Tue, Mar 09, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■SPEEDSKATING

Champ berated by state

Olympic champion short track speedskater Zhou Yang has been chided by China’s deputy sports minister for thanking her parents but not her country after winning gold at the Vancouver Games last month. The 18-year-old, who won gold in the 1,500m and as part of the 3,000m relay team, said in Canada that she hoped her achievements would make life easier for her unemployed parents. “It is OK to thank your parents, but firstly you should thank the motherland. You should put the motherland first, not only thank your parents,” Chinese Vice Sports Minister Yu Zaiqing told the Southern Metropolis Daily. Her parents were awarded a 94m² apartment valued at 300,000 yuan (US$44,000) by the local government in their home city of Changchun after Zhou’s 1,500m triumph.

■GOLF

Couples wins Newport title

Fred Couples won his second straight Champions Tour title, shooting a six-under 65 for a four-stroke victory on Sunday in the Toshiba Classic. Couples, making his third start on the 50-and-over tour, had an 18-under 195 total on the Newport Beach Country Club course. Couples earned US$255,000 to push his tour-leading total to US$691,000. Ronnie Black (65) finished second. Tom Lehman (69) and Taiwan’s Lu Chien-soon (69) tied for third at 12-under.

■SWIMMING

Phelps breaks own record

Olympic star Michael Phelps broke his own US record in the 200-yard butterfly on Sunday, winning in 1 minute, 39.65 seconds at the Maryland State Championships at the US Naval Academy. Phelps set the old mark of 1 minute, 39.7 seconds in 2006 at Austin, Texas. He looked back to see his split times from four years ago and entered the race with a goal of breaking his US mark. “I wanted to try and go out and take a shot at it,” he said. “Coming off the last turn, I wanted to stay under as long as I could. That was clearly the difference.”

■HORSE RACING

Vodka forced to retire

Japan’s back-to-back horse of the year Vodka has been forced to retire after suffering a nosebleed in a warm-up race for this month’s Dubai World Cup. The Japan Racing Association described the six-year-old mare as a “jewel for Japanese and world horse racing” yesterday after hearing of the shock decision to end her racing career. “When we saw she had a nosebleed again after the race the owner [Yuzo Tanimizu] and I decided to retire her,” Vodka’s trainer Katsuhiko Sumii told reporters. Vodka, who captured public imagination in 2007 by becoming the first filly to win the Japan Derby in 64 years, also bled when winning the Japan Cup last November. She will now be bred to last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Sea the Stars in Ireland.

■CYCLING

Rabon prevails in Murcia

Czech rider Frantisek Rabon held off a determined challenge from last year’s winner Denis Menchov of Russia to take the overall title in the Tour of Murcia on Sunday. Rabon — who had set up overall victory in Saturday’s time-trial when he won it — had Menchov back in second 38 seconds adrift, with British hope Bradley Wiggins third overall 53 seconds behind. US seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong finished seventh overall, over seven minutes off the pace. Sunday’s fifth and final stage was won by Dutchman Theo Bos.

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