Sports World

Yamaguchi, Ng claim Thai Masters titles

BANGKOK • Top seed and badminton world No. 3 Akane Yamaguchi beat South Korea's An Se-young 21-16, 22-20 yesterday to lift her maiden Thailand Masters title.

Fellow Japanese Kenta Nishimoto, however, fell short in the men's final, losing 21-16, 13-21, 12-21 to Hong Kong's Angus Ng.

The Thailand Masters is the second competition this month to not feature men's world No. 1 Kento Momota. He was injured in a car crash this month that killed his driver following his Malaysia Masters triumph.


Brazil judoka may appeal doping ban

RIO DE JANEIRO • Brazilian Olympic judo champion Rafaela Silva, a medal favourite ahead of the Tokyo Games, has been banned for two years for doping, according to media reports.

The 27-year-old tested positive for fenoterol, which can enhance an athlete's performance by improving oxygen flow to the lungs, at the Pan American Games in Lima last August and was stripped of her gold medal in the 57kg category.

Local daily Folha de S.Paulo reported that Silva, who has been notified of the ban by the International Judo Federation, will lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


Setien says Barca at a loss in Valencia defeat

VALENCIA • Barcelona coach Quique Setien has admitted he is struggling to get his ideas across to his players, after the La Liga champions were beaten 2-0 at Valencia on Saturday night.

This was the Catalan giants' first defeat since the former Real Betis boss took over from the sacked Ernesto Valverde earlier this month. After seeing his side go down to a Jordi Alba own goal and Maxi Gomez's strike, Setien told reporters "we have a lot of things to correct".


Newcastle subject of Saudi takeover bid

LONDON • Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is in talks to buy Premier League club Newcastle United for about £340 million (S$601 million), a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

The news corroborated a report in the Wall Street Journal earlier on Saturday, but the talks with owner Mike Ashley are said to be at a delicate stage.

Last year, Newcastle were rumoured to be on the brink of a takeover by Sheikh Khaled Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's royal family, and a cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, but that deal failed to materialise.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2020, with the headline 'Sports World'. Subscribe