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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

India determined to get into groove
Dambulla, July 15
India launch their Asia Cup cricket campaign against minnows UAE here tomorrow, determined not only to get into early rhythm but also to extend their successful run into the new season.



Indian captain Sourav Ganguly (right) and Virender Sehwag during a practice session in Dambulla on Thursday.
— PTI photo
Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag during a practice session in Dambulla on Thursday

Sachin TendulkarDismiss Tendulkar, get $ 1000
Dambulla (Sri Lanka), July 15
If dismissing the world’s finest batsman is not an incentive in itself, UAE bowlers have been offered $ 1,000 by their officials if they can get the scalp of batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar in the Asia Cup opener here tomorrow.

Good opportunity for minnows
I
t is always interesting and sometimes frightening when you enter new territory and indeed a new experience. As the new coach of Pakistan the Asia cup will mean some hard work and some keen observation as to how my new team will perform.

Hong Kong set to make debut
Colombo, July 15
With the International Cricket Council (ICC) clearing the decks, Hong Kong will become the 19th team to play an official one-day match when they take on Bangladesh in the Indian Oil eighth Asia Cup tournament, which gets underway at Sinhalese Sports Club here tomorrow.

Pakistan to play one-off ODI
LAHORE:
Pakistan will visit India to commemorate the BCCI’s platinum jubilee year with a one-off ODI on November 14, though the South African team will be on an India tour at the time.



Ian Poulter from England puts on the 12th hole during the first round of the British Open at the Royal Troon golf course in Scotland on Thursday
Ian Poulter from England puts on the 12th hole during the first round of the British Open at the Royal Troon golf course in Scotland on Thursday. — Reuters


EARLIER STORIES
 

Paraguay end Brazil’s unbeaten run
Arequipa (Peru), July 15
Paraguay ended Brazil’s 13-game unbeaten streak 2-1 and Costa Rica overcame Chile 2-1 deep in injury time to grab the last quarterfinal berth at the Copa America. Brazil’s defeat sent it from Peru’s deep south to the far north for a weekend quarterfinal against Mexico, the previous team to beat Brazil - effectively its under-23 side - in the Gold Cup final in July last year.




Brazil's Luis Fabiano (right) battles for the ball with Celso Esquivel of Paraguay during their first round Copa America match in Arequipa, Peru, on Wednesday. — Reuters photo
Brazil's Luis Fabiano battles for the ball with Celso Esquivel of Paraguay during their first round Copa America match in Arequipa


Union Sport Minister Sunil Dutt greets athlete KM Binamol during a welcome function for athletes who qualified for the Olympics
Union Sport Minister Sunil Dutt greets athlete KM Binamol during a welcome function for athletes who qualified for the Olympics, in New Delhi on Thursday. — Photo by Rajeev Tyagi

Belgium beat India
Nivelles (Belgium), July 15
India wasted an early lead to go down 1-2 against lowly Belgium in the second and final ‘freindly’ hockey match here. India, who were lacklustre in their 3-1 win against the hosts in the first friendly on Tuesday, took the lead as early in the third minute through Deepak Thakur.

Sodhi takes charge of Sports & Youth Affairs
Chandigarh, July 15
Gurmit Singh Sodhi, a Maharaja Ranjit Singh awardee and former international shooter, has taken over independent charge of Sports and Youth Affairs, here yesterday.

HC notice to Kartar on contempt plea
New Delhi, July 15
The Delhi High Court today issued notice to wrestler Kartar Singh on a contempt plea of the M.S. Malik-led faction of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), which alleged that the former was interfering in the affairs of the sport body in violation of court’s order.

Pak TT team arrives
Wagah (Amritsar), July 15
A 25-member table tennis team of boys and girls, including 13 officials, crossed over to India this afternoon to participate in the 10th Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships to be held at Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi from July 19 to 24.


