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Poland makes history with Olympic mixed 4x400m win

Poland’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Games came with a special bonus: a place in the Olympic history books.

Kajetan Duszynski raced to the front down the final straight and powered across the line to give his country the first gold medal in the inaugural Olympic mixed 4x400 relay on Saturday (31).

The Polish quartet of Karol Zalewski, Natalia Kaczmarek, Justyna Swiety-Ersetic and Duszynski clocked a European – and now Olympic – record of 3:09.87 to claim the title ahead of the Dominican Republic and the United States.

It was also Poland’s second Olympic gold in an athletics relay, coming 56 years after the Poles won the women’s 4x400m relay at the 1964 Games, which also happened to be held in Tokyo.

“We all believed we could manage to win the medal,” Zalewski said. “We were not sure if it was going to be gold or something else, but we knew that we could win something. We all left our hearts on the track.”

Duszynski, who ran the final leg in 44.38, held his arms outsretched wide as he crossed the line, then pulled his singlet over his head in celebration before being mobbed by his teammates.

"In the last 150 metres I felt I had a lot of strength still,” Dusynski said. “I'm that type of endurance athlete. It is my strength to run the first 200 metres slowly and then to attack towards the finish line. So I knew that I could make it. It's my strategy and it worked for me."

The Dominican Republic quartet of Lidio Andres Feliz, Marileidy Paulino, Anabel Medina Ventura and Alexander Oganda claimed the silver, with Paulino clocking a 48.7 split for her second leg. The bronze went to the US team of Trevor Stewart, Kendall Ellis, Kaylin Whitney and Vernon Norwood.

Oganda outleaned Norwood at the line to clinch the silver in 3:10.21, just 0.1 ahead of the US.

“It is so exciting to come here and run the first mixed relay at the Olympic Games, and to come out with a medal feels great,” Ellis said. “It feels like a win for us."

The race capped an eventful 24 hours for the US and Dominican teams. They had been disqualified after the qualifying rounds on Friday but were reinstated on appeal in time for the final.

The USA replaced their lineup from the heats, which was made up of Lynna Irby, Taylor Manson, Bryce Deadmon and Elija Godwin. The members of Saturday’s team said the controversy over the disqualification and reinstatement should not take away from their bronze-medal performance.

“It was events outside our control and we as a team stand behind our teammates and the United States, who we are proud to represent and bring home a medal for us,” Whitney said.

The mixed relay made its Olympic debut two years after being contested at the World Athletics Championships for the first time in Doha.

While teams can choose any order they want for the relay, all teams in Tokyo opted for the conventional order of man-woman-woman-man.

The Dominicans built up a large lead on the third lap until 21-year-old Dutch 400m and 400m hurdles star Femke Bol reeled them in going into the anchor leg.

Duszynski timed his kick perfectly, surging to the front after the final turn and pulling away down the home stretch. Norwood moved into second place and seemed poised to secure the silver for the US but was edged out by Oganda on the lean.

The US team did not include Allyson Felix, who had helped the USA win the mixed relay in Doha and was eligible to run the event in Tokyo.

It means that Felix, competing in her fifth Olympics at the age of 35, will have to wait a bit longer to bid for her 10th career medal. That would make her the most decorated woman in Olympic athletics history and equal Carl Lewis for the most medals by a US track and field athlete.

Felix, who holds six gold and three bronze medals, will run in the 400m and possibly the women's 4x400m relay.

(08/01/2021) Views: 54 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Projection mapping light show makes Olympic debut in Tokyo

The women’s 100m final saw the introduction of a projection mapping light show to set the stage for one of the highlights of the Tokyo Olympic Games on Saturday night (31).

The technology made a successful debut in the Khalifa Stadium at the World Athletics Championships in Doha in 2019, where a delegation from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (TOGOG) and the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) first saw the spectacle in action and agreed to work on a similar light show for the Olympic Games.

However, the logistics of the Tokyo stadium and the programme of events mean that the light show is only viable for the women’s and men’s 100m finals.

The show, used to create anticipation for the race and to introduce the eight finalists, is projected on to the 100m track using 12 projectors, the same ones that were in place for Tokyo 2020’s spectacular Opening Ceremony.

It creates 3D images of the world, zooming in to the Tokyo skyline, and then the name of each athlete in the final is projected on the track when he or she is introduced.

World Athletics Event Presentation Manager Florian Weber said it took 20 hours of rehearsal to get the impressive introduction for the women’s 100m just right.

"We’ve created a Hollywood-style introduction for our athletes because they are the stars of our show and they deserve this kind of attention," he said.

"We’re also in the business of entertaining the fans and this is one of the tools we can use to grab their attention.

"But we can only do it in a modern stadium like this one that has the technology we need, including the ability to turn the lights up and down in an instant."

Weber said it was a logistically complicated process because the full stadium had to be plunged into darkness, including the huge electronic screens and back of house lights, in order to get the full effect.

Broadcasters have been provided with desk lamps to allow them to continue to see their commentary notes when the lights go out.

The athletes are briefed in the call room about the process beforehand and are taken out on to the track eight minutes before the start.

They are given four minutes to do a last warm up before they are marshalled behind their starting blocks.

The stadium lights are turned down three minutes and 30 seconds before the start and the light show begins.

"That’s the same time that a usual track race introduction takes, so the athletes are not being held any longer than they would be normally," Weber said.

Weber explained that each stadium projector had to be recalibrated each day, taking a technician two to three hours, as changes in temperatures between day and night created expansion and contraction in the projector housings and they moved slightly each day.

"We’re very thankful to the OBS and TOCOG, especially Sport Presentation Director Keisuke Goto, for supporting this innovation," he said.

(08/01/2021) Views: 36 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Olympic Sprinter Switzerland's Alex Wilson Banned From Tokyo 2020 Denies Doping, Blames U.S. Meat

A Swiss sprinter who blamed failing an anti-doping test on meat he ate in the U.S. will not compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reinstated his ban on Wednesday.

Jamaica-born Alex Wilson, who was scheduled to race in the 100m and 200m, was suspended in April by the Swiss anti-doping agency after testing positive to trenbolone—a banned steroid—in an out-of-competition test back in March.

Wilson maintained he was clean and attributed the positive test to contaminated meat he ate in a Jamaican restaurant in the U.S. and successfully appealed the ban, which was lifted earlier this month by Swiss Olympic—the umbrella organization that covers Swiss sports and the Swiss Olympic Committee.

World Athletics, however, appealed the decision to CAS, which reinstated the ban.

"The Panel concluded that the provisional suspension imposed on the athlete on April 28 2021 should not have been lifted by the Disciplinary Chamber of Swiss Olympic," CAS said in a statement.

"It follows that the decision of the disciplinary chamber of Swiss Olympic dated July 2 2021 is set aside and the provisional suspension shall be reinstated with immediate effect.

"The present CAS decision does not prejudge in any way the decision which will be rendered by Swiss Olympic later on, once the disciplinary proceedings will have been completed."

In an official response following the ruling by CAS, Swiss Olympic said it regretted the incident.

"Swiss Olympic very much regrets this case and would be very disappointed if the offense was confirmed," the statement read.

"Swiss Olympic is convinced that the fight against doping must be conducted with all consistency."

The bronze medalist in the 200m at the European Championships in 2018, Wilson broke the European record in the 100m with a time of 9.84 earlier this month at a meeting in Marietta, Georgia.

While the record was not ratified it marked a significant improvement from Wilson's previous six performances over the distance this year, where he had never clocked a time below 10.38.

Wilson isn't the only athlete due to compete in Tokyo to have been suspended over alleged anti-doping violations.

On July 14, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced two swimmers due to represent the Russia Olympic Committee at the 2020 Olympics had been provisionally suspended.

(07/28/2021) Views: 74 ⚡AMP
by Dan Cancian
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Athletics Kenya (AK) have named World 2019 bronze medalist Rhonex Kipruto as Geoffrey Kamworor's replacement in Kenya's 10,000 meters team for the Tokyo

Geoffrey Kamworor, who sustained an ankle injury in training this week, was a big medal prospect in the team that also has national cross country champion Rodgers Kwemoi and Weldon Kipkirui. 

The two left the country last Friday and will be competing in the final on July 30 where Kenya is expected to bag its first medal in athletics.

Kipruto, World Under-20 10,000m champion, withdrew from the Kenyan trials with five laps to go.

General Team Manager for the Tokyo Olympic Games Barnaba Korir said Kipruto has officially joined the team after clearance from World Athletics and necessary paperwork is ongoing.

“We are pleased to announce that Rhonex Kipruto is the latest inclusion to our athletics team for the Tokyo Olympics. He has already reported at Kasarani Stadium where the remaining part of team Kenya are in residential training in a bubble camp.

"The decision was arrived at after AK sought clearance from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) on his anti-doping testing status, which I am pleased to say he has been given the green light,” Korir said via his official Facebook page.

Kipruto told Nation Sport that he is happy to get a chance to represent Kenya in what will be his first appearance at the Olympics. 

“I’m really sorry for my good friend Kamworor and I want to wish him quick recovery so that he can continue with his career. On my part I’m delighted becaue I will be able to represent my country once again and we will work hard to win something good for our country,” said Kipruto.

He also revealed to Nation Sport that his first Covid-19 test came out negative and he was going to be tested for the second time, a requirement before jetting out for the Games in Tokyo.

“I got the results and they are negative. We are doing another test just to be sure because this is now a requirement before travelling,” said Kipruto. 

Kipruto is currently the fastest man in 10km on the road having clocked world record time of 26:24 after lowering Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei’s time of 26:38 in Valencia, Spain in 2020.

The two will clash again when they line up for the 10,000m final on Friday after Cheptegei floored Kipruto during the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar winning gold ahead of Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha who took silver with KIpruto settling for bronze.

“We shall be battling out again with Cheptegei whom we have met in various races. He is a good athlete but I don’t want to say much for now but just to give my best, teamwork will be paramount,” he added.

(07/28/2021) Views: 76 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Ban on cannabis, should be reviewed says World Athletics president Seb Coe

The rules on the use of cannabis by athletes should be reviewed, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has said in the wake of the case that meant Sha'Carri Richardson, winner of the women’s 100 meters at the US Olympic trials, missing Tokyo 2020.

Richardson accepted a 30-day ban, and the qualifying results she achieved were annulled, after she tested positive for the banned recreational drug during the trials.

The 21-year-old said she had been under emotional stress after learning of the recent death of her biological mother.

In response to questions on the issue, Coe has said a review is now sensible and "it should be" done, Reuters reports.

Coe added: "I am sorry for her that we have lost an outstanding talent [from the Olympic Games]", but said that existing rules were interpreted correctly.

The World Athletics President said he had asked the independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on reassessing marijuana’s place on the prohibited list.

Coe, who believes the matter is a question for experts at the AIU and the WADA to determine, said Richardson’s absence was "a loss to the competition" but predicted "she will bounce back".

The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code classifies tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and hashish, as a "Substance of Abuse".

Athletes found to use it outside of competition face a three-month ban, although in this case the United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Richardson for 30 days as long as she also undertook a treatment programme.

Discussion on this matter is not expected to take place during the World Athletics Council’s two-day meeting that starts tomorrow before the Olympic track and field programme begins on Friday (July 30) - at least officially.

What will be under consideration is a determination of the hosts for the 2023 World Athletics Relays, held this year in Poland, the newly-established 2023 World Road Running Championships, and next year’s World Race Walking Team Championships, where a replacement is being sought for original host Minsk.

World Athletics cited "uncertainties around diplomatic relations and international travel restrictions with regard to Belarus" when stripping Minsk of hosting rights earlier this year, with protests continuing after the controversial re-election Alexander Lukashenko as the country’s President last August and many nations imposing sanctions on Belarus.

There will also be a report from World Athletics' Russia Taskforce at the Council meeting.

Day two of the meeting is understood to involve commission and working group reports.

