Hoy wins BBC award
Triple Olympic track cycling gold medallist Chris Hoy was named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday to cap a remarkable night and year for the sport. The Scot finished ahead of Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and double Olympic swimming gold medallist Rebecca Adlington in a vote by the British public. Hoy’s award completed a treble for cycling after the British Olympic team were named Team of the Year and their coach Dave Brailsford won the Coach of the Year honor.
South Africans top ref list
South Africans account for four of the nine referees in the inaugural Merit Panel of officials announced by South Africa New Zealand Australia Rugby (SANZAR) yesterday to take charge of next season’s Super 14 rugby matches. SANZAR announced last month that it would use referees on merit rather than on nationality to officiate in the southern hemisphere provincial Super 14 series next year. It means referees will no longer be barred from refereeing their countrymen in matches against a team from another nation. The move was made to ensure the best players would be refereed by the best officials, SANZAR said.
Ivuti first in Honolulu
Patrick Ivuti won the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, leading a Kenyan sweep of the first five spots. Running in consistent rain, the 30-year-old Ivuti finished in 2 hours, 14 minutes, 35 seconds for his first victory since last year’s Chicago Marathon. Stephen Njorge-Kinyanjui finished second, more than three minutes back. Ivuti was in a pack of Kenyans before separating himself near the middle of the 42.2km route along Oahu’s south shore. He ran alone for the last 15km. Kiyoko Shimahara of Japan won the women’s race in 2:32:36, beating countrywoman Kaori Yoshida by two minutes. Ivuti earned US$42,000 for the victory, including a US$2,000 bonus for finishing below 2:15. Shimahara received US$40,000.
Russia dominates relays
Russia dominated men’s and women’s biathlon relay races from start to finish on Sunday. Ivan Tcherezov, Maxim Tchoudov, Maxim Maximov and Nikolay Kruglov won the men’s race over 4 x 7.5km in 1 hour 24 minutes 22.9 seconds as the world champions could even afford one penalty loop. Austria trailed by 1:48.1 minutes as surprise second-place finishers with two penalty loops, with Ukraine third, 2:38.6 off the pave after three penalty loops. On the women’s side, Svetlana Sleptsova, Olga Medvedtseva, Ekaterina Iourieva and Albina Akhatova won the 4x6km race by an even bigger margin with a winning time of 1:10:49.5 hours.
Hewitt eyes comeback
Australia’s former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt is training six hours a day as he bids to recover from hip surgery and make a surprise return to the top 10, reports said on Sunday. The Wimbledon and US Open champion has slumped to 67 in the ATP rankings after an injury-ravaged year and faces a make-or-break season next year, starting with next month’s Australian Open in Melbourne. The 27-year-old had surgery for a long-standing hip complaint in August after being knocked out of the Beijing Olympics by Rafael Nadal in straight sets. Hewitt’s first tournament in the new year will be the mixed-teams Hopman Cup in Perth, starting on Jan. 3, followed by the Sydney International ahead of the Jan. 19 to Feb. 1 Australian Open.