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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 6 December 2014
SPORT 28 SATURDAY 6 DECEMBER 2014 Page 31 Cage fi ghting imminent in Victoria Ford to pull out of V8 Supercars Ford confirms it will end financial support for its V8 Supercars in 2015 The official Ford vs Holden rivalry has just one year to go, after Ford Australia confirmed it will end its financial support for V8 Supercars from the end of next year. Prodrive Racing Australia (PRA) uses the racing name Ford Performance Racing, a team that has operated as Ford's primary team since 2003. Ford's sponsorship of Ford Performance Racing (FPR) expires in December 2014. PRA released a statement on the team's website confirming it had been informed by Ford Australia of the decision to end its involvement in the championship. "Ford Australia's decision to not extend its commercial relationship with our team beyond the end of next season is extremely disappointing for our large and loyal fan base, but as a business this deci- sion now allows us to concentrate on our long-term future," PRA chief executive Tim Edwards said. "We have enjoyed a highlysuccessful relationship with Ford Australia with just shy of 50 race wins, 150 podiums and the last two Bathurst 1000 crowns together.” Mr Edwards says the new FG X Falcon will run next season as planned, and will possibly be used again in 2016 before major regulation changes in 2017. Stories emerged on the eve of this year's Bathurst 1000 that Ford was considering getting out of V8 Supercars - the manufacturer stated that a decision on its future in the sport would be made before the end of 2014. Disappointed V8 Supercars boss James Warburton hopes to welcome Ford back in the future but is positive fans Ford Performance Racing won’t be receiving any funding from 2015. PHOTO: AAP/EDGE PHOTOGRAPHICS, MARK HORSBURGH. will still flock to see the remaining Ford cars race. "The good news for our fans is that there will still be six Falcons on the grid in 2015. "With many of our teams being privateers, with no factory support, we are confident that there will be Fords on the grid in 2016 and beyond. Ford only provides financial support to FPR, while assisting Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) on a parts supply agreement. Six Ford Falcons are expected to contest the 2015 season - FPR's four entries plus single vehicles from Super Black Racing and DJR Team Penske. Source: ABC/AAP Extreme heat policy changes Australian Open referees will be able to implement the extreme heat policy after temperatures reach 40 degrees Australian Open organisers have tweaked their extreme heat policy for next year's tournament after being accused of forcing players to perform in "inhumane" conditions during a heatwave in January 2014. Despite water bottles melting, ballboys collapsing and players vomiting and passing out when temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for four days at this year's tournament, play was stopped for only four hours on the outer courts. There was a groundswell of criticism from players, main- ly over the lack of transparency about when the policy would be implemented as it was entirely at the discretion of the tournament referee and not triggered by temperatures reaching a certain level. Tournament director Craig Tiley said this week the addition of a roof over a third showcourt, the Margaret Court Arena, would mitigate the effects of hot weather and he hoped the changes to the policy would make matters clearer to players. "The heat policy, as always, will be applied at the referee's discretion," Tiley said. "The decision on implementing the heat policy will take into account the forecast once the ambient temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius, and the Wet Bulb Global Temperature (WBGT) reading exceeds 32.5. "When conditions exceed these levels the referee is taking into account the forecast and state of play when making his discretionary call." Rather than use the raw Celsius readings to assess the heat, organisers prefer to use the WBGT composite, which also gauges humidity and wind to identify the perceived conditions. In another change, when the policy is enacted matches in progress will continue until the end of an even number of games in that set or com- pletion of tie break, limiting the exposure of players to the heat. The loudest complaints in January came from Canadian player Frank Dancevic, who lambasted organisers after collapsing during his first round match on an uncovered outside court, calling the rules "inhumane". Meteorologist Bob Leighton said long-range forecasts indicated that there would be no similar heatwave this year at the January 19 to February 1 tournament at Melbourne Park. "At this stage it's looking like a normal summer, perhaps slightly warmer, with only one day hitting around 40 degrees, and little or no rain forecast," he said. Source: Reuters Page 32 Oakleigh, South Melbourne to open season Russian Athletics Federation facing doping allegations ‘You cannot achieve your goals without doping’ says 800 metres runner Iuliia Stepanov A German documentary has presented evidence to backup serious allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics. The 60-minute documenta- ry Secret Doping Dossier: How Russia Produces Its Winners was aired by state broadcaster ARD and points the finger at Russian Athletics Federation president and International Athletics Federation (IAAF) treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev amongst others. It presents hard-hitting accusations by 800-metres runner Iuliia Stepanova, who is banned until January for a doping violation, and her husband Vitali Stepanov, who worked for Russian Anti-doping Agency RUSADA between 2008 and 2011. According to the documentary, the couple has left Russia due to their allegations. "You cannot achieve your goals without doping. You have to dope, that's how it is in Russia," Stepanov insists. His wife backs up his claims and paints a bleak picture of doping in Russia. Common practices include athletes travelling under an assumed name to avoid being tested while only those who have not yet failed doping tests are allowed to travel to major competitions. "If an athlete is caught doping, they (the system) just discard them and take a new one," 28-year-old Stepanova said. Stepanova backs up her statements with footage she secretly recorded of numerous Russian functionaries, including athletics coach Alexei Melnikov, which includes her being offered anabolic steroids in one clip. "Most athletes dope, around 99 per cent. And you get everything. The less detectable the drug, the more expensive it is," discus thrower Yevgeniya Pecherina said in one clip. Stepanov insists Russian government agencies control RUSADA's testings and he says unknown athletes are allowed to be caught, while failed doping tests of famous athletes are ignored. RUSADA managing director Nikita Kamaev has already rejected the allegations. David Howman, director general of the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA), has described the documentary's findings as "shocking" and said he would address the issues. Kseniya Ryzhova received a nine-month ban for doping this year. PHOTO: AP/ANJA NIEDRINGHAUS.
29 November 2014
13 December 2014