‘Bloodgate’ doctor ‘ashamed’ of cutting player’s lip

A doctor has said she is “very ashamed” of cutting the lip of Harlequins rugby player Tom Williams to help him pretend he was injured during a match.
A General Medical Council (GMC) panel heard Williams asked Dr Wendy Chapman to cut him after he bit into a fake blood capsule to come off the pitch.
The “Bloodgate” incident allowed a goal-kicker to be brought on in the Heineken Cup tie with Leinster.
Dr Chapman told the hearing there was “no justification” for her actions.
Harlequins were losing 6-5 in the quarter-final clash at the Stoop, Twickenham, when Williams bit the fake blood capsule.
The deceit engineered a “blood replacement”, which allowed a substituted specialist kicker back on to the field in the closing minutes of the tie in April 2009.
Dr Chapman described the moment she realised she had been “duped”.
“I was horrified, just horrified. This is a very huge game and they cheated,” she said.
“I was very ashamed that I gave in to the pressure.”
She said she was so embarrassed about what she had done that she felt she could not confide in anybody.
The hearing also heard she had since been treated for depression.
Questioned by GMC counsel Michael Hayton about what happened in the changing room where she was treating the player, Dr Chapman said it was the most stressful event she had ever encountered despite working many years in accident and emergency.
Asked if she had realised the “enormity” of what she had done, she said: “Not the consequences for me. The fact that they they cheated was high in my mind. “I just could not believe it.”
On Monday, she admitted she falsely stated at a European Rugby Cup (ERC) hearing last July that Williams’s injury was real and that she had not cut his lip.
She said the hearing “spiralled into a complete nightmare” as the other parties involved in the case - the club, Williams, director of rugby Dean Richards and physiotherapist Steph Brennan - all stuck to the original story that the “injury” was genuine.
Dr Chapman said: “I was just desperate. To be the one person to stand up and say: ‘It was not’... I did not know what to do.”
She was cleared of any wrongdoing by the ERC.
The doctor has admitted almost all the charges brought by the GMC, which says her conduct on the match-day, and at the subsequent ERC hearing, was likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest.
The only matter that Dr Chapman contests is the allegation that she told match officials that Williams had a loose tooth in order to deceive them.
Dr Chapman, an accident and emergency consultant, was suspended on no pay from Maidstone Hospital in Kent following the incident.
She cannot work until the outcome of the fitness to practise hearing in Manchester, where she could be struck off. The case, which opened on Monday, is expected to last for two weeks.
Richards was banned for three years by the ERC and the club was fined £259,000.
It emerged he had ordered fake blood injuries on four other occasions and orchestrated the “Bloodgate” cover-up.
Williams was initially barred from the game for 12 months, a ban reduced to four months after he admitted using the capsule. – [BBC]


Veteran golfer disqualified for oversleeping

By Jay Busbee
Here we go again ... another rules controversy has cost a player a tournament. And this time, the player didn’t even have a chance to get out of bed!
Actually, that’s the heart of the problem. Jim Furyk may be one of the best golfers on the planet, but he’s got some seriously bad luck. Early Wednesday morning, Furyk’s cell phone alarm didn’t go off, making him late for his pro-am tee time in The Barclays. And the PGA Tour’s rules on this are very clear: no pro-am, no tournament. “I’m kicking myself,” Furyk said.
Fortunately for Furyk, missing the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs won’t be too devastating to his hopes of winning the $10 million prize. He currently sits No. 3 in the standings, and doesn’t figure to fall too far below that. Still, that’s not exactly how you want to start a playoff run, is it?
Here’s the sequence of events, familiar to everyone who’s ever sweated through a nervous night before a big final exam. Furyk apparently woke up at 7:23 a.m., threw on whatever clothes were lying around, and got to the course 12 minutes later. Problem is, the tournament was a shotgun start at 7:30, and as Furyk was starting at the 11th hole, there was no way on earth he’d make his tee time in time.
Now, unlike some of the more esoteric/ridiculous rules of golf that can cost a player a tournament, as discussed earlier this week, it’s easy to understand why the PGA Tour has a rule in place that players have to be at the pro-am. Too often, players were skipping out on the Wednesday sponsor meet-and-greet, leaving executive VPs and similar corporate types unhappy that they drew a no-name -- or no name -- instead of the marquee player they’d been promised.
Still, as the AP notes, it’s not the end of the road for Furyk. Last year, Zach Johnson was ranked third going into the Barclays, and had he not played, he would have only fallen to fifth going into next weekend’s Deutsche Bank championship. (Memo to stars: Don’t take this as an excuse to sleep in.)
“I played my heart out all year,” Furyk said. “I’ve got no one to blame but myself.”
Bet he’s wishing he set a wake-up call right about now. - [Yahoo Sports]


