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Johannesburg's Sports Minister says IAAF new rule is very sexist, racial and homophobic

The Sports and Recreation Minister, Tokozile Xasa in Johannesburg, South Africa believes that Caster Semenya is being targeted by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for her continued success on the track. Semenya made history at the recent Commonwealth Games held on Australia’s Gold Coast by winning gold medals in the 800m and 1 500m races, and setting a new 1 500m record of 4:00.71. Last week, in a surprise decision, the IAAF announced that women athletes who compete in 400m, 800m, 1 500m and mile events, would in future have to take medication that would decrease their natural testosterone levels. Xasa complained that this was a “targeted approach”. “We see this as a targeted approach by the IAAF,” she said. “This new initiative comes after she (Semenya) broke records at the Commonwealth Games. “It is also Africans that are participating in long-distance races, therefore we view it as a target,” the minister said. “To compound the argument, she’s also a woman, hence this becomes sexist. This should have come a long time ago, not only when she wins medals as a way to discourage her. “We take this as very sexist, racial and homophobic. “We are angry and we want the entire country to rally behind us. Since Africans are doing well in these races, there are now a lot of questions that are surrounding them, thus we are very disappointed.” Now in the prime of her career, as a result of her physique, Semenya has also had her sexuality questioned by the IAAF. She has already taken tests for gender traits to check whether she is female or male.  Caster married her longtime girlfriend in January 2017. Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since 2006. (04/30/2018) ⚡AMP
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Update on Callum Hawkins who callasped with just over a mile to go at the Commonwealth Games Marathon Sunday Morning

From Team Scotland posted at 7pm (PST) Saturday: CALLUM HAWKINS UPDATE: We are very pleased to report that Callum is sitting up and speaking with his Dad and Team Scotland medical staff. He is undergoing further tests as a precaution and we all wish him a speedy recovery. (The temperature at the time when he callasped was 82 degrees. See our story with more details below.) His brother Derek posted this an hour earlier: “Thanks everyone for your messages of support. As reported Callum's in hospital, is conscious/talking and getting appropriate medical attention. Can't describe how upsetting and distressing it was to watch but just glad he's alright.” (04/14/2018) ⚡AMP
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With just a little over a mile to go and leading by two minutes Callum Hawkins collapsed at Commonwealth Games Marathon

Callum Hawkins has been taken to the hospital for medical review following his collapse in the Commonwealth Games Marathon as is standard procedure. He is being supported by Team Scotland medical staff and there are no major concerns at this stage. Here is what happened Sunday morning in Australia. Scotland's Callum Hawkins collapsed just over one mile from the end of the marathon at the Commonwealth Games when leading by almost two minutes. In hot conditions (83 degrees) in the Gold Coast, Hawkins looked set for gold but he began weaving across the road before falling over the curb. He continued for another couple of hundred meters before collapsing again, hitting his head on a roadside barrier this time. Hawkins was conscious, sitting up and talking when helped into an ambulance. Peter Jardine of Scottish Athletics told BBC Scotland that Callum Hawkins "initially refused medical treatment after collapsing" because he "feared he would be disqualified.” It had taken a couple of minutes for any medical staff to attend to the Scotsman, who was lying on the road in clear distress with spectators looking on. BBC Sport commentator Steve Cram said it was "a disgrace" that it took so long for any paramedics to attend to Hawkins. When asked to explain why it took so long for paramedics to attend to Hawkins, Gold Coast 2018 chief executive Mark Peters said: "We need to check the facts out. You can't have medical people on every kilometer of the road. Australia's Mike Shelley won the race(2:16:46), defending the title he won in Glasgow in 2014. He ran past the stricken Hawkins just as help arrived and the Gold Coast-born athlete went on to claim the victory with Uganda's Munyo Solomon Mutai in second (2:19:02) , with Robbie Simpson of Scotland claiming the bronze. (04/14/2018) ⚡AMP
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Master Runner Kenyan´s Mungara knows the course well and hopes to win the Commonwealth Games Marathon

