Ash Barty has become the first Australian woman to rank World No. 1 in 43 years, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. Ash Barty has become the first Australian woman to rank World No. 1 in 43 years.

Ash Barty will head to Wimbledon as world number one after an emphatic straight sets win over German Julia Goerges to take out the Birmingham classic.

On Monday, the 23-year-old will officially be announced as the world’s top-ranked player – the first Aussie to do so since Lleyton Hewitt in 2003 and the first woman since the great Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.

She has leapfrogged Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka to join just four other Aussies: Goolagona Cawley, John Newcombe, Pat Rafter and Hewitt to earn top spot since the rankings were introduced in 1973.

Barty will now head to Wimbledon next week as the No.1 seed and with a huge chance of replicating Goolagong Crawley’s last Centre Court success in 1980.

However, the humble Queenslander said she still has a long way to go to be classed in the same bracket as the Australian tennis great.

“I’m nowhere near her status,” Barty said. “To be mentioned in the same sentence is incredible.

“Evonne, she’s an amazing human being and has set the tone for so many Australians and so many indigenous Australians around our country and around the world.

“She is an amazing person. And what she has done in her career was incredible and what she continues to do off the court for us as a sport is amazing.

“To have her as a friend is amazing and I’m sure that I will be able to chat to her in the next few days.

She said that despite her top ranking, it will be business as usual heading into Wimbledon.

“It’s an amazing place to be in (No.1) but certainly nothing changes,” Barty said. “It’s been incredible the amount of support that I have received, particularly from Australians.

“But it’s not something that I ignore, not by any means. It’s there, there is not really much I can do about it.

“I’m trying to go out there and do my thing on the court and kind of let that do the talking.”

In 2016, Barty was ranked 623 in the world after returning to the game from an 18-month stint playing Big Bash cricket with the Brisbane Heat.

2. Netball great Liz Ellis says Netball Australia’s response to Maria Folau is ‘not good enough’.


Netball great Liz Ellis slammed the sport’s peak body in Australia after it refused to sanction Israel Folau’s wife for re-posting his controversial online fundraising campaign.

Maria Folau, who plays for Adelaide Thunderbirds in Super Netball, re-posted her husband’s online campaign, which aims to raise $3 million for legal fees after he was sacked.

Netball Australia and the Super Netball league said no action would be taken in a joint statement released on Sunday.

“Yeah nah not good enough,” former Australian Diamonds captain Liz Ellis wrote on social media in response.

“There is no room for homophobia in our game. Anyone who is seen to support or endorse homophobia is not welcome,” she said.

The former captain of the national team and the Sydney Swifts said while she loved watching Maria Folau play she did not want her sport endorsing the views of her husband.

Israel Folau’s $4 million contract was torn up in May after one of his social media posts citing the Bible was deemed homophobic.

“We will continue to support Maria as a valued member of the Thunderbirds and the Suncorp Super Netball league,” the joint statement read.

The fundraising post, republished to Maria Folau’s Instagram page on Friday, explains the couple has spent more than $100,000 on legal fees to fight the termination.

As of Sunday afternoon , a GoFundMe page set up by Israel Folau had raised more than $670,000 of its $3 million target.


Netball South Australia chief executive Bronwyn Klei also weighed in on the controversy, defending her organisation as committed to providing an inclusive environment.

“We also believe in fairness and perspective,” she said, shortly before Folau took to the court for the Thunderbirds clash with the NSW Swifts in Adelaide on Sunday.

“Like millions of other people across Australia, Maria Folau uses her personal social media platform to share her life and beliefs with her family, friends and fans.”

Ms Klei made clear Netball SA does not endorse the post, but said the social media policy has not been contravened.

“Maria is a key member of the Thunderbirds,” she said.

“We continue to support her as we support all our players.”

3. Origin players again refused to sing the national anthem during Sunday night’s State of Origin.

Once again players have refused to sing the national anthem before Sunday’s State of Origin II in Perth.

Following the controversial boycott in game one, NSW’s Josh Addo-Carr and Blake Ferguson did not join in for Advance Australia Fair while Queensland’s Will Chambers, Dane Gagai and Josh Papalii remained tight-lipped.

The issue was a major talking point ahead of the series opener after Blues playmaker Cody Walker claimed he would not recognise the song, saying it “does not represent me or my family”.

He planted the seed when he was one of several players who remained silent during a rendition of the anthem at the Indigenous All-Stars game in Melbourne earlier this year.

His decision attracted some high-profile support from the likes of NRL legend Johnathan Thurston who said he was surprised by the lack of public debate over the anthem following the All Stars game in February.

Walker was among several players on both sides who did not sing the anthem before game one in Brisbane.

The hot topic again reared its head ahead of game two when Blues great Timana Tahu controversially claimed that Walker and NSW teammate Latrell Mitchell were dropped for the Perth clash due to their anthem protest.

Tahu will reportedly be sacked from his role with the Blues Pathways Program over his claims.

