Sport

Japanese teenager upstages Russian figure-skating star

INTERNATIONAL SPORT BRIEFS... I

Friday, February 07, 2014    

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SOCHI, Russia, (AFP) — Teenager Yuzuru Hanyu upstaged Yevgeny Plushenko in front of the veteran Russian star's adoring fans to put Japan in pole position in the inaugural figure-skating team competition at the Winter Olympics yesterday.

Hanyu, 19, gave an electric performance to Parisian Walkways by Gary Moore in the men's short programme after 31-year-old Plushenko earlier gave a strong skate in his comeback to frenzied chants of "Zhenya" (his nickname) and "Russia".

But three-time world champion Patrick Chan, a favourite for the men's gold, struggled to third for Canada after a botched landing on a triple axel jump in his skate to Rachmaninov's Elegie in E Flat Minor.

Plushenko opened with a quad-triple toeloop combination, followed by a triple axel and a triple lutz in his skate to Tango de Roxanne from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.

Hanyu scored 97.98 points, with Plushenko achieving 91.39. Chan scored 87.71.

Former ref accuses Sir Alex of 'pressuring' match officials

LONDON, England (AFP) — Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has revealed how Alex Ferguson once tried to get him to postpone a Manchester United match because it would give his side a better chance of winning the title.

Ferguson was renowned for trying to exert pressure on referees during his long reign as United manager and could often be seen pointing at his watch, hinting that there should be a long period of stoppage time towards the end of games when United needed a goal.

The Scot, who retired at the end of last season, wrote in his autobiography that the gesture was intended to create tension for the opposition, but Gallagher has revealed there was more to Ferguson's cheeky tactics than that.

Gallagher, who refereed in the English top-flight from 1992 to 2007, recalled a match at Old Trafford in 1997 when United faced Middlesbrough in a game they desperately needed to win during a tense battle with Arsenal for the title.

"I remember going to Old Trafford at the end of the season. Manchester United had three games that week and I was given the game on the bank holiday Monday," Gallagher told Sportlobster TV.

"It was chucking it down with rain and Fergie pulled me aside and said 'do me a favour, call the game off'.

Sepp Blatter wants IOC age limit scrappped

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter says imposing age limits on sports administrators is an "act of discrimination".

The 77-year-old Swiss spoke out yesterday in a debate on whether to change the 70-year age limit for members of the International Olympic Committee.

While many members said the age should be raised to 75, Blatter said the rule should be scrapped altogether. Blatter became an IOC member in 1999, before the 70-year limit was enacted. He is eligible to serve until the age of 80.

Blatter says FIFA conducted its own study and found age limits were discriminatory.

He says members instead could be voted out democratically if change in membership is needed.

Blatter has hinted he could seek a fifth term as FIFA president in 2015.

The 70-year limit was brought in as one of the IOC reforms enacted in 1999 after the Salt Lake City bid scandal.

No decision will be made until the end of the year.

Brit PM Cameron gives backing to axed Pietersen

LONDON, England (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron has given his support to Kevin Pietersen after the batsman's England career was ended controversially.

Cameron, who believes there is a "powerful argument" for keeping Pietersen in the side, says "I am an enormous fan of Kevin Pietersen and I have had some of my most enjoyable times watching him tonking the ball all over the park."

Cameron adds, "his average is remarkable... but I will let the England selectors pick the England team, I think I had better stay out of this one."

Pietersen, whose talent has regularly been overshadowed by his ability to attract controversy, was told he would never play for his country again on Tuesday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is trying to usher in a new era after a woeful tour of Australia.

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