Vettel takes pole in Brazil
Sebastian Vettel emerged from plumes of spray on Saturday to deliver a typically accomplished lap in treacherous conditions and claim pole position for the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix. Smiling and relaxed, the four-time champion made light of the heavy rain, repeated postponements and obvious dangers to secure his ninth pole of the season, the 45th of his career, and extend his Red Bull team’s run of poles to nine. Vettel clocked a best lap of 1 minute, 26.479 seconds to finish 0.7 seconds clear of nearest rival and fellow German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes. He was more than a second clear of third-placed Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and his own teammate, soon-to-retire Australian Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion, was fifth in the second Mercedes ahead of Romain Grosjean of Lotus, Daniel Ricciardo and his Toro Rosso teammate Jean-Eric Vergne. Local hero Felipe Massa, who leaves Ferrari after this weekend’s contest, was ninth and Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber 10th.
Three lead at Titleholders
Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum fired a bogey-free five-under 67 on Saturday to seize a share of the LPGA Titleholders third-round lead alongside Natalie Gulbis and Gerina Piller. Gulbis shook off a watery bogey at the par-five first hole at Tiburon Golf Club and carded eight birdies in a seven-under 65. Gulbis is seeking to add a second LPGA title to a resume that includes a victory at the 2007 Evian Masters. Piller and Pornanong are both fighting for a first career LPGA title, although the Thai golfer won the unofficial HSBC Brazil Cup last season. Piller, like Pornanong, notched five birdies in her five-under 67 to join the leading trio on 11-under 205. They were two strokes in front of a group of four players on 207 — overnight leader Sandra Gal of Germany, China’s Feng Shanshan, and Americans Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson. Michelle Wie of the US carded a 66 and was alone on 208, one stroke in front of a group that included South Korea’s Inbee Park. Taiwan’s Candie Kung shot a 75 to be tied for 45th place on 220.
Schwartzel in pole position
Joint leader overnight and pre-tournament favorite Charl Schwartzel moved into a one-shot lead at the South African Open on Saturday after a three-under 69 put the Johannesburg native in control heading into the final round. The 2011 Masters champion drained five birdies against two bogeys on a clear, breezy day at the par-72 Glendower club layout to lead Italian Marco Crespi (70) and Denmark’s Morten Orum Madsen (69) with 18 holes to play. Madsen climbed into a tie for second with overnight co-leader Crespi after carding a three-under 69, while the Italian remains well positioned despite dropping a shot to Schwartzel on the day. Former champion Hennie Otto of South Africa is alone in fourth after a sparkling round of 65 that included seven birdies over the final eight holes.
Quigg defends his title
Scott Quigg defended his World Boxing Association super-bantamweight title with a second-round stoppage of Argentina’s Diego Silva in Manchester, England, on Saturday. The 25-year-old Englishman twice floored Silva with a powerful right hand, and the beaten challenger was left flat on his back and in need of medical assistance. Quigg had been elevated to the title earlier this year and was, in the opinion of experienced observers, fortunate to hold on to the belt in a draw against Cuba’s Yoandris Salinas last month.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
MEDIA RUMORS? With no pay agreement secured and players’ representatives calling for more financial information ahead of talks, the sport had another week of bad press Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle could be sacked in a matter of days, media reported yesterday, as the embattled governing body struggles to deal with a financial crisis compounded by a shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Castle this week took a 50 percent pay cut and laid off 75 percent of Rugby Australia (RA) staff members, saying that the body would face losses of up to A$120 million (US$71.95 million) if no more rugby was played this year. With no pay agreement secured with the players and their representatives calling on RA to provide more financial information ahead of negotiations, the
OLYMPICS Delay pushes rower to retire British rowing gold medalist Tom Ransley on Friday announced his retirement after deciding that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to next year was a step too far. The 34-year-old was part of the men’s eight who won gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics and also a bronze in the 2012 London Games. “I have used up everything I had and I know that to get myself in the necessary condition to compete for a seat in 2021 is a step too far,” he told the BBC. The years of early starts, of three training