Congolese seek asylum
Six members of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DR Congo) Olympic and Paralympic teams are seeking asylum in Britain, citing political and rights abuses in their country, an official said on Wednesday. Lawyer Patrick Pindi, who heads a Congolese association for disabled people, said three members of the Olympic delegation, a Paralympic committee official and two disabled athletes “don’t want to go home.” The three Olympic delegates — judo trainer Blaise Bekwa, athletics coach Guy Nkita and boxing coach Adelard Ibula — have been missing since the Olympic Games finished on Aug. 12. Pindu said the disabled athletes — Dedeline Mibamba and Levy Kitambala — and the delegation official, Robert Dikazolele, had called him on Sept. 7 to tell him they would not return to the DR Congo. Pindu said his organization deplored Mibamba and Kitambala’s decision. “I had said to them that it was the first time that people living with handicaps had taken part in such an important international event and that it would be better if they came home,” Pindu said.
Palmer honored by US
Arnold Palmer became the sixth athlete to earn a Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony on Wednesday where the golfing great and humanitarian made light of the divided US lawmakers who gave him the award. Congress bestowed Palmer, 83, with its highest civilian award in “recognition of his service to the country in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship.” To be sure, this, one of the most unpopular and unproductive congresses in history, came together to salute this king of swing. “I’m particularly proud of anything that the House and Senate agree on,” said Palmer, drawing laughter and applause from a US Capitol crowd of a few hundred people, including often warring Democratic and Republican leaders. A winner of more than 80 professional tournaments worldwide, including seven major championships, the charismatic Palmer helped popularize the game of golf over a half century ago with a hard-charging style that drew his own “Arnie’s Army” of fans.
Ferrero set to retire
Former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero says he will retire after playing in his hometown Valencia Open next month. The 32-year-old Spaniard moved to the top of the rankings in 2003 after winning the French Open and reaching the US Open final. In 14 years as a professional, he won 15 titles and helped Spain win the first two of its five Davis Cups in 2000 and 2004. Ferrero plans to devote time to his tennis academy and hotel.
Medalist’s bikes stolen
Law enforcement officials in Germany and the US are investigating the theft of a road bike and time trial bike owned by Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong. The two bikes went missing while they were being shipped from Germany to Boise, Idaho, US media reported Wednesday. Armstrong’s time trial bike was the same one she used to win the gold medal at the London Olympics and is valued at US$30,000. The bikes were on display in Germany before being packed in boxes to be sent to the US. The bikes were shipped from Germany last Friday and made stops in Frankfurt and Atlanta, but the boxes that arrived at Armstrong’s house on Tuesday were empty.
Bolt can bowl: Gayle
The West Indies’ opening batsman Chris Gayle rates the bowling of fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt and reckons the six-times Olympic gold medalist has what it takes to excel at the game. The sprinter expressed his desire to repackage himself as a big-hitting cricketer in Australia’s Twenty20Big Bash League following an invitation by Shane Warne after he repeated his Beijing 2008 feat with three more golds at this year’s London Games. “He wouldn’t embarrass himself. In a charity game, he actually played against me and almost knocked my head off with a good competitive bouncer,” Gayle said as his team started training for the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka. The sprinter grew up playing street cricket and soccer in Jamaica and during the London Games said he wanted a trial at English Premier League giants Manchester United.