China's Ning kicked out of national squad

SHANGHAI World champion Ning Zetao has been ditched from China's national swimming squad for violating several team rules including signing sponsorship contracts without the team's consent, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Wednesday.

Ning had been sent back to his Chinese Navy team for training, Xinhua said, citing the Chinese swimming authority.

Force India? More like force-fed for new boy Ocon

By Alan Baldwin
| SILVERSTONE, England

SILVERSTONE, England Force India's new French signing Esteban Ocon has been feeling fed up. Literally.

New rules mean the tall 20-year-old has had to bulk up for his first full season in Formula One, with drivers facing far greater G-forces as they power the faster cars through the corners.

That has meant bigger meals over the winter for the former Manor driver, who has put on five kilos, but unfortunately without savouring the sort of fine cuisine his compatriots are famous for.

Brazil set June date for Australia friendly in Melbourne

SAO PAULO Brazil will play Australia in a friendly at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 13, the Brazilian Football Confederation said on Wednesday.

The game will take place four days after Brazil take on Argentina at the same venue.

Five-times world champions Brazil are currently second in the FIFA world rankings, 52 places above Australia.

Vardy strike offers hope to embattled Leicester despite defeat by Sevilla

By Richard Martin
| SEVILLE, Spain

SEVILLE, Spain Jamie Vardy scored his first goal in the Champions League to give Leicester City some hope of staying in Europe's elite competition despite a 2-1 loss to an utterly dominant Sevilla in Wednesday's last-16 first leg.

Pablo Sarabia headed the hosts into a deserved lead in the 25th minute after Kasper Schmeichel had saved Joaquin Correa's penalty. Argentine forward Correa made amends by netting in the 62nd after inspired play from Stevan Jovetic.

Juventus close in on quarters as substitutes see off Porto

LISBON Juventus edged closer to the Champions League quarter-finals after second-half goals from substitutes Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves earned them a 2-0 away win at 10-man Porto in their last 16 first-leg tie on Wednesday.

Porto's downfall was partly self-inflicted after left back Alex Telles received a red card in the 27th minute following two senseless bookings in the space of 90 seconds, leaving the home side to play over an hour against the Serie A leaders with 10 men.

Brazilian designer wins Hamilton helmet challenge

By Alan Baldwin
| SILVERSTONE, England

SILVERSTONE, England A competition to design Lewis Hamilton's 2017 helmet has been won by a Brazilian who incorporated a tribute to Ayrton Senna in it along with three stars for the Formula One titles won by both the late Brazilian and Briton.

Hamilton, who will unveil his new Mercedes race car to the world at Silverstone on Thursday, announced Rai Caldato, a professional designer, as the winner to his 3.8 million Instagram followers.

Exclusive - F1 team boss Mallya sees no grounds for extradition

By Alan Baldwin
| SILVERSTONE, England

SILVERSTONE, England Vijay Mallya, the one-time billionaire who co-owns the Force India Formula One team, said on Wednesday Indian authorities had no grounds to extradite him from Britain and he would not be leaving.

India wants Mallya to face trial after the liquor and aviation tycoon was charged with conspiracy and fraud over a loan to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines. It said this month that it had asked Britain to extradite him.

Danica estimates dozen concussions in racing career

(The Sports Xchange) - Danica Patrick estimates she suffered at least a dozen concussions during her racing career and told reporters Wednesday she would retire from NASCAR if a doctor told her there would be long-term risks from another head injury.

The subject of concussions came up during Daytona 500 media day at Daytona International Speedway after Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed half a season last year to battle the symptoms.

Rugby - Joseph dropped from England squad to face Italy

LONDON England centre Jonathan Joseph been left out of the squad to face Italy in the Six Nations as coach Eddie Jones prepares to field a new-look midfield in Sunday's game at Twickenham.

Jones named a 24-man squad on Wednesday and will shed one more player later in the week before naming his matchday squad.

Joseph has been a mainstay since Jones's appointment, playing in all 15 tests since the Australian coach took charge.

His role at outside centre is likely to be filled by Elliot Daly, with the powerful Ben Te'o also in the running for a starting berth.

Hungary to withdraw Budapest's 2024 Olympic bid - government

By Marton Dunai
| BUDAPEST

BUDAPEST Hungary's government announced on Wednesday it would withdraw Budapest's bid to host the 2024 summer Olympics, citing a lack of political and national unity behind the application that it blamed on the opposition.

Bidding alongside powerhouses Los Angeles and Paris, Budapest had been considered a long-shot candidate, pinning its hopes on the International Olympic Committee's Agenda 2020 initiative.

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