News

It has been six years since Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong just missed the Olympic podium and over a year since the Belarusian who beat him for the bronze medal was banned from the sport for life.

Armstrong's long wait for Olympic glory is about to end.

WINNIPEG - The Montreal Alouettes may be on a five-game losing skid, but quarterback Drew Willy isn't viewing Friday's game as a slam dunk for the Blue Bombers.

Winnipeg (5-3) has had troubles of its own lately, losing two straight heading into the home game against Montreal (1-6). And as much as the Alouettes are struggling, some of their losses have been in close games against good teams.

"We saw even last week, they played Saskatchewan very tough, to the wire there," Willy said Thursday of Montreal's 16-11 loss to the Roughriders.

PITTSFORD, N.Y. - Bills coach Doug Marrone blew up at his players on Thursday, sending a message that he's fed up with too many fights and post-whistle shoving matches during practice.

Marrone cleared the field during the middle of a team drill and ordered players to run sprints after several of them exchanged shoves. That included receiver Marquise Goodwin pushing down rookie cornerback Sam Miller from behind.

Marrone then directed his anger at starting defensive end Jerry Hughes on the sideline.

NEW YORK - Serena Williams will face an up-and-coming American player in the first round of the U.S. Open.

The 32-year-old Williams has won 17 Grand Slam titles. At age 18, Taylor Townsend is in her third major tournament.

Townsend is a former top-ranked junior player who reached the third round at the French Open this year. She got into her first U.S. Open main draw with a wild card.

BRISTOL, Conn. - Pitching sensation Mo'ne Davis' latest start drew record-setting television ratings for the Little League World Series.

Her game Wednesday night earned the highest preliminary rating for the event on ESPN, the network said Thursday. The 8-1 loss by Davis' Philadelphia team to Las Vegas received a 3.4 overnight rating, up 143 per cent from the corresponding game last year.

LONDON, Ont. - Na Yeon Choi chipped in for three of her nine birdies to tie the course record at 8-under 64 and take the early lead at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open.

Choi, a 26-year-old from South Korea, led the tournament by two strokes over Danielle Kang, LPGA Championship winner Inbee Park and Xi Yu Lin following the completion of the morning groups at London Hunt and Country Club.

The 2012 U.S. Women's Open champion birdied five straight holes in her first round, which was one short of her career-best of 9 under, which she shot in Waterloo, Ont., last year.

CALGARY - Canadian Interuniversity Sport has launched a women's hockey pilot project offering more scholarship money to see if it keeps athletic talent in the country.

Almost 4,000 Canadians are on NCAA rosters in the United States, including 400 female hockey players, according to new CIS chief executive officer Pierre Lafontaine.

In addition to tuition and fees, Canadian university women's hockey teams are now allowed to cover room and board. But they will operate under a financial cap limiting how many scholarships can be offered.

TORONTO - Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has cleared up the uncertainty surrounding president and chief executive officer Tim Leiweke's long-term future with the company.

He will stay in the position until June 30, 2015 or until a new CEO is found, MLSE said Thursday in a statement.

Maya Moore put up incredible numbers all season for Minnesota. Now she's got her first WNBA MVP award.

Moore earned the league's most valuable player on Thursday, hours before the Lynx opened their Western Conference semifinals playoff series with the San Antonio Stars.

LIVERPOOL, England - Liverpool could be about to replace one controversial striker with another.

Italy international Mario Balotelli has been lined up by the Premier League club as a potential replacement for Luis Suarez, who left Anfield to join Barcelona for $130 million.

Balotelli, who spent 2 1/2 years with Manchester City up to 2013, left the club's Milanello training ground on Thursday for possibly the last time.

Justin Gatlin hasn't felt this lean or this quick or even this hungry — he's cut way back on cheeseburgers and chocolate — in quite some time.

Using a shorter, more compact stride, the American sprinter has won all 11 of his 100-meter races this season, although none have been against a certain person named Usain Bolt.

Yet, no matter how many events Gatlin wins or how fast he flies down the track, there's one thing he can't outrun — his checkered past.

Although he's four years removed from serving his four-year doping suspension, some meets still refuse to include him.

WARSAW, Poland - Polish officials have complained to the organizers of the European Swimming Championships in Berlin after an announcer introduced the Polish team by joking that they would return home with stolen cars.

Poland's Foreign Ministry said its embassy in Berlin was asking for a clarification on the matter and possible "consequences" for the announcer.

MANCHESTER, England - One round of Premier League games has already backed up many pundits' pre-season predictions, notably that Chelsea and Manchester City are title favourites and Manchester United needed more than just a change of manager to arrest its slump.

Strengthened by new attacking signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea delivered the best display of the opening weekend in beating Burnley 3-1 away and meets another promoted side, Leicester, in its second match Saturday.

CAIRO - The Confederation of African Football says Rwanda has appealed against its disqualification from African Cup qualifying for fielding a striker who was using two identities.

CAF says Rwanda's appeal will be heard on Wednesday. The final round of qualifiers begins on Sept. 5.

