Matildas draw 1-1 with China after Michelle Heyman’s stoppage-time equaliser

The Matildas’ final preparations for the Paris Olympics have got off to a rusty start after a scrappy 1-1 draw with China in Adelaide on Friday.

Australia’s coach Tony Gustavsson fielded a largely experimental line-up for the opening hour of the Adelaide Oval fixture, but they were upstaged by the reigning Asian Cup champions, with a well-organised and disciplined China keeping the Matildas shotless for the first half.

And while a sell-out 52,912 people had packed in to see the Matildas strut their stuff, they were instead silenced in the 30th minute after Chinese winger Zhang Linyan opened the scoring, volleying home a cross from Central Coast Mariners winger Wurigumula.

But veteran striker Michelle Heyman came to the rescue in stoppage-time of the first half, tapping in from a goal-mouth scramble after a Mary Fowler free kick was fumbled by China’s goalkeeper.

Before the match, Gustavsson said he remained undecided on four spots for the 18-woman squad to contest the Paris Olympics starting in late July. The team’s starting XI reflected his need to test out those peripheral players, beginning without big guns Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, Ellie Carpenter, Hayley Raso and Kyra Cooney-Cross.

But the team that started the game struggled to break down a tightly-packed Chinese defence, and regularly coughed up possession before being punished by quick transitional counter-attacks.

While the momentum of the game began to swing after five senior players were substituted on in the 60th minute, winger Caitlin Foord lasted just 15 minutes, leaving the field after being felled in a tackle, despite appearing in no great discomfort.

Following a tepid opening 29 minutes, China struck on the half-hour when a fast break down the right flank left Australia’s Kaitlyn Torpey sprawled in the grass after grappling with powerful striker Wurigumula.

As the pair jostled, Torpey slipped and fell to ground — replays showed a slight tug on her jersey from her opponent — while Wurigumula was quick to recover from the contact, her follow-up cross into the box deflected into the path of Zhang, who scored with a reflex right footer.

After half time, Australia showed far greater attacking intent and almost had a reward in the 56th minute when Cortnee Vine swung a cross into the box.

The ball landed near Fowler who was set to pull the trigger and shoot, but advancing China keeper Xu Huan knocked the ball away. Six minutes later, Gustavsson made five substitutions, summoning Catley, Foord, Raso, Carpenter and Kyra Cooney-Cross.

The injection of the Matildas mainstays had instant impact, with the Australians crafting a series of scoring chances through Raso and Fowler, though a scrambling China kept the Matildas scoreless.

But in a bizarre series of events in stoppage time, where Australia won a free kick just outside China’s penalty spot after the goalkeeper slid out to collect an innocuous ball only to hand-ball it and give a set piece away, a powerful striker by Fowler was fumbled by Xu and duly poked home by Heyman.

The Matildas meet China again in Sydney on Monday night and Gustavsson will announce his Olympic squad the following day.

Check out how the game unfolded in our live blog below.

Key events

See you Monday!

I still think Heyman’s (and Fowler’s) issues tonight were more about distribution. They both should be on the plane to Paris. But maybe those in midfield (who aren’t feeding through enough quality ball) should be a bit worried – they need to step up and do better in the next leg.

– Ingrid

I think tonight that those who are already locked in to the Olympic squad are there for a reason…not sure any of the questions Tony had about the remaining four players were really answered tonight

– Tania

I think we’re all on the same page about tonight’s game: the Matildas definitely didn’t show enough against China to convince us of anything, so they’ll really need to step it up in the second match in Sydney on Monday to settle out nerves about their readiness for the Olympics.

We’ll have a match report out shortly, but for now, thanks so much for engaging with the blog tonight, and I’ll see you all again here on Monday night from 7:00pm AEST!

Until then, enjoy your weekend, and gooooo Tillies!!!

So what did you make of that?

Redemption rocks. Phew! Okay, how do you pick an optimal 18 squad out of that? I guess that’s why Tony’s paid the big bucks. More questions than answers, maybe the answers’ll arrive on Monday. Thanks Sam!

– Big Ben

High energy and effort leads to chances and finally a goal. Why did they play so conservatively for the first 88 minutes? Raso showed the way

– Tobi

Matildas lack quality. Any squad with EVE and Polkinghorne hasn’t hope against the new top nations.

– The bill

Great to see Michelle Heyman score at the death to salvage the draw, she’ll definitely be on the plane to Paris in July.

– Adam

What’s the answer? Give them time (and hope Ford’s injury heals)

– Betty

Whenever the Matildas have two-game windows, they do tend to be quite rusty and slow in the first of the two matches. So in that context, tonight’s game isn’t a huge surprise, nor is it a shock given the five changes Tony Gustavsson made to the starting line-up.

And yet… with Paris less than two months away… the Matildas don’t really have time to be this sloppy, do they? They certainly won’t be forgiven for it against the USA, Germany, and Zambia.

But who do you reckon impressed tonight? Did any player convince you that they should go to the Olympics? Or do we need another game to figure it out?

Heyman redemption!

Let the scoreboard show that it was Michelle Heyman who equalised. I won’t hear a bad word said about her! (even if she didn’t have a great game 🙂 ⚽️💚💛

– Leo

michelle heyman doesn’t miss in front of goal! she might not be sam kerr but she should be in paris as a CF.

– alex

– Samantha Lewis

I was literally typing a post about Michelle Heyman’s game tonight, and then she just goes and scores.

Maybe that’s why she goes to Paris: because she can be there right until the very end.

Full time: Australia 1 – 1 China

The commentators curse Sam…Michelle Heyman unseen all night…bobs up in the 95min…extraordinary!

– stumcin

Yeeeeeeesssssssss!!!! 🥳🥳🥳

– Tania

YYYYYYYYY3EEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAASHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

– Natty

FInally!!!!!!

– M

I feel that goal should be given to the china goalkeeper. She put a lot of effort to make australia score

– First

Michelle is back online!!!

– Micko

Geez. Oztraylia. You got damn lucky with that goal at the end! Coulda/shoulda done better. And sooner.

– Ingrid

Whew

– sandye

Hurray

– jag

Just like the last time they played, a stoppage-time equaliser rescues the Matildas after a pretty sluggish display.

Absolute scenes from the sold-out stadium – and from all of you – right at the death!

94′ GOAL AUSTRALIA

MICHELLE HEYMAN EQUALISES AFTER A TRULY BIZARRE SERIES OF EVENTS!

A free kick just outside China’s box was awarded after their goalkeeper came sprinting off her line and seemed to hand-ball it after a miscontrol?

