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Donn Cabral eyeing Tokyo 2021 while recognizing wider ramifications of postponement is really tough

After a couple of self-described “subpar” running years, Donn Cabral had finally rediscovered his groove in December and was getting excited over what the future held — in his mind, a strong chance at qualifying for a third Olympics appearance to close out his career.

His dream isn’t dead now that the Tokyo Games have been postponed until July 23, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic; he’ll just have to adjust his plans. But Cabral, who grew up in Glastonbury, considers himself one of the more fortunate Tokyo hopefuls. He’s already represented the U.S. in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in both London and Rio. Not everyone can say that.

“It takes a lot of fire every day, and it takes a lot of energy to generate that fire, to get up and do that hard work,” Cabral said in a phone interview. “And to think about, 'Can I do this for one more year just to have my shot at that dream?’ and to know that that dream is still only just a chance, that’s a very difficult thing. So pushing this back a year is really tough.

“My heart really goes out for people who haven’t made a team yet, and particularly for those who are in the best shape of their lives. It’s very difficult to get back to that same level. They had a chance to make it this time, and it’s like, ‘I wanted to strike when the iron was hot,' and now it’s going to be difficult.”

After initially delaying a decision on the 2020 Games, which were originally scheduled to begin July 24, the IOC and Japan finally reached an agreement last week to postpone them to 2021. USA Track & Field’s Olympic trials, originally set to take place in late June, will be rescheduled. Depending on the virus’ spread, the organization will try to salvage competition for the remainder of 2020 so athletes can earn some income and stay fit both physically and emotionally.

The 30-year-old Cabral, who says he’ll likely stop running professionally going into 2022, is relieved that the Tokyo Olympics will only be delayed a year. He thought the IOC would push the Games to 2022 in anticipation of, as he fears, the coronavirus outbreak not being fully under control a year from now.

“If it were in 2022, I wouldn’t have gone for it,” said Cabral, who finished eighth in the steeplechase in both 2012 and 2016. “I would have finished my career content with London and Rio. But I certainly would like to get that third Olympics in there.”

For Cabral, an extra year of training isn’t necessarily an issue, though he does have some logistical things to work out. For one, he’ll need to decide whether to take another semester off of school to train, as he did this spring in preparation for Tokyo. The Princeton grad is working on earning both a Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor degree at UConn.

If some form of competition resumes in the summer or fall, Cabral will also need to decide whether to train for the steeplechase, his bread and butter, or try to move up to a 10K, half-marathon or marathon. Though that’s dependent on which events will ultimately be offered. But in the immediate future, Cabral can mostly operate as normal. Unlike sprinters, who are most affected by the closure of training facilities and gyms nationwide, he can run in the woods or on the streets — just not with other people.

Even though postponement was the best decision for everyone’s safety, the ramifications of the move will be felt deeply among Olympic hopefuls, Cabral said, and not just physically.

(04/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Alexa Philippou
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed

An agreement was reached on Monday after a call between leaders from the IOC, Tokyo 2020 organizers, the Japanese government and the International Paralympic Committee.

The Summer Games had been scheduled to run from July 24 to August 8 this year, but it was announced last week by Bach and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the Olympics had been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new dates for the Paralympic Games are August 24 to September 5, 2021.

"Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel," Bach said in a statement. "These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.

"With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge."

The IOC says the decision on the new dates was taken "to protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus."

It believes the new dates -- exactly a year later than originally scheduled -- will provide the least disruption to an already crowded 2021 sporting calendar, while also giving athletes enough time to complete the qualification process.

"I am convinced that taking this decision promptly will help speed up future preparations," said Tokyo 2020 president Mori Yoshirō.

"I would like to thank all the stakeholders, including the host city Tokyo and the Government of Japan, for their hard work during this short period. The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee will continue to work hard for the success of next year's Games."

Despite now being confirmed for 2021, the Games will still be known as Tokyo 2020 despite the postponement.

It is the first time in history that the Olympics have been postponed during peacetime, with the Games in 1916, 1940 and 1944 canceled because of world wars.

The new dates clash with the World Athletics Championships, which were due to take place in Oregon, USA from August 6 to August 15, 2021.

The sport's governing body, World Athletics, says it is already searching for a new slot as it looks to postpone the competition by a year.

Everyone needs to be flexible and compromise and to that end we are now working with the organizers of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on new dates in 2022 for our World Athletics Championships," it said in a statement.

"We would like to thank our Oregon 21 Organizing Committee, their stakeholders and our partners for their collaboration and willingness to explore all options."

(03/30/2020) ⚡AMP
by Matias Grez
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Eliud Kipchoge says that we will win fight against coronavirus

Eliud Kipchoge, the world's greatest marathon man, reckoned his first reaction was shock when he heard at home in Kenya that the 2020 Olympic Games had been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

That shock soon gave way to disappointment - but then defiance.

"We will win this fight against the COVID-19," the barrier-breaking Kenyan, who's widely considered the world's finest runner, said in an interview with Reuters.

And the man who last year became the first to run a marathon in under two hours confirmed he can see himself refreshed and ready to defend his marathon title in a rearranged Tokyo Olympics next year.

For the moment, though, the 35-year-old insists his only concern is to care for his family at their home in Eldoret.

"I am totally concentrating on my safety, I am totally concentrating on the safety of the whole family," he said.

"We will win this fight against the COVID-19," the barrier-breaking Kenyan, who's widely considered the world's finest runner, said in an interview with Reuters.

And the man who last year became the first to run a marathon in under two hours confirmed he can see himself refreshed and ready to defend his marathon title in a rearranged Tokyo Olympics next year.

For the moment, though, the 35-year-old insists his only concern is to care for his family at their home in Eldoret.

"I am totally concentrating on my safety, I am totally concentrating on the safety of the whole family," he said.

"I was a little shocked and I had to go back, just to think more. I think and then I said, 'it's not a bad idea to actually postpone'.

"You know the Olympic Games is whereby everybody wants to participate ... it's in the dreams of every sportsman in this world.."

Kipchoge thinks a delayed Olympics could actually benefit his title defence.

"It's a great time for us to go back, train again and we will come back with a lot of energy," he said.

The pandemic has led to the postponement or cancellation of sporting events around the world, including the London Marathon, which next month was scheduled to be Kipchoge's first outing since October's landmark one hour, 59 minutes, 40 seconds run in Vienna.

Even though the run in Austria did not count as a world record because of the special conditions, the feat captured the world's imagination and brought Kipchoge a whole new level of fame.

Kenya has confirmed 42 coronavirus cases, including one fatality, with the country having imposed restrictive measures to arrest the spread of the disease. It even affects their brilliant runners.

But working together within a couple of months to come, this COVID-19 will go away.

"My priority number one is to get the virus away, come back with one mind, one thinking, one line of actually standing and competing."

(03/30/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Boston resident Molly Seidel qualified for the Olympic marathon but she’s worried about what happens now

The trials was one of the best days of my life, Seidel said. “To potentially have that taken away is very stressful."

When Molly Seidel reflects on the day she qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics, she’s reminded of a seemingly distant reality.

“Just thinking back to the huge number of crowds that were there and the hugs after the race,” recalled Seidel in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. “Hell, just sitting down at a restaurant afterward. We all went out to a bar that night, too, and shared drinks at the bar. It’s a completely different world than the one we’re in now.”

Less than a month ago, Seidel placed second in the US Olympic marathon trials to punch her ticket to Tokyo. The 25-year-old Boston resident finished the race, her first-ever marathon, with a time of 2:27:31, just eight seconds behind Aliphine Tuliamuk.

As the threat of the coronavirus escalated rapidly, and the list of postponed or canceled sporting events grew, Seidel started to consider the possibility more and more. Could the Olympics really go on as scheduled?

She wasn’t shocked when the postponement became official Tuesday.

“I just don’t think there is any way we could be planning for an Olympics four months from now, especially when the country is going through such a difficult time and the world is going through such a difficult time,” said Seidel. “It would have put a lot of athletes and spectators and just the general public in a lot of danger.”

While Seidel agrees with the International Olympic Committee’s decision, she is certainly disappointed. She’s also incredibly frustrated. The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Seidel says, has not been forthcoming with updates. The lack of communication leaves her worried about her status.

There has been some chatter about whether runners should have to re-qualify, given the extended period of time between the marathon trials, which took place Feb. 29, and the rescheduled Games, which do not yet have new dates.

Seidel is hopeful that won’t be the case.

“The trials was one of the best days of my life,” she said. “To potentially have that taken away is very stressful. I’m hoping that they honor the Olympic trials and keep their current marathon team, but we haven’t heard anything from USOC, USATF, from anybody. It’s been difficult getting the information that we need.”

Fellow marathoner Des Linden, who placed fourth in the trials, doesn’t foresee a re-qualification. Linden recently called Seidel to express her support.

“I haven’t heard anything from governing bodies, and I would imagine that they’re not even entertaining that idea,” Linden said. “I think it’s just kind of interesting talk right now, particularly with so much time on our hands.”

Amid the uncertainty, Seidel is still training. She frequently runs on the Esplanade and will soon ramp up her mileage after recovering from the trials. Her coach, who lives locally, is encouraging her to make the best of the extra year, especially considering the fact she’s participated in only one marathon.

Should road races resume this fall, Seidel is looking forward to gaining more experience at the distance.

In her free time, Seidel enjoys binging “Gilmore Girls,” reading, and practicing her banjo and ukulele. She no longer has a job or a roommate, as Tatte cut most of its staff amid the coronavirus outbreak and her sister moved back to their home state of Wisconsin for the time being. But Seidel’s doing her best to make due.

“It was so weird coming off that huge emotional high at the trials,” she said. “Now, it’s just like, ‘OK, back to quarantine.’”

(03/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Nicole Yang
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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After postponement of 2020 Tokyo Olympics, elite athletes share sorrow, perspective

Former University of Oregon sprinter English Gardner was looking at the big picture when the news broke Tuesday that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were being postponed for a year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Gardner has a 2016 Olympic gold medal from the Team USA women’s 4x100 relay and big hopes for Tokyo.

But she fully supports the decision by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers to postpone.

“I’m bigger than track and field,” Gardner said. “I’m part of the community. I’m a human being. I’m a sister. I’m a mother. I’m a girlfriend. I’m a godmother. As a whole world, we’re kind of going through it right now. It’s OK that the Games got postponed because this problem, this illness, this sickness is way bigger than Tokyo.”

Gardner is among the Olympic-level athletes and coaches who spoke to The Oregonian/OregonLive on Tuesday about the postponement. They shared varying mixtures of relief, resignation, disappointment and hope for the future.

Shortly after the decision about the Olympics became public, the TrackTown USA local organizing committee announced the U.S. Olympic trials for track and field scheduled for June at Hayward Field in Eugene also had been postponed.

In most of the country, athletes are living in various degrees of social isolation as state, regional and municipal governments try to slow the spread of the virus. In many cases it has affected their ability to train.

Maybe worse has been the uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds and watching major sporting events be canceled or postponed, one after another. It seemed only a matter of time before the Olympics became the next domino to fall.

“I wasn’t super surprised,” said Shelby Houlihan of the Portland-based Bowerman Track Club and reigning USA Track & Field outdoor women’s champion in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters. “I figured it was probably going to happen. But it still kind of sucks.

“Obviously, it was probably for the best because of the situation we’re in. Safety should definitely be the No. 1 priority. But it does suck because I was ready for this year.”

Marathoner Galen Rupp said he planned to keep training and keep perspective.

The former University of Oregon star won an Olympic silver medal in the men’s 10,000 meters in 2012 and a bronze in the marathon in 2016. He already had made the 2020 U.S. Olympic team by winning the marathon trials on Feb. 29 in Atlanta.

Evan Jager of the Bowerman Track Club is the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the men’s steeplechase. He said he had a strong winter of training and liked his positioning heading into the outdoor season. But he believes this step back can turn to be a bigger step forward.

(03/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Eliud Kipchoge says the IOC and the Japanese government made the right decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games and move it to 2021

Marathon great Eliud Kipchoge, who was due to defend his Olympics marathon title in the 2020 Tokyo Games later this year, said the decision by the IOC and the Japanese Government was the right one as the world battles to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

"All in all a very wise decision to postpone the Olympics until 2021. I look forward to come back to Japan to defend my Olympic title next year and look forward to witness a wonderful event. I wish everybody good health in these challenging times," the world marathon record holder tweeted.

