Doherty backs new tour run by his management


Snooker: Former world champion Ken Doherty yesterday gave his full support to the proposed new World Tour and criticised the current governing body for not advancing the game since he turned professional, writes Johnny Watterson.

The 31-year-old Dubliner, beaten 5-0 by England's Paul Hunter in the China Open in Shenzhen yesterday, added that snooker is being overshadowed by other sports as a result of the mismanagement of the game.

"Snooker is still up there in terms of television audiences and viewing figures. But we've been overtaken by lesser sports simply because the game has not been managed properly at the top," said Doherty.

The proposed world tour is set to get under way next season with 10 events. The group behind the scheme, the Sportsmasters Network (TSN), say they will be moving away from tobacco sponsorship.

TSN have also purchased the CueMasters, which manages players such as Doherty, Stephen Hendry, world number one Mark Williams and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

It is not yet known if Ireland will stage an event on the tour.

Cycling: Marco Pantani is to appeal a three-month jail term, a fine and sixth-month competitive ban for doping offences and vowed to clear his name.

"I'll follow this right through to the end to prove my innocence," Pantani said yesterday. "They're trying to break down my will but they're making a big mistake. I'm going to stick to my schedule and in the long run I'll be proved right."

Athletics: Olympic champion Derartu Tulu will line up alongside arch-rival Gete Wami in what promises to be a fascinating showdown in the Great North Cross Country run.

The Ethiopian, who regained her Olympic 10,000 metres crown in Sydney, has agreed to take on compatriot and last year's winner Wami in Consett on December 30th.