Hungary's fencing legend Kulcsar dies at 77

BUDAPEST - Hungarian fencer Gyozo Kulcsar, who won gold medals in the epee discipline at three Olympic Games from 1964 to 1972, has died aged 77, the Hungarian Olympic Committee (HOC) said here on Thursday. Known in Hungary as the "Paganini of the epee" in homage to the Italian violin virtuoso, Kulcsar won an individual gold medal at the Mexico City Games in 1968, and team gold medals at Tokyo in 1964, Mexico in 1968 and Munich in 1972. He also won bronze medals in 1972 and at the Montreal Games in 1976, as well as three world championship gold medals. After the retirement of Kulcsar from competition, he became a trainer and also succeeded in training several Hungarian fencers to Olympic medals, including Emese Szasz, who won gold at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.–AFP

 McCormack joins Bolt's club in Australia

SYDNEY - Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack on Thursday joined Australian team Central Coast Mariners on a season-long loan deal that could see him play alongside Usain Bolt. The Scottish international, who has also played for Rangers, Leeds, and Fulham, makes a return to the A-League after scoring 14 goals in just 17 appearances for Melbourne City during a loan spell last season. "I'm really excited to get back to Australia," said McCormack. "The standard of football in Australia is a bit overlooked I think -- everyone wants to play football the right way and I loved my time with Melbourne. "When this chance came, I knew it was the right decision for me." The Mariners also announced the signing of Australian striker Tommy Oar, who has played 28 times for the Socceroos.–AFP

 Belgium join France atop FIFA rankings

LAUSANNE - Belgium have joined world champions France as joint leaders of the FIFA world rankings released Thursday, the first time in the table's 25-year history that top spot has been shared. Belgium have notched up a pair of wins, including victory over Iceland in the inaugural Nations League competition to bring them level with the French, the team who beat them in the World Cup semi-finals. The only other change in the top 10 sees Denmark (10th, down one place) slip below Spain (9th, unchanged). Outside of the top 10, two Nations League wins for Ukraine (29th, up 6) over Czech Republic (47th, down 3) and Slovakia (26th, unchanged) means that they are the month's biggest movers, while Germany (12th, up 3) have started to edge back towards a single-figure ranking after their World Cup debacle.–AFP

 Leno to make Arsenal debut in EL opener

LONDON - Bernd Leno has been challenged to make the Arsenal goalkeeper's jersey his own after Unai Emery confirmed the German will make his debut against Vorskla Poltava on Thursday. Leno is yet to feature for Arsenal since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in the close-season. Petr Cech has played every minute in goal under new Arsenal manager Emery so far. But Cech has not been without his critics as he has struggled to adapt to Emery's demands to play out from the back. Leno is more adept with the ball at his feet and Emery has confirmed the 26-year-old will get his first outing as the Europa League campaign begins at the Emirates Stadium. Asked if Leno would be in the team, Emery said: "Yes. He is going to play in the starting line-up. We need with Leno to give him a chance and the minutes of the game."–AFP

 World champ Charr fails drugs test

BERLIN - World heavyweight champion Manuel Charr has had to call off next week's title defence, and is set to be stripped of his WBA belt, after testing positive for steroids. The 33-year-old, who was born in Lebanon but lives in Germany, was due to defend his title against American Fres Oquendo, 45, in Cologne on September 29, but the fight is off after Charr tested positive for two anabolic steroids. "Under the circumstances, we will unfortunately have to cancel the world title fight," Charr told Cologne-based newspaper Express and his management confirmed the title defence was off to SID, an AFP subsidiary. "I can only ask my fans and all the people in Cologne to believe me and to trust that everything will be cleared up. "I'm totally shocked by the news - I have never taken anything."–AFP