Taiwan men’s team ousted
Taiwan crashed out of the quarter-finals of the men’s world team table tennis championships in Dortmund, Germany, losing to South Korea 3-1 on Friday. Top seeds China and hosts Germany booked their places in the semi-finals by recording commanding last eight victories. China’s Zhang Jike (pictured), Ma Lin and Ma Long showed Austria no mercy as the defending champions romped to a 3-0 victory, while Germany also blasted past Sweden with a clean-sweep. For a place in the finals, the Germans will now play Japan, who beat Singapore 3-1 in their quarter-final, while China take on South Korea.
Fans point way to goal
Cheeky fans of German minnows FC Magdeburg decided to help their team end a five-match goalless streak with huge fluorescent arrows to show their players the way to the goal. With their team bottom of the northern regional league, Germany’s fourth division, a group of fans gathered behind their opponents’ net, each armed with a giant arrow. The trick worked, as Magdeburg finally found the back of the net after 558 minutes without a goal when US striker Chris Wright equalized in the 78th minute of their 2-1 defeat at home to Berliner AK 07 last Sunday. Footage of the humorous prank has already proved a hit on the Internet with more than a quarter of a million people watching the video “Pfeile [Arrows]” on YouTube.
Japan drops dope charges
Former Indiana basketball player Lynn Washington has been released from a jail in Osaka, Japan, after charges he attempted to smuggle marijuana into the country were dropped. The 33-year-old Osaka Evessa forward spent 18 days in jail after being arrested on March 13 over allegations he violated Japan’s Cannabis Control Law. Japan’s professional basketball league issued a statement late on Friday saying all charges against Washington had been dropped. Washington had been alleged to have conspired with his wife to smuggle more than 1.36kg of marijuana, with a street value of about US$110,000, through the international mail in November last year.
Payton to appeal suspension
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton will appeal his one-year suspension for his role in the team’s “bounty” scandal, the NFL Network said on Friday. The network, citing an unnamed source, said Payton was expected to “seek guidance on the amount of time he will have to prepare his appeal, and will attempt to obtain the full reports from NFL security regarding the bounty evidence against him.” The report said former Saints defensive coach Gregg Willliams, now with the St Louis Rams, would not appeal his penalty. He was suspended indefinitely in the wake of the pay-for-pain scandal. Payton had until tomorrow to file the appeal. He was suspended after the NFL took a dim view of the revelations that the Saints had been rewarding their players for deliberately injuring their opponents. The NFL also said it was investigating several players, raising the possibility that more penalties could be handed out.