Friday, July 31, 2009

Gay sweeps to 100m win in Sweden

Tyson Gay
Tyson Gay will hope to challenge Usain Bolt at the World Championships

Tyson Gay swept to victory in the 100m at the Super Grand Prix in Stockholm in a time of 9.79 seconds.

The 26-year-old American's effort was a mere two-hundredths of a second slower than his world's best mark this season - set in Rome on July 10.

He said: "This race proved that I am in form and was important in terms of the World Championships (15-23 August)."

In the 400m, America's Jeremy Wariner cruised to victory in 44.83 seconds ahead of Britain's Michael Bingham.

World champion Gay finished ahead of Darvis Patton (9.95), former world record holder Asafa Powell (9.98) and Churandy Martina (10.01).


Jamaican Usain Bolt holds the world record of 9.69, set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but Gay is still hopeful of upsetting the Olympic champion and world record holder in Berlin.

Meanwhile, America's Allyson Felix ran the fastest 200m of the season, winning in a time of 21.88 seconds ahead of the former season leader Debbie Ferguson.

"I was worried by the conditions," said Felix, referring to the cold, blustery night. "I wanted to work the bend and it went well."

Ferguson's time of 22.23 seconds was slightly faster than her previous best for 2009.

Despite two false starts, Cuban Olympic champion Dayron Robles won the 110m hurdles in 13.11 seconds.

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Matthew shares lead following ace

Women's British Open
-3 C Matthew (Sco), G Sergas (Ita) -2 Y Mitsuka (Jap) Selected others: +3 C Kerr (US) +4 K Webb (Aus), P Creamer (US) +5 M Wie (US) +6 S Head (Eng) +7 B Morgan (Wal) +8 L Ochoa (Mex) +9 L Davies (Eng)

Catriona Matthew

Highlights - Matthew delighted with hole-in-one

Scotland's Catriona Matthew hit a hole in one in a five-under 67 to share the second-round lead with Giulia Sergas of Italy at the Women's British Open.

Sergas also shot a 67 at Lytham, including five birdies on the back nine, for a five-under total of 141.

Yuko Mitsuka of Japan (71) was a shot back in third.

Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa is eight over after a 77, while Cristie Kerr, the American leader of the LPGA money list, is three over after a 71.

Kerr jarred her wrist playing out of a divot at the sixth and went for treatment after her round.

Matthew eagled the 11th and followed up with an ace on the 12th. She then made four more birdies against a lone bogey as she came home in 30.

"It was certainly easier than yesterday," Matthew said, referring to the wind dying down. "This was one of my best nines. It may have been easier but you still have to make shots.»"

First-round leader Sandra Gal of Germany carded an 80 to drop back to five over, still five shots inside the cut.

American Paula Creamer, still looking for her first major win, carded a 74 to go into the weekend seven shots off the lead, while Michelle Wie is one shot back after a 76.

England's four-time major winner Laura Davis just made the cut after a second-round 74 left her nine over, while Welshwoman Becky Morgan is two shots better after a second-round 71.

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Woods hits top form at Buick Open

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was out for eight months after knee surgery

Tiger Woods pulled back into contention at the Buick Open in Michigan with a second round nine-under 63.

Woods trailed leader Steve Lowery on Thursday by eight shots after a laboured opening round 71.

But the world number stormed back to bury thoughts that he might miss consecutive cuts for the first time as a professional.

He said: "I was so far back I was just trying to make sure I put a dent into that. At least I'm back in it."

Woods was back in action for the first time since the British Open where he failed to make the cut in a major championship for only the second time as a professional.


Arriving at Warwick Hills on Friday morning, Woods languished in joint 95th place, three shots behind the projected cut off of four-under and eight behind overnight leader Lowery.

But the 33-year-old responded in style, rocketing up the leader board after going six-under on his opening five holes on the way to his lowest round of the season.

Michael Letzig seized the second round clubhouse lead after returning a seven-under 65 but all eyes were on Woods, who is two shots back on a midway total of 10-under 134.

"I can't get it all back in one round, I positioned myself so far back yesterday it wasn't going to happen," Woods said. "But if I birdied the holes you're suppose to birdie and a couple of others here and there you're going to come up with a round in the mid-60s and I thought that would get me in touch with the leaders."

Playing the back nine first, Woods took advantage of ideal conditions, opening with back-to-back birdies then chipping in for eagle on the par four 12th.

Woods then dropped rapid fire birdies at 13 and 14th before his first par of the day on the 15th which was followed by another birdie at 16.

But Woods had not completely worked the kinks out of a wonky putter that he blamed for his disappointing first round. Cruising along at seven-under through seven, he missed a three-footer for birdie on 17 then three-putted the 18th for his only bogey of the round.

After a birdie at the first, Woods's charge stalled with five consecutive pars but finished with another flurry, nailing back-to-back birdies at seven and eight.

"I was a little bit hot after yesterday," he said. "It was nice to birdie the first couple. This golf course is playing soft and easy, you should birdie every hole but you can also make a few mistakes like I did yesterday."

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Anderson haul puts England on top

Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston (day two):
England 116-2 v Australia 263
Match scorecard

James Anderson celebrates a wicket with Graeme Swann
Anderson utilised the overhead conditions and swung the ball both ways

By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at Edgbaston

Brilliant swing bowling from James Anderson and Graham Onions put England in a fine position after two days of the third Ashes Test.

