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Banned cyclist Lance Armstrong says
he would not have needed to resort to
doping in the sport’s current era and
what happened years ago should be
seen in the context of the times.
“If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t
do it again because I don’t think you
have to,” the Texan told the BBC in an
inter view overnight.
“If you take me back to 1995, when
doping was completely per vasive, I
would probably do it again.”
A cancer sur vivor and once a hero to
millions, Armstrong was stripped of
his seven Tour de France victories and
banned for life from racing in 2012
by the United States Anti-Doping
Agency after it accused him in a
report of engineering one of the most
sophisticated doping schemes in sports.
Following his return from cancer in
the late 1990s, Armstrong was regularly
subjected to claims of doping, which
he stoutly refuted until the release of
USADA’s “reasoned decision”.
The 200-page document — supported
by a further 1000 pages of evidence —
finally led to Armstrong’s confession in
an inter view with US chat-show host
Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.
“ When I made the decision (to dope
in 1995), when my team made that
decision, when the whole peloton made
that decision, it was a bad decision and
an imperfect time,” he said.
“But it happened. And I know what
happened because of that. I know
what happened to the sport, I saw its
Armstrong said he regretted the
behaviour with which he subjected
other riders and figures within the sport
during numerous attempts to rubbish
their allegations of doping.
“I would want to change the man
that did those things, maybe not the
decision, but the way he acted,” he
“The way he treated people, the
way he couldn’t stop fighting. It was
His seven tour victories between 1999
and 2005 have been rescinded but not
assigned to anyone else because of the
prevalence of doping at the time. The
American was resolute when asked
about the titles.
“I think there has to be a winner, I’m
just saying that as a fan. I don’t think
it sits empty ... I feel like I won those
tours,” he said.
He is pondering reengaging with the
cancer charity he stepped away from
at the height of the scandal and is still
lobbying to have his ban decreased so
he can compete in sports like triathlon.
Asked if people were ready for his
return to public life, he said: “Selfishly,
I would say ‘yeah, we’re getting close to
that time’. — Reuters
Lydia Ko has no concerns about her
previously-troublesome wrist as she
eyes the first LPGA Tour event of the
The New Zealand golfer will start
her 2015 campaign at the Coates Golf
Championship in Florida on Thursday
after enjoying a sustained period of rest,
which has allowed her body to recover
from a busy rookie year on tour.
During the latter stages of last year,
it was expected Ko would have surgery
on her wrist due to a cyst that became
inflamed when she played.
Any time under the knife could
have put her availability in doubt for
next month’s New Zealand Open at
Clear water but the world No 2 avoided
“It’s feeling fine. Getting the rest
during the off-season put a lot of
pressure off and I was able to receive
continuous treatment on it,” Ko said.
After winning the LPGA Tour’s
order of merit — referred to as the
Race to the CME Globe — last year,
Ko will start the new season as one of
the players to watch; she will also be
chasing the No 1 world ranking held by
Korea’s Inbee Park.
Finding a way to back up last season’s
efforts would be tough but she was
determined to avoid the dreaded
“I ’d like to continue the consistent
form that I had last year. Hopefully
I won’t have the sophomore jinx. The
number of tournaments that I play will
be similar to last year but this time I am
familiar with most of the courses so I’ll
be a bit more comfortable my second
time around,” Ko said.
“I think as long as I’m putting in the
right work and being injury-free, I won’t
have to deal with the sophomore jinx.
Maintaining the same regular routine
that has worked for me should be the
After this week’s event in Florida,
Ko will play in the Bahamas and
Melbourne before lining up at the
New Zealand Open from February
27-March 1. She finished second at last
year’s tournament but claimed the title
in 2013 as an amateur.
Ko will also study psychology this year
through Seoul’s Korea University, which
should help break up the monotony of
travelling, training and playing.
“I’m going to have a lot of reading to
do during my break times,” the 17-year-
old said. “ Luckily, I’m accustomed to
doing my homework on the road as I
did it last year. My university has been
very supportive and understanding but
I want to put in all the work that I need
to attain the credits that I need to. ”
Ko’s coach David Leadbetter, who has
previously voiced his thoughts around
Ko’s need for a hobby away from the
game, said it was a positive thing that
she had chosen to pursue university
“I think it ’s a welcome distraction,”
he said. “ It ’s always good to have
something other than golf, just to get
your mind off it. ”
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Ko ready for
Doping should be seen in context
of the times — Armstrong
Tony Stanton took out the West
Coast Speedway feature event,
the Hahn L ogging Stockcar
Championship, at Greenstone
Speedway on the weekend.
It was a hard fought race for the
minor placings but Stanton had it
sorted going into the last race, with a
first and second in the previous two
races putting him two points ahead
of the field. His title win was assured
after a second placing in the last race.
Murray Tapp and Hadleigh Smith
were equal on points for second
place, which went to Tapp on the toss
of a coin.
