Sports Digest: F1 continues to race despite nearby fire following attack in Saudi Arabia

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A cloud of smoke rises Friday from a burning oil depot in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, about 11 kilometers from where the Formula 1 Grand Prix is ​​due to be held this weekend. Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

CAR RACE

FORMULA ONE: Despite a raging fire at a nearby oil depot following an attack, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix continued to operate as usual on Friday evening in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with the Formula 1 race ahead also take place on Sunday.

After Yemen’s Houthi rebels admitted to launching attacks on the kingdom, Saudi state TV said there was a ‘hostile operation’ that targeted Jeddah’s oil depot, which caught fire during the first training about 11 km from Jeddah corniche circuit.

Despite this, the second practice was delayed by just 15 minutes following a meeting between the drivers, team principals, F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali and Mohammed Ben Sulayem, chairman of the F1 governing body. FIA Motorsport.

Another meeting was scheduled for later Friday between Domenicali and the team principals.

Race promoter Saudi Motorsport Company said nothing would change regarding third practice and qualifying scheduled for Saturday and the race on Sunday.

“We are aware of the attack on the Aramco distribution station in Jeddah in the early afternoon and remain in direct contact with the Saudi authorities,” SMC said in a statement. “The race weekend program will continue as planned. The safety and security of all of our guests continues to be our top priority and we look forward to welcoming fans for a top weekend of racing and entertainment. of range.

TENNIS

MIAMI OPEN: The seeded women continue to have major difficulties at the Miami Open, but Coco Gauff is not one of them.

The 14th-seeded American beat China’s Wang Qiang 7-5, 6-4 on Friday, avenging a first-round loss to her at the Australian Open earlier this year. Gauff, who turned 18 earlier this month, made her WTA Tour debut three years ago at the Miami Open. She reached the second round that year, was ousted in the second round last year and is now in the third round in Miami for the first time.

More than half of the women who were seeded before the tournament won’t even be there for the first weekend, with two others – No. 10 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and No. 24 Sorana Cirstea of ​​Romania – eliminated in the second turn. matches on Friday.

Their losses mean 13 female seeds have now lost their tournament openers, after 11 – including top seed Aryna Sabalenka – were beaten on Thursday alone. Four other female seeds have withdrawn due to injury or illness, meaning no more than 15 of the original 32 seeds will advance to the third round.

GOLF

EUROPEAN TOUR: Pablo Larrazábal had an eagle and three birdies on the back nine to erase a poor start Friday at the Qatar Masters, allowing the Spaniard to take a one-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 122nd Larrazábal, seeking his seventh DP World Tour title, shot 1-under 71 at Doha Golf Club for a 36-hole total of 9-under 135. Chase Hanna (66), Wilco Nienaber (68) and Adrian Meronk (70) were all one stroke behind in a tie for second place.

“It was a difficult start. Par-bogey-bogey was not in the plans,” said Larrazábal, who added a double bogey on the par-5 ninth to complete a 40 on the front nine.

BADMINTON

PROHIBITED FOR NOT TRYING: Four Chinese badminton players are on probation for two years for failing to do their best to win a doubles match in 2018 at the Fuzhou Open quarter-finals in China.

Next, Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen, ranked No. 2 in the world, faced He Ji Ting and Tan Qiang, ranked No. 17. The observing Danish players signaled to the referee that the game was not being played seriously. The referee and tournament director intervened in the second game as He and Tan led 21-15, 7-11.

The ref and referee asked both teams to play their best. After the intervention, the game noticeably increased in intensity and speed and He and Tan won 21-15, 14-21, 21-19 but all four players were charged.

A disciplinary hearing did not take place until November and December 2021, during which tournament referee Pencho Stoynov said he had never seen an incident like this in his 14-year career as a ‘arbitrator.

The Badminton World Federation revealed on Friday that the panel found the players guilty of not doing their best. They each received three-month bans, suspended for two years from January 25. They also had to give up their prize money, $12,250 for He and Tan and $2,187.50 for Li and Liu.

FIGURE SKATING

WORLD’S CHAMPIONSHIPS : Olympic ice dancing champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron broke their own world record in rhythm dancing on Friday to lead two American teams at the world championships in Montpellier, France.

With the support of their home crowd, Papadakis and Cizeron scored 92.73 points on their program set to music by John Legend to beat their Beijing Games score by nearly two points. It also left Papadakis and Cizeron more than three points ahead of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue going into Saturday’s free dance.


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