Published: Saturday, January 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 1, 2005 at 12:04 a.m.

Tour to assist disaster-struck Madras

  • NEW DELHI - The men's tennis tour and some of the sport's biggest names will join organizers of a Madras tournament next week in assisting victims of the tsunami that devastated India's south coast.
    The ATP, the governing body of men's tennis, will donate the $25,000 sanctioning fee for the Chennai Open to UNICEF emergency efforts in the state of Tamil Nadu, of which Chennai is the capital.
    Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt, the three top-ranked players, will auction autographed rackets, with the money also going to UNICEF relief.
    ''We have all witnessed unimaginable scenes from South Asia the last few days,'' said Swedish star Jonas Bjorkman, who will play in Madras. ''The horrific tragedy that has followed the earthquake at sea last Sunday is impossible to fully comprehend or put into words. But it is possible to act.''
    The Chennai Open, South Asia's lone ATP Tour event, begins Monday and runs through Jan. 9. The decision to proceed came after all the players confirmed they would compete and several said they wanted to donate prize money, tournament promoter Ravi Krishnan of International Management Group said Friday.
    ''We were naturally worried about the tournament's fate, but it's going to be played as originally scheduled,'' Krishnan told The Associated Press.
    Madras has hosted the tournament the past seven years. The event will help launch the new season, with other tournaments in Adelaide, Australia, and Doha, Qatar.

    TV debate planned for 2012 bidders

  • LONDON - Is beach volleyball better in Central Park or beside the Eiffel Tower? Are Olympic venues more scenic alongside the Moscow River or the Thames? Would the world's best athletes rather eat bagels on the Upper West Side or tapas in Madrid?
    Those and other questions might be addressed if the first TV debate in Olympic bid history comes off, featuring senior figures from the five cities vying for the 2012 Summer Games. The debate would be broadcast by BBC World.
    The date, site and guests for the proposed debate have not yet been decided, BBC World spokesman Kevin Young said Friday. The format most likely would involve each bid leader presenting his case, with a panel later asking questions.
    ''It's obviously a good thing for all of the cities,'' New York 2012 spokesman Michael Moran said in a telephone interview.
    The BBC World channel is shown in more than 200 countries and the debate would give each city a chance to make a very public pitch for hosting the Olympics. While the format would be different from the presentations made to the International Olympic Committee, the debate would also allow each city to, as Moran says, ''highlight their positives.''
    The 2012 host will be selected by the International Olympic Committee on July 6 in Singapore.

    U.S. sprinter suspended for two years

  • COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - U.S. sprinter Mickey Grimes was suspended for two years after testing positive for steroids, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Friday.
    Grimes, 28, of Hawthorne, Calif., tested positive for the anabolic steroid norandrosterone from a sample collected in May as part of an out-of-competition testing program.
    The suspension began Dec. 16 and will end July 18, 2006. Grimes earned credit for a provisional suspension he accepted after testing positive for ephedrine at the 2003 Pan American Games. He was stripped of the 100-meter gold medal, and the U.S. 400-meter relay team's gold also was taken away because of Grimes' test.
    He had faced a lifetime ban for two doping infractions.
    Grimes is a member of the HSI group coached by John Smith. Two other HSI athletes, sprinter Torri Edwards and hurdler Larry Wade, have also failed tests.
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