17 أكتوبر، 2011

Liverpool's Suarez "hurt" by accusations of racism


Liverpool striker Luis Suarez said on Sunday he is upset by accusations he racially abused Manchester United full back Patrice Evra during their Premier League match on Saturday.

Evra told French television station Canal+ that Suarez had racially abused him "at least 10 times" during the 1-1 draw at Anfield and the English Football Association is to investigate the claims.

A Liverpool spokesman said Suarez denied the charge and the Uruguayan released a statement via Twitter and Facebook on Sunday.

"I'm upset by the accusations of racism," he said.

"I can only say that I have always respected and respect everybody. We are all the same. I go to the field with the maximum illusion of a little child who enjoys what he does, not to create conflicts."

Suarez and Evra were involved in a series of tussles throughout the 1-1 draw and Evra later told Canal+: "There are cameras, you can see him. He says a certain word to me at least 10 times.

"I was very upset. In 2011 you can't say things like this. He knows what he said, the ref knows it, it will come out. I won't repeat what he said, but it was a racist word, and he said it more than 10 times.

"He tried to wind me up. I won't make a huge deal out of it, but it's very upsetting and disappointing."

Talking to UK newspaper The Observer, a spokesman for Liverpool said that the first the club knew about it was when Kenny Dalglish, the manager, was summoned to the referee's office 20 minutes after the match.

"The first thing we did, as you would expect, is ask the player and he has categorically denied using any language of that nature," the spokesman said.

In their statement, the FA said: "Referee Andre Marriner was made aware of an allegation at the end of the fixture and reported this to the FA. The FA will now begin making inquiries into the matter."

McGladrey Classic final-round scores


U.S. golfer Ben Crane
Scores from the U.S. PGA Tour McGladrey Classic at the par-70 course in Sea Island, Georgia on Sunday. Ben Crane wins playoff at the second extra hole 265 Ben Crane (U.S.) 65 70 67 63 265 Webb Simpson (U.S.) 63 67 69 66 266 Michael Thompson (U.S.) 65 65 67 69 267 Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa) 65 67 69 66 268 Trevor Immelman (South Africa) 66 71 62 69 270 Angel Cabrera (Argentina) 65 70 68 67

