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Sports Shorts: Kamal Chawla in Asian snooker semis

Last updated on: May 02, 2014 18:27 IST

Sports Shorts: Kamal Chawla in Asian snooker semis



Indian cueist Kamal Chawla continued his sizzling form on the green baize to book a semi-final berth in the Asian Snooker Championship, in Al Fujairah, the United Arab Emirates, on Friday.

He beat Chen Zifan of China 4-2 in the pre-quarter-finals and then outplayed Malaysian cueist Moh Keen Ho 5-3 in the next round.

Chawla, who lost to Pankaj Advani in the snooker nationals this year, will now face Chuan Leong Thor of Malaysia in the semi-finals.

Dharminder Lilly, the other Indian in the fray, however, surrendering meekly to Chuan Leong Thor of Malaysia 0-4.

The winner of the event is eligible for a place on the Pro Tour for the next two seasons.

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Image: Kamal Chawla
Photographs: Getty Images


Sania-Black in Portugal Open semis; Somdev out

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Sania Mirza and Cara Black romped into the semi-finals of the Portugal Open while India's Somdev Devvarman went down to top seed Tomas Berdych in the second round of the men's singles, in Oeiras.

Continuing their good form, the top seeded pair of Mirza-Black beat the Spanish-Chinese pair of Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Shuai Zhang 6-3, 6-4 in 69 minutes.

They will meet third seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond of the United States for a place in the semi-finals.

Ironically, Sania has partnered both Huber and Raymond previously.

In the men's singles, Devvarman lost 3-6, 2-6 in the round of 16.

The 102-ranked Indian had beaten 64-ranked Australian Matthew Ebden in the opening round on Tuesday. It was his first victory after five straight first-round defeats in the last three months.

Meanwhile, India's challenge in the tournament ended in the men's events with Divij Sharan and Purav Raja losing to top seeds Pablo Cuevas and David Marrero in the doubles quarter-finals.

The unseeded Indian pair was beaten 2-6, 2-6 by the formidable Uruguay-Spanish combo.

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Image: Cara Black (left) and Sania Mirza
Photographs: Getty Images

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Record-breaking UK runner Bannister has Parkinson's

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Almost 60 years to the day since becoming the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, Roger Bannister has revealed he is suffering from Parkinson's disease.

The 85-year-old Briton said he had been suffering with the degenerative nervous disease for three years but only revealed it in a BBC radio interview marking the anniversary of his run in Oxford on May 6, 1954.

Bannister ran three minutes, 59.4 seconds on the Iffley Road track, now named after him, to break the four-minute barrier.

After a distinguished running career in which he also won a gold medal over one mile at the 1954 Commonwealth Games and the 1,500 metres at the European Championships in the same year, he became a neurologist.

He told BBC Radio Oxford: "I am having troubles with walking. Ironically it is a neurological disorder -- Parkinson's.

"There's a gentle irony to it. I have seen and looked after patients with so many neurological and other disorders that's why I am not surprised I have acquired an illness.

"It's in the nature of things. I am being well looked after and I don't intend to let it interfere -- as much as I can."

Bannister said he was diagnosed with the disease three years ago but has refrained from speaking publicly about it until now.

He added: "Just consider the alternatives - that is the way I look at it. One of my pleasures in life - apart from running - has been walking. Intellectually I am not degenerating and what is walking anyway?

"I know quite a lot about Parkinson's and have treated a lot of people with it. I am aware of all the research that's been done. I think it will take some time before there is a breakthrough. But the management and drug treatments are improving all the time."

Bannister entered athletics folklore 60 years ago next Tuesday with Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway acting as pacemakers.

Brasher, who helped found the London Marathon in 1981, died aged 74 in 2003 and Chataway, who was 82, died of cancer in January.

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Image: Roger Bannister
Photographs: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

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Chelsea assistant manager Faria handed six-match stadium ban

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Chelsea coach Rui Faria has been handed a six-match stadium ban and a 30,000-pound fine after admitting misconduct charges, the FA said in a statement on Thursday.

Faria was sent to the stands during Chelsea's 2-1 Premier League defeat by Sunderland on April 19.

Sunderland's victory came courtesy of a contentious penalty decision that sparked a furious touchline reaction from Faria who was charged with using "abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official" as well as "improper conduct".

Faria was also warned as to his future conduct.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was also charged with misconduct during the same match, but requested a personal hearing.

Mourinho sarcastically congratulated referee Mike Dean and Mike Riley -- the head of the referees' governing body -- after the loss to relegation-threatened opponents which ended the Portuguese coach's 77-game unbeaten league record at Stamford Bridge.

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Image: Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho (centre) with assistants Rui Faria (left) and Steve Holland
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Oprah to bid for Clippers as NBA set to oust racist Sterling

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The National Basketball Association on Thursday launched its bid to oust Donald Sterling as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for racist comments as a panel of 10 fellow team owners or their proxies unanimously agreed to proceed "as expeditiously as possible," the NBA said.

Sports world sees new low after racism rears its ugly head

The decision, reached during a telephone conference call of the NBA Board of Governors' advisory-finance committee, seemed to indicate a strong base of support among Sterling's fellow owners for his removal, as urged by league Commissioner Adam Silver.

The prospect of Sterling's ouster led several luminaries of sports and show business to signal interest in buying the team. Among them were talk show host turned media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Hollywood executive David Geffen, computer technology titan Larry Ellison, former Los Angeles Lakers star Earvin "Magic" Johnson and boxing promoter Oscar De La Hoya. 

