Two athletes disqualified
Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr and Polish bobsledder Daniel Zalewski were on Wednesday sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for failing drug controls at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Duerr, 27, has been disqualified from the men’s skiathlon, in which he finished eighth, after testing positive on Feb. 22 for the banned substance recombinant erythropoietin (EPO). Zalewski tested positive for the stimulant phenethylamine on Feb. 23 and has also been disqualified. The Polish four-man team placed 27th. Austria’s ski federation confirmed that Duerr would be barred from the federation for life. The Polish federation has yet to decide on an eventual suspension for Zalewski. Seven athletes tested positive in Sochi, but Swedish ice hockey star Nicklas Backstrom was later cleared of wrongdoing by the IOC and allowed to keep his silver medal.
Aussies to tackle Kiwis first
Australia are to open their Four Nations rugby league tournament defense against New Zealand in a double-header at Brisbane on Oct. 25. Tournament officials said yesterday that England would play either Fiji or Samoa in the second game. The two Pacific Island countries are to play off on May 2 at Penrith in western Sydney for a place in the tournament. New Zealand are to play Fiji or Samoa in Whangarei, New Zealand, on Nov. 1, with Australia scheduled to take on England in Melbourne the following day. New Zealand are to host England in Dunedin, New Zealand, on Nov. 8 and Australia are to play Fiji or Samoa in Wollongong, Australia, on Nov. 9. The final is to be played in Wellington, New Zealand, on Nov. 15.
Cyclocross ‘ideal for winter’
International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson said on Wednesday that cyclocross could make the transition from the Summer Olympics to the Winter Games. The 62-year-old Englishman said in a speech at the SportAccord Convention in Belek, Turkey, that cyclocross was ideal for the switch as it was a sport that took place over the winter. “In my own sport’s case, I have publicly advocated that a discipline like cyclocross would be an ideal addition to the Winter Games,” Cookson said.” It takes place during the northern hemisphere winter, it offers equal medal opportunities for men and women, infrastructure costs to install a circuit are minimal and the first across the line principle is clear. And above all, it is a sport that reaches out to an incredibly wide cross-section of the population.” Cookson, whose remark that judo could also move to the Winter Games was ridiculed by that sport’s federation head last week, said it would be a provocative debate, but that sports heads needed to be more imaginative.
Symphony for Hillsborough
British composer Michael Nyman has created a symphony in memory of the 96 soccer fans killed in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, the city of Liverpool announced on Wednesday. Nyman, who wrote the soundtrack to the 1993 film The Piano, hopes that Symphony No. 11: “Hillsborough Memorial” will help the families of the bereaved with the healing process. The symphony is to be performed at Liverpool Cathedral on July 5. On April 15, 1989, at the start of an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, northern England, Liverpool fans were crushed to death on an overcrowded terrace.