Wenger stuns Arsenal by quitting after 21 years
Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger is shown in this Thursday, March 8,
2018 file photo. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
London (AP) — Arsene
Wenger is leaving Arsenal after more than 21 years, ending a
revolutionary reign that saw him introduce new methods to the
Premier League and become the club's most successful manager.
While the 68-year-old Frenchman
was able to announce his own departure plans on Friday, the tenure
of English soccer's longest-serving manager will finish at the end
of the season against a backdrop of mounting dissent as the London
club's competitiveness in the Premier League has waned.
Arsenal have failed to win the
Premier League since 2004, but that feat represented the highpoint
of Wenger's career as he became only the second manager to go
through an English league season unbeaten.
The "Invincibles" season, his
third Premier League title, helped shield Wenger against the
critics. But Wenger's power appeared to drain over the last year as
executives trying to shape the future direction of the team were
The new two-year contract that
Wenger signed after winning the FA Cup for a record seventh time
last May will now not be completed.
"After careful consideration
and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time
for me to step down at the end of the season," Wenger said. "I am
grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many
memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and
"I urge our fans to stand
behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take
care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever."
Wenger gathered his players on
Friday morning to tell them he was leaving.
"It's been emotional and there
will be time to digest it but it's a sad feeling right now," Arsenal
captain Per Mertesacker said. "He's the major figure for this club,
more than 20 years, it's been so impressive."
Midfielder Jack Wilshere knows
that better than most players after first entering the club academy
17 years ago.
"We didn't see (his departure)
coming because ... he had another year left on his contract," the
26-year-old Wilshere said. "Ever since I've known about Arsenal,
Arsene has been there.
"I'm sad. I'm a little bit
disappointed that we couldn't give him the season he wanted, but
we've still got a chance to win something so he can leave on a
Even though Arsenal are sixth
in the Premier League, there can still be a successful conclusion to
the season with the team in contention to win the Europa League.
"We need to win it for him
really and get behind him in these last few games to give him the
sendoff he deserves," Wilshere said.
Arsenal's appearance in
Europe's second-tier competition is a sign of the recent demise
under Wenger. Arsenal became accustomed to qualifying for the
Champions League before missing out for the first time in two
decades after finishing fifth last season.
Winning the Europa League is
now Arsenal's only realistic way of Wenger bequeathing his successor
a place next season in the more illustrious Champions League.
SEARCH FOR A SUCCESSOR
With Wenger's footprints all
over the Emirates Stadium, finding a coach to step into the dugout
after a dynastic reign is a challenge. Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke
only has to look at the problems that have afflicted Manchester
United since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after more than 26 years
in charge. United are on their third manger since Ferguson left
after winning a record-extending 20th English title and have not
finished higher than fourth.
Ferguson, who experienced a
heated rivalry with Wenger on the touchline, can now fondly recall
their duels for trophies.
"In an era where football
managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an
achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of
Arsenal," Ferguson said. "I am pleased that he has announced he is
leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off
that he truly deserves."
Among the early contenders to
succeed Wenger are two Germans: Thomas Tuchel, who left Borussia
Dortmund last year, and German national team coach Joachim Loew.
A popular appointment among
Arsenal fans could be Patrick Vieira, who has been gaining coaching
experience in Major League Soccer at New York City FC. The
midfielder was one of Wenger's first signings in 1996 and featured
in all three Premier League title-winning sides.
Wenger took over in October
1996 as Arsenal's first foreign manager on the back of successes at
Monaco and a stint in charge of Japanese club Grampus Eight. He was
a relative unknown but quickly gained respect for helping to
modernize English soccer in the early years of the Premier League,
eradicating Arsenal's drinking culture and introducing new sports
Adding Vieira and French
players Nicolas Anelka, Emmanuel Petit and Thierry Henry helped to
establish Arsenal as an English soccer power until Wenger was
shackled by the financial constraints of the move from Highbury into
the new Emirates Stadium in 2006. It coincided with the rise of
foreign investment in rival clubs, with Russian billionaire Roman
Abramovich transforming Chelsea and Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour
raising the stakes by lavishing even more cash on players at
KROENKE'S BIG DECISION
While Arsenal were taken over
by Kroenke in 2011, the American sports tycoon operated in a
parsimonious financial environment that irritated many supporters.
Now Kroenke, who told The
Associated Press in 2016 that he was "very high on Arsene," has the
tough task of replacing Wenger.
"This is one of the most
difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport," Kroenke
said. "One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was
because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch.
His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the
highest level of the game will never be matched.
"Arsene has unparalleled class
and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal
and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude."
Arsenal said they will make an
appointment "as soon as possible."
"We have high ambitions to
build on Arsene's remarkable tenure and to honor his vision by
ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most
important prizes in the game," Kroenke said. "We must now focus on
making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans
around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of
the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game."
Moriya Jutanugarn leads HUGEL-JTBC LA Open
Moriya Jutanugarn, of Thailand, tees off on the 18th hole during the
second round of the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open golf tournament at Wilshire
Country Club, Friday, April 20in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J.
Los Angeles (AP) —
Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the HUGEL-JTBC
LA Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA
Moriya Jutanugarn shot a
bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to
8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since
"I just want to keep playing my
game," she said. "If it's my time, then it'll turn out good."
The 23-year-old from Thailand
hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation. She started fast with birdies on
the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on
the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.
"The key for this week is just
stay away from the bunkers," she said.
Ariya Jutanugarn has seven tour
victories. She was even par after a second 71.
"I'm trying to beat her all the
time," Moriya Jutanugarn said.
Marina Alex was second after a
"I think it's a nice, fun golf
course," Alex said. "You've got a lot of variation, some short
holes, some long holes. I feel like you hit a lot of different clubs
into greens, whether it's a wedge all the way to — I had a hybrid
yesterday into one of the holes."
So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a
"We're on poa annua greens this
week, so when you're playing in the morning, you actually can have a
purer roll," Ryu said. "I think I was able to trust it more."
Fellow South Korean players
Inbee Park (71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69) were 5 under.
Park, the first-round leader at
66, struggled on the greens in the afternoon.
"Today was just so difficult on
the greens for me," Park said. "Just playing in the afternoon, it's
so much tougher to hole a putt. It's just hard to trust your line
when you know it's just going to bounce everywhere."
Lexi Thompson was 3 under after
Top-ranked Shanshan Feng
followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.
Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over.
Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had
a 79 to miss the cut.
Pacers erase 17-point deficit to take 2-1 lead over Cavs
Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) grabs a rebound in front of
Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love during the first half of Game 3 of
an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Indianapolis,
Friday, April 20. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis (AP) —
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 30 points, leading the Indiana Pacers back
from a 17-point halftime deficit for a 92-90 victory over the
Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night for a 2-1 lead in their
Cleveland was 39-0 during the
regular season when leading after three quarters and kept that
perfect mark intact with a Game 2 win.
The incredible second-half
charge came exactly one year after Indiana blew a 26-point halftime
lead in a historic playoff collapse against the Cavs.
This time, the Pacers delivered
a devastating blow to the three-time defending Eastern Conference
champs — on a night LeBron Jones joined Michael Jordan as the only
players in playoff history to record 100 double-doubles. James
finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to
prevent Cleveland from losing its first game this season after
leading following the third quarter.
The biggest reason for the
After charging back with
striking distance, he completed a four-point play to finally give
the Pacers an 81-77 lead with 6:10 left. Bogdanovic followed that
with another to make it as seven-point game.
Then James answered with the
next seven to tie it.
Bogdanovic came right back with
a layup and another 3 before Thaddeus Young scored to give the
Pacers a 91-84 cushion with 53 seconds left.
James knocked down a 3 to cut
the deficit to four, and the Cavs got another 3 from Kevin Love with
7 seconds left to make it 91-90.
Darren Collison made 1 of 2
free throws with 5 seconds left, giving Cleveland one more chance.
But J.R. Smith's long desperation heave came up short.
Cavaliers: Have lost five of
seven this season to the Pacers and are 0-3 in Indianapolis. ...
Cleveland is now 37-7 in the playoffs against the Eastern Conference
since 2015. ... Love finished with 19 points and six rebounds
despite playing with an injured left thumb. ... James has 12
straight double-doubles against the Pacers. He also played in his
221st career playoff game to move past Kobe Bryant for No. 6 on the
Pacers: Have won only two of
their last seven playoff games against the Cavs. ... Indiana was
11-2 in games decided by three or fewer points this season — the
best winning percentage by a team since the 1979-80 Philadelphia
76ers. ... The Pacers have rallied from deficits of 15 or more
points nine times this season. ... Victor Oladipo had 18 points, six
rebounds and seven assists. ... Thaddeus Young scored 12 points.
Indiana's fans booed the refs loudly throughout
the first half. Then they really got upset after watching Oladipo
crash hard to the floor on the final play of the half.
No foul was called and Oladipo slapped the
floor before getting up and complaining.
