Wed, Nov 15, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Squash
Tycoon offers cash rewards

A fan in Hong Kong is dangling a HK$750,000 (US$96,000) carrot under the noses of the territory's squash players as an incentive to do well at the Asian Games in Doha next month. Businessman Jactino Tong Man-leung said he would match the Hong Kong Sports Institute's (HKSI) incentive awards scheme in an attempt to encourage excellence. "I think it's time to arouse the interest of Hong Kong people and pay tribute to our sports heroes," Tong told the South China Morning Post. "A lot of hard work and effort is required for an athlete to win a medal at an international event like the Asian Games, and if they are able to make it, they should be recognized by the community and rewarded in tangible fashion." Hong Kong's best squash prospect is defending champion Rebecca Chiu Wing-yin. Should she successfully defend her crown, she will get HK$250,000 from the HKSI and the same from Tong. Her work is cut out for her, though, with Malaysian world champion Nicol David also in the field. Tong, a property market investor, said he hoped other individuals and companies would follow his lead.

■ Soccer

Coach refused Iranian visa

South Korea's Iranian-born assistant coach Afshin Ghotbi has been denied an entry visa to Iran ahead of today's Asian Cup qualifier, the Korea Football Association (KFA) said. Ghotbi, who left Iran in his early teens and now has US citizenship, has joined up with the team in Dubai and will try to get a visa before they move on to Tehran for the game. "The Iranian Embassy in Seoul notified us that a visa for Ghotbi was not issued, without giving a specific reason," Yonhap news agency quoted Lee Won-jae, a spokesman for the KFA, as saying yesterday. "He might have been denied because of his US citizenship, even though he was born in Iran. If he is unable to enter Iran in the end, we will have to consider protesting to the Asia Football Confederation," he said.

■ Soccer

Police to question Rooney

England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will be questioned by police investigating an early morning scuffle outside a nightclub last month. Greater Manchester Police said on Monday that they would interview the 21-year-old Rooney over allegations a photographer was assaulted outside the Panacea nightclub in downtown Manchester on Oct. 15. Police said Rooney was not arrested and the photographer did not require medical treatment.

■ Baseball

Red Sox aim for Matsuzaka

The Boston Red Sox won negotiation rights for Japanese star pitcher Daisuka Matsuzaka for US$42 million, ESPN reported on Monday, saying the bid was far more than any Major League Baseball rival. The Red Sox have frustrated several other clubs by winning the secret bidding for the chance to negotiate a Matsuzaka deal. Matsuzaka was due to learn this morning in Japan whether the Seibu Lions have accepted the bid for him. The amount of the bid was sent to Japanese baseball officials last week, and if the Lions accept, the winning US bidder will be disclosed. If they refuse, the Lions will keep Matsuzaka but lose the king's ransom of money the Red Sox are paying.

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