Global sports round-up

Shot putter dies in car crash

PARIS – France’s shot put record-holder Yves Niare died this morning in a car crash. He was 35.

Yves Niare

His best, set in 2008, was 20.72m and he won the silver medal at the 2009 European Athletics Indoor Championships.

He wore the French vest on 34 occasions, including at the 2007 and 2009 IAAF World Championships and 2008 Olympic Games.

“It is a tragedy which affects me with unbelievable force,” said the French federation president Bernard Amsalem.

“Yves Niare was an endearing athlete with whom I had great friendship. On behalf of the FFA, my thoughts are with his wife, his very young son and his father, a skilled coach,” added Amsalem.


EPO ‘affects health, not performance’

LAUSANNE – Cyclists who dope themselves with EPO may not gain any performance advantage even though they are putting their health at risk, scientists said today.

In a review of the evidence, a team of European researchers scoffed at the entrenched notion that EPO gives cyclists an edge.

And they pointed out that the drug has many perils for those who use it illicitly, including blood clots that can cause strokes and heart attacks.

“Athletes and their medical staff may believe EPO enhances performance, but there is no evidence that anyone performed good experiments to check if EPO would actually improve performance in elite cyclists,” said Adam Cohen, a professor at the Centre for Human Drug Research in the Netherlands.

EPO – erythropoietin – is a natural hormone, produced in the kidneys, which helps regenerate the red blood cells that transport oxygen around the body.†


Wach fails drug test

WARSAW – Polish boxer Mariusz Wach has failed a doping test after losing a world heavyweight title fight against Vladimir Klitschko last month.

President of the German professional boxing federation, Thomas Puetz, has been quoted as saying: “It has been reported to us that a test is positive.”

The report said that Wach tested positive for anabolic steroids after losing on points to the holder Klitschko on November 10 in Hamburg.

Wach can request the opening of the b-sample for a further examination. If found guilty of a doping offence, Wach faces a one-year ban and punishment by the international federations that sanctioned the Hamburg bout.††


Eritreans seeking asylum

KAMPALA – Eritrean soccer players who disappeared from their hotel in Uganda over the weekend have sought asylum in the east African country, a senior Ugandan government official said today.

Mass defections by Eritrean soccer players are becoming common as the country is one of the world’s most secretive states ruled by a reclusive president.

This year United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay accused the Asmara government of meting out summary executions, torture and detaining thousands of political prisoners.

“It’s true 17 players and a doctor from Eritrea have come to us claiming that they feel unsafe at home and that they want asylum in Uganda,” Musa Ecweru, junior minister for disaster preparedness and refugees, said.

“So we have told police to stop hunting for them and we have also given them asylum seekers’ forms.”

The Eritreans had disappeared from their hotel over the weekend after losing 2-0 to Rwanda on Friday during the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) competition.

In July last year 13 members of an Eritrean soccer club sought asylum in Tanzania while 12 members of the national squad disappeared in Kenya in 2009 after competing in a regional tournament.†

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