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                           | pdf edition | Wednesday February 27 2013                                                     Sport
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Tom Maynard drugs revelation ‘wasn’t a
surprise’, says Mark Ramprakash
The former England batsman said there had been rumours about
Tom Maynard’s behaviour before the inquest into his death Page 2

Tottenham turn down Anzhi Makhachkala
bid for Younès Kaboul
Anzhi Makhachkala have been rebuffed in an attempt to secure
Tottenham Hotspur’s Younès Kaboul on loan ahead of the
resumption of Russia’s domestic season Page 3

Grid-irons: you are duly sentenced to a
prison-sponsored stadium
Marina Hyde: The private prison corporation GEO Group’s purchase
of naming rights to the home of Florida Atlantic Owls represents
a new low in the dysfunctional relationship between sport and
communities Page 4

Mo Farah asked by US                         Twenty20 cricket at                          LeBron James says he            Horse racing tips:
newsreader: ‘Haven’t                         Olympic Games would                          has a faster 40-yard            Thursday 28 February
you run before?’                             be ‘ideal for US’ Page 6                     dash than Manti Te’o            Page 9
Page 5                                                                                    Page 8
                                             Nicky Henderson says                                                         Amir Khan pockets a
Ireland’s Cian Healy                         Simonsig will match                          Alex Smith trade                payday but no ratings
wins appeal to play                          Overturn in the Arkle                        agreed by Kansas                payback against Julio
against France Page 5                        Trophy Page 7                                City Chiefs and San             Díaz Page 9
                                                                                          Francisco 49ers Page 8 © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                        
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: PO Box 68164, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1P 2AP
Page 2 G24 Sport                                                              Wednesday February 27 2013                  21:01 GMT

                                                                      Tom’s body. I think that has caused us to pause and think a bit.
                                                                      But while Tom’s case is shocking I don’t think it is evidence of a
Tom Maynard drugs revelation ‘wasn’t a                                widespread problem.
surprise’, says Mark Ramprakash                                           “The levels shown in the inquest are ones which, had Tom
                                                                      been tested last summer, there is little doubt he would have
• Ramprakash: ‘There had been rumours                                 failed a drug test. As chance had it, he wasn’t selected for a test,
before the inquest’                                                   which is a random process. I think we can be fairly confident
                                                                      he was unusual in terms of the extent of his apparent addiction
• ‘If testing all year round will help, it must
                                                                      to recreational drugs, and reasonably confident there are not a
be a good thing’                                                      lot of players out there who have got similar problems. We’re
Andy Wilson                                                           not complacent but I would say the problems in cricket are
                                                                      reflective of the problems in society as a whole.”
                                                                          Ramprakash offered qualified backing to the proposals from
                                                                      the PCA and the England and Wales Cricket Board for players
                                                                      to be tested for recreational drugs out of competition, as had
                                                                      originally been suggested by Surrey in their internal report into
                                                                      Maynard’s death.
                                                                          “I suppose the big issue now is whether we widen that scope
                                                                      and look for testing out of cricket,” he added. “There are still
                                                                      some discussions needed to thrash that out – should cricketers
                                                                      be treated any differently to people from other walks of life?
                                                                      We’re trying to learn the lessons of this tragedy and if we can
                                                                      help people more by testing them all year round, that must be a
                                                                      good thing.”
                                                                          Surrey refused to provide any further details from their
Mark Ramprakash said Tom Maynard’s ‘tragic passing should
                                                                      report other than the five conclusions that they released after
be used in a positive way to educate young cricketers’.
                                                                      the inquest on Tuesday, but stressed that they had “gone above
Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA
                                                                      and beyond the due diligence that would have been required
Mark Ramprakash has admitted that the revelation that his             of us” in their investigation into the circumstances leading to
former Surrey team-mate Tom Maynard had been taking drugs             Maynard’s death. It was conducted by Richard Gould, the chief
before his death last summer “wasn’t a complete surprise”.            executive, “with full oversight” from Lord Grabiner and Robert
    Ramprakash followed Rory Hamilton-Brown and Jade                  Elliott, two senior lawyers who are on the county’s board.
Dernbach, the two players who appeared at Tuesday’s inquest,
by stressing that he had no knowledge or suspicions that
Maynard was a regular cocaine user, as the 23-year-old’s post-
mortem had revealed.
    But the former England batsman told Sky Sports News: “I
suppose there had been rumours before the inquest made it
official regarding Tom’s behaviour and perhaps what he’d been

up to, so it wasn’t a complete surprise.
    “I’m not an expert, I have to say. I did share a dressing room
a little bit with Tom last season and didn’t really see any signs
of that. Of course there is a bit of an age gap. I was away doing
other things and there was a core of young players who did
things together – played cricket hard, and socialised together.”
    In an interview with the Daily Telegraph shortly after his
retirement last summer, which came only weeks after the
                                                                        From Beirut to Big Brother,
death of Maynard, Ramprakash had said: “If young players                Murdoch to Millionaire,
show promise they’re on to quite good salaries quite quickly.
Young players now are rewarded very, very quickly from the
                                                                        discuss the hot topics in the
age of 19, 20, 21 on the back of a few good innings. So how that        media on not one, but two blogs
translates into their lifestyles, well, it can be very tempting for
young men, if they’re earning a few quid, to go out and enjoy
                                                                        Organ Grinder and Greenslade
themselves. You have to get the balance right.”               
    Angus Porter, the chief executive of the Professional
Cricketers’ Association, suggested his organisation had been
braced for evidence that Maynard had been taking drugs after  
receiving “an early warning of the pathologist’s findings”,             greenslade/
but insisted that the level of the player’s abuse – described as
“regular and habitual” at the inquest – had still come as a shock.
    “We didn’t know any of the detail,” he said. “I think we were
all shocked at the level of drugs and alcohol that were found in © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                               
Page  G24 Sport                                                            Wednesday February 27 2013                21:01 GMT

