SANTIAGO SANTOS has signed a two-year contract as coach of the Spanish national rugby team. It will be Santos's second stint in the role after coaching the club in the '90s, when he also served as the Spanish Rugby Federation's (FER) technical director (MARCA, 7/23). ... The British Paralympic Association has appointed three non-exec directors. They are: Senior Civil Servant and Cabinet Office's Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Unit EMMA BOGGIS, Cadbury London 2012 sponsorship program head NORMAN BRODIE and former LOCOG Brand, Marketing & Culture Dir GREG NUGENT (BPA).
Jamaican sprinter ASAFA POWELL "has emphasised his desire to return to athletics as he spoke for the first time about his failed drug test." Powell "tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine." He is "waiting for the result of his B sample, which may yet clear his name." Powell: "I have never thought about it (retiring). I was just shocked by the news. I have been thinking a lot but never once thought about giving up." (London TELEGRAPH, 7/24). ... Former Slovak Deaf Olympic Committee Head JAROMIR RUDA "was sentenced 13 years in jail by Banska Bystrica Regional Court for fraud" on Tuesday. Ruda "will serve the sentence in a medium-security penitentiary" for embezzling €1.6M ($2.1M) allocated for the preparation of the 2008 Deaf Olympic Games in the High Tatras (XINHUA, 7/24). ... Pakistan field hockey coach AKHTAR RASOOL "created a big controversy" when he kicked forward SHAKEEL ABBASI off the national training camp "for fasting." Rasool said that "he had taken disciplinary action against Abbasi for violating instructions and policy." Rasool: "It was decided very clearly before the camp began that no player will fast because during fasting it is not possible to focus on your training and drills. If Abbasi wants to fast he should do it at home" (PTI, 7/24).
DIAMOND WINNER: Former FIFA VP CHUNG MONG-JOON was named the latest recipient of the Asian Football Confederation’s Diamond of Asia award. Chung was given the award in "recognition of his contributions to the development of Asian football" (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 7/24). ... Former British No. 1 tennis player ANNE KEOTHAVONG "has announced her retirement from tennis, bringing to an end a 12-year professional career in which she won 20 titles on the second-tier ITF tour but only once reached the third round of a grand slam." Keothavong "will join BT Sport’s tennis commentary team" (LONDON TIMES, 7/24). ... One of the "most familiar voices" in football, presenter JAMES ALEXANDER GORDON, "has retired from reading the classified football results on BBC radio after 40 years." The 77-year-old began reading the results in '73 on Radio 2 and then Radio 5 Live but his voice "is no longer strong enough to broadcast after having his larynx removed during surgery to treat throat cancer." The presenter - "popularly known by his initials as JAG" -- joined the BBC in '72 and "went on to become one of the most recognisable voices on radio" (LONDON TIMES, 7/24). ... Olympic Gold Medalist boxer ANTHONY JOSHUA "will finally turn professional this week after leaving the Great Britain amateur boxing programme with immediate effect." The 23-year-old, who has not fought since his super-heavyweight final victory over ROBERTO CAMMARELLE in London last summer, is set to sign for EDDIE HEARN's Matchroom organization (TIMES SERIES, 7/24). ... Retired South African footballer JIMMY TAU has "promised a tell-all book in response to why he was not offered a new contract" at Premier Soccer League side Kaizer Chiefs. Tau's "shock announcement follows his failure to secure an extended stay at Chiefs after a lengthy ankle injury that kept him out for most of last season" (SOWETAN LIVE, 7/24). ... Late Italian cyclist MARCO PANTANI, Germany's JAN ULLRICH and the U.S.'s BOBBY JULICH,who were the top three during the 1998 Tour de France, "were all taking the banned blood booster erythropoetin (EPO)." German sprinter ERIK ZABEL,who won the green jersey that year as points winner, is also cited "as taking EPO on the way to victory." The revelation comes just ahead of a French parliamentary commission which is set to release a report (LE MONDE, 7/24). ... Telemundo sportscaster ANDRÈS CANTOR will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Cynopsis Sports Business Summit on Aug. 14 in N.Y. Cantor's broadcasting career spans three decades (Cynopsis Media).
NOTABLE DEATHS: Former int'l football referee ARTURO YAMASAKI died at age 84 on Tuesday. Yamasaki retired from refereeing in '85 after officiating three World Cups, including the "Game of the Century" in '70, when Italy defeated West Germany 4-3 in the World Cup semifinals (LA AFICION, 7/23). ... Former Brazilian footballer DJALMA SANTOS died of pneumonia on Wednesday at age 84. Santos was a two-time World Cup champion, helping Brazil win the 1958 World Cup in Sweden and the 1962 World Cup in Chile (EL MUNDO, 7/24).