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Gopi calls for ‘protection’

New Delhi: India’s Pullela Gopichand, one of badminton’s top names, is calling for world rankings protection to help players making their comeback from injury.

Gopichand, All England champion in 2001, missed the world championships in Birmingham after knee surgery last November, although he resumed training in May. The 29-year-old, among the top 10 two years ago, has slipped to 121 in an injury-plagued career and failed to make the men’s singles competition because he was ranked too low.

“If you are out for four or five months the entire scenario changes. There should be some protection, (some) stabilisation,” he said. Other top names to have been affected include former world No. 1 Peter Gade of Denmark and Indonesia’s H. Hendrawan, world title winner in 2001.

Bacher biography next year

London: Veteran cricket administrator Ali Bacher will recount the “monumental” events of the most extraordinary period in the history of South African cricket in a biography which will hit the stands early next year. The biography is being researched and written by Rodney Hartman, a former sports editor of a leading South African daily and the communications director in Bacher’s team that organised the World Cup in South Africa early this year.

Bacher, also former managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, said he expects the biography to serve as a “historical record”. “I am very fortunate that my life has been richly fulfilling and I have been persuaded to tell my story for the historical record,” Bacher was quoted as saying in a press release here.

United confirm Veron offer

London: Manchester United have confirmed they are considering an official offer from Chelsea for their prized Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron. The admission by United chairman Peter Kenyon in the Mail On Sunday came after a week of denials from coach Alex Ferguson, on tour with the Premiership champions in the United States, that Veron could be on the move to Stamford Bridge.

Kenyon told the paper: “There has now been an official offer from Chelsea for Veron and it is under review. We should be delivering a reply to the bid by Wednesday.”

According to Kenyon, Veron has already agreed personal terms with Chelsea, who reportedly tabled a formal offer last week of around £11 million. A second higher offer has since been made. United are believed to value the player at around £15 million.

Brazilians hoist flag protest

Santo Domingo: Brazil launched an official protest to Pan American Games organisers on Saturday, complaining that the country’s flag used in the opening ceremony the previous evening contained “dreadful mistakes”.

Brazil’s delegation chief Marcus Vinicius Freire criticised the “disrespectful manner in which the Brazilian Flag was treated by COPAN (the local organising committee). He said Brazil had considered boycotting the athletes’ parade during the ceremony but later decided to go ahead .

Brazil’s flag consists of a yellow diamond on a green background with a blue circle in the middle.

It also displays the motto ‘Order and Progress’. In the flag used for the opening ceremony, the three colour elements were out of proportion.

Spurs in swap deal

London: Tottenham Hotspur are set to sign West Ham United’s French striker Frederic Kanoute after agreeing a swap deal with the relegated east London club.

“The club has reached agreement with West Ham for the transfer of Frederic Kanoute, with midfielder Matthew Etherington set to move in the opposite direction,” Spurs said on their official website on Saturday.

Tottenham said they hoped to complete Kanoute’s signing next week.

Cricket, South Africa in England: Second Test, Day IV, from 8.30 am on STAR Sports
Golf, European PGA: Scandinavian Masters, from 10.30 am on TEN Sports
Tennis, ATP Tour: Canadian Masters meet, from 10.30 pm on STAR Sports

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