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Yao Ming of China goes up to shoot past Pau Gasol of Spain during NBA game in LA

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sharapova confirms to play in Auckland AUCKLAND: Former world number one Maria Sharapova will fine tune her Australian Open preparations with her first appearance at the Auckland Classic, organisers said on Wednesday. The world number 17, who won two tournaments and made three other finals in 2010, joins champion Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium as confirmed entrants for the Jan. 3-8 event, which serves as a warmup to the Australian Open from Jan 17-30. The 23-year-old, who won Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008, has been hampered by injury over the past two seasons but organisers expected her to be a huge drawcard for the tournament in central Auckland. "Having Maria come to the ... Classic is a major boost to the tournament and to the sport," said tournament director Richard Palmer. "Her popularity is huge and she will be one of the leading players at the (tournament) in 2011."-Reuters

Injury woes continue for Owen LONDON: Michael Owen's injury-interrupted season will be back on hold for a few weeks more after suffering a hamstring problem, the Manchester United striker said on Wednesday. The ex-Liverpool frontman had only just returned to training after a groin problem but was ruled out of Tuesday's 3-2 League Cup win over Wolverhampton Wanderers after suffering "a different muscle injury". His career has been consistently hampered by injury setbacks in recent years, which have also seen him slip from the international scene despite having scored 40 goals for England. "It's not going great. I had a bit of a tight groin a while ago and I've trained for a week preparing for last night's game but then I had a setback," Owen told BBC radio. "Unfortunately, because of a training ground injury I'm going to be out for the next few weeks, which is disappointing." Owen has not played since being substituted in the goalless Premier League draw at Sunderland on Oct 2.-Reuters

Jazz Cricket Hungama in Gujranwala Staff Correspondent GUJRANWALA: Jazz has initiated a nation-wide cricket tournament titled "Jazz Cricket Hungama." One of the tournaments venues was Gujranwala where 16 talented and enthusiastic young cricket teams of the city were pitted against one another. Many remarkable performances were displayed by young players who were competing to earn the status of cricket champions of Gujranwala. As per the format determined, the 16 teams played these matches on a knock-out basis. The day/night schedule helped to ensure maximum participation by the players as well as the spectators. At the conclusion of this tournament, the -Aroop Cricket Club from Gujranwala city took the top position and the title of 'Cricket Champions of Gujranwala'.

Batting collapses once more for Pak Tauseef Mallick KARACHI: Another bad performing day, another batting collapse, another misfiring display from batting lineup. Some things never change, though they might claim a single run improvement, as Pakistan made 120 runs for the loss of 9 wickets batting first in their second T20 match against South Africa. Nothing went right from the start. Shahzaib Hasan continued to be a walking wicket and his exit, to an ugly slog across the line, opened the floodgates. Imran Farhat, who was bowled going for an over-ambitious heave, made you wonder whether the selectors are too harsh on

Imran Nazir. Like yesterday, it was Lonwabo Tsotsobe who removed the openers. There was no middle-order revival. Mohammad Hafeez's averages just 20.01 from 53 ODIs and 16.53 from 17 Twenty20s. Today was yet another day where he played couple of pretty shots before combusting. He was caught at the crease, pondering over a cut or a steer and lost his stumps before he could makeup his mind. Umar Akmal ran himself out after getting into a mix-up with Misbah-ul-Haq, and Shahid Afridi scooped Rusty Theron to deep point. Abdul Razzaq improved on his performance from yesterday - he swung couple of sixes - but tapped a full toss from Theron straight to mid-off.

Alam takes critical reforming steps

Strictness may lift Pak’s game ABU DHABI: Team manager Intikhab Alam Wednesday insisted that "strict steps" taken to improve discipline would improve Pakistan's cricket and did not disturb the players. Pakistan last week introduced a new code of conduct with stricter punishments for disciplinary breaches, which Alam said were needed in the wake of England tour rocked by spot-fixing allegations against the team. "All the strict steps taken are for the betterment of Pakistan cricket and all the players are feeling comfortable with them," Alam told. Three Pakistani players -Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer -- were suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) follow-

ing allegations of spot-fixing on the tour of England last month. Alam said Pakistan cricket will show signs of improvement -- on and off the field. "With players reminded of their responsibilities we hope that Pakistan cricket will show signs of improvement both on and off the field and the focus should be to do the best for the country," said Alam, also a former captain. Alam said players have been told to take care in meeting people who they don't know. "There is no curb on players' movement as dispelled in certain quarters. They have been asked not to go anywhere on match days and they are not allowed to bring any guest to their team hotel.-Agencies

