A round-up of today's other stories in brief
Hamilton close to signing new deal to stay with McLaren
MOTOR SPORT:McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale says Lewis Hamilton is close to signing a new contract with the Formula One team.
Hamilton has been linked with several moves away from McLaren, but looks likely to stay on for at least another season.
The Englishman made his debut for McLaren in 2007, finishing second in the drivers’ standings before taking the world championship the following season.
Neale said both McLaren and Hamilton were hopeful of reaching an agreement.
“We are closer and of course we are in dialogue,” said Neale. “For obvious reasons I can’t speculate more at the moment. We are working very hard to find a common ground.”
Fourth-placed Hamilton is 47 points behind world championship leader Fernando Alonso this season.
Kenny through to world quarter-finals
ROWING:Four of Ireland’s seven crews took to the water on the first day of the World Senior and Junior Championships at Plovdiv in Bulgaria yesterday – but just one claimed a qualification place. The senior events are for non-Olympic classes.
Galway man Niall Kenny tucked into third place in the four-boat heat of the lightweight single scull, holding off Korea’s Hakbeom Lee and qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The other Ireland crews had more difficult tasks and all are set for repechages. Claire Lambe came up against a current Olympic medallist in her heat of the lightweight single sculls. Greece’s Alexandra Tsiavo took bronze in the lightweight double sculls and a wonderful start yesterday sent her on her way to annexing the only qualification place for the semi-finals. Lambe could only finish fifth and will compete in a repechage.
Fifth was also the fate of the lightweight men’s pair of Mark O’Donovan and Anthony English and the Ireland junior women’s quadruple, who were not helped when they missed a stroke in the middle of the race.
Knee problems continue as Nadal forced out of US Open
TENNIS:Former champion Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the US Open with the knee injury that has kept him out of action since Wimbledon.
The Spanish world number two, who completed his set of Grand Slams by winning in New York in 2010, was forced to miss the Olympics and the Masters Series events in Toronto and Cincinnati with the injury, and announced yesterday he is still not ready to compete.
While the announcement will come as a big disappointment to the tournament and Nadal’s many fans, it is not unexpected.
The 26-year-old has not played since his shock second-round defeat by Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon in June, after which he hinted all was not well.
Nadal subsequently pulled out of a scheduled exhibition against Novak Djokovic in Madrid citing knee problems and then announced he would not be able to defend his title at the Olympics, where he had been due to carry Spain’s flag at the opening ceremony.
Nadal has been dogged by knee problems throughout his career.
Pietersen unlikely to play in World T20
CRICKET:Kevin Pietersen looks set to be left out by England for the defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown after England captain Andrew Strauss admitted he felt “let down” by the batsman over text messages sent to South African players during the drawn second Test at Headingley.
Although Strauss does not play T20 cricket, his comments on the eve of this morning’s third Test at Lord’s hinted that Pietersen’s apology may only be the start of a longer procedure .
In his captain’s press conference, Strauss’s caution was notable as he described an apology sent by Pietersen’s agent via lawyers as the “first step” in a situation where time will have to be part of the healing process to try to ensure lost trust is rebuilt.
“I feel a little bit let down by Kevin, if I’m honest,” said Strauss. “It’s not a personal thing. I’ve always got on very well with Kevin, which is why some of the stuff has been quite surprising to me.I would like Kevin to play for England again but only if we resolve the issues we need to resolve.”