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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Spurs' Hammon becomes first full-time female assistant coach in NBA

Sports Shorts: Spurs' Hammon becomes first full-time female assistant coach in NBA

Last updated on: August 06, 2014 12:37 IST

Sports Shorts: Spurs' Hammon is first full-time female asst coach in NBA

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The reigning National Basketball Association champion San Antonio Spurs named long-time WNBA star Becky Hammon as the first full-time female assistant coach in league history on Tuesday.

Hammon, 37, is a six-time WNBA All-Star who has spent the last eight seasons with the San Antonio Stars, from which she will soon retire.

"In some ways it is trailblazing, but there have been so many other women that are doing really, really great things and I am just kind of following in their path," Hammon said.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement: "I'm confident that her basketball IQ, work ethic, and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit for the Spurs."

There have been women head coaches in the NBA Development and summer leagues, and Lisa Boyer was a part-time member of the Cleveland Cavaliers' coaching staff during the 2001-02 NBA season, according to the Spurs.

Named one of the WNBA's Top 15 Players of All-Time in July of 2011, Hammon ranks seventh in WNBA history in points (with 5,809), fourth in assists (1,687) and sixth in games (445), the Spurs said.

- NEXT: IOA's Mehta mulling legal action against Scotland Police


Image: WNBA player Becky Hammon
Photographs: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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IOA's Mehta mulling legal action against Scotland Police

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Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary general Rajeev Mehta has reiterated that there was some serious confusion as no charges were framed against him in the alleged drunk-driving case in Glasgow and is now mulling legal action against Scotland Police for damaging his reputation.

Charges against Indian CWG officials dropped

Asked whether he is planning legal recourse after being detained by the Scotland Police, Mehta replied, "Yes, may be I will talk to my lawyers and then I will decide," the IOA secretary general told reporters on in New Delhi on Wednesday.

"There were no charges levelled against me. I was innocent then and I am innocent now. There are no problems," Mehta said.

He also added, "There were some confusions but everything is clear now."

When asked, what if Scotland Police reopen the case, Mehta said that he is not at all worried as he has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

While replying to questions on alleged financial irregularities in Dehradun which the Uttarakhand government is probing, he said, "It has been done 10 years back. Everything, every investigation has been done."

- NEXT: Federer makes winning start in Toronto


Image: TV grab of Indian officials Rajeev Mehta (left) and Virender Malik
Photographs: PTI

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Federer makes winning start to hard court campaign

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Roger Federer launched his North American hard court campaign and bid for an 80th career title in impressive style blowing past Canadian Peter Polansky 6-2, 6-0 on Tuesday and into the third round of the Rogers Cup.

Seeing his first action since an epic five set loss to World No 1 Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, Federer lacked sharpness at times but still barely worked up a good sweat on a balmy summer evening needing just 52 minutes to dispose of the Canadian wild card.

"I was happy, I started well and that's always helpful to play more freely," said Federer, a two-time winner this season.

"I think I could have served better at times but other than that, already in practice I felt I was moving well.

"Didn't feel so good hitting the ball yet. Wasn't quite getting used to the surface and now the last few days have been much better and I'm happy that in the match it kind of all worked really well.

"For the start of a tournament it's never clear if that's going to be the case. I'm very relieved and just really pleased."

Federer, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday on Friday, has reached the final four times winning the title twice, and a Canadian hat-trick would give the second seeded Swiss a milestone 80th career title.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner sits third on the all-time title list behind only Ivan Lendl (94) and Jimmy Connors (109).

- NEXT: Canadian players disappoint


Image: Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a shot to Peter Polansky of Canada during Rogers Cup at Rexall Centre at York University in Toronto, Canada, on Tuesday
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Canadian players disappoint

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Third seed Stan Wawrinka made it a perfect evening for the Swiss as he rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over determined French qualifier Benoit Paire.

It was, however, a terrible day for the local contingent with all four homes grown players seeing action knocked out.