If that wasn't enough to upset the crowd, Larry
Nance Jr. walked over and started yelling at Oladipo. That's when
Young stepped in and tried to peacemaker.
Nobody was called for a technical foul.
Game 4 is Sunday at Indianapolis.
Marquez and Rossi bring their MotoGP duel to Texas
Marquez of Spain navigates through a turn during a warm up session
for the Grand Prix of the Americas MotoGP motorcycle race at the
Circuit Of The Americas in Austin, Texas, Friday, April, 20. (AP
Austin, Texas (AP) —
Marc Marquez is reigning MotoGP champion and the most dominant rider
of recent years. Valentino Rossi is of one the most dominant and
popular former champions in the sport's history.
Together, they have the
fiercest rivalry on two wheels, with crashes, kicks and harsh words
in a simmering feud that can erupt at any race.
Given their most recent dustup,
three weeks ago in Argentina when the Italian Rossi called the
Spaniard Marquez a "dirty" rider, the series' return to the track at
the Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas could spark some new
Other riders are starting to
tire of the bickering. Australia's Jack Miller even suggested it is
dangerous for others on the track.
"We are all here racing and
risking our lives," Miller said. "I think it is quite silly and
Rossi, 39, and Marquez, 24,
have won 11 MotoGP championships between them. Rossi's last world
title was in 2009 and Marquez has dominated the recent era with four
championships since 2013. Their nastiest battle came in 2015 when
Rossi appeared to kick Marquez in the Malaysian Grand Prix and sent
him tumbling into a crash that knocked Marquez out of the race.
The kick also cost Rossi a shot
at his eighth MotoGP championship and 10th in all classes as he was
forced to start the final race that season from the back of the grid
as a penalty; he ultimately lost the title to Jorge Lorenzo.
The kick that season was the
lowlight in an already tense sprint to the finish that saw Marquez
even complain that an Italian television comedy crew was harassing
his family late in the season.
The feud had been somewhat
dormant until Marquez's wild race in Argentina. It began with him
frantically trying to restart after his motorcycle stalled on the
starting grid. After disrupting the grid and ignoring orders to go
to the back, Marquez was forced to ride through pit lane after the
race started. He'd been heavily favored and his desperate bid to get
back to the front was chaotic as Marquez first bumped Aleix Espargo
and then knocked Rossi into the grass and out of the race.
Marquez, who was penalized for
both incidents, blamed the touch with Rossi on wet conditions on the
track and finished 18th. Rossi called Marquez a menace who is
"destroying the sport" with his aggressive driving.
"It was a strange race," said
Britain's Cal Crutchlow, who won the race and took the lead in the
season standings. "Not only from my point of view, but what was
going on behind."
Neither rider seemed interested
in fanning the flames ahead of Sunday's race, at least not in their
English language interviews Thursday. Rossi said he is not yet ready
to meet with Marquez to hash things out. He also didn't back off is
post-race comments criticizing Marquez.
"I think exactly what I said
after the race in Argentina," Rossi said. "It's better to look
When asked about Rossi, Marquez
also decided to keep it generic.
"I'm a rider. I like to learn
from everything. From that Sunday, everyone can learn and we'll try
to improve for the future," Marquez said.
Marquez could tamp things down
quickly if he shows the same dominant form he's had over the last
several years at the Circuit of the Americas. The track built for
Formula One cars has been a sweet spot for Marquez as his powerful
Repsol Honda has scarcely been challenged through its s-curves and
long straight. Marquez has won the Texas race the last five years
with a pace that has often left Rossi well back in the distance.
Rossi's Yamaha may still make
it a fight. He finished third in 2015 and second last year, a result
that temporarily put him on top of the season standings. Marquez and
Rossi were 1-2 in Friday's first practice session.
Everyone will be watching for
new clashes this weekend. France's Johann Zarco said the feud
threatens to overtake MotoGP when there is good racing throughout
"We are touching two gods, we
have (Rossi) that is the first god and now Marc is becoming this
other god because he is doing incredible things," Zarco said. "It is
between riders that we must almost speak together and find a
Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with US government
this July 24, 2004, file photo, Lance Armstrong, right, follows
compatriot and teammate Floyd Landis, left, during the 17th stage of
the Tour de France cycling race in the French Alps. (Bernard
Papon/Pool Photo via AP)
Austin, Texas (AP) —
Lance Armstrong reached a $5 million settlement with the federal
government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100
million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record
seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used
performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career.
The deal announced Thursday
came as the two sides prepared for a trial that was scheduled to
start May 7 in Washington. Armstrong's former U.S. Postal Service
teammate Floyd Landis filed the original lawsuit in 2010 and is
eligible for up to 25 percent of the settlement along with attorney
fees paid by Armstrong.
Seeking millions it spent
sponsoring Armstrong's powerhouse teams, the government joined the
lawsuit against Armstrong in 2013 after his televised confession to
Oprah Winfrey to using steroids and other performance-enhancing
drugs and methods. Armstrong had already retired, but the confession
shattered the legacy of one of the most popular sports figures in
In a statement to The
Associated Press, Armstrong said he's happy to have "made peace with
the Postal Service."
"While I believe that their
lawsuit against me was meritless and unfair, and while I am spending
a lot of money to resolve it, I have since 2013 tried to take full
responsibility for my mistakes and inappropriate conduct, and make
amends wherever possible," he said. "I rode my heart out for the
Postal cycling team, and was always especially proud to wear the
red, white and blue eagle on my chest when competing in the Tour de
France. Those memories are very real and mean a lot to me."
The settlement clears the
46-year-old Armstrong of the most damaging legal issues still facing
the cyclist since his downfall. He had already taken huge hits
financially, losing all his major sponsors and being forced to pay
more than $20 million in damages and settlements in a series of
lawsuits. The government's lawsuit would have been the biggest by
"No one is above the law," said
Chad Readler, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice
Department's Civil Division. "This settlement demonstrates that
those who cheat the government will be held accountable."
Landis attorney Paul Scott said
the settlement, while far less than the potential damages, still
holds Armstrong accountable for cheating.
"It's not enough to go on Oprah
and say sorry," Scott said. "Our objective was to hold him
responsible financially in a very real way and this deal
accomplishes that objective."
Armstrong is still believed to
be worth millions based on a vast investment portfolio and homes in
Austin, Texas, and Aspen, Colorado. He also owns a pair of bicycle
shops in Austin and WeDu, an endurance events company. He also hosts
a regular podcast in which he interviews other sports figures and
celebrities and has provided running commentary on the Tour de
Armstrong had built a
world-wide following during his career winning races and fighting
His personal story of
recovering from testicular cancer that had spread to his brain,
while forcefully denying persistent rumors of doping, had built his
Lance Armstrong Foundation cancer charity into a $500 million global
brand and turned him into a celebrity. The foundation, which removed
him from its board and renamed itself Livestrong, has seen donations
and revenue plummet since Armstrong's confession.
Armstrong's team was already
under the Postal Service sponsorship when he won his first Tour de
France in 1999. The media frenzy that followed pushed the agency to
sign the team for another five years. Armstrong and his teams
dominated cycling's marquee event, winning every year from
Armstrong's cheating was
finally uncovered in 2012 when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, armed
with sworn testimony from Landis and other former teammates, moved
to strip Armstrong of his titles.
One of Armstrong's fiercest
critics was frustrated by the settlement. Betsy Andreu, whose
husband Frankie was a former Armstrong teammate, was the first to
testify under oath about his performance-enhancing drug use in a
2005 civil lawsuit.
"It's utterly shocking that the
government settled for so little," Andreu said.
Andreu and her husband were
close with Armstrong when the men were teammates before Andreu
retired in 2000. Armstrong later strenuously denied Betsy's claims
of drug use and tried to publicly discredit her, which succeeded for
years. She wanted the case to go to trial.
"I would have liked to have
been questioned under oath. That's my goal. And whether or not the
jury would have convicted him would have been a different story, but
it would have been nice to have my say under oath. He tried to
destroy me.," Andreu said.
Landis, himself a former doping
cheat who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title, sued
Armstrong under the federal False Claims Act, alleging Armstrong and
his team committed fraud against the government when they cheated
while riding under the Postal Service banner. According to court
records, the contract paid the team, which was operated by Tailwind
Sports Corp., about $32 million from 2000 to 2004. Armstrong got
nearly $13.5 million.
Under the lawsuit, the
government could have pursued "treble" damages, which could have
reached the $100 million range. As the person who filed the original
lawsuit, Landis will receive $1.1 million, Scott said. Armstrong
will also pay $1.65 million to cover Landis' legal fees.