Australia capitulated shockingly from an overnight 126-1, losing two wickets off the first two balls of the morning, to collapse to 203-8 at lunch and eventually 263 all out.

When bad light brought a premature end to proceedings at 1745 BST, with 19 overs left in the day, Andrew Strauss (64 not out) had guided England to 116-2, trailing by 147.

Onions triggered the Aussies' demise, taking the first three wickets in the day to fall, and then the last, to finish with 4-58.

Anderson recovered from a poor showing on Thursday, and some wayward stuff early in his spell on day two, to take 5-13 in 38 balls either side of lunch for overall figures of 5-80.

But another key figure in proceedings was umpire Rudi Koertzen, who awarded Anderson two very debatable lbws and then denied Mitchell Johnson one against Ian Bell when the ball would have probably hit middle stump.

Bell, who hit the first six of the Ashes series by an England batsman, lived to fight another day, and will resume with Strauss on 26.

Graham Onions celebrates taking a wicket
Onions removed Watson and Hussey with the first two balls of the day

With the memories of a disjointed bowling display on Thursday evening still in the back of the mind, Onions gave his team - and the home fans - a massive boost with the first two balls of.

Shane Watson, who had cruised to 62, just 16 runs shy of his best score in Tests in his first experience as an opener at this level, completely misjudged his shot at a ball homing in on his stumps.

Failing to get his bat down in time, he gave Aleem Dar an easy lbw decision to make.

Michael Hussey, who was bowled playing no shot to Andrew Flintoff at Lord's, again left a delivery that only came back a fraction to brush his off-stump.

Though some of the 21,000 fans had not yet taken their seats, they rushed into position to see the hat-trick ball - and after the obligatory roar Onions sent a short ball just whistling past Michael Clarke's gloves.

The game settled down for a while as Clarke and Ricky Ponting used their collective nous to withstand Onions' variations on a theme of swing.

The captain picked up the runs needed to pass Allan Border and become the leading Australian run-scorer in Tests - leaving only pack leader Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara in front of him.

And when he on-drove Flintoff for four, taking the score to 159-3, Australia appeared to be entering calmer waters. But only four runs were added before Ponting, on 38, tried to pull a well-directed bouncer from Onions and edged to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

All the action was happening in Onions' tremendous nine-over spell from the City End - and he could have had Clarke out twice.

The right-hander was reprieved by umpire Dar, turning down a very good lbw shout on 18, and by Flintoff on 20. England's usually flawless second slip somehow spilt an outside edge.

But it was Anderson who picked up the wicket-taking baton in devastating fashion from the Pavilion End as Australia lurched from 193-4 to 229-9 - with Koertzen providing two prominent assists.

The South African official ended Clarke's innings on 29 (ball probably missing leg-stump) and then Johnson back for a golden duck (slightly too high, according to Hawkeye).

In between those two wickets, Marcus North chased a wide one and was well caught by a diving Prior. Anderson's fourth wicket, and the eighth of the innings, came when Graham Manou was bowled by a pearler.

Australia took lunch in dreadful shape, but their tail-enders did pretty well after the interval - although the ball was still swinging - to add 60 runs for the final two wickets. Onions finally wrapped it up, taking a richly-deserved fourth wicket when Ben Hilfenhaus speared the Durham man to gully.

By then, Peter Siddle had edged Anderson behind, giving him his first five-wicket Ashes haul, and it should all have ended on 241 when Nathan Hauritz top-edged a pull over Ravi Bopara's head.

England's backward-point had to turn to take the catch over his shoulder, but it was not a difficult chance and thus a disappointing drop.

Hauritz and Hilfenhaus each made 20, a suggestion to England's openers that batting was not necessarily as nightmarish as many of the Australians had made it look.

And when Hilfenhaus and Siddle then opened the bowling for the Aussies there was only the merest hint of swing - nothing like the lavish movement enjoyed by Onions and Anderson.


All the same, the Aussies had an ideal start when Alastair Cook lazily drove at a ball outside off-stump he could have easily left in the second over, Manou making an instant impression with a solid wicketkeeper's catch.

But with Strauss looking in good touch from the off, and Ravi Bopara overcoming a slightly nervy start to hit some scorching drives through the off-side, England recovered to reach tea on 56-1.

Intriguingly, Johnson was relegated behind Hauritz to fourth bowler on the Australian roster, and after tea was replaced by Hilfenhaus at the Pavilion End.

Ponting judged that particular bowling change well, Hilfenhaus putting Bopara in two minds with a teaser outside off-stumps, and the Essex man's tentative poke deflected the ball into his stumps.

With the scoreboard reading 60-2, there was a bit of a pressure on the recalled Bell to make an impression - and he did not disappoint on his home ground.

Siddle helped him out with a couple of full tosses that were easily put away, and Bell's confidence looked in good order as he drove Hauritz over mid-on for the landmark maximum.

Strauss reached his fifty with a back-foot punch off the tiring Hilfenhaus for four and followed up with a lovely straight drive off the same bowler.

Bell was given a major lifeline on 18 when umpire Koertzen, who had already infuriated Australian fans at Lord's with some of his decision-making, denied Johnson's concerted lbw appeal.

A few balls later, Bell hit a rasping cover-drive to the boundary to exasperate a much-improved Johnson further. Australia might be glad that Koertzen is not officiating at Headingley or The Oval.

