Sports digest


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

Bolt still has long jump and 400m on his mind for Rio

ATHLETICS:The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, is still toying with the notion of adding the 400 metres or long jump to his repertoire after retaining his 100m and 200m Olympic titles.

The 26-year-old, who also helped defend Jamaica’s 4x100m relay crown in London, said yesterday he could opt to branch out at the 2016 Olympic in Rio de Janeiro. “It’s just to find something else now to strive towards,” said Bolt in Tokyo. “I could try another event, maybe the long jump or the 400 metres,” added Bolt, who came on stage dancing to loud reggae music.

The 100m and 200m world record holder had previously said he would be concentrating on completing a “three-peat” in his own events but appears to have had a rethink.

Bolt said he wanted to keep pushing himself towards fresh challenges after becoming the first man to retain both the 100m and 200m Olympic titles earlier this year.“I want to try football,” said the Manchester United fan, who received a Bolt 9.58 jersey in honour of his 100m world record time on a recent visit to Old Trafford.

ICC suspend six umpires

CRICKET:The International Cricket Council (ICC) has provisionally suspended six umpires who allegedly agreed to spot-fix matches during a recent sting operation conducted by an Indian television channel.

Footage screened on the Hindi-language India TV on Monday showed what the news channel said was officials from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka negotiating deals with under-cover reporters to affect the outcome of matches.

Pakistan’s Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka’s Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage were all seen agreeing to give favourable decisions in exchange for umpiring contracts and money.

The global governing body said in a statement yesterday investigations would be conducted by the respective boards of each country while the umpires remained barred from officiating in any matches.

“The officials named are not contracted by the ICC and those boards who employ and nominate the umpires directly will conduct the investigations as a matter of urgency.”

Irish captain Hoban is the real deal

SOCCER:While some Englishmen who’ve declared for the Republic of Ireland over the years may have openly admitted to possessing tenuous links to their ancestral home, there can be no questioning the bone fides of under-19 captain Tommie Hoban.

“My mother was born in Dublin and my Dad’s parents are from Westport in Mayo and Limerick,” said the Watford defender, who captains his country against Luxembourg today.

Skippering his side to next July’s Uefa finals in Lithuania is his ultimate aim, which will only be possible if they can claim one of the top-two places in the four-nation group.

With Germany to come in their last game next Tuesday, Ireland will seek maximum points from today’s contest and the follow-up on Saturday against Macedonia to secure their passage with that daunting duel to spare.

IRELAND UNDER-19 (probable): Lawlor (Manchester City); B Lenihan (Cork City), Sweeney (Reading), Hoban (Watford, capt), Garmston (West Brom); Drennan (Aston Villa), Gallagher (Burnley), Coombes (St Patrick’s Athletic), Grealish (Aston Villa); Wilkinson (Millwall), Byrne (Manchester Utd).

Dockrell named player of the year by cricket writers

CRICKET:George Dockrell was last night named as the Cricket Writers of Ireland player of the year at an awards ceremony in Malahide Cricket Club.

Recently named the ICC Associate player of the year, the 20-year-old left-arm spinner took 37 wickets at just 14.27 in 25 international appearances during the year. He also enjoyed a fine breakthrough season in first-class cricket with Somerset, taking 34 championship wickets as the county finished runners-up to Warwickshire in Division One.

The young player of the year award went to Instonians’ James Shannon, while the club award went to Jonny Thompson.

The performance of the year went to Paul Stirling for his match-winning knock against Afghanistan in the World Twenty20 qualifier final in Dubai, while Clare Shillington received recognition for becoming the first women’s international to win 100 caps.

Gerry Duffy and Brendan “Ginger” O’Brien, the father of present internationals Niall and Kevin, were both inducted into the Hall of Fame.


Whelan is new vice-chaiman of Six Nations Council

RUGBY:Former Ireland hooker Pat Whelan has been announced as the new the vice-chairman of the Six Nations Council, under one-time England captain Bill Beaumont. The appointments were ratified in Rome yesterday, where Whelan and the chairman began their three-year terms with immediate effect.

Whelan, from Limerick, won 19 caps for Ireland between 1975 and 1981 and has been a lifelong Garryowen club member. He also represented Munster and was a member of the side that defeated New Zealand in 1978 in Thomond Park.

He has played key roles in various administrative positions within Irish rugby, including as selector and manager to the Ireland team, and was instrumental in the development of the professional game here.

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