Armstrong had claimed he didn't
owe the Postal Service anything because the agency made far more off
the sponsorship than it paid; Armstrong's lawyers introduced
internal studies for the agency that calculated benefits in media
exposure topping $100 million. The government countered that
Armstrong had been "unjustly enriched" through the sponsorship and
that the negative fallout from the doping scandal tainted the
Armstrong had been the target
of a federal criminal grand jury, but that case was closed without
charges in February 2012. Armstrong had previously tried to settle
the Landis whistleblower lawsuit, but those talks broke down before
the government announced its intention to join the case.
"I am glad to resolve this case
and move forward with my life," Armstrong said. "I'm looking forward
to devoting myself to the many great things in my life — my five
kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film
projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports
and competition. There is a lot to look forward to."
Successive wins for Chelsea, draw not enough for Southampton
Chelsea's Victor Moses, left, and
Burnley's Stephen Ward, challenge for the ball during theit
teams’ English Premier League match at Turf Moor, in Burnley,
Thursday April 19.(Anthony Devlin/PA via AP)
London (AP) — Victor
Moses has not touched the heights he did in Chelsea's Premier
League-winning campaign last season but he was back to his best on
The Nigerian international set
up the first goal and scored the second himself as Chelsea won 2-1
at Burnley to move within five points of London rivals Tottenham,
who occupy the fourth and final Champions League qualification place
with four matches left.
In the night's other match,
Southampton were unable to ease their relegation worries after a 0-0
draw at Leicester.
Chelsea, who meet Southampton
in Sunday's FA Cup semifinal at Wembley eight days after beating the
same opponent 3-2 in the league, took control early on at Burnley
and it came as no surprise when Antonio Conte's men went in front
after 20 minutes.
Moses, who performed so well
last season after being converted from a winger to a fast-raiding
wing-back, was sent galloping clear down the right and when
goalkeeper Nick Pope failed to get a hand on his cross, defender
Kevin Long turned the ball into his own net from close range.
Chelsea fielded two
centre-forwards — Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud — in tandem for
the first time in seven years and the duo linked well.
Morata should have made it 2-0
in the second half when he sprinted clear of the Burnley defence but
the Spain striker missed the target with only Pope to beat and was
soon replaced by substitute Eden Hazard.
The home team made Chelsea pay
for that mistake when Ashley Barnes deflected Johann Berg
Gudmundsson's long-range drive beyond goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in
the 64th minute.
Moses then settled Chelsea
nerves in the 69th minute when he beat the unsighted Pope at his
near post with a firm right-footed shot from 10 meters.
Conte praised the way his two
strikers played together.
"They did a great job," said
Conte. "Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game and sacrificed
themselves for the team. They put great pressure on the ball in
Morata, though, looked
frustrated on the bench when he was taken off.
"Alvaro must be angry because
when you have a chance to score, you have to score," said Conte. "I
think he was very angry with himself for this chance he missed."
Seventh-place Burnley missed
the opportunity to leapfrog Arsenal in the standings but remain in a
good position to qualify for the Europa League.
NO JOY FOR HUGHES
Southampton snapped a
four-match losing run but their 0-0 draw at Leicester did little to
ease the club's relegation fears.
Mark Hughes' team are four
points adrift of fourth from bottom Swansea, who have played one
game fewer, and five behind next-best Crystal Palace.
Dusan Tadic went close for
Southampton early on and the visitors should have done better with
two chances late in the first half.
Cedric Soares missed the target
with a volley from Shane Long's far-post cross before Long failed to
make the most of a potential two-on-one opportunity, misplacing his
pass to Tadic.
The draw halted back-to-back
losses for Leicester, who remain eighth.
Golovkin gets opponent for May 5 fight in Martirosyan
Gennady Golovkin is shown in this Sept. 13, 2017, file photo.
(AP Photo/John Locher)
Carson, Calif. (AP) —
Gennady Golovkin finally has an opponent for his May 5 fight.
The middleweight champion has
found a replacement for Canelo Alvarez, who has been suspended for
six months by the Nevada Athletic Commission for failing two drug
tests. Golovkin will defend his WBC, WBA and IBF titles against
Vanes "The Nightmare" Martirosyan at the StubHub Center.
"Vanes Martirosyan is now the
most important fight of my career. He has my respect and I am
training hard to defend my titles against him," said Golovkin. "I am
happy to be back on HBO and fighting at StubHub Center because they
have great boxing fans. I will give my fans another big drama show."
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 knockouts)
and Alvarez fought to a draw last September, and the rematch was the
most anticipated bout of the year. But Alvarez tested positive for
Should Triple G beat
Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs), the rematch with Alvarez likely will
take place later in the year. Alvarez's promoters say he will return
to the ring in September.
Tom Loeffler, Triple G's
promoter, said extra seats will be added at StubHub Center for the
"Vanes Martirosyan brings a
passionate Armenian fan base from nearby Glendale and an aggressive
style of fighting," Loeffler said. "Best of all, he is ready and
wants the fight. Golovkin vs. Martirosyan will definitely be the
fiesta de resistance of Cinco De Mayo."
Martirosyan has lost three of
his last six fights, including to Erislandy Lara for the WBA super
welterweight crown last May. He has not fought since.
"I'm sparring, I'm on weight,"
Martirosyan recently told the Los Angeles Times. "When they asked me
if I'd take this fight, I said yes. I didn't ask about money at all.
It's a good show for L.A. Cinco De Mayo. Armenians will pack the
place. I have a lot of Mexican fans. I do believe in my heart I'm
going to beat (Golovkin) because he's never fought someone with my
India hopes to host 3 sports events, including 2032 Olympics
President of the Indian Olympic Association
Narinder Dhruv Batra, left, speaks during a press conference with
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach in New
Delhi, India, Thursday, April 19. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
New Delhi (AP) —
The Indian Olympic Association says it will bid for three major
sporting events — the 2026 Youth Olympics, the 2030 Asian Games and
the 2032 Summer Olympics.
The bidding process for the
2026 Youth Olympics is likely to start in 2020. Thailand has also
expressed interest in hosting the event.
Addressing a press conference
Thursday with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach,
IOA President Narindra Batra says he expects fierce competition from
Bach says India has the
capability to host big events but advised it to wait for the bidding
process to start. He said no procedure is currently open for the
2032 Olympic Games or for 2026 Youth Olympics.
Update April 17 -19, 2018
Japan's Yuki Kawauchi surges to win men's Boston Marathon
Yuki Kawauchi, of Japan, wins the 122nd
Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, in Boston. He is the first
Japanese man to win the race since 1987. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Boston (AP) — Yuki Kawauchi seemed like
just another spotlight-seeking, early front-runner when he darted
out to take the lead at the start of Monday's Boston Marathon.
It turns out the veteran Japanese marathoner
saved plenty for the finish, as well.
Kawauchi battled a steady headwind and blinding
wet conditions to surge with a mile to go, overtaking Geoffrey Kirui
to win his first Boston Marathon.
"I've been running for 26 years, and in 26
years this is by far the best day of my life," Kawauchi said
afterward through an interpreter.
Kawauchi crossed the finish line in a time of
2:15:58. He becomes the first Japanese man to win Boston since Seko
Toshihiko took the title in 1987. He is the first Asian runner to
win the race since Korea's Lee Bong-Ju in 2001.
Kawauchi joked that the wind and cold were the
"best conditions possible."
Kenya's Geoffrey Kirui was second in 2:18:23,
followed by American Shadrack Biwott in 2:18:35. Biwott's result
marked a huge day for the American men which placed three runners in
the top 5. It marks the second straight year that six American men
placed in the top 10. Tyler Pennel was fourth (2:18:57) and Andrew
Bumbalough finished fifth (2:19:52).
Meanwhile, the usually strong Kenyan team had
only Kirui in the top 10.
It is the first major title for Kawauchi, who
lists Bill "Boston Billy" Rodgers — a four-time winner of the race
— as one of his mentors. It was also the person who Kawauchi says
encouraged him to run Boston.
The last time a Japanese runner finished on top
of the podium at the Boston Marathon was the same year Kawauchi was
"I can't help but feel the hand of fate in
this," he said.
He's also hoping this can be a watershed moment
for a new generation of runners on a continent that is not known for
"It's been a long time since an Asian has won
here," Kawauchi said. "The level of the sport in Asia is not at its
peak right now. I hope this this will help to turn it around."
Kawauchi sprinted out to an early lead before
falling back. He surged several times during the soggy, windy race
before finally sustaining it late to pass Kirui.
Front-running was one of "several scenarios"
Kawauchi said he considered before the race.
"It played out that way," he said.
Though he had never won a major marathon crown,
the 31-year-old had captured more than 30 marathon titles in career.
He ran 12 marathons in 2017 alone, winning five. He says he runs so
many marathons mostly as a training device, with so few races in his
native Kuki, Saitama, Japan.
In majors, he finished fourth in Tokyo in 2010
and third in 2011 in the same race.
Kirui seemed to be headed for the victory when
he had passed the toughest stretch of Heartbreak Hill at around the
22-mile mark. He was maintaining about a 90-second gap.