(07/27/2021) Views: 49 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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Olympians, champions and top americans will lead fields for 2021 Asics Falmouth Road Race

Falmouth Road Race, Inc., organizers of the 49th Annual ASICS Falmouth Road Race, one of America’s premier running events of the summer season, today announced the men’s, women’s, and wheelchair open fields for this year’s race. Defending champions Leonard Korir and Sharon Lokedi lead an accomplished field of Olympians, World Champions and top Americans participating in the August 15, 2021 race.

WOMEN’S OPEN DIVISION

Lokedi, a Kenyan elite and 10-time All American at the University of Kansas, will race 2019 runner-up Sara Hall, who has won 11 U.S. national titles from the mile to the marathon. Hall recently finished sixth at the U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000m and won the AJC Peachtree Road Race, which hosted the National 10K Championships. The duo is joined by Edna Kiplagat, a Boston, London and New York City champion as well as a two-time World Athletics Marathon Championships gold medalist. 

Twelve-time All American and NCAA DI 10,000m champion Emma Bates and 2021 Olympic marathoner Molly Seidel will also participate. Bates is gearing up for a fall marathon and Seidel will run, alongside her sister Isabel, as a post-Olympic celebration.  

Accomplished women racing the leaders include Jordan Hasay, an 18-time All American and multiple podium finisher at the Boston and Chicago Marathons; former Falmouth champion and three-time Olympian Diane Nukuri; NCAA 10,000m champion Natosha Rogers; young talent Iveen Chepkemoi; Emily Durgin who finished runner-up at the AJC Peachtree Road Race with a 31:49 personal best, and Taylor Werner the recent USATF National 6K champion.

Many of the women in the field raced in the 5,000m and/or 10,000m at the recent U.S. Olympic Track Trials including Rogers, Durgin, Werner, Erika Kemp, Makena Morley, Jaci Smith, Fiona O’Keefe,  and Paige Stoner.

MEN’S OPEN DIVISION

The 2019 podium of Leonard Korir, Stephen Sambu, and Edward Cheserek return. Korir, an Olympian, became the first American man to win the Falmouth Road Race since 1988. He has 10 USATF national titles and holds the fastest-ever marathon debut by an American (2:077:56). 

Sambu looks to add an impressive fifth Falmouth Road Race title to his name. A road running star, Sambu set the 8K world record at the B.A.A. 10K, a race he has won twice. He is also a four-time champion of the Shamrock Shuffle. Edward Cheserek, the most decorated NCAA distance runner of all time with 17 NCAA Division I titles, ran for the University of Oregon. At Boston University in 2018, Cheserek ran the indoor mile in 3:49.44, which at that time was the second fastest indoor mile in history.  

Chasing the trio are 2018 Falmouth Road Race champion and 2018 NCAA 10,000m winner Ben Flanagan, of Canada, and Ben True, who holds five national titles, set a 5K national record at the 2017 B.A.A. 5K and recently finished fourth in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Fresh from a two second 1-2 finish at the 2021 AJC Peachtree Road Race, Sam Chelanga, a six-time USATF National Champion, and Fred Huxham are in the field, as are B.A.A. 10K champion David Bett, 2018 Falmouth runner-up Scott Fauble and top 5,000m runner Emmanuel Bor. 

Many of the men running the ASICS Falmouth Road Race competed at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Track Trials including Korir, Chelanga, Bor, True, Biya Simbassa, Jacob Thomson and Frank Lara.

(07/27/2021) Views: 77 ⚡AMP
by Running USA
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Falmouth Road Race

Falmouth Road Race

The Falmouth Road Race was established in 1973 and has become one of the premier running events of the summer season. Each year the race draws an international field of Olympians, elite runners and recreational runners out to enjoy the scenic 7-mile seaside course. The non-profit Falmouth Road Race organization is dedicated to promoting health and fitness for all in...

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Women that have been barred from Olympics for being manly

One day, Annet Negesa was pushing her body to endure and make her the champion she believed she was born to be. On another day, her Olympics dreams were crushed because she was faster, stronger.

Annet Negesa reportedly still harbours intentions to run for her country. She runs every day, with the hope of returning to international competitions one day. 

Hers is a case of unfinished business, a dream that was cut short in June 2012 when she received a call from a doctor from track and field’s world governing body telling her, according to the New York Times newspaper - that “she would no longer be competing in the London Olympics because her testosterone levels were too high for competition,” thereby giving her an unfair advantage over other female athletes.

Negesa, 20 then, was one of Uganda’s top athletes. On the back of her London preparations, she set a national record for 800 metres earlier that year at a meet in Netherlands.

She was a three-time national champion and brought home a gold medal at the 2011 All-Africa Games.

She identifies as female and was born with external female genitalia but also with internal male genitalia that produce levels of testosterone that men do.

Most women, including elite female athletes, have natural testosterone levels of 0.12 to 1.79 nanomoles per litre, according to World Athletics. The typical male range after puberty is reportedly much higher, at 7.7 to 29.4 nanomoles per litre.

After years of litigation, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2019 upheld World Athletics’ testosterone restrictions for female athletes in races with distances from 400 meters to the mile after renowned athlete Caster Semenya (we shall get to her later in the article), filed an appeal.

The court ruled by a 2-to-1 vote that the restrictions were indeed discriminatory but also a “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” means of achieving the World Athletics goal of preserving a level playing field in women’s track events.

Therefore intersex athletes (these are said to be roughly one in every 2,000 births), who want to participate in middle-distance women’s track events must take hormone-suppressing drugs and reduce testosterone levels to below five nanomoles per litre (5 nmol/L) for six months before competing, then maintain those lowered levels.

Unfortunately, the intervention seems to have come seven years late for Negesa, who claims World Athletics physician Dr Stéphane Bermon gave her surgery as her first option to reduce testosterone levels in 2012. 

But Negesa has since battled persistent headaches and achy joints that have not allowed her to pursue her career. Her postoperative care, which according to documents seen at the Kampala Hospital by the New York Times should have been recommended in further discussions with Dr Bermon, did not include the kind of hormone treatment that might have helped her body adjust to the change.

After Negesa appeared in a ‘break the silence’ documentary on German television’s ARD network in October 2019, World Athletics issued a statement denying that it participated in or recommended a specific treatment to Negesa.

Third category

Nine years after Negesa’s predicament, another recommendation to World Athletics; to introduce a third category of events in order to allow competitors with high testosterone levels to compete in their preferred disciplines, seems to be gathering steam after Kenyan 800m runner Margaret Wambui was ruled out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“It would be good if a third category for athletes with high testosterone was introduced; because it is wrong to stop people from using their talents,” Wambui told BBC Sport Africa.

The sport’s governing body, World Athletics, says it has no plans to introduce such a category and will stick to its current classifications of men’s and women’s events.

The idea of a third category in athletics has been floated before, but Wambui is the first athlete to express outright support for the suggestion.

“We would be the first people to compete in that category - so we can motivate others who are hiding their condition,” she said.

Since World Athletics introduced its latest rules governing DSD (disorders of sex development) athletes in 2018, not one of the three athletes who stood on the 800m podium in Rio has contested the distance at a global international championship.

At the 2016 Games, Wambui was beaten to gold by Semenya and silver by Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba.

“It is sad to see that the whole podium won’t be there.”  “They cut short our careers, because that wasn’t our plan. I feel bad that I won’t be in the Olympics because of World Athletics rules,” says Wambui.

(07/26/2021) Views: 78 ⚡AMP
by Daily Monitor
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Jamaican Usain Bolt slams unfair, laughable advances in spike technology

Usain Bolt has said advances in spike technology that could help wipe out his world records are laughable and that the new shoes also give an unfair advantage over any athletes not wearing them.

After athletes ripped through the record books in distance running with carbon-plated, thick-soled shoes, the technology has now moved into sprint spikes, where -- although there is less time in a race for the advantage to make an impact -- it is still enough to make a difference.

"When I was told about it I couldn't believe that this is what we have gone to, you know what I mean, that we are really adjusting the spikes to a level where it's now giving athletes an advantage to run even faster," Bolt told Reuters in an interview from Kingston.

The 100m and 200m world record holder competed in Puma spikes throughout his career.

"It's weird and unfair for a lot of athletes because I know that in the past they [shoe companies] actually tried and the governing body said 'No, you can't change the spikes,' so to know that now they are actually doing it, it's laughable," the eight-time Olympic Champion added.

American Trayvon Bromell is favourite to take Bolt's 100m title in Tokyo. He is the fastest in the world over the distance this year with 9.77 secs, but the 2015 world 100m bronze medallist is less convinced about the impact of the shoes.

"I don't think there's a lot of data to show that they're having such a big improvement," Bromell, who runs for New Balance, told reporters last week.

"I know we [New Balance] are constantly building onto what we have to make the perfect spike, but for me personally as a runner I still feel like it's not enough data to really show."

While other companies now have similar shoe models, Nike looks set to dominate and is priding itself on being a leader in the technology.

"We're just smarter about how we engineer and assemble them," Nike said in an email to Reuters.

The company added that it works to keep its athletes on the cutting edge while staying within the rules.

Weighing in on developments in shoe technology, World Athletics said: "The current regulations [July 2020] were designed to give certainty to athletes preparing for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, to preserve the integrity of elite competition and to limit technological development to the current level until after the Olympic Games in Tokyo, across all events."

It said a working group on shoes aimed to set parameters to achieve a balance between innovation, competitive advantage and availability of the products.

Performing in the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly, Jamaican two-time Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clocked the fastest 100m time in 33 years on June 5 in Kingston with a career-best 10.63 seconds.

Only American world record holder Florence Griffith-Joyner has gone faster, with 10.49 seconds in Indianapolis in 1988.

But Fraser-Pryce was unwilling to discount the work she has done to become the fastest woman alive, even as she trains and competes in the spike.

"You can give the spikes to somebody else and they'll probably not do the same things that I've done, so I'm not counting myself out of the hard work me and my coach has put in," the four-time 100m world champion told Reuters.

"Maybe the combination of both -- having good products and good runners combined -- makes for a very good end-product. So for me, I can't single-handedly point to the spikes."

Veteran Jamaican sprint coach Stephen Francis admitted that faster times are being run in Nike's new sprint spikes.

"Based on anecdotal evidence and based on the fact that you have people who never would have run as fast as they are running, I suspect that there may be a point, but there is no scientific basis to make that point," Francis told Reuters from Kingston.

Whatever the advantage, he said, anyone can benefit from Nike's technology based on the rules set by World Athletics.

(07/20/2021) Views: 59 ⚡AMP
by Reuters
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A new generation of champions set to emerge in Tokyo

While some reigning Olympic and world champions might be missing from the Games in Tokyo, the extra year as a result of the postponement in 2020 has allowed a number of new talents to emerge.

For some it means a debut Olympic experience which may not originally have been expected until at least 2024, while for others it is a realistic opportunity to win medals and titles.

Of the 43 individual events contested at the Rio 2016 Olympics, the winners from just 18 of those will defend their titles in Tokyo.

The likes of world 800m champion Donavan Brazier and Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod missed out on being selected for their national team, while other stars, such as world and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor, are currently sidelined with injury.

But while those global champions won't be able to contend for top honours in Tokyo, here are some of the new generation of stars who are set to emerge.

Selemon Barega, 10,000m

After winning world U18 and U20 titles in 2017 and 2016 respectively, Ethiopia’s Barega stepped up to secure senior 5000m silver at the World Athletics Championships in 2019. Still aged just 21, he is now preparing for his debut Olympics, where he will race the 10,000m.

Barega started the season with intent, running an Ethiopian all-comers’ record of 27:58.5 at altitude in Addis Ababa in January. He then went even faster at the Ethiopian Trials in Hengelo in June, clocking 26:49.51 on the same track on which he ran his 26:49.46 PB in 2019. That, together with the speed he demonstrated by running PBs of 3:32.97 for 1500m and 7:26.10 for 3000m during the indoor season, means he is set to be a strong force in Tokyo

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, 100m hurdles

Medal success in Tokyo would see Camacho-Quinn become the first Puerto Rican woman to secure an Olympic podium place in athletics and this season she has certainly demonstrated her ability to achieve that feat.

