Sport Digest, November 8, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 3:17am

Ainslie and Xu named top world sailors

Olympic champions Ben Ainslie of Britain and Xu Lijia of China have been named world sailors of the year. Ainslie, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, won the world sailor award for the fourth time, pushing himself comfortably ahead of two-time winners Robert Scheidt and Russell Coutts. Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, said, "It is a huge honour to be part of such a group of exceptional sailors who were put forward for this award." Xu, the laser radial gold-medal winner, becomes the second Asian to win the award, following Hong Kong's Lee Lai-shan in 1996. AP

Italian motorcycling star Biaggi retires

Italian motorcycling great Max Biaggi announced his retirement from the sport yesterday. Biaggi, a former world champion in the 250cc category, went on to finish runner-up in both the 500cc and MotoGP categories before turning his talents to the world Superbike series. The Italian posted a message on his Twitter account early yesterday, which said: "Today is going to be a new day for me … things will never be the same." He later told reporters: "I have officially retired." AFP

Cheung now fourth in Tour of Taihu

Hong Kong's Cheung King-lok moved to fourth place overall in the Tour of Taihu, just one place behind compatriot Choi Ki-ho, but both are unlikely to challenge for the orange jersey with only today's final stage left. Choi is still 15 seconds behind the general classification leader, Milan Kadlec of the Czech Republic, and Cheung is a further two seconds back after yesterday's 114km seventh stage from Wujiang to Xincheng. Veteran Wong Kam-po, who will quit competitive cycling after the Tour, remains 46th overall. The final stage kicks off with a 136km circuit race in Changshu today. Chan Kin-wa

Mickelson hails success of teen golfer Guan

Four-time major winner Phil Mickelson yesterday hailed the historic achievement of China's Guan Tianlang in qualifying for the US Masters at the age of just 14. Mickelson said Guan's solid putting, which he needed when saving par on his final hole for a one-shot win at the Asia-Pacific Masters, would help him at the famed Augusta course. "I think it is exciting that amateur players all across Asia have a chance to compete in probably the best tournament in the world," Mickelson said. "It helps young kids dream and aspire to greatness in the game and I think this is really a great thing. I've not seen him play, I heard he's a really great putter which will be key factor in Augusta, and should help him score well." AFP