Kournikova sidesteps Paris
Russia's Anna Kournikova and Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands have withdrawn from next week's French Open, tournament organisers said on Thursday. Kournikova cited a leg injury, while Krajicek is still suffering from the elbow problem that has plagued his career since he won Wimbledon in 1996, a statement said. They will be replaced in the draw by lucky losers.
Qaddafi Jr. eyes Italy
Al-Saadi Qaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and captain of his nation's soccer team, wants to join top-division Italian team Perugia next season, his spokesman said on Thursday. The Libyan's Rome-based spokesman Gianluca Di Carlo said that Perugia president Luciano Gaucci had contacted Al-Saadi Qaddafi regarding the possibility. Perugia officials could not be reached Thursday to confirm this. "The only problem is if he has enough time," Di Carlo said, referring to Al-Saadi Qaddafi's busy schedule.
British anthem ruled out
Britain's national anthem won't be played before the English soccer league playoff games because a Welsh team is involved, the Football League said on Thursday. The matches, on today, tomorrow and Monday in Cardiff, Wales, have traditionally featured God Save The Queen before kickoff. But league officials are worried the anthem will be booed because Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, Wales' national anthem, isn't being played before Cardiff's division two final against Queens Park Rangers on tomorrow.
McNair apologizes for arrest
Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair apologized on Thursday for his arrest hours earlier on charges of drunken driving and illegal possession of a handgun. "This is something I didn't think that would ever happen, but this is something that we've just got to deal with, and I will with the support ... of my teammates, coaches, family and friends," McNair said. "I will get over it." McNair read his short statement while flanked by Titans coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Floyd Reese and president Jeff Diamond. He didn't take any questions and concluded by apologizing to his fans, particularly the children who look up to him. McNair was stopped just after midnight by a police officer who saw his sports utility vehicle weaving on a downtown street. The weapon charge involves a 9mm handgun found in the console between the front seats of his SUV.
Utah receives final check
Olympic organizers handed over the 2002 Winter Games' final payout on Thursday, reimbursing Utah for building the Olympic Village. Organizers wired US$400,000 to the state, the amount remaining from a total of US$31.6 million in Olympic payments that helped pay for construction of living quarters taken over by the University of Utah. The Salt Lake Organizing Committee, which plans to go out of business June 30, paid off its final obligation two years before the money was due. The Winter Olympics left a US$100 million profit plus other benefits for Utah that together come to more than US$250 million.
Asashoryu on course
Mongolian Asashoryu took a giant step toward his first title as grand champion yesterday when he tripped up Musoyama at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament. With two days remaining in the 15-day tourney at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Asashoryu improved to 12-1 and opened up a two-win lead over ozeki Kaio, who upset Chiyotaikai in an earlier bout to give both wrestlers a record of 10-3. Asashoryu will face Kaio in today's bouts and could wrap up his first Emperor's Cup as yokozuna with a win. Fighting in the day's final bout, Asashoryu used a well-timed leg kick to upend ozeki Musoyama in the center of the ring.