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Women cricketers disappear in London

Colombo: Skipper of the Sri Lankan women’s cricket team Sudharshini Sivagurunathan and two of her teammates have gone missing in London while they were on transit after a three-week tour of the West Indies, officials said on Thursday.

The sports ministry said it had begun investigations into reports that Sivagurunathan, Ramani Perera and Hiroshi Abeysinghe may have slipped into Britain.

Fearing that they would enter Britain illegally, the team management had held on to the players’ passports and gave them back only 15 minutes before boarding the aircraft.

There had been many instances in the past when Sri Lankan sportspersons defected while on foreign tours.

Trap gold for Anwar

New Delhi: India’s Anwar Sultan edged out world champion Al-Mudhaf Khaled of Kuwait in tie-shoot to clinch the men’s trap gold medal in the Asian Clay Shooting Championships here on Thursday.

Sultan, who beat Al-Mudhaf 5-4 in the tiebreaker after the top three tied at 142 points, also ensured the team gold for India along with Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh. Sultan and Al-Mudhaf shot an identical 118 in the preliminary round and 24 in the final.

Sandhu, in fact, had the highest score in the preliminary rounds, shooting 120 out of 125 but his final score of 22 saw the other two catching up with him.

In the tie-shoot, Sandhu missed the second bird and had to be content with the bronze medal.

Mansher fired 115, thus giving India a combined tally of 353 points in the team event for the top position.

Kuwait won the silver with 346 points while UAE took bronze with 341.

Zidane to lead France

Clairefontaine: Zinedine Zidane will captain France in the Euro 2004 qualifier against Malta on Saturday, coach Jacques Santini said on Thursday.

Defender Marcel Desailly, France’s usual captain, has not been picked for the game.

Midfielder Zidane, 30, has 80 caps and has captained his side three times before, the last time in the 1-1 draw with Tunisia in August.

“Zidane has great influence on and off the pitch and is the right guy for the job in the absence of Desailly,” said Santini ahead of the game in Lens.

Ali hope for quick war

Louisville: Boxing legend Muhammad Ali hopes for a “quick and expedient resolution” to the war in Iraq, with fighting giving way to goodwill, his wife said on Wednesday while accepting a $500,000 gift to build a centre devoted to peace.

Ali walked on a red carpet past a bust of Colonel Harland Sanders into the headquarters complex of a fast-food giant to accept the contribution for the Muhammad Ali Centre.

The Centre will promote his humanitarian ideals and house an institute on peacemaking and dispute resolution run by the University of Louisville.

n Football: English Premier League, from 10.00 am and 6.00 pm on ESPN n Football: Spanish League 2002-03, highlights at 1pm on ESPN n Golf, PGA Tour: Highlights of Bay Hill Invitational from 9.30 am on STAR Sports n Tennis, ATP Masters Series: Nasdaq-100 Open, live at 1.00 am and 5.00 am (Saturday) on STAR Sports


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