Korea won the January replays of both the men's and women's Olympic qualifiers. (Getty Images)
Bahraini Calls Foul on Asian Handball
Asian handball has a problem with corrupt referees, says one member of the Bahrain Olympic Committee.
Mohammed Abul, an ex-vice president of the Asian Handball Federation, alleges that Kuwaiti leaders of continental group regularly bring inexperienced international referees to Kuwait and buy their loyalty with quick promotions.
"The problem here is there is no way of seeing them handing bribes hand to hand. It is always done in secret," Abul told the Gulf Daily News.
He called for the International Olympic Committee to investigate the AHF, starting with its president, IOC member Sheikh Ahmed Al Fahad Al Sabah.
Fahad and the AHF leadership have rejected the claims of biased refereeing that came out of the Asian Olympic Qualifiers late last year. The tournaments resulted in wins for Kuwait's men and Kazakhstan's women. The AHF has levied a $1,000 fine on Japan and Korea for taking part in the International Handball Federation-supervised replay in Tokyo in January, but the vice president of the Korea Handball Federation rejects the fine.
"We will not pay even one won in fine as any payment will be tantamount to acknowledging the rematches were wrong," Huyng-kyun Chung is quoted in Korean media.
The row is likely to escalate at the Feb. 17 to 26 Asian Men's Championship in Esfahan, Iran. Korea vows to send a team, but the AHF says they are not invited until the fine is paid.
Bad Behavior in Badminton
The Badminton World Federation promises to investigate its standards of line judging after number one-ranked Lin Dan got into a heated argument with an opponent's coach last weekend. Lin and Li Mao – the Korea singles coach – lost their tempers with each other and began a shouting match after a close call resulted in a match point for the Korean player. Lin and Li, both from China, accuse each other of rudeness and poor sportsmanship.
Bystanders hold back Lin Dan during his argument with a team Korea coach during the final of the Yonex Korea Open tournament on Jan. 27. (Getty Images)
Controversial line calls are becoming more common, according to Anne Smillie, chair of the BWF sport committee. Technical officials must be equipped to meet the professional standards of the players, she says. In December, her committee gave its support to a plan to upgrade the standard of line judging. One idea on the table is to employ full umpires as line judges in major matches.
"All of this is damaging to the image of our sport and undermines confidence in the results," says Smillie.
"The game needs to be exciting and closely fought, but all want to see the result determined by the players, not by courtside officials, or who can argue the loudest," she added.
The BWF will also consider using line-call technologies used in tennis and cricket.
But technology and rules cannot cover everything.
"Players, coaches, technical officials and team officials at courtside have a code of behavior to follow," says Smillie.
The president of the International Cycling Union warns that the Tour de France must accept team Astana. Pat McQuaid says UCI rules are clear: the Tour must invite the 18 teams of the ProTour. Astana withdrew from the Tour last year after a rider failed a blood doping test. Alberto Contador and his teammates were cleared of all charges of doping in the 2006 Operacion Puerto case. (Getty Images)
Tour de France organizers ASO have not made official invitations to the race, but Giro d'Italia organizers snubbed the team last week. The organizers of the Italian race did not give a reason for leaving out Astana, only clarifying that invitations are issued based on a team's ethics, quality, internationality and long-term relationships with the organizers. Astana underwent a housecleaning after the 2007 Tour de France. However, new team member Alberto Contador was allegedly involved in Operacion Puerto. The Italian Olympic Committee has said they will not allow any riders involved in Operacion Puerto to ride in their country, and the 2008 Tour de France route includes Italy.
"You can't operate on speculation, you can only operate on the facts you've got; you have to follow the law and the rules. Contador has not been proven guilty of anything in relation to his involvement in Operacion Puerto," McQuaid told Cycling Weekly magazine.
The International Softball Federation is taking its Back Softball campaign to female media professionals with a breakfast at the Association for Women in Sports Media annual convention in Miami. Olympic champion and veteran sports reporter Donna de Varona will address the Feb. 9 breakfast in her role as co-chair of the ISF task force charged with getting softball back in the Olympics.
“Just as the AWSM members have fought for equal access in the sports media, the decision to drop softball from the Olympic calendar must be given fair and comprehensive coverage in the media,” says de Varona.
The curling teams from Korea, Canada, Norway and the U.S. will meet in the final round of the 2008 World Wheelchair Championship over the weekend in Sursee, Switzerland. Ten teams began the contest on Feb. 2. After the finals, the International Paralympic Committee will post a tournament wrapup video on www.ParalympicSport.tv.
The International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation world cup season ends over the weekend with a final event at Winterberg, Germany. Live coverage is available online in selected markets from nbcolympics.com and cbcsports.ca. The event coincides with the Junior World Championship in Igls, Austria.
The International Boxing Association begins the search for Boxing Academy host cities on each continent by naming a four-man selection committee. The team, which includes IOC member Craig Reedie, will evaluate the bids and report to the AIBA Executive Committee in August, 2008.
Written by Maggie Lee
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