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Sports Notes - Contender Asia Semifinals & FINALS



Thai fighter Naruepol - AXN photo

Thai champion fighter Yodsaenklai advances on The Contender Asia. Full story in Sunday's VIDEO BEAT - AXN photo

Australian JOHN WAYNE PARR was a title holder - AXN photo

Russian Dzhabar Askerov - AXN photo



Joachim Fickert - AFC Marketing/Shot

Tin Sarin - NR photo

Johan Visser - NR photo

Cambodia's Hok Sochetra takes two spots in the NR Top 10 stories - AFC Marketing/Shot

Cambodian children love the beautiful game - photo courtesy of Joachim Fickert

Cambodian children playing in the rain in Siem Reap Cambodia features in Cambodian Football Rising From the Ashes - NR photo

Sihanoukville Youth Football tournament and training program participants line up for opening ceremonies - NR photo



Hideo Nomo - LA Dodgers photo




James Loving/National Radio Text Service




Saturday April 5, 2008



The Contender Asia reality TV show has reached the final four with John Wayne Parr from Australia, Thai champion fighter Yodsaenklai, Sean Wright from Scotland and Dzabhar Askerov from Russia that will be televised this Wednesday April 9 on AXN. At press time the pairings weren't announced. It is meant to be a surprise that will be announced on the telecast. The final is scheduled for a live fight April 12th at the Singapore Indoor Stadium with tickets priced at $50, $80, $200 and $300. That FINAL event is scheduled to be televised on the AXN Network April 23rd.

It was a strange course of events that took place to bring about this final four. When the fighters were announced as to whom would participate in the program the top three to win the title were Parr and the two well respected Thai fighters Yodsaenklai and Naruepol. Given their experience the Thais were favored to be in the final. With the exception of Parr the remaining 13 fighters were not of their class.

When eight fighters won their first round fights a Chinese chest with a blue and a red gnome were in two of the eight draws. To determine which fighters would face each other the fighters were to choose a draw to see who picked the draws with the gnome. The two that did would fight each other the color of the gnome determined what corner they would be in.

All of the fighters chose a draw before the Thais had a chance. None of the other fighters picked the draw with the gnomes thus the two Thais who are very close friends and train at the same gym and represent the same club had to face each other. Naruepol's heart wasn't in it and he lost to his friend.

In doing so what was anticipated was never going to happen that being an all Thai final. Thus there is a final four that represent four different nations. The question is why were the Thais the last to pick a draw and why weren't they separated in the order that the draws were chosen? File this away in the GO FIGURE FILE.

Who will win the Contender Asia title? Tune in or stay tuned. The TV schedule is in our Video Beat column. - RELATED STORY


Former Cambodian national team coach Joachim Fickert was in town for a friendly visit earlier this month. Fickert is currently the technical director of football of Mali who participated in the final 16 in this years African's Cup of Nations.

The subject of the lack of football pitches in Cambodia for children and teams to practice on came up. He noted that the Naga football club had a hard time finding a field where they could to practice. Fickert was also the coach of Naga after departing the Cambodian national side.

He pointed out that in the past every school had a football pitch but the land was sold for real estate development. He also noted that Mali invested heavily in football to help bring attention to the country. Fickert claims that he is earning more than 6 times the wage he was paid while coaching Cambodia.

Fickert mentioned that he noticed that we no longer report on Cambodian football. The reason for that is we look for positive stories. Football in Cambodia has gone from one of promise that we depicted in our first story Cambodian Football Rising From The Ashes to one of of promises unfulfilled.

Rising From The Ashes was a story about a country recovering from the devastation of genocide and the resumption of its disbanded football program as being one of the routes to recovery. There was more hope when in March of 2003 we reported that Sihanoukville became the first province to start a youth football program.

At the time the Tin Sarin helped form the Sihanoukville Youth Football Camp and tournament. Sarin was also Sihanoukville's deputy commissioner of police. He then noted the purpose of his efforts.

"I wanted to reduce the bad social behavior of the youths such as drugs, gambling, and forming gangs," he said. "It's good for their health, also social solidarity. The youths can know each other and be friends by playing football. I urge coaches to teach social behavior, respect and morality. One of the problems in Cambodia is children get involved in drugs, gambling and gangs."

The league and tournament lasted one season. That one season would have fallen into the shoulda, woulda, coulda catagory if it hadn't been for the kindness from the private sector. The reason being that Sihanoukville was without a football pitch to play on but the Don Bosco School came to the rescue.

Johan Visser the Director of Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia donated the use of the schools field.

"Our purpose is to help youth and sport is very important," Visser said.

Three hundred students attend Don Bosco tuition free. In addition students are provided with two basketball/volleyball courts that are in excellent condition. Without the schools pitch this football tournament would not have happened.

Visser pointed out why the Don Bosco Foundation feels sports and having good facilities is important.

"Without sports facilities is like a house without music. It's (sports) healthy. We like to create sports facilities. It's just as important as the classroom. Sports forms character."

Since that time the Cambodian Premiere league has a team that is sponsored by a gambling concern. Also this past summer the Under 17 national side was involved in an incident that was a major headline in the Cambodia Daily August 27, 2007 edition, Shots Fired as Football Rioters Cry Match Fixing.

The events speak for themselves that perhaps all isn't going to plan in Cambodian Football and begs the question is Cambodian Football on a positive path? The result being that from our point of view our Cambodian Football coverage has been canceled due to our lack of interest.


The MLB (Major League Baseball) season has begun and it opened in Tokyo, Japan. What an irony when just 10 years ago a sports talk radio host in the USA thought the topic a Japanese player in the MLB Hideo Nomo was to be a subject of humor. I and others were outraged and I wrote about the incident. That story Racist Radio continues to draw interest in our TOP 10 Stories as it is one of our most read stories and most notably continues to draw interest though it was written 10 years ago.

