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Mika for Arctic Rally

Berlin: Former Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen said on Tuesday he would get behind the wheel of a race car again for an Arctic Rally in Finland next month, but was not considering coming out of retirement.

Hakkinen, world champion with McLaren in 1998 and 1999, confirmed his retirement from Formula One in July after taking the last season off to devote more time to his family. The 34-year-old said he would drive a Mitsubishi Lancer in the Arctic Lapland Rally in the north of his native Finland on January 24 and 25.

“My home is also the home of the rally,” Hakkinen told German news agency SID. “It fascinates me the way my compatriots and their colleagues are able to keep their vehicles (on track) despite such difficult road conditions, often on gravel or snow and ice.”

‘Unsporting’ Bowyer may be banned

Nyon: Uefa have started disciplinary proceedings against Leeds United midfielder Lee Bowyer “for unsporting behaviour” following his clash with Malaga defender Gerardo in a Uefa Cup match last Thursday.

Bowyer faces a possible ban from European club competition and a fine if found guilty.

Uefa said on Tuesday it had acted on the basis of video evidence after television replays showed Bowyer stepping on Gerardo’s head in the Spanish club’s 2-1 third round, second leg win at Elland Road.

Uefa’s disciplinary committee will consider the case on January 8.

Romania escape Japanese ban

Tokyo: Romania have escaped a Japanese gymnastics ban after three of their Olympic medallists appeared on television in Japan showing off their routines in the nude.

The Japan Gymnastics Association (JGA) said on Tuesday that Romania would be one of 14 nations competing at the invitational competition in Yokohama next September following an executive board meeting to discuss what action to take.

“We were told by the Romanian Gymnastics Federation that the three gymnasts in question were no longer affiliated to them, so Romania will be invited as scheduled,” Eri Nakamura, secretary of the Japanese junior gymnastics federation, said.

Romanian dailies reported on Monday that Lavinia Milosovici, who won double Olympic gold in 1992, and two other athletes had appeared nude in a picture book published in Japan and performed naked gym routines in a movie now available in DVD form.

The JGA had threatened to ban Romania if they found that the trio were still attached to their national association.

Holyfield injury

Atlanta: Evander Holyfield had tests on the left shoulder he injured in losing the IBF heavyweight title fight to Chris Byrd.

Holyfield said he injured the shoulder in the first round of Saturday’s fight in Atlantic City with Byrd, who won a unanimous decision over the former four-time heavyweight champion.

Thomas said one doctor thought Holyfield may have damaged his rotator cuff, which he also injured in a fight against Michael Moorer in 1994.

Luciano return

Milan: Chievo’s Brazilian winger Luciano will return to Serie A action in January after his ban for playing under a false identity as Eriberto was reduced on appeal. Luciano was banned until May 31, 2003 but the appeals commission of the Italian Olympic committee (CONI) have cut the ban by three months and said he can play again from January 24.

The pacey winger, registered last season as Da Conceicao Silva Eriberto, took up the false name and age in 1996 before joining Brazilian club Palmeiras. At the time he claimed he was 16 years old when in fact he was 20. Two seasons later he joined Italian club Bologna and then moved on to Chievo where he was part of the Verona club’s successful first season in Serie A last term.

Silvestre to stay on

Manchester: France defender Mikael Silvestre has signed a four-year contract to stay at Manchester United. The 25-year-old’s current deal was due to expire at the end of the season and under FIFA rules he would have been able to speak to other clubs from January 1.

n Cricket, West Indies in Bangladesh — Second Test, Day III, live from 9.00 am on ESPN n Football, Premier League — highlights from 9.00 am on STAR Sports n Cricket, Pakistan in South Africa — Fifth ODI, live from 5.55 pm on ESPN n Cricket, India in New Zealand — Second Test, Day I, live from 3.20 am (Thursday) on STAR Sports


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