The youth mini stocks, the
class where future champions
are made, was enhanced by cars
from Christchurch and one from
Cromwell. The field was dominated
by the Christchurch drivers, although
Greymouth’s Summar Tasker raced
well for three third placings, winning
her third place overall.
A good field of local drivers
competed in the mini stocks, with
Will Pitcher almost managing a
clean sweep of placings with two first
places and one second, giving him
enough points to win for the day.
In the production saloon class there
was a tussle between Wayne Stanton
and Clynton Anderson for first place,
Stanton ultimately bagging the win.
Stanton had two first placings going
into the final race and although he
lost the last race to Anderson, he had
enough points to claim first place
The next speedway meeting is the
Property Brokers New Zealand
TQ Championships to be held over
two days on February 13-14. The
qualifying rounds will be held on
the Friday starting at 5pm, and the
championship the next day at 4pm.
There will be practice laps on the
Thursday at 5pm.
Tony Stanton 1, Murray Tapp
2, Hadleigh Smith 3. Youth
ministocks: Christopher Wood
1, Ethan Rowlands 2, Summar
Tasker 3. Ministocks: Will Pitcher
1, Sarah Bellis 2, Kurt Browning
3. Productions saloons: Wayne
Stanton 1, Clynton Anderson 2,
Keith Martin. Modified: Brandon
Parkinson 1, Eric Palmer 2, Steve
PICTURE: Margaret Mort
Hahn Logging West Coast Stockcar winners, second placed Murray Tapp
(Christchurch), left, winner Tony Stanton (Greymouth), and third placed
Hadleigh Smith (Greymouth).
Tony Stanton wins
It is not often you hear a 1.93m,
107kg front-rower admit to
being scared, but that ’s how Ben
Matulino is feeling ahead of this
weekend’s NRL Auckland Nines.
The Warriors prop is not quite
shaking in his boots before the
two-day tournament at Eden Park,
but he concedes the shortened
version of the game has him on
With four fewer defenders
in the line and so much room
for attacking teams to utilise,
Matulino has genuine fears he
might be exposed by some of the
NRL’s smaller and quicker men.
“If I do get picked I’ll be scared
and ner vous at the same time,”
Matulino said of his looming
Nines debut. “Obviously there’s a
lot of fast players and when you see
a little fast player that ’s probably a
prop’s worst nightmare.
“I’m pretty excited but obviously
the team hasn’t been finalised so
I’m not celebrating yet.”
The 26-year-old neglects to
mention that his hulking presence
and immense ball-playing skills
will have rival defenders equally
He wreaked havoc out on the
Warriors’ left edge during an
experimental stint in the back-row
last season, scoring the first try in
three consecutive games against
the Raiders, Bulldogs and Titans,
and offloading to create plenty
more for his support runners.
Despite enjoying the change
in position, and his undoubted
ability on the fringes of the ruck,
Matulino expects to be used
more at prop this year. “I haven’t
practised at second-row at all over
the preseason and I think Cappy
(coach Andrew McFadden) will
keep me in the middle.
“ We’ve got Simon (Mannering)
and Ryan Hoffman there (in the
second-row) and they ’re both
international players and can both
play 80 minutes so that ’s good.”
Matulino hopes the shift back to
his more traditional role will see
a return to his best form, after he
battled through the back end of
last season following an operation
in June on his right knee.
The 19-test New Zealand
international missed selection for
the Kiwis’ successful Four Nations
campaign but has set himself some
simple goals for the year ahead.
“Firstly I just want to play
well for my club,” he explained.
“Pretty much that and not getting
There’s plenty to look forward
to, he says, with the Warriors’
Kiwis contingent still riding
high and members of last year’s
NYC championship winning side
pressing for first grade selection.
“ Yeah, especially with Simon
coming back after winning the
Four Nations — and we’ve got the
younger boys that won the NYC
pushing us. That ’s pretty good.
“It’s just an exciting year.”
— N Z ME -New Zealand Herald
Matulino on edge ahead of nines
Greymouth surfer Jolan Kilkelly got plenty of air off the Blaketown tiphead last night.
Powerful winger Frank Halai is
the latest All Black lured by the
riches of European club rugby.
Manukau back will play for
English Premiership side Wasps
next season, joining All Blacks
Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Jeremy
Thrush and Ben Franks, who
have all recently announced
their departure to England or
Tongan-born Halai’s lone Test
was against Japan, in 2013, after
finishing his debut Super Rugby
campaign that season as the
leading top tryscorer with 10.
His size, speed and ability to shed
tackles was a potent mix for the
All Blacks Sevens team, scoring 30
tries in 33 games.
Former European champions
are fourth in the
Premiership standings and can
only benefit from securing Halai,
according to director of rugby Dai
“ We have made no secret of our
ambition to become a top four side
and recruiting players of his ability
will help us take another step
towards achieving that goal in the
coming seasons,” Young said.
“Frank is incredibly strong and
powerful, with great pace and he
has already shown his potential
through playing for the All
Blacks.” — AAP
Halai signs with Wasps
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