Dagg in doghouse over tweet
Praise for All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg turned to disappointment yesterday over his use of a homophobic slur. Dagg was hailed as one of the stars of the All Blacks 30-0 victory over France on Saturday, but as he revelled in the spotlight he used the word “fag” in a tweet. The comment attracted widespread criticism leading Dagg to admit to a “wrong choice of word” in a later tweet and say he had not meant to cause offence. Former New Zealand women’s rugby player and now opposition Member of Parliament Louisa Wall said All Blacks had a responsibility not to use offensive language. “They fail to recognize the responsibility they have as leaders in New Zealand society, and the influence they have on a whole generation not only of young people, but they represent all New Zealanders now,” she told Fairfax News.
Kenyans top in Taichung
Kenyan runners took the top three positions in both the men’s and women’s inaugural Greater Taichung marathon yesterday, as nearly 20,000 runners battled hot and humid conditions. Charles Kimutai won the men’s race, crossing the line in two hours, 23 minutes and 35 seconds, followed by countrymen Eliud Kapchanga in 2:26:03 and Robert Kilagat Kosge in 2:26:08. In the women’s race, Mercy Jelimo Too took the title in two hours, 44 minutes and 37 seconds, followed by Janet Jelagat in 2:49:27 and Eunice Chebichii in 2:57:19. Both Kimutai and Too took home a cash prize of NT$500,000 after winning the first international marathon organized by the Taichung City Government. About 3,000 people competed in the event, while 17,000 others took part in the half-marathon and other events, the organizers said.
Anderson denies allegations
James Anderson has insisted that allegations of ball-tampering levelled against England by former captain Bob Willis are “very disappointing” and definitely untrue. England limited overs coach Ashley Giles on Saturday refuted the claims made by Willis, now a television pundit, who alleged the side were obtaining reverse swing by methods banned under cricket’s laws. “As a team we’re really surprised by his comments,” England seamer Anderson told the Mail on Sunday. “Even though there’s nothing to them whatsoever they could stick for a while to us, which isn’t wanted, needed or helpful. It’s come as a very unwelcome distraction and, frankly, we could do without allegations such as these ... The fact is people can think what they like. We know the truth, I can state categorically that no one in the England team has ever tampered with a ball and we won’t allow comments made by someone like Bob Willis to worry us.” He insisted England were doing nothing against the rules. “Reverse swing has been an issue in cricket for a while,” he said. “But just because one bowler or one team reverse a ball better than another on a given day doesn’t mean to say he or they have been tampering. It just means they’re more skilful ... I can assure you that if any of the England bowlers achieve it then it is within the letter of the laws.”
World No. 1s win titles
World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei easily defeated Germany’s Marc Zwiebler yesterday to win the Indonesia Open for a fifth time. The Malaysian ace hardly broke a sweat against the unseeded Zwiebler in the men’s singles final in Jakarta, winning the match 21-15, 21-14 in just 40 minutes. Lee dominated from start to finish, with a string of smashes which proved too difficult for his left-handed opponent to return. In the women’s singles final, world No. 1 Li Xuerui of China beat Germany’s Juliane Schenk 21-16, 18-21, 21-17 in a match lasting 63 minutes.
Pelss confirmed dead
The Edmonton Oilers have confirmed that prospect Kristians Pelss has died. He was 20. The Oilers released a statement on Saturday saying the team was deeply saddened by the loss of Pelss, who went missing on Tuesday and was feared drowned in a river near his home in Riga, Latvia. Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said in a statement: “This is the news we feared. Kristians was an outstanding man and we feel terrible he has left us at such a young age. I can’t imagine how painful this situation is for the Pelss family.” Pelss arrived home in Riga on Monday after playing last season with Edmonton’s top minor-league team, the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League. He was drafted by the Oilers in the seventh round in 2010.
Spain make under-21 final
Spain will defend its European under-21 title in the final against Italy after dispatching Norway 3-0 on Saturday at the Netanya Stadium in Petah Tikva, Israel. Italy beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the other semi-final, courtesy of striker Fabio Borini. The final will be in Jerusalem tomorrow. Goals from Rodrigo, Isco and Alvaro Morata secured victory for Spain. Rodrigo netted on halftime, Isco doubled the lead with a stunning strike in the 87th, and Morata capped the win in the 90th.
Messi surpasses Maradona
Lionel Messi surpassed Diego Maradona in the all-time international goalscoring charts for Argentina with a hat-trick in a 4-0 thrashing of Guatemala. The Barcelona superstar found the net in the 14th, 40th and 48th minutes to take his goals tally for Argentina to 35, one better than former captain and 1986 World Cup winner Maradona on 34. Messi now stands level with Hernan Crespo on 35, and the 25-year-old maestro will fancy his chances of reeling in Gabriel Batistuta, who holds the record with 56 goals. Messi opened his account against a hapless Guatemalan side with a low shot on 14 minutes, before converting a penalty just before halftime for his second. He completed his hat-trick just after halftime, coolly tucking away Ezequiel Lavezzi’s low cross from the right. Messi’s hat-trick came at the end of a troubled week that saw the four-time World Player of the Year and his father, Jorge Horacio, accused of defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of more than 4 million euros (US$5 million). Messi denied the allegations.
Sagan wins eighth stage
Slovakian rider Peter Sagan, of the Cannondale team, won a sprint finish to take the eighth stage of the Tour of Switzerland on Saturday, with home star Mathias Frank keeping the yellow jersey. Sagan, who had also won Monday’s third stage, was the strongest over the last few meters of the 180.5km run from Zernez and Bad Ragaz. He finished ahead of Italy’s Daniele Bennati and Philippe Gilbert of Belgium. “I have to thank all my teammates for the amazing work they did to build this win,” Sagan said. “Today we knew was a great opportunity.” Frank had a 13-second lead over Portugal’s Rui Costa and 23-second advantage over Czech rider Roman Kreuziger ahead of yesterday’s concluding time trial in the village of Flumserberg. For Sagan, it was his eighth career stage win on the race with two coming in 2011 and four last year. One of the day’s biggest losers was Australia’s Cameron Meyer who was forced to stop to change a wheel. The Orica GreenEdge rider slipped from eighth to 10th place in the overall standings with a 2 minute, 9 second deficit.