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Global sports round-up

Invitation-only for female Saudis

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia will send women athletes to the 2012 London Games if they are invited by the International Olympic Committee, a Saudi official said today.

“Saudi Arabia will allow female athletes to participate if they receive an invitation from the International Olympic Committee or other countries’ Olympic committees,” the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, told Reuters by telephone.

“There is a joint committee of the IOC and the Saudi Olympic Committee to discuss which female athletes will receive an invitation and for which sports. No invitations have been issued yet.”

Female participation in sports has long been a controversial issue in Saudi Arabia, where powerful clerics denounce women for exercising, saying it goes against their nature.

Women in Saudi Arabia are regarded as minors and require the permission of their guardian – father, brother, or husband – to leave the country and in some cases even to work.

SFlbMiami Heat seal Allen-Lewis signing

SFlbMIAMI – The NBA champion Miami Heat strengthened their already imposing roster today by completing the signings of free agents Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, hugely boosting their threat from long distance.

Allen is the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) all-time leading three-point scorer and a 10-time All-Star who won a championship with Miami’s Eastern Conference rivals, the Boston Celtics, in 2008.

The 36-year-old guard turned down a two-year offer from the Celtics, reportedly for $12 million, in order to join three-time NBA most valuable player LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami.

Allen will be expected to radically bolster a team that was just 10th overall in three-point shooting last season while also helping to open driving lanes for both for James and Wade.

Allen, who will turn 37 later this month, will likely back-up Wade at the shooting guard position but could also play alongside him as an alternative to Mario Chalmers.

Forward Lewis, 32, is a 14-year NBA veteran and two-time NBA All Star who played with Allen at the Seattle Supersonics from 2003-07. In their final season together they averaged a combined 48.8 points. Lewis, also a highly-rated three-point shooter, has a career average of 16.1 points per game.

Cole defends teammate Terry

SFlbLONDON†- Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has told a court his teammate John Terry should not have been put on trial over alleged racial abuse.†Terry, 31, denies racially insulting QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.†When asked by the prosecution about the case, Cole replied: “We shouldn’t be sitting here.”

Cole told the court there is always abuse between certain players.†

The black England full back said that in the dressing room after the Loftus Road match last October he saw Terry ask Ferdinand whether he thought he was being racist on the pitch.

He added the conversation ended with a handshake between the two players.

Cole denied Ferdinand was only brought into the changing room because they were aware of YouTube footage of the incident.

Meanwhile, in written statements, former Chelsea player Salomon Kalou of the Ivory Coast said he never heard Terry use any form of racist language.

World Twenty20 trophy unveiled

SFlbINDORE – Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag today unveiled the ICC World Twenty20 championship trophy at a function in Indore.

In a statement issued on the occasion, Sehwag said the excitement is building across the world as the ICC World T20, to be held in September-October this year in Sri Lanka, is nearing.

“It is fantastic news that the trophy will tour Delhi, Mumbai and Indore, and I have enjoyed meeting Reliance staff and trade partners in Indore,” Sehwag said.

When asked to comment on the event, Sehwag thanked the people of Indore for hosting the trophy preview.

The silver trophy would be taken in an open vehicle for public viewing all around the city.

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