Kipchoge, who is in the Kenyan men's marathon team along side Boston and Chicago marathons champion Lawrence Cherono and World Championships marathon bronze medalist Amos Kipruto, won the 2016 Rio Olympics gold medal in 2 hours 8 minutes 44 seconds.

Kipchoge became the first man to run the full marathon in under two hours after his 1:59:40.2 feat during the Ineos Challenge in Vienna last year.

Olympics javelin silver medalist Julius Yego also took to his Instagram account to express his views over the postponement of the Games to 2021.

"It's been all fun and smiles and happiness in preparation for this year's Tokyo Olympics but then the unexpected came!#Covid-19!! Terrible and scaring respiratory disease! But it's all upon us to compete against our dear opponents, we together on this fight to overcome the world pandemic, see you next year in Tokyo at the very least, stay safe and stay home," said Yego.

(03/26/2020) ⚡AMP
by Japheth Mutinda
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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When would be a good time to hold the postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo?

Until now, the Summer Olympics had never been postponed. But on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese organizers gave in to the inevitable amid the surging coronavirus pandemic and delayed the Tokyo Games for a year because of “the unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak.”

Cancellation was a nonstarter. The world’s athletes, who are the centerpiece of the event, would have had their dreams snatched away.

But the IOC, which desperately — and critics said foolishly — had stalled for more time, had no choice but to push the Olympics into next year.

There was no possible way that 11,000 athletes from more than 200 nations could safely convene and compete in Tokyo or any other major city in late July.

The question now is, when would be a prudent time to hold the Games of the XXXIInd Olympiad?

(03/25/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizers have officially announced the Games will be postponed until 2021

The Tokyo Olympic Games have officially been postponed, the IOC announced Tuesday morning. The decision comes after weeks of reassurances from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizers that the Games would go ahead as planned, despite global concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Many people around the world—including athletes and national sport governing bodies—have been calling for postponement, but it took the withdrawal of the Canadian and Australian Olympic Committees to push the IOC to this point. 

IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic was becoming too much to handle, and they decided that postponement was the right route to take. The IOC’s statement says the Olympics will be rescheduled “not later than summer 2021.” Regardless of when they are held, the Games will keep the name “Tokyo 2020.”

The Olympic Games have been cancelled on three occasions—1916, 1940 and 1944—all due to war. Tokyo 2020 will be the first postponement of a Games, however. The postponement will come as a relief to people across the world, and it keeps the Olympic dream alive for many Canadian athletes. 

(03/24/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games has been postponed to next summer

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games which were both scheduled for the summer of 2020.

Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, has set a four-week deadline period to decide on the new dates for the international sporting events.

The decision to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games, which would've been held between July 24 and August 9, has been taken due to the coronavirus outbreak and will be made official in the next few hours.

IOC have ruled out cancelling the events but have finally given in to pressure from important federations such as that of the United Kingdom and the United States.

In the upcoming weeks, Tokyo Olympics organisers have to deal with several legal implications in regard to ongoing contracts, insurance fees, future inhabitants who have already bought buildings in the Olympic Village and the extra cost of their maintenance.

(03/23/2020) ⚡AMP
by Gerardo Riquelme
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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The Canadian and Australian Olympic Committees have decided not to field teams at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Canada and Australia will not send athletes to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo because of the risks associated with the coronavirus outbreak, the Olympic committees for both countries said in separate statements on Sunday. 

Both countries' Olympic committees also are calling for the Games to be postponed until 2021. 

"While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community," the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement. "This is not solely about athlete health -- it is about public health."

The Australian Olympic Committee's executive board met by teleconference Sunday morning and unanimously agreed that an Australian Olympic team could not be assembled given the changing circumstances across the world, the committee said in a statement.

The committee also said "our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families."

"It's clear the Games can't be held in July," said Ian Chesterman, Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo. "Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them."

IOC says its not canceling the Olympics.  The committees' decisions came hours after International Olympic Committee's executive board said it is considering postponing -- but not canceling -- this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC board said it is considering several options to deal with the ongoing outbreak, including modifying plans to allow the 2020 Tokyo Games to begin on schedule on July 24 or changing the start date for the Games.

IOC considers postponing Tokyo Games but says it won't cancel them

The IOC executive board ruled out canceling the Games, saying it would "destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes" and all those who support them, according to a letter to athletes from IOC President Thomas Bach.

The Canadian statement thanked the IOC for saying it would not cancel the games, saying the IOC appreciates the "the importance of accelerating its decision-making regarding a possible postponement."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that a decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics may be needed if the Games cannot be held in a complete form.

(03/22/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Training under lockdown, Italian athletes aiming to keep upbeat and focused

Since the spread of the deadly New Coronavirus began earlier this year, athletes, like everyone else, have been forced to adjust. First, those things directly related to their athletic pursuits: their schedules, their training, their travel. As the virus continued to spread across the planet, those adjustments moved from the professional to the personal and are now impacting on most aspects of their lives -where and when they can eat and shop, who they can see and who they can't – just like the rest of us.

With nearly 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,809 deaths reported (as at 16 March), Italy is by far the hardest hit country in Europe and was the first (After China) to institute a nationwide quarantine. That came on 9 March, a lockdown that has dramatically restricted movement and further turned normal life on its head.

That’s the context now in which athletes are looking towards the Olympic Games. Conjecture about the future of those Games, scheduled to get underway on 24 July, is feeding the uncertainty, but for now that goal remains as the key driving force for Italian athletes who are trying to keep upbeat even as some scramble to find places to train.

“I’m worried about the national emergency and the lack of races but my mood remains good,” said Davide Re, the national 400m record holder, who, instead of attending an overseas training camp, is currently in Rieti where he is today celebrating his 27th birthday. Restrictions have closed indoor training facilities, but as a national level athlete, he has been given permission to train on an outdoor track.

“I’m sorry to celebrate my birthday in quarantine, without the classic pastarelle at the camp,” he said. “But training is good. Luckily, being a national athlete I have the opportunity to go to the field so my routine hasn’t changed too much. We can't use the gym, of course, but we can use the weights on the track outside.”

For Vallortigara, a time for focus, and reflection

From Siena, high jumper Elena Vallortigara reports that for her, not too much has changed.

“Last week I managed to train every day on my track except Tuesday, but I made up for that on a football pitch. If the facility remains open, it changes little, because I can jump and train on the track.

Not knowing when the season will resume, Vallortigara said, is the more difficult uncertainty to manage.

Since the date of her next competition is up in the air, Vallortigara said, “the best thing is to continue my general conditioning work that I would have done in this period anyway, and then finalise my plans when there will be more specific news - even on the Olympic Games. Making many plans on what may or may not be is really a waste of energy right now.”

Re concurred. “I hope we’ll know something soon about the season to figure out how to regulate our training.”

An even greater difficulty, Vallortigara said, “is to maintain a positive, and even a little detached attitude. I feel that this feeling of general panic and insecurity has an impact on me, as on everyone. I’m fortunate to be able to go to the field and maintain at least some normalcy in my days.

“But the most important problem is people’s health: from my side, I try to remain focused on the target, because I think this can help me, hoping normality may come back soon. I also hope everyone can come back to their usual lives as soon as possible, but in the meantime, with increased awareness. This period should also be one for everybody to reflect.”

Crippa assists national campaign

Meanwhile, national 10,000m record holder Yeman Crippa continues his drive towards Tokyo from his home base in Trento.

“The situation is more difficult and I have to be much more careful, and always have my self-declaration with me,” he said, referring to a state-mandated document which allows him to leave his home.

“For a while I won’t be on the track and in the gym, but for bicycle and road training there isn’t a problem. But it’s not a good situation because races and training camps have been cancelled. Tomorrow I was supposed to go to the United States.

“It’s getting hard but I won’t give up. I know it will work out so my preparation for Tokyo continues, albeit with some more obstacles. It would have been worse if we hadn't been able to train at all.”

Like the others, he’s taking the current health risks and national decrees very seriously. Crippa was among the leading figures involved in the #DistantiMaUniti campaign set up by the Italian Ministry for Sport and Youth Policies whose aim was to convince young people to stay at home during this critical period.

Bringing their work home

Plenty of athletes are bringing their work home as best as they can. Like this unidentified high jumper in Milan.

So too are shot putter Leonardo Fabbri and hurdler Luminosa Bogliolo.

After a strong indoor campaign capped by a 21.59m national indoor record, Fabbri is back at work at his home in Florence.

“We decided to disconnect for a few days after the commitments of the indoor season, where I competed a lot. But now my training continues at home.” He’s hoping to return to his regular training base in Bologna two weeks from now.

Bogliolo, last year’s World University Games 100m hurdles champion, brought her work into her living room in the northwestern town of Alassio, located midway between Genoa and San Remo.

“Yes, I have all the tools in my living room, so when I'm not on the field I can train on treadmills, stationary bikes and resistance bands,” she said. But she too is finding the uncertainty of competitions the most difficult aspect to adjust to.

“The situation continues to change. Mentally I want to believe that we will compete again, but you cannot know. My coaches are changing the schedules a bit, but we’re working as if we’ll have a regular outdoor season.

“I’m trying not to give up and stay focused even if what is happening in Italy and around the world is truly an incredible situation."

(03/22/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Irish marathon runner Kevin Seaward believes Olympics probably won't happen

Irish marathon runner Kevin Seaward feels there is "every likelihood" this year's Olympics will not take place because of the coronavirus crisis.

Seaward ran the distance for Ireland at the Rio Games and set a new Northern Ireland marathon record of 2:10.09 last month to seemingly book his Tokyo spot.

"The Olympics symbolize something more than a Games at the moment," he said.

"It would be a beacon of hope for people. But I honestly don't think they are going to happen."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is continuing to insist the Games could still begin on 24 July despite the pandemic but several high profile athletes including British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson have criticized this stance.

World champion Johnson-Thompson says training has become "impossible" because of the restrictions around coronavirus and has had to move back home from her normal base in France after the country was put on lockdown.

As a distance runner who does most of his workouts alone and rarely uses a track, Seaward says his training is not being hindered to the same extent as the Englishwoman, but nevertheless feels the IOC will have to at least move the Games to a later date if not cancel altogether.

Seaward, 36, is an assistant head teacher at a Leicestershire secondary school and has been working flat out with his colleagues to make arrangements for the children of key workers who will remain in school in the coming weeks after the British Government's school closures announcement on Wednesday.

"It's challenging times. School has been pretty crazy the last three or four days but we've got a little bit of clarity now," the Northern Irishman told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

"You don't know that the Olympics are going to happen. I've come to the conclusion that there's every likelihood of them not happening. We've certainly got bigger things to worry about globally at the minute."

Seaward believes the postponement and cancellation of numerous Olympic qualifiers and other events which would have offered the opportunity to book Tokyo berths is another reason why the Games are unlikely to happen - certainly in the summer.

"I read an article today where Seb Coe said it was too early to make a decision (on the Games) and I kind of agree it's too early to definitively say yes or no.

"Aside from the fact that what we're experiencing now may not have cleared by then, people still have to qualify. There's a lot of thought that would have to go into making the process fair for everyone.

"From a marathoner's perspective, we have three Irish qualifiers (Seaward, Paul Pollock and Stephen Scullion) but we also know there are multiple other guys (Sean Tobin, Hugh Armstrong and Mick Clohisey) who were training hard and who were determined to give it a go to qualify but their marathons were cancelled."

(03/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by John Haughey
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Somali-Belgian athlete Bashir Abdi sets sights on European record after sub-2:05 clocking in Tokyo

Bashir Abdi became only the second European athlete in history to break the 2:05-barrier for the marathon in the Tokyo Marathon on 1 March and he harbours aspirations of becoming the fastest.

The 31-year-old shattered his own national record with 2:04:49 to take the runner-up spot in the Japanese capital ahead of a prospective second successive Olympic appearance. And what is most remarkable about his ascent is he former amateur football player only started running at the age of 18.  

Abdi was born in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu and arrived in Belgium in 2002 at the age of 13. Back then running made no sense as he was a football addict. “As a kid I could not even understand why people would run in circles. Chasing a football made sense but skinny people running in circles did not at all. That was until I started running at the age of 18 and I have never regretted that decision”. 

