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Volleyball federation questions Argentina over ‘culturally insensitive’ celebration

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FIVB, the international volleyball federation, has asked Argentina’s federation to answer for gestures made after the team qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.

Several players used their fingers to make their eyes appear slanted, an offensive gesture throughout much of Asia. Major League Baseball suspended Houston first baseman Yuli Garriel for five games after making such a gesture, albeit accompanied by a direct verbal insult toward Los Angeles pitcher Yu Darvish, in the 2017 World Series.

“The FIVB has seen the photographs of the Argentinian men’s volleyball team celebrating their victory at the Tokyo Volleyball Qualification Tournament with inappropriate and culturally insensitive gestures,” the federation said in a press statement. “Last week the FIVB made it clear that these type of actions by players and official representatives of national volleyball teams are completely unacceptable. The FIVB is urgently seeking an explanation from the Argentinian National Federation to ensure that all involved understand that their actions will have caused great offence, even if there was no such intention to do so.”

The team qualified by winning a five-set thriller over China, which hosted the qualification event.

Argentinian star Facundo Conte is well-known in the Chinese volleyball community for his years playing with Shanghai Golden Age, and he faced an onslaught of pointed comments on his Instagram feed:

“Dude, explain you behavior please, you spent 2 seasons in Shanghai, you were respected, and show your respect to Chinese,” wrote one person with an unprintable Instagram ID.

“I’m the one who got your T-shirt last night .. excited .. but I feel upset about your behavior (emoji) can you explain to people that you meant no harm?” wrote Instagram user ykj629.

Conte apologized in a temporary Instagram story:

Conte apology

“The idea was that we became Japanese because we are going to Olympics in Tokyo,” Conte said. “It had nothing to do with no respecting China or Japan! Now we know it wasn’t a good idea, and i regret making you feel that way!”

Argentina has reached the quarterfinals of the last two Olympics, losing each time to Brazil.

The team also won the Pan Am Games tournament for second consecutive time earlier this month without Conte, the MVP of the 2015 tournament.

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David Rudisha escapes car crash ‘well and unhurt’

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David Rudisha, a two-time Olympic champion and world record holder at 800m, is “well and unhurt” after a car accident in his native Kenya, according to his Facebook account.

Kenyan media reported that one of Rudisha’s tires burst on Saturday night, leading his car to collide with a bus, and he was treated for minor injuries at a hospital.

Rudisha, 30, last raced July 4, 2017, missing extended time with a quad muscle strain and back problems. His manager said last week that Rudisha will miss next month’s world championships.

Rudisha owns the three fastest times in history, including the world record 1:40.91 set in an epic 2012 Olympic final.

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Tokyo Paralympic medals unveiled with historic Braille design, indentations

Tokyo Paralympic Medals
Tokyo 2020
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The Tokyo Paralympic medals, which like the Olympic medals are created in part with metals from recycled cell phones and other small electronics, were unveiled on Sunday, one year out from the Opening Ceremony.

In a first for the Paralympics, each medal has one to three indentation(s) on its side to distinguish its color by touch — one for gold, two silver and three for bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on each medal’s face.

For Rio, different amounts of tiny steel balls were put inside the medals based on their color, so that when shaken they would make distinct sounds. Visually impaired athletes could shake the medals next to their ears to determine the color.

More on the design from Tokyo 2020:

The design is centered around the motif of a traditional Japanese fan, depicting the Paralympic Games as the source of a fresh new wind refreshing the world as well as a shared experience connecting diverse hearts and minds. The kaname, or pivot point, holds all parts of the fan together; here it represents Para athletes bringing people together regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Motifs on the leaves of the fan depict the vitality of people’s hearts and symbolize Japan’s captivating and life-giving natural environment in the form of rocks, flowers, wood, leaves, and water. These are applied with a variety of techniques, producing a textured surface that makes the medals compelling to touch.

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MORE: Five storylines to watch for Tokyo Paralympics

Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Tokyo Paralympic Medals