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Ten-time USA Track and Field national champion and winner of the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials, Aliphine Tuliamuk, announced Friday that she has signed with Gatorade as she heads toward the Tokyo Olympics. She will join other notable athletes on the company’s endurance roster, including multiple American record holder Molly Huddle and Canadian triathlete Lionel Sanders.
Tuliamuk has had a whirlwind of a year, starting with her win at the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials on Feb. 29, 2020. Just under a year later, on January 13, 2021, she and her partner welcomed their first child. Now, the NAZ Elite runner is preparing to compete in the Olympic Marathon, a mere six months after giving birth.
“I’m so excited to announce that I’m a new member of the Gatorade Endurance family!” says Tuliamuk. “Over the past 12 years Gatorade is a brand I’ve trusted to fuel my body, and when I started running long distance, I fell in love with the Gatorade Endurance products. I look forward to sharing how the gels and chews are helping me perform at my best by providing critical fluids and nutrients while training for the summer games.”
Jeff Kearny, the company’s head of global sports marketing, calls Tuliamuk a “perfect partner” as a national champion and a mother, and describes her as an inspiration, particularly for women. Since she has already been using Gatorade’s endurance products for years, she also has an authentic tie to the brand.
As the Olympics draw near, running fans everywhere will be eagerly awaiting to see how Tuliamuk fares on race day, and will no doubt be cheering her on.(04/17/2021) Views: 25 ⚡AMP
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...
Eight months ago, the outfits our Canadian Olympic team will be wearing at the closing ceremonies were released. No one seemed to notice until a viral tweet about the jackets on Wednesday set off a social media storm.
Twitter users from Canada and around the world had a lot to say about the graffiti-denim look, which was designed by Hudson’s Bay and Levi’s, and reactions ranged from comical to completely horrified.
The original tweet that started it all came from Twitter user Downtown Brandi Frown (@ItsTheBrandi), who (jokingly) called for a cancellation of the Olympics upon seeing the outfits for the first time.
The user followed the initial tweet with several others, including one that poked fun at the “Canadian tuxedo,” otherwise known as wearing a denim shirt or jacket with blue jeans, saying “Sorry but if Canada isn’t gonna wear jeans with those jackets they should just forget the whole concept.” Other users began chiming in, including Canadian Olympic race walker Evan Dunfee.
Another Twitter user said, “They really are leaning into the Canadian tuxedo, huh?”, while another asked, “Did they forget they had to submit something and get these made at a mall kiosk?” One Twitter went so far as to say the jackets are completely inappropriate — unless, of course, they’re worn with jeans.
Others have compared the Canadian uniforms to the Ralph Lauren-designed outfits the American team will be sporting at the closing ceremony, saying “the U.S. vs Canada Olympic outfits look like the plot of a bad 80s camp film where the freaks/geeks have to overcome the preppies.”
Whether you like them or not, the jean jackets aren’t going anywhere, and one thing is certain — Canadians are certainly going to stand out at this year’s closing ceremonies.(04/16/2021) Views: 37 ⚡AMP
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...
According to a report by Global News, a senior member of the ruling party in Japan has said that if the coronavirus situation becomes too dire, the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games could still be canceled. This statement comes less than 100 days until the Games are set to begin and in the midst of a rising fourth wave of infections.
Currently, Japan is struggling with a rising number of coronavirus infections after the government ended a state of emergency. The number of infections in Tokyo is trending upward, and Osaka is experiencing a record number of cases. The government is still moving forward with plans for the Games, which includes several restrictions, social distancing measures and no international spectators, but Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, says that if they have to pull the plug, they will.
“If it seems impossible to do it anymore, then we have to stop, decisively,” he said. “If the Olympics were to spread infection, then what are the Olympics for?”
Another government official countered Nikai’s comments, saying they will hold the games “in a way that’s feasible.” This, he added, might mean having no spectators at all. Statements from both officials come in the midst of an anti-Olympics social media storm on Thursday, when more than 35,000 Twitter users tweeted about canceling the Games. Since the pandemic began, support for the Olympics has been low in Japan, with recent polls suggesting that at least 40 per cent of the country’s population think they should be cancelled.
No decision has been made yet, but Japanese lawmakers are under mounting pressure as the Games draw near. Olympic organizers, Japan’s National Olympic Committee and the Tokyo government have not yet addressed the comments.(04/15/2021) Views: 47 ⚡AMP
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...
The governments of Hokkaido and its capital Sapporo have decided to cancel a 10-kilometer foot race scheduled for next month on the Olympic marathon course, a source with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.
The race on part of the official Tokyo Games marathon course had 2,500 entrants and was due to take place on May 5 as part of the Hokkaido-Sapporo Marathon Festival, which will feature a half-marathon run as an Olympic test event.
The half marathon will go ahead as planned, with approximately 160 elite runners including some qualified Olympic athletes making up the field.
The northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido and its capital Sapporo have become a hotbed for the spread of coronavirus after recording dozens of cases of people infected with COVID-19 variants.
Sapporo has requested residents refrain from non-essential, non-urgent outings in the city and to avoid cross-regional travel for three weeks until this Friday.
City and prefectural authorities plan to extend the request until May 14, leading to the decision to cancel the race.(04/15/2021) Views: 35 ⚡AMP
With every major milestone comes that extra surge of excitement and anticipation for the rescheduled Olympic Games, for which there are now just 100 days to go.
On 23 July the spotlight will be on Tokyo's Olympic Stadium as it hosts the opening ceremony and one week later the world’s best track and field athletes will descend on the rebuilt venue of the 1964 Games as athletics action gets under way.
More than half a century ago, when Tokyo last hosted the Olympics, the stadium was the place where New Zealand’s Peter Snell tore up the track to achieve his 800m and 1500m double, Tamara Press of the Soviet Union took two titles in the shot put and discus, Britain’s Ann Packer sprang a surprise to win 800m gold in a world record and Bob Hayes equalled the world record to win the 100m.
Further history will be made at that site this summer and it will all start with the opening ceremony in 100 days’ time.
“We are so looking forward to seeing athletes from all over the world marching into the new stadium at the opening ceremony ... when the eyes of the world will be on this iconic symbol of the Tokyo 2020 Games,” said Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto on completion of the stadium’s construction, which took 36 months at a cost of ¥157 billion ($US 1.4 billion).
The National Stadium, or ‘Kokuritsu kyōgijō’, which will be known as the Olympic Stadium during the Tokyo Games, was officially completed in November 2019. Demolition of the 1964 Olympics venue had begun in 2015 to make way for the 68,000-seater created with sustainability in mind.
Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the look of the stadium – a ‘living tree’ – is reminiscent of traditional Japanese temple design with wooden facades and greenery to blend with the nearby Meiji Jingu Gaien area. The multi-layered eaves are made of wood gathered from Japan's 47 prefectures, while more than 47,000 trees were planted within the stadium’s precinct.
Inside, 185 airflow-creating fans and mist-cooling systems will create cooler competition conditions and the three tiers of seating, which will not feature overseas spectators for the Games, is in earthy and green tones to mimic sunlight filtering through the trees, or in this case the roof, and on to the forest floor – the seating and Mondo track.
While there are just 100 days to go until the Games, athletics action is heading to the Olympic Stadium even sooner as it will host the second meeting in the 2021 World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series.
‘READY STEADY TOKYO – Athletics’ will take place on 9 May and for many of the athletes expected to compete, this meeting will provide their first look at the state-of-the-art facility.
Continental Tour Gold disciplines to be contested include the men’s 100m, 200m, 400m, 3000m steeplechase, 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles, high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump, while the women’s events are the 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, 100m hurdles, long jump and triple jump.
The meeting is part of the ‘READY STEADY TOKYO’ series of test events organized by Tokyo 2020 in the lead-up to the Games.(04/14/2021) Views: 40 ⚡AMP
A team of scientists at the Florida Institute of Technology has developed a new method for detecting doping compounds in urine samples ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
This new method will not only help regulatory agencies detect existing dopants, but will also help them find newly created illicit steroids not yet known to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to reduce doping in the future. The research was presented Monday at the American Chemical Society.
Each year, WADA releases a list containing every substance athletes are prohibited from using, which includes steroids. The problem is that it can be difficult to distinguish between endogenous steroids (those created naturally in the athlete’s body) and exogenous steroids (steroids the athlete takes in from an outside source) when analyzing a urine sample. Additionally, new performance-enhancing drugs are continuously being developed that many labs don’t know to test for.
“As quickly as we develop methods to look for performance-enhancing drugs, clandestine labs develop new substances that give athletes a competitive advantage,” Dr. Christopher Chouinard, the project’s principal investigator said in an interview.
CChouinard and his team have now developed a test using mass spectrometry and gas or liquid chromatography that can differentiate between endogenous and exogenous steroids, while also anticipating the chemical structure of potential future performance-enhancing compounds. Basically, this test breaks the molecules in the sample up and separates them into fragments, so testing facilities can identify the original, intact compound. Then, the scientists use another special separation technique that allows them to tell the difference between naturally occurring steroids and synthetic, performance-enhancing substances.
The team is also collaborating with other researchers at the university to develop machine-learning techniques to predict the structure and other characteristics of new or future steroids that WADA does not yet know about.
“If we can develop methods to identify any theoretical steroids in the future, we could dramatically reduce doping, because we would be able to detect these new species immediately, without the lag time that’s been associated with anti-doping testing over the last 40 years,” Chouinard says.
This research is coming out only a few months before the summer Olympics, and if it can be employed in time, it could make these Games one of the cleanest on record.(04/08/2021) Views: 53 ⚡AMP
North Korea withdraws from Tokyo 2020 over COVID-19 fears.
A statement on the secretive state's official Sports in the DPRK Korea website said authorities want to "protect athletes".
The country has become the first to pull out of the rearranged Tokyo 2020 because of COVID-19.
Its decision comes just under a week after South Korean capital Seoul announced it had submitted a joint bid with the North for the 2032 Games to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
South Korean President Moon Jae-in had also said he wanted Tokyo 2020 to be an opportunity for dialogue between the bordering nations, which remain technically at war.
The Olympic Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea held a General Assembly to discuss the Games in Japan.
"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has decided not to participate in the 32nd Olympic Games during the General Assembly to protect our athletes from the global health crisis situation related to the coronavirus as proposed by committee members," a statement said.
North Korea shut off its borders in January 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic first began to take hold.
The country has claimed it has no COVID-19 cases but this is believed to be unlikely.
In 1988, North Korea boycotted the Summer Olympics in the South's capital Seoul, but they were welcomed with open arms when their neighbour hosted the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
A unified team took part in the women's ice hockey tournament and the two countries marched together at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies under a joint flag, with peace a key message.
The withdrawal from Tokyo will likely be felt particularly keenly by IOC President Thomas Bach, who has worked to improve sporting relations on the border and visited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang in 2018.
