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SPORT

FOOTBALL CESTA PUNTA BASKETBALL

THE GIANT AWAKES

Real Madrid go from nearly bottom to nearly top and make Bare a suffer

After a bad end to 1999, Real Madrid has started 2000 with a long run* of good results which means that the club has climbed more than ten positions in the table to realistically enter the title race again. After a disastrous World Club Championship in Brazil the football analysts predicted a long grey season for the 'meringues'. But Vicente Del Bosque has captured the frustration and anger evident in the team after Brazil and has used it to create a strong team spirit chat permits the team to play badly but get results. What will happen when'they start to play well? Barcelona isn't playing as well as other years either and Louis Van Gaal is severely questioned at the moment. Real Madrid took advantage of the Catalans' delicate moment to easily win the 'derby' 3-0, (E )
DAVID BECKHAM CONSIDERS CONTINENTAL MOVE?
It seems that not a day goes by without a Beckham story in me British papers. If it isn't an exclusive on Tosh Spice' then it is an inside story on the trials and tribulations* of the Beckham household. Last month saw the soccer star sitting on the sidelines of an important Manchester United game after falling out with with his boss, Umted's manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The pressure of the British press who' follow his every move and his wife's ambitions to pursue a career on the catwalk* mean that there are rumours circulating that the England international is looking for a move to the continent, Next stop Alaves? (' F)

JAI ALAI WITH A GERMAN ACCENT

Lights, dry ice* and music composed especially for the occasion accompanied the first ever display of cesta punta in Germany. This was the first stage of an ambitious plan to take the most international of Basque sports to as yet undiscovered countries.

 The recently formed company Carom Jai Alai is determined to make this beautiful sport as well known in the rest of Europe as it is in the Americas and to this end has developed a mobile court which can be set up and played in wherever and whenever there is an interest shown. Germany was the country chosen to begin the European adventure. The spectators at the 'Sporting Goods Fair' in Munich were amazed by the speed with which the ball was flung* around the court and were also impressed by the spectacular leaps and bounds* that are such an integral part of the game. The event was a great success and Caiom Jai Aiai is now planning similar events in other German cities. (F )


BASKONIA ONLY LEFT WITH THE LEAGUE

 Two defeats by the Greeks in the Saporta Cup meant that Baskonia's European dream ended early and the calculated risk that was taken had failed. Baskonia chose to lose its last game in the league stage of the competition so that it could avoid theoretically more difficult teams from the Italian and Spanish leagues. It was thought that Greek opposition would be easier to overcome and that the easiest path to the final rounds would be via Athens. Big mistake. The Vitorian club must now concentrate exclusively on the ACB as both cup competitions have proved to be failures this year. All will be forgotten though if Julio Lamas manages to get his side into the European League and the team is now just one victory away from occupying the top spot in the ACB. With the Final Four in the Femando Buesa Arena (recently renamed to honour the politician killed by E.T.A.) next year, a strong finish is vital for the club's long term aspirations. (I)
FOOTBALL
Rerefees make life difficult for Athletic
ATHLETIC CLUB
The club is nearer the middle of the table than the European places
Jose Maria Arrate expressed what is a common feeling amongst Athletic supporters these days The president of the club summed up everyone's frustrations by saying, "Why is this happening to us^ What can be done about it?". His comments came after the third game running* in which the 'red and whites' had been left with less than eleven men on the pitch "You can talk about mistakes," he continued, "but there were mistakes made in the game against Valencia, and against Deportivo and against Racing, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Numancia and so on. That is a lot of mistakes. " It seems that after the game in Mestalla, lost 2-0 against Valencia, the club's patience is finally running out Not only was Tiko sent off for two dubious yellow cards, but the referee Prados Garcia also gave Luis Femandez his marching orders* for criticising his decisions If not physically then at least metaphoncally they had finally 'cut off his legs. All this has left Athletic with the dubious honour of being the team that has not only given away the most penalties (10) but also the side that has received the most red cards so far this season (along with La Real) Coupled with the fact that playing with less players generally means not winning, this has meant that the team has dropped down several positions in the table and is now moving worryingly away from the European zone In a season where the sides have all been bunched up* with few points separating them, a gap is finally developing and Athletic is in danger of being caught on the wrong side
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RUGBY
Many of you sports fans out there will know that the five nations rugby tournament has now been enlarged*. Italy have joined England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France to make it a six- nations championship.
However this tournament should really be renamed the men's six nations', because although you will hear little about it, there is also a women's championship. This involves the national teams from England, Scotland, Wales, France and Spain. However, it was a deserved win, the French scoring four tries through Hayraud (2), Sagols and Maybon
RUGBY
Womans Rugby
Dent and Evans scored the tries for Wales. Spain, in their first game of the tournament, were beaten 31-7 by England at Banbury. Both teams made a shaky* start to the match, but England took the lead* with through Frost with a penalty in the 13th minute. A try by Appleby took England further ahead*, but Spain came back but Spain came back. with a Ramirez try, converted by Etxegibel
RUGBY
At half time the score was 8-7 to England. In the second half the England team had wind advantage and were much more powerful. Appleby, George and Diver took England further ahead, and the Spanish team rarely appeared dangerous. In the end, a resounding victory for England. Spain did better in their second match of the tournament against Scotland in Murcia. A large crowd saw Spain take a 10-3 lead by half-time, and although the Scots came back in the second half, they were unable to make the most* of their chances. Spain finished victors by thirteen points to nine, srum-half Eider Barrena responsible for much of the Spanish scoring.
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