The 24-year-old improved her own national 100m hurdles record to 12.32 to move to equal seventh on the world 100m hurdles all-time list in Eugene in April and hasn’t been beaten since. She clocked 12.38 to win at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Florence and 12.34 for success in Szekesfehervar, meaning she has the three fastest times in the world so far this year. “I'm looking forward to the Olympics this year - it will be like redemption from my fall in 2016,” she said after her Florence run as she reflected on missing out on the final in Rio. “I'm really excited. Training really hard, working really hard, but really looking forward to it.”

Tara Davis, long jump

Davis leapt into the seven-metre club in March, breaking the US collegiate long jump record with 7.14m at the Texas Relays. The longest jump in the world since the 2019 World Athletics Championships final, that mark moved the 22-year-old to fifth on the US all-time list.

The world U20 bronze medallist had also broken the collegiate indoor record with 6.93m at the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier in the year and finished second at the US Olympic Trials, going beyond seven metres again with a best of 7.04m. “I’m shocked still because seven metres as a jumper is the biggest thing ever. Hitting it in the Olympic Trials is unreal,” she said after her performance in Eugene, where she finished second to four-time world gold medallist and 2012 Olympic champion Brittney Reese. “I’m freaking jumping with my idol, Brittney Reese. Being with her and competing with her in 2016 I was so starstruck. I was like, ‘I see her on TV and now I’m jumping with her’.”

Alison Dos Santos, 400m hurdles

After running in the lane next to Karsten Warholm during his world record in Oslo, improving his South American record to 47.38 to finish second, Brazil’s Dos Santos went even quicker to win three days later in Stockholm, taking another 0.04 off that mark.

This season has seen the 21-year-old build on his 2019 breakthrough, having that year improved his PB and the South American U20 record seven times, eventually clocking 48.28 to finish seventh at the World Athletics Championships in Doha. Also a key member of Brazil’s relay team, he ran the fastest split of the mixed 4x400m final at the World Athletics Relays in Silesia, recording a 44.62 anchor leg. “I'm looking forward to the Olympics, and yes, I think I can get a medal,” he said with a smile after his run in Stockholm.

Mondo Duplantis, pole vault

While some may argue that a world record (or two) rules an athlete out from being considered part of a ‘new generation’, pole vault star Duplantis is still aged only 21 and has much more he hopes to accomplish during his career, including winning Olympic gold.

This season he has cleared six metres or higher in four competitions, capped by his 6.10m in Hengelo - a height only he, Renaud Lavillenie and Sergey Bubka have ever achieved. After winning 2019 world silver behind Sam Kendricks - who ended Duplantis’ 23-competition win streak in challenging conditions in Gateshead in May - Duplantis will be looking to go one better in Tokyo. He also believes he can go higher than his 6.18m world record this season and after attempting 6.19m in Oslo, he said: “I really think I can get that record soon. But for now I feel good, a month away from the most important meet of my life. I am in good shape, I am running well on the runway and keeping up the rhythm well.”

JuVaughn Harrison, long jump and high jump

Harrison secured his two Olympic spots in style at the US Trials, soaring over 2.33m and then leaping a PB of 8.47m to improve his own best-ever single-day high jump and long jump double. As a result, he will become the first male athlete to represent the USA in both events at the Olympics since Jim Thorpe in 1912. No other athlete has ever achieved both a 2.30m high jump and 8.40m-plus long jump.

The 22-year-old is no stranger to juggling both events on the same day and in March he cleared 2.30m and jumped 8.45m at the NCAA Indoor Championships. In Tokyo, the high jump final is on the evening of day three and the long jump final is on the morning of day four. He is expecting to rise to the challenge. “It will be harder competition which will make me push harder and jump farther,” he said.

Erriyon Knighton, 200m

Running 19.88 at the age of just 17, Knighton broke not one but two world 200m age-group bests which had previously been held by a certain Usain Bolt. At the US Olympic Trials, the former American football player ran 20.04 in the heats to improve Bolt’s world U18 best before taking 0.16 off that mark in the semifinals to break the world U20 record of 19.93 set by Bolt in 2004. In the final he went quicker still, clocking 19.84 to finish third and become the youngest man to represent the USA in athletics at the Olympics since Jim Ryun in 1964, also in Tokyo.

Racing outside of the USA for the first time, Knighton then placed third at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Szekesfehervar, running 20.03. “It hasn't sunk in, it’ll probably sink in when I get home,” he said after claiming his Olympic place. “I'm happy. I feel it's a really big achievement.”

Nicola McDermott, high jump

As an eight-year-old, McDermott dreamt of becoming a consistent two-metre-plus international high jumper and having already achieved the latter, this year her two-metre aim was accomplished, too. Clearing 2.00m at the Australian Championships in April, the 24-year-old broke Eleanor Patterson’s Oceanian record and then added another centimetre to the mark in Stockholm earlier this month, despite not feeling 100 percent.

McDermott didn’t manage to register a height when she made her World Athletics Championships debut in London and two years later the Commonwealth bronze medallist finished 15th in qualifying. This time, as she makes her Olympic debut, her mind is on medals. “I’m not going to say it’s impossible to get a medal,” she said. “I’ll be aiming and I think 2.01m will maybe get me in the medals so I am aiming and training for that and believing that I can do it.”

Sydney McLaughlin, 400m hurdles

Like Duplantis, McLaughlin is already a world record-breaker having taken the 400m hurdles to another level with her time of 51.90 at the US Olympic Trials. She also was no stranger to making history before that, with world U18 best and world U20 record times among her age-group accomplishments.

Now aged 21, she made her first Olympic team at just 16, finishing fifth in her semifinal nine days after her 17th birthday, and then secured silver at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, a race won by her compatriot Dalilah Muhammad in a world record of 52.16. It was that mark McLaughlin improved in Eugene. “So many amazing women have come before me and will come after me,” she said after her world record. “I'm excited for what the future holds. I just want to leave my mark and be part of such an amazing sport, because the glory isn't forever.”

Athing Mu, 800m

Mu is another athlete to have risen impressively through the ranks, having stormed into the spotlight in 2019 when as a 16-year-old she ran the second-fastest ever indoor 600m time of 1:23.57. This year she has broken the world U20 indoor 800m record with 1:58.40 and then dominated the two-lap final at the US Olympic Trials, running a world-leading 1:56.07 to improve her own North American U20 record.

The 19-year-old also ran an area U20 record in the 400m with 49.57 to win the NCAA title earlier in the month. “This is my first year coming out here running to my potential,” she said after her trials win. “I wouldn't want to say I'm dominant at it yet. My confidence takes a lot from it. In 2019, I wasn't confident, but I was good enough. Gaining confidence has contributed to my dominance thus far in the 800m. Being good at it, knowing it's my event.”

Great experience

While some reigning global champions may be missing out on Tokyo, there are a number of vastly experienced stars who will be adding another Olympics to their impressive tally of major events. The USA’s Allyson Felix has already won six Olympic gold medals and 13 world titles, while shot put star Valerie Adams has claimed two Olympic and four world titles for New Zealand, with Tokyo being a fifth Olympic Games for both athletes.

Spain’s 51-year-old Jesus Angel Garcia, meanwhile, will compete at his eighth Olympics – the most ever for a track and field athlete. Who knows whether some of this new generation of stars will still be in action come the Olympic Games in 2048!

(07/17/2021) Views: 76 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World 1500m champion added to Kenyan Olympic team as 18-year-old dropped

World 1500 meters champion Timothy Cheruiyot, left out of the Kenyan Olympic team after finishing outside the top three qualifying places at last month’s trials, has been added to the squad for Tokyo 2020. 

Cheruiyot, pictured limping away from the trials with a hamstring injury, won the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco last Friday (July 9) in a personal best of 3min 28.28sec, the fastest time run since 2015 and seventh best ever.

The 25-year-old from Bomet expressed hopes after his win that he would be able try to add the Olympic gold medal to his world title and he is now due to do that against a field that will include his perennial 20-year-old Norwegian rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen, European record holder with 3:28.68.

"I am thrilled to be part of the Kenyan Olympic team," Cheruiyot, now the favourite for gold, told Agence-France Presse. 

 "I am in better shape than I was during the trials and I promise to deliver a medal for Kenya in Tokyo."

Cheruiyot’s addition has been made possible by the ineligibility of the relatively unknown 18-year-old who finished second at the trials, Kamar Etyang.

He has had to be removed from the team because he does not have the minimum number of three out-of-competition tests that Kenyan athletes must fulfil in the 10 months before any major championship following the country’s placement in category A of the World Athletics and World Anti-Doping Agency watchlist.

Kenya's Olympics general team manager Barnaba Korir told The Nation that Athletics Kenya had petitioned the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) over the issue of Etyang without success.

"It’s really unfortunate that Etyang had to be dropped due to the AIU rules which require one to be tested three times out of competition," Korir said.

"We have explained this to the athlete and he has understood the situation we are in."

He added that the AIU were unable to make exceptions to the ruling.

"We were in the same situation in 2019 when two athletes Michael Kibet and Daniel Simiu were dropped from the team that was heading to the World Championships [in Doha]," Korir said.

"This is because Kenya is in category A and we need to strictly follow the rules so that we can get out of the woods in future."

Cheruiyot had made it clear after his Monaco victory that he was hopeful of being in the team for Tokyo 2020.

"I missed competition a lot after spending a lot of time in Kenya where I had a few issues like my hamstring injury and after also losing a relative in my family on the day of the Kenyan trials explaining why I missed out on making the team," he said.

"I am therefore happy I am back again after all this.

"Hopefully that will be the deciding performance to make the team for Tokyo.

"My hope now is to be in another Olympics, that is where my mindset is and I will be very happy if I achieve that."

Ingebrigtsen, reportedly unable to train for the preceding fortnight because of a bacterial infection, finished second, with Spain’s Mohamed Katir setting a national record of 3:28.76 in second place.

Three other athletes originally named for the Kenyan team for Tokyo have been dropped - racewalkers Samuel Gathimba and Emily Ngii and 400m hurdler Moitalel Mpoke.

Kenya will send 40 athletes, mainly runners, to Tokyo 2020, which are due to open on July 23 with the athletics programme running from July 30 to August 8.

 

(07/15/2021) Views: 105 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Record-holding British medal Oliver Dustin hope could be banned from Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after cocaine is found in in-competition sample

A top British runner who broke a record held by World Athletics boss and two-time Olympic champ Sebastian Coe last month has reportedly provided a drugs test sample containing small traces of cocaine, threatening his Tokyo place.

Briefly the holder of the world-leading outdoor 800m time for the year after breaking Coe's record for under-23s, Oliver Dustin booked his place on the British team for Tokyo 2020 with another impressive run in Manchester less than three weeks ago.

The 20-year-old has not raced since and has consulted lawyers after returning an adverse analytical finding for traces of a cocaine metabolite following an in-competition test in France, according to The Times.

French anti-doping authorities are said to be managing the matter, with a claim that the sample has been contaminated one of the options open to Dustin in what would be a long process, the report said.

Dustin could still compete at the olympics at the Olympics if he accepts responsibility, can prove the cocaine was ingested out of competition and was then ordered to serve a one-month ban while agreeing to take an education course.

The latest World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules say: “If the athlete can establish that any ingestion or use occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sport performance, then the period of ineligibility shall be three months' ineligibility.

“In addition, the period of ineligibility calculated... may be reduced to one month if the athlete or other person satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment program approved by the Anti-Doping Organization with Results Management responsibility.”

America's top female sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson, received a four-week ban earlier this month after testing positive for cannabis, keeping her out of the Olympics because her positive test emerged after she won her country's trials over 100m.

The Times said that UK Athletics had declined to comment, while Dustin’s agent, Stephen Haas, described the news of a positive test as “not factual at this point” and offered no further comment.

