Pistorius prosecutors pursue premeditated murder

Oscar Pistorius held his head in his hands and wept openly in court Friday as prosecutors said they would pursue a charge of premeditated murder against the Paralympic superstar.Pistorius was formally charged at Pretoria Magistrate’s Court with one count of murder after his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a model and budding reality TV show participant, was shot multiple times and killed at Pistorius’ upmarket home in the predawn hours of Thursday.Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Friday in court it was premeditated murder, indicating the prosecution would file that more serious charge, upgraded from murder.The double-amputee athlete’s arrest and murder charge had already left South Africa stunned after the blonde-haired model’s shooting death at Pistorius’ house in a gated community in an eastern suburb of the South African capital, Pretoria.Pistorius was formally charged at Pretoria Magistrate’s Court with one count of murder. APThose who knew Pistorius, including a former girlfriend, weight in on social media.Trish Taylor, mother of Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor, wrote on Facebook: “I’m so glad Sammy is safe and out of the clutches of that man.”But another ex-girlfriend, Jenna Edkins, defended the accused man Tuesday on Twitter.”All I am saying is let him speak, let his side be heard without jumping to conclusions,” tweeted Jenna Edkins, an attractive, young blonde like all Pistorius’ girlfriends. She offered “love and support” to the Pistorius family and tweeted: “I have dated Oscar on and off for 5 YEARS, NOT ONCE has he EVER lifted a finger to me or made me fear for my life.”Prosecutors said Friday that they would argue the history-making Olympic athlete — the first amputee to run at the games — had planned Steenkamp’s killing. It sent South Africans reeling further as their national hero and a global role model for people in overcoming adversity was set to face accusations that he intentionally gunned down his girlfriend.South Africa’s tabloid Citizen newspaper had the headline “Blade gunner?” Friday morning, playing on double-amputee athlete Pistorius’ well-known nickname of “Blade Runner” because of his carbon fiber running blades. Pistorius stood with his face in his hands as he broke down in tears on his first appearance at the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court. Chief Magistrate Desmond Nasir delayed Pistorius’ bail hearing until next Tuesday and Wednesday and ruled that the 26-year-old Pistorius would be held at a police station in Pretoria until then. Police have said they oppose the granting of bail.Pistorius had solemnly entered the court wearing a gray suit and blue tie and initially appeared composed. When he broke down in tears, his brother, Carl, reached out a hand and placed it on his shoulder. Pistorius’ father, Henke, was in the court as was sister Aimee.The hot courtroom that was jammed with more than 100 people, including numerous local and international journalists. More than 100 people packed into Courtroom C at the courthouse, including dozens of photographers and videographers but Nasir ruled that no recordings of court proceedings would be allowed in the case.Police said Friday an autopsy on the body of the victim was also taking place. Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale said the results of the autopsy would not be published.Pistorius earlier left a police station, his jacket completely cove上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝ring his head as he got into a police vehicle. He was holding what appeared to be a white handkerchief in one hand as he was led by officers to a police van outside the Boschkop Police Station in eastern Pretoria, where he had been questioned on Thursday and had spent the night in custody.A policeman was also seen carrying a handgun in a plastic forensic bag outside the Boschkop station. It was believed to be the weapon used to shoot and kill Steenkamp.Police said the victim was shot four times at Pistorius’ villa in a gated community. Officers found a 9 mm pistol inside the home.Pistorius made history at the London Olympics last year when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete at any games. He didn’t win a medal but did make the semifinals of the 400 meters and the final of the 4X400 relay, propelling the world’s best-known Paralympian to the level of an international track star and one of the world’s best-known sportsmen.But police hinted at a troubled lifestyle away from public scrutiny for the runner Thursday when they said there had previously been domestic incidents at Pistorius’ home.