Mary Fowler stood over the ball, sending her rocket of a right foot through the set piece towards the front post, where the keeper isn’t able to catch it and the deflection falls right to the feet of Heyman, who pokes it home.

1-1!

93′ Where are our goals coming from?

The hole left by Sam Kerr’s absence is starting to look bigger and bigger with every minute that goes by tonight!

– stumcin

Hopefully Caitlin Foord doesn’t have a serious injury, this would be disastrous for the Matildas 55 days out from the first game in the Olympics.

– Adam

As I wrote at the start of tonight’s blog, the Matildas really haven’t figured out the answer of how to score goals without Sam Kerr.

As Adam says, this injury to Caitlin Foord is a worry. She was massive for the Tillies during the World Cup when Kerr was unavailable. Mary Fowler’s wobbly form in this game is a concern, as has Michelle Heyman’s kinda-nothing performance.

So what’s the answer?

91′ Chance China!

Another counter-attack from China sees Wu Chengshu through one-on-one with Clare Hunt, who’s backtracking into her own box, trying to hold up the energised substitute.

Chengsu twists and turns and finds a half-space, swinging her foot through the ball, but she doesn’t quite connect and it fizzes into Mackenzie Arnold’s hands.

Five minutes of added time

87′ Hunt gets crunched

A wildly spinning aerial ball from Hayley Raso that deflected off a Chinese player falls dangerously towards the top of the box, where Clare Hunt and substitute Wu Chengshu both race towards it, trying to nick it out of the air and do something.

Hunt is the tallest of the two and is able to head it away in time, but Chengshu barrels straight through the centre-back, sending her crashing into the grass.

There’s a couple words exchanged between the Chinese striker and Steph Catley afterwards as Hunt catches her breath. Not so friendly after all, this.

86′ Big Woman Up Top

I don’t know how you folks feel, but when I see Alanna Kennedy thrown up front into the centre-forward position, that’s when I know that Tony Gustavsson is running out of ideas.

Like, I get it. She’s tall and good in the air. But so is Michelle Heyman. Is this really Plan B if the Matildas are behind during the Olympics?

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85′ China substitutions

Mengwen Li is off for Mengyu Shen.

Shuang Wang Shuang is replaced by Cong Yuan.

And Yanwen Wang is off for Jiali Tang.

82′ Michelle Heyman’s gone missing

Another watcher/reader (Olive) mentioned that Mary Fowler was “struggling to do her Mary magic here”. I wonder if both her and Michelle Heyman are suffering from not being fed enough good balls? Hopefully, the subs will change that and improve distribution.

– Ingrid

Is hayman in her space jam version?

– First

She’s really just been a warm body out there for this second half, hasn’t she? It’s like the game has been happening around her and she’s just kinda been watching from a really awesome front-row seat.

I do think that the build-up play has affected her tonight, though. She barely connected with the two midfielders in the first half, and now is having to deliberately involve herself in plays to try and get anywhere near the ball.

She leaps onto a moment now, spinning on the ball after a China error, and takes a couple charging steps into the box, but just as she tries to shoot, a Chinese defender gets a toe on the ball and it spins into the keeper’s arms.

80′ Chance Australia!

They’re throwing more bodies forward now, trying to overload China’s backline and create a bit of chaos.

Another corner is taken short, with Fowler delivering the ball to the very back of the box, where Hayley Raso nods it back towards the penalty spot.

Kennedy is there, and tries an acrobatic sideways kick, but she doesn’t quite catch it and it spins over the bar.

79′ Not many beliEVErs on the blog tonight

Surprised TG left EVE out there….thoughts?

– Tania

not sure why tony is so keen on emily van egmond? she cannot play as a striker and as a midfielder not anymore effective than clare wheeler or yallop…

– alex

Honestly? I agree. Emily Van Egmond doesn’t seem to have the speed or style that you associate with this high-intensity Matildas team, so it’s odd that she’s played such a pivotal role in the side for so long.

78′ Aaaaaand she misses

Kennedy goes for it, trying to whip the ball up and over China’s wall and into the top corner, but it flies over the crossbar instead.

78′ Matildas win a dangerous free kick

Emily Van Egmond was clipped from behind by a clumsy Chinese player just outside the top of the box.

Steph Catley and Alanna Kennedy are standing over it. China have five players in the wall…

Crowd: 52,912

Hectic. Well done, Adelaide!

76′ Australia substitution

Uh oh.

Caitlin Foord, who came on only 15 minutes ago, goes down in the grass, gesturing towards her hamstring.

A minute later, she walks off the field, replaced by Brisbane Roar winger Sharn Frier.

75′ China substitution

Goal-scorer Zhang Linyan is off for Liu Yanqui.

74′ Chance Australia!

A more characteristic passage from Australia with Ellie Carpenter slotting through the speedy Hayley Raso down the right wing.

She cuts the ball back from the by-line, aiming for the penalty spot, where Mary Fowler is steaming in to meet it.

But Carpenter is there instead, and gets in the way of Fowler’s swing, so she doesn’t quite meet it properly and the ball deflects off a China defender and bounces away up-field instead.

Bugger.

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#Matildas #draw #China #Michelle #Heymans #stoppagetime #equaliser

Matildas qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics with 10-nil thrashing of Uzbekistan

The ruthless Matildas have thrashed Uzbekistan 10-0 to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games in style, with Michelle Heyman scoring four goals to put her hand up for a ticket to Paris.

Australia led the tie 3-0 after Saturday’s first leg in Tashkent but blew Uzbekistan out of the water to win 13-0 on aggregate, with Caitlin Foord, Kaitlyn Torpey, Mary Fowler, Hayley Raso and Amy Sayer also scoring.

Temperatures hit 36C in Melbourne earlier on Wednesday, but it didn’t deter a crowd of 54,120, which included Olympic greats Cathy Freeman and Anna Meares.

The Matildas took the lead inside 34 seconds at Marvel Stadium and never looked back, with Fowler at her spellbinding best in an eight-goal first-half rout.

Heyman, 35, who also scored in Tashkent, replaced Emily van Egmond for her first international start since March 2018.

The striker’s movement and guile proved far too hot for Uzbekistan to handle as she snared a hat-trick inside the first 16 minutes.

Second-gamer Torpey, 23, had a hand in three goals and scored her first international goal in her own compelling audition for the 18-player Olympics squad.

Australia took the lead when Torpey’s squaring ball deflected off Uzbek defender Dilrabo Asadova for an own goal.

Three minutes later, Fowler launched a diagonal ball from the left and Torpey brilliantly stuck out her right leg to cut the ball across goal.

Clare Hunt fluffed her shot but Heyman was on hand to tuck it away.

