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  • Miruts Yifter, Ethiopian running legend, honoured at Toronto funeral

    Miruts Yifter, an Ethiopian running legend dubbed "Yifter the Shifter" for his ability to power away from rivals, was laid to rest at a packed funeral in Toronto on Tuesday.

    Yifter, a distance runner who won two gold medals in the 5,000- and 10,000-metre events at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and won bronze medals earlier at the 1972 Munich Games, died at 72 after battling respiratory problems.

    "He's a national icon," said Yonas Tadssa, a friend of Yifter's who also hails from Ethiopia.

    "He's our hero."

    His victories put Ethiopia on the map in terms of running, and he's still regarded as one of the country's greatest athletes. Haile Gebrselassie — who still holds one of the world's fastest marathon times — recently said he owes his entire career to Yifter,

    Yet during his career, Yifter was criticized by Ethiopia's former military regime for not winning gold medals at the Munich Games, and he was briefly jailed upon his return home. Tadssa said Yifter, who left Ethopia for Canada in 2000, wouldn't have been able to live comfortably in his home country, something he said was a shame.

    Instead, the great runner came to Toronto — a city that knows far more about hockey and baseball players than distance runners.

    Tadssa said Yifter was never one to brag about his success. "He was just a simple, low-key person."

    When his running days were done, Yifter changed his focus to coaching soccer. Several of his former players attended his funeral.

    Yifter's body will be returned to Ethiopia this week.

    His family members, who told The Associated Press that he was never treated with the dignity he deserved in Ethiopia, called on all Ethiopians to give him a heroic welcome when his body arrives in Addis Ababa.

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  • Champions League last 16: Arsenal v Bayern Munich; Man City v Monaco; Leicester v Sevilla

     

    Arsenal will face Bayern Munich, Leicester City will play Sevilla and Manchester City are up against Monaco in the Champions League last 16.

    The Gunners have played the German champions four times in the previous five campaigns and finished behind them in the group stage last season.

    The Foxes, in their debut campaign, have a tough test against Europa League champions Sevilla.

    Manchester City's opponents Monaco beat Tottenham twice in Group E.

    One of the other standout ties of the round puts Spanish champions Barcelona against French champions Paris St-Germain. Barca beat PSG in the quarter-finals en route to winning the title during the 2014-15 season.

    Champions and La Liga leaders Real Madrid face Italian side Napoli, who are fourth in Serie A.

    Full draw

    Manchester City v Monaco

    Real Madrid v Napoli

    Benfica v Borussia Dortmund

    Bayern Munich v Arsenal

    FC Porto v Juventus

    Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid

    Paris St-Germain v Barcelona

    Sevilla v Leicester

    (First legs to be played on 14 & 15 and 21 & 22 February 2017; second legs on 7 & 8 and 14 & 15 March)

    'The tide has got to turn'

    Arsenal have been knocked out by Bayern in the three previous occasions they have met in the knockout stage.

    Gunners club secretary David Miles told BT Sport: "We are through to the knockout stage for the 14th consecutive season which is testament to manager Arsene Wenger and the teams throughout that time.

    "But the fans will think we have got the rough end of the draw again - at some stage the tide has got to turn and we will beat them."

    Bayern skipper Philipp Lahm tweeted: "Tough draw as Arsenal is in really good shape. Looking forward to seeing my former colleagues from the national team again!"

    Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain said that Monaco should not be underestimated.

    He added: "Monaco are playing probably the best football in France now.

    "In the group of Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen they were top. They have young players and a lot of talent. They play good football. It is a good draw."

    Analysis - progress is realistic

    By chief football writer Phil McNulty

    The Premier League's three representatives in the last 16 of the Champions League have all been handed tough draws - but also ties that will offer them the realistic opportunity of progress.

    Arsenal, reigning champions Leicester City and Manchester City could have been given easier opponents but there will also be guarded optimism surrounding the prospect of facing Bayern Munich, Sevilla and Monaco.

    The Gunners are aiming to end a run of six successive exits at this stage and some may curse the draw that pairs them with Bayern.

    It is not a comfortable reward for topping their group and they have suffered before against Bayern in this competition.

    Leicester City will give anyone a tough time if they play with the intensity and power they showed in thrashing Manchester City.

    Monaco's displays in beating Tottenham home and away will have warned Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola about their quality, and he also has serious defensive issues to address.

     

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