Now Abdi is second on the European all-time marathon list with  2:04:49, his third consecutive Belgian record in only his fourth marathon after previous record runs in London (2:07:03) and Chicago (2:06:14) last year. Abdi came second in Tokyo, only 34 seconds behind Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese, in a race which was devoid of the mass participation element due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I expected a finishing time around 2:05, because I have had the best preparation ever towards a marathon. My trainer Gary [Lough] made that very clear during the last weeks of altitude training in Sululta, Ethiopia. I was however surprised by the fact that I finished in second place in a World Marathon Major. To start with about 200 athletes in what normally is a race with 38,000 runners was a rather odd experience. It felt as if I was running a tiny street race in my hometown Ghent.” 

Abdi made his marathon debut back in April 2018 in Rotterdam with a solid 2:10:46 clocking despite bloodying his knees in a collision at the start. Now he is a sub-2:05 marathoner who is considered to be one of the outsiders to win a medal at the Olympic marathon in Sapporo.  

Abdi closed exceptionally quickly in the Chicago Marathon last October and he also ran faster than any other athlete in the Tokyo Marathon between the 35 kilometre checkpoint and the finish. His finish speed could be a great weapon at the Olympics.  

“I received wonderful reactions on my Tokyo performance, but for me finishing in the top eight would be great already. To my account there are six or seven runners that top the bill such as Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese. I also doubt that I will be able to use the same tactics towards Sapporo, as I am not as experienced in the marathon, because I have had the benefit of pacers in my past four races. 

“The conditions will also be fairly different. Both Chicago and Tokyo were somehow similar to what I am used to in Belgium. Together with the Belgian Olympic Team we will prepare towards Sapporo as much as possible. Workouts in a heat chamber will be part of that preparation, combined with the usual altitude camp in Sululta” 

Abdi also has something else to look forward to during his build-up to the Olympics. In June he will become a father for the second time. His daughter Kadra celebrated her first birthday back in October. There is only one race on his schedule before Sapporo so far.   

“Becoming a father for the second time is something I am looking really forward to. I have a great wife who understands that sacrifices have to be made to perform at this level, especially in a year like this. Thanks to apps like Facetime and social media I am able to stay in touch with my family when I am on training camps. My baby daughter even recognises me thanks to social media, so it is somehow a blessing.  

2020 is all about the Olympics for Abdi but he is already thinking about the 2021 season - namely the Belgian half marathon record of 60:18 and more importantly the European marathon record of Kaan Kigen Ozbilen which stands at 2:04:16.   

(03/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Quinten Lafort
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Lead Australian athletics coach Nic Bideau, thinks Olympics will be postponed

A senior Australian athletics coach believes the Olympics will be postponed because thousands of top athletes have been unable to properly prepare for the Games, as the coronavirus pandemic causes lockdowns around the world.

Thousands of the best athletes around the world will be unable to compete to qualify for Olympic teams, with athletics Diamond League meets poised to be cancelled due to restrictions on mass gatherings. European and American national titles are also in doubt due to the same crowd restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lead Australian athletics coach Nic Bideau, who trains some of Australia's best middle distance runners, said many of the big countries in athletics were doubtful of being able to select teams under the normal qualifying system.

Bideau said that regardless of whether Japan recovered enough to host the Games, whether countries would have teams to send should be a compelling consideration for organizers.

"At the moment the situation is getting worse, not better [in the US and many countries in Europe] so those events will be unlikely to go ahead," he said.

"The big countries won't have teams to send. I think they will end up having the Games pushed back 12 months rather than cancelled. The small sports need the Olympics for profile and money coming in, they can't survive without the Olympics, so I think they will push it back 12 months."

There has been discussion in world athletics of abandoning the regular qualification process and just issuing quotas to countries to nominate a number of athletes.

But while nations in the southern hemisphere, such as Australia and South Africa, might be able to nominate teams because they have just completed domestic summer seasons, most European countries and Canada and the US have not. The latter group has also not had athletes hit qualifying standards.

"We could pick our team from qualified athletes and world rankings and so could South Africa but at the moment people are not thinking about that [qualifying for Olympics], they are thinking what will happen with the world? Is it worth thinking about playing sport and running competitions when this is happening?

"Everyone is marking time for a month, training a bit, and hoping that events can be held in June in Europe and the US, but it unlikely those events can be held."

The US Olympic track and field team is picked only from athletes who finish first, second or third at the US Olympic trials. To be on the team you must compete at the trials, but if the trials are not held then as it stands now, it would be impossible to pick a team.

(03/18/2020) ⚡AMP
by Michael Gleeson
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Double Olympic and three-time world 800m champion Caster Semenya is currently unable to contest her favored event unless she takes medication

Caster Semenya has announced she will compete over 200 meters this year in a bid to make the Tokyo Olympics.

Semenya, 29, is currently unable to compete internationally at distances from 400m to the mile under World Athletics regulations requiring women in those events who have naturally occurring high levels of testosterone – termed athletes of different sexual development [DSD] – to take medication.

The South African double Olympic and triple world 800m champion has repeatedly refused to take the required medication and did not defend her world title in Doha last year. Instead, she has now decided to turn her attention to a distance that does not fall under the regulations.

"As you are all aware, I am unable to compete in the 800m and defend my title at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year," said Semenya on Friday.

"My dream has always been, and will continue to be, to compete at the highest level of sport, and so in order to pursue my goals and dreams, I have decided to change events, and compete in the 200m.

"This decision has not been an easy one, but as always, I look forward to the challenge, and will work hard, doing all I can to qualify for Tokyo and compete to the best of my ability for South Africa."

Having operated predominantly in middle-distance events during her career, Semenya has few 200m races under her belt prior to this year. Her official personal best of 24.26sec was set last month, although she clocked an unratified 23.49sec at a low-key South African event on Friday.

She would still need to improve significantly on that to secure her place in Tokyo by meeting the Olympic qualifying standard of 22.80sec.

By way of reference, even the 23.49sec she recorded on Friday would have placed her just 18th in the British rankings last year. Dina Asher-Smith's winning time in claiming world gold was 21.88sec.

Semenya's legal challenge against World Athletics' testosterone regulations remains ongoing as she challenges a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which found in favor of the governing body.

(03/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Bloom
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Tokyo Governor says Olympic Torch Relay to continue with "thorough infection measures"

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has once again insisted that the Olympic Torch Relay in Japan will go ahead, despite the Greek leg being cancelled yesterday.

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds much of the world's sporting calendar to a halt, Tokyo 2020 organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have insisted they are still planning for the Games and Relay to go ahead.

"We're taking thorough infection measures with regards to the Olympic Torch Relay domestically", Koike is quoted as saying by Japan Today.

She added that arrangements for a "safe and secure" Games were continuing in the capital.

Koike's comments echo those made by Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday.

Suga claimed the Japanese Government's stance "has not changed" and that "we will coordinate closely with the IOC, organisers and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to steadily proceed with preparations".

Starting in Fukushima Prefecture, the Relay proper is due to begin on March 26 and is expected to last 121 days.

Adjustments including taking the temperature of Torchbearers and Relay staff members were previously announced in light of the coronavirus outbreak in Japan.

There have been at least 1,436 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 28 people dying.

In Greece, large crowds showed up yesterday to watch Gerard Butler carry the Flame, prompting organisers to cancel the remaining Relay in the country.

However, a handover ceremony is still planned to go ahead - albeit behind closed doors, like the lighting ceremony - and the Olympic Torch scheduled to land in Japan on March 20.

(03/16/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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I badly need an Olympic marathon gold medal says Cheruiyot

Heading into these two major races, I will be running as a typical Vivian and I have hope, determination and the zeal to do well — Cheruiyot.

• Arguably the most decorated Kenyan runner, Cheruiyot began her international career in 1999, when she won a silver medal in the junior race at the World Cross Country Championships in Belfast and a 3000m bronze medal at the World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz.

Olympic 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot has revealed that winning the marathon title at this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo will be the icing on the cake in an illustrious career spanning over two decades.

Cheruiyot, nicknamed ‘Pocket Rocket’ is also a multiple-time world champion on track and cross country but insists she has her work cut out in her chase for what she describes as her all-time career goal.

But before Tokyo, Cheruiyot is keen on defending her title at the Lisbon Half (March 21) and reclaiming her London Marathon title on April 26.

This, she says, will boost her confidence heading to Tokyo.

Speaking in Elgeyo Marakwet County during the Maria Soti Cross Country Championships 10 days ago, the two-time 5,000m and 10,000m world champion said she has been preparing well for the Games.

“Heading into these two major races, I will be running as a typical Vivian and I have hope, determination and the zeal to do well,” said Cheruiyot.

“I will be defending my Lisbon title as a precursor for the London Marathon. I also have a big task ahead of me, that of representing my country Tokyo, where I also hope to win my second Olympic title.”

Arguably the most decorated Kenyan runner, Cheruiyot began her international career in 1999, when she won a silver medal in the junior race at the World Cross Country Championships in Belfast and a 3000m bronze medal at the World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz.

Since then she has won numerous accolades at the African Championships, Commonwealth Games, World Championships, Olympic Games and World Marathon Majors.

“The journey has been good and I want to do better than I have ever done. I want to promise Kenyans a good fight in Tokyo,” added Cheruiyot.

Following her dominance on the track, she announced in 2016 that she had quit track to concentrate in marathon and road races, which it has been successful.

After graduating to the marathon, Cheruiyot won London Marathon in 2018 before finishing second behind Mary Keitany in 2019. She also grabbed a second-place finish at the 2018 New York Marathon.

(03/16/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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One day after flame was lit, Greece suspends Olympic torch relay because of coronavirus

The Greek Olympic Committee suspended the remainder of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics torch relay through the country on Friday due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. The decision came one day after the flame was lit before an unusually small crowd of accredited guests in Ancient Olympia, where the Games originated.

Amid growing fears about the coronavirus, the torch-lighting ceremony, which dates from 1936 and normally draws thousands to the Temple of Hera, was held without spectators lining the slopes of the tiny town for the first time since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Greece reported its first fatality as a result of the coronavirus Thursday.

The Greek Olympic Committee said that Friday’s leg of the relay, which featured actor Gerard Butler carrying the torch through the town of Sparta, attracted unexpectedly large crowds. The handover of the flame to the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee in Athens on March 19 is still scheduled to take place, without spectators.

Japan’s leg of the relay is scheduled to begin March 26 in Fukushima Prefecture, which was ravaged by an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011. After traveling through all 47 of Japan’s prefectures, the flame is due to arrive in Tokyo 121 days later for the Opening Ceremonies on July 24.

Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou used a parabolic mirror to ignite the torch on Thursday before handing it to Greek Olympic shooting champion Anna Korakaki, who became the first woman to be the first torchbearer of the torch relay. The gold medalist at the 2016 Rio Games then passed the flame to Japan’s Mizuki Noguchi, who won the gold medal in the marathon at the 2004 Athens Games.

Even as the spread of the coronavirus has led to the cancellation and postponement of sporting events across the globe, International Olympic Committee officials have been adamant that the Tokyo Games will take place as scheduled. The IOC said it intends to follow advice from the World Health Organization.

In a speech at Thursday’s ceremony, IOC President Thomas Bach thanked organizers, including the Greek Olympic Committee, for making the event possible “under difficult circumstances.”

“This demonstrates once more our commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” Bach said. “Nineteen weeks before the Opening Ceremony, we are strengthened in this commitment by the many authorities and sports organizations around the world who are taking so many significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus."

(03/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Scott Allen
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Flame lighting to be held without spectators on Thursday March 12, as part of their measures against the spread of coronavirus

Only 100 guests invited by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 will be present to watch the first Torch bearer Anna Korakaki carry the flame away from the Ancient Olympic Stadium at the beginning of the relay in a Ceremony which normally attracts thousands to the site.

IOC President Thomas Bach is expected to be joined by Prokopis Pavlopoulou, the Greek President, in one of his final engagements before the formal end of his term of office.

"Today, the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) announced that the Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame will take place without spectators present," a Tokyo 2020 statement said.

"One hundred accredited guests from the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will participate. 

