New tournament unveiled
A lucrative new tournament, the iSixes World Series, was unveiled yesterday featuring teams from all nine Test playing nations, with US$1 million going to the winners. Singapore will host the first leg of the six-a-side extravaganza in July with further stops expected in Shanghai, Dubai and one other yet-to-be announced country. As well as the Test nations — Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies — the host country will field a team, there will be an All Star selection and a wildcard.
Steegmans wins sprint finish
Belgium's Gert Steegmans of the Quick Step team won a sprint finish in the second stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk cycling race in Cateau-Cambresis, France, on Wednesday. France’s Stephane Auge of the Cofidis team retained the leader’s pink jersey after the 192km stretch from Henin-Beaumont. Steegmans, who averaged an impressive 40.2kph, crossed the line just ahead of Australia’s Marc Renshaw and Jean-Patrick Nazon of France. As in the first stage, it was France’s Anthony Roux who attacked early on and he was soon joined by Britain’s Ian Stannard and Florian Vachon, also of France.
Nets forward charged
New Jersey Nets forward Richard Jefferson was charged with assault on Wednesday over a January incident in which he allegedly grabbed another man by the throat. The charge stems from an episode on Jan. 27 in a club at the Graves Hotel. The Nets were in Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Timberwolves in a National Basketball Association game. According to court documents , Jefferson entered an area where the victim was having a private birthday party and became angry when he was asked to leave. Jefferson is accused of grabbing the victim, shoving him to a bench and choking him with both hands.
Bronze medalist banned
Olympic boxing bronze medalist Suriya Prasathinpimai has been banned for a year after testing positive to prohibited substances, a report said yesterday. The middleweight, one of Thailand’s most successful amateur boxers, failed a drugs test at last December’s Southeast Asian Games. He was earlier stripped of the gold medal he won there and has now been banned by the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand (ABAT), the Bangkok Post said. It cited ABAT president Taweep Jantararoj as saying Suriya, who claimed he was innocent, could face further action by the International Amateur Boxing Association.
■ ICE HOCKEY
Maple Leafs coach fired
Paul Maurice was fired as coach of the Maple Leafs on Wednesday after Toronto failed to make the National Hockey League playoffs during his two years. The dismissal was the first big move in what is expected to be an active offseason for the team. “This is a start of a new era for the Maple Leafs,” interim general manager Cliff Fletcher said at a news conference at Air Canada Centre. “This is all part and parcel of that.” The Maple Leafs finished 12th in the Eastern Conference and missed a playoff berth by 11 points. They are looking for a full-time general manager after firing John Ferguson in January. In other moves Wednesday, assistant coach Randy Ladouceur was dismissed while assistant Dallas Eakins was offered a position elsewhere in the organization.