Sat, Dec 20, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Soccer

Celtic dumped out by Hibs

Eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League, Celtic lost its first domestic game of the season on Thursday when it tumbled 2-1 at Hibernian in the League Cup. Kevin Thomson's first goal for Hibs eight minutes from the end prevented Martin O'Neill's men from meeting big rival Rangers in the semifinal. Celtic went ahead through a 56th minute header by Slovak international Stanislav Varga but a penalty by Grant Brebner leveled the game eight minutes later.

■ Cycling

End is in sight for Armstrong

Five-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong says he'll compete in two more tours before retiring. Armstrong expects to race in the 2004 and 2005 tours but has not made plans for what to do after he retires. A win next year would give Armstrong a record sixth straight. Armstrong, a testicular cancer survivor who overcame the disease, spoke Wednesday at the National Press Club to unveil a new drive to increase funding for cancer research.

■ Taekwondo

Champ gets gold back

Olympic taekwondo champion Lauren Burns thanked a "ratbag with a conscience" after her stolen gold medal was found yesterday. The medal, which Burns won in the 49kg class at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was stolen from Burns' Melbourne home on Wednesday. After widespread media coverage of the theft, the medal was reportedly found under a dust bin in a Melbourne street on Friday. "I guess I'd given up hope on getting it back and that maybe one day, in 20 years, it would turn up," Burns told television station Channel Nine. "There's some ratbags out there but they're ratbags with a conscience."

■ Tennis

Roddick set for Athens

Andy Roddick will play in the Olympic tennis tournament this summer. "Athens 2004 -- we're definitely going," Roddick's coach, Brad Gilbert, said Thursday. The top-ranked Roddick is eligible for the Summer Games because he plays in Davis Cup competition. The Olympic Games are scheduled for Aug. 15-22, ending eight days before the start of the US Open, where Roddick will defend his first major title. Roddick hired Gilbert, who previously coached Andre Agassi, after he suffered a first-round loss in the French Open this year. With Gilbert, Roddick reached the Wimbledon semifinals, won the US Open and rose to No. 1 in the rankings.

■ Cricket

Warne blackmailer fined

A businessman was fined A$11,500 (US$8,500) yesterday for attempting to blackmail the Australian Cricket Board with an allegation that star player Shane Warne had kissed his 15-year-old niece. Christopher Kent, 46, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the County Court in Melbourne to a charge of attempting to obtain property by deception and a second charge of using a telephone to menace. The court heard Kent rang the ACB early last year, telling them the media was offering his niece A$5,000 (US$3,675) for her story about an encounter with Warne. Kent told the board to match the offer or his niece would go public with allegations. Warne was alleged to have kissed the teenager and to have asked her to expose her breasts in January last year, an allegation he emphatically denied. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

■ Rugby Union

Australia licked again

Fans of England's World Cup winning rugby team can now lick the Australians again and again with every letter they send down under. Britain's Royal Mail yesterday issued a set of commemorative 68 pence stamps that feature scenes of England's nail-biting 20-17 victory over their historic rivals in Sydney on Nov. 22. "In case you hadn't realized, the 68p stamps are just the right value to send to any friend you might have in Australia," Royal Mail said in a statement, stoking the friendly rivalry between the sides. Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson's extra time kick clinched the win for England, considered the country's greatest sporting victory since its football team triumphed at the 1966 World Cup. The loss was also a rare humiliation for Australia, who have made it a tradition to pound England at a number of sports, including rugby and cricket. The stamps will also be issued in a 28p denomination, the price of a regular first class letter sent within the UK.

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