Gran, 99, trains for games
A 99-year-old Australian great-grandmother is in training for the World Masters Games in Sydney, where she will turn heads as the oldest athlete. Sprightly Ruth Frith, who is nearly blind, plans to compete in five events at the seniors event in Sydney in October, by which time she will be 100. Since turning 85, Frith, who says she doesn’t believe in diets and “all that jazz,” has held world records for her age group in the shotput, discus, javelin, hammer, long jump, triple jump and 100m. She achieved 10.90m in 2006 in the discus — the actual world record for women is 76.80m. Frith is to appear in Sydney alongside her daughter, former Olympic athlete Helen Searle. The most nerve-racking thing about the Masters used to be having to wear shorts, Frith said, pleading support for the elderly at the event. “If you ever see creaky knees and grey-haired people walking around an oval or trying to throw, please don’t laugh. Just wave and say ‘good on you,’” she said.
Advocaat to coach Belgium
Zenit St Petersburg coach Dick Advocaat was appointed Belgium manager on Wednesday and will take up the post at the start of next year, the Belgian Football Association said. Advocaat’s contract with Russian club Zenit expires in December. He will be given an initial two-year contract by the Belgian FA with the possibility of at least another 18 months should Belgium qualify for Euro 2012. Belgian media have reported that the 61-year-old Dutchman was keen on a move to Belgium to be nearer family and friends and that he would earn 600,000 euros (US$844,200) a year. Advocaat led Zenit to the UEFA Cup and European Super Cup double last year.
Man City ditch big-name trio
German World Cup finalist Dietmar Hamann and former England internationals Darius Vassell and Danny Mills were among four players released by bigspending Manchester City on Wednesday. The trio were joined by former Rangers and Everton defender Michael Ball as club manager Mark Hughes pruned his squad ahead of potentially more big name signings to join those of Roque Santa Cruz and Gareth Barry. Hamann, who was a member of the German side that lost to Brazil in the 2002 World Cup final and the Liverpool side that won the Champions League in 2005, failed to play in the last months of the season because of a toe injury. Both Vassell and Mills also played in the 2002 World Cup finals but the 29-year-old striker has struggled for his place and has been linked with a move to Turkey. Mills, 32, left Leeds United for City in 2004 but rarely made a first team place his own and was loaned out to Hull City, Charlton and Derby. At Derby he picked up a serious knee injury in January last year and has not played since.
Organizers catch the drift
Organizers of next month’s world championships are scrambling to cool concerns that the air-conditioning system at the venue was causing shuttles to drift excessively. Players had complained about excessive drift during the India Open international event in March and organizers in Hyderbad want to fix the problem before the Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 tournament. “What we are doing is two-fold,” Indian badminton chief V.K. Verma said yesterday. “One is regulated release of cool air into the stadium and our engineers are working to see if the openings can be towards the spectators.” Cool air would be pumped in during breaks and then the air-conditioning system would be switched off, he said.