Wed, Oct 14, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■HORSE RACING

Dwarf race causes outrage

Australian horse racing officials have been slammed for holding a dwarf racing competition called the “Midget Cup” at a meeting in Melbourne to promote Victoria state’s annual carnival. The race at the Cranbourne Cup on Sunday featured dwarfs dressed as jockeys being carried piggyback by runners down a race-course and has been denounced by government officials and advocacy groups. “Well look, there’s often a fine line between a bit of fun and a silly stunt and I think this falls into the latter category,” Victorian racing minister Rob Hulls told state radio. Stuart Laing, a marketing manager at Racing Victoria, said the dwarf race was intended to be “harmless fun,” but apologized and said it would not be repeated. The Short Statured People of Australia hit out at the race, saying using dwarfs for laughs “just makes life harder for us.” However, one of the dwarfs involved, entertainer Jeremy Hallam, said the race was intended in good humor. “I didn’t know there was going to be quite as big an uproar. I think there was nothing wrong with it, it was all in good fun,” he said.

■GOLF

Hecklers kill off ‘party hole’

Organizers of Australia’s national golf championship have scrapped the tournament’s controversial “party hole” after players complained about raucous spectators camped at the greenside bar. The stadium hole brought a DJ and an open bar to the last two editions of the Australian Open in what organizers hoped would attract new fans to the game. The hole, set up at Royal Sydney golf course’s 17th last year, was the subject of controversy after Australian Robert Allenby was heckled by a spectator about his sick mother, who has since died of cancer. A furious Allenby denounced the hole as promoting alcoholism and threatened to never return to the Australian tour. “He gave us some feedback about last year’s Open about what he felt and we certainly took that on board,” Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said of two-times champion Allenby, who will skip the Dec. 3 to Dec. 6 tournament for the first time in 20 years.

■FIELD HOCKEY

Pakistan forward facing ban

Pakistan forward Tariq Aziz faces a ban of six to 12 months after he admitted to taking cannabis to treat a back ailment, an official said yesterday. Tests proved negative but traces of Carboxy-THC — a by-product of cannabis — were still found in a sample he provided. Last month, national team coach Shahid Ali Khan said Aziz had taken an unspecified banned substance because he was “really desperate” to return to the side after his back trouble. Aziz has a history of disciplinary problems. He was banned for six months after he hit an Australian player with his stick during the final of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. That was his second offense in the tournament, having already received a red card for hitting a South African player.

■CRICKET

Pakistan skipper quits

Younus Khan has resigned as captain of Pakistan in protest at match-fixing allegations made against the team by a senior member of parliament. Younus submitted his resignation to the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Ejaz Butt, during a hearing of the National Assembly (NA) standing committee on sports in Islamabad yesterday. The hearing was called to discuss the performance of the team in the Champions Trophy after the NA committee chairman, Jamshed Dasti, said he had evidence Pakistan deliberately under-performed against Australia and New Zealand in the tournament.

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