Wyness faces difficult task
Former Everton and Aberdeen soccer chief executive Keith Wyness was on Friday handed the imposing job of trying to convert the US to Twenty20 cricket. The 54-year-old will be responsible for the delivery of a business plan that will include the sale of Twenty20 franchises for a league planned to start in the summer of next year, Cricket Holdings America LLC announced. Wyness has extensive experience in managing the business of elite-level sport, having worked on the Sydney Olympics of 2000 and as the chief executive of English Premier League club Everton and Aberdeen in Scotland. “I am delighted to take up the role of chief executive officer of Cricket Holdings America,” Wyness said. “It is very rare for an opportunity as exciting as this to come along within sport, to have a clean page to develop what I believe will become a major sport in the USA. Cricket is already the second-biggest sport in the world and the USA is the biggest commercial market for sport. My role is to marry those two factors together and there is plenty of potential and opportunity to do that. Cricket is already played extensively across the United States, with close to 50,000 regular players and it [the US] is the world’s second-biggest consumer of Internet cricket behind India.”
Braun says testing is flawed
National League MVP Ryan Braun, who successfully appealed a positive doping test that would have brought him a 50-game suspension, said on Friday the protocol process was “fatally flawed” and that he was totally innocent of wrongdoing. The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder said his urine sample was not sent to the lab for a period of 44 hours and subsequently revealed levels of testosterone that were three-times higher than ever previously found in Major League Baseball testing. “If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first to step up and say: ‘I did it,’” Braun said from a podium on the diamond at the Brewers spring training field in Arizona. “I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.” Braun said he took a doping test on Oct. 1 during the MLB playoffs and was told on Oct. 19 that he tested positive, which automatically brings suspension. On Thursday, an arbitrator ruled in favor of Braun’s appeal and, for the first time in MLB testing, overruled the finding of a positive test and then voided the suspension. “The program in the way that it was applied to me was absolutely fatally flawed,” Braun said.
Zenit sign Andrei Arshavin
Zenit Saint Petersburg have signed Arsenal’s Russian midfielder Andrei Arshavin on loan until the end of the season, the player and the Russian outfit said on Friday. The Arsenal player, who cost the Gunners ￡15 million (US$20 million) when he arrived in London two-and-a-half seasons ago, tweeted “it’s done” as he prepared to head back to his former club amid reports Zenit had agreed to pay a fee of about US$1.5 million and also pay his wages. Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger had previously insisted that the Russian would be staying put, although the 30-year-old has come in for criticism from fans for some recent below-par performances. This season he has been a fringe player, generally appearing from the bench. With the Russian transfer window shutting on Friday night Zenit made their move, saying in a statement on their Web site: “Arshavin is back!”
Auction could fetch US$3m
The global economy may be in the rough, but bidders are expected to chip in up to US$31,000 to buy an old golf ball at a major sale of golf memorabilia at Christie’s in May. The auction of the collection of Bolivian tin baron Jaime Ortiz-Patino, who acquired the famous Valderrama Golf Club in Spain in 1984, is expected to fetch more than ￡2 million (US$3.15 million) in London on May 30. The most valuable item in the collection, billed as the world’s most important of its kind, is expected to be a painting of the Scottish golf course of North Berwick by John Lavery dating from the 1920s, expected to fetch between ￡200,000 and ￡300,000. Among the golf clubs is the Morris Putter, a 19th century club used by the fabled father-son duo of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, who between them won eight Open Championships.
Rider, 17, killed in race
A 17-year-old rider was killed in a support race for the World Superbike Championship event at Phillip Island, Australia, yesterday. Race organizers said Oscar McIntyre of Queensland State was competing in the opening round of the Superstock 600cc championship. The crash, which also involved two other riders, occurred on lap two of the scheduled 12-lap race. A medical team worked unsuccessfully to revive McIntyre, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Luke Burgess was treated at the circuit’s medical center and released. Michael Lockhart remained under observation with non-life-threatening injuries. The Superpole session for today’s two Superbike races was not held, with the grid to be based on yesterday’s earlier qualifying session.
Bode Miller rests knee
Bode Miller skipped a second World Cup super-G race in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, yesterday to rest a knee injury that was treated with minor surgery in the US this week. US team coach Sasha Rearick said Miller had a “scope to clean up” his left knee, but opted not to start on Friday in a super-G race won by Didier Cuche of Switzerland. Rearick said Miller “really wanted to go, but he made the right decision to be a little bit smarter.” Miller could start in today’s giant slalom. Miller competed in a GS last weekend at Bansko, Bulgaria, despite likely damaging his knee days earlier on an icy course at Sochi, Russia.
Bolt pulls out of Gibson
Usain Bolt pulled out of yesterday’s Gibson Relays in Kingston, Jamaica, another delay to the start of his campaign pointed toward his defense of his Olympic sprint titles in London. “Due to Usain’s unscheduled trip [to Europe,] which resulted in his training disruption, the coach, Glen Mills, has decided that Usain will not take part in the Gibson Relays,” Bolt’s camp said in a one-line release. It was the second local meeting Bolt missed this month after he had left the island days prior to his traditional opener, the Camperdown Classic, two weeks ago. Bolt, the reigning 100m and 200m Olympic champion, was slated to race a 400m at the low-key Camperdown meeting, but was seen in Germany where he reportedly went to see renowned sport medicine doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt. However, Bolt has downplayed rumors of an injury and reported up to last Sunday that he was fine. Meet organizers said Bolt would open his pre-Olympic season in Europe with the Golden Spike event in Ostrava on May 25. He will then compete in Rome on May 31, and in the Oslo Diamond League meeting on June 7.
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