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SPORTS TODAY

Rancor erupts during
Canadian drug inquiry

Ben Johnson was fortunate to test positive for an anabolic steroid in the 1988 Summer Olympics because it led to the exposure of the man who supervised the sprinter's drug program, Johnson's attorney said Tuesday in a surprise attack on Dr. Jamie Astaphan before the Canadian government's inquiry into drug use by athletes.

"Is that a statement or a question?" the inquiry's commissioner, Justice Charles L. Dubin, asked Johnson's attorney, Ed Futerman.

"That's a statement," Futerman said. "I apologize."

An angry Astaphan, who began supplying and administering steroids to Johnson and other Canadian athletes in 1985, was not appeased.

"Apologizing for a statement like that doesn't erase it," he said. "I think that's a pretty nasty statement."

Also during cross examination, Futerman called Astaphan's story about an East German athlete who supplied him in 1985 with a drug containing the steroid furazabol "a wonderful work of fiction."

Astaphan, 43, has testified that he gave athletes the furazabol from that supply through the 1988 Summer Olympics, absolving himself of responsibility for Johnson's positive test for another steroid, stanozolol, at Seoul.

But his credibility on that subject has been questioned by Dubin because Astaphan will not disclose the name of the East German athlete. Neither will he disclose the name of the Canadian athlete who he said introduced him to the East German, saying he had received threats against his family. "When the security of my wife and children comes in, I have to draw the line," Astaphan said.

Wants to play three years
in Vancouver: Larionov

Soviet center Igor Larionov says he wants to play about three National Hockey League seasons in Vancouver and has been told by General Manager Pat Quinn that the Canucks will try to reunite him with winger Sergei Makarov.

"Sergei wants to come with me to Vancouver," Larionov said in a telephone interview from Moscow. "He doesn't want to play in Calgary."

"Of course, I will still come if there is no trade," Larionov said. "But there are still some problems to conquer."

Larionov, 29, said the chances of Vladimir Krutov -- another Canuck draftee and a linemate on the national team -- joining them here are remote because Krutov has not been released from the army.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings' Petr Klima was arraigned in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., on a drunken driving charge, his third such offense since arriving from Czechoslovakia in 1985.

Klima, who vowed last year after his second drunken driving arrest never to drink and drive again, posted $25,000 bond after standing mute at his arraignment before 48th District Judge Gus Cifelli.

Klima faces a charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor, punishable by a maximum of one year in prison, a $1,000 fine, and a revocation of his driver's license.

Sacks is sacked
by Baker-Schiff team

Less than a week after winning the pole for the Champion Filter 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Greg Sacks has been relieved as driver with the Baker-Schiff Racing team.

"Sometimes in racing, like in other sports, combinations just don't work, and this is one of those times," team co-owner Buddy Baker told The Charlotte Observer. "Our combo wasn't getting the job done."

The newspaper said Jimmy Spencer was expected to drive for the Baker-Schiff team this weekend at Dover (Del.) Downs, where the Budweiser 200 will be run Saturday and the Budweiser 500 Sunday.

Sacks, 36, won the pole for last Saturday's 300-mile race at Charlotte with a speed of 167.214 mph. But he missed the pre-race drivers' meeting and under NASCAR rules had to start at the rear of the field. He finished 22nd after his car's engine failed.

Senior golfers criticize
course designed by Palmer

Several PGA Seniors Tour members have criticized the Laurel Valley Golf Course that Arnold Palmer redesigned in Latrobe, Pa., for the upcoming U.S. Seniors Open -- and Palmer isn't happy.

One player, Pittsburgh-area pro Jim Ferree, plans to skip the Seniors Open from June 29-July 2 because the severity and undulation of the hilly course's greens are too demanding.

Bob Charles, one of the Seniors Tour's leading money winners, also does not like the new greens because of the undulations.

"I don't think Bob Charles knows what he is talking about," Palmer told the Pittsburgh Press. "I think once you become a big star you make remarks just to let somebody hear you."

Around & About

Cheryl Daniels of Detroit, trying for her third title of the year and second in a row, won the top-seeded position for tonight's stepladder finals (10 p.m., ESPN) of the $35,000 Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour Hammer Open in Yuma, Ariz., by 130 pins Tuesday night over Paula Drake of Broken Arrow, Okla. Daniels won 17 of her 24 matches and averaged 226 to finish with a 42-game total of 10,022 pins. Drake, trying for her first career title, had 9,892 pins. Lorrie Nichols of Algonquin, Ill., was third with 9,794 pins followed by Nikki Gianulias of Vallejo, Calif., at 9,629 and Robin Romeo of Van Nuys, Calif., at 9,524. Cindy Coburn of Buffalo finished 13th at 9,256 and won $1,000. . . . Steve Zungul scored his second goal of the game, 2:46 into sudden death overtime as the San Diego Sockers defeated the Baltimore Blast, 5-4, to even the Major Indoor Soccer League championship series at one game each.

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