Pele releases song celebrating Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO - The Brazilian football legend Pele has released a song celebrating the impending Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, the first Olympics ever in South America. The hugely popular star turned to social media earlier in the week to tease the Friday release on download sites. He posted a photo of himself with a smiling face before a microphone, saying he was eager to release a song he had written called "Esperanca," or "Hope." The words of the catchy tune, on which Pele is accompanied by a children's chorus, promise a "Brazilian festival" that will "make the world happy, with joy and emotion." The Olympics open August 5. Pele, who is 75 and was married for the third time last weekend, is no stranger to the world of music, having recorded as long ago as 1960.–AFP

 

Ace boosts Vegas to second-round 60

LOS ANGELES - A hole-in-one at the par-three 17th keyed Jhonattan Vegas's scintillating round of 60 in the US PGA Tour Barbasol Championship. The ace was one of two eagles on the day for Vegas, who will compete for Venezuela at the Rio Olympics next month, to go with eight birdies and just one bogey. His 11-under effort gave him a 17-under total of 125 -- and a six-shot lead over Hudson Swafford after two rounds. "That was just the peak of the round," Vegas said of his 190-yard seven-iron from off the tee at 17. "I had a perfect number, 190 yards is my seven-iron. I hit a great seven-iron, I mean high, right at it... turning toward the pin and I knew it was going to be fairly close but never expected it to go in. It was just a great feeling, seeing that ball go in," he added.–AFP

 

Chelsea seal Kante capture from Leicester

LONDON - Chelsea on Saturday announced the signing of Leicester City's all-action defensive midfielder N'Golo Kante on a five-year deal to become new boss Antonio Conte's second capture of the summer. The fee for the French international was about £32 million, British media said, and comes after Chelsea snapped up Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille for a similar fee. Kante's move to London will bolster a side that failed miserably in its defence last season of the Premier League title, but represents a blow to reigning champions Leicester as they battle to keep together the side that shocked world football. "I am so happy to have signed for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. It's a dream come true for me," the 25-year-old Kante told Chelsea's website.–AFP

 

ITF reassures players after Olympic pull-outs

LONDON - The world governing body for tennis reassured players and fans Saturday over the threat posed by the Zika virus at the Rio Olympics, after Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic pulled out of next month's Games. Raonic and women's world number five Simona Halep dealt the Olympics tennis tournament a double body blow Friday when they withdrew from Rio, citing health fears over the mosquito-borne virus. They became just the latest big names to pull out of the August 5-21 Olympics, which has been hit by the mass withdrawal of the world's top golfers. "While we understand and respect the concerns over the Zika virus, the IOC has assured us that all precautions will be taken to limit the risk to athletes, officials and fans," International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty said.–AFP

 

Williams sisters lead US squad for Rio

LOS ANGELES - World number one Serena Williams, a double Olympic champion in 2012, her sister Venus and the Bryan brothers lead the US tennis team named Friday for the 2016 Rio Games. Serena Williams, who earned her 22nd Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, will defend the singles and doubles titles she captured in London. In doubles, she and Venus will be trying to win gold for the fourth time, after triumphs in 2000, 2008 and 2012. Venus, who won Olympic singles gold in 2000, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens will all compete in singles while Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe will form the second women's doubles team for the US. The country's other strongest medal chance lies with Bob and Mike Bryan, the reigning men's doubles champions who have won 16 Grand Slam titles.–AFP