For the third, in the eighth minute, Steph Catley lofted a ball in from the left that dipped for Heyman to nod home.

Heyman sealed her hat-trick when Fowler threaded a great ball behind the Uzbek defence for the striker to put away.

Torpey scored the fifth in the 22nd minute when Uzbekistan failed to clear a corner and she rifled a close-range strike into the roof of the net.

Rarely troubled, Mackenzie Arnold made a strong save to deny Uzbekistan captain Lyudmila Karachik in the 28th minute.

Six minutes later, Katrina Gorry picked out Fowler with a wonderful inside pass and the playmaker rifled home.

In the 38th minute, Uzbekistan failed to deal with a Kyra Cooney-Cross free kick and Foord pounced for Australia’s seventh.

On the stroke of half-time, Uzbekistan cleared a corner off the line but Torpey squared it for Heyman to stoop and head home her fourth.

Heyman, Foord, Gorry and Ellie Carpenter came off at half-time, for Sayer, Tameka Yallop, van Egmond and Raso, while Charli Grant replaced Catley in the 65th minute.

Raso rifled home in the 68th while Sayer’s first international goal in the fourth minute of injury time put an exclamation mark on the victory.

Check out how the game unfolded in our live blog below.

Key events

Final thoughts

Well, what a way to qualify for your third Olympic Games in a row!

An absolute masterclass from the Matildas saw them sweep aside the underdog Uzbeks, taking out the two-legged tie 13-0 on aggregate.

The first half was particularly brutal, with the tone set within the first 45 seconds by Kaitlyn Torpey’s torpedo cross that was spun into the net by an Uzbekistan defender.

The goals came thick and fast after that, with Michelle Heyman scoring four in the first 45 minutes alone.

Torpey, Mary Fowler, Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso, and Amy Sayer all added to the scoreboard, and while a host of rotations made the second half a little less thrilling, there is very little to complain about from this completely dominant display by Australia’s fave sports team.

The players are about to be congratulated with a special presentation on the field: a giant “QUALIFIED” sign has been set up on half-way, with a giant novelty plane ticket being presented to them by Olympic legend Anna Meares.

It’s been a long road through qualifying, but finally the Matildas can prepare properly for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

And you bet your butts I’ll be back here on the blog when they do, as well as for a friendly they’ve got set up against Mexico on April 10.

Until then, take it easy!

Your reactions!

What a game! I’d hoped we’d win, but I never expected this!

– Mickey from Canberra

Love it

– Julian

Thanks for another great live blog, Sam! ⚽️💚💛

– Leo

Uzbekistan have been much better this half both defensively and in terms of capitalising on chances they get but ultimately you do have to feel for them having lost their keeper to injury and losing by a large margin for the first time since their Asian Games semi and third-place matches against North Korea and China.

– Adam

All this time we’ve been looking for another striker and she has been hiding in plain sight at Canberra…

– Mike

Ms Sayer! Relief written large on a young face. I suspect this second half, like the first half a few days ago, has made Tony’s squad selection decision making a little easier. All solid, a well oiled machine he’s built, complete with sub parts, and a couple of high profile busted elements. Finally he has the depth and breadth they’ve all worked for. It’s a joy to experience. Thanks Sam!

– Big Ben

THE MATILDAS ARE GOING TO THE PARIS OLYMPICS!!!!

To: the blog. From: the Matildas.

Will I ever get my ten goals 😂

– Julian

C’mon ladies, let’s make it a nice round 10!

– C

Full-time: Australia 10 – 0 Uzbekistan

93′ GOAL AUSTRALIA

Aaaaaand that’s 10!

It’s Amy Sayer’s turn to get on the scoreboard after a nice series of one-two passes between Tameka Yallop and Mary Fowler slice right through Uzbekistan’s midfield, before the ball is fed down the left wing for the onrushing Charlie Grant.

The left-back then clips a dangerous ball back across the six-yard area, spinning chaotically through a bunch of legs, before falling to Sayer at the back post, who swings her left foot through it and finally finds the back of the net.

10-0.

90′ Five minutes of added time

Uzbekistan, to their full credit, haven’t stopped trying.

They’ve had a handful of moves that have ended in the Matildas’ penalty box, including one just now as a handful of players try to build some triangles through the middle before Karachik Lyudmila chips the ball over the top to nobody except Mackenzie Arnold.

They’ve kept Australia to just one goal in this whole half, which is something.

Get ’em out, I say

What’s with the rolled up sleeves? Kennedy, Raso and now Grant.

– Ronan

What, you’re saying you wouldn’t roll up your sleeves if you had the incredible athletic arms of these players?

I don’t think I’d ever wear sleeves again, personally.

Anyone else keen for a Matildas sleeveless guernsey?

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Maybe “Mystical Mary” is a more apt alliteration

It’s interesting you mention Fowler appearing to operate in a different dimension – I think she might be a shape-shifter. There are times she takes the ball into congested traffic and somehow effortlessly appears on the other side still with the ball, or approach in-possession opposition players from behind, pass through them and continue on with the ball…

– Mike

Meanwhile…

Loving the meme posted about Japan v N. Korea. I literally only eat popcorn in for dinner in Matilda’s nights!

– Lulu

Japan lead North Korea 1-0 just after the hour-mark.

It’s been a pretty even affair once again, though: Japan have had 8 shots to 9 (including 2 on target v 4), 58% possession to 42%, and zero corners to 1.

The DPRK could very well claw a goal back and push this second Olympic qualifier all the way to the edge.

You love to see it

I’m in the crowd and there is definitely a growing minority cheering on Uzbekistan… only to be drowned by the manic roar when the Tillies scored that ninth goal!

– Tess

There’s definitely a small Uzbek community here in Australia, and what a joy it must be for them to see their women’s national team playing here in a stadium like this. Love that they’re still cheering for their team, even though they’re 9-0 down.

Wow!

54,120 !!! Wow, a stark contrast to the 2,000 locals at Milliy stadium 5 days ago. It was still amazing to there. 29 other Aussies and myself.

– I Was in Tashkent

I was there in Tashkent 5 days ago. There was 30 Australians in attendance and about 2,000 locals. It was free entry to the match. It was amazing to see them inperson and up close.

– Travelling with Russell

Shout-out to the small group of die-hard Matildas fans who travelled all the way to Tashkent for the first leg, then flew back here to Melbourne for the second.

What an awesome experience!

79′ Uzbekistan substitution

The substitute goalkeeper seems to have had her foot trodden on by her own player during a challenge that involved Amy Sayer, but has stayed in the grass, so the Matildas take the opportunity to grab a quick drink on the sidelines.

