Australian Olympian spared of jail

*Australia's twice Olympic silver medallist cyclist Gary Neiwand was spared a return to prison despite being found guilty of indecently exposing himself to two women in Melbourne last year.

The 46-year-old has suffered from depression, drink and weight problems since failing to win a gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and spent ninth months in prison in 2006 for offences including harassing a former girlfriend.

In handing him a four-month sentence suspended for two years at the Melbourne magistrates court on Wednesday, deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic said it was important that Neiwand continued treatment for his problems.

"Mr Neiwand would be kept out of the community for a short period of time but without anything to continue to treat the matters that bring him before the court," she said.

Neymar urged to shun Barcelona

*Former Brazil and Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo has urged Neymar to resist offers to join Barcelona and remain in Brazil until the 2014 football World Cup.

Luxemburgo, now coaching Gremio in Brazil’s Serie A championship, denied the 20-year-old’s development was being stunted by his decision to stay at Santos.
“He can and will develop as a player in Brazil. These days Brazilian football is of a better standard and better paid than many European leagues,” Luxemburgo said Tuesday.

“He is in the top three players in the world already. By staying, he can correct his mistakes in a familiar environment and at the same time continue to be a draw card for Brazilian football.”

'King Kazu' finally gets WC chance

*Former Japan international Kazuyoshi Miura is set to finally play in a World Cup at the ripe old age of 45, albeit in the futsal version, reports Reuters from Tokyo.
The J-League's oldest ever player has been invited to represent Japan at the tournament in Thailand in November, the Japan Football Association (JFA) said on Monday.
Miura, dubbed "King Kazu in Japan, was axed from the national side by former coach Takeshi Okada before the country's first World Cup appearance in 1998, sparking national debate.

JFA chairman Kuniya Daini told local media: "I have heard he's keen to play. It just depends on his condition and on his team."
Miura, who blazed a trail for Japanese players when he joined Italy's Gen­oa in 1994, currently plays for Yokoha­ma FC in the J-League's 2nd division.

France coach not to act like a teacher

*France coach Didier Deschamps has no intention of acting like a teacher to his players despite their controversial behaviour in recent years, he said.
Deschamps expects his team to have learnt from the experiences of the 2010 World Cup and this year's European Championship.

"I am not here to tell them what they can do or can not," he told reporters. "They are not children and I am not a nursery or high-school teacher. I am here to help them, to guide them."

Four players were summoned to disciplinary hearings after Euro 2012, with Samir Nasri currently serving a three-match ban for abusing a reporter and Jeremy Menez suspended for one game for insulting the referee during their quarter-final exit.

McLaren not losing sleep over Hamilton gossip

*McLaren are relaxed about Lewis Hamilton's Formula One future and will not be distracted by speculation that the 2008 champion could move to Mercedes, team principal Martin Whitmarsh said.

Rumours about Hamilton's future have been the main talking point at the Italian Grand Prix but Whitmarsh said it was business as usual for his engineers and mechanics.
"Media like that sort of speculation, but Lewis and his management have assured me of their intentions and we're focused on working together at the moment," he said in the Monza paddock ahead of Sunday's race.

Paralympics smash ticket-sales targets

*The London Paralympics have sold more tickets than any previous Games and been broadcast to more people in more countries, organisers said on Thursday.
More than 2.7 million tickets have been sold for the London Games which is 900,000 more than in Beijing four years ago.

Organisers had originally set a target of 35 million pounds ($55.7 million) in ticket revenue, but Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London organising committee (LOCOG), announced that the final figure was likely to be nearer 45 million.

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