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Ferdinand can do what he wants, says disappointed Hodgson

Roy Hodgson will wait to see if defender Rio Ferdinand has an international future after he withdrew from the squad for the next two World Cup qualifiers, the England manager said on Thursday.Ferdinand pulled out of England’s away Group H matches against San Marino on Friday and Montenegro four days later, saying he needed to follow a strict fitness plan laid down by his club.The Manchester United player was widely criticised on Thursday when it emerged he had agreed to fly to Qatar, a lengthy long-haul journey, in order to work as a TV pundit for the San Marino match for broadcaster al-Jazeera.Ferdinand pulled out of England’s away Group H matches against San Marino on Friday and Montenegro. Getty ImagesHodgson, who had selected the 81-cap centre back for the first time since becoming manager last May, was reluctant to criticise the player but non-committal about his future.”I don’t have any serious thoughts on it. I was disappointed when he didn’t accept the invitation so what he does now is his business and the club’s business and as far as I’m concerned I’m happy with the squad and that’s my focus,” Hodgson told reporters on Thursday.When pressed on whether this could be the end of Ferdinand’s international career, he said: “I think we should just wait and see.”It depends on how his injury impacts on England, so we’ll wait and see, but I’m happy with the squad we’ve got.” Ferdinand launc上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝hed a vigorous defence of himself on Twitter, saying the trip to Qatar was nothing out of the ordinary.”Flown out for some pre-planned downtime… with a bit of punditry thrown in for a game I would have watched anyway,” he said on Twitter.”No different from what I done on the last 10-day international break… thank you guys.”Hodgson is facing a central defensive shortage for the double header having lost the services of Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Michael Dawson, prompting suggestions he might turn to midfielder Michael Carrick to fill in.”We have got four top players here, they are playing at top clubs and have a lot of experience,” Hodgson said.”I would be loathe to start using playing like Michael Carrick who has been selected for his prowess in central midfield and it would be harsh on the four central defenders who are here.”

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Interview: How Damien Ressiot broke the Armstrong story

