Capitals beat Bruins in showdown between NHL's top two teams


CBA club Sichuan replaces head coach


Man United partners with Alibaba

English Premier League soccer club Manchester United has signed a new partnership deal with Alibaba Group, that will see select matches and other content broadcast on the Chinese companys online video-streaming platform Youku.Manchester Uniteds Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their first goal during a match in Manchester, Britain, Dec 7, 2019. (Photo: Agencies)Manchester United will also sell merchandise via a virtual store in Alibabas online marketplace Tmall, as part of the deal.The deal will provide the soccer club with access to hundreds of millions of consumers across Alibabas platforms. In turn, Alibaba will gain exclusive rights to matches and original content from Manchester United, a club with a huge following in China and across Asia."Were proud of our passionate and loyal following around the world and our Chinese fans are a huge part of that," said Manchester United Group Managing Director Richard Arnold."We are always looking for new ways to engage with fans there and this partnership with Alibaba enables them to connect with the club directly through one of Chinas most popular video streaming platforms. Were looking forward to working with Alibaba to further grow our fan base in China and building on other areas of the partnership in the near future."The partnership will include selected first-team matches, highlights and localized original productions. There will also be a dedicated Manchester United channel on Youku, which is one of Chinas major online streaming media platforms.The channel will feature academy, womens and first-team tour games, plus first-team matches shown on-demand as well as China-specific content.In March, Youku signed a partnership deal with another English Premier League club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Fosun.Chinas online video market has become intensely competitive in recent years, with Youku, Tencent Video and iQiyi...

Chen Long, Chen Yufei bags first win in BWF World Tour Finals

GUANGZHOU, China, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Home favorites Chen Long and Chen Yufei both got winning start in BWF World Tour Finals 2019 here on Wednesday.File photo: CGTNChen Long overcame Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, 21-17, 10-21, 21-17 in an hour and 10 minutes.Chen Long held a 14-4 head-to-head record but this was one of those days when both appeared near the top of their game. Chen was nimble and fleet-footed, and with Axelsen having the advantage in attack.Despite losing a close first game, Axelsen kept his focus, and some great rallies ensued, showcasing some electric exchanges.The Danes attacking pressure paid off and he forced a third game, in which he stayed level until the interval, but a couple of lapses from then on was sufficient for Chen to get his nose ahead.In the other match of group B, Jonatan Christie of Indonesia beat Aners Antonsen of Denmark, 23-21, 21-16.In Group A, world No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan cruised past Wang Tzuwei of Chinese Taipei, 21-10, 21-9.World No.2 Chou Tienchen of Chinese Taipei edged Anthony Ginting of Indonesia 11-21, 21-15, 25-23.In the mixed doubles, world champions Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong of China crashed to one of their quickest defeats this year as they went down to Japanese pair Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino, whom they had beaten six times in a row. The Japanese pocketed the Group B win 21-15, 21-15 in just 33 minutes.Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja of Indonesia stopped in-form compatriots Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti 21-11, 21-19.In the womens singles, world No. 1 Chen Yufei eased past another Chinese He Bingjiao 21-9, 21-18.Nozomi Okuhara of Japan survived a torrid test by Tai Tzuying of Chinese Taipei 15-21, 12-18, 21-19.Another close battle in the mens doubles saw Indonesian pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo avenge last years defeat to Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China, 21-18, 14-21, 21-18.

Heavy security as Pakistan host first cricket Test since 2009 attack

Security personnel stood guard near the stadium in Rawalpindi. (Photo: AFP)Tight security ringed Rawalpindi cricket stadium on Wednesday as Pakistan hosted their first Test match since a deadly attack on Sri Lankas team ushered in a decade of sporting isolation.Despite being targeted in the 2009 guns-and-rocket assault, Sri Lanka has returned for two Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi which Pakistan hope will help convince other teams to visit.Eight people were killed and several players and officials were wounded when militants attacked a convoy of buses headed for Lahores Gadaffi Stadium for the second Test in March 2009.Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat on Wednesday, opening the five-day game in Rawalpindi -- the heavily fortified garrison town that hosts Pakistans army headquarters."Of course, a historic day in Pakistan cricket and we all are excited," Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said at the toss. "We want to make this occasion memorable by winning so all geared up."Visiting skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, one of several players who opted out of Sri Lankas limited-overs tour of Pakistan in September and October, said he was keen to get the game underway."We are all excited and once the game starts the focus will be on cricket," Karunaratne said.Security was thick around the stadium with heavily armed police keeping a careful eye on fans, while roads into the venue were sealed off -- adding further chaos to Rawalpindis perennially gridlocked traffic.Despite the heavy security presence, fans were beaming as they walked into the grounds, with many of them attending their first live Test match.As the stands slowly started to fill up, with fans waving Pakistan flags and blowing horns, the Test got underway on a rain-soaked pitch following early morning showers.The absence of international cricket has been keenly felt in Pakistan, a hotbed of the game, with significant reputational damage and "substantial"...

