Category Archives: Sport

Ethiopian runners: Police confirm athletes defected to escape civil unrest


The four Ethiopian runners who disappeared from the IAAF Junior World Championships in Eugene this past weekend defected from their home country to avoid returning to widespread civil unrest there, police confirmed in a report released late Friday.

The report, provided by police in Federal Way, Washington, describes an interview with Zeyituna Mohammed, an 18-year-old woman runner on the Ethiopian national team. She told police that she and the other athletes decided to stay in the U.S. because they were too afraid to return to Ethiopia.

The report confirms for the first time what many close to the case, including the team’s coaches, had suspected — that the athletes’ disappearance was part of a plan to defect from Ethiopia.

Mohammed told authories she may seek asylum in the U.S., but she is not certain of her plans. It remains unclear whether the other three athletes, whom police found in Beaverton earlier this week, are planning to do so.

Federal Way police agreed to help University of Oregon police with the investigation when authorities learned Mohammed was staying with an acquaintance there.

On Wednesday, five days after the athletes were first reported missing, Federal Way police found Mohammed staying at the home of two Ethiopian natives, one of whom came from the same village Mohammed is from.

Through an interpreter, Mohammed described how the group left the University of Oregon campus unnoticed with help from an another runner on the team, who helped them arrange rides with Ethiopian connections in the area. The group was given a ride to Portland, and then Mohammed was picked up by another driver and taken to Federal Way.

Police found the other three runners — Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, a 17-year-old boy, and Dureti Edao and Meaza Kebede, 18-year-old women — in Beaverton on Monday.

Mohammed signed a contract with Nike and Edao with Adidas on July 25, just hours before the group disappeared, their coaches told University of Oregon police.

Edao told the coaches she needed to send a copy of her passport to the Adidas contract manager to finalize the agreement, according a report from UO police released this week. Coaches gave her a key to the room where the team’s passports were kept.

Other members of the Ethiopian team later saw the four running with their bags and then hop into a white sedan, according to the UO police report. None of the other team members was able to identify the driver.

Coaches later said the four athletes’ passports were missing. Police found the women athletes’ rooms, in a UO dormitory, emptied of belongings.

Nike and Adidas have not provided details about the athletes’ contracts.

In a statement Monday, university police said the athletes are permitted to stay in the U.S. under the terms of their visas. No time limit was given. Officials in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services office declined to provide any further information.

– Ian K. Kullgren

Kambwili to lodge complaint to FIFA and CAF over the alleged misconduct of Ethiopian referee


GOVERNMENT says it will complain to FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) over the misconduct of Ethiopian referee Bamlak Weyesa during Saturday’s Confederation Cup match between Nkana and Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia.

And Nkana coach Beston Chambeshi said his team’s victory over Tunisian giants has motivated his players to beat Al Ahly of Egypt in next Saturday’s Confederations Cup Group B return match.

Minister of Youth and Sport Chishimba Kambwili made the announcement in Luanshya yesterday that both FIFA and CAF would be communicated to on the poor officiating of the match by the 33-year-old Weyesa.

“I would like to inform the nation that I am extremely disappointed with the way the Nkana match was handled yesterday [Saturday] by the Ethiopian referee,” the minister said.

Kambwili has also requested Nkana to complain to CAF over the poor handling of the match by the Ethiopian.<!–more–>

Nkana beat Sahel 4-3 with the Tunisian team being awarded two questionable penalties, one in the fourth minute which Youssef Mouihbi converted to put his side ahead and again stepped up to score the second penalty at the nick of time with the Zambians leading 4-2 at the time.

“I told the referee personally that I was going to write CAF to complain about the manner he handled the match and I want to urge Nkana FC to lodge in an official complaint about the way the game was handled,” he said.

“And as minister, I am writing to FIFA and CAF to complain and urging them to review the video of the game and see what had transpired. Games are there to bring people together and bring unity, but games are not there to disunite the people.

“But if referees are not fair in the way they handle the games, then we are going to have a lot of problems…so as a country, we are officially going to lodge in a complaint to both CAF and FIFA,” he said.

And speaking in a post-match interview on Saturday, Chambeshi said his team will now concentrate on preparing for the next match against Al Ahly to ensure they collect maximum points.

Chambeshi said the technical bench will work on the defence that looked shaky on Saturday to avoid conceding unnecessary goals against Al Ahly.

“It’s a good victory for the team and the boys. It’s not easy to score against Arab teams but we managed to do it. We need to maintain the same spirit even in our next match against Al Ahly,” Chambeshi said.

Nkana have four points, four behind leaders Al Ahly, who edged Sewe Sport of Ivory Coast 1-0 in a late kick off in Cairo.

4 Ethiopian track team members missing from international meet in Eugene


Four members of an Ethiopian track team were reported missing Saturday morning in Eugene where they competed in the IAAF World Junior Championships.

