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Britain’s David Bolarinwa and Jamaica‘s Odane Skeen won their qualifying heats in the 100 metres at the Youth Olympics today, setting up a final between two sprinters touted as possibly the next Usain Bolt.

Bolarinwa blew away the field in his heat, finishing in 10.62 seconds. Skeen got out slowly but surged to run 10.63 and beat Thailand’s Jirapong Meenapra.

Odane Skeen of Jamaica, left, and Jirapong Meenapra of Thailand, right, compete in the boy’s 100 metres at the Youth Olympics today, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

The 16-year-old Bolarinwa has the fastest time this year among 16- and 17-year-olds — a 10.39 in London this month. Skeen, a 15-year-old whose lanky style has some likening him to his compatriot Bolt, ran a 10.46 in Jamaica.

“I thought ‘let me go there, go hard and see if anyone can go faster,'” Bolarinwa said. “It was a good performance overall.”

Skeen was less thrilled with his race, blaming his slower time on two false starts by other competitors. But he said come Saturday’s final, he would win.

Bolarinwa and Skeen will face each other for the first time. Skeen was surprised to learn Bolarinwa has posted the fastest 100 this year. Marvin Bracy of the United States ran the second fastest, but is not competing at the games.

Organisers of the first Youth Olympics have emphasised participation rather than winning, but that was lost on Bolarinwa and Skeen.

Both boys seemed to relish the comparison to Bolt and their budding rivalry to that of Bolt and Tyson Gay. Told he has been compared to Bolt, Skeen just smiled and said he dreams of surpassing his idol.

“I want to be better than Bolt,” said Skeen, whose goal it is to win gold at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Source: Jamaica Observer



Usain Bolt

Bolt outshines rivals at Diamond League meeting in Lausanne

Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt has announced he will not compete at August’s Aviva London Grand Prix because of Britain’s tax laws.

The 100m and 200m world record holder may not now compete in the UK again until the 2012 Olympics.

New regulations mean the 23-year-old Jamaican could lose more money than he would earn from competing at the Crystal Palace Diamond League event.

“I am definitely not going to run [in London],” Bolt told a news conference.

Crystal Palace organisers had hoped to stage a three-way showdown between Bolt and his sprint rivals Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay.

Athletes competing in the UK are liable for a 50% tax rate on their appearance fee as well as a proportion of their total worldwide earnings – which for Bolt, who earns millions from endorsements, could be hugely costly.

HM Revenue & Customs won a case in 2006 brought by tennis star Andre Agassi. It successfully argued that as well as the prize money he accrued, a proportion of Agassi’s worldwide sponsorship income was also earned during his time in the UK and was therefore taxable.

HMRC bases its tax charge on the number of UK events athletes compete in. For example, if Bolt were to take part in 10 meetings worldwide, with one in the UK, the HMRC could tax him on one-10th of his worldwide earnings.

The UK’s tax laws have proved a handicap to the country’s chances of hosting events. Uefa admitted in 2008 that Wembley missed out on the 2010 Champions League final for that very reason.

The Government has since agreed to waive the rule so London can host the 2011 final, and competitors in the 2012 Olympics are also exempt.

Golfer Sergio Garcia has admitted in the past that he limits his appearances in the UK because of tax laws.

[Update made via BBC Sport]



It’s Paolo, not Paul. Italian media claimed as their own the “psychic” octopus who accurately predicts World Cup results after his trainer in Germany on Sunday revealed he was caught in Italian waters.

“The octopus’ name is Paolo,” wrote sports newspaper Tuttosport on its website.

Paul the Octupus with the uncanny ability to accurately predict the winners of the FIFA 2010 World Cup winners.

The news is “a small satisfaction for Italy at the end of a tournament that has given the Azzurri very little joy,” wrote daily Il Corriere della Sera on its website.

Verena Bartsch, the octopus’ trainer on Sunday told the Sunday edition of Germany’s Bild tabloid newspaper that she caught him in April in the sea off the Italian island of Elba, near Tuscany. He was four weeks old at the time.

Bartsch’s version conflicts with Paul’s official biography, according to which the octopus is two years old and came from Weymouth, England, before moving to an aquarium in western Germany.

Paul has accurately predicted seven out of seven games from his aquarium home, where he is given two boxes, each containing a mussel and the flag of the two competing World Cup teams.

He has predicted that Spain will beat the Netherlands in Sunday’s World Cup final.

“In its own way, Italy is also the star of the 2010 World Cup,” wrote Italian newspaper La Repubblica’s online version, after the 2006 champions’ disastrous exit from the World Cup in the early stages of the tournament.

Italy were embarrassingly bundled out of the World Cup following a shock 3-2 defeat to Slovakia on June 24, ending at the bottom of what had looked like a fairly easy Group F.

[Update for this post was made via AFP.com]



Wesley Sneijder (right) celebrates his winning goal for the Dutch in Port Elizabeth.

Wesley Sneijder (right) celebrates his winning goal for the Dutch in Port Elizabeth.