"At that point I was trying to control the
race. It was not my plan to push," Kirui said.
It's why he said he was not surprised that
Kawauchi was able to make the move he did in the final few miles.
"The last mile was very tough," Kirui said.
"The legs become stiff so that gave me a challenge."
Kawauchi was in almost a dead sprint when he
passed Kirui with just about three miles to go. He was soon all
alone as Kirui steadily faded.
Biwott nearly got on the podium in last year's
race, finishing fourth. He was fifth in New York in 2016.
He's a native of Kenya, becoming an American
citizen in 2012.
"I can't believe today was the day. But I knew
it was going to happen someday," Biwott said of breaking through
with his first major top 3 finish.
Kawauchi said he doesn't plan to change his
training regimen, even vowing to undertake a preplanned run on
"Maybe one hour," he said.
And how long is that, exactly?
Former champion Tyson Fury to fight again after doping ban
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury talks during a
press conference to announce his return to the ring, in London, Thursday
April 12. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)
London (AP) —
Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is returning to the ring
after a doping ban.
The 29-year-old Briton has signed
with promoter Frank Warren and plans to fight on June 9 at the
Manchester Arena against an opponent who is yet to be revealed.
Fury has not fought since beating
Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to win the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, a
result that shocked boxing and revitalized the heavyweight division.
The British Boxing Board of Control
suspended Fury in 2016 for drug and medical issues, amid a separate U.K.
Anti-Doping investigation. That UKAD case ended in December when the
fighter accepted a backdated two-year doping ban for elevated levels of
nandrolone in urine samples.
Anthony Joshua has now moved to the
pinnacle of heavyweight boxing by becoming the WBA, IBF and WBO belt
"He is a belt carrier for me," Fury
said. "By the time I get ready to fight, it is going to be an easy
fight, no contest. He is looking for one punch all night.
"We all saw the (Joseph) Parker
affair. Anybody who can move a bit and throw a few feints, he struggles
... I will outbox him for a few rounds and then I will knock him out."
Fury wants "to reclaim what is
rightfully mine" from Joshua.
"There are a few people out there
claiming to be the world's best, but I know for a fact they are not,"
Fury said. "Given the right amount of fights, then I don't believe these
guys are going to be much of a match-up for me."
Fury believes the current
heavyweight title holders are "sluggers and wild punchers".
He feels WBC champion Deontay
Wilder is "top of the pile", but maintained with typical bravado: "They
are all vulnerable and very beatable too".
Warren cautioned that Fury would
need three or four fights before being ready to take on the best in the
"Until (other title holders) fight
him," Warren said, "they cannot consider themselves to be the (true)
Nadal wary of saying he's fully recovered from thigh injury
Sunday April 8, 2018 file photo, Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball
to Germany's Alexander Zverev during a World Group quarterfinal Davis
Cup tennis match between Spain and Germany at the bullring in Valencia,
Spain. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
Monaco (AP) — Rafael Nadal
is wary of saying he's fully recovered from a troublesome right thigh
injury as he defends his Monte Carlo Masters title.
The top-ranked Spaniard only
recently returned to action at the Davis Cup, after a recurrence of the
injury forced him out of the Mexico Open and then Masters tournaments at
Indian Wells and Miami last month.
Those setbacks followed his
crushing disappointment at the Australian Open, where he was forced to
retire in the fifth set of the quarterfinal against Marin Cilic.
Nadal had expected to make his
comeback in Acapulco, but the injury flared up again during a last
practice session with French player Adrian Mannarino. Looking back on it
Sunday, the 16-time Grand Slam champion said it was mentally "even
harder than what happened in Australia" because he was so convinced he
"I did all the things the right
way, practicing one week before, to be ready for the tournament and then
it happened," Nadal told reporters. "You're in Acapulco, you fly all the
way ... Then the doctors told me: 'You will not be able to play in
Indian Wells, Miami.' So that was hard to accept."
So was the painstakingly dull
recovery which followed.
"I was unable to do any physical
work because the psoas (muscle) was affecting all the movements I could
do," he said. "It was a boring time because I don't like to be doing
Nadal wasn't bored last weekend,
however, winning both his Davis Cup singles against Germany without
dropping a set. Although he appears to have slotted straight back into
his clay groove, his Acapulco setback leaves him circumspect about
speaking too soon.
"Well it happened twice, so you
never know," he said. "Of course it stays a little bit in your mind."
Nadal begins his bid for a
record-extending 11th Monte Carlo title with a second-round match
against either Aljaz Bedene or Mirza Basic. He needs to win the
tournament or Roger Federer will reclaim top ranking in their seemingly
endless fight for supremacy. They have won the last five Grand Slams,
three for Federer
But with 20-time major winner
Federer again skipping the clay season, Nadal must wait a while longer
to try and avenge a run of five straight defeats to the Swiss star.
He took a swipe, although an
amiable one, at Federer.
"He says he will love to play
against me again in best of five sets on clay, and I thought he would
play Roland Garros," Nadal said, with a wry smile. "A few days later he
says he will not play in one (clay) event, so there's a little bit of
controversy with that."
Nadal's victory at Monte Carlo last
year made him the first men's tennis player in the Open era to win the
same title 10 times. He then won a 10th French Open.
He feels at home at the
picture-postcard tournament with its center court perched over the
glittering Mediterranean sea. The Monte Carlo tournament launched his
career as a scraggly-haired 16-year-old in 2003, although the sun had
long set when he beat defending French Open champion Albert Costa under
floodlights in the second round.
"I always feel good when I am
here," Nadal said. "It's been a love story."
The only Monte Carlo final that the
31-year-old Nadal has lost was to Novak Djokovic in 2013. Djokovic added
another Monte Carlo title in 2015, during his pomp.
But the former top-ranked Serb
looks a shadow of the player he was. Hindered by a persistent right
elbow injury, his ranking has tumbled to 13.
Earlier this month, Djokovic
stopped working with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek — the latest in a
series of coaching changes for the 12-time major champion.
After significant rest during the
second half of last year and a medical procedure in February, Djokovic
spoke confidently of being pain-free — at long last.
Then, he lost his first match at
the Miami Open in straight sets.
Djokovic used to be the player
everyone was chasing. He even beat Nadal during a glorious run of seven
straight finals and holds a 26-24 winning record against him.
They have won a record 30 Masters
each, but Nadal looks the more likely to get No. 31.
Kolkata record emphatic 71-run over Delhi in IPL
Night Riders' Andre Russel hits out during VIVO IPL cricket T20 match
against Delhi Daredevils in Kolkata, India, Monday, April 16. (AP
Kolkata, India (AP) — Nitish
Rana hit an aggressive 59 and Andre Russell smashed 41 off 12 balls as
Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Delhi Daredevils by 71 runs in the Indian
Premier League on Monday.
Thanks to Rana and Russell, Kolkata posted 200-8.
Delhi lost wickets in clusters and were bowled out for
129 in 14.2 overs. Spinners Sunil Narine (3-18) and Kuldeep Yadav (3-32)
finished off the rout.
"The wrist spinners are picked in the IPL for a
purpose. They're doing a good job for us," Kolkata captain Dinesh Karthik
Kolkata earned their second win, while Delhi suffered a
third loss in four games.
After losing the toss and being put in to bat, Kolkata
were given a platform by Robin Uthappa (35) and Chris Lynn (31) at the top
of the order.
Delhi seemed to be in control at 117-4 after Kolkata
lost Karthik on 19 in the 14th over. Then Russell was dropped on 7 by Jason
Roy and Russell took full advantage. He smashed six sixes off Mohammad
Shami's two overs that cost the seamer 42 runs, and Rana completed his
half-century off 30 balls.
Trent Boult, who bowled a first-over maiden to Lynn,
returned and clean bowled Russell with a yorker.
Rana holed out to Gautam Gambhir when he was deceived
by Chris Morris' slower delivery. Rana's 59 off 35 deliveries included five
fours and four sixes.
Delhi legspinner Rahul Tewatia took 3-18, all of his
wickets in the last over.
Delhi's chase stuttered at 24-3.
Glenn Maxwell (47) and Rishabh Pant (43) gave Delhi a
glimmer of hope with a 62-run fourth wicket stand off 33 balls.
But Kolkata came back hard and Delhi lost their last
seven wickets for 43 runs in 5.5 overs.
Yadav hurried the collapse when Pant and Maxwell both
were caught in the deep while going for big shots off the left-arm spinner,
and Narine ran through the tail-enders.
"It's going to be tough against three quality spinners
like theirs," said Gambhir, who switched from Kolkata to lead Delhi.
"We had plans for him (Russell) but when he gets going
it's tough for the bowlers to execute the plans.
"We still have 10 more games, a lot of work to do."
Red Bull's Ricciardo wins Chinese Grand Prix
Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia steers his car on the way to
winning the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International
Circuit in Shanghai, Sunday, April 15. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Shanghai (AP) — Red Bull
driver Daniel Ricciardo yanked off his right shoe, poured champagne into
it as he stood on the podium, and then drank up to his unlikely victory
in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.
