Sports Briefs


Thu, Aug 20, 2009 - Page 19


Ham Fighters floored by flu

The entire squad of Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters baseball team is being quarantined and tested for H1N1 influenza after three players contracted the virus. Team officials said yesterday they had ordered all players and coaching staff to check in to a Sapporo hospital for screening after six more players complained of high fever. The Fighters have so far ruled out canceling games as a precaution. Six sumo wrestlers and officials and a member of Japan’s ­under-19 women’s soccer team have also picked up the H1N1 flu over the past week. Japan confirmed its third fatality from the disease on Wednesday in Nagoya.


Ipswich to honor Robson

English Championship club Ipswich Town will rename the North Stand of their Portman Road stadium after former manager Sir Bobby Robson, who died of cancer aged 76 last month. Robson transformed Ipswich into a significant force during a 13-year spell that included winning the FA Cup and UEFA Cup before leaving to coach England in 1982. The club plans to unveil the Sir Bobby Robson Stand at a ceremony on Sept. 26 before the game against Newcastle, who are also closely associated with Robson after his spell as manager at St James Park. Chief executive Simon Clegg said: “The overwhelming majority wanted the Sir Bobby Robson Stand. With the North Stand being seen as the heart of the club and of the fan base, the fans feel this is the right stand to be renamed.”


Melbourne to vie with Kings

The Australian city of Melbourne will bid against South Africa’s Southern Kings franchise for the 15th Super rugby team when the competition expands in 2011, rugby authorities said yesterday. “Both applicants have been invited to provide more information to SANZAR [South Africa New Zealand and Australia Rugby] including a formal application for entry and business plan,” SANZAR said in a statement. SANZAR imposed a Sept. 25 deadline to receive the final bid documents, with a decision on the location of the team due to be announced by October, the rugby body said. The revamped competition in 2011 will see 15 teams split into three conferences, one in each country, with the new team to play in the Australian conference though SANZAR said it did not need to be based in Australia. South Africa’s Southern Kings, a combined Eastern Province, Border and South Western Districts franchise, would face a logistical challenge fielding a team in the Australian conference. Australia has four teams in the current Super 14 competition, one less than New Zealand and South Africa, and is considered the favorite for the expansion side.


Naito faces bad boy Kameda

Japan’s WBC flyweight champion Daisuke Naito is set to fight self-styled boxing bad boy Koki Kameda in an explosive grudge match in November. The bout between the popular Naito and the eldest of the controversial Kameda boxing brothers has been scheduled for Nov. 29 in Tokyo, Japanese media reported yesterday. Bad blood exists between the 34-year-old Naito and the brash Kameda, 12 years his junior. Naito beat Kameda’s younger brother Daiki in an ugly brawl that ended in farce in 2007, the challenger picking up Naito and slamming him to the canvas. Daiki was banned for a year while Koki, working in the corner, escaped with a warning after TV microphones picked up his advice to elbow Naito in the eye.