Lochte poised to return to competition

LOS ANGELES - Ryan Lochte is set to return to USA Swimming-sanctioned competition this week after the end of a 10-month ban for his bogus gunpoint robbery story at the Rio Olympics last year. Lochte was embroiled in scandal when he told the media that he and three teammates had been mugged after an all-night party. The tale humiliated the Brazilian hosts of the Games and later Team USA after police determined he had largely fabricated his story. He was ineligible to compete in the US trials for the upcoming world championships in Budapest, but is entered in three events in the Los Angeles Invitational meeting at the USC, where he is now training with the Trojan Swim Club. Lochte could compete in Friday's 100m freestyle, and in the 200m individual medley and 50m free at the weekend.–AFP


Kyle set to become most expensive defender

LONDON - Kyle Walker is set to become the world's most expensive defender on Friday with Manchester City prepared to spend up to £54 million for the out-of-favour Tottenham player. The 27-year-old, who joined Spurs alongside Kyle Naughton in 2009 for £9mn from Sheffield United, will cost an initial £45mn with another £5mn due in a year's time and £4mn due in add-ons, according to The Times. That would break the record £50mn paid by PSG to Chelsea for Brazilian defender David Luiz in 2014, while eclipsing the £49mn forked out by City to Liverpool for Raheem Sterling in 2015, the most for an English player. Walker will earn a reported £150,000 a week. He established himself as the first choice right-back at Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino, but their relationship deteriorated towards the end of last season.–AFP


Wenger keeps tabs on Arsenal’s Nelson

SYDNEY - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says teenager Reiss Nelson is "very close" to more first-team action after his dazzling performance in the Gunners' 2-0 pre-season friendly win in Australia. The 17-year-old looked a star in the making as he ripped apart the Sydney FC defence with his pace and on-the-ball skills in Sydney on Thursday. While record-signing Alexandre Lacazette grabbed the headlines with a goal on his Arsenal debut, it was Nelson who provided Wenger with a glimpse of an outstanding Highbury future. "Since I've been in the game I've understood that you either have that (confidence) at 17 years of age or you don't," Wenger told reporters after the match. "They all did well today, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock as well had a very strong performance. They are young, so that is very promising."––AFP


Naseem scores win in World U-21 Snooker

ISLAMABAD – Newly-crowned IBSF U-18 world snooker champion M Naseem Akhtar continued his brilliant run in the IBSF World U-21 Snooker Championship 2017, as he defeated Russian Kirill Petrov 4-1 in the last 32 round match in Beijing, China on Friday. PSBA director media Naveed Kapadia said: “Naseem is performing superbly with great confidence. He won the first frame 91-9 with 51 break. He kept the same pressure in the second frame and won it 64-7. But after playing so well in the first two frames, he lost the concentration and the third frame 33-63. After that, he never looked back and took the 4th frame 73-18 and won the 5th frame 52-44 after a tough battle. Another Pakistani Haris Tahir lost to Belgium’s Julien Leclercq 4-1, 79-1, 68-57, 58-71, 77-29 and 87-4.–Staff Reporter


Abid Akbar excels in ITF Futures

ISLAMABAD – Davis Cupper M Abid Ali Akbar excelled in his maiden ITF Futures Tournaments in Europe, where he won qualifying round of 64 draw but lost his main round match of the Belgium F4, which begins from July 10 at Lasne. In the first qualifying round, Abid beat Jonathan Van Nievwenhove of Belgium 6-4, 6-4 while in the second round, he defeated Harry Lim of Australia 7-5, 7-6(4) and in the final qualifying round, he eliminated Turpal Damauri of Belgium 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 to enter the main round. But in the main round, Abid was beaten by experienced Gonzalo Lama of Chile, who won 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-3. Abid plans to play more ITF Futures over the next few weeks before he comes to Pakistan to join the Davis Cup team for the tie against Thailand to be held in Islamabad in September.–Staff Reporter