■ Baseball \nCourt reduces sentences \nA Taiwan court on Friday cut a number of sentences against 23 baseball players and trainers involved in the nation's biggest sporting scandal after hearing their appeals. The game-fixing scandal rocked baseball -- Taiwan's most popular sport -- in 1996. The next year, the 23 accused were convicted of throwing games and received jail terms of up to 2 years and 6 months. In the appeals verdict Friday, the High Court still found 22 of the 23 guilty, but cut most of their sentences, often by half. One player, Tsai Ming-hung of the Times Eagles, was acquitted because he had never set foot on the field during the games, court spokesman Wen Yao-yuan said. Tsai had been sentenced to 8 months in jail in the 1997 trial. The accused were banned from the sport after the first trial, and were forced to find other work. \n■ Tennis \nMartina keeps on ticking \nMartina Navratilova has two perfectly good reasons to keep her stellar tennis career going: she's good, and she's always improving. So stop asking the 48-year-old champion why she is still playing. "I've been asked that question for the past five years and frankly I consider it an insult," said Navratilova, entered in the doubles draw at the Australian hardcourt championships at Royal Pines. "Women's tennis is really strong and all I can say is I'm that damn good. "I'm sorry but I really have to blow my own horn here -- I'm still that good. The ball doesn't know how old you are." Navratilova, winner of 58 Grand Slam titles, accused the media of double standards when reporting on male athletes coming back from retirement and playing well. "Mario Lemieux came back after two years and started scoring goals and all the reporters were saying, `Wow he's really good,'" Navratilova said Friday. \n■ Hockey \nSaku Koivu comes home \nSaku Koivu has found that you can go home again. The Montreal Canadiens captain capped his Finnish League comeback with 38 seconds remaining Thursday night when he scored an empty-net goal for TPS of Turku. Koivu had a goal and assist in a 2-0 victory over Espoo 2-0 -- giving him 139 points in as many games in the league. He left home in the spring of 1995 after helping TPS to the championship, and a few weeks later led Finland to its only World Championship gold medal. Koivu was then off to the NHL. Now during the North American league's lockout, Koivu is making TPS a likely title contender again. "For long, I will remember this game, having the opportunity to play in my home town. I acknowledge the expectations and the pressure as a reality, but I hope I can enjoy this into the spring," Koivu said. \n■ Athletics \nHolmes made a dame \nDual Olympic gold medalist Kelly Holmes was awarded the highest royal honor when she was made a dame in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year list. Holmes joined rower Matthew Pinsent, who was knighted Friday after winning his fourth gold medal in as many Games, in a list loaded with Olympic medalists. Holmes won the 800m and 1,500m in Athens, despite being a 100-1 underdog to pull off the double. She was the first Briton to win both events since Albert Hill in Antwerp in 1920. Pinsent led Britain to victory in the coxless fours in Athens by only eighty one-hundredths of a second. Pinsent also won golds in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympics.
STANDINGS: The Uni-President Lions’ victory pushed the CTBC Brothers to first place after they won their third straight game, beating the Fubon Guardians 6-3 The big bats of the Uni-President Lions were on fire in the CPBL yesterday as they crushed the Rakuten Monkeys 21-5 in Taoyuan, with outfielder Lin An-ko driving in seven runs on five hits and two homers. The result enabled the CTBC Brothers to take the No. 1 spot after they beat the Fubon Guardians 6-3. It was a highlight reel for the Taiwanese-Argentinian star Lin, who drilled two homers amid a heated home-run race between himself, now on 16 for the season, and Lions teammate Su Chih-chieh, who is on 18. Lin performed outstandingly, collecting five hits at six at-bats to drive
GERMAN LEADER: Liverpool’s 19th English title, one behind Manchester United’s record of 20, owes much to the transformational impact of coach Juergen Klopp Liverpool on Thursday ended a 30-year wait for the English title as they were crowned Premier League champions, triggering jubilant scenes as fans ignored social distancing measures to celebrate uproariously. Juergen Klopp’s men sealed a 19th league title with a record seven games remaining after Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat of second-placed Manchester City left the defending champions an unbridgeable 23 points adrift. Liverpool’s first English title since 1989-1990 — delayed by the COVID-19 suspension — earns them their maiden trophy in the Premier League, which was introduced in 1992-1993 and has been won 13 times by their archrivals Manchester United. Klopp was in tears
WOLFSBURG BEATEN: Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored from a penalty, his 34th league goal this season, finishing as the top Bundesliga scorer for the fifth time Werder Bremen gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga by thrashing Cologne 6-1 to grab a playoff place on the last day of the season, while champions Bayern Munich routed VfL Wolfsburg before lifting the trophy on Saturday. Japan striker Yuya Osako scored twice as Bremen stole the lifeline of the relegation/promotion playoff place from Fortuna Duesseldorf, who lost 3-0 against Union Berlin and were relegated with SC Paderborn, finishing one point behind Bremen. “We put in a great performance under pressure, but we are aware that we haven’t achieved anything — in the relegation playoff, the emotions will be
Alexis Lafreniere was supposed to walk on stage on Friday night in Montreal as the top pick in the NHL draft. After the COVID-19 pandemic paused the hockey season and postponed that possibility, Lafreniere was supposed to find out Friday night where he would be going when the league held its draft lottery. Instead, he must wait a little bit longer. Chaos reigned at the NHL draft lottery, with the No. 1 pick still up for grabs in a second lottery drawing among the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round of the playoffs — if play resumes. “We all knew