There doesn’t seem to be much tactical chat happening. They’re just chilling out until the game ends, really. Mackenzie Arnold, Alanna Kennedy, and Clare Hunt are still on the field, talking amongst themselves. Raso and Torpey are on the far side doing the same.

76′ Shot after shot after shot

It’s honestly been hard to blog this match because the number of chances the Matildas have had is… stratospheric.

Just as I finish describing the build-up to one shot, they’ve found a way to create and let off another. So you just have to imagine the way things have gone based on the below:

Australia have registered 37 shots in total so far, including 17 on target.

70% possession, 85% pass accuracy, and 1 corners.

They’ve been completely, utterly, dominant. That’s the story of the game.

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#Matildas #qualify #Paris #Olympics #10nil #thrashing #Uzbekistan

‘Like Waze, but for toilets’: The start-up hoping to solve Paris’s public urination problem

A new application that rewards businesses for making their toilets accessible to the public and helps users to find them is being rolled out in a Paris suburb. If everything goes to plan, the ICI Toilettes app could make its way into the capital – right in time for the Olympics. 

Public urination is high on the list of critiques of the French capital, along with rats, noise, and people not picking up their dogs’ business. Referred to in France as le pipi sauvage, or “wild peeing”, the propensity for public urination – which is technically illegal and mainly male – is explained by many factors, though a lack of available public toilets is a fundamental one. 

Over the years, Parisian leaders have proposed a number of innovative solutions but, so far, to no avail. In 2018, for instance, certain arrondissements (districts) introduced bright red, eco-friendly uritrottoirs, public installations whose name was a portmanteau of the French words for “urinal” and “sidewalk”. They were criticised for being too visible and only useful for men, and then vandalised by protesters.

The newest scheme to combat the ongoing problem comes from a start-up from the western city of Nantes called Urban Services.

ICI Toilettes (“Toilets HERE”) has two main functions. First, it is a geolocation application that helps users locate public toilets and allows them to update the status of the facility if it is in disrepair. This helps members of the public find the closest functional bathroom in real time and keeps local authorities informed about the state of the city’s sanitation infrastructure.

“It’s like Waze, but for toilets,” says founder and Urban Services CEO Thomas Herquin, referring to the crowd-sourced traffic app. 

The app’s second function is to create a network of local businesses that extend their facilities to the public, all of which are visible on the application. This expands the city’s sanitation capacity by making certain bars and restaurants de facto public toilets. These “partners” are given €100 each month by the local authorities for their participation – ICI Toilettes says this is one-twelfth the cost of setting up and maintaining a public restroom.

First launched in 2021 in Nantes, the application has now made it to the populous suburb of Montreuil on the eastern edge of the capital. The service is set to be rolled out in Grenoble and Urban Services is currently in talks with Saint-Denis, the municipality just north of Paris.

The big prize, Paris, is also in view, as France makes a big investment push before the 2024 Olympic Games. In late September, the start-up was awarded a conditional grant by the ministry of tourism. Urban Services stands to earn between €100,000 and €200,000 if it manages to set up a network of 100 partner retailers in Paris by June 15, 2024 – a number Herquin says will raise the capital’s public toilet capacity by 25%.    

The idea for the app came to Herquin when he was searching for ideas to enter a start-up competition in Nantes that he ended up winning. For market research, he surveyed people on what they thought were the biggest problems they face while commuting. The first was their ability to charge phones, the second, and much more difficult to resolve, was access to sanitary facilities.

Herquin maintains that the restaurants and bars that share their toilets should be considered “complementary” to what is already in place in the city. However, he adds, his application does provide its own benefits.

“According to our research, 85% of women do not use public toilet facilities for several reasons (like hygiene and comfort) so we offer them another option,” says Herquin.

Public urination, Herquin points out, is a serious issue with serious financial consequences. “In Paris alone, 56,000m2 of walls and doors are ruined by urine every month. That can be very costly,” he says.

On whether his business has the potential to help resolve the issue, he is less certain. “The main people who require our services are women. Men seem to have found a solution already, although it is not very clean,” Herquin says.

“But we do hope, with time we can help change the culture.”

What’s more, ICI Toilettes gives people the confidence to go and ask businesses to use their bathrooms, a feature that will particularly serve tourists who are unfamiliar with the French language or their customs related to restrooms. 

In Montreuil, finding the ICI Toilettes sticker is increasingly easy. The service has now been adopted by 10 businesses.

For Putsch café in central Montreuil, signing up with ICI Toilettes doesn’t seem to have changed much except for an extra €100 in the cash register each month. “I know some restaurants can be strict, but we’ve always been open,” says Laurine Ragot, a server at the café. “But we have seen an increase since the app, especially women and people with children desperate to pee.”

Putsch, a cafe in Montreuil that has signed up for ICI Toilettes, November 9, 2023. © Gregor Thompson, FRANCE 24

ICI Toilettes is a welcome change in a city where authorities have long been criticised for the lack of public sanitation infrastructure. Women’s association Maison des femmes de Montreuil recently described the situation as a “hygiene scandal” in French daily Le Parisien

Since signing on with Urban Services in June, “Montreuil has gone from seven public toilet facilities to 17,” says Montreuil’s Deputy Mayor Luc Di Gallo. 

For now, the businesses signed up to ICI Toilettes are concentrated in the city’s centre. The plan is to increase this number and distribute participating establishments more equally throughout the city. 

But ICI Toilettes is no silver bullet, says Di Gallo. People cannot access the app without a smartphone, and it wouldn’t be a viable option for businesses near busy areas like markets, which are unlikely to sign up because they could be inundated by the public.  

“For instances like this, it’s probably better to build public toilets that can [serve] significantly more people.” 

As part of a larger strategy, the response from the public has been “extremely positive”, says Di Gallo, adding that it makes the city more inclusive by meeting the needs of “women, the elderly and disabled people”, who have described the difficulties they encounter when out in public with no access to facilities.

“Of course, we also hope that those who degrade our public spaces will now be more inclined to use a toilet,” Di Gallo says. 

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#Waze #toilets #startup #hoping #solve #Pariss #public #urination #problem

Matildas defeat Iran 2-0 in first Olympic qualifier

Sam Kerr has come off the bench to score the clincher in front of her hometown fans in the Matildas’ 2-0 Olympic qualifier win over Iran in Perth.

In front of 18,798 fans on Thursday night, Ellie Carpenter opened the scoring in the 19th minute before Kerr sealed the deal with her 78th-minute tap-in.

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson warned on the eve of the match that he wouldn’t be throwing his jet-lagged stars into the deep end, and a glimpse at the bench proved those words to be true.

