Farmer rickshaws to Games
A Chinese farmer said on Thursday he spent two years riding nearly 60,000km through 16 countries on a rickshaw to reach London in time for the Olympic Games. Chen Guanming, 57, said his goal had been to “spread the Olympic spirit” on his journey through war zones, floods and extreme temperatures in countries including Taiwan, Turkey and Iraq. “During this rickshaw journey, I’ve traveled through 16 countries and a distance of more than 60,000km,” Chen said in London’s central Soho district, a day before the Games begin. “I wanted to arrive on time for the opening ceremony. I had to face both floods and very hot and dry conditions,” he said. He added: “Londoners are very welcoming, the city is welcoming the whole world in a very nice way.” It was not possible to independently verify his account of his journey or how he managed to go through so many countries. Yet the BBC showed footage of Chen displaying a passport filled with visas allowing him entry to countries along the route, as well as pictures of him with his three-wheeled vehicle at several international landmarks. YouTube footage also appeared to show him in Rome in May. He told the BBC he was inspired to make the journey while watching London Mayor Boris Johnson accept the Olympic flag from inside the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing at the 2008 closing ceremony.
Russia recruit Capello
Former England coach Fabio Capello signed a two-year contract on Thursday to guide Russia’s national team through to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Capello announced the move at a news conference in which he acknowledged his inability to speak Russian, but said he would work to overcome it. He replaces Dick Advocaat, who resigned after Russia failed to make it past the group stage at the European Championship last month. Capello had been unemployed since stepping down as England coach in February after four years in charge to protest against the country’s Football Association stripping John Terry of the captaincy for his involvement in a race row. The 66-year-old Italian has won the league title with every club he has managed, including Real Madrid, AC Milan, Roma and Juventus The appointment comes amid turmoil in Russian football. The Russian Football Union still has not found a replacement for former chairman Sergei Fursenko, who resigned after Euro 2012. Capello will be charged with boosting morale after the disappointing performance at Euro 2012. Along with a barrage of criticism from Russian football analysts, the Russian team also faced the ire of the media and fans who accused the players of a lack of enthusiasm and laziness.
Boucher may recover vision
Doctors are “cautiously optimistic” that former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher will regain sight in his left eye, they said on Thursday. Boucher, who was forced to quit cricket after being hit in the eye by a bail in the first match of South Africa’s tour of England this month, underwent his second operation this week. “While it is impossible to predict the long-term outcome of Mark’s eye injury, his medical team are nevertheless cautiously optimistic that he will have a reasonable recovery of the vision in his left eye,” a statement from medics said. “Over the next three to six months, Mark will undergo further surgery procedures in an attempt to improve his vision,” they added. The 35-year-old played in 147 Tests for South Africa and managed 555 dismissals, a world record.