Boy, 12, wins ITTF title, eyes Tokyo gold
TOKYO • Tomokazu Harimoto has become the youngest winner of an International Table Tennis Federation World Tour Under-21 event at 12 years of age, moving one step closer to his dream of winning gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
He beat Kohei Sambe, an 18-year-old college student, 11-1, 11-6, 13-11 to triumph at the Japan Open.
The previous youngest winner was compatriot Koki Niwa, who was 15 years and 193 days old when he won in Germany in 2010.
The men's singles title was won by China's Fan Zhendong, who beat compatriot Xu Xin 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 yesterday.
The women's title went to Chinese world No. 1 Liu Shiwen, who prevailed 17-19, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7 over second-ranked countrywoman Ding Ning.
Coetzee the catalyst for Boks' comeback
JOHANNESBURG • Smart half-time changes and a tongue-lashing from new coach Allister Coetzee proved the catalyst for a rousing second-half comeback as South Africa beat Ireland 32-26 at Ellis Park on Saturday to level the three-match rugby series 1-1.
The Springboks had lost a home Test to the Irish for the first time the previous weekend in Cape Town and were heading for a shock series defeat as they fell 16 points behind with around 20 minutes remaining after another error-ridden performance.
Hend recovers to win Queen's Cup
BANGKOK • Big-hitting Scott Hend overcame a two-shot deficit to win the Queen's Cup in Thailand by a stroke yesterday for his ninth title on the Asian Tour.
The Australian golfer carded a final-round four-under 67 for a 269 to finish ahead of home talent Gunn Charoenkul, who hit a bogey-free 66.
Singapore's Quincy Quek carded a 67 to finish in a tie for 14th place on 277.
Blues, Gunners race for Boufal signature
LONDON • English football clubs Chelsea and Arsenal are both in contention to sign Sofiane Boufal from Lille but they face competition from Spain's Barcelona and Atletico Madrid for the Morocco forward.
The French club have already indicated that Boufal, who joined from Angers last January for just €4 million (S$6 million), will leave this summer, with the fee expected to be around €25 million.