Kerr, Mackenzie Arnold, Katrina Gorry, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Caitlin Foord, Stephanie Catley, Hayley Raso, Alanna Kennedy and Mary Fowler all started on the sideline.

With the scoreline still just 1-0 at the 65-minute mark in a match Australia were predicted to win easily, Gustavsson brought on Kerr, Catley and Fowler in a triple substitution.

The move worked a charm, with the trio joining forces to create Australia’s second goal.

Catley combined with Fowler for a one-two before firing a low pass across goal, allowing Kerr to complete an easy tap-in.

Foord, Raso, Arnold and Gorry were among the unused substitutes.

The Matildas enjoyed 82 per cent possession in the first half, and a neat run down the right from Cortnee Vine helped set up the opener.

Vine’s cross made its way to Charlotte Grant, who passed it off to Carpenter to rifle the ball home for just her fourth goal in 70 appearances for Australia.

Ellie Carpenter opened the scoring for Australia.(AAP Image: Richard Wainwright)

Carpenter almost had a second in the 31st minute when she was played in and only had the goalkeeper to beat, but her shot from an angle was well wide of the target.

Iran’s players did their best to waste time whenever the chance arose.

Theatrical rolls on the ground were a common theme in the first half, much to the frustration of Matildas.

Adding to Australia’s frustrations was their own inability to finish off their chances.

Kerr received a rousing reception when she was brought on in the 65th minute.

The star Chelsea striker fired a 72nd-minute strike over the crossbar, but she made no mistake from her tap-in six minutes later.

Kerr had a golden chance to score again in the 93rd minute, but she couldn’t keep her strike low enough.

Sam Kerr with crowd

Sam Kerr performed in front of her home crowd.(AAP Image: Richard Wainwright)

In the earlier match, the Philippines came from behind to post a 4-1 win over Taiwan, firing them to the top of the group.

Yi-yun Hsu opened the scoring for Taiwan in the 47th minute as the underdogs dreamed of a an upset.

But a double to Sarina Bolden and goals to Katrina Guillou and Chandler McDaniel meant it ended up being an easy win for the Philippines.

The Matildas face off against the Philippines on Sunday and Taiwan next Wednesday.

Australia must finish on top of the group to guarantee passage through to the final round of Olympic qualifying in February.

Look back on our live coverage below. 

Key events

Final thoughts

The Matildas get their Olympic qualifying campaign off to a good start, with Ellie Carpenter and Sam Kerr getting on the score-sheet, but it was a much tougher task than perhaps what they were expecting.

Iran sat deep and defended like their lives depended on it, throwing themselves in front of every cross and pass aimed towards their penalty area, with goalkeeper Zahra Khajavi having a stand-out performance.

It was an experimental side from Tony Gustavsson, with several big names starting on the bench, and there was a noticeable lack of chemistry and cohesion among some of the newer players.

The young Amy Sayer was the most impressive newbie, providing some dynamism and spark through midfield, while Emily Van Egmond and Clare Wheeler offered some much-needed calmness and control.

Yet the Matildas struggled to find avenues to goal, with Cortnee Vine and Tameka Yallop having a couple bright moments, though it was Carpenter who eventually found the opener after a scramble in the box.

The jammy first half from Australia just made the quality of their World Cup stars even more obvious, with Mary Fowler and Steph Catley in particular adding a different level of class and choreography to the contest.

It’s always a challenge breaking down deep defensive blocks, which is something the Matildas have traditionally struggled with, especially in Asian competitions.

With two games left against opponents who could pull out similar tactics, Australia will have to be smarter and more patient in their attacking phases, and far more clinical in front of goal.

But in the end, a win is a win, and this was a game as much about shaking off the rust as it was getting the three points.

Australia will next face the Philippines on Sunday afternoon at Optus Stadium, kicking off at 6:10pm AEDT.

And I’ll be back on the blog to take you through it all!

Thanks so much for joining us tonight, and go Tillies!

Full-time: Australia 2 – 0 Iran

99′ Australia 2 – 0 Iran

Steph Catley is standing over her second corner in quick succession.

It skims off the head of Kerr at the near post, but somehow clatters into Emily Van Egmond who’s just… standing in the way?

If that counts as one of the team’s few shots on target, I’m gonna laugh.

Big kudos to Zahra Khajavi

needs to be some credit to the Iranian keeper – she hasn’t stopped throwing herself at everything and definitely helped keep it close.

– Campbell

All the sitting-down aside, she’s absolutely been the reason Iran have kept this game to 2-0.

96′ Iran on the attack

Negin Zandi – Iran’s most dangerous player – picks up the ball and drives forward, feeding it out to her winger on the left side.

Zandi is the only red shirt that makes her way into the box, surrounded by four Matildas, waiting for a returned cross.

But it never comes. The ball from her team-mate is poor and easily intercepted and cleared away.

93′ It’s hard to keep up

Australia just keep attacking and Iran keep defending.

Ellie Carpenter had a chance before that went just wide, and Alanna Kennedy just had a header fizz past the wrong side of the post.

Iran haven’t done much other than throw their bodies in the way of every Matildas shot, which tallies 24 now, though only six have been on target.

It’s a lot, fam. My poor fingers are nubs.

Loading

11 minutes of stoppage time!

Bench depth

Hello Sam – I know it’s a qualifier and not a friendly, but it seems a tad harsh on the Iran to bring Sam, Mary and Steph on at the same time…

– Mike

Imagine being Iran. You’re probably exhausted, you’re a goal down, but you’ve had a couple glimpses of goal, you just need one little opening to be able to capitalise on an error…

…and then Sam Kerr comes on the field.

I’d just give up then and there. But that’s why I’m here tapping away at my computer and they’re out on the field!

86′ Wave after wave after wave

The Matildas just keep on coming, working down both wings, trying to pierce passes through the middle to Kerr.

The noise of the crowd is noticeably louder now that Australia’s World Cup heroes are out there.

Fowler, Catley and Kerr have undoubtedly added more energy and class to the Matildas going forward. You can see their chemistry already humming away.

Won’t be surprised if we see a third goal scored by the end of the game based on the number of chances those three have already created between them.

Anyone taking bets on the amount of added time?

The medics are working overtime

– Jack

There’s gotta be at least 10 minutes that have been used up by Iran’s players sitting on the grass, right?

83′ Australia substitution

That’s the last contribution from Amy Sayer tonight, who’s had a great game, I reckon. Would love to see her again when Australia face the Philippines on Sunday afternoon.

She’s replaced by Kyra Cooney-Cross.

81′ Chance Australia!

Oh my goodness, what a pass from Mary Fowler.

The Manchester City midfielder has been walking on air since coming onto the park, dancing between players and threading space-warping passes through lines.

