Rackets, car, tickets up for bid
LONDON -- The world's highest-ranked tennis players on Wednesday donated autographed rackets to raise cash for victims of the Asian tsunami.
World No. 1 Roger Federer, No. 2 Andy Roddick and No. 3 Lleyton Hewitt have each given the sport's organizers the ATP autographed rackets used in play.
The rackets will be mounted together in one framed presentation case and is being auctioned on the ATP's Web site www.atptennis.com.
Bidding opened at $10,000 and will close on Jan. 28.
Hewitt is also auctioning rackets at this week's Sydney International.
"The tsunami has touched many peoples lives throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the world," Hewitt said.
"But no one more than the children of the countries which were impacted by this natural disaster.
"UNICEF is working to protect and help those children who may have been separated from their families or orphaned as a result of the tsunami and each of us should do as much as we can to support their ongoing efforts."
The death toll from the Asian tsunami, triggered by an earthquake off Indonesia on Dec. 26, stands at more than 158,000.
The tennis community reacted quickly to support relief efforts. Shortly after the disaster, the ATP and its sponsors pledged $40,000 to the relief efforts.
A charity auction at the Chennai Open raised $23,000 for the Chief Minister Relief funds, set up by the local State Government of Tamil Nadu.
Many players donated prize money including Chennai champion Carlos Moya, who gave his winner's cheque.
Vijay offers key to aid
One of four Buicks won by Vijay Singh in PGA Tour events will be auctioned on eBay.
The proceeds will be donated to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for the youngest victims of the tsunami.
"My wife thought it was a great idea to do that, and I didn't really need a car," Singh told the Detroit News. "It's for a very good cause. There are a lot of people out there that need help. This is just a little thing that I can help, and I hope if you guys are looking for a car ... it's on eBay."
American golf organizations also have formed the U.S. Golf Tsunami Relief Fund to assist affected areas and the European Tour has announced the International Relief Golf Fund to aid victims.
The Timberwolves raised more than $175,000 for the American Refugee Committee, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization, via in-game auctions and donations by fans, players and staff. Latrell Sprewell gave $20,000, Trenton Hassell gave $15,000 and Fred Hoiberg and Ervin Johnson also made donations.
Most of the money will be used by the American Refugee Committee to assist survivors in Sri Lanka and Indonesia with health care, water sanitation, shelter needs and new boats for fishermen whose equipment was lost in the storm.
Beckham will use UNICEF post to raise funds
David Beckham was appointed a UNICEF goodwill ambassador Wednesday and will help raise money for tsunami victims with public service TV spots.
The English captain and Real Madrid star to assist the United Nations Children's Fund reach its goal of $143 million to help the 1.5 million children affected by the disaster.
"So many people have lost loved ones and particularly children have suffered greatly with over a million who are vulnerable and at risk of disease," Beckham said in a statement released by UNICEF. "People have been so generous to date and it is important that they continue to donate money to organizations such as UNICEF."
Beckham's public service ads were filmed in Copenhagen, Denmark, during his visit to UNICEF's supply division.
International stud group raises millions
Coolmore Stud, based in Ireland, Kentucky and Australia, has raised $2.2 million by auctioning the services of its 50 stallions.
The money will go to the Red Cross, and the total figure has been boosted to more than $3.5 million by a donation from a friend of Coolmore, the stud service said Wednesday after collating the bids.
The auction, which started on New Year's Eve and ended on Tuesday, was a rare chance for breeders large and small to gain access to some of the world's best racing stock.
"We hope this contribution will help people to begin to rebuild their lives in some small way," Coolmore spokesman Richard Henry said. "We are very aware that many of the bidders have also made private donations to various organizations doing excellent work in southeast Asia, and we are moved that breeders worldwide reacted so generously to support this very worthy cause."
Champion sire Sadler's Wells led the bidding at $397,000 for the right to send a mare to him.
The winning bidder was Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, one of the world's top owners and breeders whose great horses over the years include Dancing Brave and Rainbow Quest.
Fusaichi Pegasus, Kentucky Derby winner in 2000, fetched $170,000 just ahead of Giant's Causeway, Europe's top racehorse in 2000, at $160,000.
The figures bid were generally about 10 percent above the current commercial rate.
Speedway revs up effort
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee will auction a pair of lifetime tickets to help raise funds for tsunami relief efforts.
The speedway estimates the value of the tickets at more than $65,000.
The auction begins today www.bristolmotorspeedway.com.
The tickets will be good for every race at Bristol Motor Speedway and all NHRA events Bristol Dragway.
Bidding closes at 4 p.m. Jan. 28.
Bicycle tour postponed
LUBBOCK, Texas -- The inaugural United Texas Tour, a bicycle stage race that American racing officials had hoped would become a showcase domestic event in a sport concentrated in Europe, has been postponed indefinitely.
Race organizers said Wednesday they were reluctant to ask for sponsorship money at a time the world is sending massive amounts of aid to the relief effort for the devastating tsunami in South Asia.
"We are simply uncomfortable asking companies to fund the race when those dollars could be used for more immediate social concerns," said Eddie Owens, executive director of the United Texas Tour.
Organizers had raised about half of the $4.5 million needed for the race and would refund money already collected, said race spokeswoman Kim Davis.
Originally scheduled to run Sept. 8-17, the United Texas Tour was to be an 11-stage, 1,138-mile race starting and ending in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and meandering through western Texas. The title sponsor was to be United Supermarkets Ltd., and organizers had just sent out invitations last month.
"We've all put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this," Davis said. "Everything was completely on schedule."
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.
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