Olympic Newsdesk -- Asian Beach Games Close; Putin on Olympics, World Cup

(ATR) Hosts suffer heartbreak in final hours of Muscat 2010 ... Russian PM discusses coming decade in sport ... Sochi ski venue opens.

XXXXX during the Closing Ceremony at Al-Musannah Sports City on day nine of the 2nd Asian Beach Games Muscat 2010 on December 16, 2010 in Muscat, Oman.
XXXXX during the Closing Ceremony at Al-Musannah Sports City on day nine of the 2nd Asian Beach Games Muscat 2010 on December 16, 2010 in Muscat, Oman.

Soccer Down to the Wire at Asian Beach Games

Oman falls short of soccer gold as the Asian Beach Games come to a close in Muscat.

United Arab Emirates stunned the host country in a shootout late Thursday after the teams tied 2-2 in regulation, marking UAE’s third shootout win of the week.

The Omanis never trailed in the Games but were still unable to defend the title they won two years ago at the inaugural ABG in Bali, Indonesia.

Also Thursday, Japan swept triathlon gold, India defended its beach kabaddi titles and Thailand won another seven medals to top the tally with 36 total.

China finished second with 23 and Oman third with 15, five of them gold.

At the closing ceremony, Omani organizers handed the Games flag off to 2012 host Haiyang, China. Phuket, Thailand will do the honors in 2014 and Nha Trang, Vietnam in 2016.

Putin Outlines Legacy of Winter Games, World Cup

Vladimir Putin says the coming decade of sport will transform not just Sochi, but all of Russia.

The PM covered a bevy of topics Thursday in his annual televised question-and-answer session, among them the 2014 Winter Olympics and newly won 2018 World Cup.

"There will be less crime, less drug-taking," Putin said of the benefits Russia will reap from the pair of mega-events. "In the end it's an integrated, exclusively positive influence on the future of the country."

Putin suggested Thursday the legacy of the Sochi Games will be a much-needed makeover for a city stuck in the past.

"I hate to say it, but we might never in 100 years have done what we are doing now — or maybe we would never have done it," he said. "Roads, gas pipes, new electricity stations ... It's Sochi."

The 2018 World Cup, meanwhile, is all about infrastructure, Thursday’s Q&A hinted.

Russia will spend at least $10 billion overhauling 13 host cities, but Putin assured his viewers the effects would last far beyond the month-long soccer tournament.

"All this will be left to the people and will serve them for decades," he said ofthe dozen stadiums to be built or renovated ahead of 2018.

"It will facilitate a healthy way of life."

Putin was a key figure behind Sochi’s successful bid for the 2014 Olympics when he lobbied in Guatemala in the final hours of the Black Sea resort’s campaign. Many had expected him to do likewise for Russia 2018, but Putin delayed his arrival until immediately after FIFA’s Dec. 2 vote in Zurich.

Sochi Opens Alpine Resort

Sochi 2014 CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko opened the Rosa Khutor Alpine resort in the Krasnaya Polyana mountains today.

He said six Olympic courses were now open for testing.

"Preparations for test events in Feb. 2011 are going at full pelt and according to schedule," he said on Twitter.

The International Ski Federation Alpine European Cup in February is the first of four major test events ahead of the 2014 Games.

Chernyshenko also announced that construction of the Krasnaya Polyana Olympic Hospital and assembly works were now complete.

Work continues apace in the coastal cluster of venues. Work on constructing the roof for the Bolshoi Ice Palace is now underway, he confirmed.

The 12,000-seat venue for ice hockey at the Games is scheduled for completion in 2012. A Eurohockey tour competition is the first test event.

IAAF Launches New Anti-Doping Scheme

The IAAF will use a new detection method in its fight against doping in athletics.

The federationunveiled Tuesday its Athlete Biological Passport, a system already used in cycling to monitor certain biological markers for any abnormal variations that could indicate doping.

The IAAF will test competitors on the sidelines of the world championships next summer in Daegu in hopes of establishing their ABP "fingerprints", the IF said in a statement.

Tyson Gay Predicts Blistering 2011

U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay makes some bold predictions for the New Year in the latest entry to his online IAAF diary.

"More men will run sub 10 seconds in the 100m and sub 20 seconds in the 200m than ever before in one year, Arkansas will beat Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, and we will get snow here in Florida before the end of the winter," he wrote Thursday from an athletics training camp.

The former Razorback helped Arkansas to two national championships and now lives in Fayetteville.

He became the only man to beat Usain Bolt in a 100m final since Beijing 2008 when he bested the Jamaican superstar in Stockholm in early August. He is also the only person ever to run under 10 seconds in the 100m, under 20 in the 200m and under 45 in the 400m.

Media Watch

Time magazine includes the late IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch in its "Fond Farewell" section of the annual "Person of the Year" edition.

Written by Matthew Grayson.

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