She twists and brings an aerial ball down onto her foot balletically, seeing a run from Amy Sayer from deep midfield cutting through Iran’s defensive line.

Fowler anticipates the run and delivers a gorgeous reverse pass that takes out three Iranian defenders, right into Sayer’s charging path.

The midfielder shoots but Iran’s goalkeeper sticks out a strong left foot and it’s thumped away.

So nice to watch.

78′ GOAL AUSTRALIA

AND IT’S SAM KERR! ON HER RETURN TO HER HOME-TOWN!

The substitutes made it look way too easy: a simple one-two between Mary Fowler and Steph Catley sees a low, hard Catley cross towards the back post right into the cushioned foot of Kerr.

That’s international goal number 65 for Kerr. Different gravy.

2-0.

73′ Iran’s keeper is down

She’s holding her head after that collision earlier, sitting back down in the grass as Catley is standing over another corner.

The crowd isn’t holding back now: they loudly boo the Iranian player as the physios come back onto the field to hopefully perform a concussion test.

Catley already looks pissed. She’s bouncing the ball around with her other hand on her hip.

The goalkeeper eventually stands up and gestures around to her players like nothing is wrong.

Annoying.

Sports content to make you think… or allow you not to. A newsletter delivered each Friday.

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Paris ‘bouquinistes’ resist plans to remove riverside book kiosks for Olympics

The green, second-hand book kiosks that line the River Seine are beloved by both tourists and locals, but new plans could see the distinctive sheds dismantled as part of a massive security operation for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, set to take place along the river. But the bouquinistes are fighting to keep their open-air shops open.

On a warm August afternoon, there is plenty of interest in the bookshops along Paris’s riverbanks. Tourists and locals walking the route between the Seine and the Hôtel de Ville city hall browse through the kerbside stalls, propped open to display vintage and second-hand books, posters, old maps and souvenirs for sale.

Hundreds of these green “boxes” are attached to the riverbank walls along a three-kilometre stretch of the river that passes right through the heart of the French capital. They are as familiar and distinctive a Parisian sight as the tops of Notre Dame’s towers rising above the rooftops behind them.

“We’ve been along the quays of the Seine for 450 years, and on the parapets since they were built by Napoleon III,” says one bouquiniste who has been an official delegate representing the booksellers along the central stretch of the right bank for 30 years.

Now the traditional shops are facing an unexpected threat. At the end of July, Paris city hall said that the kiosks would have to be removed when the city hosts the Summer Olympic Games in July and August 2024.

The opening ceremony is set to be a ground-breaking event, taking place – for the first time – not inside a stadium but along the river itself, with massive crowds expected to watch from the quays.

The unique open-air spectacle requires a colossal security operation and the kiosks must be taken down as a safety measure, the Paris prefecture said in July.

Read moreFrance unveils security plan for Olympics opening ceremony in central Paris

“They’re worried that people are going to climb on the boxes. But if the boxes are open, they can’t. And there’ll be railings [installed], which are dangerous too,” says Juliette, who has been selling books along the quays for a year. “All the booksellers here will tell you they don’t agree with the plans.”  

Her sentiments are echoed by Lim, who is running his wife’s shop for the day. He has just sold a second-hand children’s book to an elderly French customer. “I don’t understand why they would remove them. The boxes are a part of Paris,” he says.

“The biggest problem for me is the symbolism,” says Camille, who has sold books on the Seine for 10 years and has owned her own kiosks for five.

“For a ceremony that will last four hours, they want to make us move for months. We are part of the Paris landscape. Removing us is like removing a building.”

The bouquinistes also have practical concerns. The summer months are typically the busiest time of year for the open-air shops, as good weather brings more foot traffic and tourists to the city centre.

“Summer is the time when we make money for the rest of the year. It’s what allows us to survive. If we miss a summer of work, it’s very difficult to bounce back,” Camille says, pausing to sell a collection of vintage Vogue magazine photos to two tourists in their 20s.

Tourist numbers in Paris are expected to rise to more than 10 million in summer 2024, thanks to the Games.

To make sure the booksellers don’t miss out completely, Paris city hall has suggested they could move to a dedicated book market near the Place de la Bastille in order to keep trading over the summer months.

The idea has not been well received. In their current location, the sellers are perfectly positioned to attract foot traffic from the busy Arcole bridge that connects tourist sites on the Île de la Cité to the vibrant Marais district on the right bank. By contrast, “there’s no one at Bastille”, says Juliette.

The idea of going from bouquiniste to market stall seller also doesn’t appeal. There is an evident sense of pride among the shopkeepers that their presence in the city centre contributes to the capital’s cultural heritage in a unique way. “People who come to us come for the boxes, for their character. They represent Paris,” Juliette adds.

Uncertainty

Paris city hall has said it will manage the removal, storage and reinstallation of an estimated 570 kiosks “located within the opening ceremony security perimeter” ahead of the games, but questions abound on how the feat will be achieved.

“Where will they put them? How will we get them back? And how long will it last for?” Lim asks. “[City hall] doesn’t have the answers. There’s a lot of uncertainty.”

Shoppers look at products on sale at Lim’s kiosk along the quays of the Seine, August 15, 2023. © Joanna York, FRANCE 24

Shopkeepers are also worried about the impact the move will have on the kiosks themselves.

“They’re not made to be moved,” says Camille. “Each box is made differently because they’re all made by different people. It takes a lot of time to take them down and a good understanding of how they’re made.”

“Some boxes are very old. Mine are [30 years old], and every time I’ve moved them, they get a little damaged.”

Then there is the stock to think about. A seller with multiple kiosks can store thousands of books inside, some of which could be rare and fragile collectibles.

Camille has 2,000 books that will need to be stored elsewhere if her kiosks are dismantled. “I don’t have anywhere else to keep them. Unless I fill up my apartment for two months,” she says.

A few kiosks down, the 30-year booksellers’ delegate runs a stall that looks, at a glance, sparser than the others. There are no souvenirs or posters for sale; instead, his is dedicated entirely to rare, vintage books. In fact he is rarely at his own, instead walking from kiosk to kiosk speaking to different customers and shopkeepers, enjoying the atmosphere and opportunities for conversation that the rows of booksellers bring to what would otherwise be a busy riverside sidewalk.

His role as delegate puts him in regular contact with Paris city hall, and he was shocked at how officials broke the news of plans to remove the bouquinistes.

“There was no discussion,” he says. “I thought we were going to a meeting to prepare for the Games. But city hall had already made an administrative decision, validated it with the prefecture, and none of us bouquinistes were consulted during the process.”