Members of the Pakistani table tennis team arrive at the Wagah joint check- post on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Rajiv Sharma
Members of the Pakistani table tennis team arrive at the Wagah joint check-post on Thursday

Police complaint against Gavaskar
Vadodara, July 15
The Registrar of Companies, Ahmedabad, has lodged a police complaint against legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar and four others here alleging that they did not use the amount raised through a public issue after floating a company.


Cyclists pass a meadow during the 164-km long 11th stage of the Tour de France cycle race between Saint-Flour and Figeac on Thursday Cyclists pass a meadow during the 164-km long 11th stage of the Tour de France cycle race between Saint-Flour and Figeac on Thursday. — Reuters

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India determined to get into groove

VVS Laxman walks to the nets during a practice session in Dambulla on Thursday
VVS Laxman walks to the nets during a practice session in Dambulla on Thursday.
— AFP photo

Dambulla, July 15
India launch their Asia Cup cricket campaign against minnows UAE here tomorrow, determined not only to get into early rhythm but also to extend their successful run into the new season.

The day-night match against the newcomers could prove to be a cakewalk for the formidable Indians but both captain Sourav Ganguly and coach John Wright were not ready to take the opposition lightly stressing the need to get into form quickly after a three-month break.

Indians, currently viewed as the second best team in the world, are keen to convert the new respect into a halo and to put the competing teams, including arch-rivals Pakistan, on an alert notice for the duration of the tournament, held after a gap of four years.

The Indian think-tank do not have much data available on the Emirates team but they intend to sleep walk through the game, riding on the back of their match-winning bowlers and quality batsmen.

There is not much room for experiment within the team but it appears off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will figure in the playing eleven as the dry conditions during the day-night encounter at the Dambulla International Stadium might just call for the spin card.

Harbhajan, returning to the squad after a seven-month long injury lay-off, will be happy about the ground as the dryness in this northern highland of the country help the slow bowlers.

Slow bowlers usually rub their thumb on the surface before the start of the game since the top is loose and baked conditions allow a tossed up ball to strongly grip the turf. Joint world record holder Mutthiah Muralitharan’s stirring figures of 5 for 23 here against Pakistan two seasons ago tells a story.

It will also help to play the two spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh together at the start of the season as Indians look for perfectly matched bowling pair before facing tougher challenges later in the year.

New heart-throbs Laxmipathy Balaji and Irfan Pathan face little opposition from the rest of the medium pacers which speaks volumes about how much the two have climbed in just one season.

Left-arm speedster Zaheer Khan has often come in for lucid praise from his captain but if the Baroda bowler continues to go without rhythm, direction and pace it would not be long before Sourav Ganguly is forced to revise his opinion.

For the moment though it does not seem as if Zaheer would not be afforded another chance tomorrow. Ganguly would do his best to see the left-armer, he so much admires, finding his groove.

The tournament which features so many talented batsmen, may also see a new top score replacing the existing record of 135 by Ganguly against Bangladesh in 1999-2000. It could well be tomorrow as the Indian batsmen look to put the fear of god in the hearts of bowlers in this tournament.

UAE has three young prodigies in Syed Fawad Mohammed, Ramveer Raj and Abdul Rehman who all are below 17-years in age.

Arshad Ali and Asim Saeed are likely openers while Asghar Ali Khan, Fahad Usman, Khuram Khan and Syed Maqsood provide meat with the bat in the middle-order.

Next in line could be Naeemuin who shone in the ACC final in Malaysia and Mohammad Tauqir, also the deputy of the side, who is a good spinner. Khuram Khan is the leader of the pack.

Ali Asad in all probability will make the first use of the cherry and will be supported by medium-pacers Asim Saeed and Syed Maqsood. Left-arm spinners Rizwan Latif and Khurram Khan have the ability to keep a control on scoring.

The Indians, who have won the title four times, are here with a full strength team after a fairly long time with Harbhajan, Zaheer and Ashish Nehra returning to the squad fully fit.

Vice-captain Rahul Dravid was likely to continue to double up as wicketkeeper giving his skipper the cushion to include one more specialist batsman in the line-up.

