This story is so bad... so toxic: Lance
Armstrong proud of fooling everyone: Body language expert
Home boy Dhoni looks to cheer Ranchi
Women’s World Cup: Pak matches shifted to Cuttack
Lanka rout Australia
Punjab virtually out of Ranji final
Rain exposes Palam’s problems
Sharapova shoots down Venus
This story is so bad... so toxic: Lance
New York, January 18
Confessing his “toxic” tale to chat show host Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong described himself as a “flawed character” while at last owning up to being at the centre of one of the biggest drugs scandals in world sport.
In just one word at the beginning of the interview broadcast worldwide, cancer survivor Armstrong confirmed his place in any gallery of fallen icons who have shamed their sport, the likes of drug-cheat sprinters Ben Johnson and Marion Jones.
“Yes,” he replied when asked directly whether he had used performance enhancing drugs.
Without flinching, Winfrey rapidly fired questions at him, offering the 41-year-old little respite, grilling him about every aspect of his tainted career.
Without hesitation, and showing no signs of emotion, Armstrong replied “yes” to questions about whether he used specific drugs, including erythropoietin, human growth hormone, and blood doping.
When asked why he had repeatedly lied about using banned substances until Thursday’s startling admission, he told Winfrey: “I don’t know I have a great answer.
“This is too late, probably for most people, and that’s my fault. I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.
“This story is so bad ... so toxic.
“It’s not as if I said no and moved off it. While I’ve lived through this process, I know the truth. The truth isn’t what I said and now it’s gone.”
Armstrong inspired millions with what had seemed like a fairytale career, and said he did not believe he could have achieved what he did without breaking the rules due to a culture of drugs in cycling.
“Not in that generation. I didn’t invent the culture, but I didn’t try to stop the culture,” he said.
“It’s hard to talk about the culture. I don’t want to accuse anyone else. I’m here to acknowledge my mistakes.
“I will spend the rest of my life trying to win back trust and apologizing to people.”
Armstrong said he had never considered himself to be a cheat and had been sure he would get away with it, until out of competition tests were introduced and testing procedures dramatically improved.
The last time he cheated was in 2005, he said, when he won his seventh Tour de France on the streets on Paris. He made a comeback in 2009 but said he never used drugs again.
“I looked up the definition of a cheat to gain an advantage. I didn’t view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field,” he said.
Armstrong’s admission came just months after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released a detailed report describing him as the ringmaster of the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
While he confessed to cheating and bullying, he denied several of the other accusations that have been made against him. He rejected suggestions he failed a doping test at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland then paid off the International Cycling Union (UCI) and doping officials to cover up the result.
“That story isn’t true. There was no positive test. No paying off of the lab. The UCI did not make that go away. I’m no fan of the UCI,” he said.
Armstrong said he thought he had got away with it when he retired for good in 2011 but his downfall was triggered by a two-year federal investigation that was dropped but led to the USADA probe.
USADA boss Travis Tygart said Armstrong still had some way to go if he wanted to make amends.
“Tonight, Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit,” Tygart said in a statement.
“His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities.” Armstrong has already been banned for life, stripped of his all race wins and dumped by his sponsors but his problems are far from over.
“I thought I was out of the woods,” he said.
“I just assumed the stories would continue for a long time. We’re sitting here because there was a two-year federal criminal investigation.”
On Thursday, hours before the interview went to air, the International Olympic Committee stripped him of the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Games.
Admission ‘perfect PR’: Tour organisers
Lance Armstrong's admission of doping was a "calculated public relations exercise", Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said on Friday, calling for him to reveal more detail about his activities.
"We need to know more about the organised doping programme," Prudhomme said in York, northern England, where the second stage of the 2014 race will begin.
The Texan rider, winner of seven Tours between 1999 and 2005, was stripped of the titles last year after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said he was at the heart of the most sophisticated doping programme in the history of sport.
Prudhomme said that Armstrong had finally admitted what he had denied for so many years -- but only up to a point and had not revealed more about the system unearthed in the USADA report.
"We have to know more about it, to get to the bottom of things in such a way that it can't happen again," he added.
"We were given a calculated public relations exercise with clearly rehearsed answers. You can't dope as he did over the years without help. We (the Tour de France) have long said that a rider shouldn't be the only one to pay the price."
