Today’s sports news: What you need to know
A technical infringement has cost New Zealand driver Liam Lawson his second race victory in Formula 2.
Lawson, a rookie in the main feeder series for Formula One, crossed the finish line first to win the second sprint race at the Monaco Grand Prix.
However, following an investigation after the race, the 18-year-old has been later disqualified for a rules breach involving the throttle on his car.
Lawson then finished seventh in the feature race, dropping him down to fifth in the championship after coming into the Monaco event in second.
Fortune was also not with countryman Marcus Armstrong.
The 20-year-old lost pole position for sprint race two after a mechanical issue forced him to start from pit lane, while he failed to finish the feature race after crashing into a wall.
Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed on his way to taking pole position at his home Grand Prix, with rivals unable to better his time after red flags halted qualifying for Formula One’s showcase race.
The 23-year-old smashed into the barriers with 18 seconds of the session remaining and would have to wait and see whether the car can be repaired without incurring grid penalties.
Red Bull’s title contender Max Verstappen was one of those frustrated rivals who had to abort their final flying laps, but the Dutch driver stands to inherit pole if the Ferrari is demoted.
Mercedes’ world championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who leads Verstappen by 14 points after four races but had struggled through the session and in practice, qualified a distant seventh.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas qualified third, also aborting a potential pole lap.
– RNZ, Reuters
Venus lifts title in Geneva
New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus and Australian partner John Peers have won their fourth title together at the ATP 250 tournament in Geneva.
The second seeds have beaten Italian Simone Bolelli and Argentina’s Maximo Gonzalez in straight sets in the final.
Venus and Peers have quickly gelled again after a two-month break following the Australian Open.
After a first round loss at the Madrid Masters, they reached the semi-finals at the Rome Masters last week and are now projected to climb to 13th in the race to qualify for the ATP Tour Finals in Turin at the end of the season.
The top eight teams qualify for the elite tournament, which Venus and Peers played together last year in London.
The duo captured three trophies in 2020 (Dubai, Hamburg and Antwerp) and having hit top form on clay will head into the French Open, starting next Sunday night, with plenty of confidence.
Breakers trumped by Kings
A lack-lustre final quarter has cost the Breakers in their second match back on New Zealand soil.
Eight-point winners over the Sydney Kings on Thursday, the Breakers have been beaten 81-76 by the same team in West Auckland on Saturday night.
The home side led by five going after the third quarter stanza, but a 25-15 final stanza for the Kings allowed them to gain avenge their loss two days earlier.
Levi Randolph’s 25 points led the way for the Breakers, while Corey Webster was next best with 13.
The New Zealand side’s next game is against Adelaide in Christchurch on Tuesday.
Another top 10 for Bennett at Giro
New Zealand cyclist George Bennett has further improved his overall position at the Giro d’Italia.
The Jumbo-Visma rider has finished seventh on stage 14, which finished with one of the sports most infamous climbs up the Monte Zoncolan.
Bennett is up to 18th in the general classification, 11 minutes down on race leader Egan Bernal.
Italian rider Lorenzo Fortunato of Eolo-Kometa ground his way up the steep slopes to claim his maiden career win.
Scaling gradients of over 20 per cent in the final three kilometres, Fortunato was egged on by fans on the mountainous route as he inched towards the finish line.
Jan Tratnik of Bahrain Victorious looked to challenge him close to the finish but did not have the legs and finished 26 seconds behind, while Alessandro Covi of UAE Team Emirates finished third.
– RNZ, Reuters
Sri Lanka cricket in crisis
Cricket in Sri Lanka plunged into a crisis after leading players refused to sign new contracts they find “unfair and non-transparent” on the eve of their one-day series in Bangladesh beginning on Sunday.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) offered contracts to 24 players ahead of the team’s departure for Bangladesh, with lower base salaries and more performance-based incentives.
In a statement through a legal representatives, the cricketers said they were “not in agreement to sign unfair and non-transparent contracts and urge SLC to not hold the players at gunpoint”.
The players, including test captain Dimuth Karunaratne and ODI skipper Kusal Perera, expressed “shock and dismay” at the SLC’s decision to make public their proposed salary details.
They said the salary offered to them was roughly one-third of what their counterparts in some other nations got.
“Unlike in other nations when disputes arise and result in players seeking other avenues by way of franchise cricket, the Sri Lankan players will continue to be readily available to play and be selected for Sri Lanka,” the players added.
Russian athletes get green light
World Athletics’ doping review board has approved 23 Russians to compete at international competitions as neutral athletes, taking the total count to 27 this year.
Russia’s athletics federation (RusAF) has been suspended since 2015 after a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping among track and field athletes.
World Athletics in March reinstated the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) scheme for clean Russian athletes after the approval of RusAF’s reinstatement plan.
Among the 27 neutral athletes are Mikhail Akimenko (men’s high jump) and Anzhelika Sidorova (women’s pole vault), who won silver and gold at the 2019 World Championships, along with women’s high jump world number one Mariya Lasitskene.
World Athletics has said there is no limit on the number of Russians who may compete as authorised neutral athletes in international competitions this year, apart from the Olympic Games and other championships.
Up to 10 Russians will be allowed to compete as neutral athletes at the July 23 to August 8 Tokyo Olympics if they meet certain criteria.
Sun Yang appeal to start
The sporting future of swimmer Sun Yang, one of China’s most celebrated athletes, will be decided next week in Switzerland when his appeal against an eight-year doping ban is heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The hearing, which is scheduled to run from May 25 to 27, will determine not only whether the 29-year-old multiple Olympic and world champion swims in the Tokyo Games but almost certainly whether he ever races again.
The case will be closely watched by Sun’s massive fan base in China as well as his rivals, including Duncan Scott and Mack Horton who staged protests against the Chinese swimmer at the last world championships.
Australian Horton dubbed Sun a “drug cheat” at the 2016 Rio Olympics because China’s first male Olympic swimming champion had served a three-month ban for the use of a banned substance in 2014.
Worse was to follow for Sun after a chaotic out-of-competition doping test in 2018, which ultimately resulted in CAS handing down the eight-year ban in February 2020.
That decision came only after the international arbitration body had accepted an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency against a decision by swimming’s world governing body FINA to let Sun off with a caution.
In December last year, Sun took his case to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court which upheld his challenge against the CAS panel, ruling that one of the judges had exhibited possible bias against Chinese people.
Lewandowski breaks Bundesliga record
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski broke Gerd Mueller’s 49-year-old Bundesliga goal-scoring record for a single season when he netted for the 41st time in the last minute of their last match, a 5-2 win over Augsburg.
The Poland striker is already second on the all-time scorers list in the Bundesliga with 277 goals, behind only Mueller’s 365. Mueller set the previous record of 40 goals in the 1971/72 season, which Lewandowski equalled last week.
Lewandowski missed more than half a dozen clear scoring chances in the game and looked set to miss out on the record, with Augsburg determined not to let him add to his tally and snatch the record away from Mueller.
But the Pole was not to be denied and in the final minute, when keeper Rafal Gikiewicz spilled a Leroy Sane shot, the forward rounded the keeper to score.
With coach Hansi Flick and several of the old guard – Javi Martinez, David Alaba and Jerome Boateng – bidding farewell to the club, it was an emotional afternoon for Bayern and the 250 invited fans in the 75,000-seat arena.
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