                                                                        The Spurs midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, meanwhile, has
                                                                    warned his team-mates that the race for the Champions League
Tottenham turn down Anzhi                                           will not be over even if Tottenham beat Arsenal at White Hart
Makhachkala bid for Younès Kaboul                                   Lane on Sunday.
                                                                        “It is going to be a massive game for us,” said the Iceland
• Anzhi seek replacement for Christopher                            international. “However, anything is possible in football. The
Samba                                                               league was won in the last minute on the last day [last time], so
                                                                    even if we beat them it is not finished. We want to get in to the
• Defender has just returned from long
                                                                    Champions League, that is our aim. If we achieve that, we want
injury lay-off                                                      to finish as high as we can.”
Dominic Fifield                                                         Arsenal are set to immortalise Dennis Bergkamp by placing
                                                                    a statue of the former forward outside the Emirates. The
                                                                    club already have statues of their former captains Thierry
                                                                    Henry and Tony Adams, as well as their legendary manager
                                                                    Herbert Chapman. Now images of the proposed Bergkamp
                                                                    statue have emerged on Twitter, with the pose taken from him
                                                                    controlling the ball in mid-air against Newcastle in 2003.
                                                                        Bergkamp, who was part of the Invincibles team of 2003-04
                                                                    and was voted second behind Henry by Arsenal fans in a poll
                                                                    of the club’s all-time greatest players, is currently working as
                                                                    No2 at Ajax alongside the manager Frank de Boer and has been
                                                                    tipped to take over from Liam Brady, who is leaving his role as
                                                                    head of the academy this year.

Younès Kaboul in pre-season action for Tottenham Hotspur
at Stevenage. He will not be joining Anzhi Makhachkala.
Photograph: Pete Norton/Getty Images
Anzhi Makhachkala. the Russian Premier League club, have
been rebuffed in an attempt to secure Tottenham Hotspur’s
Younès Kaboul on loan ahead of the resumption of their
domestic season next month.
   Kaboul, so impressive last season, has not featured for
Tottenham since the opening game of the current campaign
after suffering a serious knee injury which required surgery,
but he recently returned to training and may yet play a role in
the club’s run-in as they pursue a top-four finish. The France
international earns around £35,000 a week at White Hart Lane
and would earn considerably more with a move to the money-
flushed Dagestan club, but Spurs are keen to retain his services.
   Anzhi have been searching for a replacement for Christopher
Samba, who left abruptly for Queens Park Rangers in January
for £12.5m, and had inquired as to Kaboul’s availability this

   Tottenham were resistant then and, with the Russian
transfer window to close at midnight on Wednesday night, were
equally forceful in their dismissal of a proposed temporary
transfer this week with the manager, André Villas-Boas,
thought to have personally indicated to the club his desire to
retain Kaboul.
   The Frenchman’s contract at Tottenham expires in 2014 and          Compare and buy
he is likely to be offered new terms to remain at the club where
he is enjoying his second spell as a player, once he has proved
                                                                      Use our free independent
his fitness.                                                          comparison services to switch
   That represents a blow for Anzhi who resume their league
campaign at Mordovia Saransk on 10 March following the
                                                                      suppliers and save money on
league’s winter break. They are second in the table, two points       all your household bills.
behind CSKA Moscow, with 11 games remaining and have        
reached the last 16 of the Europa League. They have purchased
the Brazilian winger Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk and the            compareandbuy
Russia left-back Andrey Yeshchenko from Lokomotiv Moscow
during the current window. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                           
Page  G24 Sport                                                             Wednesday February 27 2013                 21:01 GMT

