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Monday, April 19, 2010

London to host 2011 Badminton World Championships

London has won the right to stage the 2011 Badminton World Championships.

Wembley Arena will host the event, which is staged annually apart from in an Olympic year, from 8-14 August.

The arena will also be the venue for the sport at the capital's 2012 Olympic Games after organisers decided against building a new venue in Stratford.

Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy said hosting the competition one year out from the Games made the event "even more special".

Christy added: "I would like to assure the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and the players that Badminton England will do all that is possible to make the first BWF World Championships in London a truly wonderful experience for all concerned.

"I would also like reiterate our appreciation to the BWF for their confidence in Badminton England to host the World Championships.

"We have just staged the European Badminton Championships in Manchester and we are now looking forward to the countdown to the 2011 World Championships."

The tournament was last staged in Britain in 2003 in Birmingham, while this year's championships take place in Paris.

Wembley Arena will also be the venue for the sport at the 2012 Games after organisers decided against building a temporary venue at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

China's Lin Dan is the reigning men's champion, having won the last three titles, while compatriot Lu Lan is the women's champion.

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Olympic cyclist Sir Chris marries

Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy and his fiancee Sarra Kemp have married in Edinburgh.

Sir Chris, 34, won three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and is Scotland's most successful-ever Olympian.

He had been engaged to Miss Kemp, a lawyer, for about a year prior to the wedding ceremony on Saturday.

Olympic swimming double gold medallist Rebecca Adlington was among the guests at the service in the city's St Giles Cathedral.

The Edinburgh-born cyclist, wearing a grey kilt with sporran and grey jacket, posed briefly on the kirk steps with his wife, who wore a white wedding dress with veil.

The couple had kept the service a closely-guarded secret, with guests reportedly in the dark until the last minute over the venue plans.

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South Korea's YE Yang wins China Open

South Korea's YE Yang fired a final-round one-under-par 71 to win the China Open by two shots from Welsh pair Rhys Davies and Stephen Dodd.

The USPGA winner, 38, began the day on 14 under, a one-shot lead over another Welshman Jamie Donaldson who finished three shots adrift of the Korean.

Round of the day belonged to Davies who shot a 67 having carded 65 on Friday.

England's Oliver Fisher was seventh and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell finished tied for eighth place.

Donaldson finished with back-to-back birdies to end his campaign joint fourth with Finland's Mikko Ilonen (73) and Sweden's Johan Edfors (69).

Yang held a one-shot lead at the turn having managed only one birdie on the first nine - at the second.

Donaldson joined Yang at the top of the leaderboard with a short putt at the par-five 12th but on the following hole fortunes took a turn for the worse when he three-putted for a double bogey.

Donaldson bounced back with a fourth birdie of the day on the 14th to once again cut Yang's lead to a single shot, before the Korean responded with a six-foot birdie.

At the 17th, Yang gained a three-shot cushion after Donaldson missed the green at the par-three 17th and failed to make the up and down.

Although Yang bogeyed the last after finding sand off the final tee, his 71 was enough to land him his 10th career title and third on the European Tour.

Despite the victory, the USPGA champion believes he will need to consistently finish in the top places to convince his "doubters".
"It was quite important for me to win," he said.

"There should be some doubters about my game and I know that this win won't abolish all those doubts, but I think it will alleviate me of some of the pressure and unseen pressure those doubters have been throwing at me.

"There have been a lot of expectations of me after the win and it does feel good and alleviating, but I know I still have to work a lot more."

Davies, who came into the event having won his maiden European Tour title in Morocco last month, was delighted with his performance.

"I really gave it a go on the front nine but I am little disappointed I didn't capitalise on the back nine," said the 24-year-old.

"I am real believer in that once you get it going you put your foot down, that couldn't happen but I will take that."

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Rafael Nadal wins sixth consecutive Monte Carlo title

Rafael Nadal produced a devastating display to beat fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco and secure a sixth consecutive Monte Carlo Masters title.

Nadal won 6-0 6-1 in just one hour and 26 minutes - his 32nd straight victory at the Monte Carlo Country Club.

It is his first tournament win since Rome last May and he has struggled with knee injuries in the meantime.

But the former world number one showed he is back to his best as he dropped 14 games in five matches in Monte Carlo.

The victory also served notice of Nadal's intent to regain the French Open crown he surrendered to Roger Federer last year after four straight titles.

"Last year I did not play well [here] but I won. This year my level is completely different," he said.

"This year is really special for me because I had a little bit of a hard time for the last year.

"I was back to my best level on 1 January. I was ready to win before this tournament."

The 23-year-old becomes the first player to win six consecutive titles at the same tournament since tennis turned professional in 1968, and moves level with Federer on 16 Masters titles - one behind Andre Agassi's record of 17.

"If he plays like this, no one can beat him," said Verdasco. "He beat everyone in six years here and I'm just one of them."

Nadal began in blistering fashion, reeling off the first seven points on the Verdasco serve on his way to a double-break.

One breathtaking backhand cross-court winner left an advancing Verdasco helpless at the net, and there was no let-up from the four-time French Open champion.

After a third break of serve was secured for 5-0, a shell-shocked Verdasco called for assistance and lay flat out at the changeover as the trainer massaged his neck.

The world number 12 was on the ropes early in the second set and did well to hang on, fending off four more break points - one with a huge backhand winner - to finally get a game on the board.

A tortuous afternoon took another bad turn for Verdasco at 1-1 when he made two double-faults in succession and, after gamely saving another two break points, Nadal whipped a mighty forehand across him at the net for the crucial breakthrough.

There was a half-chance for Verdasco at 30-30 in the following game but Nadal found the perfect angle with a sliced backhand to get past him at the net and consolidate his advantage.

A forlorn Verdasco gave up a fifth break as he frustratingly thumped a forehand into the net to fall 4-1 behind moments later.

Verdasco did win the rally of the match in an entertaining game six that included drop shots, lobs, scrambling and smashes, and ended with the challenger falling to his knees in mock celebration as he at last enjoyed a victory of sorts.

But even in such a commanding position, and with the title within his grasp, Nadal battled fiercely to save six break points before using his forehand to dismantle the Verdasco serve yet again - confirming that he remains very much the man to beat on clay.

"I think he had an unbelievable day and he played really good," said Verdasco. "He played really good during the whole week, not only today."

Nadal added: "It was emotional for me. It was my best week for a long time. It's unbelievable, Monte Carlo is my favourite tournament."

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