Ronaldo targeted by cryptic laser MADRID: Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was targeted by a laser during the goalless King's Cup draw away to thirdtier side Murcia, in the latest in a string of similar incidents, Spanish media reported Wednesday. The green laser was pointed at the 25-year-old's face at the Nueva Condomina stadium on Tuesday night during the 72nd minute of the match just as he was lining up to take a free kick, sports daily Marca reported. The newspaper published pictures of the Portuguese international taken during the match with showed a green glow from the laser on his forehead as well as on his cheek. The guilty fan was able to avoid being caught by stadium officials, the newspaper said.

Ronaldo has been targeted by lasers at other stadiums in the past as well,including Barcelona's Nou Camp, Marseille's Velodrome and Lyon's Gerland. In March 2008 European football's governing body UEFA fined Lyon 5,000 Swiss francs (3,675 euros) after the French club's supporters used a laser on Ronaldo during a Champions League clash with Manchester United, his club at the time. Television pictures showed Ronaldo being targeted by a green light both before and during the first knockout round tie at Lyon on February 20. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with United going on to reach the quarter-finals after winning the second leg 1-0.APP

It was left to Misbah to push Pakistan over 100. It was another one of his meandering knocks that seemed to go nowhere till he showed intent at the last couple of overs. Like yesterday, he initially struggled to find his timing but fought on to stitch one end up. He went for the big shots in the end - there was a neat six over wide long-on, hit on a bent knee and a shuffled swat to backward squareleg boundary- to shove Pakistan to 120. South Africa again were very disciplined with their line and lengths. Tsotsobe picked early wickets, Johan Botha strangled in the middle and Theron finished off in style with three wickets in the last over.

United through to league's last eight LONDON: Mexican substitute Javier Hernandez scored a last-minute winner to send holders Manchester United into the League Cup quarter-finals with a 3-2 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on Tuesday. After a scrappy and goalless first half, the visitors twice came back from a goal down against a youthful United side before "Little Pea" Hernandez skipped past defenders to settle the tie in the 90th minute. "When he came on, you just know that if he gets a chance he is going to take it," United manager Alex Ferguson, who replaced his entire starting line-up from the weekend, told Sky Sports television. Premier League West Bromwich Albion roared through to the last eight with a thumping 4-1 victory at former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's Championship (second division) side Leicester City. Wigan Athletic beat second division Swansea City 2-0 with Argentine striker Mauro Boselli scoring his first goal for the club since his signing from Estudiantes. The run of fourth division Northampton Town, who knocked out Liverpool at Anfield on penalties, ended at second division Ipswich Town where they lost 3-1 despite opening the scoring with a looping Liam Davis shot.-Reuters

ABU DHABI: Pakistan's Imran Farhat plays a shot during the second day of Twenty20 international cricket match against South Africa.-Reuters

Pak confident to satisfy ITF security KARACHI: Pakistan said it was confident that international tennis would return to the country after an International Tennis Federation (ITF) security visit. Pakistan Tennis Federation President Dilawar Abbas told Reuters on Tuesday that security consultant Ian Todd had visited Pakistan on behalf of the ITF to assess security arrangements at venues. "We have asked the ITF to allot international events including Davis Cup ties to Pakistan once again as we are capable of hosting them with-

out any problems," Abbas said. The ITF moved Pakistan's 'home' Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group matches against Oman, Phillipines, Hong Kong and New Zealand because of security concerns. "We have suffered because we lost our home advantage in these Davis Cup ties," Abbas said. The ITF confirmed that the security assessment had taken place and that it was expecting a full report. "We are hopeful something positive will happen soon as

this is necessary for the promotion of the sport in Pakistan," Abbas said. The Pakistan cricket team are playing all their home matches at neutral venues for an indefinite period after armed gunmen attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team in Lahore last year. Tennis has become a front line sport in Pakistan recently following the success of Aisam-ul-Haq who has teamed up with Indian Rohan Bopanna to win double events on the ATP tour.-APP

