Blatter 'did not resign'

LAUSANNE - Sepp Blatter has claimed that he "did not resign" as FIFA president, according to the Swiss newspaper Blick. "I did not resign. I put myself and my office in the hands of the FIFA congress," Blick reported Blatter as saying during a visit to the site of the future FIFA museum in Zurich. Blatter announced on June 2 that he would step down from the FIFA presidency at an extraordinary congress to be held between December this year and March 2016. That decision followed the crisis that engulfed FIFA with 18 people indicted in the United States. Since then, sources close to Blatter have been reported as saying he was not ruling out the prospect of going back on his decision to resign after receiving messages of support from Asian and African federations.–AFP

Powell wins opening 100 heat with hot start

KINGSTON - Former 100-metre world-record holder Asafa Powell made a strong start and showed top form Thursday in winning his opening-round heat at the Jamaican Athletics Championships. Getting off to a bullet-like start and seizing the lead midway into the race, Powell eased down noticeably to the line to win in 9.98 seconds and qualify for Friday's semi-finals at the national stadium. Former IAAF world champion Yohan Blake, running only his second 100m race of the season, was well back in 10.24 seconds, the same time as Kemarley Brown. World Championships bronze medallist Nesta Carter captured his first-round heat in 10.12 seconds while Commonwealth Games champion Kemar Bailey-Cole took his heat in a season-best 10.05 seconds. Usain Bolt had withdrawn from the 100 earlier Thursday.–AFP

Watson fires 62 to grab Travelers lead

CROMWELL - Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson fired an eight-under par 62 Thursday to seize a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the US PGA Travelers Championship. He fired nine birdies in all, including four on the last five holes, the final one coming on 18 after a 139-yard second shot that bounced into the flagstick and stopped four inches beyond the cup. "It was about playing steady," Watson said. "It was about being consistent. It was about hitting the driver somewhat in play, hitting the wedges somewhat close and then making the putts and that's what I did." Watson seeks his eighth career PGA triumph on the same TPC River Highlands course where he won his first in 2010 and produced two other top-10 showings. It would be his second title of the 2014-15 season.–AFP

CFP elections postponed

ISLAMABAD - The Chess Federation of Pakistan (CFP) elections, which were due on June 30, have been postponed and held on August 5 at Pakistan Sports Complex. M Arfanullah Khan, Advocate High Court, who is also election commissioner, and the committee constituted for the purpose of the elections took this assignment of holding the elections as a challenge and worked hard and undertook necessary steps to ensure the holding of the elections in a free and transparent manner. A number of contestants and stakeholders contacted the PSB and requested to postpone the elections, as they wanted sometime for preparations. The election commissioner accepted their requests. National Federations director Azam Dar said: “It is our duty to ensure justice and provide equal opportunities to all the parties.”–Staff Reporter

45 RDCA clubs back Naeem Gilani group

ISLAMABAD – All the 45 registered clubs of Rawalpindi District Cricket Association (RDCA) assured their full support to former Rawalpindi Regional Cricket Association (RCCA) chairman Major (R) Naeem Akhtar Gilani group in the upcoming elections of the district body. County Cricket Club (CCC) president Ashiq Hussain hosted a grand Iftar reception which was attended by 45 out of 55 registered clubs’ presidents and secretaries of the RDCA. They widely endorsed the views that unity prevailing in the ranks of Naeem Gilani’s group. They also lauded him and Rawalpindi head coach Sabih Azhar for their services for cricket. Different issues including scrutiny for cricket clubs, district cricket association, upcoming elections and other related matters were discussed during the reception.–Staff Reporter