14 Feb 2020

Today's Sports News: What you need to know

2:36 pm on 14 February 2020

Latest - Double Olympic champion and sports woman of the year canoeist Lisa Carrington has blitzed the field to win the national K1 200 in Lake Karapiro.

Lisa Carrington on her way to the national K1 200m title at Lake Karapiro.

Lisa Carrington on her way to the national K1 200m title at Lake Karapiro. Photo: Vera Bucsu

Carrington finished a boat length ahead of the field and finished just over half-a-second outside of her world best time.

Carrington has now won the national title seven times.

"I turn up every year trying to do my best, and today was all about making sure I got myself in a space where I could perform," said Carrington who is unbeaten in the K1 200m stretching back eight years.

Kenny Smith on starting grid for his 49th NZ grand prix

New Zealand motor racing icon Ken Smith will lineup for his 49th New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfield this weekend.

Ken Smith.

Ken Smith Photo: PHOTOSPORT

78 year old Smith is a three-time grand prix champion, he won his first in 1976 and his last in 2004.

Smith intends to make it 50 if he can.

Meanwhile defending champion Liam Lawson of New Zealand and Brazilian Igor Fraga will fight for the Castrol Toyota Racing Series title this weekend.

17 year old Lawson has an eight point lead over Fraga heading into the final round this weekend.

Pele denies he's depressed and reclusive

The football star Pele has dismissed talk he is depressed and reclusive assuring fans he's doing well and maintaining a busy schedule.

Pele's son Edinho told Brazilian media earlier in the week that the three- times World Cup winner was depressed and reluctant to leave his house because he cannot get around properly due to hip problems.

Football legend Pele during a visit to South Africa in 2010.

Football legend Pele during a visit to South Africa in 2010. Photo: Photosport

"I am good," said Pele, who will be 80 in October.

"I continue to accept my physical limitations in the best way possible but I intend to keep the ball rolling," he said.

"I have good days and bad days. That is normal for people of my age. I am not afraid, I am determined, confident in what I do."

Pele, widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers in history, is the only player to win three World Cups.

He has suffered from hip trouble for years and cannot walk unaided. Many of his most recent public appearances have been in a wheelchair.

"I am not avoiding fulfilling the commitments in my always busy schedule," Pele said in his statement.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of his third World Cup title, won in Mexico in 1970 with what many rate the greatest team of all time.


Lindberg looking forward to NZ open challenge

Major-winning Swedish golfer Pernilla Lindberg is looking forward to the "incredible challenge" of competing as the lone woman at the New Zealand Open where she will tee off with two-time World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden Barrett.

Swedish golfer Pernilla Lindberg.

Pernilla Lindberg Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 33-year-old Lindberg will be the first woman to play in the event, with the 101st edition to be staged at the Millbrook Resort and The Hills in Queenstown later this month.

"I'm not going to set any kind of goals for myself, but I'm really going to soak in the week," she said at the Australian Open.

Lindberg said her surprise entry in the Pro-Am event was fixed up by a New Zealand acquaintance who knew the tournament director Michael Glading.

Having wed in New Zealand a year ago, Lindberg had planned to visit the country for a holiday with her husband before heading to China for the Blue Bay event on Hainan island, which ended up being cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Lindberg's pairing with All Blacks fullback Barrett is certain to be of major interest in rugby-mad New Zealand.

"I might have mentioned to (organisers) that I really like the All Blacks, the rugby team," said Florida-based Lindberg, who won the 2018 ANA Inspiration, her sole major triumph.

"(Barrett) sent me a message last night and said heG��s excited to play with me and I might have been very, very excited when I got that message."

Only a handful of women have played in men's golf events since American Babe Zaharias crossed the gender divide to play in the 1938 Los Angeles Open.

Swede Annika Sorenstam and Americans Suzy Whaley, Michelle Wie and Brittany Lincicome have all featured in men's events this century but only Zaharias managed to make the halfway cut.


Super boot out of Sharks team

The Hurricanes won't have to face super-boot Curwin Bosch in their Super Rugby game in Wellington on Saturday night.

Curwin Bosch of the Sharks.

Curwin Bosch Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Bosch, who kicked seven of his eight attempts at goal last weekend against the Highlanders, has returned to South Africa following a family bereavement.

Bosch played such a key role in the Sharks win over the Highlanders, that his loss could possibly have a major impact on their chances against the Hurricanes.

The Sharks are two from two while the Hurricanes lost to the Stormers before beating the Jaguars.

Breakers drop to fifth

The New Zealand Breakers have dropped out of the top four of the Australian National Basketball League following Melbourne United's 99-83 victory over the Cairns Taipans.

NZ Breakers team, after the Breakers win against Melbourne,2020.

Breakers Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With 6315 fans screaming like a sold out crowd at Melbourne Arena, United found a way to score their first win over the Taipans in four tries and keep alive their hopes of finishing in fourth place.

The loss for the Snakes means they are locked into finishing in third position as their four-game winning streak came to an end.

The 99-83 victory means Melbourne can claim fourth spot if they beat South East Melbourne Phoenix in the final game of the NBL season also at Melbourne Arena on Sunday.

The Breakers and Brisbane Bullets are still in with a chance of claiming fourth but now they need to win and hope the Phoenix can upset their hometown rivals.

The Breakers play South East Melbourne tonight.


NZ sailors remain in contention at world champs

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have dropped to second after the first day of gold fleet racing at the world 49er sailing championship in Geelong.

New Zealand sailors Peter Burling (R) and Blair Tuke (L).

Tuke and Burling Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The five-time world champions mixed two low scores (1 and 4) with two mid-pack finishes (15 and 11) but they are just one point behind Austrian pair Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl.

Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn are the next best of the Kiwis in 11th and Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie are 20th.

