Fri, Feb 24, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Marathons
Thousands expected to run

The 2006 Taiwan International Marathon is scheduled to be held in Yunlin County on Tuesday, with nearly 8,000 local and international runners expected to compete, the head of the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (NCPFS) said yesterday. NCPFS Chairman Chen Chuan-shou (陳全壽) said the race will be different from other marathons, as it will take place on a long, straight highway, rather than having a point of return. Runners will take the scenic route along Expressway 78 close to Gukeng (古坑) Township. The Yunlin Marathon will feature four categories, namely the 42.195km marathon, a 10km road run, a 4.2km road run and a "Happy Child" 1km road run. Prominent runners who have signed up include Tobias Heskia from South Africa, who has a marathon career best time of 2:13:00, Taiwan's top marathon runner Wu Wen-chien (吳文騫), and female runner Hu Xiuying from China, whose best time is 2:38:00. Prize money totals more than NT$1.7 million (US$52,141), all to be contributed by the physical fitness and sports council, Chen said.

■ Summer Olympics

China to monitor hooligans

China will use face-recognition technology to scan stadium crowds for known hooligans and hopes the system can protect the 2008 Summer Olympics from fan violence, Xinhua said yesterday. The devices -- to be set up at stadium entrances -- will be able to identify someone catalogued in the police database even if they wear heavy makeup, Xinhua said, citing Liu Xuechao, a senior police officer with the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. The report said that police have already started compiling a database of hooligans. From March 1, a new set of anti-hooligan regulations will also allow police to ban violent fans from games for up to a year, Xinhua said. A draft version of the law had also included detention of up to five days and fines of up to 200 yuan (US$24) for violators. "It has become much easier for us to close soccer games to rioting hooligans," Liu was quoted as saying. The report says that police plan to use the technology to ensure there is no soccer hooliganism at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

■ Rugby Union

Sharks have secret weapon

South Africa's Coastal Sharks will use a secret weapon as they try to reverse a wretched playing record in New Zealand against reigning champions Canterbury Crusaders in Super 14 rugby action on Saturday. The weapon is former All Blacks fly-half Tony Brown, who played 19 Tests and 83 Super 12 matches for the Otago Highlanders. He joined them this week from playing club rugby in Japan and admits he will be a stranger in his new surroundings. The Sharks, like the other South African franchises, struggle for victories on the road in New Zealand and Australia and this will be a stern test for the Durban-based franchise against the five-time Super 12 champions. The Sharks downed the Waikato Chiefs at home and were edged by newcomers Central Cheetahs in their opening two home games, but will want to expunge the memories of their 34-77 hammering to the Crusaders last year in Christchurch. Having Brown calling the shots will help the Sharks, but he admits: "I don't know all the moves and that's why the next few days will be crucial before we play." Another South African franchise, Golden Cats, take on co-leaders Wellington Hurricanes today.

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