Scott McCarron (U.S.) 64 70 68 68

Kevin Streelman (U.S.) 66 70 66 68

Nick O'Hern (Australia) 65 67 69 69

Jeff Overton (U.S.) 66 69 66 69 271 Jim Furyk (U.S.) 67 68 69 67

D.J. Trahan (U.S.) 65 71 68 67

Bryce Molder (U.S.) 67 68 68 68

Kris Blanks (U.S.) 67 68 66 70 272 Heath Slocum (U.S.) 70 66 70 66

Bud Cauley (U.S.) 68 68 70 66

Lucas Glover (U.S.) 68 68 68 68

David Mathis (U.S.) 69 69 66 68

Sean O'Hair (U.S.) 71 66 66 69 273 Jerry Kelly (U.S.) 68 67 71 67

Carl Pettersson (Sweden) 69 70 68 66

Billy Mayfair (U.S.) 67 72 67 67

Matt Kuchar (U.S.) 70 68 67 68

Michael Bradley (U.S.) 68 69 67 69

Billy Horschel (U.S.) 64 64 70 75 274 Alexandre Rocha (Brazil) 67 72 70 65

Colt Knost (U.S.) 66 71 70 67

Michael Letzig (U.S.) 67 72 67 68

Matt McQuillan (Canada) 69 68 68 69

Cameron Tringale (U.S.) 65 73 67 69

Kevin Kisner (U.S.) 70 67 67 70 275 Spencer Levin (U.S.) 67 71 70 67

Blake Adams (U.S.) 69 69 69 68

Roland Thatcher (U.S.) 69 69 69 68

Richard Johnson (Sweden) 65 70 71 69

Henrik Stenson (Sweden) 66 70 70 69

Stephen Ames (Canada) 66 70 70 69

Robert Allenby (Australia) 70 68 68 69

Paul Stankowski (U.S.) 66 72 68 69

Brandt Snedeker (U.S.) 71 68 67 69

Jonathan Byrd (U.S.) 69 70 66 70

Charles Howell III (U.S.) 69 70 66 70

Josh Teater (U.S.) 69 69 66 71 276 Jason Bohn (U.S.) 69 69 68 70

Boo Weekley (U.S.) 67 68 69 72

David Hearn (Canada) 65 71 68 72

Johnson Wagner (U.S.) 67 67 69 73 277 Jeff Quinney (U.S.) 68 70 71 68

William McGirt (U.S.) 69 69 71 68

Shane Bertsch (U.S.) 67 72 69 69

Shaun Micheel (U.S.) 68 71 69 69

Kim Bi-O (South Korea) 67 71 68 71

Ben Curtis (U.S.) 66 70 66 75 278 Tag Ridings (U.S.) 69 70 72 67

Vaughn Taylor (U.S.) 72 67 71 68

D.A. Points (U.S.) 70 67 72 69

Chris Couch (U.S.) 69 69 71 69

Zack Miller (U.S.) 63 74 70 71

Kyle Stanley (U.S.) 69 69 69 71 279 Brendon De Jonge (Zimbabwe) 69 70 72 68

Andres Gonzales (U.S.) 66 72 71 70

Tim Herron (U.S.) 71 67 69 72

Jim Herman (U.S.) 67 69 68 75 280 Richard Scott (Canada) 68 71 72 69

Fabian Gomez (Argentina) 68 70 71 71

Chris Riley (U.S.) 68 69 70 73 282 Troy Merritt (U.S.) 68 69 72 73 283 Ben Martin (U.S.) 67 70 68 78 284 Robert Garrigus (U.S.) 67 72 71 74 287 Adam Hadwin (Canada) 68 71 72 76

Crane seals victory in playoff for McGladrey Classic


Ben Crane from the USA
Ben Crane clinched his fourth PGA Tour title by beating fellow American Webb Simpson in a playoff for the McGladrey Classic at St Simons Island in Georgia on Sunday.

Crane narrowly missed a 22-foot birdie putt at the second extra hole but moments later he sealed victory when Simpson lipped out with his par putt from inside four feet.

However, Simpson's runner-up finish was good enough for him to overtake British world number one Luke Donald at the top of the 2011 PGA Tour money list with just one event remaining.

The duo had finished the 72 regulation holes at 15-under-par 265, Simpson closing with a four-under 66 and Crane firing a sizzling eight-birdie 63.

Overnight leader Michael Thompson, who had led by three shots with nine holes to play, bogeyed the last for a 69 and had to settle for third place at 14 under.

Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon dies after fiery crash



Dan Wheldon
Briton Dan Wheldon, who won the Indianapolis 500 on its 100th anniversary in May, has died after a horrific 15-car crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday which left the motor sports world in shock.

The 33-year-old IndyCar driver was involved in a multi-car accident 13 laps into the Las Vegas Indy 300 which sent his vehicle flying and left wreckage and debris across the track.

Wheldon's car flew over another and caught part of the catch fence just past the apex of turn two.

The incident left Townsend Bell's car upside down and smoldering cars strewn along the track.

Wheldon, who lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, was flown by helicopter to University Medical Center in Las Vegas for treatment before his death was announced two hours later.

"IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today," Bernard added.

The race was cancelled and drivers returned later for a moving and tearful five-lap tribute.

A popular figure, Wheldon was the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion and he won the Indy500 race that year and also in 2011.

When the drivers returned to the track, Wheldon's fellow British driver, Scotsman Dario Franchitti, was sobbing uncontrollably as he was strapped back into his car.

CRAZY STUFF

"I could see within five laps people were starting to do crazy stuff," said Franchitti, who avoided the incident and with the cancellation of the race won his third straight series title.

"I love hard racing but that to me is not really what it's about. One small mistake from somebody ..."

"Right now I'm numb and speechless," he said. "One minute you're joking around in driver intros and the next he's gone.

