Wed, Dec 16, 2015 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

ICE HOCKEY

KHL to enter China

The Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is to expand into China next season with a team in Beijing, the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics. KHL deputy chairman Roman Rotenberg told Russia’s Tass news agency on Monday that the unnamed team will start playing in September at the 18,000-capacity MasterCard Center in Beijing, the 2008 Olympic basketball venue and home of the Beijing Ducks basketball team. Rotenberg said that the new team will be financed by Russian and Chinese businesses and that the project includes an academy staffed by “several children’s coaches” sent by the KHL to develop players. There is also support from the Chinese government, which is seeking to expand hockey in time for the Olympics, he added. The KHL has 28 teams in seven countries across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but remains highly focused on Russia, which has 22 teams.

BASKETBALL

NBA referee comes out

Bill Kennedy, an NBA referee for 18 seasons, revealed that he is gay after being the subject of homophobic insults from Sacramento guard Rajon Rondo, Yahoo Sports reported on Monday. Rondo was banned on Friday for one game after repeated insults and a confrontation with Kennedy during a Dec. 3 game between the Kings and Boston at Mexico City. Kennedy ejected Rondo on two technical fouls, which led to the outburst. “I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man,” Kennedy told Yahoo Sports. “I am following in the footsteps of others who have self-identified in the hopes that will send a message to young men and women in sports that you must allow no one to make you feel ashamed of who you are.”

BASEBALL

Giants acquire Cueto

The San Francisco Giants have announced a six-year, US$130 million deal to acquire pitcher Johnny Cueto. Cueto, who is to sign pending a physical, was traded to Kansas City in the middle of the past season and helped the Royals capture the World Series after seven campaigns with Cincinnati. San Francisco also acquired right-hander Jeff Samardzija earlier this month. Samardzija and Cueto are to join a pitching rotation that includes Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. “With these two significant additions we made, it gives us a balance of five guys who can give us the starts and innings we need to protect our bullpen and give us the best chance to compete for the division [title],” Giants general manager Bobby Evans told the team’s Web site. “That’s the goal.”

TENNIS

Serena Williams honored

Serena Williams is Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year — the first female athlete honored on her own by the magazine in more than 30 years. Williams came within two matches of tennis’ first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1988, a bid that ended with a semi-final loss at the US Open. In all, the 34-year-old American went 53-3 during the year, with five titles, including at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. Williams was No. 1 in the WTA rankings all season. “She was the most deserving person for the award. She had an amazing year. The way she won her events; the fact that she’s done this for so many years at such a high level,” said Paul Fichtenbaum, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group. “She was a terrific candidate in a year of terrific candidates.” Runner Mary Decker in 1983 was the previous female athlete to earn the award by herself.

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