Micah Wilikinson and Erica Dawson were the best-performed combination of anyone in the Nacra 17 fleet and moved up two spots to fifth overall, only two points off the bronze medal position.

Meanwhile across Port Phillip Bay, Sam Meech has improved to eighth after qualifying at the Laser world championships.

Asian sevens tournaments postponed

The Singapore and Hong Kong legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series have been postponed due to the deadly coronavirus.

The outbreak has killed more than 1,300 people in China and infected tens of thousands more, and there are signs that infection rates are continuing to rise.

The Singapore tournament, which was due to take place on April 11-12, will now take place on October 10-11, and the Hong Kong leg has been moved from April 3-5 to October 16-18.

The Hong Kong Sevens, which arguably popularised and globalised the shortened version of rugby in the 1990s, is considered the marquee stop on the 10-tournament circuit.

The Singapore and Hong Kong rounds were seen as key to teams' preparations for the Tokyo Olympics rugby sevens competitions, due to run from July 27-August 1.

The Hong Kong tournament is set to host a joint Sevens Series competition for both men and women for the first time this year as World Rugby expanded the women's circuit from six tournaments to eight.

The tournaments join a long list of international sports events in Asia that have been cancelled, postponed or moved because of the virus, most notably the indoor world athletics championships in Nanjing from March 13-15.


Otago into grand final

The Otago Volts will contest their second Ford Trophy One Day Grand Final in as many years after edging Canterbury in a high-scoring nailbiter at Hagley Oval.

Having gone into the match as the third qualifier, the Volts set Canterbury a stiff chase of 295 after Jacob Duffy won the toss, but a majestic century from 23-year-old Canterbury opening batsman Jack Boyle threatened to see the hosts home.

Boyle's 119 was his fourth List A century.

It was Boyle third one-day century this season, but after having held the Canterbury chase together for almost 49 overs, he was caught off Duffy's final delivery of the match - leaving Canterbury's tailenders in charge of a fraught final over, from which 11 runs were still required, with two wicket in hand.

Earlier Mitch Renwick hit a career best 75 for Otago.

The Volts will meet top qualifier the Auckland Aces at Eden Park Outer Oval in Sunday's Grand Final.

Ko struggles at Australian Open

The New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko had her struggles on the opening day of the Australian Open in South Australia.

Ko opened with a one over par 74 which included a double bogey, two bogeys and three birdies.

She's in a tie for 90th, eight shots behind the leader Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England.

King says let there be coaching

American great Billie Jean King believes allowing coaches to signal to players from the stands during matches is a "no brainer" that will create more interest in tennis.

Women players are already allowed to summon their coaches during changeover once per set, apart from at Grand Slams, and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) will trial a new system allowing coaches to interact from the stands.

The trial will start at next week's Dubai Duty Free Championships.

"They should be able to signal from the stands," King told Reuters. "Look at baseball. They have a first base coach and a third base coach, the coaches are giving all these signals, squeezing their nose or whatever and making all these signals. It's fascinating for people.

"They make documentaries on these coaches. It's just a story to promote our sport and anything we can do to promote it is a good thing, it's a no-brainer."

The topic of coaching divides opinion and the ATP do not allow it in men's tournaments.

Players can receive code violations for 'coaching' from the stands.

The issue became a hot topic following the 2018 U.S. Open final when Serena Williams's coach Patrick Mouratoglou gestured to the player during her defeat by Japan's Naomi Osaka at Flushing Meadows, leading to a code violation and sparking a heated row between the American great and the chair umpire.

International Tennis Federation chief David Haggerty says he prefers the status-quo as far as on-court coaching, which is allowed in the Davis Cup and Fed Cup team events where the captain sits on court.

He said the ITF will use data from the WTA Tour trial to revisit the issue.


George to stay with Saracens

England rugby hooker Jamie George says he will continue to play for Saracens next season despite them being relegated from the Premiership for breaching salary cap rules.

The club futures of several England players, including captain Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and the Vunipola brothers Billy and Mako, were thrown into doubt when Premiership Rugby announced the sanction last month.

"It's tough and everyone is in a different situation," George, who played in England's battling Six Nations win against Scotland at Murrayfield last weekend, told Sky Sports.

"Pretty sure I'll be staying. The details of it I'm not too sure about yet, but I will certainly be playing some rugby next year. I've not spoken to the other boys, but for me it's a personal thing."

Saracens coach Mark McCall has said that the relegation could even help the club's England contingent earn their places on the Lions tour to South Africa next year.

English and European champions Saracens will play in the second-tier Championship next season.


McLaren launch new car

McLaren team mates Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz kept their driver bromance bubbling at the launch of their new MCL35 Formula One car.

The British-based team emerged from the doldrums to finish fourth last season and, in the 50th anniversary year of the death of founder, the New Zealander Bruce McLaren, are aiming to build on that momentum.

Norris, a rookie last year as Britain's youngest F1 driver, and Spaniard Sainz both liked what they saw as the Renault-powered papaya and blue car was pushed out at the Woking factory.

"I pretty much designed the whole thing," joked Norris. "Everything we went through last year, all our comments and discussions between us as drivers has been put into this and based around that.

"It's a lot more my car, we've had the input into making this, so it feels a lot more my baby," added the 20-year-old.

Sainz, the more experienced of the two at 25 years old and heading into his sixth season, said it looked slimmer and better: "I like it. I like it a lot," he said of the livery with its matt finish.

The two drivers hit it off last year, their friendly rivalry on and off track providing plenty of entertainment for the team's army of fans, and they made clear they expected that to continue.

"We managed to develop a good relationship with each other but also a good working relationship inside the team," commented Sainz, who last year took McLaren's first podium since 2014 with an inherited third place in Brazil.