- The Washington Times - Friday, August 8, 2008

TIANJIN, China | Stuart Holden ended the U.S. soccer team’s three-game scoring drought with a goal in the second half, giving the Americans a 1-0 victory over Japan on Thursday in the Olympic opener for both.

The Scottish-born Holden struck a loose ball at the top of the penalty area that Japanese goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa was able to slow, but couldn’t keep from trickling over the line in the 47th minute.

This was a welcome change for Holden. He hasn’t scored for Houston in 16 MLS games this season but had three goals in SuperLiga play.

“It’s always a good feeling to get a goal,” Holden said. “MLS is on the side right now. It’s great to get a goal not only personally, but to get a win.”

A victory was critical for both teams with the more heavily favored Dutch and Nigerians yet to play in Group B.

“It was very important,” U.S. midfielder Freddy Adu said. “Now we have to go against Holland, then Nigeria. I couldn’t be happier. The guys couldn’t be happier. Peter [Nowak, the coach] couldn’t be happier.”

Koreas to march apart

BEIJING | South and North Korea will not march together in Friday’s opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said that negotiations for a joint march failed, calling it a “setback for peace” and reunification efforts on the divided peninsula.

Athletes from the two Koreas marched together in the same uniform under the blue and white “unification flag” at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Athens Games.

“We’ve tried to have this in Beijing,” Rogge said. “Unfortunately, it was not possible.”

He said there had been a “great willingness” among the two national Olympic committees for a joint march.

Islamic group renews threat

URUMQI, China | A Chinese Islamic group that has threatened to attack the Beijing Olympics released a new video warning Muslims to avoid being on planes, trains and buses with Chinese at the games, a U.S. group that monitors militant organizations said.

The video was purportedly made by the Turkistan Islamic Party, which seeks independence for China’s western Xinjiang region, the SITE Intelligence Group said. The militants are believed to be based in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have received training from al-Qaida.

Last month, the group issued videotaped threats and claimed responsibility for a series of bus bombings in China. The new video, issued just ahead of the opening of the games, features graphics similar to ones used earlier: a burning Olympics logo and an explosion imposed over an apparent Olympic venue.

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