1 FOOTBALL Page 4 Ribery expands on Guardiola criticism CRICKET Page 7 Mendis ton revives Lanka hopes against Australia To Advertise here Call: , Shawwal 24, 1437 AH GULF TIMES SPORT TENNIS Djoko off to winning post-wimbledon return in Canada Page 6 OLYMPICS Protesters in Rio halt torch relay, extinguish its flame Crowds angry over lack of public transport and Rio late payment of salaries fought with police at the torch parade Rio de Janeiro There was better news for Rio organisers with the arrival of Jamaica s Olympic sprint superstar Usain Bolt, who hopes to defend his multiple gold medals. PICTURE: Rio 2016/Gabriel Nascimento A riot during the Olympic torch relay cast a shadow over the Rio Games starting in just over a week yesterday, marking a new low in a ritual that had been meant to unite Brazil. The torch is nearing the end of a 300-city relay that will end with the lighting of the Olympic flame in the Maracana stadium at the opening ceremony on August 5. But while organisers portray the epic journey as a chance to ignite public enthusiasm, repeated security incidents have turned the torch into a symbol of the organisational glitches and social discontent overshadowing South America s first Olympics. In Angra dos Reis, a coastal resort south of Rio, crowds angry over lack of public transport and nearly bankrupt Rio state s late payment of salaries fought with police at the torch parade late Wednesday. Video broadcast on Globo television and amateur footage shared on social media showed a dense crowd cheering while someone shouted the torch has been put out! The torch bearer, accompanied by police, is seen retreating to a bus, with the relay apparently halted. In other scenes, police fire rubber bullets and tear gas as the crowd runs and gathers again to confront officers. This came after repeated attempts in other cities to douse the torch with fire extinguishers or buckets of water. Highlight reels of other torch mishaps have gone viral online, including runners falling over, a police motorbike crashing into the parade, a man attempting to seize the torch, and political protests. In June, a rare, captive jaguar the same animal chosen for Brazil s Olympic mascot was shot dead after escaping handlers at a torch ceremony. There was better news for Rio organisers in the arrival overnight of Jamaica s Olympic sprint superstar Usain Bolt, who hopes to defend his multiple gold medals. Wearing a black tracksuit with white stripes, sunglasses and headphones, Bolt was in a hurry to leave the airport. I didn t sleep on the flight, he told a welcoming committee of journalists and officials. The world record holder, who required a medical exemption after he pulled out of the Jamaican trials with a hamstring strain, proved his fitness last Friday by running seconds to win the 200 metres at the London Diamond League meeting. He will join the Jamaican pre-olympic camp as he seeks to become the first man to win gold medals in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay at three successive Games. Bolt had been training and receiving medical treatment in Munich after he pulled out of the Jamaican trials with the hamstring injury. The lanky sprinter is among 59 track and field athletes in Jamaica s 63-member delegation. The Caribbean nation will also be represented in diving, swimming and artistic gymnastics. Meanwhile, a more controversial set of arrivals were expected later in the day, with some 70 Russian athletes due to fly in at around 6:00pm (2100 GMT), their team slashed by bans in a scandal over state-sponsored doping. Rio organisers were also still racing to complete emergency repairs to the athletes Village, where some 19,000 team members will live. Half of the buildings had problems ranging from blocked toilets to faulty wiring when teams began moving in over the weekend. Although these glitches were expected to be ironed out by the end of Thursday, new controversy was brewing over allegations by government labour inspectors that the approximately 600 workers are being made to work nearly around the clock without legal contracts. Most security concerns have centred on Rio s rampant street crime, but authorities last week arrested 12 men accused of forming a wouldbe jihadist terror cell. Brazilian media reports said that another man in an apparently separate case has been detained on suspicion of terrorism links. His lawyer, Edson Ferreira, said the allegations lacked substance. There is no basic accusation, or complete accusation, he told Globo television. There s nothing more than suspicions that he put posts on Facebook, that he posted links related to Islamic State, but which have nothing concretely to do with him. He has no link with Islamic State, the lawyer said. Brazilian officials have downplayed the seriousness of the group arrested last week, calling them amateur and disorganised. Members of the group are accused of discussing potential attacks, attempting to buy a rifle online, and declaring allegiance to the Islamic State group via the Internet. FOCUS Three Russian cyclists banned from Rio, three more at risk Agencies Paris Russia s Olympic committee (ROC) has removed three cyclists from the team heading to the Rio Games while three more, who were potentially implicated in the McLaren report, are under investigation, the UCI announced yesterday. The trio withdrawn by the ROC had previously been sanctioned for anti-doping violations, which meant they failed to meet the eligibility criteria put in place for Russian athletes by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The latest doping scandal to rock Olympic and Russian sport was triggered this month by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren whose report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) detailed an elaborate doping system directed by the Moscow sports ministry and used in more than 30 sports over four years. The IOC sparked fierce criticism on Sunday when it resisted a blanket ban on the country in favour of allowing individual sports federations to make the call on which Russians can go to Rio. The UCI decision takes the number of Russian athletes suspended from Rio to 111 of the 387 initially announced by the ROC. Meanwhile, United World Wrestling, the governing body for Olympic forms of wrestling, said a special commission it set up had recommended that 16 of the 17 Russian wrestlers who qualified for the Rio Olympics should be allowed to take part. It said in a statement the 16 had been tested in accredited laboratories outside Russia, and were not mentioned in a McLaren report. It said one competitor, Viktor Lebedev, should not take part in Rio because he had a positive doping test in The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has included four Russian players in the draws, pending the validation of the IOC. The BWF held the draws for the Rio Games on Tuesday and included Vladimir Malkov and Natalia Perminova in the men s and women s singles as well as the men s doubles partnership of Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov. We have had a rigid drug-testing programme, especially leading up to Rio 2016 and all four Russian athletes have been tested in and out of competition and their samples have been analysed outside of Russia, Secretary General Thomas Lund said during the draw. The badminton competition at the Rio takes place from Aug Russia s depleted squad leave for Rio Russia s synchronised swimming Olympic team members attend a farewell ceremony before the national team s departure to the Rio 2016 Olympics at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia, yesterday. (Reuters) Some 70 Russian competitors from the country s depleted Olympics team flew out from Moscow for Rio yesterday. Dressed in red and white sports uniforms the Olympic hopefuls including Russia s volleyball, handball and synchronised swimming squads received a warm send-off despite the scandal over staterun doping. They have got us fired up but in a good way. We are going to fight more to prove that it is difficult to break Russia, handball player Polina Kuznetsova told. We will fight for those who were not able to go. We anxiously waited for this day, we worried. You know yourselves what the situation is, Alexander Zhukov, the head of Russia s Olympic Committee was quoted as saying. It is now time to put all doubts aside: the Russian team is going to the Olympics. Some Russian competitors are already in Brazil acclimatising to the conditions but despite yesterday s triumphal farewell it remains unclear how many of the 387-strong squad Moscow named last week will eventually compete. The track and field team including stars Yelena Isinbayeva and Sergey Shubenkov has been banned en masse and now rowers, swimmers, weightlifters and canoeists have been added to the list. Zhukov said that less than 100 Russian competitors were still waiting to find out their fates and that the final makeup of the team should be announced over the weekend just a few days before the start of the Games. Meanwhile, Sergei Tetyukhin, the captain of the Russian men s volleyball team, will carry the country s flag during the opening ceremony, twice Olympic pole vault champion Isinbayeva said. Isinbayeva is one of the athletes unable to attend the Rio Games because of the decision by the governing body International Association of Athletics Federation to ban Russian track and field athletes from Rio in response to systematic state-sponsored doping by the country. Our flag bearer at the Rio Olympics has already been determined. Voleyball player Sergei Tetyukhin, who is a great sportsman and an Olympic champion, will be given the honour, Isinbayeva wrote on her Instagram page. The 40-year-old Tetyukhin won four Olympic medals, including gold at London The Rio Olympic Games will be his sixth.