He fears local officials do not value what the bouquinistes bring to the riverside, saying there have been previous attempts to convert the boxes into enclosed rental spaces or to move the shopkeepers outside of the city centre. His major concern is that, once removed, the kiosks may never return.

“All we have is a verbal promise, and we can’t just work with that. The sensible thing to do is to stay where we are, and we hope we have support to do that.”

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Key dates to remember ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris

Paris is gearing up for a summer of sports as it prepares to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The city is already abuzz with preparations for the opening ceremony, test events and the journey of the Olympic torch relay. FRANCE 24 takes a look at the key dates leading up to start of the 2024 Summer Games.

Issued on:

The countdown is on. On July 26, 2024, the Summer Olympics will kick off in Paris, followed shortly after by the Paralympic Games. For nearly a month the French capital will become the focus of international sport as it hosts more than 300 competitions between July 26 and August 11.

July 9-16, 2023: Marseilles sailing test event

The Paris 2024 Organising Committee is holding a sailing test event in Marseilles to evaluate the infrastructure and racing areas in preparation for the Olympic Games.

July 26, 2023: D-365 to the Olympic Games

On July 26, 2023, the 365-day countdown to the official start of the Games in Paris begins, coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of the last Summer Games held on French soil. FRANCE 24 will dedicate a special day across its platforms to celebrate the event.

August 17-20, 2023: Paris triathlon test event

Paris and its iconic Alexandre III bridge will host an Olympic and Paralympic Games triathlon test event from August 17-20. Individual races will take place on August 17 and 18, a para-triathlon will be held on the 19th and the mixed relay on August 20.

July 26 and 27, 2023: French youth golf championships

The Olympic configuration of the Golf National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines will be put to the test during the French Youth Championship on July 26 and 27.

August 2-6, 2023: World Rowing Under 19 Championship

Vaires-sur-Marne stadium will host tests for sprint canoeing, slalom canoeing and rowing events. Rowing will serve as the inaugural test event for Paris 2024 during the U19 World Championships.  

August 5-6, 2023: Fourth stage of the open water world cup

A round of the Open Water Swimming World Cup will take place in the Seine near Alexandre III bridge.

August 11-20, 2023: World surfing league (WSL) stopover in Tahiti

Even France’s overseas territories will get a taste of Olympic fever, hosting surfing events in Tahiti, French Polynesia, on the legendary Teahupo’o wave. The WSL 2023 will assess the venue’s Olympic preparations in coordination with the Paris Olympic committee.

August 19- 20, 2023: Fourth stage of the archery world cup

Archery will take centre stage against the backdrop of the iconic Paris Les Invalides landmark. The fourth leg of the 2023 World Cup will be held in Paris, offering a glimpse at the future archery venue for the Games.

August 28, 2023: 365 Days until the Paralympic Games

Since their first appearance in Rome in 1960, the Paralympic Games have grown in importance. As the world’s leading parasport event, they are a unique opportunity for athletes with disabilities. One year before the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games, FRANCE 24 will dedicate a special edition to this event.

August 30 to September 1, 2023: Canoeing and para-canoeing World Cups

Following rowing events, the Vaires-sur-Marne Olympic site will test sprint canoeing and para-canoeing during the World Cup held at the centre.

September 2023: Volunteers receive their assignments

Between September and the end of the year, the Paris organising committee will notify the 45,000 selected volunteers for the Olympic Games about their specific assignments. However, some may be called upon during the summer to participate in test events, such as the sailing event in Marseilles or the triathlon in Paris.

September 23 and 24, 2023: MTB test event

This will be a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games. A preparatory race for the mountain bike event of Paris 2024 will be held on September 23-24 at Élancourt Hill, the highest point in the Île-de-France region, located in the Yvelines department.

October 5-8, 2023: Canoe slalom world cup finals

The final test event at the Vaires-sur-Marne centre will be the canoe slalom World Cup finals.

October 9, 2023: Paralympic Games tickets open

Official ticket sales for the Paralympic Games, scheduled from August 28 to September 8, 2024, will open this October 9. Half of the tickets available for sale will be priced at €25 or less.

April 8-14, 2024: Event at Châteauroux national shooting centre

Test competitions are scheduled to take place at the Châteauroux national shooting centre in Indre from April 8-14, 2024.

April 29, 2024: 100 days until the Olympic Games

From April 29 to May 8, 2024: Olympic aquatic centre test event

The final venue to be completed, the Saint-Denis Olympic Aquatic Centre, will be put to the test with targeted events featuring artistic swimming, diving and water polo from April 29 to May 8, 2024.

May 4-5, 2024: Field hockey test event

Yves-du-Manoir stadium in Colombes will be put to the test with an international field hockey tournament from May 4-5, 2024. While the venue may have changed since the 1924 Olympic Games, it remains a direct legacy of the last Summer Olympics in the French capital.

May 8, 2024: Arrival of the Olympic flame in Marseilles

After a 10-day journey from Greece on the Belém, one of Europe‘s oldest three-masted sailing ships, the Olympic flame will arrive in France. Marseilles, with its strong historical ties to Greece, will first welcome the flame to its shores before it embarks on the 775km (480 mile) journey to the capital.

July 14, 2024: Arrival of the Olympic flame in Paris

After traversing more than 60 French departments, the Olympic flame will arrive in Paris on July 14, the Bastille Day national holiday.

July 24, 2024: Start of events

Some team sports will kick off even before the opening ceremony. The Rugby 7s and soccer matches will begin on July 24, while handball starts the following day.

July 26, 2024: Olympic Games opening ceremony

Paris will kick off the Games with a spectacular opening ceremony on July 26, 2024. Organised outside of a stadium for the first time, the ceremony will start at 8:24pm as approximately 100 boats carrying the athlete delegations set sail down the Seine from Pont d’Austerlitz in the east to the Eiffel Tower.

August 11, 2024: Olympic Games closing ceremony

The closing ceremony of the Paris Olympics will take place at the Stade de France, but it won’t mark the end of the Olympic sequence as the Paralympic Games will take some 17 days later.

August 28, 2024: Paralympic Games opening ceremony

As one competition ends, another begins. The first-ever French Paralympic Games will open on August 28 for 11 days of competition with an open-air ceremony between the Champs-Élysées and Place de la Concorde.

September 8, 2024: Paralympic Games closing ceremony

That’s a wrap for Paris 2024: The Paralympic Games will come to a close, bringing an end to Paris’s Olympic summer.  

The article was adapted from French. To read the original click here.

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Macron kicks off Olympic countdown 500 days before Paris Games

French President Emmanuel Macron launched the countdown to the 2024 Paris Olympics on Tuesday, taking stock of preparations for the mammoth event as officials race to get the city’s transport network into shape and stage an opening ceremony unlike any other.  

