Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Raw Japan:

Toyota’s long and winding F1 road

For not seeing a win since joining Formula One in 2002, Toyota's commitment to the sport is admirable, especially after Honda's pullout in December left the team the last Japanese standing in the glamour sport.

Toyota have been one of F1's biggest spenders, with an estimated annual budget of $300 million, previously exceeded only by Honda. But the question for the sport's perennial underachievers remains just how much cash do they have left to burn?

Team principal Tadashi Yamashima told me on Monday that Toyota had been close to following Honda out of the sport, and the Cologne-based team's budget has been slashed several times as the world's No.1 car maker  is set to suffer its first ever annual operating loss.

Honda blamed their own exit from F1 on the need to cut costs and Toyota's survival in the sport was by no means clear-cut. A renewed sponsorship deal with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic was said to be a factor in their continued F1 presence.

Is baseball finally a world sport?


The Italians are quite excited about their team doing well at the World Baseball Classic.

They pulled off another European shock on Monday, eliminating a Canada side with Major League players to remain on course for a spot in the second round.

Japanese mum’s world record bid floored


A Japanese mother of two’s bid to emulate George Foreman by winning a world boxing title at 45 has been floored after the World Boxing Council (WBC) ruled she was too old, writes Alastair Himmer.

Kazumi Izaki, who became Japan’s oldest professional boxer last year, was poised to fight Mexico’s Ana Maria Torres for the world superflyweight crown on Feb. 28.