Here is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Motor racing-Verstappen ends pole wait at wet and chaotic Imola
Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen clinched his first pole position of the season on Friday in a wet and crash-interrupted Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix as he qualified for Saturday’s sprint race at Imola. Ferrari championship leader Charles Leclerc, thwarted by a late pit stop, will line up alongside the front-row Red Bull driver for a 100km race that will decide who starts first in Sunday’s main event.
NBA roundup: Grizzlies rally to take series lead against Wolves
Desmond Bane scored 26 points to lift the visiting Memphis Grizzlies to a 104-95 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday in Game 3 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series in Minneapolis. Bane sank seven 3-pointers as the second-seeded Grizzlies overcame a 26-point deficit to take a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 is Saturday in Minneapolis.
Women’s football’s crowd record was broken again as Barcelona beat Wolfsburg in the Champions League
A record 91,648 fans turned out for a women’s game as Barcelona beat VfL Wolfsburg 5-1 in the first leg of the Women’s Champions League semi-final at Camp Nou on Friday. The clash broke the previous female attendance record set just three weeks ago when 91,553 spectators flocked to the Camp Nou for Barcelona’s showdown with Real Madrid on March 30.
NHL roundup: Panthers and Flames seal divisional crowns
Mason Marchment had a goal and an assist as the Florida Panthers clinched the Atlantic Division title and best Eastern Conference record with a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday at Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers extended their winning streak to a franchise-record 12 games, matching a streak from December 15, 2015, to January 10, 2016.
Boxing-Fury outweighs contender Whyte ahead of title clash
WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury was 11 pounds heavier than challenger Dillian Whyte ahead of their title fight at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday. Fury, 33, tipped the scales at 264lbs on Friday, 13lbs lighter than he was for his trilogy fight against Deontay Wilder in October, while Whyte weighed in at 253lbs.
Tennis-Former teenage sensation Austin urges young players to ‘ignore the haters’
Tracy Austin knows all too well the pitfalls of being a teenage success story after triumphing at the 1979 US Open aged just 16, but believes what she’s been through has nothing to do with the onslaught of social media that young gamers now have to deal with. That’s why the American gamer-turned-pundit says gamers like British teenager Emma Raducanu need to build a virtual wall of protection around themselves – logging out of social media.
Motor racing – We underperformed as a team, says Hamilton at end of Mercedes race
Mercedes was excluded from the final round of Formula 1 qualifying for the first time since 2012 on Friday and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said the failure was collective. “I think we underperformed as a team today,” said the Briton after qualifying 13th for Saturday’s sprint race in a messy session at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix with teammate George Russell slightly better in 11th.
Golf-Former champion Norman plans to return to St Andrews for 150th Open
Former winner Greg Norman is planning to come out of retirement to play at this year’s British Open at St Andrews, 12 years after he last appeared in one of golf’s major championships. The 67-year-old, who won the Open in 1986 and 1993, last played professionally 10 years ago but is aiming to compete in the 150th Open when he starts on July 10.
Guy Lafleur, great player of the NHL and the Montreal Canadiens, died at 70
Guy Lafleur, a Hockey Hall of Fame ice hockey player who won five Stanley Cups during a 17-year NHL career spent mostly with the Montreal Canadiens, has died at the age of 70 years old, his former team announced on Friday. Lafleur, who began his NHL career with the Canadiens in 1971, was one of the most prodigious scorers and most exciting players of his generation, or any other.
Kremlin condemns suspension of Olympic swimmer Rylov for Ukraine position
The Kremlin on Friday condemned the nine-month suspension of Olympic swimming champion Evgeny Rylov for his attendance at a rally in support of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine. “We believe this is absolutely contrary to the ideas of sport,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the decision by world swimming governing body FINA to suspend Rylov. “When the strongest (competitors) lose the opportunity to participate, it ultimately harms international federations and international competitions.”
(With agency contributions.)