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Bhavsar to replace Hamm in US team

Raj Bhavsar will replace the injured Paul Hamm in the US men's Olympic gymnastics squad. Speaking to HT, Bhavsar, the Indian-American gymnast said: "It is a tremendous honour. I will try to bring a medal home for the US". V Krishna reports.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2008 23:00 IST
V Krishna/Agencies

Raj Bhavsar will replace the injured Paul Hamm in the US men's Olympic gymnastics squad. Of Indian origin, the Bhavsars live in Houston. Speaking to HT, Bhavsar said: "It is a tremendous honour. I will try to bring a medal home for the United States. What Paul (Hamm) did was admirable. It takes a lot to speak the truth like that."

Mother Surekha too is proud of Raj. "He deserves this. He has a job to do, but he will do it."

Hamm, the all-around gymnastics defending champion, pulled out on following a long battle with injury including a strain on his rotator cuff. Bhavsar, who leaves on Wednesday, will become the second Indian-American gymnast in the US Olympic team after Mohini Bhardwaj in 2004 when she won a team silver.

Jamaican dope cheat out

Kingston: A Jamaican athlete has been removed from the Caribbean nation's Olympic team after failing a drugs test, the president of the Jamaica Olympic Association told Reuters on Monday.

"I can tell you that an athlete tested positive for a banned substance and the necessary steps are being taken to deal with the matter appropriately," Mike Fennell said. He also confirmed the athlete had been removed from the Jamaican team.

The positive test, which officials said did not involve Jamaican 100 metres world record holder Usain Bolt nor former holder Asafa Powell, came just days before the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Games.

"I am awaiting final word from the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and until that comes, it is unfair for us to disclose the athlete's identify," Fennell said.

The athlete tested positive for an undisclosed substance at Jamaica's national championships in late June. He has been informed of the positive test of the 'A' sample and has been given until Friday to decide whether to accept the result or ask that his 'B' sample be tested, a Jamaican athletics official said

Oz athletes can withdraw

Sydney: Australian Olympic officials have told athletes they can withdraw from events in Beijing with no repercussions if they are concerned about pollution levels, it was reported on Tuesday.

As Chinese authorities step up efforts to clear the smog over Olympic venues, Australia's deputy head of mission Peter Montgomery said athletes would not be forced to compete, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Montgomery emphasised that he expected the country's 433 team members would choose to compete but any decision not to would be respected.

"It is extremely unlikely an athlete will not compete, most athletes train for 10 years for this moment," Montgomery said.

"For us, the athletes' attitude to the event is paramount. If they don't want to compete, that is fine. They will be under absolutely no pressure to compete if they feel uneasy or don't want to compete."

A haze of pollution has cut visibility across Beijing to a few hundred metres, jeopardising China's promise of a "Green Games".

Last week Beijing ordered more than a million of the city's 3.3 million cars from the roads and closed dozens of polluting factories, apparently with little impact.

The state-run China Daily newspaper said this week that the government may ban 90 percent of private cars and close more factories before the Games start on August 8.

Kit in short supply for spikers

Berlin: Long faces from tall athletes. The German men's volleyball team is hoping a fresh supply of kit will reach them before they fly to Beijing later this week for next month's Games.

The towering Germans have discovered some of their Olympic kit is too small, while others were simply not given their quota of sports clothing needed for the Games.

"We were hoping things would be a little different," said disgruntled captain Bjorn Andrae.