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Tour stage winner tests positive

Mikel Astarloza
Astarloza could be banned for up to two years

Tour de France stage 16 winner Mikel Astarloza has been suspended by the International Cycling Union after a positive test for blood-booster EPO.

The Spaniard's urine sample from a test eight days before the start of the Tour came back with an "adverse analytical finding".

Astarloza has been provisionally banned from racing until a Spanish cycling federation disciplinary hearing.

If a B sample is positive, Astarloza, 29, will face a two-year suspension.

A statement from the UCI said: "On Friday, the UCI advised Spanish rider Mikel Astarloza that he has been provisionally suspended.

"The decision to provisionally suspend Mr Astarloza was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Madrid indicating an adverse analytical finding of recombinant EPO in a urine sample collected from him at an out-of-competition test on 26 June 2009.

pigeons in the park

"The provisional suspension remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Spanish Cycling Federation determines whether Mr Astarloza has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.

"The hearing panel will make a decision on an applicable sanction for Mr Astarloza including his disqualification from any events in which he competed following the collection of the sample on 26 June."

Meanwhile, Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins has released his blood tests from the Tour de France to erase any doubts over his fourth place.

The triple Olympic gold-medallist he exceeded expectations and his team Garmin-Slipstream have released his blood profile from the whole of 2009, including the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, plus the first half of 2008.

"I don't want there to be any suspicion or doubt that what I did was natural. I have nothing to hide and I want this transparency," said Wiggins.

"If more people did that, fans would have a lot more respect for our achievements.

"British Cycling have all my blood tests results from the age of 19 and I might even release everything from the last 10 years."

A statement from Garmin-Slipstream concluded that analysis of the three graphs posted on the team's website "indicate no evidence of blood manipulation".

Jonathan Vaughters, chief executive of Slipstream Sports, said: "Brad is an exceptionally talented athlete and it was great to see him do so well in the Tour de France.

"He's always been an outspoken advocate of clean cycling. He requested that we release his results after the Tour and his decision makes me and the entire team proud."

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Ferguson to alter Man Utd tactics

Ferguson directs Nani
Nani will be among the players expected to score more regularly

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits he will alter his team tactics in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo was United's top scorer for the last two seasons and Ferguson is keen that the shortfall is filled by others.

"Cristiano is a big loss in terms of the goals he gave us," Ferguson told Inside United. "We will have to find the goals; our tactics will adjust.

"Fans will see us playing a slightly different style this season."

Ronaldo, who left for the Bernabeu in an £80m deal at the start of July, was the club's top scorer last season with 26 goals - a tally that eclipsed Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov's 13 and 14 goals respectively.

If we are going to win the league again or do well in Europe we certainly need players to step up

Sir Alex Ferguson

The Portuguese star hit an incredible 42 the previous season and bagged 118 in all in his 292 appearances for United.

With Carlos Tevez also departing the club for neighbours Manchester City, Ferguson is likely to use Rooney as a central striker alongside either summer signing Michael Owen or Berbatov.

But the Old Trafford supremo is also demanding more goals from his midfielders as the Premier League champions chase a fourth successive league title.

"You look to score about 100 goals," Ferguson added. "If we are going to win the league again or do well in Europe we certainly need players to step up.


"Going back a few years, we could always guarantee goals from Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, who always pitched in with about 10 a season.

"Those goals from midfield have dried up a little in recent years, so we have to address that. I will be looking to (Ji-Sung) Park, Nani, (Luis Antonio) Valencia - even (Danny) Welbeck and (Federico) Macheda - to contribute 40 goals between them. The defenders will contribute a few from set-pieces too."

However, full-back Patrice Evra has denied any suggestion that the club is weaker following the departures of Ronaldo and Tevez.

"Two players alone do not make a team. We have signed some good players and, like I say, Manchester United are a team and not only about two players.," he stated.

"I can already see a good team coming along and we are all confident about doing well with this team as it is."

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Schumacher begins F1 preparations

Michael Schumacher drives a 2007 Formula 1 car at Mugello on Friday
Schumacher has three weeks to get in shape for an F1 return

Michael Schumacher began preparations for his return to Formula 1 by driving a 2007 Ferrari at the team's Mugello test track on Friday.

The seven-time world champion, 40, is to stand in for Felipe Massa, who suffered a fractured skull in an accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

F1's test ban means Schumacher cannot drive one of this year's cars.

"The cars are not current, but I simply like to drive as much as possible. It was a good option," he said.

"The next weeks are totally about preparation."

Schumacher, who retired at the end of the 2006 season, had not driven an F1 car since April 2008. His first race will be the European Grand Prix in Valencia on 23 August.

On Thursday he spent a day at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy, familiarising himself with the controls on the 2009 car's steering wheel in the team's simulator.


The car was fitted with untreaded slick tyres, which were reintroduced for this season and Schumacher has not raced on since 1997.

Ferrari have said the German, who won a record 91 grands prix in a 15-year career, will stand in for Massa until the Brazilian is fit enough to make a return.

Massa, 28, was taken out of intensive care on Wednesday and is set to leave hospital in Budapest on Monday to return to his home in Brazil, his personal doctor Dino Altman said on Friday.

"We have decided that he will go back home on Monday," Altman said, adding that Massa's condition continues to improve.

"He will be transported in a private jet, probably to Sao Paolo. In Brazil, he will continue his recovery and will go back into racing as soon as possible.

He added that he could not say how long Massa's recovery would take.

