■ RUGBY UNION
Players' boots stolen
Several Russia players had to train in socks on Wednesday after thieves stole the team's boots ahead of this weekend's European Nations Cup match with Romania. "The whole story happened last night after [Russia's] training session," said a report on the Romanian Rugby Federation (FRR) official Web site (www.frr.ro). "The Russia players put their boots in the [Bucharest] hotel lobby but they disappeared during a power shortage." The report added that police had launched an investigation ahead of Sunday's game in Bucharest. "The FRR regrets the incident and will offer boots to the visiting players if they ask for them," it added. The Nations Cup, also known as the `Six Nations B,' is a second-level competition for European countries.
Lin Dan defeats Sony
World champion Lin Dan of China beat Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro 21-18, 17-21, 21-7 in the first round of the French Super Series tournament on Wednesday. The victory was a repeat of the world championship final in Kuala Lumpur in August when Lin also emerged triumphant and the top seed continues in great form after winning the Denmark Super Series event in Odense on Sunday. No. 2 seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, keen to make amends for his semi-final exit in Odense, started with a solid 21-14, 21-11 success over Denmark's Kenneth Jonassen. Jonassen's compatriot Peter Gade, who made an early exit in the Danish tournament, fared better with a 21-13, 21-18 win over Ronald Susilo of Singapore. The French tournament is round 10 of the 12-event series which culminates in the finals next month at a venue to be confirmed.
John Woodruff dies
John Woodruff, whose halting, come-from-behind victory in the 800m run in the 1936 Berlin Olympics astonished the sports world and, along with the gold-medal success of Jesse Owens and other black athletes, helped embarrass Adolf Hitler, died on Tuesday in Fountain Hills, Ariz. He was 92. The cause was atrial fibrillation and chronic renal failure, his wife, Ruth, said on Wednesday. Woodruff had earlier lost his legs because of a circulatory ailment. Woodruff was the last survivor of the 12 American men who won track and field gold medals in the 1936 Olympics. Hitler, the German chancellor, had opened the games confident they would showcase the prowess of German athletes and prove his theories of Aryan racial superiority. He was said to be deeply embarrassed when Owens, Woodruff and three other black athletes came away with eight gold medals. Owens, a sprinter and long jumper, won four.
■ Rugby Union
RFU angered by criticism
English rugby's ruling body has responded angrily to criticism of coach Brian Ashton by England World Cup stars Lawrence Dallaglio and Mike Catt. Dallaglio and Catt have both accused Ashton of failing to properly prepare and organize England during their run to the World Cup final. England recovered from a dismal start to their campaign in France and were eventually only beaten by South Africa in the final. But that didn't stop two of the team's senior players expressing their displeasure at Ashton. The Rugby Football Union are reviewing England's World Cup performance and have yet to decide if they want to keep Ashton, but they remain publicly supportive of the coach.