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© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 12, 2001

Hall wants to switch to Australia

U.S. Olympic swimming champion Gary Hall, who pledged to smash the Australian team like guitars at the Sydney Olympics, wants to compete for Australia at the 2004 Games.

Hall, who tied with training partner Anthony Ervin for gold in the 50-meter freestyle in Sydney, approached officials about representing Australia at the Athens Games, Australian Swimming Inc. said.

"I'm looking at it purely from a swimming point of view," said Hall, 26. "The enthusiasm for the sport here is contagious, so why not surround yourself with the best."

To compete for Australia in 2004, Hall will need to apply for permanent residency, then would have a three-year wait from the time he becomes a resident to qualify to swim for Australia.

TENNIS: Top-ranked Gustavo Kuerten, unable to bounce back from Thursday's U.S. Open drubbing at the hands of Yevgeny Kafelnikov, lost in the opening round of the Brazil Open at Sauipe to fellow Brazilian Flavio Saretta, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. No. 4 seed Nicolas Massu, No. 5 Fernando Meligeni, No. 6 Alexandre Simoni and No. 7 Agustin Calleri advanced, as did No. 4 Silvia Farina and No. 5 Henrieta Nagyova on the women's side. ... Wild-card Oleg Ogorodov, cheered by 3,000 home fans, upset No. 7 seed Davide Sanguinetti in the first round of the President's Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4). Two other seeds also lost -- Sargis Sargisan beat No. 8 Julien Boutter 6-4, 6-4, and Paradorn Srichaphan upset No. 6 Xavier Malisse 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). ... The top two seeds, No. 1 Andrei Pavel and No. 2 Albert Portas, advanced in the Gelsor Open at Bucharest, Romania. Adrian Voinea beat No. 3 Alberto Martin 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 and Cristophe Rochus beat No. 4 Andreas Vinciguerra 6-1, 6-2. ... Doubles specialist Todd Woodbridge was added to the Australian Davis Cup team, which plays Sweden in a semifinal Sept. 21-23.

HORSES: A Storm Cat colt brought $5.5-million during the opening session of Keeneland's September Yearling Sale. The winning bid, by Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum of Dubai, was the second-highest price in the sale's history. ... The Breeders' Cup was awarded to Arlington Park next year, Santa Anita Park in 2003, Churchill Downs in 2004 and Lone Star Park in 2005. This year's event is Oct. 27 at Belmont Park.

CYCLING: Erik Zabel won the fourth stage of the Tour of Spain from Leon to Gijon, edging Oscar Freire in a sprint finish for his third consecutive stage win. Santiago Botero took the overall lead after a crash a little more than a mile from the finish split the field. ... Dario Frigo and Marco Magnani were banned for six months for possessing performance-enhancing drugs, the Italian cycling federation said. Police seized banned substances from their hotel rooms in an overnight raid at the Tour of Italy in June. ... Bobby Julich will ride for German team Deutsche Telekom next season, becoming the second American to join Lance Armstrong's main rival, Jan Ullrich.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Florida senior forward Naomi Mobley left the women's team. Mobley, who started 26 games last season and twice led the SEC in rebounding, decided to pursue a pro career. "I prayed a lot about this decision and I feel comfortable with it," Mobley said. "I just really felt like I was ready to play professional basketball. I have an opportunity to play in Europe right now and that will help prepare me for the WNBA draft in April." Mobley was arrested in May on a charge of domestic battery after a fight with a roommate over a laptop computer. She signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the State Attorney's Office in July. ... Bethune-Cookman named Eric Wise an assistant for the women's team. ... Auburn senior guard Lincoln Glass was suspended indefinitely for academic reasons.

COLLEGES: The NCAA delayed a vote on an amateurism deregulation package to give member schools time to consider alternative proposals. The vote had been scheduled for next month. The packages include proposals on organized competition before an athlete enters college, entering professional drafts, signing contracts and competing with professionals or accepting prize money. ... Bethune-Cookman named Trey Bogue coach of the men's and women's tennis teams.

GOLF: Two-time defending champion Carol Semple Thompson won two matches on her home course in Sewickley, Pa., to advance to the USGA Senior Women's Amateur Championship quarterfinals. ... Bill Ploeger won two matches to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Senior Amateur in St. Louis. Gordon Brewer, the 1994 and 1996 champion, also advanced.

CRICKET: Officials will limit players' use of mobile phones and increase security near dressing rooms in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, as part of a campaign to combat corruption in the sport. Sharjah has hosted a record 174 one-day internationals. Five players have received life bans in the past two years, including South Africa's Hansie Cronje, who was found out when police listened to cell phone conversations with bookmakers.

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