Macron, who has promised an “unforgettable” curtain-raiser, hosted the Olympics’ organisers and business partners at the Élysée Palace to discuss preparations for the world’s biggest sporting event. He addressed several hundred civil servants involved in the effort in a speech at Paris police headquarters, on the banks of the River Seine, later Tuesday. 

On the eve of his visit, Macron teased the event by tweeting the cover of Time Magazine’s latest issue, headlined on the race to clean up “the world’s most romantic river”. 

“With 500 days to go, we are within reach of achieving one of the greatest legacies of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris,” the French president wrote, referencing a hugely ambitious 1.4-billion-euro plan to clean up the heavily polluted waterway in time for the Games. 


Making the Seine fit for swimming is an old Parisian dream. In 1988, former French president Jacques Chirac, then the city’s mayor, famously promised to make the river swimmable “in three years” – a pledge he never delivered on. 

The dream has become a necessity now that Paris has pledged to stage several Olympics events, including the 10 kilometre swimming marathon, in the Seine – as it did back in 1900, when it first hosted the Games. 

The prospect of athletes swimming down the world-famous river, alongside Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower, was a major asset for the French capital’s bid to host the “biggest show on earth”. 


 

Olympia-sur-Seine 

The city’s famed waterway is the focus of another mammoth challenge for organisers of the 33rd Summer Olympiad, one that is bound to give French officials many a sleepless night over the coming 500 days. 

In perhaps the biggest gamble of Paris 2024, organisers plan to take the opening ceremony out of its traditional stadium setting and stage it on water. 

The vision, outlined by Macron, is for sporting delegations to sail down the Seine in an armada of boats, in view of up to 600,000 spectators lining the river’s banks over a six-kilometre stretch.  

The appeal of projecting such a bold statement of French ambition before a global TV audience of hundreds of millions is clear. Turning it into reality is said to be giving planners cold sweats. 

As the Games loom into view, the number of boats, the arrangements for spectators, crowd control and security measures are still the subject of intense discussions. A first practice run is expected in July this year, with 30 to 40 boats set to participate.   

“Everyone is working flat-out on preparations,” one senior French official involved in the process told AFP on condition of anonymity. “A ceremony like this has never taken place before. But we’ll manage it, we’ll be ready.” 

FRANCE IN FOCUS
FRANCE IN FOCUS © FRANCE 24

 

Some security experts have voiced concerns, however, warning about the dangers of uncontrolled crowd movements close to the water, and the challenges of securing such a long stretch of water with overlooking buildings. 

Sceptics point to the chaotic scenes at last year’s Champions League final in Paris, when Liverpool fans found themselves in a crush outside the stadium, as a reminder of the dangers of badly organised sporting events.  

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who faced severe criticism for his handling of the Champions League fiasco, travelled to the World Cup in Qatar in November last year on a fact-finding mission. While there, he warned of the dangers of “a drone loaded with explosives that falls on a crowd, on an exposed team, on an opening ceremony like at the Olympic Games, for example”.

Transport woes 

For the opening ceremony, Darmanin is counting on 35,000 members of the security forces being on duty, with police already warned that requests for leave over the summer holiday period will not be permitted. 

The interior ministry has also suggested 25,000 private security agents should be used for less critical missions, with thousands currently being screened, recruited and trained. However, the low bids being offered by the organising committee mean many private security companies are struggling to recruit staff, another source close to the event told AFP. 

On Tuesday, Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said there would be “no taboo” on drafting in the army if necessary, as was the case at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

In another recruitment headache, the Paris region’s transport system is scrambling to bounce back from a year of chronic staff shortages and sporadic strikes – one of which precipitated the chaos of the Champions League final. 

Like the football final, much of the Olympics will take place in the Seine-Saint-Denis département northeast of Paris, the poorest in metropolitan France and the most densely populated after Paris, known for its creaking transport infrastructure. 

There are serious questions about whether the extension of a key metro line to the Athletes’ Village will be completed in time for the Games and a major shortfall in the number of bus drivers is causing concerns too. 

“We will do everything we can to be ready in time,” Macron’s former prime minister Jean Castex, now in charge of the RATP transport operator, told reporters last week, promising a massive recruitment drive.


 

Adding to organisers’ woes, plans to break up the RATP’s monopoly on bus services soon after the Olympics threaten to throw a spanner in the works, with trade unions fiercely opposed to the move and the threat of industrial action hanging over the Games. 

Mindful of the tight schedule, Valérie Pécresse, the conservative head of the Paris region, has leveraged the Olympics to secure an additional 200-million-euro budget from the central government, threatening to delay the opening of new transport lines that fall under her remit. 

In the best-case scenario, transport will already be well short of what organisers promised when they submitted their final bid seven years ago. A future metro line that promised to link Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport with the Athletes’ Village in “under 30 minutes” will not be ready in time for the Games; nor will the long-delayed CDG Express train linking the airport with the heart of Paris. 

(With AFP)



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Jakara Anthony’s moguls gold-rush just the start for Australian winter sport

It has been an extraordinary 12 months for Jakara Anthony.

Twelve months ago, Anthony kicked off Australia’s most successful ever Winter Olympic Games by winning one of Australia’s four medals in Beijing.

Anthony was on fire that night, claiming Australia’s sixth-ever Winter Games gold medal on what was Australia’s own Super Sunday, following Tess Coady’s snowboard slopestyle bronze.

As Australia’s only gold medallist from those Games though, Anthony has gone from the relative anonymity most winter sports athletes enjoy between Olympic cycles to becoming seriously hot property.

An Olympic gold medal will do that.

Jakara Anthony has been untouchable on the mogul slopes this season.(OWIA: Chris Hocking)

Since her eye-catching performance on the slopes of the Zhangjiakou Genting Snow Park, Anthony has popped up as a guest at the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Bells Beach leg of the World Surf League and even slid down the AFL’s Big Freeze slide at the MCG.

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The only sport designed specifically for the Olympics has been axed for LA 2028. Now it’s fighting for survival


Australian three-time Olympic pentathlete Alex Watson has challenged the sport’s international president in a move that is sure to have widespread reverberations as modern pentathlon faces an uncertain future.

There are claims of secrecy, cover-ups and keeping the sport’s most-credentialed athletes in the dark regarding the axing of show jumping, to be replaced by Ninja Warrior-style obstacle racing, an event that has widespread television popularity.

The international governing body — UIPM — has been presided over by Germany’s Klaus Schormann for the past 30 years, with the sport now fighting for survival. It is not included on the program for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.



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