SPORTS DAY: Caster in a record-breaking mood

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SPORTS DAY: Caster in a record-breaking mood

The sporting news of the day from around the world

Sunday Times sports editor

ATHLETICS
Caster targets 35-year-old SA record
Caster Semenya aims to break the 1,000m South African record that has been standing for 35 years when she competes in the Liquid Telecom Athletics Grand Prix at Tuks Stadium on Thursday night. The 27-year-old double Olympic champion‚ who was pipped by US tennis great Serena Williams for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award last week‚ said on Tuesday she is focused on breaking the 2:37.2 record that was set by Ilse de Kock Wicksell in 1983. “I am more mature‚ we have practiced the splits and understand how they are allocated and how I need to run,” she said.
OLYMPICS
Board spent little time on sports issues
SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) board members have spent less than 10% of their time discussing sports issues in recent times‚ a committee member looking into the body’s governance matters said on Monday.  Labour lawyer Shamima Gaibie was questioning board member Kaya Majeke on his submission‚ which included minutes of board meetings. “A lot of it is on technicalities‚ about who sits on what committee‚ there are issues about who will comprise the next board‚ whether they include the PSCs [provincial sports confederations] or not‚ the conflict between clauses in the constitution‚ and if I had to assign a percentage … to core sports issues I would say it would be less than 10%.” Majeke agreed.
CRICKET
Key to sledging: ‘avoid personal insults’
Australian coach Darren Lehmann expects the coaches and captains of both teams to “chat” before the second Test against South Africa starting in Port Elizabeth on Friday after a bad-tempered start to the series. The first Test in Durban ended acrimoniously after leaked closed-circuit television footage showed a confrontation between Australian vice-captain David Warner and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock. Lehmann said on Cricket Australia’s website: “Both sides are going to push the boundaries. That’s part and parcel of the game. It’s a bloody tough game out there.” The key was to avoid personal insults. “We’ve got to make sure we don’t cross the line.”
SOCCER
Putin plays ball in Cup countdown
President Vladimir Putin played football with Fifa boss Gianni Infantino in the Kremlin on Tuesday as Russia marked 100 days before the start of the World Cup. The footage was released by football’s world governing body in a tweet featuring legends of the beautiful game juggling the ball and doing tricks. The clip ended with Putin heading the ball back to Infantino after a heavily edited kickabout set to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee. Others playing around included ex-England midfielder Wayne Rooney, Argentina’s Diego Maradona and Brazil’s Ronaldo.It's an absolute fantasy, says Baxter
Stuart Baxter has finally weighed in on the debate about his salary and described reports suggesting that he earns R1-million a month as national team boss as “absolute fantasy”. The Briton took strong exception to suggestions that he has had very little to do since South Africa failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup last year and insisted his monthly salary did not increase dramatically when he left SuperSport United to join Bafana Bafana last year. While he did not disclose the details of his salary‚ Baxter insisted he was not earning anything close to the amount that has been widely reported since last year.
Baroka give coach the boot
Baroka FC chairman Khurishi Mphahlele has confirmed that the club will start sifting through the CVs of potential coaches after sacking the eccentric Kgoloko Thobejane on Tuesday. Thobejane was released from his contract following a protracted suspension. Mphahlele said the decision to part ways with Thobejane was reached on 28 February, when the suspended coach failed to show up at his disciplinary hearing. Thobejane was accused of drinking on the team bus on 3 February, along with captain Olaleng Shaku and goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.
Benni to ‘coach’ in Champions League
While Cape Town City are in the tropical heat of Mozambique on Wednesday and take on local favourites Costa do Sol in the African Confederation Cup‚ their coach Benni McCarthy will be in freezing Manchester watching UEFA Champions League action. He has flown to Britain for the latest instalment of his UEFA PRO licence where he will be watching Manchester City take on FC Basle in the second leg of their last 16 tie at the City of Manchester Stadium. McCarthy has been doing his licence through the football association in Northern Ireland but missed recent modules because of his City coaching duties.
CYCLING
It’s all a smear, wails Wiggins
Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins says he is the victim of a “malicious” attempt to smear his reputation, vehemently denying he has cheated during his glittering career which also features five Olympic gold medals. A damning report by lawmakers on Monday said Wiggins and Team Sky had crossed an “ethical line” by using drugs to enhance performance and not just to treat medical need. It comes after Russian computer hackers revealed in 2016 that the British rider had applied for therapeutic use exemptions to have injections of the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone before three of his biggest races, including the 2012 Tour de France, which he won. Wiggins told the BBC he only used prescribed drugs for valid medical reasons.SOCCER
Neymar’s toe makes Brazilians sick
News crews from around the world may have flocked to cover Neymar’s foot operation, but some Brazilians are sick of seeing him treated like a pampered rich kid. The 26-year-old star of the Brazilian national team and Paris Saint-Germain had surgery on Saturday at a private, ultra-modern hospital with a chopper pad that Neymar used when he was released. In a decrepit maternity hospital across the street, Dr Klaus Morales said on Facebook that amid the fuss surrounding Neymar's toe surgery “our patients must wait hours to be treated”. This was disgraceful, he added.
BOXING
Alvarez blames meat for doping result
Mexican middleweight boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol after eating contaminated meat, Golden Boy Promotions said on Monday. A voluntary test showed Alvarez, who is scheduled to fight unbeaten middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan on 5 May in a highly anticipated rematch, had traces of clenbuterol in his system, his promoters said. The levels were consistent with meat contamination that had affected dozens of athletes in Mexico over the past several years, they said. Alvarez would immediately move his training camp to the US and submit to more tests.
TimesLIVE, AFP and Reuters

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