Taiwanese duo lose final
Taiwanese table tennis players finished second in women’s doubles at the Japan Open, after losing the final to a Chinese duo on Sunday. Cheng I-ching and Huang Yi-hua of Taiwan entered the tournament held in Yokohama as the top-seeded pair in women’s doubles and reached the final after beating South Korean opponents in straight sets during the semi-final game on Saturday. However, Cheng and Huang lost the first set of the final match 11-3 to non-seeded Chinese players Gu Yuting and Zhou Xintong. The Taiwanese pair struck back against the Chinese duo after winning the second set 11-6, but failed to keep their momentum during the subsequent two sets, which Cheng and Huang lost 11-4 and 11-7. Cheng and Huang said after the match that they were unable to adjust to the “strange” way their Chinese opponents played, but although upset by the defeat, the pair said they had at least learned many new techniques.
Russia retain their title
Russia won the European Team Championships for the third year running on Sunday thanks to a flurry of points in the final three events. They finished the two-day competition in Gateshead, England, on 354.5 points, while Germany were second with 347.5 and Britain third with 338. After 37 of the 40 events, Germany initially held the lead, but just three points separated the top three and Dmitriy Tarabin’s winning personal best of 85.99m in the javelin put the defending champions back in front. Second place in the men’s 4x400m relay behind home favorites Britain secured the title for Russia after Germany could only manage to cross the line in fourth. Mariya Kuchina sweetened victory for the Russians by winning the women’s high jump with a personal best of 1.98m. The bottom three countries, Belarus, Greece and Norway, were relegated and will be replaced next year by the promoted Czech Republic, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Hernandez’s house raided
Police sorted through bags of items retrieved from the home of New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez on Sunday amid a deepening investigation into the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional player for the Boston Bandits. Hernandez, 23, a tight-end and rising star in the National Football League, is at the center of the investigation. Lloyd’s body was discovered on Monday last week in an industrial park about a 1.6km from Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts. Investigators searched Hernandez’s house for nearly four hours on Saturday, removing several bags of material. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the case on Sunday said police investigators were now busy examining the items, but declined to give details.
O’Connell sidelined by injury
The British and Irish Lions suffered a major blow ahead of the second Test against Australia, with lock Paul O’Connell ruled out of the rest of the series against Australia due to a fracture in his right forearm. The 33-year-old Irishman, who captained the Lions on their last tour to South Africa in 2009, sustained the injury in the tourists’ 23-21 victory in the first Test in Brisbane on Saturday. The injury will be a particular blow to the Munster man, who came through a long period on the sidelines with a back injury before returning to action in April to secure his place on a third Lions tour. Geoff Parling is set to replace O’Connell for the second Test.