Writing after securing his place at the Olympics with a second-placed finish after a thriller in Manchester, the European Athletics U20 Championships gold medalist in 2019 told his thousands of social media followers: "See you in Tokyo.

(07/15/2021) Views: 59 ⚡AMP
by Olympics
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Elite field for 125th Boston Marathon will include 13 former champions

The field for the 125th Boston Marathon will include 13 former champions with a combined 30 first-place Boston finishes, the Boston Athletic Association announced on Wednesday. The group competing on Oct. 11 includes World Athletics Marathon champions, Paralympic medalists, Abbott World Marathon Majors winners, and Olympians.

Four of the last five women’s open champions are scheduled to run: American Desiree Linden (2018), a two-time Olympian; Kenyan Edna Kiplagat (2017), a two-time World Athletics Marathon Championships gold medalist; Kenyan Caroline Rotich (2015); and Atsede Baysa (2016).

Two-time champion and course record holder Manuela Schär returns to defend her title in the women’s wheelchair race. Schär, a three-time Paralympic medalist from Switzerland, won Boston in 2017 and 2019 and is the only woman to have clocked a sub-1:30 marathon. Also among the wheelchair contenders is five-time Boston champion and 17-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden, who will race the 400 meters, 800 meters, 1500 meters, 5000 meters, and the marathon at the Tokyo Paralympic Games for Team USA.

The three returning men’s champions have all posted lifetime bests under 2:07:30. They are Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui (2017), Ethiopia’s Lemi Berhanu (2016), and Yuki Kawauchi (2018), who will attempt to become the first man from Japan since Toshihiko Seiko in 1987 to earn two Boston Marathon titles.

Four men’s wheelchair champions with a combined 16 titles will return, including defending champion Daniel Romanchuk of Illinois. The 2016 and 2021 Paralympian for Team USA made history by winning the 2019 race and Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII at just 20 years old. Course record holder Marcel Hug of Switzerland, who had four straight wins from 2015-18, is back. Ernst van Dyk of South Africa, the most decorated champion in race history with 10 titles, also will compete, as will 2012 winner and former course record holder Josh Cassidy of Canada.

The race also features restructured prize money awards that will include equal course record bonuses for the open and wheelchair divisions and the introduction of prize money for the inaugural para athletics divisions. Boston will be the first Abbott World Marathon Major event to offer equal $50,000 course record bonuses across open and wheelchair divisions, and the first event to provide a designated prize purse for athletes with upper limb, lower limb, and visual impairments.

“We are delighted to welcome so many champions from such a diverse range of competition back to Boston for the 125th running of the Boston Marathon,” said Tom Grilk, BAA president and CEO. “While October’s race marks a long-awaited return to racing, it will also recognize and celebrate the many world-class athletes competing for an historic prize purse across multiple divisions.”

(07/14/2021) Views: 134 ⚡AMP
by Andrew Mahoney
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

Among the nation’s oldest athletic clubs, the B.A.A. was established in 1887, and, in 1896, more than half of the U.S. Olympic Team at the first modern games was composed of B.A.A. club members. The Olympic Games provided the inspiration for the first Boston Marathon, which culminated the B.A.A. Games on April 19, 1897. John J. McDermott emerged from a...

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World Athletics announced a decision on Wednesday to grant permits to 20 Russian athletes, allowing them to perform at international competitions.

"The World Athletics Doping Review Board has agreed that the applications of 20 Russian athletes have met the exceptional eligibility criteria to compete in international competition as neutral athletes in 2021," World Athletics press office said in a statement.

"A total of 143 Russian athletes have so far been declared eligible to compete as authorized neutral athletes in 2021," the statement reads. "Five applications have been rejected".

"The World Athletics Council approved the reinstatement of the authorized neutral athlete (ANA) program for clean athletes from Russia in March 2021, following the approval of the RusAF Reinstatement Plan," the statement continued.

"There is no cap on the number of Russian athletes, who may compete at international competitions in 2021 (outside of the Olympic Games and other championships), provided they have ANA status," the statement reads.

"The participation of all athletes granted ANA status is still subject to formalities under World Athletics Rules being completed (which could, in some cases, include additional testing) and to acceptance of their entries by individual meeting organizers," the statement added.

On March 18, the World Athletics Council announced a decision to reinstate "the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) program for clean athletes from Russia." On March 31, the World Athletics Council published a list of guidelines on granting the ANA status to Russian track and field athletes this year.

According to a decision of World Athletics published earlier this year, no more than ten athletes would be able to get the ANA status to compete in major sporting events (Olympics, world championships and European U23 championships).

Russian athletes will be competing in Tokyo under the flag and logo of the Russian National Olympic Committee (ROC) instead of the Russian national flag and state emblem. The national anthem of Russia is also barred from use at the Olympics in Japan.

(07/14/2021) Views: 63 ⚡AMP
by Russian News Agency
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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No barriers for record-breaker Bol

To break a national record once in a career is an amazing achievement. To set 12 of them in one year alone is something else. But that’s exactly what Dutch star Femke Bol has done so far in 2021, during a year in which her specialist event – the 400m hurdles – has been launched to another level.

The 52.37 Bol ran to win at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Stockholm earlier this month made her the fourth-fastest ever in the history of the women’s 400m hurdles, but such is the strength in the event, she is not the quickest this year. The top spot is of course filled by Sydney McLaughlin thanks to her remarkable world record of 51.90 at the US Olympic Trials, while Bol is one of four women to have gone sub-52.50 this season.

“We have such an amazing field,” Bol said. “I mean, the world record for women and men was broken in one week for both – it’s amazing to see the level of the 400m hurdles keep going up and that with my time I am now second in the world this year, not even first. Of course, you want to be first, but when the level in your event is so high, I think that is the best.”

It certainly makes things exciting, and it is that level of competition which the 21-year-old partly has to thank for her progress. After running 53.33 in Oslo, Bol said she was “curious” to find out what she might be capable of when really being pushed and she didn’t have to wait long to find out. Her 52.37 in Stockholm came just three days later as she narrowly held off the USA’s 2015 world silver medallist Shamier Little, whose PB of 52.39 in that race moved her to fifth on the world all-time list.

“When you have someone that you compete against, it always helps to push each other and I think that’s what makes it so beautiful, when competitors are really going against each other,” Bol had said before her race in Stockholm. “Like at the (US) trials, you see amazing times come from that. It is nice if you can be really competitive in the last metres, when you are full of lactic.”

The next day, after taking almost a second off her PB, a delighted Bol added: “I knew I was running against a really strong field and my coach and I said to each other: ‘Okay, I’m going to show that I can also do it under this pressure and when we push each other’. Shamier was coming so close, and I don’t think I have ever pushed as much in the last few metres. I am extremely happy and also that I did a good dip to win it.

“When I run these times, I am in the mix against the real good girls and I didn’t expect it, to be honest. I hoped I could do 52.9 maybe this year and I felt I was getting close to that, and now I have run one second faster (than her previous PB). It’s not yet making sense in my head!”

Until 2019, Bol’s focus had been on the 400m flat – the event in which she made the semifinals of the 2017 European U20 Championships. But in that first year of taking on the 400m hurdles the communication sciences student won the European U20 title and competed at her first World Athletics Championships, having started her senior international career by forming part of the Dutch team for the 2019 World Athletics Relays in Yokohama. Much has changed since then and she has the benefit of major event experience as she prepares to make her Olympic debut in Tokyo.

“Dafne once said to me: ‘Everywhere you go, it’s a track and you do your 400m hurdles’ and that’s really something I always keep in mind,” Bol revealed. “Okay, I’m at the Olympics, but it’s again just the 400m hurdles I have to do and do my best race. That’s mostly what I think, and having that experience of knowing how to recover between the heats, semis and final.”

So what is her focus during these final few weeks? “Just to keep cool, do my own thing and focus on the things I have to do, to do well at the Olympics,” Bol replied with a smile.

"I couldn't have had a better preparation for Tokyo and I cannot wait now."

(07/14/2021) Views: 175 ⚡AMP
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Postponed 2021 Hong Kong Marathon set for October with 75 per cent cut in numbers

The twice-postponed 2021 Hong Kong Marathon, due to take place in October, will have its numbers cut by 75 per cent to 18,500, organisers have announced.

The participation numbers within the full, half marathon and 10km events has been reduced from its normal total of 74,000 as part of COVID-19 precautions.

The Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates (HKAAA) said the Home Affairs Bureau had agreed in principle for the postponed event to take place but it still needed a stamp of approval from the government and Centre for Health Protection.

Organisers are seeking approval for the re-shaped event from senior Government and medical experts by August to have time to prepare for the races.

Negotiations for the latest arrangement began in March.

The 2021 race, due to take place on January 24, was postponed to April and then again to October.

The half and full marathons will accommodate 6,500 and 4,000 runners respectively, with the route largely unchanged from previous years.

The 10km race, which will involve 8,000 runners, will start at the Western Tunnel Toll Plaza as opposed to its usual location at the Island Eastern Corridor.

This is to ensure all three races share the same route to minimise the chance of COVID-19 infections.

The roll-out-style starting times remain the same despite the reduced field, with runners going off in batches of 200 to minimise contact.

All participants must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before the race and must arrive with their masks on before the race, although they can remove them at the start line.

"The Government is eager to bring people back to normal life, and with the recent ease of the pandemic [restrictions], we are quite confident in finding a resolution to pave a way to stage the event his year," said HKAAA chairman Kwan Kee.

World governing body World Athletics said given the pandemic, there was no need to classify the event as gold-label and therefore organisers do not need to meet the "top runner" threshold.

Organisers nonetheless plan to invite elite runners from neighbouring countries who have comparatively lighter Government-imposed quarantine requirements.

They added that a bubble scenario was not feasible in terms of money and manpower.

In case the HKAAA needed to call off the event 14 days in advance, there will be a 50 per cent refund on entry fees - any later and refunds will not be offered, as is the case with many international race events this year.

Organisers have also pencilled in next year’s Standard Chartered Marathon events for February 13, 2022

(07/11/2021) Views: 84 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

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Japan named host nation’s team for Olympic Games

Japan has named a team of 65 athletes to represent the host nation at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The line-up features world 20km race walk champion Toshikazu Yamanishi along with four members of the 4x100m squad that took bronze at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.

Thirteen individual national record-holders have also been selected, including 100m sprinter Ryota Yamagata, middle-distance runner Nozomi Tanaka, sprint hurdlers Shunsuke Izumiya and Asuka Terada, race walker Masatora Kawano and javelin thrower Haruka Kitaguchi.

Japan had named its marathon squad last year following a highly competitive selection process.

Japanese team for Tokyo

WOMEN

1500m: Nozomi Tanaka, Ran Urabe

5000m: Kaede Hagitani, Ririka Hironaka, Nozomi Tanaka

10,000m: Yuka Ando, Ririka Hironaka, Hitomi Niiya

Marathon: Mao Ichiyama, Honami Maeda, Ayuko Suzuki

3000m steeplechase: Yuno Yamanaka100m hurdles: Masumi Aoki, Ayako Kimura, Asuka Terada

Javelin: Haruka Kitaguchi

20km race walk: Nanako Fujii, Kaori Kawazoe, Kumiko Okada

4x100m: Hanae Aoyama, Yu Ishikawa, Mei Kodama, Ami Saito, Remi Tsuruta,

MEN

100m: Yuki Koike, Shuhei Tada, Ryota Yamagata

200m: Shota Iizuka, Hakim Sani Brown, Jun Yamashita

400m: Julian Walsh

5000m: Yuta Bando, Hiroki Matsueda

10,000m: Akira Aizawa, Tatsuhiko Ito

Marathon: Yuma Hattori, Shogo Nakamura, Suguro Osako

3000m steeplechase: Ryoma Aoki, Ryuji Miura, Kosei Yamaguchi

110m hurdles: Shunsuke Izumiya, Taioh Kanai, Shunya Takayama

400m hurdles: Kazuki Kurokawa, Abe Takatoshi, Hiromu Yamauchi

High jump: Takashi Eto, Naoto TobePole

vault: Masaki Ejima, Seito YamamotoLong

jump: Yuki Hashioka, Hibiki Tsuha, Shotaro Shiroyama

Javelin: Takuto Kominami

20km race walk: Koki Ikeda, Eiki Takahashi, Toshikazu Yamanishi

50km race walk: Hayato Katsuki, Masatora Kawano, Satoshi Maruo

4x100m: Bruno Dede, Yoshihide Kiryu, Yuki Koike, Shuhei Tada, Ryota Yamagata

4x400m: Rikuya Ito, Kaito Kawabata, Kentaro Sato, Aoto Suzuki, Julian Walsh.

