Alhinho falls to his death
Carlos Alhinho, a former Portugal international, died after falling into an empty elevator shaft in Angola, Portuguese club Benfica said. He was 59. Alhinho apparently opened the elevator door at a hotel in Benguela, Angola, and stepped in on Saturday, but the carriage was not there and he fell from the sixth floor. He died despite receiving medical attention at the hotel. Alhinho, who was born in Cape Verde but played for Portugal 15 times, made his international debut against Northern Ireland on March 28, 1973. He played for Portugal’s top three clubs in his professional career, Benfica, Sporting and FC Porto. Alhinho also coached the national teams of Angola and Cape Verde Islands.
Pamuk pans soccer culture
Nobel prizewinning novelist Orhan Pamuk said soccer in Turkey serves nationalist and xenophobic thinking, but that he would still be supporting the country’s team at Euro 2008. Pamuk said in an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel that soccer in Turkey had become “a machine for the production of nationalism, xenophobia and authoritarian thought.” However, the Istanbul-based writer, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2006, said that he was “of course, for the Turkish team at the European Championships” even though Turkey coach Fatih Terim was “an ultra nationalist.”
At least eight die at match
At least eight people suffocated in an overcrowded stadium during a match between Liberia and Gambia on Sunday, a doctor and an aid worker said. The eight bodies were taken to the country’s main hospital, said the Liberian Football Association’s chief doctor, Sam Harris. The 33,000-seat Samuel K. Doe Stadium in Monrovia had been packed beyond capacity for the World Cup qualifying match. At one point a metal bar containing upper-level crowds broke under pressure from rowdy fans. Dozens of people fell onto spectators below, causing some to suffocate, said a Liberian Red Cross rescue worker, Emmanuel Johnson. “Other spectators tried all sorts of means to save [them], but could not help. That is why they expired,” Johnson said. He put the death toll at 10. There was no immediate way to reconcile the conflicting tolls.
Cops, players in pitch battle
A player was arrested after being sent off in a Brazilian championship match and riot police used pepper spray and truncheons in fights with his teammates on the pitch on Sunday. Botafogo’s match away to Nautico in Recife was interrupted for 12 minutes by the fighting, which ended with Botafogo defender Andre Luis being bundled out of the stadium with his hands behind his back by around 10 officers. Andre Luis was taken to a mobile police station where he was arrested along with club president Bebeto de Freitas. Both were released after questioning. “Botafogo are outraged at the way we were treated here,” De Freitas told reporters. “Footballers are not bandits and are not to be kicked and punched. This has to stop. The player was wrong, he will be punished and suspended, we have sporting legislation to deal with this. What is not acceptable is for him to have pepper in his face or be prodded in the back with a truncheon.” The trouble broke out when Andre Luis was sent off after being given a second yellow card for a tackle from behind. As he left the pitch, the furious player made gestures to supporters and kicked a bottle into the stands.
Winner helps quake victims
Amy Yang shot a 5-under 67 on Sunday to win the Ladies German Open by four strokes, the South Korean teenager’s first victory as a professional. Yang, an 18-year-old who had a course-record 63 on Saturday, finished with a 21-under 267 total. After the win, she said she would donate the 39,500 euros (US$61,260) in prize money to victims of the recent earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province. “I was thinking about the China earthquake for some time. And I thought, if I win the tournament, I would give them the winnings to help them build up,” Yang said. “A few days ago they had big rains and a lot of them lost their houses. I saw a lot of news. And every time I would be thinking about it. It’s really sad.” Sweden’s Louise Stahle was second on 17 under, while Gwladys Nocera of France was another stroke back in third. Michelle Wie, meanwhile, showed a return to form with a last-round 67 to finish in sixth place, her best result in almost two years.
Lee gains from collapse
South Korean Lee Seon-hwa took advantage of a monumental collapse by Sophie Gustafson to win the LPGA Ginn Tribute with a playoff victory over Australian Karrie Webb. Lee hardly seemed positioned for her third career title entering the round in Charleston, South Carolina, trailing overnight leader Gustafson of Sweden by nine shots. Gustafson, who was six shots in front of Webb at the start of play, completely fell apart. The Swede had five bogeys and two double bogeys over her final 15 holes and finished at seven-over-par 79, tying for fourth at 11-under 277. Lee made the most of her chance. She carded a 67 for a 14-under total of 274 and beat Hall of Famer Webb at the first playoff hole to claim the first prize of US$390,000.
Officials to probe claim
Japanese officials will launch a probe into comments by Akiko Morigami that a national coach asked her to throw a doubles match at the French Open. Morigami said a national team coach had asked her to deliberately lose the match as a defeat would boost partner Aiko Nakamura’s chances of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics by freeing her up for a tournament this week. “At this stage we are not really clear on who said what, but we will investigate the incident,” Japan Tennis Association (JTA) managing director Koji Watanabe said yesterday. “If it turns out a national coach did say that then it’s a matter for the [JTA’s] technical committee. It would be dangerous to make any decision before we have established the facts.” French Open organizers also plan to investigate Morigami’s comments after a 6-0, 6-1 first round defeat by Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Chuang Chia-jung in Paris on Friday. “It wasn’t Nakamura’s coach who said it,” Morigami told Japanese media. “It was a different coach. I was angry because it’s not something you say to a player before a match.” The Japanese No 2 insisted she and Nakamura had tried their best against the Taiwanese pair despite their capitulation at Roland Garros.
Rossi wins in Italy again
Valentino Rossi won the Italian Grand Prix for the seventh straight time on Sunday and increased his lead in the MotoGP series. It was the third consecutive victory for Rossi, who also won in France and China. Casey Stoner was second, 2.201 seconds behind followed by Dani Pedrosa, 4.867 back. Rossi leads the series with 122 points, while Pedrosa is second with 110.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first