Champ berated by state
Olympic champion short track speedskater Zhou Yang has been chided by China’s deputy sports minister for thanking her parents but not her country after winning gold at the Vancouver Games last month. The 18-year-old, who won gold in the 1,500m and as part of the 3,000m relay team, said in Canada that she hoped her achievements would make life easier for her unemployed parents. “It is OK to thank your parents, but firstly you should thank the motherland. You should put the motherland first, not only thank your parents,” Chinese Vice Sports Minister Yu Zaiqing told the Southern Metropolis Daily. Her parents were awarded a 94m² apartment valued at 300,000 yuan (US$44,000) by the local government in their home city of Changchun after Zhou’s 1,500m triumph.
Couples wins Newport title
Fred Couples won his second straight Champions Tour title, shooting a six-under 65 for a four-stroke victory on Sunday in the Toshiba Classic. Couples, making his third start on the 50-and-over tour, had an 18-under 195 total on the Newport Beach Country Club course. Couples earned US$255,000 to push his tour-leading total to US$691,000. Ronnie Black (65) finished second. Tom Lehman (69) and Taiwan’s Lu Chien-soon (69) tied for third at 12-under.
Phelps breaks own record
Olympic star Michael Phelps broke his own US record in the 200-yard butterfly on Sunday, winning in 1 minute, 39.65 seconds at the Maryland State Championships at the US Naval Academy. Phelps set the old mark of 1 minute, 39.7 seconds in 2006 at Austin, Texas. He looked back to see his split times from four years ago and entered the race with a goal of breaking his US mark. “I wanted to try and go out and take a shot at it,” he said. “Coming off the last turn, I wanted to stay under as long as I could. That was clearly the difference.”
Vodka forced to retire
Japan’s back-to-back horse of the year Vodka has been forced to retire after suffering a nosebleed in a warm-up race for this month’s Dubai World Cup. The Japan Racing Association described the six-year-old mare as a “jewel for Japanese and world horse racing” yesterday after hearing of the shock decision to end her racing career. “When we saw she had a nosebleed again after the race the owner [Yuzo Tanimizu] and I decided to retire her,” Vodka’s trainer Katsuhiko Sumii told reporters. Vodka, who captured public imagination in 2007 by becoming the first filly to win the Japan Derby in 64 years, also bled when winning the Japan Cup last November. She will now be bred to last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Sea the Stars in Ireland.
Rabon prevails in Murcia
Czech rider Frantisek Rabon held off a determined challenge from last year’s winner Denis Menchov of Russia to take the overall title in the Tour of Murcia on Sunday. Rabon — who had set up overall victory in Saturday’s time-trial when he won it — had Menchov back in second 38 seconds adrift, with British hope Bradley Wiggins third overall 53 seconds behind. US seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong finished seventh overall, over seven minutes off the pace. Sunday’s fifth and final stage was won by Dutchman Theo Bos.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in
Michael Schumacher’s son Mick said that the prospect of Lewis Hamilton equaling the Ferrari great’s all-time record of 91 wins has given him something to aim for when he gets to Formula One. Hamilton, who replaced Michael Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013, can take his 91st victory in today’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi — a race he has won four times previously. “One sentence my dad always used to say was: ‘Records are there to be broken.’ It’s everybody’s aim in this sport to do that,” Formula Two championship leader Mick Schumacher said on Friday. “I think Lewis had a very, very