Yi denies age claims
China’s Yi Jianlian says there is no truth to reports that he is three years older than the age listed in his passport. The New Jersey Nets forward is the subject of reports that says he is actually 24 and not 21. “I’m 21,” Yi told the New York Post newspaper. “This story started a long time ago. Some guy just wanted something to write about.” The Nets are not bothered by the reports. “I’m not concerned,” Nets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe told the paper. “Any time you have someone who is not from this country, those issues arise. What I look at is he’s a young developing player. He hasn’t played a ton of basketball to this point. You can look at his body and his physical makeup and see he’s obviously very talented but still maturing. Whether he’s 21 or 22, he’s still very young.” The practice of falsifying ages in China is not uncommon. Officials often do so to help players qualify for youth tournaments. China’s Sports Ministry reported earlier this month that it found 36 players in China’s professional basketball league whose dates of birth may have been changed.
Almeria appoint Sanchez
Spanish Primera Liga club Almeria said on Monday they had appointed former Mexico coach Hugo Sanchez to replace Gonzalo Arconada, who was sacked on Sunday after the side’s 1-0 defeat away to Sporting Gijon. Sanchez, 50, takes over with Almeria in 16th in the standings with only one win from their last 11 matches, leaving them three points above the relegation places. Widely regarded as the finest player Mexico has produced, the former Real Madrid striker became coach of the national side after the 2006 World Cup but was sacked at the end of March. Almeria said in a statement on their Web site that Sanchez had signed a contract through to the end of this season with an option to extend by one more term if the club avoids relegation. He is due to arrive this weekend and will take charge of his first training session on Monday, the statement said.
Player hit by bullet
An Indonesian golfer was hospitalized after being hit by a stray bullet from a nearby army shooting range, reports said yesterday. Albert Saputra, 17, was taking part in a junior golf competition in the city of Tangerang when he was shot, local newspaper Koran Tempo reported. The high school student was waiting to tee off when he complained of a burning sensation in his back. Onlookers noticed blood seeping through his shirt. “The X-ray shows that a bullet lodged right below his lungs,” his father said, adding that a senior military officer called to ask about his son but did not tell him about the source of the stray bullet. The Jakarta Post newspaper said soldiers were involved in a shooting exercise at a nearby range at the time.
Balloon injures fans
Sixty people were injured, some by an exploding balloon, as America de Cali celebrated winning the closing tournament of the Colombian championship at the weekend, medical sources said. According to reports, 42 were injured in road accidents and clashes between supporters after America beat Independiente Medellin 3-1 at the Pascual Guerrero stadium in Cali, 500km southwest of Bogota, on Sunday. A freak accident caused 18 further injuries, when a giant helium balloon inside the stadium accidentally exploded.