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Published Aug. 5, 2007


Two Cuban boxers who had abandoned their delegation to the Pan Am Games last month were headed back to Cuba on Saturday, leaving behind a mystery whether they had intended to defect to Germany or were drugged, kidnapped and held against their will, a story they told police.

Guillermo Rigondeaux, 25, and Erislandy Lara, 24, were arrested Thursday by Brazilian police on a resort beach, police said. They left a federal police station in Niteroi on Saturday under armed guard and headed home, said police investigator Felicio Laterca.

The boxers told police two German citizens, including one of Cuban descent, had approached them July 20 in the athletes village in Rio de Janeiro and given them a drugged energy drink. The boxers said they were taken to an apartment in a drugged state and missed their scheduled matches.

Police believe the Germans were representatives of the German boxing promoting company Arena, which announced last month that the Cubans had signed five-year contracts. Brazilian prosecutors are investigating the Germans, identified only as Michel and Alex, on the allegations of kidnapping the boxers and inducing them to emigrate, both federal offenses. Arena representative Ahmet Oner said the company had not forced the boxers to defect.


40-year-old Torres eyes 5th Olympics

Dara Torres' 15th national title felt no different than her first a quarter-century earlier. The oldest national champion in U.S. swimming history, Torres, 40, set an American record in the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in her bid for a fifth Olympics appearance.

"I can't put words on it to describe how I felt when I touched that wall and saw my time," she said.

Torres came in at 24.53 seconds, a personal best that beat her American record of 24.63 set in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Torres also won the 100 freestyle Wednesday, her first title at nationals since she came out of retirement last summer after the birth of her first child.

Her goal is to swim at the Beijing Games next year, when at 41 she could become the oldest Olympic swimming champion.


Roddick reaches Mason final again

Andy Roddick outlasted Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5) to reach the final of the Legg Mason Classic in Washington for the third time.

Roddick, who won the event in 2001 and 2005, is 27-7 in tiebreakers this year. He will play Gael Monfils or unseeded John Isner in today's final.

ACURA CLASSIC: Maria Sharapova ended Anna Chakvetadze's 12-match win streak, 6-3, 6-2, to reach the final in Carlsbad, Calif. She'll face Elena Dementieva or Patty Schnyder.


HORSES: Excessive Heat beat Arealhotlover by 4-3/4 lengths in the $75,000 Juvenile Filly Turf Dash Stakes at Calder Race Course near Miami, running five furlongs in 56.78 seconds.

SOCCER: David Beckham says his left ankle injury likely will prevent him from making his MLS debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy today against Toronto FC.

WNBA: Katie Douglas scored 19 as host Connecticut routed Indiana 84-59.