This interview was first published on October 30. But it’s still relevant considering Armstrong’s confession to Oprah Winfrey.It’s been tough getting to meet Damien Ressiot when the Lance Armstrong story first broke in October. For Ressiot, who works for the French sports daily L’Equipe, has been busy giving interviews to TV and radio stations since the latest revelations on Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal came out.The reason why Ressiot is being sought after is because he was the first journalist to have reported on Armstrong’s doping allegations based on analytical evidence. This was in August 2005, a month after the American cyclist had won his seventh consecutive Tour title. “I am proud of the story I wrote seven years ago. I also want to thank those few journalists who pursued a similar line vis-à-vis Armstrong’s Tour de France performance,” remarked Ressiot, who was finally able to squeeze out time for an interaction with this writer in Paris.Ressiot’s scoop in the 23 August 2005 edition of L’Equipe was sensational, both in its news value and the manner in which he had procured this information. Having won seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005, Armstrong had not only become the greatest cyclist but also one of the biggest sports icons ever. “The fact that he had become a multiple champion after fighting cancer meant his aura spread beyond the sporting world. Though there were whispers and gossip linking Armstrong to performance enhancing drugs, there wasn’t any proof,” Ressiot recalled.Having won seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005, Armstrong had not only become the greatest cyclist but also one of the biggest sports icons ever. APIt was against this backdrop that Ressiot’s report hit the news stands. “Armstrong reacted by saying that the report was false and that the evidence on which I had based my report was fabricated,” Ressiot said.   This scoop, regarded as one of the biggest in journalism, was the result of exhaustive investigation, brilliant analysis and cultivation of a crucial source on the part of Ressiot, who, not surprisingly, spends more time with doctors and scientists than interviewing sportsmen or watching sports events.In fact, writing on doping across different sports is his speciality. “It was one of those rare occasions when everything falls in place. I was able to put the puzzle together,” he said. Elaborating on the manner in which he got the story, Ressiot said, “I came to know in November 2004 that a lab on the outskirts of Paris was conducting retroactive tests on some urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France.”This was being done to improve anti-doping techniques. Since Armstrong had worn the yellow jersey (as the race leader) in the 1999 Tour for a long time, I had a hunch that some of the samples might belong to him. Of course, all the samples were anonymous and the lab results were meant only for research purposes,” he said.Though the samples were anonymous, each sample had a number that was unique to each rider. After some clever detective work, Ressiot was able to find the identity of some of the samples.”I found that six of them belonging to Armstrong had tested positive for the banned substance EPO,” he said. Ressiot, though, couldn’t go ahead with the story as it was based on a single source. “I had the story ready by April 2005. However, I was waiting for confirmation of the same from other sources. Finally, in August 2005, there were two other sources, which corroborated the information I possessed. That’s when the story was published,” he said. Ressiot added that he had prepared himself to be sued by Armstrong. “I knew he had a team of about 20 lawyers. I remember having written that report while informing my own lawyer. I was surprised I was not taken to court,” Ressiot said.Following the publication of the story, the International Cycling Federation (UCI), under pressure from the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) appointed an independent observer who gave a clean chit to Armstrong. “I wasn’t surprised by the decision,” Ressiot remarked. Ressiot though wasn’t able to lay hands on any more evidence related to doping since that story. “It was as if there were red lights everywhere. Despite suspicion, it was impossible to get any proof,” he said.Ressiot feels the reason why it was difficult to find more proof was because “the doping protocols were very sophisticated. The doping products were normal but the techniques were ingenious,” he said. It is for this reason that Ressiot feels the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA), led by Travis Tygart, has done a sterling job. “My story seven years ago is nothing compared to what USADA has done in bringing out the truth about Armstrong. I think USADA is an example of how all the anti-doping agencies in every country should function,” he said.Despite writing such an explosive story, Ressiot says he never faced any threats or pressure. “Ironically, the only time I felt scared was when I was in Melbourne for the world swimming championships in 2007,” he said. In March 2007, Ressiot had written a report suggesting that the analysis of world swimming body (FINA) and Australian anti doping agency on swimmer Ian Thorpe’s urine sample did not match.Ressiot believes the Armstrong story will have an impact on Tour de France. “However, I feel the Tour will move on. Even previously, riders had been caught doping. But the year after, people still throng streets all over France to watch the spectacle. I firmly believe that the next generation of riders is cleaner,” he said.Ressiot feels stricter punishments for not only athletes but also team officials and authorities themselves should be introduced. “They could act as deterrents against cheats,” he said. He said that journalists too should be careful in the manner in which they turn sports achievers into larger-than-life heroes. “Sports persons should not be turned into legends. They are merely good at swinging a bat, kicking a ball or pedalling a bike.Turning them into superheroes puts pressure on young athletes to maintain or exceed their performance levels at all costs, which then, in many cases, leads to doping,” he said. So, being one上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝 of the few journalists who always looked at Armstrong’s performances with scepticism, does he feel satisfied after the latest Armstrong revelations? “I have nothing personal against him. It is impossible to be happy about this story as there are many losers in this story.There were many people who thought he was a good guy. However, the USADA report and the subsequent events prove that it is the end of the story for a very big imposter in sports. At the same time, I hope all those responsible would be found and not just Armstrong,” he said.Ressiot could not help but recount a sense of irony in Armstrong’s fall from grace.”Funnily enough, he used to donate money to UCI to improve anti-doping techniques,” Ressiot remarked with a smile.

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Sunrisers name VVS, Srikkanth as mentors; Moody as coach

