■ Rugby Union
Willie Mason suspended
Australian rugby league second rower Willie Mason was given a one-week suspension yesterday for striking Britain's Stuart Fielden during Saturday's Tri-Nations match won by Britain. Mason pleaded not guilty to punching Fielden in the third minute, citing self-defense. But the Tri-Nations judiciary panel said Mason's reaction was "disproportionate" to Fielden's provocation in the match won 23-12 by Britain. Mason was also fined. The one-week ban means he'll miss the Nov. 18 match in Brisbane against Britain, but be available for the tournament final a week later in Sydney against either Britain or New Zealand.
■ Horse racing
Yeats running in Melbourne
Irish stayer Yeats heads a list of seven overseas horses trying to take home Australia's biggest racing prize, the Melbourne Cup, over 3,200m today at Flemington. Yeats, ridden by controversial English jockey Kieren Fallon, has two major races victories this year. It's the one the six-year-old Yeats didn't win -- the Group 1 Irish St Leger -- that nearly caused trainer Aidan O'Brien to cancel his trip to Australia for the AU$5 million (US$3.85 million) race. On Sept. 16, Yeats, the odds-on favorite, finished second in the 2,800m St Leger, and connections for O'Brien told Australian officials that the horse, with earlier wins in the Ascot Gold Cup in June and the Goodwood Cup in August, wouldn't be coming. But Yeats' strapper David Hickey said O'Brien changed his mind.
Jayawardene to be retained
Mahela Jayawardene will be retained as Sri Lanka's captain for next year's cricket World Cup following his impressive record which also won him the ICC's best captain's award for this year, an official said. "We are looking at having him up to the World Cup," Sri Lanka's chief selector Ashantha de Mel said. He said even though an official announcement is yet to be made, Jayawardene deserves to be retained after he led the team with success since being awarded stand-in captaincy in March after Marvan Atapattu's injury.
Briggs looks to future
An hour after his stunning, last-second knockout victory over Sergei Liakhovich in Phoenix, Arizona, new WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs began to look ahead. If it were up to Briggs, he would take on IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko to unify two of the four heavyweight titles. Briggs claims Klitschko's camp once led him to believe he was in line for a title shot, only to snub him. "I've got a vendetta against him," Briggs said on Saturday. "When it comes to feelings, I want him. If it's money, or something like that, then I've got to take somebody else. But feeling-wise, I want him."
Asian Tour adds matches
The Asian Tour will add five tournaments to its schedule for next year, with three new events in Indonesia and a first-ever stop in Cambodia, organizers said yesterday. Prize money for next year was also bumped up by more than US$2 million to a record US$26.5 million from this year, the Asian Tour said in a statement. Total prize money has more than doubled since 2004, it added. "The expansion of golf in Asia is epitomized by a number of new events that will take place next year, most notably in Indonesia, and it will be exciting to break new ground with the inaugural Cambodian Open," Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla-han said in the statement. The Tour's flagship Singapore Open, won by Australia's Adam Scott this year, will also increase in prize money from US$3 million in 2006 to US$4 million next year. No. 1 Tiger Woods, South Africa's Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, Scotland's Ryder Cup star Colin Montgomerie and Scott were among the notables in the region recently.