Avvakumova beats Takanashi
Home hopeful Irina Avvakumova triumphed at the FIS Ski Jimping World Cup at the Russian resort of Chaikovsky on Saturday, inflicting a first defeat of the season on Japanese starlet Sara Takanashi. A day after finishing third at the same venue, the 22-year-old Avvakumova claimed her first victory on the circuit with two jumps over 100m for a total of 249.2 points. Germany’s Carina Vogt finished second for the second straight day with 244.9 points, while Takanashi was third on 243.1 points. The 17-year-old Takanashi, who won the first four events of the season, remains comfortably in front in the overall standings, with Avvakumova in second. “My jumps were not as good as I wanted today,” the teenager said. “I hope it’ll go better again next time.”
Welsh rugby bodies clash
Regional Rugby Wales (RRW), the body that represents the Welsh regions, strongly criticized the Welsh Rugby Union on Saturday as the disagreement between the two deepened. RRW wants the union to follow it by backing plans for the Rugby Champions Cup, a breakaway alternative to the European Cup initially proposed by English and French sides. The regions — the Ospreys, Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons and Cardiff Blues — gave the union until Jan. 31 to support the new competition. In response, the union on Thursday said it was prepared to offer the regions a new contract, but has since sent a letter to its 32 member clubs expressing support for the European Cup and opposition to an Anglo-Welsh league, which the regions are expected to seek if talks to resurrect the Rugby Champions Cup later this month collapse. In a statement, RRW reaffirmed its desire to see the regions play in the Rugby Champions Cup, saying that any tournament held by European Cup organizers European Rugby Cup would be “inferior.” It also accused the union of “failing miserably” to secure equal revenue distribution with clubs in England and France, and launching “vitriolic and disingenuous” attacks on the regions.
Germany win World Cup race
Maximilian Arndt drove to gold and Francesco Friedrich piloted his sled to silver on Saturday, as Germany dominated the FIBT World Cup four-man bobsled race on one of their home tracks. Arndt and teammates Marko Huebenbecker, Alexander Roediger and Martin Putze finished two runs in 1 minute, 49.97 seconds. Friedrich and Jannie Baecker, Gregor Bermback and Thorsten Margis clocked 1:50.14. The Russian team of Alexander Zubkov, Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Aleksei Pushkarev took third with 1:50.17. Arndt took the top spot in the four-man season standings, 70 points ahead of US pilot Steven Holcomb, who crashed in the second run, likely costing him a podium finish.
Bordeaux sign striker Hoarau
Girondins de Bordeaux on Saturday announced the signing of former Paris Saint-Germain striker Guillaume Hoarau on a free transfer. Hoarau, 29, was a free agent after leaving Chinese club Dalian Aerbin following a disappointing spell. Hoarau, who hails from Reunion and has won five caps for France, was due to undergo a medical yesterday before penning a contract, the length of which has not been revealed. The tall center-forward scored 38 goals in 114 Ligue 1 appearances for PSG between 2008 and January last year, and scored the winning goal for the capital club in their 2010 Coupe de France final triumph against AS Monaco.