He accepted the Seoul Peace Prize in October for his work and had previously discussed with Moon the possibility of the joint Olympic bid for 2032.
Pyongyang's relations with the west have been tense in recent years, particularly due to its nuclear programme and missile launches.
Tokyo 2020 host Japan's dealings with North Korea are particularly strained, with Pyongyang accused of abducting dozens of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 2017, Kim fired missiles over Japan and another launch into the sea last month again raised fears about the country's weapons expansion.
Former American President Donald Trump held high-profile talks with Kim in 2019 but the North's destruction of a joint liaison office on its side of the border in June highlighted how tensions have risen.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which were postponed by a year due to COVID-19, are due to open on July 23.
North Korea won seven medals at the last Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 - including two golds in weightlifting and gymnastics.(04/06/2021) Views: 70 ⚡AMP
With spring marathons abandoned due to Covid, handful of elite races offer last chance
Aoife Cooke from Cork after winning the women’s category in the 2019 Dublin Marathon (photo). She is targeting the elite-only Wrexham marathon in Wales on April 25th in her bid to qualify for Tokyo.
Irish athletes are facing a race against time and opportunity in their quest to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic marathon, the worry being not just where to run, but whether that run will even happen.
With the normally busy spring marathon calendar effectively abandoned for another season due to Covid-19 – London, Boston and Paris among those postponed to the autumn – a handful of elite-only races present the last chance before the qualification cut-off date of May 31st, given the nature and distance of the event that’s fast becoming a sprint.
Three Irish men – the full quota per event – have already achieved the qualifying standard, although they are not yet officially selected. Stephen Scullion, Kevin Seaward and Paul Pollock all hit the necessary mark over a year ago, unlikely, it seems, to be ousted by a faster time at this point.
Fionnuala McCormack remains the only Irish woman qualified, in line for her fourth Olympics, after she ran 2:26.47 in the 2019 Chicago marathon. McCormack gave birth to her second daughter in December, and has now resumed full training in the build-up to Tokyo.
Two more Irish women still have Tokyo very much in mind, and are targeting the elite-only Wrexham marathon in Wales on April 25th. Aoife Cooke won the national title that came with being the top Irish woman in the 2019 Dublin Marathon, clocking a personal best of 2:32:34. That moved her from 55th to fifth on the Irish all-time list, and within touching distance of the Tokyo standard of 2:29:30, with possibility also of still qualifying via the ranking quota.
The 34-year-old from Cork was all set to race the Vienna marathon this time last year, before that fell victim to Covid-19, and, despite the long and uncertain wait, is for now on course at least to give Tokyo her best shot in the unlikely surrounds of the seven-lap course in Wrexham.
Also running in Wrexham is Ann-Marie McGlynn, who improved her best to 2:32:54 in Dublin in 2019, and then ran 2:35:41 in Valencia last December. Mick Clohisey is also down to run in the Welsh event, the 2016 Olympic marathon representative eying the men’s standard of 2:11.30, which will require some improvement on his best of 2:13:19.
Of the three Irish men’s qualifiers already, Stephen Scullion is the fastest, thanks to the 2:09:49 he clocked at the elite-only London Marathon last October, over two minutes faster than his previous best, and 11th best in a strictly elite field of the world’s finest marathon runners.
While Scullion’s time was actually outside the Tokyo qualifying window (suspended between April 5th and November 30th, 2020), it stands as the fastest official Irish marathon. John Treacy’s Irish marathon best is still considered the 2:09:15 he ran when finishing third in Boston back in 1988, although for world record purposes Boston is considered a slightly downhill course, and therefore not deemed eligible, according to World Athletics.
Although ratified at the time, Treacy’s only other sub-2:10 was the 2:09:56 he ran when winning silver at the LA Olympic marathon back in 1984. Scullion was just inside that in London, his 2:09:49 bettering his own 2:11:52 run in fifth place in Houston back in January (also his official Olympic qualifier by virtue of a top-five finish in a Gold Label marathon such as Houston).
Kevin Seaward put himself first in line for selection after clocking a lifetime best of 2:10.10 at the Seville marathon, in February 2020; Paul Pollock clocked his qualifier in December 2019, in the Valencia marathon, a new personal best of 2:10.25, and also inside the automatic Tokyo time.
That marathon – and race walking events – will be taking place in Sapporo, 800km north of Tokyo, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) deemed the conditions there to be less gruelling come the height of the Japanese summer.(04/02/2021) Views: 52 ⚡AMP
Tokyo 2020 is set to resume test events for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with organizers hopeful of inviting overseas competitors and domestic spectators to an athletics competition in May.
Sport climbing's test event at the Aomi Urban Sports Park was the last to be held in March last year, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic which ultimately forced the postponement of the Games to 2021.
Organizers plan to hold 18 test events prior to the rescheduled Games, with 17 based in the Japanese capital.
Sapporo will host the marathon test event on May 5.
Several of the test events will be operational, while others will be held under the "Ready, Steady, Tokyo" banner.
Test events will officially resume on April 3 and 4, with organizers conducting an operational test for wheelchair rugby at the Yoyogi National Stadium.
Water polo, diving, rugby, swimming and cycling test events are also planned to take place in April, with the May schedule including volleyball, artistic swimming, gymnastics, athletics, skateboarding, 3x3 basketball and shooting.
Tokyo 2020 said the Organizing Committee would be in charge of 14 of the test events.
The International Swimming Federation will oversee the artistic swimming, diving and water polo test events, with World Athletics in charge of the marathon event in Sapporo.
Tokyo 2020 Games delivery officer Hidemasa Nakamura suggested the four events run by International Federations could potentially include athletes from overseas, while the attendance of fans may also be possible.
Nakamura confirmed the athletics test event on May 9 will be the only event run by Tokyo 2020 to feature both overseas athletes and local spectators.
The test event will take place less than 12 weeks before the New National Stadium is due to stage athletics at the rearranged Olympics, which are due to open on July 23.
The stadium can have a capacity of 68,089 when used for athletics, with the test event likely to offer information to organizers over the feasibility and potential number of spectators that can be present during the Olympics and Paralympics.
"For athletics and the marathon we are thinking about having spectators and overseas athletes will be invited so we can have comprehensive measures tested," Nakamura said.
"During the athletics test events we will have to collect information so we can make decisions."
Nakamura added that the test events will be smaller and more focused on the operational requirements of the sports.
(03/31/2021) Views: 86 ⚡AMP
Tokyo Olympics flame begins journey across Japan, with fans kept away as it embarked on a four-month journey across Japan that will end at the opening ceremony on July 23.
Spectators were barred from the departure ceremony and first leg over ongoing fears about the coronavirus, which forced the 2020 Games' historic postponement a year ago.
But organizers hope the 121-day relay, which will criss-cross Japan and involve 10,000 runners, will build excitement and enthusiasm as doubts persist about holding the Games safely.
Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto said the flame was "a ray of light at the end of the darkness".
"This little flame never lost hope and it waited for this day like a cherry blossom bud just about to bloom," she told the ceremony at the J-Village sports complex in Fukushima, the former operations base for the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Azusa Iwashimizu, one of Japan's 2011 World Cup-winning women's footballers, was the first to carry the rose-gold, cherry blossom-shaped torch, accompanied by former teammates.
Iwashimizu then passed the flame to the next runner, Fukushima high school student Asato Owada, who was wearing the same torchbearer's uniform of white tracksuit with a red diagonal stripe.
A handful of fans, wearing the compulsory masks, watched the relay's second section, but clicking cameras were the loudest sound. Cheering and large crowds are banned at the relay, to prevent virus infections.
"I think it somewhat lacks excitement because there are rules," spectator Tetsuya Ozawa told AFP.
The torch will take a circuitous route, first heading south to the islands of Okinawa before reversing course for the northern region of Hokkaido and finally back to Tokyo.
But there are still challenges ahead for organizers. Several dozen torchbearers have dropped out, citing issues including scheduling conflicts and concerns about the coronavirus.(03/25/2021) Views: 99 ⚡AMP
Cockram won British marathon title in October despite an ankle injury but now goes into Friday’s Olympic trials fully fit
Six months ago Natasha Cockram endured an injury-hit build-up to the Virgin Money London Marathon but still finished first British woman home.
Struggling with an ankle injury, she only managed two training runs of eight and five miles in the final three weeks before the race plus, of course, plenty of cross-training. Yet on that damp, cool morning in the British capital she overtook Naomi Mitchell in the closing stages to take the national title in 2:33:19.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed a much better build-up to the British Olympic marathon trials in Kew Gardens on Friday (March 26), though, which makes her one of the leading contenders for Olympic selection.
“It’s been a lot smoother than London,” she told AW this week on her preparations for Friday’s big event. “For quite a few weeks after London (last October) I was just focusing getting healthy again.
“But now I’ve got in all the work I wanted to and have had some good consistency. I’m injury free which is the hardest part coming into a race.”
Cockram was a teenage talent who won multiple Welsh titles and the British under-17 indoor 1500m title before going off the boil for a spell until eventually finding her niche in the marathon.
From 2012-15 she studied at Tulsa University in Oklahoma but emerged with a knee injury that was so bad that medics told her “to reconsider her career choice” because running seriously was out of the question.
“I went from 40 miles a week (as a teenager in Wales) to instantly up to 100 miles a week when I went out there and I was constantly burned out and didn’t really perform,” she remembers.
On returning to the UK she realised she needed an operation. “Luckily I had (health) insurance back in the States so I went back there and had knee surgery, which put me out for a year, then I came back just to keep fit initially,” she says.
“I pretty much gave up running after university and then started up again just for fun and did a few mountain running races. But I began training more and in 2017 I ran 2:49 for the marathon in Dublin then 2:45 in Newport in 2018 off cross training. Then I ran 2:35 in Dublin later that year after getting a coach and training more seriously.”
Cockram has been guided by Texas-based coach Tony Houchin for the past four years and the relationship is working. In Dublin in October 2019 she broke Susan Tooby’s long-standing Welsh marathon record with 2:30:49 despite running with a large bruise on her leg after her horse kicked her on the eve of the race.
That performance armed her with the belief that she could beat the Olympic qualifying time of 2:29:30. Conditions in London did not allow it last October but she remains confident she can do it this week at Kew Gardens.
“As a child I wanted to go to the Olympics but I don’t think it was a realistic view back then. Even at university it wasn’t realistic and even going to the Commonwealths didn’t seem realistic back then,” she says.(03/25/2021) Views: 105 ⚡AMP
Olympic athletes eligible to jump the queue for Covid-19 vaccine on compassionate grounds or to compete in events of "national significance", says New Zealand's minister responsible for response to coronavirus.
Athletes representing New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics later this year will be able to apply to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they depart.
