Thu, Feb 28, 2019 - Page 16 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

SUMO

Wrestlers face beard ban

Officials have introduced a crackdown on beards, calling them “indecent.” The ban is part of fresh regulations that also bar tattoos and long nails, a Japan Sumo Association spokesman said yesterday, as authorities look to clean up the sport’s image. “Items such as long nails, tattoos and beards grown out of an excessive wish for good luck shall be banned,” the spokesman said. Wrestlers often decline to shave their beards during tournaments as they believe it brings them luck. “Officials and referees will be on the lookout. The sumo ring is sacred and it’s important spectators don’t see anything unsightly,” association elder Oguruma said.

ATHLETICS

Ranking system announced

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Tuesday announced a first-ever world ranking system for competitors. “Rankings will be based upon the points [athletes] score, determined by their performance and place, and the importance of the competition,” it said in a statement. IAAF president Sebastian Coe said it would also make the sport easier to follow. “For the first time in the sport’s history, athletes, media and fans will have a clear understanding of the hierarchy of competitions ... allowing them to follow a logical season-long path to the pinnacle of athletics’ top two competitions,” he said. The rankings would not be used for qualification for this year’s world championships in Doha, but Coe said that was the longer-term aim.

BASKETBALL

Kareem auctioning rings

An auction featuring four of Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA championship rings is to run until Saturday. The league’s all-time leading scorer is auctioning rings he won with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980, 1985, 1987 and 1988, plus other game-used and autographed memorabilia. Abdul-Jabbar, 71, earlier this month wrote on his Web site that “much of the proceeds” would benefit his Skyhook Foundation, a charity that helps kids learn about science, technology, engineering and math. “When it comes to choosing between storing a championship ring or trophy in a room or providing kids with an opportunity to change their lives, the choice is pretty simple. Sell it all,” he wrote.

SKIING

Bad timing for Swiss clocks

In a nation renowned for precision clocks and skiing, Swiss timekeepers of a World Cup race got things so wrong that the results of a women’s downhill had to be altered three days after it was run — with two skiers knocked off the podium as a result. The fiasco stemmed from faulty finish-line timing, which had already caused organizers to amend the results once on Saturday last week shortly after the race ended. Having to change it a second time left the International Ski Federation (FIS) and Swiss Timing facing ridicule. “Is FIS a joke????” French skier Julien Lizeroux wrote on Twitter. The electronic clock failed to stop for four racers, who were later manually given times. “The reason that the four times were not recorded was as a consequence of the set-up of the photo cells at the finish, which were mounted too high,” FIS said. “After two training days the snow level was somewhat lower due to the multiple runs and slipping on the course, as well as melting due to the sunlight.”

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