"Tokyo 2020 is grateful for the efforts of all parties involved to ensure that the Ceremony will take place while taking into consideration the latest countermeasures by the Hellenic Government against COVID-19. 

"As part of Tokyo 2020’s commitment to delivering a safe and secure Torch Relay, the Organising Committee will reduce the size of its traveling delegation as much as possible, and will take every consideration for protecting public health as Tokyo 2020 participates in the Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame."

It was also confirmed that the final full dress rehearsal, scheduled for Wednesday (March 11) will be also be  held without spectators. 

A reserve lit at the rehearsal will be held on standby in case the weather makes it impossible to kindle a flame on the day of the actual Ceremony.

The Ancient Olympia archaeological site where the lighting is set to take place was closed today "due to emergency measures to avoid and limit coronavirus".

This measure has been taken by the Ephorate of Elis which has also closed all other ancient sites and museums in the region  until March 18

A total of 73 cases of COVID-19, as coronavirus has been officially named by the World Health Organization, have been confirmed in Greece.

Organisers of the Olympic Flame lighting ceremony have also called upon local Mayors on the torch route to follow precautions recommended by the Greek Health Ministry during the week long relay around Greece.

"We urge the Mayors of the cities through which the Olympic Flame will pass or stay overnight to follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Organization." said the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC).

The HOC have not ruled out further changes to the programme which, they claim, will be taken "with a view to protecting public health".

 

 

(03/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Philip Barker
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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How an uncertain spring is affecting runners' chances at becoming Olympians

The rapid spread of coronavirus has already caused numerous changes in the 2020 racing season. News of events being canceled or postponed is breaking daily. This is having an effect upon every road runners’ racing season, including those trying to qualify for the upcoming Olympics. While the IOC says the Olympics will go ahead as planned, the Games have already been impacted, even before they’ve begun.

Molly Huddle, the American half-marathon record holder, wrote in Slate Magazine yesterday that factory closures have meant that some athletes aren’t getting their gear–a small price to pay for worker safety, but a consideration for runners nonetheless. At the Olympic Trials, which took place on February 29, Huddle raced in some well-worn flats.

“I had to race on some shoes with maybe 100 more miles on them than I’d have liked,” she says, “as the fresh pair of Saucony flats I ordered a few months ago were coming directly from the factory in China and production had already been shut down when I tried to do my usual pre-race order about five weeks out.”

One possible avenue for Olympic hopefuls to achieve standard is through a top-10 finish at a World Major Marathon. The 2020 Tokyo Marathon mass participation race was canceled, but the elites were still allowed to run (though the course was without spectators and the field sizes was under 200).

As the situation progresses, there’s speculation that the next two World Majors on the calendar (Boston and London) could be outright canceled. And even if the elite races still run, travel bans will affect runners’ ability to get to the race.

For track runners who haven’t achieved standard, world ranking will play a huge role on their shot at qualification. One place where runners stood a chance to gain big points was at the 2020 World Indoor Championships, which has now been postponed until 2021.

Another spot for points, which would’ve been a huge grab for marathoners, was the World Half-Marathon Championships which has also been postponed until fall 2020.

(03/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Hitomi Niiya is back from retirement and now is fully focused on Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

It is a little hard to fathom, but Hitomi Niiya – potentially one of Japan’s strongest track hopes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – hates running.

The 32-year-old, who blitzed to a Japanese half-marathon record in Houston and is eyeing up a spot on the 10,000m team for this year’s Olympics, says with a smile that running makes her tired and does not remotely compare with her passion for shopping.

However, what Niiya lacks in enthusiasm for the sport, she certainly makes up for in ability and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the diminutive athlete could threaten the podium in Tokyo.

Born in the Okayama Prefecture in the south of the island of Honshu, Niiya was inspired to take up running after watching her compatriot Naoko Takahashi win marathon gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“I did a lot of sports when I was younger,” says Niiya. “My two older brothers played football so I did too, but it was watching Takahashi that inspired me and I joined a club team at junior high school.”

She made quick progress and at the age of 15 her talent was snapped up to attend the Kojyokan High School, one of Japan’s most powerful running schools.

The impact was immediate. At the age of 16 she represented Japan at the 2004 World Cross Country Championships in Brussels. On hilly terrain and thick mud, Niiya performed respectably to finish 19th in the women’s U20 race, helping her country secure team bronze.

However, the Japanese teenager was far from satisfied.

“When I arrived, I thought I could beat the athletes from the other countries,” she says. “But it was after competing in Brussels that I first realized the level of the athletes from the African countries was higher.

“It was also the first event I’d been to without my coach,” she adds. “The experience taught me I needed to be more independent. Running in Brussels acted as motivation to return to the World Cross and run better.”

She was good to her word. Twelve months later she competed at the 2005 World Cross Country Championships in St Galmier and placed 13th. Later that year she gave more evidence of her exciting potential, earning 3000m bronze at the World U18 Championships in 9:10.34 in Marrakech.

“I didn’t expect to win a medal because the Africans are so strong,” she recalls. “I was very proud. Winning bronze and watching the Japanese flag at the medal ceremony was such a happy memory.”

Training at an intensity which she believes puts her on a similar level to the top African athletes, her coach elected to enter Niiya for the Houston Half Marathon in January. Her main intention was to use the event as preparation for her 10,000m ambitions, but she excelled and won the race in 1:06:38 to carve 48 seconds from the Japanese record set by Kayoko Fukushi in 2006.

“My aim was to break the national record and I was really pleased to do so,” she adds.

“My hope is to make the Olympic team,” she explains. “If I do, I will feel a lot of responsibility for a good result. The aim is to win a medal for all the people who have supported me, from my coach, my sponsors and all the people in my life.”

(03/09/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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South Africa's 800m queen Caster Semenya says she has a surprise planned for her participation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The 29-year-old Rio 2016 gold medalist had been the center of a controversial ruling from the IAAF that has placed restrictions on natural testosterone levels for female athletes competing in the 800m and 1 500m distances. 

That directly impacts Semenya, who now has to take medication to lower her natural testosterone levels if she is to take part over those distances in Tokyo. 

In an interview with Netwerk24, however, Semenya revealed that she has something up her sleeve. 

"I'm going to surprise you ... and you're going to like the surprise," Semenya said when asked what her plans for Tokyo were. 

Semenya acknowledged that there was very little she could do about the IAAF rulings, but she would not let that get in the way of her ambitions to compete at a third Olympics. 

"My biggest goal remains to be at the Olympics and I will work hard to achieve that," she said.

"No ruling is going to get in the way of that."

When asked about her appeal to the IAAF following the ruling, Semenya would not engage. 

"I don't want to say anything about that ... there are other people you need to ask," she said.

"It's an issue I have no control over.

"My focus now is on me and nothing else."

(03/06/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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More about the Legendary Texas Tech track and field distance runner Sally Kipyego who qualified for Tokyo Olympics

Legendary Texas Tech track and field distance runner Sally Kipyego qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics Saturday in the marathon. Kipyego, 34, competed at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, where she ran 2:28.52 to claim the third and final spot on the roster.

The Kenyan-born runner will represent the United States in Tokyo this summer, a goal she has had since becoming a U.S. citizen in 2017. She was one of three to make the U.S. team Saturday, joining 10-time national champion and fellow Kenyan immigrant Aliphine Tuliamuk and Molly Seidel.

"What a great accomplishment for Sally," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley, who coached Kipyego at Tech from 2006-2009. "Red Raiders far and wide are so proud of what she has accomplished."

Kipyego's return to the Olympics is being praised across the track world, as the former Tech runner has battled through considerable adversity to make it back to the Games. After earning silver in the 10,000m in London in 2012, Kipyego had to pause her training in 2017 while she was pregnant with her daughter, Emma. During her pregnancy, she was unable to run from 18 weeks through childbirth. In the months following, she struggled with pneumonia and malaria, making a return to racing shape even more difficult. Ultimately, she was forced to delay her comeback and withdraw from the NYC Marathon in November 2018.

Still, Kipyego persevered, eyes set on Tokyo. A member of the elite Oregon Track Club, she lived and trained in her home country of Kenya, using the altitude to bolster her regimen. By early 2019, she had worked her mileage up to 115 per week at marathon pace.

In April of that year, she attempted a comeback at the Boston Marathon but walked off the course after 18 miles due to fatigue. Though the plan was to not run another marathon until Saturday's Trials, Kipyego, seeking redemption and a confidence boost, entered the Berlin Marathon last September. It was the perfect decision, as she ran a lifetime best of 2:25.10. Five months later, of course, she would complete her comeback and earn a spot on the U.S. team.

"It's just a testament to her incredible hard work and dedication to the sport," said head distance coach Jon Murray, who coached Kipyego to three straight NCAA and Big 12 titles in cross country. "Coming back from pregnancy and some of the rough times she's had these past few years really shows her commitment. At Tech, she hated to lose, and I think that shows in her continued pursuit to be back in race shape and be the best that she can be."

Kipyego's career at Tech is considered one of the greatest of any collegiate athlete in any sport in NCAA history. During her four years in Lubbock, she won eight national titles. Kipyego is the only NCAA athlete ever to win four national titles in one year, doing so in 2007 when she won championships in cross country, the indoor 3000m, indoor 5000m and the outdoor 10,000m. She is the only Big 12 runner ever to win three consecutive conference titles in cross country. Kipyego owns the outdoor school records in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m, and ran on the record-holding distance medley relay. Indoors, her records in the mile, 3000m and 5000m still stand today, as do her 5k and 6k cross country marks.

In 2019, Kipyego was inducted into the Texas Tech Athletic Hall of Fame.

(03/03/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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2020 Tokyo Olympic Games could be postponed to end of year

In a potentially seismic event postponement, Japan’s Olympic minister has said that the Tokyo 2020 Games could be moved from the summer until later in the year due to the coronavirus.

Speaking in Japan’s parliament, Seiko Hashimoto said Tokyo’s contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “calls for the Games to be held within 2020… this could be interpreted as allowing a postponement.”

The Games are due to be held from July 24 to August 9.

“We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned,” Hashimoto added in a BBC report. IOC president Thomas Bach said last week that the organization is “fully committed” to hosting the event in the summer.

Any change of date for the Olympics would have a huge effect for broadcasters the world over.

Sporting events to be canceled or postponed due to the outbreak include the 2020 World Indoor Athletics Championships and the Chinese Grand Prix.

The film and TV industries have largely avoided cancelling major industry confabs to date though the Hong Kong Filmart was postponed. Cinemas in multiple European markets have been closed and the industry in China has been significantly impacted.

Globally, around 86,000 people have been infected by the virus, which has spread to more than 50 countries. More than 3,000 people have died – the vast majority in China’s Hubei region, where the outbreak began in December.

(03/03/2020) ⚡AMP
by Andreas Wiseman
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Molly Seidel had never run a marathon until Feb 29 where she made the 2020 US Olympic Marathon team

The US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta February 29 was Molly Seidel’s First Marathon. 

Seidel, 25, has two jobs, shares an apartment with her sister and runs turkey trots in costume. No, she can’t believe this is happening, either.

What does it feel like to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in your debut marathon?

Molly Seidel was ebullient when she qualified for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.

She had been a standout athlete in college, but in recent years she had struggled with injuries. She’d started working at a coffee shop in Boston and babysat to make ends meet. She hoped for a good race at the trials in Atlanta on Saturday, but tried not to have big expectations.

It would be her first marathon, after all. She never could have predicted it would lead to the Olympics.

Seidel, 25, ran away with second place at the trials, finishing in 2 hours 27 minutes 31 seconds and securing one of three spots on the U.S. women’s team for the Tokyo Games this summer.

Seidel is known for her performances in 5,000- and 10,000-meter races. She won the Foot Locker Cross Country Championship in 2011and has four N.C.A.A. titles. She qualified for the Olympic marathon trials with her time in the half marathon, a 1:10:27 in San Antonio in December.

“I had no idea what this was going to be like,” she said after the race on Saturday. “I didn’t want to oversell it and put way too much pressure on, knowing how competitive the field was going to be. But talking with my coach, I didn’t want to phone it in just because it was my first one.”

The challenging course played to Seidel’s strengths. She called herself a racer, not someone who would thrive in a time trial. And she said the conditions — a hilly course on a chilly, windy day — played to her advantage.

