F1 drivers to discuss whether to take a knee at season opener

LONDON — Formula One drivers will discuss taking a knee at the opening race of the delayed season in Austria on Sunday.

“Some of the drivers have already been speaking,” McLaren driver Lando Norris said. “If we are going to do it, we should all do it as a grid. It will be discussed following the drivers’ briefing with the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association on Friday.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has been supported by soccer players in Germany, Italy and England taking a knee before and during games.

“We will do whatever we can to show that we care and respect everyone,” Norris said. “We will do what is right when the time comes.”

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has been vocal about Black Lives Matter and F1’s diversity issues.

Like Hamilton, Norris will carry the “End Racism” message on his car this season. The 20-year old driver recently encouraged his social media following to sign petitions following Hamilton’s criticism of his peers for staying silent on the matter.

“I want to do better than any other driver, but everyone should be given the same opportunity and treated the same,” Norris said. “It is not fair that people get treated differently because of their race.

“This sport reaches millions of people and the more we can do as drivers, teams, and as a community in Formula One, the bigger impact we can have.”

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Grass is still green for Wimbledon’s head groundsman amid tournament cancellation

Neil Stubley should have been decked out in his white shirt and tie this week, monitoring the pristine 38 grass courts across the 42-acre site at Wimbledon.

However, the championships, which were due to start on Monday at the All-England Club, were cancelled for the first time since the Second World War due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The head groundsman, who has been working in the leafy London suburb since 1995, has seen “blood, sweat and tears” spent in preparing the prestigious grand slam come to nothing.

Life goes on though and with members using a reduced capacity of courts that are open, Stubley said it was surreal to walk around and see his courts not humming with the same action.

“It’s the fact that a lot of blood, sweat and tears has gone in to produce the grass courts and we don’t get to showcase them,” he said.

“But that disappointment is across the club. We are all very proud of the work we do and how well-received it is across the world.”

“It is an odd time and the best way to really describe it is you get a strange quiet feeling. It feels a little post-Championship now and there isn’t a great deal happening.”

“I would equate it to having been to a concert. You get that ringing in your ears for a couple of days.”

The 51-year-old said he and his 17 staff plus three temporary workers, reduced from the usual nine, were getting on with the job despite the cancellation.

It is a year-round job nevertheless. Renovation begins in August and September when courts will start to be taken out of play, renovated and then put to bed.

From the start of April, the grass is then taken down a millimetre per week from its

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ONE announces initial bouts for resumption in Thailand

MANILA, Philippines — ONE Championship has confirmed three initial fights for its scheduled return on July 31 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Headlining ONE: No Surrender is a showdown between longtime Thai rivals ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon and challenger Petchdam Petchyindee Academy.

Rodtang and Petcham will meet for the third time after splitting their first two matches in 2017 and 2018.

Another world title bout is on deck with Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy defending his featherweight Muay Thai belt against Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex in the co-main event.

In a Super Series Kickboxing Superbout, Superbon Banchamek and Sittichai Sitsongpeenong will make their ONE debuts to complete their trilogy.

Superbon drew first blood in 2016 before Sittichai exacted revenge with a knockout victory in the rematch.

The Thailand card, which will be held without fans due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, will be ONE’s first staging of its flagship event since February.

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