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Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Pistorius challenges strict bail conditions in murder case
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Lawyers acting for "blade runner" Oscar Pistorius, accused of shooting dead his girlfriend, want his bail conditions relaxed and passports returned so he can travel overseas, South African media reported on Friday. Pistorius, charged with the Valentine's Day murder of his Reeva Steenkamp, 29, was released on strict bail conditions two weeks ago. He was ordered to pay a bond of 1 million rand ($110,000), hand over his passports and forbidden from returning to his house, the scene of the crime.
Tiger gets by with a little help from his friend
MIAMI (Reuters) - Tiger Woods's sharp putting helped him to a share of the five-way lead at the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Thursday after he got lessons on the practice green from one of his opponents. Woods worked with Steve Stricker, one of the game's best putters, for over an hour on Wednesday and it clearly worked as he shot a six-under 66 at Doral, with just 23 putts in his round, including a 38-footer for birdie on the fourth hole.
Spain seeks parliamentary approval for new anti-doping law
MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish government has asked parliament to approve a new anti-doping bill that seeks to bring national law into line with international norms. The legislation is seen as an important step in reversing Spain's reputation as soft on doping and the government hopes it will improve Madrid's chances of winning the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
Players' union gives approval for realignment plans 2013-03-08T005441Z_1_BRE92701T_RTROPTC_0_US-NHL-REALIGNMENT.XML () -
Rivals Federer, Nadal set to meet in last eight
INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Four-times champion Roger Federer was delighted to welcome back to the ATP Tour his long-time rival Rafa Nadal, a man he could face in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Spaniard Nadal has slipped to fifth in the world rankings after being sidelined for seven months last year due to a left knee injury and is seeded to meet Federer in the last eight of the elite ATP Masters 1000 event in the California desert.
Former Iditarod champion first to reach Alaska race's midpoint
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A four-time champion of Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was first to reach the halfway point at a one-time gold mining settlement for which the wilderness trail is named, before quickly losing his nominal lead to another musher, race officials said on Thursday. Lance Mackey, the only musher to win the 1,000-mile Iditarod four times in a row, drove his dog team on Wednesday night into the interior Alaska ghost town of Iditarod. His prize for being first to Iditarod is $3,000 in gold nuggets, officials said.
Thunder still making noise after being shorn of "The Beard"
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Oklahoma City Thunder are still making big noise in the NBA despite dealing away James "The Beard" Harden and hope their new mix will take them even farther than last year's trip to the Finals. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the way and Serge Ibaka stepping up to contribute more scoring punch, the Thunder have not missed a beat, heading the Northwest Division and fighting the San Antonio Spurs for top seed in the West.
Murray aims for Indian Wells boost after break
INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Having made early exits from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells the last two years, U.S. Open champion Andy Murray is banking on a long break from the game to help spark his form for the 2013 edition. The 25-year-old Scot has not competed since he lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final in January, preferring instead to work on his fitness for long-term gain.
Woods in share of Doral lead, McIlroy struggles
MIAMI (Reuters) - Looking confident and in control, Tiger Woods shot an impressive six-under-par 66 for a share of the lead in the first round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship as world number one Rory McIlroy struggled again on Thursday. Woods was perched atop the leaderboard with Sweden's Freddie Jacobson, Spain's Sergio Garcia, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and American Bubba Watson, the defending Masters champion.
Biological passports good news, says Federer
INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Roger Federer applauded Thursday's announcement that tennis will introduce biological passports for players and urged the sport to make the ATP Tour "as clean as it possibly can be" with a broad approach. Earlier in the day, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) also said it would increase the number of blood tests done each year under its anti-doping program in the wake of several high-profile cases in other sports.