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Sir Alex Ferguson will wait until the last minute before deciding whether new striker Robin van Persie is fit enough to make his debut in Manchester United's Premier League opener at Everton on Monday.

Van Persie, signed for £24 million from Arsenal, rushed back from international duty with Holland in midweek to undergo a medical in Manchester that went into the early hours of Friday before completing the most eye-catching Premier League transfer of the year.

After such a hectic schedule, and just a handful of training sessions with his new team-mates, United manager Ferguson is uncertain if he should throw van Persie straight into his starting line-up at Goodison Park.

"He hasn't played much. We are going to assess him the next couple of days and chat with him, see how he feels himself," Ferguson said.

"Adrenalin will help, if I choose to start him, but I think it's important he had a training session on Friday morning and hopefully the weekend will give me a good idea on whether he should start or I should put him on the bench."

Van Persie's arrival gives Ferguson, who could already call on Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, an impressive collection of attacking talent and the Scot believes Welbeck is just one player who will benefit from playing alongside such a world-class performer.

"It's been a long haul but the point I'm making about maturity is we needed a finished player," Ferguson said.

"(Paul) Scholes and (Ryan) Giggs are coming to the end and I need mature top players to replace them.

"The young ones don't have what Scholes and Giggs do at the moment and that's very important.

"We have had several players who have been that sort of catalyst, starting with (Eric) Cantona, I don't think we're short of all that, I think we were still capable of winning the title without Robin but he gives us a sort of certainty for the future.

"You always learn from great players, if you look at what Cantona did, he was a tremendous teacher for the all the young players and I think Danny will welcome that.

"He will learn he won't play every week because he will get little niggles and strains, but when he's 23 or 24 he'll be a fantastic player and will learn from the other strikers here.

"We've got a great combination of strikers now, it will be difficult for me but it's better to have another great player rather than worrying if you've got the right player."

In the eyes of one rival manager, at least, the van Persie signing makes United strong favourites for the title although Ferguson was placing little credibility in the claims of Roberto Mancini, manager of defending champions Manchester City, who said precisely that.

 

Usain Bolt declared himself "the greatest" after becoming London 2012's history man with a second double gold performance.

And British fighter Nicola Adams also entered the record books, becoming the first Olympic woman boxing champion as Team GB's golden girls delivered again.

Jamaican Bolt sprinted into history on the track as the first man to win a Games 100m and 200m sprint double at two separate Olympics. The 25-year-old, who could win yet another gold in the 100m relay, said: "I'm now a living legend, I'm also the greatest athlete to live.

"Now I am going to sit back, relax and think about what's next. But I am not ready to retire. I love this sport. The rest of the season I am just going to have fun because I did what I came here to do."

Team GB's female athletes led the way again by adding three more golds and a bronze to the medal haul. Adams's victory came along with rider Charlotte Dujardin winning her second gold medal of London 2012 in the dressage which also saw a bronze for Laura Bechtolsheimer. And in a dramatic late-night triumph, 19-year-old Jade Jones won Britain's first taekwondo gold medal. The victories take Team GB's medal haul at London 2012 to 52 - 25 gold, 13 silver and 14 bronze.

Adams, a one-time extra in soaps such as EastEnders and Coronation Street, was roared to victory by chants of "Nicola, Nicola, Nicola" from 10,000 ringside fans at London's ExCeL arena. The 29-year-old sealed her win with an Ali shuffle as she comprehensively overcame China's double world champion Ren Cancan in front of a crowd including the Duchess of Cambridge.

 

School sports provision is patchy in some places at the moment, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has admitted.

To continue the British successes of the London Olympics, it is important to ensure best practice is followed around the country, and to have more investment at primary school level, he said.

His comments follow the call by Lord Moynihan, the head of the British Olympic Association (BOA), for a major increase in Government funding to build on the success of Team GB at the London Games.

The BOA chairman accused the current and previous governments of "treading water" in terms of increasing participation. The peer, a former sports minister under Margaret Thatcher, claimed school sport policy is "bureaucratic" and needs more money to fund a major expansion.

Lord Moynihan said: "There is a need for radical reform and I am calling for more money. There needs to be a total commitment to ensuring a sports participation legacy that has to focus on schools and clubs. We have tens of thousands of kids watching great moments which will live with them for ever. The Government should step up to the mark."

Mr Hunt told BBC Breakfast: "I think at the moment school sport provision is patchy in some places, and we need to do what we can to make sure that the very best examples are spread throughout the whole country, and this is absolutely going to be a focus over the next few months and one of the things that we really want to take away from these Games

 

Hopes for Great Britain's first gold medal-winning performances of London 2012 are pinned on the cycling, rowing and swimming.

Bradley Wiggins is aiming for his fourth Olympic gold when he takes part in the men's road cycling time trial, while Helen Glover and Heather Stanning are going for a win in the women's pairs rowing.

Swimmer Michael Jamieson is also in with a chance of a top podium finish after setting a new British record to reach the men's 200m breaststroke final where he will be joined by teammate Andrew Willis. Another Briton, Jemma Lowe, will compete in the 200m butterfly final.

The hopefuls may well look towards the Aquatics Centre for inspiration, after American Michael Phelps won a sensational record-breaking 19th Olympic medal on Tuesday night, while 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen - who denied taking performance enhancing drugs after a US coach branded her first win "disturbing" - scored a second gold.

Wiggins, 32, is looking to add to his recent success at the Tour de France, and a podium place in the 44km time-trial around Hampton Court would give him a record seventh Olympic medal, one clear of rower Sir Steve Redgrave, who has six.

