US Olympic champ Holcomb dies

LOS ANGELES - Olympic gold medal-winning bobsledder Steven Holcomb was found dead Saturday in his room at the US Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York, the US Olympic Committee said. "The entire Olympic family is shocked and saddened by the incredibly tragic loss today of Steven Holcomb," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. "Steve was a tremendous athlete and even better person, and his perseverance and achievements were an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve's family and the entire bobsledding community." The USOC said no further details of Holcomb's death were immediately available. Holcomb, 37, competed for Team USA in three Olympic Winter Games, making history at Vancouver 2010, when he piloted the "Night Train" US four-man bobsled team to gold medal.–AFP

Benatia in live TV racism storm

MILAN - Italian football has been hit by a second racist storm inside a week after Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia was insulted live on air during a live, post-match television interview with Italian state broadcaster Rai. Benatia, a Morocco international, was being interviewed following a 1-1 Serie A draw at home with city rivals Torino when it was cut embarrassingly short by what seemed like a studio technician's gaffe. As he was speaking to studio presenters about Juventus, Benatia heard a voice over his radio earpiece say: "What are you saying, shitty Moroccan?" Benatia, who had been answering a question about Juventus winning the Serie A title, stopped mid-sentence and said: "Who said that? What stupid person is speaking?" Presenters also heard the remark, but tried to brush it off.–AFP

Lassana Diarra joins Al Jazira in UAE

PARIS - France international Lassana Diarra, who quit Marseille in February, has signed for Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates. "I'm joining Al Jazira, champions of the UAE," the 32-year-old told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper. "I'll prepare in the United States before doing a pre-season with the squad from June." Diarra, capped 34 times by France, has also played for Chelsea, Arsenal, Portsmouth and Real Madrid, as well as Anzhi Makhachkala and Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian league. The Paris-born midfielder insisted he remained available for France, citing the example of Andre-Pierre Gignac, who has been picked despite playing in Mexico. "I'm joining a championship that is little seen, but if the (French) coach calls me up, I'll come and give a hand with pleasure."–AFP

Leizpig claim direct Champions League berth

BERLIN - RB Leipzig capped off a superb first Bundesliga campaign with automatic qualification for next season's Champions League as Timo Werner scored twice in Saturday's 4-1 thrashing of Hertha Berlin. Leipzig, founded by energy drinks giants Red Bull in 2009, only reached Germany's top flight this season after four promotions in seven years. They lie second in the table and are certain to finish in the top three, which means a direct path into the Champions League group stage. "I am very proud. There is no better place to celebrate before so many fans," said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl as 10,000 RB fans travelled to Berlin. They are the first Bundesliga club since Kaiserslautern in 1998 to qualify directly for the Champions League immediately after winning promotion.–AFP

Taekwondo AGM to be held today

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) annual general council meeting will be held today (Monday) at 5:30pm. Talking to The Nation on Sunday, PTF president Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Januja said all representatives of affiliated units, departments, associations/services and members of referee/coach, associations/member athlete commission’s male/female would attend the meeting. “The main agenda points of the meeting would be confirmation of last PTF general council meeting minutes, approval of audited statements of accounts for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, discussion on following taekwondo events, national/regional taekwondo championships/courses 2016, international taekwondo championships/courses 2016, national/regional taekwondo championships/courses 2017 and others.”–Staff Reporter