Sunrisers will be the new cricket team from Hyderabad in the high-profile Indian Premier League.The IPL’s Hyderabad franchise, now called the ‘Sunrisers’, have appointed former Australian cricketer Tom Moody as the team’s new coach, along with former India cricketers Kris Srikkanth and VVS Laxman as mentors.Kalanithi Maran and Chennai-based Sun TV Network own the team, which replaced Deccan Chargers, the terminated franchise.The Sun Group Thursday unveiled the name and the logo — an eagle soaring high, looking into the core of a rising Sun.The Sun Group Thursday unveiled the name and the logo — an eagle soaring high, looking into the core of a rising Sun. PTIPresent at the glittering ceremony were former India captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth, who will be the mentor and strategic analyst, coach Tom Moody and Chief Executive Officer Shanmugam.The team management will have some local flavour with former cricketer VVS Laxman as the mentor and brand ambassador.While Laxman could not attend the function due to some personal reasons, former players Shivlal Yadav and Venkatpathy Raju and top officials of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) were present.Sunrisers has retained 20 players of Deccan Chargers: Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Cameron White, Dale Steyn, Chris Lynn, Jean-Paul Duminy, Juan Theron, Abhishek Jhunjunwala, Akash Bhandari, Akshath Reddy, Amit Mishra, Anand Rajan, Ankit Sharma, Bharat Chipli, Biplab Samantray, Shikhar Dhawan, Veer Pratap Singh, Parthiv Patel, Ashish Reddy, DB Ravi Teja and Ishant Sharma.Srikkanth said the team may bid for more players when the leftover players are auctioned in January. “We may also pick up some talented Pakistani players if they are available,” he said adding that the team needs a few all-rounders. The former Indian captain said the new assignment would be a challenge for him. He hoped that the team led by Sangakkara would play well and come up with right kind of strategies to bag the title.Srikkanth, who was earlier associated with Chennai Super Kings, said the Sunrisers would play with positive energy as it has among its ranks quality players like Sangakkara, Steyn and White.Recalling his memories in Hyderabad, Srikkanth said playing for South Zone he scored 90 against an Asif Iqbal-led Pakistan team, which helped him make it to the Indian team. He hoped that his new task in the city would again bring good tidings.Replying to a query, he pointed out that Sun network has a wide following in the entire south, including Hyderabad, and this would help in creating a home fan base.Tom Moody said he was relishing the challenge of coaching the new IPL team.He hoped that with the support of Srikkanth and Laxman, he would be able to come out with a winning combination in the 2013 season. Shanmugam said the Sunrisers would operate both from Chennai and Hyderabad.He declined to share details like budget to bid for new players and the team sponsors. He, however, said Sunrisers would have no liabilities from the previous IPL franchise.Deccan Chargers, winners of IPL 2009, were terminated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after the franchise defaulted in payments to both BCCI and the players.The Sun Network won the bid for the Hy上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝derabad franchise for Rs.85.05 crore per year for the next five years, making it the second most expensive IPL team after Pune Warriors (Rs.702 crore for seven years).

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Real Madrid is ready to go after the ‘impossible’

Needing at least three goals to reach the final for the 13th time, Real Madrid is ready to go after the “impossible.”The nine-time European Cup winners are out to overturn last week’s 4-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals on Tuesday. A tall task, but one that Madrid has done in the past.”This is our last chance to put things right,” Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira said. “In the first leg, we didn’t convince as a team and we produced a weak performance. Now we have to achieve the impossible.”Nearly 40 years ago, Madrid recovered from the same deficit against English club Derby, winning 5-1 in extra time in the second leg and advancing to the European Cup quarterfinals. In the 1985 UEFA Cup, the Spanish team won 3-0 in the second leg after a 2-0 loss to Inter Milan at the San Siro.Besides Khedira, Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has also said a上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝 comeback is possible. But he will likely need Cristiano Ronaldo, who has recently returned to full training following a thigh injury, to play a key role.Real Madrid need Ronaldo to do something really special tonight. Getty ImagesThe Portugal forward scored his 50th goal in the competition in the first leg, giving Madrid a valuable away goal that would put the team into the final with a 3-0 victory.Dortmund, however, is unbeaten in Europe this year and should be rested for the second leg. Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp made 10 changes to the side for Saturday’s 2-1 win at Fortuna Duesseldorf in the Bundesliga. “The lads did brilliantly,” Klopp said. “Pride is the right word, because it can’t be taken for granted.”Robert Lewandowski, who scored all four goals against Madrid in the first leg, came on as a substitute, and the Poland striker’s Bundesliga scoring streak ended at a club record 12 straight games.For Tuesday’s match, Dortmund has injury concerns over defender Lukasz Piszczek, who was left out against Duesseldorf with a groin strain, and Ilkay Guendogan, who had neck problems.Mario Goetze was left out with muscular problems but should be fit to play in Madrid.Ronaldo also sat out last weekend’s games, missing the 2-1 derby win at Atletico Madrid on Saturday. But with 51 goals in 50 games for Madrid this season, including 12 in the Champions League, Ronaldo will likely be the focus of Dortmund’s defense.Besides Ronaldo, Mourinho will be able to count on Alvaro Arbeloa in defense after his return from suspension, and Angel Di Maria is available after the birth of his daughter.But whoever is on the field, Madrid needs goals.”It was clear in the beginning, when the draw was made, that we’d have to go there and fight to get through,” Klopp said. “We’ve improved our starting position. Of course, Madrid believe they can get through. It won’t be a stroll in the park.”

