Barca win Super Cup
Two goals from Lionel Messi and a poacher’s strike from Bojan Krkic gave Barcelona a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in their Spanish Super Cup second-leg match on Sunday for a 5-1 aggregate victory. The Spanish and European champions were leading 2-1 from the first leg in Bilbao last Sunday and Messi’s superbly-taken opening goal early in the second half snuffed out any hopes of an unlikely Athletic comeback at a packed Camp Nou. The Argentina forward picked up a pass from new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 50th minute, rounded an Athletic defender and from close to the byline clipped the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz. His second came from the penalty spot after Daniel Alves was felled and Krkic made sure of Barca’s first trophy of the season when he intercepted Ander Iturraspe’s mis-hit back-pass, rounded Iraizoz and stroked the ball into the empty net.
One killed in fan clashes
One person was killed and a holiday resort set ablaze when supporters of two soccer clubs clashed after a match in India’s eastern metropolis of Kolkata, a news report said yesterday. More than 15 people were injured in clashes that erupted after supporters of the defeated side opened fire and hurled bombs in the city’s suburb of Rajarhat on Sunday night, the NDTV news network reported. The hooligans then set fire to a luxury tourist resort nearby, believing some supporters of the rival team had taken shelter there. “One person was killed and more than 15 were injured in the clash. The injured were hospitalized,” senior police officer S.N. Gupta told the news channel. Police said 30 resort cottages were gutted and some vehicles were smashed. Twelve people were arrested and the police and paramilitary forces brought the situation under control, the report said.
Tour was doping-free
UCI president Pat McQuaid said on Sunday there had been no positive dope tests at this year’s Tour de France and looked forward to a drugs-free race being the future pattern. McQuaid said: “At this point in time I haven’t heard of any positive tests at this year’s Tour de France or that we’re checking samples to confirm positives. It’s looking like the Tour de France will not have any positive tests for a number of years. I think that’s a big step forward for cycling.” Men’s professional cycling has been blighted by doping scandals in recent years as blood and urine tests caught out riders using the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO). Last year cycling became the first sport to introduce a revolutionary blood passport system that monitors athletes’ blood values rather than looking for a specific drug.
Downing wins in Ireland
English rider Russell Downing battled through torrential rain to win the Tour of Ireland after an impressive performance in the final stage to Cork on Sunday. Downing had won the first stage to Waterford on Friday and he finished second to Norwegian Lars Petter Nordhaug at the finish on St Patrick’s Hill on Sunday, earning him first place in the general classification. Nordhaug won the final stage in a time of 4 hours, 10 seconds, but seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong abandoned his attempt late on, pulling out because of the conditions. American legend Armstrong had finished 20th overall on Saturday. Nordhaug and Downing broke away from the chasing group on the final stage, but the Norwegian crossed the line ahead of the English rider.
Champ skips training again
Controversial sumo champion Asashoryu is in hot water again after skipping training because he did not want to risk catching swine flu on a bus. The Mongolian yokozuna told Japanese media yesterday he would take the matter up with the wrestlers’ union after being reprimanded for a morning no-show over the weekend. “[The infected wrestlers] were on the same bus which was a reason,” said Asashoryu, adding that the Japan Sumo Association had done little to protect wrestlers from infection. “What they say and what they do are two different things. I want them to think hard to come up with a way to protect us [from risk].” Around 30 wrestlers and sumo officials have caught the flu over the past 10 days. Wrestlers and sumo fans have been wearing flu masks as a precaution against the outbreak. “Our livelihoods are at stake here,” fumed the 28-year-old Asashoryu. “I’ll be taking it up with the union.” Asashoryu was criticized for skipping morning training ahead of a major tournament in Nagoya recently amid the break-up of his marriage.
Waratahs sign Anesi
NSW Waratahs have signed Waikato Chiefs fullback Sosene Anesi on a one-year deal, New South Wales Rugby Union said yesterday. Anesi, who played his only Test for New Zealand in 2005 against Fiji, came back from a shoulder injury to play the last five games of the Super 14 season with the Chiefs, who ended second in the southern hemisphere competition. “This is a significant signing for us,” Waratahs head coach Chris Hickey said in a statement. “They don’t just give away All Blacks jerseys, so to secure a New Zealand Test player is pretty exciting for us as a team, and indeed the whole organization.” Anesi joins a revamped Waratahs backline for next year’s campaign, including Australia internationals Berrick Barnes and Drew Mitchell, former ACT Brumbies’ half-back Josh Holmes and Australia under-21 center Rory Sidey.
Asian Tour signs TV deal
The Asian Tour has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Sky Sports to broadcast golf tournaments in Britain and Ireland, the Tour said yesterday, a week after Yang Yong-eun became the continent’s first men’s major champion. Britain’s dominant pay-TV sports broadcaster, owned by BSkyB, already shows Asian Tour events co-sanctioned by the European Tour and will now add the Macau Open, Malaysia’s Iskandar Johor Open and the Cambodian Open to this year’s schedule. “With Korea’s Yang Yong-eun’s historic victory at the US PGA Championship ... the Asian Tour’s reputation for cultivating world beaters has been strengthened,” the tour said in a statement. The deal is a boost for Asian Tour as it battles over the future of regional golf with the OneAsia Tour, which was launched this year with the aim of becoming an elite platform in the region.
Daredevil swims cave
Daredevil aquanaut Mike Wells on Sunday claimed a world record for freediving after swimming the 120m of Fish Rock Cave on Australia’s east coast on just a single breath. The 39-year-old professional diver from Sydney swam down 14m to get into the cave, then maneuvered through an exit where the gap in places was no wider than his 1m monofin, before popping up the 24m to the surface. Wells claimed the title after several failed attempts over two weeks where he resorted to buddy breathing from an accompanying scuba diver.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017