Thursday 21 September 2017

In brief: Police probe Wanjiru death

Athletics

Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru has died after falling from a first-floor balcony at his home in the town of Nyahururu.

Police say they are investigating whether it was suicide or an accident. The 24-year-old won in Beijing in 2008 in an Olympic record time, becoming Kenya's first marathon champion.

Last December, he was charged with threatening to kill his wife, Triza Njeri, assault and the illegal possession of an AK-47 assault rifle. Mrs Njeri subsequently withdrew her accusations but Wanjiru was due to appear before a court on May 23 on the charge of illegal possession of a firearm.

Meanwhile, Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers) has been announced as the Crowne Plaza Athlete of the Month for April following his 46.39 runner-up finish at the Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Mile in Philadelphia.

It was the second fastest 10 mile ever by an Irishman after John Treacy's 46:25 and improved on Fagan's previous PB of 46:58 from 2008.

Tennis

Conor Niland has been drawn against old foe, Turkey's Marsel Ilhan in the first round of qualifying in the French Open.

The Irish No 1 takes on Ilhan today in the fifth match on Court 9 at Roland Garros.

Uzbekistan-born Ilhan is currently ranked 127 compared to Niland's mark of 188, but the Limerick man has come up trumps in the three previous meetings of the two players.

In their most recent clash, Niland prevailed on a 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7/4) margin in a ATP Challenger Tour event in Sarajevo, in March 2010.

However, Niland has suffered a major form dip since the start of the year, winning just five of his 19 matches, and dropping from his career-high ranking mark of 129 to 188.

This will mark Niland's second sortie into the French Open qualifying. Last year, he beat British No 2 Alex Bogdanovic in the opening round before losing to Germany's Julian Reister at the next stage.

Golf

The European Tour announces the venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup today.

France offers by far the best course, Le National in Versailles, though it'll be difficult for the Tour to go against Spain's bid to host the event in Madrid in the emotional aftermath to Seve Ballesteros' death.

Germany, Portugal and Holland are the other three 'contenders'.

Cycling

An unseasonal snow storm forced the cancellation of the opening stage of the Tour of California on Sunday.

The race organisers delayed the original start time by almost three hours and agreed to shorten the 191km stage in the hope of getting under way.

The 18 teams and 144 riders even made it to the starting line and were a minute away from starting the race when the stage was officially abandoned.

Irish Independent

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