17 Jan 2020

Today's sports news: what you need to know

3:09 pm on 17 January 2020

Latest - Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele, the only men to go under two hours, two minutes for the marathon, will go head to head over the classic distance in this year's London Marathon.

Kenenisa Bekele crosses the finish line in Berlin.

Kenenisa Bekele Photo: Twitter

Kenya's Kipchoge had already announced he would defend his title but the presence of Ethiopian former track superstar Bekele, 37, who produced a stunning 2:01:41 run in Berlin last October to miss Kipchoge's world record by two seconds, will have fans drooling.

Also in the field for the April 26 race will be Mosinet Geremew, Mule Wasihun and Shura Kitata the Ethiopian trio who finished second, third and fourth last year.

Kipchoge, who became the first man to run a sub-two hour marathon in an unofficial race Vienna in October, is seeking a record fifth London title.

He has won 11 of the 12 marathons he has started, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and also has a slew of Olympic, world and commonwealth medals on the track and in cross country.

Bekele has three Olympic and five world championship golds over 10,000 and 5,000 metres, distances in which he still holds the world record, as well as an astonishing 11 cross country world championship golds.

- Reuters

King out of squash tournament

New Zealand squash player Joelle King was beaten in the semifinals of the Tournament of Champions in Grand Central Station in New York.

King, ranked sixth in the world lost to defending champion and world number two Nour El Sherbini in 41 minutes by a score of 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 3-11.

King will now play the Carol Weymuller Open in Brooklyn, New York later this month.

Grand Slam champ waiting on return

Andy Murray has delayed his comeback to tennis because of a slower-than-expected recovery from bone bruising that resulted from a career-saving hip surgery last year.

Andy Murray 2019

Andy Murray Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The former world number one played in the Davis Cup last November but decided in late December that he was not fit enough to play the Australian Open after bruising flared up. He had, however, hoped to return for tournaments in February.

"The bone bruising is taking longer to heal than first thought, so I won't be playing in Montpellier or Rotterdam in February," the 32-year-old told the BBC.

"I don't want to rush anything or put a timeline on my recovery. I'm going to listen to my body and step back on the court to compete when the time is right."

- Reuters

Froome wants fifth Tour de France title

Defending champion Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas will spearhead Team Ineos's Tour de France challenge this year but boss Dave Brailsford said Chris Froome was "craving" a fifth title.

Chris Froome is trying to add the Vuelta A Espana title to the Tour de France he won.

Chris Froome Photo: Photosport

Froome missed the race last year after a crash in training for the Criterium du Dauphine, fracturing his femur, hip, elbow and sternum, but is now back in training.

In his absence, Colombian Bernal, then 22, became the youngest winner in more than 100 years, with Welshman Thomas, the 2018 champion, in second place.

In a social media post from the British team, formerly Team Sky, Brailsford said they were planning around Bernal and Thomas as co-leaders on the Tour.

Briton Froome is training at a camp in Gran Canaria and is desperate to have the chance to try for a fifth Tour de France title and match Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

"Of course, Chris (Froome) coming back, he's still really craving that big fifth win and he's working very, very hard to get back to the level required to be competitive," Brailsford said.

- Reuters

Kiwis' draw for Rugby League World Cup finalised

New Zealand have been drawn alongside, Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland in Group C for next year's Rugby League World Cup in England.

The women's event will run concurrently to the men's for the first time with New Zealand drawn in Group A with Australia, France and the Cook Islands.

The Australian men have been drawn alongside Fiji, Scotland, Italy in Group B.

The draw was conducted by Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace with 16 nations taking part in the event, which will be opened by England's Group A clash against Samoa at Newcastle's St James' Park on 23 October.

Fixtures dates for the tournament have yet to be announced but EPL grounds like Old Trafford, Anfield, the Emirates Stadium are among the 18 venues being used.

Auckland into Super Smash grand final

The Auckland women's cricketers booked their place in Sunday's domestic T20 final against Wellington at the Basin Reserve with a five-wicket win over Otago in last night's elimination final at Eden Park.

Captain Anna Peterson (57* off 50) and Lauren Down (37 off 33) put together a rapid opening partnership of 94 off just 64 balls as the hosts reached their target of 121 with 21 balls to spare.

