Trott breaks track record
World Cup champion Marion Trott of Germany broke the track record on her first run in the world championships at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Thursday. Trott was the first to slide and turned every head in the start house with a run of 55.45 seconds. That was more than half-a-second faster than the previous mark of 56.17 seconds set in October by Noelle Pikus-Pace of the US. On her initial trip down the tricky 20-turn layout, Trott bounced off a couple of walls rocketing through the chicane after turn 14 and was as surprised as anybody at her result. “I felt it on the track because the time wasn’t like in training,” Trott said. Trott leads teammate and defending world champion Anja Huber by 0.40 seconds, with Australian Emma Lincoln-Smith a surprising third, 0.51 seconds behind.
Japan grab shock victory
Japan’s men were the shock winners of the Nordic combined team title at the world championships on Thursday. The Japanese claimed gold after finishing fifth in the ski jump and winning the cross-country skiing 4x5km relay by the smallest of margins. Germany finished second, with Norway third. In a tight race to the line in the relay, Japan’s team of Yusuke Minato, Taihei Kato, Akito Watabe and Norihoto Kobayashi pipped the Germans by just 0.1 seconds, while Norway finished 3.6 seconds off the pace to take bronze. Pre-competition favorites Finland suffered the late withdrawal of World Cup leader Anssi Koivuranta and finished eighth, while the US finished outside the top 10 after Bill Demong lost his bib number and was unable to take part in the ski jump.
Stevens gets two-year ban
England prop Matt Stevens’ career lay in ruins on Thursday after he was banned from rugby for two years for using cocaine. Stevens, who tested positive after his club Bath’s European Cup clash with Glasgow in December, received the ban from the tournament organizers after a hearing in Glasgow on Tuesday. He will not be allowed to play again until Jan. 18, 2011. Stevens, who has won 32 caps for England, confessed last month that he was struggling with substance abuse.
Zimbabwe tour postponed
Zimbabwe’s one-day series tour of Sri Lanka next month has been postponed with revised dates yet to be agreed, Sri Lanka Cricket spokesman Vajira Wijewardene said yesterday. Zimbabwe were scheduled to play five one-day games in Colombo with the first set for March 13. “Both countries have mutually agreed to reschedule the series for a later date,” Wijewardene said. He did not say why the tour was put off. However, the Cricinfo.com Web site said the series broadcaster, Ten Sports, had requested a change of date, as it was showing the South Africa-Australia and West Indies-England series at the same time.
Tigers blunt the Blades
Hull City beat Sheffield United 2-1 in a fifth-round replay to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 37 years on Thursday. A bizarre own-goal from Kyle Naughton gave Premier League Hull the lead after 23 minutes, although his wayward header off the crossbar did not appear to have crossed the line. Billy Sharp leveled soon afterward for the Blades, but Peter Halmosi struck 10 minutes after the break to send the Tigers through to face Arsenal or Burnley in the last eight.
Bulls’ first coach dies