...and abroad

Townsville Bulletin - - Weekend Extra / Sportsweek -

UK— Ful­ham boss Chris Cole­man ad­mit­ted he was mys­ti­fied when hard­man Zat Knight blamed his bro­ken jaw on some bizarre preChrist­mas ‘fool­ing around’ with his brother. The curious in­ci­dent ruled the twice-capped Eng­land cen­tre-half out of Satur­day’s goal­less draw against West Ham and left him with lit­tle hope of play­ing again for a fur­ther two months. US — Hous­ton’s Yao Ming will miss at least the next six weeks of the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion sea­son af­ter frac­tur­ing his right knee this week in a 98-93 loss to the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers. The Chi­nese cen­tre, hav­ing the great­est sea­son of his ca­reer, ranks eighth among NBA scor­ers with 26.8 points. He also leads the Rock­ets with 9.7 re­bounds and 2.3 blocks a game and is also the team’s most ac­cu­rate shooter. Yao is un­likely to re­turn be­fore the NBA All-Star Game, mean­ing he will al­most cer­tainly miss the event for the first time in his NBA ca­reer. BRAZIL — Ronald­inho cried dur­ing this week’s in­au­gu­ra­tion of a soc­cer school for needy chil­dren he’s bankrolling in his south­east­ern Brazil­ian home­town. Ronald­inho, the two-time world player of the year, was born in a Porto Ale­gre shan­ty­town. His Ronald­inho Gau­cho In­sti­tute will serve as many as 3500 chil­dren af­ter it of­fi­cially opens in March. While soc­cer will be em­pha­sised, other sports will also be of­fered, along with classes in theatre, dance, lan­guages and com­puter science. UAE — United Arab Emi­rates rulers asked a US fed­eral judge to dis­miss a law­suit seek­ing dam­ages for thou­sands of chil­dren forced to be­come jock­eys for camel races, ar­gu­ing that the is­sue is be­ing fully ad­dressed and that US courts have no ju­ris­dic­tion. The na­tion started a pro­gram last year in con­junc­tion with UNICEF to com­pen­sate and repa­tri­ate young jock­eys to their home coun­tries, pri­mar­ily Pak­istan, Bangladesh, Su­dan and Mau­ri­ta­nia, the court pa­pers said. FRANCE — Win­ning a first French Open ti­tle and a fifth-straight Wim­ble­don crown are among Roger Fed­erer’s res­o­lu­tions for 2007. ‘‘(Win­ning the) French Open will def­i­nitely be a dream come true but on top of the list there is al­ways Wim­ble­don and stay­ing No.1,’’ Fed­erer said. ‘‘Th­ese are the ones that changed my life and made me the player and per­son I am to­day.’’ Fed­erer reached his first fi­nal at Roland Gar­ros in May, only to lose to No.2 Rafael Nadal in four sets. SRI LANKA — Sri Lankan spin bowler Mut­tiah Mu­ralitha­ran will not rule out tak­ing 1000 Test wick­ets be­fore he re­tires, but he ad­mits it will be tough. The vet­eran has taken 674 Test wick­ets which puts him sec­ond be­hind Shane Warne, who has 700 go­ing into Aus­tralia’s fourth Test with Eng­land but will quit af­ter the cur­rent Ashes se­ries. Mu­ralitha­ran ad­mits that, at 34, he has a long way to go if he is to reach four fig­ures. ITALY — An Ital­ian fash­ion de­signer has launched a new range of leisurewear in­spired by Zine­dine Zi­dane’s in­fa­mous head­butt on Marco Mat­er­azzi in this year’s World Cup fi­nal. The logo on Alessan­dro Fer­rari’s new line of T-shirts and fleeces fea­tures a man head­but­ting an­other man, but con­demns the French­man’s vi­o­lent re­ac­tion to Mat­er­azzi’s provo­ca­tion. The two fig­ures are set be­side a tar­get sym­bol made up of the colours of the French and Ital­ian flags, sig­ni­fy­ing the com­ing to­gether of the two na­tions af­ter the fi­nal. JA­MAICA — Ja­maican 400m run­ner Sandie Richards an­nounced her re­tire­ment this week. Richards, who won gold at the 2001 world cham­pi­onships and bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 4x400 re­lay, wants to con­cen­trate on coach­ing. ‘‘I’ve been toy­ing with (re­tire­ment) for two years now,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s a hard thing to do, (but) my body couldn’t han­dle the train­ing any­more and I don’t want to do any­thing else on the track in­ter­na­tion­ally.’’ AUS­TRALIA — James Packer marked the first an­niver­sary of his fa­ther Kerry’s death by an­nounc­ing a $10 mil­lion foun­da­tion to help for­mer and promis­ing crick­eters. The PBL ex­ec­u­tive chair­man said the Kerry Packer Foun­da­tion would help for­mer Aus­tralian in­ter­na­tional play­ers who had fallen on hard times, as well new crick­eters in this coun­try who needed fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance. AUS­TRALIA — Amer­i­can teenager Sam Quer­rey might be vir­tu­ally un­known on the in­ter­na­tional ten­nis tour, but two of the world’s top five play­ers have al­ready dis­cov­ered he is no pushover. The 19-year-old from Cal­i­for­nia has had an im­pres­sive year and his form has earned him a wild­card into next month’s Aus­tralian Open. Querry has moved rapidly to a world rank­ing of 130, rock­et­ing more than 600 spots this year.

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