Coach Wright felt the biggest challenge for his team would be to get the momentum going quickly considering that the players were returning after a break.

“We want to get going early. The challenge is to get into rhythm early, we are anticipating tough matches,” he said.

Squads (from): India: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Rahul Dravid (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Laxmipathy Balaji.

UAE: Khuram Khan (captain), Mohammed Tauqir (vice-captain), Ali Asad Abbas, Arshad Ali, Asghar Ali, Asim Saeed, Fahad Usman, Naeemudin, Ramveer Rai, Rizwan Latif, Sameer Zia, Syed Maqsood, Syed Fawad Mohammed and Abdul Rehman.

Umpires: Billy Doctrove (West Indies) and Ian Howell (South Africa)

Third umpire: Gamini Silva (Sri Lanka)

Match referee: Mike Procter

Hours of play (IST): 2.15 p.m to 6.15 p.m, 7 p.m to 10.30 p.m. —PTI 

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Dismiss Tendulkar, get $ 1000

Dambulla (Sri Lanka), July 15
If dismissing the world’s finest batsman is not an incentive in itself, UAE bowlers have been offered $ 1,000 by their officials if they can get the scalp of batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar in the Asia Cup opener here tomorrow.

According to Khurram Khan, captain of the UAE team, an official had promised the amount (Rs 45,000) to the bowler who claimed the prize wicket of Tendulkar, the most successful one-day batsman in the world with over 13,000 runs.

But the UAE captain admitted that money would not be the sole motivation behind looking for the Indian batsman’s wicket.

“Of course I am overawed at the prospect of playing against the likes of Tendulkar,” Khurram said.

“I don’t think anyone would want to take that wicket for money alone. It would be a prize wicket like no other.” — PTI

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Good opportunity for minnows
Bob Woolmer

It is always interesting and sometimes frightening when you enter new territory and indeed a new experience. As the new coach of Pakistan the Asia cup will mean some hard work and some keen observation as to how my new team will perform. The expectations of the Pakistan public too and the interest of some of world cricket’s keenest followers will be centered around Pakistan’s performance in Sri Lanka over the next few weeks.

Of course, this is all part of the fun that we all have as cricketers, cricket lovers and coaches. As I write this article I have as much nerves and expectations as the players who perform. The key is how one controls those nerves and focuses on the role ahead.

My first meeting with the Pakistani team could not have gone better; the Pakistan national cricket academy is a superb facility and will be the envy of many cricket nations. The players were keen and ready for anything I could throw at them. It was an elevating experience. Now we have to turn the words into actions and deeds.

The Asia cup is a good competition giving an opportunity to two minnow nations Hong Kong and UAE. Of course I know the UAE very well as they were part of the High Performance Programme I was involved with before I left for Pakistan. The UAE are potentially a very exciting unit they have some fine attacking batsmen and some good spin bowlers. Their fitness and fielding were there main weak points but I know Abid Ali (UAE’s coach) was working hard on this aspect.

Hong Kong are an unknown quantity at present so I will be very interested in seeing how they are progressing. The good thing is that these Associate countries of the ICC are being given an opportunity to do well.

So what of the main competition?

Sri Lanka are at the moment playing tough opposition so they will be well conditioned and up for this competition. Mutthiah Muralitharan will be back and at home they will be very tough to beat.

India are in my book favourites for this competition with a stunning array of batsman and ever improving bowlers and with greater fitness and desire levels than ever before. Bangladesh too are showing under Dav Whatmore a new skill level and fitness level and they have played some very good cricket recently and pushed Pakistan hard in the recent series last year in Pakistan. All in all we will expect some great cricket.

On a personal note I will be keen to observe all this at first hand level and to rekindle my knowledge of the game and how it is moving forward. It is only when you have direct experience that you are really able to make progress.

The weather is cool for Sri Lanka but still very warm if you are not used to this heat. I am grateful that we trained before the series in extremely hot and humid weather in Lahore before we came, so at least we are acclimatized to the weather. The pitches at the SSC look excellent and I shall be watching the Bangladesh v Hong Kong game with interest. As I said earlier Hong Kong are an unknown quantity so it will be well worth studying them before we have to play them.

