The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Military excuses Srichaphan

Bangkok: Thai authorities Friday said that tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan will be exempted from compulsory military training, allowing Asia’s most successful player to focus on his career.

Defence ministry spokesman Maj Gen Palangoon Krahan said Paradorn, 23, will be exempted under a rule that allows nine types of professions to be spared from draft, including physical education teacher.

He said the Bangkok metropolitan administration had applied for an exemption on Paradorn’s behalf, certifying that he teaches physical education at a local school. “So tennis fans need not worry,” he said.

Paradorn’s father and coach, Chanachai, had expressed concern in an interview Thursday that military conscription would destroy Paradorn’s career on the ATP Tour.

Marathoner dead

Seoul: Sohn Kee-Chung, a Korean marathoner who won the gold medal for Japan in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, died early Friday of illness, doctors said. He was 90.

Sohn, a native of what is now North Korea, gained fame for winning the marathon in the Berlin Olympics but many Koreans still remember it with bitterness, because he ran for colonial ruler Japan. Japan ruled the Korean peninsula as a colony from 1910 to 1945.

Sohn ran under the adopted Japanese name, Kitei Son. During his stay in Berlin, he tried to tell the world that he was a Korean by signing registers and documents with his real name. After Korea won independence, Sohn was treated as a national hero and received several national medals.

Gymnasts reveal all

Bucharest: Three Romanian Olympic gymnasts have been criticised after posing naked for a Japanese news magazine.

Lavinia Milosovici, 26, who won two golds at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, Claudia Presecan, 23, who won a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Corina Ungureanu, 22, denied disgracing the image of Romanian gymnastics.

“After all we’ve done for Romanian sport, we don't deserve so much denigration,” Milosovici was quoted Friday in the Jurnalul national newspaper.

However, Adrian Stoica, secretary of Romania’s gymnastics federation, said the photos of the women in positions they used as gymnasts, were demeaning.

British Olympian jailed for life

Sydney: A one-time Olympian, who represented Britain in hockey in the 1972 Olympics and the World Cup in 1973 and 1975, was sentenced to life in prison here Friday for importing more than 100 kilograms of ecstasy tablets into Australia two years ago.

James Neale, 56, was convicted last year of trying to smuggle the ecstasy into the country hidden in the bottom of 20 cases of French wine.

Neale, who had been living in Hong Kong, told the court he was forced to go along with the drug trafficking because of threats from triad crime gangs in the Chinese city.

But district court judge Penelope Hock Friday said Neale was an “intelligent, manipulative and calculating man” who was a principal in the scheme. Hock gave Neale the maximum sentence of life in jail with a non-parole period of 21 years.

Voicing grievance

Berlin: Strugglers Arminia Bielefeld have added their voice to the heated debate over refereeing in the Bundesliga by saying wrong decisions from match officials had persistently hit the side.

“I don’t want to say that all this is directed against us because I don’t want to give the players an alibi but things have gone too far,” coach Benno Moehlmann said on Friday.

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