Asked about the possibility that Armstrong will have to pay damages, Prudhomme said: "If he says, 'yes, I doped', he should hand back the money himself. That seems obvious to me.
"This money will not come back to the organisers but will go towards anti-doping activities and training youngsters. Without a doubt there's been damage done but we've got to look to the future.
"Armstrong's clearly part of the past. He's been stripped of his titles. We have to look to the future but we need to know more and he needs to say more." Prudhomme said he did not see the interview live on television but added that Armstrong did not appear any different.
"It's the face that we've always seen. We might have expected something different," he added.
Years of denial
In July 1999, when Lance Armstrong won a shock first mountain stage victory in the Tour de France, AFP's report noted "the inevitable suspicion which always surrounds such an exceptional performance."
That suspicion proved justified. On Thursday, after a decade-and-a-half of bluster, bullying and deceit, Lance Armstrong finally admitted the worst-kept secret in sport: that his record seven Tour de France victories were powered by banned drugs. — Agencies
London, January 18
His gestures suggest he may not be as contrite as he claims. Judi James, a body language expert, said Armstrong appeared in control of the interview.
“He was incredibly calm. I don't think it looked like a confessional in the way he played it,” she said. “There were no signals of genuine humility at all there... He was very much in control throughout the interview. If you turned the sound down, it was hard to tell who was interviewing who.”
"He almost did this for his own benefit so he could get back in control of his life and 'reboot' himself to that strong leadership."
Despite the interview's "no-holds barred" billing, there were clearly some parameters and moments where he either avoided questions or claimed he could not remember, said James. “Verbally he was a lot more straightforward than the past but there were still moments when he looked uncomfortable and he dodged the questions. We didn't get an absolute outpouring of every detail."
She said Armstrong raised both hands in fists, like a boxer, when explaining why he lied so vehemently, while claiming he had "fought back" at people pushing him.
And she said his high crossed legs were a sign of status, not defence: "It's the sort of thing that we keep somebody distant from us because we feel above them. — The Independent
WHAT THEY SAY
Armstrong appeared as reasoned and dispassionate telling the truth as he did all those years that he so fluently and convincingly spun a lie and portrayed the Texan as a "cheating cad in one of the great American love stories" — The New York Times
The Texan's admission had not been particularly repentant. — Le Monde, French paper
Confession, without any light. — Le Figaro, French paper
The god became an outcast in an instant. And his fall put the very existence of professional cycling at risk.— Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russian paper
Armstrong talked a lot-and said nothing new. — Suddeutsche Zeitung, German daily
HIs "brutal" confession aroused the anger of viewers. — ABC, Spanish daily
Ranchi, January 18
After they fell short by mere nine runs in a high-scoring 326-run chase in Rajkot, India came back strongly in Kochi to level the series 1-1 with a 127-run win, their second highest margin of victory against England.
The manner in which the victory came for Dhoni's men gave a fresh lease of life to the struggling outfit and it would look to take the crucial lead going into Mohali and Dharamsala.
Another destructive innings by Dhoni (72 from 66 balls) coupled with Ravindra Jadeja's unbeaten 61 from 37 balls set the momentum after yet another top-order failure in Kochi as England choked in the 286-run chase.
In the Kochi triumph, India finally seemed to have got the allrounder solution in Jadeja who came of age, brilliantly chipping in with 2/12 from his seven overs of left-arm spin.
Another positive was the failing middle-order batsmen's return to form with the Suresh Raina, Dhoni and Jadeja notching half-centuries. That Virat Kohli, going through a rare lean patch, showed some flair in his 37 would also augur well for India as the think-tank may not look to fiddle with the batting line-up, even as the poor run of Gautam Gambhir continues to baffle.
But come tomorrow, and it will be all about Dhoni when India play their first match at the skipper's home ground.
The World Cup-winning captain has an aura about himself at the newly-constructed JSCA International Stadium Complex in the south-western fringes of the city, like Sourav Ganguly has in Kolkata. "200 per cent I'm looking forward to it (playing at home). It’s a big thing for me," the Ranchi-born wicketkeeper batsman, who has so far played 216 ODIs since making his debut in 2004 in Bangladesh, had said.
With Dhoni being in the form of his lifetime, the ODI in his home town could not have come at a better time as it would add to the fervour the match has already generated in the state.