Kenneth Mungara will be one of the oldest competitors in the Commonwealth Games Marathon but irrespective of his 44 years, Kenya’s Mungara will be the one to beat on the streets Sunday in Australia. The current Gold Coast Marathon race record holder (2:08:42), Mungara made a late start to marathon taking up the sport 11 years ago. A former barber, the veteran runner swapped the scissors with joggers after cutting the hair of other athletes. “I believed I could run well,” Mungara says. “I watched other runners coming to my barber shop, I observed them, and I thought I can beat them in running. “That is how it all started.” However the modest Kenyan doesn't believe that experience will give him a significant advantage saying: “Everyone running is a winner and this is the game in which one needs to play well all the time, otherwise winning is not possible. It is about the training for the race and then racing well. He has run 20 marathons since his debut in 2006. Three of the races have been on the stretch of road between Runaway Bay and Burleigh with his first win coming in 2015. The world masters record holder (40-45), also claimed first place on the Gold Coast upon his return in 2016 before settling for second place last year. The Commonwealth Games marathon course runs on the same roads he knows well. Everything will have to go right for Mungara since there is a very strong elite field. (04/13/2018) ⚡AMP
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Uganda's Cheptegei pulls off double, sets Games Record and Robertson sets New Zealand National Record

The much talked about 10000m at the Commonwealth Games today was one of the best events of the Games so far. Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei (UGA) fresh off his 5000m win not only won the 10000m too but set a Games Record breaking Wilberforce Talel (KEN) record of 27:45 set in 2002. Cheptegeie clocked 27:19 running his last 5000m in 13:25, 25 seconds faster than his 5000m winning time. The 10000m was a fast race as six runners got under the Games Record. Jake Robertson (NZ) finished fifth in a new national record for New Zealand clocking 27:30. He took the lead at the 7K mark coming up from eight and lead for four laps but he could not hold it but he still ran 13:36 for his last 5000m. Canada's Mohammed Ahmed and Cheptegei battled back and forth for the lead the last two kilometers. In the end the Canadian was out sprinted placing second in 27:20. Third was Rodgers Kwemoi (KEN) in 27:28. Eight runners finished under 28 minutes. It does not get much better than this. (04/13/2018) ⚡AMP
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New Zealand’s Jake Robertson could win the Commonweath Games 10000m Friday

Jake and his twin brother Zane Robertson were not going to run in the Commonwealth Games in Australia. But they changed their minds and said they would be there representing New Zealand. Most recently Jake travelled to New Orelans and won the Crescent City 10K classic clocking 27:28 March 31. Zane however was injured while getting a deep tissue massage by a massage therapist. The details are not very clear but Zane had to withdraw from the Games. Tonight Jake posted on Instagram: “Track, it's been awhile,10000m final tonight, 25 laps on the grill. It's time to burn.” “Jake has been running well,” says Bob Anderson. “There is some strong competition and it has been awhile since Jake has raced on the track but I think he can win it. He and his brother has been training in Kenya the last ten years and have been doing some impressive workouts.” The race starts Friday at 9:10pm in Australia which is 4:10am in California or 7:10am in New York. (04/12/2018) ⚡AMP
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Commonwealth Games 5000m Champion has decided to also run the 10000m

Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei, fresh from winning the 5,000m gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, has changed his mind and will compete in the 10,000m final as well. He won his first-ever Commonwealth Games gold on Sunday April 8 in a time of 13:50.83, ahead of Canada's Mohammed Ahmed at the Carrara Stadium Track. The other two Ugandans in the race, Thomas Ayeko and Phillip Kipyeko, finished fourth and sixth respectively. Cheptegei had, according to the country's athletics federation, initially ruled himself out of the longer distance as he didn't want to overload himself, but will now contest the 10km final on 13 April. "We have managed to convince Cheptegei," said Dominic Otuchet, chairman of the Uganda Athletics Federation. "This is very good for Uganda as a country and for the athlete himself because he is now better motivated to even perform well after winning gold on Sunday." Otuchet explained that Cheptegei initially did not want to overextend himself with two races, even though he had qualified for both, adding: "But we left him entered for the two events and only kept hoping that he changes his mind. "We are glad he has now allowed to stay back and compete in the 10,000m final." (04/11/2018) ⚡AMP
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I would not like to see the mile returned to the Commonwealth Games says Walter Sargent

