Monday 22 May 2017

Heffernan targets Olympic standard

ATHLETICS

Race walker Robert Heffernan is hoping to secure Olympic qualification in the 50km event in Naumburg, Germany, tomorrow after having to pull out of the recent World Championships.

The Cork walker, who was fourth in both the 20km and 50km at last year's European Championships and is looking to double up in London next summer, had to return from Daegu without competing because of a family bereavement.

But he returned to action last weekend in La Coruna and knocked a couple of seconds off his Irish 10km record, clocking 39 minutes 19 seconds.

The 50km 'A' standard for London is 3:59 flat, which should be well within Heffernan's compass as he clocked 3:45 at the European Championships last summer.

Ballinamore's Colin Griffin and Letterkenny's Brendan Boyce are also racing in Naumburg.

MOTORSPORT

Sebastian Vettel's adversaries yesterday lined up to pay homage to the man who again stands on the brink of making Formula One history.

Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber were all unanimous and magnanimous in their praise of Vettel, who could retain his world title in Singapore on Sunday.

The 24-year-old already possesses a number of age records -- and two more beckon as he is poised to become the youngest back-to-back and double world champion.

With eight victories and 10 poles to his name this year, the German heads into Sunday's race with a 112-point lead over his nearest rival, Fernando Alonso, the previous youngest driver to claim consecutive championships.

SOCCER

FORMER Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri signed a two-year contract at Inter Milan yesterday to become the fourth manager at the club since Jose Mourinho's departure in 2010.

Gian Piero Gasperini was fired on Wednesday just five games into the season after the previous night's humiliating 3-1 loss to newly promoted Novara left Inter with one point from three Serie A games.

The 59-year-old Ranieri has previously managed Chelsea, Juventus and, most recently, Roma. He had started this season working as a commentator for RAI, Italian state TV.

"Gasperini wanted to bring his own ideas," Ranieri told RAI late on Wednesday. "He tried to go that route at all costs and it didn't work. I'm going to try to get this squad back to playing like it knows how to, using all of its strength. Inter is a great squad. It had a false start and now it needs some enthusiasm."

TENNIS

James Cluskey yesterday clinched a place in the doubles semi-finals at the ITF Futures event in Brusaporto, Italy.

The 25-year-old Dubliner and France's Albano Olivetti, the top seeds, edged out Austria's Philipp Oswald and Germany's Jakob Sude 7-6 (7/2) 7/6 (7/4).

Irish Independent

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