Botham warns: England won’t commit sins of 2006/07

Sir Ian Botham says England won’t commit the sins of the disastrous 2006-07 Ashes defence that saw Andrew Flintoff’s side turn up in honeymoon mode Down Under.
England was walloped 5-0 by Ricky Ponting’s Australians four years ago in the first Ashes whitewash since 1920-21. It was a demoralising result with the visitors accused of being drunk on the success of their 2005 Ashes triumph.
This time Andrew Strauss will lead a well-drilled, better-equipped visiting force that won’t be expecting MBEs for toppling Australia.
“I think England would have learned a very big lesson. They won it in 2005 and turned up here for the 2006-07 series like Muppets,” 102-Test allrounder Botham said.
“When Australia got on that flight after losing the Ashes in 2005 the only thing they were thinking about was getting them back. England was on a honeymoon period.”
England has five weeks to refresh between its Test and one-day series against Pakistan at home and the Ashes tour match opener against Western Australia on November 5.
A three-day match against South Australia at Adelaide Oval and four-day dress rehearsal against Australia A in Hobart follow.
By contrast, Shane Warne has labelled Australia’s Ashes preparation a “disgrace”.
Australia will figure in two Tests and three 50-over games against India on the sub-continent in October, then a three-match, one-day series against Sri Lanka ahead of the first Test against England in Brisbane starting on November 25.
Ponting has claimed Australia can inflict another 5-0 drubbing but Botham predicts England won’t be gifting back the Ashes urn.
“They have learned lessons now. I think they are better prepared and more balanced,” Botham said of England, which won the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean and prevailed in a 3-2 one-day series scoreline against Australia last month. It will really be a good contest.
“Last visit they walked in and played a couple of Mickey Mouse games then played Australia in Brisbane and wondered why they got flattened in three-and-a-half days.”
Botham, with 5200 runs and 383 wickets at 28 for England, believes Ashes supremacy will be decided by which bowling unit clicks first.
Of concern to Australia is that spearhead Mitchell Johnson endured a poor tour of England, workhorse seamer Peter Siddle is on the comeback trail from back stress fractures while off-spinner Nathan Hauritz remains hampered by a foot ailment.
Botham warned left-armer Johnson must be on-song from the outset at the Gabba. “It will come down to the bowlers, you have to take 20 wickets, both sides know that,” said Botham.
“Someone like Mitchell Johnson didn’t fire or bowl as well as he could have on the last Ashes tour in England until he sorted it out towards the end. That was a bit of a blow for Australia. I think the batting is solid, cancels each other out. Bowlers win matches.” – [Foxsport]


What’s the point of the MCC?

The celebrated historian George Trevelyan once wrote that if the French nobility had only played cricket with their servants they wouldn’t have had their chateaux burnt.
Today, with the revolution taking place within the game itself, Quentin Letts casts a quizzical eye over Marylebone cricket club, the English institution responsible for maintaining its laws and upholding its spirit.
It’s not easy for MCC to shake off the weight of history. It resisted the demands of sexual equality almost into the present century, and it is still berated for its exclusiveness. The programme hears from Rachael Heyhoe-Flint who captained the first English women’s team allowed onto the Lord’s pitch, and to another former Captain, Mike Gatting, who berates MCC members for a display of very ungentlemanly manners to fellow cricketer, Ian Botham.
The powerhouse of cricket is now in India, the governing body is in Dubai and the focus of the game is shifting from test match to twenty-twenty but this private members club, the owner of the most famous sports ground in the world, still seeks a place at the table. Quentin talks to MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw about what it’s doing there - resisting the economic and global forces of modernity or leading the charge of change? – [BBC]


