SPORTS DAY: Games chief has some salve for Durban

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SPORTS DAY: Games chief has some salve for Durban

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sports editor

COMMONWEALTH GAMES
No hard feelings: Commonwealth CEO
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) CEO Dave Grevemberg says there are no hard feelings over the Durban 2022 fiasco‚ adding the CGF would even entertain another bid one day. “There’s absolutely no resentment to South Africa‚” Grevemberg said on Monday. “They did the best they could under the circumstances. Some things changed and we needed to move forward‚ but we are committed to an African Games at the right time‚ right place‚ right people for the right purpose.” Durban was awarded the rights to host the Games in 2015‚ but was stripped in early 2017 after the government failed to sign various financial guarantees.
SOCCER
Tau could be better than me‚ says Benni
Benni McCarthy says Percy Tau could turn out to be even better than he was as a striker and has all the qualities to become a world-class forward. The Cape Town City coach sounded like an excited fan as he praised the qualities of the 23-year-old from Mamelodi Sundowns. “He could probably be better than me‚” said the holder of the record number of Bafana Bafana goals‚ Uefa Champions League winner and a former La Liga and English Premier League player. “He is an intelligent striker with all the instincts that a world class player needs.”
Pardew leaves rock-bottom West Brom
Alan Pardew became the second manager to leave bottom-of-the-table West Bromwich Albion this season when he departed on Monday after four months in charge at the English Premier League club. West Brom, beaten 2-1 at home by Burnley on Saturday, have lost their last eight league matches, leaving them seven points adrift at the bottom of the table and 10 short of safety with six matches to play. Pardew, appointed at the end of November with West Brom two points above the bottom three, was in charge for 21 matches in all competitions, managing three wins with only one of those in the league.
COMMONWEALTH GAMES
India deny doping after needle find
India’s men’s boxing coach denied any doping on Monday after syringes were found in the Commonwealth Games athletes’ village, saying one of his fighters was given a vitamin injection because he was unwell. Santiago Nieva was speaking to Australia’s 7 News as speculation grew over the syringes, which Games officials said were discovered after a tip-off from a cleaner. Nieva’s explanation contradicts team manager Ajay Narang, who said on Saturday the syringes were unconnected to India’s athletes.CRICKET
Klaasen in for Smith in Rajasthan squad
South Africa wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen will replace banned Australian Steve Smith in the Rajasthan Royals team for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), organisers said on Monday. Former Australia captain Smith and his deputy David Warner were handed 12-month bans by Cricket Australia for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. The pair have also been banned from this year’s IPL starting on Saturday, with a match between defending champions Mumbai Indians and twice winners Chennai Super Kings.
Bad light hinders England
England’s bid to win the second Test against New Zealand and level the series was hindered by bad light on Monday when play was abandoned early with the hosts 42 without loss chasing an unlikely 382 for victory. The tourists, without a win in their last 12 overseas tests and needing victory to save the two-test series after losing the opener in Auckland, declared their second innings closed on 352-9 earlier on day four at Hagley Oval.
GOLF
Excitement builds over Tiger’s return
Anticipation built on Sunday around Augusta National for Tiger Woods returning to the Masters, with ticket scalpers already offering prized passes to the unfolding drama at the year’s first major golf tournament. Players travelled Magnolia Lane to the clubhouse on the eve of Monday’s first official pratice session for the 82nd Masters, where 14-time major winner Woods will try for a fifth green jacket after his fourth back operation. “I’m just there to win,” Woods said on his website this week. “I’ve been better with each week I’ve competed. A little more crisp. I’m starting to put the pieces together.”Poulter wins Houston playoff
Ian Poulter resurrected his stagnant career by winning the Houston Open in a playoff on Sunday, the victory coming with an added bonus of earning the final invitation to the US Masters and throwing his hat into the ring for Europe’s Ryder Cup team. Poulter was always heading to Augusta to work on the tournament for British television, but the 42-year-old Englishman will now be inside the ropes instead when the first major championship of the year starts on Thursday. “There’s life in the old dog yet,” Poulter said after beating American Beau Hossler on the first hole of a sudden death playoff at Golf Club of Houston.
SOCCER
De Bruyne seeks 'historic' win
Beating Manchester United to clinch the Premier League title next Saturday would be “historic”, says Manchester City’s Belgian playmaker Kevin de Bruyne. The 26-year-old — the architect of City’s surge towards the title — said it would be terrific for the fans if the side labelled “the noisy neighbours” by former United manager Alex Ferguson sealed the trophy against Jose Mourinho’s team at the Etihad Stadium.
TENNIS
Nadal reclaims ATP top spot
Rafael Nadal reclaimed top spot in the men’s ATP rankings on Monday, a day after Swiss rival and defending champion Roger Federer crashed out early in Miami. Nadal, who hasn’t hit a ball in anger since pulling out of the Australian Open quarterfinals in January, saw Federer take over the top spot on February 18. The Swiss veteran, however, slipped 10 points behind his Spanish rival and into second place after a second-round defeat to Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Reuters, AFP and TimesLIVE

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