Stricker leads at Bob Hope
US Ryder Cup player Steve Stricker seized the lead at the Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta, California, on Saturday with a 10-under 62. Stricker’s effort, on the heels of an impressive 61 on Friday, gave him a 33-under total of 255 after four rounds of the 90-hole event. He moved three shots clear of Pat Perez, who had led since shooting a first-round 61. Perez posted a five-under 67 on Saturday for a 30-under total of 258.
Afghanistan suffer, HK cheer
Afghanistan’s hopes of reaching the 2011 World Cup suffered an early setback on Saturday with a 13-run defeat at the hands of Uganda in the World Cricket League Division Three. But Hong Kong got off to a flyer with a handsome seven-wicket win over hosts Argentina, while Papua New Guinea defeated the Cayman Islands by six wickets. The top two teams in the six-nation event will reach the 2011 World Cup qualifier in South Africa in April from where four countries will go on to the game’s showpiece one-day event. Uganda made 216-8 off their 50 overs before Afghanistan endured a nightmare start to their reply where they slumped to 23-5 and then 53-6 before a 121-run stand for the seventh wicket between Rais Ahmadzai (74) and Samiullah Shenwari (53) brought them in touching distance. Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib praised his side after they dismissed Argentina for 107 and then reached their target with 22.4 overs to spare. Papua New Guinea skipper Rarua Dikana took 5-14 as his side enjoyed a comprehensive six-wicket victory against the Cayman Islands. Papua New Guinea reached their target of 122 with 29.1 overs to spare after the Caymans were bowled out for just 121. Man-of-the-match Vani Morea hit 64 off just 51 balls to guide his team to victory.
Lepisto wins European title
Laura Lepisto rewarded the enthusiastic Helsinki home crowd on Saturday, holding off Carolina Kostner to win Finland’s first women’s title at the European Figure Skating Championships. Teammate Susanna Poykio won the bronze, the first time two Finnish skaters have been on the European podium. Kostner won the free skate, but still fell short of winning her third straight European title. Lepisto finished with 167.32 points while Kostner had 165.42. Earlier during the championships, the men’s title went to Brian Joubert of France, who at age 24 took his 12th medal in world or European championships. Defending European champion Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic fell to sixth place. In the pairs, defending champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy from Germany won by a wide margin. Russia’s Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski claimed their first ice dance title in a watered-down field. World champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France didn’t compete because she’s recovering from a shoulder injury and defending European champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin withdrew after compulsories because Shabalin fell and injured his knee.
Shibui wins in Osaka
Japan’s Yoko Shibui won the Osaka international women’s marathon yesterday, eight years after claiming her debut marathon victory in the race. The 29-year-old moved up a gear shortly before the 29km mark and steadily outpaced the last challenger, fellow Japanese runner Yukiko Akaba, to cross the finishing line in two hours, 23 minutes and 42 seconds. Akaba came in second, 58 seconds behind, followed by 2007 champion Yumiko Hara, also of Japan, in third place with 2:26:57.