Fat-fingered sumo wrestlers given iPads

Fat-fingered sumo wrestlers, unable to tap the keys on a standard mobile phone, are being given iPads to help improve communication.
The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) said it would distribute 60 iPads among all of the sport’s 51 training stables.
The announcement comes as the JSA outlined measures to deal with a series of recent scandals.
The ancient sport has recently been rocked by allegations of an illegal gambling ring.
Wrestlers have been accused of betting on baseball games, which is illegal in Japan and is often associated with organised criminal gangs.
The sport’s authorities were criticised for their clumsy efforts to investigate the scandals, in part due poor communication between sumo leaders.
The iPads are intended to speed up communication between JSA officials, wrestlers and coaches, who have until now relied on telephone or fax.
“We will hand out the newest iPads to all the sumo stables to swiftly communicate what we need to,” JSA vice chairman Hiroyoshi Murayama said.
E-mail also has the added advantage of leaving a paper trail for investigators.
Many Japanese newspapers also reported that the iPad had been chosen because of its large touch-screen keys that can be easily prodded by the giant wrestlers.
“When they try to send e-mail on mobile phones or PCs they often end up pressing two or three keys at once,” said the daily Nikkan Sports.- [BBC]


Swimmer’s iconic battle

By Pete Thomas
Bruckner Chase staggered ashore at San Carlos Beach in Monterey on Tuesday evening after a 14-hour swim to raise awareness about the fragile nature of the local marine environment.
Ironically, some of the creatures native to that environment made Chase pay dearly for his 25-mile traverse across fabled Monterey Bay.
“I’m, like, ‘Come on guys, I’m trying to help here,’ “ he said of a massive swarm of jellyfish that rose to the surface and threatened to thwart his epic odyssey.
Chase was first stung about an hour into a swim that began in his hometown Santa Cruz before dawn. The jellies became more dense and the stings more frequent, so a determined Chase donned a wetsuit handed to him by those aboard an escort boat.
But that only protected his torso, arms and legs. “I got stung on my tongue, inside my mouth, on my neck and my feet and hands,” he said during an interview Wednesday morning, while parts of his body still itched and contained welts. “After the sun came up I did not take a single stroke in which I did not at least see a jellyfish.”
Chase, 44, who scheduled the event earlier than he would have liked to help kick off this week’s Blue Ocean Film Festival, became only the second person to have completed the swim across Monterey Bay.
Cindy Cleveland, a Southern California lifeguard, remains the only swimmer to have accomplished the feat without wearing a wetsuit: the manner by which long-distance swimmers prefer. But Cleveland did not experience a jellyfish swarm of the magnitude Chase endured, as his wife and two sisters watched from the escort vessel while cringing as Chase slogged through the gooey, tentacled creatures.
Since 1983, several people have tried -- and failed -- to repeat Cleveland’s feat. Jellyfish foiled Chase’s first attempt last year, nine miles into his swim.
Patti Bauernfiend of Northern California tried last week, without a wetsuit, and made it halfway before jellyfish stings forced her out of the water.
Chase, an endurance swimmer who has swum the length of Lake Tahoe and tried or attempted numerous other “adventure swims,” put on the wetsuit reluctantly after his wife, Michelle Evans-Chase, told him he would not make it without one.
“We had a bigger mission in doing this, in connecting the two cities and spanning the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary,” the swimmer explained. “I would have hated to let pride and ego keep me out of the wetsuit when we had so much potential to reach so many people by swimming across.”
As for the jellies, several species abound in Monterey Bay during much of the summer, but they’re not always so dense at the surface. During the last mile, Chase felt them oozing through his hands with every stroke and realized “that had I not been in a wetsuit, I would not have been able to physically survive.” – [GrindTV]


Tennis star changes her shoe motto

Last year, Melanie Oudin “believed” her way into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. This year, the 18-year-old will try to break out of her recent slump with some “courage.”
Oudin will take to the court at this year’s Open with personalised adidas shoes emblazoned with the word “COURAGE.” Last year, her “BELIEVE” shoes became one of the major stories of the tournament, thanks to their folksy orgin, bright colours and Oudin’s magical run to the quarters. This year, she and adidas opted for less mantra and more fortitude:
“The reason I chose the word COURAGE is because in order to believe you have to have the courage to do so. Courage to me means playing with no fear and going for it no matter what. You can believe in yourself so much but unless you have the courage to go on the court and put yourself on the line every time you won’t make it. You need courage and belief to make it to the top.”
Oudin is going to need all the courage she can get in Flushing Meadows. She’s just 18-23 since last year’s Open run and a first-round loss could drop her as far as No. 90 in the rankings. Barring a deep run at Flushing Meadows, Oudin’s ranking will drop far enough where she’ll be forced to play qualifiers at most major tourneys.
Maybe the shoe should have said “MIRACLE” instead. – [Yahoo Sports]