Australia final squad

SYDNEY: Australia will send their second-largest team of 434 athletes to an overseas Olympics for next month’s Beijing Games, the Australian Olympic Committee said on Friday. Only the 482-member team which represented Australia at the 2004 Athens Games ranks larger, while the country’s biggest team was assembled for the home 2000 Sydney Games with 632 athletes, the AOC said. AOC director of sport Fiona de Jong said a top-five finish was achievable. Australia will also send a 75-strong medical contingent. Local bookmakers are favouring Australia to win between 13 to 15 gold medals and 41 to 50 medals in all. — AFP

Brazil to play Vietnam

HANOI: Brazil’s Olympic football team, boasting the likes of Ronaldinho and Robinho, will play Vietnam’s full national side in a friendly at the start of August. The game will be played at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium on August 1, said Tran Quoc Tuan, general secretary of the Vietnam Football Federation. “This is also a very rare opportunity for us to meet with renowned players from Brazil,” Tuan added. The friendly is part of Brazil’s preparations for the Beijing Olympics. — AFP

Chambers loses bid

LONDON: British sprinter Dwain Chambers failed on Friday in his bid to compete at the Beijing Games. London’s High Court refused to grant an injunction against the British Olympic Association’s bylaw which bans doping violators for life from the games. Chambers said he would not appeal the decision. Chambers, who won the 100m race at last Saturday’s British Olympic trials in 10 seconds, served a two-year ban after testing positive for the steroid THG in August 2003. Britain have until Sunday to submit their final Olympic squad. — AP

China beat Serbia

HANGZHOU: Chinese centre Yao Ming’s return from injury has inspired the national team just weeks ahead of the Beijing Olympics and rekindled hopes of a medal at the Games. Yao contributed 11 points and four rebounds in 12 minutes of play when China thrashed Serbia 96-72, in a performance that saw his team feed on his towering presence with five players scoring in double figures. The warm-up was Yao’s first since breaking a foot in a game with the NBA Houston Rockets in February. The multi-millionaire star only began practising with the national side at the beginning of July. — AFP

Ferguson hopeful

CAPE TOWN: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is sure Cristiano Ronaldo will still be playing with the English champions for the upcoming season. “I can say he’ll be a Manchester United player next season. That’s our stance - he won’t be sold,” Ferguson said on Friday, four days after a meeting with the Portugal winger, who has said he wants to move to Real Madrid. “The meeting went well,” Ferguson said. “I think we both put across our points of view, where we stand and where the player stands.” Ronaldo, who is recovering from ankle surgery, is not on United’s tour of South Africa. — AP