never made it past the third-round of the US Open, while being a finalist at both the French and Australian Opens.

The 21-year-old Stricker was overjoyed in his post-match interview.

“I’m just super happy right now,” he said.

“I came out and felt good from the first set on … I just kept playing high-level tennis.”

Australian Rinky Hijikata is on to the second round after defeating Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in three sets (6-1, 6-2, 6-1).

There are no Australian women left in the draw after Ajla Tomljanovic withdrew from the competition due to a right arm injury and Daria Saville fell to number one ranked Iga Swiatek.


Photo: PHFC vs Eltham – IMG_9416 by JamesDPhotography available HERE and used under a Creative Commons license. This image has not been modified.

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