Chris Hipkins, the minister responsible for New Zealand's response to the global health crisis, said people would be eligible to jump the queue for the vaccine on compassionate grounds or to compete in events of "national significance".
The latter category would include Olympians, Paralympians and the national cricket team, who will be travelling to Britain to play India in the final of the ICC World Test Championship in June.
"The key yardstick here is people travelling in an official capacity and ensuring their participation is in our national interest," Hipkins told reporters.
"They will have to make an application and it will depend on what sort of events they are participating in, to whether they fit the national interest criteria.
New Zealand has been one of the most successful countries at containing the virus and started the second round of its vaccine rollout for border and quarantine workers last week.
New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) secretary-general Kereyn Smith, who had lobbied for Olympians to be vaccinated early, said the announcement would be a relief to many athletes who were "hanging on the edge of their seats".
"It's not mandatory but we feel it's a very positive and important step in keeping our athletes safe," she told Radio New Zealand.(03/24/2021) Views: 97 ⚡AMP
Ten Russians to compete in Tokyo Olympic as World Athletics restored its Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) scheme after a council meeting.
The council has decided to allow ANAs “to start competing again, subject to a cap of 10 for the Olympic Games”, said Rune Andersen, chair of the Russian Taskforce overseeing the country’s reinstatement efforts.
The ANA scheme allows Russian competitors who meet strict anti-doping criteria to participate in global track and field events, but under a neutral flag and in neutral clothing.
World Athletics temporarily suspended the ANA scheme in November 2019 as part of the suspension of the Russian athletics federation (RusAF) reinstatement process following charges by the track doping watchdog Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) that RusAF helped cover up missed tests by Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko.
That decision meant that there were no Russian athletes at this month’s European indoor championships in Torun, Poland.
There had been 29 Russians competing as ANAs at the Doha world champs in September/October 2019, winning two golds, three silvers and one bronze medal.(03/20/2021) Views: 107 ⚡AMP
Laura Muir says she is more robust ahead of Tokyo Olympics; the 1500m British record holder opted to not compete at the European Indoor Championships to focus on the outdoor season and Olympics in July.
British middle-distance runner Laura Muir believes delaying the Olympics has given her a better chance of glory.
The British record holder over 1500 metres insists she is now more "robust" ahead of the rescheduled Games in Tokyo this summer.
Her 2019 season was disrupted by calf and Achilles problems when she finished fifth in the 1500m at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, despite running her second-fastest time.
But, after the enforced delay amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the double European Indoor 1500 and 3000m champion has reaped the benefits.
"I'm certainly in a better position than had the Olympics been last year," Muir told the PA News agency.
"As much as it was disappointing for everything to be postponed, the overall picture has worked out for me, luckily.
"It's helped me, I had a lot of issues heading into Doha and off the back of it, the issue with my Achilles, and I wasn't in spikes for a number of weeks.
"This time last year I was just getting back into things but now I'm in a much stronger position than I was. Luckily having the last year we were able to build on things to make me more robust.
"We've incorporated more strength and conditioning into training, specific areas which I'm targeting. You don't want to fatigue yourself too much but if there was an area where I was weaker I could strengthen it so I'm not so susceptible."
Muir, 27, finished seventh in the 1500m at Rio 2016 after slipping out of medal contention with 200m left.
This year she has focused on training and her only indoor race came in the World Indoor Tour Lievin in February where she set a new British 1500m indoor record of three minutes 59.58 seconds.
Muir opted not to compete at the European Indoor Championships in Poland this month for a second defence of her titles to focus on the outdoor season and Olympics.(03/18/2021) Views: 123 ⚡AMP
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach announced recently that the Chinese Olympic Committee has offered COVID-19 vaccine doses to athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, as well as the 2022 winter Games in Beijing.
According to the BBC, Bach said that the IOC will be paying for these additional vaccines set aside for the athletes.
“For each of these doses, the IOC will pay for two doses more which can be made available to the population in the respective countries,” he added.
Exactly how many vaccine doses that will require is unclear, because the pace of the vaccine rollout in some countries may be fast enough that their athletes will have already received the vaccine before the Games begin. This could be the case, for example, in the United States.
“The broad base of athletes may have access to the vaccine sooner than we thought initially possible,” said Sarah Hirshland, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee chief executive.
Some critics believe that China offering to immunize athletes ahead of the Games is nothing more than a PR stunt in response to increasing calls to boycott next year’s Winter Games because of political reasons. Still, the opportunity to vaccinate at least some of their citizens will be a welcome relief in countries where vaccine programs have been very slow.
Despite China’s offering, Olympic committees in countries like the U.K., the United States and Germany have said that their athletes must wait in line like everyone else to receive their vaccinations.
The IOC has made it clear that they’d prefer as many athletes as possible to arrive in Tokyo with both doses, but maintain that it is not mandatory in order for them to compete and are not asking governments to change their vaccination rollout plans.(03/12/2021) Views: 115 ⚡AMP
On Tuesday, Kyodo News Agency reported that the organisers are planning to lock out foreign supporters from the Games due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, leaving many to ponder what this will mean for the global show.
Chepng'etich said the presence of fans, especially Kenyans, is an added impetus for her — as well as other Kenyan athletes — especially when the going gets tough in the road races.
"Many times, your legs are weak and tired and that's when the fans come in. There are many races in which the sound of fans cheering me on and screaming my name has fueled me to give my all and repay them by crossing the finish line first. With the ban on foreign fans at Tokyo, am afraid that performances will be slightly impacted especially at vulnerable moments," Chepng'etich said.
Chepng'etich hopes that training in solitude at her Ngong' base will however give her a psychological edge when she hits the Tokyo roads alongside other marathoners during July 23-August 8 event.
"I have been training exclusively in Ngong' rather than my home area in Kericho due to the Covid restrictions and the need for quarantine. Regardless, I have put in a lot of work with a focus on securing an Olympic gold medal to add to my world marathon champion collection," she said.
The fourth-fastest female marathoner has set her sights on breaking the world marathon record currently held by her Team Kenya teammate Brigid Kosgei.
However, she concedes this will not be a walk in the park considering Kosgei has severally expressed her desire to reduce her record to 2:13.00.
"The competition will not be easy; I am not expecting it to be considering the prestige that comes with competing in the Olympics. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for which all athletes have been preparing for many years. Therefore, I expect a tough competition not only from my able compatriots but also from other nations because every one will give their all," she said.
Despite this sobering assessment, Chepng'etich is still bullish that the Kenyan quartet of Peres Jepchirchir, Vivian Cheruiyot, Kosgei and her can produce a 1-2-3-4 finish in Tokyo.(03/11/2021) Views: 108 ⚡AMP
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto has suggested the number of times athletes are tested for coronavirus could be increased amid growing fears over the spread of more transmissible variants.
Plans are in place for competitors to be tested once every four days during their time at this year’s rescheduled Olympic Games.
But Hashimoto is now considering increasing the testing frequency after the emergence of variants first identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil which are continuing to spread worldwide.
Speaking to Japanese media, Hashimoto revealed that International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach had called on organisers to implement a stricter testing protocol to combat the virus.
"From the athletes' perspective, I think it's better that testing rules are strict to begin with rather than having a change in protocols announced midway through [the Games]," said Hashimoto in a report by Kyodo News.
"We do need to think about [increasing testing frequency)."
Hashimoto spoke to Bach during a recent meeting involving the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese Government.
Around 11,000 athletes are expected to compete at the Olympics in Tokyo.
But the number permitted to march in the Opening Ceremony is set to be restricted with Hashimoto suggesting it will be around a third of the amount that took part in the event at Rio 2016 which exceeded 12,000.
"Hopefully we can send the world a movie that provides a ray of light as we agonise and suffer from the coronavirus," Hashimoto about the staging of the Opening Ceremony.
"Given the situation, it might not be an Opening or Closing Ceremony where many people gather."
Hashimoto also indicated that changes could be made to the scheduling of events should an outbreak of coronavirus occur at the Games.
"We need to simulate for any potential scenarios," said Hashimoto.
"It's hard to think there won't be anything happening.
"Having no spectators is not totally ruled out."
The Games were originally scheduled to take place last year before being postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are due to open on July 23 and conclude on August 8.
(03/10/2021) Views: 91 ⚡AMP
Japan's government has decided to stage this summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to concern among the Japanese public about Covid-19, Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday.
Kyodo said the government had concluded that welcoming visitors from abroad to attend events would not be possible given public concern about the coronavirus and the detection of more contagious variants in many countries.
The opening ceremony will also be held without spectators.
"The organising committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic," Kyodo said, quoting the officials.
A formal decision on overseas spectators is expected to be made by the end of the month. The Olympics are set for July 23 to August 8, with the Paralympics to follow from August 24 to September 5.
Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said last week she would like to have made a decision before March 25, when the torch relay is due to start.
A decision on the number of Japanese spectators allowed in venues is expected to be made by the end of April.
Most Japanese people do not want international visitors to attend the Games amid fears that a large influx of visitors could spark a resurgence of infections, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed.
The survey showed 77 per cent of respondents were against allowing foreign fans to attend, versus 18 per cent in favour.
Sky Sports News has contacted both Tokyo 2020 organisers and the International Olympic Committee for a response to Kyodo's report and if a decision may be made earlier than previously stated.(03/09/2021) Views: 149 ⚡AMP
Most Japanese don't want foreign fans at Olympics.
The poll, by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily, found that only 18 percent of people who responded were in favour of foreign spectators being allowed into Japan for the coronavirus-delayed Games, with 77 percent against.
Games organisers said last week that they plan to rule on the matter this month, likely before the nationwide torch relay begins on March 25.
But Japanese media say Games chiefs have already decided to bar foreign fans.
Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said Friday that organisers "really want to hold the event in full stadiums with fans from around the world", but would find it difficult "if we're not in a position where we can accept them and the situation with medical facilities isn't perfect".
The Yomiuri poll also revealed that 45 percent of respondents were in favour of spectators in general attending the Games, with 48 percent opposed.
Organisers have said they plan to make a decision on overall attendance limits in April.
The poll was conducted between March 5-7 through random phone calls, with 1,066 of the 1,977 people contacted responding.(03/08/2021) Views: 112 ⚡AMP
Sydney Olympics marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi and former Paralympic alpine skier Kuniko Obinata were among 12 women added to the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee board on Wednesday, more than doubling the ratio of women on it to 42per cent.
The organizing committee said on Tuesday it would increase female representation on its board after its former president, Yoshiro Mori, stepped down last month over sexist remarks he made.
Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, resigned as Tokyo Games president after sparking a furore when he said during a Japanese Olympic Committee meeting in February that women talk too much.
Among others joining the organizing committee board were Japan Rugby Football Union executive board member Naoko Saiki, Chukyo University sports science professor Kyoko Raita and Tokyo Metropolitan Sports Association for the Disabled chair Yaeko Shiraishi.