TORONTO - A coalition of health and sporting groups across the country is calling for Canada's athletic organizations to get more proactive about protecting participants from head injuries.

The Canadian Concussion Collaborative, consisting of nine national sports advocacy groups, has laid out two specific recommendations in the September issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The collaborative says most sports organizations don't have policies in place that address the needs of a concussion patient at every step of the process.

By Nigel Maxwell paNOW Staff

The competition is fierce at the Conexus Ladies Lobstick at the Waskesiu Golf Course.

The semifinal matches tee off on Thursday.

Kathy Ziglo plays Ann Kirkland, while Abra Thompson will meet Beth Davis. All four ladies are from Saskatoon.

Prince Albert golfers Arlene Segin and Sandra Macdonald will compete against each other in the first flight consolation round. Andrea Ring is also playing in the same flight.

nmaxwell@panow.com

On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell  

NEW YORK - Serena Williams replaced her tennis racket with a microphone at a karaoke event a week ahead of the U.S. Open.

The top-ranked athlete performed "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" on Wednesday night at Arena in New York City. She danced and swayed her hips in a mini dress as she sang the song in falsetto and attempted high notes.

Williams told the crowd before she began: "I'm really nervous."

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Third-seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., and four-time champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark both suffered straight-set upsets Wednesday in the second round of the Connecticut Open.

Bouchard lost 6-2, 6-2 to Australian Samantha Stosur. The Canadian, ranked No. 8 in the world, played with her left thigh wrapped after straining her hamstring in practice this week. The injury left her visibly struggling with her mobility throughout the match.

MIAMI - Nick Martinez allowed two runs in six innings in his homecoming, Alex Rios drove in two runs, and the Texas Rangers roughed up Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi on the way to a 5-4 win over the Marlins on Wednesday.

Leonys Martin had three hits for Texas, which led 5-0 after two innings.

Martinez (3-9) allowed six hits and threw 62 of his 96 pitches for strikes. He was born in nearby Hialeah and pitched at Belen Jesuit Prep, about 12 miles from Marlins Park.

Wednesday's Games

(All Times Eastern)

MLB

American League

Houston 5 N.Y. Yankees 2

Detroit 6 Tampa Bay 0

L.A. Angels 8 Boston 3

Baltimore 4 Chicago White Sox 3

Cleveland 5 Minnesota 0

---

National League

Washington 3 Arizona 2

Pittsburgh 3 Atlanta 2

St. Louis 7 Cincinnati 3

San Francisco 8 Chicago Cubs 3

San Diego 4 L.A. Dodgers 1

---

Interleague

Toronto 9 Milwaukee 5

Texas 5 Miami 4

Philadelphia 4 Seattle 3

N.Y. Mets 8 Oakland 5

Colorado 5 Kansas City 2

SANTA ANA, El Salvador - Marco Di Vaio scored two goals and assisted on the other to lift the Montreal Impact to a 3-2 victory over El Salvador's C.D. FAS in CONCACAF Champions League play on Wednesday night.

Andres Romero also scored for the Impact, who are 2-0-0 against the Salvadorian side after beating FAS in Montreal 1-0 earlier this month. Di Vaio scored the lone goal of that match.

Jorge Moran and Marcio Teruel replied for FAS.

Di Vaio's second goal of the night, on a penalty kick at the 60-minute mark, broke a 2-2 tie.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Mo'ne Davis didn't have her best stuff when she and her Philadelphia teammates needed it most, and Las Vegas took advantage.

Dallan Cave and Brennan Holligan hit two-run homers, lefty reliever Austin Kryszczuk got out of two big jams, and Las Vegas beat Philadelphia and its star pitcher 8-1 in the Little League World Series on Wednesday night.

Davis, just the 18th girl to play in the Little League World Series and the only one to win a game on the mound, took the loss.

OMAHA, Neb. - The Toronto Blue Jays are contesting Creighton University's use of a new logo, saying the depiction of the school's "Bluejay" too closely resembles the logo of the major league baseball team.

The Blue Jays filed a notice of opposition this month with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, opposing the university's application for a trademark.

Creighton's new logo debuted in September 2013, coinciding with the school's move from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East.

CHICAGO - The San Francisco Giants on Wednesday became the first team since 1986 to win a protest filed with Major League Baseball, and will now get to resume a rain-shortened game the Chicago Cubs thought they had won.

MLB executive Joe Torre ruled on Tuesday night's game at Wrigley Field that was called after 4 1-2 innings. The Cubs were declared the winners by a 2-0 score.

By Nigel Maxwell paNOW Staff

Prince Albert's Martin Ring is tied for 6th at the Saskatchewan Mid-Amateur Men's Golf Championship in Warman.

Leader Tyler Wright, from Regina, carded a 72 on Wednesday, putting him at five under.

Ring shot a 72 on Day 1, followed by a 74 on Wednesday.

Round three will go Thursday morning.

nmaxwell@panow.com

On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell