Angry Citizens

LONDON — Manchester City are considering legal action after Sergio “Kun” Aguero claimed he was assaulted by a Wigan fan.

Aguero sat down with club officials and lawyers on Tuesday to discuss the ugly scenes at the end of City’s FA Cup fifth round 1-0 defeat at DW Stadium a day earlier.

The Argentina international was seen reacting angrily to a fan who approached him, even though he had previously not responded to provocation from at least one other supporter.

And he has told the club the fan, who walked up and faced him, shouted obscenities and then spat in his ear — which would be considered common assault, reported Manchester Evening News.

Aguero lunged towards the fan, and both men raised their hands, although neither landed a punch.

Wigan defender Chey Dunkley, who had been chatting to Aguero as they walked off the pitch — and is believed to have been asking for a shirt swap — intervened.

This kept the Argentine away from the fan until City backroom staff hustled him away.

New video footage showed hundreds of jubilant Wigan fans running onto the pitch to celebrate a historic win, some made a beeline for disappointed City players.

One can be seen running behind Aguero and appearing to take a swipe towards the back of his head, which did not seem to connect.

Two more dashed up and got selfies with the player, who again did not react.

Then a fan in a green jacket ran straight up to Aguero, who reacted with anger.

The Citizens are considering a complaint to police over the matter.

The club has already expressed its unhappiness with the level of security at the stadium.

Most fans celebrated their win in the centre of the pitch but a sizeable number made it to the away end, and began taunting the 4,000 travelling support.

That led to missiles being thrown, while angry City fans tore up advertising hoardings and chucked them towards stewards and police.

Two were subsequently arrested for an affray outside the ground as rival fans clashed again. — Agencies


Lots to answer after fracas

MANCHESTER CITY and Wigan have been charged with failing to control their players following Fabian Delph’s red card in Monday’s FA Cup tie.

But neither City striker Sergio “Kun” Aguero nor manager Pep Guardiola will face any action for heated scenes at halftime and fulltime of the game, which the Latics won 1-0.

An FA statement read: “The clubs have until 6pm (local time) on Friday to respond.”

Both clubs have also been asked for their observations over the crowd trouble which marred the end of the game, with City unhappy at security arrangements for the fifth round tie.

Aguero has been cleared of wrongdoing after he was confronted by a fan, and both men raised their arms in an angry argument.

However, it is understood the Argentina international has been reminded of his responsibilities.

The FA looked at video evidence of all incidents, which included a heated exchange between Guardiola and Wigan boss Paul Cook — before coming to their conclusion. — Agencies

CHOW CK saved Pele shot Died Feb21 2017

Chee Keong — superstar Brazil wanted

PETALING JAYA — The late Chow Chee Keong was so good he was courted by a team from the country where football was akin to religion.

His name was already legendary circa 1970s when Hong Kong treated him like royalty.

He earned more than European imports and was once brought to a match by helicopter.

But Chee Keong, from a different time and age, could have been up there in the bright lights cavorting with the Brazilian superstars.

As legend has it, the Malaysian goalie defied the great Pele during a match with stunning saves that launched him into hyperspace of an unimaginable career in Latin America, land of the football gods.

Chee Keong, who died aged 69 at University Malaya Medical Centre yesterday morning — after a heart bypass and bout of bladder cancer — was offered to play for Cruzeiro FC.

The Brazilian club was mesmerised while on a tour of Hong Kong. Chee Keong rejected the offer.

They came again some years later but with the caveat of taking up Brazilian citizenship.

Former AFC secretary-general Datuk Peter Velappan called Chee Keong a simple and humble personality despite epic achievements.

“He’s a true inspiration, we can all be proud of Chee Keong,” added Velappan.

Rightly so, the ‘70s was not called the golden era of Malaysian football for nothing, with Chee Keong’s contemporaries like Soh Chin Aun and Santokh Singh playing in the citadel of national and regional fame.

Hong Kong fans were in mourning too — South China Morning Post embraced him as one of the isle’s favourite sons.

Chee Keong was just 15 when he became a national player.

And soon after, he lived an illustrious career in Hong Kong where the nickname of ‘Asian Steel Gate’ stuck on.

Another was ‘Crazy Sword’ coined during a time of Shaw Brothers’ Chinese sword-duelling movies.

Some of Chee Keong’s records will stay untouched forever.

In 1963, he represented Malaysia Under-20 as a 13-year-old. Two years later, he became the youngest ever Malaysian international.

He is also the first Malaysian to play in England (Bedford FC in 1967) and turn professional when he joined Jardine in Hong Kong for a record HK$2,500 (RM1,250) salary in 1970.

His move to Tung Sing four years later earned him his biggest pay cheque — HK$7,000 (RM3,500).

From 1966 to 1970, he was voted best Asian goalkeeper five straight times.

Fellow legend and former national teammate Bakri Ibni said among big names like R. Arumugam, Wong Kam Fook, Lim Fung Kee and Rashid Hassan, Chee Keong was the greatest.

“He had great determination and fighting spirit I didn’t find in others,” said Bakri.

“He always carried the hand-gripper, even to sleep. He has his own initiative after training, a rare quality

Kelantan goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat called Chee Keong one of his idols.

“I adored him as he was successful at a young age. My regret is I never met him. He’s an inspiration to all goalkeepers,”
he said.

National Under-23 coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee simply said: “Young players should follow his footsteps.”

Chee Keong leaves behind wife Christina Kwok and son Adrian Chow.


Cards close to Beasley’s chest

PETALING JAYA — National coach John Beasley said fans did not witness “the real Malaysia” at the just-concluded Asian Championships (ACC).

National cyclists led by Azizulhasni Awang did not perform to expectations but Beasley said the team is on a more important mission building towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“We have a secret project for the Olympics,” said an upbeat Beasley.

“Azizulhasni’s target is gold in 2020. He’s been surpassing the targets I set him and I’m not worried he didn’t win at ACC.

“In fact, our training has been focused on performing at the World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.”

Azizulhasni ended his ACC campaign with a keirin bronze and sprint silver.

Youngster Shah Firdaus Sahrom failed to win a medal while top women’s cyclist Fatehah Mustapa took bronze in 500m
time trial.

Ju Pha Som Net provided consolation by winning the women’s point race.

Beasley declined to elaborate on his “secret” plans.

“We’re focusing on building muscle mass now” was all the Australian wanted to reveal.

Azizulhasni and Shah Firdaus flew off to compete at the World Championships in Apeldoorn (Feb 28-March 4) yesterday.

The Pocket Rocketman is out to retain his keirin world crown while Shah targets final in the same event.

At ACC, Azizulhasni clocked 9.774s in the sprint qualifying round to better the Asian record of 9.843s by Japan’s Nitta Yudai while Shah went sub-10 for the first time (9.97s).

The stage looks set for the duo to sizzle in Apeldoorn.

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Sensational breakthrough

PETALING JAYA — Coming from a broken family and living in a workshop in his younger days, battle-hardened Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah knows what it takes to survive in MotoGP.

Mechanic Shafie Harun Abdullah could not afford to rent, let alone buy a house and was forced to live with his two wives and son Hafizh in his workshop.

The tough environment he grew up in motivated Hafizh to come out of poverty.

His natural love for machines and talent as a motorcycle rider helped his cause.

Hafizh began his career aged nine on pocket bikes, eventually earning the nickname “King of Pocket Bikes” and was discovered by Barry Leong.

Having built his career stone by stone, Hafizh has now achieved a dream elusive to many Malaysians — becoming a MotoGP rider.

Not only did Hafizh officially join Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team to race in this season’s premier class, he also became the first Southeast Asian to achieve the feat.

The 23-year-old will replace unwell German rider Jonas Folger and race alongside Johann Zarco for the French outfit.

“I lived with two mothers and my father in his workshop. I’m not ashamed of saying this. We couldn’t afford a house. It didn’t stop me achieving my goals,” said Hafizh after the historic announcement yesterday..

“I hope my struggle will inspire the youngsters. If I can ride in MotoGP, others can too as long as they’re disciplined.”

Hafizh could not believe his luck that it took a day before he informed his family.

He also preached caution in his first MotoGP season where he wants to finish in the top 20.

“I’m still a rookie and will ride against Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez,” he added.

“I can’t wait for the season to start.”

Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali expects Hafizh’s promotion to bring in the fans in droves to the Malaysian GP.

“With Hafiz racing at home, we’ll receive tremendous turnout. This is fantastic for Asia,” said Razlan who is also Hafizh’s manager.


Italian Samurai slays Vonn

SOFIA GOGGIA carved up the Jeongseon slope “like a Samurai” to win the women’s downhill yesterday and leave American Lindsey Vonn with a bronze in her final alpine skiing run.

The bubbly 25-year-old Italian clocked 1:39.22s to take gold ahead of Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel.

“I still don’t realise I’m first, I was focused, I moved like a samurai,” said Goggia.

“Usually, I’m really chaotic but I wanted to take in every little detail. I believed in myself — and then what counts, counts.”

Mowinckel’s late run meant Vonn had to settle for bronze — her third Olympic podium making her the oldest female Winter Games alpine skiing medallist.

“I gave it all, skied a great race. Sofia just skied better,” the 33-year-old said.

“It was tough to contemplate this being my last Olympic downhill. I struggled to keep the emotions together, but I left it all on the mountain.”

Charged with confidence as she exploded out of the start, Goggia hit her straps in the mid-section and produced a run that perfectly mixed her natural aggression with iron control.

“I didn’t take any risks,” Goggia added. “I just used my brain because I have one. Sometimes I use it.”

Goggia gave a shrug after crossing the line knowing Vonn, the most decorated female skier of all time, was two spots behind.

Vonn won downhill gold in Vancouver eight years ago and, after missing the chance to defend it in Sochi because of injuries, had hoped to reclaim the title in South Korea.

Goggia paid tribute to her rival.

“Lindsey is the greatest skier, a great person,” she said.

“Everyone is bowing to Lindsey. It’s always an honour to participate in the same race as her. It’s fun too.” — Reuters


Reggae girls enjoy ‘moment in sun’

THE much-heralded Jamaican women’s bobsleigh team made their debut on Tuesday, on a night of colour and emotion — 30 years after the country’s first Winter Games appearance.

Centre pilot Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and brakewoman Carrie Russell made two impressive starts but their steering let them down as they finished 18th of 20 following the first two runs.

“It’s just a good feeling to represent our country at this level,” Russell said. “The road hasn’t ended, there’s room to improve”.

The duo faced unwanted distractions when their German coach Sandra Kiriasis quit suddenly last week.

For a while, it looked like they would not even have a sled until Heineken’s Red Stripe beer offered to buy the one they had been using.

Fenlator-Victorian had been listening to Jamaican reggae artiste Chronixx in training to “keep the vibes light and heady” ahead of the race which revived memories of their men’s team at Calgary 1988, the unlikely inspiration for 1993 film Cool Runnings.

“I’m hoping to build upon it. We’re the first women’s team from the islands, that’s why barriers are there to be broken,” Fenlator-Victorian added.

US-based Nigerians Seun Adigun and Akuoma Omeoga, both track athletes, also made history as the first Africans to compete in bobsleigh at the Games.

They, however, fared worse, coming in a distant 20th and last on both runs.

“This process was to bring awareness,” said pilot Adigun.

“So people could understand, love and appreciate bobsleigh, Nigeria and Africa.” — Reuters


Pounding for IOC critic

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday told their longest-serving member Dick Pound he was free to leave after the Canadian labelled fellow members “old farts” for not being tougher on Russia over doping. “If you don’t like the coffee, decor or prices, you can go to another coffee shop,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams. Adams was responding to the latest criticism by Pound who said athletes should threaten IOC to stay away from the Games. “The only people that scare these old farts are athletes saying ‘if you won’t clean this up, we’re not going to participate’,” the 75-year-old two-time former vice-president was quoted as saying. — Reuters


Swipe right, alright

THE most popular athletes on Tinder here are male bobsledders and female snowboarders. Tinder, dating app owned by Match Group Inc, has seen major spikes in usage at the Olympics since it caught on at Sochi 2014. On Tinder, a swipe right signals interest in a prospective partner. Behind bobsled, the most right-swiped male athletes were ice hockey players, snowboarders, alpine skiers and skeleton racers. For female athletes, alpine skiers, bobsledders, lugers and freestyle skiers come after snowboarders. Tinder said it has seen a 348 per cent increase in usage since the Games began. It also gave free access to Olympians in the athletes village to its paid “gold” tier. — Reuters

Bjoergen most decorated ice queen

Norway’s Marit Bjoergen became the most successful athlete in Winter Olympics history yesterday as she took bronze behind a stunning win for United States in cross country skiing’s women’s team sprint free.

Bjoergen’s bronze with Maiken Caspersen Falla put her on 14 Olympic medals, outstripping fellow Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen who has 13 in biathlon.

Bjoergen, 37, is also the second most successful woman at either the Summer or Winter Games, trailing only Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina who compiled 18 medals.

Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggins celebrated ecstatically as they edged Sweden by 0.19sec to win the first Olympic cross country title for the United States.

Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won the men’s title by 1.71sec ahead of the Olympic Athletes from Russia, with France finishing third. — AFP


Best friends on warpath

TWO-TIME world champion Evgenia Medvedeva and fellow Russian skater Alina Zagitova are close friends who talk to each other about everything, but when they take to the ice for Olympic medals tomorrow, it’s going be nothing short of war.

Zagitova, who led after yesterday’s short skate, and Medvedeva both have their sights on gold — which could be the first for Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

“During the 2014 Olympics, I was only 14 years old and I remember the moment when our Russian team became gold medallists. It was really amazing. I was like —Yeah, I want the same feeling. I want to feel it,” Medvedeva said at a news conference.

Medvedeva had set a new world record just moments before her 15-year-old rival and training partner Zagitova broke it, earning a record 82.92 points for her routine to “Black Swan”.

“We’re humans and we are friends, we’re young girls. We can talk about everything to each other. When we take the ice, it’s a sport, this is a real sport, and we must fight,“ Medvedeva said.

“Every competition is like a little war.”

In her turn, Zagitova said the most important thing now is to give it 100 percent and have another clean performance tomorrow.

“Evgenia and I are very good off the ice but during the time on the ice and during competitions I personally get this feeling of rivalry. It’s not bitter or personal, but it’s there,” said Zagitova.

Nothing seemed to disrupt Medvedeva’s smooth path to Olympic glory until she suffered a broken foot and was beaten by Zagitova at the European Championships in January, her first loss in two-and-half years.

Should Zagitova win gold in the final on Friday, she will be the second youngest ever to do so. America’s Tara Lipinski was also 15 when she topped the podium in Nagano in 1998, but was about a month younger than Zagitova is now. — Reuters

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