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Qatar’s ‘Dream Football League’ could shake up club football

The “Dream Football League” sounds like something a fan would come up with but it could just be a reality, according to a story in The Times.The newspaper reports that the Qatari royal family is backing a proposed 24-team league that would play a tournament every two years that could rival the Champions League and the Club World Cup. The inaugural tournament could happen as soon as 2015, and would feature an enormous financial incentive to g上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝et clubs to participate.GettyAccording to The Times, the organisers might be willing to offer about £175 million to elite clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester United just to take part. In comparison, the UEFA Champions League has a total purse of £595 million, with Chelsea taking home £47.3 million for winning last season. The list of clubs that will be targeted is still to be determined, but the Premier League is a top source, with organisers believed to be targetting at least four of England’s top clubs. In all the league is aiming at having 16 permanent teams and eight invitees.While the paper said officials for UEFA, the Premier League and the clubs have so far not commented on the reports, it quotes a source as saying: “These people have already shown that, if they want something to happen, they will throw enough money at it to make it happen. And the football industry has shown that everything can be bought for the right price.”You can read the original story here, but you need a subscription to The Times.

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Beyond the break: Refreshed Saina is back to her best

In the run-up to the Denmark Open, Saina Nehwal had come under fire from Badminton Association of India officials for her decision to skip the Senior National badminton championship in Srinagar and spend that time attending various felicitation functions across the country after bringing home India’s sole badminton medal at the London Olympics in August.The country’s shuttle queen had refused to even come to Srinagar for the opening or closing ceremony and that had irked the mandarins of BAI and they have now set up a three-member committee to ensure that all the players play the Nationals from the coming season.While the emphasis on playing the Nationals is understandable, the criticism of the country’s most successful shuttler at that point was unwarranted since Saina desperately needed a break from the sport to refuel her hunger to win before she made a comeback to competitive badminton.Though the official reason for Saina pulling out of the Senior Nationals and the China and Japan Super Series was an injury to her right knee, it was the mental fatigue rather than the injury which the Commonwealth Games gold medallist had to recover from before embarking on another challenging journey.The break has done Saina a world of good. AFPEver since Saina lost her quarterfinal match against Maria Kristine Yulianti of Indonesia in Beijing 2008, the 22-year-old had set her eyes on the London Games and for the last four years single-mindedly worked towards achieving that goal. In the last few months before the Olympics, Saina had even cut down her communication with others, switching her cell phone off for prolonged hours and even rejecting sponsorship and endorsement offers.It was therefore understandable that India’s shuttle queen needed to let her hair down for once and enjoy the superstar status – a perk she had earned through those gruelling training sessions and never-say-die attitude on the court. And Saina’s decision to delay her return to competitive badminton was the ultimate difference between her and her opponents in Denmark.Be it the first round encounter against Yeon Ju Bae of Korea or the second round tie against Minatsu Mitani of Japan, Saina looked rusty at the start but never appeared jaded like her opponents. Especially against Mitani where she conceded the first 15 points, the Indian shuttler had a smile on her face throughout and knew that she could still enjoy playing the match instead of bothering about the outcome.It was the same even during the business end of the tournament with Saina looking a lot more relaxed as against her opponents who were giving their all to stay in the hunt. It is easy to blame the lack of fitness of her opponents for the way they caved in. But at that level, almost all the players are equally fit.But be it Tine Baun, Yihan Wang or even Juliane Schenk — whom Saina defeated quarterfinals onwards in that order – no one could not hide their frustration every time a mistake was made. In most cases they won the longer rallies but it was the short exchanges which needed more alertness where they came a cropper. All of them had immediately returned to competition after London Games and the mental fatigue was visible in their approach.Saina admitted as much in the post presentation chat when she said, “After the London Olympics, I attended a lot of felicitations and did a lot of things. I guess that allowed me to refresh.”In the f上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝uture also, Saina plans to pick and choose her tournaments as she aims to stay in the hunt for an Olympic gold in 2016. All the badminton fans would to more than happy to see a battle ready Saina every time she takes the court from here on.

