Friendly Chess begins

KATHMANDU: Touring Nepali chess players made a bright start in the Lions Kamrup-Nepal Friendly Chess Championship in Guwahati on Monday with all the 10 players winning their first round matches. Nikesh Duwal beat Anil Das, Madan Krishna Kayastha overcame Mohit Jain, Prajwol Raj Rajopadhyaya defeated Shahil Jain, Saurav Pradhan saw off Mehul Pasari, Prashant Bhasima edged past Prabhav Kumar Agrawal, Sri Krishan Parjapati dispatched Aharm Jain, Anil Shilpakar disposed of Nikunj Agrawal, Bijan Man Thaiba saw off Siddhanta Khemka, Sajin Maharjan beat Chirag Jain and Maniswor Thapa outplayed Subhav Jain. All the winners earned one point each. A 16-member Nepali team reached Guwahati on Sunday morning. — HNS

Bagishwori win

BHAKTAPUR: Bagishwori High School defeated Devi HS School 37-19 in the inaugural match of the Districtwide Inter-school Girls' Kabaddi Tournament here on Monday. Both the team earned three bonus points each. In other matches, Basu HS School beat Ganesh School 20-19; Sharada HS School defeaqted Adarsha Azad 25-23; and Samaj Sudhar School outplayed Dolagiri School 48-24. Basu and Sharada earned two bonus points each, while Samaj Sudhar and Dolagiri got 10 and 12 bonus points respectively. In all, 12 teams are taking part in the five-day tournament. — HNS

Bruce close to move

SUNDERLAND: Sunderland are on the verge of appointing Steve Bruce as their new manager after agreeing a compensation package for the Wigan boss. Bruce is set to replace Ricky Sbragia, who resigned on the final day of the season after narrowly keeping the club in the Premier League. Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, who paid Birmingham £3 million to release Bruce from his St Andrews contract in November 2007, has insisted Sunderland had to come up with a similiar remuneration. That financial package has now been agreed. — AFP

Henry ruled out

PARIS: Barcelona striker Thierry Henry has been ruled out of France's friendly matches against Nigeria and Turkey due to a knee injury, France coach Raymond Domenech said. France will play Nigeria on June 2 and Turkey three days later. Henry, 31, played in Barcelona's 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the Champions League final in Rome on Wednesday, having overcome a knee ligament injury sustained in the Spanish champions' 6-2 thrashing of Real Madrid on May 2. — AFP

FIFA seeks guarantees

NASSAU: FIFA officials will visit Nigeria in June seeking government guarantees that this year's Under-17 World Cup can be staged as planned. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said a commission led by FIFA vice president Jack Warner will travel to Nigeria on June 11 and will meet Nigerian Vice President Jonathan Goodluck in Lagos to request binding government guarantees that Nigeria will fulfill all requirements for hosting the competition. "If these guarantees are given, the six venues will be Abuja, Calabar, Enugu, Ijebu-Ode, Kano and Lagos," FIFA said. The World Cup is slated for October 24. — AFP

Ferdinand takes rest

LONDON: England defenders Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole missed Monday's training as a precaution ahead of the trip to Kazakhstan for Saturday's World Cup qualifier. Chelsea’s Cole suffered a knock during the FA Cup final win over Everton, while Ferdinand rested as a result of the calf problem he had before Manchester United's Champions League final defeat to Barcelona. Coach Fabio Capello hopes both players will train in the next few days to prove fitness in preparation for the match in Almaty, then the Wembley encounter with Andorra next week. — AFP