13th to 17th March
A change for FIFA
We start the weekday review by looking firstly at a recent announcement by FIFA, football's world governing body, that the World Cup scheduled for 2026 will switch back to a four-team group format. Canada, Mexico, and the United States will co-host an expanded competition to feature 48 teams. The move will increase the competition from its projected 80 matches to 104, including a new round-of-32 stage.
India have secured the recent test series against Australia by 2-1, which places both teams in the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Sri Lanka had an outside chance, but lost the first test against New Zealand at the final ball. The World Championship decider takes place in June in London. Shotgun experts were in Doha for the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup. USA topped the medal standings with three gold, two silver, and one bronze. Alexey Sarana has been crowned the new European Individual Chess Champion 2023. The tournament was played in Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia.
We still have near to two weeks remaining of the ski and snowboarding season. The biggest event opening Friday is the FIS Speed Skiing World Championships in Vars, France. The first gold medals were claimed by Britta Backlund (SWE) and Simone Origone (ITA). On Tuesday, Drammen in Norway hosted the FIS Cross-Country World Cup. It was local success in the Sprint Final Classic through Kristine Stavaas Skistad and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo. Falun in Sweden hosted the second Cross-Country event. Kerttu Niskanen (FIN) and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) claimed victory in the 10km Individual Start Classic. Rogla in Slovenia hosted Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom with gold going to Sabine Schoeffmann (AUT) and Roland Fischnaller (ITA). The second snowboarding event was hosted by Switzerland's Veysonnaz. The Snowboard Cross champions are Charlotte Bankes (GBR) and Martin Noerl (GER).
The FIS Alpine World Cup Finals will be spending the entire week in Sodeu, Andorra. Ilka Stuhec (SLO) and Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) are the Downhill champions, while victory in Super G belongs to Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI) and Marco Odermatt (SUI). Norway has taken the Mixed Team Parallel. Lillehammer in Norway was the location for Ski Jumping. Silje Opseth (NOR) and Katharina Althaus (GER) claimed the women's gold medals, while the men's winners were Halvor Egner Granerud (NOR) and Dawid Kubacki (POL). Germany's popular resort of Oberjoch hosted the FIS Telemark World Cup. Victory in the Classic were claimed by Martina Wyss (SUI) and Trym Nygaard Loeken (NOR). Sprint champions are Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) and Bastien Dayer (SUI).
Three FIS Freestyle World Cup competitions are still in progress this week with some results already in. Fanny Smith (SUI) and Reece Howden (CAN) are the Ski Cross Champions in Craigleith, Canada. Almaty in Kazakhstan hosted the world's best moguls experts with victory going to Perrine Laffont (FRA) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN).
A number of major road cycling races took place during the week. The Milano-Torino in Italy was Wednesday's UCI ProSeries race with victory going to Arvid de Kleijn (NED). On the same day Belgium hosted the Danilith Nokere Koerse, a UCI ProSeries race for both men and women. Belgium's Tim Merlier and Lotte Kopecky claimed the top podium positions. The following day the UCI ProSeries moved to France with the Grand Prix de Denain - Porte du Hainaut, with victory going to Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (COL). Yesterday the UCI ProSeries moved back to Belgium where local hero Gerben Thijssen claimed the Bredene Koksijde Classic. Over to track cycling and the second Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup of the year hosted in Cairo, Egypt. Fourteen titles were at stake with full results here: https://bit.ly/3Ltowbe
The incredible season of the BMW International Biathlon Union World Cup completes this week at the iconic Holmenkollen, the only ski location within a major city in the world. Biathletes and fans flocked to Oslo to see the in-form and home hero Johannes Thingnes Boe win the Men's Sprint on Thursday. The Women's Sprint has been rescheduled for the weekend. Mendoza in Argentina hosted the 2023 Formula Foil Youth and Masters World Championships. Pawel Dittrich (POL), Matias Zavala (ARG), and Chiara Ferretti (ARG) are the Masters, Youth Men, and Youth Women champions.
João Chianca (BRA) earns a near-perfect victory, while 17-year-old Caitlin Simmers (USA) claimed her first-ever Final appearance and World Surf League Champions Tour final held at Peniche in Portugal. Over to Field Hockey where South Africa won both the women's and men's Junior Africa Cup 2023 trophies hosted by Ismailia in Egypt. Staying with hockey and looking at the current standings of the FIH Pro League, India and Argentina lead the men's and women's tables. At the recent 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey Men's U18 World Championship hosted in Cape Town, New Zealand defeated Thailand 4-2 to lift the title.
In Darts news, Gerwyn Price (WAL) has risen to second on the Cazoo Premier League table after claiming his second win held in Nottingham, England, on Thursday. France has taken the overall medal haul at the Virtus World Ski Championships hosted at Seefeld, Austria. Virtus is the brand name of the International Sports Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment. Paul Coll (NZL) came from behind to defeat Joel Malkin (WAL) in the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic, the next round of the Professional Squash Association World Tour. The 1000 miles Sebring was the next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Mike Conway (GBR), Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), and Jose Maria Lopez (ARG) of team Toyota Gazoo Racing claimed the overall win on Florida.
Finally, Blake Johnston (AUS) has broken the world record for the longest surfing session. Johnston started on Thursday morning in Cronulla Beach in Australia to complete more than 40 hours in the process.
Until next time, have a great weekend in sport.