"He was six years old when I first met him. He was this little kid and the next thing you know he was my team mate," said Franchitti, who raced together with Wheldon at Andretti Green Racing.

"We put so much pressure on ourselves to win races and championships and today it doesn't matter."

Crews lined up along the pit lane and fans in the stands stood silently as the drivers paid tribute to the popular Wheldon.

The cancelling of the race meant that Franchitti won his third straight series title.

After winning eight British national titles in karting and then finishing third in the 1998 Formula Ford championship in Britain, Wheldon moved to the U.S. in pursuit of better opportunities.

He clinched the F2000 Championship Series in 1999 with six victories and then moved into IndyCar where he won rookie of the year honours in 2003.

Wheldon claimed the 2005 series thanks to six wins for Andretti Green Racing.

The Englishman later raced for Panther Racing and his final team Bryan Herta Autosport.

Wheldon leaves his wife Susie and their two young sons.

Dan Wheldon, British racing driver, 1978-2011


Dan Wheldon
Dan Wheldon, who was killed in a fiery crash in Las Vegas on Sunday, was one of Britain's most successful race car drivers and one of the rare few foreign drivers who made it big in the United States.

Wheldon, who died aged 33, was just one of two British drivers to win America's most famous race, the Indy 500, on more than one occasion. He won it in 2005 and again this year, which was the 100th anniversary of the race.

He was also runner-up in 2009 and 2010 and won the IndyCar Series title in 2005 with a series record six wins.

Wheldon began racing karts when he was four years old and progressed through the junior ranks in his homeland before deciding to move to the U.S. in 1999.

In 2002, he was called up to IndyCar as a test driver, racing in two events, and got a full-time drive with the Andretti team the next season.

In 2003, he was named rookie of the year. The following season, he won three races and finished second in the championship.

The Englishman won the title in 2005 and his first Indy 500 that same season, and almost won a second title in 2006 despite switching teams. He finished level on points with Sam Hornish but lost the title to the American on a countback.

Wheldon flirted with the idea of moving to Formula One and was offered a drive with the BMW Sauber team but turned it down when he was not guaranteed a permanent seat.

He changed teams to Panther Racing in 2009 and did not win a race in either the 2009 or 2010 seasons, although he finished runner-up at Indianapolis both times.

Wheldon was replaced at Panther this season by JR Hildebrand, a young rising star, and did not have a regular drive though he signed a deal to drive with the Bryan Herta Autsport team for the Indy 500.

Hildebrand looked set to win the race but crashed on the last bend, allowing Wheldon to slip past him and triumph for the second time. He was only the 18th man to win the race more than once and the second Briton, after Dario Franchitti.

Wheldon lived in Florida and was survived by his wife and their two young sons.

Double done, Red Bull aim for triple


Among all the celebrations for Red Bull's second Formula One constructors' championship in South Korea on Sunday, one familiar team face was notably absent.

Adrian Newey, the technical boffin who has created title-winning cars for three teams and been a driving force behind Red Bull's double-double -- successive drivers' and team titles -- was hard at work on the other side of the planet designing the next world beater.

"Focus has to start moving towards next year and we've got less than four months to design and build a completely new car," said team principal Christian Horner after German double champion Sebastian Vettel took his 10th win in 16 races this season.

"That's why Adrian elected not to attend this race. He's busy back in the UK focused on our RB8 (car)."

As Horner pointed out with a smile, rivals might tolerate one world championship but two in a row will have proved seriously upsetting.

Making it three in a row -- a feat only ever achieved by Ferrari, McLaren and Williams -- will be his men's stiffest challenge yet.

"It never gets easier, that's for sure," said Horner.

"It would be foolish to underestimate the likes of Ferrari. They are a phenomenal team with tremendous pedigree, or the likes of McLaren and Mercedes Benz.

"We are not foolish or arrogant enough to think that this kind of performance is normal. It's abnormal and it takes a superhuman effort to try and achieve. Our competitors are going to be pushing hard over the winter."

Red Bull at least have the luxury of being able to treat the last three races as a test bed for 2012, even if they are also chasing a couple of records to put the icing on the cake, before the winter clampdown on testing.