                                                                     people in their custody and a whole series of incidents that
                                                                     really draw into question their ability to successfully manage
Grid-irons: you are duly sentenced to a                              a prison facility.” A US judge described one GEO facility for
prison-sponsored stadium                                             teenaged prisoners as “a cesspool of unconstitutional and
                                                                     inhuman acts and conditions” and “a picture of such horror as
The private prison corporation GEO Group’s                           should be unrealised anywhere in the civilised world”.
purchase of naming rights to the home of                                 But it’s not only the activists and judges. The move has set
                                                                     marketing folks a-wonderin’ why a firm like GEO has parted
Florida Atlantic Owls represents a new low
                                                                     with $6m for the rights. After all, most stadium sponsors
in the dysfunctional relationship between                            purchase these tie-ups in order to sell their product to the
sport and communities                                                consumer – either the consumer who attends the stadium or
Marina Hyde                                                          the one watching at home. But GEO’s “consumer” is effectively
                                                                     government – it angles for government contracts. Indeed, it is
                                                                     specifically angling for the spoils of a potential privatisation
                                                                     of Florida’s state prisons. So either this is a typical attempt to
                                                                     affect consumer choice by reaching out to future criminals –
                                                                     because really, nothing says “Go Owls!” like choosing to commit
                                                                     your felony somewhere within the catchment of one of GEO’s
                                                                     facilities. Or we’ve officially moved into the era where firms are
                                                                     openly co-opting sport to lobby government.
                                                                         All this, of course, has happened in That America. But do
                                                                     assume that it could be replicated over here, and probably
                                                                     in a heartbeat. GEO already provides all kinds of private
                                                                     prison and detention services to the UK government, and
                                                                     runs immigration centres in Dungavel in Scotland and
                                                                     Harmondsworth in west London. (Just over a fortnight ago, an
The GEO Group Stadium sounds like the sort of ballpark               84-year-old Canadian man who complained of heart pain while
Escape From New York’s Snake Plissken might stroll past.             being detained was the seventh to die at Harmondsworth since
Photograph: Corbis                                                   2001 .) To visit the firm’s website is to dive into
If you’ve been paying attention to the movies all these years,       a wonderland of euphemisms. It works in the “custody sector”.
you will already be aware that the so-called society of the          Its facilities feature “leading-edge custodial technology”.
future will have dispensed with wars. Death games, however,              Already, the days where the Reebok seemed a futuristically
will be big news. In whichever dystopia you and your children        mercenary name for Bolton Wanderers’ ground are long gone.
find yourselves after the Great Plot Device Wars, athletes will      The latest “new low” was the confirmation, a few months back,
essentially be prisoners pitted against each other to make           that cuddly payday loans firm Wonga would be sponsoring
money for some kind of evil mega-corporation, or to distract         Newcastle. (Though its name adorns the club strip, the
the populace from the fact that they are effectively enslaved by     company insisted on restoring the name St James’ Park to the
said evil mega-corporation.                                          Toon stadium, which I think we were supposed to think was
    Every so often, scientists believe some sort of tear opens       classy.) Football’s business brains seemed immensely relaxed
up in the spacetime continuum, causing part of this future           about the whole deal, which was big of them, considering that
to arrive in our present. And the other day, it seems, was one       exploiting people on low incomes is pretty much their job.
of those moments. How else to explain the fact that naming               It all feels like just another chapter in big-time sport’s
rights to a Florida football stadium have been sold to a private     increasingly arse-about-tit relationship with the communities it
prison corporation? The 30,000-seat Florida Atlantic University      affects to serve. The ultimate illustration of that dysfunctional
stadium, home to the Florida Atlantic Owls, will now carry the       relationship, of course, came during Hurricane Katrina, and
name GEO Group Stadium, which is quite the firm to watch in          was summarised best by the radical US sportswriter Dave
the increasingly competitive arena of for-profit incarceration.      Zirin. A city which had failed to find money to maintain the
    If that sounds to you like the sort of ballpark Snake Plissken   levees meant to defend its poorest inhabitants had nonetheless
might stroll past in the forthcoming movie Escape From               always come up with the cash to construct and nurture the
The Premier League, you are strongly urged to get with the           Superdome. Now people who could never have afforded a ticket
programme. Urged by GEO, that is, which is massively affronted       at the stadium were herded into it for their very survival, with
that its move should be seen as anything other than straight-up      Jesse Jackson likening the rapidly-worsening conditions in the
philanthropy.                                                        structure to the hull of a slave ship. Paraphrasing Chris Rock,
    And yet, there are always the sneerers, as Tony Blair used to    Zirin pointed out that trickle-down economics does not always
call them. “It’s like calling something Blackwater Stadium,” one     trickle down.
prominent activist against private prisons told the New York             Ah well. Progress is the realisations of utopias, as someone
Times, making reference to the private military contractor that      who never got to take their seat in a private-prison-sponsored
has since rebranded to Academi after years of its activities being   stadium once said. And let’s face it, there’d be a neat
misunderstood in places from Afghanistan to Iraq to various          narrative symmetry if, when the seemingly endless Olympic
CIA black sites. “This is a company whose record is marred by        Stadium saga finally draws to a close, the naming rights were
human rights abuses, by lawsuits, by unnecessary deaths of           immediately sold to a certain private security firm by the name © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            
Page  G24 Sport                                                             Wednesday February 27 2013                 21:01 GMT

of G4S.

                                                                     Ireland’s Cian Healy wins appeal to play
Mo Farah asked by US newsreader:                                     against France
‘Haven’t you run before?’
                                                                     • Prop was suspended for stamp on
Double Olympic gold medallist left                                   England’s Dan Cole
bemused by questions after winning the                               • Healy argued that three-week ban
New Orleans half-marathon in record time                             breached regulations
                                                                     Paul Rees
Shiv Malik

