Iniesta to leave Barcelona
Andres Iniesta is leaving Barcelona after 16 trophy-filled seasons with the club. “This season is the last,” Iniesta announced on Friday in an emotional news conference attended by most of his teammates, his family and club executives. After regaining his composure, he added: “I have spent all my life here at this club and it is not easy to leave. The club has placed its confidence in me and considered me a player who is honest with myself and the club, and I said that if I am not able to give it all to my club that has given everything to me that I wouldn’t be happy.” Iniesta, who turns 34 on May 11, said he intends to continue playing, but did not say what his next club would be. Local media report he is going to a Chinese club. “I have always said that I would never compete against my club, so all the options outside Europe are open,” Iniesta said. “When the season is over we will know my choice.”
Close pack in Beijing final
England’s Matt Wallace and Adrian Otaegui of Spain share the lead going into the final round of the US$3.2 million China Open today, but with the chasing pack stalking them. The duo were at 12-under after yesterday’s third round with the triple threat of Sweden’s Alexander Bjork, Julien Guerrier of France and Spain’s Jorge Campillo all a shot behind. On 10-under were six players, ensuring that today’s finale looks set to go right to the wire. Reigning champion Alex Levy of France was in a share of 12th, three shots off the leaders at Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing. No Taiwanese player made the cut.
Norman awarded for salute
The Australian Olympic Committee yesterday awarded a posthumous Order of Merit to Peter Norman, a record-holding sprinter who supported two Americans in their famous Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. At the Games, Norman split US track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos to snatch silver in 20.06 seconds, setting a national record for the 200m sprint that still stands after 50 years. The committee said it was Norman’s decision to stand in solidarity with Smith and Carlos during their silent civil rights protest that further etched him into Australian Olympic folklore. During the award ceremony, Smith and Carlos both put a black-gloved fist in the air. Norman backed their gesture, wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support, but was then frozen out of future Games selection and airbrushed from Australian Olympic history until recently.
Brazil’s Del Nero banned
Brazilian official Marco Polo del Nero was on Friday banned for life for bribery and corruption by the FIFA ethics committee. FIFA said that Del Nero, the former Brazilian Football Confederation president and one-time FIFA executive committee member, was also fined 1 million Swiss francs (US$1.01 million). Del Nero was in 2015 indicted by the US Department of Justice in its sprawling investigation of international soccer corruption linked to broadcasting contracts of competitions. Proven charges of unethical conduct against Del Nero included “bribery and corruption,” “offering and accepting gifts and other benefits” and conflicts of loyalty, FIFA said. He can challenge the sanctions at FIFA’s appeal committee, then the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017