Vasek Pospisil, a semi-finalist in Canada a year ago who was playing his first match since losing Sunday's Citi Open final in Washington, fell 7-5, 7-5 to 12th seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Joining Pospisil and Polansky at the exit were compatriots Frank Dancevic, a 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 loser to American Donald Young and Brayden Schnur, who dropped a 6-3, 6-3 decision to Italy's Andreas Seppi.

Latvian 11th seed Ernest Gulbis had smooth passage on another stormy day at the Rexall Tennis Centre easing past Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-4 while Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini strolled past Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-4.

Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios claimed another career first with an opening round 7-6 (3), 7-5 decision over Colombia's Santiago Giraldo to set up a second round meeting with twice Grand Slam winner Andy Murray.

The victory was Kyrgios' first at the ATP World Tour Masters level but what the 19-year-old lacks in experience he more than makes up for in confidence, announcing himself ready to take on Murray, the eighth seed and a two-time Canadian champion.

In fact, it may be Murray casting a cautious eye in Kyrgios's direction after watching the Australian beat World No 1 Rafael Nadal and number 14 Richard Gasquet on his unlikely march into the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

- NEXT: Bouchard knocked out in Montreal


Image: Vasek Pospisil of Canada returns a shot to Richard Gasquet of France during Rogers Cup at Rexall Centre at York University on Tuesday
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Powered-down Bouchard knocked out in Montreal

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The Rogers Cup lost power both figuratively and literally on Tuesday with hometown favourite Eugenie Bouchard suffering a second round defeat to American qualifier Shelby Rogers.

The 20-year-old Bouchard, playing for the first time since losing in the Wimbledon final to Petra Kvitova last month, faltered badly in front of her native Montreal crowd.

Her 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 loss came after the event suffered a seven-hour power outage that shut down scoreboards and umpires' microphones.

Bouchard suffered her own issues out of the gate as she struggled with her serve and failed to claim a game in the opener.

She rebounded to dominate the second set but again showed rust in the decider, ending the anticipated quarter-final match between top-ranked Serena Williams and Bouchard.

Williams had the day off but her older sister Venus fought her way to a three-set victory against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 despite the electrical conditions.

"It was like going back to the southern California juniors," Venus told reporters of the power outages.

"But I tried to think of it as positive. It felt good to win the match and hopefully gain some momentum."

In other matches, Caroline Wozniacki made easy work of Daniel Hantuchova in a 6-1, 6-1 triumph, while third-seed Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova 6-4, 6-4 and ninth-seed Ana Ivanovic routed Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 6-2.

Spain's 14th seed Carla Suarez-Navarro and 16th-seed Elena Vesnina also advanced to the second round after respective victories over Bojana Jovanovski and Camila Giorgi.

- NEXT: Nadal's recovery on track


Image: Eugenie Bouchard of Canada returns a shot to Shelby Rogers of the USA during Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal, Canada, on Tuesday
Photographs: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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Tests show Nadal recovery from wrist injury on track

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Rafael Nadal's recovery from a wrist injury that ruled him out of two U.S. Open tune-up events is on track, the Spanish tennis federation (RFET) said on Tuesday after the world number two underwent tests.

Nadal sustained the injury during practice late last month and the 28-year-old Majorcan left-hander has been training with a cast on his right wrist.

He was forced to withdraw from this week's Rogers Cup in Toronto and next week's Cincinnati Open, putting in doubt his title defence at the year's final Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows in New York starting at the end of this month.

"Following a scan and clinical evaluation, his progress is on track, although he will still have tests from time to time," the RFET said on their website (www.rfet.es).

Nadal on Monday posted a picture of himself working on court with his uncle and coach Toni in which a black wrist support was clearly visible.

"Making the most of these days to continue training, always with desire and optimism," Nadal wrote.

- NEXT: Neymar back injury healing 'satisfactorily'


Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain
Photographs: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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Neymar back injury healing 'satisfactorily'

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Neymar's injured back is healing "satisfactorily" although there is no specific date for the Brazil forward to return to training, his club Barcelona said on Tuesday.

An Ibiza party is Neymar's medicine to heal a broken back!