Vettel can still equal compatriot Michael Schumacher's 2004 record of 13 wins in a single season and, with 12 poles so far, also beat Nigel Mansell's 1992 feat of 14 in a campaign.

"The remaining races are the only track time that we've got, other than a young driver test, between now and when the new car is effectively born," said Horner.

"So we'll look to learn everything we can out of the track time that we have available. And that means pushing right up to the chequered flag in Brazil."

Red Bull also want to wrap up a triumphant year by securing second place overall for Vettel's Australian team mate Mark Webber, who has yet to win a race this year after challenging for the title in 2010.

"I think the priority now is to get Mark into second in the championship," declared Horner.

"Effectively its like three FA Cup finals so I think they will be really exciting races ... both McLaren and Ferrari have been competitive here and I think it will be tight in India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil."

All Blacks relax before serious business begins


New Zealand All Blacks coach Graham Henry
A New Zealand side forged in adversity and mindful of a history they are not allowed to forget relaxed on Monday before getting into the serious business of preparing for their first rugby World Cup final for 16 years.

The All Blacks, who have fallen in the knockout stages at the past three World Cups despite entering the tournament as favourites on each occasion, stepped up to the mark on Sunday by defeating trans-Tasman rivals Australia 20-6.

They will meet France at Eden Park on Sunday in a repeat of the inaugural World Cup final in 1987, which the All Blacks won 29-9.

"Today we are fairly relaxed, soaking it in," lock Brad Thorn, who was at the heart of a fiercely disciplined tight five, told reporters. "Tomorrow it's back to business. No one is going to care who won the semi-finals in 2011."

New Zealand were beaten at the semi-final stages in their only two previous World Cup matches against Australia. They lost to South Africa in the 1995 final and have been beaten by France in a semi-final and quarter-final.

The 2007 quarter-final loss to France was a particular blow to a nation who believed that this time they had a side who would finally go all the way and the reappointment of the management team attracted some virulent criticism.

Head coach Graham Henry was the focus of much of the anger and on Monday he first paid tribute to a heroic performance by his team and then reflected on the lessons learned by repeated failure.

"We have looked at the history over a period of time," Henry said. "We went in 2007 with one game at a time. This time we have dissected the rugby World Cup and looked at why the All Blacks haven't won for 24 years.

"We have tried to find out the reasons for that and had a very good look at 2007 in particular and have used that, hopefully, to gain more information, more knowledge how to win this tournament."

INJURY TOLL

Henry, with a final against France looming at the weekend, understandably did not go into details about the conclusions the All Blacks management had reached but did say there would be adjustments to their game plan against a side who have dumped them unceremoniously out of two World Cups.

This year New Zealand, who had romped through the group stages of the previous three World Cups before going up against the hard realities of knockout rugby, had a demanding opening game against Tonga.

France played well in the opening stages of their pool match and Argentina in the quarter-finals displayed with the resilience and commitment they demonstrated four years ago when they finished third to give New Zealand another tough workout.

On the way, the All Blacks suffered a savage body blow when Daniel Carter, the best flyhalf in their celebrated history, was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with a groin injury.

Fullback Mils Muliaina left in the quarter-finals with a shoulder injury and openside flanker and captain Richie McCaw, a player as distinguished as Carter, is nursing a chronic injury to his right foot and has barely trained for the past fortnight.

On Sunday Piri Weepu, who stepped up as goalkicker in Carter's absence against Argentina to kick each of his seven penalties, was suffering fron a flu virus and was off-form with his place kicking.

Despite these setbacks, the All Blacks played some of the best rugby they have shown at a World Cup on Sunday and flyhalf Aaron Cruden confirmed he is the natural successor to Carter.

"This team has been together for a long time," Henry said. "This is the most experienced All Black team to play the game.

"We try to get better at the things we do as a group, off the field and on the field. They are certainly trying to make sure that people who come into contact with the All Blacks enjoy themselves and get something out of that contact.

"And because of the experience they are getting better on the field."