Argentina, Uruguay impress in Copa America warmups

In other matches, Ecuador trounced Panama 4-0 with two goals from Fidel Martinez in Guayaquil, while Radamel Falcao scored the winner in Colombia’s 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in Buenos Aires.

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Paraguay and Honduras drew 2-2 in Asuncion, with former Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz getting both Paraguay’s goals.

While Suarez was helping Barcelona win the Champions league title in Berlin, his young understudy Diego Rolan put Uruguay one up after four minutes from Alvaro Pereira’s cross.

Edinson Cavani then added a brace, his first a tap-in after Rolan had hit the post, then a penalty on the half-hour to put the home side 3-0 up at half-time.

Substitutes Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Abel Hernandez increased Uruguay’s lead before Guatemala pulled one back through defender Wilson Lalin 12 minutes from time.

The Uruguayans open their defence of the Copa America title against Jamaica on June 13 and also meet Argentina and Paraguay in Group B.

Suarez is serving a ban of nine international matches in competition after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

FIVE-STAR ARGENTINA

Despite missing Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez, all of whom played in the Champions League final, Argentina found it just as easy against Bolivia.

Di Maria had the opener after 24 minutes with an angled drive from the edge of the box. Aguero got his first four minutes later with a penalty kick and then added another on the half-hour when he clipped home a cross at the near post.

Di Maria slotted home from the spot at 54 minutes and Aguero sealed his hat-trick a minute later.

Ecuador, who are Chile’s opponents in the tournament’s opening match in Santiago on Friday, also ran up a 3-0 lead in the first half against Panama.

Striker Miller Bolanos scored the first from a pass by tricky winger Jefferson Montero after he had beaten two defenders in the box in the 26th minute.

Martinez then scored twice in eight minutes, first from Montero’s pass then with a header from left back Walter Ayovi’s cross.

Seven minutes into the second half, Montero added the fourth for Ecuador, who also meet Mexico and Bolivia in their Copa group.

Colombia captain Falcao settled a more even affair at the Diego Armando Maradona ground in the Argentine capital in the opening minute of the second half, scoring from Juan Cuadrado’s low cross.

(Additional reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito, Luis Ampero in Buenos Aires and Daniela Desantis in Asuncion; Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ian Ransom)

Judd to decide on AFL future this week

Carlton champion Chris Judd will decide this week whether to call time on his decorated AFL career after suffering a serious knee injury in Saturday’s loss to Adelaide.

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The dual Brownlow medallist was pretty sure he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament as soon as he went down in the first quarter following a marking contest with Crow Patrick Dangerfield – a prognosis later confirmed by medical staff.

“I’ve done a medial ligament before and the feeling was just a bit different to that,” the 31-year-old Judd told Channel Nine on Sunday.

“It was a really sharp pain at the start and after the first 20 seconds, not incredibly painful after that.”

Judd seriously contemplated retirement at the end of the 2014 campaign before signing a further one-year contract.

If he were to undergo a traditional knee reconstruction he would face 12 months on the sidelines.

He did not completely rule out going for a LARS reconstruction that could potentially see him return before the end of the current season – although it shapes as a highly unlikely option.

“It will be based on what the surgeon thinks is likely to deliver the best outcome, so they will be discussions I will have with him,” said Judd.

The young Blues stepped up in Judd’s absence on Saturday, hitting the front in the last quarter and threatening to claim what would only have been their second win of the season, before going down by nine points to Adelaide.

After the match, Blues caretaker coach John Barker stopped short of declaring that Judd’s playing career was over, a decision that will be left to the player.

“The main thing now is just to take a deep breath, sit down and have a chat with the club, have a chat with my family and then make a call some time this week,” said Judd.

The midfielder has played 279 matches for West Coast and Carlton since making his debut with the Eagles back in 2002.

Waratahs secure Super playoff spot

Israel Folau scored three of the NSW Waratahs’ nine tries as the defending champions returned to the top of Super Rugby’s Australian conference and guaranteed a spot in the playoffs with a 58-33 bonus-point win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

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The Waratahs will not finish lower than sixth on the Super Rugby ladder, even if they lose to Queensland in the final round of the regular season next weekend.

Michael Cheika’s side came into the match in South Africa needing a bonus-point win over the 13th-placed Cheetahs to bump the Brumbies from top spot on the Australian conference as they chase a week off and prized home semi-final.

The Waratahs and Brumbies are now locked on 47 points, but NSW lead by virtue of having more wins this season.

It sets up a thrilling last round. The Brumbies get the chance to heap pressure on the Waratahs when they host the Crusaders in Canberra on Saturday afternoon, with NSW to face the Reds later that evening in Sydney.

Of concern for Cheika would be the Waratahs’ scrum, which crumbled a couple of times under pressure from the Cheetahs and that NSW let in five tries and trailed the hapless South Africans twice in the match.

Captain Dave Dennis admitted the Waratahs’ defence needs some work, but overall he was a happy skipper.

“To score 50-odd points away from home is probably a reflection of what we are capable of,” Dennis said.

“It was really positive. Although the Cheetahs have been struggling a bit this year, they are a good team, they showed that by scoring five really good tries.

“I was really proud of the way we kept fighting. We kept playing rugby and got the result in the end.

“We’ve got to shore up the `D’ (defence) a little bit but I’m really proud of the effort.”

Defence was optional in Bloemfontein with five tries inside the opening 20 minutes as both sides went on the attack from the opening whistle.