Massa was hit on the head by a spring that had come off Rubens Barrichello's Brawn while travelling at more than 160mph during qualifying at the Hungaroring on Saturday.

F1's governing body, the FIA, has launched an investigation into the accident.

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Mutu loses appeal over huge fine

Adrian Mutu
Mutu rebuilt his career in Italy after being sacked by Chelsea

Adrian Mutu must pay Chelsea £14.65m after losing his appeal against a Fifa ruling for a breach of contract.

The striker, who cost the Blues £15m in 2003, was sacked a year later after he tested positive for cocaine and given a seven-month worldwide football ban.

Fifa issued the fine last year but Mutu described it as "inhumane and unjust" and outlined his intention to appeal.

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) has ruled against the 30-year-old, who now plays for Fiorentina.

"The Cas panel concluded that the appeal brought by the player was to be dismissed and the measure of damages, as awarded by Fifa's Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC), was to be confirmed," said a Cas statement.


"Adrian Mutu must therefore pay 17,173,990 euros to Chelsea FC."

The fine, based on lost earnings, was calculated on the length of time Mutu's contract had left to run, and was the highest ever handed down by Fifa.

After being sacked by Chelsea and serving his ban, the Romanian joined Juventus in January 2005, and at the end of the following season he moved to his current side, Fiorentina.

When Fifa announced its verdict, Chelsea welcomed it, calling it "a very significant decision for football".

The Chelsea statement continued: "Not only did the Dispute Resolution Chamber make us a very significant monetary award, it also recognised the damaging effect incidents involving drugs have on football and the responsibility we all have in this area."

The latest ruling is third time that Cas has been involved in the case.

"In 2005, Cas confirmed the decision of the Football Association Premier League Appeals Committee finding that, because of a positive doping test, Mutu had committed a breach of the employment contract without just cause," added the Cas statement.

"In 2007, Cas set aside a first decision by the DRC denying jurisdiction and referred the matter back to Fifa to determine and impose the appropriate sporting sanction and/or order for compensation arising out of the dispute."

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Phelps and Cavic head for rematch

Fina World Championships
Date: 17 July-2 August (swimming from 26 July) Venue: Rome
Coverage: Live/highlights on BBC Two, Red Button and BBC Sport website

Michael Phelps
Phelps edged Cavic by a hundredth of a second on Beijing

Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic are on course for a rematch of their Beijing Olympic final after both progressed from the heats of the 100m butterfly.

Phelps won his heat in 50.9 seconds, while Serbia's Cavic won his in 50.56 as Briton Michael Rock also qualified in 51.65.

British pair Gemma Spofforth and Lizzie Simmonds booked their spots in Friday's 200m backstroke semi-finals.

Rebecca Adlington and Joanne Jackson also qualified in the 800m freestyle.

Phelps beat Cavic by a hundredth of a second in Beijing to stay on course for his record haul of eight gold medals - his only win in China which did not also set a new world record.

But Cavic is still convinced he is the faster swimmer and even offered to buy Phelps a new 100% polyurethane suit to make sure there is no controversy over the type of garment worn.

Phelps is contracted to Speedo and is remaining loyal to their outdated LZR suit which is not 100% polyurethane, but the Arena X-Glide, worn by Cavic, and a similar suit by Jaked are considered the fastest at these championships, where 29 world records were set through the first five days.

"If Mike wants an Arena, he just has to say it," Cavic said.

Milord Cavic
The third option would actually be a dream of mine, to have the whole final everybody swimming in briefs

Milorad Cavic

"If he wants a Jaked and they don't want to give it to him free, I'll buy it for him. He has options. I think in the media it's been portrayed that he has no option, he has to swim for (Speedo). It's a complete lie."

Cavic added: "I think there's three options for Michael.

"The first option is to use the suit that he's wearing, the second option is to get one of these (polyurethane) suits, which I guarantee Arena will provide him within the hour, as soon as he wants.

"The third option would actually be a dream of mine, to have the whole final everybody swimming in briefs. I swear to God, this is it, this is what I want, but this is the most unrealistic of all scenarios."

Phelps, who retained his 200 butterfly crown on Wednesday with a world record, refused to comment but his coach Bob Bowman shrugged off Cavic.

"He's a very good swimmer, a super-talented swimmer and he's free to say whatever he wants," Bowman said. "We know that Michael usually lets his swimming do his talking, and we'll know by (Saturday) night what the deal is."

Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe broke the meet record in the 200m backstroke, advancing as the top qualifier at 2:06.72.

Coventry already holds the world record of 2:05.24 and she was nearly a full second ahead of the field in the heats.

Spofforth was second-fastest at 2:07.69, followed by American Elizabeth Beisel (2:07.98), while Simmonds qualified in 2:10.31.

TheMarvellousMechanical Mouth Organ

World record holder Adlington and Jackson were the two fastest swimmers in the 800m freestyle heats in 8:20.53 and 8:20.8 respectively.

Brazil's Cesar Cielo, who won the 100m freestyle on Thursday, was top qualifier in the 50m free with a time of 21.37, beating the meet record of 21.69 set in 2005 by Roland Schoeman. Cielo won gold in the 50m free at Beijing.

Australia's Libby Trickett, whose titles include the 100m butterfly Olympic crown, missed out in the 50m butterfly after clocking the 17th best time.

