High altitude questions for South Korea

»South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo has requested oxygen masks for his team to help them prepare for playing at high altitude during this year's World Cup finals in South Africa.

Huh had requested the masks, which will reduce oxygen intake to replicate the thin air in parts of South Africa, but officials were also looking at other options, a Korean Football Association official told the Yonhap news agency.

"We are looking at all possibilities, including so-called altitude tents with less oxygen," he said.

South Korea play two of their first round matches at sea level but their second Group B match against Argentina on June 17 will be in Johannesburg, which is 1,700 metres above sea level. Nigeria and Greece are the other teams in Group B.

Air-conditioned stadiums if Qatar gets World Cup

»Qatar will build 12 air-conditioned outdoor stadiums if it wins the right to host the 2022 World Cup, officials said.

The new venues would use solar power to provide what officials say will be optimum pitch-side conditions despite the scorching Arabian sun.

The $4 billion Qatar World Cup bid has been dismissed by many as a publicity stunt because of ferocious summer temperatures that can top 50 degrees Celsius but organisers say they can harness this power to create carbon-neutral arenas.

"The peak performance for a player is reached between 24 and 29 degrees Celsius and we can guarantee 27 degrees on the pitch," said Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, son of the Emir of Qatar.

"It's time for the World Cup to come to the Middle East. A global sporting event of this calibre, if it comes here, will bring a whole burst of life to the region."

Gebrselassie aims to go quicker on the long road

»World marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie has predicted he would become the first man to clock two hours two minutes over 42.195 kms.

Gebrselassie, 37, is the only man to run under 2:04 after setting his world record of 2:03:59 in Berlin two years ago.

"There are good runners around. Imagine, a 2:05 in the Boston Marathon but I think I am the candidate to break it again. A 2:02 is very much possible," Gebrselassie said.

Gebrselassie, who won Olympic gold in 1996 and 2000 in the 10,000M, plus four consecutive world titles, set world marathon records in 2007 and 2008 in Berlin on what is considered the fastest marathon course in the world.

Cavendish pays price for outlandish celebration

»Briton Mark Cavendish was pulled out of the Tour de Romandie by his team HTC Columbia on Friday for celebrating victory in the second stage in Fribourg with a two-fingered salute at his critics.

Cavendish, who had earlier apologised for the gesture, was also handed a 6,000 Swiss francs ($5,545) fine.

"In spite of the rider's apologies made in a team statement and then to the jury before the start of Friday's time trial, the jury inflicts a 6,000 CHF fine (on Cavendish) for incorrect behaviour," the race jury said in a statement.

Wayward strikers leave Portuguese coach bald

»While some coaches lose sleep over the form of their teams, Portugal's Carlos Queiroz said half-jokingly that a lack of goals had contributed to his hair loss.  "If there is one major contribution in my life that caused most of my hair loss it is poor finishing," Queiroz said, pointing to his bald patch. "In terms of attacking potential we've had problems since the start."

Portugal struggled  to reach the World Cup finals in South Africa.
"In the away game against Denmark, we had 36 shots and scored just once," said Queiroz.

That goal was scored by Brazilian-born forward Liedson on his debut after he had obtained Portuguese citizenship.