Names In The News
YAO MING called Spain one of the favorites for this year's FIBA World Cup and said that he considers the Spanish Basketball League (ACB) the second-best basketball league in the world. Yao said, "The ACB is very powerful. After the NBA, it is the most developed. But at the World Cup, in addition to the U.S. and Spain, we cannot forget countries like Lithuania or Greece" (EFE, 3/6). ... Former Kuala Lumpur footballer HAFIZI ROSLEE, who was banned for life by the Football Association of Malaysia because of his alleged involvement in match-fixing and bribery, "has filed a suit against the FAM." Hafizi alleged that the FAM’s action "was unconstitutional as it breached the rules of natural justice and public policy as the FAM had heard his case on Dec. 20 without him present" (BERNAMA, 3/6). ... F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE said that fans want to see four-time world champion SEBASTIAN VETTEL "lose to make Grand Prix races more appealing." Ecclestone: “Many people want to see Vettel lose because it would finally make it (the World Drivers’ Championship) more exciting again’’ (AFP, 3/6). ... An "emotional" BILL VLAHOS, a bookmaker, "has declared he is not a conman in his first interview since the collapse of his multimillion-dollar punting club." The mastermind of The Edge gambling syndicate said, “I haven’t robbed or conned anybody. Absolutely not.” Vlahos’s punting club owes creditors at least A$144M ($131M). But investors claim unpaid winnings total more than A$500M (HERALD SUN, 3/6).
WHO DOMINATES RUSSIAN MEDIA? MARIA SHARAPOVA "was the most popular female Russian athlete over the last year in the domestic press, a media ratings study ordered by R-Sport showed." Sharapova was mentioned 17,977 times in a 12-month period beginning March '13 in all Russian media outlets. Second was 15-year-old figure skating prodigy JULIA LIPNITSKAIA, who was followed by fellow Olympic figure skating champion TATIANA VOLOSOZHAR. Other noted athletes in the list are pole vaulter YELENA ISINBAYEVA and figure skater ADELINA SOTNIKOVA, who "dramatically dethroned" South Korea's KIM YUNA in the women's individual competition at the Sochi Olympics (R-SPORT, 3/6).