Famous in two fields

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Q. Ivan Lendl competed in golf's Czech Open last week. Has there been a famous sportsperson who has risen to prominence in two sports, apart from the obvious ones in football and cricket?

A. Perhaps the best examples are Charles Burgess Fry and Mildred Didrickson (later Zaharias). CB Fry, as well as gaining University honours as a rugby union wing- threequarter, represented Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and England, whom he also captained at cricket, topping the national batting averages six times and setting a record of six consecutive centuries. He also represented England at football and athletics and equalled the world long jump record. He was also offered the throne of Albania.

"Babe" Didrickson broke the world javelin record at 16, and at 18 won Olympic golds in javelin and 80 metre hurdles - in which she broke the world record - and silver in high jump. She then turned her attention to golf, winning the US and British women's amateur championships and, on turning professional, the US Open three times.

Another interesting example is Mike Corby, who represented England at squash and hockey.

John Severs, Durham City

Q. Hull's Steve Craven was sent off in the fifth minute of his side's recent rugby league match against Batley. Is this a record?

In May 1990 Sheffield University took part in a top-eight play-off against Liverpool University at The Willows, Salford. Sheffield kicked off and the ball was caught by the Liverpool No 8. The Sheffield forward Paul Little ran at him and thumped him, giving what is known as a "Cumbrian kiss". The referee dismissed Little after just 13 seconds. Liverpool won a thrilling final and Paul played no more, subsequently taking up fishing. - John Watt, Cheshire

Q. I have read and heard references to horses "coming down to the distance" and "winning by a distance". Can anyone enlighten me as to how far that is?

A. In horseracing the distance is 240 yards from the winning line. Winning distances are recorded as short head, head, neck, 1/2 length, 3/4 length, 1 length, 11/2 lengths, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25 and 30. Anything over 30 lengths is a distance

If the horse behind the winning horse is still 240 yards or more from the line, the distance is not worth recording. - Pete Ratcliffe, Tyldesley


Q. Manchester City's recent pre-season three-match tour of China was cut short after only one game against Tianjin FC because of flash flooding. With the area declared a disaster zone, the games against Dalian FC and Sechuan FC were called off, resulting in a 12,000-mile round trip for one match. Has any team ever travelled farther for one friendly game? Fourteen City supporters made the trip to China. Can any club match or beat this for fanatacism? - Adrian Brodkin, London N2

Q. What is the record for County Championship cricket matches finishing two days early? - Jack Holmwood, Scunthorpe

Q. Why do Jack Russell and other wicketkeepers face mid off when receiving the ball rather than facing down the pitch? - Philip Wilson, Hull

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.

Fax: 0171-293 2894