15 May 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:51 am on 15 May 2020

Latest - This year's half Ironman World Championship in Taupo has been postponed due to the impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Teresa Adam winner of Nutrigrain Ironman, Taupo, New Zealand, Saturday 07 March 2020. Copyright photo: John Cowpland / www.photosport.nz

Teresa Adam Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

The event was scheduled for Taupo at the end of November.

However that event and October's World Ironman Champs in Hawaii in October have both been pushed back.

The full Ironman in Kona will now be held in February, with a new date yet to be determined for the 70.3 event in Taupo.

Up to 5,000 athletes were expected for the Taupo race and expected to bring around 20 million dollars to the region.

Taupō District Mayor David Trewavas said the postponement was expected given the effect Covid-19 was having on New Zealand and indeed the world. "This was no doubt a difficult decision, but the most important thing is that we as a community are ready to welcome these athletes when the time is right. We are proud to be home to the iconic IRONMAN New Zealand triathlon and are ready to showcase exactly why that is to the rest of the world. Bring on 2021."

A boost for the EPL

The English Premier League's plans to resume the season next month has been given a boost with Britain's Culture and Sport secretary Oliver Dowden saying the government was "opening the door" for football to return in June.

Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea celebrates  with his team mates after scoring.

Chelsea players celebrate Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Dowden said he held a "positive meeting" with football authorities -- which included the Premier League, the English Football League and the Football Association -- to "progress plans" for football to resume.

The professional game has been suspended since mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed over 33,100 people in the United Kingdom.

With lockdown restrictions in England being eased from this week, the government said elite sport could return next month.

However, England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam said a "measured approach" was required and a decision on a return to competitive action will depend on how players and coaching staff fare after group training sessions.


Black Caps tour off

As expected the New Zealand men's cricket teams' European tour has joined cricket's long list of coronavirus postponements.

The Black Caps were due to travel in June and play a total of eight limited- overs fixtures, with 20-over and 50-over matches against Scotland in Edinburgh, a T20 against Holland in Rotterdam, as well as five games against Ireland in Bready and Belfast along the way.

David White, NZC's CEO, said: "These are extremely difficult times for international cricket and we feel deeply for our friends in the northern hemisphere, whose season has been so badly disrupted. Hopefully, in brighter and less dangerous times, we can return and play the games that have been postponed."

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said: "It had become fairly obvious following the recent series of Government announcements in the Republic and UK that the New Zealand series was not feasible.


Warriors sign rookie

The New Zealand Warriors have signed rookie Eliesa Katoa until the end of the 2024 season.

Warriors forward Eliesa Katoa.

Eliesa Katoa Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Born in Tonga, the 193cm, 111kg second rower has earned his four-year NRL contract despite playing rugby league for only a year after being a schoolboy rugby union star with the Tamaki College First XV in Auckland.

After impressing so much in his NRL debut from the bench against Newcastle on March 14, Katoa was immediately promoted to start in the second row a week later against Canberra in Robina.

"It was a shock. The whole reason why I'm playing is to help out my family and my Mum's happy," he said.

"He's a wonderful boy," said Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney.

"He displays those values every day whether it's at training or helping Laurie (Hale) by bringing equipment in. You wish you had 30 of them. Eli's a really important part of our club's future."

Lewis Hamilton Britain's wealthiest sportsman

Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton has been named Britain's wealthiest sports star in the 2020 Sunday Times Rich List.

The 35-year-old's wealth increased by $76m in the past year to $458m, making him the wealthiest sportsperson in the list's 32-year history.

Golfer Rory McIlroy - worth $347m - was the only other sports star in the main list of Britain's 1,000 richest people.

Sport dominated the Young Rich List with 18 of the 50 places.

Boxer Anthony Joshua is the only non-footballer on the list, made up of those aged 30 or under.

The 30-year-old is worth $219m with Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale - also 30 - the only sportsperson ahead of him.


Kane helps out Orient

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane will sponsor Leyton Orient's shirt next season with the space on the front to be given to charitable causes.

England's forward Harry Kane celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot.

Harry Kane Photo: AFP

The League Two (fourth tier) club said the home shirt will display a thank you message to healthcare workers on the frontline battling the COVID-19 pandemic while the away and third kits will carry logos of a children's hospice and a mental health charity.