The 12 new members bring the number of women on the 45-member board to 19.
"We selected people in order to get opinions from different angles through diversity, harmony and gender equality," Seiko Hashimoto, who replaced Mori, told reporters.
"What should we do to best tackle staging these Games amid the coronavirus concerns? I want to organize our response making use of the perspectives from various fields."(03/04/2021) Views: 92 ⚡AMP
Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto is open to fans being allowed to attend the rescheduled Olympic and Paralympic Games this year, albeit in limited numbers.
Organisers, the International Olympic Committee and other bodies involved in the event are reportedly due to meet at some stage next week to discuss the possibility of whether spectators will be permitted at the Games, amid ongoing concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
Any decision regarding spectators possible attendance will be made over two stages. The first will be to determine whether to allow foreign spectators at all — expected by the end of this month — before establishing how many fans could be permitted at various venues.
IOC president Thomas Bach revealed that a final decision could be made in either April or May, just a matter of months ahead of the scheduled start of the Games, taking place from July 23 to August 8.
Hashimoto, who replaced Yoshiro Mori as head of the organising committee last month, told Japanese media that she believed the Olympic and Paralympic Games should be staged in front of spectators.
"When we think about the possibility of holding the Olympics without fans in the stands, athletes will definitely wonder why there are no fans just for the Olympics and Paralympics when other competitions are allowing in spectators," Hashimoto said.
"Everyone wants an early decision about the direction to be taken regarding fans to prepare tickets and hotel accommodations."
Meanwhile, IOC executive director for the Olympic Games Christophe Dubi said organisers "have to take the decision as late as possible but as early as needed" regarding spectators.
It has become increasingly likely in recent months that foreign fans will be prevented from attending events at the Games because of the pandemic.
Japan is fearful over large numbers of fans from across the world travelling to the country and potentially spreading the Covid-19 virus during the Games.
Capacities could also be restricted at Olympic and Paralympic events to limit the risk posed by the novel coronavirus.(03/02/2021) Views: 139 ⚡AMP
Blake - a two-time Olympic gold medallist and former 100m world champion - made the comments in Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner.
Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that receiving a vaccine would not be compulsory for athletes and officials to attend this summer’s delayed Games, though they still encouraged competitors to be vaccinated if possible before arriving in Japan “to contribute to the safe environment of the Games.”
“Also out of respect for the Japanese people, who should be confident that everything is being done to protect not only the participants, but also the Japanese people themselves,” the IOC said.
Speaking over the weekend, Blake was quoted as saying: “My mind still stays strong, I don’t want any vaccine, I’d rather miss the Olympics than take the vaccine, I am not taking it.
“I don’t really want to get into it now, but I have my reasons.”
“Follow your mind, don't follow the crowd," Blake said in a video posted to Twitter on Saturday.
"At the same time, be respectful to each and every one. Don't let no one take away your choice."
The Jamaican government is expected to receive its first shipment of the vaccine next week, The Gleaner reported.
Blake's remarks came after a series of eight meets were held across the Caribbean island nation on Saturday, marking a return to large-scale sporting events that had been on hold due to the pandemic.
The Olympics, which were pushed back by a year due to the global health crisis, are set to begin on July 23 though speculation remains the event might yet be cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.(03/01/2021) Views: 292 ⚡AMP
In early January, when COVID-19 numbers were climbing again, and Ontario had just hunkered down in another stay-at-home order, Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, husband Osi and their daughter Corinne, moved from Windsor, Ont., to Victoria.
With her Olympic participation on the line, the west coast city offered fairer weather for training and fewer COVID-19 restrictions.
Still, the world 800-meter silver medallist faces an uphill battle in securing a spot on the Tokyo Olympic team. Bishop-Nriagu, who was fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, should be among Canada's top medal hopes on the track in Tokyo — if she can just get there.
"It is [brutal]," said Bishop-Nriagu. "And even more brutal given the pandemic. . . Bottom line: I need races. And I need them to be fast."
Track and field isn't the only sport scrambling to qualify amid Canada's COVID-19 protocols. Canada promised to send perhaps the strongest men's basketball team to Tokyo last year, when the Olympics were originally supposed to take place. Now, the compacted NBA season conflicts with the Olympic qualifying tournament in June in Victoria.
Canada's boxing team is in quarantine less than three months from a qualifying event in Argentina after a team member tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week.
Athletics Canada had hoped to send a team of 60-plus athletes to Tokyo, but just 24 have achieved qualifying standards, largely due to the inability to compete.
Before the pandemic, World Athletics had implemented new qualifying rules that require athletes to either achieve one very difficult standard — a fast time, a long throw, etc. — to earn an automatic berth, or be ranked in the top 48 in a complicated points system calculated over an athlete's five best major competitions.
Athletics Canada is lobbying for an edit to the stringent qualifying rules to allow for a more even playing field in Tokyo.
"It's just so unfair for Canadians at the moment, it's terrible," said Simon Nathan, Athletics Canada's high performance director. "The worry is: if I don't travel, then I can't qualify. If I do travel, there are places that are more risky [for the pandemic] than Canada. And then I come home and have to sit on my bum, literally not allowed to do anything for two weeks while my rivals are still training, they're still competing.
"So it's stress coming from every direction."
The deadline to register an athlete in any sport for the Tokyo Olympics is July 5, which is less than five months away. And the pandemic is severely impeding international and domestic competitions that ultimately determine the expected 400 to 40 athletes representing Canada in Tokyo.
"We're going to see a lot of last-minute qualification around Tokyo," Canadian Olympic Committee chief sport officer Eric Myles said.
"There will be hard stories, heartbreaking stories for sure. There are so many moving parts. We are trying as much as possible to prevent unfairness issues, but it's not simple. The virus is not making it simple."
Canada as a country has gained 99 event entries into Tokyo, which represents 239 athletes, according to Myles.
Of Canada's 35 national summer sport organizations, 28 are still in the process of choosing their Olympic athletes.
"The challenges are massive," said Own The Podium summer sport director Mark Hahto.
"It stems primarily from the cancellations, the uncertainties, the postponements of so many events on the summer calendar."(02/27/2021) Views: 95 ⚡AMP
World Half Marathon Kibiwott Kandie started his Olympic Games preparation on a high note by winning his first track competition at the opening leg of the Athletics Kenya (AK) track and field weekend meeting at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.
Kandie’s interest in the men’s 10,000m event will give Kenya hope at an event; it last won a gold medal at the Olympics in Mexico in 1968 through Naftali Temu.
The fast-rising Kandie, 24 who picked running in 2013 while still a student at Cheberen Secondary School in Baringo County, calculated his move well to easily win the men’s 10,000m in 28:28.0 to put his Olympics dream on track.
Gilbert Kimunyan, who led for much of the race, settled for the silver position in 28:37.7 ahead of Peter Mwaniki who clocked 28:38.7 in third place.
“Now that Africa Cross Country has been postponed to a later date, I thought it was wise for me to come and gauge myself in track because I’m keen on representing and winning a medal for Kenya in Tokyo,” said Kandie who finished second at the National Cross Country Championships two weeks ago.
Kandie who made his breakthrough at the 2020 World Half Marathon in Gdynia, Poland before winning the 2020 Valencia Half Marathon, in a world record time of 57:32 believes teamwork in Tokyo will enable them to deliver the elusive gold medal at the Olympics in Tokyo.(02/27/2021) Views: 100 ⚡AMP
After the 2020 Olympics were postponed last March because of Covid-19, US Olympic marathoner Sally Kipyego and her coach Mark Rowland decided to take a laid back approach to the rest of 2020 with the hope that Kipyego’s body would feel refreshed when she resumed training in earnest last fall. The time is coming, however, to return to competition.
Kipyego was scheduled to race last week for the first time since she made Team USA at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2020. But the race she was planning on running, the RAK Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates, was cancelled. Instead, she has a 15K planned for March (Kipyego could not officially announce it, but the logical assumption is she means the USATF 15K champs in Jacksonville on March 20) and a 10,000 on the track in April, where she hopes to hit the qualifying standard for the 2022 Worlds in Eugene. After that, she will shift to marathon mode and focus on building up for the Olympics.
And Kipyego is dreaming big. And for good reason. Kipyego is the only member of the US women’s marathon squad with an Olympic medal, having earned a silver in the 10,000 in London in 2012 for her native Kenya, and believes she is capable of taking home another one this summer.
“I feel like if I get good consistent training — which I have been able to do the last one-and-a-half years — proper training, I think I’ll have a chance of medaling,” Kipyego says. “That is really the objective for this season for me, is to be able to medal.”
Some may think that is an ambitious goal for a 2:25 marathoner who was only third at the US Olympic Trials. After all, it has been over five years — when she was 5th in the 10,000 at the 2015 Worlds — since Kipyego has been competitive in a global championship. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story.
For one, Kipyego, who at 35 is two years younger than Sara Hall, feels she has yet to demonstrate her full potential at 26.2 miles, going so far as to say, “I haven’t really quite gotten a good marathon in.” Kipyego was second in the first marathon she finished, running 2:28:01 in New York in November 2016, but she was way back of winner Mary Keitany who ran 2:24:26. Shen then missed all of 2017 after giving birth to daughter Emma, and it took her longer than expected to get back to top form after her pregnancy.
It was not until the fall of 2019, when she ran 2:25:10 in Berlin, that the world began to catch a glimpse of the Kipyego of old, and she is confident in the training she has stacked together since then. But that still leaves a second problem: can Kipyego possibly get into medal shape given the current state of women’s marathoning? Of the seven fastest women in history, five have set their personal bests (all 2:17:45 or faster) since the start of 2019, led by Brigid Kosgei‘s 2:14:04 world record in Chicago.
“We’re talking about championships,” Kipyego says. “When it comes to championships, they’re not the same as major marathons, for example. You can still be competitive in a championship because you’re not running 2:14 or 2:12 marathon pace. If the race is being run at 2:20, most of us can be able to put themselves there. So I believe that if I can get — and I’m trying to get myself into — 2:20 or sub-2:20 shape going into Tokyo, and I think if I am in that kind of shape, my chances are pretty good at medaling.”
(02/26/2021) Views: 94 ⚡AMP
The 2020 Valencia Marathon winners Peres Jepchirchir and Vincent Kipchumba have been included in Kenya’s marathon team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Making the announcement Tuesday, Athletics Kenya senior vice president, Paul Mutwii, disclosed that Kenya will be represented by four athletes each in the men and women’s categories.
Jepchirchir, the World Half Marathon champion and Half Marathon World record holder, now joins World Marathon champion, Ruth Chepngétich, Marathon World record holder, Brigid Kosgei and multiple World champion and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic 5,000m gold medalist and 10,000m silver medalist, Vivian Cheruiyot.
Kipchumba will team up with Olympic Marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge, World Marathon bronze medallist, Amos Kipruto and 2019 Boston Marathon winner Lawrence Cherono.