Silver on Tuesday declared Sterling banned from the NBA for life, fined him $2.5 million -- the league maximum -- and called on the 29 other club owners who make up the governing board to exercise their authority to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

The unprecedented move would require a three-fourths majority vote under the league's constitution and bylaws. If approved, the board could then go further still and vote to seize ownership of the team for the NBA itself to sell, cutting Sterling out of the negotiations.

Silver and at least two of the owners, including the interim chairman of the board, Glen Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves, have expressed confidence they could muster the votes necessary to force a sale.

The teams represented in Thursday's initial strategy session were Minnesota Timberwolves, the Miami Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics, the San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns, the Indiana Pacers and the Toronto Raptors.

In a brief statement, the NBA said the panel discussed terminating Sterling's ownership and "unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible."

It said the panel would reconvene next week.

The committee's decision was in line with an outpouring of support expressed by the owners as a whole for Silver following Tuesday's announcement of a ban. But experts have suggested that some of Sterling's fellow owners might be hesitant to support action they felt could set a precedent weakening their own future property rights. 

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Image: Oprah Winfrey poses for pictures in front of the historic Taj Mahal during her visit to Agra
Photographs: Brijesh Singh/Reuters

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Sterling was banned from any further ties with his team or professional basketball

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Sterling, who bought the Clippers in 1981 for $13 million when the team was based in San Diego, has not indicated whether he would relinquish ownership without putting up a fight.

Experts have estimated that the franchise, which moved to Los Angeles in 1984, could now be worth as much as $1 billion, posing an enormous potential capital gains tax liability on Sterling if he were to sell the team.

A number of legal scholars and sports business analysts have said they expect Sterling and the NBA to be on a collision course that will be fought out in court.

"The guy has a reputation for being highly litigious. I just can't possibly imagine him rolling over and handing the team over and not fighting back," said Adam Schlatner, a sports business attorney and commercial litigator.

Schlatner, who handles legal matters for the National Hockey League's New York Islanders' owner Charles Wang and has had dealings with clients involving the NBA, said the league might consider allowing Sterling to sell the team himself by a prescribed deadline.

But he predicted that, one way or another, Sterling would end up severed from the Clippers and would realize that "the franchise would not be economically viable if he continues to own it."

The scandal sparked outrage from fans and players, and numerous commercial sponsors pulled their support from the team before and after the NBA moved to expel Sterling.

Sterling was banned from any further ties with his team or professional basketball, and stripped of his seat on the NBA governing board, days after two websites released audio recordings in which a voice said to be Sterling's is heard criticizing a female friend for "associating with black people."

Silver said on Tuesday that Sterling has acknowledged to the NBA that the recording was authentic but did not apologize.

The sale of the Clippers could take weeks. According to NBA bylaws, Silver must present Sterling a written copy of any allegations justifying a forced sale within three days, and Sterling would have five days to answer.

A special hearing of the Board of Governors, consisting of all the owners, would then be held on a date no more than 10 days after Sterling's reply.

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Image: A photo cutout of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is seen among people standing in line for the NBA playoff game 5 between Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on Tuesday
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

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Pogba accuses United of showing disrespect

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French midfielder Paul Pogba has accused former club Manchester United of showing "disrespect" by sidelining him and making him train alone during a contract dispute before he moved to Juventus.

"They left me out because they said I wanted to leave. That is disrespect," Pogba, who left United in July 2012, told the BBC on Thursday.

"Maybe they didn't think they were making a mistake."

When Pogba left United, then-manager Alex Ferguson had said he was "quite happy" to offload the player who the Scot accused of not "showing us any respect at all."

Pogba, 21, made just seven substitute appearances for United before heading to Italy.

"Manchester United is a big club but you have to think about yourself," Pogba added.

"You have to play. The coach told me there would be space to play, but I wasn't playing.

"I was training alone for one week. They told me to go in the gym. I said 'I am not an athlete, I am a footballer.'"

Since his move to Italy, Pogba helped Juventus win the Serie A title in 2013, a feat they are poised to repeat again this season.

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Image: Paul Pogba
Photographs: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

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Conte questions ref Clattenburg's standards after Europa League exit

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Juventus coach Antonio Conte blasted referee Mark Clattenburg after his side were knocked out of the Europa League by Benfica on Thursday, saying the Englishman was not good enough to officiate such an important match.

The Serie A leaders failed to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg of their semi-final, only managing a goalless draw with the newly-crowned Portuguese champions in Turin.

Conte was convinced that his side should have been awarded a penalty when Fernando Llorente's 65th minute header appeared to strike defender Luisao on the hand. One goal would have put his side through to the final on away goals.

“Today there should have been a penalty, after the penalty not given for a foul on (Giorgio) Chiellini on the first leg,” Conte told reporters.

Conte also claimed Clattenburg had failed to control what he saw as Benfica's spoiling tactics.

“The referee allowed them to obstruct the play the whole game. Before the game he told is us that he wouldn't stop play every time a player hit the floor, but that's what happened.

“We feel like we're not being taken seriously, and UEFA should show us more respect by sending a referee of the required standard.”

Juve missed out on the chance to contest the Europa League final on home turf, with Benfica returning to the Juventus Stadium on May 14 to take on Seville.

However, they are eight points clear at the top of Serie A and should seal their third straight league title when they host Atalanta on Monday (2000 BST).

Image: Coach Antonio Conte of Juventus
Photographs: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

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