Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Nevada man leads Homer derby

Mark Leseberg of Boulder City, Nev., is the overall leader in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. Leseberg also is the leader in the June standings. Leseberg caught a 241.6-pound halibut Wednesday.

John Allison of Carthage, Texas, is second in the June standings. Allison pulled in a 238.2-pound fish Saturday.

In third is Kevin Vickery of Tacoma, Wash., and the 218.4-pound fish he caught Thursday; in fourth is Raymond Shepard of Anchorage and the 215-pound fish he caught June 9; and in fifth is Rylee Millspaugh of Homer and a 187.6-pound fish landed June 1.

Derkevorkian takes Open Air race

Richard Derkevorkian of Soldotna won the Open Air drag race Sunday at Alaska Raceway Park in Palmer.

Derkevorkian took top honors over John Carsner of Kenai. Derkevorkian had an elapsed time of 9.92 seconds, a reaction time of .514 seconds and a dial-in time of 9.85 seconds. Carsner had an elapsed time of 10.43 seconds, a reaction time of .640 seconds and a dial-in time of 10.48 seconds.

U.S. women to open in Washington

RFK Stadium, long considered the unofficial home of U.S. national teams, will host the American women's opener of the World Cup.

The defending champions will play on Sept. 21 in Washington. The tournament actually begins with doubleheaders the previous day in Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio.

Those cities will be the sites for the next two U.S. team games: Sept. 25 at the new Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, and Sept. 28 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

Should the Americans advance by finishing in the top two in Group A, they will play their quarterfinal at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., on Oct. 1. The semifinals are set for PGE Park in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 5.

As previously announced, the final will be at the new Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on Oct. 12 .

''We will play on real turf in stadiums designed for soccer,'' Dr. S. Bob Contiguglia, president of U.S. Soccer, said Monday in announcing the tournament schedule.

''We are having sports authorities and mayors and cities across the country trying to get into and be gracious hosts for the Women's World Cup,'' U.S. coach April Heinrichs added.

Hewitt, Serena get No. 1 seeds at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England Defending champions Lleyton Hewitt and Serena Williams are seeded No. 1 for Wimbledon.

Hewitt got the top seeding Monday ahead of Andre Agassi, who replaced the Australian as No. 1 in this week's ATP Tour rankings. Agassi was seeded No. 2, followed by French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. By tradition, Hewitt will play the first match on Centre Court when the two-week championships open June 23.

On the women's side, Williams was seeded ahead of Belgian star Kim Clijsters and French Open winner Justine Henin-Hardenne. Serena's older sister, Venus, was seeded No. 4.

Delegates hope Iraq's program is back by 2004

KUWAIT CITY A group of delegates meeting this week are hoping to get Iraq's Olympics program back up and running in time for Iraqi athletes to compete in the 2004 Athens Games.

On Monday, the Olympic officials discussed ways to rebuild Iraq's sports infrastructure, including plans to provide training for athletes and create exchanges of athletes and coaches to share training information.

''Our priority is to ensure that Iraqi men and women have the opportunity to prepare and compete in the next Olympic games,'' said Pere Miro, the IOC's director of National Olympic Committee Relations.

In addition to the International Olympic Committee, the group includes officials from the U.S. State Department, the Kuwait-based Olympic Council of Asia, and the United National Development Program.

Paul George, USOC vice president, said training for the athletes will probably take place in America, but venues were being discussed. He said the group will convene in Baghdad next month to further assist with training and competitive schedules for the athletes.

Iraq's Olympic committee had been run by Saddam Hussein's elder son, Odai, who was accused of torturing, jailing and even killing athletes who did not perform well. The abuses all but devastated the program, leaving the country with just four athletes at the 2000 Olympics.

The Iraq war put the program in further disarray. The committee's Baghdad headquarters were mostly destroyed.

In May, the IOC's ethics commission urged officials to dissolve Iraq's Olympic committee and create a new one with no ties to the former regime.

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