Four athletes, who were named as reserves in the original team that was named in January last year before the Tokyo Olympics were postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, have been dropped.
They are Valary Ayabei and Sally Chepyego in the women’s team and Titus Ekiru and Bedan Karoki in the men's side.
Asked why they have settled on four athletes in each team, Mutwii said: "It's a decision we have made and we are certain they will deliver outstanding victories."
The delayed Summer Olympics will be staged from July 23 to August 8, but while the track and field events will be held at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, the race walk and marathon events will be at Odori Park in Sapporo, 1,167.7km from the Japanese capital.
Kenya won both the men and women’s Olympics marathon titles with disgraced Jemimah Sumgong going for the women’s gold medal at the 2016 Olympics.Sumgong has since been banned for a doping offence.
Mutwii disclosed that they will liaise with the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) on how best to prepare the team.
“The athletes can continue training individually before we roll out soon,” said Mutwii, adding that NOC-K had instructed them to prepare sprinters for an early camp.(02/24/2021) Views: 110 ⚡AMP
The Tokyo Olympics have endured a lot of controversy over the last few weeks, but despite everything that’s been happening, there’s been no update on the status of the actual games themselves.
At present, the Games are still scheduled to begin on July 23, but with the global pandemic still in full swing, will they actually go ahead as planned? Will they be cancelled? Will they be postponed yet again? At the moment, all we can do is speculate.
One thing we may not need to speculate on, however, is the future of the torch relay. The relay is planned to tour all of Japan’s 47 prefectures over 121 days, finishing in Tokyo in time for the start of the Games. But recently the relay has been the subject of discussion, with popular comedian Atsushi Tamura withdrawing as a relay runner, and now Shimane Prefecture governor Tatsuya Maruyama planning on withdrawing any torch relay events from his prefecture.
Maruyama commented that he believed the Tokyo Olympics should be cancelled if the coronavirus situation doesn’t improve. He added that he would have no choice but to cancel the torch relay events, scheduled to happen in Shimane Prefecture in May.
Upon hearing these statements, Liberal Democratic Party member and Shimane representative Wataru Takeshita commented:
“I’m confused by these comments. If this was coming from a prefecture with a lot of infected citizens, maybe I could understand. But Shimane is far from where most infections are happening. Other prefectures shouldn’t follow Shimane’s example. Now is the time to be getting everyone excited for the Olympics. The governor should be summoned and reprimanded for his remarks.”
“It’s the governor’s job to keep his citizens safe from coronavirus. It doesn’t matter about comparing corona rates, or if we should be ‘getting everyone pumped’ about the Olympics.”“Why don’t we just skip Shimane, if they’re being so uncooperative?”“Instead of reprimanding the governor, why don’t they try discussing it? What an old-fashioned way of thinking.”
A decision will need to be reached soon, as the torch relay is due to start on March 25 in Fukushima Prefecture. And while we wait for the final verdict to be made, we can always snack on an edible version of the Olympic Torch in Tokyo!(02/22/2021) Views: 119 ⚡AMP
Gerda Steyn is happy with how training is going ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
The Risidale road runner will run the marathon distance for South Africa at the Olympics in August and before then has lined up some races to build her fitness.
On 24 January, Steyn won the Dubai 10km with her best 10km time – just one of the many races she has won in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in recent years.
“I was really pleased to run 32:33 for the 10km because I am currently in the middle of a training block, so I couldn’t really have expected to run my best 10km performance, but [it] definitely helped me gain some confidence in what I can do for my next race,” Steyn told Northcliff Melville Times.
“I am still seeing improvement in a lot of my speed sessions and tempo workouts, so I trust that this will result in better performances in races too. Every training cycle is different and normally this time of the year I would be doing high altitude training in Lesotho, so I’m just looking to make the most out of training at sea level.”
Upcoming races for Steyn include the RAK (Ras Al Khaimah) Half Marathon in the UAE, dubbed the fasted half-marathon in the world, on 21 February, and the Half Marathon World Championships in Poland on 29 March.
“I have been very focused on staying injury-free with more emphasis on recovery in between sessions and also making sure that I am well prepared for every workout because it’s not just your performance on the day, but all the small building blocks beforehand that will count towards obtaining your target times.”
Steyn said she was excited about representing South Africa for the first time at the Olympics.
“[It] will be an incredible opportunity,” she said.
“The pandemic has affected everyone and as a sportsperson, it has been a tough past 12 months, especially with all the uncertainty with regards to race dates and race cancellations. I promised myself right from the start that I will not give up and that by the end of the year I want to look back knowing that I did everything in my power to seek opportunities and still make 2020 a year to remember.”
This she did.
“Running has been my greatest outlet. I was able to stay positive through my love for running and having the support from many great people in my life. I miss running in a social environment and competing knowing that I am sharing the roads with thousands of runners but I was extremely grateful to have had an invitation to run the 2020 London Marathon which kept me focused on training and improving.”(02/20/2021) Views: 116 ⚡AMP
Seiko Hashimoto, who will head the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee after a sexism row forced its last chief to step down, is a seven-time Olympian and was one of just two women in Japan's cabinet until she took the job.
The 56-year-old politician, who was also minister for gender equality and women's empowerment, will replace Yoshiro Mori, 83, after he sparked uproar with claims that women talk too much in meetings.
The appointment comes just over five months before the virus-postponed Games, with public opinion in Japan still largely against holding the massive event this year.
Hashimoto is a passionate Olympian, who competed at seven consecutive winter and summer Games, in speed skating and as a sprint cyclist, winning a bronze for skating in 1992.
She has said she was raised being told by her father "'you were born to go to the Olympics'... even before I knew that the Olympics was."
She entered politics in the 1990s and after a period balancing sports and statecraft, her final Games as an athlete was in 1996, and she began to work her way up the ranks of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Following Mori's sexist remarks, Hashimoto said she wanted to hold "thorough discussions" with the Tokyo Olympics boss about his views.
"The Olympics' fundamental principle is to promote women's advancement in sport at all levels and organizations in order to realize gender equality," she said.
But Hashimoto is no stranger to controversy herself.
In 2014, she faced a sexual harassment scandal after photos emerged of her hugging and kissing a male figure skater over 20 years her junior.
Purportedly taken at a booze-fuelled party in Russia's Sochi after the Winter Olympics, the images appeared to show Daisuke Takahashi in the clutches of Hashimoto, head of the Japanese delegation to Sochi.
Takahashi said he regretted the drunken moment but did not think he had been harassed by the married Hashimoto, who apologized for any "misunderstanding" caused by the photos.
As Tokyo Olympics boss, Hashimoto faces an uphill struggle to convince a sceptical Japanese public the event can be held safely this summer despite the pandemic.
She has called cancellation or another postponement "inconceivable", echoing the sentiments of Tokyo 2020 organizers and the International Olympic Committee.
"For the Games next year, athletes are continuing to work hard in the environments they find themselves in. So I feel we have to hold it at any cost," she said in September.(02/18/2021) Views: 138 ⚡AMP
The one-off marathon, organised jointly by his management firm Global Sports Communication, the NN Running Team and the Hamburg Marathon, carries the tagline ‘The fastest way to Tokyo’ and is an effort to provide another much-needed competitive opportunity for athletes to not only run a fast race in the lead-in to the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but in many cases to help them achieve the qualification standard.
The race, which will take place around a looped 10.5-kilometer city center course, is expected to attract about 100 invited elite athletes.
Kipchoge, the world record-holder, will of course attract the bulk of the attention. His appearance will come after a disappointing eighth place finish at the London Marathon last October where he clocked 2:06:49.
The Kenyan kicked off his marathon career in 2013 with victory in the Hamburg Marathon, and said he's delighted to return to compete in the northern German.
"In Hamburg, I am going back to the genesis of my marathon career," he said. "I hope to inspire many people around the world by running a beautiful race in the streets of this beautiful city."
Kipchoge, 36, has gone on to win 11 of his 13 races over the classic distance and has produced two of the three fastest performances of all-time, topped by his 2:01:39 world record at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
One year later, Kipchoge became the first athlete to break the two-hour barrier in the event, when he clocked 1:59:40 at an exhibition event in Vienna.
In Tokyo, Kipchoge will aim to become just the third man to win back-to-back Olympic marathon titles.(02/18/2021) Views: 133 ⚡AMP
Over half of Japanese firms believe the Tokyo Olympic Games should be cancelled or postponed, a survey by think tank Tokyo Shoko Research showed on Monday, casting further doubt over the fate of the troubled Games.
Japan is struggling to contain the coronavirus and lags behind western countries in rolling out vaccines, even as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed to get conditions in place to host the once-postponed Summer Olympics from July 23.
The survey, conducted online on Feb. 1-8, showed 56.0% of the companies polled feel Japan should cancel or postpone the Games, up from 53.6% in the previous survey in August.
Only 7.7% of the firms surveyed said the Games should proceed in full form as scheduled this year, down from 22.5% in the previous survey.
while another 17% said it should proceed with no spectators, the survey showed.
Over 70% firms said cancelling or postponing the Games will barely have any impact on their earnings.
The survey, which covered over 11,000 firms, was conducted before Friday’s resignation of Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori over sexist remarks that left the Olympics searching for a chief five months from the opening ceremony.(02/16/2021) Views: 109 ⚡AMP
Like many, ultrarunner Tom Evans has struggled with the lack of races in lockdown. The former army captain burst onto the ultrarunning scene in 2017, coming third in the six-day Marathon des Sables, and last year he set a new record in the Tarawera 102km Ultra Marathon, in New Zealand. But he has had to adapt to circumstances and is now setting his sights on the marathon in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.
We talked to the 29-year-old about swapping the trails for the pavements, his mental strength, the Olympic marathon trials and his role as a Garmin ambassador.
You’ve set your sights on the Tokyo Games. How did this happen?
‘At the beginning of the pandemic, Tokyo was not on my list whatsoever – I very much planned on staying on the trails and running long rather than running fast. I guess what the pandemic has taught me is that I like structure and I’m a very goal-orientated athlete and person. I have to have goals, whether it’s “Today I’m going to list 10 things on eBay” or something bigger; I have to set goals and achieve those goals. It’s the same with my running, with there being so little opportunity to race, I thought I need something to set my sights on and if something is going to happen, it’s going to be the Olympics.
‘[With the lockdown restrictions] we couldn’t drive to run or go on training camps, which is how I would normally do my trail running and my ultrarunning. It’s all been very much running from the door, so I’ve been running a lot more on the road, which has led to running a bit quicker and that’s opened my eyes to what I could run at the marathon trials at the end of next month.’ [The event will take place on a looped course in Kew Gardens, London, on Friday, March 26.]
How do you feel about the trials?
