Briefs

Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 00:00

A round-up of today's other stories in brief

UCI will provide amnesty if Wada calls for similar measures

CYCLING:
Cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, is willing to provide an amnesty for those who give evidence to its independent commission (UCIIC) on drug use in the sport, providing the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) calls for similar measures across all sports.

Wada and the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the body which investigated and disclosed the misdemeanours in which disgraced Texan rider Lance Armstrong was a central protagonist, believe that it is imperative witnesses give evidence “without fear of retribution or retaliation from the UCI”.

Wada, Usada and Change Cycling Now, a body urging change in the governance of the sport, withdrew from the inquiry this week over the lack of a truth and reconciliation process, but now the UCI has said it is prepared to adopt that approach.

Meanwhile, the independent commission announced that it would hold a public procedural hearing next week to determine whether an amnesty should be enforced, the timetable of the hearing and to consider the scope of the terms of reference, particularly those relating to the UCI and whether convicted dopers should have a future in the sport.

Cullen's European indoor final conqueror faces four-year ban

ATHLETICS:Former European Indoor bronze medallist Mary Cullen is facing the very realisation of having been beaten by a drugs cheat, with the Turkish and Ethiopian-born runner Alemitu Bekele facing a four-year ban for a failed doping test.

Cullen was in superb form in the 2009 indoor season, and went to the European Indoors in Turin with every chance of striking gold; after taking the pace for long stages she was out-kicked in the end by the devastating speed of Bekele, who clocked a personal best and Turkish national record of 8:46.50

As it turned out Cullen was also passed by the Portuguese runner Sara Moreira, but held on for a close third, clocking 8:48.47.

Bekele’s form was certainly erratic, but even if the four-year ban is imposed, it’s unlikely there will be any retrospective suspension.

Bekele went on to win the 2010 European championship 5,000 metres, showing considerable improvement at age 35, in a championship record of 14:52.20.

However she has now reportedly fallen foul of the IAAF’s new biological passport doping rules but is likely to appeal.

IAN O'RIORDAN

Conlan and Nevin back in the ring tonight

BOXING:John Joe Nevin and Michael Conlan will tonight have their first competitive fights since the Olympics in the city of their greatest triumphs.

The Mullingar and Belfast duo, silver and bronze medal winners at London 2012, line out on opposing sides for the British Lionhearts and USA Knockouts in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

European champion Joe Ward will also be in action for the Lionhearts in the five-bout Group B match at York Hall, London.

Conlan fights Wales’ Andrew Selby in a repeat of their 2011 World flyweight quarter-final in Baku, Azerbaijan, which Selby edged 25-24. Nevin meets France’s Douda Sow, while Ward is targeting his third straight WSB win against Croatia’s Marco Calic.

Van der Merwe retires from internationals

CRICKET:Albert van der Merwe has become the second Ireland player to retire in the past week after the 33-year-old off-spinner announced yesterday he was to end his international career after winning 21 caps.

The South African-born player cited the increased demands of playing international cricket as a part-time member of the Ireland squad as the reason behind his decision. "It has been an unbelievable privilege to pull on the Irish shirt," said Van Der Merwe, who will take over the captaincy at Leinster side YMCA next summer.

Ireland all-rounder Nigel Jones announced last week that he was retiring from international cricket after winning 34 caps.

EMMET RIORDAN

Athletics coach McDaid named top manager for December

PHILIPS SPORTS MANAGER OF THE MONTH AWARDS:
Teresa McDaid, manager of the recent European gold-medal-winning Irish women’s cross country team, has been named Philips Sports Manager of the Month for December 2012.

In Budapest last month, the senior squad won the gold medal for the first time in their history. Fionnuala Britton successfully defended her individual title and while her position helped greatly, it was underpinned by the performances of Linda Byrne (8th), Ava Hutchinson (20th) and Lizzie Lee (23rd).

The best position prior to the double gold result was a silver medal in 2003 with a team that included Sonia O’Sullivan and Catherine McKiernan.

McDaid, national athletics coach of the year in 2011 and 2012, was appointed to her position last November in succession to Anne Keenan-Buckley.

Elliot to move on from eventing performance manager's post

EQUESTRIAN SPORT:Ginny Elliot, Horse Sport Ireland's eventing high performance manager since early 2008, is no longer seeking to continue in the role having withdrawn from the selection process after the first round of interviews.

A multiple team and individual medal winner for Britain in world and European championships in the 1980s, Elliot made her decision public yesterday in a statement to Horse & Hound.

"I have spent four years there and feel as though I've helped a lot, but am looking for new projects," she said. "I wish eventing in Ireland all the best for the future and I congratulate everyone involved in the huge progress we have made together over the last four years."

Nine people were interviewed with seven going forward for the show jumping role held since 2006 by Cork's Robert Splaine. The successful candidates should be known before the end of the month.

MARGIE McLOONE


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