Park wins 200m, 1,500m
Park Tae-hwan won the 200m and 1,500m freestyle races at a World Cup short-course swimming meet in Stockholm on Wednesday. The South Korean took the 200m in 1 minute, 43.87 seconds, then the 1,500m in 14 minutes, 36.42 seconds, more than 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Robert Margalis of the US. Sweden's Stefan Nystrand, who set a European record in winning the 100m free in 46.48 seconds on Tuesday, won the 50m free in 21.16 seconds. Eamon Sullivan of Australia finished second in 21.35 seconds.
Benelux bid welcomed
A joint bid by Belgium, the Netherlands and possibly Luxembourg to host the 2018 World Cup finals was welcomed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Wednesday, the Dutch Football Federation president said. Jeu Sprengers said that far from condemning them for putting together a joint bid, the Swiss supremo of FIFA had been encouraging about it. "Mr Blatter said that we were the first candidates to come to Zurich and show their dossier to FIFA," Sprengers said. "He added that our initiative opened up the way for smaller countries who didn't dare bid on their own."
■ RUGBY LEAGUE
Samoa clinch Cup spot
Samoa became the 10th and last side to qualify for next year's rugby league World Cup when they beat Lebanon 38-16 on Wednesday in the repechage match. Samoa wrapped up victory before halftime as they took a 28-8 lead in at the break with Chris Vaegafa, Tangi Ropati, Nigel Vagana and Frank Puletua touching down in the first half. Lebanon -- who made the last World Cup back in 2000 and beat Wales to get this far -- produced a gutsy display in the second half and ended up with three tries overall through Adham El-Zbaideh, Tom Joseph and Danny Chiha. However, two more tries from Andreas Bauer and Hutch Maiava sealed Samoa's place at the sport's global showpiece in Australia which begins on Oct. 25 next year.
Stars will quit: Morientes
Star players will quit the Italian league and move to Spain or England if soccer-related violence continues in Italy, Valencia's international striker Fernando Morientes said on Wednesday. "I am convinced that if the situation stays the same, those who will benefit will be teams in England or Spain because the big names will want to leave a complicated situation like that," he told a press conference. "If I ever get an offer from Italy, I would think twice because the situation right now is very tense," he said, adding Real Madrid's Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro has said he was pleased to be playing in Spain.
Murray parts with coach
British No. 1 tennis player Andy Murray has parted company with his US coach Brad Gilbert, it was revealed on Wednesday. Gilbert, a former coach of Andre Agassi, had been coaching the current world No. 11 since July last year after signing a three-year contract with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). But following speculation of a deteriorating personal relationship, Murray said: "Despite being injured for almost four months this year, I am pleased with my 2007 results and am very grateful for the help that the LTA have given me by providing Brad Gilbert as a coach. But the time has come to move on to the next stage of my career.