Aussie Hend regains lead
Australia’s Scott Hend is well-placed to earn his fourth Asian Tour victory after carding a two-under-par 70 to regain the lead after the third round of the US$600,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters yesterday. Hend finished the round five under, one shot ahead of overnight leader Sam Cyr of the US. Hend led after the first round at the Taiwan Golf and Country club in Tamsui, New Taipei City. Mohammad Siddikur of Bangladesh finished yesterday third, two shots behind Cyr, while the top-placed Taiwanese player was Lu Wen-teh who was tied for 10th on four over.
EAST ASIAN GAMES
Swimmer to star for China
Double Olympic Champion Ye Shiwen will be China’s star name at the East Asian Games, which begin today with a “frugal but splendid” opening ceremony, Chinese state media said. More than 2,400 athletes from nine countries are set to take part in the multi-sport event in the city of Tianjin, competing in 24 different sports, Xinhua news agency said. Some 1,500 performers will take part in the opening ceremony, which will be a “frugal but splendid” occasion, Xinhua reported, in an apparent nod toward China’s crackdown on big-spending and corruption. Ye has had an indifferent year after she stunned the world at the 2012 London Olympics, taking gold in both the 200m and 400m individual medley events. However, she failed to win a single medal at the World Championships in Barcelona in late July. A number of stars will be absent, including swimmer Sun Yang, who won five medals at China’s National Games last month, and Lin Dan, the multi-medal winning star of Chinese men’s badminton. The teams taking part in the event come from China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Guam.
Brive lock has cancer
Brive lock forward Olivier Caisso has been diagnosed with cancer and will start a course of chemotherapy in the coming days, the French Top 14 team revealed on Friday. Caisso, 27, who has been at Brive since 2011, has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the club said. “Olivier will undergo a scan next week to evaluate the duration of chemotherapy required,” a club statement said. “We are thinking of Olivier and his family and we have underlined our support of him in his battle against the illness.”
Asada wows home fans
Japan’s former world champion Mao Asada staged a convincing start to the Olympic season, landing the tricky triple axel to score a personal best at a home event yesterday. Asada earned 135.16 points at the Japan Open, an invitational team competition in free skating, with Joannie Rochette of Canada second on 123.99 and US national champion Ashley Wagner third on 119.77 in the women’s section. Javier Fernandez of Spain nailed three quadruple jumps to top the men’s table on 176.91 points, followed by Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka on 158.42 and American Jeremy Abbott on 157.70. Japan won the event with a total of 544.85 points. North America were second on 528.89 and Europe were third on 477.84. Asada opened her routine by landing her trademark 3.5 revolution triple axel jump, followed by a triple-double combination. She dazzled with four more triples, one in a combination with two doubles, and hit a maximum level-four in four spins and one step sequence. Her score shaved 0.79 off her former free-skate personal best of 134.37 points, set when she finished third at the world championships in March.