Bryant heads All-NBA team
Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, still basking in his first National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Award, headlined the All-NBA team announced on Thursday. Joining Bryant on the prestigious squad were guard Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets, forwards LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics and center Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic. The award is voted on by a panel of 127 writers and broadcasters throughout North America who cover the NBA.
Beijing not getting Clapp
Stubby Clapp, the face of Canada's Olympic baseball team, was on Thursday denied permission to play at the Beijing Games when the Houston Astros said they would not free him for international duty. A hitting coach for Houston’s minor league affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, Clapp was told by the Astros that he would have to remain with the organization and could not compete in Beijing. “The Houston Astros have turned down our request for Stubby to play for us,” Greg Hamilton coach and director of the Canadian baseball team told CBCSports.ca. “It’s a blow. Stubby Clapp brings leadership to the team and in many ways is the face of the program.”
Confusion at Jakarta meet
A scheduling row marred preparations for the elite Thomas and Uber Cup championships in Jakarta yesterday after Indonesia threatened a boycott and the Netherlands blasted poor organization. The incident was sparked by Indonesia, who were unhappy that they would have to play the Netherlands and Japan, both considered tough rivals, on the same day in the women’s Uber Cup team championship. According to the Jakarta Post newspaper, they threatened to walk out of the event that they are hosting. The Badminton World Federation caved in and altered the schedule so Indonesia plays Japan tomorrow and the Netherlands the following day. But this has infuriated the Dutch team, which said it would lodge a protest as they are now forced to play twice on Monday.
De Haes wins Dunkirk stage
Belgian Kenny De Haes of the Topsport team claimed victory in the third stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk race on Thursday after upsetting Norwegian sprint ace Thor Hushovd at the line. Frenchman Stephane Auge of Cofidis retained the race leader’s jersey after the 193km stage between Le Cateau-Cambresis and Saint-Quentin, France. Former under-23 world champion Gerald Ciolek of High Road finished third.
Cuba puts 8 in medal round
Cuba's Driulis Gonzalez, Idalis Ortiz and Yurisel Laborde won gold medals on Thursday in the women’s competition in the Pan American Judo Championships. Gonzalez topped the field in the 63kg category, Laborde won at 78kg and Ortiz took the gold medal at 78kg-plus in the 22-country regional event that determines team spots in the Beijing Olympics. Individual berths will be set later. Brazil also placed eight athletes in the medal rounds in all weight classes, with seven winning medals — including Mayra Aguiar in the women’s 70kg division. Travis Stevens earned the lone medal for the US, losing to Brazil’s Guilherme Luna in the 81kg final.
Roma to face Inter in final
AS Roma and Inter will battle each other for silverware on two fronts after the capital-based club reached the Coppa Italia final on Thursday. Roma held on for a 1-1 draw against Sicilians Catania to go through 2-1 on aggregate following their 1-0 victory in the home leg of their semi-final last month. The visitors took the lead on 27 minutes, after Macedonia forward Mirko Vucinic was tripped in the area by a stupid lunge from Argentine midfielder Mariano Izco. Vucinic was heading away from goal at the time and the challenge was totally unnecessary, but Alberto Acquilani gleefully buried the spot-kick. The lead lasted only two minutes, though, as Cristian Silvestri rose unchallenged to head home Giuseppe Mascara’s free-kick for the hosts.