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New year of sport erupts with drunken darts chaos

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(Image via abc.net.au)

The sports year got off to an unwanted start in Melbourne on Saturday evening when the crowd erupted and smashed furniture with displeasure.

When this story first came over my radio receiver, I was expecting, sadly, to hear that it was soccer that was the culprit — however, to my surprise, I learned that this had occurred at a darts match.

There seems to be no clear indicator of the point cause of the trouble, although Fairfax Media reports that “boredom” may have led to the outbreak. However, one distressed attendee, Rosemary, placed the blame squarely on of my regular laments — alcohol.

She posted on Facebook and was reported via ABC online:

You could buy as much as you wanted!!

Embarrassed for Melbourne and Australia!!!

The security was a shambles from the beginning and needs an overhauling!!

Still shaking 13 hours later!

Not surprising really when you look at the stadium chaos:

In the world of tennis, two events were held in the run up to the first Grand Slam of the year — the Australian Open.

In Perth, we saw Poland win their first ever Hopman Cup, defeating the USA 2-1 in the final.

While on the East Coast, it was the Brisbane International, with Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer picking up titles. In the womens' event, Sharapova defeated Ana Ivanovic in the final, while in the mens', eternal gentleman of world sport Roger Federer defeated Canadian Miles Raonic. This was Federer’s 1,000th ATP victory; only two other male players – Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl – have ever done that before.

I have a great admiration for Federer; he’s cool, urbane, laconic, direct and speaks four languages fluently (Swiss-German, German, French and English), and two more (Swedish and Italian) competently.

He regularly answers at press conferences in three different languages, while at some of the bigger tournaments, where there is more press than players, he will do three press conferences in a row. Allowing the press of one language in to grill him, then the next language group arrives and then the third.

Here is Federer at a press conference in 2011, answering in three languages:

Test cricket ended for the Australian summer with a tight, but tense, draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with India holding on at the end after surviving with three wickets intact to achieve the draw.

Australia won the series 2-0, despite losing inspirational captain Michael Clarke through injury in the first test. New captain, 25-year-old Steve Smith, showed great promise in the role and looks good to captain the national side for many years to come.

The next international cricket event is a seven game one-day tri-series, involving Australia, India and England, which begins in Sydney on Friday.

After that is the World Cup. which runs from mid-February until the end of March. Australia have selected Clarke as captain for this tournament — a gamble as he had surgery on his injured hamstring just weeks ago. However, Smith and 20-20 captain George Bailey – selected here as vice-captain – are also in the team, so there should be no shortage of leadership.

Already in progress and overlapping with Australian Open tennis, which runs for the last two weeks of January, is soccer’s Asian Cup, which began on 9 January, and runs through to the final on 31 January. So there’s plenty going on if you are of a sporting bent.

In the Asian Cup, Australia started well in the tournament with a 4-1 victory over Kuwait at (and I’m pleased to see no sponsor’s name here) Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium — so called of course because all the other footy grounds in Victoria are ovals used for the playing of Aussie Rules.

Goals for the home side came from Tim Cahill, captain Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo and James Troisi. Ali Hussein Fadhel bagged the lone strike for the Kuwaitis.

The Korean Republic (formerly South Korea) downed Oman 1-0 in the other game in Australia’s group, meaning Australia stands atop group A on goal difference.

There are certainly some names to conjure with in this tournament, with countries that we don’t normally associate with sport participating. Group B is made up of Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, DPR Korea (Formerly North Korea) and China PR. DPR Korea of course stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, surely the most misrepresentative name in world geography, while China PR is People’s Republic of China, at least moving toward being accurate.

China and Uzbekistan lead group B with equal points and goals.

Group C is a wholly Gulf affair with the UAE (United Arab Emirates) leading from Iran, then Bahrain and Qatar.

Group D contains current holders, and favourites, Japan with Iraq, Jordan, and possibly a surprise to learn, Palestine. No games have been played in this group at time of writing, however Japan will be too hot for this lot to handle and should move through with ease.

So there’s lots of sport coming on now and coming up soon, with Australia in focus on the world sporting landscape, so let’s fervently hope for no crowd trouble anywhere.

We should be okay, that is, as long as we don’t hold any more darts tournaments.

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