2 2 ROAD TO RIO N Korea s guerrilla campaign for glory North Korean athletes will compete in judo, wrestling, table tennis and other events in Rio, but their best hope of medals will come in the weightlifting North Korea s delegation for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games pose for a group photo before leaving Pyongyang International Airport to Brazil. () Pyongyang For isolated North Korea, the Olympic Games offer a rare opportunity to take to the global stage and compete for applause and prestige rather than censure and condemnation. A virtual pariah state due to its nuclear weapons programme, the North has made international sporting success a strategic priority, with leader Kim Jong-Un as cheerleader-in-chief. North Korean athletes will compete in judo, wrestling, table tennis and other events in Rio, but their best hope of medals will come in the weightlifting. While rival South Korea is an international sporting success, the North s sporting record has largely failed to fulfil its aspirations. Its brightest moment in the global spotlight came way back at the 1966 football World Cup when it pulled off a stunning upset by defeating Italy 1-0 on the way to the quarter-finals. North Korea has competed in nine summer Olympics since Munich in 1972, but taken home only 14 gold medals. The four golds it won in 2012 in London three in weightlifting and one in judo equalled its best-ever tally. Since taking power following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in late 2011, Kim Jong-Un has pushed for sporting progress with an at times militaristic fervour. In an open letter to the nation s athletes last year, Kim urged them to adopt guerrilla-style tactics to boost the nation s underwhelming impact on the global sporting stage. Lamenting the fact that North Korea was trailing behind the world, he promised to turn it into a sports powerhouse within a few years. Andray Abrahamian, a North Korea specialist at Australia s Macquarie University, said the country s highly structured society with its emphasis on participating in organisational life was primed for grooming top-class athletes. The system is very good at spotting talent, which can then be developed at specialised sports academies and clubs. The best of the best are then very well resourced indeed, Abrahamian said. Sporting accomplishment is seen as a valuable propaganda tool and investment is very selective, focusing on sports and events with a high global profile and a commensurate chance of success. In 2013 the Pyongyang International Football School opened a modern, well-equipped facility with Korean and foreign coaches and a 200-strong roster of 8-15 year-old, live-in students hand-picked from schools and clubs across the country. The brightest prospects are sent overseas, some of them to elite academies in Italy and Spain. Six members of the North Korean team that won the 2014 Asia Under-16 championship with a 2-1 victory over South Korea in the final had trained in Europe. Success on the global stage brings individual rewards, with top performers earning the title of People s Athlete and gifts that include cars and a high-end apartment in Pyongyang. Athletes competing overseas are expected to remain relentlessly on-message in crediting their achievements to state largesse. Winning a medal is a personal honour, but our athletes see it as a way of paying back the love of the party and the Dear Leader Kim Jong-Un, intoned Son Yong-Min, a director at the Tongil Sports Center in Pyongyang. That s why they make the sacrifices they do, Son said. Personally opened in 2012 by Kim Jong-Un, the showcase Tongil centre boasts several floors of imported fitness equipment and is sometimes used by national sports teams for circuit training. Ostensibly open to anyone, the centre was totally empty during a Saturday afternoon visit, apart from some slightly bored-looking trainers. Son explained that it was foreigners day although there were no foreigners working out. He later acknowledged there was a membership system but declined to reveal the fees. While North Korea hopes for some gold medals in Rio, the Games organisers will be anxious to ensure they don t get their Koreas mixed up. At the London Games in 2012, the North Korean women s football team walked off the pitch in protest after their images were shown on a giant screen alongside the South Korean flag. Organisers apologised profusely and the team finally returned, but only after each player had been reintroduced with the correct flag. We also had to explain that it was not customary in Britain for such a mistake to be met with a custodial sentence, recalled Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Games organising committee. WEIGHTLIFTING Valentin eyes London gold after rivals fail retests Reuters Madrid Spanish weightlifter Lidia Valentin Spanish weightlifter Lidia Valentin hopes to be awarded an Olympic gold medal from London 2012 after the athletes that finished above her all failed drug tests when their samples were reanalysed. Valentin, who will compete at next month s Games in Rio, finished fourth in 2012 in the Women s -75kg category. All three athletes that made the podium ahead of Valentin champion Svetlana Podobedova, silver medallist Nataliya Zabolotnaya and Iryna Kulesha who won bronze tested positive for banned substances when their samples were reanalysed. Although late, as it has taken four years, finally justice has been done, Valentin told Spanish newspaper AS. The important thing is that is has come out. It s not a surprise. The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced on Wednesday that Russia s Zabolotnaya and Kulesha of Belarus had produced positive samples in a second wave of International Olympic Committee (IOC) retests. The IWF said last month that the sample of Kazakhstan s Podobedova had produced an adverse finding in the first wave of retests. I wasn t able to enjoy the podium at the time but the important thing is that the cheaters have been caught, the 31-year-old Valentin said. The IOC stores samples for a decade in order to re-test using newer methods or to look for new drugs. The results are part of the IOC s re-testing of samples from past Games to keep cheats from competing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August. Podobedova, Zabolotnaya and Kulesha have been provisionally suspended by the IWF and the Spanish Weightlifting Federation (Fedehalter) hope Valentin will be belatedly awarded the gold medal prior to the start of the Rio Games on Aug. 5. Valentin hopes that retrospective testing serves as a strong deterrent to athletes that may consider cheating in Rio. I hope this sends a clear message that in Rio all athletes should be clean and no one considers cheating, she said. The three were among six six weightlifting medallists from the London Olympics, including three Russians, who tested positive while it was re-examined. A total of 11 lifters were provisionally suspended for returning positive tests, including another five who did not win medals in London, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) added in a statement. They were among 45 athletes the International Olympic Committee said last week had been caught in a second wave of testing on samples stored from the 2008 and 2012 Games. Over 100 Russian athletes have so far been banned from the Games after the World Anti- Doping Agency uncovered an elaborate doping system directed by Russia s sports ministry across more than 30 sports. The banned London weightlifting silver medallists, named for the first time by the IWF, were Russians Alexandr Ivanov, Nataliya Zabolotnaya and Svetlana Tzarukaeva. The bronze medallists were Iryna Kulesha of Bulgaria, Armenia s Hripsime Khurshudyan and Cristina Iovu of Moldova. In total, 13 weightlifting medals won in London have now been tainted by doping, comprising four gold, four silver and five bronze. The doping tally from weightlifting at the 2008 Beijing Games stands at five one gold, two silver and two bronze. More positives are possible from both events. In a bid to clean up the sport for the Rio Olympics, the IWF has barred the entire Bulgarian team for repeated doping offences and warned Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus they could face the same fate. In addition, the IWF has punished North Korea, Romania, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Moldova by reducing the allocation of lifters they can send to Rio. FOCUS Village controversy reignites in pessimistic Brazil Rio de Janeiro Controversy ignited on Wednesday over working conditions for labourers racing to repair shambolic conditions at the Athletes Village in Rio, just nine days before the Olympics. As the authorities insisted that the Village was only experiencing teething problems and would be ready shortly, questions arose over alleged lack of legal protection for the approximately 600 people drafted to make emergency repairs. The ministry of labor said in a statement that inspectors had discovered signs of informality in contracts and working days of up to 23 hours. Fines may be imposed, the ministry said. Inspector Hercules Terra said that the absence of proper contracts for the workers meant that if a worker suffers any sort of accident or is killed, then the family will not have this guarantee. A spokesperson for the Rio 2016 organising committee said that the appropriate documents would be handed over soon. Earlier, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and the Australian team made peace following its harsh complaints about conditions in the Village. Paes kissed Australia delegation chief Kitty Chiller on the cheek, handed her a symbolic Rio s Mayor Eduardo Paes (middle row second left-) and Kitty Chiller (right), Australia s Chief of Mission for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, pose with the Australian athletes at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro. () key to the city and apologised for the construction hiccups, which included blocked toilets, dangerous wiring and leaks. I saw the things. This was the worst building. I recognise the problems you faced, a repentant Paes said. Paes speech was a far cry from his apparently combative reaction on Sunday after Chiller lambasted the accommodations as the worst she had seen in five Olympics. The mayor s quip that a kangaroo should be sent to make the Australians feel better fell flat, being widely interpreted as a jibe and quickly surfacing on Twitter as #kangaroogate. Paes explained he had not meant any harm and offered a formal apology, almost a diplomatic thing. Flanked by Australian athletes, Chiller praised Brazil for the passion and the commitment in carrying out emergency repairs and gave Paes a stuffed kangaroo. About half of the buildings in the 31-building complex, which will house some 19,000 team members from around the world, have had issues. But International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach, who arrived in Rio on Wednesday, said that the remaining ones will be solved in the next 24 or 48 hours. Asked later how much the rush repair job was costing, Paes responded: I don t know. The Village s problems are another embarrassment for Brazil, which is struggling to show it can cope with the pressure during a severe recession and political crisis. Organizers are already facing questions over low ticket sales, public apathy, fears over the Zika virus, and a spike in street crime as police complain of lack of resources. A poll published in Sao Paulo s Estadao newspaper found that 60% of Brazilians believe the Olympics will bring more bad than good to the country. The Ibope poll found only 32% of Brazilians expect the first Games ever held in South America to be more positive than negative. This split showed a darker mood than on the eve of the last major sporting event hosted by Brazil, the 2014 football World Cup. Then, 40% expected more negative outcomes compared to 43% who were optimistic. Paes brushed off the poll, telling Estadao that the city of Rio is already benefiting from the legacy, the population is already benefiting. When Brazil won the Rio hosting rights back in 2009, the economy was booming and then president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was immensely popular. Today Brazil is in economic retreat, while Lula faces serious corruption allegations and his handpicked successor Dilma Rousseff risks being removed from office in an impeachment vote shortly after the Games end. Amnesty International has highlighted bloody police violence in Rio by laying 40 body bags in front of the Olympic organizing committee headquarters each representing people killed by city officers in May alone. Our main worry is that there is an escalation of police violence as we get closer to the Games, said Amnesty expert Renata Neder.
