Putin wades into skating furore
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin climbed into the figure-skating controversy yesterday by claiming countryman Yevgeny Plushenko should have been awarded gold.
Plushenko, hoping to become the first man in almost six decades to win back-to-back Olympic titles, lost to American Evan Lysacek by 1.31 points on Thursday.
Plushenko performed the highly demanding quad jump in which the skater spins four times in the air before landing; Lysacek did not -- he just wowed the judges with artistry and exquisite footwork.
"I would like to sincerely congratulate you on the wonderful Olympic performance -- your silver is worth gold," Putin said in a telegramme addressed to the skater.
"You were the most accomplished programme on the Vancouver ice."
Plushenko, who came out of a three-and-a-half-year retirement last month, felt he had been robbed.
"You can't be considered a true men's champion without a quad," said the 27-year-old. "Just doing nice transitions and being artistic is not enough because figure skating is a sport, not a show."
Ireland's Pat Shannon was in 27th place after his first two runs in the men's skeleton event.
The GUI's Cup and Shield competitions will be played at Carton House for a minimum of four years, starting in 2014.
Traditionally, the venue for the finals has rotated around the provinces, but spiralling costs favour a move to Carton House, where the Union has its academy and headquarters.
Castlebar will host this year's finals and then it will be turn of Castlerock (near Derry), followed by Kinsale and Royal Tara.
Sean MacMahon of Adare Manor took over as GUI president at yesterday's AGM, at which a surplus of €200,000 was reported compared with a deficit of €100,000 in 2008.
This was mainly due to a €2 increase in affiliation fees to €13.
As of October 31, 9,264 golfers had opted out of membership, but Union officials expect that figure has risen. The Union now has around 160,000 adult members and 20,000 juniors (U-18s).
Alberto Contador registered his first win of the season on the Alto do Malhão in the Tour of the Algarve's third stage yesterday.
His Astana team-mates policed the final kilometers to allow the double Tour de France winner to forge ahead. David O'Loughlin and Ronan McLoughlin of the An Post/Sean Kelly team were two minutes adrift on a very tough stage over 173.7kms.
IRELAND'S Barry King and James McGee failed to upset the doubles form-book in the ITF Futures event in Sarajevo yesterday.
The unseeded Dublin pair lost 6-2 6-4 to top seeds Philipp Oswald and Alexander Peya in the quarter-finals.