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Volume 6 No. 235

People and Pop Culture

Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the NBA Washington Wizards, hired GRANT PARANJAPE as its director of esports business & team operations. The company said that the hire was the "first of its kind for an ownership group in the NBA." Paranjape previously worked as esports organization Splyce's business development lead, during which time the company saw "massive growth" in its footprint and talent base (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 8/16). ... The World Surf League announced the appointment of JOSEPH CARR as the chief strategy officer & head of int'l. He will be responsible for overseeing the WSL's strategy, corporate development and the execution of int'l operations, sales, events and athlete development. Carr joins the WSL from UFC, where he served as an SVP & head of int'l & content (WSL). ... ANDY SALMON was announced as the new CEO of British Triathlon. He will take over the body in mid-November and will guide the sport through the Olympic and Paralympic cycle. Salmon is currently interim CEO of Scottish Snowsport and chair of Triathlon Scotland (220 TRIATHLON, 8/16).

COACHES/MANAGERS: J.League side Vissel Kobe terminated the contract of Manager NELSINHO due to the side's poor performance this season. Head coach TAKAYUKI YOSHIDA, 40, will replace the 67-year-old Brazilian on an interim basis "until a formal successor is found" (KYODO, 8/16). ... Veteran football coach KIM HAK-BUM was appointed manager of last-place K League side Gwangju. Kim succeeds NAM KI-IL, who "offered to resign Monday in the midst of the club's poor season" (YONHAP, 8/16). 

NEYMAR reportedly hired UFC fighter NORDINE TALEB as a personal bodyguard following his move to Paris St. Germain. Taleb "is a welterweight contender who last fought in May," beating OLIVER ENKAMP (London EVENING STANDARD, 8/16). ... League Championship side Burton Albion is ready to offer USAIN BOLT the "opportunity to prove his worth in football." Bolt, a well-known ManU fan, has "long been vocal about his desire to swap the track for the football field, even reiterating a possible new career upon hanging up his running spikes." Burton Chair BEN ROBINSON is "happy to welcome" Bolt, adding that "at the very least Bolt would offer an injection of speed into his ranks" (EVENING STANDARD, 8/16). ... Former Paris St. Germain captain and Manager LUIS FERNÁNDEZ is the club's new training center director. PSG presented Fernández on Wednesday. Sporting Dir ANTERO HENRIQUE is "said to be behind" Fernández's return to Paris (L'ÉQUIPE, 8/16). ... SERENA WILLIAMS confirmed her "outrageous plan" to defend her Australian Open title four months after giving birth to her first child and "suggested she could retire from tennis if she cannot reach the same levels as before her pregnancy." The 23-time grand slam winner announced her pregnancy in April and is due to give birth next month (LONDON TIMES, 8/16). ... Japanese tennis player KEI NISHIKORI is "out for the rest of the season after tearing a tendon in his right wrist." The world No. 9 joins 12-time grand slam champion NOVAK DJOKOVIC and STAN WAWRINKA in missing the U.S. Open, which starts on Aug. 28 (BBC, 8/16). ... The pitch that helped make GEORGE BEST a "football legend" is to be "protected forever." Cregagh Green is where Best "first flashed his meteoric talent" as a schoolboy in the '50s. It is situated in the east Belfast housing estate where he grew up. It is the first project in the U.K. to be given funding as part of the Active Spaces Forever program (BBC, 8/15).