Taiwanese wins medals
Taiwanese players won two silver medals and one bronze at the World University Badminton Championships that ended in Portugal on Sunday. Taiwan also finished fifth in the team competition, nudged out of a spot in the semi-finals after losing 3-1 to South Korea in their quarter-final clash. Wang Chia-min and Wang Pei-rong won a silver medal in the mixed doubles, while Liao Sheng-shiun and Hsieh Yu-hsing claimed silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the men’s singles. Taiwan sent 12 competitors to the event which featured players from 27 countries. The next world university championship will be held in Taipei in 2010.
Capello names squad
Fabio Capello called up Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart and Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone for the forthcoming friendlies with the US and Trinidad and Tobago as the England coach opted to look at several promising youngsters. Huddlestone and Hart are joined in the 31-man squad by Everton defender Phil Jagielka, Middlesbrough center-back David Wheater and Blackburn defender Stephen Warnock. Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards and Matthew Upson are all sidelined through injury as Capello builds towards the start of England’s World Cup qualifying campaign in September.
Winners to gain, eventually
Thailand is offering its athletes big cash incentives for Olympic gold medals — but will pay out in instalments to stop them squandering it. Gold medallists will earn 10 million baht (US$314,000), silver medal winners will take 6 million baht, while a bronze is worth 4 million baht — sizable sums in a country where the minimum wage is just 203 baht a day. However, half of the money will be paid over a 20-year period to prevent Thai Olympians, many of whom are from poor backgrounds, from frittering it away. “We don’t want them to spend it all at once, they might need this money when they get old,” Thai Olympic committee member Charoen Wattanasin said. “We will give it to them every month. Most of them manage their finances but there have been a few bad examples in the past.” Thai Olympic chiefs decided to stagger the payments after several cases of athletes finding instant fame and blowing their money on gambling and expensive party lifestyles. In 2004, boxer Manus Boonjumnong famously squandered the US$600,000 his Athens Olympics gold medal earned him on card games, soccer betting and excessive partying. His pregnant wife left him and his coaches sent him overseas in a penniless state to help resurrect his career. Manus, who insists he is now a reformed character, is favorite to win again in Beijing.
Sailor signs deal
Former Wallabies winger Wendell Sailor ended a two-year drug suspension by signing yesterday with St George Illawarra of Australia’s National Rugby League. Sailor was suspended in July 2006 after a drug test in April of that year while playing with the New South Wales Waratahs in rugby union’s Super 14 revealed traces of cocaine. His contract with the Dragons runs through to the end of next year. The 33-year-old Sailor played rugby league with the Brisbane Broncos until 2001 before making the switch to union in 2002 for four seasons until being suspended. He has played 15 Tests for Australia’s league Test team and 37 in rugby union.