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BRIEFS

Norman’s mum hits hole-in-one

Brisbane: The mother of Australia’s former world No. 1 Greg Norman has scored an ace on the Pelican Waters golf course designed by her son.

Toini Norman, 72, said she immediately sent an email to her 48-year-old son, who lives in Florida, to describe her effort on the 160m 14th hole on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Toini said she introduced the double British Open winner — known in the sport as the ‘White Shark’ — to golf when they lived in the Queensland mining town of Mount Isa.

“We thought we’d give it a go and it’s eventually how Greg became interested in the game,” she was quoted as saying on Tuesday by Australian Associated Press. “I was still playing when I was seven months pregnant with him.”

Last year, Toini was club champion at Pelican Waters. She wasn’t immediately available for comment on her hole-in-one.

Kaiser awaits baby No. 5

Hamburg: German football legend Franz Beckenbauer is expecting his fifth child this November, with a former secretary of the Bayern Munich club, the Bild reported on Tuesday. Beckenbauer, 57, and his companion Heidi Burmester already have a son together, Joel Maximilian, who will be three in August.

The former champion, who is also the organising committee president for the 2006 World Cup, shocked fans last year when he announced he was leaving his wife of 12 years to devote more time to his son by Burmester.

“We want this child. Little Joel should not grow up alone,” Beckenbauer told Bild, which splashed the story on its front page. “We have a big house, we still have plenty of space, even for a whole kindergarten.”

Beckenbauer said after four sons he was now hoping for girl.

‘No plan to ban wild cards’

Valletta: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has no plans to ban wild cards but will seek to ensure all athletes reach an acceptable standard, president Jacques Rogge said on Tuesday.

Rogge told a news conference the IOC was committed to ensuring every country was represented in the Games even if their athletes did not reach the qualifying standard.

“The IOC has no plans to abolish wild cards,” he said. “What we are saying is that the wild card athletes must be of a certain level. Their standard has to be adequate because otherwise it’s unfair on other athletes who are potential medal winners but are left out of their countries’ squads.”

Rogge said all small countries would be asked to submit the names of their potential Olympic athletes two years prior to the Games.

Batistuta looks Qatar-bound

Buenos Aires: Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta is set to sign for Qatari club Al-Arabi, the Argentine press has reported.

Batistuta, 34, finished this season on loan at Inter Milan from AS Roma but is set for a move to the oil-rich gulf state which has already tempted Brazilian veteran striker Romario and former German international Stefan Effenberg, who has signed for Al-Arabi, among other European stars.

“Gabriel hasn’t yet agreed to the move,” his agent Settimio Aloisio told sports daily Ole. “We’re close to completing a deal but there is still a chance he might go to England or Dubai.”

English Premiership club Chelsea are believed to be interested in signing Batistuta, whose 54 goals in 78 appearances make him Argentina’s leading scorer.

Guti doubtful

Madrid: Real Madrid midfielder Guti is doubtful for Spain’s Euro 2004 qualifier against Greece on Saturday after spraining his right ankle.

He suffered the injury on a run around the training pitch at the Spanish squad’s base in Jerez on Tuesday and will sit out training until Thursday, when a decision will be made on his fitness.

“We’ll see how it goes,” said Spanish doctor Genaro Borras. If things go well in the next two days he’ll have a chance of playing.”

n Soccer: Best of Premier League, from 8.30 am on ESPN n Soccer: Spanish League, from 9.00 am on STAR Sports

n Tennis, French Open: Live, from 3.30 pm on TEN Sports n General: Sportsline, live from 7.30 pm on STAR Sports


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