The Netherlands came from a goal down to beat 10-man Brazil 2-1 in their World Cup quarterfinal clash in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

An early goal from Robinho had put Brazil in command, but in the second half the Dutch drew level when Wesley Sneijder’s cross was deflected into his own net by Felipe Melo.

Inter Milan’s Sneijder then headed his team ahead in the 68th minute after Arjen Robben’s corner had been cleverly flicked on by Dirk Kuyt.

A miserable afternoon for Melo was completed when he was sent off for stamping on Robben.

The Dutch will play either Uruguay or Ghana in the semifinals, but for Brazil and coach Dunga it is a bitter defeat.

The five-time World Cup champions took charge from the start as Melo found Robinho with a precise pass through a static Dutch defense and he made no mistake as he swept his shot past Maarten Stekelenburg in the 10th minute.

Further chances fell to the Brazilians as Dani Alves set up defender Juan who blazed his volley over.

The best move of the match involving Robinho and Lus Fabiano saw Kaka draw a brilliant save from Stekelenburg, while right back Maicon shot into the side netting on the run as half-time approached.

There seemed no way back for the Dutch, but a 53rd minute aberration from Brazil keeper Julio Cesar turned the tide of the match.

He totally missed Sneijder’s left-footed cross from the right and the unfortunate Melo saw it brush his body before finding its way into the net.

More poor defending allowed Sneijder to give the Dutch the lead and when Melo was deservedly shown red it was the end of the line for the South American champions.

Only a strong run and shot by Kaka which was deflected away offered them much hope and they might have fallen further behind to Dutch counter attacks.

[Post updated via CNN]



Asafa Powell has dominated the 100 metres so far this season, and the Jamaican sprinter believes he can only go “faster and faster.”

Powell headlines the Golden Gala in Rome tomorrow, the latest event of the elite Diamond League series.

Asafa Powell competing during the men 100 metres race at the IAAF World Challenge Golden Spike athletic meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, last month. Powell clocked a time of 9.83 seconds and won the race. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
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Asafa Powell competing during the men 100 metres race at the IAAF World Challenge Golden Spike athletic meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, last month. Powell clocked a time of 9.83 seconds and won the race. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

He ran a wind-aided 9.72 seconds to win in Oslo last week in his third major race of the year. He had the year’s fastest legal time a week earlier, clocking 9.83 seconds in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Before that, he won in Doha with a wind-aided 9.81 after running a windy 9.75 in the heats.

“I’m just very excited about the way the season is going now,” Powell said. “In my last race in Oslo, I had a sore groin and hamstring but the time was still very fast. I think as the season goes on I will continue to run faster and faster.

“Everything is going great with the races now and I am expecting to keep improving as the season progresses. Doha 9.75, Ostrava 9.83, Oslo 9.72. I’m excited to see what comes next.”

Powell is hoping to use the absence of rivals Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay to close the gap on the duo. It is likely to be a long season for Powell culminating with the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October, with a hoped-for showdown between Jamaican teammates Powell and Bolt in the 100.

[Updated via Jamaica Observer]



Led by senior batsman, Ramnaresh Sarwan, several West Indies players were part of a Digicel-organised visit to the Children’s Ward of the Mount St John’s Medical Center on Friday afternoon.

Despite not being in the best of health, the child patients were delighted and excited to be able to meet and spend time with the players.

(Photo Courtesy of DigicelCricket.com) This younster is all smiles, as he has one of the West Indies Cricket team members mobile phone all to himself. The team members were part of a Digicel-organized visit to the Children’s Ward of the Mount St. John’s Medical Center in Antigua, Friday, May 21, 2010.

In addition to Sarwan, ace fast bowler Jerome Taylor, all rounder Darren Sammy, wicketkeeper batsman Andre Fletcher and fast bowler Ravi Rampaul visited the children and interacted with hospital staff.

“I’m always happy to meet our young fans and it is special to meet these kids who are not in the best of health at the moment. Their laughter and positive attitude is an inspiration to all of us,” Sarwan said.

“I hope that in some small way our visit will help them along in their recovery,” Sarwan added.

The players chatted with the children, played games with them and talked and listened to them about what they were going through.

At the end of the visit, the players presented an autographed West Indies team photo to the Children’s Ward.



The evening of Saturday May 1 should be one of exciting rivalry and intriguing contrasts, highlighting the world’s fastest man and woman, at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Among the galaxy of stars lining up for the JN Jamaica International Invitational is the phenomenal Usain Bolt, who served notice as a fifteen-year-old prodigy at that venue eight years ago, and the late bloomer Carmelita Jeter of the United States of America.

Ms Jeter will be on a mission to underline her startling achievements last year, at almost twice Bolt’s age on his first introduction to the world. In 2009, she lowered an unremarkable personal best over 100 metres by an amazing one-third of a second to 10.64 seconds, thus becoming the world’s fastest live woman and the second fastest in history.

In the process, she left in her wake two young Jamaican superstars – Shelly-Ann Fraser and Kerron Stewart – who had outclassed her earlier in the IAAF Berlin World Championships.
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