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Reuters Sports Schedule at 1400 GMT on Thursday, Jan 9

Reuters

Reuters sports schedule at 1400 GMT on Thursday:

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OLYMPICS

Over the next two weeks, Reuters will run a feature package on 50 Athletes to watch at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Here are today's featured athletes:

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Gold targets heaven in a halfpipe

If her surname is any indication of what she can achieve, Arielle Gold really was born to win. Now, the American teenager has the chance to fulfil her destiny as she prepares to compete in one of the most exciting and dangerous sports at the Sochi Winter Olympics. (OLY-BIO-GOLD (PIX), expect by 1700 GMT/1200 ET, by Julian Linden, 600 words)

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Vancouver Queen Sablikova will not abdicate

Martina Sablikova was dubbed the 'Queen of Skating' after her double gold medal success at the Vancouver Games four years ago and the Czech speed skater has no plans to abdicate her throne in Sochi. (OLY-BIO-SABLIKOVA (PIX), expect by 1700 GMT/1200 ET, by Patrick Johnson, 700 words)

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Bjoergen remains woman to beat in cross-country skiing

Marit Bjoergen is just looking to win one more gold medal at the Sochi Olympics - a relatively modest goal after the Norwegian cross-country skier's haul made her the most successful athlete at the 2010 Games. (OLY-BIO-BJOERGEN (PIX), expect by 1700 GMT/1200 ET, by Keith Weir, 500 words)

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Hurdle queen turns medal dreams to ice

Track and field star Lolo Jones is the most high-profile crossover athlete to try her hand at winter sports since former NFL running back Herschel Walker took off his shoulder pads and climbed into a bobsled. (OLY-BIO-JONES (PIX), expect by 1700 GMT/1200 ET, by Justin Palmer, 800 words)

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TENNIS

Australian Open (13-26)

ATP: Auckland Open (to 11)

ATP/WTA: Sydney International (to 11)

WTA: Hobart International (to 11)

Kooyong Classic (to 11)

Australian Open draw

MELBOURNE - Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka attend the draw for the men's and women's tournaments at the year's first grand slam (TENNIS-AUSTRALIA/DRAW (PIX), expect by 2345 GMT / 6:45 PM ET, by Ian Ransom, 350 words

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SOCCER

English Premier League

LONDON - The threat of a fourth consecutive defeat is looming large for Manchester United and their manager David Moyes, yet the beleaguered Scot feels things are on the verge of turning for his struggling side. (SOCCER-ENGLAND/ (PREVIEW), moved, by Toby Davis, 600 words)

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La Liga

Messi expected to feature as Barcelona take on Atletico

MADRID - Barcelona can strike a blow against one of their direct rivals for the title with a win at Atletico Madrid, who are level with the champions on 49 points after 18 matches, and they should have World Player of the Year Lionel Messi back from injury to help them. (SOCCER-SPAIN/ (PREVIEW), expect by 1100 GMT/6 AM ET, by Iain Rogers, 500 words)

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Spanish King's Cup last 16 first leg (2030 unless stated)

Real Sociedad v Villarreal (1830)

Rayo Vallecano v Levante

Real Madrid v Osasuna

Real looking for King's Cup revenge at home to Osasuna

MADRID - In a trio of all-La Liga clashes, last year's losing finalists Real Madrid host Osasuna, who held them to a frustrating 2-2 draw when they met in the league in Pamplona last month. (SOCCER-SPAIN/CUP (PIX), expect by 2230 GMT/5:30 PM ET, by Iain Rogers, 500 words)

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African Footballer of the Year

Toure goes for trio of titles

Yaya Toure is in line for a record-equalling third successive African Footballer of the Year award but John Obi Mikel will be the home favourite at the award ceremony in Lagos. (SOCCER-AFRICA/AWARD, expect by 2200 GMT/5 PM ET, 300 words)

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CRICKET

Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Abu Dhabi, second test (to 12)

Jayawardene hundred puts Sri Lanka on top in Dubai

Mahela Jayawardene, batting with three stitches on his left hand, ignored the pain to complete his 32nd test hundred and put Sri Lanka firmly in control of the second test against Pakistan. (CRICKET-LANKA/ (PIX), moving shortly, 250 words)

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GOLF

European Tour: Volvo Golf Champions, Durban (to Jan 12)

Select field as European Tour resumes

The tour resumes after its holiday break with a 36-man elite field contesting the $4-million 'tournament of champions' at the Durban Country Club. (GOLF-EUROPEAN/, expect by 1600 GMT/11 AM ET, 300 words)

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PGA Tour: Sony Open, Honolulu, Hawaii (to 12)

Johnson to launch bid at Waialae for 11th PGA Tour win

American Zach Johnson, fresh from victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua on Monday, launches his bid for an 11th PGA Tour title in the opening round at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. Masters champion and world number two Adam Scott heads a strong field that also includes eighth-ranked Matt Kuchar and PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner. (GOLF-PGA/, expect end-of-day lead by 0600 GMT/1 AM ET, 400 words)

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NFL

Next stop for traveling Saints is home-loving Seattle team

The New Orleans Saints snapped a road jinx with their playoff win last week in Philadelphia but face the NFL's ultimate travel test in their divisional showdown against the top-seeded Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. (NFL-PLAYOFFS/SEAHAWKS, expect by 2100 GMT/4 PM ET, by Larry Fine, 500 words)

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NBA

Heat hit New York looking to overtake Pacers

The Miami Heat, still chasing the Indiana Pacers for the Eastern Conference lead, visit the New York Knicks and the Oklahoma City Thunder, in a dogfight with San Antonio for top Western honors, travel to Denver in the only games on the NBA schedule. (NBA-HIGHLIGHTS/ (PIX), expect by 0430 GMT/11:30 PM ET, by The Sports Xchange, 400 words)

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NHL

Sizzling Blues looking for seven in a row

The red-hot St. Louis Blues go for their seventh consecutive win as they visit Calgary as part of a three-game Canadian trip while the Anaheim Ducks, winners of four in a row, play at Nashville in two of nine games on the NHL schedule. (NHL-HIGHLIGHTS/ (PIX), expect by 0430 GMT/11:30 PM ET, by The Sports Xchange, 600 words)

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NORTH AMERICAN SPORTS

Roundups of off-field developments in the major North American professional sports leagues. (expect by 0101 GMT/8:01 PM ET, by The Sports Xchange, 400 words) (London duty editor: Justin Palmer)

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