Lee Chong Wei reaches Japan Open semis

Updated 22 September 2013
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Lee Chong Wei reaches Japan Open semis

TOKYO: Malaysia’s world No.1 Lee Chong Wei brushed aside Jun Takemura of Japan 21-10, 21-11 to reach the semifinals of the Japan Open badminton tournament in Tokyo Friday.
The 30-year-old top seed, going for a record fourth Japan Open men’s singles title, needed a little more than 30 minutes to book a semi-final clash with Nguyen Tien Minh on Saturday.
The fifth-seeded Vietnamese whipped Japan’s Kento Momota 21-18, 21-13 in another quarterfinal.
China’s Gao Huan struggled in beating Indian H.S. Prannoy 21-11, 20-22, 21-13 to set up the other semi-final clash with Japan’s seventh seeded Kenichi Tago.
Tago crushed India’s K. Srikanth 21-18, 21-9.
In the women’s quarter-finals of the $200,000 tournament, the eighth leg of the 12-round World Superseries, fourth-seeded Wang Yihan breezed past fellow Chinese and fifth-seed Wang Shixian 21-17, 21-15.
Wang Yihan will now face Japan’s Shizuka Uchida who outlasted compatriot Minatsu Mitani 19-21, 21-13, 21-17 in the last-eight round.
Akane Yamaguchi trounced Yui Hashimoto 21-12, 21-16 in another all-Japanese quarterfinal.
Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying meanwhile narrowly defeated Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi 22-20, 21-18 and will do battle with Yamaguchi for a place in the final.
The doubles top-seeds survived the quarterfinal rounds.
In the men’s doubles, the top-seeded Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan crushed Lee Sheng Mu and Tsai Chia Hsin of Taiwan 21-11, 21-17.
The second-seeds, Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen beat fellow Danes Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding 21-16, 21-19.
The women’s top seeds, Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua, beat fellow Chinese Bao Yixin and Zhong Qianxin 21-15, 21-5.
Second-seeded Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan defeated Hong Kong’s Poon Lok Yan and Tse Ying Suet 21-17, 21-15.
In the mixed doubles, China’s top-seeded Xu Chen and Ma Jin, second-seeded Chai Biao and Tang Jinhua, and un-seeded Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin reached the semifinals.


Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Updated 25 min 40 sec ago
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Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

John Duerden RIYADH: The General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) have announced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs.
According to reports, the Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million) that will not only clear monies owed but also enable clubs to invest ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The issue of debt had become a major issue in the country’s football scene.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs are currently experiencing financial problems that require immediate and urgent intervention,” the General Sports Authority, which oversees Saudi Arabian sport, said in a statement released on social media.
The body noted that there are a total of 107 cases under appeal at world governing body FIFA regarding unpaid salaries in Saudi Arabia.
“Failure to intervene urgently to rescue clubs may result in damage to the reputation of the Kingdom in general and Saudi Arabian sport in particular,” added the GSA.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs may face severe disciplinary sanctions because of the failure to meet financial obligations such as the
denial of the registration of players in general or the deduction of points.”
Unpaid salaries were also a factor in Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr being unable to appear in this year’s AFC Champions League after they were denied AFC club licenses.
Al-Ittihad were the club with the highest debt of 309 million riyals ($82 million) and welcomed the news.
“We are delighted by the generous initiative of His Royal Highness,” Al-Ittihad president Nawaf Al-Muqairn said in an official statement released by the two-time Asian champions.
“This contributes to creating solid ground for all clubs to move toward achieving their goals.”
Legendary Saudi striker Sami Al-Jaber, recently appointed president of champions Al-Hilal, announced his gratitude on social media.
“Great thanks to His Highness the Crown Prince for the great support that the clubs have enjoyed which enables sport in our country to keep pace with the aspirations of our leadership,” Al-Jaber wrote.
The Crown Prince’s move followed the SAFF announcing a new raft of regulations in April that will come into effect next season and are designed to take the league forward. These included restricting club spending on transfers and salaries to 70 percent of revenue. The size of first-team squads has been reduced from 33 to 28, of which five must be homegrown players of 23 or younger.