Since the 2011 World Cup, Dhoni has averaged 83.28 at a strike rate of 92.39, with 11 fifty-plus scores in 27 innings.
Amid the Indian batting ruins, Dhoni has stood tall sometimes left ploughing a lonely furrow with little support from his fellow batsmen. He has aggregated 307 runs in his last five matches at a handsome average of 102.33.
The biggest praise for Dhoni has come from his English counterpart Alastair Cook who has described the Indian skipper as the best in the world.
"He is probably the best player in the world in these situations... He does it time and time again. He's incredibly hard to bowl at and with that extra man in the circle, it's very, very hard to stop on these flat wickets," Cook had said after the Kochi ODI loss.
Having thrashed more or less the same side 5-0 twice (when they toured last in 2008-09 and 2011-12), a lot would be at stake. — PTI
We are very happy with the way we won our last match. We just hope to carry forward the winning momentum and looking forward to win the game. We hope to do right things. We are very positive about tomorrow's game.
Squads: third odi
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Samit Patel, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Stuart Meaker
live on star cricket (12 NOON)
New Delhi, January 18
Although the BCCI or the International Cricket Council are yet to make an official announcement, tournament director Suru Naik confirmed that the matches will be shifted to Cuttack in Odisha.
All the teams in group B comprising New Zealand, Pakistan, Australia and South Africa will play their matches in Cuttak and a fresh schedule is being worked out.
The BCCI had been looking for alternative venues ever since the tension at the Indo-Pak border escalated, forcing all the nine Pakistani hockey players taking part in the high-profile Hockey India League, to return home without playing a single match.
Originally, the entire tournament was scheduled to be held in Mumbai but fears of wide spread protests by Shiv Sena and other right-wing organisations against the Pakistan team prompted MCA to ask BCCI for an alternative venue.
The eight-team Women's World Cup is scheduled to begin on January 31 and culminate on February 17.
Apart from the Barabati stadium in Cuttack, the Wankhede Stadium, Cricket Club of India's Brabourne Stadium, the Mumbai Cricket Association's (MCA) Bandra-Kurla Complex ground and the MIG Club in Bandra are the venues for the matches. As per the schedule, Pakistan team is set to arrive in India on January 26. — PTI
Brisbane, January 18
Australia's top and middle order batsmen capitulated before Kulasekara's inswing while Lasith Malinga (3-22) polished off the tail to bowl out the hosts for 74 in 26.4 overs.
The win, though not as convincing as it should have been, puts Sri Lanka 2-1 up in the five-match series. Sydney hosts the fourth one-dayer on Sunday. For Australia, only Mitchell Starc (22 not out) and Xavier Doherty (15) managed double digits, adding 34 runs for the last wicket to take the home side past their lowest ODI total ever. On a day when ball dominated bat and not a single six was hit, the Sri Lankan batsmen had their problems too and wobbled early on in their chase. — Reuters
Rajkot, January 18
In reply to Saurashtra's first innings total of 477, Punjab started the day on 41 for no loss but could add another 253 runs for the loss of nine wickets.
Punjab got off a great start with the two overnight batsmen — Jiwanjot Singh and Ravi Inder Singh — dominating the pre-lunch session, adding another 87 runs today to take their opening stand to 128 before the latter departed.
Ravi Inder, who resumed on 30, got out for a well-made 74 off 131 balls studded with 11 fours and two sixes. Jiwanjot continued in the able company of Taruwar Kohli but Joshi saw off the opener for 168-ball 68 including 11 boundaries. Punjab, however, were comfortably placed at the stroke of tea on 246 for three before sudden collapse in the last session of the day pushed them on to the backfoot.
Post tea session proved to be fruitful for the hosts as they picked up six wickets by giving away just 48 runs. From 252 for four at one stage, Punjab slumped to 287/9.
The dramatic collapse occurred when Uday Kaul ran for an unnecessary single and was run out, and in the very next ball, Taruwar tried to pull Unadkat's rising delivery only to manage a thick edge that Sitanshu Kotak took comfortably at first slip. Taruwar made 59.