3 ROAD TO RIO 3 AGELESS Seven-up Leander has Olympics in his blood Rio de Janeiro For India s Leander Paes, the Olympics run in the family and his record seventh appearance at the Games represents another landmark in a career which has straddled three bruising decades. The 43-year-old jokes that he was even conceived during the Olympics in 1972 in Munich where his father Vece played in India s bronze-medal winning hockey team and mother Jennifer played in the basketball. Paes himself went on to win a bronze medal in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Four years later, he carried his country s flag at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics. I love playing for the country. I love playing for our people, said Paes. Despite his fondness for playing for India, it has not always been an easy ride for Paes. The veteran has been paired with Rohan Bopanna in the men s doubles in Rio despite his higher-ranked partner wanting to play originally with Saketh Myneni. Paes was slotted in at the insistence of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) in a row which had echos of a farce before the 2012 London Olympics Back then, Mahesh Bhupathi was teamed with Bopanna in the men s doubles despite Paes being in the top 10. As part of a compromise, Paes, who had threatened to pull out of the Games, reluctantly played with Vishnu Vardhan in the men s doubles while being controversially teamed with Sania Mirza in the mixed. It was an unhappy experience all round. Paes and Vardhan, who was ranked just below 300 in the world at the time, exited in the second round as did Bhupathi and Bopanna. Paes and Mirza made it to the quarter-finals in the mixed, losing to eventual champions Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka. Despite the controversies, nobody can doubt Paes s longevity. He was a Wimbledon and US Open junior singles champion and world number one in the boys division in His bronze medal at Atlanta in 1996 was India s first in an individual event in more than 40 years. But it is doubles where Paes has carved out his timeless career. He has 55 career titles, including eight Grand Slam men s doubles trophies three alongside Bhupathi with whom his relationship has veered between cordial and ice cold and 10 in mixed. His French Open triumph with Martina Hingis in June allowed him to add the mixed career Slam to his perfect collection of men s doubles. He has played with more than 100 partners in men s doubles in his 25-year career partnerships which include, however fleeting, the likes of Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. I m fearless about anything. I believe in myself. I believe in my partner, Paes said. Paes has also survived a worrying health scare to keep his career on track. In 2003, he was hospitalised in Florida for a suspected brain tumour. His illness was eventually diagnosed as a brain abscess but it was deemed serious enough to keep him off the tour for six months. Away from tennis, Paes has also notched up a movie appearance, as a gangster on the run in the widelypanned 2013 Bollywood offering, Rajdhani Express. Flamenco queen Marin eyes elusive badminton gold It is an obsession and an ambitious objective. It will be more difficult because there is more pressure, the expectations from the press and the people are very different. But I am desperate for it to come and, above all, enjoy the Olympics Madrid Inspired by a love of flamenco dancing and sporting hero Rafael Nadal, Carolina Marin dreams of becoming the first European woman to win a badminton Olympic gold in Rio. Marin s ambitions are lofty but realistic. She is a two-time world champion in a sport normally dominated by Asia. She is also ranked number one in the world and has blazed the trail for badminton in Spain where minority sports struggle for funding and attention in the shadows of the nation s starstudded football teams. It is an obsession and an ambitious objective, said Marin at the end of another day s training at the performance centre in Madrid she describes as home. It will be more difficult than the world championships because there is more pressure, the expectations from the press and the people are very different to a world or European championship. But I am desperate for it to come and, above all, enjoy the Olympic games. Marin was dumped out in the first round in London four years ago as a 19-year-old by gold medal winner Li Xuerui of China, but much has changed since winning the world championships for the first time two years ago. She retained her world title in Indonesia last year and won the European championships for a second time in May to consolidate her place as world number one and the only European player in the top 10. The secret of all this is in the work we have done. Many hours in this centre, which is my home. It is the fundamental key to my climb up the rankings, she states. Yet, another key to the unexpected rise of a girl from Huelva on Spain s sunny southwest coast to world number one was her love of flamenco as a youngster. I danced flamenco and thanks to a friend I got to know badminton. They are very different, but there are some movements in dancing flamenco, above all the fluidity of my body, which helps me play badminton. Marin will follow Nadal as Spain s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony on August 5. Yet, despite speaking of the 14- time tennis Grand Slam champion in reverential terms, she admitted she has already done more for badminton in her homeland than even Nadal has for tennis. Before Nadal we had already discovered tennis. Manolo Santana was the one that opened tennis to Spain. However, I am the one who has opened badminton to Spain. I feel very proud and fortunate to have done so. Hopefully in the future we will have more Spanish champions, she said. Gone are the days when she says taxi drivers used to ask her what badminton was when she arrived back from international competitions with racket in hand. After the first world championship nobody asked me what is badminton? People recognise me in the streets, when I get into a taxi they congratulate me and say they are honoured to give me a lift, so things have changed a lot in Spain, she says. A gold medal on August 19 could see Marin catapulted even further into the media spotlight if she can see off the likes of Chinese world number two Wang Yihan, defending champion Li and Indonesia s Ratchanok Intanon, who has been cleared of an antidoping violation, to take part. And unlike many tennis and golf stars, Marin insisted she won t let fears of the Zika virus ruin her dreams of Olympic gold. When I heard about the mosquito problem I was worried more than anything because you could get ill during the Olympics. To think that after all the preparation we have done to get there and then you could get ill when you are there. But for sure we will have the means to avoid that. The doctors will take all the precautions and in the end the player has to trust in the doctors, physios and team that surrounds them. FOCUS Note-perfect Murray ready for more glory London Andy Murray has revealed the secret behind the personalised notes that fuelled his Wimbledon triumph and will inspire his bid for more Olympic glory. Murray was often seen reading a sheet of paper in breaks between games as he marched to a historic second Wimbledon title in July. The Scot offered a rare insight into the motivational scribblings after his success at the All England Club. The 29-year-old, who has worked with a sports psychologist in the past, writes down important aspects of his gameplan to focus on during each match and sprinkles in inspirational reminders of his qualities. As Murray prepares to defend the Olympics singles gold medal he won so memorably in London four years ago, the world number two will again turn to his notes for guidance in Rio. They re personal notes. Some of them stay the same the whole time. They re basic things I remind myself to do during the matches, Murray said. When I play my best tennis I feel like I m doing these things. They would be like, Make sure you re moving your feet when you re nervous. People have a tendency when they re nervous to not move, not use their legs. I think when I play my best tennis, I do this, X, Y and Z, whatever it is on the notes. Then I have some notes of the tactics for the match. Sometimes when you re in the heat of a second set tiebreak in a slam final, it s easy to forget exactly what you re trying to do. Sometimes I just look at the tactics that I ve written down for the match. I refer to them at change of ends. I find it helps me. Murray s notes are typical of the perfectionist nature of the British star, who will travel to Brazil refreshed after a long break in the aftermath of his draining fortnight at Wimbledon. His imperious march to the title culminated in a final victory over Milos Raonic which made him the first British man to win multiple All England Club crowns since Fred Perry in the 1930s. Determined to recover mentally and physically in time for the Olympics, Murray opted out of Great Britain s Davis Cup quarter-final win over Serbia and also pulled out of the Toronto Masters 1000 event. That will leave the three-time Grand Slam champion with no match action under his belt since Wimbledon. Instead, Murray was due to fly to Mallorca to begin his Olympic preparations with a 10-day training camp including practice time with injury-plagued Spanish star Rafael Nadal. For all Murray s success at the majors, the Olympics will always retain a special place. Having lost in a tearful Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, Murray returned to the All England Club weeks later to avenge that painful defeat. Inspired by seeing Mo Farah and a host of other British athletes take gold on home turf, Murray routed Federer in the Olympic final becoming the first British man to win the singles gold medal in tennis since He also earned a silver medal with Laura Robson in the mixed doubles. It was a far cry from Murray s Olympic debut in 2008 when he suffered an embarrassing first-round loss to Taiwan s Lu Yen-Hsun in Beijing. Murray has his sights set on taking home another medal from Rio. You obviously want to try to win a medal. Yeah, I m looking forward to it, Murray said. I love being involved in the Olympics, hopefully I can have a good run there. Nadal s injury situation delicate, says Ferrer Rafa Nadal s injury situation is delicate ahead of the Rio Olympics, according to his Spanish teammate David Ferrer. Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, has not played a competitive match since May 27 when a left wrist injury forced him to pull out of the French Open after the second round and miss Wimbledon. World number four Nadal won gold in Beijing eight years ago and will be Spain s flag-bearer in Rio. I will travel with Rafa on Sunday to Rio, Ferrer told Spanish radio Cadena Ser. His situation is more delicate. It s never easy to come back after an injury. We will see how he feels.