“The individuals left campus ahead of the rest of the team,” said Julie Brown, University of Oregon spokeswoman.

The Ethiopian region is under intense political upheaval, and athletes seeking asylum from unstable areas have historically used athletic tournaments to leave their country. Asked whether that was the case for the Ethiopians, Brown said she did not know why they left and could not confirm they were seeking asylum.

Brown said detectives are looking for the four but are not concerned for their safety. Rather, they want to make direct contact to confirm they are OK.

“At this point we don’t have reason to believe that these individuals are in harm’s way,” she said.

Lionel Messi Golden Ball surprised Sepp Blatter


Fifa president Sepp Blatter says he was “a little bit surprised” Lionel Messi was named the World Cup’s best player.

Messi was awarded the Golden Ball after Argentina’s 1-0 loss to Germany in Sunday’s final in Rio de Janeiro.

Blatter believes Messi was given the award on the strength of his four goals during the group stage.

Argentina legend Diego Maradona also felt Messi was a surprise choice, claiming Colombia’s James Rodriguez performed better in Brazil.

Maradona, who was named the best player when Argentina won the World Cup in 1986, said “marketing people” had chosen the wrong man and called the decision “unfair”.

The Golden Ball and other individual prizes, such as the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper, are decided by Fifa’s Technical Study Group, a panel including former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier.

World Cup 2014: Germany Defeats Argentina in Final

BsdUa_kCcAA2gfT.jpg large

Lionel Messi has received the award for best player of the World Cup, minutes after his Argentina team lost the final 1-0 to Germany.

Messi was selected ahead of Thomas Mueller of Germany and Netherlands forward Arjen Robben by FIFA’s technical study group of coaching analysts.

Germany’s Manuel Neuer collected the best goalkeeper prize.

James Rodriguez of Colombia got the golden boot award as top scorer with six goals. Mueller was second, with five goals.

The best young player award went to Paul Pogba of France.

Germany won the World Cup. Host Brazil won a world of new friends.The now four-time world champions, the first European team to win it on South American soil, earned the honor of lifting the most recognized trophy in sports with a tooth-and-nail 1-0 victory in a final as terrifically entertaining as the tournament itself.

Robben apologises for diving against Mexico


The Bayern Munich winger won a spot-kick in injury time to enable Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to score the winner but admitted going to ground too easily earlier in the match

By Robin Bairner

Arjen Robben has apologised for diving during Netherland‘s dramatic comeback victory over Mexico in the World Cup round of 16 at Arena Castelao on Sunday.

Robben tormented the Mexican defence on numerous occasions with his pace, skill and direct running, and had several penalty appeals turned down before finally winning a spot-kick in the second minute of injury time when he went down under a challenge from Rafael Marquez.

Substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar converted from 12 yards to send the Oranje into the last eight of the tournament, after Giovani dos Santos’ opener had been cancelled out by a late Wesley Sneijder equaliser.

Luis Suárez banned for four months for biting opponent in World Cup clash


In an unprecedented move Fifa has banned Uruguay’s Luis Suárez from all “football-related activities” for four months for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, ruling him out of the rest of the World Cup and the start of the domestic season.

The Liverpool striker will not be able to play or train for his club or country for four months after Fifa’s disciplinary committee handed down the hefty sanction, which is sure to provoke dismay from both Uruguay and Liverpool.

The biting incident, the third in which Suárez has been involved in his career, has also led Fifa’s disciplinary committee to ban the player from even entering any football stadium during the ban.

Suárez has also been banned for nine competitive international matches, beginning with Uruguay’s last-16 clash with Colombia on Saturday, and fined £66,000.

“Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a Fifa World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field,” said Claudio Sulser, the chair of the disciplinary committee, which met late into the night at the Sofitel Hotel on Copacabana.

Bekele and Dibaba victorious at Great Manchester Run


Kenenisa Bekele outkicked Wilson Kipsang to win the Bupa Great Manchester Run on Sunday as Tirunesh Dibaba dominated the women’s race to successfully defend her title.

On a warm but windy day, Ethiopia’s world 5000m and 10,000m record holder Bekele used his finishing strength and speed to add victory in Manchester to the Bupa Great North Run title he claimed last year, as world marathon record holder Kipsang again had to settle for the runner up spot, having also been denied by Moses Kipsiro in Manchester last year.

Bekele clocked 28:25 in what was his British 10km race debut as Kipsang finished five seconds adrift. A time of 29:11 was enough for South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka to claim third place, as Nick McCormick was top Brit finishing sixth, 10 seconds behind him.

With the conditions as windy as they were, the pace wasn’t particularly quick, with the leading men’s runners happy to sit in a steadily moving pack. France’s Abdellatif Mefta led a leading group of six in the early stages, as Bekele and Kipsang seemed happy to go with the pace.