In a race that included some of the biggest names in running — Jordan Hasay, Sara Hall, Molly Huddle, Emma Bates, Des Linden — Seidel flew under the radar until she broke away from the pack along with Aliphine Tuliamuk and Sally Kipyego in Mile 21. When she made the move, she said she knew she would “make the team or spectacularly go down in flames.” All three made the Olympic team, with Tuliamuk in first with a time of 2 hours 27 minutes and 23 seconds.

 

(03/01/2020) ⚡AMP
by Talya Minsberg
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Japanese Emperor Naruhito is excited for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games despite coronavirus concern

Japanese Emperor Naruhito, who turns 60, has spoken of his excitement for Tokyo 2020 as well as his the "concern" caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

At a news conference to mark his birthday, Naruhito spoke of his memories of attending the 1964 Summer Olympic Games, which were also held in Tokyo.

"At the Closing Ceremony, the athletes didn’t march in all their separate countries’ teams but all together, and in such good humor," he said, according to Reuters.

"That could be the basis of my unchanging and long-held, earnest hope for world peace."

Those Games took place less than 20 years after the end of Second World War and were important in normalizing Japan's international relations. 

Naruhito was four when the Japanese capital hosted the Olympics for the first time.

"I hope this Olympics and Paralympics will deepen understanding of other people in the world and the preciousness of peace - especially among young people," the Emperor added.

He also spoke of the coronavirus outbreak, which has now claimed more than 2,450 lives worldwide.

Almost 80,000 people are infected, including 780 in Japan, many of whom were on a cruise ship.

"This new coronavirus is a concern," Narihito commented. "I would like to send my sympathies to those who are infected and their families. "At the same time, my thoughts are with the efforts of those who are treating them and working hard to prevent the spread of the infection. 

"I hope their efforts will bear fruit soon." Numerous sporting events have been postponed, canceled or rescheduled - including some Tokyo 2020 test events and qualifiers - because of the outbreak.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission chairman John Coates said this week that he was "very satisfied" with steps taken to ensure Tokyo 2020 will be safe to attend, while the IOC was previously told by the World Health Organization that there was "no case" for moving the Games.

(02/26/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ali Iveson
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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A respected Japanese virologist said that Tokyo Olympics probably couldn’t be held now, under current circumstances, but things could improve by July

A respected Japanese virologist, Hitoshi Oshitani, on Wednesday said if the Tokyo Olympics were tomorrow, the games probably couldn’t be held because of the fast-spreading virus from Wuhan, China.

“We need to find the best way to have a safe Olympics,” Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani said, speaking at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. “Right now we don’t have an effective strategy, and I think it may be difficult to have the Olympics (now). But by the end of July we may be in a different situation.”

The local Tokyo Olympic organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee have repeatedly said over the last few weeks that they are following the advice of the World Health Organization and that the games will go on.

But with every passing day, the impact of the virus seems to spread, and so does the fallout: Olympic qualifying events are canceled or postponed, travel gets difficult, and athletes and families are left wondering. Not to mention sponsors and broadcasting networks that have invested billions of dollars in the Olympics.

The modern Olympics dating from 1896 have only been canceled during wartime, and in 1980 and 1984 they went on with boycotts.

Oshitani, a former adviser with the WHO who worked on the SARS outbreak almost 20 years ago, was hopeful but sowed some uncertainty about the July 24-Aug. 9 Olympics.

“I’m not sure of the situation in Japan at the end of July,” he said, answering in English. “But probably we will not have large outbreaks in Japan in July.”

Oshitani said he was most concerned about a “Wuhan-type” of outbreak taking place in Africa or other parts of Asia and having cases imported into Japan. He said if that happened “it may get difficult to have” the Olympics. But he also suggested Japan might be able to handle it.

“So what we have to do now is try to prevent such a thing from happening,” he added, saying the Japanese government should support countries so they don’t have “that kind of situation.”

The viral outbreak has infected more than 75,000 people globally. China has reported 2,004 deaths among 74,185 cases on the mainland, mostly in the central province of Hubei. Only one death in Japan has been attributed to the virus.

Earlier in the week, Shigeru Omi, a former regional director of the WHO and an infectious disease expert from Japan, also said he could not be sure about the Olympics.

“Whether the outbreak will last until the Olympic date or not depends upon the virus and the societal effort and joint international community,” he said at a news conference. “Nobody can predict whether we can contain the virus or put an end to this outbreak before the Olympics start. That’s anybody’s guess.”

He added it was not a “big question mark, but there is a question mark.”

In the spotlight are 19 test events that Japan is to hold beginning next month, a chance for organizers to practice in competition mode and an opportunity for potential Olympic athletes to check out Japan.

In a cancellation Wednesday, the Kyodo news agency reported that Mongolia’s archery team had pulled out of a training camp in Japan’s central Aichi prefecture.

Dozens of sports events have been called off around Asia in the wake of the outbreak, including the indoor world track and field championships next month in Nanjing, China, and the Formula One race in April in Shanghai.

Organizers announced last week that next month’s Tokyo Marathon will be limited to elite runners and wheelchair athletes. About 38,000 runners had been expected to participate in one of the world’s largest races.

(02/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Stephen Wade
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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2020 Nike Vapormax is set To Debut At Tokyo Olympics

February 2017 marks a pivotal notch in Nike’s innovation timeline as this was the very instance that Vapormax technology made its retail introduction to the globe.

Since this moment, the segmented Air unit is still considered to be one of the Swoosh’s significant creations of last decade and has spawned an entire generation of new Sportswear models designed equally for performance and lifestyle purposes.

And while many of its releases in the past year have delivered compelling colorways and hybrid silhouettes such as the recent Vapormax 360, it’s ready to turn the page to its new chapter, and what better event to do so than at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Vapormax 2020, a brand new silhouette that keeps most of its traditional DNA, but modifies its constructions with elements more aligned with futuristic proportions.

Engineered with a more sustainable approach, this new model’s Flyknit upper is comprised of 75% recycled manufacturing waste, and features multi-colored threading inspired by a bird’s eye view of piles of waste (We didn’t know trash could ever look this good either). In addition, the heels have been upgraded with a much sleeker shape with curvy molds plastered to the rear which, for these initial launch colorways, arrive in an icy blue hue set with scrap speckles on the USA edition, and an oceanic marble for its GR colorway. 

However, perhaps the component that reflects its evolution the most, is the addition of Flyease – Nike’s laceless technology system that allows users to slide in and out of the shoe while still providing a flexible and secured fit.

The translucent outsole is also altered slightly with the arrival of an “S” shaped mold that separates the forefoot and heel, as well as more chippy recycled accents pasted onto its borders. You can expect to these to make their debut on the Olympic podiums via this Summer’s medalists, as well as see a public release sometime during Summer/Fall 2020.

 

(02/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Elliot Santiago
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Asian Games silver medalist Hima Das has moved to the 200m category from 400m ahead of 2020 Olympics

The 20-year-old was asked to move to 200m because she has struggled with illness and does not have basic conditioning level she needs for a longer race.

Asian Games silver medalist Hima Das has moved to the 200m category from 400m for the upcoming season, thereby putting her chances of qualifying for an individual event at this year’s Tokyo Olympics in major doubt, reported The Indian Express.

The report added that Das will switch back to 400m only next season as she has missed on training due to illness during the back end of last year and won’t be physically ready for the longer distance. Das had missed out on the World Championships after suffering a debilitating back injury and then struggled with a recurring fever.

“It does not make sense to focus on the 400 meters this season because she does not have the basic conditioning level she needs,” Athletics Federation of India’s high-performance director Volker Herrmann was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The German added: “And in the 400 meters, you need a decent amount of endurance and considering that now there is only four and a half months till the end of the qualifying period for the Olympics, we didn’t want to make similar mistakes of last season and we didn’t want to force anything.

“If we put her into 400 meter competitions again there would be a lot of pressure. She is still young and and we don’t want to rush anything.”

Das faces an uphill task trying to improve on her time in the 200m event. To qualify for the Summer Games, the cut-off is set at 22.80 seconds. The Assamese sprinter’s personal best in the 200m is well below the qualifying mark at 23.10 seconds.

Herrmann stated that Das was asked to move to 200m because of the endurance levels needed to run a longer race, and was confident that she can make the grade for the Olympics.

“Hima’s main limitation now is her speed for a 400 meter runner, so this year as far as individual events go, Hima will focus more on the 200 metres,” Herrmann said.

“The goal is to improve her personal best, and from 2021 onwards with better speed base and hopefully with more endurance as well, she can focus on improving her 400 meter performance.”

(02/18/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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2020 Tokyo Olympics organizers says there is no Plan B for summer games amid coronavirus fears

Tokyo Olympic organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said there is no 'Plan B' for the upcoming summer games despite growing fears that the coronavirus could impact the event, which are set to begin in July, the Associated Press reported.

Speaking at a press conference Friday, the organizers took 11 questions, all of which were related to the virus, athletes and fans coming in from China, and the continuation of the planned events. 

"Certainly the advice we've received externally from the WHO (World Health Organization) is that there's no case for any contingency plans or canceling the games or moving the games," IOC inspection team head John Coates said during the news conference, CBS Sports reported.

Coates also claimed he is "100% confident" that the Olympic games will continue as scheduled.

"It is meaningless to predict a timing when the coronavirus may come to an end,"  former regional director of the WHO and an infectious disease expert from Japan Shigeru Omi told the Associated Press separate from the news conference on Thursday. "We should assume that the virus has already been spreading in Japan. People should understand that we cannot only rely on border controls to prevent the spread of the disease."

However, CEO of the Tokyo Olympics Toshiro Muto said on February 4 at a meeting with International Paralympic Committee officials that he was "seriously worried" about the impact the coronavirus could have on the "momentum towards the games," the Associated Press reported.

Several qualifying events have already been canceled or moved because of the virus, CNN reported. Asia and Oceanian region's qualifying boxing event has been canceled, and the Asian Football Confederation's women's football qualifiers has been moved from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to Nanjing.

China is expected to bring in a team of about 600 athletes to the Tokyo games this summer.

 "We continue also to monitor, particularly the Chinese that will be coming here," Coates continued. "You'll find that the Chinese teams are mostly out of China. That's the athletes and officials."

As of now, there has been one coronavirus-induced fatality in Japan, making it the second death outside of China, the Washington Post reported. To compare, 1,380 deaths have occured in China. 

(02/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brittany Chang
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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London Marathon Events is offering $453,000US of funding to 30 elite athletes as they prepare for the Olympics including Alex Bell

World Championships semi-finalist Alex Bell is one of 30 British athletes who have been offered funding from London Marathon Events (LME) for the 2020 season as part of LME’s extensive and longstanding support of British endurance running.

Bell, who reached the semi-finals of the 800m in Doha last year, was one of eight athletes on last year’s inaugural LME funding programme who represented Great Britain at the 2019 World Championships.

Three others – Marc Scott, Ben Connor and Zak Seddon - continue on the LME programme for 2020 while another four – Charlotte Purdue, Steph Twell, Aimee Pratt and Neil Gourley – have progressed from LME funding to British Athletics’ Olympic Podium Potential Funding after hugely successful performances in 2019.

The athlete programme is part of a larger £350,000 ($453,000US) funding commitment from LME to British endurance running that includes support of the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) and training camps for British endurance athletes.

Bell said: "I am extremely grateful to receive another year of help from London Marathon Events. I had a memorable year on the track last year reaching the World Championships semi-finals and now I have the Tokyo Olympic Games as my big motivation for 2020. This funding will be crucial to help and support me in a year that could be the biggest of my career to date."

LME has worked with British Athletics to select the nominated individual athletes and the funding is designed to provide a bridge for endurance runners to the WCPP and to improve the standard of British endurance running across all distances.

In addition to the 15 athletes who are continuing on the funding programme, 15 new names have been added to the list including Rosie Clarke (third photo) and Elizabeth Bird, who both ran the 3000m steeplechase at last year’s World Championships, Piers Copeland, 1500m silver medallist at the 2019 Under-23 European Championships, and Stephanie Davis, who last year ran the ninth fastest marathon time in history by a British woman.