Samir off ITF tour over fundlessness LAHORE: Pakistan's future tennis hope Samir Iftikhar lost the opportunity to represent Pakistan in the main draw of Prestigious ITF Junior Grand Slam event Osaka Mayors Cup held from October 18-25 due to non availability of funds with the Pakistan Tennis Federation. The dejected Samir is the 2nd junior from Pakistan since 1998 after his cousin Aisam-ulHaq to be accepted in the Qualifying draw of Australian

junior open Grand slam in January 2010 and was sent on special Grant by Federal Sports Minister Ijaz Jhakrani where he gained tremendous exposure and raised his junior world Ranking from 1300th to current 250th and became 2nd Pak Junior since 1998 to receive prestigious ITF GSDF grant in May 2010. He became the only Pak junior after 12 years to win four back to back singles and Doubles ITF junior world

ranking titles at Syria, Amman, Bahrain and Dubai. "Every player has the dream to play the Grand Slam event and I did my best to improve my ranking to world number 250 in record time of eight months which got me in the main draws of High Grade tournaments and the Grand Slam event in Osaka where my participation could have further lifted the level of my game by competing against world top players," Samir told.-APP

Kochi axed off IPL NAGPUR: The IPL's Kochi franchise has been served a termination notice by the BCCI but has been given a 30-day deadline to respond and explain why it should not be scrapped. The decision was taken unanimously by the IPL's governing council, meeting in Nagpur on Wednesday morning. "The governing council received replies from two par-

ties, the Rendezvous group and the other co-owners, and they both felt that the dispute still exists," Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, said. If they don't remedy these disputes in the 30 days, the franchise would stand cancelled on the 31st day." Satyajit Gaikwad, of the Rendezvous Group, however, welcomed the extension and was confident that the factions

within the consortium would make peace. "They have given us enough time to tie up our differences and come in a unified way and rise up to the expectations of the BCCI," he told NDTV. "I'm sure we should be able to do that at the earliest. If we don't tie up within 30 days we don't deserve to be in the IPL. We had asked for a period of 10 days, the board has given us 30 days."-Online

Germany's 1954 win, a drugged victory? BERLIN: West Germany's 1954 World Cup-winning team, feted as the men who helped put a nation back on its feet after World War Two, may have been boosted by a secret doping programme, according to a new university study. Germany upstaged red-hot favourites Hungary 3-2 in the final in Switzerland in a victory that became known as the "Miracle of Berne," giving the war-weary nation cause at last for cheer. "There are several strong indications that point to the injection of (methamphetamine) pervitin in some Germany players and not vitamin C as it was claimed," sports historian and author

Erik Eggers, who conducted the study as part of a team at Humboldt University in Berlin, told Reuters on Wednesday. Pervitin was a known stimulant at the time and had also been distributed to German soldiers in World War Two. Team officials had said they had injected their players only with vitamin C during the tournament. No drugs tests were conducted at the time. Eggers has been studying this case for some years and his report forms part of a wider project

called 'Doping in Germany', launched by the country's sports authorities to investi-

widely used in many sports and amphetamines were said to be also used by South

gate its doping past. "Pervitin was at that time

America said.

players,"

Eggers

"What is suspicious is that these injections to German players were distributed secretly and the only reason they became known was because those who got injected contracted jaundice." Hungary had demolished the Germans 8-3 in the tournament's group stage, making West Germany's final win all the more surprising. "The most important indication, though, is that vitamin C is not injected. This is very unusual. They could have just eaten an orange instead." German football federation

(DFB) officials could not be immediately be reached for a comment. German Olympic Sports Union (DOSB), the country's umbrella sports organisation which launched the Doping in Germany project with other sports authorities, told Reuters they were aware of Eggers' study. "Keep in mind these are indications and not proof," a DOSB official told Reuters. Many Germans view the 1954 win as the springboard of the country's remarkable soccer success in the World Cups -- they have won three and been runners-up four times -- and a key moment of renewed optimism in postWar Germany.-Reuters

The Financial Daily-Epaper-28-10-2010  

The Financial Daily Epaper