‘I’m really excited – for me, it’s really unknown. I think I’ll be able to take a lot of lessons I’ve learnt from ultrarunning into the race and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. It’s been great fun training for it and to now get the opportunity to push myself to the limits and see what I’m capable of.’
‘You know that during a marathon you’re going to hurt and you know that when it starts to hurt, the training that you have done before is what’s setting you up to keep doing it. I go into a race saying, “I know this is going to hurt” and when it starts hurting I think, “Bring it on; I’ve done the training, I trust myself and I knew this was going to happen and now it’s happening, it’s no surprise.”’(02/16/2021) Views: 109 ⚡AMP
Saburo Kawabuchi, 84, a former Japan Football Association president and soccer player, will decline an offer to become head of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics, Nikkei learned Friday.
Kawabuchi was slated to replace Yoshiro Mori, 83, as president of Tokyo 2020. Mori, who had said he would resign over sexist remarks he made during a board meeting held on Friday of last week, made that official.
"I resign as Tokyo 2020 president today," the former prime minister said. "The most important thing is to hold the Games in July, so I cannot be any hindrance to this aim."
Mori's appointment of Kawabuchi as successor, and the vague selection process had also been criticized. It is now unclear who will be appointed to the position, less than six months before the Olympics are due to start.
Mori had said during a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee in Tokyo on Feb. 3 that board meetings with women "take so much time." Because of their "strong sense of competition," he said, if one person raises their hand, others probably think, 'I need to say something, too.'
The remarks came during a discussion over efforts to increase female representation on the committee's board.
Mori withdrew his comments the next day and apologized to "everyone who was offended," saying the remarks "ran counter to the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics."
Andrew Parsons, president of International Paralympic Committee, said in a Friday statement that he hopes "the domestic and international reaction over the last seven days can be harnessed" and "society places greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion, not just in terms of gender representation, but race, sexuality, and persons with disabilities."(02/15/2021) Views: 125 ⚡AMP
The head of the Tokyo Olympics is poised to resign in a sexism row after saying that 'annoying' women talk too much in meetings.
Mori’s resignation would be bound to raise new doubts over the viability of holding the postponed Games this year.
The sources, who have knowledge of the matter, said Mori would be replaced by former Japan Football Association president and mayor of the Olympic village, Saburo Kawabuchi.
Kawabuchi, 84, represented Japan in football at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and helped Japan co-host the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea.
Mori made the sexist remark - that women talk too much - at a Japanese Olympic Committee board meeting early this month, setting off a storm of criticism at home and abroad.
Mori, 83, told Nippon TV he would “explain his thoughts” at a meeting on Friday but he had to deal with the issue. He did not confirm the reports that he would step down.
“I cannot let this problem prolong any longer,” Mori said, and he again apologised for the remark.
A spokesman for the organising committee declined to comment.
Mori first retracted the comment about women at a hastily called news conference on Feb. 4, acknowledging it was inappropriate and against the Olympic spirit.
But he declined, at that time, to resign.
Pressed then on whether he really thought women talked too much, Mori said: “I don’t listen to women that much lately, so I don’t know”.
Olympic and ruling party officials told Reuters this week that Mori’s resignation could imperil the Games.
They said his deep network of politicians and Olympic officials was key to pulling off a successful Games.
But his comment on women drew sharp criticism in parliament, where opposition lawmakers demanded his resignation, and from the public on social media.
“Because of Mori’s comments, I’ve recognised again the importance of gender equality and diversity,” ruling party lawmaker Masazumi Gotoda said on Twitter.
“Discrimination is absolutely unacceptable.”
Mizuho Fukushima, head of the opposition Social Democratic Party, said on Twitter: “This is the result of many, many women raising their voices. Of course, this doesn’t resolve the problem. We need to create a society of gender equality.”
Mori was due to meet his expected successor, Kawabuchi, on Thursday to discuss the handover, one of the sources said.(02/11/2021) Views: 122 ⚡AMP
Francine Niyonsaba, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the women’s 800m, announced this week that she will be attempting to qualify for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics in the 5,000m after being barred from running any event between 400m and the mile unless she takes testosterone-suppressing measures.
The 27-year-old from Burundi finished in second place behind Caster Semenya at both the 2016 Olympics and the 2017 world championships, and both athletes (along with 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Margaret Wambui) have been at the centre of an ongoing and heated debate about hyperandrogenism in women’s sport. In April 2018, the IAAF announced that any athlete who has Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) will be ineligible to compete in any event between the 400m and the mile. Having DSD means that the athlete has levels of circulating testosterone (in serum) that are five nanomoles/litre or above and is androgen-sensitive.
According to the regulations, if an athlete with a DSD wishes to compete in any of the restricted events, she must fulfill the following criteria:
(a) she must be reconized at law either as female or as intersex (or equivalent);
(b) she must reduce her blood testosterone level to below five nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and
(c) thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five nmol/L continuously (ie: whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she wishes to remain eligible.
In light of these new restrictions, many DSD athletes, including Semenya and Niyonsaba, have instead chosen to compete in other events. Semenya has previously said she is bidding to make the Tokyo Olympics in the 200m, while Niyonsaba has chosen to jump up in distance. In 2019 she alluded to this decision in an interview with the Olympic Channel. When the interviewer asked her what she would do if she was forced to move up in distance, her response was “I can even run the marathon.”
“Running to get good results is just about training,” she said. “Nothing else. I’m always saying ‘be what you are, whatever you do.’ That’s how you get to success.”
She added that she will keep her vision and her passion because she loves running, and she will not stop. According to her Instagram, Niyonsaba recently ran a 10K cross-country race in 33:45, and while it doesn’t translate directly to the track, she was not far off the Olympic 10,000m qualifying standard of 31:25. Certainly the world of track will be watching to see what she does next, but with her determination, we expect great things.
“In my dream, I want to retire with the gold medal,” she said. “I know… I want to retire with the gold medal.”(02/11/2021) Views: 179 ⚡AMP
Langáta’s Sandra Chebet blew away the field to seal her fourth victory in the senior women’s 10km race during the Athletics Kenya Nairobi Cross Country Championships at Kenya Prisons Service grounds, Nairobi West on Sunday.
Sandra, the 2017 Africa 5,000m silver medallist, her sister Emily Chebet (Langáta) and Margaret Nduta (Embakasi) went head-to-head in the first two laps of the five-lap course before Sandra went for the kill.
Sandra would tear the gusty course with ease to gradually build on her lead before carrying the day in 33 minutes and 48.7 seconds, beating Emily to second place in 35:07.8.
Ndunta eased home in third place in 35:41.6 followed by Ann Nasisyo (Langáta), Bency Cheruiyot (makadara) and Emily Chepkemoi (Kasarani) in 36:07.1, 36:26.1 and 36:27.5 respectively to seal their places in the Nairobi team for the National Cross Country Championships on February 13 in Nairobi.
“It’s feels great to retain my title and more so win for the sixth time in Nairobi. I have two junior titles here and this is my fourth senior crown. I thank God for the great health,” said Sandra, who is eager to break it to the big staged.
“I really want to break the duck at the nationals where I have taken part several times without success,” said the 23-year-old Sandra, was fresh from finishing ninth at Discovery Cross Country 10km race in Eldoret the previous weekend.
Sandra, who trains at Lemotit Camp, Londiani, Kericho, is also eager to represent Kenya in 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year.
Trizah Cherotich from Langáta won women’s Under-20 6km race in 21:25.6, beating teammate Dorcus Chepkemoi (21:49.0) and Westlands’ Regina Wambui (22:26.9) op second and third places respectively. Mirriam Chemutai was untouchable in girls’ under-18 5km contest, where she clocked 17:17.3, beating Fancy Chepkorir and Sharon Chepkemei in 17:22.7 and 17:40.9 in that order.(02/08/2021) Views: 204 ⚡AMP
The US 800m star is on the comeback trail, writes Elliott Denman, and about to hit the track for her first competition in 12 months
“It’s been crazy,” Ajee’ Wilson tells you, by way of telephone interview.
Which isn’t exactly late-breaking news.
Then again, when you are the No.1-ranked athlete in the world in a prime event on the programme of the “flagship sport of the Olympic Games,” a very good guess is that the last year has been a whole lot crazier for you than it’s been for so many of your contemporaries.
At 26 – she’ll be 27 on May 8 – the stellar speedster from Neptune, New Jersey, a Temple University graduate who now lives and trains in Philadelphia, is already the owner of 11 USA Track and Field national championship gold medals, holds both versions of the American record for 800m (1:55.61 outdoors, 1:58.29 indoors) and is a young veteran of both the 2016 Olympics and multiple editions of the world championships, And, too, she ran off with the top spot in the most recent complete edition of the Diamond League circuit in 2019.
That’s already a career dossier that puts her right up there with the best of the best in American track annals.
Nevertheless, she hasn’t competed in nearly a year and can’t really tell you “where I am” heading into the New Balance Grand Prix at Staten Island’s Ocean Breeze complex, on Saturday February 13. Her 2021 debut will thus be more than interesting as the track and field world catch up on her exploits and she catches up with her own sport.
Her most recent competitive outing was at the USATF Indoor Nationals in February last year in Albuquerque. Of course, she won it, in 2:01.98 and at altitude. It came a week after she’d won at New York’s Millrose Games, in an American record of 1:58.29, which held up as No.2 world time of the indoor season behind Jemma Reekie’s 1:57.9.
She’d opened her 2020 season with a 2:02.37 win in January at the New York Armory’s Dr Sander Invitational. But before that, her last prior major outing was third place at the World Championships in Doha in September 2019.
So that adds up to just three major competitions in a year and just four in nearly 16 months. What can the track and field world expect?
Wilson can’t really tell you – other than saying: “I’m pretty healthy, I’ve been training well, not bad at all (with her training group partners and coach Derek Thompson, almost always outdoors in Philadelphia, no matter the weather).
“I don’t have any issues, no nicks, no nacks.”
Yes, there were “some nicks, some nacks” for a brief stretch last summer but they’re long gone now and she’s more than anxious to get back into real racing.
She’s grateful, too, that, even through this brutal stretch of overlapping universal economic slowdown, and the devastations of the pandemic, her sponsor adidas has stayed with her and lent the ongoing support appropriate to a world-class athlete.
After the Staten Island start, she hopes to run The Texas Qualifer, a brand new outdoor meet in the Austin area on February 26-27 designed to help Tokyo Olympic hopefuls post qualifying marks. Focusing on events from the 800m up to 10,000m for men and women, the meet will be USATF-sanctioned, spectator-free and fully observant of Covid protocols.
“Hopefully” – a word almost all the global elite uses regularly these challenging days – the meet will evolve into a major stepping stone on the way to Japan in July.
Like every global Games candidate, she has no firm idea if the Tokyo Olympics will actually transpire as scheduled. And if so, in what form? As a strictly-for-TV extravaganza? As a spectator-free production? In a who-knows-what format?
