Nadal can't understand Olympics snub

PARIS - Rafael Nadal said he cannot understand why a host of players are snubbing the Olympics, ‘the most important event in the world of sport’. Nadal won gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 but a knee injury prevented him from defending his title in London four years later where he was also due to be Spain's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony. "The Olympic Games is the most important event in the world of sport," said Nadal. "I cannot understand people who don't want to go to Olympics. It's an event that you can compete only once, twice, or three in your career maybe, if you are lucky. So you don't want to miss that." So far, 17th-ranked John Isner, 15th seed Dominic Thiem, Bernard Tomic and Feliciano Lopez have all announced they are giving the Olympics in Rio in August a miss.–AFP

 Hend takes lead at Wentworth

WENTWORTH - Australia's Scott Hend was the early pace-setter at the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday as he headed the field with an opening seven-under par 65. Two-time champion Luke Donald also put himself in the hunt with a 68, whilst South Africa's Jaco van Zyl was in the clubhouse on five-under, 67. Hend was out in 31 and had a chance of going even lower but he could only par the final two holes, both par-fives although his birdie putt lipped out at the last from 35 feet. With half the field still out on the course, Hend finished with eight birdies and the only blemish in his round came at the par-four 15th which he bogeyed. Hend accelerated after the turn with birdies at the 10th, 12th and 13th but had course specialist Donald breathing down his neck.–AFP

 ISB names 18-member U-17 football team

ISLAMABAD - Islamabad Sports Board (ISB) announced 18-member U-17 football team to participate in the PSB Inter-Provincial U-17 Football Championship starting from tomorrow (Saturday) in Gilgit. Talking to The Nation, ISB secretary M Asghar Ali said: “The names of the players were finalised after two weeks training camp at Karachi Company Football ground under the supervision of Haji Sattar. The players are M Ijaz, Sultan Khan, Roohullaha, Ifnan Shahid, Haseeb Ahmed Khan, Ammar Arshad, Zeeshan Zulfiqar, Syed Mustafa, M Ahmad, Saifullah Abbasi, Hassan Shereen, Syed Abdullah Shah, Hurara Farooqi, Amir Hamza, M Osama Naeem, Nofil Hussain, Abdullah Shoukat and Hamza Shoukat while Rana Tanveer Ahmed and M Ramzan Qasuri will accompany the team as chief coordinator/coach and manager.–Staff Reporter

 China's Liu overlooked for Rio

BEIJING - China have slammed the Olympic door shut on women's table tennis world number one Liu Shiwen, saying she's too inconsistent for the Rio Games. Liu, 25, paid the price for a shock defeat at the Asian qualifying tournament in April. Olympic title-holder Li Xiaoxia will defend her women's singles title, while world champion Ding Ning beat Liu to the second spot in China's team. The snub means that Liu will have to watch from afar as dominant China seek their third straight clean sweep at the Olympics in August. "The defeat in the Asian regional qualifier was a pity for me," she said. "Of course it's not that by winning the (qualifying) title I would definitely be able to participate, but if I had played a bit better, the possibility of participating would have been even greater."–AFP

 Cricket summer camp for junior players

LAHORE – The two-month long summer camp of U-19 and U-16 players will commence from today (Friday) here at Model Town Greens Cricket Ground. LRCA secretary M Shoaib Dar will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony. The young players will be provided high-standard training during physical fitness and strengthening summer camp. Chief organiser Shoaib Dar briefed that former and current Test and international players will visit the camp to encourage the players. “Special lectures of Test players have also been designed during camp. The PCB qualified coaches, trainers, analysts and doctors have been hired to supervise the camp. The training session of U-19 players will be arranged in morning while U-16 will train in evening session under floodlights,” he added. One-day and T20 matches will be organised under floodlights to provide maximum match practice during the camp. In the end, special prizes, souvenirs, shields, merit certificates and cash prizes will be distributed among the best individuals at end of the camp.–Staff Reporter