Fellow Briton Chris Froome is also in contention for a medal, while Emma Pooley, aims for the podium in the women's 29km time trial alongside Lizzie Armitstead, who on Sunday claimed Britain's first medal of the Games with silver in the road race.

Glover and Stanning will be hoping they beat Wiggins in the race to deliver GB's first gold when they race in the women's pairs at Eton Dorney. A win would bring home Britain's first ever Olympic gold in women's rowing.

There are also medal chances for the men, with the final of the men's eight. A win here would be special moment for Greg Searle. The 40-year-old came out of retirement in an attempt to become an Olympic champion for a second time, two decades after winning gold in Barcelona.

 

More than two million spectators have turned out to watch the first three days of London 2012, organisers have said.

Some 856,000 fans, including the football crowds and a "conservative" estimate of 500,000 for the road race, watched on Saturday, with a further 900,000 turning out on Sunday, Locog said.

 

China's Cao Yuan and Zhang Yanquan won 10m platform diving gold Monday after Britain's Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield fell from the top spot and out of the medals following a botched fourth dive.

The Chinese teenagers tallied 486.78 points from their six dives to win the event from Mexio's Ivan Navarro and German Sanchez, who took silver, and American bronze-medallists David Boudia and Nicholas McCrory.

Cao, 17, and Zhang, 18, who won both the Beijing and Moscow legs of the 2012 world series and also triumphed in February's test event, claimed gold on their Olympic debuts.

It leaves China, seeking the first sweep of eight Olympic diving titles, with two golds from the opening two events after Wu Minxia claimed her third synchronised 3m springboard Olympic victory alongside partner Hi Ze on Sunday.

A mistake on their fourth dive cost British pin-up Daley and his partner dearly as they surrendered their lead to finish the round, and ultimately the competition, in fourth.

"We had the highest score we have ever got after the first three, but at this level of competition, you can't afford to miss a single dive," said Daley, who will compete in Friday's individual platform.

Waterfield later admitted it was his mistake which cost the pair dearly, but Daley refused to point the finger of blame.

"We're a team, that's it, full stop," said the 18-year-old. "You win as a team and you lose as a team."

 

 

A black footballer was unfairly sacked by Gillingham FC after being racially victimised, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Former Barbados international player Mark McCammon, 33, took legal action against the League Two side after being dismissed for alleged misconduct last year.

The 6ft 2in striker told a hearing in Ashford, Kent, that he and other black players at the club were treated differently from white players. McCammon said he was ordered to come into the ground amid "treacherous", snowy driving conditions while some white players were told they were not required.

He also said the club tried to "frustrate him out" by refusing to pay private medical bills to help him regain his fitness following injury.

Instead, he claims he was offered the same operation on the NHS rather than privately, a move he described as "completely out of character" for a Football League club, and that he was fined two weeks' wages when he paid a visit to a private consultant. In contrast, the former Charlton, Swindon, Millwall and Brighton player said, a white team-mate was flown to Dubai for treatment by an eminent physiotherapist at the club's expense.

In a letter sent to the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) outlining his grievances, McCammon also claimed he was told not to blog while others were permitted to.

Officials at Gillingham said they were "staggered" by the ruling, saying the club had employed thousands of staff of different races and religions.

 

Paris Saint-Germain's most recent big money signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic will join up with his new teammates on Tuesday at their summer training camp in Princeton, the club have confirmed.

A statement on PSG's official website read: "Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected in New York in the early afternoon (evening in France) in order to join up with PSG at their camp in Princeton."

Ibrahimovic could make his debut in Saturday's friendly against MLS outfit DC United in Washington DC.

"I don't know if Ibrahimovic will be able to play, I hope he will be able to play for 30 minutes but that will depend on his physical condition," said PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti in the wake of the 1-1 draw against Chelsea in New York on Sunday.

"Once he has arrived we will decide whether he can play or not."

The country is gripped by Olympic fever, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, as he delivered his own pep talk to Team GB.

He told the nation's Olympians they could expect the support of the whole country as they battle to claim a record gold medal haul at the Games in London.

Speaking at Team GB's welcome ceremony at the Olympic village, Mr Clegg said: "The nation is gripped by Olympic fever in a way it never, ever has been.

"Because, when you host the Games, you don't just support your team in the normal way. Something deeper happens.

"These Games belong to everyone. We are all hosting the world. Our experiences are all tied together and, when everything is said and done, those experiences will make up a history we all share.

"In a way, the team goes even wider than this room - it extends to the people out there.

Athletes began arriving at the Olympic Village on Monday under leaden skies and persistent drizzle to what will be their home for the next three weeks and the scene of their quest for gold.

Consistent with the British summer so far, the weather was anything but golden to welcome the competitors with brooding clouds and umbrella-busting winds keeping the international flags flapping outside one of the entrances.

However, some of the apartments have already been given a splash of national colour.

One block had a banner reading "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie; Oi, Oi, Oi" spread over several balconies.

Another had a long banner in the Belgian colours hanging down, while others were decorated with Slovenian flags.

The smell of damp fresh pine wood filled the air around many of the newly-constructed buildings.

The site's shops are already open, with a range of international newspapers and handy items such as batteries for sale.

With thousands of athletes still to arrive, the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, still doesn't feel quite like the welcoming park organisers have envisaged.

A myriad of winding, empty roads criss-cross the area, flanked by concrete barricades and metal fences.

Soldiers in combat fatigues operated the airport-style security searches at the perimeter for regular visitors.