The athletes were shortlisted by a panel of British Athletics and London Marathon Events endurance experts and range from middle-distance runners to marathon specialists. No athlete currently funded through the British Athletics WCPP is eligible to receive London Marathon Events individual funding.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events, said: “We are passionate about effectively supporting British endurance running and the first year of this new initiative of funding individual athletes has produced good results. Eight of our funded athletes were selected for the World Championships and now four of those have progressed onto the British Athletics Olympic Podium Potential Programme. The aim of this funding was to provide a pathway for talented endurance athletes and these results show it is working.

“We wish this year’s funded athletes every success and we hope to see a number of them in Team GB at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.”

The full list of athletes to be offered London Marathon Events funding is:

Mohamud Aadan (Thames Valley), Charlotte Arter (Cardiff AAC, Alexandra Bell (Pudsey & Bramley), Elizabeth Bird (Shaftesbury Barnet), Emile Cairess (Leeds City), Hayley Carruthers (Birchfield Harriers), Rosie Clarke (Epsom & Ewell), Natasha Cockram (Micky Morris Racing Team), Jamaine Coleman (Preston), Ben Connor (Derby)

Piers Copeland (Wimborne), Stephanie Davis (Clapham Chasers), Nick Goolab (Belgrave Harriers), Derek Hawkins (Kilbarchan AAC), Jake Heyward (Cardiff AAC), Sarah Inglis (Lothian Running Club), Tish Jones (Belgrave Harriers)

Matt Leach (Bedford & County), Jonny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers), Amy-Eloise Neale (Wakefield District Harriers), Jennifer Nesbitt (Cardiff AAC), Verity Ockenden (Swansea Harriers), Chris O'Hare (Edinburgh AC)

Lily Partridge (Birchfield Harriers), Marc Scott (Cambridge & Coleridge), Zak Seddon (Bracknell AC), Jake Smith (Cardiff AAC), Jenny Spink (Bristol & West), Chris Thompson (Aldershot Farnham & District), Alice Wright (Worcester AC)

(02/11/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Tokyo Olympic organizers say ‘we have never discussed cancelling the games’ over coronavirus outbreak

Tokyo Olympic organizers are trying to shoot down rumours that this year’s 2020 Games might be cancelled or postponed because of the spread of a new virus.

Japan has so far reported no deaths from the coronavirus that has killed more than 200 people in China. Japanese organizers have hesitated to say much for several days, but on Friday they addressed the rumours. So did the International Olympic Committee, which also has said little.

The Olympics open on July 24, just less than six months away.

“We have never discussed cancelling the games,” Tokyo organizers said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with the IOC and relevant organizations and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary.”

Rumours of a cancellation have spread in Japan with reports that the Swiss-based IOC has met with the World Health Organization about the outbreak. The WHO has called the virus a global emergency.

“Preparations for Tokyo 2020 continue as planned,” the IOC said in a statement. “It is normal practice for the IOC to collaborate with all the main UN agencies, as necessary, in the lead up to the games and this naturally includes the WHO.”

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, speaking earlier in the week to the heads of 62 municipalities, warned about the dangers. Japan has also urged citizens not to travel to China.

“We must firmly tackle the new coronavirus to contain it, or we are going to regret it,” she said.

Rumours have spread online with thousands of comments on Twitter under the hashtag in Japanese “Tokyo Olympic Cancelled.”

The IOC has faced challenges like this before, and carries insurance for such possibilities. It has cancelled Olympics during wartime, and faced boycotts in 1980 and 1984. It also held the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City just months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus also cast a shadow over the run-up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The larger problem for the Olympics could come with qualifying events in China and elsewhere being cancelled or postponed. International federations will have to reschedule events and Chinese athletes could present extra challenges and screening.

World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, announced earlier in the week it was postponing the world indoor championships in Nanjing, China, until next year. The event had been scheduled for March 13-15.

Travel, screening and allaying fears are certain to be more complicated if the outbreak continues. The 11,000 athletes expected to compete at the Tokyo Olympics will also face pressure to stay safe.

Sponsors and television networks who have invested billions of dollars will also try to keep the games on track.

Demand for Olympic tickets in Japan is unprecedented, exceeding supply by at least 10 times. Organizers say 7.8 million tickets are being issued for the Olympics.

Organizers say they are spending about US$12.6-billion to put on the Games. But a national audit bureau says the costs are twice that much.

(02/09/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Eliud Kipchoge has called Kenya's team kit for Tokyo 2020 unique and awesome, despite mixed opinion

Eliud Kipchoge, who became the first runner to complete a marathon under two hours in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in October, said that it bears the colors of the national flag and resonates well with the new generation, according to Kenyan news service, Daily Nation.

“I think it will turn tables as far as sport is concerned. 

"I trust I will see Kenyans draped in the Kenyan colors in all streets of our towns,” said Kipchoge. 

“It is a good thing that Nike has promised to make these awesome clothes available on retail.”

Kipchoge also added that it absorbs and drains moisture fast, tailoring it to the conditions set for Tokyo.

The launch took place on Tuesday in New York, including 1500 meters champion Timothy Cheruiyot alongside athletes from other nations such as United States and Brazil. 

However, the reception was not loved by all, with athletics fan Jack Waiyaki calling it a "Tasteless, poor design."

"The name 'KENYA' should be clearly seen and dominant," said Waiyaki. 

"The other kit does not need to be changed- it is a well known global trademark and brand that sends fear to rivals."

The honeycomb kit sparked controversy on Twitter after the announcement with one user joking, "I'm no longer Kenyan."

Another Facebook user, Mosdef Apollo said, "Did someone get paid for that? 

"The laziest designer, there is no iota of creativity - return that thing, it doesn't befit Kenya."

One other commenter asked if the vest was "inspired by bees."

One supporter, Kamal Kaur said, "Modern, vibrant and it stands out."

Kenya won all 13 of their Olympic medals from Rio 2016 in athletics with their last non-athletics medal coming at Seoul 1988. 

(02/08/2020) ⚡AMP
by Michael Houston
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Four-time 100m world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce says she believes she can keep the younger generation at bay to win Olympic gold in Tokyo

The 33-year-old became the oldest women to win a world or Olympic 100m title with victory in Doha in September.

She only came back to competition early last year after spending two years away from the sport to have her son Zyon.

"I definitely believe it's possible, considering the year I had and the room to improve," the Jamaican said.

"There are things that I do personally that I missed out on and have gone light on.

"That time out actually gave me the time to just mentally refocus on the goals that I want to achieve and I'm going to soldier on and I'm definitely looking forward to making it to my fourth Olympic Games."

Fraser-Pryce won 100m gold at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, before taking bronze behind compatriot Elaine Thompson and American Tori Bowie at Rio 2016.

She also confirmed that she intends to double up by competing in the 200m, the event in which 24-year-old Briton Dina Asher-Smith won gold in Doha.

"The plan last year was to do the double, and my coach decided he didn't want me doing the double, considering I just came back off a break," added Fraser-Pryce, who is a nominee for the World Sportswoman of the Year at the Laureus Awards in Berlin on 17 February.

"So, this year we are attempting to do the 100 and the 200, and my programme has been geared towards that."

Fraser-Pryce began training ten weeks after Zyon's birth in 2017, but had to run with a special band stabilising her stomach following a caesarean section.

Zyon accompanied her on a lap of honour after her 100m triumph in Doha.

(02/07/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Middle-distance stars Jessica Hull and Stewart McSweyn have guaranteed their spots on the Australian team for the Tokyo Olympics

Middle-distance star Jessica Hull has guaranteed herself a spot on the Australian team for the Tokyo Olympics with a commanding victory in the women’s 5000 meters at the Melbourne Track Classic.

Hull, 23, surged to the front with 600 meters to go and powered away from Japan’s Hitomi Niiya to win in 15 minutes 06.12 seconds and claim her first national title.

As Hull had previously bettered the automatic qualifying mark, Thursday night’s victory saw her cement a spot in the Olympic squad.

“It is pretty surreal,” said Hull, who graduated last year from the University of Oregon and is now based in Phoenix.

“It’s been a long time, it’s been a dream and when you are a kid you think it is going to happen sooner.

“So in 2016 I was like ‘yeah, I’m going to Rio’ but obviously I was still young.

“But now in 2020 it is a reality and it is so exciting.”

Equally commanding was Stewart McSweyn, who became the first man in five years to complete the Australian 5000m/10,000m double.

Racing in a black armband in honor of his mentor and world athletics identity Maurie Plant, who died last month, McSweyn overcame some nervous moments before stamping his authority on Thursday night’s race.

He broke clear with five laps to go and powered away to win in 13 minutes 38.77 seconds.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I had to bring the A-game,” said the Tasmanian, who smashed the 10,000m record late last year at the Zatopek meet.

(02/06/2020) ⚡AMP
by John Salvado
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Nike's controversial Vaporfly shoe has been permitted for use in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

World Athletics has temporarily updated its guidelines for sports shoes worn in competitive events ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in July.

The new guidelines from the international governing body for athletics bans the trainer Eliud Kipchoge wore to break the two-hour marathon record.

Vaporfly meets new stipulations, However, Nike's Vaporfly range – including the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% and the Zoom Vaporfly 4% – meets the stipulations of World Athletics' amended Technical Rules.

These prohibit shoes with soles that are thicker than 40 millimetres and the inclusion of more than one carbon-fibre plate, or similar item, in the sole.

The news comes amid criticism of the fairness of allowing athletes to compete while wearing the Vaporfly range, which have thick, foam soles and carbon-fibre plates to improve speed.

In 2019, 31 of the 36 podium positions in the six world marathon majors were won by elite athletes wearing Vaporfly, as reported by the Guardian.

World Athletics' Moratorium, which forms part of the Clothing section of the guidelines, also states that, from 30 April, shoes have to be on the open market for at least four months before an elite athlete can wear them for a contest.

While Vaporfly remains within the amends, the prototype Air Fly trainer that Nike-sponsored Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge wore to run a sub-two-hour marathon in October 2019 will be banned under the regulations.

The sneaker has a much chunkier sole than the Vaporfly and reportedly includes three carbon-fibre plates.

It has been reported, however, that Nike still has time to make amends to the Alpha Fly ahead of a release in March – over four months before the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on 24 July.

This could make it possible for athletes to wear the shoe during the major competition.

(02/04/2020) ⚡AMP
by Eleanor Gibson
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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With the 2020 Olympics approaching in less than six months, Tokyo officials are calling for action to contain the coronavirus

With the 2020 Olympics less than six months away, there is some speculation about the possible risk from the rapidly-spreading coronavirus that has already resulted in the postponement or cancellation of at least four major international competitions.

Though the possibility of the Olympics being cancelled seems unthinkable,  Tokyo City Governor Yuriko Koike was quoted yesterday by an Associated Press reporter as commenting: “With only 177 days to go and our preparations accelerating, we must firmly tackle the new coronavirus to contain it, or we are going to regret it.”

The Olympics are scheduled to take place in Tokyo and Sapporo from July 24 to August 9. The Asian Indoor Championships (previously scheduled for February 12 and 13 in Hangzhou, China), Hong Kong Marathon (February 8) and the Gaoligong UTMB ultra (March 21 to 23 in Yunnan, China) have all been cancelled, and the World Indoor Athletics Championships, previously scheduled for March 13 to 15 in Nanjing, China, have been postponed for one year to March, 2021.

According to the World Health Organization, as of yesterday there were 6,065 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 16 countries, almost 6,000 of them in China. Some sources claim there have been 170 deaths, and there have been no deaths outside of China. There are currently three confirmed cases in Canada. Each person infected with the virus could potentially transmit the infection to two or three other people.

Many international public health authorities are downplaying the risk of transmission so as not to induce panic, while discouraging non-essential travel to Wuhan. Meanwhile, sales of surgical masks to reduce the risk of transmission have skyrocketed in many countries.

The postponement of the World Indoor Championships has interesting implications for the Olympics. With the new World Rankings system, championship meets give athletes the chance to accrue points towards Olympic team qualification, giving those who compete at World Indoor Championships a leg up on their compatriots who do not. The one-year postponement means that opportunity is no longer available before the Olympics, so the effect of the postponement is to level the playing field somewhat (assuming the Olympics go ahead as planned).

(01/31/2020) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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World record-holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei headline the star-studded Kenyan marathon team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Eliud Kipchoge, who is the first man to run the marathon in under two hours, will be seeking to defend the title he won in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil four years ago where he clocked 2:08:44.

