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Jaguar Growls After Rice's Tweet Too Far

Sep 7, 2010  - Craig Lord

Australia: A homophobic slur on Twitter has cost double Olympic medley champion Stephanie Rice a sponsorship deal with Jaguar, the luxury British car brand. Jaguar growled after Rice tweeted "Suck on that faggots" in response to the Wallabies' (Australian) win over South Africa on Saturday night in a rugby Tri-Nations game. Rice later realised her mistake and deleted the tweet but she caught it too late and copped it from angry Twits and media. "I made a comment on Twitter on Saturday night in the excitement of the moment. I did not mean to cause offence and I apologise," said Rice. The apology did nothing to alter Jaguar's take on events, Australia's general manager of the car maker, Kevin Goult, stating: "Jaguar Australia today terminated its relationship with Stephanie Rice, who has been an ambassador for the Jaguar brand in Australia since the start of 2010. The terms of the agreement and its termination remain confidential. We wish Stephanie success for the future." Rice drives a Jaguar XF, but it was unclear at first whether she would keep the car under the terms of her agreement with Jaguar. Several reports from Down Under stated that the swimmer would have to hand the car back. 

India: M.B. Balakrishnan, the 21-year-old national backstroke champion and one of two swimmers from Tamil Nadu to have made the Commonwealth Games team for hosts India, has been assaulted by two unidentified persons near his home in Chennai. A police investigation is underway. Speaking to The Hindu from his hospital bed, Balakrishnan said he was heading to swimming practice from his home in Jayalakshmi Colony, Shenoy Nagar, on his motorcycle around 6:20a.m. He said that "a man swung a cricket stump and hit me on my head. I collapsed. His accomplice ran in with a stump and the two started hitting me on my arms and legs". Nearby autorickshaw drivers and onlookers rushed to Balakrishnan's rescue as the two attackers fled. The swimmer suffered injuries to his head, hands and leg and was later admitted to a private hospital in Arumbakkam. 

FINA: Speedo is the Official Partner of the 1st FINA World Aquatics Convention, at in Punta del Este, Uruguay from 27 to 29 September. The event is a talking shop for aquatic sports representatives with a mission to "make Aquatics Bigger" through what Speedo describes as "innovation, ideas and the sharing of knowledge with the FINA family". Speedo and FINA will bring to the table the useful experience of understanding only too well the dangers inherent in "innovation" after the LZR Racer poly suit gave rise to the suits crisis of 2008-09 and led to the FINA ban on non-textile suits and the death of the bodysuit in the race pool, much to the delight of the vast majority of swimmers and coaches around the world. One of the main aims of the Congress is to put together a document of best practice among some of the world's leading swimming federations as a guide to developing nations still struggling to set up the basic infrastructure needed to build competitive sports programmes.