Sri Lanka is a great place and the public are very keen on the game. I am looking forward to the series immensely and lets hope it provides quality entertainment for all those watching. (Gameplan)

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Hong Kong set to make debut

Colombo, July 15
With the International Cricket Council (ICC) clearing the decks, Hong Kong will become the 19th team to play an official one-day match when they take on Bangladesh in the Indian Oil eighth Asia Cup tournament, which gets underway at Sinhalese Sports Club here tomorrow.

Though Hong Kong qualified for the tournament by reaching the final of 2000 Asia Cricket Council, they had to wait as the biennial Asia Cup was scrapped in 2002 due to freezing sporting ties between two Asian giants — India and Pakistan.

At the recent ICC Chief Executive Officers’ meeting in London, PCB representative Rameez Raja had voted against the resolution that sought mandate on whether the matches against UAE and Hong Kong should be accorded official one-day internationals. The resolution favouring according official one-day status to the matches got the required seven votes supporting it. As per the ICC rules, all the matches in the World Cup and Champions Trophy are considered official one-day matches.

ICC Cricket Committee Chairman Sunil Gavaskar reportedly argued that since Asia Cup has more full members — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — the encounters against UAE and Hong Kong could be treated as official one-dayers.
— UNI

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Pakistan to play one-off ODI

LAHORE: Pakistan will visit India to commemorate the BCCI’s platinum jubilee year with a one-off ODI on November 14, though the South African team will be on an India tour at the time.

PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan said: “We have now sent them our consent in writing and asked them to confirm the proposed venue which will not be Mumbai,” adding that initially the BCCI had wanted Pakistan to play three one-dayers to mark the celebrations but citing the decent number of these matches now being played between the two countries, the PCB had convinced its Indian counterpart to organise just one match.

Mr Khan also said that Pakistan’s return tour of India next year has received the green light in a recent meeting between him and BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya. — UNI

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Paraguay end Brazil’s unbeaten run

Arequipa (Peru), July 15
Paraguay ended Brazil’s 13-game unbeaten streak 2-1 and Costa Rica overcame Chile 2-1 deep in injury time to grab the last quarterfinal berth at the Copa America.
Brazil’s defeat sent it from Peru’s deep south to the far north for a weekend quarterfinal against Mexico, the previous team to beat Brazil - effectively its under-23 side - in the Gold Cup final in July last year.

Paraguay won Group C and will meet Uruguay, which ended up being the best third-placed team.

“I’m very proud, we beat a first-class team,” Paraguay coach Carlos Jara Saguier said. “Now comes the hard part, but we intend to bring the Copa home.”

Costa Rica advanced as the second-best third-place team and into a playoff against defending champion Colombia. Andy Herron’s goal three minutes into second-half injury time at Tacna eliminated Chile and Bolivia, the Group A side which would have qualified if the score had remained 1-1.

Peru and Argentina meet in the other quarterfinal.

Paraguay striker Fredy Bareiro ended a 1-1 deadlock with Brazil in the 71st minute, beating defender Luisao and shooting past Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

“This loss should be a warning to us,” Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said. “In the playoffs we won’t be able to make these mistakes.

“Luckily, this loss doesn’t set us back in our plans to reach the final, it came in a good moment.”

Striker Julio Gonzalez put Paraguay ahead with a header off a corner in the 29th, and Luis Fabiano equalised with a hard right-footer from inside the box in the 35th. He chested the ball away from a defender before shooting high into the net, giving no chance to Paraguay ‘keeper Diego Barreto.

Paraguay played a man short from the 74th as defender Emilio Martinez was sent off for a foul on Brazil defender Gustavo Nery.

It was Paraguay’s first Copa America win against Brazil since 1979 in Paraguay. The two-time Copa champions had lost five in a row. Overall, Paraguay has won 10 of 74 matches against Brazil, losing 47 and drawing 17.

