Thu, Dec 07, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Asian Games: Honey, Ponce and Baby add spice to Doha events

AFP , DOHA

There's a Humpy, Sorry and a Honey. When it comes to the Asian Games, most of the 10,000 athletes taking part won't win medals but their names mean they certainly won't go unnoticed.

Indian chess player Humpy Koneru has a gold medal as well as a name to remember after winning the rapid chess event here.

"Originally we called our daughter Champion because we hoped she would excel in whatever sport she was to choose. We later adapted it to make it more Indian," proud mum Lata said.

The 19-year-old Koneru is not lacking in ambition.

"I feel great," she said after winning gold. "I am a grandmaster and I am renamed number one. I have a lot of ambitions now. I want to be world champion and take part in men's tournaments."

Palestinian territories swimmer Sorry Wasem was feeling down in the dumps after struggling in the pool.

The Jerusalem native took part in three events with a best of a third place in the 50m butterfly heats of 28.65 seconds; the gold medalist was China's Zhou Jiawei winning in a time of 23.94.

Myanmar's 18-year-old wushu hopeful Honey Ko Ko has yet to compete while Nepal's Mona Lisha Khamboo was finding it hard to smile after winning just three of her nine matches in the women's chess tournament.

Cyclist Raheela Bono shares her name with the Irish rock star but will be struggling to muscle her way into the limelight as just one of nine women in the male-dominated Pakistan team.

The Philippines have a Castro in better health than the Cuban leader -- boxer Godfrey -- to keep his team in line, a squad which includes struggling baseball pitcher Charlie Labrador and outfielder Jonash Ponce.

Amongst the Filipinas are cyclist Baby Bitbit as well as soft tennis player Belen Dante while heaven help anyone who gets on the wrong side of South Korean table tennis player Kwak Bang Bang.

Elsewhere Bangladesh soccer player Ranjani Barman should get on well with Syrian runner Fawa al-Bouza.

India's soccer squad can boast Climax Lawrence, his country's player of the year last year.

But the 27-year-old midfielder is asked more often about his name rather than his skills on the pitch.

"It's just a name," he said.

"We are three brothers in the family. All of us have names starting with the letter C. My eldest brother is Clifton, youngest is Covan and I am Climax."

But why not Clyde or Clifford he was asked recently.

"It's my parents' choice and it's an interesting name. I like it," he said.

India has 42 Singhs in its squad; South Korea boasts 127 Kims.

Here in the Middle East there are at least 300 competitors by the name of Mohammed while the Philippines have a boxing referee called Jesus San Esteban.

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