Athletes Leave Marks at World University Games
The World University Games continued in Palma de Mallorca on Friday with a record performance in the women's 100-meter backstroke. Japan's Noriko Inada swam the fastest 100-meter backstroke in the world this year to break the University Games record.
Inada, who helped set a games mark in the women's 400 medley relay Thursday, clocked 1 minute 1.06 seconds in the backstroke to defend her title of two years ago and better the event standard of 1:01.60 established by Barbara Bedford of the United States in 1991. Tomoko Hagiwara of Japan took the silver, her fifth medal of the week.
Two other University Games records fell in athletics competition at the nearly deserted Son Moix Stadium. World record holder Mihaela Melinte easly defended her hammer title with a top effort of 74.24 meters, the sixth-best toss in history, and Cuba's Daymi Permi ran 54.57 seconds in a heat for the women's 400-meter hurdles to slice 0.37 off the games record. The final was yesterday.
In other athletics action, Auburn University's Coby Miller won the 200 meters, overcoming a slow start with a powerful turn and coasting home in 20.32 seconds. NCAA champion Terrence Trammell used a late burst of acceleration to take the 110 hurdles, and South Africa's Frantz Kruger grabbed gold in the discus ahead of Americans Andrew Bloom and Doug Reynolds.
Among the women, Romania's Monica Dinescu cleared 1.95 meters to triumph in the high jump, and Belgian Kim Gevaert won the 200 in 23.10 seconds.
Elsewhere, the defending champion U.S. women's basketball team beat Lithuania, 82-67, behind Camille Cooper's 20 points and eight rebounds to reach Saturday's semifinals. The Americans will play Russia, which routed Canada, 89-55. Host Spain and Ukraine met in the other semifinal.
The Games also have been notable for the return of Chinese diver Fu Mingxia, who had retired in 1996 after winning three Olympic gold medals. Fu won the 10-meter platform title on Wednesday
She finished with 522.390 points to beat Chinese teammate Wang Rui by 0.390. Canada's Anne Montminy took the bronze with 504.930.
A Deal Twice as Nice
Atletico Madrid and Lazio of Rome have agreed to an unusual "co-ownership" deal in order to pry Argentine international striker Claudio Lopez away from Valencia, Spanish state television reported on Friday.
According to the reports, the Spanish and Italian clubs will pay the $23.32 million buyout clause for Lopez -- if the player agrees to the deal. The pact between the two clubs would see Lopez play the next two years for Atletico before moving on a three-year contract to Lazio.
Atletico managing director Miguel Angel Gil, whose club were not prepared to buy out the player's contract on their own, flew to Rome on Friday to discuss the deal, which also works in Lazio's favor as at the moment they do not have room for another non-European Union player on their books. Atletico was not immediately available to comment on the reports of a deal, but Gil had said before traveling to Rome: "If there is any chance of coming to an arrangement with Lazio to share the player then we'd do it."
Lopez, who signed for Valencia from Racing Avellanada in 1996, has been in great demand after an excellent season that saw him score 21 league goals.
Is the Honeymoon Over?
European champion Manchester United has denied cutting short David Beckham's honeymoon because of a contractual obligation that says he must play during the club's tour to Australia and China. Beckham wed Victoria Adams (Posh Spice of the Spice Girls) on July 4.
United Manager Alex Ferguson rejected newspaper claims that Beckham was furious about being ordered back early, following a threat of legal action against the club if the star midfielder failed to appear. Australian promoters Rivkin Entertain-ment said they will cut Manchester United's lucrative appearance fee if the player is absent from the tour. United is currently negotiating a solution to the problem with Rivkin, having announced several weeks ago that Beckham will miss the trip. But Rivkin says United is contractually bound to ensure Beckham plays in Australia. Rivkin admits that the star is almost certain to miss Thursday's match in Melbourne, but insists that he must be available for the game in Sydney on July 18.
Warren, No Peace
Boxing promoter Frank Warren, whose former partnership with Don King cost him millions of dollars, is suing his lawyers for negligence in dealings with King. Warren said he was taking legal action against the law firm Park Nelson because of the advice he received when he entered into an agreement with King to jointly promote British boxers, including WBO featherweight champion Prince Naseem Hamed. Two agreements, dated Sept. 16, 1994, and April 25, 1995, were described by the British judge who presided over the Warren vs. King hearing as "amateur productions," which were "badly drafted" and full of "obscurities and inconsistencies." A British Court ruled in March that Warren breached his contract with Don King Promotions when, without King's consent, he signed a deal with King's television rival HBO for the U.S. rights for Hamed's fights. Warren agreed to pay King $11.4 million to terminate the partnership.
No Money, More Problems
Russian athletes who were promised cash prizes for winning medals at last year's Winter Olympics are still waiting for their money, according to a published report. The reason given is that the bank that has their money is nearly broke. Gold-medal winners at Nagano, Japan, were promised $50,000, silver medal winners $20,000, and bronze medal winners $10,000. Trainers and support staff for medal winners also were to get bonuses. About $2 million was deposited in the Russian Olympic Committee's account at the Russian Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The bank said it was crippled by last August's financial crisis.
Korthals vs. Hooligans
Dutch Justice Minister Benk Korthals wants to tighten anti-hooligan laws ahead of Euro 2000 to allow courts to detain suspected troublemakers for up to 12 days. Under current legislation, soccer fans charged with public order offenses are freed ahead of their trial on condition of good behavior. Korthals wants to allow judges to lock up even minor offenders if they believe there is a significant risk of further trouble.
Kipketer Gets Permission To Represent Denmark in 2000
The International Olympic Committee has given permission to Wilson Kipketer to run for Denmark in the Sydney Olympics next year, the Danish Olympic Committee said Friday.
The Kenya-born 800-meter world champion, left, became a Danish citizen last year, but the Olympic charter states that an athlete must seek permission from his native country to compete for his new one if he changes his citizenship less than three years before the Games and has competed for another country in a previous Olympics.
In March, the Kenyan Olympic Committee told its Danish counterpart that Kenya didn't oppose Kipketer appearing for Denmark at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. That decision needed approval by the IOC which came Friday, the DOC said.
Kipketer has lived in Denmark since 1990 and said he wanted to run for Denmark in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, but Kenya blocked that attempt.
CAPTION: Coby Miller's spirit wasn't flagging after the 200-meter dash. The Auburn University sprinter coasted home and triumphed in 20.32 seconds.