Neymar fractured a bone in his back following a challenge from Colombia defender Juan Zuniga in last month's World Cup quarter-final and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament.

The 22-year-old, who has targeted a return to action in a friendly on August 18, had tests on his return to Barca after his post-World Cup holiday and the club said the results were "satisfactory".

"The player will follow a specific recovery programme," Barca said on their website (www.fcbarcelona.es).

"The progress of the injury will determine when he returns to training," they added.

Barca play a friendly against Italian Serie A side Napoli in Geneva on Wednesday and said midfielder Xavi and defender Jeremy Mathieu, a new signing from Valencia, are unavailable due to minor muscle problems.

Argentina pair Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano and Brazil full back Daniel Alves, who only returned to training on Tuesday, were not included in the squad for the trip to Switzerland.

Barca begin their La Liga campaign at home to Elche on August 24.

- NEXT: Liverpool's Reina to join Bayern


Image: Neymar of Brazil
Photographs: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

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Bayern close to signing Spain keeper Reina from Liverpool

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Bayern Munich are poised to sign Spain goalkeeper Pepe Reina from English Premier League club Liverpool, the Bundesliga champions said on Tuesday.

"The player is due to come to Munich in the next few days for a medical and to sign his contract," Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on the team's website (www.fcbayern.de).

An agreement had been struck both with Liverpool and Reina.

"Reina is an established and very experienced player that meets the management's requirements," Rummenigge added.

Reina, 31, who has made 33 appearances for Spain and joined Liverpool from Villarreal in 2005, spent last season on loan at Italian Serie A side Napoli.

A product of the Barcelona academy, he would join up with former Barca coach Pep Guardiola at Bayern and provide cover for first-choice keeper and German international Manuel Neuer.

The goalkeeper lost his place at Liverpool after manager Brendan Rodgers signed Simon Mignolet last year.

- NEXT: Bulgarian FA suspends three players for alleged match-fixing


Image: Jose Pepe Reina
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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Bulgarian FA suspends three players for alleged match-fixing

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The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) has indefinitely suspended three players, including midfielder Steven Petkov from champions Ludogorets, over allegations of match-fixing.

The BFU said in a statement on Tuesday that the allegations related to an ongoing investigation over attempts to manipulate Bulgaria matches at last month's Under-19 European Championship in Hungary.

Lokomotiv Sofia goalkeeper Daniel Gyaurov, who was held for 24 hours after he was arrested following a joint operation involving the interior ministry and the BFU last week, and his former team mate Grigor Grigorov have also been suspended.

Gyaurov has denied any wrongdoing after being released from custody on Saturday.

Bulgaria's Under-19 team lost their three games and finished bottom of Group B without scoring a goal at Euro 2014.

Ludogorets, who won the domestic league title three years in a row, reacted quickly by announcing that they sacked 19-year-old Petkov with immediate effect.

"In this situation, there's no way Steven Petkov to be our player," Ludogorets's chief executive Angel Petrichev told local media.

Petkov, considered one of the best young players in the Balkan country, did not play at the Euros after coach Alexander Dimitrov decided to omit him just before the team's departure to Hungary.

- NEXT: FA tightens rules on head injuries


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Photographs: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

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FA tightens rules on head injuries

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Players losing consciousness or suffering concussion will not be allowed to play on from next season after the Football Association set out strict guidelines on Tuesday regarding head injuries.

"If there has been a confirmed or suspected period of loss of consciousness, the player must be removed from the field of play, and not be allowed to return," an FA document said.

It said professional players should also undergo baseline neuro-psychological testing at the start of each season and not be allowed to return to action for six days after suffering a head injury causing unconsciousness or concussion.

Head injury charities branded Tottenham Hotspur "irresponsible" last season when goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was allowed to play on despite a heavy blow to the head sustained in a challenge with Everton's Romelu Lukaku during a Premier League match.

The incident raised question marks about clubs' handling of head injuries and sparked a debate in the House of Commons about the dangers to sportsmen and women while world players' union FifPro said the Lloris incident was "unacceptable".

