World XI gala canceled
A World XI Players Awards gala scheduled for Athens next week has been called off with organizers pointing the finger of blame at two British companies. The event, backed by FIFPro, the international players' ruling body, was due to honor the 11 best soccer players in the world as voted by the 43,000 professional players from 40 national federations. But Monday's show was scrapped on Thursday when the two British firms involved in organizing the gala were unable to guarantee that all the award winners would turn up. Greek sports minister Stavros Douvis told Supersport radio: "The two companies, even though they had asked a lot of money which was not refused by both FIFPro and us, began telling us that they couldn't bring some of the 11 players invited."
Men held over stabbing
Chinese police have detained three men in connection with the near-fatal stabbing of Dalian Shide midfielder Quan Lei, local media reported yesterday. Quan, 21, was rushed to hospital last month after being stabbed at least 10 times in the northeastern city of Dalian by several men as he got out of his car on the way to a birthday party for his father. The newspaper did not say if the three had been charged. The Beijing News, citing a police statement from a press conference on Thursday, said the Super League player had been attacked because he had become "too intimate" with the girlfriend of a businessman. Quan's return to professional football depended on the nerves and tendons in his legs fully healing, the paper said citing staff at the Dalian hospital that treated him.
■ Horse Racing
NYRA files for bankruptcy
The New York Racing Association (NYRA), the private entity that has held the state horse racing franchise since 1955, filed for protection from creditors in bankruptcy court on Thursday. NYRA's hold on the state franchise to run racing is scheduled to end Dec. 31, next year. "Chapter 11 bankruptcy does not mean going out of business," said NYRA president Charles Hayward, who has headed a new management team after years of critical audits and investigations into spending and mismanagement. Hayward said filing for bankruptcy court protection was a "last option." On Monday, the state's racing board released the US$19 million to NYRA, but NYRA officials said on Thursday that it comes with too many restrictions.
■ New Zealand
Rugby league chief quits
New Zealand Rugby League chairman Selwyn Bennett resigned yesterday, accepting responsibility but refusing to admit fault over the selection of Australian Nathan Fien for the Kiwis' Tri-Nations squad. The executive committee of the Rugby League International Federation on Thursday stripped New Zealand of two competition points and banned Fien from the remainder of the Tri-Nations tournament when it found the Australian-born hooker was not eligible for the Kiwis as the New Zealand league had claimed. Bennett had put forward Fien's claim of eligibility, saying he qualified through a New Zealand-born grandmother. But checks by the international federation found his great-grandmother rather than his grandmother was New Zealand-born. Bennett said he accepted responsibility for Fien's selection and was resigning to avoid further criticism of New Zealand Rugby League officials.
The Taichung Warriors yesterday collapsed in the final at the 15th Taiwan Annual Cricket Cup in Chiayi City, but Chetan Sharma’s 50 scripted a near-unbelievable resurgence to snatch the trophy from the Taiwan Stars. Sharma’s 4-24 restricted the Stars to 130-6, but the reply was a disaster as the Warriors fell to 25-7 after six overs. However, Sharma undid all the work of opening bowlers Amir Sohail and Abrar Hussain (both 3-14) to guide them to a two-wicket win. The result reversed their group-stage encounter at the eight-team, two-day competition at the Yunsan baseball fields. In the semi-finals, Sohail took 4-21 as the Stars
Taiwanese swimmer Eddie Wang on Saturday broke the 200m short course butterfly world junior record at the opening meet of the International Swimming League season in Budapest, Hungary. The 18-year-old, who was representing the Cali Condors, a San Francisco-based professional swimming club, finished third in 1 minute, 50.79 seconds. Wang finished behind winner Tom Shields of the LA Current (1:50.43) and runner-up Chad le Clos of Energy Standard (1:50.48). Wang’s time broke the 2012 world junior record of 1:51.30 set by former Japanese national team captain Daiya Seto. It also broke his national record of 1:52.38, set at the 2018 FINA World Cup meeting
The All Blacks might have unearthed the next Jonah Lomu after 21-year-old Caleb Clarke yesterday proved to be a one-man demolition squad in the All Blacks’ 27-7 whipping of Australia in Auckland, New Zealand. Clarke, the son of former All Black Eroni Clarke, takes an uncomplicated approach to using his 1.84m, 107kg frame. “When you get the ball, just run. You don’t have to think about anything,” he said after his first Test start, after making his debut off the bench last week in the drawn first Bledisloe Cup Test. As the All Blacks lifted their aggression and accuracy in Auckland, much of
A team made up mostly of Guatemalans who live and work in Taiwan were on Sunday crowned winners of the women’s Copa America Taiwan soccer tournament after defeating a Paraguayan team in the final in New Taipei City. Guatemala defeated Paraguay 3-1 in a final that kept hundreds of spectators on the edge of their seats at Fu Jen Catholic University Stadium. The two teams attacked at will early in the match as both looked to take an early lead, but it was Paraguay who went in front after a cleverly worked free-kick was headed into the net. In the second half, Guatemala