The Australian started from the
third row, but took advantage when the safety car came out on the 31st
lap to allow him to get fresh, soft tires when the other leaders were
running on worn rubber and couldn't get in quickly to change.
Ricciardo got quicker and quicker
and took the lead on the 45th lap of the 56-lap race, overtaking
Valtteri Bottas with a dive on the inside past the Mercedes driver.
"A lot of time you only get one
chance, so I make the most of every opportunity," Ricciardo said. "I
don't seem to win boring races. They all are pretty fun, but that was
Bottas called it a "fair" pass and
finished second with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in third.
Ricciardo said he knew he had a
great chance with the fresh rubber. And he knew he got a bit lucky.
"That was obviously giving us a
good little bit of grip on the restart," Ricciardo said. "Once I was
aware we had the pace, I wasn't going to let that slip."
Red Bull's victory leaves the
Formula One season in a scramble after just three races. There's no
clear favorite and plenty of questions.
Mercedes, the power of the last few
seasons, has not won any of the first three races with defending
champion Lewis Hamilton and Bottas at the wheel. Hamilton finished
fourth on Sunday and was never a factor.
Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari won the
first two races in Australia and Bahrain, but failed to capitalize on
his pole position in China. He led for the first 20 laps but fell back,
first due to a pit stop and then after a collision with Red Bull's Max
Verstappen on the 43rd lap. Vettel finished eighth.
Verstappen, who initially finished
fourth, was given a 10-second penalty for his brush with Vettel and
wound up fifth.
Ferrari's Vettel still leads the
season standings with 54 points after three races. Hamilton, the
four-time and defending champion, improved his season points total to
45. Bottas has 40 points in third place and Ricciardo is fourth with 37.
"Saturday and Sunday felt like a
disaster from my side," Hamilton said. "I just haven't had the pace
since yesterday (Saturday), and I struggled with the car."
Bottas acknowledged Mercedes still
"has work to do."
"It's so close between Red Bull,
Ferrari and us," he said. "Just depending on the conditions and whoever
gets the tires and the set up right. It's very close depending on the
Bottas said the race "slipped
"We were going pretty well and we
were looking strong until the safety car," he said. "It kind of felt
like we deserved a victory, but not today. That is racing. These things
Nico Hulkenberg of Renault was
sixth followed by Fernando Alonso of McLaren. Vettel, Carlos Sainz of
Renault and Haas' Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10.
This was Ricciardo's sixth career
win, and his first since a victory a year ago in Azerbaijan, the venue
for the next race in two weeks.
What a difference a week makes.
In Bahrain the previous week,
Ricciardo and Verstappen were out after the first several laps on a
frustrating weekend for Red Bull.
"This sport's crazy," he said. "A
week ago I was with my head down after two laps; frustrated at the
sport, frustrated at all the variables that are involved in the sport.
Sometimes I question why I chose this sport. It does get you down a lot.
But then you have a day like this it's worth all those bad ones."
United lose to West Brom 1-0, gift EPL title to Man City
Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku shows his dejection after the final
whistle of the English Premier League soccer match against West Bromwich
Albion at Old Trafford, Manchester, Sunday April 15. (Nick Potts/PA via
Manchester, England (AP) —
Manchester United gifted the Premier League title to fierce rivals
Manchester City in improbable fashion by losing 1-0 to last-place West
Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
A week after preventing their
neighbors from clinching the title in front of their own fans by
rallying from 2-0 down to win 3-2, United delivered a similarly unlikely
result as managerless West Brom pulled off one of the shocks of the
Jay Rodriguez headed in a
73rd-minute winning goal to seal only a second win since August and
allow City to clinch the title without kicking a ball.
City manager Pep Guardiola might
have rubbed his eyes in disbelief at events at Old Trafford when he
returned from his round of golf with his son. His decision to forego the
match looked justified considering West Brom's dreadful form, but the
visitors easily coped with United's ponderous attacks and looked
dangerous going forward.
West Brom are still nine points
from safety and look destined for relegation. United are now just one
point above third-place Liverpool.
United should have had a first-half
penalty after Craig Dawson caught Ander Herrera, but complacency seeped
in and West Brom showed fight under caretaker boss Darren Moore that has
been sorely lacking this season.
United were too narrow and
predictable, with wide players Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata constantly
cutting inside and leaving the midfield congested. By the hour mark,
Mourinho had brought on attacking players Jesse Lingard and Anthony
Martial for central midfielders Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba but things
didn't really improve.
It wasn't the best day for Romelu
Lukaku against his former club, either.
When his first touch wasn't heavy,
he found Ben Foster an impenetrable barrier as the West Brom goalkeeper
produced impressive saves from Lukaku in each half.
Ultimately, Rodriguez was the
savior for West Brom — and the title-clincher for City.
Just days after the Football
Association announced that a charge of racially abusing Brighton's
Gaetan Bong had been found "not proven," the forward pounced to score
from close range after United midfielder Nemanja Matic headed the ball
back into his own area at a corner.
"Manchester City, we won it for
you," chanted the West Brom fans at the end of a match greeted by jeers
by United supporters.
Mourinho said his players were
"masters in complicated football."
"We couldn't play fast, we couldn't
think fast, everything was complicated," he said. "One more touch to
control the ball, one more flick, one more trick. We always gave them
the opportunity to be solid, compact in the low block with strong
"They always had time to organise
themselves. We wanted to dribble and dribble, and everything was
Double gold for New Zealand at expense of Olympic champions
Zealand's Michaela Blyde, right, and Australia's Ellia Green battle for the
ball during their women's rugby sevens gold medal match at Robina Stadium
during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, Sunday,
April 15. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Gold Coast, Australia (AP) —
Rio revenge, a brain fade and a gripping contest forced into extra time.
New Zealand got some Olympic revenge on
Australia to claim the inaugural Commonwealth Games rugby women's sevens
gold medal with an extra-time win on Sunday. The Kiwis made it a double
within the hour by upsetting Olympic champions Fiji 14-0 in the men's final.
The women's decider was locked 12-12 at
fulltime, and it took until the first passage of extra time for Kelly
Brazier to run the length of field to gift New Zealand the gold 17-12.
In a game littered with what-ifs for
the Australians, Cassie Staples kicked the ball into the crowd while
Australia had possession at full time and within 40 meters of the tryline.
Even New Zealand captain Sarah Goss
made mention of the costly mistake.
"I couldn't believe it. I had no idea
what was going on ... but I am so proud of the girls," Goss said. "It's been
an amazing run over the last eight weeks."
For Australia coach Tim Walsh, it was
the ultimate gatecrash.
Sunday was Walsh's last day as head
coach of a women's team which has raised the national profile of the sport.
"We're devastated ... you can't fault
the effort we put in but we don't like losing," Walsh said. "We know we made
some mistakes, they do happen ... we did well to come back from 12-nil down,
and credit to New Zealand."
Speaking of the intense rivalry with
Australia, New Zealand's Theresa Fitzpatrick said: "They are our biggest
competition and we are just as skilled, the skill level is high for both
teams, it's just about heart."
Charlotte Caslick, one of Australia's
best at these games, didn't come back on in the second half after a head
Australia had already lost co-captain
Sharni Williams, who was ruled out before the semifinals with an injured
The New Zealand men made it a double
celebration by upsetting crowd-favorites Fiji after crossing for two
It was their defense that won the game
— New Zealand captain Scott Currie pulled off a try-saving tackle in the
second half that showcased their tenacity.
An increasingly frustrated Fiji
couldn't find their rhythm in a scoreless second half, a rarity for two
teams so skilled at running the ball.
"We watched the women go into overtime
and their win at the end really inspired us to get the double," said Tim
Mikkelson, who was also part of the New Zealand squad that won gold in New
Delhi in 2010. The New Zealand men celebrated later with a bare-chested haka
on the field.
England got a double, too, beating
Canada 24-19 in the women's bronze-medal match and South Africa 21-14 in the
men's playoff for third spot.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont
timed his run at the Commonwealth Games to announce Fiji was putting in a
bid host a leg of the World Series in the near future.
Oladipo scores 32 points, Pacers stun LeBron, Cavs
Indiana Pacers' Darren Collison (2) passes around Cleveland Cavaliers'
Rodney Hood (1) in the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball
first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 15, in Cleveland. (AP
Cleveland (AP) — Victor
Oladipo scored 32 points and the Indiana Pacers held off Cleveland's
second-half rally for a stunning 98-80 victory Sunday in Game 1 of the
Eastern Conference series, handing LeBron James and the Cavaliers' their
first loss in the opening round in eight years.
Indiana was in control from the
outset, opening a 21-point lead in the first quarter and leading by 23
in the third. The Cavs stormed back and got within seven, but Oladipo
hit a big 3-pointer and Bojan Bogdanovic helped put Cleveland away with
a 3 to make it 88-71.
