S Africa’s Anderson out of Australian Open

PARIS - South Africa’s Kevin Anderson withdrew from the Australian Open on Sunday after failing to recover from injury, the 30-year-old announced on Twitter. Anderson, a former world number 10 who is now down at 67 after suffering ankle and shoulder injuries in 2016, hasn’t played since October, when he lost in the first round at Vienna. “Unfortunately I have just made the very tough decision to withdraw from the Australian Open. I am really sad to miss one of my favourite events each season,” wrote the 2.03m (6ft 8in) player who is South Africa’s only player in the top 100. “I am still recovering from an injury sustained last year but things are looking much better and I will be back in competition soon.” Anderson reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2013, 2014 and 2015.–AFP

Maradona backs 48-team World Cup

ZURICH - Argentine football legend Diego Maradona on Monday backed controversial plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams, a day before world football’s powerful governing council faces a key decision on the issue. “It sounds like a fantastic idea to me,” the 56-year-old told reporters at FIFA’s Zurich headquarters. “This will give more possibilities to countries that have never reached that level of competition,” he added. The hobbled Maradona spoke dripping with sweat after rumbling his way through a mini-tournament involving former football greats and current executives. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has organised a series of so-called “Legends Tournaments” since taking charge of the body last year, playing alongside former football stars in front of assembled media.–AFP

PNA coaching course held

LAHORE - The 3rd development and coaching course was held at Gujranwala’s Dastigar Ideal High School, Peoples Colony under the auspices of Punjab Netball Association (PNA). The players and officials from 16 institutes of Gujranwala and surrounding areas participated in the course. PNA secretary Ch Rizwan said the course was conducted on the instructions of PNA president Syed Shaharyar Ali and with support of Pakistan Netball Federation (PNF). “Such courses prove fruitful in the development of the sport in the country.” Around 200 people were given training for netball development and coaching which is a good omen. The participants thanked PNA chief Shaharyar Ali for the directions to hold the course in Gujranwala. This was the third such course conducted in Punjab after Lahore and Faisalabad.–Staff Reporter

Waseem visits Pakistan Sweet Homes

ISLAMABAD - WBC silver weight champion M Waseem visited Pakistan Sweet Homes on Monday where he was warmly welcomed by Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal Managing Director Barrister Waheed Shaikh and others. Waseem visited various parts of the hostel and met with kids. Speaking on the occasion, the boxer said he was surprised to see orphans were being cared and looked after in such an impressive way at Pakistan Sweet Homes. “I am highly satisfied with the accommodation and food being provided to the orphans. Orphans are kids of Pakistan, and we all should contribute in this noble work. “I am impressed to see immense talent here and we can easily start a boxing academy at Pakistan Sweet Homes. There is an urgent need of providing these kids a platform where they may showcase their skills in the best possible fashion. I am ready to help these kids and whenever I got chance and time, I will certainly help these kids and pass on my knowledge to them,” he added. Barrister Waheed lauded Waseem’s achievements and said: “We are proud of Waseem, who climbed ladders in quick time and reached peak which others fail to get in such short time. Pakistan Baitul Maal will construct orphanages at Fata and other parts of the country and will try to take advantage from the experiences of greats like Waseem.”–Staff Reporter