The new guidelines, designed to clarify the club's responsibilities, were welcomed by brain injury association Headway.

"We are pleased to see the football authorities have addressed the serious issue of concussion," said Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway.

"The measures announced today are a significant step forward in the protection of footballers at all levels and therefore are warmly welcomed.

"The guidelines at all levels, from FIFA to the FA and Premier League, have to date been insufficient and ineffective, as demonstrated by numerous high-profile examples.

"The debacle with Spurs' Hugo Lloris, who was allowed to overrule his club doctor and return to the pitch having sustained a serious head injury in collision with Everton's Romelu Lukaku, was truly shocking.

"Since then, there have been numerous other examples of FIFA and FA guidelines being breached, including two incidents in the World Cup."

Uruguay's Alvaro Pereira and Argentina's Javier Mascherano were both allowed to continue playing during the World Cup despite clear signs of concussion while Germany's Cristoph Kramer appeared to lose consciousness in the final and was only substituted several minutes later.

- NEXT: Everton striker Naismith donates tickets to unemployed 


Image: Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur leaves the field through injury after colliding with Everton's Romelu Lukaku during their Barclays Premier League match at Goodison Park in Liverpool last season
Photographs: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

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Everton striker Naismith donates tickets to unemployed

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Pampered Premier League footballers often get a bad rap for their luxury lifestyles but Everton's Steven Naismith is determined to give something back, donating free tickets for unemployed fans.

Forward Naismith has given four Everton season tickets to the local job centre in Liverpool who will in turn allow different supporters seeking work to attend home matches at GoodisonPark.

"I come from Ayrshire in the west of Scotland and spent a lot of my life in Glasgow -- a city that, at times, has suffered from high unemployment. Historically, a lot of this was the result of a decline in heavy industry and shipbuilding," he told the club's website (www.evertonfc.com)

"Liverpool has a similar history and I am aware that, through no fault of their own, there are many unemployed in Liverpool trying hard to find a job and may not be able to afford a ticket.

"I thought this might be a small gesture to help those in that situation to enjoy a day out at one of our league matches.

"Hopefully it can bring some joy to many people. Every day I feel very fortunate for the opportunities and lifestyle my job as a footballer has afforded my family and me and also to be in the position where I can help the community in some small way."

- NEXT: Keeper Navas ready to fight for Real starting spot


Image: Steven Naismith of Everton
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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Keeper Navas ready to fight for Real starting spot

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Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas is ready to fight with Iker Casillas and Diego Lopez for a place in the Real Madrid starting lineup after sealing what he called his "dream" move from Levante.

"If I am here it's not because I bought a lottery ticket," Navas told a news conference on Tuesday after passing his medical, signing a six-year contract and being presented to fans at the Bernabeu stadium.

"I feel capable of taking on these challenges," added the 27-year-old, whose performances at the World Cup prompted the world's richest club by income to lure him to the Spanish capital for a reported fee of 10 million euros ($13.4 million).

"My work is my foundation and when you work hard you feel ready to take on any kind of challenge.

"I am very calm. What I have to do is train hard and be available to the technical staff and when I get my chance be ready for it."

The arrival of Navas has created something of a headache for Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, who is now spoilt for choice for keepers with three top-class performers vying for a place.

Casillas was first choice in the Champions League and the King's Cup last season, while Lopez, whom Spanish media have said may de discarded, played in La Liga, continuing an awkward rotation policy begun under Ancelotti's predecessor Jose Mourinho.

Navas said Casillas, 33, and the 32-year-old Lopez had been an inspiration to him during his career.

Known as the "Falcon of Costa Rica" for his agility, Navas spent his first year in Spain playing for second-division Albacete before Valencia-based Levante came calling in 2011.

"I think they (Real) will have more choice now," Navas told reporters.

"The best in the world are at Real Madrid and I hope everyone will feel comfortable and there will be nothing negative."


Image: Costa Rica midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda (17) hugs goalkeeper Keylor Navas
Photographs: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

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