Pakistan's Kaneria banned for life


SPORTS DIGEST:CRICKET: Danish Kaneria was yesterday banned from English and Welsh domestic cricket for life and described as “a grave danger” to the sport following his involvement in a spot-fixing plot.

The 31-year-old Pakistani was found guilty by the England and Wales Cricket Board of “cajoling and pressurising” former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield into accepting cash in return for trying to concede a set number of runs in an over during a Pro 40 match in 2009.

“We regard Danish Kaneria as a grave danger to the game of cricket and we must take every appropriate step to protect our game from his corrupt activities,” the ECB’s disciplinary panel said in a statement.

“Accordingly, we are unanimously of the view that the only appropriate sanction in relation to both charges is one of suspension for life and that is the sanction we impose.”

Westfield, who admitted a charge of receiving a reward, has been suspended for five years. Westfield was sentenced to four months in prison in February after admitting a spot-fixing charge at the Old Bailey.

Rheinisch into semi-finals of Canoe Slalom World Cup

CANOEINGCompeting on one of his favourite courses in his last outing before the Olympic Games, Eoin Rheinisch swept into the semi-finals at the third Canoe Slalom World Cup in La Seu d’Urgell in Spain yesterday.

The 32-year-old needed to finish in the top 40 in the heats to compete in today’s semi-finals, and his first run of 86.88 seconds placed him 15th and secured his spot. But Rheinisch was not finished: he showed impressive speed to improve by almost two seconds in his second run to 84.98 and take fourth place.

A placing in the top 10 in today’s semi-final would take him into the final and give him a shot at a medal on a course where he won World Cup gold in 2004. Rheinisch competed in Athens 2004 and took fourth place in Beijing 2008.

Ciarán Heurteau hit a new high last weekend with a fifth placing at the second World Cup in Pau in France, but in La Seu he qualified for the semi-finals in 37th place. Like Rheinisch his first run was good enough to push him through, but he faltered in his second run and received a 50-second punishment. Times from the heats do not carry through to semi-finals, but those with slower heat times go off first.

The Olympic prospects of Ireland sprint canoeist Andrzej Jezierski will be clearer after the European Championships in Zagreb, in which he goes into action in the C1 200 metres today. Like Rheinisch, this will be his last competitive outing before London 2012.

Barry Watkins and Jenny Egan both qualified for B Finals in the K1 500 metres.

Keohane victory provides boost ahead of Henley

ROWINGJohn Keohane gave himself a boost as he heads off to compete in the Diamond Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta when he beat Paul O’Donovan to win the Division One single sculls title at Cork Regatta at the National Rowing Centre last night.

Colin Williamson of Queen’s University came through the qualification race at Henley last evening to join Keohane in the main draw, but UCD’s senior women’s eight fell well short of qualifying for the Remenham Cup.

Helen Walshe won the Division One women’s single scull late last night at the NRC.

The Division One pairs titles went to St Michael’s of Limerick. Mark O’Brien and Aidan McEvoy won the men’s title and Ailish Sheehan and Jessica O’Keeffe the women’s.

Ireland finish fourth behind Germany

EQUESTRIANIreland finished fourth on 15 faults in yesterday’s fourth round of this year’s FEI Nations’ Cup series in Rotterdam which was won by Germany on a two-round total of four faults.

Both of Jessica Kuerten’s rounds on Voss were discarded in the Irish score with Cian O’Connor going clear in round two with Blue Loyd 12 having picked up five faults in his opening salvo.

Clem McMahon had a single time fault in the first round with a pole down next time around with Pacino while, in contrast, Denis Lynch had four faults in round one and a time fault in round two.

At Hickstead, US-based Andrew Bourns, who is back home in Eyrecourt for the Summer jumping season, won yesterday’s Derby trial with Patricia Connon’s Condios gelding Roundthorn Madios ahead of Britain’s Daniel Mosley on Billy Grand.

There are two rounds of the TRM National Grand Prix league scheduled for this weekend with 23 horses declared for today’s leg at West Clare and 17 listed for Charleville tomorrow.

Inspirational James helps Miami Heat claim NBA crown

BASKETBALLLeBron James led the way with a triple-double as the Miami Heat completed a 4-1 series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder to secure the NBA title. The forward racked up 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as he collected the first title of his illustrious career.

The Heat won 121-106 on the night to wrap up the best-of-seven series with two games to spare.

Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Mike Miller also scored 20 points or more, with Miller hitting seven of eight three-point attempts on his way to a 23-point tally.

Kevin Durant led the beaten Thunder with 32 points, James Harden and Russell Westbrook adding 19 apiece, but the home side were always in control in Florida.

They led 31-26 after the first quarter and extended the lead to 59-49 by half-time. Their dominance continued and the final quarter was like a lap of honour. James was a unanimous choice as series MVP, completing a journey of redemption after he was widely criticised following the Heat’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks last year.

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