As expected, Australia won the two-game series against arch-rival New Zealand to win the FIBA Oceania Championship and the region's automatic Olympic spot for next year in Rio. NBA stars Matthew Dellevedova, Patty Mills, and Andrew Bogut joined the team to ensure the Boomers' 19th straight trip to Olympic competition. Meanwhile, New Zealand - which has only made the Games in 2000 and 2004, moves on to the last-chance Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year.
Germany Dominates European Equestrian
Hosts Germany topped the medal table at the 2015 European Equestrian Championships in Aachen, which featured the Olympic disciplines of eventing, dressage, and jumping but also vaulting, reining and driving. Jeroen Dubbeldam of the Netherlands won the final event, individual jumping, to add to his career titles in the Olympics and the Worlds.
Cuba On Top Again in Americas Boxing
At the conclusion of the 2015 Americas Confederation Boxing Championships in Vargas, Venezuela, Cuba stood out as the clear dominant force once again. With finalists in all ten divisions, the Cubans emerged with 7 titles, including in the with super heavyweight Erislandy Savon, nephew of legend Felix Savon, and winner of teh tournament's best boxer after his 3-0 defeat of Argentina's Yamil Peralta.
Canoe Sprint Worlds End in Milan
In another display of traditional powers' dominance, Hungary topped the medals at the 2015 Canoe Sprint Worlds in Milan this week, with 13 medals overall. Belarus led the gold race, with five of the 26 at stake, with kayaker Maryna Litvinchuk winning two. Looking ahead to Rio, Brazil set themselves up with Isaquias Queiroz winning two medals, notably gold in the C-2 1000m with partner Erlon Silva.
Volleyball can rest equally with both soccer and basketball as sports with a proliferation of world championships for multiple age groups. This week, it was the U-23 women's turn. At the conclusion, Brazil won in four sets over the host Turkey, and helped set the nation up with a boost of depth confidence ahead of the senior tournament in the Olympic next year. This was the second edition of the U-23 Worlds, with China having won in 2013.
Speaking of Which...
Poland defeated hosts Argentina in a tight 3-2 match in the men's U-19 World Championship, in Resistencia. This is the Poles first U-19 title, and the first time either team had made it into the final match. Iran defeated Russia for the bronze.
A New Face in European Modern Pentathlon
Europe held its Modern Pentathlon Championships, and Olympic qualifiers, with the top eight finishers in both the men's and women's competition earning Rio berths. For the women, defending Olympic champion Lithuanian Laura Asadauskaite won the title, although she already had qualified for Rio by virtue of her 2015 World Cup title. Perhaps the breakthrough news of the tournament was Ireland's Arthur Lanigan-O'Keefe winning the men's title, despite a 38th world ranking. At 23, he is already an Olympic veteran, having finished in 25th at London. Congrats!
Meanwhile, Egyptians Lead Charge in African Modern Pentathlon
On stake in Cairo at the African Modern Pentathlon Championships were single Olympic berths for both of the individual title-ists. Egypt scored both, first with Haydy Morsy winning the women's gold over veteran Aya Medany. Next, Eslam Hamad took the men's title, over a field that included worlds medalist Amro El Geziry.
USA Wins Women's U-20 Water Polo Worlds
The United States won the biennial junior championship for U-20's, after beating Spain 13-10 in the gold medal match, and for their fourth title. Russia beat Canada for the bronze in the 16-team tournament in Volos, where the host Greeks managed an fifth place finish.
The biggest event in athletics aside from the Olympics, the IAAF's World Championships began in Beijing with a return to the site of the 2008 Games and its iconic Bird's Nest stadium. The highlight of any track event is often the men's 100meters - and this year's version certainly was billed as the top draw, with 'good guy' Usain Bolt of Jamaica vs 'evil guy' Justlin Gatlin of the USA. While that was typical - and unfair - media hype, Bolt delivered a win for history, for his ninth career gold, and overcoming doubts that he can still rise despite a subpar season. Lots more track and field, though over the new week - let the (athletics) begin!
...and Seb Coe Takes Charge
Great Britain's track legend, 2012 London chair, and longtime IAAF vice president Sebastian Coe was elected to the presidency this week, after an election pitting him against fellow legend, ex-pole vaulter Sergey Bubka of the Ukraine. With strong words simultaneously defending the IAAF while vowing to fight doping, he has work to do, and the honeymoon glow of his win seems to already have faded. An immediate scandal for him - the state of his business ties to Nike despite his new role - have diverted attention from the happiness of the election. With the status of athletics as the lead sport of the Olympics, and with its stature on its own in off-years anyway, Coe has his work cut out for him in leading the charge to trust and accountability. At least he has this week to enjoy Bolt and co before everyone starts paying attention again to his office...