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NBA: Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle power Knicks to win over Trail Blazers; West-leading Lakers ease past Suns

Mitchell Robinson made all 11 shots and had 22 points, Julius Randle added 22 points and 13 rebounds, and the New York Knicks spoiled Carmelo Anthony’s return to Madison Square Garden by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 117-93 on Wednesday night for their season-high third straight victory.Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside (21) interrupts a shot by New York Knicks guard Reggie Bullock. APAnthony scored 26 points, his most since returning to the NBA, and was cheered before and during the game at the arena where he played 6 ½ seasons. But he was on the bench at the start of the Knicks’ 14-0 run early in the fourth quarter that broke open the game.Reggie Bullock made two 3-pointers during the spurt and scored 11 points in his Knicks debut. He signed with the team during the summer but hadn’t played because of a herniated disk.Portland’s Damian Lillard was held to 11 points on 5-for-20 shooting after scoring 30 or more in the previous three games. The All-Star guard did have 10 rebounds and eight assists, but he missed his first six 3-pointers before making his only one of the game as the final shot of the third quarter.LeBron James had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for his eighth triple-double of the season, Anthony Davis had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and the West-leading Los Angeles Lakers beat Phoenix.James had double-figure points and assists by halftime as the Lakers won their third straight.The Suns rallied in the fourth, getting within seven points after trailing by 36 earlier in the game. That forced the Lakers’ starters back in, and James steadied them with eight points to close out the win.Devin Booker scored 32 points and Kelly Oubre Jr added 26 for the Suns. Phoenix had won two in a row after losing eight straight. DJ Augustin scored a season-high 25 points, Nicola Vucevic added 20 points and 12 rebounds and Orlando snapped a four-game road losing streak.Bradley Beal, who missed the previous two games with soreness in his right leg, led Washington with 27 points.The Magic, who entered the game with the NBA’s poorest offense, took the lead midway through the second quarter and led 62-58 at halftime. Orlando steadily increased its lead in the second half.Evan Fournier had 18 points for Orlando. Markelle Fultz scored 16 and Terrence Ross 15.Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 17 rebounds, and Milwaukee held off a strong challenge from short-handed Minnesota.Antetokounmpo got his 30th double-double in 33 games this season and Khris Middleton added 13 points despite shooting 5 for 18 as Milwaukee hit just 42.6% of its shots overall and only 9 of 36 from 3-point range.Shabazz Napier had 22 points to lead Minnesota, and Gorgui Deng scored 15上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝, Josh Okogie added 12 and Jarret Culver 10.

