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LaLiga: Athletic Club beat Villarreal, Valencia stage late fightback******
MADRID, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Athletic Club Bilbao inflicted Villarreal's first away defeat of the season as they claimed a 2-1 win in the San Mames Stadium that was close to capacity for the first time since March 2020.
Raul Garcia put Athletic ahead from Inaki Williams' cross in the 14th minute, but Francis Coquelin's deflected effort leveled the score in the 32nd minute.
Man of the match Iker Muniain won the game from the penalty spot in the 77th minute after Unai Vencedor had been fouled by Alberto Moreno and it would have been 3-1 a couple of minutes later but Villarreal keeper Geronimo Rulli did well to stop a second spot kick taken by Alex Berenguer to assure a nervy finish.
Valencia came back from 2-0 down at home to Mallorca to claim a point with two goals in injury time.
Angel Rodriguez and a Mouchtar Diakhaby own goal put Valencia on the ropes in the first half, but Kang In Lee, who set up Angel for the opener, had a rush of blood 10 minutes into the second half and left his side with 10 men.
Mallorca still looked as if they were going to hang on, but they got nervous when Goncalo Guedes fired home from long range in the 92nd minute and Jose Luis Gaya's close range finished earned Valencia a point in the 98th minute
Two goals from striker Joselu, the first of which came from the penalty spot after just six minutes, gave Alaves their first away win of the season and just their second victory of the entire campaign, as Javi Calleja's side won 2-0 away to Cadiz.
Elche and Espanyol shared four goals with Manu Morlanes and Raul de Tomas netting goals within 2 minutes on 51 and 52 minutes to cancel out Lucas Boye's first half opener for Elche, who claimed a point with Dario Bernadetto's 84th minute equalizer.
Cadiz slip deeper into trouble after failing to win in their last seven home games.
Friday night saw Osasuna go second in the table with a 1-1 draw at home to Granada, but the team from Pamplona will be disappointed after Granada scored a 90th minute equalizer from Angel Moreno to cancel out Chimy Avila's opener on the stroke of halftime.
Osasuna ended with 10 men after left back Jose Angel 'Cote' was sent off with 16 minutes left to play. Enditem
Stoch feels pressure to take medal in Beijing 2022******
WARSAW, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Three-time Olympic ski jumping champion Kamil Stoch emphasized that it is very important for him to prepare well for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
The 34-year-old is considered as a strong favorite to stand on the podium during the Olympic competition.
"The last two years were crazy, so I am fully focused on the present. It is really important for me to prepare well for the Winter Olympics. It will be a good experience to take part in that event," Stoch claimed.
If Stoch wins in Beijing, he will become the second Polish athlete to take four Olympic golds after racewalker Robert Korzeniowski.
"I had such a thought, but thinking about the results causes stress and makes you want too much. It doesn't help you on the hill. My goal is just to show good quality. I treat the Winter Olympics as a stage of the season," the ski jumper explained.
"I feel a lot of pressure on my shoulders because I achieved success. However, I give everything I have and I just do my best. I have already learned how to handle this kind of pressure and the expectations," the world champion from Val di Fiemme added.
The competition in Beijing could be the last Olympics for Stoch, but he emphasized that if he fails, it will not be the end of the world for him.
"You always have to have a plan B when your results are not as good as you expected. What is more, the Olympic season does not have to be the last in my career," he concluded. Enditem
Xinhua commentary: The world needs "togetherness", not "political grandstanding"******
BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- As the 2022 Olympic Winter Games inches closer, the quadrennial international winter sports event is under the limelight as a grand celebration for humankind, while also appealing to those that want to push hidden political agendas.
A few western countries have followed in the footsteps of the United States by announcing that they will not send their government officials to Beijing 2022, or are considering such a move, which goes against the Olympic spirit and is detrimental to the interests of all Olympic participants and the Olympic Movement.
To be clear: it is sheer grandstanding put on by a handful of Western politicians.
As athletes across the globe are seizing every day to prepare for Beijing 2022, a few politicians appear to be discontent about their predicament of witnessing China take center stage by successfully hosting the Winter Olympics.
It feels like they are "forced" to stand up and say that they won't send government officials or representatives to Beijing 2022, but the "force" actually comes only from themselves.
This grandstanding becomes more obvious, as based on conventions, government officials from a certain country are invited to attend the Olympic Games by its own Olympic committee, not the hosts.
Attending the Olympic Games is not a necessity for government officials, but in terms of political interests, it actually is.
As "political neutrality" and "autonomy of sport" are clarified in the Olympic Charter, codification of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, the action or intention of confounding sports and politics will go nowhere, and some countries and organizations have adopted an approach against that of a small, U.S.-led group.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has accepted an invitation to attend the Games in February 2022, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric revealed.
This shows respect to tradition, as Guterres's two immediate predecessors have attended almost every Olympic Games since at least 2002 when Kofi Annan went to Salt Lake City.
French Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports Jean-Michel Blanquer confirmed that France will not join the move made by several western countries towards the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
"Sport must be preserved as much as possible from political interference. Otherwise, it can go in any direction and we will end up killing all competitions," said Blanquer.
The Cuban Olympic Committee condemned the politicization of the Beijing 2022, declaring that "the use of sports events as platforms of political pressure must come to an end."
Some Western countries claimed to take such a stance against China over human rights issues in the world's most populous country.
But what they have claimed proves nothing but pure ideological prejudice toward a country with a different system, as has been witnessed countless times over different topics.
Before the Tokyo Olympic Games began earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved adding the word "Together" into the Olympic motto, marking the first time that the slogan has been updated in over a century.
The latest update of the Olympic motto sends out a clear signal to the entire Olympic family at a time when the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic: everyone needs to stick together.
"Solidarity fuels our mission to make the world a better place through sport," said IOC President Thomas Bach.
The recently-held 10th Olympic Summit once again underscored the neutrality of sports, by standing firmly against any politicization of the Olympic Games and sport, and strongly emphasizing the need for the political neutrality of the IOC, the Olympic Games and the entire Olympic Movement.
As the leading role on the Olympic stage, athletes treasure the last 50-plus days to prepare for the Beijing Winter Olympics, without feeling any impact by the distractions.
"The plan is to compete in every event I qualify for," said U.S. Alpine skier and two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin.
For French figure skater Kevin Aymoz, competing at the Olympics is a childhood dream that he wants to fulfill.
"I want to perform there. I even have a countdown set on my phone," he told the IOC website.
"Years ago, I would never have imagined I'd go as far as I have and still be in the condition I am in today," said Italy's short track speed skater Arianna Fontana. "We'll see what happens in Beijing, but the goal remains the same: reach the final. Reach all the finals."
The Chinese Foreign Ministry urged the United States to stop hyping up the so-called "diplomatic boycott" of the Beijing Winter Olympics, saying that China will take countermeasures if the U.S. insists to do so.
"The United States should take China's concerns seriously, refrain from politicizing sports, and stop hyping up the so-called 'diplomatic boycott' of the Beijing Winter Olympics, so as to avoid affecting dialogue and cooperation between the two countries in important areas," said ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian. He also stressed that the Winter Olympics is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation.
Considering what the so-called "Summit for Democracy" initiated by the U.S. has produced, it's no strange that this country's stance toward Beijing 2022 has backfired once again.
And this should not be an example to follow, as the world needs "togetherness", not "political grandstanding." Enditem