Sports Briefs

Posted: Friday, December 01, 2000

Iron Dog workshop slated for Saturday

The Tesoro Iron Dog snowmachine race and Spenard Builders' Supply will host a workshop for Iron Dog rookies Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the SBS shipping and receiving building on Lois Drive, just off Minnesota and Tudor Road in Anchorage.

The workshop also is open to the general public.

Experienced Iron Dog racers and riders will share information about sled set-up, accessories, gear, nutrition, hydration, mandatory equipment, what works and what doesn't. The list of things to be covered is eight pages long and growing.

Representatives from Polaris, Arctic Cat, Ski-Doo and Yamaha will be on hand, and several sleds from the 2000 race will be on display.

The Tesoro Iron Dog 2000 is the world's longest snowmachine race. Riders start in Wasilla and finish in Fairbanks by way of Nome. There are 28 Pro Class teams and 22 Trail Class riders on the 2001 roster. The race starts in Wasilla on Feb. 18, 2001 at Wasilla Lake for a parade to the Klondike Inn at Big Lake. Riders will restart from Big Lake at 11 a.m. in one-minute intervals.

Garcia leads Williams World Challenge

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Sergio Garcia, nestling his iron shots within close birdie range most of the day, shot a 7-under 65 Thursday to take the lead in the Williams World Challenge.

Garcia, whose opening round included a 25-foot eagle putt on the second hole and a string of four birdies beginning at No. 14, was one shot ahead of playing partner Vijay Singh, with Davis Love II another shot back at 67.

Tiger Woods, host of the 12-player tournament, was tied with Fred Couples at 68.

Garcia rolled in putts of 3, 10, 5 and 4 feet during his birdie streak as he finished the back nine at Sherwood Country Club with a 4-under 32.

Suzuki gets first look at Safeco

SEATTLE -- Ichiro Suzuki got his first look at spacious Safeco Field on Thursday and the 5-foot-9, 156-pound outfielder won't be swinging for the fences.

''It's a big ballpark,'' Suzuki told a news conference through a translator. ''I don't think I can hit home runs with my very thin arms. The idea will be to hit the ball into the gaps so I can get extra bases.''

Suzuki, 27, signed a three-year contract with the Mariners on Nov. 18 in Japan.

He's the first Japanese-born position player to sign with a major league team.

Arizona State's coaching possibilities dwindle

PHOENIX -- Arizona State's search for a football coach was an even bigger mystery on Thursday as more potential candidates seemed headed for other jobs.

Three broadcast stations in Oklahoma reported that Boise State coach Dirk Koetter, who has interviewed for the Arizona State job, would be named head coach at Oklahoma State.

TCU coach Dennis Franchione was interviewing for the Alabama job. Arizona State is among four schools that would have a reduced buyout if Franchione was to be released from his current contract at TCU.

Gary Pinkel, highly successful coach at Toledo, was named head coach at Missouri. On Wednesday, John L. Smith signed an eight-year contract extension at Louisville. The signing came after Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich gave Arizona State permission to talk to Smith.

Oregon State coach Dennis Erickson's name has been mentioned prominently for the Arizona State job in newspapers and on local radio sports talk shows, but he told two Oregon newspapers that his current plans are to stay with the Beavers.

Erickson, on a recruiting trip to Lewiston, Idaho, made the remarks to The Oregonian of Portland and The Register-Guard of Eugene. He confirmed that he had spoken with USC officials about that vacancy, but that he expected to sign a new contract with Oregon State.

China blasts British for opposing Olympic bid

BEIJING -- China sought Thursday to protect its bid for the 2008 Olympics from criticism over human rights, accusing a British parliamentary committee of violating the spirit of the games by opposing Beijing's bid.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue charged that by saying human rights concerns make China's capital an inappropriate Olympic host, the foreign affairs select committee of the British House of Commons improperly linked the world's biggest sporting event with politics,

''It is entirely unacceptable to the Chinese side,'' Zhang said. ''Any action that obstructs Beijing's bid to get the Olympic Games is incompatible with the Olympic spirit and will not go anywhere.''

Zhang said the ''human rights of the Chinese people are in their best time ever'' and that the world should credit China for its rights improvements.

In a Nov. 22 report, the British committee cited China's failure to ratify international human rights accords and harsh treatment of Tibetan political prisoners.

In September, U.S. lawmakers argued that the Olympics should not go to Beijing without improvements in civil liberties.

China resents foreign criticism of its human rights record as unwarranted meddling. Chinese officials still feel that Beijing's bid for the 2000 Olympics was damaged by Western critics who cited human rights concerns. Beijing lost to Sydney by a two-vote margin.

Beijing; Toronto; Osaka, Japan; Paris; and Istanbul, Turkey, are bidding for the 2008 Olympics. The International Olympic Committee selects the host city in July.

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