10 sports stars who could shine in 2024

By Sports Desk December 14, 2023

The Paris Olympics and Euro 2024 will underpin next year’s sporting calendar.

Here, the PA news agency picks out 10 stars who are expected to shine.

Sky Brown

Britain’s skateboard superstar claimed an historic bronze medal at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will head to Paris as the reigning world champion in the park category. Still only 15, Brown has still not given up hope of also representing Team GB in the Olympic surfing event in Tahiti.

Simone Biles

One of the world’s greatest ever gymnasts launched a spectacular return in 2023, after an extended hiatus to prioritise mental health. With a remarkable four world golds, including in the prestigious women’s all-around, Biles once again set her stall out as the star to watch in Paris.

Noah Lyles

The US track star dazzled in 2023, winning gold in both 100m and 200m at the World Championships in Budapest. Looking to build on the 200m bronze he took in Tokyo, Lyles is intent on expanding his horizons by potentially also forming a part of the men’s 4x400m relay squad.

Jude Bellingham

England’s Bellingham has made a stunning start to his Real Madrid career, scoring 12 goals in his first 14 LaLiga appearances and also becoming the first player to score in each of his first four Champions League appearances for the club. A sensational platform at Euro 2024 in Germany awaits.

Sam Walters

The 6ft 6ins Walters was one of the more dependable figures in another testing rugby league season for Leeds Rhinos, so it came as a great surprise that he was allowed to leave to join rivals and reigning Super League champions Wigan. Walters’ speed and power can only make the champions stronger.

Jannik Sinner

Speedy baseliner Sinner has been threatening to move into serious grand slam title contention for some time and the signs are that 2024 could be his year. Sinner won two of four meetings with Novak Djokovic – including a dramatic Davis Cup rubber – and more of the same is seemingly assured for 2024.

Luca Brecel

He probably will not practice and will be one of the first to write off his chances. But enigmatic Belgian Luca Brecel will return to the Crucible in April as the defending world snooker champion – and one of the few top-level current players who can boast the stamina to get to the end of the 17 gruelling days.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe might not be in the best of moods in relation to his club career but his importance to France – and his ability to light up the game’s biggest stages – will be in evidence during Euro 2024. Moreover, Mbappe still harbours hopes of appearing as an over-age player at the Paris Olympics.

Keely Hodgkinson

So far it has been a career of so near yet so far for the British 800 metres ace, who has had to settle for silver medals at consecutive world championships, as well as the Tokyo Olympics and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. All eyes will be on her bid to go one better in Paris.

Nat Sciver-Brunt

The all-rounder, who has landed a deal to play for Perth Scorchers in the next women’s Big Bash, will play a pivotal role when England are scheduled to head to Bangladesh in 2024 as one of the favourites to clinch the women’s T20 world title.

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    Roston Chase and Gudakesh Motie played starring roles to lead the West Indies to a 16-run win over South Africa and an unassailable 2-0 series lead at Sabina Park in Kingston on Saturday.

    The hosts, after winning the toss and batting first, made an imposing 207-7 from their 20 overs on a much-improved Sabina Park pitch.

    Stand-in Captain Brandon King, who stood out with a top score of 79 in the first T20I, got the ball rolling quickly on Saturday with a 13-run third over off the bowling of Anrich Nortje, who South Africa brought in for this game in place of Gerald Coetzee.

    Johnson Charles, playing his 50th T20I, once again failed to make any inroads with the bat as he was first to fall, caught in the deep off the bowling of Bjorn Fortuin for seven.

    Kyle Mayers joined the skipper and the pair brought the score up to 51-1 at the end of the first powerplay with King 35* off 20 balls and looking set for another big one and Mayers on nine from seven balls.

    Unfortunately for the hosts and the Sabina Park crowd, King’s knock didn’t last much longer as he became the first T20I wicket for debutant Nqaba Peter when he was caught at long on for 36 in the seventh over.

    Peter got his second wicket not long after when Mayers, after hitting a six the ball before, became the third West Indies batsman to get out caught in the deep. He made a 16-ball 32 including two fours and three sixes. The score at the time of his wicket was 83-3 with one ball left in the ninth over.

    At the halfway point, the hosts were 88-3 with Roston Chase and Andre Fletcher at the crease on 10 and three, respectively.

    The pair then batted beautifully to put on a further 56 in short time before Fletcher fell for 29 to leave the West Indies 139-4 with five overs left.

    Not long after, Chase brought up an excellent maiden T20I fifty with a flat six over mid-wicket off Lungi Ngidi in the 17th over. His milestone came off 30 balls.

    The 19th over proved to be the most crucial for the West Indies as a trio of sixes from Romario Shepherd brought the score past the 200 mark before he fell off the last ball of that over for 26 off just 13 balls.

    In the end, Chase finished 67* off just 38 balls including seven fours and two sixes.

    Peter was the pick of the South African bowlers with 2-32 from his four overs while Ngidi and Andile Phehlukwayo took 2-41 and 2-51 from their respective four over spells.

