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Since 1st March, 1999
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Wadekar to return award

Mumbai: Former India captain and coach Ajit Wadekar said on Monday that he would be returning the ‘Maharashtra Gaurav’ award conferred upon him by the central government as a mark of protest.

“The government neither intimated me about this award nor asked me for my consent. Besides, I was not even called for the award function,” Wadekar said.

“The award was sent to my residence by the government a few days back,” he claimed, adding that: “In protest against this attitude of the government, I am returning the award”.

China fears $93 million loss

Shanghai: The relocation of the women’s soccer World Cup over SARS fears is likely to cost China more than 1.6 billion yuan ($93 million), far higher than first thought, state press reported on Monday.

The cities of Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu and Hangzhou, where 32 games were to be held from September 23 to October 11, expect to see direct losses of 100 million yuan, Liu Shengjia, an expert with the Central China Normal University, was cited as saying by the Economic Observer.

In addition, the four cities had been expected to pull in World Cup-related tourism revenues of 1.5 billion yuan, said Liu. The China Football Association (CFA) has said it expected $3 million in lost revenue from tickets. It also stands to lose $9 million in revenue from advertising boards surrounding the grounds that were to have hosted World Cup games.

Despite the setbacks, Fifa has assured China that they can host the 2007 women’s World Cup.

Agassi, Serena stay on top

Monaco: Andre Agassi stayed on top of the ATP Tour Champions’ Race, while Roger Federer moved one place up to second, according to the list issued on Monday. Lleyton Hewitt fell out of the top-10 and in 11th place with 181 points.

On the WTA Tour, the top four positions remained the same with Serena Williams leading with 6,552 points.

ATP Champions’ Race Top 10 (previous positions in brackets): 1. (1) Andre Agassi (US, 372 points); 2. (3) Roger Federer (Swi, 311); 3. (2) Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spa, 307); 4. (4) Rainer Schuettler (Ger, 288); 5. (8) Guillermo Coria (Arg, 281); 6. (5) Carlos Moya (Spa, 269); 7. (11) Agustin Calleri (Arg, 214); 8. (6) Felix Mantilla (Spa, 204); 9. (7) Andy Roddick (US, 200); 10. (9) Gustavo Kuerten (Bra, 188).

WTA Top 10 (previous ranking in brackets): 1. (1) Serena Williams (US, 6,552 points); 2. (2) Kim Clijsters (Bel, 4,721); 3. (3) Venus Williams (US, 4,508); 4. (4) Justine Henin-Hardenne (Bel, 3,618); 5. (6) Amelie Mauresmo (Fra, 3,358); 6. (5) Lindsay Davenport (US, 3,304); 7. (7) Jennifer Capriati (US, 2,784); 8. (8) Chanda Rubin (US, 2,490); 9. (9) Daniela Hantuchova (Svk, 2,466); 10. (10) Jelena Dokic (Serbia, 2,238).

Cycling coach pleads guilty

Sydney: A Russian cycling coach pleaded guilty on Monday to importing anabolic steroids into Australia. Andrei Mansourov, 36, pleaded guilty at a Sydney court to importing stanozolol, the drug used by athlete Ben Johnson, after a routine search by customs officers last week.

A rider who was travelling with Mansourov, Elena Chalykh, pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

The case was adjourned until May 27.

Title for Rapid

Bucharest: Rapid Bucharest clinched the Romanian title with two rounds remaining after a 1-1 draw against National Bucharest on Sunday. Rapid sealed the title after their closest rivals, Steaua Bucharest, lost 1-2 to Farul Constanta. It was Rapid’s third title, repeating their efforts from 1968 and 1999.

Barry in squad

London: Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry has been added to the England squad for their next three matches, manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said on Monday. England play South Africa in Durban on Thursday before taking on Serbia-Montenegro in another friendly on June 3 and Slovakia in their next Euro 2004 qualifier on June 11.

Eriksson lost Danny Murphy and Wayne Rooney to injury over the weekend and decided to promote Barry.

Sport on Screen

Basketball, NBA: Western Conference finals, live from 6.30 am on ESPN Tennis: ATP Masters Series, from 4.30 pm on STAR Sports Soccer: Spanish League, from 5.30 pm on STAR Sports n General: Sportline, live from 7.30 pm on STAR Sports

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