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Torres could be on way out, says former Chelsea striker

Chelsea fans turned on Fernando Torres for the first time during the Capital One (League) Cup semi-final first leg defeat by Swansea City and the vultures are starting to circle above the misfiring Spain striker’s head.Torres has had his share of trials and tribulations since joining the Londoners from Liverpool for a British record fee of 50 million pounds in January 2011.He has failed to reproduce the form that netted him 81 goals in 142 games for Liverpool, including 33 in his first season, but the Stamford Bridge faithful never wavered in their support until now.Chelsea’s new striker Demba Ba, signed from Newcastle United last week, hit two goals on his debut in a 5-1 FA Cup third-round win over Southampton on Saturday and the crowd repeatedly sang his name during Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat by Swansea.File picture of Chelsea’s Torres. Reuters”We want Demba Ba,” the fans chanted before interim manager Rafael Benitez finally relented and introduced the Senegal international in the 81st minute to replace the beleaguered Torres.”Torres was poor,” former Ireland and Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino told Sky Sports News on Thursday. “As the game wore on he looked like a guy who had run out of confidence.”He looks like he’s playing with a bit of fear in his game and you can’t have that.”Torres has 上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝cut a forlorn figure for much of his time at Chelsea and has suffered long spells without a goal.The fans were happy to back him because he continually showed a willingness to fight and scrap for the team despite his lack of goals.This time last year Torres said he was desperate to repay the crowd for their unstinting support during the worst spell of his career. “Since I joined Chelsea the fans have been amazing to me,” he explained. “It has been very important to have the fans behind me.”I went through the hardest moments of my career. I went several games without being in the starting lineup and I’ve never been in that situation before.”The only thing that gave me hope was the support of the people.”Torres, first-choice striker for the European champions this season following the sale of Didier Drogba, has scored 14 goals in all competitions this term but has still to prove he is worthy of a regular place in the Chelsea team.Former Chelsea and Netherlands striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink said recently that the Spaniard did not score vital goals.Hasselbaink suggested many of the goals Torres had bagged this season had come when the game was already out of reach for Chelsea’s opponents and that he failed to get enough match-winning efforts in close-fought matches.Cascarino, who won 88 caps for Ireland and played for Chelsea between 1992-94, said the writing could now be on the wall for Torres.”If you are playing for a big club you have to deliver because if you don’t, you’ll be going through the exit door,” added Cascarino.”He is very close now. The fans singing Demba Ba’s name is going to hurt Torres but you are going to get that if you don’t play well and you miss chances.”The fans won’t accept it if you are not performing.”

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Doper Hamilton wins prize for book on doping

Disgraced cyclist Tyler Hamilton said he was “proud of writing it but not proud of what’s in it” after his book “The Secret Race” won the prestigious William Hill sports book of the year award on Monday.Former Olympic gold medallist and seven-times Tour de France rider Hamilton and co-writer Daniel Coyle took the 24,000-pound ($38,400) prize for the book that revealed the murky dealings in the world of professional cycling and gave a close-up view of the day-to-day detail of doping.Hamilton was a team mate of Lance Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team. AFPThe awa上海千花网_上海后花园论坛_贵族宝贝rd was presented by television anchorman John Inverdale, who said The Secret Race was a book “that fundamentally changed cycling”.”It is not a pre-requisite of a (winning) book to change a sport but this one did,” he said.Hamilton was a team mate of Lance Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team during the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Tours de France and was later banned from cycling after being found guilty of doping. Hamilton spent 18 months working with Coyle as he came clean about the “doping, the lying and his decade spent running from the truth,” said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.Receiving the award at a central London bookshop on Monday, an emotional Hamilton said: “I am truly humbled. I am really proud of writing the book but not proud of what is in it but it is the truth and the truth needed to be told.”The Secret Race is the third cycling book to win the award following Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride in 1990 and Armstrong’s “It’s Not About The Bike” 10 years later.On Monday, Coyle paid credit to Kimmage, David Walsh and other journalists who had battled to expose Armstrong’s doping in the years before The Secret Race helped to accelerate the American’s fall from grace.Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour last month after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said he had been involved in “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping programme the sport has ever seen”.

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