Hameed sorry for interview
Pakistan’s Yasir Hameed said yesterday he had apologized to authorities over an interview with a British tabloid in which he accused fellow players of fixing matches. “I was trapped into it but I should not have said all that before a stranger and I apologize to all the players who were hurt because of that,” Hameed said. Hameed was secretly filmed telling undercover reporters from the News of the World in September that his fellow players fix matches with impunity. “They were doing it [fixing] in almost every match,” Yasir said. “God knows what they were up to. Scotland Yard was after them for ages. It makes me angry because I’m playing my best and they are trying to lose.” The conversation was broadcast two days after three Pakistani players — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir — were suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on charges of spot-fixing during the team’s Lord’s Test against England in August. The trio will find out at the ICC’s anti-corruption tribunal in Doha, Qatar, from Thursday to Jan. 11 whether the suspensions are to be turned into bans or they are absolved. Hameed initially denied he had given any interview but admitted he was trapped by an undercover reporter who was in the guise of an airline representative who wanted him and other players to sign up to a commercial.
Wigan sign Spaniard
Wigan Athletic have signed Spanish defender Adrian Lopez until the end of the season, the Premier League club said yesterday. The 23-year-old free agent has been training with the club this season after leaving Deportivo La Coruna but has been awaiting FIFA clearance to sign. “It’s great to see Adrian’s desire to play for Wigan Athletic can finally be fulfilled,” Wigan’s Spanish coach Roberto Martinez told the club’s Web site. “He is a defender who is very calm under pressure, and is a great reader of the game.” Lopez played twice for Spain’s under-21s and made 39 appearances for Deportivo.
South Korea beat Syria
South Korea continued their preparations for the Asian Cup with a comfortable 1-0 friendly win over Syria on Thursday in Abu Dhabi. Youngster Ji Dong-won, who graduated from the under-23 side this year, staked his claim for a regular place in the starting lineup when he scored the winner in the 82nd minute, smashing a left-foot shot into the top left corner after outsmarting two defenders inside the penalty area. South Korea dominated much of the proceedings, but lack of sharpness from their forwards and some stout defense from the Syrians ensured the scoreline remained blank until the last eight minutes. Two-time Asian Cup champions South Korea have been drawn in Group C with Australia, Bahrain and India. Their opening match is against Bahrain on Jan. 10. Syria are in Group B with Saudi Arabia, Japan and Jordan.
Swede becomes Celt
Celtic have signed former Arsenal and Sweden midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, the Scottish club said on Thursday. The 33-year-old player was to be officially unveiled at a news conference yesterday and could make his debut in the Old Firm derby against Rangers tomorrow, Celtic said on their Web site. Ljungberg made his name with Arsenal, playing more than 200 games for the English club between 1998 and 2007, before moving to West Ham United and US sides Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire.
Huskies’ streak broken
The University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team had its US collegiate record 90-game win streak snapped on Thursday with a 71-59 loss at Stanford. The Huskies broke one of the most storied milestones in US sport on Dec. 21 by beating Florida State University 93-62 for their 89th win in a row. That victory topped the 88-game win streak by the University of California at Los Angeles men’s team from 1971 to 1974. That streak, by UCLA teams coached by the legendary John Wooden, had been the gold standard among US collegiate programs that develop NBA talent. Connecticut’s women had not lost since April 6, 2008, also to Stanford in the US national collegiate tournament semi-finals. This time, Stanford’s women stretched their home win streak to 52 games, never trailing in toppling the Huskies.
Agassi to train Taiwanese
Andre Agassi will take part in a training session with young Taiwanese players, the Kaohsiung City Department of Sports said on Thursday. Agassi is scheduled to visit Taiwan from Wednesday to Sunday, and 32 members of high-school tennis teams will be invited to take part in the training with the former world No. 1 at the city’s Yangming Tennis Center Courts, department Director Liu Yung-yuan said. Agassi will be joined during the training session by Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun, who ranks 35th in the world, and Jimmy Wang, who won a bronze medal in the men’s singles at the East Asian Games in 2009, as well as Russia’s Marat Safin and Mikhail Youzhny. The five tennis stars will compete in two exhibition matches to be held in the Taipei Arena and the Kaohsiung Arena on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, Liu said.
Garnett out for two weeks
Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett will miss up to two weeks of the NBA season with a sprained right calf, but an MRI on Thursday showed the damage was not as bad as first feared. “It’s actually the muscle just off the side of the leg below the knee,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. “It’s not anything to do with his knee, which is great news. It’s one of those injuries that he may be out for a couple of weeks, at the most. It’s always a guess when you’re trying to see when guys come back, but I’ll just say two weeks, and I think that’s on a very conservative side.” The Celtics had worries the injury, sustained in the first quarter of Boston’s 104-92 loss on Wednesday at Detroit, might have been to Garnett’s surgically repaired right knee. Glen Davis figures to start in place of Garnett during the superstar’s absence.
Champ says he’s innocent
Kenya’s Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru has been charged with threatening to kill his wife and his housemaid, and violently assaulting his guard. The athlete denied all three acts, which were said to have taken place on Wednesday in his home in the northwestern town of Nyahururu. He was released on bail on Thursday. According to local reports, prosecutor John Ruto said Wanjiru threatened to kill his wife, Teresiah Njeri, following a confrontation. He also threatened to kill his housemaid, Nancy Njoki, and wounded his security guard, William Masinde, with an AK-47 assault rifle. The 23-year-old Wanjiru is the youngest runner to win four major marathons. The case will go to court again on Feb. 9.
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7