"It was so fast here. I'm pretty sure my time would have made a final in 2007. I knew this would be the toughest event to get through," said Trickett, who will defend her 100m freestyle title in the final later on Friday.

"I'm a bit upset, but what can you do? Just keep going and move on."

Britons Adam Brown and Simon Burnett failed to qualify from the 50m freestyle heats, while Jemma Lowe and Ellen Gandy missed out in the 50m butterfly heats and Ian Hulme also failed to progress from the 100m butterfly preliminaries.

In the first event of Friday's evening session, which starts at 1800 BST, Briton Fran Halsall goes up against Trickett and world record holder Britta Steffen of Germany in the women's 100m freestyle.

Americans Aaron Peirsol and and Ryan Lochte clash in the 200m backstroke final, followed by semi-finals for the women's 50m butterfly and men's 50m freestyle, featuring Cielo.

Canada's Annamay Pierse, who stole Rebecca Soni's world record in the semi-finals of the 200m breaststroke, goes up against Soni in the final, before Phelps, Cavic and Rock go in the 100m butterfly semi-finals.

The women's 200m backstroke semi-final follows, before the men's 200m breaststroke and the men's 4x200m freestyle relay, in which Britain qualified in fifth in 7:06.11, rounds off the session.

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Football honours Sir Bobby Robson

Sir Bobby Robson
Robson has earned admiration from around the football world

Leading figures from football have paid tribute to Sir Bobby Robson after his death at the age of 76 following a long battle with cancer.

Robson was a renowned and revered figure in football and led England to the World Cup semi-finals at Italia 90, where his side were agonisingly beaten on penalties by West Germany.

As a player, the wing-half had spells at Fulham and West Brom, while also winning 20 England caps.

He successfully moved into management, taking charge at Fulham, Ipswich, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona and Newcastle in his coaching career.

Here, the football fraternity leads the tributes to Robson.

Bryan Robson

"He called me his Captain Marvel and it stuck for the rest of my playing career. It made me very proud but it was only typical of the respect he earned from myself and the rest of the dressing room.

"I have never come across anybody with such a passion for football. We had a tremendous personal relationship as manager and skipper.

"Any criticism he had of a player was kept very private and publicly he gave all of us his total backing.

"We stayed pretty close even towards the end and, along with many other friends, I enjoyed his company in Portugal playing in his Golf Classic. He will be missed by everybody who knew him."

Sir Alex Ferguson

"I was never too big or proud to ask him for advice which he gave freely and unconditionally. And I'm sure I am speaking for a lot of people when I say that.

"In my 23 years working in England there is not a person I would put an inch above Bobby Robson. I mourn the passing of a great friend, a wonderful individual, a tremendous football man and somebody with passion and knowledge of the game that was unsurpassed.

"His character was hewn out of the coal face, developed by the Durham mining background that he came from. His parents instilled in him the discipline and standards which forged the character of a genuinely colossal human being. He added his own qualities to that which then he passed on to his sons.

"The strength and courage he showed over the past couple of years when battling against his fifth bout of cancer was indescribable. Always a smile, always a friendly word with never a mention of his own problems.

"The world, not just the football world, will miss him. Let's hope it won't be long before another like him turns up because we could never get enough of them."

George Burley

"It was a big decision for me and my parents to make such a long journey at that age," said Burley, who played under Robson after leaving his home in Ayrshire to join Ipswich as a 15-year-old.

"But Sir Bobby was like a father to me, taking a personal interest in me right from the start, always checking whether I was happy. His support and enthusiasm was the perfect cure for homesickness and helped my career to get off the ground and thrive.

"I'll never forget when in 1973, the day before we played Manchester United at Old Trafford, he took me to one side and told me I would be making my first-team debut. I was 17 and the player I had to mark just happened to be George Best.

"My parents came down from Scotland to watch the game and I remember him getting off the team bus and presenting them with two directors' box tickets. We lost 3-0 but Sir Bobby was magnificent, telling me how well I'd played. It did wonders for my confidence.


"I went on to play over 500 games for Ipswich in a side that drew inspiration from its manager. From 1972 we qualified for European competitions nine out of 10 years which was remarkable considering the size of our squad and our standing as a small-town club.

"That was all down to his man-management, tactics and judgement. No finer example of that was when, after we won the FA Cup, he sold Brian Talbot to Arsenal for £450,000 and spent less than that to bring in that fabulous Dutch pair Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen.

"I could not possibly get my head round how my career would have gone had it not been for Sir Bobby Robson. I owe him everything and I only hope I can be guided by the example he showed me."

Fabio Capello

"Sir Bobby was a wonderful man, a real gentleman. I remember very well the times I managed my teams against him.

"The first time being when Bobby was manager of Barcelona and I was in my first season with Real Madrid. Later, when he was Newcastle manager and I was with Roma we faced each other - as opponents, but always friends.

"Of course, I recall Bobby as a manager with Ipswich, but more so with England. To manage the national team for so long was a remarkable achievement, and we all remember how close he came to leading England to the World Cup Final in Italy.

"He went on to enjoy success with PSV Eindhoven, Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Barcelona before returning to 'home' with Newcastle.

"Earlier this year I spent some time with Bobby when he opened the new cancer treatment centre, for which he worked so hard to raise funds. He was a fantastic man, and loved by so many people. His spirit and courage was incredible. To fight cancer so many times really showed the strength of the man.

"All the time we spoke over a cup of coffee with his close family, his passion for football shone through.

