Q&A: Name is the game

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Q. The tennis player Anna Smashnova was aptly named for her chosen career. Are there other similar instances of appropriately named sportsmen or women?

A. My favourite is Silvia Topalova, a Bulgarian woman gymnast who competed in the early 1980s, including 16th place in the European championships in Madrid, 1981. - A Kirkham, Manchester

A. I can think of no finer example than Chuck Long, the former Detroit Lions quarterback. - Andrew Okey, Lancaster

A. The England rugby union team of 1959 had a hooker named Wackett, who was supported by a prop forward named Bendon. In present-day cricket, Somerset have a Bowler, who is a batsman, and a Batty, who is a bowler. And 90 years ago, the England Test team had a bowler named Fielder. - G F Hayman, Lytham St Annes

A. Somerset's cricket captain is Peter Bowler, although he does not bowl nearly as much as he bats. I once saw Gloucestershire's Martyn Ball bowl a ball to Bowler and bowl him. - John Eastwood, Street, Somerset

A. May I suggest Warren Barton as one of the country's most aptly named footballers. As the name Warren is supposed to derive from the German "Varin", meaning "defender", he was obviously destined to end up in a back four somewhere. And yet Kenny Dalglish still seems intent on playing him in attacking midfield. - Elizabeth Coldwell, London E6

Q. In racing, I see some jockeys are able to claim weight off the horses they are riding. Are these apprentice jockeys? If so, how many winners do they have to ride to lose this helpful ability to carry less weight?

A. An apprentice is a young Flat jockey under contract to a trainer. A person can become an apprentice at the age of 16, but can no longer ride as an apprentice jockey once he or she reaches 24.

An apprentice may make the following weight claims: 7lb until he has won 10 races, 5lb until 50 wins, 3lb until 75 wins. A conditional jockey is the National Hunt equivalent of an apprentice on the Flat. He must be under the age of 25 and his allowances are as follows: 7lb until he has won 15 races, 5lb until 25 wins, 3lb until 40 wins. - Peter Ratcliffe, Tyldesley


Q. I am sure I can remember watching Ali beat Foreman live on television in 1974. My friend, Den, says this is impossible because the fight was not shown. Could I have seen it? - Simon Cox, London N15

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