Kipchoge, whose record stands at 2:01:39, will lead the Kenyan men’s team which also has debutant Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono, world silver medalist Amos Kipruto, former world half marathon silver medalist Bedan Karoki, and African Games half marathon winner Titus Ekiru. The duo of Karoki and Ekiru are on stand by.

Cherono, 32, made it to the team courtesy of his heroics in Chicago last year, where he timed 2:05:45 to win the race— just six months after claiming the Boston Marathon. He has a personal best of 2:04:06 recorded in Amsterdam in 2018. Cherono’s half marathon personal best stands at 1:00:46 posted in San Diego, USA last year.

Kipruto called on the sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to accord the team support like she did during the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. He termed the selection process as tough for AK owing to the number of top marathoners in the country pursuing to make the team.

“It was tough for AK to pick the team from the pool of marathoners we have. We are happy to have made the cut and we hope we will enjoy maximum support. The CS was in Doha with us during the World championships and her presence motivated the team. We will maintain our mentality and discipline in camp,” he said.

Similarly, Brigid Kosgei will lead the women’s team which will also feature world champion Ruth Chepngetich and former London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot. Sally Kaptich and Vallary Aiyabei are on standby

Kosgei broke Paula Radcliffe's 16-year-old record held by a massive 81 seconds in October last year during the Chicago Marathon after crossing the line in 2:14:04. She is also the London Marathon champion and has half marathon personal best of 1:04:28. 

Chepngetich defied sweltering conditions in Doha to be crowned the world champion last year, where she clocked 2:32:43. The 26-year-old has a marathon personal best at 2:17:08 which she ran in Dubai last year. Her half marathon best time is 1:05:30. 

For Vivian, she returns to the Olympics as a marathoner after reigning supreme in the 5,000 and 10,000m races in the previous four editions. The decorated athlete won the 5,000m race in Rio and took silver in 10,000m. She will be hoping to add yet another Olympic gold medal to her rich collection. Her full marathon personal best is 2:18:31 which was recorded in London in 2018. Her half marathon best time is 1:06:34.

“It is the best team ever assembled for the Olympics. We are going to work hard in training and make our country proud,” said Cheruiyot

Training is set to begin on May 1 in Kaptagat according to AK President Jackson Tuwei.

(01/31/2020) ⚡AMP
by Meshack Kisenge
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Boston marathon champion Lawrence Cherono said Tuesday that representing Kenya at the Tokyo Olympics will be a big achievement, winning gold will be dream come true

Lawrence Cherono, 31, said his main hurdle to securing a ticket to the Olympics will be in defending his title at the Boston Marathon in April.

However, he hopes to make the provisional team, set to be named in February for the Olympics.

For a country that has over 20 elite runners who have posted a faster time of 2:06.00, picking the best three will be a hard task for the coaches' selector panel.

But Cherono has showed a strong desire to represent the country and believes his good performance in the last season will convince the coaches to offer him his maiden show for the country at the global championship.

"The competition for position in the Kenya team is tough. With all my accomplishments, I have not been lucky to represent the country at the Olympics. It will be a great honor if I will be part of the team to Tokyo," Cherono said.

Cherono's debut in marathon was in Seville, Spain where he won in 2:09.39.

He then moved to China and was second at the Lanzhou marathon clocking 2:12.33 back in 2015. Later that year he finished seventh at the Shanghai marathon with a time of 2:14.22.

In 2016, he was second at the Hengshui Lake marathon, won in Prague marathon and claimed the silver medal at the Hong Kong city marathon. He has also finished first in Honolulu, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Chicago and Boston.

If winning in Boston again, Cherono will secure his ticket to Tokyo to join defending champion Eliud Kipchoge, who has already been confirmed for the Olympics.

But it will not be a walk in the park for Cherono in Boston. He will be up against 2018 Boston winner Yuki Kawauchi of Japan, former World marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui who has a personal best of 2:06:27 he recorded at the 2016 Amsterdam marathon.

Also chasing the title in Boston is the 2012 Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.

(01/29/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Irish runner Stephen Scullion has qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games after he finished 5th in the Houston Marathon

Scullion recorded a time of 2:11:52. This in fact beat his personal best by over 9 seconds.

The Belfast’s man time was just 22 seconds outside automatic qualification. However, he still secured his passage to the Olympics after he secured a top five finish in a gold label race.

Things have got better and better for Scullion after struggling in Doha. He finished second in the Dublin marathon behind Morocco athlete Othmane El Goumri. He ran a personal best then at a time of 2:12:01. However, his run in Texas on Sunday even bettered that.

It will be a first Olympic appearance for the 31 year old and he is fully deserving of it. In fact, it makes it even better considering he retired from athletics when he was in his 20’s.

However, he has been committed to the cause for the past five years and he is a prime example of hard work pays off in the end.

It’s absolutely magnificent to see an Irish athlete reach his potential and getting a shot to show his potential once again on the World stage at the Olympic Games. One thing is for sure he will knuckle down now and train even harder to get himself right and hopefully he can take home a medal for us to celebrate this summer.

(01/21/2020) ⚡AMP
by Anthony Redmond
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Sir Mo Farah says he can make history in Tokyo by winning 10,000m at the age of 37

Tuning into the 10,000 meters final at the World Championships was when the 36-year-old first realized he had unfinished business with the track, despite his four Olympic gold medals and six world titles.

“Watching Doha, I was nervous and agitated,” he recalled. “I felt like I was there. My heart was pounding and I was looking at that race thinking, ‘I know I could do it, I want to do it’, and the Olympics is just round the corner. I knew from that point that I’d love to go back and race that.

“As an athlete it’s important if you’re still hungry and you want it, you train for it, you push yourself to get it. If you’re not hungry, you don’t want it as much, then it’s impossible to get it. And right now I have a great hunger for the track.”

So adamant was Farah about the switch that his coach, Gary Lough, who is continuing to oversee his track ambitions, did not even attempt to talk him round. As Farah puts it: “Gary knew from that point that nothing else mattered.”

So accustomed was Farah to winning on the track that his stab at the marathon has been frustrating. There have been notable highs — winning in Chicago in 2018 and breaking the European record — but too often he has been found wanting to his East African rivals and admitted to struggling to rectify wrongs on the road, such are the rigors of the event.

“If a track race goes wrong, you know what went wrong, whether it’s your endurance or speed or whatever, you can work it out and then focus on it in training,” he said. “Then you race again in two weeks’ time and you do something about it. With the marathon, it’s sixth months. Take Chicago. I got injured beforehand, had a little niggle and the race was a disaster really. Having run so many track races in the past and with Tokyo around the corner, you go for what you knew best.”

It helps that the 10,000m has not moved on monstrously in his absence, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei winning the world title in a time just a second quicker than Farah’s track swansong of the same distance at the preceding championships in 2017.

“There’s no one out there that has you saying ‘Oh, my God’ but in the marathon it’s different,” he said with a nod not just to the distance’s dominant force in Eliud Kipchoge but his wider rivals. “My understanding is I can’t finish in the top three in Tokyo with 2:05.”

But Farah will be the oldest man in history to run in a 10,000m final at the Olympics, let alone have aspirations to win a fifth Olympic gold. But, for him, it is the only target in his eyes. “It’s gold or nothing,” he said. “No one’s ever done that — someone that old — and that’s history. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work hard. I’m confident, otherwise I wouldn’t enter, but I know I’ve a lot of work to do. I can’t sit here saying, ‘It’s January and all’s good’. It’s going to be really hard. People will be saying, ‘Mo’ll win it’ but it doesn’t work like that.”

(01/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Matt Majendie
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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World Half Marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor is now eyeing an Olympic medal

Last November, the 26-year-old won the men’s New York City Marathon for the second time in three years after clocking 2:08:13.

“My plan this year is to go to the Tokyo Olympics Games because the only medal lacking in my cabinet is an Olympic medal,” Kamworor said.

The athlete, who trains at the Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat, Elgeyo-Marakwet County alongside his mentor and World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, said he has stepped up preparations.

Under the guidance of their coach Patrick Sang, Kamworor and Kipchoge have become two of the best marathoners in the world. Kamworor has been on the medal podium for each of the four New York City marathons he has run.

“I am working hard this time round to make sure that I go to the Olympics because I am focused on getting a medal,” the athlete said.

Kamworor was speaking to the press on Thursday at Kipsinende Primary School in Uasin Gishu County where he led fellow athletes in awarding the best 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) performers in the school.

He was accompanied by Laban Korir (2014 Toronto Waterfront Marathon), Philemon Rono (2018 Toronto Waterfront Marathon winner), Sally Chepyego (former World Half Marathon champion), Hyvin Kiyeng (former world 3,000m steeplechase champion) and Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon.

(01/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Dennis Lubanga
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Callum Hawkins going back to basics ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

"My shed could help me win a marathon medal at the Tokyo Olympics," says Callum Hawkins.  

Britain's Callum Hawkins explains how a garden shed is helping him to win a medal in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics

Elite athletes spend years fine-tuning their bodies in preparation for an Olympic Games with elaborate training and diet plans.  But sometimes it's best to go back to basics. Training in your garden shed with heaters kind of basic.

That's according to Scottish marathon runner Callum Hawkins, who is doing everything possible to prepare his body for the hot and humid conditions in Japan this summer.

"We had a couple of bad winters where sometimes it was too icy to go out and get good quality sessions," Hawkins told Sky Sports News.

"So we thought we'd put up a shed with a treadmill to help me train. We did a bit in the heat chamber and thought we could replicate it instead."

The warm weather is expected to be a big talking point at Tokyo, where temperatures regularly reach 35 Celsius (95F) and humidity hits 80 per cent in summer.  The Olympic marathon and race walk events have already been moved more than 500 miles north from Tokyo to Sapporo to reduce the impact of heat on the athletes.

Regardless of the location, the 27-year-old from Elderslie is planning for all eventualities.  Hawkins is confident he will be able to deal with the heat in Tokyo

"Looking at the history of Sapporo weather, I don't think it will make too much of a difference - it's been similar to Tokyo. I've just got to go out there, I'll be on the start line and give it 100 per cent," he said.

"It can be pretty monotonous in the shed and the crippling heat can be quite tough. But it's just about getting through it and that's what makes champions."

A champion is what Hawkins hopes to become in Tokyo, improving on the ninth place he achieved at his debut Games at Rio 2016.

Since then, he has come agonisingly close to a podium finish on more than one occasion.

He finished fourth at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London and just a few months ago at the World Championships in Doha, he missed out on a medal by just six seconds.

"I still talk to myself if I could have done more or not taught myself a bit more," he said. "But it's about passion, it's about moving on, it's about Tokyo from here on in.

"I try not to let it get me down and try not to let it discourage me, but I think I am a little bit disappointed and won't ever quite get over it unless I win a medal at Tokyo."

Despite missing out on a medal, Hawkins' performance in the extreme heat and humidity in Doha last October is all the more remarkable.

What keeps him motivated for the Olympics, he says, is the fact he's no stranger to the impact of heat exhaustion on an endurance runner.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia, Hawkins was leading the race until severe dehydration caused him to collapse with just two kilometres to go.

Hawkins was given assistance after collapsing during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  "A lot of people thought I might not come back from it but I knew myself I would. I've come back from worse," he said.

"I feel very experienced. I've had both scenarios - one where it's gone wrong and one where it went well so I've managed to tweak enough to make sure I'll be in the best condition I can on the day."I think getting a medal is definitely up there. With the conditions and the fact it is a championship marathon, anything is up for grabs."

With Sir Mo Farah returning to the track instead of taking on the marathon at Tokyo, Team GB's chances of a medal in the men's race now lie with Hawkins and he is leaving nothing to chance.

(01/09/2020) ⚡AMP
by Sarah Dawkins
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Faith Chepngetich is getting ready for Tokyo face-off with Sifan Hassan

As Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon gears towards defending her Olympic title at this year’s Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan, she is ready for the prospect of facing off with double world champion Sifan Hassan.

The pair clashed at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar with the in-form Hassan carrying the day as Kipyegon settled for silver.

As the clock ticks towards this year’s Olympic Games slated for July 24-August 9 at the Japanese capital, Kipyegon is optimistic of defending her title she bagged four years ago in Rio, Brazil.