The Pacers completely outplayed the
three-time defending conference champions, whose turbulent regular
season has carried over into the playoffs.
Game 2 is Wednesday night.
James scored 24 with 12 assists and
10 rebounds for his 20th career triple-double. But James got little help
as Cleveland's four other starters — Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Rodney Hood
and George Hill — combined for 25 points.
This is all new to James, who had
won 21 consecutive first-round games and lost a postseason for the first
time in his 13th playoffs. The 33-year-old is trying to get to his
eighth straight Finals, and already the path is tougher than imagined.
Cleveland had won 14 straight
first-round games, last losing on April 22, 2010, the last season of
James' first stint with the Cavs. Indiana was swept by Cleveland in last
year's opening round.
CELTICS 113, BUCKS 107, OT
BOSTON (AP) — Al Horford had 24
points and 12 rebounds and Boston overcame Khris Middleton's long 3 that
beat the fourth-quarter buzzer to top Milwaukee in Game 1 of the Eastern
The Celtics led 99-96 with 0.5
seconds left in regulation when Middleton took an inbounds pass on the
far right wing and hit a contested 35-footer.
Terry Rozier added 23 points, four
rebounds and three assists for Boston in his first career playoff start.
Jaylen Brown finished with 20 points, and rookie Jayson Tatum added 19
points and 10 rebounds.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks
with 35 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists before fouling out in
overtime. Middleton had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Boston.
THUNDER 116, JAZZ 108
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Paul George
scored 36 points to help Oklahoma City beat Utah in Game 1 of the
Western Conference series.
George set an Oklahoma City playoff
record with eight 3-pointers, blowing past the previous record of five.
He made 8 of 11 shots from long range, and 13 of 20 shots overall. It
was his first playoff game with the Thunder since being acquired in a
trade with Indiana in the offseason.
Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 13
rebounds and eight assists, and Carmelo Anthony added 15 points for the
Thunder Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell had 27 points and 10 rebounds, but
he left in the second half with left foot soreness. He returned in the
fourth quarter but was noticeably hobbling.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in
Hamilton quickest in both practice sessions for Chinese GP
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain gets into his car during the
first practice session for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the
Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, Friday, April 13. (AP
Shanghai (AP) — Defending
Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both practice
sessions on Friday for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Englishman has won five times
in China — including last year — and will be looking for his first
victory of the season on Sunday. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel won the
first two races in Australia and Bahrain.
Hamilton of Mercedes clocked 1
minute, 33.999 seconds in the morning on the 5.451-kilometer circuit. In
the afternoon he was slightly quicker with a time of 1:33.482.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen was
the second quickest in both sessions, and in the afternoon he was only
0.007 behind Hamilton. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was third in
Vettel was sixth in the first
session, but moved up to fourth in the second.
Hamilton has dominated in a decade
of racing in China. In addition to five victories, he's taken pole six
times in 11 attempts.
A light rain coated the track in
the final minutes of the second session. The first session was dry
despite the threat of rain on a chilly, windy day.
Rain is forecast for Saturday
qualifying, with race day expected to be dry.
Semenya clinches distance double at Commonwealth Games
South Africa's Caster Semenya competes in the woman's 800m final at
Carrara Stadium during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast,
Australia, Friday, April 13. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Gold Coast, Australia (AP) —
The world record has stood since 1983. As far as Caster Semenya is
concerned, it can wait a few more months.
Semenya won her favored 800 meters
in a Commonwealth Games record of 1 minute, 56.68 seconds on Friday
night to complete a middle-distance double on the Gold Coast.
The two-time Olympic 800 champion
won the 1,500 earlier in a games record time, too, and wanted to enjoy
the moment. She went close to the double at the world championships last
year, finishing with gold in the 800 and bronze in the longer race.
After her convincing win, questions
turned — as they inevitably do for Semenya — to the world record of
1:53.28 set by Jarmila Kratochvilova 35 years ago.
"I'm still young — just turned 27.
Still want to have three, four ... months before I decide if I want a
world record or not," she said. "Obviously it's not that much important
at the moment. What's important now is to be able to win every race that
For now, that means winning the
800-1,500 double at every major championship right through to the Tokyo
2020 Olympics. After that, who knows?
"We need to run four championships
in doubles and then decide if we still have speed for the 800," she
said. "If we do, we continue with 800. If not, we go further. We have
5,000 and 10k — I believe I can still do better in future.
"I feel I can fit into distance
running. For me, this is more than a game."
After Semenya's double over the
middle distance, Joshua Cheptegei completed a longer distance-double for
Uganda, adding the 10,000-meter title in a games record 27:19.62 to go
with his earlier win in the 5,000.
New Zealanders flocked to the
Carrara Stadium hoping for two gold medals, with Valerie Adams targeting
a fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games title in the shot put and Eliza
McCartney among the favorites in the women's pole vault. They both
finished with silver.
Canada's Alysha Newman set a games
record 4.75 meters to win the pole vault, beating McCartney by 5
Jamaica's Danniel Thomas-Dodd's
last shot of 19.36 was good enough for gold, breaking a tie with Adams
The 33-year-old Adams, coming back
to competition for the first time since having her first child last
year, said having her family and baby in the crowd helped give her
"It's been an amazing six months of
my life," she said. "Today I left my heart out there. It was a great
fight — Danniel deserved to win. She threw a massive throw, she's young
and strong and in shape."
After her event, Adams went to the
stands to hug her daughter, Kimoana, and her family. The two-time
Olympic champion said she'll consult with her family before deciding on
whether to keep training for Tokyo.
"I can't be selfish anymore, it's
not just me," Adams said. "If anyone asked me if I was going to be
competing with a child, not at all, I could never see myself coming
back. But it's possible. That gives you perspective on life."
The night's last event, the women's
100-meter hurdles, was expected to be Australia's moment. World and
former Olympic champion Sally Pearson featured in all the promotional
material as the local girl at the game, but withdrew before the program
started with an injury.
With Pearson watching in the
stadium, Oluwatobiloba Amusan of Nigeria won in a meet record 12.68 from
Jamaicans Danielle Williams and Yanique Thompson.
After competing in seven
disciplines in two days, England's Katarina Johnson-Thompson won the
heptathlon with 6,255 points, a margin of 122 over silver-medalist Nina
Schultz of Canada.
In a dramatic finish in the
3,000-meter steeplechase, Olympic and world champion Conseslus Kipruto
won in a meet record 8 minutes, 10.08 seconds to lead a sixth
consecutive Kenyan sweep of the medals in that event at the Commonwealth
Urging his teammates on as he moved
into lane two coming out of the final curve, Kipruto started his
celebrations halfway down the last stretch and was followed in by
Canada's Matthew Hughes was in
strong position for a bronze to break Kenya's monopoly of the medals
but, despite a desperate dive across the finish line, he couldn't hold
off the fast finishing Amos Kirui.
Hughes ended on his hands and
knees, exhausted and frustrated again. Hughes was fourth at Glasgow four
years ago as well.
"I've never done that before in my
entire life — it was instinct," Hughes said of his dive. "I'm sick and
tired of coming here ... my mentality was rewrite the script — the
Kenyans just come in here and do whatever they want and nobody tries to
mess up their plans."
Frustrated Golovkin struggling to book Canelo replacement
This Sept. 17, 2017 file photo shows Canelo Alvarez, right, and
Gennady Golovkin during their middleweight title fight in Las Vegas. (AP
Los Angeles (AP) — Gennady
Golovkin is growing frustrated with boxing's sanctioning bodies while he
struggles to find a replacement opponent for Canelo Alvarez on May 5.
Golovkin and his promoter and
trainer appeared in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday to announce they
still haven't found a suitable replacement, and time is running out.
"I'm hungry," said Golovkin, who
turned 36 years old last Sunday. "Just give me a fight."
The unbeaten middleweight
champion's rematch with Alvarez in Las Vegas fell through after the
Mexican star failed a doping test in February and finally withdrew from
the bout last week.
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) is still
in training for a fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend, but he doesn't appear
to be much closer to finding a suitable opponent for what would be his
20th defense of his 160-pound titles.
Promoter Tom Loeffler believes he
must finalize a deal by "the middle of next week" to stage a bout on a
traditionally huge date for boxing.
"At some point, we're going to run
out of time," Loeffler said. "Right now, it's three weeks from Saturday.
The arenas are all still working with us. The networks are working with
us. ... Unfortunately, when you have fights like this that fall out, not
everything is under our control. We're under the gun now just to save
Loeffler said he has worked
extensively to reach a deal with a new opponent while still keeping
happy all three sanctioning bodies behind Golovkin's middleweight belts
— a nearly impossible chore in the fractious world of prizefighting.
