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Crash diets not on FIA's menu

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Brazilian Formula One driver Felipe Massa. Photo AP/ Kamran Jebreili

Brazilian Formula One driver Felipe Massa. Photo AP/ Kamran Jebreili

Brazilian Formula One driver Felipe Massa. Photo AP/ Kamran Jebreili

THE struggles of jockeys and boxers in coping with weight regulations are well known. Now the issue is causing concern in Formula 1 where, with heavier cars this year, an overall car weight limit of 692kg for everything except fuel is forcing some drivers to crash diet to avoid being penalised. Following the Australian Grand Prix, Toro Rosso (the Red Bull junior team) driver Jean-Eric Vergne was hospitalised in a weakened state having starved himself to make the weight. The 23-year-old, who's 6' tall, risked dehydration and malnutrition to compete. Weight restrictions are less onerous on smaller drivers such as Felipe Massa, above (5' 5") and Fernando Alonso (5' 7"). FIA president Jean Todt dismisses concerns. "Normally you can do a good diet and not have to go to hospital," he said.

SOCCER: Leeds United v Bayern Munich in the European Cup Final. Although that tie took place in 1975, you'd think Leeds, the third largest city in the UK, would still have a football club in the Premier League. Since they were last in Europe, under manager David O'Leary ("I never wanted to leave...") in 2000-01, the club has had 14 managers. Today, struggling mid-table in the Championship, having sold their training ground and operating close to bankruptcy, Leeds United have a prospective new owner ready to buy a controlling share of the club. An attempt by the Football League to block a takeover by Massimo Cellino, owner of Italian club Cagliari, was overturned in court. That the controversial Cellino has sacked 36 managers at Cagliari in 22 years doesn't auger well for Leeds boss Brian McDermott.

BOXING: Barry McGuigan travels to the States shortly for discussions with Richard Schaefer CEO of Golden Boy Promotions confident that he manages boxers worthy of lucrative high-profile bouts. On Saturday Carl Frampton made short work of his WBC title eliminator with Mexico's experienced Hugo Cazares. Jamie Conlan won the WBO European title with a seventh-round knock-out. IBWA's Prospect of the Year Marco McCullough made it nine wins in 10 and, with a third-round stoppage, middleweight Conrad Cummings showed the punching power that McGuigan believes will make him a world champion. "Golden Boy want us to be involved in a number of big fights," says McGuigan. "If (Leo) Santa Cruz isn't available to fight Frampton until the autumn, we might take a big showcase bout in the States for Carl earlier. It would help build Carl's popularity in the States and that's where the money is. We're developing Irish talent. This guy (Frampton) is the flagbearer. We're going to sign more Irish talent and provide a conveyor belt of champions."

GOLF: It's not an illusion. Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Bernhard Langer, Miguel Angel Jiminez and Tom Watson (honorary), members of the European Senior Tour, are among 11 over-50s competing in this week's Masters at Augusta National. The oldest Masters winner was Jack Nicklaus (46) in 1986.


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