Mo Farah’s stunning double gold medal success at the 2012
Olympics made the athlete – and his “Mobot” victory sign – a
global phenomenon: everywhere, it seems, apart from one TV
station in New Orleans.
    After winning the city’s Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon on
Sunday, Farah was asked by WSDU
presenter LaTonya Norton if he had ever run before
p/3e3yh .
    In the two-minute interview following the race, Farah was at
first bemused when the presenter asked: “Now haven’t you run
before?” Norton repeated the question again, asking, “Haven’t
you run before? This isn’t your first time?”
    Farah broke into a smile and replied that he had run a half-
marathon before, but that this was his first time running in New     Cian Healy, centre, has seen his appeal against a three week
Orleans.                                                             ban for stamping upheld Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty
    Norton, a reporter at the TV station since 2006, then            Images
congratulated Farah for winning the half-marathon and getting        The Six Nations committee has been forced into a humiliating
“off to a great start” in his attempt to run longer distances. “Do   climbdown over the three-week ban it imposed on the Ireland
you have any other races coming up?” she added.                      prop Cian Healy earlier this month for stamping
    Not once during the interview did Norton note Farah’s            on the England front-row Dan Cole because it breached
5,000 metres and 10,000m gold medal success at the London            regulations.
Olympics, only ever referring to him as the male winner of that         The 25-year old’s suspension was designed so that it officially
Sunday’s half-marathon.                                              started after a round of RaboDirect matches that fell on a rest
    After his success in London last summer, Farah’s Mobot went      weekend for the Six Nations, ensuring he missed Ireland’s Tests
viral and was even copied in homage by 100m sprint champion          against Scotland last Sunday and against France next week.
Usain Bolt during the Games.                                            Ireland appealed against the ban, which was handed out by
    A source from Farah’s agency said they believed it was a “a      a three-man panel made up of representatives from the Welsh,
case of not knowing who they were talking to.”                       Italian and French unions, and on Wednesday succeeded in
    A producer at WSDU said that the recording had been taken        arguing that it breached disciplinary regulations. Healy will be
out of context. The Hearst-owned news station said that Norton       free to play against France, meaning he will effectively have
“knew he [Farah] was an Olympian”. Norton, the producer              missed one match having been cited for stamping on Cole’s
explained, had been asking Farah not whether he had run at all,      ankle during the 12-6 defeat by England in Dublin
but whether this was his first time pounding the pavement in         p/3dy26 .
New Orleans.                                                            An appeal panel, chaired by Scotland’s Lorne Crerar,
    However, in an official statement WSDU management issued         accepted Healy’s central argument that by spreading a three-
an apology: “We regret our unfortunate phrasing of questions         week ban over four weeks, the original disciplinary committee
posed to Mr Mo Farah following his impressive victory in this        had flouted the essential principle of the disciplinary process
past weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon in New Orleans and        that bans are blanket.
for not acknowledging his status as an Olympic champion.                The original panel was told that Healy would not ordinarily
    “We express our sincere apology to Mr Farah and his many         have played for Leinster against Treviso when the Six Nations
fans who may have been offended by our error. We hope that Mr        was taking a break because Ireland would not have released
Farah will have occasion to visit New Orleans again and that we      him, which is why it started his ban at the beginning of the
may have the opportunity to apologise in person.”                    following week.
                                                                        It did not have the discretion to do so because a ban
                                                                     automatically covers all tournaments and when Leinster
                                                                     announced their intention to play him against Treviso, the
                                                                     Six Nations’ order to stand him down formed the basis for the
                                                                     successful appeal because it could be argued that the prop’s ban
                                                                     was being applied to one tournament.
                                                                        The International Rugby Board cannot get involved because © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            
Page  G24 Sport                                                            Wednesday February 27 2013                 21:01 GMT

the disciplinary processes in the Six Nations and the Rugby
Championship in the southern hemisphere are the preserves of
the unions involved. It has the right to appeal during the tour
                                                                    Twenty20 cricket at Olympic Games
windows in June and November if it feels that due process has       would be ‘ideal for US’
not been observed or a punishment has been too lenient, but
that has not been extended to the tier one tournaments.             • MCC backs move to included T20 at 2024
    A move was made last year to put the IRB in charge of the       Olympics
disciplinary process for all tournaments and Test matches, as it
                                                                    • Move ‘would expose cricket to the US
is in the World Cup. It would have appointed all citing officers
and disciplinary panels, but the bid was defeated by the leading
unions.                                                             James Riach
    The Healy farce may prompt a rethink, but there is no
pressure to change the way in which bans are measured,
in weeks rather than matches, nor will football’s model of
different jurisdictions applying to domestic, European and
international tournaments be adopted, not least because the
most serious offences in rugby have maximum punishments
measured in years rather than weeks.
    Healy was given a five-week ban for stamping on Cole after
the original panel decided the offence was in the medium range
in terms of intent. It was reduced to three because of mitigating
factors, such as his previous good record, and that meant,
under the rules, missing two Leinster matches he would not
have played in and the international at Murrayfield.

