Portland star gets drug ban
Portland Trail Blazers guard Terrel Harris was suspended without pay for five games for a violation of the NBA’s anti-drug program, the league announced on Monday. Harris, who turns 26 on Saturday, will begin the ban with the first game of the upcoming 2013-2014 season, provided he is healthy and physically able to perform. The league did not announce what substance was involved in the violation of the anti-drug program agreed upon in conjunction with the players union. US medical privacy laws often prevent such disclosures. Harris has averaged 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 42 career regular-season NBA games with Miami and New Orleans.
Prodigy set for tournament
Twelve-year-old Ye Wocheng of China is set to play at the European Masters next month. Tournament organizers say Ye has been accepted for the Sept. 5 to Sept. 8 event in the Swiss Alps, which is jointly sanctioned by the European and Asian tours. Ye became the youngest-ever player in a European Tour event after qualifying for the China Open in May. He missed the cut after shooting two rounds of 79. Ye’s record-setting appearance followed weeks after fellow Chinese golfer Guan Tianlang made history at The Masters by playing at the age of 14.
Weepu says ‘I’ll be back’
Piri Weepu admitted yesterday his axing from the All Blacks came as a shock, but vowed to knuckle down and reclaim his New Zealand jersey. The 71-Test veteran was a surprise omission from coach Steve Hansen’s 28-man squad named on Sunday for the Rugby Championship, with his place taken by 21-year-old T.J. Perenara. Weepu, who will turn 30 next month, said he was disappointed, feeling he had played well with Super 15 outfit the Auckland Blues after facing criticism for a lack of fitness last season. “I feel like I probably played one of the best campaigns I’ve had in a long, long time,” he told the Dominion Post newspaper. “I’m pretty happy about that because I worked really hard in the off-season ... it is a bit disappointing I didn’t make the Championship,” Weepu said. “It’s just about working with the right people, having the right team around me. I have to have a plan in place to get to that goal,” he said. “I can only do so much. If I work my ass off and give myself a fighting chance... then hopefully that gives me a good shot.”
Slapper says sorry
Ecuadoran side Barcelona’s goalkeeper Maximo Banguera has publicly apologized for slapping an opponent in the face which left his victim needing hospital treatment following a fiery local derby at the weekend. Television pictures showed that immediately after Sunday’s match in Guayaquil, Banguera slapped Emelec captain and fellow Ecuador international Pedro Quinonez violently in the face. Emelec officials said that Quinonez was knocked to the ground by the force of the impact, suffered convulsions and nearly lost consciousness. He spent the night in hospital complaining of dizziness and was released on Monday. “I want to apologize sincerely to Pedro Quinonez, his family, the supporters, everyone,” Banguera told a news conference late on Monday. “I was a bad loser. I am aware if there is a sanction, I will have to face it.” The two players had also been involved in an angry exchange during the Shipyard