Sports brief

Serena ‘very likely’ to be at Australian Open

MELBOURNE (AFP) – Serena Williams will be ready to make her tennis comeback at the Australian Open with her return to Melbourne for the season’s opening Grand Slam “very likely”, organisers said Wednesday. Williams, 36, won this year’s Australian Open while pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl in September. She has not played a competition since, raising questions over whether the 23-time Grand Slam winner would attempt to defend her title next month. But tournament director Craig Tiley is optimistic she will return for a crack at her seventh Melbourne Park crown after marrying Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian last month. “She’s got her visa, she’s entered, she’s practising and she’s probably just got to find a bit more space for a bigger entourage,” Melbourne’s Herald Sun quoted him.–AFP

Olympic bronze for Indonesian after a decade

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s most-decorated female weightlifter has been awarded a bronze medal almost a decade after the Beijing Olympics as her closest rival at those games failed a doping test, officials said Wednesday. Raema Lisa Rumbewas received the award Sunday in the wake of the International Weightlifting Federation re-examining doping test samples for athletes who competed in Beijing’s games and the 2012 Olympics in London. Belarusian lifter Nastassia Novikava — who took bronze at the 2008 games ahead of fourth-placed Rumbewas — was among those who failed the doping test, Indonesian Olympic officials said. She was disqualified and the bronze medal was given to the now 37-year-old Indonesian, who previously won two silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Olympics in Athens.–AFP

Debut for basketball at Australian Open

MELBOURNE – Basketball is heading to the Australian Open tennis for first time, with a top-level game to be played at one of the stadiums during the opening Grand Slam of the year. National Basketball League teams Melbourne United and the Cairns Taipans will face each other next month at Hisense Arena within the Melbourne Park tennis facility. Spectators with Australian Open tickets will be able to attend both the tennis and the basketball, which will see the venue converted for the occasion. “This is a unique opportunity to showcase two of the world’s biggest sports in one location on one day,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said. The basketball clash, known as the AO Game, will take place at night in the second week of the Grand Slam, when there are fewer tennis matches.–AFP

PSB executive committee meeting on 21st

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Sports Board’s (PSB) 83rd executive committee meeting has been rescheduled and will now be held on December 21. PSB Director Media Azam Dar said: “IPC minister Riaz Pirzada will preside over the meeting, the main agenda of this will be approval of Rs 997,514 million budget for financial year 2017-18, to consider the revision of cash award scheme, establishment of Sports University and other administrative issues.” He said a sum of Rs 64,500 million has been earmarked for annual grant and Rs 54,100 million as special grant to the federations. Furthermore, Rs 115,838 million has been allocated for special sports events including Commonwealth Youth Games, preparation of Olympic Games, organisation of Inter-Board Sports and holding of national training camps for international competitions, whereas, Rs 211,850 million has been allocated for other training and coaching sports activities.”–Staff Reporter

Pak players dominate Malaysian Jr Squash

ISLAMABAD – Pakistani players continued their dominance in the Malaysian Junior Squash 2017, which is in progress in Malaysia. Mansoor hammered compatriot Abdul Mughal 3-0 to move into the third round. He won the first game 11-7, took second 11-5 and third 11-6 in U-19 category. Zeeshan Zeb beat Aiden Yong Chuanyeo of Malaysia 3-0 in U-17 category, as the score was 11-5, 11-9, 11-5. Uzair Shoukat beat M Aqif Azahari of Malaysia 3-0, 11-2, 11-9, 11-3. In U-15 category, Asad Ullah Khan beat Nicodemus Tzesern Tan of Malaysia 3-0, 11-4, 11-9, 11-3. In U-13 category, M Hamza Khan beat Ranbir of India 3-0, 11-3, 11-4 and 11-3. Junior team coach Asif Khan said the boys are playing exceptionally in all age categories and the hard work of the federation had been paying off.–Staff Reporter

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