"Offering both the 1500m and mile in the Commonwealth Games would dilute the fields and encourage some of the game-playing that was rampant in the 1980s, when top competitors were using the proliferation of both mile and 1500 events," says Walter Sargent. "This was done often at the same meet, to avoid head-to-head races against their most difficult challengers. As for the choice between the 1500 and the mile, I much prefer the ease of viewing the race as four quarters and calculating splits in a mile, but I wouldn't want to see the mile returned to the Commonwealth Games as a way of extending the sentiment and mythology of the Bannister and Landy races of 1954 or the dominance of Commonwealth milers in earlier eras. The history of the 1500 at the Commonwealth Games is every bit as impressive as the ealier mile competitions; in fact, probably the single greatest middle-distance race at the Commonwealth Games was Filbert Bayi's 1500 world record (photo) at the 1974 Games." (04/09/2018) ⚡AMP
by Walter H. Sargent
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Should the mile be added back into the Commonwealth Games? How about the 1500m?

A mile race could be added to the programme for future editions of the Commonwealth Games as part of a broader attempt to embrace the heritage of athletics. International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe spoke enthusiastically about such a plan here today when asked about possible innovations. The mile featured on the programme at all editions of the event until Kingston 1966, when it was replaced by the 1,500 metres. It is not yet clear if a restored mile would sit alongside, or instead of, the 1,500m, although the latter scenario seems more likely due to the similarities between the events. "We have had the thought of introducing the mile back into the Commonwealth Games and I have an ambition to create and celebrate our own heritage, because often we have events that are the bedrock of our history," Coe said. "Some of the great moments in track and field have been established in a Commonwealth Games. "We still talk about the Miracle Mile, 1954 in Vancouver, these are indelible moments." The Miracle Mile saw England's Sir Roger Bannister beat Australian rival John Landy at Vancouver 1954 in the first race in which two men broke the four minute barrier. "The mile is something that we have been talking with the IAAF about recently, particularly with the passing of Roger Bannister," added Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg today in Australia. (04/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Had A Thrilling Start this morning

Dane Bird-Smith and Tom Bosworth ensured that athletics action at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games had a thrilling start as they battled for the 20km race walk title on Currumbin Beachfront on Sunday morning. Roared to victory by a home crowd, Australia’s Olympic bronze medallist Bird-Smith broke the Games record to secure gold, clocking 79:34 to finish four seconds ahead of England’s Bosworth, who smashed his British record for silver. A further 13 seconds back, Samuel Gathimba claimed bronze for Kenya. The race was about redemption for Bosworth, devastated after his disqualification at the IAAF World Championships in London last summer, the Rio Olympics sixth-placer was determined to bounce back in Australia and he did so in superb style. After putting in a surge half way into the race, which was passed in 39:57, Bosworth was happy to let Bird-Smith and Gathimba move to the front. The Brit closed the gap and with 6km to go the race was on Games record pace. Friends off the track and road but rivals in competition, neither Bosworth nor Bird-Smith was willing to give in and the gold medal battle went all the way down to the closing stages, as the Australian used the home support to help him move away over the final 600m. “I’m so pleased with this medal and to be up there with Dane,” said Bosworth. “He’s a really good mate so I am really pleased for him. Athletics Weekly reporting (04/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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Hawkins chances of winning the Commonwealth Games Marathon has improved since Zane Robertson has withdrawn

Callum Hawkins (UK) wants to medal in the Commonwealth Games marathon on Sunday April 15. His chances have improved since New Zealand's Zane Robertson won't be running. Callum spoke to Martin Yelling on Tuesday's Marathon Talk show and confirmed a recent 125-mile training week. Hawkins has been training in Australia since shortly after his third place run behind Mo Farah at the Big Half in London on March 4 and was pleased to get a 22-hour flight out of the way well ahead of the Games. Since then he has been able to concentrate on his programme and as he settles into his race taper, Hawkins reported that he had been 'cranking big sessions in the heat', both in terms of miles and quality. Race preparation has also included a detailed look of the marathon course which starts and finishes at Southport Broadwater Parklands, consideration of winds on race day, experiments with hydration strategies and detailed discussion of tactics with his coach (and father) Robert Hawkins. Following a 9th place at the 2016 Olympic marathon in Rio, a Scottish record-breaking run at the 2017 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon in Japan and a fourth place at the 2017 World Championships marathon (2:10:17). (04/05/2018) ⚡AMP
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Akhwari pushed his body to the farthest limits of human endurance

