Mon, Sep 03, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Sports Briefs



Niida retains world title

Japan's Yutaka Niida pounded out a unanimous-decision victory over Eriberto Gejon of the Philippines to defend his World Boxing Association minimumweight title on Saturday in Tokyo. The bout was a rematch of the September 2005 battle between the pair, in which Niida defeated Gejon by a split decision. It was Niida's sixth defense of the title he won from Noel Arambulet of Venezuela in July 2004, improving his record to 22 wins, including eight KOs, against one defeat and three draws.


Bennati wins opening stage

Italian Daniele Bennati, who won the final stage of the Tour de France in July, took the opening stage of the Tour of Spain on Saturday. Second in a bunch sprint was Spaniard Oscar Freire, just ahead of Italian Alessandro Petacchi. Saturday's victory over 153.4km was the first of Bennati's Tour of Spain career. "The first stage of any major tour is always the toughest to win," 26-year-old Bennati said. "But I knew this was my kind of finish -- flat, uncomplicated and where the fastest man normally wins."


PM launches flu inquiry

Australian Prime Minister John Howard yesterday announced that an official inquiry had been launched into an outbreak of equine influenza that has crippled the country's racing industry. The inquiry will be headed by retired High Court judge Ian Callinan, who will have sweeping powers to probe "every aspect" of the crisis, Howard told reporters in Sydney. "We are determined to find out what happened, how this disease was introduced, whether there's been a breach of quarantine procedures and protocols," Howard said. Racing in the states of New South Wales and Queensland has been suspended indefinitely as a result of the outbreak, which was first detected 10 days ago at a quarantine center in the western outskirts of Sydney.


Drysdale wins gold medal

Single sculler Mahe Drysdale took world championship gold for the third successive year on a good day for New Zealand in Olympic events finals on Saturday in Munich. Drysdale hauled back early leader Alan Campbell and then held off a late charge from the Czech Ondrej Synek to seal victory, punching the air as he crossed the line. Local favorite Marcel Hacker disappointed a 10,000 strong crowd when he finished only fifth. "I couldn't make use of home advantage," Hacker told reporters. "I suppose I have to be happy I didn't finish last." Carl Meyer, James Dallinger, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond made it another gold for New Zealand in the men's four.


Gronholm edges tight win

Finland's Marcus Gronholm edged Sebastian Loeb by 0.3 seconds yesterday in the closest finish in World Rally Championship history to win the Rally of New Zealand for a record fifth time. After trailing Loeb by 1.7 seconds at the start of the third and final day, Gronholm came to the last of the rally's 18 stages -- a 3.1km dash around a purpose-built circuit in Hamilton -- leading his French rival by 0.7 seconds. Gronholm and Loeb were on the road simultaneously, left to decide the outcome of the rally and their standings in the world driver's championship in one last, desperate sprint. Their nearest challenger, third-place Mikko Hirvonen of Finland, was more than 1 minute, 40 seconds behind.

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