Folau bagged his first try on four minutes and had a double just before halftime when he scored the Waratahs’ fourth.

Giant NSW winger Taqele Naiyaravoro scored after the halftime siren to give the Waratahs a 29-21 lead at the break with eight tries scored in the opening 40 minutes.

Folau celebrated his hat-trick in the 60th minute which followed tries from Waratahs centre Adam Ashley-Cooper and electrifying Cheetahs winger Cornal Hendricks, who scored his second on 55 minutes after a first-half intercept try.

There was a run a of tries in the final 10 minutes with Bernard Foley crashing over before NSW winger Matthew Carraro and Cheetahs centre Francois Venter celebrated doubles with late five-pointers.

Scott Dixon takes IndyCar race in Texas

New Zealander Scott Dixon has won the Firestone 600 IndyCar race in Texas, winning by 7.

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8 seconds over teammate Tony Kanaan in the fastest race ever at the track.

Dixon led 97 of the 248 laps in a race that had only two cautions on a day to savour for the Kiwi, which was also one to forget for Australia’s Will Power.

After starting the race from pole Power finished a lowly 13th at a track where he has struggled on raceday after historically being strong in qualifying.

After anxiety about how the cars would handle on the high-speed, high-banked Texas track with the new aero kits, especially after three Chevrolets went airborne during practice for the Indianapolis 500, there were no accidents.

Driving the No. 9 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, Dixon got his 37th career win. The New Zealander also won in 2008 at Texas, which has now hosted 27 IndyCar races.

Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya finished third and fourth, respectively. Fifth-place Marco Andretti was the highest-finishing Honda.

After the start of the race was waved off because the field was not properly aligned, the first lap was counted as a caution before taking the green flag the next time at the line.

The only other caution came on lap 84 for debris on the frontstretch.

After the airborne cars at Indianapolis, IndyCar this week mandated the use of closure panels on the rear wheel guards. Those are designed to eliminate lift when an Indy car is traveling backward at a high rate of speed during an accident, and will also be required at California and Pocono.

Ryan Hunter-Reay had the only crash all weekend in Texas, in the first practice Friday when his No. 28 Honda spun and headed backward toward the outside wall. His left rear slammed hard before sliding down the track, but the car never went airborne.

Hunter-Reay finished 18th, seven laps behind Dixon.

There was a big surprise before the race. James Hinchcliffe gave the command for drivers to start their engines on video from his home in Indianapolis, where the driver is recovering after his left leg was pierced in a crash during Indianapolis 500 practice.

Using dancing to get back on their feet

A Brooklyn-based group is helping people with Parkinson’s disease use singing and dancing to keep active.

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Dance for PD is a non-profit collaboration between Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, which for the past 14 years has offered dance-based workshops to help people living with the condition.

Kay Dunphy has suffered from Parkinson’s disease for the past five years, and she attends the Dance for PD class each week at the Hannaford Centre in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle.

She said dancing has provided her with a greater sense of self-awareness and understanding of her own body and what it can do.

“With Parkinson’s the body wants to shrink up, but these classes get us to open our bodies out and reach out with our arms and legs,” she told SBS.

“I’m much more flexible, and it’s great socially as well. When I initially discovered I had Parkinson’s I felt self-conscious, but coming along with other people with the same symptoms makes it a lot easier.”

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative brain disorder and is estimated to affect around 80,000 Australians.

In most cases it develops gradually, initially causing tremors and developing over time to in some cases severely affect people’s body control. It can also cause muscle pain, memory issues and soft or slurred speech.

Prior to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Tom Leung took ballroom dancing classes for around five years.

“By the end of the class they’re moving a little more fluidly and perhaps even smiling – that’s the most gratifying part.”

He attends the same weekly class as Ms Dunphy, and said dancing again has helped him manage the symptoms of his conditions.

“This is the main exercise I do,” he said. “It relaxes my body and helps mobility…walking down the street you don’t fall over so easily.

“You have more confidence in doing a lot of things.”

‘Dance for PD’ is a non-profit collaboration between Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. For the past 14 years the organisation has offered dance-based workshops designed for people living with Parkinson’s disease. 

Beginning in Brooklyn, Dance for PD classes are now run in major locations internationally.

Sam Black has been a dancer with Mark Morris Dance Group since 2005 and has run Dance for PD classes across the USA for around three years.

He says regularly dancing with people that have Parkinson’s has provided him with a new perspective on dance.

“[The aim is] to try and implant some ideas and some concepts that you can apply to everyday life. So using some of the images that we use in a dance class can help you reach a jar of peanut butter off the shelf or bathe yourself,” he said. “Something that can relate to real world experience.

“We start in circle of chairs, sitting and doing general breath and torso warm-ups to get blood moving. And then we eventually make our way to standing, hold on to the chair and do some basic ballet exercises and we finish class by dancing across the floor.”

Rita Donahue teaches Dance for PD classes with Sam and has been with the Mark Morris Group since 2003.

She said the running the classes is a rewarding alternative to her professional dancing career, and allows her to use her dance knowledge in a socially beneficial way.

“The nature of the disease is that it is degenerative, so people’s conditions do not always improve,” she said. “But often we will see someone who was shuffling into class and then by the end of the class they’re moving a little more fluidly and perhaps even smiling – that’s the most gratifying part.”

The dance group behind Dance for PD, Mark Morris Group, is currently in Australia for a string of performances. While here they are running workshops at the Sydney Opera House for people with Parkinson’s disease.