Israel launches first Tour de France team

The Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team will be the first Israeli outfit to take part in the Tour de France. (Photo: AFP)Israel launched its first Tour de France team Wednesday, the latest sporting initiative funded by a Canadian-Israeli billionaire who sees it as a potential bridge to the Arab world.The team, called Israel Start-Up Nation, will be the first from the Jewish state to compete in cyclings premier competition."We will have our Israel name at the Tour de France, being seen by 2.6 billion people -- with our blue and white colours," Israeli-Canadian businessman Sylvan Adams told AFP."I think its quite symbolic."The team will take the Tour de France slot of Swiss team Katusha-Alpecin, which has been taken over by the Israel Cycling Academy (ICA).The move is heavily funded by Adams, who has spent millions in recent years organising a number of sporting events in Israel, in what he says are philanthropic gestures to show off the "real Israel."These have included the holding of the Giro DItalia cycling race in Israel in 2018, as well as bringing Lionel Messi-led Argentina to play a friendly match in Tel Aviv last month.Organisers say the Tour de France is the worlds third most watched sporting event, after the Olympic Games and football World Cup.- Historic -The Israel Cycling Academy was only formed in 2014.Its riders are perhaps unlikely to compete for the Tour de Frances coveted yellow jersey in their first outing, but Adams hailed the symbolism of their appearance.Its riders come from 18 countries and Adams said at least one of the eight selected to race in the Tour would be Israeli."I hope we will see an Israeli complete the Tour de France, which will be a historic event."Cycling is still relatively new in Israel, though it hosts a velodrome -- the first in the Middle East.Guy Niv, an Israeli member of the team, said appearing in the Tour was a "childhood dream.""It ...

Russian boxers to boycott Olympics if sanctions not lifted

Wires go to microphones above a logo of the Russian Olympic Committee during President of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakovs news conference in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. (Photo: AP)Russian boxers will only take part in the Tokyo Olympics if doping sanctions forcing them to compete as neutral athletes are overturned, the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.Umar Kremlev said he has spoken with the Olympic boxing team and they “unanimously” rejected the conditions laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency as punishment for manipulating doping data.The WADA sanctions, announced on Monday, ban the use of the Russian team name, flag or anthem at a range of major sports competitions over the next four years, including next year’s Olympics.“They said we won’t go without our flag and anthem,” Kremlev said. “We aren’t going for medals, but for that feeling that I brought the highest honor home for my country.”Separately, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament said Russia could create an alternative to the Olympics.“This ruling shows a clear crisis in international sports institutions. I believe that Russia could host its own games at home,” Valentina Matvienko said in comments reported by the Interfax news agency.There is a precedent. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union refused to compete in the Olympics and hosted its own Spartakiads — named after the ancient rebel slave Spartacus — with a strong socialist slant. However, the Soviet Union began competing at the Olympics in 1952 and Russians generally take great pride in the country’s Olympic achievements since then.If the sanctions aren’t overturned, Kremlev said Russian boxers would prefer to turn pro rather than compete at the Olympics.“A world champion (in professional boxing) is better known than an Olympic champion,” Kremlev said, adding the Russian anthem would be played before pro title fights.Kremlev s...

Woods and Els meet again, now as captains of Presidents Cup

USAs Matt Kuchar, left and team captain Tiger Woods during a practice round ahead of the Presidents Cup golf tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (Photo: AP)They first met 25 years ago in Thailand, neither knowing then how much their paths would cross in golf.Ernie Els was a rising star from South Africa, four months away from winning his first US Open. Tiger Woods was a senior in high school, six months away from winning his first US Amateur. Woods recalled, “this big, giant of a man” he saw at the 1994 Johnnie Walker Classic.“I was trying to figure out what the hell am I going to do with maybe playing professional golf down the road,” Woods said. “We talked a little bit, and he took a liking to me.”Over the next two decades, no one finished runner-up to Woods more than Els, a rivalry as one-sided as the Presidents Cup.That’s where they meet for perhaps the final time, as captains at Royal Melbourne.The Presidents Cup starts Thursday, and Woods is attracting all the attention as the first playing captain in 25 years. As much as he refers to the Big Easy as a “giant of a man,” no one casts a larger presence in golf than Woods.Els saw it coming a long time ago. In one of their greatest duels, they matched eagles and birdies on the 18th hole at Kapalua in 2000 before Woods won the playoff with a 40-foot birdie. It was another kick in the gut for Els, who said that day: “He’s 24. He’s probably going to be bigger than Elvis when he gets into his 40s.”By the end of the year, Els was runner-up to him in consecutive majors by a combined 23 shots.The 50-year-old Els sat on one side of a long table Wednesday, wearing reading glasses to go over his pairings for the opening session. Woods, who turns 44 at the end of the month, was on the other side of a 2-foot-high board, announcing he would be playing in the first match.The International team is desperate to end two decades of failing to beat the Americans, who are going for their eighth con...

