Daily Digest: Johanna Konta beats Yulia Putintseva in Madrid Open first-round


In today’s news: Johanna Konta returns to action with a win, Jayne Ludlow joins Manchester City as a Technical Director, and Poppy Cleall scoops Six Nations award.

Konta starts clay-court season with a win

British number one Johanna Konta reached the second round of the Madrid Open with victory over Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.

The 29-year-old missed Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup play-off earlier this month as she continued to recover from a knee injury, but has started her clay-court season in perfect fashion.

Seeded 15th for the event, Konta made light work of Putintseva, winning in straight sets 6-4 6-2.

Elsewhere, Ashleigh Barty eased into the next round with a 6-2 6-1 win over America’s Shelby Rogers, while fourth seed Elina Svitolina failed to convert six match points as she lost to Jil Teichmann of Switzerland.

Jayne Ludlow joins Manchester City as Girls’ Academy Technical Director

Former Wales manager Jayne Ludlow has joined Manchester City as the Girls’ Academy Technical Director.

The 42-year-old enjoyed a successful playing career with the likes of Arsenal, Millwall and Southampton and won nine Women’s Premier League titles, six Women’s FA Cups, four Women’s League Cups and a UEFA Women’s Cup.

Ludlow was awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to women’s football in Wales.

Speaking on her new role, she said: “I am excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to join Manchester City Football Club as Technical Director of the Girls’ Academy.

“I look forward to ensuring that our Academy prioritises personal and football development so that our next generation positively impact the game and societies of the future.

“I am also committed to helping facilitate a creative, positive learning environment where both coaches and players can thrive and one that enables them to reach the highest levels of the game.”

Poppy Cleall wins Six Nations Player of the Championship award

England back-row Poppy Cleall has won the Women's Six Nations Player of the Championship award after helping her side retain their title.

Cleall scored the only try in England’s win over France in the final of the tournament last weekend.

Overall, she made more than 200 metres –– the most of any England player and registered 41 carries, which was more than anyone else in the tournament.

The 28-year-old received 62% of the public vote, ahead of France’s Caroline Boujard and fellow team-mate Zoe Aldcroft.

Miedema scores again as Arsenal move a step closer to the Champions League

 Arsenal made it eight wins on the trot as they eased past West Ham 2-0, to remain third in the Women’s Super League.

Vivianne Miedema curled a fine opener into the top corner before Kim Little converted a second goal to secure all three points.

The Gunners are now three points ahead of rivals Manchester United with two games to play and know that one more win will likely secure European football next season.

West Ham, meanwhile, are two points ahead of Bristol City at the bottom of the table and are far from safe just yet.


Former marathon world record holder Loroupe says high-tech running shoes are “cheating”

Tegla Loroupe, a former marathon world record holder, has compared athletes who use new running shoe technology to those who dope and says it is “cheating.”

The use of high-tech shoes in recent years has seen a number of world records being set in endurance races.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Loroupe stressed that these shoes give an unfair advantage and should be prohibited.

"You are cheating, you are not a hero because you don't use your own strength,” she said.
"You can have a faster shoe [but] what about those who cannot afford, it's almost like doping, for me there is no difference between doping and having a faster shoe."

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