(07/10/2021) Views: 98 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Sifan Hassan not ruling out Tokyo treble

Back in the stadium where she broke the mile world record in 2019 before her world title double in Doha, Sifan Hassan revealed that she had not ruled out targeting a treble in Tokyo.

The Dutch 28-year-old ran 4:12.33 for the mile at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco a couple of months before winning 1500m and 10,000m gold in an unprecedented performance at the World Athletics Championships.

At the Herculis EBS meeting on Friday (9) she will be hoping for another confidence-boosting run at the Stade Louis II stadium – this time in the 1500m – as she prepares for the Olympic Games, where she is entered for the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m.

Hassan had originally said that the 5000m and 10,000m would be her target in Tokyo, but running 3:53.63 to win the 1500m at the Golden Gala in Florence last month convinced her to keep her options open.

“I had decided to do the 5000m and 10,000m, but when I ran 3:53 something inside of me – the love of 1500m – came back,” explained Hassan, speaking at a press conference on the eve of the Herculis EBS. “I want to keep everything until the last moment because I just want flexibility.

“I say life is not about medals, it is not about gold, it is also about history. I made the decision to run the 1500m (in Doha) even though I didn’t know if it was possible because nobody before had done it (the 1500m-10,000m double).”

Hassan has already made history this year by running 29:06.82 to break the world 10,000m record at the FBK Games in Hengelo. That time took more than 10 seconds off the 29:17.45 Almaz Ayana had run to win Olympic gold in Rio but Letesenbet Gidey went even faster just two days later, running 29:01.03 on the same Hengelo track.

“I just went fast in the last kilometre and I still managed to run a world record, 10 seconds off, and I was very happy,” said Hassan. “But I was also happy that it was broken after two days because I want the 10,000m to become exciting and for me it also gives me more motivation to work hard. I know the Games is not going to be easy.”

(07/09/2021) Views: 46 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Top athletes Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi left off Namibian Olympic team over high natural testosterone levels

Two of the world’s top female 400m runners have been discretely scratched from their country’s Olympic team after medical tests indicated they have high natural testosterone levels. Namibia’s Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, both 18 years old, will not be allowed to compete in the 400m in Tokyo this summer.

Mboma is currently ranked number one in the world at the 400m, after she ran won the 400m at the Irena Szewinska Memorial/Byrdgoszcz cup in Poland on June 30 in a world-leading time of 48.54. Masilingi ran 49.53 at a meet in Zambia in April, which still stands as the third-fastest time run this year.

Both women have been found to have naturally high levels of testosterone, but are not DSD athletes and both have XX chromosomes. Still, their hormone levels have rendered them ineligible to compete in any distance ranging from the 400m to the mile. This is the same rule that prevents DSD athletes like South Africa’s Caster Semenya, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya’s Margaret Wambui from competing in the 800m at the elite level.

The Namibian Athletic Committee has said in a statement that neither athlete was aware they had this condition, and the country’s athletic federation has said both women will now focus their full attention on the 200m.

Since they were introduced in 2018, the World Athletics testosterone regulations have been hotly debated in the world of elite sports, and Semenya has appealed the decision in several courts. The two-time Olympic 800m champion has lost two appeals, but is currently waiting on a third hearing. For now, however, the rule stands, and all athletes affected by the rule will be forced to compete in different events.

(07/07/2021) Views: 95 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Cuban 400m record-holder Roberto Hernandez, who claimed 1987 world and 1992 Olympic 4x400m relay medals, died on Monday at the age of 54

Hernandez developed a heart disease last year and was hospitalized several times. He succumbed during his latest hospitalization at Havana’s Joaquin Albarran.

“It is a massive loss. We are all saddened,” said Cuban Athletics Federation president Alberto Juantorena, from whom Hernandez took the national 400m record in 1990.

Born in Camaguey, eastern Cuba, Hernandez moved as a child to Limonar, Matanzas, where he took up athletics and met his two best sports friends, world high jump record-holder Javier Sotomayor and 1992 Olympic high jump finalist Marino Drake.

“This is a very sad day for me,” said Sotomayor, who met Hernandez at the hospital three days before his passing.

“A brother, a friend, a teammate since we were children in Limonar, is gone. The good memories we lived together are countless and will stay with me forever, as a friend, a colleague and as the extraordinary athlete he was.”

Drake added: “From the EIDE (sports school) in Matanzas to the national team, he forged great friendships. He always did his best and represented the country with decorum, respect and honour. With Roberto, one of the best representatives of our generation is gone, a human being I loved as a brother.”

As a 19-year-old, Hernandez rose to the international scene in 1985 when he took 400m silver at the World University Games. In 1986 he became the fifth-fastest man under 20 years of age to run the one-lap race (45.05), a time that still stands as a Cuban U20 record.

Twice fourth at the 1987 and 1991 World Athletics Championships and fifth in the individual 400m at the 1992 Olympic Games, he anchored the Cuban 4x400m squad to silver at the 1992 Games and bronze at the 1987 World Championships. Their 2:59.13 semifinal run in Barcelona still stands as the national record.

Hernandez also picked up 1987 world indoor silver, 1991 Pan American Games gold on home soil and the 200m-400m double at the 1990 Central American and Caribbean Games.

In 1990 he improved Juantorena’s national record to 44.14 in his best season. In all his 17 400m races over six months that year, he went under 45 seconds. He also set a world best with the USA’s Danny Everett in the rarely contested 300m that year, as both clocked 31.48. He retired after the 1996 Olympic Games.

(07/06/2021) Views: 57 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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New generation of Kenyan steeplechase stars emerges

Simon Koech from South Rift and Central Rift's Jackline Chepkoech will lead Kenya's assault in men and women's 3,000m steeplechase during the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in August in Nairobi.

Koech clocked eight minutes and 18.43 seconds to win the men's race, beating Amos Serem of Central Rift to second place in 8:20.26.

Koech and Serem now have now been bestowed with the honour of going to try and recapture the steeplechase title Kenya relinquished during the 2018 Tampere Championships.

"I am really impressed and I thank God since I have been waiting for this opportunity since last year," said Koech, who hails from Bureti, Kericho County but  trains in Silibwet, Bomet County under veteran coach John Kimetto.

"I am going for nothing but gold so as to emulate my training mate Leonard Bett and the likes of Ezekiel Kemboi and Conseslus Kipruto," said Koech.

Serem is glad to represent Kenya for the first time.

"I used a lot of energy during the heats but I now known what to do...we all learn from mistakes," said Serem, who trains in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet.

"Kenyan trials are always tough and challenging hence you must be good to make the team. I thank God," added Serem.

Chepkoech timed 9:32.99 to edge out Faith Cherotich from South Rift to second in 9:33.02 with both earning places in Team Kenya.

They will be eying to succeed fellow countrywoman Celliphine Chespol, who won in 2016 Bydgozszc and 2018 Tampere.

"I still continued with my preparations despite the cancellation of the Africa Cross Championships in March in Togo," said Chepkoech. "It's never enough in terms of preparations."

(07/03/2021) Views: 58 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich & Ayumba Ayodi
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Caster Semenya fails to make olympic qualifiyng mark in 5,000m in latest attempt

Caster Semenya failed in her latest attempt to achieve an Olympic qualifying time for the 5,000m.

The South African finished in fourth, running 15:50.12 in Belgium which is short of the 15:10.00 qualifying mark required for Tokyo 2020.

Semenya would not have been allowed to compete in Tokyo even if she achieved the time, the deadline of June 29 set by governing body World Athletics has passed with no rooms for exceptions.

"We did double check with World Athletics about the deadline and it was cast in stone. There would have been no special grace for Caster," Athletics South Africa spokesman Sifiso Cele said.

Semenya ran 15:52.28 in April, 15:32.15 in May and 15:57.12 earlier this month.

The 30-year-old can only run in 100m, 200m or long-distance races and said in February she was challenging the testosterone policy at the European Court of Human Rights with a third legal appeal.

No date has been set for her case with it likely to be heard after the Tokyo Olympics gets underway on July 23.

(07/01/2021) Views: 74 ⚡AMP
by Eurosport
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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World 400m champ Salwa Eid Naser to miss Olympics after CAS issues two-year ban

Bahrain's world 400 meters champion Salwa Eid Naser will miss the Tokyo Olympics after being given a two-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday for an anti-doping violation by missing out-of-competition tests.

Sport's highest court, however, said that the Nigerian-born 23-year-old would not be stripped of her results from the 2019 world championships as it had sufficient evidence that she did not gain from doping practices then.

CAS in November registered an appeal from the sport's global governing body World Athletics against an Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) disciplinary tribunal decision to clear Naser of committing an anti-doping violation.

According to World Athletics rules, any combination of three missed tests or filing failures within a 12-month period by an athlete constitutes a whereabouts failure violation.

"Naser is sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of two years, commencing on the date of notification of this award, with credit given for the period of provisional suspension already served between June 4, 2020 and Oct. 14, 2020," CAS said in a statement.

"All competitive results obtained by Naser from Nov. 25, 2019, through to the date of notification of this award shall be disqualified, with all of the resulting consequences, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, ranking points and prize and appearance money."

Naser won gold at the World Championships in Doha on Oct. 3, 2019 clocking 48.14 seconds, the third fastest time in history.

A CAS panel adjudicating in the matter said Naser's Doha result would stand.

"The panel's task was never to pronounce whether or not the athlete is or was a 'doping cheat', but only to decide whether she has been in breach of the... anti-doping rules as charged and to impose a suitable sanction in accordance with the rules.

CAS said it recognized the athlete would be distressed to miss the Olympics "but the fault for this blow to her career is no-one's but hers."

"She attempted to escape the consequences of her actions by giving evidence which this panel found to be untruthful. Such an approach from a top-level athlete is seriously undermining of the whole anti-doping program and is sanctioned accordingly."

"The panel has found she was in breach and that throughout 2019 and into January 2020 her whole approach to the whereabouts requirements was seriously and inexcusably irresponsible."

(06/30/2021) Views: 88 ⚡AMP
by Reuters
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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McLaughlin smashes world 400m hurdles record in Eugene with 51.90 and other highlights

In a culture saturated by so many other sports, those in the USA fret about who can be the face of athletics.

Who can be featured on television news? Who can be a crossover figure like gymnast Simone Biles? Who can be a Carl Lewis or a Jackie Joyner-Kersee?

As the 10-day US Olympic Trials closed on Sunday night (27) in Eugene, Oregon, there was a deep reservoir of young candidates – none more so than Sydney McLaughlin. The 21-year-old became the first woman to break the 52-second barrier in the 400m hurdles.

Record temperatures approaching 44C delayed the programme by five hours, but there was no delaying the inevitable: McLaughlin was going to break the world record, and she did so with her time of 51.90.

“I definitely saw it coming,” said Dalilah Muhammad, the world and Olympic champion. “She looked so good in the rounds.”

McLaughlin’s time broke the record of 52.16 set by Muhammad at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. McLaughlin, second in that race in 52.23, pulled away from Muhammad over the final two hurdles in Eugene.

Even with 2020 lost to the pandemic, the world record has been broken three times in 23 months – twice by Muhammad, once by McLaughlin.

That was the highlight of another historic day of young record-breakers. The trials ended with 11 world-leading marks, five by men and six by women.