4 4 FOOTBALL Fabregas sees red as Chelsea beat Liverpool 1-0 I know Fabregas is a good man, a good boy and is not a player to have this type of situation. I m sorry for him, I m sorry for the Liverpool player FOCUS Hazard keen to recover title-winning form for Chelsea Reuters London Eden Hazard said he was eager to recapture the form he displayed in Chelsea s title-winning campaign to help the club recover from the disappointments of last season and bring the Premier League trophy back to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea launched one of the worst defences of the league title in living memory last campaign, finishing 10th in the final table 31 points behind champions Leicester City. I want to be the best, like I was two seasons ago. I said after the season like this I wanted to stay at Chelsea because I didn t want to finish like this, Hazard told British media. The Belgian winger s 14 goals helped Chelsea become the English champions for the fifth time in 2015 and earnt him England s Footballer of the Year and the Players Player of the Year awards. The goals, however, dried up last season for the 25-year-old, who netted just four times in the league. We ve got to show to everybody we are Chelsea, we re big players, we re a big team and we didn t finish in a good place last season. Now we want to do better and win the Premier League. We need to do this, Hazard said. Hazard also said if he was to ever leave the west London club, it would only be as a Premier League champion. When I was in France (with Lille), I finished my last game with a hat-trick and that was a good time to leave. And if I must leave one day, I hope I can finish good here and be a champion again, he added. New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has already strengthened his squad with two big-money signings in striker Michy Batshuayi and midfielder N Golo Kante. Conte will begin his tenure in England with a London derby against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Aug. 15. Argentine FA hope for Messi international U-turn The acting head of Argentina s FA, Armando Perez, will travel to Spain to try and convince star striker Lionel Messi to reconsider his international retirement, according to reports in Argentina yesterday. I spoke with Leo s father, we have agreed to meet next week, said Perez, in quotes published by Argentine sports daily Ole. The most important thing is to see if Messi will take part in (qualifying) matches for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, added Perez, the head of a FIFA-appointed normalisation committee currently in charge of the AFA. Messi announced his shock retirement after Argentina lost the Copa America Centenario final to defending champions Chile on penalties last month. Perez is also due to meet Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli, the man who led Chile past Argentina to their maiden Copa America title a year ago, with the aim of recruiting him as the new national team coach. Sampaoli, 56, joined Europa League champions Sevilla last month after replacing Unai Emery and the club have ruled out the Argentine s departure or any job-sharing arrangement. I spoke with Sampaoli (on Wednesday), we will see. There is work to do. We need to meet, Perez told several radio stations, adding he was not going to leave defeated. Now to see what happens. Chelsea s Cesc Fabregas #4 receives a red card after a hard challenge on Liverpool s Ragnar Klavan during the 2016 International Champions Cup at Rose Bowl. Pasadena, United States Chelsea s Cesc Fabregas was sent off for a reckless lunge at Liverpool new boy Ragnar Klavan, overshadowing a 1-0 friendly win at the Pasadena Rose Bowl on Wednesday. The Premier League giants locked horns in the pre-season International Champions Cup in a match which was more remarkable for its clumsy fouls than free-flowing football. Spanish midfielder Fabregas, 29, could have no complaints as he got his marching orders in the 70th minute for sliding late into Klavan with his studs up. By then Californian referee Baldomero Toledo had already been forced to show yellow cards to four Liverpool players with another to come and one to Chelsea s Gary Cahill. Chelsea s new head coach Antonio BOTTOMLINE Conte told reporters after the final whistle the match was more competitive than he had been expecting, apologising for Fabregas s foul. I think that in this period, the fatigue sometimes can bring a (player) to go too late, he said. I know Fabregas is a good man, a good boy and is not a player to have this type of situation. I m sorry for him, I m sorry for the Liverpool player. Klopp said Klavan had escaped unscathed from the challenge but revealed that fellow recruit Marko Grujic was in hospital after receiving a knock to the head in the first half. He can t remember anything... The situation s not too cool but injuries happening in games like this in the pre-season, that s the biggest problem. Klopp denied that the game had more edge than a normal pre-season clash, but added: It was far away from a friendly game, and that s okay. England defender Cahill got the 53,000 crowd going in the 10th minute when he rose above several Liverpool defenders to connect with a Fabregas corner for an alltoo-simple header. DOMINANT LIVERPOOL Liverpool looked the more enterprising side for much of the game, creating chances and dominating possession, but they lacked a cutting edge up front with striker Daniel Sturridge deemed unfit. Liverpool s best chance came in the first half when Chelsea s Brazilian winger Willian gave away a throw inside his own half and left-back Alberto Moreno was played in down the left. The 24-year-old Spaniard cut it back for Roberto Firmino, who got the ball stuck under his feet and couldn t pull the trigger. The striker had a goal ruled offside minutes later after finishing off a gorgeous exchange of back-heel passes. Liverpool pushed for an equaliser in the later stages, but they were unable to break down a deep-lying Chelsea defense. The International Champions Cup is an exhibition tournament involving 17 clubs playing on four different continents, all tuning up for their league seasons. Sturridge did not join Liverpool s traveling party to Southern California, staying at their base in Palo Alto to complete extra training sessions. Reds fans had been hoping to see Georginio Wijnaldum after the Netherlands international became the club s sixth summer signing following his arrival from Newcastle, but he was left out. The 25 million buy is on an intense training programme designed to ensure he can match the fitness levels of his teammates, according to the Liverpool Echo. Also missing were Belgian forward pairing Christian Benteke and Divock Origi, who are focusing on fitness after extended leave following their involvement in Euro This win will give Chelsea some confidence with the start of the Premier League looming. City beat Dortmund on penalties Shenzhen, China Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola talks to Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel at the end of the match. Pep Guardiola got his first taste as Manchester City s manager yesterday night after beating Borussia Dortmund on penalties in a friendly, but expressed concern about the looming English Premier League season. Football today is tough, said Guardiola, whose side beat their German opposition in the southern Chinese city of Shenzen. Today you don t have time to rest. I don t know if we are going to kill our players but the schedule is the schedule. We start in two weeks. But I saw what I wanted to see [tonight] we are aggressive and we want the ball. City won and finally got the workout Guardiola had craved thanks to a 6-5 penalty shootout win over Dortmund, after the game ended one apiece. Guardiola admitted City were still a work in progress with just two pre-season games completed so far. I don t want to complain but I would like to have more time, said Guardiola. But we have to adapt. Today we played one of the best teams in Europe they are so strong. There are many things to improve. A tap-in from Sergio Aguero for City on 79 minutes was cancelled out after Christian Pulisic fired one home for Dortmund, through a crowded box, with six minutes of added time gone. GUNN THE HERO City keeper Angus Gunn was the hero of penalties with three saves, including the one sealing their victory when he palmed away Mikel Merino s attempt. It was a lively enough affair in front of a crowd of around 32,000 at the Shenzhen Universiade Stadium and saw both managers draw deep on their substitutes benches as time wore on. Robbed of the chance for a derby against rivals Manchester United by rain and a ropey pitch on Monday, City s Spanish manager had been desperate to get some game time into his squad before their tour of China was over. Yesterday the weather gods were kinder, with temperatures dropping slightly. He gave Oleksandr Zinchenko, Tosin Adarabioyo and Kelechi Iheanacho starts and the chance to impress their new boss, while Guardiola s opposite number Thomas Tuchel continued to blood his new recruits also as he had in their 4-1 win over Manchester United in the tournament s opening match in Shanghai last Friday. Teenagers Ousmane Dembele (19) and Emre Mor (18) both started, alongside Marc Bartra, Dortmund s off-season capture from Barcelona. In all there were six new faces from the starting XI against United as Tuchel looked to put miles into legs. But the goals came late and Tuchel could be excused if he thought life was unfair, given the chances his side had been presented with, and the opportunity missed to complete a double over both shades of Manchester. Now to see what happens during the season. EXPLANATION Ribery expands on Guardiola criticism Bayern s Franck Ribery celebrates after scoring a goal against AC Milan during a friendly in the International Champions Cup Chicago French winger Franck Ribery has again criticised his ex-bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola during the club s tour of the United States, claiming the Spaniard talks too much and lacks experience. Guardiola is now head coach of Manchester City after three seasons with Bayern and Ribery has wasted no time in criticising his former boss. Bayern lost 5-3 to AC Milan on Wednesday in a penalty shootout after their friendly in Chicago finished 3-3 after extra time. Ribery netted twice, including converting a 90th minute penalty, and has refound his form after injury restricted his number of appearances last season. Carlo Ancelotti, 57, has replaced Guardiola as Bayern coach for the 2016/17 season and Ribery has been quick to praise the Italian, at the expense of the 45-year-old Guardiola. According to Ribery, 33, Ancelotti is an experienced coach, totally different from Guardiola, who has not had a long career as a coach and the player says he feels motivated and liberated again on the pitch. I don t need a coach to tell me what I have to do right on the pitch when I have the ball, added Ribery. Having sometimes had a strained relationship with Guardiola, the Frenchman says Ancelotti has given Bayern what we have been missing a bit while the Italian said Ribery was one of the best players on the pitch in Chicago. In magazine Sport Bild, Ribery continued his criticism of Guardiola, pointing to the Spaniard s lack of experience despite winning 14 titles in four years with Barcelona and seven trophies in three years with Bayern. He is still a young coach. He lacks experience. Sometimes he (Guardiola) talks too much, football is very simple, added the Frenchman. Ribery also criticised Guardiola for not starting key forward Thomas Mueller for Bayern s 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid in the first-leg of the Champions League s semi-final last season as Munich eventually bowed out in the last four for the third season running. You can t make a mistake in the semi-finals of the Champions League, you have to have the big names, your best players, on the field, added Ribery. Now to see what happens next.
