Ramprakash waltzes to win
Former England Test batsman Mark Ramprakash waltzed to a new career honor on Saturday when he won a television ballroom dancing competition. The 37-year-old took victory in the BBC program Strictly Come Dancing beating former England rugby union international Matt Dawson in the final. It was the second time a cricketer has won the show, after Darren Gough triumphed over athlete Colin Jackson in last year's final.
Richards leads All Star team
Cricket great Sir Viv Richards will head a West Indies All Star team against a World XI to mark the reopening of Kensington Oval in Bridhgetwon, Barbados, on Feb. 17. Joining Richards will be fellow greats Joel Garner, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose in the battery, and Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Richie Richardson in the batting lineup, the Barbados Cricket Association announced. The US$69 million redevelopment of Kensington Oval, the oldest cricket ground in the Caribbean, was slated to be finished by New Year's, but won't be handed over to cricket World Cup organizers until Feb. 19. The 123-year-old ground will stage six second-round matches from April 11-21 and the final on April 28.
Rough conditions expected
Forecasters have tipped rough conditions for this year's Sydney to Hobart yacht race, where the "supermaxis" are again expected to dominate the Australian bluewater classic beginning on Tuesday. Initial warnings that gale force winds would buffet the 78-strong fleet have eased but crews will still have to contend with gusts of 30 knots (56kph) as they make their way down Australia's east coast. Conditions mean Australian supermaxi Wild Oats' record time of one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds set last year is not expected to come under threat in the 62nd running of the 628-nautical mile (1,163km) race.
Jan Ullrich plans return
Jan Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France winner, believes he can make a successful return to professional cycling. The 33-year-old German, who doesn't have a team or a license, faces three different investigations as a result of alleged links to the Spanish doping scandal that has engulfed his sport. "I know that the return to pro sport is a rocky road, but I am determined to fight and make it happen," Ullrich said on Friday on his Web site. Ullrich was fired by T-Mobile on the eve of this year's Tour de France. The decision by his team followed a Spanish police investigation which led to suspicions that Eufemiano Fuentes and other physicians provided top riders with performance-enhancing drugs from a Madrid clinic. Ullrich thanked his fans, management and family for their support.
Stadium could be renamed
Berlin's historic Olympic Stadium could carry the name of a sponsor as the city's financial bosses look to maximize the cash benefits of the ground which hosted the World Cup final this summer. A report in the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper claimed that the sale of the rights to the stadium could bring in around 8 million euros (US$10.5 million) over an eight-to-10 year period. "The name of a sponsor for the stadium is in our interests," said Werner Gegenbauer, an official with Hertha Berlin, the Bundesliga soccer club which play their home games at the ground.
McCarthy traded to Rangers
The Texas Rangers acquired right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy from the Chicago White Sox as part of a five-player deal on Saturday. The Rangers also received minor league outfielder David Paisano in exchange for minor league pitchers John Danks, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner. The 23-year-old McCarthy was 4-7 with a 4.68 ERA in 53 games this year, coming out of the bullpen in all but two appearances. A starter for the White Sox for most of last year, McCarthy has a 7-9 record with a 4.39 ERA in two major league seasons.
Williams signs extension
Kevin Williams, a defensive tackle who has helped make Minnesota the toughest team in US football to run against, signed a seven-year contract extension on Saturday with the Vikings. The deal, which reportedly could bring Williams as much as US$50 million, could have become a free agent after the season. "I'm excited to get a deal done," Williams said. "I couldn't be in a better situation. The team has shown a commitment to me and I'm proud they feel that way." Williams has 256 tackles, 31 sacks, eight fumble recoveries and two interceptions in four NFL seasons.
Bedard held in abduction
Canadian Olympic champion Myriam Bedard has been arrested on suspicion of abducting her 12-year-old daughter in a custody case, the US Marshals Service said on Saturday. Bedard, who captured a pair of biathlon gold medals at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, was picked up by US marshals at a hotel in Columbia, Maryland, on Friday, the agency said. The Toronto Star said she left Canada with her daughter without the agreement of her ex-husband, Jean Paquet. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police asked the US Marshals Service for help in finding Bedard on Dec. 15.
Krstic to sit out season
New Jersey Nets center Nenad Krstic will miss the remainder of the National Basketball Association season after suffering a torn left anterior cruciate knee ligament. The Nets announced on Saturday that the 23-year-old Serbian was injured making a spin move during Friday's 99-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Krstic grabbed his knee and fell to the court. He left the arena on crutches. "I went to spin, my knee twisted and I heard a pop," said Krstic, who will undergo surgery to repair the knee. He finishes the campaign with averages of 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists over 25 games.
Peca out with broken leg
Toronto Maple Leafs center Michael Peca will be sidelined for three to four months after breaking his right leg, the team said on Saturday. Toronto vice president and general manager John Ferguson confirmed in a statement that Peca sustained a fractured tibia during Friday's loss in Chicago against the Blackhawks and will require surgery. "We're looking at three to four months' recovery," Ferguson told Leafs TV prior to Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals. The Maple Leafs' prize offseason signing and one of the NHL's top penalty killers, Peca had played in 35 games this season scoring four goals with 11 assists.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on