'Super' Dan wants badminton expansion

SINGAPORE - Badminton can do more to become a global sport by allowing tournaments to be played outside the sport's traditional Asian bastions, two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan said Tuesday. Speaking at a news conference ahead of this week's Singapore Open, the Chinese superstar said the sport should be more popular than it already is. "Badminton is an attractive sport that helps a lot of people, especially teenagers, both physically and mentally," he said through a translator. "If you want more (people) to accept and enjoy the sport, competitions have to be played in different parts of the world rather than always in India, Singapore, Malaysia or China," The 32-year-old added. "Should competitions of a high standard be organised in new venues, I am very willing to take part." AFP

Rooney returns after injury lay-off

LONDON - Wayne Rooney made his long-awaited return from a knee injury on Monday as the Manchester United captain featured for the club's Under-21 team after two months on the sidelines. Rooney played for 61 minutes against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford in his first outing since February 13 as United manager Louis van Gaal watched from the stands. Van Gaal had declared Rooney could "maybe" feature in United's FA Cup quarter-final replay at West Ham if he came through the reserve fixture without any trouble. The Dutchman now has to decide if just over an hour's work is enough for Rooney to prove his fitness. Rooney's return for the final weeks of the season is a significant boost to van Gaal, whose side have scored just five times in their past eight fixtures.–AFP

Blackwell says recovery 'toughest fight'

LONDON - Nick Blackwell said he was in the "toughest fight of his life" after waking from an induced coma following his British middleweight title defeat by Chris Eubank Jr. Blackwell, 25, collapsed shortly after his tenth-round stoppage loss to Eubank Jr at London's Wembley Arena on March 26. He was then taken to London's St Mary's Hospital with a bleed on the skull before doctors placed him in an induced coma. Tuesday saw Blackwell make his first public comment since the bout as he posted a message thanking well-wishers for their support on his brother Daniel's Facebook account. "Just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been there for me, all my friends and family, those who wished me well and those who raised money for me," Blackwell said.–AFP

DCO Lahore National Karate starts today

LAHORE – The DCO Lahore 24th National Karate Championship will commence today (Wednesday) here at the Wapda Sports Complex. The opening ceremony will start at 12:30pm, which will be graced by Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Lt Gen (R) Arif Hassan as chief guest while DCO Lahore Captain (r) M Usman Younis will also be present there. DSO Tanveer Abbas said 120 players from across the country would partake in the mega event. The participating teams are Punjab, Sindh, KP, Baluchistan, Islamabad, Fata, Army, Police, Wapda and Railways. “The two-day event is being organised in collaboration with Pakistan Karate Federation (PKF).” PKF president M Jahangeer thanked the DCO Lahore for his support and provision of boarding and food facilities to all the participating teams.–Staff Reporter

Afghan journalists visit PHF headquarters

LAHORE – A group of Afghanistan journalists visited the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) headquarters on Tuesday. The group was invited through an exchange program and was by Pakistan Federation of Journalists. The group was briefed by PHF Director General Brig (r) Musarrat Ullah Khan, who explained the history and establishment of the federation and its prominent initiatives in world hockey. To a query, the PHF DG said due to the challenging economic factors, talented players were steering away from hockey and pursuing more economically favorable career paths. He also assured that Pakistan always extended support to Afghanistan in field hockey to the best of its capacity. The Afghan journalists then witnessed a live hockey match telecast of the 25th Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament.–Staff Reporter