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Fiji Time: 11:32 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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BRIEFLY

Ap, Afp
Friday, December 27, 2013

Best of year

PARIS - Wimbledon women's singles champion Marion Bartoli and NBA star Tony Parker have been named female and male sports person of the year by French sports newspaper L'Equipe.

Bartoli, 29, topped the women's section with 886 points following her stunning success at Wimbledon beating German Sabine Lisicki, her first - and only - Grand Slam crown at the 47th attempt, a record in the women's game for those who have finally captured such a lofty honour.

Step aside

SOCHI, Russia - Russian figure skating great Yevgeny Plushenko says he will not contest the individual competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics on home soil in Sochi.

"I think that I will select the team event and cede my spot in the men's competition to a young athlete," the R-Sport news agency on Wednesday quoted Plushenko as saying on the sidelines of the Russian championships in Sochi.

Noades dies

LONDON - Former Crystal Palace owner and chairman Ron Noades has died aged 76 of lung cancer the club has announced.

Noades ran Palace for 17 years - during which they reached the 1990 FA Cup final and came third in the old First Division in 1991 - and even had a spell as caretaker manager after the sacking of Italian Attilio Lombardo in 1998.

Games boycott

MOSCOW - Russia has dismissed the impact of a decision by US and some European leaders to skip the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi over Moscow's record on human rights.

US President Barack Obama last week named two openly gay sports stars but no acting official to his Games delegation, in a message of opposition to a ban on "homosexual propaganda" that Russia imposed this year.

French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron are among a clutch of EU leaders who have also decided to skip the Games' opening ceremony on February 7.

MLB free

TOKYO - The club of star Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has approved his move to the US major leagues, at a likely bargain price for such a high-profile trans-Pacific deal because of a new "posting" system.

The Rakuten Eagles, powered by Tanaka to their first-ever Japan Series national title this year, announced on Wednesday they would release the 25-year-old right hander.

Dempsey back

LONDON - US international midfielder Clint Dempsey has agreed to return to struggling Premier League club Fulham on a two-month deal.

The 30-year-old, who plays for the Seattle Sounders in the MLS, spent five and a half seasons at Craven Cottage in his first spell after signing in January 2007 from New England Revolution.

Another child

BERN - Already in the swing of parenting, Roger Federer is getting ready for a larger family. The tennis star says on Twitter that he and his wife, Mirka, are expecting another child next year.

Twins Charlene and Myla were born in July 2009, and Federer wrote on Wednesday, "Mirka and I are very happy to share the news" that the couple's daughters "will be big sisters in 2014!".