                                                                    Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, has said that cricket is an
                                                                    ‘important, popular sport and very powerful on television’.
                                                                    Photograph: Handout/Getty Images
                                                                    The United States Cricket Association said that the introduction
                                                                    of the Twenty20 game to the Olympics would be a “real
                                                                    boost” for the sport in the US, after the MCC world committee
                                                                    confirmed on Wednesday it would lobby for the short format of
                                                                    the game to be played at the 2024 Games.
                                                                        With rugby sevens and golf joining the Olympic programme
                                                                    at Rio 2016, the International Cricket Council is in the midst of
                                                                    a feasibility study to assess the potential of Twenty20 at 2024,
                                                                    and is considering approaching the International Olympic

                                                                    Committee to promote its participation. After meeting in
                                                                    Auckland this week the MCC world committee, which acts as a
                                                                    complementary body to the ICC, decided that while an Olympic
                                                                    Twenty20 tournament would cost the game financially, it
                                                                    would be considerably beneficial in the long term.
                                                                        There would be serious complications in terms of national
  Eat right                                                         representation and logistics if cricket were to be played at the
  Join the Guardian’s health and                                    Games but for teams such as the USA it would dramatically
                                                                    increase the sport’s popularity.
  dieting club, Eat Right and                                           Manaf Mohamed, the general manager of operations at
  we’ll design you a personalised                                   USACA, said: “We definitely would like something like that to

  healthy eating plan from just                                     happen, to be part of the Olympic Games and the T20 format
                                                                    – that would be ideal for the United States. We are associate
  £2.99 a week. Membership                                          members of the ICC, right now we are ranked 26th and in the

  includes shopping lists, menus,                                   World Cricket League Division Three.
                                                                        “ I would definitely say it would be popular, it would give
  expert advice and 24 hour                                         cricket exposure to the population at large. Everybody wants to
  support to help you achieve                                       get into the Olympics and everybody looks at the Olympics. It
                                                                    would give it a real boost. We said we would definitely like to be
  your health and fitness goals.                                    part of it but it all depends on the ICC lobbying from the top to                                           the IOC.”
                                                                        There are concerns from the ICC that any competition would
                                                                    fall in the northern hemisphere summer and clash with the
                                                                    cricket season. In 2011 the IOC’s president, Jacques Rogge, said:
                                                                    “We would welcome an application. It’s an important, popular © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            
Page  G24 Sport                                                             Wednesday February 27 2013                   21:01 GMT

sport and very powerful on television. It’s a sport with a great     different things.
tradition where mostly you have a respect of the ethics.”                “Tetlami was shaking his head after three fences and saying:
    An IOC spokesman said on Wednesday: “The IOC would               ‘I can’t go that fast.’ But Simonsig can.”
welcome an application from the ICC, as it would from any                Indeed, Henderson feels that he has another Arkle entry,
recognised federation interested in being included on the            Captain Conan, who could cope with the relentless gallop
Olympic programme.”                                                  Overturn is expected to set. “They’re capable of going with him,
    However, with a furore surrounding the London 2012 Team          they’re capable of jumping the first with him if we want to. We
GB football team over concerns from Scotland and Wales that          don’t want to. But they can go along with him. He’s not going to
involvement would threaten their own international futures,          burn them off.
similar worries may emerge. There are also issues regarding              “[Overturn] has been second in a Champion Hurdle but
West Indies, who instead of a collective Caribbean side would        Simonsig would be placed in a Champion Hurdle. He’d be
be represented by the individual islands, and India, who are         placed in this year’s Champion Hurdle. We know how the race is
extremely protective of the Indian Premier League.                   going to pan out, unless Donald’s got a devious plan under his
    The MCC said in a statement that “a great deal of effort may     hat, but I can’t see that he’s going to sit and wait at the start for
be needed to lobby for the inclusion of cricket in the Olympic       us to make the running.
Games of 2024. The committee accepts that there would be a               “What happens up here,” he said, gesturing to the run-in,
short-term loss in income but is impressed with the potential        “that’s what’s going to keep everyone guessing, including me.”
boost for the game worldwide.                                            Victory for Captain Conan would be one of the less likely
    “The committee advocates Twenty20 cricket as the format          outcomes, if only because Henderson is leaning towards
to be played at the Olympics, thereby providing the ‘pinnacle’       running him in the half-mile longer Jewson Chase, two days
of that form of the sport.”                                          after the Arkle. Nevertheless, he reported that the horse is
                                                                     working “like a two-miler” and would do better than when
                                                                     failing to impress in victory at Sandown last time.
Nicky Henderson says Simonsig will                                       Simonsig, meanwhile, will complete his preparation at
match Overturn in the Arkle Trophy                                   Newbury on Sunday morning, when he will have a racecourse
                                                                     gallop with Grandouet, Megalypos and possibly another,
                                                                     unnamed Festival candidate. Henderson reported that
• Trainer confident over Cheltenham                                  Simonsig, who has been working with Sprinter Sacre at home,
Festival clash                                                       recently impressed him to the extent that he wished he had
• Watering of track on hold with rain                                aimed him at this season’s Champion Hurdle.
forecast next week                                                       Henderson, who also gave six high-profile horses a
                                                                     racecourse gallop at Kempton on Saturday, has been criticised
Chris Cook at Cheltenham
                                                                     by some for taking that route instead of running his better
                                                                     charges in actual races. Defending himself, he said of the horses
                                                                     concerned: “They’ve missed races, don’t forget and, at the time,
                                                                     we told you why they were missing races. They were either off
                                                                     [below peak health], the ground was bottomless, or a couple of
                                                                     dirty throats …
                                                                         “With that in mind, you need to just whack something in, a
                                                                     little bit more aggressive than what you can do at home. They
                                                                     tend to be laid back about it at home and an away day helps
                                                                     them, just puts that little bit of adrenaline in.”
                                                                         While Henderson has many fine chances of Festival glory,
                                                                     other trainers here struck a downbeat note. “If we have a
                                                                     winner, we’ll be thrilled to bits,” said Jonjo O’Neill, who
                                                                     nonetheless described Taquin Du Seuil as “the horse they’ll all
Nicky Henderson believes Simonsig will cope with the front-          have to beat” in the Neptune. He may run Sunnyhillboy in the
running Overturn at the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph:             Gold Cup, in the hope that it could be a better prep-run for the
Tom Jenkins for the Guardian                                         Grand National than asking him to give weight away in a big-
                                                                     field handicap.
This year’s eagerly awaited Arkle Trophy is still almost two
                                                                         Alan King appeared weighed down with woe as he confirmed
weeks away and Simonsig and Overturn are, one hopes, settled
                                                                     that Bensalem would have to miss the Festival for a second
happily in their boxes, but their trainers are already rushing the
                                                                     successive year, the latest in a long line of talented horses from
starter. One day after Donald McCain told journalists that the
                                                                     the yard to suffer a season-ending injury. He named Meister
pace of his Overturn would “make it difficult” for his grey rival,
                                                                     Eckhart in the Coral Cup and Godsmejudge in the National Hunt
Nicky Henderson spoke up for Simonsig at a pre-Festival media
                                                                     Chase as his best chances.
event here.
                                                                         The going here is currently soft, good to soft in places, the
   Henderson fielded the second-favourite, Tetlami, when
                                                                     course having dried out very slowly during the recent cold
Overturn was last seen, winning easily and unchallenged
                                                                     weather. Temperatures are expected to rise next week, said
in Scotland this month. But the Lambourn trainer insisted:
                                                                     Simon Claisse, clerk of the course, but rain is forecast from the
“Tetlami chasing Overturn round Musselburgh and Simonsig
                                                                     Thursday before the Festival, with 15-18mm forecast before the
[doing the same] round Cheltenham is two very, very, very © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                               
Page  G24 Sport                                                            Wednesday February 27 2013                 21:01 GMT