“I’m just hopeful,” said Wilson. “Whatever they decide, that’s fine with me.”
She adds: “It’s obviously a bigger call than any of us can make.”(02/05/2021) Views: 129 ⚡AMP
Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, already facing rising costs and significant public opposition to this summer’s Games, faced a new furor on Wednesday after the president of the Tokyo organizing committee suggested women talk too much in meetings.
The president, Yoshiro Mori, stoked a social media backlash after news reports emerged of his comments demeaning women during an executive meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee that was held online.
“On boards with a lot of women, the board meetings take so much time,” Mr. Mori, 83, said to laughter, according to a report in the Asahi Shimbun, one of the country’s largest daily newspapers. “Women have a strong sense of competition. If one person raises their hand, others probably think, I need to say something too. That’s why everyone speaks.”
Mr. Mori, a former prime minister, was responding to a question asking him to comment on the Olympic committee’s plan to increase the number of women board members to more than 40 percent of the total.
“You have to regulate speaking time to some extent,” Mr. Mori said. “Or else we’ll never be able to finish.”
The reports came just as Olympic organizers were releasing guidelines to reassure citizens and visitors that they would be able to secure the safety of athletes and others during the rescheduled Games this summer.
On Twitter, users quickly began calling for Mori to resign. Others suggested Mori’s age, and his outdated attitude, were the real problem.
At a news conference on Thursday, Mr. Mori said he had no intention of resigning. “I recognize the remark was against the spirit of Olympics and Paralympics,” he said. “I deeply regret what I said.” Mr. Mori said he wanted to retract his remarks, and he apologized “to those who felt uncomfortable.”(02/05/2021) Views: 132 ⚡AMP
Australia aims to vaccinate its Olympians against COVID-19 before they head to the Tokyo Games, federal sport minister Richard Colbeck has said.
Advice from the body coordinating the vaccination rollout plan suggested that athletes would likely be inoculated before the July 23-Aug. 8 Games, Colbeck said in comments published by the Canberra Times on Thursday.
"If our plans work OK it may very well be conceivable that Olympic athletes, for example, we'll get to them before they head off to the Games anyway," he was quoted as saying.
Colbeck later issued a statement saying that "older Australians, frontline workers and those with underlying medical conditions" would be prioritised and that "most athletes" would be vaccinated in a later phase of the rollout.
A number of national Olympic committees are planning to vaccinate their athletes before the Games.
Israel's Olympic Committee said it had already vaccinated half its Olympic delegation and would complete the process by the end of May.
South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said, "Of course the athletes should be given the vaccine if they are going to participate," when asked in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.
South Korea has said it will decide whether to vaccinate the 157 athletes signed up so far when Japan comes to a formal decision to go ahead with the Games.
The International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday the governing body was not in favour of athletes "jumping the queue" for COVID-19 vaccines.
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it hoped athletes could be vaccinated but said vulnerable people and health workers must come first.
"We are recommending and encouraging our athletes to get vaccinated but support the IOC position that it’s not mandatory," an AOC spokesman said.(01/28/2021) Views: 146 ⚡AMP
Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, has reached out to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach to offer his state as a backup site for the upcoming Summer Games in case the Tokyo event is cancelled.
In a letter that Patronis sent to Bach and posted online, he mentioned the rumors that the Japanese government is planning on axing the Games once and for all, adding that “there is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida.” Florida, like Japan and most of the world, is still trying to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
Covid-19 cases continue to surge across the globe, increasing doubts surrounding the Olympics every passing day. News that the Japanese government is second-guessing its plans to host the Olympics was first reported by the British newspaper The Times. This report cited a senior member of the ruling commission in Japan who said the fate of the Tokyo Games has already been decided behind closed doors, and that the Olympics will not go ahead as planned after already being postponed one year due to COVID-19.
High-ranking officials in the Japanese government, including the country’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, have since denied that the Games are in jeopardy. Patronis either didn’t see these followup reports or he simply doesn’t believe them to be true, because he moved forward with his letter to Bach, referring to the “reports of leaders in Japan ‘privately’ concluding that they are too concerned about the pandemic for the 2021 Olympics to take place.”
Patronis pointed to Florida´s pre-pandemic tourism numbers, noting that the state welcomed 900 people per day. In 2019, he said, 131 million people visited Florida, adding that the state is well equipped for “a major undertaking of this sort” thanks to “ample hotel capacity and well-maintained transportation networks.” He continued, writing, “Florida has 20 commercial airports, 31 urban transit systems, 12 major universities that have existing sporting facilities – and we have world- renowned health care facilities in each of our regions.”
Patronis celebrated his state´s willingness to remain open throughout much of the pandemic, noting that this had huge benefits for the economy. He didn’t mention the state’s COVID-19 stats, which currently sit at 1.6 million cases and more than 25,000 deaths (compared to 369,000 cases and a little over 5,000 deaths in Japan).
The IOC has not published a response to Patronis, who sent his letter on Monday, but he did leave Bach his office phone number, asking him to reach out so they could set up a meeting. “Whatever precautions are required,” he wrote, wrapping the letter up, “let’s figure it out and get it done.”(01/27/2021) Views: 158 ⚡AMP
Farah, who has won gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the last two Games in London and Rio, has previously said he is targeting success in the longer distance only in Tokyo.
However, the Games are again under threat from the coronavirus pandemic, which were originally postponed by 12 months in March last year.
The idea of vaccinating athletes has been floated by International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound, and Farah told TalkSsport: “I think most people in a career want to go to an Olympics and take part in an Olympics. The key thing is to stay safe and see what the country can do.
What they have said to us is basically everyone will be able to get Covid injections and after that it’s less risk of spreading the disease, and then from there just see what happens and take one day at a time.
“I think [the Games] will go ahead but at the same time, for me I have had the experience of taking part in three Olympics and I have to see it as another race and see what happens.”
It is understood the British Olympic Association is not involved in any active conversations with the government in regard to vaccinating athletes, and its chief executive Andy Anson said earlier this month: “The priority has to be the people who need it most – frontline workers, the elderly and the vulnerable.
“There will come a time, hopefully ahead of the Olympic Games when the athletes can be considered for vaccination, but we’ll only do that when it’s appropriate.”
IOC president Thomas Bach has previously said there is “no reason whatsoever” to further delay the Games, which are due to start on 23 July.(01/26/2021) Views: 146 ⚡AMP
After being postponed for a year, there are just six months to go until the start of the Tokyo Olympics. The coronavirus continues to spread, and with no signs of it slowing down the possibility of the worst case scenario, the Olympics' cancelation, has become more than just a possibility. Kansai University professor emeritus Katsuhiro Miyamoto, 76, has estimated that the cancelation of the Games would result in an economic loss of over 4.5 trillion yen [$43.5 billion USD].
The one-year postponement from last year has already resulted in a 640.8 billion yen loss [46.2 billion USD]. Should the Games go ahead? Another postponement? Cancel them? There is also the option being explored by the Organizing Committee of staging the Olympics without spectators.
Government sources say that with the loss that another postponement would incur to local governments, it is not a realistic option. Tokyo has projected a direct economic effect of over 5.2 trillion yen [$49.4 billion USD[ in building and maintenance of facilities and infrastructure to put on the Games. Professor Miyamoto estimates that the loss of revenue from operating expenses, participants' consumption, domestic consumption and the like that would follow a cancelation of the Olympics would result in a loss of just under 3.5 trillion yen [$33.4 billion USD].
Another 1 trillion yen [$10.1 billion USD] would disappear as the result of the loss of the legacy effect of post-Olympic facility usage, education and urban development, bringing the total loss from a complete cancelation to over 4.5 trillion yen [$43.5 billion USD]. This would be equivalent to about 1% of Japan's gross domestic product, roughly on the scale of the 4.2 trillion yen [$40.5 billion USD] spent at all department stores nationwide last year. "On top of the coronavirus, cancelation would be another serious hit to the economy," commented Professor Miyamoto.
If the Games do go ahead, they face a rough road forward. The event would all but definitely be downsized, with the likelihood high that events would be closed to spectators. According to preliminary calculations, halving the number of spectators and cutting back the opening and closing ceremonies would still result in a loss of almost 1.4 trillion yen [$13.4 billion USD[. Staging it without any spectators would bring the loss to over 2.4 trillion yen [$23.3 billion USD]. "The Olympics should go ahead even without spectators, but how other countries hit hard by the coronavirus would be able to deal with the situation remains unclear," said Professor Miyamoto. "If the International Olympic Committee made the decision to cancel the Games, the economic and political fallout would be extremely severe."
In preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, 42 venues in 9 prefectures have almost been completed along with investment in accommodations, road improvement and other infrastructure by local governments. "80% of the economic spillover occurs prior to the Games," commented Professor Miyamoto. A private research institute in the U.K. claimed that the 2012 London Olympics resulted in an economic spillover effect of around 2 trillion yen [$19.3 bilion USD], with 82% of the effect coming before the Games opened.
If the Tokyo Olympics were canceled, the value of properties such as the main stadium built for the Games would be significantly reduced by not being able to apply the "Olympic" brand name to them. There is concern about additional losses to the financial burden of maintaining them under those circumstances. "The investment in preparations has already been made and they are all but completed," said Professor Miyamoto. "If the Olympics were canceled it would have a tremendous impact on consumer sentiment, and the value of the Olympic Village and other facilities would be significantly reduced."(01/25/2021) Views: 151 ⚡AMP
The president of World Athletics says he is concerned for the wellbeing of athletes as they prepare for the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games amid the "rumours" of cancellation.
Lord Sebastian Coe, who is also a current IOC member and former UK member of Parliament, said he would not buy into any discussion around a political divide in Japan after London's Times newspaper reported Tokyo was looking for a way out of hosting the Games.
"As a former politician I'm long enough in the tooth to know you don't actually ever comment about the politics of someone else's country," Lord Coe told The Ticket.
"And I certainly don't want to get into the well-worn fragilities of a coalition government."
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga issued a statement on Friday saying the Government and "all our delivery partners" would continue "to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure Games", and Lord Coe says that is where the focus should be.
"I think the most important thing that I've witnessed in the last few hours, given the nature of that story, is it was immediately knocked down by the Japanese Prime Minister," he said.
"It's probably better for athletes, who I do have concerns about, that they're not swept along from rumour to rumour and losing focus on what they need to really focus on."
The cost of organising the Games has ballooned to more than $20 billion.
Cancellation would not only mean that money — mostly Government funding with some private investment — is sunk, but the IOC's major funding source would also evaporate.
Of course we want the Games but not just for the financial reasons.
"No sport wants to go indefinitely without those big global showcase moments where the world can see, in our case, the most God-given talented athletes on the planet.
Everybody is scenario planning … we're all two-speed organisations at the moment — or should be.