Kane, who made his senior debut with Orient in 2011 when he was on loan for half a season, said he was "proud" to support the club and the causes involved.

Orient have said 10% of the proceeds from each replica shirt sold will go to the cause featured on the front.

Kane was recovering from a hamstring injury that required surgery before the Premier League was suspended in March due to the pandemic. The league, which has nine rounds remaining, is looking to restart the season in June.


More substitutes in Bundesliga

Bundesliga teams will be allowed up to five substitutions per match when it restarts this weekend, while teams will be relegated provided the season is completed.

Short-term venue changes will also be permitted if health reasons dictate and the season will continue beyond its re-scheduled finish date of June 30 and into July if necessary, the German Football League said.

The Bundesliga will be the first major European league to resume when it gets going following a two-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second tier Bundesliga 2 will also get under way.

All matches will be played behind closed doors, and progress will be closely watched around Europe.

Bayern Munich, chasing an eighth successive title, currently lead the table with 55 points from 25 games, four ahead of Borussia Dortmund with RB Leipzig third on 50.

There are nine rounds of matches to play. At the bottom, Werder Bremen and Paderborn are in the drop zone with Fortuna Duesseldorf in 16th, which is the relegation/promotion playoff spot.


Tendulkar settles lawsuit

Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar has settled his lawsuit with Spartan Sports International, having earlier accused the Australian bat manufacturer of failing to pay him $2 million in royalties.

Sachin Tendulkar bats during the 200th anniversary match between MCC and the Rest of the World at Lord's 05/07/14

Sachin Tendulkar Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 47-year-old Tendulkar said in a civil lawsuit filed last year that Spartan had agreed to pay him at least $1 million a year to use his image, logo and promotional services but failed to make a single payment owed since 2016.

"Spartan sincerely apologises to Mr Tendulkar for its failure to honour his sponsorship agreement and is grateful for Mr Tendulkar's patience in resolving this dispute," its director Les Galbraith said in a joint statement issued by the parties.

Spartan said the batting great has had no association with them since September 2018 and also cancelled the trademark it had registered featuring Tendulkar's silhouette playing a cricket stroke.

Tendulkar quit international cricket in 2013 as its most prolific scorer, having amassed a record 34,000-plus runs including an unprecedented 100 centuries.


McIlroy to play first three tournaments

World golf number one Rory McIlroy says he is planning to play in the PGA Tour's first three tournaments when the season resumes next month after the COVID-19 disruption.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his victory as he holds the trophy at the conclusion of the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Rory McIlroy Photo: Photosport

The golf calendar has been severely impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak, with three of the sport's four majors rescheduled and the British Open cancelled.

The Tour's schedule restarts with the Charles Schwab Challenge (June 11-14 in Fort Worth, Texas) followed by the RBC Heritage (June 18-21 in Hilton Head, South Carolina) and the Travelers Championship (June 25-28 in Cromwell, Connecticut).

"Right now, I'm planning to play the first three events," McIlroy, who is also set to play in a $5 million charity skins match this weekend.

Four-times major winner McIlroy said he was confident that play could resume safely next month.

"Obviously we're going to have to take as many precautions as possible to be able to put tour events on again," he said.


Chess champion starts his own competition

World champion Magnus Carlsen unveiled a series of online chess tournaments with $1.5 million prize money having opted out of a competition held by the game's governing body this month.

The Norwegian was absent when the World Chess Federation held an online Nations Cup between Russia, United States, Europe, China, India and a Rest of the World team.

Yet the 29-year-old has launched his own tour on the back of the Magnus Carlsen Invitational held earlier this month.

The Invitational will serve as the first leg of his new tour.

There will be three more "majors" before a grand final in August featuring winners of the individual tournaments, the organisers said.

Chess tournaments have been disrupted amid the coronavirus outbreak.


Tour of Britain off

This year's Tour of Britain scheduled for September has been cancelled and the same route will be used for the 2021 edition.

The high-profile cycle race which attracts crowds of 1.5 million spectators was won last year by Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel.

This year's route would have taken the peloton through Cornwall for the first time and would have finished in Aberdeen.

Organisers ruled out holding their Tour without spectators, saying it would go against what the race stands for.