Sport Digest, December 28, 2012

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 2:20am

Blackburn sack Berg after just 57 days

Norwegian manager Henning Berg has been sacked as coach of Blackburn Rovers after only 57 days in the job, the Indian-owned English Championship soccer club announced yesterday. Berg signed a three-year contract on October 31 but he guided Blackburn to just one victory in his 10 matches at the helm and Wednesday's 1-0 loss at Middlesbrough was the team's fifth defeat in six matches in England's second tier. "Blackburn Rovers FC has announced the departure of manager Henning Berg, assistant manager Eric Black, first team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms with immediate effect," said a statement on the Blackburn website. "This decision has been taken following a very disappointing sequence of results. The club thanks the four men for their efforts and wishes them every success for the future." AFP


Putin orders check on Sochi after quake

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to inspect Olympic sites at the 2014 Winter Games' capital, Sochi, which was hit by an earthquake. The Emergency Situations Ministry reported a 5.5 magnitude earthquake in the area early on Wednesday morning. The epicentre was in the Black Sea, more than 150 kilometres from Sochi, and no damage in the city was reported. Putin, however, asked the local authorities to double-check Olympic sites. The Black Sea resort is slightly more than a year away from hosting the Winter Games. AP


Japan's Eagles stand by ex-major leaguer

Japanese baseball club Rakuten Eagles, who recently signed former US major league star Andruw Jones, said yesterday they had no plans to cancel the deal after he was arrested on suspicion of battering his wife. The Curacao-born outfielder, 35, was held early on Christmas morning at his home in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, after police were called following a dispute between him and his wife, according to media reports. He was released on US$2,400 bail. "There is no such possibility for now," Rakuten Eagles public relations director Yoshiki Sato said when asked if the one-year contract, signed earlier this month for an estimated U$3.5-million, could be annulled. "At the moment it is our understanding" that he did not do anything wrong, he said. AFP


Tsonga eyes slam success in new year

With a new coach in his corner, French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga heads into a new year believing his maiden grand slam tennis title is within reach. Ranked eighth in the world, the flamboyant Tsonga finds his path to glory blocked by three of the best players of all time in Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as well as US Open champion Andy Murray. Speaking in Perth as he prepared for the Hopman Cup, where Djokovic is one of his rivals in the US$1 million mixed teams tournament, Tsonga admitted the road to his first major title was a tough one. However, he said his goals were higher than ever heading into 2013. "To reach the sun, you have to pass the moon," he said. "It feels like they are far away at the moment, but I feel like I have a lot of energy. "I will do my best to join them. This year I want to win a grand slam." Now coached by Australian Roger Rasheed, who previously worked with Lleyton Hewitt and fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils, Tsonga enjoyed a consistent 2012. His best effort in the majors this year was at Wimbledon, where he lost to Murray in four sets in the semis. But he failed to notch a single win over any of the big four. AFP