"He loved the game and was extremely proud of his country and the North East region.

"I also recall the tribute dinner the LMA [League Managers' Association] hosted for Bobby when he wasn't planning to say more than a few words. In the end he stayed on the stage for a very long time, telling story after story, much to everyone's amusement.

"It's extremely sad that Sir Bobby has lost his final fight against cancer, but he will never be forgotten. He really was a great man."

Freddy Shepherd

"It's very sad, especially on Tyneside. The whole of Tyneside will be grieving. Sir Bobby Robson was a great man and will be sorely missed.

"I worked with him for five years every day. He was certainly the best manager I ever worked with at Newcastle. He never put me under pressure and always tried to see my side.

"He wouldn't put up with fools and didn't take any nonsense. He came across as a very kind guy but underneath was very tough. He thought about football 24 hours a day and he would ring me at all hours of the day and never stopped thinking about football."


"Barcelona is in mourning. During his period with the club, Robson won the affection of all Cules (Barca supporters). He is a true legend of world football."


"Bobby Robson is one of those people who never die, not so much for what he did in his career, for one victory more or less, but for what he knew to give to those who had, like me, the good fortune to know him and walk by his side," said Mourinho, who was Robson's assistant at Barcelona.

"My thoughts and embraces go to all his loved ones."

Prince William

"I am deeply saddened to hear about Sir Bobby Robson's death.

"His contribution to English football as a player, manager and superb ambassador for our national game has been immense.

"He will be sadly missed by football fans everywhere, and I am thinking about his family at this difficult time."


"I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Sir Bobby Robson. I had the privilege of meeting Bobby on many occasions. He epitomised everything that is great about football in this country.

"His passion, patriotism, dedication and professionalism knew no equal during his time both as a player and a manager.

"His remarkable achievements as manager of Ipswich Town and then of England are among the most distinguished in English football history, and he was able to replicate that extraordinary success during his time at PSV Eindhoven, Porto and Barcelona.

"Over the past few years, he fought cancer with his characteristic tenacity and good humour.

"He will be sorely missed - not only in Newcastle and Ipswich, both of whom he served with such devotion, but by all sports fans in our country. My sincere condolences go to his wife Elsie and his family."

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Portsmouth sign defender Finnan

Steve Finnan
Finnan had spells in the English top flight with Fulham and Liverpool

Portsmouth have signed Republic of Ireland international right-back Steve Finnan on a one-year deal.

Finnan, 33, has joined the Fratton Park club after terminating his contract with Espanyol.

The defender failed to settle in Spain after moving to the La Liga club from Liverpool at the start of last season.

"It whetted my appetite to think that we could get a player of Steve's calibre here," Pompey boss Paul Hart told the club's website.

"He's really looking forward to coming here and we're looking forward to seeing him play."

Finnan started his career at Welling and went on to have spells at Birmingham and Notts County before moving to Fulham.

He helped the Cottagers win promotion into the Premier League and his form saw him earn a switch to Liverpool in July 2003.

Finnan won the 2005 Champions League and 2006 FA Cup with the Anfield side but his stint with Espanyol was disrupted by injury and he started only three league games for the club.

Pompey sold right-back Glen Johnson to Liverpool this summer and Finnan has been drafted in as his replacement.

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Ohuruogu set to be fit for Berlin

Christine Ohuruogu
Ohuruogu is looking to repeat her triumph in Japan two years ago

World champion Christine Ohuruogu says she is overcoming her hamstring injury and will defend the 400m in Berlin.

The Londoner pulled out of recent meets in Paris and the London Grand Prix, but will now join the 60-strong British team heading to Germany next week.

"I withdrew just as a precautionary measure," the 25-year-old said ahead of the championships, where her event starts with heats on 15 August.

"I am back running and I am back on track for Berlin."

It has been a testing few months for Ohuruogu since she won a sensational Olympic gold in Beijing almost a year ago.

Illness forced her to withdraw from an Italian meet in June, before struggling to sixth spot behind winner and American arch-rival Sanya Richards at the Bislett Games in Oslo.

Following a comfortable win at the UK trials in Birmingham, Ohuruogu then injured a hamstring which led to her withdrawal from the Paris Golden League meeting and last week's Grand Prix at Crystal Palace.

But despite her stuttering form and fitness concerns, she insists she is ready to compete at the World Championships, which run from 15-23 August.


"I don't see myself as reigning champion. That is just extra pressure that I really don't need. I just see it as another championship I want to go and do well at," Ohuruogu said.

"This year I would have liked to hit a couple of top level meets just to try a different challenge but the focus ultimately is the championship.

"That is something I have got in my system, to go to a championship and do well."

Richards, who took Olympic bronze behind Ohuruogu in China, is likely to push Ohuruogu all the way in Berlin but the Briton remains focused on herself and not the American.

"I have ideas of how people run but you don't go into a race expecting anything. Even if Sanya does change her race it won't make any difference how I run my race," she added.

Nicola Sanders, who won World 400m silver behind Ohuruogu two years ago in Osaka, missed the trials through injury but was also selected for the British team, helped by an impressive showing at the recent London Grand Prix.

Ohuruogu and Sanders are also down to compete in the 4x400m relay, alongside Vicky Barr, Lee McConnell and Perri Shakes-Drayton.

Jess Ennis - fourth in Osaka in 2007 - is one of Britain's best hopes for a gold in the heptathlon after recovering from her fractured foot and impressing throughout the summer.

