Rio golf course faces dispute
Organizers for the 2016 Rio Games are facing an unexpected challenge to deliver the first golf tournament in more than 100 years because of a legal dispute about the land where the course is supposed to be built. The dispute could force city officials to find a new location for the course, meaning the project would have to start from scratch and organizers could have problems ensuring it is ready in time for test events in 2015 as initially planned.
US$1.2m wins Wagner card
A man paid US$1.2 million for a rare 1909 Honus Wagner card in an online auction that brought interest from many potential buyers who had never owned a card before, the sale organizer said. The buyer hasn’t decided whether to come forward publicly, and the seller, a Houston businessman, wants to remain anonymous, said Bill Goodwin, the suburban St Louis collectibles dealer who ran the auction that ended on Friday. The buyer’s bid was the highest of 14 made since the auction began last month. Wagner was a member of the first class of Hall of Fame inductees. The shortstop spent most of his 21-year career (1897 to 1917) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning eight batting titles and hitting a career .327. The card was released in cigarette packs sold by the American Tobacco Co from 1909 to 1911. The card was pulled from circulation after about 200 were issued. Historians believe only about 60 of the Wagner cards still exist, though many are in poor condition.
Lin Dan into Asian semis
China’s Lin Dan cruised into the semi-finals of the Asian Championships in Qingdao, China, on Friday with an impressive win over Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana 21-15, 21-10. The top seed, took just 39 minutes to breeze past the Thai and looked in good form as he continues his quest to win a second Olympic title at the upcoming London Games. The 28-year-old four-time world champion, five-time All England winner and reigning Asian champion was to meet compatriot and third seed Chen Jin in yesterday’s semi-final after he beat Hong Kong’s Hu Yun 21-10, 21-14. The other semi-final, between fifth seed Du Pengyu and second seed Chen Long, is also an all-Chinese affair, meaning China are guaranteed the men’s title. The women’s semi-finals will also feature only Chinese shuttlers.
Coach Holger Schmezer dies
Holger Schmezer, Germany’s two-time Olympic champion dressage coach, died, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) said on Friday. He was 65. Schmezer was found dead in his hotel room in ’s-Hertogenbosch, where three Germany riders are competing at the World Cup finals, the FEI said. “The loss of Holger Schmezer is a terrible blow to the German Dressage team, and to lose such an inspirational coach in an Olympic year is tragic,” FEI president Princess Haya of Jordan said in a statement. German riders Isabell Werth, Helen Langehanenberg and Nadine Capellmann wore black armbands in his honor Friday, the FEI said.
Windies coach fined
West Indies coach Ottis Gibson was fined 20 percent of his match fee after hitting out at the DRS review technology system during the drawn second Test against Australia. The incident took place on Tuesday when, during the post-third day’s play media briefing, Gibson challenged the DRS and its implementation by the match officials. He was subsequently charged with breaching the ICC Code of Conduct.
Mainz, Wolfsburg draw 0-0
FSV Mainz 05 and VfL Wolfsburg drew 0-0 in an uneventful match in the Bundesliga on Friday, likely ruining Wolfsburg’s hopes of playing in the Europa League. Wolfsburg is three points away from a European spot, having played one more match than Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Hannover 96. Earlier, Greuther Fuerth won promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time after drawing 1-1 at FSV Frankfurt. The second-division leader has 10 points more than Paderborn in third place, with two rounds remaining. The top two teams advance directly, with Eintracht Frankfurt also likely to return to the top tier.
Western Force sack coach
Australia’s Western Force Super Rugby franchise have sacked coach Richard Graham after he said he would move to the Queensland Reds at the end of the season. Graham had been expected to see out the remainder of the season with the Force before his move to Queensland, where he will replace Reds coach Ewen McKenzie, who is moving to a director-of-coaching role. However, the Force said late on Friday that after meetings with players and the board, they had decided that Graham would leave the Perth-based team’s coaching position immediately.
Israel suspends games
The head of Israel’s soccer association says he has suspended the rest of the matches in the top two divisions this weekend because of on-field violence. Israel Football Association head Avi Luzon called off yesterday’s Premier League and National League games, after players brawled at the end of a match between Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Lod on Friday. Luzon told Channel 2 TV: “I don’t want someone getting killed on the football field, heaven forbid. With all due respect to football, I don’t want football played tomorrow after today’s events.”
Calls to end dog slaughter
Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp and former Germany star Lars Ricken on Friday called for an end to the slaughter of stray dogs by Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine. The two men posed for a photograph to denounce “these massive and cruel slaughters,” said Ricken, who retired in 2009. “It’s not about boycotting the Euro, but to have a humane attitude towards all living things,” he said. The pair believe neutering strays would be the best long-term solution.
Henry pokes fun at England
Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks coach Graham Henry has poked fun at the England rugby team, describing its players in tongue-in-cheek comments as “a shambles” who should “self-destruct and start again.” Henry made the comments while replying to a question from an England supporter at a fundraising dinner on Thursday in Auckland, New Zealand. When contacted later by reporters, Henry said he did not want his comments published. However, the organizer of the dinner said Henry was an experienced public speaker who knew the media “could be there and would be there.” Henry, who was once linked to the England coaching job, has previously said the English are “world champions at wasting talent.” He told his English questioner on Thursday, again perhaps in jest, that England players are “smarmy” and “the height of arrogance.” He added that former England manager Martin Johnson is “a good guy.”