Race track offers free dung
Paris race-goers are to get a free bag of horse-dung this weekend: not any old poop, but a bagful of champion trotters’ stuff. In an operation titled “Champions’ Dung,” the Paris-Vincennes trotting track will be handing out “high-end, 100 percent natural, guaranteed non-genetically modified, French-origin” fertilizer on Saturday, organizers said. Advance samples were released on Tuesday in a red velveteen jewellery-style box with a leaflet featuring horse manure on a red silk cushion. “When champions grow so do our plants,” it said. The operation is aimed at dealing with the problem of the 20kg of dung per horse produced daily by the country’s million-strong horse population. “Horse dung has a great reputation,” said Cheval Francais, organizers of trotting in France. “When used on indoor plants or on balconies it improves the bloom, the colors and the life of flowers. In a garden it does wonders for tomatoes, potatoes and roses.”
England recall Vaughan
England picked former captain Michael Vaughan yesterday in a 25-man performance squad from which its Ashes team will be drawn. The 34-year-old Vaughan captained England to a series victory over Australia four years ago but has not played internationally since stepping down from the role in August. Adil Rashid is the only uncapped player in a squad that will also provide the team to play West Indies in a two-Test home series. The remainder, which includes eight players who figured in the 2005 Ashes squads, have at least played limited overs matches. James Foster was recalled as one of three wicketkeepers, almost seven years after his last Test.
Czech star in sex scandal
Czech Republic captain Tomas Ujfalusi has ended his international career after he was spotted in a restaurant allegedly with prostitutes last week. Photographs of Ujfalusi in the company of several girls and teammates were published in two Czech tabloids after the Czech Republic’s 2-1 home loss to Slovakia. With the 31-year-old Atletico Madrid defender were Galatasaray striker Milan Baros, West Ham defender Radoslav Kovac, Frankfurt striker Martin Fenin, Reading midfielder Marek Matejovsky and Sochaux striker Vaclav Sverkos, the tabloids said. Ujfalusi, married to a former Miss Czech Republic, in a statement from his agent on the CTK news agency, said: “I give up playing for the national team based on the current situation in the Czech Football Association and in Czech media. It is the result of the situation after the latest qualifying matches.”
Seeded Taiwanese loses
Taiwanese players enjoyed mixed fortunes on the first day of the Asia Championships in Suwon, just outside Seoul, yesterday. The biggest casualty was Hsieh Yu-hsin, the No. 5 seed, who lost 15-21, 14-21 to Han Ki-hoon of South Korea, while Japanese eighth seed Kenichi Tago beat Lin Yu-jui 21-15, 21-19. Hsueh Hsuan-yi cruised past Sajan Krishna Tamrakar of Nepal 21-4, 21-8 and Chou Tien-chen downed Uzbekistan’s Emil Mirgalautdinov 21-7, 21-10. Liao Sheng-shiun had a tougher contest against Mohamad Arif Abdullatif of Malaysia before triumphing 21-19, 21-19. Among the other seeds to tumble were No. 16 seed Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia who lost to Du Pengyu of China, Thailand’s No. 13 seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk who was defeated by Jang Young-soo of South Korea and Chetan Anand of India, seeded three, who lost to Japan’s Kazuteru Kozai.