5 SPORT 5 Stars struggle PGA CHAMPIONSHIP Day off to solid start in defending crown early as Walker grabs PGA lead Jason Day of Australia (left) and caddie Colin Swatton. I feel like my game is in good shape. I can hit driver off the tee and from there, if I drive it well, I feel like I have a big advantage Springfield, United States Top-ranked defending champion Jason Day, battling illness and fatigue, birdied the par-4 11th hole yesterday at Baltusrol for a solid start to his repeat bid at the 98th PGA Championship. The 28-year-old Australian, a seven-time winner in his past 18 starts, stood on one-under after three holes following a back-nine start alongside four-time major champion Rory McIlroy and fivetime major winner Phil Mickelson. McIlroy opened with three pars while Mickelson began bogey-par-par after finding a greenside bunker at 10 and missing a seven-foot par putt. Sharing the early lead on two-under were Sweden s David Lingmerth, England s Paul Casey, Argentina s Emiliano Grillo and Americans Harris English, Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler. Sunny skies greeted the early starters from the field of 156, the strongest lineup of talent in any event based on world rankings since their 1986 creation. The 7,428-yard, par-70 layout features only two par-5 holes, those at 17 and 18 to ensure drama and eagle chances to the end in the quest for the top prize of $1.8 million (1.6 million euros). Defending champion Day has struggled with illness and taken extra rest in the run-up to the year s final major tournament, playing only one practice round on the eve of the event at an unfamiliar course. I really don t look at it as a title defense, Day said after having taken his first major title last year at Whistling Straits. I really look at it as I need to come back in, try and execute a game plan and try and win the tournament. I won it last year. That was fantastic and I need to focus on what I need to do this year to win the Wanamaker Trophy again. McIlroy won the Irish Open and has nine other top-10 showings in US and European Tour events this year, including a share of fifth at the British Open two weeks ago. I feel like my game is in good shape, McIlroy said. I can hit driver off the tee and from there, if I drive it well, I feel like I have a big advantage. Mickelson won the 2005 PGA at Baltusrol and comes in off his 11th runner-up showing in a major, having lost a duel with Sweden s Henrik Stenson at the British Open. At 46, the US left-hander would be the fourth-oldest major winner if he claims the title. And it doesn t hurt that Lefty is a fan favorite in the metro New York area. It not only makes it fun to play but it also keeps my energy level up throughout the round when I have a tendency to make a mistake or two, Mickelson said. It helps me overcome some of those mistakes. I m very appreciative for the way people here have treated me. Jimmy Walker of the United States plays his shot from the sixth tee during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. Springfield, United States Jimmy Walker birdied five of his first 10 holes to seize a two-stroke lead early in yesterday s first round of the PGA Championship while Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson struggled. Walker, a 37-year-old American who missed the cut in three of his past four major starts, was on five-under through 11 holes at par-70 Baltusrol after starting his round off the 10th tee. Brian Stuard, a 143rd-ranked American who won his first US PGA Tour title this year at New Orleans, was second on four-under after 14 holes. Sharing third on three-under were England s Paul Casey after 12 holes, Argentina s Emiliano Grillo through 14 holes and American Jamie Lovemark after finishing the back nine. Casey had three back-nine birdies to start, took a double bogey at the first then followed with back-to-back birdies. Mickelson, a 46-year-old American BOTTOMLINE left-hander who was second two weeks ago at the British Open, and McIlroy, who shared fifth at Royal Troon, each made three bogeys on the back nine their first nine holes of the day to quickly fall eight strokes adrift. World number one and defending champion Jason Day of Australia, playing alongside Mickelson and McIlroy, held together at one-under through his first nine holes thanks to a 15-foot birdie putt at the 11th. The star trio was the first morning group to start on the back nine that failed to produce at least one sub-par score on the reachable par-5 18th hole. Mickelson had trouble finding fairways and greens while McIlroy s short game was hurting his hopes. Day was battling illness and fatigue. The 28-year-old Australian, a seventime winner in his past 18 starts, took extra rest this week and played only one practice round. Sunny skies greeted the early starters from the field of 156, the strongest lineup of talent in any event based on world rankings since their 1986 creation. The 7,428-yard, par-70 layout features only two par-5 holes, those at 17 and 18 to ensure drama and eagle chances to the end in the quest for the top prize of $1.8 million (1.6 million euros). McIlroy won the Irish Open and has nine other top-10 showings in US and European Tour events this year, including a share of fifth at the British Open two weeks ago. I feel like my game is in good shape, McIlroy said. I can hit driver off the tee and from there, if I drive it well, I feel like I have a big advantage. Mickelson won the 2005 PGA at Baltusrol and comes in off his 11th runnerup showing in a major, having lost a duel with Sweden s Henrik Stenson at the British Open. Spain s Sergio Garcia is trying to win his first major title in his 73rd try and 70th consecutive major start dating to the 1999 British Open. If it doesn t happen, it s not going to change my life, Garcia said. I m not going to go in a cave and stay there until I die because I didn t Higuain hits back at critics Turin Gonzalo Higuain hit back at critics of his controversial move to Juventus as he prepares to justify his 90million-euro price tag by helping the Italian champions to as many titles as possible. In life, you have to make the best decisions and I made mine by choosing Juventus, Higuain told a small gathering of media at his official unveiling in Turin yesterday. It wasn t easy, and I had to discuss for a long time with friends and family. But after three years with Napoli, it was time for a change. Juventus are a club with a great history, a culture of winning and a project that excites me. I m sure we can do well in the league and the Champions League. I can t wait to show what I can do and look forward to having a great season. Less than a month from the start of the league campaign, Juventus forward Gonzalo Higuain from Argentina holds his jersey at the Juventus headquarter in Turin. Juventus are primed for a third consecutive league and Cup double-winning season. But after the acquisition of Dani Alves from Barcelona, Croatian starlet Marko Pjaca (Dinamo Zagreb), Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic (Roma) and Mehdi Benatia (Bayern Munich), Massimiliano Allegri s men are also expected to launch a fresh assault on the Champions League having failed to follow their 2015 final appearance last season when they were ousted in the quarters by Bayern Munich. Yet Higuain s move to Turin, following Alvaro Morata s return to Real Madrid, has yet to be fully digested by Napoli and fans of the southern club. Azzurri fans were in ecstasy last season when Higuain went on an unbelievable scoring spree to ignite belief in a first scudetto title in 26 years. He broke Gunnar Nordahl s 66-year-old Serie A record of 35 goals with a tally of 36 as Napoli finished runners-up to secure a place in the group stages of the Champions League. Higuain was feted throughout the city by their passionate fans, many of whom had tattoos of his goalscoring feats tattooed onto their bodies. But Higuain was blasted as a traitor by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, when he signed a five-year deal with Juve to complete the third most expensive transfer in history. Only Real Madrid pair Gareth Bale (100.8mn euros) and Cristiano Ronaldo (94mn) cost more when they joined the Spanish giants from Tottenham and Manchester United respectively. De Laurentiis, a film producer, win a major or anything like that. It s not that serious. I m not going to lie. It would be nice to get at least one. But it s not the end of the world. Latest leaderboard Latest leaderboard in the first round from the PGA Championship at the par-70 course yesterday -5 Jimmy Walker (U.S.) 11-3 Jamie Lovemark (U.S.) 9 Brian Stuard (U.S.) 13 Rickie Fowler (U.S.) 11-2 Jason Kokrak (U.S.) 14 Harris English (U.S.) 13 Emiliano Grillo (Argentina) 13 Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) 14 Ross Fisher (Britain) 9 Paul Casey (Britain) 11-1 Chris Wood (Britain) 11 Justin Thomas (U.S.) 10 Brooks Koepka (U.S.) 11 Lee Westwood (Britain) 9 Robert Streb (U.S.) 9 Kevin Na (U.S.) 9 Jason Day (Australia) 9 Jon Curran (U.S.) 16 K.J. Choi (Korea) 16 David Lingmerth (Sweden) 13 Victor Dubuisson had slapped a 94.7mn euros buyout clause on Higuain s contract last season only to slam him when he decided to quit the club. Some say that to speak of betrayal is exaggerated, but I think the opposite because there is the full sense of betrayal in this (Higuain) choice because of the ingratitude shown, said De Laurentiis. Higuain has also come under fire from former coach Maurizio Sarri, who claimed he had not even received a phone call. At Juventus, Higuain will reportedly earn 7.5mn euros a season to overtake Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi as the league s highest paid player. Higuain said it was time to put the record straight. Relations with him (De Laurentiis) never went well because his way of thinking is at odds with my way of thinking, added Higuain. I chose to join Juventus but he pushed me to do it. Now, I m really happy I did and I want to thank Juventus for the effort they made to come and get me. DEBATE Half a century on, Germans still dispute THAT goal Hamburg Fifty years after THAT goal at Wembley, West Germany captain Uwe Seeler still insists England s Geoff Hurst s controversial shot never crossed the line in the 1966 World Cup final. Hurst s second goal in the 101st minute of extra time which put England 3-2 ahead after the match had finished 2-2 over 90 minutes is arguably the most controversial goal in international football history. England went on to claim a 4-2 win over West Germany with Hurst becoming the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final. But whether or not the ball bounced behind the line from Hurst s shot for England s third goal has been debated for half a century with tomorrow marking the 50th anniversary of the 1966 final. Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst awarded the goal after consulting with his linesman, Azerbaijan s Tofiq Bahramov, of the then USSR. Some modern studies, using film analysis and computer simulation, suggest the ball never crossed the line, something Seeler has been insisting on for half a century. I was standing at the back of the box and saw exactly that the ball didn t cross the line, said the 79-year-old Seeler. Hurst s shot beat West Germany goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski, the ball hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced on the line before being headed away by defender Wolfgang Weber. But Dienst s decision has always baffled the Germans and their skipper Seeler. We were all in a state of commotion, none of us knew what was going on, said Seeler. No one (in the West Germany team) could understand why the goal was given. While the 1966 final remains This file photo shows England s captain Bobby Moore holding aloft the Jules Rimet trophy. England s only World Cup triumph, the Germans victory at the 2014 Brazil finals was their fourth world title and Seeler says it is time to put the 1966 controversy to bed. I believe all the players have now well digested the events, he said. Even if it was a defining moment, sport is sometimes like that. You have to absorb it and put it away. Up until his death in 1998, Dienst admitted he had no idea whether the ball ever fully crossed the line and, in his autobiography 1966 And All That, even Geoff Hurst has said the Germans were probably right. And Seeler joked about the incident whenever he met members of England s 1966 side. When Geoff or Bobby (Moore) or Jackie (Charlton) were here, we d have a laugh together about it, said Seeler. They knew alright that the ball wasn t in. They saw it. And Seeler said he is pleased goal-line technology in the modern game means there will be no such repeat of the events 50 years ago. Today football has become pure business, said Seeler. So it s necessary to under take certain measures to prevent such decisions. Of course, there are mistakes from time to time, but that s just part of football.