meeting begins on 12 March. If that forecast is accurate, Claisse
said, he would not artificially irrigate the course. It will take
only a small amount of rain to make the course very testing
                                                                    Alex Smith trade agreed by Kansas City
once more, as there has been 1,000mm since April and the            Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers
water table remains high.
                                                                    Deal for quarterback who was No1 pick
                                                                    of 2005 NFL draft reported to give 49ers
LeBron James says he has a faster 40-                               second-round draft pick this year
yard dash than Manti Te’o
                                                                    Guardian staff and agencies

Miami Heat star says he can go quicker than
time recorded by controversial Notre Dame
linebacker at NFL Combine
Steve Busfield

                                                                    Alex Smith is on his way from San Francisco to Kansas City.
                                                                    Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters
                                                                    Alex Smith, the quarterback who suffered a concussion
                                                                    last season before losing his place to Colin
                                                                    Kaepernick as the San Francisco 49ers reached
LeBron James says he is quicker over 40 yards than Manti Te’o.      the Super Bowl, has been traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. A
Photograph: Michael Conroy/Rhona Wise/AP/Reuters                    report on said the deal would give the 49ers a second-
                                                                    round draft pick in 2013 and potentially a draft pick in 2014.
Manti Te’o has been the butt of many jokes since his dead online
                                                                        The trade cannot be completed until 12 March, when the new
girlfriend was revealed to be a hoax ; now he
                                                                    NFL year officially begins. The 2013 draft, in which the Chiefs,
has become a source of humour to another sports star who has
                                                                    as the team with the worst record last season, will have the
often suffered online baiting – LeBron James.
                                                                    first pick, takes place from 25 to 27 April .
   With the NFL Combine in full swing, the Miami Heat star was
                                                                    The Chiefs finished the 2012 season 2-14 and also ranked last in
asked how he would perform in some of the tests. The South
                                                                    passing yards and points scored. Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn
Florida SunSentinel correspondent Ira Winderman reported on
                                                                    were their quarterbacks in a season in which the franchise was
Twitter: “NFL Combine again the pregame entertainment in the
                                                                    hit by a murder-suicide involving the linebacker Jovan Belcher
Heat locker room. Asked his 40 time, LeBron said he ran a 4.6 in
training last summer . . .
                                                                        Smith, 28, was the No1 pick in the 2005 draft. He had lead the
   Given that James stands 6ft 8in and weighs 250lb, and
                                                                    49ers to a 6-2-1 record in 2012 before he suffered a concussion
plays in a sport based on athleticism and endurance but not
                                                                    against the St Louis Rams; when he returned to fitness he
necessarily speed, his 40-yard time is impressive.
                                                                    was unable to oust Kaepernick from the starting role. He will
   In the absence of big name future stars at the Combine, Te’o
                                                                    join a new coach at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs having
had become a focal point for the media , but his
                                                                    fired Romeo Crennel and appointed in his place the former
4.82-second 40-yard dash was deemed
                                                                    Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid .
disappointing. The spotlight had been on Te’o as a result of the
dead girlfriend hoax story. Some had aired suspicions
p/3d7dn that Te’o was part of the hoax in order to further his
Heisman Trophy ambitions and increase his value at the NFL