UK Athletics chief Charles van Commenee is hoping to match the five medals Britain won at the last World Championships.

"It's an ambitious goal, but that's how we have to approach the Championship," he said.

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Football legend Robson dies at 76

Sir Bobby Robson

Former England manager Sir Bobby Robson has died at the age of 76, following a long battle with cancer.

Robson will be best remembered on the international stage for leading England to the 1990 World Cup semi-final.

At club level, he cut his managerial teeth at Fulham before establishing his credentials at Ipswich where he won the FA Cup and Uefa Cup in a 13-year stay.

Spells at PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona followed before managing at Newcastle.

Robson was at St James' Park for a charity match earlier this week.

An England side, featuring Alan Shearer and several members of the 1990 World Cup squad including Paul Gascoigne and Peter Shilton, beat a Germany team 3-2.

The game was a repeat of the 1990 World Cup semi-final when England, managed by Sir Bobby, lost on penalties.


A statement issued on behalf of his family said: "It is with great sadness that it has been announced today that Sir Bobby Robson has lost his long and courageous battle with cancer.

"He died very peacefully this morning (Friday) at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him.

"Sir Bobby's funeral will be private and for family members only.

"A thanksgiving service in celebration of Sir Bobby's life will be held at a later date for his many friends and colleagues.

"Lady Robson and the family would very much appreciate it if their privacy could be respected at this difficult time."

As a player, Robson was a key member of the Fulham and West Brom team during the 1950s and 1960s and also won 20 caps for England.

More to follow.

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Live text - England v Australia

Video scorecard graphic

Live video scorecard - England v Australia

Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston, day two:

By Tom Fordyce


e-mail (with 'For Tom Fordyce' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606. (Not all contributions can be used)

1143: Aus 163-4
It doesn't get much bigger than that for Onions and England - a splendid trap laid and bated, and Ponting is snagged - three full ones, followed by a fast lifter that caught him by surprise, pulling late and thinning an edge through to Prior. 3-13 from Onions so far this morning, and the balance of power in this match has swung...

Wicket falls
1142: WICKET Ponting c Prior b Onions 38, Aus 163-4
Onions - Ponting - OUT!

From Andy Rawle, TMS inbox: "Re: 1122 From Paul in Lancs - apparently the average person can live for to six weeks without food. Leave the dinner until Fred and KP are falling off the open top bus and into No. 10 Downing Street some time in late August."

1140: Aus 163-3
Nope - Fred will have another one here, and that's a touch loose, straying onto Punter's pads and being clipped away with wristy relish for four. Clarke then calls his skipper through for a rapid single - Bell picks up at cover, flings at the non-striker's... and misses. Let's have a look to see where Ponting was there - ai-yai-yai, at least a foot short of his crease. If that had hit, he was a goner...

1136: Aus 155-3
Shouts of dismay from the slip cordon as Onions almost foxes Clarke with a wicket-to-wicket dipper - leading edge just past the bowler. Super spell, this - tight line, hints of wobble, nothing spare for spanking.

From Pete, bored/frustrated at his desk, TMS inbox: "I've always found Fridays to be rather of an inconvenience when it comes to having to attend work. Well, having to read about Onions bagging a couple of early Aussie wickets has pretty much made up my mind that I will be on leave every Friday for the rest of my working life."

1131: Aus 155-3
Fred trundles in, massive chest jutting out like the white cliffs of Dover. Steady line on off or just outside - big strides forward from Ponting, elbow high, bat face flat onto the ball, and a dabber for two to leg to keep the board ticking over. Jimmy Anderson loosening up - wonder if Fred needs a breather?

Vic Marks
From TMS summariser Vic Marks: "Sometimes the magic is with Flintoff and sometimes it isn't. This morning, it isn't."

1126: Aus 153-3
Two shaven-headed men in the the crowd, their faces painted in bright yellow and green squares like cricket-loving Leigh Bowerys. Onions looking to get Punter playing across his front pad, with Ian Bell going to a very short midwicket - but that's a little too obvious, and there are runs pulled and clipped away.

From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox: "I was going to go down the hall to the kitchen and start making the kids' dinner, but I can't keep from turning back to look at the computer. Talk about the corridor of uncertainty."

1122: Aus 148-3
Fred arrows one into the pads, and that's the record for Ponting - three through midwicket, and the crowd rise with generous applause. The top Australian Test scorer of all time, the third highest scorer in Test history behind Tendulkar and Lara. Hats off, Punter. Clarke flinches under an express-train bouncer and then pushes with sweet timing through cover for four. Two more off the pads, and Fred still searching for his early-morning mojo.

Text in your views on 81111
Kara, Birmingham, text 81111: "My boyfriend and I saw the Aussies out in Brum last night. Ponting was waiting for Watson to buy a white choc Magnum. Maybe the ice cream before bed was a bad idea."

1115: Aus 139-3
Onions again, his eyes wide with adrenaline, three slips, gully, short leg. Clarke jabs into the covers for one, Punter lunges forward and edges along the ground through the vacant third slip slots. There's a single to mid-off, and Ponting moves to within two runs of Allan Border's Test runs record.

He's retired hurt
Tim Ruscoe, Hollies Stand, text 81111: "Just read Phillip Hughes' Twitter site this morning - 'whole team had a great night out in Birmingham last night - it was 5am when we all got back'."