6 6 SPORT ATP TENNIS FORMULA 1 Djoko makes winning post-wimbledon Rosberg seeking home boost at Hockenheim return in Toronto Serbian had not played since a third-round Wimbledon upset loss to Sam Querrey Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a shot against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg on Day Three of the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Wednesday. () DPA Toronto Novak Djokovic took the first step toward his current goal of a 30th Masters 1000 title on Wednesday as the top seed advanced in his opening match in Toronto. Djokovic stepped back onto a hardcourt for the first time since winning the Miami final nearly four months ago, emerging with a 7-5, 7-6 (3) defeat of Gilles Muller. Djokovic had not played since going out in a third-round Wimbledon upset loss to Californian Sam Querrey. He admitted that getting back to hardcourt form was a challenge. The ball moved very fast in the heat, it was hard to control. The match was not easy to play. But I managed to stay tough. I was disappointed to lose serve twice in the second set when I was up a break, but I was just glad to close this out in straight sets. Djokovic has now won all but three of his last 22 matches in Canada, playing quarter-finals or better in eight of the past nine years. The 2015 Canada finalist improved to 47-4 in 2016, winning six titles. Djokovic will next play Czech veteran Radek Stepanek, a 37-year-old who put out Canada s Peter Polansky 7-6 (5), 6-4. Djokovic leads that series There was a victory for third seed Kei Nishikori, with Asia s top player beating American qualifier Dennis Novikov 6-4, 7-5. I knew I was going to get up-anddowns because I haven t played matches long time, said Nishikori, who quit his last match at Wimbledon injured. I didn t practise much, but I played good tennis. Canadian fourth seed Milos Raonic was untroubled by Taiwan s Lu Yen-Hsun, posting a 6-3, 6-3 win in just 66 minutes with eight aces. The recent Wimbledon finalist is now into a match with American Jared Donaldson, who beat Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. There was hip injury disappointment for Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem, who has changed his travel plans after lasting just 20 minutes in a 4-1 loss to Kevin Anderson. He is heading home for scans on a lingering hip problem. Thiem, who has burst through the rankings this season, is fighting out of a minor slump after losing in the Wimbledon second round, going down ill and then losing in an opening match at his home event in Kitzbuehel. I felt it (the hip) since like two weeks, Thiem said. It didn t get worse. I decided to go out and to try, but yeah, obviously it didn t work out against such a good player. Maybe I was practising a little bit too hard after the sickness, because obviously I wanted to play well in Kitzbuhel. I played very well the whole season until Wimbledon, and if you play that well also the body works well. But when the body needs a little rest you lose the feeling. It s the time to just give the body a little bit of time to really get 100 percent. Thiem long ago withdrew from the Rio Olympics and will now prepare for a new event in Mexico next month. Belgian seventh seed David Goffin took an easy win as Querrey pulled out while 6-4, 2-1 in their second-round match due to back pain. Ryan Harrison beat seeded American compatriot John Isner, the number nine, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 6-4; Australian 12th seed Bernard Tomic stopped Steven Diez of Canada 6-3, 7-6 (4). The 13th seed Lucas Pouille lost to Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-6. Hockenheim, Germany Nico Rosberg hopes history will repeat itself as he seeks a much-needed win on home soil at the German Grand Prix to put him back on top of the drivers world championship. The 31-year-old German, who won the last race at the Hockenheimring in 2014, fell six points behind his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the championship following the defending champion s victory at last Sunday s Hungarian Grand Prix. It was the first time this season that Rosberg had left a race weekend in any position other than that of world championship leader and he is determined to turn the tables on his rival in front of Mercedes home crowd. It s simple for me now, he said. Lewis has done the best job so far this season by six points. That s it. It s the only change, but it doesn t change much for me. It s so close. I m out there at every race with the opportunity to win and it is always very close between us. It takes just one small thing to switch it around. I m happy to have the chance to get back in the car again so soon and especially happy that it s at my second home race. I had a fantastic day at Hockenheim a few weeks ago driving Mika Hakkinen s championshipwinning car. It really gave me a massive buzz to be back racing in Germany. Driving in through the circuit gates brought back so many great memories from my childhood days at the DTM, with my Dad, right through to winning the Grand Prix for myself in Hopefully I can repeat that this year for the fans and for everybody at Mercedes. After this race, it s a wellearned break for the team, too. I ll be pushing flat out to give them the result they deserve before they get some time to recharge their batteries. Rosberg signed a new twoyear contract with Mercedes in Hungary and was then engulfed in a controversy about his pole position lap, delivered under waved double yellow flags, during an extended rain-hit qualifying session. He is adamant that he can put that behind him and take the fight back to Hamilton whose recent streak of five wins in six races has taken him from holding a deficit of 43 points in the title race to a six-point lead. Like Rosberg, Hamilton has won before at the famous former high-speed track in the forests of Baden-Wurttembeg, somewhat reduced in speed and grandeur in 2002 when it was cut from more than four to around 2.3 miles in length. The defending three-time champion was victorious in 2008 and also won the German race when it was held at the Nurburgring in 2011, during a spell when it was alternating between the two venues. He said he is feeling confident again. Getting that win in Hungary after a less than straightforward weekend was a great feeling, he said. If I can come out on top when things aren t quite perfect, that can only be a good thing. Unfortunately, there was no German race last year due to financial difficulties, meaning that Rosberg was the event s last winner. If that gives him confidence, it has not persuaded outsiders to back him for a bounce-back in the title race with two-time champion Fernando Alonso suggesting after last Sunday s Hamilton victory that he now has the momentum. He is in a good position, the McLaren man told a Spanish radio station. He has come from behind and in this sport that gives you something extra. It s the opposite for the driver who was leading, and had a big advantage... They catch you, they overtake you and you go into a mini crisis. Alonso added that last weekend s qualifying row reminded him of his experience with Hamilton, when they were teammates at McLaren, in Then, Alonso was penalised for blocking Hamilton in the pits, forcing the Briton to miss his final flying lap. As a result, Alonso lost pole position, which went to Hamilton. Yes, it reminds me of things, said a laughing Alonso. Let s say, Rosberg doesn t have an easy teammate! Lewis is very strong on track very fast, he never makes a mistake. And off the track he has significant influence. Good luck to Rosberg with that. Ferrari are sure to be pushing to topple Mercedes if they have the power to mount a serious challenge and overhaul rivals Red Bull. The Italian team has struggled without a win this year and will arrive in Germany without technical director James Allison who left the team on Wednesday by mutual consent after a troubled period. WTA TENNIS Evergreen Venus coasts into Montreal third round Montreal Venus Williams breezed into the third round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Wednesday with a straight sets rout of Barbora Strycova as home hope Eugenie Bouchard upset 11th seed Dominika Cibulkova. Sixth seed Williams, 36, showed no sign of lingering weariness following her defeat in the final of the WTA Stanford event in California last weekend, maintaining her 100 percent record over Strycova with a 6-3, 6-0 win. Williams was pleased to have wrapped up the win in under an hour after a marathon three-hour battle with Strycova in their previous encounter. It was definitely more straightforward I think than all of our other matches, Williams said. I didn t mind that, especially after playing a lot last week, just to be able to come out and hopefully advance to the next round. It s been intense. Usually I don t play this much back-to-back. But I knew what I was going to do going into the year, what it was going to take. Strycova paid the price for a failure to Venus Williams of the United States hits a return against Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic on day three of the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Wednesday. () put pressure on Williams suspect service game in the second set. Strycova managed to earn only one break point unconverted but was in turn broken three times as Williams raced into the next round. Elsewhere, Canada s Bouchard delighted her hometown crowd with a 6-2, 6-0 drubbing of Cibulkova. Victory was sweet for the former world number five, who lost to Cibulkova at Wimbledon earlier this month. It s special playing in Montreal, Bouchard said afterwards during her oncourt interview. I don t get to do it often, so it just makes me extra motivated to play in front of you guys. Bouchard s win came just a day after a gruelling three-set battle with Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Bouchard had also been hit by a stomach complaint during a doubles match later Tuesday. However she looked comfortable during a victory in one hour 13 minutes on Wednesday, saving seven break points while unfurling a stream of winners 22 in total to clinch victory. I felt very solid and very focused; it s important for me to keep my focus and keep my energy up, said Bouchard, who faces another Slovak, Kristina Kucova in the next round. I need to keep playing my game, no matter who s on the other side of the net, Bouchard said as she looked ahead. It s about me, being aggressive and enjoying it. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (left) celebrates his win in Sunday s Hungarian Grand Prix as teammate Nico Rosberg looks on. () Indonesia s Haryanto to race in German Grand Prix Reuters Hockenheim, Germany R io Haryanto will race in this weekend s German Formula One Grand Prix, the Indonesian said in a statement issued by his Manor team on Wednesday. Haryanto, Indonesia s first Formula One driver, has a contract with Manor for the full season but the funding his sponsors have committed only guaranteed his drive up to last Sunday s Hungarian Grand Prix. The team have been very supportive and also the fans, so I m really happy that I will be racing here, Haryanto said in a Q&A, previewing enginesupplier Mercedes home race. I intend to put all the speculation regarding my future to one side and concentrate on the racing here in Hockenheim. It is still unclear whether the 23-year-old Haryanto will see out the season. He indicated that negotiations to secure him the seat for the remainder of the year were still ongoing. We re working as hard as possible on the future behind the scenes, but that s where I want to keep that side of things for this weekend, he said. Haryanto s main sponsor is state-owned oil company Pertamina, which has contributed five million euros ($5.53mn) towards the funding needed to secure his seat at the sport s smallest team. Indonesian media reports have put the total needed at 15mn euros.
