Dwarf race causes outrage
Australian horse racing officials have been slammed for holding a dwarf racing competition called the “Midget Cup” at a meeting in Melbourne to promote Victoria state’s annual carnival. The race at the Cranbourne Cup on Sunday featured dwarfs dressed as jockeys being carried piggyback by runners down a race-course and has been denounced by government officials and advocacy groups. “Well look, there’s often a fine line between a bit of fun and a silly stunt and I think this falls into the latter category,” Victorian racing minister Rob Hulls told state radio. Stuart Laing, a marketing manager at Racing Victoria, said the dwarf race was intended to be “harmless fun,” but apologized and said it would not be repeated. The Short Statured People of Australia hit out at the race, saying using dwarfs for laughs “just makes life harder for us.” However, one of the dwarfs involved, entertainer Jeremy Hallam, said the race was intended in good humor. “I didn’t know there was going to be quite as big an uproar. I think there was nothing wrong with it, it was all in good fun,” he said.
Hecklers kill off ‘party hole’
Organizers of Australia’s national golf championship have scrapped the tournament’s controversial “party hole” after players complained about raucous spectators camped at the greenside bar. The stadium hole brought a DJ and an open bar to the last two editions of the Australian Open in what organizers hoped would attract new fans to the game. The hole, set up at Royal Sydney golf course’s 17th last year, was the subject of controversy after Australian Robert Allenby was heckled by a spectator about his sick mother, who has since died of cancer. A furious Allenby denounced the hole as promoting alcoholism and threatened to never return to the Australian tour. “He gave us some feedback about last year’s Open about what he felt and we certainly took that on board,” Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said of two-times champion Allenby, who will skip the Dec. 3 to Dec. 6 tournament for the first time in 20 years.
Pakistan forward facing ban
Pakistan forward Tariq Aziz faces a ban of six to 12 months after he admitted to taking cannabis to treat a back ailment, an official said yesterday. Tests proved negative but traces of Carboxy-THC — a by-product of cannabis — were still found in a sample he provided. Last month, national team coach Shahid Ali Khan said Aziz had taken an unspecified banned substance because he was “really desperate” to return to the side after his back trouble. Aziz has a history of disciplinary problems. He was banned for six months after he hit an Australian player with his stick during the final of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. That was his second offense in the tournament, having already received a red card for hitting a South African player.
Pakistan skipper quits
Younus Khan has resigned as captain of Pakistan in protest at match-fixing allegations made against the team by a senior member of parliament. Younus submitted his resignation to the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Ejaz Butt, during a hearing of the National Assembly (NA) standing committee on sports in Islamabad yesterday. The hearing was called to discuss the performance of the team in the Champions Trophy after the NA committee chairman, Jamshed Dasti, said he had evidence Pakistan deliberately under-performed against Australia and New Zealand in the tournament.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first