Brazil’s loss came on the 30th anniversary of coach Parreira’s first career start as a head coach, and ensured no team finished the Copa’s group phase with a perfect 3-0 record. And with 55 goals from 18 group games at more than 3 per game, the Copa was on track for the highest average output since the 1975 event.

Just when a thriller at Tacna appeared set to end in a draw, Herron came out of seemingly nowhere and blasted the game-winner from the right past Chile ‘keeper Alex Varas.

Chile captain Rafael Olarra had shouldered the ball into the goal in the 40th, and Mauricio Wright tapped in for the tying score in the 59th. “Chile controlled the game in the first half, but we were the ones who were able to define the game,” said Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto. “We had a demolishing counterattack.”

Chile will surely depart the Copa crestfallen, having conceded late goals in all three of its group matches. It lost to Brazil 1-0 in the last minute, yielded a late 1-1 equaliser to Paraguay, and watched Herron drive a dagger shot into its goal and hearts, despite knowing a draw would knock them out. — AP

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Belgium beat India

Nivelles (Belgium), July 15
India wasted an early lead to go down 1-2 against lowly Belgium in the second and final ‘freindly’ hockey match here.
India, who were lacklustre in their 3-1 win against the hosts in the first friendly on Tuesday, took the lead as early in the third minute through Deepak Thakur.

Belgium, who played an aggressive game, rallied back to score two goals through penalty corners to win the match played late last night.

Three yellow cards to their players did no good to India’s cause as they failed to score the equaliser despite some desperate attempts.

After playing the first match with the regular XI, India made a few changes to the side for the second game, bringing in rookies Vivek Gupta, Harpal Singh, Adam Sinclair and Jitendarpal Singh. The Indian team left for Germany today to take part in the four-nation tournament at Dusseldorf tomorrow. —PTI

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Sodhi takes charge of Sports & Youth Affairs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Gurmit Singh Sodhi, a Maharaja Ranjit Singh awardee and former international shooter, has taken over independent charge of Sports and Youth Affairs, here yesterday. Mr Sodhi was recently elected Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab.

Mr Sodhi, a member of the Indian Olympic Association (10A) since 1997, is also a member of the governing body of the National Shooting Association and President of the Chandigarh Olympic Association. He brought laurels to the state by representing the country in various international shooting competitions. Many sports persons and various sports associations of the state have appreciated the act of the Chief Minister in nominating a department of meritorious sports person to look after Sports and Youth Services.

Mr Kartar Singh, Director, Sports, said that Mr Sodhi had assured him that there would be no problem of funds for the promotion of sports in the state. Incidentally both Mr Kartar Singh and Mr Sodhi represented the country in the 1978 Asian games.

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HC notice to Kartar on contempt plea

New Delhi, July 15
The Delhi High Court today issued notice to wrestler Kartar Singh on a contempt plea of the M.S. Malik-led faction of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), which alleged that the former was interfering in the affairs of the sport body in violation of court’s order.

Issuing the notice, Justice H.R. Malhotra fixed July 26 for further proceedings in the case.

The court had on June 23 last restrained the office-bearers of Kartar Singh-led faction of the WFI from interfering in the functioning of the body.

Allowing the plea for ad-interim injunction sought by WFI’s M.S. Malik, Justice Malhotra had directed the ‘newly elected’ members Kartar Singh, Prem Nath and M.P. Tiwari “from claiming themselves to be the president, secretary general and treasurer of the federation”.

The functioning of WFI’s executive committee elected on April 18, 2001 would also not be prevented, it had said.

Malik’s counsel Rajesh Gupta and Harpret Singh told the court that Kartar Singh was still claiming to be the WFI president, thereby misguiding the regular activities of the WFI.

Kartar Singh’s election as president of the WFI had run into rough weather with Malik, who was holding the post, alleging that Singh’s elevation was in violation of the WFI constitution.— PTI

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Pak TT team arrives
Neeraj Bagga

Wagah (Amritsar), July 15
A 25-member table tennis team of boys and girls, including 13 officials, crossed over to India this afternoon to participate in the 10th Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships to be held at Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi from July 19 to 24.

