Spying allegations and more tour-ending injuries "marred a gutsy win" for the British and Irish Lions in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday, according to Georgina Robinson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Lions coach Warren Gatland said that two members of his staff "were forced to chase away an unidentified person found filming a training session at NIB Stadium in Perth this week." Strength and conditioning trainers "insisted the person delete the footage they had recorded." Gatland also said that the Lions "had seen Wallabies staff filming the team's game against the Force on Wednesday, which is not forbidden practice" (SMH, 6/9). In Sydney, Jim Tucker reported the calculated "Spy Games" niggle from Gatland has "earned him a new nickname as 'Sideshow Gat' now the Wallabies have laughed off his conspiracy theory." The savvy coach "knew exactly how the worldwide rugby media would devour the tale." The grenade "landed on cue at the Wallabies' new camp" in Caloundra where rival coach Robbie Deans "swatted it harmlessly into orbit." Deans: "To a large extent you presume people are watching. You don't open the gates (to training) but we don't have a security officer either. The Lions do ... maybe that's an indicator" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 6/10).
Events and Attractions
French Open organizers "defended their security arrangements after anti-gay marriage protesters, one letting off a flare and running on court, briefly interrupted the final" between Spaniards Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer on Sunday, according to Julien Pretot of REUTERS. A police source said that seven people "had been formally detained on Sunday night after the showpiece match was disrupted and protests broke out elsewhere at Roland Garros in Paris." Five others "were released after initial questioning." One protester, wearing a white face mask, "let off a flare and ran onto the court" toward Nadal. He "was brought down by a member of security staff before being dragged out with his accomplice, who did not get the chance to step onto the court." Tournament Dir Gilbert Ysern said, "This kind of thing is regrettable but it has been taken care of remarkably by our security staff. I apologized to the two players. At the time, you are scared but we were quickly reassured. These people are good-for-nothings" (REUTERS, 6/9).
The Royal & Ancient has "denied a report that the Open Championship will be staged at Royal Portrush in 2018," according to Phil Casey of the PA. Portrush "is the only course outside England or Scotland to have staged the Open." Tournament officials "have been studying the possibility of a return to the County Antrim venue, which last year successfully staged the Irish Open on the European Tour." However, an R&A spokesperson responded to a story in Friday's Irish Sun claiming Portrush would host the Open in '18 by saying, "No decision has been made for 2018" (PA, 6/7). In Dublin, Jason Johnson reported a top Irish golf course "has holed one of the sport’s most lucrative prizes" -- hosting the Open. The Open "will tee-off at Royal Portrush in July 2018, 67 years after the event was last held on these shores." Insiders said that the coup -- swung with the help of Ulster’s star trio Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke -- will deliver a massive €120M ($155.6M) "wedge of cash to the local economy." It is understood that Portrush’s successful staging of the Irish Open last year convinced chiefs at golf’s R&A headquarters "to return." A source said, "The Irish Open was a total sell-out and proved Royal Portrush could host a large event" (IRISH SUN, 6/7).
Officials said that Bangkok's chances of hosting a lucrative F1 race "have faded after planners banned car racing from the city's historic quarter," according to the AFP. The city was touted to host a landmark F1 night race in '15, "with a track mooted for the tourist area around the Grand Palace and a number of major Buddhist temples." But Bangkok's Metropolitan Authority "have stymied the proposal with a law banning 'car racing' from the zone." City Planning Department Dir General Kriangphon Pattanarat said, "The law came into effect on May 16 prohibiting car racing in inner Bangkok because that area is a conservation for culture and arts" (AFP, 6/9). Bangkok Tourism & Sports Minister Somsak Phurisisak said that "plans could be scrapped" if the sport insists on the race being held in Bangkok, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Phurisisak: "We may have to cancel the proposed grand prix." He said that "the island resort of Phuket could be an alternative, along with the cities of Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima in northeast Thailand." Critics have said that the noise and vibrations of a race in Bangkok "could damage the city's historic landmarks and Buddhist temples" (REUTERS, 6/7).
Second Bundesliga club 1860 Munich will play a charity game against sixth-tier side SpVgg Grün-Weiß Deggendorf 03 on June 15. The revenue from the match will support flood victims in the Deggendorf district (1860 Munich). ... The 17th edition of the sports festival during the Holy Month of Ramadan will be organized by the Armed Forces Officers Club between July 10-31. The festival "will be open to all the nationalities and will feature 11 disciplines, including five for women" (GULF NEWS, 6/4). ... Kazan Mayor Ilsur Metshin on Friday "sharply criticized preparations for the World University Games opening ceremony at Kazan Arena, and issued demands that work at the centerpiece venue get organized with the games less than one month away." Metshin said that "the stadium was empty when he visited one recent morning" at 7:20am. He said that "the place was still quiet when he left 40 minutes later after wandering the locker rooms, hoping to discuss the stage installation with builders." Opening ceremony Dir Igor Sivov previously told the mayor that workers were on site from 7am to 6pm "to get ready for the July 6 show." Metshin said, "I'm not buying it. Don't feed me fairy tales" (R-SPORT, 6/7).