1111: Aus 132-3
Extraordinary scenes, and here's how it happened - Watson was trapped bang in front with a lovely late in-diver, and then Hussey shouldered arms to one that went straight on to biff back the top of off. Fred paws the ground from the other end, Ponting waiting furiously at the other end. Four in the Corridor Of Errr outside off, the last angled in looking for the nibble to short leg - edged finer past Prior for four. My giddy aunts.

1105: Aus 126-3
Onions on a hat-trick, Clarke in the sights - oh, pinged past the flailing gloves. He's survived it, but what a start to the day. The Edgbaston crowd are rabid with excitement, and why not? Two more - both close, Clarke jabbing down late to divert vicious in-dippers at the last moment. What a start...

Out for a duck
1101: WICKET Hussey b Onions 0, Aus 126-3
You're not dreaming - this is real...

Wicket falls
1100: WICKET Watson lbw Onions 62, Aus 126-2
Onions - why has he been given the first over? THAT'S WHY...

1055: Here come the England fielders. Ah, that's blown it.

From Alex in Leeds, TMS inbox: "Boss out. Cricket on. Punter out. Game on."

From Jae Pearse, TMS inbox: "Draw this one. Win the next. Job done."

1050: Glimpse of Warnie. Varnished Weeble.

From Trevor in Bristol, TMS inbox: "In work. Bored witless. Miserable colleague. Entertain me."

1045: Weather forecast? Cloudy but dry. Dreadful on Saturday. Hmmm.

From Andrew Farrell, TMS inbox: "Raining in Telford. Today's plan? Too much booze. Not enough cricket."

1040: So then. Optimistic? Strange this. Feel like Clarkson. Talking in. Bursts.

From Samuel McMahon in sunny Bradford, TMS inbox: "Poor yesterday. Awful line. Length no better. Must Improve."

1030: Sunshine. Of sorts. Wispy clouds. Covers off. Start on time. Sentences of. Two words. Or Three.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ortiz admits positive drug test

David Ortiz
Ortiz has won two World Series titles with Boston

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has become the latest Major League Baseball player to admit to testing positive for performance-enhancing substances.

In a statement, Ortiz insisted he only learned of his 2003 positive test on Thursday - and claims he does not know what the substance was.

"Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised - I will find out what I tested positive for," Ortiz said.

"Whatever I learn, I will share this information with the public."

Ortiz, a designated hitter who is nicknamed "Big Papi" and is one of the best-known current MLB players, began his major league career with the Minnesota Twins before moving to Boston for the 2003 season.


In 2004, the year after the positive test, Ortiz played a starring role as the Red Sox won their first World Series title for 86 years.

Although he has struggled with injuries in subsequent years, he won a second World Series title in 2007.

The New York Times had reported on Thursday that Ortiz and former Boston team-mate Manny Ramirez were both on a list of players that had tested positive in 2003 - a list that has never been formally released.

While Ortiz's statement confirmed that he was on the list, which has not been made public, Ramirez - who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers a year ago - declined to answer questions about "something (that) happened six years ago".

Ramirez served a 50-game ban earlier this season after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug.

Another big name, New York Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez, admitted in February that he had used steroids earlier in his career and had tested positive in 2003.

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Spurs probe 'Bent Twitter rant'

Darren Bent
Bent scored 17 goals in 43 appearances for Spurs last season

Tottenham are investigating comments allegedly made by striker Darren Bent accusing Spurs chairman Darren Levy of disrupting his move to Sunderland.

A foul-mouthed rant on social network site Twitter purports to have been posted by Bent, who missed Spurs' tour to China for talks on Wearside.

A Spurs spokesman told BBC Sport: "We are yet to find out if this is Darren."

One of the tweets said: "Do I wanna go to Hull? No. Do I wanna go to Stoke? No. Do I wanna go to Sunderland? Yes."

The Twitter account in question was taken down from the service on Friday morning and Tottenham told BBC Sport that they plan to speak to Bent about the issue.

The arrival of fellow striker Peter Crouch from Portsmouth earlier this week appears to have signalled the end of Bent's stay at White Hart Lane and the only stumbling block looks to be his transfer fee.

Sunderland are understood to be be prepared to break their own transfer record of £9m, paid for goalkeeper Craig Gordon two years ago, but Levy will be wanting to recoup most of the £16.5m he paid to Charlton two years ago for the England centre-forward.

If Bent does go then maybe we will be interested

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

And the 25-year-old, who was Spurs' leading scorer last season with 17 goals from 43 appearances, appears to lay the blame for any delay firmly at Spurs' door, adding on other tweets, that were littered with swear words: "Why can't anything be simple [sic].

"Sunderland are not the problem in the slightest."

Speaking on Thursday, before the Twitter row erupted, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp admitted he was unsure of how the deal was progressing.

"I spoke to the chairman (on Wednesday) but I don't know where he is at," he said. "He was talking to Sunderland the last I was aware.

If Bent does go, Redknapp has reiterated his desire to bring Real Madrid striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar to north London.

The Dutchman had been set for a move to German side Stuttgart last week but that fell through due to his wage demands.

"If you look at his goalscoring record it is incredible," Redknapp said. "If he is available then again he is a player that interests me.

"If any top-class player becomes available then you have to be interested and if Bent does go then maybe we will be interested.

"You cannot have two many good players. Competition for places is what it is all about. Look at Manchester United, you could pick two teams from their squad last year."

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