The story of John Stephen Akhwari. Once long ago, he pushed his body to the farthest limits of human endurance and then gave the world of sports one of its most evocative statements about sacrifice and loyalty. The starting field of the Mexico ’68 marathon featured 75 runners. Of these, 18 would drop out as the altitude took its toll. Akhwari, an African marathon champion who routinely posted times in the range of 2hrs 20min and was in the class of the world’s elite, started experiencing difficulties almost as soon as the race started. He suffered muscle cramps and hung at the back of the pack from where he would come across the anguished casualties as they fell by the wayside one by one. Akhwari was one of those who suffered this fate and he dislocated his right knee. Blood gashed from the gaping wound. Picking himself up, he realised that his shoulder was also bruised by the hard surface and now an intense pain was assailing him from head to toe. Looking at his desperate condition, medical personnel shadowing the competitors advised him to pull out. But Akhwari refused. He said: “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.” (04/02/2018) ⚡AMP
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Nesbitt will make her Commonwealth Games debut for Wales

Welsh half marathon champion Jenny Nesbitt will join a talented group of welsh women’s distance runners in Australia, that includes Eli Kirk, Caryl Jones and Melissa Courtney. “I couldn’t believe it when I was told that I’d been selected, and I am just so, so happy to be given the opportunity to represent Wales on the Gold Coast,” said the Worcester based athlete after receiving the last minute selection last week. Following the last minute call-up to Gold Coast 2018, Nesbitt will fly out to Australia on Monday for the Commonwealth Games. Her best Half Marathon is 1:12:54. (03/13/2018) ⚡AMP
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Uganda's Moses Kipsiro going after third consecutive Gold in Gold Coast

Uganda's Moses Kipsiro will be going all out to defend his 10,000m title at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia this April, as he seeks a third consecutive gold in the event. "It is always a good feeling going back to the Commonwealth Games where I have run well in the past," Kipsiro said. Kipsiro will be among the 23 Team Uganda athletes in Australia. Further good news for the Ugandan team is the availability of Solomon Munyo Mutai, who has recovered from injury in time for the Games. The 2015 World Championship bronze medalist had been out of action for over two months. "Mutai ran in a half marathon in Morocco last month and since his body was responding well, he declared he can now make the team since he had already qualified (03/06/2018) ⚡AMP
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Robert de Castella recalls his Commonwealth Games moment as one of his greatest memories

The 2018 Commonwealth Games is an international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth. It will be held April 4-15 on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia... In 1982 when the event was held in Brisbane, Australia Rob de Castella won the marathon in 2:09:18 just six seconds off the Games record of 2:09:12 set by Ian Thompson in 1974 in Christchurch. Robert recalls the moment as one of his “great memories” from a career that included four Olympic Games and three top 10 finishes. De Castella, now 61, said he cannot return to Brisbane without thinking about his captivating performance in 1982. "The 1982 Games was a launching pad for my career. Everything changed for me after that. The privilege of running a marathon in front of my countrymen and women was incredible." ABC commentator Tim Lane says, “It’s a performance to remember for all time," as he neared the finish line. “These days the crowd could get close to the runners...that Brisbane race is one of the great memories I have of my athletics." (03/05/2018) ⚡AMP
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Jake Robertson sets the New Zealand National Marathon Record on his first Attempt

Jake Robertson broke Rod Dixon's New Zealand marathon record at his first attempt on Sunday in Japan. Robertson completed the Lake Biwa Marathon in 2hour 8min 26sec. Hamilton-born distance runner looked strong early on, and stayed in the mix as the lead pack slowly shrunk. With 11 kilometres to go, he made a surge, setting the tempo and leaving only five runners remaining at the 35k mark. With the finish line nearing, and a trio of runners left in front, Robertson was dropped, but he paced himself well to claim third place, and the national record. His time is 33 seconds faster than Rod Dixon's previous record, which has stood since Rod won the New York Marathon in 1983. Remarkably, it was Robertson's first ever competitive marathon. Robertson is set to run the 10,000m at the upcoming Commonwealth Games. When he was 17 he moved to Iten, Kenya with his twin brother Zane who is also a world lass professional runner. (03/04/2018) ⚡AMP
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