    The start from South Africa then had Sabina Park silent as openers Reeza Hendricks and Quinton De Kock absolutely hammered the West Indian bowling around the park on the way to an opening partnership of 81 in the first five overs.

    The last ball of that fifth over proved to be the start of the West Indian fightback as De Kock took one risk too many and was bowled by Akeal Hosein for 41 off just 17 balls including four fours and as many sixes.

    Three balls later, one became two for the Windies as Reeza Hendricks, who made 87 in the first game on Thursday, was dismissed by Chase for 34 to leave the tourists 83-2 at the halfway point of the sixth over.

    Ryan Rickelton and Matthew Breetzke then added a further 30 before the latter went for an ill-advised second run and was run out thanks to a brilliant throw from the deep mid-wicket boundary by Shamar Joseph for 12 off the penultimate ball of the 10th over.

    Rickelton was next to go, caught off the bowling of Romario Shepherd for 19 to leave the score at 124-4 off 12 overs.

    Not long after, Andile Phehlukwayo fell to another brilliant piece of fielding from Joseph, this time a catch in the deep off the bowling of Gudakesh Motie for three to leave the South Africans reeling at 138-5 in the 15th over.

    Any chance South Africa had of pulling off the chase was dashed when Gudakesh Motie dismissed both Rassie Van Der Dussen (30) and Wiaan Mulder (9) in the 17th over.

    In the end, South Africa reached 191-7 from their 20 overs, 16 runs short of their target.

    Motie ended with 3-22 from his four overs while Shepherd bowled a crucial spell with 1-21 from his four.

    Chase, who was named man of the match, completed a fine all-round performance with 1-26 from his four overs.

    Chase says the team has eyes on a series sweep.

    “Obviously we’ve started the series well being 2-0 up but three is better than two. I just think it’s for us to look at some of the areas where we were weak today and plan to execute them better tomorrow and improve on the areas we did well in as well,” he said.

    “The guys have been playing some good cricket, we just had a camp in Antigua and we’ve put in a lot of hard work so it’s just for us to come out and execute and mostly, enjoy the cricket. I think once you go out there to enjoy the cricket, it becomes a lot easier and takes a bit of pressure off of you so it’s just to go out there and have fun,” he added.

    The third T20I is set for Sunday.

     

     

     

     

  • Contrasting season openers for Thompson-Herah, Alfred as Richardson eases to 100m victory Contrasting season openers for Thompson-Herah, Alfred as Richardson eases to 100m victory

    The much-anticipated season openers for St Lucia’s Julien Alfred and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, turned in contrasting results as both were left in the wake of American Sha’Carri Richardson at the end of the women’s 100m at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classics in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

    Given the quality nature of the field, the event was expected to prove a close affair, but no real clash materialized as Richardson, the reigning World champion, opened her 100m account in impressive fashion with a brisk 10.83 seconds.

    Alfred, the World Indoor 60m champion, placed second in 10.93s as she utilised her quick start to good effect and led for most of the way, before being caught by Richardson, while Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (10.98s), who was also opening her account in the event, placed third.

    Meanwhile, Thompson-Herah, the double Olympic champion, is still yet to rekindle her outstanding form of old, as she got up well from lane four, but quickly faded to the back of the field in 11.30s.

    American Christian Coleman also won the men’s 100m in a season’s best 9.95s, with runner-up Ferdinand Omanyala (9.98s), also clocking a season’s best. Another American Brandon Hicklin (10.08s) was third. Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake (10.12s) and Sandrey Davison with a personal best 10.13s, were fourth and fifth, while British Virgin Islands’ Rikkoi Brathwaite (10.19s) was sixth.

    In the field, Cuba’s World Indoor silver medallist Leyanis Perez Hernandez, topped the women’s triple jump event, as her 14.73m first effort was not to be denied. Try as they did, Dominica’s World Indoor champion and current world number one Thea Lafond (14.62m), and Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts, with a season’s best 14.55m, had to settle for the runners-up positions.

    Another Jamaica Kimberly Williams (13.74m) was seventh.

    Elsewhere on the track, the men’s 200m was won by current world leader Kenny Bednarek, who continued his rich early season form to again lead an American sweep. Bednarek won in 19.89s, ahead of Courtney Lindsey (20.09s) and Kyree King (20.15s).

    Caribbean athletes Alexander Ogando (20.27s) of Dominican Republic and Ian Kerr (20.87s) of Bahamas, finished fifth and ninth respectively.

    Grant Holloway also continued his good knick with another world lead performance of 13.03s to win the men’s 110m hurdles, which was also swept by the Americans. Daniel Roberts (13.13s) and Freddie Crittenden (13.16s) were second and third, while Jamaica’s Olympic champion Hansle Parchment (13.28s) recovered from a horrible start to finish fourth.

    The women’s event was won by Frenchwoman Cyrena Samba-Mayela, who equalled her National Record of 12.52s. Her training partner Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (12.54s) of Puerto Rico and American Tonea Marshall (12.55s). Bahamian World Indoor champion Devynne Charlton (12.63s) and Jamaica’s World champion Danielle Williams (12.65s), were fourth and sixth respectively.