Q & A: The right track

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The Independent Online
Q. In athletics, why do they have a 1500 metres race on a 400m track? Would it not be more sensible to make it 1600m - four laps of the track?

A. I think it came about because a lot of the tracks on the Continent a hundred years ago were 500m. When the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896, the organisers decided on the following track events - 100, 400, 800, 1500 and 110m hurdles. It seems to me there might have been a compromise because the 400 and 800 are almost exact equivalents of the 440 and 880 yards run by the British and Americans at the time, yet the 1500 was a "European race" - three laps of a 500m circuit,

The lengths of the tracks at the early Olympics were variable; the one in London for the 1908 Games was one-third of a mile. The first Games to be held on the now standard 400m was Stockholm in 1912. By then the 1500m was an established event.

Wilfred Morgan, Birmingham

Q. Three Chappell brothers played cricket for Australia, Ian, Greg and Trevor. When was and which two were involved in the notorious underarm last ball of a match against New Zealand?

A. A few days after the last ball incident in 1981, some enterprising Kiwis were selling T-shirts that read "Aussies have an underarm problem".

Heather Abbott, Newcastle


Q. Who regulates the sport of point-to-point racing? Is it a profitable sport with the need of sponsors and television in this day and age.

Kevin Maguire, Batley

Q. I would like to know how many grounds in the Nationwide Football League can play be seen by people standing outside the ground. For example, Sixfields (Northampton Town) and Seamer Road (Scarborough) are two I know of. Are there any more?

Nigel Birket, Bedford

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q & A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894