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Brittney Griner spends birthday behind Russian bars

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Tributes pour in for Brittney Griner today, as she spends her 32nd birthday behind bars in Russia

BRITTNEY GRINER- Birthday wishes from around the world have flooded in today for WNBA star Brittney Griner.

The American has spent her 32nd birthday behind bars in a Russian prison cell.

It comes as U.S. consular officers complete a phone call with Griner and fellow American detainee, Paul Whelan.

The news of the phone conversation was confirmed during a State Department briefing, and follows months of no contact with the pair.

Brittney Griner & Paul Whelan
Photo credit: CNN

It comes as the Biden Administration continues to push for their immediate release, attempting to strike a deal with Russia.

However, it remains difficult given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Birthday behind bars

Today, marks 8 months since WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained for bringing cannabis oil into the country. It also marks Griner’s 32nd birthday.

She released a message from behind bars that read “thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home. All the support and love are definitely helping me.”

Tributes now flow in for the Basketball star, from around the globe.

Tributes from teammates

Appeal hearing approaches

Griner now awaits her appeal hearing next week, where she will learn her fate.

Many of Griner’s supporters, including the Biden administration, believe she has been “wrongfully detained” and used as a political pawn.

Russia has previously stated that the release of Griner is not a priority for the country.

Speaking exclusively to CNN, Griner’s lawyers said her birthday has been “difficult” because of her looming appeal hearing in a matter of days.

They added Griner is “very much concerned with the outcome of the appeal.”

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

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Rafa Nadal pulls out of French Open

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The Spaniard has failed to regain full fitness from a hip injury sustained earlier this year

Rafa Nadal has delivered news that no tennis fan wanted to hear.

The King of Clay will miss the French Open after failing to regain full fitness from a hip injury suffered at the Australian Open back in January.

The 14-time Roland Garros winner says he expects to retire following the 2024 season.

Nadal has dominated the clay court season for close to two decades.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion fronted a widely anticipated press conference at his tennis academy in Mallorca to drop the bombshell, saying its the right thing to do for his body and personal happiness.

“I’ll look to be 100% ready for next year, which I believe will be the last year of my professional career,” Nadal told a news conference at his tennis academy in Mallorca, Spain.

“The evolution of the injury I sustained in Australia has not gone as I would have liked. I have lost goals along the way, and Roland Garros becomes impossible.”

“I’ll not establish a date for my return. I’ll see how my body responds and take it from there,” said the 36-year-old. “If I keep playing at this moment, I don’t think I can be there next year.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to come back in the highest level and compete for Grand Slams. What I will try to do is to give myself the opportunity to go back to what could be my final year competing at the highest level.”

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China expresses concerns about ‘politicisation of sports’

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The East Asian nation raised the issue when Premier Li met with the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach

China has expressed concerns to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about the politicisation of sporting events.

The issue was raised when Chinese Premier Li Qiang met Thomas Bach, the head of the IOC, in Beijing over the weekend.

“China’s efforts to promote the Olympic spirit will never cease, and [China is] ready to work with IOC to oppose the politicisation of sports, and make further contributions to the Olympic movement,” Li said.

It is rare for China to raise such concerns with the IOC in public, and it was the first time it had made such comments since the Winter Olympics in Beijing early last year.

The United States and several of its allies took part in a diplomatic boycott of the Games, citing alleged human rights abuse in China’s far west region of Xinjiang.

Beijing has repeatedly denied the accusation and said it opposes any attempts to politicise sporting events.

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Tasmanian AFL team becomes reality

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Tasmania will have a team in the AFL after all 18 current teams agreed to the motion

An exciting day for residents of the Australian state of Tasmania today.

Outgoing AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan confirming Tasmania has been granted the league’s 19th licence.

It follows the nation’s federal government confirming it will cover the $240 million shortfall to fund a new multi-purpose stadium at Macquarie Point.

This has long been viewed as Tasmania’s most significant hurdle for entry into the league.

All 18 clubs supported the state’s bid, before the AFL Commission agreed to a formal ratification.

McLachlan fronted a press conference at North Hobart Oval, alongside Premier Jeremy Rockliff, Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles and a whole host of players.

The CEO says the decision “will finally make [the] competitions truly national”. #trending #featured

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