Daily Digest: Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan star as United States retain SheBelieves Cup

U.S.A Women

In today’s news: Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan star for the USA, the Tennis Hall of Fame inducts a new group of women, and Caster Semenya calls for female athletes to be able to run freely.

Rapinoe and Morgan star as USA thrash Argentina to retain SheBelieves Cup

The United States ran riot last night, defeating Argentina 6-0 to secure their fourth SheBelieves Cup title in style.

Megan Rapinoe scored twice, while Christen Press, Kristie Mewis, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan also all found the net to complete a rout over the South-American side, who duly finished bottom of the table having lost all three of their games in the tournament.

Morgan’s goal was her first since celebrating becoming a mother in May 2020, and her 108th for the national side in total, putting her in fifth place on The USWNT’s all-time list, ahead of the great Michelle Akers.

Her teammate Rapinoe also made history, with the 35-year-old now the top all-time SheBelieves Cup goalscorer with seven goals, surpassing Ellen White who’d previously netted five times in the competition.

Megan Rapinoe

The victory means the United States are now undefeated in 37 games and 53 on home soil. Coach Vlatko Andonevski, who succeeded Jill Ellis in 2019, has so far won all 16 matches since he took over.

In the tournament’s other game, Brazil comfortably beat Canada 2-0, with goals from Debinha and Julia Bianchi, to secure second place.

“Original 9” to be inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame

The nine women who formed the original group on the Virginia Slims Circuit –– dubbed the “Original 9” — are among the 2021 inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Formed in 1970, the Virginia Slims circuit was a tennis tour consisting of nine female professional players, who rebelled against the United States Lawn Tennis Association due to the growing disparity in prize money and lack of opportunities for women in professional tennis.

The “Original 9” are comprised of seven Americans, including: Billie Jean King, Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Julie Heldman, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey and Valerie Ziegenfuss; plus two Australians: Judy Tegart Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid.

Billie Jean King

The nine players are the first ever group to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Speaking of being honoured, Tegart-Dalton said: “For us to be given this honour is really something special and I think it's great recognition for what we did. It means a lot.

“One of the main things that we achieved was recognition for women's tennis, but also for women's sport as a whole really. I think that for all of us, we worked so hard and when we took such a chance, but we didn't realise how significant it would be 50 years on.”

Caster Semenya to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights over female testosterone levels

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights regarding the restriction of testosterone levels in female runners.

The 800 metre runner, who won gold in this event at the London 2012 Olympic Games and again in Rio 2016, has been banned from competing in events between 400 metres and a mile without taking testosterone-reducing medication.

This follows a rule change in 2019 by the International Association of Athletics Federations, as part of regulations concerning differences of sex development.

Caster Semenya

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has already rejected a Semenya challenge against the rule in 2019, but the South African-born athlete will now appeal to the European Court with hopes of defending her Olympic title in Tokyo this year.

“All we ask is to be allowed to run free, for once and for all, as the strong and fearless women we are and have always been,” she said.

Semenya already missed the chance to defend her world title in Doha. If her next appeal does fail, she has previously stated that she would be open to running the 200 metres –– a distance which wouldn’t require her to take drugs of any kind.

Annika Sorenstam returns to Ladies PGA Tour for the first time in 13 years

10-time major winner Annika Sorenstam will today compete in her first Ladies PGA tour event for 13 years, at the LPGA Gainbridge Championship in Florida.

The 50-year old Sweedish player, who retired back in 2008, has won 72 official LPGA tournaments and 18 other tournaments across the world, topping the LPGA’s all-time money list with earnings of over $22million.

Regarded as one of the best female golfers to ever play the game, Sorenstam’s other accolades include a record eight Player of the Year awards and being the only woman in history to card a 59 in a competitive tournament.

Annika Sorenstam

In 2003, she became the first woman to play in a men’s PGA tour event for 58 years, when she competed at the Colonial National Invitation Tournament in Texas.

Sorenstam had stepped away from the game to start a family, but is based in Florida with the course almost on her doorstep. Speaking to BBC World Service, Sorenstam said: “The course is literally in my backyard. If I turn my head to the left I can see the 16th hole.”

The Swede also stressed that this was by no means a full comeback to the LPGA tour, but rather just practise ahead of her main focus which is the US Senior Women’s Open in August.

British high-jump champion Morgan Lake added to GB squad for European Indoor Championships

Former Commonwealth Games silver medallist Morgan Lake is one of six athletes to have been added to the British team that will compete at the European Indoor Championships in ToruĊ„, Poland.

Lake, aged 23, became the British high jump champion for the fifth successive year last September, jumping a height of 1.80 metres at the 2020 British Athletics Championships.

At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Lake became the first British woman to reach an Olympic high jump final since Debbie Marti in 1992.

Also a capable heptathlete, She won gold in both high jump and heptathlon at the 2014 Junior World Championships in Oregon.

Fellow high jumper Emily Borthwick has also been called up to the British squad, along with long jump specialist Jazmin Sawyers and shot putter Amelia Strickler.

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