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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Australia head urges sports to name and shame athlete gamblers

Posted: 13 May 2011 08:13 PM PDT

SYDNEY, May 14 — Athletes placing bets on sporting events should be named, shamed and jailed and any of Australia's Olympic athletes caught doing so will be kicked off their London 2012 team, the head of the country's Olympic committee has said.

"If the AOC (Australian Olympic Committee) team membership agreements do not already make it clear that being involved in betting or gambling on the Games or providing inside information is conduct we will not tolerate, they will now," John Coates (picture) told the AOC's annual general meeting today.

"The 2012 team membership agreement is being updated to make not only betting by athletes and officials an offence but also that of disclosing any confidential information to third parties.

"Team members must also agree that the AOC can collect information on them related to such activities, and provide this information to law enforcement agencies."

Coates said he had been lobbying Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard to establish an independent national sports betting authority that is able to investigate cheating and fraudulent conduct.

He said ideally the agency would be able to "name and shame" athletes, and have the powers to investigate financial and telephone records, while also establishing minimum sentences for offences.

Australia's Minister for Sport Mark Arbib said a possible sentence for anyone caught match-fixing would be 10 years' imprisonment.

"We can't put our heads in the sand, we must act and we must act soon," Arbib said. — Reuters

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Toms leads American charge at Players as Brits lurk

Posted: 13 May 2011 05:38 PM PDT

Toms hits his second shot on the seventh hole during second-round play of The Players Championship on May 13, 2011. — Reuters pic

PONTE VEDRA BEACH (Florida), May 14 — The Players Championship is headed for a showdown between home favourites and British challengers with American David Toms the unlikely leader after yesterday's second round.

The 44-year-old Toms, without a win in five years, fired a four-under-par 68 for a 10 under total of 134, one shot ahead of compatriot Nick Watney (71) in stifling heat at the TPC Sawgrass.

Lurking in the chasing group were Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell (69), looking back in form after a nightmare couple of months, and world number three Luke Donald (67) from England, sitting two shots off the lead.

Adding to the contrast between young faces from the British Isles and experienced Americans, 44-year-old Steve Stricker from Wisconsin also ended the day eight-under par along with Lucas Glover, who won last week at Quail Hollow.

Toms appeared slightly surprised to be on top of the leaderboard after a round of six birdies and two bogeys to follow his opening round 66. It has been, after all, some time since the Louisiana native has been considered a contender.

"I haven't done anything great, haven't made a lot of putts, or chip-ins or anything like that. I've just played very, very solid golf," Toms told reporters.

Toms has the pedigree — 12 career PGA Tour victories including his one major at the 2001 PGA Championship — but he also has the air of a player who has long since stopped worrying about when the next prize is going to come.

"It's all about enjoying the game, enjoying the competition and if you get the results, that is a bonus as well," he said.

McDowell and Donald, two of the new guard of European golfers that has set up camp at the top end of the world rankings, certainly consider winning more than an added bonus.

Donald can take over as world number one with victory tomorrow and he showed all the composure and elegance that has accompanied his consistency this year with a bogey-free round.

McDowell spent last week fixing swing problems with his coach in Orlando, after missing the cut at the Masters and then New Orleans, and it has clearly worked.

"My striking is back, my pressure's back on the ball again and I'm really, really happy the way I have struck the ball in the last two days. I'm happy to be back in contention, it is where you want to be at the weekends," he said.

Defending champion Tim Clark and Australian Geoff Ogilvy both pulled out during their second rounds due to injury — joining Thursday's high-profile withdrawal Tiger Woods on the absent list for the weekend. — Reuters

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