Global sports round-up

Basketball Australia accused of gender bias

MELBOURNE – Australia’s basketball governing body will review its travel policy after being criticised for flying their men’s team to the London Olympics in business class while putting their women’s team in economy class.

In Japan, soccer officials brushed off accusations that they too had been guilty of sex discrimination after segregating the country’s Olympic soccer teams for a long-haul flight.

The different travel plans were slammed by Australian media and politicians called for the teams to receive equal treatment.

“We should bear in mind that in fact, historically, more funding has been directed towards the Opals,” Basketball Australia’s acting chief executive Scott Derwin said in a statement, referring to the women’s team.

“But the simple fact is when a policy results in gender inequality, it’s very clearly not the right policy going forward.”

Australia’s women’s basketball team have won silver at the past three Olympics, while their male counterparts – the Boomers – have never medalled.


Mullera dropped from Olympic team

Angel Mullera

BARCELONA – Steeplechaser Angel Mullera has been dropped from the Spanish Olympic team while an investigation into a possible doping offence takes place, the country’s athletics federation (RFEA) said today.

“This decision is independent of the possible opening of disciplinary proceedings and a suspension for failing to comply with our anti-doping regulations which…is being evaluated at the moment,” the RFEA said in a statement.

The 28-year-old was called to Madrid to explain himself to the authorities today after a local newspaper published an email exchange between an address in Mullera’s name and an unidentified doctor in which they discussed a possible doping plan last year.

The Spanish steeplechase champion from 2010 will be replaced by Sebastian Martos.


Kobe: Size may be US shortcoming

LONDON – In a sport dominated by giants, Kobe Bryant fears a lack of height could be the downfall of the United States as they bid to retain their Olympic basketball title at the London Games.

The U.S. won their third straight warm-up match yesterday, beating Britain 118-78 in Manchester, and will now jet off to Barcelona to face Spain and Argentina.

They are clear favorites to win gold in London, but they are not unbeatable, according to Bryant.

“We definitely have weaknesses that teams can take advantage of,” he told reporters. “So, we’ll get a good look at that.

“It’s size. It’s size and teams being able to slow the game down and work the ball inside on us, and we have to do a good job of taking care of our defensive pressure.”

The U.S. begin their Olympic competition against France on July 29.

Gezzar slapped with suspension

Nour-Eddine Gezzar

PARIS – Nour-Eddine Gezzar, who came fourth in the 3,000 metres steeplechase at the European championships, has been provisionally suspended and will miss the London Olympics after failing a dope test for erythropoietin (EPO).

“Noour-Eddine Gezzar tested positive for EPO on June 17 at the French championships. Pending the analysis of the B sample, the French athletics federation decided to provisionally suspend Gezzar,” the federation said in a statement today.

He had already been suspended for two years in 2006 for testing positive for nandrolone and finasteride.

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