Yanks land ace Cole on record $324M, 9-year deal

In this Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, file photo, Houston Astros Game, 3 starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws on the field at Yankee Stadium in New York, after the team arrived to prepare for the American League Championship Series, against the New York Yankees. (Photo: AP)The New York Yankees landed the biggest prize of the free agent market, adding Gerrit Cole to their rotation with a record $324 million, nine-year contract on Tuesday night, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced.Cole’s deal established marks for pitchers in total dollars, topping the $245 million, seven-year contract Stephen Strasburg finalized a day earlier to remain with the World Series champion Washington Nationals.Its $36 million average is a record for any player, beating the $35.5 million in outfielder Mike Trout’s $426.5 million, 12-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels that started last season. Cole gets an even $36 million annually and can opt out after the 2024 season. He also has a full no-trade provision.Agent Scott Boras negotiated the deals for Cole and Strasburg.A 29-year-old right-hander, Cole was baseball’s most dominant pitcher for much of 2019 and helped the Houston Astros come within one win of their second World Series title in three seasons.“Obviously, when you are talking about a player at the level of Gerrit Cole, in a lot of ways that’s a game-changing type talent,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said earlier in the day. “This is a guy that’s really hungry, really driven.”New York has not won the World Series since 2009 and sought an ace to head a rotation that already includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ or Domingo Germán, who may be suspended at the season’s start under baseball’s domestic violence policy.General manager Brian Cashman executed the move out of the same playbook he used after the 2008 season when he gave CC Sabathia a $161 milli...

Russian F1 organizers say race stays despite WADA sanctions

Mercesdes Valtteri Bottas arrives on track during the F1 Grand Prix in Sochi, Russia, September 29, 2019. (Photo: VCG)Russias F1 Grand Prix in Sochi will not be affected by the countrys four-year World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ban for tampering with doping tests, the races promoters said on Monday.The sanctions include a four-year ban on Russia hosting major sporting events.The International Automobile Federation (FIA), the governing body of F1, is International Olympic Committee-recognized and classified by WADA as a code signatory."The contract for holding the Russian round of the F1 World Championship was signed in 2010, long before the events investigated by WADA, and runs until 2025," said ROSGONKI, a company that organizes the F1 race in Sochi.They pointed out that the race was entered on next years calendar and said it would be "legally and technically impossible" to re-assign it elsewhere."We are confident that the F1 Russian Grand Prix will be held in 2020 and in the following years and invite everyone to Sochi — the ticket sales are in full swing," the statement added.The race has been held since 2014 against a backdrop of Sochis Winter Olympic facilities — Games now notorious for state-sponsored doping cover-ups.Russia has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.The WADA executive committee acted on Monday after concluding that Moscow had planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping tests in laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.

Napoli sack coach Ancelotti


Beijing triumph in Ji Zhe's jersey retirement

Beijing Ducks embraced the jersey retirement of deceased former captain Ji Zhe with a 112-104 home victory over Guangzhou Loong Lions while reigning champions Guangdong Southeast Tigers sailed past Zhejiang Lions 112-97 for 11th straight win of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league on Tuesday.Ji Zhes family and Beijing Ducks held a ceremony on Dec 10, 2019 for the player, who passed away last Thursday. (Photos: Xinhua)The three-time CBA winner Ji, who joined Beijing in 2007, had his No. 51 jersey retired. He died of lung cancer last Thursday at the age of 33.Andrew Nicholson and Keifer Sykes pocketed all 15 points for Guangzhou in the first quarter but fell 26-15 behind in front of Beijings better ball movement. They cut the deficit within 10 points several times afterward but failed to turn the tide.Ekpe Udoh led Beijings attack with 26 points. Jeremy Lin and Zhai Xiaochuan added 22 and 16 respectively. Nicholson finished a game-best 42 points for Guangzhou.Ji Zhes retired jersey is hanging on Wukesong Stadium.Du Runwang scored four points from the top-off as Guangdong built a 31-18 lead after the first quarter, and they never looked back, sitting atop the table with a record of 14-1.Sonny Weems led Guangdongs scoreboard with 32 points. Marshon Brooks added 25. Yi Jianlian registered a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds.Jeremy Lin of Beijing Ducks celebrates during the match against Guangdong.Jamaal Franklin contributed 42 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, and 10 steals, becoming the third player in CBA history to achieve a quadruple-double.But his stunning display could not save Shanxi Loongs from a 114-110 loss to second-placed Xinjiang Flying Tigers at home.Tight contention between the top three teams lasted until the final minute with the score at 108-all.Abudushalamus three-pointer moved Xinjiang ahead before grabbing an offensive rebound. A pair of free throws from Kyranbek Makan sealed the deal for Xinjiang.Else...

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