Anna calls positive test 'complete shock'

MOSCOW - Russian high jump Olympic champion Anna Chicherova on Wednesday vowed to clear her name after testing positive for doping at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, casting doubt on her participation in Rio. Russia's Olympic Committee (ROC) said Tuesday that 14 of its athletes at the 2008 Beijing Olympics -- including Chicherova and nine other medallists -- tested positive in new tests on samples given during the Games, as Moscow faces allegations of state-organised doping. "For me it's the most complete shock. I can't explain how it could have happened," said Chicherova. Chicherova is the reigning Olympic high jump champion after winning gold in London in 2012. She won bronze in Beijing. "I was always sure what supplements and medicines I was using," she said. "I hope I can defend my name as clean."–AFP


Pakistan bowling attack dangerous

ISLAMABAD - English cricketer Kevin Pietersen has said that Pakistan team is more competitive than Sri Lanka and challenge for England in the upcoming series. Pietersen does not think Sri Lanka, who lost by an innings and 88 runs in the first Test, will pose as great a challenge as Pakistan, who tour England later this summer. "With Pakistan, you can't write them off yet because their bowling attack is dangerous," Pietersen was quoted as saying. "I have faced some of them and I played them in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) recently held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and there are wonderful players in there," Sky Sports reported. "The upcoming series against Pakistan will hopefully be more competitive than the Sri Lankan series but I still think England would win," he added.–APP


Alonso set for new engine

MONACO - Fernando Alonso is set to run a new Honda engine in his McLaren car at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. The move is part of his and the team's bid to deliver solid confirmation of their progress this year on a circuit where they are tipped to go well. The two-time world champion Spaniard is hoping for a strong result in the points and the team have reportedly made their decision to avoid any reliability problems following his engine trouble in Spain. The new engine will be Alonso's third out of a permitted total of five this year, but they have avoided using any performance tokens, according to close observers in the paddock. Honda F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa told reporters after the Spanish Grand Prix that they were being cautious - and strategic in their use of performance upgrades and tokens.–AFP


Ronaldo trains ahead of CL final

MADRID - Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo alleviated concerns over his fitness ahead of Saturday's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid as the three-time World Player of the Year returned to training on Wednesday. Ronaldo limped off towards the end of training on Tuesday after suffering a knock on a persistent left thigh problem. Real's all-time record scorer missed three games last month due to injury and was also left out a practice match on Saturday by coach Zinedine Zidane as a precaution. Ronaldo is aiming to break his own record of 17 Champions League goals in a season in Milan having already netted 16 in the competition so far this campaign. The Portuguese set his record mark with a goal from the penalty spot as Real beat Atletico 4-1 after extra-time in Lisbon two years ago.–AFP


Kitada first Japanese to finish Transat

PARIS - Hiroshi Kitada successfully became the first Japanese man to complete the Transat sailing race on Wednesday, reaching the finish in New York a fortnight after the winner. The 51-year-old Kitada decided to take on the greater risk of tackling the transatlantic competition, which started in Plymouth, southwest England. He was the final finisher, with his journey taking 22 days, 18 hours and three minutes. "I am very happy," said Kitada. "I can not find the words to express my emotions. "I did not understand initially why everyone was asking me why I had chosen to do this race. I realised then that this was the most difficult race and it all started." Although he finished dead last, Kitada easily completed the course quicker than Francis Chichester. "I am very proud to have finished," he added.–AFP