7 CRICKET 7 1ST TEST/ SRI LANKA vs AUSTRALIA Mendis unbeaten ton revives SL hopes Mendis unbeaten 169 helps Sri Lanka reach at close of play on Day 3 of the rain-hit Test, giving them a 196-run lead against the world s number one Test team Pallekele, Sri Lanka Batting hero Kusal Mendis backed Sri Lanka s spinners to pile on the pressure against Australia after his brilliant maiden century gave the hosts an unlikely shot at victory in the first Test in Pallekele yesterday. An unbeaten 169 from Mendis helped Sri Lanka reach 282 for six at close of play on Day 3 of the rain-affected Test, giving them a 196-run lead in a gripping contest against the world s number one Test team. Mendis knock was the highest score by any Sri Lankan against Australia at home and came after no player from either side had managed to even score a half-century in the first innings. Mendis, who came to the crease in the first over of the day after the early dismissal of Dimuth Karunaratne, hardly put a foot wrong in his 243-ball innings which has so far featured 20 boundaries. He played Australia s seamers with confidence before cutting loose against the spin bowlers with an array of boundaries. He reached his century in spectacular fashion when he slog-swept Nathan Lyon for six and then reached his 150 by cutting the same bowler for four. The 21-year-old, playing in his seventh Test, is closing in on the record score by a Sri Lankan against Australia and now only needs to overhaul Kumar Sangakkara s 192 at Hobart in It feels great, Mendis said after the day s play. From the position we were in... to get to a lead of almost 200 is great. Hopefully we can add more runs on the board and put pressure on Australia on a wicket that will assist our spinners. The visitors bowlers struggled in the absence of spinner Steve O Keefe who pulled a hamstring, as first Dinesh Chandimal and then Dhananjaya de Silva gave Mendis some solid support. Mendis and Chandimal put on 117 runs in their fifthwicket partnership. After Chandimal was out, lbw for 42 off Marsh s bowling, the debutant de Silva then scored 36 in a partnership worth 71 before becoming Lyon s 200th Test victim, caught at long-on by Usman Khawaja. Sri Lanka only managed another eight runs before bad light and then rain brought an early end to proceedings for the third afternoon in a row but they now have an unlikely sniff of victory. Starting the day on 6 for 1, still 80 runs behind the Australians, the hosts were soon in even deeper trouble when Karunaratne was judged lbw against Mitchell Starc without adding to the overnight score. The hosts also lost their skipper Angelo Mathews and opener Kaushal Silva in the morning session before Mendis launched the revival act. Lyon said that the wicket had become slightly improved but was still full of praise for Mendis. It has got a bit easier to bat but you ve got to give credit where credit is due. The young fella, to get 169, has batted out of his skin. He s played extremely well, said Lyon. It s been a tough day for our bowlers, but the good thing about Test cricket is you can bounce back tomorrow and look forward to take the new ball and hopefully take some early wickets. Sri Lanka will pin their hopes on victory on veteran spinner Rangana Herath who took four wickets in Australia s first innings and will be expected to do the lion s share of the work when the visitors bat again. A total of 75 overs so far have been lost due to rain and bad light but the steady succession of wickets on the first two days means that the match is still expected to yield a result. Adam Voges top-scored in Australia s first innings total of 203 all out in reply to Sri Lanka s score of 117. The match is the first in a three-test series which will also see the Australians travel to Galle and then Colombo. Lyon enters 200 wicket-club Australia s Nathan Lyon yesterday became the country s first off-spinner to bag 200 Test wickets, during his team s first Test against Sri Lanka in Pallekele. Lyon dismissed Sri Lanka s Dhananjaya de Silva, who was caught at midoff, to reach the milestone in the second session of the third day s play, triggering celebrations in the Aussie camp. Lyon, who had already passed former Australian off-spinner Hugh Trumble s tally of 141 wickets, has now picked up five wickets in the game which looks evenly balanced. Lyon, playing in his 55th Test, made his debut in 2011 in Sri Lanka s Galle, the venue for the next match in the series. Scoreboard Sri Lanka (1st innings) Australia (1st innings) 203 Sri Lanka (2nd innings; overnight 6/1) K Perera lbw Starc... 4 K Silva lbw O Keefe... 7 D Karunaratne lbw Starc... 0 K Mendis (batting) A Mathews c Burns b Lyon... 9 D Chandimal lbw Marsh D de Silva c Khawaja b Lyon D Perera (batting)... 5 Extras (lb 10) Total (6 wickets, 80 overs) Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Perera), 2-6 (Karunaratne), 3-45 (Silva), 4-86 (Mathews), (Chandimal), (de Silva) Bowling: Starc , Hazlewood , O Keefe , Lyon , Warner , Voges , Marsh , Smith MENDIS MASTERCLASS SUGGESTS LIFE AFTER SRI LANKA BATTING GREATS For a nation in the throes of a tricky transition since stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene walked off into the sunset, Kusal Mendis batting heroics against Australia yesterday will offer new hope to Sri Lanka. Already on the back foot after conceding an 86-run first innings lead, they were reeling on six for two when the 21-year-old walked out to bat. By the time he walked off thwarted by rain rather than any of the bowlers from the world s top-ranked Test team Mendis was unbeaten on 169 after a 243-ball masterclass and Sri Lanka 196 runs ahead with four wickets in hand. In a bowler-dominated contest where no other batsman has managed a fifty, Mendis nonchalantly brought up his maiden Test century, hitting off-spinner Nathan Lyon over the ropes. What a knock by the character and ability. Sri Lanka poised to win this now. What an innings. Outstanding, tweeted Sangakkara, who hung up his bat last year after a stellar 15- year career. Mendis, playing only his seventh Test match, earned the praise of that other batting great, too. Jayawardene, who also quit last year after serving Sri Lanka with distinction for 17 years, tweeted his congratulations, warning that the youngster and Sri Lanka were not finished yet. Even on Sri Lanka s tour of England earlier this year when they lost the Test and one-day series as well as the lone Twenty20 International, Mendis managed a couple of one-day fifties. And against Australia, as wickets kept tumbling at the other end, Mendis showed impeccable temperament, adding a match-high 117-run partnership with Dinesh Chandimal for the fifth wicket and raising 71 more with Dhananjaya de Silva. As the 20 boundaries and the single six that flowed from his blade would suggest, he never retreated into his shell even when rebuilding the Sri Lankan innings. With him in full flow, Sri Lanka scored at an impressive four-plus an over in the post-lunch session as Mendis almost singlehandedly turned the match on its head. The right-hander contributed nearly 60% of the team s total in the second innings, and 52 more than the entire side had managed in the first innings. And he is not done yet. 1ST TEST/ ZIMBABWE vs NEW ZEALAND Wagner rocks rusty Zimbabwe Bulawayo L eft-arm seamer Neil Wagner s raw pace and aggression proved too much for an out-of-touch Zimbabwean batting line-up as New Zealand stamped their authority on the first Test on the opening day at Queens Sports Club yesterday. On a surface offering little to the bowlers, Wagner bent his back and used the short ball to good effect to take careerbest figures of 6 for 41, bowling Zimbabwe out for just 164 after they had won the toss and elected to bat first. New Zealand closed the day on 32 without loss, with Tom Latham on 16 and Martin Guptill on 14. Zimbabwe had not played a Test since November 2014, and the hiatus showed in their inability to occupy the crease on a pitch that held no demons. Opener Brian Chari fell to the second ball of the day, and after Chamu Chibhabha and Hamilton Masakadza offered some stability with an hourlong stand, Wagner got stuck into the hosts. In a 13-over spell either side of the lunch break, the 30-yearold removed Chibhabha and Sean Williams before the interval and then struck three times in one over to reduce the hosts to 72 for eight. All but one of his first five dismissals came from short deliveries, as Zimbabwe s batsmen had no answer to the ploy. Tactically it s one of my strengths, trying to get players off the front foot and see if we can get a wicket that way, Wagner explained. Maybe get some doubt in their footwork. With the wicket being flat, you have to try some options to create results. There was no swing or movement. We knew we had to try and use the surprise factor. Debutant Prince Masvaure and tailender Donald Tiripano did their best to haul the home side towards some sort of respectability, batting nearly three hours in an 85-run stand for the ninth wicket. Proving that the top order had no excuses for their frailty, Tiripano registered the highest score by a Zimbabwean No. 10. It was more about gutsing it out out there, he said. The guys didn t apply themselves as much as they should have. It s something they need to work on. Tim Southee eventually made the breakthrough when he trapped Masvaure lbw for 42, before Wagner wrapped up the innings to leave Tiripano unbeaten on 49. Guptill and Latham had no trouble in seeing out the 10 overs left in the day as they reduced New Zealand s deficit to 132. Scoreboard Zimbabwe (1st innings) B Chari c Guptill b Southee 4 C Chibhabha c Latham b Wagner 15 H Masakadza c&b Santner 15 C Ervine st Watling b Santner 13 S Williams c Sodhi b Wagner 1 S Raza c Latham b Wagner 22 P Masvaure lbw Southee 42 R Chakabva c Watling b Wagner 0 G Cremer c Nicholls b Wagner 0 D Tiripano (not out) 49 M Chinouya b Wagner 1 Extras (lb-2) 2 Total (all out, 77.5 overs) 164 Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-35, 3-35, 4-36, 5-72, 6-72, 7-72, 8-72, 9-157, Bowling: Southee , Boult , Santner , Wagner , Sodhi New Zealand (1st innings) M Guptill (batting) 14 T Latham (batting) 16 Extras (nb-2) 2 Total (0 wicket, 10 overs) 32 Bowling: Chinouya , Tiripano , Masvaure , Cremer , Sikandar Raza BRIEFS Ireland trio set for Pakistan return Ireland are set to welcome back Niall O Brien, Craig Young and Boyd Rankin for their forthcoming one-day international series against Pakistan. The trio all missed the recent drawn series against Afghanistan but will be available for next month s two ODIs with Pakistan at Malahide, near Dublin. O Brien, who struck 72 in Ireland s 2007 World Cup win over Pakistan, is fit following a calf problem, while Young is back after an elbow injury. Meanwhile, Rankin is set to make his return to Irish cricket, having briefly represented England in just one Test, against Australia at Sydney in Latest injury leaves Stokes devastated England all-rounder Ben Stokes has said he is devastated after his calf injury ruled him out of the third Test against Pakistan. The 25-year-old tore his right calf muscle during England s series-levelling 330-run win over Pakistan at Old Trafford last Monday, in his first appearance since undergoing a knee surgery in May. Devastated about the injury especially with all the hard work put in by myself and others to get me back to FULL fitness, Stokes tweeted. But he suggested he was optimistic about returning soon, adding: Another couple weeks of rehab and hoping to finish off what has been great