Combine and Draft. He is now expected to be signed in the
second round of the NFL draft in April – much lower than had
been predicted before the controversy.
   James became a subject of much online bile after leaving the
Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. A series of late-game         Are you getting the best deal on your
defeats made him the butt of jokes about his performances             mortgage?
when it really mattered. However, he won his first NBA                Compare over 8500 mortgages online to
championship in 2012, silencing many of his critics.
                                                                      find the best deal for you.
                                                             © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                           
Page  G24 Sport                                                           Wednesday February 27 2013                21:01 GMT

Horse racing tips: Thursday 28 February                            Amir Khan pockets a payday but no
                                                                   ratings payback against Julio Díaz
The Lock Master at Southwell is the best bet
of the day                                                         Sheffield fight against fading Mexican will
Chris Cook                                                         do British boxer few favours as he attempts
                                                                   to rebuild his world standing
                                                                   Kevin Mitchell

They race on Thursday at Southwell, above, where The Lock
Master appeals in the 4.20 race. Photograph: Mike Egerton/
                                                                   Amir Khan will fight in the UK for the first time in two years
Ludlow                                                             but his opponent in Sheffield on 27 April leaves much to be
   2.00 Bullet Street 2.30 Arthur’s Pass 3.00 Matrow’s Lady (nb)   desired. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images
3.30 Ballyoliver 4.00 Giveitachance 4.30 Cool Friend 5.00 Flash
                                                                   Amir Khan’s American honeymoon is over or, more
                                                                   optimistically, on hold. But his choice of opponent for his
                                                                   return to the UK after an absence of two years, the 33-year-old
   5.30 Illustrious Lad 6.00 Fire In Babylon 6.30 Scent Of Roses
                                                                   Mexican Julio Díaz, betrays a disturbing lack of confidence
7.00 Avonmore Star 7.30 Tartan Jura 8.00 Luv U Whatever 8.30
                                                                   in his immediate prospects, by either his new trainer, Virgil
                                                                   Hunter, or his American promoters, Golden Boy.
                                                                       The Bolton fighter will hope to fill the 12,000-seat
   2.20 Kabbaas 2.50 Hiddon Coin 3.20 Miako 3.50 Antonio
                                                                   Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on 27 April. Khan will be
Gramsci 4.20 The Lock Master (nap) 4.50 Hellbender 5.20 Our
                                                                   defending his WBC “silver” light-welter title in a fight over 12
                                                                   rounds that will generate more curiosity than excitement. The
                                                                   promotion has a double-edged attraction, however: those who
   2.10 Bellflower Boy 2.40 Fox Run 3.10 Jump City 3.40 Jupiter
                                                                   have never warmed to the likeable Khan will be cheering for the
Rex 4.10 Thunderstorm 4.40 Benedictus 5.10 Come On Annie
                                                                   stranger, the rest will be holding their breath, hoping the chin
                                                                   that has let him down twice in spectacular fashion does not get
                                                                   in the way of a stray left hook.
                                                                       Khan would much rather be fighting Vyacheslav Senchenko,
                                                                   the Ukrainian who lost his world title to Paulie Malignaggi
                                                                   then brought Ricky Hatton’s career to an end in Manchester

                                                                   in November. “The others don’t want to know,” a Khan
                                                                   spokesman said.
                                                                       By any stretch this is conservative matchmaking. Victory,
                                                                   which should be his without fuss, will prove little about Khan’s
  Mystified by mortgages?                                          ability to re-enter the upper reaches of his profession. He is
  Perplexes by pensions? Confused                                  a former and recent world champion who should be chasing
                                                                   down contenders, not ticking over against someone like Díaz,
  about your consumer rights?                                      whose best days are buried in the past. rate him the
  Our experts are on hand to answer                                35th welterweight in the world, a pointer, perhaps to Khan’s
  all kinds of financial and legal                                 moving up to 147lb rather than trying for a rematch with Danny
                                                                   Garcia, who took his light-welter belt off him last year and
  questions, so you don’t need to be                               defends it against Zab Judah on the same night in Brooklyn.
  baffled any more. Read their advice,                                 Díaz held the IBF lightweight title in brief spells in 2004
  or put a question to them, at                                    and 2007, stopped each time in his first defence – by José Luis                                             Castillo then Juan Díaz – and, while he is coming off a not-bad
                                                                   split-points draw against the unbeaten American welterweight
                                                                   prospect Shawn Porter in December, he has won only six of 10 © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                          
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                              Wednesday February 27 2013                 21:01 GMT

