■ Ponting bags captain prize
Australia captain Ricky Ponting was named cricketer of the year at the third International Cricket Council annual awards on Friday. The 31-year-old Tasmanian, who was short-listed in four categories for his performances between Aug. 1 last year and Aug. 8 this year was also declared the test player of the year. Australian team mate Michael Hussey won the one-day international player of the year award as the world champions dominated the winners list at a gala function.
Drogba extends deal
Didier Drogba signed a four-year contract extension on Friday with Chelsea, committing him to the club until 2010. The Ivory Coast striker, who scored his 10th goal of the season in Tuesday's 2-2 draw at FC Barcelona in the Champions League, joined Chelsea from Marseille in 2004. Drogba's start to the season has been his best since moving to England. He has five goals in the Premier League and five in the Champions League.
■ Rugby Union
RFU rejects racism claim
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has rejected allegations made by All Black center Aaron Mauger that New Zealand players were racially abused by England supporters during last year's Test at Twickenham. The statement, from the English governing body's chief executive Francis Baron. He was responding to comments made on Friday by Mauger that non-white players had been abused during the visitors' 23-19 victory. But Baron insisted: "No allegations of any abuse were made after that game and it is puzzling why they have now been made a year later."
National coach sacked
The Bosnian football association said on Friday it has sacked national coach Blaz Sliskovic due to poor results. "The board has decided to dismiss Blaz Sliskovic," the FA said in a statement, adding that it also sacked coaches of Bosnia's junior and other squads. Bosnia is unlikely to qualify for the 2008 European Championships after collecting just four points in as many matches. Sliskovic had announced his resignation in September following a defeat in one of the qualifiers, but later changed his mind.
Arson suspect makes bail
Former Test player Mark Vermeulen was granted bail of US$2,000 after he appeared in court on Friday charged with arson attacks on the Zimbabwe cricket association's boardroom and training academy. Vermeulen was also ordered by magistrates in Harare to surrender his passport, report on a daily basis to police and stay away from any cricket facility in the country ahead of his trial on Nov. 14. The 27-year-old, who is facing two counts of arson.
IOC head meets Raul Castro
The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) met with Raul Castro to discuss global challenges facing sports, state-run media reported on Friday. Castro is Cuba's acting president while his older brother Fidel recovers from intestinal surgery. Jacques Rogge, in Cuba to attend the Sport for All Congress, had requested a meeting with the elder Castro. In the Thursday meeting, Raul Castro told Rogge that Cuba is committed to the fight against doping and informed him of plans to "continue developing sports, education and health" on the island, the Communist Party daily newspaper Granma said.
Holt decks Hlatshwayo
Kendall Holt of the US knocked down South African Isaac Hlatshwayo three times in the last four rounds and registered a unanimous 12-round decision to win the North American Boxing Organization junior-welterweight title on Friday. Holt cemented his status as a potential world champion with the win over the South African. "I told everybody this fight could be easy or could be hard, depending on me," Holt said. "I trained, I sacrificed and it was easy like I said it was going to be. I can't be overlooked. Take me seriously." By winning the title, Holt (21-1) will soon be ranked in the top five by the World Boxing Organization. That could eventually lead to a shot at the WBO's junior welterweight title.