Judge shelves drugs case
An Italian judge on Thursday shelved a criminal investigation into former Olympic race walking champion Alex Schwazer, citing evidence that his urine samples were altered. Schwazer was banned for eight years in 2016 after a retest of a doping sample showed positive traces of steroids. The Italian was forced to miss the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. However, Walter Pelino, the preliminary investigation judge in Bolzano, dismissed legal proceedings. “The preliminary investigation judge believes that it has been established with a high level of credibility that the urine samples taken from Alex Schwazer on Jan. 1, 2016, were altered with the aim of making them positive, and therefore obtaining the suspension and the discrediting of the athlete,” Pelino wrote in an 87-page document detailing the dismissal of the case. Pelino also strongly criticized the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and World Athletics, then known as the IAAF. “They operated in a totally self-referential manner, not tolerating outside checks to the point that they were producing false statements,” Pelino said. “There is strong evidence of the fact that in trying to impede the scrutiny of the so-called crime, a series of crimes were committed.” WADA said in a statement that it had “grave concern” with Pelino’s comments and that it would not rule out further court action.
Mbappe threat alleged
Agitated and in the heat of competition during a Champions League match, Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe possibly threatened Barcelona defender Jordi Alba. The Marca daily and other media have posted a video online of Mbappe apparently saying: “In the street, I’ll kill you.” The incident between the two players occurred during PSG’s 4-1 win against Barcelona on Tuesday. Alba moved toward Mbappe after the PSG forward pushed Barcelona defender Sergino Dest in front of goal while play was stopped in the first half. The players then started trash-talking. It is not totally clear in the video what Mbappe is saying, although it appears that the native French-speaker tried to say: “In the street, I’ll kill you” in Spanish.
Qualification date moved
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) yesterday said that Tokyo Olympics hopefuls would have until June 15 to secure qualification for the Games after a number of World Tour events were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Malaysia Open, which was initially scheduled for March 31 to April 4, has been pushed back to May 25 to 30, while April’s Malaysia Masters has been postponed until further notice. The Singapore Open has also been pushed back by two months and will now be held from June 1 to 6. “In securing new dates for the Malaysia Open and Singapore Open, BWF confirms the Indonesia Masters 2021 and Indonesia Open 2021 have been postponed also,” it said in a statement. Rankings at the end of April should have been the cut-off to decide which players would be at the Tokyo Games, due to begin on July 23. However, the BWF’s Race to Tokyo standings are now to close on June 15, with the Singapore Open serving as the last tournament for qualification.
The national cricket body (CTCSA) yesterday presented plans to develop the sport in Taiwan, with hints that an Asian Games bid might be on the horizon. At a luncheon at the Orient Luxury Hotel in Chiayi City, CTCSA chairman Lu Jia-hong presented plans the association has to build cricket grounds in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township. The CTCSA said that the assistance of expat teams in Taiwan was crucial to its plans. Taiwan has upward of 13 cricket clubs, but only one dedicated ground — the Yingfeng Cricket Ground in Taipei’s Songshan District. Lu said that the association is focused on gaining Asian Cricket Council
A decade ago, the plight of former champion gymnast Zhang Shangwu shocked China and made world headlines when he was discovered begging in Beijing, prompting a recycling magnate to give him a job. That should have heralded a turnaround for Zhang, who had been imprisoned for theft after injury ended his gymnastics career. However, after another stint in jail, Zhang is again making a living on the streets, doing handstands and singing for a live online audience in a parking lot in Baoding. Athletes in China are often reared in special schools from a young age and can struggle to adjust to normal
‘HISTORIC’ MOMENT: ‘ Matsuyama Masters’ was trending on Twitter in Japan, as TV stations ran breaking news flashes and golf-related shares rose on the stock market Japan on Sunday sucked in its breath as Hideki Matsuyama almost blew his chance to win the Masters, but the golfer’s one-shot victory at Augusta National sparked a joyous reaction back home as the country celebrated another sporting triumph in testing times. Matsuyama, 29, became the first man from Japan to win one of golf’s major titles, a feat that drew praise from government and Olympics officials with the Tokyo Games just three months away. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato expressed “congratulations and respect from the heart” for Matsuyama’s “historic” win, which came as ray of hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It
ANTI-ASIAN SENTIMENT: Speaking of Chang Yu, Indians manager Terry Francona said errors are part of baseball, but ‘ignorance and racism ... shouldn’t be anywhere’ “Stupid and ignorant” is what Indians manager Terry Francona called racist social media messages sent to first baseman Chang Yu. They have no place in baseball or “anywhere,” Francona added. On Tuesday, Chang shared some anti-Asian postings he received on Twitter after he made a costly error in the ninth inning of Monday’s game in Chicago. The throwing error allowed the White Sox to score the winning run. Chang, who is Taiwanese, posted some of the messages on his account, while asking for tolerance. One of the messages referred to the shape of his eyes and another referred to COVID-19. “Exercise your freedom