fights since 2007.                                                     so than in a boxing ring.
    Kendall Holt, dismantled by Khan conqueror Lamont                     Hunter, no doubt, approved the Díaz match, even though he
Peterson last Friday, stopped him in three rounds two years ago,       knows Khan is a couple of levels above the fading Mexican. He
since when he has hovered on the periphery of the big time in          knows a win will do nothing for his standing in the ratings. It is
three 10-rounders.                                                     simply a payday.
    So why is Khan fighting Díaz? He should still be a favoured           So, we should wish Khan well. He is good enough to come
fighter on Golden Boys’ books but clearly they did not want            back, good enough to challenge for a world title, maybe even
this bout on any of their American shows. Given the lack of            good enough to win another belt. But he will learn little from
alternatives, it is a good opportunity, then, to regroup, to           beating Julio Díaz – and Hunter, as well as Roach, knows it.
bring something home to his fans, and for that he should be
    But this is a fight with not much upside. For all his              James has 40 points and Wade 39 as
vulnerabilities, Díaz has decent power, 29 of his 40 wins in 48        Heat beat Kings in double overtime
fights coming early. If the unthinkable were to happen (again),
there would be little left of Khan’s career; if he wins, he does no
more than continue his rehab under Hunter.
                                                                       • Pacers survive ejection of West after fight
    When Khan left the attack-minded Freddie Roach last year           to beat Warriors
to join Andre Ward’s guru, an acknowledged master of defence,          • Hunter Felt: Five things we learned in
it was perceived by some as shrewd and by others, including            NBA this week
myself, as hasty and ill-advised in the wake of a defeat to García
                                                                       Associated Press
that was all his own fault.
    First evidence fell on the shrewd side when, in his comeback
fight, Khan looked composed, alert and disciplined in seeing off
the determined but one-paced challenge of Carlos Molina over
10 safety-first rounds just before Christmas.
    Khan’s jab – the quickest in his division – slammed home
pleasingly, he moved with his usual deftness and he kept
his hands up. These are all things, by the way, that Roach
encouraged him to do when he joined him at his Wild Card
Gym in Los Angeles after Khan’s one-minute KO loss to Breidis
Prescott in 2008.
    Khan lost his title to Peterson in December 2011, not because
of any deficiencies in strategy by Roach, but because he could
not hold off the strength of the challenger. It was a bitter defeat.
    Against García, another monumentally strong fighter, he            The Miami Heat’s LeBron James is defended by John Salmons
boxed superbly to instructions for two rounds, cutting the             of the Sacramento Kings. Photograph: Rhona Wise/Reuters
American to pieces and looking as if he were coasting to an easy
                                                                       LeBron James had 40 points and 16 assists, and Dwyane Wade
win. Then, as his enthusiasm for the job heightened, Khan’s
                                                                       scored 39 as the Miami Heat pushed their winning streak to 12
boxing lost its shape in the third. He opened himself up, got
                                                                       games by outlasting the Sacramento Kings 141-129 in double
too square and, when aiming a lead right down at the ducking
                                                                       overtime on Tuesday.
Garcia, was in no position to see the counter left that banged
                                                                           Ray Allen added 21, Chris Bosh finished with 15 and Chris
hard into the side of his head. Two days before the fight, I had
                                                                       Andersen had 10 for the Heat, who remained six games clear
watched Khan and Roach act out that exact scenario for over an
                                                                       of second-place Indiana in the Eastern Conference standings.
hour. They knew Garcia’s left hook was potent; Khan forgot to
                                                                       Miami’s 12-game winning streak is the longest in the NBA and
look out for it.
                                                                       matches the second-longest in club history. Marcus Thornton
    Befuddled, he was in no condition to keep García at bay in
                                                                       scored 36 points for Sacramento, the most by any reserve in the
the fourth and was stopped. Had it been up to him, he would
                                                                       NBA this season.
have fought on until carried from the arena; there never has
                                                                           At Indianapolis, David West had 28 points and seven
been a doubt about his heart.
                                                                       rebounds as the Indiana Pacers overcame the ejection of Roy
    What defeat did was convince him that it was someone
                                                                       Hibbert following a fourth-quarter scuffle
else’s fault. There were suggestions that Roach, slowed by
                                                                       to beat the Golden State Warriors 109-97. West also was called
Parkinson’s, had not made himself clear between rounds. The
                                                                       for a technical foul, along with the Warriors’ David Lee, Stephen
trainer was outraged at the suggestion and, when I asked him
                                                                       Curry and Klay Thompson, for the altercation that began with
how he thought Khan might go against Molina, he replied
                                                                       6:10 remaining in the game.
sharply that he could not care less. Khan’s camp took me to
                                                                           George Hill had 23 points and seven assists, and Paul George
task, saying it was more complicated than that and they parted
                                                                       had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who have won five
on good terms.
                                                                       straight. Curry scored a season-high 38 points and Thompson
    Nevertheless, if there was a breakdown in communication
                                                                       had 13 for the Warriors.
in that fight and others, perhaps Khan should have not been so
                                                                           Deron Williams scored 33 points and Brook Lopez added 20
reliant on such punch-by-punch tutoring in the middle of his
                                                                       while playing against his twin brother Robin as the Brooklyn
work. Intuition counts for a lot under pressure, nowhere more
                                                                       Nets beat the New Orleans Hornets 101-97. Keith Bogans added © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                               
Page 11 G24 Sport                                                    Wednesday February 27 2013   21:01 GMT

12 points for Brooklyn, hitting all four of his shots, including
three three-pointers in the fourth quarter, when New Orleans
nearly erased a deficit that had been as large as 22 points in the
second quarter. Greivis Vasquez scored 20 and Robin Lopez 14
for New Orleans, which has lost four of five.
   Dion Waiters scored 25 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers
broke an 11-game losing streak against the Chicago Bulls with
a 101-98 victory, and the Milwaukee Bucks downed the Dallas
Mavericks 95-90, despite Dirk Nowitzki making 20 points and
20 rebounds for the first time in 10 years. In other games, the
Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 106-84,
the Orlando Magic beat the Philadelphia 76ers 98-84 and the
Phoenix Suns were 94-83 overtime winners over the Minnesota
Timberwolves. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                     

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