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Tonga’s government has banned girls from participating in rugby and boxing, drawing criticism from two-time Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams and New Zealand’s proudly feminist Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The government edict came to light last week when a team of girls from Tonga High School were pulled from a touch rugby tournament because of their gender.
A letter from the Pacific nation’s education department said the ban was to “preserve the dignity of Tongan women and hold on to Tongan cultural values”, according to a translation published by the Matangi Tonga news website.
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Adams, who was born in New Zealand but is fiercely proud of her Tongan heritage, described the move as “misguided and stubborn misinterpretation of the Pacific island nation’s culture.
“According to this way of thinking, a proud Tongan like myself, could not attain the standing I have in this world,” she posted on Facebook.
“Tongan women must be free to choose their destiny, and not be held back.”
Adams has won two gold and one silver in Olympics shot put and is favourite to claim a fourth Commonwealth Games gold on the Gold Coast next month.
“Rugby, like any sport, ought to be embraced by our Tongan women — we’re good at it — don’t take it away!” she said.
Ardern said she disagreed with the ban but would not use New Zealand’s aid program as leverage to try to have it overturned.
“As a school student I played touch rugby and I would encourage all the young women to engage in whatever sporting code they are interested in,” she said.
She said the ban affected only schools, so there were ways girls wanting to play rugby could sidestep it.
“A young woman will still be able to do that, I understand, through their villages, even if this dictate is made by these schools,” she said.
The Tonga Leitis Association, which represents the nation’s transgender community, wrote to the education ministry urging a rethink.
It labelled the directive “disrespectful and discriminatory”, saying it sent the wrong message to girls wanting to participate in sports.
“We kindly remind you that what lessens the dignity of women is telling them what they can and cannot do based on their biological sex,” it said.
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Victor osimhen bags player of the month award
Lille’s Nigeria international Victor Osimhen has been named September’s French Ligue 1 Player of the Month.
The 20-year-old striker, who joined the club in August from Belgian side RSC Charleroi, scored twice and provided two assists in five matches last month as Lille climbed into the top five.
“It’s been an amazing time at this club and to get this award is surreal,” says Osimhen
“I’m grateful to those who voted, thankful to my teammates, our backroom staff and the entire Lille fans for the love.
“I never expected this to happen so soon but I guess this is what comes when you are surrounded by great players, loved ones and the blessings of God.”
Osimhen saw off the challenges of Monaco’s Algerian international Islam Slimani and veteran Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois to the monthly honour awarded by the Player’s Union (UNFP).
He succeeds Angola-born Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, who won the August award and became the youngest ever winner at the age of 16.
An incredible two months for Osimhen in the colours of Lille has resulted in eight goals in 11 appearances for the northern club.
Osimhen was the top scorer as Nigeria clinched a fifth Under-17 World Cup title in 2015 with 10 goals in Chile, which saw him win the Golden Boot and Silver Ball.
He also scored on his full debut for Nigeria in a 2-2 friendly draw against Ukraine in September.
Man United sweating over De Gea fitness
Manchester united has suffer injury blow after David de Gea picked up a muscle injury on international duty, Spain took no chances to substitute him with Kepa Arrizabalaga in 60minutes.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not given any update on his fitness ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Liverpool.
The United goalkeeper appeared to tweak a hamstring while taking a goal kick during the second half of Spain’s Euro 2020 qualifier with Sweden on Tuesday night.
They face current league leaders Liverpool who possess a potent front three in Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and Solskjaer will be desperately hoping his star goalkeeper will be fit, with United on a woeful run of form.
While, United could be without their De gea and Paul pogba this weekend, Liverpool are set to welcome back their star goalkeeper Alisson.
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