Thorpe disappoints again
Ian Thorpe failed to reach the 100m butterfly final at the Beijing World Cup short-course meet yesterday as the second stop of his hotly anticipated comeback came crashing to a halt. The 29-year-old Australian was 13th overall in the heats with 54.35 seconds, 2.22 seconds off Japanese leader Kosuke Hagino, after also missing the 100m freestyle and 100m individual medley finals on Tuesday. It follows a disappointing return to action for the five-time Olympic champion last weekend in Singapore, when he finished way out of the medals in his first competition in five years. “Thorpedo” is also scheduled to compete in Tokyo this weekend as he builds toward Australia’s Olympic trials in March.
Former Juve boss jailed
Former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi was sentenced to five years and four months in jail on Tuesday for his role in the 2006 Calciopoli match-fixing scandal. Fiorentina owners Andrea and Diego Della Valle and SS Lazio president Claudio Lotito received sentences of 15 months, though they will not have to serve them as under Italian law sentences under two years do not require the guilty party to serve time. Paolo Bergamo, the former referees’ selector, was sentenced to three years and eight months in jail. Moggi was judged to be the man chiefly to blame for the scandal and was found guilty on two counts, including sporting fraud.
Aussies face medal drought
Australia is facing its lowest overall summer Olympics medal haul in two decades at next year’s London Games, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) forecast yesterday. Based on the latest benchmark results Australia will be struggling to hang on to a top-five finish in the medals tally, a position it has held since 1996, AOC chief John Coates said. Coates said based on the results, which track Australia’s performance in international competitions, Australia would win 35 or 36 medals in London. As an overall medal tally, that would represent the lowest haul since Barcelona in 1992 when Australia finished 10th with 27 medals.
Alcaraz banned for spitting
Wigan Athletic captain Antolin Alcaraz was banned for three matches on Tuesday after admitting a charge of spitting at an opponent during an English Premier League match, the Football Association said in a statement on its Web site. The 19-year-old Paraguayan defender was caught by television cameras spitting at Wolverhampton Wanderers player Richard Stearman in an incident missed by the match officials on Sunday. The Latics are bottom of the table following eight successive defeats and Alcaraz will miss the games against Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland and Arsenal.
Messi to get ‘caganer’
Barcelona star Lionel Messi, a rock ‘n’ roll legend and British royalty will be honored this year by Spain’s “caganer” figurines, a Christmas tradition that shows celebrities in unflattering poses. The figurines have been sold in the Catalonia region around Christmas since the 18th century, when they were placed in nativity scenes in the hope of bringing good luck and a rich harvest, but now they show famous personalities with their bottoms bared in the act of defecating. Customers inclined toward rock music or royal romance can choose between Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger or Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Catherine.