summer so far The third Test in the four-match series against Pakistan begins on August 3 at Edgbaston. Windies call up fast bowler Joseph West Indies have called up uncapped teenage fast bowler Alzarri Joseph to their squad for the second Test against India which gets underway at Sabina Park tomorrow. Joseph, 19, was one of his team s stars at the Under-19 World Cup this year, helping the West Indies to the title with 13 wickets to his name. We feel that Alzarri will now benefit from the professional guidance of our coaching staff and the presence of fast bowling legend Joel Garner as manager, said West Indies chairman of selectors Courtney Browne. Saqlain set for second stint as England spin guru London Pakistan off-spin great Saqlain Mushtaq is set for another spell as an England coaching consultant, highlighting how fluid national allegiances can become when a cricketer s playing days are over. Saqlain was brought in by England ahead of the recent second Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford. In the build-up he found himself working with both off-spinner Moeen Ali and leg-break bowler Adil Rashid, although only Ali of the pair made it into the XI that won by 330 runs with more than a day to spare to level the four-match series at 1-1. Saqlain s former Pakistan teammate Mushtaq Ahmed, is carrying out a similar role with the tourists in more of a permanent capacity. Prior to taking up his Pakistan role, former leg-spinner Mushtaq was England s spin-bowling coach. Off-spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan, Test cricket s all-time leading wickettaker, has come under fire for working with Australia in their ongoing series in his native Sri Lanka. By contrast, the atmosphere between English and Pakistani officials has been far more cordial. That s partly because, as this is Pakistan s first tour of England since their infamous 2010 spot-fixing debacle at Lord s, both sides are desperate to let their cricket do the talking. It is also a reflection of their multi-national backroom staff, with England head coach Trevor Bayliss an Australian and his Pakistan counterpart, Mickey Arthur, a South African. Added to all that, Pakistan fielding coach Steve Rixon, the former Australia wicketkeeper, and Bayliss who made his name internationally as Sri Lanka coach were once teammates in the same New South Wales side. Meanwhile, Bayliss was in no doubt about the impact someone like the 39-year-old Saqlain, who took 208 Test wickets at under 30 runs apiece in 49 matches, could make, even in a part-time role. He was here for this Test match. We ll probably look at something else further down the line as well. Both Mo (Ali) and Rash (Rashid), who was here in the lead-up to the Test, enjoyed working with him very much. By the sound of it, it was very positive and we ll look to use him again, Bayliss said. It wasn t necessarily a lot technically, it was more tactical. That s where we think both Rash and Mo need to make improvements, to go ahead in the international game... More field-settings and how to bowl to different players. It s good to have someone like Saqlain come in, Mahela Jayawardene come in, people that have been top of their field in the past and are able to pass on their knowledge. (But) those greats of the game very rarely get involved full-time, so you do have to bring them in series by series. One concern for Bayliss ahead of next week s third Test at Edgbaston is Ali s habit of bowling moon balls or beamers, that see him no-balled for a dangerous delivery. Two such balls in an innings could see Ali, who collected three wickets as England wrapped up victory on Monday, removed from the attack by the umpires. Four or five times in the last couple of Tests, and one or two at practice as well, said Bayliss. Whether Ali was trying to bowl the doosra, a delivery pioneered by Saqlain that is the opposite of a conventional off-break in turning away, rather than towards, a right-handed batsman, Bayliss was uncertain. I m not sure if he s trying to bowl anything different or not, but he has put himself under a little bit of pressure, I think. When you do that, it s difficult to bowl at this level and especially against opposition that are brought up playing against spinners. He (Ali) bowls wicket-taking balls. For me, he s got to work on his consistency to get the ball to bounce in the one spot a lot more often. He s certainly working hard at it, so hopefully that starts to come together, Bayliss said.
8 GULF TIMES SPORT HORSE RACING / QATAR GOODWOOD FESTIVAL Al Shaqab s Mehmas wins Qatar Richmond Stakes Win is Al Shaqab Racing s second straight in Group 2 race after Shalaa s victory in 2015 Agencies Goodwood, United Kingdom Al Shaqab Racing s Mehmas imposed himself courageously at the very end of the Qatar Richmond Stakes (Gr2) on third day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Mehmas travelled on the outside and showed a lot of tenacity to resist Blue Point s attack in the final furlongs. Blue Point, who had been undefeated in two runs, finished a close second ahead of Intelligence Cross. He really sticks his head out. He s not overly big, but he has a big heart to compensate for that, Dettori was all praise for his ride after the win. He took it to the favourite and he showed what a tenacious horse he is. He s straightforward. He doesn t really bother. He likes a scrap and I took him to a scrap and he came up trumps. He doesn t know how to run a bad race. He wears his heart on his sleeve and I m pleased for HE Sheikh Joaan, who is here today. Experience seemed to have played an important role for Mehmas. The two-year-old colt continued his winning form from the Arqana July Stakes (Gr2) three weeks ago. He won his fourth race in six runs yesterday and provided trainer Richard Hannon with his first Goodwood winner this week. Palpably, Hannon was excited. I just love the horse. He s very tough and he s done nothing wrong all year, and ultimately he s extremely talented. He s a horse that we like, the Sheikh likes him and I love him even more now. I think he s going to be utilised this year as a two-year-old, Hannon said yesterday. We need to win a Group One with him. What we do after that we will have to discuss and wait and see. He can t do any more than what he s doing at the moment. We ll probably think about the Morny and the National Stakes. He was carrying a 3lb penalty and has been on the go all year. He s not doing much at home, but to give that weight away and still beat them was impressive. The 2015 edition of the Qatar Richmond Stakes was also won by Al Shaqab Racing, thanks to Shalaa, who was also ridden by Dettori. Agencies Goodwood, United Kingdom One of the highlights of the third day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival was the Qatar Goodwood Cup (Gr2). After winning the 2015 edition of the race, Big Orange converted the try again this year ahead of Qatar Racing Limitedowned Pallasator. The latter fought against Sheikhzayedroad for the second place, but finally took the advantage at the very end. Big Orange, with jockey Jamie Spencer at the helm, led the race as he Lord March (left) presents HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-thani with the trophy after Al Shaqab Racing s Mehmas won the Qatar Richmond Stakes (Gr2) on third day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival yesterday. Big Orange battles to keep title in Qatar Goodwood Cup is used to. In the final furlongs, he was challenged on all sides, but managed to sustain his speed in order to resist the attacks and impose himself. Big Orange had won his second straight Princess of Wales s Arqana Racing Club (Gr2) three weeks ago. He s a big strong galloper and he s got stronger since last year and can sustain top speed for longer, Spencer said after the win. I m not convinced this is his track. On flat tracks, he s much better as you can really let him at it, but you have to slow down for the bends here. He was tough when it came to it. They came to me at the three and matched me for speed and in the last furlong he just outstayed them again. I always wanted to be leading or sat second, but he got on with it and put them to the sword. Trainer Michael Bell, who was a bit reticent to commit to another Melbourne Cup trip in which his pupil finished fifth last year, said after the race: He s an enormous horse and big horses tend to mature with age. It s a cliche, but like a fine wine, he s getting better with age. He s just a star to have in the yard. It s lovely to have him. He loves this fast ground and he s got such a high cruising speed, an enormous stride and, touch wood, he s a very sound horse. Bill is not so keen, Tim (Gredley, owners) is very keen, I d be quite keen, but I think we will have to see what weight he s got before we commit. There are others possible targets for him like the Canadian International and the Hong Kong race, but there s a lot to be chewed over and we will enjoy doing it. Bear in mind Melbourne is a handicap and if you get a prohibitive weight, there s no point in going. Four-year-old filly California won the Markel Insurance Fillies Stakes (Gr3). The Denford Stud-owned filly won easily ahead of Tioga Pass and Twitch. Big Orange s representative receive their trophy after he won yesterday. He doesn t really bother. He likes a scrap and I took him to a scrap and he came up trumps. He doesn t know how to run a bad race. He wears his heart on his sleeve and I m pleased for HE Sheikh Joaan, who is here today Jockey Frankie Dettori Jockey Frankie Dettori jumps off Mehmas to celebrate their win in the Qatar Richmond Stakes (Gr2) on Day Three of the Qatar Goodwood Festival yesterday. COTIF Tournament: Qatar holds Mexico Action from the COTIF Tournament match between Qatar (in maroon) and Mexico in Alcudia, Mallorca, Spain, yesterday. The match ended in a goalless draw. Qatar coach names squad ahead of Swiss camp Qatar coach Daniel Carreno yesterday named a batch of 28 players in his squad that will play the final phase of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. According to details made available by Qatar Football Association (QFA), the squad will travel to Switzerland for a training camp on August 11, after assembling in Doha on August 1. In August, Qatar will play a series of international friendlies before heading to Tehran for their September 1 clash against Iran. On August 8, Qatar face Iraq in Doha followed by another game against Real Betis on August 13 in Zurich. Al Anabi face Jordan on August 18 in Zurich followed by an international friendly against Thailand on August 24 in Doha. Qatar fly out to Tehran on August 30. On September 6, Qatar face Uzbekistan in their second 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying game. Squad: Claude Amin, Khaled Muftah, Ahmed Yasser, Mohamed Musa, Abdul Rahman Mohamed, Ismail Mohamed, Luiz Martin, Mohamed Abdullah, Mohamed Muntari, Karim Boudiaf, Moez Ali, Hassan al- Haidoos, Saad al-sheeb, Karim Hassan, Ali Asad, Mohamed Kasola, Ibrahim Majid, Pedro Miguel, Sebastian Soria, Omar Barry, Rodrigo Tabata, Ahmed Alaa, Abdulrahman Abakr, Ahmed Abdel-Maksoud, Khalifa Abubaker, Boualem Khuouki, Meshal Abdullah and Akram Afif. SCHEDULE August 8, 2016: Qatar vs Iraq (friendly), Doha August 13, 2016: Qatar vs Real Betis (friendly), Zurich August 18, 2016: Qatar vs Jordan (friendly), Zurich August 25, 2016: Qatar vs Thailand (friendly), Doha September 1, 2016: Iran vs Qatar (2018 FIFA WC Qualifier), Tehran September 6, 2016: Qatar vs Uzbekistan (2018 FIFA WC Qualifier), Doha