The game and attitudes towards Asian players has changed and Nomo can take the credit of being a Jackie Robinson of his race. He became the first Japanese-born Japanese Leaguer since Masanori Murakami in 1965, to appear in a major league game. Nomo had a great deal of success after he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995.

He started that year's All-Star Game, striking out three of the six batters he faced. He won NL (National League) Rookie of the Year and in 1996 he threw a no hitter against the Colorado Rockies on September 17 at the Rockies Coors Field in Denver, Colorado.

Nomo signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2001 and started off with a bang, as he threw his second no-hitter in his Sox debut, on April 4, against the Baltimore Orioles, walking three and striking out 11 in the first no-hitter in the 10-year history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and becoming just the fourth player in baseball history to have thrown a no-hitter in both leagues (joining Cy Young, Jim Bunning and Nolan Ryan). At last count there were 34 Japanese baseball players who have played in Major League Baseball between 1964 and 2007.

During Nomo's career he played for: 1995–1998 Los Angeles Dodgers, 1998 New York Mets, 1999 Milwaukee Brewers, 2000 Detroit Tigers, 2001 Boston Red Sox, 2002–2004 Los Angeles Dodgers, 2005 Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The second Japanese player in MLB, 30 years after Murakami.



The Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford and the Seattle SuperSonics’ Kevin Durant were named the Eastern and Western Conference NBA Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.

For every point scored by the players named the Rookie of the Month, sponsors T-Mobile will donate $20 to the New Orleans Recovery School District. This month T-Mobile will donate $4,060 on behalf of Horford and $6,980 on behalf of Durant. This philanthropic component is new to the T-Mobile Rookie Program and builds on T-Mobile’s strong appeal to the nation’s youth as the official wireless partner of the NBA. Other highlights of T-Mobile’s partnership with the NBA include the T-Mobile Rookie of the Year, T-Mobile Rookie of the Month Awards, and the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam, an All-Star competition between NBA rookies and second-year players. During NBA All-Star 2008, T-Mobile Huddle Up and NBA Cares hosted more than 5,000 local students in the lower bowl of the arena to watch this year’s Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam.

Among Eastern Conference rookies in March, Horford ranked first in scoring with 11.9 points per game, as well as rebounds with 8.7 per game. He tied career highs of 20 points and six assists on March 19 at New Jersey, while pulling down 15 rebounds. In addition, Horford recorded six double-doubles. Horford has had double-figure rebounds in 37 games and scored 10-plus points on 32 occasions this season.

Among rookie qualifiers in March, Durant ranked first in scoring with 21.8 points per game. He also ranked second in the league in free throw percentage with .903 and sixth in field goal percentage with .526. For the season Durant ranks first among rookies in scoring with 19.9 points per game, second in steals, third in three-point percentage and fourth in blocks.

Here is a recap of the month for both Horford and Durant:

Kevin Durant, Seattle SuperSonics

March 3 @ Minnesota: Scored 25 points and added four rebounds in a 111-108 win over the Timberwolves.

March 11 @ Indiana: Recorded 27 points and two rebounds in the 114-107 loss to the Pacers.

March 24 vs. Portland: Registered 23 points and a career-high nine rebounds in a 97-84 victory over the Trailblazers.

March 26 vs. Washington: Scored 32 points and added seven rebounds in a 104-99 loss to the Wizards.

March 30 vs. Sacramento: Tallied 25 points, two rebounds, and two assists in a 120-107 loss to the Kings.

Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks

March 7 @ Charlotte: Posted 18 points and 11 rebounds in a 108-93 loss to the Bobcats.

March 19 vs. New Jersey: Registered 20 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists in a 125-117 loss to the Nets.

March 30 @ New York: Recorded his sixth double-double of the month, with 18 points and 13 rebounds in a 114-109 victory over the Knicks.

March 31 @ Memphis: Tallied 19 points, along with six rebounds in a 116-99 win over the Grizzlies.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference T-Mobile Rookies of the Month were Houston’s Luis Scola, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Al Thornton, Philadelphia’s Thaddeus Young and Toronto’s Jamario Moon.



An NBA veteran's minimum salary is $1.2 million a year.



The Boston Celtics’ Doc Rivers and the Utah Jazz’s Jerry Sloan today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.

Rivers, who captures his second Coach of the Month award this season (October/November), guided the Celtics to an NBA-best 13-3 (.812) record in March, which included wins over the Pistons, Spurs, Rockets, Suns and Hornets. The Celtics averaged 101.2 points on .478 shooting from the field while limiting opponents to a league-low 88.6 points on .408 shooting. Boston’s 12.6 ppg margin of victory was the league’s highest differential in March.

Sloan led Utah to a 12-4 (.750) record in March. Six of Utah’s 12 wins came against teams which currently would be in the playoffs. The Jazz, owners of the NBA’s best home record (33-4), had their franchise-record-tying 19-game home winning streak snapped on March 20, but is still 23-1 at EnergySolutions Arena in 2008. Utah averaged 113.4 points on .527 shooting from the field in March.

Other nominees for the Coach of the Month were Charlotte’s Sam Vincent, Detroit’s Flip Saunders, Houston’s Rick Adelman, New Orleans’ Byron Scott, Philadelphia’s Maurice Cheeks and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.



Apr. 16: 2007-08 NBA Regular Season ends

Apr. 17: Rosters set for 2008 NBA Playoffs, 3 p.m. ET

Apr. 19: 2008 NBA Playoffs begin

Apr. 27: NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline, 11:59 p.m. ET

May 20: NBA Draft Lottery

May 27-29: NBA Pre-Draft Camp (Orlando, Florida)

June 5: 2008 NBA Finals start date (possible move-up to June 3)




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