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Richards Wins 400 to Get Even

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

American Sanya Richards avenged her world championship loss to Olympic champion Tonique Williams-Darling of the Bahamas, winning the 400 meters in wind and rain Friday at the Weltklasse Golden League meet in Zurich, Switzerland.

Richards finished in 48.92 seconds -- the best time this season -- in conditions similar to those in Helsinki, Finland, last week. The pair came off the last turn together, but Richards won by 0.38 of a second.

Newly crowned world champion Justin Gatlin of the U.S. won the men’s 100 meters in 10.14, edging Francis Obikwelu of Portugal and Aziz Zakari of Ghana, who were timed in 10.22.

World-record holder Saif Saeed Shaheen of Qatar won the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:02.69 for his 23rd consecutive victory despite falling when leaving the final water pit 150 meters from the finish.

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The Home Depot Center in Carson is one of four sites named as finalists by USA Track & Field to play host to the 2008 Olympic track and field trials. The others are Columbus, Ohio; Eugene, Ore., and Sacramento.

Colleges

The NCAA said that approval from American Indian tribes would be a primary factor in deciding appeals from schools that want to use Native American nicknames and mascots in postseason play.

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The first review is scheduled to start next week.

Two weeks ago, the NCAA announced that it would ban the use of American Indian imagery and nicknames by school representatives at postseason tournaments starting in February.

Virginia football Coach Al Groh has agreed to terms on a five-year contract that will pay him $1.7 million a year, a raise of nearly $1 million.

Forward Emily Niemann, who helped Baylor win the NCAA Division I women’s basketball title last season, has decided to transfer to UC Santa Barbara. She will have two years of eligibility remaining.

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Tennis

Former runner-up Mark Philippoussis and James Blake were given wild cards into the main draw of the U.S. Open, starting Aug. 29 in New York.

Also getting wild cards were Jan-Michael Gambill, Brian Baker, Scoville Jenkins, Rajeev Ram, Bobby Reynolds and Donald Young.

Young, 16, is the top-ranked junior player in the world and earned his entry by winning the 2005 USTA Boys’ 18s national championship last weekend in Kalamazoo, Mich.

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Wild-card entry Robby Ginepri needed only 56 minutes to defeat fourth-seeded Marat Safin, 6-2, 6-3, in the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters. Top-ranked Roger Federer also reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jose Acasuso.

Fifth-seeded Andy Roddick overcame a sluggish start to beat Mikhail Youzhny, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. He’ll play third-seeded Lleyton Hewitt, who beat seventh-seeded Nikolay Davydenko, 6-2, 6-3.

Ninth-seeded Anastasia Myskina defeated Gisela Dulko, 6-4, 7-5, to advance to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup at Toronto. She will play seventh-seeded Kim Clijsters, who beat Flavia Pennetta, 6-0, 6-1.

Second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo also advanced when sixth-seeded Nadia Petrova withdrew because of an injured right chest muscle.

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Petrova won the first set, 6-4, Mauresmo won the second set, 7-5, and was leading, 2-0, when Petrova withdrew. Mauresmo will play No. 4 Justine Henin-Hardenne, who struggled in a 7-5, 7-6 (4) win over Nicole Vaidisova.

Pro Basketball

Steve Belkin agreed to sell his share of the Atlanta Hawks, allowing the team to complete a trade for Phoenix Sun guard Joe Johnson and settling a dispute that brought the owners to court.

The Hawks sent guard Boris Diaw, two first-round picks and a $4.9-million trade exception to the Suns for Johnson, who becomes the club’s highest-paid player with a five-year deal worth about $70 million.

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As expected, guard Doug Christie signed with the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks also signed DeSagana Diop to back up Erick Dampier at center.

Hockey

The Phoenix Coyotes signed former King goaltender Scott Passmore to a one-year contract. The 32-year-old Passmore played nine games with Chicago in 2003-04, posting a 2-6-0 record with a 2.89 goals-against average.

The Mighty Ducks signed right wing Shane Hynes, their third-round selection in the 2003 draft, to a three-year entry level contract. Hynes, 21, played three seasons at Cornell.

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Badminton

Second-seeded Zhang Jun and Gao Ling of China, last year’s Olympic gold medalists, lost to seventh-seeded Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thungthongkam of Thailand, 10-15, 15-7, 15-11, in the mixed doubles quarterfinals of the world championships at the Arrowhead Pond.

Miscellany

Seimone Augustus of Louisiana State scored 18 points and Lisa Willis of UCLA had 13 to lead the U.S. women’s basketball team to the gold medal at the University Games at Izmir, Turkey, with a 79-53 victory over Serbia-Montenegro.

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The American men advanced to the title game, getting 20 points each from Villanova’s Randy Foye and Duke’s Shelden Williams in a 120-80 victory over Russia. They will play Ukraine, which beat Serbia-Montenegro, 69-63.

Passings

Kenyon Jones, a 6-10 center at San Francisco who was the West Coast Conference player of the year in 2000, died Thursday at his family home in Atlanta. He was 27.


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