Although Loeffler repeatedly
declined to go into extensive details about the obstacles in place,
Golovkin is determined to avoid being stripped of any titles by the
Unlike Floyd Mayweather and other
champions who view title belts as relatively unimportant, Golovkin
prizes his reign as a decorated champion after he fought in Europe for
years without attention or title belts. After concluding his lucrative
business with Alvarez, Golovkin's ultimate dream is to fight Britain's
Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO middleweight title, the only one he
doesn't hold among the four major sanctioning bodies.
With that mandate from his
champion, Loeffler is having trouble reconciling the desires of the IBF,
WBA and WBC in finding a replacement for Alvarez. The IBF is
particularly strident in its opposition to any opponent except mandatory
challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
While Golovkin would be willing to
fight the little-known Ukrainian contender, Loeffler believes the
matchup would be much less lucrative than other potential matchups.
"If we had enough time, we could
promote that bout," Loeffler said. "It would be much more difficult in a
short period of time like we have right now."
Irish contender Gary "Spike"
O'Sullivan, Jermell Charlo and former U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan
all have been discussed for the bout. Martirosyan seems to be the most
likely candidate, with the boxers probably fighting in the famed outdoor
ring in Carson, California, but Loeffler hasn't closed the deal.
"I'm a little disappointed because
there's no opponent," said Golovkin's trainer, Abel Sanchez. "We're on
schedule for our May 5 fight. ... I think the fans are clamoring just to
see him fight somebody. Hopefully none of the people and the
organizations trying to get in the way are going to be able to."
While Golovkin wants to keep busy,
he also has his eyes on the future. If Canelo's potential suspension is
only a six-month ban after his meeting with the Nevada Athletic
Commission on April 18, Golovkin and Alvarez probably could meet in
September near Mexico's Independence Day, another traditionally big
weekend for boxing.
"This is one of the longest layoffs
of his career," Loeffler said of Golovkin. "We think it's patently
unfair that he doesn't fight just because Canelo is suspended."
Madrid-Bayern, Liverpool-Roma in Champions League semifinals
Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kiev, left, and Former Ukrainian soccer
player Andriy Shevchenko, right, pose with the Champions league trophy
after the semifinal draw of the UEFA Champions League 2017/18, at the
UEFA Headquarters, in Nyon, Switzerland, Friday, April 13.
(Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)
Nyon, Switzerland (AP) — A
Champions League semifinal draw steeped in the competition's rich
history paired Real Madrid and Bayern Munich on Friday, and then matched
Liverpool with Roma.
Two-time defending champions Madrid
will first play Bayern in Munich on April 25 in a clash of powerhouse
clubs with a combined 17 European titles.
"It's clear who are favorites.
We're up against the Champions League winners," Bayern chairman
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Madrid and Bayern have never met in
the final — despite a combined 25 appearances in the 63-year-old
competition's title game — but this will be their seventh semifinal
In contrast, Liverpool and Roma
played in the 1984 final, the only other season in which the Italian
club advanced as far as the semifinals. Liverpool won that match in the
Italian club's Olympic Stadium home.
Anfield will stage the first leg on
April 24, when Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will reunite with the
Roma teammates he left last June in a 42 million euro ($50 million)
"Everybody knows how big Mo's
impact on our season has been," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said in
comments published on the club's website. "Where would they (Roma) be if
Mo was still there?"
The pairing of American-owned clubs
pits a Liverpool team tied to the Boston Red Sox against Roma president
James Pallotta, who has a stake in the Boston Celtics.
Both return games will be played
the following week. The final is scheduled for May 26 at the Olympic
Stadium in Kiev. The Ukrainian city's mayor, former world heavyweight
boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, was at UEFA headquarters Friday for
Madrid, seeking a record-extending
13th European title, are in the semifinals for the eighth straight year.
That run has included three titles and four losses at the semifinal
stage, including to Bayern in 2012 on penalties in Madrid.
Bayern, five-time champions, also
eliminated Madrid in the semifinals of 1976, 1987 and 2001.
Madrid beat a Bayern team coached
by Pep Guardiola home and away in the 2014 semifinals, and also won
their 2000 semifinal matchup.
A Champions League final for Bayern
would be a fitting end to coach Jupp Heynckes' career with the German
champions, who announced Friday they had hired Niko Kovac to take over
Heynckes came out of retirement in
October after Bayern's faltering start to the season led to Carlo
Ancelotti leaving as coach.
Bayern have not been to a Champions
League final since 2013, beating a Klopp-coached Borussia Dortmund in
what was also a last game for Heynckes before his first retirement.
Heynckes also coached Madrid to the title in 1998 — another
trophy-winning farewell before he was fired.
Liverpool won the first of their
five European titles in Rome in 1977, and got their fourth seven years
later by beating Roma in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw. This will
be their first Champions League semifinal match since 2008, when they
lost to Chelsea.
This season, Liverpool are the only
unbeaten team despite playing the most games, 12, after coming through
the playoff round in August. The competition's top-scoring team added
five goals to their tally by beating favored Manchester City in the
"Liverpool have made a statement
like we did," said Roma captain Daniele De Rossi, who scored in the
surprising 3-0 win over Barcelona on Tuesday to overturn a 4-1 first-leg
Roma also advanced on the
away-goals rule in the last 16 against Shakhtar Donetsk, first losing
the away leg then shutting out their opponent in a home win. For the
third straight round, Roma start on the road.
Also Friday, Arsenal were drawn to
face Atletico Madrid and Marseille were chosen to play Salzburg in the
Europa League semifinals.
The first legs will be played on
April 26, with the return games on May 3. The final will be played on
May 16 in Lyon, France, and the champions will get direct entry into
next season's Champions League.
Surprises highlight big night at Commonwealth Games track
England's Zharnel Hughes, left, and Trinidad and Tobago's Jereem
Richards cross the finish line together in the men's 200m final at
Carrara Stadium during the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast,
Australia, Thursday, April 12. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Gold Coast, Australia (AP) —
The expected duel between Olympic champions was a lopsided contest, with
Shaunae Miller-Uibo winning the women's 200 meters in a Commonwealth
Games record and Elaine Thompson missing out on a medal.
Zharnel Hughes thought he'd won the
men's 200 but he missed out on a medal, too. Hughes was given
provisional first place in a photo finish with Jareem Richardson when
they crossed in 20.12, but Hughes was later disqualified.
Hughes and world championship
bronze medalist Richardson were in adjacent lanes and their arms
collided only meters from the finish line.
Richardson, who was inside Hughes
and closing in on him quickly down the straight, appeared to be impeded,
but didn't know he'd been awarded the win until the pair had completed a
lap of honor. A later protest by Hughes was rejected by officials.
"He definitely saw me coming
because he broke up when I was coming up on him and I felt his arm hit
me across my chest," Richardson said. "I feel for him. To see somebody
who is a track and field friend lose a medal is not a good feeling, but
also I gained a gold medal from that. I'm thankful, but I feel for his
Aaron Brown of Canada took silver
in 20.34 and Northern Ireland's Leon Reid moved into third.
It was a second gold of the meet
for Trinidad and Tobago, after Michelle-Lee Ahye won the women's 100
title and relegated Jamaicans to silver and bronze.
Watching it all was eight-time
Olympic champion Usain Bolt, now retired but at the Carrara Stadium to
present the medals to the women's 200-meters champion. Many expected him
to be draping the gold medal over the neck of fellow Jamaican Thompson,
who won the 100-200 double in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Instead it was Miller-Uibo, who won
the Olympic 400-meter title with a memorable diving finish, who won the
women's 200 title in 22.09, taking 0.11 off the games record set by
another Bahamas sprinter, Debbie Ferguson, in 2002.
Shericka Jackson of Jamaica took
silver in 22.18 and Dina Asher-Smith of England was third in 22.29,
fractionally ahead of Thompson.
"Me and Eileen, we compete a lot.
She's a great competitor. It's early in the season, so a lot of people
weren't in too great shape, but I think we put on a great show for the
crowd," Miller-Uibo said.
She was surprised that Thompson
didn't finish on the podium.
"Of course it's a little shocking,
but ... anything can happen in the summer."
Earlier, Kyron McMaster won the
400-meter hurdles gold medal to give the British Virgin Islands its
first medal ever at the Commonwealth Games.
He won in 48.25 seconds from
Jeffrey Gibson of the Bahamas and Jaheel Hyde of Jamaica. McMaster
dedicated the title to his former coach Xavier "Dag" Samuels, who died
last year when Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean.
McMaster had the word "Guidance"
tattooed onto his left biceps and printed on the wristband on his right
arm as a tribute to Samuels.
"Tonight the gold meant a lot to
the country, but I did what my coach would have wanted me to, go out
there and run my race," McMaster said. "He's with me everywhere I go."
The first gold medal of the night
went to Jamaica, with Janieve Russell winning the women's 400-meter
Canada's Christabel Nettey won the
women's long jump with a leading mark of 6.84 meters and Wycliffe
Kinyamal won Kenya's first gold medal of the games with victory in the
800 meters in 1:45.11, holding off Kyle Langford of England.
