Sun, Oct 09, 2016 - Page 11 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

MOTOR RACING

Rosberg wins Suzuka pole

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg put himself in the best possible position to widen his lead over Formula One title rival and teammate Lewis Hamilton by securing pole position yesterday for today’s Japanese Grand Prix. Rosberg clocked a time of 1 minute, 30.647 seconds on his final flying lap at the Suzuka circuit to beat Hamilton by just 0.01 seconds. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was a close third followed by teammate Sebastian Vettel, who was handed a three-place grid penalty and is to start in seventh. With five races remaining, Rosberg holds a 23-point lead over Hamilton, who is seeking a third straight victory in Japan. Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth and sixth.

SOCCER

Eligibility probe opened

FIFA is investigating complaints from Chile and Peru that Bolivia fielded an ineligible player against them in World Cup qualifying matches. FIFA is “gathering the necessary information and documentation to evaluate the situation and decide on potential next steps,” the world soccer body said on Friday. If FIFA rules for Chile, the Copa America champions could gain two points in their ailing bid to reach the 2018 tournament in Russia. Chile, who lost 3-0 against Ecuador on Thursday, are five points off a direct qualification place at the midway stage of the 10-team South American group. The top four advance and the fifth-placed team, currently Argentina, enter a playoff against a team from Oceania. The complaints from Chile and Peru are about Paraguay-born defender Nelson Cabrera, who previously played for Paraguay. Bolivia used the 33-year-old Cabrera as a late substitute in beating Peru 2-0 in La Paz on Sept. 1 and five days later in a 0-0 draw against Chile in Santiago. FIFA typically awards a 3-0 default loss against teams judged to have fielded ineligible players.

SOCCER

China boss urges confidence

The head of Chinese soccer told the national team not to lose confidence after their loss to war-torn Syria jeopardized hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. The national side’s 0-1 defeat on Thursday before a home crowd of 40,000 in Xian enraged fans, spurring many to call for the sacking of Chinese Football Association president Cai Zhenhua. He has ignored the calls so far and sought to reassure Team Dragon players that they “absolutely must not lose confidence because of this loss,” the Xin Kuaibao newspaper reported yesterday. “We still have seven games, you must bring out your fighting spirit. Especially at times like this [after a loss], you mustn’t give up.”

ICE HOCKEY

Transgender player debuts

The National Women’s Hockey League’s first transgender player scored a goal in her debut. Buffalo forward Harrison Browne was named the game’s second star in the Beauts’ 4-1 loss against the Boston Pride on Friday night. “It was unreal,” Browne said. “I’ve never felt something like that before.” Up until the season-opening game on Friday, the 23-year-old went by the name of Hailey Browne. That changed when she announced she prefers to be known as Harrison and identifies as a male in a story first published by ESPN. “I was just excited,” Browne said, adding that she had previously revealed her gender identity, but had not changed her name. “I’ve been out for a long time. I’m not scared about it. It’s nothing new to me.”

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