Amitoz Singh (4), Bipul Sharma (4), Siddharth Kaul (1) and Sandip Sharma (2) soon returned to the pavilion even as off-spinner Joshi and left-arm leg spinner Unadkat wrecked havoc. Punjab are still trailing Saurashtra by 183 runs with just one wicket in hand. At stumps, Harbhajan Singh was unbeaten on 29 with Sarabjit Ladda (0). — PTI
Rain exposes Palam’s problems
New Delhi, January 18
It had rained cats and dogs last night, accompanied by gusty winds and hailstorm. The intensity of the rain did not abate in the morning either, leading to the cancellation of the day’s play around noon. The ground got damaged so badly that there was no hope of holding play. Bad weather had robbed over three hours’ play on the first two days. But today was worse as the ground became unplayable, with intermittent rain confounding the problems of the ground staff. That the Palam ground was not an ideal venue for a high-profile Ranji Trophy semi-final competition, featuring a super star like Sachin Tendulkar, was evident even before the start of the match. There are no stands for spectators, and those who want to come in are not allowed by the Services security. Only the Servicess personnell and their family members were allowed. A few die hard cricket fans, including many passers-by going by vehicles, used to stand outside the boundary wall to get a glimpse.
Melbourne, January 18
Djokovic remained on course for his third straight title as he marched into the fourth round without giving up a set after successfully negotiating a tricky tie against Radek Stepanek with a 6-4 6-3 7-5 win.
Sharapova was even more impressive and, although denied a third successive 6-0 6-0 win of the week, looked every inch the title contender in her 6-1 6-3 demolition of seven-times Grand Slam champion Venus Williams.
Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska also continued her red-hot start to the year, notching up win number 12 with a 6-3 6-1 victory over Britain's Heather Watson in their third round tie.
Playing with the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena because of a few drops of rain that accompanied the cooler weather, Djokovic had to work for every point against Stepanek, who charged the net 67 times.
It was little more than a good workout for the world number one, however, and before launching a broadside at disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, he complimented the 34-year-old Czech on his contribution to the match.
"He loves the big stage," the Serbian said. "You saw how much fun he had."
Sharapova's flurry of fist pumps after she wound up her match against Williams showed how much the victory meant to the second seed, who has been in ruthless form this week despite missing her one warm-up tournament with a collar-bone injury.
The absence of the injured world number four Rafa Nadal has left a gaping hole in the top half of the draw and fourth seed David Ferrer eased further into it with a 6-4 6-2 6-3 win over another entertainer, 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis.
The Spanish baseliner showed more than a few decent touches of his own — most notably a sumptuous backhand lob — as he set up a fourth-round contest against Japan's Kei Nishikori.
Tomas Berdych was a 6-3 6-2 6-2 winner over Jurgen Melzer and will face Kevin Anderson in the next round.
Eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic outlasted Frenchman Julien Benneteau 3-6 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-3 in a second successive five-set match. — Reuters
Kuala Lumpur, January 18
The top seed Saina dropped a game after having an advantage but with Nozomi retiring early on in the third game, the Indian cemented her place in the last four stage of the tournament with a 21-11 14-21 2-0 win in a 43-minute contest.
She will next take on sixth seed Tzu Ying Tai of Chinese Taipei tomorrow.
Saina dominated the proceedings early on. Having opened up a 3-0 lead, she not only maintained it but also slowly and steadily widened the gap to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Hyderabadi girl was immaculate with her placements as she made her opponent run around the court and caught her at the forecourt a few times.
A few of her strokes went wayward and she was a little rusty at the nets too. However, that didn’t stop her from pocketing the first game when Nozomi’s long shot went out. The match was disrupted for about five minutes after the first game due to a technical problem, which led to lack of lights on the court.
After resumption of the second game, Nozomi got her act together and started playing a fast paced game. Saina tried to respond but she committed few unforced errors and also her strokes were not accurate, even as her opponent moved into the breather 11-2.
Saina tried to narrow the gap after the breather but it was too much of a gulf to bridge and the Japanese roared back into the contest with the Indian hitting wide. — PTI
Ranchi beat Mumbai 3-1 Mandeep Singh, Vikas Choudhry and skipper Austin Smith scored one goal each to help Ranchi Rhinos beat Mumbai Magicians 3-1 to bag five points in the HIL match on Friday. Bimal Lakra was declared Man of the Match. — TNS live on star Sports
Mandeep Singh, Vikas Choudhry and skipper Austin Smith scored one goal each to help Ranchi Rhinos beat Mumbai Magicians 3-1 to bag five points in the HIL match on Friday. Bimal Lakra was declared Man of the Match. — TNS
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