New Zealand rallyist dies
Wellington: New Zealand rally driver Peter ‘Possum’ Bourne died on Wednesday, a week and a half after suffering severe head injuries in a crash, his family said. Bourne had been in a drug-induced coma in Dunedin Hospital since the accident but his family decided on Monday that keeping him on life support was no longer in his best interests after the full impact of his injury became apparent.
In a brief statement Bourne’s family said he had died peacefully early on Wednesday morning. Bourne, 47, was injured in a head-on collision while checking a hill-climb racecourse on April 18. He was a three-time Asia-Pacific champion and seven-time Australian rally winner.
Arsenal gunning for trader
London: English soccer champions Arsenal launched a new court battle on Wednesday against a London street trader who has irked the club for three decades by selling unofficial merchandise outside its ground.
Arsenal has appealed a decision by one of Britain’s top judges last year giving trader Matthew Reed permission to keep selling unofficial Gunners merchandise in defiance of an earlier European Court of Justice ruling ordering him to stop. The appeal is the latest in a series of court cases involving Arsenal and Reed and the big-money business of sports merchandise.
Spanish cyclist banned
Paris: Spaniard Igor Gonzalez-Galdeano, fifth in last year’s Tour de France, has been banned for six months after a positive dope test and will miss this year’s race. France’s council for prevention and fight against doping (CPLD) decided to suspend the ONCE team leader after traces of the banned drug salbutamol were found in his urine following a doping test in last year’s Tour. The international cycling union (UCI) cleared Gonzalez-Galdeano saying the Spaniard had a medical prescription to use the drug Ventoline, which contains salbutamol, as an asthma treatment.
However, the CPLD ruled that the quantity of 1,360 nanograms found in Gonzalez-Galdeano’s urine was over the limit accepted for therapy.
FA holds back on Turkey tickets
London: England’s FA is almost certain not to take up its allocation of tickets for October’s Euro 2004 qualifier in Turkey because of safety fears, FA officials said on Wednesday.
Trouble flared this month in a qualifier against Turkey in Sunderland, for which England face disciplinary action from Uefa.
The safety concerns are also based on the deaths of two Leeds United fans in Istanbul during clashes in 2000 before a Uefa Cup tie against Galatasaray.
After talking to supporters’ groups, police and lawyers, FA officials say they do not want their allocation of 3,000 to 6,000 tickets. Their recommendation now needs to be rubber-stamped by an FA board meeting next week.
The October 11 match, at a venue yet to finalised by Turkey, will be England’s last of the qualifying campaign for the 2004 championship in Portugal.
Sheffield: Mark Williams claimed the first semi-final spot at the world snooker championship after completing a 13-7 win over Stephen Hendry on Wednesday.
The 1997 champion Ken Doherty then held off a comeback from John Higgins, who was 0-10 down at one stage, to book his place in the last four with a 13-8 win.
The victory also saw Williams reclaim the world No.1 spot from Ronnie O’Sullivan.
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