Hungary's Olympic dream 'killed' by political upstarts, says PM Orban

BUDAPEST Hungary had to withdraw its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games to avoid a humiliating defeat in the race with Paris and Los Angeles after a local political movement "killed the Olympic dream", Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday.

The Momentum movement, a new force in Hungarian politics, last week submitted a petition with 266,000 signatures demanding a referendum in Budapest on an event seen as symbolically important to Orban.

Momentum argued that Hungary was not yet rich enough to host the Olympics.

Ranieri's Leicester departure leaves Thailand unmoved

By Cod Satrusayang

The dismissal of Leicester City coach Claudio Ranieri has caused barely a ripple in Thailand, where even last season's stunning Premier League title triumph for a locally-owned team failed to break traditional club loyalties.

The Italian was unceremoniously sacked on Thursday after a 2-1 loss to Sevilla in the first leg of a Champions League Round of 16 tie, and with the team hovering just a point and a place above the relegation zone after 25 matches.

Everton's Bolasie set for second surgery on damaged knee

Yannick Bolasie may not play for Everton again until the end of 2017, with manager Ronald Koeman confirming that the winger would undergo a second operation on his knee.

The 27-year-old, who joined from Crystal Palace in August for an initial fee of 25 million pounds, played every game for Everton until injuring his anterior cruciate ligament against Manchester United on Dec. 4.

Bolasie had surgery in the third week of December to repair damaged cartilage in his knee, but the ACL injury requires another operation.

West Ham's Carroll remains doubtful for Watford clash

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic will make a late call on whether to include recovering striker Andy Carroll in the squad for Saturday's Premier League clash against London rivals Watford.

The 28-year-old Carroll, who has scored four goals in his last four games, has been sidelined with a groin injury and missed the 2-2 draw with West Brom at London Stadium on Feb. 11.

"Unfortunately (the injury) is a little bit slower than we expected and hoped for," Bilic told reporters.

O'Keefe takes six as Australia skittle India for 105

PUNE, India Left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe picked up his maiden five-wicket haul, including three in an over, to trigger a spectacular collapse and help Australia bundle out hosts India for 105 in their first innings of the opening test on Friday.

O'Keefe finished with figures of 6-35 as Australia took a first-innings lead of 155 on a spin-friendly track against the world's top-ranked side in the first of the four-match series.

Opener Lokesh Rahul's 64 was the top individual score for the hosts, who are unbeaten in their last 19 tests.

Chiefs end losing streak to Highlanders, Smith injured

James Lowe pounced on two wayward passes while Hika Elliot took advantage of a day-dreaming defence to give the Waikato Chiefs a 24-15 victory over a wasteful Otago Highlanders side who lost All Blacks fullback Ben Smith to a head injury on Friday.

Winger Lowe intercepted first half passes from All Blacks Aaron Smith and Waisake Naholo, while hooker Elliot finished a well-worked lineout move in the second as the Chiefs ended a six-game losing streak to the Highlanders dating back to 2014.

Mancini at short odds to become next Leicester manager

Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is the bookmakers' favourite to replace compatriot Claudio Ranieri as Leicester City manager after the Italian was sacked by the Premier League champions on Thursday.

British bookmaker Sky Bet was offering odds of 6/4 on Mancini taking over relegation-threatened Leicester, while William Hill had the 2011-12 Premier League-winning coach at 13/8 as of 0520 GMT on Friday.

Mancini, who left Inter Milan last August, won the Premier League with City in 2012.

Barcelona to open academy in southern China

Barcelona will open a soccer academy in southern China this year in partnership with local developer Mission Hills Group, the La Liga club said on Friday.

The academy, to be based in Haikou, capital of the island province of Hainan, will have seven football pitches and eventually the capacity to enrol 1,000 children between six and 18 years old, the club said in a joint media release.

"The FCBEscola in Haikou will be staffed by FCB coaches and will follow the same training methods used by the FCB youth teams," the release said.

Korea's gold medal hopes for Pyeongchang still on ice

By Peter Rutherford
| SEOUL

SEOUL South Korea invested heavily across the winter sports spectrum to boost its medal chances at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics but if the ongoing Winter Asiad is anything to go by, the cut-throat world of short track remains its best hope for gold next year.

Since short track speed skating debuted as a medal sport at the 1992 Winter Olympics, Korean athletes have won 21 of the 48 golds up for grabs, their bravery, blazing acceleration and ice-cool composure giving them a razor-sharp edge over their rivals.

Starc strikes twice to leave India reeling before lunch

By Sudipto Ganguly
| PUNE, India

PUNE, India Australia paceman Mitchell Starc ripped the heart out of India's top order with two wickets in three balls to help reduce the hosts to 70 for three at lunch on the second day of the opening test on Friday.

Cheteshwar Pujara was dismissed for six, while India captain and batting mainstay Virat Kohli was despatched for a two-ball duck as the touring side fought back strongly in the first of the four-match series between the world's top two sides.

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