"It's not just financial, I think it is also spiritual — the world needs sport."
"I think we have a responsibility across the sporting landscape to reassure the people of Japan who have shown remarkable resilience.
"I wake up grateful each morning that it is Japan dealing with this challenge and not some parts of the world I could think of."
Above all, Lord Coe remains confident the Tokyo Games will go ahead.(01/25/2021) Views: 120 ⚡AMP
Japanese officials on Friday vehemently denied a newspaper report suggesting that the Olympic Games, due to be held in the country this summer, could be cancelled.
The Tokyo Olympics originally planned for 2020 were delayed 10 months ago following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The local Olympics organizing committee said in a statement that the games would go forward as planned and had the support of Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
Another statement from the Cabinet Secretariat on behalf of Japan's government also dismissed the report.
"Some news reports circulating today are claiming that the Government of Japan has privately concluded that the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will have to be cancelled. This is categorically untrue," the statement said.
Adding that all involved, including the Swiss-based International Olympic Committee (IOC), were "working together to prepare for the successful Games this summer" and would "implement all possible countermeasures against Covid-19."
The denials come after a British newspaper, The Times of London, citing an anonymous source that it said was a member of the ruling government coalition, reported that the games could be cancelled. It also said the government was seeking a way to announce the cancellation amid efforts to ensure Tokyo as a future host.
Manabu Sakai Japan's deputy chief cabinet secretary and an ally of the prime minister also shot down the story. "There is absolutely no truth to this report," he told press on Friday.
While Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike went further, calling for possible action against the newspaper.
"I don't even know how this is being reported or how this information was obtained. In fact, I think we should lodge a complaint. That is how I feel," she said during her regular news conference Friday.(01/22/2021) Views: 158 ⚡AMP
Turkey's top-notch athletes have been training in one of Ethiopia’s high-altitude training sites, Sululta, with hopes to clinch the qualifying time required to compete in the marathon and 3,000 meters steeplechase in Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The 2020 Summer Olympics Games, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are now scheduled from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, team leaders Bilal Arslan and Elvan Abeylegesse said Turkey has selected 12 athletes with the best time in the marathon and 3,000 meters steeplechase.
"For a marathon, we have ten athletes, of which six are female. Two women athletes are also training to compete in 3,000 meters steeplechase," said Arslan.
Abeylegesse said that the primary goal of the two-month training in Sululta was to prepare the athletes to compete in the championship at Trabzon, northeastern Turkey, which will take place in mid-February.
"These athletes will run to get the qualifying time required for the Tokyo Olympics in their respective fields," she said.
"We will be back to Ethiopia with those who qualified for Tokyo and do further preparation, maybe for five months," she added.
Located 12 kilometers (7 miles) north of the capital Addis Ababa at an elevation of 2,700 meters, Sululta is surrounded by mountains. It has been attracting internationally acclaimed athletes across the world.
"Sululta is an ideal place for training. Due to its high altitude, it helps athletes to gain endurance and stamina," said Arslan. "The town is plain and it provides a natural running track," he said.
Further, since dietary habits in Ethiopia are similar to that of Turkey, it helps athletes to adapt quickly.
"Everyone in the town wants to help, and the Ethiopian Athletics Federation and local officials are also assisting us," said the team leader.
According to Abeylegesse, the team has been working under a rigorous training regime over the past month and it will continue.
"We have been training with second-level young Ethiopian athletes, who helped us to learn more skills and discipline," she said.
"We are confident that we will achieve what we want," she added.
Busra Recep, a 24-year-old marathon specialist, said she was making progress in every aspect of long-distance running.
"I am doing my level best and hope to register the qualifying time for Tokyo Olympics and represent my country," she added.
Omer Alkan, a 29-year-old athlete engaged in the marathon race for the past 12 years, also hopes to hit the qualifying time, so he returned to Sululta for further training.(01/15/2021) Views: 125 ⚡AMP
Support for holding the coronavirus-postponed Tokyo Olympics this summer has hit a new low in Japan, a poll found Sunday as the country battles a third wave of infections.
Just over 80 percent of those asked by Kyodo news agency said the huge global event should be cancelled or postponed again -- a jump from around 60 percent in a December 6 survey by the same outlet.
Kyodo said the survey asked 1,041 participants nationwide, who were selected by random dialing.
Tokyo 2020 organizers have said another delay is out of the question and are insisting the Games will go ahead despite a state of emergency declared in the greater Tokyo area this week over a surge in Covid-19 cases.
In Sunday's national telephone poll, around 35 percent of people told Kyodo they favored outright cancellation, while some 45 percent said the event should be postponed a second time.
The month-long emergency in the capital and surrounding regions is less strict than harsh lockdowns seen elsewhere in the world and primarily targets restaurants and bars, which have been asked to close early.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said this week that Japan is committed to holding a "safe and secure" Olympics.
He said he believed the public mood will change when the country begins vaccinations, currently scheduled for late February.
But senior International Olympic Committee official Dick Pound told the BBC he could not "be certain" the Games will go ahead, because "the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus".
Public sentiment towards the Olympics in Japan has been less than optimistic for months.
Two polls in July showed the majority thought the event should be postponed again or cancelled, while a survey released in December by national broadcaster NHK found that only 27 percent of respondents supported holding the Games in 2021.(01/11/2021) Views: 145 ⚡AMP
Tokyo 2020 organizers announced here on Friday that they will continue to make preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games during the second state of emergency in the Japanese capital and three surrounding prefectures.
"We will continue to proceed carefully with all necessary work while adopting the required safety and security measures, in order to progress preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Games due to be held this summer," the organizers said in a statement.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared the state of emergency from January 8 to February 7 for the Tokyo metropolitan area including Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures on Thursday afternoon, authorizing tougher measures to fight a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.
Despite the mounting pressure from the worsening coronavirus situation, Suga promised that the Tokyo Olympic Games would be held from July 23 to August 8.
Suga, who became Prime Minister last September, told a press conference on Thursday, "I am determined to hold a safe and secure games," adding that he is optimistic that enthusiasm among the Japanese public will grow once vaccinations begin.
But Dick Pound, the longest-serving IOC member, told UK's state broadcaster BBC that the Tokyo Olympic Games might not take place.
"I can't be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus," the 78-year-old Canadian said.
Ironically, it was also Pound who raised doubt as early as late February last year that the Tokyo Olympics would not take place in 2020.
Pound, who has been on the IOC since 1978, predicted 10 months ago in an interview with the Associated Press that the Games might be canceled because it could not be postponed considering its size.
"You just don't postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics. There are so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons.
"You're probably looking at a cancellation," he said in the interview.
The Olympics was pushed back by one year on March 24, nearly four weeks after the Pound interview.
Tokyo 2020 organizers are in a race against time to ensure that test events can restart on March 4 as rescheduled. The first event will be the FINA artistic swimming Olympic qualification tournament from March 4 to 7 at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Overseas athletes have been expected to attend some of the test events.(01/08/2021) Views: 154 ⚡AMP
Kenya's half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie says he is shifting his focus to the 10,000 metres as he looks to earn a ticket for this year's Tokyo Olympics and help end his country's 53-year wait for a gold medal in the event.
Kandie smashed the half marathon world record by 29 seconds at the Valencia Half Marathon last month, finishing in 57 minutes and 32 seconds and breaking the previous record of 58:01 set by compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor in September 2019.
Kenya's last Olympic gold in the 10,000m came in 1968 when Naftali Temu triumphed in Mexico City, and Kandie is hoping to go one better than Paul Tergat and Paul Tanui, who won silver in 2000 and 2016 respectively.
"I have the drive to prove to the world that I can also perform in track, that is why I made a decision to compete in a 10,000m event with the aim of securing an Olympic ticket," Kandie told the Xinhua news agency.
"I will be more than happy to see the Kenyan flag being hoisted for the 10,000m in Tokyo.
"I know we, as a country, haven't posted the best results in 10,000m recently but I believe with team work and early preparations we will be able to achieve good results in the Tokyo Games."
The Tokyo Olympics are due to take place from July 23 to Aug. 8 after being pushed back by a year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.(01/07/2021) Views: 177 ⚡AMP
The exhibition of the Olympic and Paralympic Games across the greater Tokyo area has been postponed due to the worsening situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced on Thursday in a statement that the decision is made to "reduce the flow of people and the further spread of COVID-19."
The torches have traveled to 14 places since Nov. 2 and was scheduled to be exhibited on Thursday in Akiruno City. The exhibition will be postponed until January 29.
Other exhibitions may also be postponed since Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a state of emergency in the Tokyo metropolitan area including Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, authorizing tougher measures to fight a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.
The state of emergency will be effective from Friday to Feb. 7, with measures including urging people to stay at home and calling for restaurants and bars to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and close by 8 p.m.
Gyms, department stores and entertainment facilities will also be subject to shorter hours(01/07/2021) Views: 146 ⚡AMP
World women's half marathon record holder Peres Chepchirchir harbors an Olympic dream after her successful but COVID-19 pandemic upended year which saw her claim three successive marathon podiums.
The 27-year-old Kenyan broke her own world record in the women's half marathon by crossing the line in 1:05:16 at the 2020 World Half Marathon championships in Gdynia, Poland, before ending the year with victory at the Valencia Marathon timing 2:17:16, a time that saw her move up to positive five on the all-time world women list.
"I had a very successful year in 2020 despite all the challenges brought about by COVID-19 pandemic, I'm glad I was able to compete. My new year wish is to see if Athletics Kenya can consider my performance and make an amendment on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team by including me in the squad," Chepchirir told Xinhua on Wednesday.
"I will love to compete at the Olympics; it will really make me a complete runner," she added.
Earlier in 2020, Athletics Kenya (AK) named world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich, Vivian Cheruiyot, a winner of the Olympic 5,000m title in 2016 to the Olympic team.
The 2019 Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei and 2014 world half marathon bronze medallist Sally Chepyego were named as reserves.
The 37-year-old, Cheruiyot aims to compete at her fifth Olympic Games, a record tally for a Kenyan athlete.
However, Paul Mutwii, Athletics Kenya senior vice president and director of competitions told Xinhua that the federation will make some adjustments to the marathon team in order to send a strong squad to the Games which is scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8.
"Definitely, there will be some changes to the marathon squad depending on the athletes' current form. In fact, in the coming weeks, I will be chairing the technique committee that will determine who will be drafted into the team then make the announcement," Mutwii said on Wednesday.
The world men's marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, Lawrence Cherono, a two-time Amsterdam Marathon champion who also won in Boston and Chicago in 2019, and world bronze medalist Amos Kipruto, who has a best of 2:05:43 were named in the men's team.
Two-time Honolulu Marathon winner Titus Ekiru and 2016 world half marathon silver medalist Bedan Karoki were drafted reserves.(01/07/2021) Views: 154 ⚡AMP