Athing Mu, 19, set a trials record in the 800m; Cole Hocker, 20, became the youngest men’s 1500m champion in 110 years; JuVaughn Harrison, 22, became the first to make the US team in the high jump and long jump since Jim Thorpe in 1912; Noah Lyles, 23, ran a world-leading 200m, and Erriyon Knighton, 17, again lowered the world U20 record in the 200m.

McLaughlin has been projected as the sport’s face in the United States since she made an Olympic team at age 16. After one college season at Kentucky, she turned professional.

“I was growing into my own person,” she said. “My faith is the biggest change. Trusting God and knowing He will carry me through.”

Her record-setting might not be over. Not only could McLaughlin lower her world record at the Tokyo Olympics, she should be named to the 4x400m relay team that could set one – though that mark (3:15.17) is arguably a much bigger ask.

McLaughlin trains in Los Angeles under Bobby Kersee, who also coached Joyner-Kersee.

“Bobby knows how to put things together when the time comes,” McLaughlin said.

Muhammad, who over the past 12 months has had to contend with injuries and a bout of Covid-19, finished second in 52.42, the third-fastest time of her career. NCAA champion Anna Cockrell took the third spot in 53.70, nearly a full second faster than her previous PB, in beating Shamier Little (53.85). Olympic bronze medallist Ashley Spencer stumbled over an early hurdle and finished seventh.

Likely to join McLaughlin in that 4x400m team is Mu, considering earlier this month she set a collegiate record of 49.57 – faster than the winning mark at the USA Trials.

Mu ran a world-leading 1:56.07 to win the 800m, breaking her own North American U20 record. World silver medallist Raevyn Rogers was second in a PB of 1:57.66 and US record-holder Ajee Wilson third in 1:58.39. Not until late did Wilson overtake Michaela Meyer, who was fourth in 1:58.55.

Mu sat in the pack for the first lap, passing through 200m in 27.54 and 400m in a swift 57.53. She then made her move on the second lap, positioning herself at the front with 200 metres to go. She kicked hard as she came off the final bend and, having covered the final lap in 58.54, crossed the line almost two seconds ahead of her nearest opponent.

In the men's 1500m, Hocker was in sixth place with about 150 metres left but used a closing rush to overtake Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz, 3:35.28 to 3:35.34.

Yared Nuguse, 22, was third in 3:36.19, overtaking the most recent national champion, Craig Engels, who is also this year’s fastest US man (3:33.64).

Hocker put a finger to his lips past the finish as if to shush critics. An “in-the-moment thing”, he said.

“Last year I wasn’t at this level. I was nowhere near this level,” he said. “This whole year, I felt like I was proving myself to the world, but also proving my talent to myself. There’s a lot of negative talk out there, and I wanted to silence everyone.”

Hocker has not met the 3:35 Olympic standard but has a world ranking that looks sufficient to secure his spot on the US team.

He is the youngest US Olympian in the men’s 1500m since Marty Liquori, then 19, in 1968. And he is the youngest national champion in the men’s 1500 or mile since 1911, when Abel Kiviat won a few days after turning 19.

Hocker has run 23 races since 29 January. Thirteen were PBs. Of the 10 others, eight were prelims and one an NCAA indoor title.

“I’m impressed that he’s been able to do that since January and is showing no signs of letting up,” said Centrowitz.

Harrison won the high jump at 2.33m, beating Darryl Sullivan on countback. Olympic medallist Erik Kynard was fourth.

The delay allowed Harrison more rest for the long jump, in which he jumped a PB of 8.47m, completing the best ever one-day jumps double.

“It just gave my legs more time to recover and gave me a chance to eat something,” Harrison said. “I was ready to go earlier, even though they said it was too hot.”

Marquis Dendy, the 2016 world indoor champion, was second at 8.38m and Steffin McCarter third with 8.26m. Olympic champion Jeff Henderson was sixth with 8.08m, meaning he won’t defend his title in Tokyo.

In a competition that showcased newcomers, it was appropriate that the last athlete to secure an Olympic berth was Knighton. He is the youngest man on the US team since Jim Ryun in 1964.

World champion Lyles won the 200m in a world-leading 19.74, followed by Kenny Bednarek, 19.78, and Knighton, 19.84. Knighton broke his own world U20 record of 19.88 from Saturday’s semifinals. He set a world U18 record of 20.04 in Friday’s first round, then twice broke that.

Lyles was fourth in the 200m at the 2016 trials as an 18-year-old.

“Ever since then, the mind-set of being an Olympian has been on my mind,” said Lyles. “Having the pause on 2020 has probably been my hardest yet. I don’t think anyone can prepare you for the lion you have to slay at the Olympic Trials.”

In the heptathlon, the year’s top three scores were posted by Annie Kunz (6703), Kendall Williams (6683) and Erica Bougard (6667). Kunz, whose previous best was 6153, did not have the Olympic standard until this week.

Kunz broke or was close to her PBs in all seven disciplines. She started with a marginally wind-assisted 12.95 in the 100m hurdles and followed it with 1.81m in the high jump, an outdoor PB. She then threw 15.73m in the shot put, which moved her into the lead overall – a position she maintained after clocking a PB of 23.71 in the 200m to end the first day at the top of the leader board.

She started the second day with a huge PB of 6.50m in the long jump, but briefly relinquished her lead after the javelin (45.06m). Kendell Williams, who ended the first day in third place, was having a strong second day with marks of 6.73m in the long jump and 47.41m in the javelin. It meant Williams went into the final event with a two-point lead over Kunz.

But Kunz ensured she stayed ahead of Williams in the 800m, eventually clocking 2:15.24 to retake the lead with a score of 6703, moving to fifth on the US all-time list. Williams, who finished second with a PB of 6683, is now sixth on that list.

Taliyah Brooks, in fourth place through five events, had to withdraw because of the heat.

“I have grown immensely since 2019,” said Kunz, who finished 13th at the 2019 World Championships. “It feels like the sky’s the limit now.”

The men’s 5000m, held in the morning to escape the worst of the heat, was won by Olympic silver medallist Paul Chelimo. He gradually veered from the rail to inside of lane four to force out Bowerman Track Club’s Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid.

Chelimo was first in 13:26.82, followed by Fisher (13:27.01) and Kincaid (13:27.13). Their respective closing laps were 52.83, 52.99 and 52.74. Cooper Teare was fourth in 13:28.08 off a 53.97 last lap.

Fisher and Kincaid became the first pair to finish in the top three of 5000m and 10,000m at the same US Trials. Qualifying in both had been done previously, but never two at the same trials.

(06/28/2021) Views: 65 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World Athletics report says runners are positive people

We know running is good for our physical and mental health, but now runners can add one more positive outcome to that list: it makes us more positive people. According to a recent World Athletics consumer research study, runners show greater confidence in associating themselves with positive personality traits, like being warm and friendly.

World Athletics and Neilson Sports collected online interviews from over 8,000 people across 10 countries (Australia, Colombia, France, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, UK, USA), including approximately 500 non-runners and 500 runners from each country. Across all 10 countries, 40 per cent of respondents considered themselves to be runners, with 30 per cent of those people running at least once a week. When compared with those who used to run but have stopped, and with those who have never run, runners were more likely to consider themselves to be warm and friendly, easy-going, family-oriented and optimistic.

Gender equality in running

Something that sets running apart from many other sports is that it appears recreational running has an equal participation split between men and women. The WA study found that out of all the runners who were interviewed, 53 per cent were men and 47 per cent were women. This was true whether they compared males and females who ran a few times a month or those who ran every day.

COVID upped our numbers

Thanks to the closure of gyms and other recreational facilities, thousands more people have taken to the roads and trails for exercise. According to the study, 13 per cent of all runners started in the last year, and every single one of them plans to continue running, even after the pandemic is over. Many of those who were already running before the pandemic but have since increased their mileage also plan to continue running with more frequency once the pandemic is over.

Other reasons to run

The #1 reason participants choose to lace up their sneakers is for their health, but other important factors are that they can go at their own pace, they don’t need a lot of equipment to get started and it helps them to de-stress. In fact, 73 per cent of participants agreed that running is just as good for their minds as it is for their bodies.

Finally, while we all love running, it appears that runners between the ages of 25 and 34 are the most passionate about the sport, with 50 per cent of them agreeing that running is a part of who they are.

(06/26/2021) Views: 63 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Murphy, Purrier St Pierre and Nilsen among the winners on day of surprises in Eugene

With mayhem all around on the fourth day of action at the US Olympic Trials, two-time world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks is relieved to be going to Tokyo. Two other winners of global titles – world 800m champion Donavan Brazier and 2011 world 1500m champion Jenny Simpson – will not be heading to the Games.

“A gold medal brings golden handcuffs,” Kendricks said. “Wherever we go somewhere it’s a world champion, and they expect a world champion’s effort. People follow in your wake when you’re ahead of the game.”

Clayton Murphy stayed ahead on Monday night (21) in Eugene.

He ran an evenly split world lead of 1:43.17 to win the men’s 800m, showing the form he had as 21-year-old to earn Olympic bronze in Rio in 2016. It was an emphatic response to those who were unsure he would ever recapture that.

That 800m – plus a historic pole vault competition won by Chris Nilsen and a front-running 1500m by Elle Purrier St Pierre – were the highlights of day four ahead of two rest days.

Shockingly, Brazier faded to last in the 800m and will miss a second successive Olympics. He was a pre-trials favourite in 2016, at age 19, coming off a 1:43.55 and NCAA victory, but he failed to get out of the first round then.

This time, NCAA champion Isaiah Jewett bolted ahead and built a lead with an opening lap of 50.60. Brazier crossed the 400m in 51.00 and attempted to reduce that gap on the final backstretch.

“I think I made a move a little too early and paid the price for it in the last 200,” he said.

Murphy, fifth at the midpoint at 51.67, said afterwards that he executed a perfect plan. He caught and passed Jewett, covering the second lap in 51.50. He said he had a “pretty serious hamstring issue” a few days before the trials but overrode it with adrenaline. He also overrode pre-trials form charts leaving him out of the requisite top three.

“It is hard not to read the middle-distance preview,” he said. “I kind of just accept it. As long as I handle it the right way, it is only motivation.”

Jewett was second in a PB of 1:43.85 and Bryce Hoppel, fourth at the 2019 World Championships, finished third in 1:44.14. Brazier eased to the finish in 1:47.88.

USA is sending “a pretty damn good team” to Tokyo, Murphy asserted. Jewett and Hoppel now sit at fourth and seventh on the 2021 world list, respectively.

“I think this is the most special moment in our sport,” said Murphy. “It is the most pure way to pick a team. This is what all those workouts pay off.”

Murphy and Brazier are qualified to run in the 1500m, but both said they probably would not. Brazier did not elaborate but said he was not running at 100 percent.

Jewett said his night was not over. He had a 10-page paper due for a course at the University of Southern California because a teacher had not granted his request for an extension.

Nilsen, an 18-year-old at the 2016 trials, said his goal then was to have his photo taken with Kendricks. In 2021, his 5.90m vault was enough to beat Kendricks and KC Lightfoot, second and third at 5.85m.

Matt Ludwig and Jacob Wooten were fourth and fifth at 5.80m, making this the first national competition ever featuring five men over 5.80m and 11 over 5.70m. It was also the first US meet ever to have three over 5.85m.

“This’ll go down in history as the hardest team ever to make,” Kendricks said.

The team in the women’s 1500m was also hard to make. An early stumble startled Purrier St Pierre, who on the spot decided to push the pace and led all the way thereafter.

Her time of 3:58.03 broke a trials record of 3:58.92 that Mary Slaney held for 33 years. Cory McGee was second in 4:00.67 and Heather MacLean, Purrier St Pierre’s training partner, was third in 4:02.09 as the top three all ran PBs. Shannon Osika was less than a tenth behind in 4:02.18.

Purrier St Pierre grew up on a dairy farm in rural Vermont and runs on dirt roads with her dog. She was shaken by the bumping to start the race.