The Pakistan team will also play in the South Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships to be held from July 16 to 18 at the same venue. The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is conducting these events.

Abdul Jamil Qazi, Chef-de-Mission, said his team had been preparing for both the tournaments and would give good fight. He said these tournaments were of great significance to them as they were going to be held in India.

A votary of close India and Pakistan ties in table tennis, Qazi said both the countries could gain a lot by playing frequently with each other. Both the countries could even take help of Asian giant China, which has emerged as a world leader in the game.

Qazi considers China as the favourite in the Asian junior championship while India as a strong contender in the South Asian junior championship.

Sabah Waris, coach, said that his country had participated four times in the Asian junior championship and stood 18th last time. He hoped that the girls team would give good results as they became champion in the Islamic Women Games held in Iran in 2002.

Kanwal Iqbal, captain of girls team, who hails from Rawalpindi from where Pakistan cricket speedster Shoaib Akhtar belongs, said that her team had put in full efforts to give fight to opponents.

Faraz Ehsan, captain of boys team, said that they had prepared well and expected a thrilling competition. Ehsan is currently junior national champion of Pakistan and practices in Sunset tennis club of Karachi.

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Police complaint against Gavaskar

Vadodara, July 15
The Registrar of Companies, Ahmedabad, has lodged a police complaint against legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar and four others here alleging that they did not use the amount raised through a public issue after floating a company.

RoC Prahlad Meena has lodged the complaint with J.P. Nagar police station against Gavaskar, now a leading TV commentator, and four others, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Zone) Wabang Jamir told PTI. The five had floated ‘Top Line Shoes Company’ on July 20, 1992 with its office in Alkapuri area of the city, Jamir said, adding they had come out with a public issue of Rs 4.56 crore. — PTI

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 BRIEFLY

US golfer Phil Mickelson chips out of the bunker on the fourth green during the first round of the British Open at Royal Troon golf course in Scotland on Thursday US golfer Phil Mickelson chips out of the bunker on the fourth green during the first round of the British Open at Royal Troon golf course in Scotland on Thursday.
— Reuters

Indira Gold Cup
New DelhI:
The Indian Women’s Hockey Federation (IWHF) will revive the Indira Gandhi International Gold Cup Hockey Tournament in September/October this year. The last edition of the Gold Cup was held in 1996.
India will also host the under-21 junior women’s Asia Cup in Hyderabad from October 30 to November 8. India, defending champions Korea, China. Japan, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong are expected to take part in the tournament. — OSR

Lehal leads
New DelhI:
Sandy Lehal maintained his lead on day three of the IGU categorized Jaypee Open Amateur Golf Championship with a three-day total score of six under-210 at the Jaypee Open Golf Course in Greater Noida here today.
Jaskirat Dullet was trailing behind the leader with a three-day total of five-under 211. However, the best score of the day came from Simarjeet Singh, who carded a 2 under 70, which helped him climb to the third position with a three-day score of one over 217. The cut was applied after the first two days, with the final field being restricted to 43 golfers. Keshav Mishra was at the fourth position with a three day score of 219.

weightlifter runs away
MELBOURNE (Australia):
A female weightlifter dumped from the Australian Olympic team for refusing to take a drug test ran away from two unidentified doping officials because she didn’t feel safe, a tribunal was told on Thursday.
Caroline Pileggi (25) was appearing on the first day of an Administrative Appeals Tribunal hearing to appeal the decision. Pileggi, who would have been first Australian female Olympic weightlifter, was removed from the team for refusing a drug test in Fiji in June. She admitted to lying about her identity when she was approached by a man and a women as she was preparing to train at a gym. When questioned by her legal counsel Sam Tatarka, Pileggi said the two people asked her if she was Caroline and she said no. When asked again she said her name was Michelle. — AFP

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