Sporting Q&A

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Q. In athletics jumping events, why do long-jumpers and high-jumpers take off using only one leg? It seems to me that a two-footed take-off would impart more power and enable greater heights and distances to be achieved.

A. Whether you are high-jumping or long-jumping, the run-up is particularly important. You need (especially in long-jumping) to gain enough speed on the runway. Taking off with both feet would make an adequate run-up nigh on impossible and you would really end up doing little more than a standing jump. What's more you wouldn't be already into your jump, as there would be no "swinging" leg to send you further. No doubt at some stage in the future there will be a dramatic Fosbury-like technical development, but not one that involves doing as the questioner suggests.



Q. Who was the quickest to 1,000 runs?

A. It all depends on what you mean by quickest. In 1895, the "champion", W G Grace (Gloucestershire) at the age of 46 was the first to score 1,000 runs in May. He made 1016 runs (average 112) in 10 innings. Grace took just 22 days, the same number required by Walter Hammond, of Gloucestershire in 1927. In 1938, however, Don Bradman, the greatest Australian cricketer, struck 1056 runs (average 150) by the end of May. He had the advantage of batting on 30 April, when he scored 258. His 1,000th run came on 27 May (ie within 28 days), but he had needed only seven innings.



Answers please

Q. Charlie McCartney took 11-85 for Australia against England at Headingley in 1909. Fred Trueman took 11-86 against Australia there in 1961. These are the best bowling figures in an Ashes Test at Headingley. Is there any other Test venue which can match such nearly identical feats. This covers 22 Tests played at Leeds from 1899 to 1997.



Q. We have heard much since England's elimination from the cricket World Cup about the selectors' panel. Have England always picked a team by committee, and if so how and why did the system start? Apart from Ray Illingworth, has the job ever been done by just one man?



Q. Following the fracas after the Old Firm match between Celtic and Rangers, it was claimed that there are far fewer bookings in games which have morning kick-offs, possibly because players' metabolisms are slower and their adrenalin has not been pumping for so long. Is there any evidence to support this theory?


London, N2

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