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Court clears decks for Arjuna

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Friday cleared the way for cricketer-turned-politician Arjuna Ranatunga to seek the presidency of the island’s cricket board, nullifying the government’s recent ban on politicians heading sports bodies. Judge Asoka de Silva said the government rule had violated Ranatunga’s constitutional rights to equal treatment and to choose an occupation, said his attorney.

The judge also ordered Johnston Fernando, the sports minister, to pay Ranatunga’s legal costs of Rs 50,000. The sports minister issued a notice last year banning politicians from holding positions in sports bodies. He said it was meant to free sports of political interference.

Ranatunga, who was elected to Parliament in December, 2001, as a member of the opposition people’s alliance, said he announced 10 years ago that he someday wanted to head Sri Lanka’s cricket board.

Foreman in Hall of Fame

Canastota: Two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman topped the list of inductees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame announced on Thursday.

Other members of the class of 2003 to be inducted alongside Foreman, include Mike McCallum, who won titles in three different weight classes, welterweight Curtis Cokes, junior welterweight Nicolino Locche of Argentina and posthumously, middleweight champion Fred Apostoli.

Boxing journalist Jack Fiske, author-screenwriter Budd Schulberg and promoter Dan Duva will also be enshrined during ceremonies on June 8.

“What a happy moment for me to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame,” said Foreman.

Ahn may join Atletico

Tokyo: South Korea striker Ahn Jung-hwan may soon join Spanish first division club Atletico Madrid, a Japanese newspaper reported on Friday. However, his J-League club Shimizu S-Pulse have been quick to play down the report, saying: “It’s news to us.” Ahn, who helped co-hosts South Korea reach the semi-finals of the World Cup last year, could complete a $3.1 million move to Atletico as early as next week, according to the Nikkan Sports.

Gates open to women fans

Teheran: In a taboo-breaking step in this conservative Islamic state, an Iranian soccer club has begun allowing female football fans into its stadium to watch games.

Mahdi Dadras, manager of Teheran’s Paykan club, said the decision was made to allow women to watch soccer matches because its fans don’t use obscene chants and their presence improves his players’ morale.

Iranian authorities have long banned women from soccer stadiums because most fans direct distasteful language at opposing teams.

Thursday, half a dozen jubilant women appeared at Iran Khodro Stadium to watch a first division league soccer match between Paykan and the visiting Barq of Shiraz.

Title for Kahugu

Dubai: Kenya’s Joseph Kahugu, Chicago marathon winner in 1998, beat off a strong Ethiopian contingent to capture the Dubai marathon in record time on Friday.

On a cold, foggy morning, Kahugu timed two hours nine minutes 33 seconds, finishing 67 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Gashaw Melese Asfaw.

n Cricket, tri-series: Australia vs England highlights from 6 pm on STAR Sports n Soccer: Premier League live from 8.25 pm on ESPN n Cricket: New Zealand vs India 6th ODI, highlights from 10.30 pm on ESPN n Soccer: Spanish League live from 2 am (Sunday) on ESPN


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