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.

Ronaldo, Manchester United top Chinese internet tables

Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo is comfortably the most influential soccer player online in China, while Manchester United are the most dominant club, according to a report.

The annual 'Red Card' report by Shanghai-based consultancy Mailman compiled data on top European clubs and their players, using metrics including social media followers, fan engagement and e-commerce.

Australia dismissed for 260 in first innings

PUNE, India Australia's final-wicket pairing lasted less than an over on the second morning of the opening test as the tourists were dismissed for 260 in their first innings against India on Friday.

Fast bowler Umesh Yadav picked up four wickets while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took three for the hosts in the first match of the four-test series.

Matt Renshaw and Mitchell Starc struck half-centuries for Australia.

United favourites but Southampton can harness spirit of '76

By Martyn Herman
| LONDON

LONDON For Manchester United fans of a certain age the name Bobby Stokes will still induce cold sweats as their team prepare for Sunday's League Cup final against Southampton at Wembley.

With United boss Jose Mourinho enjoying such an affinity with the competition that launched his English trophy collection, United will be favourites against their Premier League rivals.

Third arrest made in Pakistan corruption probe

LONDON A third man has been arrested in relation to an ongoing investigation into possible corruption in Pakistani cricket, Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) has said.

"Officers from the National Crime Agency arrested a British man in his thirties this morning in the Sheffield area as part of its investigation into the spot-fixing of cricket matches," the NCA said in a statement on their website.

"He was bailed pending further inquiries."

Djokovic back on court at Acapulco

World number two Novak Djokovic will make his return from a shoulder injury at next week's ATP tournament in Acapulco, the Serb said on Friday.

Djokovic had accepted a wildcard into the Mexican tournament which boasts a strong field including Australian Open finalist Rafa Nadal and world number four Milos Raonic.

"Great news! You'll see me back on court next week in Acapulco at @AbiertoTelcel," the 12-times grand slam champion wrote on his Twitter account. "Did you miss me?"

Kaymer one behind two rookie leaders at Honda Classic

Martin Kaymer chipped in for birdie at the 17th then birdied the last to move within one stroke of the lead after Thursday's opening round of the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Springs Gardens, Florida.

The rousing finish by the German, playing his first U.S. event of the year, lifted him to a five-under-par 65, one stroke behind American rookies Cody Gribble and Wesley Bryan on a course softened by rain on Wednesday.

Anirban Lahiri of India joined Kaymer at 65 by rolling in a 24-foot putt for eagle on the par-five 18th.

Tottenham Spurs exit Europa League, Lyon in seventh heaven

By Toby Davis
| LONDON

LONDON Tottenham Hotspur's Europa League hopes were crushed by mid-table Belgian side Gent, who booked their spot in the last 16 with a 2-2 draw at Wembley on Thursday as the hosts paid the penalty for Dele Alli's first-half red card.

Gent, eighth in their domestic league, went through 3-2 on aggregate after the second leg of the last-32 tie and will be joined in Friday's draw by Olympique Lyonnais who won 7-1 at home to AZ Alkmaar for an 11-2 triumph over two legs.

Lights on again at Maracana stadium after dark days

RIO DE JANEIRO Power was restored to the Maracana stadium on Thursday almost a month after it was cut off because the stadium's administrators had not paid the bill, the city's electricity company Light said.

Power was restored after the stadium's managers paid the 1.3 million reais ($424,670) owed for the months of November, December and January, the company added.

The stadium, which hosted the 2014 World Cup final and the closing ceremonies of last year's Olympics and Paralympics, has fallen into a state of disrepair as authorities battled over who should run the ground.

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