Local youth to play in France
A 13-year-old student from Cheng Kung Junior High School in Keelung will compete in a French tennis tournament for a scholarship valued at US$2,000 a year, the organizers said on Thursday. Wang Hsiang-yi, who was selected by a local tennis tournament, will fly to France on May 31 to join 15 other youngsters from around the world who will be competing for the scholarship, the organizers said. The competition, sponsored by the Swiss watchmaker Longines, offers two scholarships to the top players, who will each receive US$2,000 a year until they reach the age of 16. Before the start of the tournament, Wang will train with Longines’ brand ambassador Yang Tsung-hua, who won the French Open boy’s singles in 2008, event spokesman Chang Cheng-hsun said.
Chabal faces 60-day ban
French forward Sebastien Chabal must referee at least three youth games and undergo a refereeing course to avoid a doubling of his ban for criticizing officials, France’s rugby union said in a statement on Thursday. Chabal, 33, the highest profile omission from France’s World Cup squad announced on Wednesday, was provisionally suspended by his Racing-Metro team last month after an outburst against “hopeless” referees. The long-haired back-rower now faces a 60-day ban unless he agrees to the unusual requests from the union, in which case he will be suspended for only 30 days.
Williams out of French Open
Former world No. 1 Serena Williams has pulled out of the French Open because she has not fully recovered from health issues, organizers said on Thursday. Williams, who has not played since last July, has dropped to 17th in the WTA rankings. She won the French Open in 2002. Her sister, Venus, is a major doubt for the tournament having not played since January because of a hip injury. Organizers also confirmed that former world No. 1 Dinara Safina, who is taking an indefinite break from the sport, and Argentine Davis Nalbandian had pulled out of the tournament.
UCI ranks riders’ risk
The UCI said it “deplores” the leak of a confidential document listing riders at last year’s Tour de France in a doping suspicion index. French sports daily L’Equipe published yesterday what it said was a UCI document that listed all 198 riders from last year’s Tour on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest level of suspicion and 0 the lowest. Two riders were listed at 10, one at 9 and several more at 8. Most of the riders scored below 4. The scores were based on readings drawn from each rider’s biological passport profile before the Tour. UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said “the list exists, yes, we haven’t hidden that.”
FA charges Ferguson
The FA has charged Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson with improper conduct over comments made about referee Howard Webb. The FA says the charge relates to comments made on May 6, two days before Webb took charge of United’s match against Chelsea. The FA didn’t specify the offending comments, but Ferguson told reporters that his “big fear” was bad refereeing decisions in the match. United beat Chelsea 2-1 to put them a point away from winning the Premier League. Ferguson has until 4pm London time on Monday to respond to the charge.