Auckland will now travel to Wellington, where they will meet the undefeated hosts for the title.

Cavs walk off game one

The Canberra Cavalry have earned a walk off 3-2 win over the Auckland Tuatara in the opening game of their Australian Baseball League series in Canberra.

The two sides produced another close encounter with neither side able to jump out to more than a one run lead at any point.

The Cavs scored first and looked sharp on the back of former Major League pitcher JJ Hoover but the Tuatara bounced back in the fourth inning when first baseman Jared Walker hit his sixth home run of the season.

The visitors tacked on a second run, which they carried into the seventh inning as the rode on the back of Japanese start Kyohei Muranaka.

The lefty finished with 5.1 innings of one-run baseball in another quality start from the former NPB veteran.

The home side struck back to level the game up in the seventh and managed to get the lead off man on in the bottom of the ninth. They were then able to manufacture the winning run off reliever Elliot Johnstone, who conceded his first earned run of the season.

Game two of the four match series is tonight at the same venue.

Sainz one stage away from becoming triple Dakar champion

Spaniard Carlos Sainz was one stage away from a third Dakar Rally triumph after ending the penultimate day in Saudi Arabia with a 10 minute lead over Qatar's defending champion Nasser al Attiyah.

Mini buggy driver Sainz, whose son and namesake races in Formula One for McLaren, finished third in Thursday's 379km stage over desert dunes from Shubaytah to Haradh.

Sainz's French team mate Stephane Peterhansel, a 13-times Dakar winner on two wheels and four, won the stage -- his fourth victory on this year's event and career 80th.

He is now just six seconds behind Toyota's Al Attiyah going into the final 374km to Qiddiya with the pair gaining eight minutes on Sainz, the first driver to start the 11th stage.

Saudi Arabian driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi was fourth overall in a Toyota.

Two-times Formula One champion Fernando Alonso was 113th in the running order at the day's start, after rolling his Toyota Hilux and losing an hour on Wednesday, and finished eighth fastest to end 13th overall.

- Reuters

Djokovic faces Struff, Barty takes on Tsurenko at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic will begin his quest for an eighth Australian Open title against Jan-Lennard Struff, while Ash Barty's bid to become the first homegrown singles champion at the year's first Grand Slam since 1978 starts against Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko.

Serbian Djokovic is defending champion after winning his record seventh Melbourne Park crown in last year's final against Rafa Nadal, who is the top seed this year and will face Bolivian Hugo Dellien as he aims for a 20th Grand Slam title.

American Serena Williams is only one Grand Slam title short of Australian Margaret Court's record of 24 and the eighth seed begins her bid for an eighth Melbourne Park crown with a tie against Russian Anastasia Potapova.

Japan's Naomi Osaka, seeded third, won her second Grand Slam crown in Australia last year and starts her title defence against Czech Marie Bouzkova.

Rising American talent Coco Gauff plays twice champion Venus Williams, who she beat on her main draw Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon last year.

Only one man has won more major men's singles titles than Nadal and Swiss Roger Federer will open his search for a 21st with a first-round match against American Steve Johnson.

French Open champion Barty, the women's top seed and world number one, will be looking to end Australia's 42-year wait for a home champion since the unseeded Chris O'Neill won the title at Kooyong.

- Reuters

England's Archer to stay on South Africa tour despite elbow injury

Paceman Jofra Archer will stay on tour as England hope to get him fit for the last test against South Africa in Johannesburg next week, officials said on Thursday.

The 24-year-old missed a second test in a row as an elbow injury ruled him out on Thursday as England picked Mark Wood instead to bowl in the third test at St George's Park.

"Jofra Archer is not fit and was not considered for selection. He's not quite there with his right elbow injury," said the England and Wales Cricket Board.

"Hopefully, he'll be back in contention for the fourth test."

Wood replaced James Anderson, who broke a rib in the second test victory over South Africa in Cape Town last week as England levelled the series at 1-1.

Bowler Craig Overton was sent home on Thursday after being brought out just before the first test last month as cover when the England squad was ravaged by a mystery virus.

- Reuters