Gilbert quits Paris-Nice with illness

CUSSET - Belgium's former world champion Philippe Gilbert pulled out of the Paris-Nice race on Wednesday suffering from a respiratory infection, his BMC team said. "I really love this race so it is disappointing to have to stop racing," said the 33-year-old cyclist, who captured the world road race title in 2012. "But I have one of my biggest goals for the season, Milan-San Remo, around the corner and in order to perform well there I need to fully recover from this illness and be in the best shape possible," added Gilbert. "Phil’s condition is nothing to be overly concerned about, however the cold weather and snow that we saw in the opening prologue and first two stages of the race have done nothing but aggravate his condition,"team doctor Dario Spinelli reported.–AFP

Henin among four elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Former world number ones Justine Henin of Belgium and Marat Safin of Russia have been elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, officials announced Tuesday. Henin won seven Grand Slam singles titles and spent 117 weeks atop the WTA rankings, while Safin collected two major crowns and spent nine weeks atop the ATP rankings. Set for posthumous induction in July 16 ceremonies at the ATP Hall of Fame Championships are Frenchman Yvon Petra, who died in 1984 at age 68, and England's Margaret Scriven, who died at age 88 in 2001. Henin, 33, is the first Belgian player inducted into the Hall of Fame. She won 43 career singles titles before retiring in 2011, including the 2004 Australian Open, 2003 and 2007 US Opens and 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 French Opens. "It's a big honor," Henin said.–AFP

National Jr Hockey semis today

LAHORE - NBP will face KP Whites in the first semifinal while SSGC will lock horns against Army in the second semifinal of the 35th National Junior Hockey Championship here at the National Hockey Stadium today (Thursday). Meanwhile, tournament director Col (R) Sikandar Ghumman has said that efforts of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) dynamic management to uplift the standard of hockey have started brining positive results. “Holding of workshop to enhance the proficiency of its technical official is a unique and unprecedented effort of PHF president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and secretary Shahbaz Senior,” said Col (R) Ghumman in a statement on Wednesday. Technical officials include tournament director, assistant tournament director, judges, umpire managers and assistant umpire managers.–Staff Reporter

Huzaifa enters ATF Tennis semifinals

ISLAMABAD – Top seed Huzaifa Abdul Rehman entered the ATF Pakistan 14 & under Tennis Championship 2016 semifinals here at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Complex Wednesday. International players’ journey also ended in the event as last remaining hope Sri Lankan Yanishkhe Cooray was outclassed by Amin Shafi. In the first quarterfinal, Huzaifa beat M Dada winning 6-1 and 6-0 to book the berth in semifinals. In the second quarterfinal, M Said (G/B) beat Shoaib Khan 6-3, 6-3, while in the third quarterfinal, Amin Shafi thrashed Lankan Yanishkhe Cooray 6-1, 6-1. In the fourth and last quarterfinal, second seed Hamza Bin Rehan beat wildcard holder Sameer Ahmed 6-1, 6-3. In the girls’ singles first round, Yasha Attique beat Eman Fatima 6-4, 6-2 and Sara Noor Ahmed beat Sheiza Zafar 6-1, 6-1.–Staff Reporter

One change in Pak women cricket team

LAHORE - Pakistan women’s team player Sania Iqbal has been ruled out of action due to a fracture on her right-hand thumb during the ongoing training camp in Karachi and her place is filled by Diana Baig. PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has approved the name of Diana Baig after women’s national selection committee compromising of Farrukh Zaman, Urooj Mumtaz Khan and Syed Ali Naqvi has recommended her name for the ICC Women World T-20, said PCB spokesman Wednesday. The remaining 14 players are Javeria Wadood, Bibi Nahida, Sidra Amin, Bisman Maroof, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Sana Mir (capt), Nida Rashid, Iram Javed, Asmavia Iqbal Khokhar, Anam Amin, Sadia Yousaf, Aliya Riaz, Sidra Nawaz (wk) and Syeda Nain Fatima Abidi.–Staff Reporter