Defending champion Sebastien Ogier has taken the start of the 2015 World Rally Championship by storm.
Last weekend in Mexico he celebrated his third win from the opening three stops.
While the Frenchman produced a masterful drive to the top of the podium others took some rather unothordox routes in a bid for glory.
Mexico has proved a happy hunting ground for Ogier who for the third year in a row dominated the four-day gravel test for victory.
But it was far from plain sailing for the rest.
Jari-Matti Latvala struggled to keep his car in one piece losing his rear left wheel on Saturday’s second stage, forcing him to retire.
Britain’s Kris Meeke struggled to keep his car on track and crashed out early. Robert Kubica couldn’t see the woods for the tree and followed Meeke out.
It was a case of rock and roll for Belgian title contender Thierry Neuville who was delayed somewhat after rolling his car.
While Estonian driver Ott Tanak and his co-driver had a lucky escape after going for an unexpected dip in a resevoir.
As the car took on water and eventually sunk to the bottom both men escaped unhurt.
Amazingly – after ten hours submerged – the car was recovered and rebuilt in time to rejoin the race.
The business end of campaign
It’s the business end of the ski jumping world cup season – an eventful week in the sport where the overall leaderboard continues to see changes at the summit.
Recently the fly boys have twice competed in Finland – lets see who soared to victory and landed some crucial points in the overall race to the title.
Stefan Kraft has risen through the ski jump ranks to become a force to be reckoned with.
Having won the prestigious Four Hills Tournament this season the Austrian now has a maiden World Cup title firmly in his sights.
On Sunday he won in the Finnish resort of Lahti ahead of Germany’s Severin Freund and Norway’s Anders Fannemel to move to within seven points of overall leader Peter Prevc, of Slovenia.
Two days later they were at it again in a night jump at Kuopio, Finland where it was Freund this time who enjoyed success.
Kraft managed a joint third-place finish – good enough to reach the summit of the overall standings while Freund moved into second ahead of Prevc.
The season is now heading for a thrilling down-to-the-wire conclusion.
Off and running
The ITU World Triathlon series kicked off its 2015 season in style with a sprint.
The finest, fittest and fastest triathletes gathered in Abu Dhabi for the first of ten stops this year.
A 750 metre swim in the blue waters of Abu Dhabi marked the beginning of the new season.
Mario Mola turned out to be ‘Mr consistent’ in the swim and then again throughout the 20-kilometre bike race.
The Spaniard saved his best till last, though, and produced a dazzling run in which he clocked the fastest 5 kilometre time in the series history.
With one kilometre left he overtook Frenchman Vincent Luis and South African Richard Murray to claim his second career victory.
Continuing on a streak that started last year reigning World Champion Gwen Jorgensen celebrated her sixth consecutive win in the women’s category.
The American left the water 35 seconds down on the leaders and lost even more time on the bike.
But in an incredible burst of power and speed Jorgensen ran her way through the field and with 1.5 kilometres remaining took the lead from Bermuda’s Flora Duffy and never looked back.
Compatriot Katie Zaferes took the silver and Duffy bronze.
The second stop is in Auckland at the end of the month.
Kiwi Curry heats up world series
Rugby Sevens is physical and fast-paced so it’s no great surprise New Zealand are the giants of the game.
In 15 years of the world series they have failed to win the title just three times.
This week on spotlight we take a look a key player in his nation’s past four titles – the all-powerful, all-conquering, all-black Scott Curry.
With strength and pace, the 26-year-old has turned out to be a crucial player for the team since his debut in 2010 in Dubai against the USA
Last year he was named in the IRB Sevens Dream Team.
Curry insists: ‘‘Growing up with three younger brothers we were always into rugby.
‘‘The beauty of growing up in a small town like Reporoa you gave everything a go, whether it was waterpolo, hockey, basketball. I think having those skills from other sports probably help out when it comes to playing rugby.
‘‘My first game against the USA, all I remember is being nervous. I don’t remember much of the game to be honest.
National coach Gordon Tietjens handed Curry his first captaincy, which came as quite the shock to the 1.93m, 100kg Reporoa native.
‘‘I have captained the side a couple of times which was a massive honour,’‘ said Curry.
‘‘Tietjens didn’t even tell me until he named the team.
‘‘It was a bit of a shock in the team huddle when he said: ‘‘Scurry you are captain’‘. So I didn’t have much time to think about it but it was an honour. Luckily every world series I’ve been involved in we’ve won so far. So I have won four Sevens World Series. ‘’
A fifth world title is definitely within Curry’s reach.
Ahead of the series’ sixth leg of nine in Hong Kong at the end of the month New Zealand are second in the 19-team standings, snapping at the heels of leaders South Africa.
The way of the foot and fist
Last week we delved into the world of Kendo – ‘the way of the sword’.
This week on inside sport it’s the ‘way of the foot and fist’ – a literal translation of the Korean word Taekwondo.
They say the sport is about the unity of body, mind and life. But let’s face it, in competitive Taekwando it’s all about punching and kicking your way to more points than your opponent – and we love it.
You need to be explosive, dynamic, powerful, quick and flexible.
Maintaining these over three rounds of two minutes each takes skill, determination and focus.
But it comes down to six minutes to score as many points as you can.
So how do you do that at the highest level?
A simple kick to your opponent’s body will earn you one point.
You earn one point also for a punch to the body – if you can get close enough to produce the blow.
If you connect with the body with a spinning kick you earn three points and a big round of applause from the impressed crowd.
If you can get your legs up there, which all pros can, try the high kick to the head as that will also garner three points.
The last scoring action is high risk high reward. A spinning kick to the head earns you a maximum four points and will most likely floor your opponent.
If a fighter goes to ground the contest is halted until both are back on their feet – the fight then resumes.
If it’s a tie after the six minutes there’s a sudden death fourth round where the first to score will be declared the winner.
The time differences between gold and silver in bobsleigh and skeleton usually produce some of the slimmest margins in sport so emotions are understandably running very high on and off the track.
The world championships came to an end over the weekend so we thought it fitting to end this show with some of the images from Winterberg. (see clip above)
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