Sports digest


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

McIlroy and Woods confirm they will play in Abu Dhabi

GOLF:Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the world’s top two golf players, have confirmed their participation in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on January 17th-20th.

The pair head a list of the biggest names in the game to compete for the €2 million prize at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

“I have come close a few times in Abu Dhabi now. Hopefully it’s my turn,” Mcllroy revealed via a telephone link at the event’s official launch at the St Regis yesterday.

“I had a great tussle with Tiger nine months ago and I am sure he will be in contention again. We have spent a lot of time playing together this year, and it is always fun challenging the best.”

Woods, who was runner-up to England’s surprise winner Robert Rock last year, said:

“I really enjoyed my time in Abu Dhabi and I wanted to return, particularly as I played well and came so close last year.”

IABA directed to drop 'Amateur' tag

BOXING:The Irish Amateur Boxing Association’s Boxing Council will meet next month to discuss a directive from the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to drop the world amateur from its name.

Founded in 1911, the IABA have been advised by AIBA that what was previously known as amateur boxing will now be known as AIBA Olympic Boxing.

All national federations across the world have been directed to follow suit ahead of the introduction of AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) next year.

In a letter to each national federation, AIBA president, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, said that the concept of amateur boxing no longer existed.

“What was previously known as amateur boxing will, from now on, be known as “AIBA Olympic Boxing” (AOB),” said Wu.

Meanwhile, the National men’s U-23 and the women’s U-21 Championships begin at the National Stadium in Dublin tomorrow.

Irish horses to the fore in France

EQUESTRIAN:ALL HORSES passed yesterday’s first inspection at the FEI world championships for young event horses at Le Lion d’Angers in France where the Irish Sport Horse studbook is being represented by 28 animals.

While half have been nominated by other national federations, 14 were selected by Horse Sport Ireland and will be ridden by Irish riders.

Only three six-year-olds, two mares and one gelding, are among this group while there’s just one mare among the 11 seven-year-olds.

Sweden’s Anna Hilton with the ISH gelding Spring Sensation is first into the six-year-old dressage arena this morning. Cork-born Austin O’Connor rides his test on Kate Jarvey’s home-bred Jumbo mare Day By Day at 10.17 while Co Armagh-based Jessica Acheson competes with her own Riverland Roi mare Bridgehousestud River Wild at 11.41.


Oracle Team USA boat capsizes in San Francisco Bay

SAILING:A 72-foot catamaran built by Oracle Racing to defend the America’s Cup capsized in San Francisco Bay during a training session, destroying its mast and wing sail. The boat, launched eight days previously by Oracle Corp chief executive Larry Ellison’s sailing syndicate, nosedived and flipped forward on Tuesday in about 25 knots of wind while accelerating into a downwind turn, according to a news release sent by the team. There were no injuries.

The boat’s 132-foot wing sail was destroyed and the crew worked until yesterday morning to save the boat, towing it back to the team’s base at Pier 80 to assess the damage.

But undaunted skipper James Spithill said: “A strong team will bounce back and this won’t stop us from winning the America’s Cup.”

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