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

McIlroy parts company with his first corporate sponsor

World number one golfer Rory McIlroy’s deal with his first corporate sponsor has ended ahead of confirmation of a new deal that will make him the new face of sportswear giant Nike.

US PGA champion McIlroy is poised to rubber-stamp a 10-year deal with US company Nike worth as much as €191 million, according to media reports.

Nike is set to supply the 23-year-old Northern Irishman’s clubs and have its name or logo on his clothing in an exclusive deal.

The Dubai-based hotel company Jumeirah Group said on Tuesday that its five-year sponsorship with 2011 US Open champion McIlroy had ended.

“Jumeirah became my first corporate sponsor when I turned professional back in 2007 and I would like to thank everyone at the company for their support in helping me become the player I am today,” McIlroy said in a news release.

The player said in November he did not think that ditching the Titleist clubs that have taken him to the top of the sport would affect his game. Nike is hoping a partnership with McIlroy will help it to move on after it dropped disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong last year over his doping scandal.

Cool Federer has not warmed up for Australian Open

A disappointing end to 2012 left Roger Federer’s critics writing his tennis obituary, but the Swiss is confident he can win more Grand Slam titles after arriving in Melbourne refreshed following an extended break.

Federer, who is looking to add to his record 17 majors, skipped his traditional warm-up events in the Middle East and has not played a competitive tournament since losing a pulsating final to Novak Djokovic at the ATP Tour Finals in November.

After playing only a couple of exhibition matches, Federer arrived in Melbourne aiming to become the first man since Andre Agassi in 1995 to win the Australian Open having not played a warm-up tournament.

“Longevity . . . is what I am striving for this year in 2013 to hopefully keep on playing for many years,” he said.

Humer gets coaching role in Limerick

SWIMMING:New Zealander Lars Humer has been appointed as head coach of the High Performance Centre at the University of Limerick.

Humer will take up his new position next Monday.

Humer competed as a swimmer in his native land before turning to coaching and has been a high performance coach with British Swimming for the past 13 years. In that position he has coached both Paralympic and Olympic swimmers at various centres in the UK.

Swim Ireland’s national performance director Peter Banks welcomed the appointment saying: “We are delighted to have Lars on board, he has huge experience and a proven track record in coaching performance swimmers. I know he will do a great job in Limerick.”

England fail to spark despite Bell's efforts

CRICKET:England’s preparations for the one-day series in India went from bad to worse as they slipped to a second warm-up defeat in three days. Having been turned over by India A on Sunday, Alastair Cook’s side suffered a six-wicket defeat to Delhi, who had nine balls in hand, despite posting 294 for five.

Ian Bell was the standout again, adding 108 to his previous 91, but there will be major concerns over the bowlers. They appeared to have plenty to defend but were dismantled by former international Shikhar Dhawan, who hit a classy 110, and rookie Milind Kumar, who finished 78 not out.

Runs for Bell, Eoin Morgan (52) Cook (44) and Craig Kieswetter (41no) mean it was not a completely negative exercise.

Tokyo the favoured destination despite earthquake 'threat'

OLYMPICS 2020:Concerns that a major earthquake could strike during the 2020 Olympics will not affect Tokyo’s chances of hosting the Games, the city’s bid leader said yesterday.

Tokyo tiptoed into the bidding race after losing out to Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and with the country still recovering from a deadly tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis in 2011.

“You can’t predict with any certainty where and when earthquakes will hit,” said Tokyo’s bid president Tsunekazu Takeda.

“They can potentially happen in any country. It’s the reaction to the quake which is the most important thing and to be ready as a nation if that occurs.”

Tokyo, which hosted Asia’s first Olympics in 1964, is the current favourite with bookmakers to beat rival bidders Istanbul and Madrid.

Madrid hopes to stage games in London style, not Athens style

OLYMPICS 2020:Madrid will be capable of staging a successful 2020 Olympics despite the parlous state of Spain’s finances, officials behind the city’s bid said yesterday.

“Today the biggest weakness we have is the economy but we can overcome it,” Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) president Alejandro Blanco told a news conference, a day after Madrid’s bid dossier was handed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne.

Officials said hosting the games would help to boost the economy, boost Spain’s image and unite citizens during tough times.

Last year’s London Games, seen as a resounding success despite some dire predictions, were held up as an example to follow rather than the 2004 edition in Athens, which left a legacy of crumbling venues and crippling debts.

Madrid is competing with Istanbul and Tokyo for the 2020 Games.

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