4 Dec 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

3:58 pm on 4 December 2019

Latest - New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke were about 400 metres away from the perfect start to the 49er World Championships but a capsize close to the finish line left them thinking about what might have been.

Blair Tuke and Peter Burling compete in the 49er World Champs in Auckland.

Blair Tuke and Peter Burling compete in the 49er World Champs in Auckland. Photo: Sailing Energy

After easily winning their opening race, the four-time world and defending 49er Olympic champions were on course to finish second at worst in in race two in Auckland on Tuesday.

But a big crash in gusty conditions left them scrambling to minimise the damage and they eventually crossed the line in 11th, which left them 11th overall after day one of the regatta being sailed out of the Royal Akarana Yacht Club.

"It's pretty frustrating because we were going so nicely, but it's still alright and there's still a long way to go in qualifying so we will bounce back," said Tuke.

Germans Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel lead the fleet.

Strong winds prevented any racing in the 49erFX and the Nacra 17 fleets.

Patel retires from cricket, joins England coaching staff

Former Black Caps off-spinner Jeetan Patel has been appointed on a short-term coaching contract for the England cricket team for their tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Jeetan Patel is in line for his first test at the Basin Reserve.

Jeetan Patel. Photo: Photosport

The 39-year-old Patel has retired from his almost two-decade first-class career with Wellington in New Zealand to take up the spin bowling consultant role with the England team.

He had been working with the England side during last month's Twenty20 series against New Zealand.

Patel made more than 300 appearances across all formats with Wellington and also carved out a successful career with Warwickshire in England.

He made his one-day international debut in 2005 against Zimbabwe and his test debut against South Africa the following year.

Patel took 65 wickets in 24 tests, the last of which was against South Africa in March 2017.

- Reuters

Jeff Fenech to donate brain to science

Australian boxing great Jeff Fenech has pledged his brain to scientific research into the effects of concussion after a series of worrying incidents that saw him forget things straight after being told and going places without realising.

Research into the brains of ex-athletes shows that repeated knocks to the head - like those experienced by boxers and football players - might be causing serious brain disease.

Recent events have left Fenech worried about the effects a career that saw him claim world titles in three different boxing divisions and win 29 of his 33 professional fights might have had on his body.

He said personal experiences, as well as seeing friends deteriorate to the point where they could no longer speak, prompted him to make the extraordinary decision.


Jose happy for Old Trafford return

New Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho believes he will be shown respect when he returns to Old Trafford for the first time as a coach since being sacked by Manchester United.

The Portuguese won the Europa League and League Cup in two full seasons at United but was sacked midway through the last campaign with the club sixth in the Premier League.

Portugese football manager Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He re-surfaced at Tottenham a fortnight ago after the club parted company with Mauricio Pochettino, and he has overseen three consecutive victories to take Spurs up to fifth.

"Tomorrow I go back as a coach of the team that is going to try and beat Manchester United and that maybe gives a different perspective," Mourinho said.

"Going back to Old Trafford is to go back to a place where I was happy. I can say that. I have a great relation with the Manchester United supporters.

United are in ninth spot two points behind Tottenham, and pressure is mounting on Mourinho's successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose initial stunning impact is now long forgotten.

Klopp vouches for van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk deserved to win the Ballon d'Or instead of losing out to Lionel Messi, says Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.

Liverpool's Dutch defender was second in the voting for soccer's most prestigious individual trophy, won by Barcelona's Argentina forward for a record sixth time in Paris on Tuesday (NZ time).

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool directs his team mates

Virgil van Dijk. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"The decision is made by journalists, and that's how people see it. It's absolutely no problem," Klopp said ahead of Liverpool's Premier League home game against Everton on Thursday.

"I see it slightly different, I think it's normal and a lot of people see it slightly differently."

Klopp said Messi was probably the best player he had seen in his lifetime and deserved to be a six-times winner.

Italian Fabio Cannavaro was the last defender to win the Ballon d'Or, in 2006, after helping Italy in the World Cup.

The award has been dominated by forwards, with Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo a five-times winner and finished third in the votes on Monday.

- Reuters

F1 schedule concerns continue

When Formula One returns in 2020, there will be a record 22 races on the schedule - and renewed concerns about the demands being placed on those who keep the travelling circus on the road.

The schedule has lost Germany but is expanding with the addition of Vietnam and the return after a long absence of Dutch circuit Zandvoort.

Grand Prix Formula One Canada 2019, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10

Formula 1. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"I know they want to make money, but they also have to think about the mechanics who rock up to the track," Red Bull's Max Verstappen said earlier this year when asked about the expansion.

"They can file for a divorce straight away if there's going to be more," the 22-year-old said of the mechanics.

Over the last decade Formula One has spread its wings far beyond its European heartland and added lucrative races in Asia and the Middle East.

Of the 17 races in the 2000 season, only six were outside Europe. Next year, 13 of the 22 races will be long-haul "flyaways".

Race weekends are set to be shortened by a day from 2021, running from Friday to Sunday instead of the current Thursday start.

- Reuters

Formula E gets FIA tick

The all-electric Formula E series will have full FIA world championship status from the start of the 2020-21 season after approval by the sport's governing body.

Formula E

Formula E Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The city-based series last month started its sixth season, with a cast of manufacturers including Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and Audi involved.

Recognition means there will be two single-seater FIA world championships, with Formula E alongside Formula One.

Formula E founder and chairman Alejandro Agag said full championship status had always been the aim and it would add credibility.

New Zealanders Brendon Hartley and Mitch Evans are both competing in this season's championship.

- Reuters

Kipchoge set for Tokyo defence

Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathon runner in history, the world record holder and only man to go under two hours for the distance, says he'll defend his Olympic title in Tokyo next year - if selected.

Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge

Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge Photo: Copyright reserved

It should be reasonably safe to assume, even taking into account the often chaotic and inexplicable selection procedures that have long dogged Kenyan athletics, that Kipchoge will be given the chance to run next August.

The start line will now be in the northern city of Sapporo, where the marathons and walking events have been moved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a bid to avoid the worst of the debilitating heat and humidity of the Tokyo area.

Kipchoge has won 11 of his 12 official marathons, including the 2016 Rio Olympics, and with the world record and the sub-two hour mark under his belt, along with a string of lucrative big-city races he is a colossus of his sport.

- Reuters