Australia coach to resign
Australian swimming officials yesterday said head coach Leigh Nugent will resign after a dismal London Olympic campaign marred by ill-discipline, drug use and drunkenness. Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said Nugent no longer wanted to continue in the role, although press reports claimed he was fired. Nugent has been under pressure after reports into Australia’s disappointing performance in the Olympic pool found drunkenness, misuse of prescription drugs and bullying were among “toxic” incidents at the Games. A broader review into the sport’s high-performance program also found failings in strategic planning and transparency in decisionmaking that fueled disillusionment. Australia’s swimmers won just one gold medal, six silver and three bronze in London — their lowest tally in the pool since 1992 in Barcelona. The team also went without an individual gold medal for the first time since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Sorensen admits to doping
Olympic silver medalist Rolf Sorensen has admitted to doping during his successful years in the 1990s, the Dane said on Monday. “It is time that I too — long overdue — admit to having been part of the EPO-era that was a part of the sport in the ’90s”, said Sorensen, who won silver at the Olympic Games road race in Atlanta in 1996. Sorensen admitted to having taken the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) and cortisone. “I have never used blood transfusions, which I am totally against, and I simply will not be compared with Lance Armstrong,” he added.
Meersman leads Catalonia
Belgian rider Gianni Meersman retained the overall lead in the Tour of Catalonia after making it two stages wins in as many days on Tuesday. The 27-year-old beat home Italian Daniele Ratto and Brett Lancaster of Australia in a sprint finish on the 160.7km ride from Girona to Banyuls. Meersman sits atop the overall standings, 16 seconds ahead of Spain’s Alejandro Valverde, with Swiss Danilo Wyss a further 4 seconds adrift. Meersman benefited from a crash on the final bend that saw several contenders for the stage win come to grief or being hindered so badly they had no chance of recovering.
Ireland’s iconic Martin dies
Con Martin, whose appearances for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland prompted a rule change by FIFA, has died aged 89. Martin played for both of the Irelands during the 1950 World Cup qualifying campaign. However, after Martin’s last appearance for Northern Ireland, FIFA ruled that turning out for the two sides could not be repeated. Martin had already been subjected to threats over playing for both the Irish national sides. His Gaelic football career had also come to a controversial end in 1941. When it was discovered by the Gaelic football authorities he was also playing soccer, he was banned, because soccer was considered a “garrison sport” — one that had its origins in former colonial power England and been imposed on Irish subjects. He won 30 caps for the Republic. Martin turned to goalscoring hero in 1949, when he scored the first in the Republic’s stunning 2-0 win over England at Everton’s Goodison Park, becoming the first side to defeat England on their home patch.