22 May 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

12:33 pm on 22 May 2021

Latest - New Zealand driver Scott Dixon has again topped the timesheets in practice for the Indianapolis 500.

#9 Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda ahead of the Streets of St. Petersburg Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida, USA on Friday 24th October 2020.

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

Also fastest in practice on Thursday (NZ time), the six-time IndyCar champ and 2008 Indy 500 winner was quickest again on Saturday with a fastest lap averaging 375kph.

The lap, on the final fullday of practice for the prestigious race, was also the fastest of the week.

"The team was really fast," said Dixon, who also gained the advantage of drawing first in the qualifying order.

"I think any time one of the Ganassi cars went out, they improved and improved in a big way.

"It was really tough out there today. Just really tough to get a clear track. I know it's difficult. I know everybody wants to try to get a (qualifying simulation) run."

Countryman and rookie Scott McLaughlin was 24th fastest of the 35 drivers on track.

Dixon's top lap came with the benefit of an aerodynamic tow, which drivers won't get in single-car qualifying on Sunday and Monday.

Bruce goes big in Arizona

The New Zealand and Oceania record has fallen again in the women's hammer throw.

NZ hammer thrower Lauren Bruce.


Cantabrian Lauren Bruce threw 74.61 metres to win the Tuscon Elite Classic in Arizona on Friday (NZ time).

It comes just two months after fellow Tokyo Olympics-bound athlete Julia Ratcliffe set a new mark of 73.55m at the national championships.

That throw had broken Bruce's previous national record, and five-metre personal best, of 73.47m from September last year.

"I'm really happy to have thrown a PB at my first competition back, and to do it early in the rounds," Bruce sauid of her performace in Arizona.

"There were definitely a few nerves coming into today but we knew I was in shape and I was able to trust that. It was great to be back out competing internationally under pressure, and test what we've built during the last few months."

The 74.61m effort elevated Bruce to sixth in the 2021 world rankings, led by America's world champion Deanna Price at 78.60m, and would have been long enough to have claim a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Meanwile, competing overseas for the first time in 18 months, men's shot putter Tom Walsh finished second at the event.

The reigning world champion produced a best throw of 21.71, which was eight centimetres short of his season's best.

2016 Olympic champion Ryan Crouser of the US won the event with an impressive best effort of 22.60m.

Venus into Geneva final

New Zealand's top ranked doubles player Michael Venus and his Australian partner John Peers have won through to the final at the ATP tournament in Geneva.

Michael VENUS (NZL) plays with John Pers (AUS) against Rajeev RAM (USA) and Joe SALISBURY(GBR) on Court 6 during Day 8 of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Monday, February 15, 2021.

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

The second seeds have won a close match against Uruguay's Ariel Behar and Ecuador's Gonzalo Escobar 4-6 7-6 (2) 10-8.

"They were quality opponents who have won a few tournaments this year and they played really well, especially on the clay. We had a few chances to break serve and weren't able to do it so are happy to be in another final." Venus said.

Venus and Peers were unable to convert any of their five break point chances but remained strong on serve after being broken once in the first set.

The trasn-Tasman duo will play Italy's Simone Bolelli and Argentina's Maximo Gonzalez for the title, with 16th-ranked Venus who chasing his 14th career ATP doubles title.

King and Coll winners in Egypt

A successful start for the two New Zealanders at the El Gouna PSA Platinum squash tournament in Egypt, with straight-game victories for both Joelle King and Paul Coll.

New Zealand squash player Joelle King.


Seventh seed King put in a good performance in her opening match against Egyptian Jana Shiba wining 11-7 11-7 11-5.

Things get more difficult for King in the third round when she takes on 20-year-old world No 14 ranked Rowan Elaraby, who is one of the rising stars of the world circuit.

While King eased through her match, fellow Kiwi and third seed Coll spent a bit more time on court as he defeated Egyptian Youssef Soliman 11-3 11-8 11-8 in a match which still took 54 minutes to complete.

Coll now plays Frenchman, 41st-ranked Victor Crouin in the third round on Monday morning (NZ time).

Nizzolo wins sprint finish

European champion Giacomo Nizzolo won his maiden Giro d'Italia stage when the Qhubeka Assos rider clinched victory with a fine sprint to the finish on stage 13, a 198-kilometre ride from Ravenna to Verona.

Italian Nizzolo, who topped the points classification in 2015 and 2016 without a single stage win, beat Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) and Slovakia's Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) who came second and third, respectively.

Affini seemed the likely winner in the final 300 metres but Nizzolo did well to chase him in his slipstream before slingshotting past his compatriot for victory.

Ineos Grenadiers' Egan Bernal finished in the peloton to retain the general classification lead and the race leader's pink jersey.

New Zealand riders George Bennett and Patrick Bevin both finished in the main bunch, with Bennett remaining 23rd in the general classification.

Stage 14 presented a potential chance for Bennett to further improve his position, with the peloton faced with a 205-kilometre ride finishing at Monte Zoncolan, one of the most infamous climbs in the sport.

- Reuters

World Cup proposal to be studied

FIFA will carry out a feasibility study on holding the World Cup and the women's World Cup every two years after backing a proposal at its annual congress.

USA's players kiss the trophy after the France 2019 Women’s World Cup football final match between USA and the Netherlands.

USA's players kiss the trophy after the France 2019 Women’s World Cup football final match between USA and the Netherlands. Photo: AFP

The two competitions are currently held every four years but the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) put forward a proposal for a study of the impact of switching to every two years.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino called it an "eloquent and detailed proposal" with 166 national federations voting in favour with 22 voting against.

Speaking after the congress, Infantino said the study would look at the competitions within the context of the review of the overall international match calendar.

But Infantino questioned whether the current system of regular qualifiers throughout a year ahead of a continental championships and World Cups was the best model.

"We will discuss it, we will analyse it but we will, in all discussions, put the sporting element as a priority not the commercial element," he said, saying he knew that holding twice as many World Cups would not mean doubling the revenue.

- Reuters