Riga vice-mayor Almers Ludviks and the City Council's education, youth and sports department deputy director Karlis Villeruss left for Turin, Italy, on May 29 to take part in the World Chess Federation's 77th congress. At the congress, Ludviks presented Riga as a candidate for hosting the World Chess Olympics in 2010, an initiative backed by the Riga City Council. The Chess Olympics have been held once every two years since 1927. Recently, the tournaments have gathered male and female participants from more than 150 countries, with the total number of participants growing to 1,500. The Latvian Chess Federation said that, since state funding is not enough for the international tournament, local authorities and private sponsors will also help. The federation has proposed the new multi-functional Arena Riga as the most suitable venue for the event.
English soccer star Wayne Rooney is hopeful that he can recover from a broken foot in time to play in the World Cup, according to teammate Steven Gerrard. The scan on Rooney's broken foot has been moved forward a week to June 7 to determine when he can start playing. "Wayne has been really positive," said Gerrard. "He is confident he can play some part although he doesn't want to name a game for his comeback. He's young, fresh and full of confidence - and really upbeat." News that Rooney wouldn't be able to participate in the World Cup hit hard, as the forward is arguably the team's best player.
Latvian speed walker Jolanta Dukure set a new national record in the 5,000 meter event on May 27 in the international competition in memory of Bruno Junga. Dukure finished the race in 21 minutes and 13.3 seconds, breaking the previous Latvian record of 21 minutes and 17.47 seconds.
China vowed on May 29 to host a "non-smoking" Olympic Games, but health officials admitted that changing the habits of 350 million smokers would be difficult. The government plans to ban smoking in public places, focusing on venues that offer services to children. "Smoking will be banned at all Olympic-designated hospitals by the end of 2007," Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang Bin as saying. The ban would also apply to public transport and in offices, Zhang said, adding that achieving this goal will be difficult. "China faces many obstacles to overcome in hosting a non-smoking Olympics," he said. China is the world's largest producer and consumer of cigarettes with nearly 2 trillion consumed a year.