“I couldn’t believe I’d just been shoved off the track,” she said. “After that, I thought I’d just go for it.”

Simpson, 34, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, was aiming for a fourth Olympics but finished 10th in 4:07.76. Coincidentally, she was Purrier St Pierre’s roommate in Doha.

Simpson conceded it was “hard to believe” she had not made the team; she had been on every Olympic or World Championships team since 2007.

“The sport goes on without you,” she said. “You don’t make the Games, and the Games are fine and they go on without you.”

With temperatures soaring past 32C, Elise Cranny won the 5000m in 15:27.81. Karissa Schweizer was second in 15:28.11 and Rachel Schneider third in 15:29.56. Abbey Cooper, who met the Olympic standard by running 15:07.80 in the heats on Friday, was fourth in 15:31.05.

In the absence of the injured Christian Taylor, Will Claye took the triple jump with 17.21m (0.1m/s). Donald Scott was second at 17.18m and Chris Bernard third at 17.01m. “My sights have always been on the gold medal,” Claye said. "I want to win whether Christian is there or not. I feel for Christian. A year ago, I was going through the same thing.”

Curtis Thompson had the four longest throws of the competition and won the javelin with 82.78m.

Roy Jordan for World Athletics

(06/22/2021) Views: 82 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World Athletics commits an extra US$1million prize money for athletes at World Athletics Championships

World Athletics today announced it was substantially increasing the prize money for athletes at its flagship world championships, starting with the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 next year.

US$2 million has been ringfenced from the fines paid by the Russian Athletics Federation for breaching the sport’s anti-doping rules, to go directly to athletes in the form of prize money at the WCH Oregon22 and at the WCH Budapest 23.

Speaking from the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “The last 18 months have been really tough for thousands of athletes who make their living from competing in events around the world. While we have focused on helping meetings around the world stage as many events as possible over this period – more than 600 events – we know many athletes had a very lean year last year and are still experiencing challenges this year.

“Last year we also set up an athlete fund, supported by some generous donations, to provide some financial relief to those athletes most in need. 193 athletes from 58 countries were granted up to US$3000 to go towards basic living costs such as food, accommodation and training expenses.”

World Athletics will fund the additional $1million per World Championships for the next two editions, with each of the 44 individual events receiving an additional US$23,000 of prize money at each championship.

At the most recent World Championships in Doha in 2019, US$7,530,000 in prize money was distributed to athletes who finished in the top eight of an event.

While the intention is to see the new funds go to as many athletes as possible in leading positions, the Athletes’ Commission and Competition Commission will make a recommendation to the World Athletics Council on how the funds will be allocated. The additional US$1 million in prize money will form part of the host city contract from 2025 onwards.

(06/21/2021) Views: 261 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Shelby Houlihan will not compete at Trials after all

The U.S. Olympic track and field trials are set to start today, and American 1,500m and 5,000m record holder Shelby Houlihan will not be on the start line, after all. Mere hours after the USATF announced she would be permitted to compete, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee reversed the decision in an effort to remain in line with the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) ruling to uphold her four-year ban.

Earlier this week, the track and field world learned that Houlihan had received a four-year ban after she tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. She protested vehemently that she had ever taken performance-enhancing drugs, blaming the positive test on contaminated meat in a burrito she had eaten 10 hours before being tested. 

The reversal came after pushback from the international anti-doping community as well as several prominent elite runners, who believed a banned runner should not be permitted to compete at trials. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which runs the anti-doping program for World Athletics, released a statement Thursday saying that the USATF must respect and implement the decisions of the CAS. The Clean Sport Collective also published a petition against letting her compete, signed by a number of athletes, including Des Linden, Steph Bruce, Mary Cain, Emma Coburn, Mason Ferlic, Molly Seidel, Emily Sisson and retired Canadian pro runner Nicole Sifuentes. 

Under normal circumstances, athletes who test positive for a banned substance first have a hearing before the AIU, but with the Olympic trials so close, Houlihan took her appeal straight to the CAS in Switzerland. The CAS upheld her ban, which leaves her with only one option: to appeal the CAS decision before a Swiss Federal tribunal. According to sources, however, this avenue is only for matters of procedure, while the decision itself is binding. Not only will Houlihan miss this year’s Olympics, but she will miss the 2024 Games also.

(06/19/2021) Views: 75 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Ron Hill turned the art of marathon running into a science and wrote the playbook for generations to come wrote Seb Coe

A tribute to Ron Hill. World Athletics is deeply saddened to hear that Britain’s Ron Hill, the 1969 European marathon champion, died on Sunday May 23 at the age of 82.

Aside from his major championship medals and four world records, Hill is best known for his dedication to athletics. He laid claim to the longest unbroken streak of running every day, a stretch that lasted 52 years and 39 days, from 1964 to 2017.

Born in Accrington in the north-west of England in September 1938, Hill first came to prominence in the early 1960s and made his international debut at the 1962 European Championships in Belgrade. He failed to finish the marathon there, however, and fared only slightly better at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, finishing a distant 18th in the 10,000m and 19th in the marathon.

Hill rebounded one year later, though, and set the first world record of his career. Competing at the Leverhulme Park track in Bolton, Hill broke two of Emil Zatopek’s long-standing world records in one fell swoop, clocking 1:15:22.6 for 25,000m and passing through 15 miles en route in 1:12:48.2.

His championship performances started to improve in the late 1960s as he placed 12th in the marathon at the 1966 European Championships and seventh in the 10,000m at the 1968 Olympics, having been controversially overlooked for a place on the marathon team.

He set two more world records in 1968, both at 10 miles. In April he clocked 47:02.2 in Leicester to break Ron Clark’s record, passing through 10,000m in 29:09.4 and 15,000m in 43:54, an unofficial world best time.

Later that year, one month after his Olympic appearance, Hill attempted to break Gaston Roelants’ one hour world record of 20,784m. He fell slightly short of that target, covering 20,471m, but passed through 10 miles in a world record time of 46:44.0.

Though that was to be the last world record of his career, Hill became a big-time performer from that point onwards, winning big city marathons and landing major medals.

He won the European marathon title in Athens in 1969, then in 1970 he became the first British runner to win the Boston Marathon, smashing the course record by three minutes with 2:10:30. A few months later, at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, he came the second man to break the 2:10 barrier for the marathon, winning gold in a European record of 2:09:28, having covered the final 10km in 29:24 (2:04 marathon pace).

He went on to take bronze in the marathon at the 1971 European Championships before making his final Olympic appearance in 1972, placing sixth in the marathon – his highest ever finish at the Games.

Hill continued to produce world-class marathon times through the 1970s, including a 2:12:35 victory at the Debno Marathon in 1975 at the age of 36, ranking him eighth in the world that year. He finished fourth at the 1976 Olympic Trials, but went on to represent Britain at various masters championships.

Hill was ahead of his time with regards to training and he was one of the first elite athletes to use the Saltin-Hermansson diet – better known as the glycogen depletion diet or ‘carb-loading’ – which he credited as playing a big part in his success at the 1969 European Championships. Ever since, it has been adopted by millions of runners as a key part of marathon preparation.

Hill, who had a PhD in textile chemistry, often raced in breathable mesh vests to help keep cool. Towards the end of his elite career, he founded Ron Hill Sports and produced top-of-the-line running clothes. He also created the Ronhill and Hilly brands, both of which are still going strong today.

Hill’s streak of consecutive daily runs – which he defined as completing a distance of at least one mile at any pace – began on 20 December 1964 and lasted for more than 52 years. He even managed workouts after a car crash in 1993 when he broke his sternum, and after bunion surgery.

In December 2013 when his streak entered its 50th year, Hill’s total logged lifetime mileage stood at 158,628 miles. His streak ended on 30 January 2017 when he experienced chest pains during a run.

“I did everything I could to be the best in the world,” he said in 2019 in an interview with Inside The Games. “I couldn't train full-time, couldn't train at altitude, couldn't afford back-up support – I only ever had two massages in my life – and when I was injured I just had to run through it. I never made any money at it, but you can't take away the gold medals.”

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe paid tribute to Hill.

"Ron Hill turned the art of marathon running into a science and wrote the playbook for generations to come," said Coe. "He was a one-off. His contribution to the classic distance is immense."

(06/18/2021) Views: 90 ⚡AMP
by Sebastian Coe (World Athletics)
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Geoffrey Kamworor ran the fastest time for 10000m in history at altitude

The 10000m race at the Kenyan Olympic Trials was one amazing event.  The Kenyan Tokyo Olympic Trials happening June 17 to June 19 were  moved from the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, to Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani. Kasarani is located approximately 10 kilometres outside of Nairobi.

Athletics Kenya (AK) announced via press release that the changes are needed to test systems and requirements in readiness for the World Athletics Under-20 Championships which are planned for Aug. 17 to Aug. 22.

Geoffrey Kamworor clocked 27:01 for 10000m in the Kenyan Olympic Trials today.  No one has run faster at altitude.  

"I'm really happy to have qualified for the Olympics by running the fastest time in history in altitude. Now, we’re building on towards the bigger goal ahead," says Geoffrey Kamworor. 

The altitude at the stadium is 1865 meters or 6118 feet.  

Rodgers Kwemoi was second in a very fast 27:05.51 and Weldon Kipkirui Langat was third clocking 27:24.73.  Ronex lead from the start but dropped out at 7k.  

Geoffrey and Kwemoi were behind, when Geoffrey decided to break, Kwemoi resisted but with two laps to go Geoffrey made his big break and widen the gap winning by just over four seconds.  

(06/18/2021) Views: 166 ⚡AMP
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Sarah Lancaster was born to run but she also excelled in tennis and basketball too

If you’ve spent early mornings on the trails near downtown Austin, Texas you’ve probably crossed paths with Sarah Lancaster — 5 feet, 8 inches of mostly limbs and ponytail, casually eating up miles faster than you could drive on the Hike and Bike Trail, or sprinting so fast around the Austin High track off Lady Bird Lake that her male training partners have to tag each other in for pacing duty.

Lancaster is not just the fastest runner in Austin. She's one of the fastest women in the entire country, and she's competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., on Friday in both the 1,500- and 5,000-meter runs.

Her personal bests of 4 minutes, 5.55 seconds and 15:13.56 are only a few seconds off the Olympic standards of 4:04.20 and 15:10, meaning she can make this summer's Tokyo Olympics team if she can shave a few seconds off her best times and place in the top three.

Texas legend Trey Hardee, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the decathlon, recently declared Lancaster the best athlete in Longhorns history on Twitter, although that actually has as much to do with her pedigree as a dual-sport athlete at UT in tennis and basketball as it does her running resume.

At 33 years old, Lancaster is nearly 15 years behind most of her competitors in terms of specific training for distance running. She works full-time as an attorney in Austin, but nearly everyone who has run with her or coached her agrees: the former tennis ace possesses an unbeatable work ethic and killer instinct that makes her a natural on the track, no matter how late she found the sport.

Tennis beginnings

Lancaster grew up in San Antonio playing every sport offered, but quickly found herself drawn to tennis and basketball. She started taking tennis lessons when she was six years old and was competing in statewide tournaments by the time she was 11.

Lancaster's mother, Kelly, says Sarah was competitive "in everything. It wasn't necessarily sports," and that she inadvertently stoked the fire a few times when Sarah drew a tough opponent during a travel tournament. 

“I would say, ‘Oh gosh, you play so-and-so today, I just hope you get a point,’” Kelly Lancaster said. “Because maybe it was one of the top girls in Texas. She’s commented that I’d pack up our bags to check out of the hotel because I knew she was playing somebody (who was a top seed). And you can always go check back in, but if you don’t check out by 10 or 11, then you have to pay for a whole ‘nother day.

“She said, ‘I’d see mom packing up the bags and think, ‘Obviously, she doesn’t think I’m gonna win today, so I’m gonna show her!' I really didn’t do it for that reason. I was thinking, ‘We’re done, I’m tired, we’re going home.’ Little things like that, I guess, motivated her a little bit to prove me wrong.”

