Friday 24 March 2017

In brief: Ireland slump to Moroccan defeat

Tennis

AFTER their encouraging 3-0 win over Malta in the opening tie, Ireland's Fed Cup team came up short by a similar margin to Morocco in their Europe-Africa Zone Group 3 clash on the clay courts of the Smash Tennis Club in Cairo yesterday.

Morocco justified their second-favourites' ranking behind Turkey by winning the two singles rubbers in straight sets and the doubles contest in three sets in the Pool B showdown.

In the opening contest, Greystones' Amy Bowtell (16) was defeated 6-0 6-2 by 603-ranked Nadia Lalami.

Julia Moriarty, ranked at 674, then tumbled to a 6-3 6-3 loss to 626-ranked Fatima Zahrae El Allami, a result which provided the Moroccans with an unbeatable 2-0 lead.

Morocco then put the icing on the cake when Lalami and Lina Bennani edged Moriarty and Cork's Niamh Coveney 6-4 4-6 6-3 in the doubles.

But Ireland will still qualify for a play-off showdown against Pool A winners Turkey, if they beat Algeria in their final Pool B tie today.

Athletics

Olympic and world 400m champion LaShawn Merritt has failed a doping test, his lawyer said yesterday.

Howard Jacobs claimed in a statement that the positive test was caused by Merritt's "use of an over-the-counter male enhancement product". "LaShawn Merritt has accepted a provisional suspension as a result of (the) positive drug test," Jacobs said.

He also won gold in the 4x400m relay at the 2008 Olympics and 2009 World Championships.

Cycling

Chinese rider Li Fuyu of Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team has been provisionally suspended for failing a doping test, the International Cycling Union (UCI) has said.

"The decision . . . was made in response to a report from the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) accredited laboratory in Ghent indicating an adverse analytical finding of Clenbuterol . . . at an in-competition test during the Dwars Door Vlaanderen on March 23, 2010," said the UCI.

"The provisional suspension remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Chinese Cycling Federation determines whether Mr Fuyu has committed an anti-doping rule violation under article 21 of the UCI anti-doping rules."

Li (31) joined RadioShack in the close season. He also rode for Johan Bruyneel, the American team's manager, while with Discovery Channel in 2007.

Irish Independent

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