Kenya and Ethiopia renew World Cross Country rivalry

By Isaack Omulo
| KAMPALA

KAMPALA Kenya and their east African middle and long-distance running rivals, Ethiopia, will come face-to-face again at the 42nd World Cross Country Championships in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday.

The two countries who have dominated the global event more than any other nation, have strong teams at this year's event which is held at the picturesque Kololo Independence Ground.

Germany's Ozil still doubtful for Azerbaijan qualifier - Loew

Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil is doubtful for Sunday's World Cup 2018 qualifier at Azerbaijan after receiving treatment for a back injury, coach Joachim Loew said on Saturday.

Ozil, who missed their 1-0 friendly win over England on Wednesday, skipped Friday's training session before the team headed for Baku and will have to wait until later on Saturday for a final decision, the coach said.

Wiggins defends his integrity after allegations of wrongdoing

Bradley Wiggins has described allegations that he may have broken anti-doping rules while with Team Sky as "the worst thing to be accused of" and said he would "shock a few people" when he eventually got the chance to defend himself.

Team Sky have come under the microscope in recent months after a UK Anti-Doping investigation was launched into a package ordered by former team doctor Richard Freeman and delivered to Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine race.

Ivan Abadzhiev, the "Pope of Weightlifting," dies at 85

SOFIA Former Bulgarian weightlifting coach Ivan Abadzhiev, one of the sport's most successful and prominent figures, has died aged 85, officials said on Saturday.

Widely known as "The Pope of Weightlifting," Abadzhiev led Bulgaria to 10 Olympic, 57 world and 64 European titles between 1968 and 2000, making weightlifting the Balkan country's most successful sport.

As a competitor, he won Bulgaria's first world championship medal after finishing second in the 67.5-kg category in Tehran in 1957.

Barcelona to name one of its stadiums after Johan Cruyff

By Richard Martin
| BARCELONA

BARCELONA La Liga champions Barcelona will pay tribute to visionary midfielder and coach Johan Cruyff by naming one of their new stadiums after the late Dutchman and his statue will also be erected at the Nou Camp.

The club are planning to relocate their Mini Estadi, the home of their B team and occasional venue for their women's team, to their training ground and president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the new ground will be named the Estadi Johan Cruyff.

England backs proposal to shorten Six Nations to six weeks

England's Rugby Football Union will back a proposal to reduce the length of the Six Nations to six weeks from the current seven to improve the tournament, the governing body's chief executive Ian Ritchie has said.

Clubs in the English Premiership are also backing the proposal, which was rejected at the last World Rugby talks in San Francisco due to concerns over the strain that a shortened tournament may place on players.

Verstappen says Red Bull not on same level as rivals

MELBOURNE Australian Grand Prix qualifying showed Red Bull are not yet on the same level as Formula One rivals Mercedes and Ferrari but Max Verstappen said he was not surprised.

"Basically I saw it coming after winter testing, this is the best we could do," the 19-year-old Dutch driver told Sky Sports television on Saturday after he qualified fifth behind the two Mercedes and Ferraris for the season-opening race.

Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo was 10th after spinning into the tyre wall in the final phase of the session without setting a time.

Satisfied Scolari has no plans to quit Guangzhou Evergrande

GUANGZHOU World Cup-winning manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has denied reports in his native Brazil that he will retire from coaching at the end of the current Chinese Super League season.

Scolari, who signed a new contract with Guangzhou Evergrande at the end of last year, called the reports "fake news" and said he hoped to remain in China beyond his existing deal.

Ricciardo sorry as home title hopes spin out

By Ian Ransom
| MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE Daniel Ricciardo was left apologising to the Red Bull garage after his hopes of becoming the Australian Grand Prix's first home winner spun out during qualifying on Saturday.

The affable 27-year-old will start 10th on the grid after he skidded at turn 14, ended up in the gravel and hit a barrier before his car was towed from the track.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton took pole ahead of Ferrari's second-placed Sebastian Vettel.

'Fired up' Ferrari in the hunt, says Vettel

By Ian Ransom
| MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE Sebastian Vettel has seen a number of false dawns since crossing to Ferrari but the German could see good times ahead for the 'scuderia' after putting his car on the front row of the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel's quickest lap was nearly three-tenths of a second slower than Mercedes pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton but the four-times world champion felt he had left a better time out on the track.

"I was not entirely happy with my lap," the German told reporters.

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