Despite Tahu’s claims, NSW made seven changes to their squad that included bringing in two indigenous stars in Blake Ferguson and Wade Graham.


4. Thai soccer team marks one-year cave anniversary.

A year after they became trapped in a flooded cave at the start of a two-week ordeal, some of the 12 young Thai soccer players and their coach marked the anniversary of the drama on Sunday that propelled them into celebrities.

Around 4,000 people took part in the marathon and biking event Sunday morning, organised by local authorities to raise funds to improve conditions at the now famous Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand.

The youngsters went in to explore before rain-fed floodwaters pushed them deep inside the dark complex. Their rescue was hailed as nothing short of a miracle.

Nine of the boys and their coach ran the marathon, donning the event’s orange T-shirts and looking notably taller and older. The Wild Boars teammates were at the centre of attention as they smiled and posed for photos.

The boys and their coach have since become celebrities, represented by the 13 Tham Luang Co. Ltd, which Thailand’s government helped establish to look after their interests. Netflix has acquired the rights to their story.

“I want to thank everybody who has put so much effort and sacrifices to save all of us,” said Ekapol Chantawong, a former Wild Boars team coach. He stood in front of the bronze statue of Lieutenant Commander Saman Gunan, a Thai navy SEAL who lost his life rescuing the trapped boys.


Abbot Prayutjetiyanukarn, a monk in the local neighbourhood who interacts with the team every week, told The Associated Press that some of the boys were wary of the media and try to avoid the press whenever they can.

“But they are fine, both physically and spiritually, there’s nothing to worry about,” he said.

Last year’s sensational rescue was initially led only by Thailand’s navy SEALs but the task proved extremely difficult. They turned to international rescuers and cave explorers, and crucially, cave diving experts who located the boys and coach before bringing them out July 10, 2018..

The operation required placing oxygen canisters along the path where the divers manoeuvred dark, tight and twisting passageways filled with muddy waters and strong currents.

Many local and foreign rescuers returned for Sunday’s run.

“Not many children could have survived the way they did, so we have to respect them for that,” said Vernon Unsworth, a British diver whose advice and experience were crucial to the rescue operation.

“What we should do right now is to just let them get on with their lives. Just let them grow up like normal kids,” he said.

The cave and the town of Mae Sai in the mountainous province on the border with Myanmar are now flooded with curious tourists.

The cave’s surrounding amenities, which just last year primarily featured dirt roads and thick mud, has seen some significant renovations with facilities being built, roads paved, and shops settling in.

5. Sharrouf children on way home to Australia from Syria.

The Australian government has evacuated eight children of two dead Islamic State fighters from a Syrian refugee camp, saying they should not be punished for the crimes of their parents.

In the group are the offspring of jihadist Khaled Sharrouf, including his heavily pregnant 17-year-old daughter Zaynab and her own two daughters aged two and three, his son Humzeh, eight, and another daughter Hoda, 16, 17, the ABC reported.

The others are three children aged between six and 12, who are the offspring of IS fighter Yasin Rizvic and his wife, Fauzia Khamal Bacha, who is also dead.

The operation has been confirmed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Repatriating these children was not a decision the Australian government made lightly,” he told The Australian.


“The fact that parents put their children into harm’s way by taking them into a war zone was a despicable act,” he added,

“However, children should not be punished for the crimes of their parents.”

The operation to repatriate the children has been under consideration for months.

It is likely they will require significant medical treatment now they are out of Syria.

The ABC reported Hoda Sharrouf was lame after being shot 18 months ago, and her older sister Zaynab is only days away from giving birth to her third child.

The Sharrouf children were in April reunited with their Sydney grandmother, Karen Nettleton, in al-Hawl camp in northern Syria where those fleeing ISIS last enclave at Baghouz ended up.

It’s believed Mrs Nettleton, who had not seen her grandchildren since 2014, had been negotiating with officials to bring them back to Australia.

Sharrouf was killed in an air strike in September 2017, along with – it’s believed – his two older sons, Abdullah, 12, and Zarqawi, 11.

The children’s mother, Mrs Nettleton’s daughter Tara, died of medical complications in 2015.

Zaynab told the ABC in April she and her siblings had no choice over being taken into the war zone.

“We weren’t the ones that chose to come here in the first place,” she told the Four Corners program.

“We were brought here by our parents. And now that our parents are gone, we want to live. And for me and my children I want to live a normal life just like anyone would want to live a normal life.”

Her sister Hoda, who was 11 when she was taken out of Australia, told Four Corners: “I didn’t know I was in Syria until after we crossed the borders and I heard people speaking Arabic.”

“I asked my mum where we were. And she told me we were in Syria. I started crying.”

The Sharrouf children shot to notoriety when their father released a photograph of Abdullah holding the severed head of a Syrian man.

Both sets of children are being taken to a “safe location” outside of Syria before making the journey to Australia where they are likely to be settled in Melbourne, The Australian said.