Sports Digest


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

Chambers takes some comfort

ATHLETICS: Dwain Chambers believes Usain Bolt’s form this season has given his 100 metres rivals encouragement that the Jamaican can be beaten in Sunday’s World Championships final.

The world and Olympic champion goes into the championships in Daegu as only the sixth fastest man in the world and has not come close to his stunning world record of 9.58 seconds since setting it in Berlin two years ago.

An Achilles problem brought a premature end to his 2010 campaign while scoliosis, a curvature of the spine he has suffered from since birth, hampered him over the winter.

While he remains unbeaten since losing to Tyson Gay last August, his season’s best of 9.88 seconds is some way off Asafa Powell’s world-leading 9.78. “Usain has shown this season that he is a human being,” said Chambers . . . “But he’s still the number one contender.”

Ireland lose to strong Spain

SQUASH: Ireland lost 2-1 to a strong Spanish side yesterday at the Squash World Team Championships. Arthur Gaskin was under constant pressure from the start against Borja Golan and the Carlow man was unable to cope with the pressure from the world number 34.

Derek Ryan levelled the match by winning Alejandro Garbi Caro 3-1. Ryan got off to a slow start but managed to control the pace and pick off his opponent.

In the deciding match Steve Richardson was able to match the pace of David Vidal but struggled on the warm courts to clinch the win.

Ireland now face tournament favourites in their final pool match today at 6pm.

Roche takes fifth as Lastras survives the heat

CYCLING: Spaniard Pablo Lastras battled through searing heat yesterday to claim victory in the Tour of Spains third stage, marking his first win in more than three years and his first ever lead in a major Tour.

As temperatures soared to over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), the 35-year-old Movistar rider launched a solo attack from a break of four on the final climb of the day.

Second, 15 seconds back, was French national champion Sylvain Chavanel, with Spains Markel Irizar in third.

Irelands Nicolas Roche finished in fifth place 1:43 behind and moves up to 39th in the overall classification.

Daniel Martin finished in the same stage time, in 20th place and sits in 21st place overall.

One of just three Spanish riders in the peloton, together with Juan Manuel Garate and Alberto Contador, to have won stages in all three major Tours, Lastras said his latest victory was not the most important of his 13-year career.

My Giro dItalia stage win in 2001 was the one that launched my career after a lot of bad luck and that mattered the most, he said. Today, though, is probably the most emotional of them all.

Lastras late break enabled him to scoop the top spot in the King of the Mountains, the points and the overall standings.

Overnight leader Daniele Bennati of Italy finished adrift of the other favourites, together with double Tour of Spain winner Denis Menchov of Russia.

Budapest out of running for 2017

ATHLETICS: Budapest has withdrawn its candidacy for the 2017 world athletics championships, leaving a three-way fight between London, Barcelona and Doha.

The governing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in a statement after a council meeting in Daegu on Monday, did not say why the Hungarian capital had pulled out of the running.

Spain had previously expressed an interest without deciding which city would be the country’s candidate.

The hosts will be selected by the IAAF Council at a meeting in Monaco in November after the final list of official candidates is announced on September 1st.

Daegu is hosting the championships this month with Moscow and Beijing following in 2013 and 2015. London’s bid has been clouded by a row over the 2012 Olympic Stadium between London soccer clubs Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham.

Irish duo bidding to make US Open

TENNIS: Ireland will have two players participating in this week’s US Open qualifying after Louk Sorensen secured a late place in the Flushing Meadows event.

Conor Niland had already comfortably made the cut-off point based on his world-ranking position of 196. And yesterday he was joined by Sorensen who has done at least a temporary U-turn on his move of last May to quit the pro tennis scene due to a succession of injuries over the past few years.

Because of his significant lay-off from tournament action due to injuries, Sorensen’s ranking has now slipped to 614 from a career-high position of 213 set in February 2010.

But he is still entitled to a “protecting ranking” of 281, and it was through this he made the US Open qualifying stage.

Sorensen showed last week that he still retains much of his earlier form by pushing Spain’s 94-ranked Daniel Gimeno-Traver to three sets – 4-6 7-5 7-5 – in a two hour 37 minutes contest. The Irish duo will have to wait until later today to learn the identity of their first round opponents, and they will have to win three matches to nail down a main draw place.