Qatar 2022 World Cup decision to come in 2015, official says

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The specific dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be decided next year, the Asian Football Confederation president said.

“There are a lot of partners that we need to sit and talk with and find the best solution, and I am sure this decision will not be taken before the first quarter of 2015,” said Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, according to the Press Association. “The decision is to look at the possibilities of the timing, as we speak now it is still June/July, but the aim of this task force is to look at the other options and the concerns that some will have.”

Salman is also the head of the task force to settle the best date on when to hold the 2022 World Cup. That he said June/July contradicted what FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke told France Inter Radio, according to Reuters, in January.

Valcke expected the 2022 World Cup to be played no later than some time between Nov. 15 and Jan. 15, which would not conflict with the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Olympics will be in February if it stays in line with recent Winter Games. They will be awarded to one of five cities next year.

Global soccer star named Youth Olympic Games ambassadormpics

Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at U.N. refugee agency

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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini “represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe.”

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees’ challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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Rafael Nadal recreates famous 1992 Olympic cauldron lighting

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Rafael Nadal, owner of two Olympic gold medals, recently parroted arguably the most famous moment in Spanish Olympic history.

Nadal and Marc Lopez, the 2016 Olympic doubles champions, took up bows and arrows and joined archer Antonio Rebollo on Monday at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Stadium. It brought back memories of Rebollo’s unforgettable cauldron lighting from the only Olympics held in Spain.

Nadal is in Barcelona for an ATP Tour event as he prepares to vie for a 10th French Open title next month.

Rebollo, now 61 years old, was one of 200 hundred archers considered to light the cauldron in 1992. He learned that he was chosen for the role over four other finalists two hours ahead of time, according to an NBC Olympics profile in 1996.

The cauldron would be 195 feet away. Fearing Rebollo would miss the target, organizers instructed him to fire his arrow beyond the stadium walls. As the arrow soared, a technician lit the natural gas flame with a remote control.

The illusion worked. The true story wasn’t revealed for another 20 years.

“There were no fears,” Rebollo, a Barcelona native who contracted polio at age 8, told NBC two decades ago. “I was practically a robot. I focused on my positioning and reaching the target. That was all. … My feelings were taken from the people who described to me how they saw it. What they felt, their emotions, their cries. This is what made me realize what the moment actually meant.”

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