Australia picked up gold medals in
the pole vault and the women's discus.
Kurtis Marschall cleared 5.70
meters on his third and final attempt to edge Canada's Shawn Barber.
Dani Stevens broke a 20-year-old games record to win the women's discus
in with a best throw of 68.92 meters.
Arsenal overcome Europa scare, Salzburg stage fightback
CSKA's Aleksandr Golovin, right, battles for the ball with
Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey during the Europa League quarter final, second
leg soccer match between CSKA Moscow and Arsenal at the CSKA Arena,
Moscow, Thursday, April 12. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Moscow (AP) — Arsenal
overcame a scare against CSKA Moscow Thursday to reach the Europa League
semifinals, while Salzburg staged a stunning comeback to knock Lazio out
with four goals in a 20-minute burst.
Played at a time of growing
political tension between the Russian and British governments, there was
no sign of trouble on the streets outside the VEB Arena in Moscow.
CSKA went 2-0 up to put Arsenal
under pressure but the London club hit back to draw 2-2 on the night and
progress 6-3 on aggregate.
Lazio seemed poised to clinch a
place in the last four when Ciro Immobile struck in the 55th minute to
give the Italian team a 5-2 advantage on aggregate.
Salzburg, though, produced a
spectacular recovery to become the first Austrian team to reach the
semifinals of the competition in its current form.
Marseille also qualified after
losing the first leg, beating Leipzig 5-2 to win 5-3 overall, while
Atletico Madrid lost 1-0 at Sporting Lisbon but scraped through 2-1 on
Thursday's Europa League fixtures
continued a week of dramatic Champions League comebacks, after Roma beat
Barcelona and Juventus came close to knocking out Real Madrid.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said
it was a sign European competition is becoming more evenly matched. "The
games are very open and everything is possible in every game," he said.
The Europa League semifinal draw
will be on Friday.
It's playoff time: The NBA's first-round pairings are set
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook goes to the basket during
the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies
in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 11. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Miami (AP) — The NBA
playoffs that start this weekend already have an extremely tough act to
The regular season ended with a
Wednesday's final night of the
regular season was well beyond dramatic — an overtime game between
Minnesota and Denver to decide the last berth, another overtime game
between Miami and Toronto to determine some East fates, a 46-point first
quarter by Philadelphia , an absurd 20-rebound, 19-assist night from
And now, the best time of the NBA
year is finally here.
The playoffs are back, with Golden
State and Cleveland — who've met in the last three NBA Finals — not
exactly looking like the overwhelming favorites the league has come to
expect. A fourth straight Warriors-Cavs matchup is no guarantee. A
fourth straight trip by either of those teams alone is far from certain,
It all starts Saturday, the 16-team
tournament that will be a two-month grind following the six-month grind
of the regular season.
"I feel pretty ready," Toronto
guard Kyle Lowry said. "We're ready to go."
So are 15 other teams.
Start with the East pairings: Lowry
and the top-seeded Raptors play No. 8 Washington, No. 2 Boston faces No.
7 Milwaukee, No. 3 Philadelphia gets No. 6 Miami and No. 4 Cleveland —
with LeBron James bidding for an eighth consecutive appearance in The
Finals — opening against No. 5 Indiana, a surprise team at the start of
the season and one that isn't a surprise anymore.
"We're one of 16 teams that have a
chance to win a championship," James said. "That's all you can ask for."
Philadelphia, after years of the
rebuilding saga known as "The Process," has a chance as well. The 76ers
are going into the playoffs on a 16-game winning streak.
"Take a deep breath, then reload,"
76ers coach Brett Brown said, talking about what he wants his team to do
before getting ready for Game 1.
Out West, it's No. 1 Houston
meeting No. 8 Minnesota — which earned its berth by topping Denver in
the NBA's first win-and-get-in, lose-and-go-home regular-season finale
in 21 years. No. 2 Golden State opens its quest for a third championship
in four seasons against No. 7 San Antonio, No. 3 Portland drew No. 6 New
Orleans and No. 4 Oklahoma City opens against No. 5 Utah.
"The playoffs are about moments,
and you just want a chance to have those moments," Miami guard Dwyane
For the Timberwolves, Wednesday was
a moment in itself. They needed overtime to beat the Nuggets and get
into the postseason. It's Minnesota's first berth since 2004, and ended
what was the NBA's longest playoff drought (which now is bequeathed to
the Sacramento Kings, who last played a playoff game in 2006).
"They just made the plays at the
end," Denver's Will Barton said of the Timberwolves. "Give them credit."
There are some rematches from the
2017 playoffs already waiting. Cleveland swept Indiana in the first
round last year, and Boston needed seven games to oust Washington in a
thrilling East semifinal series.
But the most intriguing should be
the Golden State-San Antonio matchup — because once again, just like a
year ago, the Spurs will almost certainly be without Leonard.
Those two teams played in the West
finals last season, and the Spurs were up by 23 points when Leonard left
in the third quarter after getting injured on a play where he tried a
jumper and Warriors center Zaza Pachulia closed out aggressively.
Leonard got hurt when he stepped on Pachulia on the landing; he and the
Spurs haven't been the same since.
Leonard never returned to that
series, and played in only nine games for the Spurs this season.
"There is no pressure on us," Spurs
star LaMarcus Aldridge said.
There is on Golden State.
The Warriors are trying for a third
title in four seasons, and will play this first round more than likely
without Curry while he continues recovering from a knee injury. Golden
State went 7-10 in its final 17 games, and clearly sputtered across the
But the records all reset now, and
the Warriors have been waiting to get the postseason started.
"It'll be our first meaningful game
in about a month," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Looking forward to
With good reason. There's a trophy
to go chase now.
Verstappen, Hamilton ready tangle again in Chinese GP
Red Bull driver Max
Verstappen of the Netherlands pauses during a press conference at the
Shanghai International Circuit ahead of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix
in Shanghai, Thursday, April 12. (AP Photo/Andy Wong).
Shanghai (AP) — Get set for Max
Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton to tangle again in the Chinese Grand Prix.
Last Sunday in Bahrain, Verstappen
tried to squeeze by Hamilton at the start of only the second lap. But their
cars clipped each other and the Dutchman, well known for taking risks and
pushing the envelope, wound up with a punctured tire and was forced to
Hamilton got the better of it and
managed to finish third.
But the four-time champion — and
defending champion with Mercedes — was not happy. Hamilton called Verstappen
an expletive after the race and suggested the 20-year-old Red Bull driver
lacked maturity and respect for others.
"I went through that stuff when I was a
young guy," the 33-year-old Hamilton said a few days ago. "So I know how it
is. And it's easy to also get ahead of yourself and forget also the respect
for the other guys.
"I just hope he's learning from
whatever situation he's going through," Hamilton added.
Verstappen didn't back down on Thursday
in Shanghai and defended his driving. He said Hamilton was making him a
"It's quite simple and easy to blame
the younger driver," Verstappen said. "That's the only way I can see it.
Like I said, those things happen. There's no reason for me to change
"That's racing," Verstappen added.
"Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. You can say whatever you like
about the incident. I had a fair shot at it. It was nothing crazy, nothing
risky. Unfortunately this time it didn't work out."
Verstappen said he had not talked with
Hamilton since the incident. He said he might, but only "if it's really
Just a few minutes after he said that,
the two shook hands in the paddock with some form of apology exchanged.
But that won't lessen the tension on
Neither Verstappen nor Hamilton have
had perfect starts as the young season enters the third race. Ferrari driver
Sebastian Vettel has won the first two races with Hamilton second in
Australia and third in Bahrain.
Verstappen and Red Bull teammate Daniel
Ricciardo both retired early last weekend in Bahrain, and they both had
off-the-podium finishes in Australia: Ricciardo was fourth and Verstappen
The Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday offers
a chance for a turnaround, particularly for Verstappen, who finished third
in China a year ago.
"I'm just looking forward to getting
started again here because I think we have a good package and have a lot of
promising things coming," Verstappen said.
Hamilton is probably the favorite to
win on Sunday in China. In 11 races at the Shanghai circuit, he's won five
times — three of the last four races, including last year — and has claimed
the pole six times.
Rain is possible for practice during
qualifying on Friday and Saturday, but race day should be dry and chilly.
Only three other drivers on the grid
have ever won on the Shanghai circuit: Fernando Alonso (2013 and 2005),
Vettel (2009) and Kimi Raikkonen (2007).
Verstappen was the youthful promise
when — at 17 in 2015 — he became the youngest driver to race in Formula One.
The next season at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Dutchman became the youngest
to win a race.
But he also started slowly last season,
retiring in seven of the first 14 races. The only bright spot early was his
podium in China.
Asked if he'd be more conservative in
China, Verstappen said "there won't be a change."
"We gave each other, maybe not enough
space (in Bahrain)," he said, "but that's racing."