The Sport Matrix: Monday 20 October 2014


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The Independent Online

Chinese competitors struck down

More than 20 swimmers, including the former Olympic champion Liu Zige, were struck down with diarrhoea and fever while competing at the Chinese national championships.

The municipal government of Huangshan, the central Chinese city that hosted the five-day championships, said it was still unsure what had caused the outbreak. Liu (right), who won the 200 metres butterfly at the 2008 Beijing Games, and Ning Zetao, who won four golds at the Asian Games last month, were among swimmers hit by the bug.

Ning withdrew from the 50 metres freestyle on Saturday because of the sudden sickness, with Youth Olympics champion Yu Hexin taking advantage of his absence to win gold. The sick swimmers have all now recovered and headed home.

Pocognoli grateful for Van Gaal effect

West Bromwich Albion defender Sebastian Pocognoli has praised the influence Louis van Gaal had on his career as he prepares to face the Dutchman and Manchester United tonight. “He is unique,” the left-back said of the man he played under at AZ Alkmaar. “He was very important. He finished my formation as a footballer. Defensively I was not so strong and I learnt about tactics and personality.”

Poulter attacks Faldo over jibe

Ian Poulter has accused former British No 1 Sir Nick Faldo of “sour grapes” after he labelled Sergio Garcia “useless” for his performance in the 2008 Ryder Cup. “Faldo has lost a lot of respect from players because of what he said,” Poulter writes in his new autobiography.

Sunderland players offer to refund fans

The Sunderland players involved in Saturday’s 8-0 humbling at Southampton could reimburse supporters who travelled to the South Coast to witness the humbling. “I will talk to the team to see if it is possible to pay [for fans’] tickets and trip,” goalkeeper Vito Mannone said. “We should because we didn’t put our foot [in], we didn’t work hard. After we conceded we threw in the towel.”

Fanning inspires Leinster recovery

Darragh Fanning scored two tries to help Leinster come from behind to beat Wasps in their opening Champions Cup match. Atapati Leiua and a fine effort from Christian Wade helped Wasps to a 20-11 interval lead, Andy Goode also adding 10 points with the boot. Fanning and Dominic Ryan replied after the break to give Leinster the first-day spoils. Wasps did take a deserved losing bonus point.