“Yes, we are in an Olympic season and that is my main goal this year. I have already resumed my build up exercises to make sure that I make the team because everyone is also eyeing the tickets to Tokyo,” said Kipyegon.

Kipyegon hailed the Ethiopian-born Dutch Hassan while speaking on the possibility of renewing their rivalry again this year.

“I normally prefer not to talk about somebody else but it is true that she (Hassan) was on form (last year) having took part in many races and also notching the world record over the mile.

“I knew she was very strong ahead of the World Championships and I congratulate her. I know we shall meet again this year and let’s wait and see what happens (laughs),” said the soft-spoken athlete.

Prior to the Worlds, Kipyegon was just a few months into training after returning from maternity leave and the Keringet-born athlete is hoping to enjoy more success this year with early preparations.

“For sure I expect this year to be different from 2019 because I had a very short time to prepare for World Championships having come back from maternity break. I know that if I build up well towards Tokyo then I will be much stronger,” she said.

After the World Championships, the 25-year-old shifted her training base from Keringet in Nakuru County to the famous Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat where she now joins fellow world beaters including world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and world half marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor among others.

“I am honoured to train at Kaptagat with the likes of Kipchoge (Eliud), Kamworor (Geoffrey) and Kiyeng (Hyvin). I also thank my coach Patrick Sang for the guidance he has offered me since I joined the camp,” said Kipyegon.

(01/06/2020) ⚡AMP
by Gilbert Kiprotich
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Japan Airlines to offer 50,000 free flights to foreign nationals during Tokyo 2020

Japan Airlines will give away up to 50,000 domestic return tickets to foreign nationals who visit the country during the time of next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

The seats will be offered as part of a campaign designed to entice those who travel to Japan for the Games to visit other areas of the nation.

According to Japan Airlines, a supporting partner of Tokyo 2020, its Win a Trip initiative will allow visitors to Japan to "experience regional attractions".

The campaign is due to begin in February, with further details expected to be released in the middle of next month.

Japan Airlines said passengers will be able to fly for free from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to select local destinations.

The campaign will cover overseas members of Japan Airlines' mileage programme who will stay in Japan during the July-September period.

The Olympic Games in the Japanese capital run from July 24 to August 9, before the Paralympics are held from August 25 to September 6.

The scheme is part of an attempt to use Tokyo hosting the Olympics and Paralympics to boost tourism in Japan.

Haneda and Narita airports are both expected to add more international flights to cope with the influx of visitors to Japan for the Games.

Around 31 million visitors were reported to have visited Japan last year, while 600,000 overseas visitors are set to arrive for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

(01/04/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Video game icon Mario and flying cars could be part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Mario, the famous plumber who stars in numerous Nintendo games, is in line to take "center stage" with organizers hoping to deliver a message of peace.

At Rio 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe dressed up as Mario in the handover segment of the Closing Ceremony.

Other Japanese characters including Hello Kitty, robotic cat Doraemon and footballer Captain Tsubasa also appeared with Tokyo 2020 expected to again highlight Japan's famous cartoon industry.

According to Kyodo News, one idea is for rival characters to shake hands in line with the Olympic Truce.

The message of peace could also be displayed by the release of paper doves.

People riding in flying cars might be used to highlight Japanese innovation, meanwhile.

This could also see hydrogen, a next-generation energy source, used as the fuel which lights the Olympic cauldron.

In what would be another example of organizers using the Games to promote the disaster-hit region of Fukushima, a plant from the prefecture may produce the hyrdrogen.

Around 16,000 people died after an earthquake and tsunami caused an accident at a nuclear power plant there in 2011. 

The Japanese leg of the Olympic Torch Relay will begin in Fukushima with some using the term "Reconstruction Olympics".

Baseball and softball matches will also be held there, while flowers grown in areas affected by the earthquake will be used in bouquets for medal winners. 

Japan's fight against natural disasters could also be a theme of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, which will be held at Tokyo's New National Stadium on July 24.

Mansai Nomura, a famous Japanese actor, is the creative director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for both the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He has been tipped to coordinate the events together as a "four-part series", instead of them being separate entities. 

(01/03/2020) ⚡AMP
by Dan Palmer
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot eyes world record and gold at Olympics

World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot believes the return to action of his training mate Elijah Manangoi will propel the two to post fast times on the track even as they plot to attempt breaking the world record this year.

Cheruiyot had until last year been playing second fiddle to his training mate and friend Manangoi.

However, a hamstring injury ruled out Manangoi from defending his title in Doha, setting the stage for Cheruiyot to climb to the top and reign supreme on the global stage. 

Now Cheruiyot is dreaming of shuttering the 3:26.00 world record set by legendary Moroccan middle-distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj, which has been unchallenged for the last two decades.

“The victory I earned in the Doha World Championships last October meant a lot to me because it (gold) was something I had yearned for the past four years.

“I know the record has been there for long and Kenyan athletes have been top of the leaderboard in fast times in the race so, it would be nice if we can work together to attempt breaking it.

“The focus should be on how to train and for sure the record. What I know is it will go down at some time,” Cheruiyot said on Tuesday in Kericho.

But of greater concern to Cheruiyot going into the new season in 2020 will be being able to prove to the world that he is his own man and can emerge from the shadows of his training mate Manangoi to stage his own contest and win.

That will be at the Tokyo Olympic Games. “Of course every athlete has his focus on the Olympic Games. A win at this stage will go a long way in cementing my name among Kenya’s best athletes. For now, my focus is to make the team for the Olympic Games and try to win a medal,” Cheruiyot added.

 

(01/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Xinhua
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto dreams of winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics in the 10,000m

Kenya hopes a new breed of young talented runners will end their wait for gold at the 10k race at the Olympic Games.

For long Ethiopian runners and Britain's Mo Farah have reigned supreme in the ultimate track distance as Kenya played catch up.

However, head coach Julius Kirwa believes the country might have turned over a new chapter as its production chain has churned out top stars that are keen to take over the baton and dominate in Tokyo.

Kirwa said the emergence of young versatile distance-running talent out of East Africa is nothing new. However, one of the stars in question is the World bronze medalist Rhonex Kipruto, who leads the way among the current generation.

"He has shown time and again that he has the talent. His time will certainly peak in 2020 and I believe the Olympic Games is the ultimate stage for any athlete to prove their excellence in the competition of their choice," said Kirwa on Thursday in Nairobi.

Kipruto emerged on the international scene in 2018 when he won the world under-20 title in 10,000m in Tampere, Finland by a margin of almost 20 seconds, he backed this up by setting a world-leading 26:46 for 10km on the road in Prague.

Kipruto, who turned 20 in October, won the 10,000m in 26:50.16 in Stockholm Diamond League and then came close to that mark to take world bronze in Doha.

But ahead of the 2020 season, Kipruto is focused on discipline and hard work to walk in the steps of his mentor and World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

"I know it is the Olympic year in Tokyo, but the main thing should be discipline and hard work, which will guide me to be what I want to live like Eliud," said Kipruto.

Kipruto's coach Ian Kiprono is hopeful his athlete will weather the storm and climb up from bronze to gold in Tokyo.

"He needs to get rooted in doing his homework, training hard and remaining disciplined. The results will always come in," said coach Kiprono.

"The great Kenyan runners all have an amazing simplicity about themselves. That's another trait I look for in an athlete. A calmness, not forgetting where they came from," he added.

(01/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Xiaoxia
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Callum Hawkins is hopeful that his brother, Derek, can join him on the GB marathon team for the Tokyo Olympics

Callum is hopeful that his brother, Derek, can join him for the Tokyo Olympics next summer, repeating the feat of 2016 which saw them both compete for Britain in the marathon in Rio.

It was announced last week that Callum has already been pre-selected for the 2020 Olympics, becoming one of the first GB athletes to secure their seat on the plane to Japan. And he firmly believes his brother is capable of claiming one of the remaining two marathon spots, with things being made slightly easier following the announcement earlier this year from four-time Olympic track medallist Mo Farah that he will concentrate on the 10,000m. This is after his decision in 2017 to retire from the track and concentrate on the road.

The Kilbarchan AAC duo put in impressive showings at Rio 2016, with Callum having a superb run to finish in ninth place, while Derek overcame a build-up severely afflicted by injury to finish just 114th.

The London Marathon in April is the ‘trial race’ for the Olympics, with the British Athletics men’s standard for Japan 2 hours 11 minutes 30 seconds. This means Derek must set a new personal best if he is to make it to his second Olympics, with his best to date being 2 hours 12 minutes 49 seconds, which he clocked in Frankfurt in October.

“There are slots available now at London and hopefully Derek can make it,” said Callum, who believes his older brother is capable of dipping under the British qualifying time.

“He ran a PB in Frankfurt and I think he had a bit more to come that day.

"So we will see how that goes with him and a couple of other Brits come London. I’d love him to be there. We were both selected for Rio in 2016 but at that time he had a real struggle with injury in the last few months and it was all about just making the start-line.

"It would be a nice achievement for two brothers to make it twice to the Olympics in the marathon."

Callum, fourth in the last two World champs events in London and in Doha, feels the competition in Sapporo will be even harder come next August.

"I’m not in any doubt that the level of competition in Japan will be even tougher than Doha," the 27-year-old said.

"That’s just the way I feel because I’m sure the very fact it is the Olympics will motivate people even more and there will be greater depth to the top 10 or the top 20 or whatever. Making the top 10 again will be really tough and the conditions could be difficult, too, even though they’ve moved it.

"I won’t have any fear, though. I will go out there feeling no pressure and, assuming everything has gone well in the build-up, I will really go for it. With a marathon, it comes down to how you cope and how you feel on the day."

If his current plan for next year remains unchanged, he could be making a trip east even before the main event, with a half marathon in Japan on the radar for family Hawkins.

"I’ve been out to Japan before," Callum recalled.

"I was due to run the Fukuoka Marathon at the end of 2018 but a hamstring injury prevented that, but we went on the trip anyway and got an idea of the place.

"We’re firming up the race-plan at the moment but one of the half marathons could be over in Japan, although not at the Olympic venue."

(12/29/2019) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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McSweyn breaks 10km record in Zatopek win

Running machine Stewart McSweyn is eyeing Tokyo Olympics glory after becoming the first man in more than two decades to win a hat-trick of Zatopek 10,000m titles.

The 24-year-old Tasmanian broke a national record that had stood for eight years in Melbourne on Saturday night, powering through the final lap on his own before saluting the crowd with three raised fingers as he crossed the line in 27 minutes and 23.80 seconds.

His time was more than one second faster than Ben St Lawrence's previous Australian-best mark of 27:24:95, set in 2011.

McSweyn also capped his massive year on a personal level by shaving more than 27 seconds off his own personal best time and cracking the Olympic qualifying standard in the process.

The versatile and rangy Kind Islander has also qualified for the 1500m and 5000m at Tokyo 2020 and now faces a big decision about which events he will contest.

"I'm kind of leaving it all open," McSweyn said.

"I'm just going to wait and see what I think is my best chance because I was in the (5000m) final in Doha (at the 2019 World Athletics Championships) and I want to go further than that next year.

"I want to try and be the guy who competes for medals."

Training partners Brett Robinson and Jordan Williamsz set the pace for McSweyn early and he had Queensland's Patrick Tiernan for company until the final lap, when he kicked into another gear and left his rival behind.

"To run that fast was probably a bit of a surprise but I think we owe a lot to Pat Tiernan for setting up that race," McSweyn said.

"What he was able to do after the pacemakers dropped out was pretty amazing.

"I know I was hurting the last 10 minutes and I was hanging on for dear life, so I think half the credit definitely goes to Pat for his run."

McSweyn is now within reach of matching Australian legend Steve Moneghetti's record of four consecutive Zatopek titles, claimed from 1989-92.

Earlier, dual Olympian Genevieve Gregson revealed she would target a spot in the 10,000m event at Tokyo after claiming her first Zatopek crown.

The 30-year-old Queenslander has already qualified for the 3000m steeplechase and will attempt to combine the two events.

Gregson won the Zatopek in 32:47:83, ahead of Canada's Andrea Seccafien (32:48.30), and would need to shave almost one minute and 23 seconds off her time to reach the Olympic standard.

"The goal was to win here, get my auto spot and now chase the time," Gregson said.

(12/28/2019) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

more...
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