Lancaster played tennis, basketball and ran track during her freshman year at Alamo Heights High School before deciding to enroll in a tennis academy that her coach established more than 200 miles away in Conroe. The academy is no longer in existence, but at the time was affiliated with John Roddick, the older brother of tennis star Andy Roddick.

“I was 15 at the time and, looking back at it, I can’t believe my parents let me do that,” Lancaster said.

A typical day at the tennis academy included two hours of practice in the morning, home school sessions for five to six hours, and another afternoon practice session that could last anywhere from two to three hours. There were about five other female boarders, more young men, and a number of local kids from the area who drove in for practice every day.

“We had a good time,” Lancaster said. “It was definitely not your normal high school experience. ... We were at tournaments a lot, we would go to the movies or just normal things like that ... (but) you’re there to play tennis and you’re there to get good, you’re not there to be partying and having fun.”

Lancaster thrived in the environment, improving her national and state rankings to become one of the best players in Texas.

“For me, it was — I want to go and I want to get as good as I can and see what I can do,” she said of her motivation to attend the tennis academy. “Maybe a little part of me thought I was going to play professionally one day, but I think the focus for me was more on college ... making sure I was going to be recruited.”

Lancaster committed to Texas — "hands down my first choice" — but then suffered a stress fracture in her back and had to take a few months off from tennis. She moved back home and re-enrolled at Alamo Heights, where her old friends convinced her to play basketball again.

It was an easy sell. After all, she was already the best player when she was only a freshman.

"I talked to the UT tennis coach," Lancaster said. "'Hey, you know, I'd kind of like to play basketball. I think it would be fun for me and it might be good for me, coming back from this injury, to do a different sport.'" And she was agreeable to it as long as I taped my ankles for every practice or game."

The move was eerily prescient for her career at Texas. Also prescient — she ran a few track races (she said her best time was a 58-second 400 meters as a freshman).

Texas fight

Given her experience living away from home at the tennis academy, Lancaster’s transition to college and NCAA athletics was pretty seamless. The Texas women’s tennis team, which recently captured its third national championship, was solidly ranked within the top 10 to 20 programs in the nation during her years there, and as a senior in 2010, she helped the Longhorns to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament while totaling a 25-8 singles record, including an 11-0 mark in the Big 12.

“She is one of the best competitors I ever coached,” former UT women’s tennis coach Patty Fendick-McCain said in a text message. “She was the most solid player I ever coached at her position and when the chips were down, I always knew she would come through. She didn’t care what line she played, but that she would get a ‘W’ and contribute to the team.”

Of her own heroics on the court, Lancaster says simply that her personal highlight of her college tennis career was “probably the fact that we beat A&M every time we played them.”

Bored over the summer after her senior year and with one extra semester of school to complete, Lancaster and one of her tennis teammates filmed a video of her doing a trick layup shot. They sent it to their coach, who forwarded the video to the women’s basketball coach at the time, Gail Goestenkors.

To Lancaster’s surprise, Goestenkors told her to go play some pick-up games that summer with the team.

"I went and played with them over the summer, and it was really just pick-up games, coaches couldn't come," Lancaster said. "I didn't really feel like I was completely in over my head, you know — I wasn't like, 'Oh, I'm better than any of these people that have been playing their whole lives and have been recruited to play at the University of Texas,' (but) I felt like I could hold my own."

Sight unseen, based on positive feedback from the players on the team, Lancaster was invited to officially join the roster in the fall.

"None of the coaches had ever seen me play and they basically told me that they would let me play on the team, which was a little bit terrifying,” she said. “The first practice, I was like, please do not miss a layup, please do not miss a layup.

"I think part of it was, the team was really young, there were six or seven freshmen. There was really only one other senior at the time on the team and I think they were just kind of like, 'Sarah knows how to be a student-athlete, she can help these freshmen.' And I guess they confirmed with some other people that I wasn't a terrible basketball player."

Lancaster stepped into the leadership role naturally, had fun at practice and was fine with getting less minutes as the season went on. Her personal highlight from her basketball career didn’t even take place in the Big 12.

"My only basketball highlight is in seventh grade, when I scored 46 points in a game," she said with a straight face. 

'That’s just not something you see every day'

Paras Shah remembers the first time Lancaster showed up to a casual evening workout with RAW Running a few years ago. She made it up Wilke Road — a notoriously brutal 300-meter, 10.8% grade hill in the Barton Hills neighborhood — for all eight repeats, just a few strides behind Shah and the other former NCAA Division I male runners in the group.

"I asked her where she ran in college and she said she didn’t," said Shah, who ran at LSU. "(I thought) that’s obviously not possible. I just didn’t believe her.”

Lancaster was always naturally fast.

In mile time trials throughout her athletic career, she’d routinely clock in just under 5:30.

"Every running drill we did, Sarah was fastest and had the best endurance," Fendick-McCain said. "Her attitude was to leave blood on the court if necessary. She had better endurance than any other player I ever coached or that she played against. If it was a test of wills and endurance, she would always find a way to win."

When Lancaster started law school, she played in various recreational leagues and just had fun ("law school was the most free time I've ever had in my life," she said) while casually completing her first half-marathon. But a few years into the workforce, she happened to meet UT club running coach Kyle Higdon, a UT graduate student, and she asked him to train her to break five minutes in the mile.

"I just felt like that would be a cool thing to say I could do," she said. "And I had actually talked to multiple guys who told me that they tried to do it and couldn't do it. So I was, you know, even more motivated to try."

With light mileage (20-25 miles per week) and a few basic workouts under her belt, she clocked 4:46 in her first 1,500 meter race — the equivalent of a 5:07 mile. By the end of the spring, she had improved to about 4:30 for the 1,500, an incredible time for a brand new runner, albeit one who was 28.

As she watched the Rio Olympics that summer, she wondered: Could she qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials?

“I had no concept of what a good time was,” she said.

The idea of the Trials wasn’t quite a solidified goal at that point — just a little bug in her head that popped up every now and then. With Higdon finishing his studies and moving on with his career, Lancaster evaluated her group running options, which, in Austin, are mostly marathon training groups that meet in the wee hours of the morning, or more casual after-work clubs.

She chose the latter, and started showing up to RAW. That’s where she met Shah, who helps organize the annual Schrader 1600 every May for high school runners and members of the community. 

At the 2018 event, with about two years of casual training under her belt, Lancaster ran 4:37.55 for 1,600 meters. The girl who kicked the boys’ butts at RAW workouts every Tuesday was legit.

Mike Kurvath remembers the race very vividly. Then 28, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) track alum ran 4:17 in his section. At the time, he was thinking of moving on from running competitively.

"I remember that very specifically, because in the final 200 meters, she elbowed her way through a couple of high schoolers and it was a really strong move," Kurvath said. "That’s just not something you see every day.

"I was thinking that I was going to be done with running. After I saw that race ... it was actually quite inspiring. After a couple weeks of training with Sarah, you knew the potential was there. It gave me a second chance at my own running."

Kevin Kimball, a UT track alum, offered to help train her.

"Kevin was like, 'you could definitely run the Olympic Trials qualifying time,'" Lancaster said. “In the back of my mind, I had always thought I could … I haven't really been doing that much training and I can already run this fast, like, why can't I run, you know, sub-4:10 in the 1,500? I mean, looking back, that is kind of crazy to think about, but it probably benefited me that I had no real knowledge of running because I didn't see any limitations for myself.”

To make the 2021 Olympic Trials, the qualifying time in the 1,500 meters was 4:06, the equivalent of a 4:25 mile and 4:24 1,600 — a full 13 seconds faster than she had just run.

"Kevin was like, 'I think you can do it,' and I was like, 'all right, well, I'll give it a go.'"

2021 Olympic Trials

Lancaster definitely falls into the camp of athletes who benefited from having an extra pandemic year to train in preparation for the Olympic Trials.

She struggled with injuries in 2019 but regained form in early 2020, running an impressive 15:56 in a 5K time trial at the beginning of the pandemic. That made her consider switching events. She improved her time to 15:34 in December, then ran her Olympic Trials qualifying marks in a two-week period in May.

The major change she made in that six-month period was working with 1996 Olympian Juli Benson. The longtime coach has mentored some of the world’s best distance runners, including Jenny Simpson, whom she guided to a gold medal in the 1,500 at the 2011 World Championships.

"I was very taken aback," Benson said when Lancaster reached out to her. "That’s how unusual it is. I’ve been in the sport for a very long time and her story is really unique.

"I was certainly curious, but it was fairly late into the Olympic year to take on a new athlete who was trying to qualify for the Trials, but her story was so unique and her approach and perspective so intriguing that I definitely wanted to take up the challenge and she’s proven to be remarkable at every turn.

"She can handle everything I throw at her and it’s been really fun. It’s so rare and unique and surprising and refreshing and all of those adjectives, but she is an incredible athlete, I’ll say that."

For the Trials, Lancaster decided to focus on the 1,500, where she's the 14th seed, but also declared in the 5,000, where she's the 17th seed, as a backup plan in case she were to fall or otherwise not advance from her preliminary race. The first round of both races are Friday; the finals are on Monday.

Kurvath, who recently clocked his own personal best of 14:34 in the 5,000, said he knows Lancaster is capable of breaking the 15-minute barrier because they do all of their workouts together.

"I’ve seen it. I’ve seen the workouts, I’ve done the workouts," he said. "She’s been there with me and I just ran 14:34."

Benson thinks Lancaster is just tapping the surface of what she can do in the sport. 

"The other thing that's really, really fascinating about Sarah — she has got the most incredible race instincts," Benson said. "She races as if she's been on a world-class stage for seven or eight years. Her instincts are brilliant. ... I think she really loves to compete and it’s really no more complicated than that. Yes, she has interesting genetics, yes, she has really interesting talent, but I think she keeps it really simple and just wants to go out and see how many people she can beat.”

Lancaster isn’t sure if she’ll keep racing after this year. The World Athletics Championships are hosted by the United States next year, which presents a unique opportunity. She’s engaged to be married this fall. She’ll be 34 next year. For right now, it’s all about soaking in the realization of a long-awaited dream. 

And no, she’s not totally sure where her affinity for middle-distance running comes from, either.

"Tennis is an individual sport," she said. "It’s a high-pressure situation, you know you’re out there playing someone and you can only look at yourself (for) the outcome. You can’t blame anyone else. I think that translates to running. It’s you out there.

"I think I’ve always just wanted to win, I’ve always wanted to compete well and that’s just kind of ingrained in me. So I don’t know if I have a better answer for you than that.”

(06/18/2021) Views: 133 ⚡AMP
by Johanna Gretschel
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Well known Kenyan coach Joseph K Ngure joins the Kenyan Athletics Training Academy

Joseph K. Ngure has joined the Kenyan Athletics Training Academy staff as Director of Education and Race Director.  

"He comes with lots of experience," says Bob Anderson (pictured with Joseph) managing director of the Academy in Thika.   "He is a senior coach and AK certified official.  He has been a school teacher and most recently was the head coach at Run2gether.  He also brought Mountain Running to Kenya."

The Kenyan Athletics Training Academy is a unique facility offering training, education and for those living there an excellent meal plan and a pleasant atmosphere so athletes can focus on their running.

The staff and staff-athletes at the Academy welcome other athletes interested in improving, setting new PR's and hopefully winning races.  The top athlete currently training at the Academy is Joel Maina, a 1:00:40 half marathoner.

The cost for a shared room is just 10k KES per week for a Kenyan Citizen.  Or just $29US per night for non-citizens.  Private rooms are also available.   

"I met Joseph during our trip in January 2020 to Kenya," says Bob Anderson.  "I found him to be very personable and knowledgeable. He was working as head coach for the Run2gether camp at the time."

Joseph left Run2gether earlier this year and contacted Bob Anderson about wanting to join his staff at the unique new project he had going in Thika.

Joseph took the job and says: “I have been involved in athletics on different levels and have learnt a lot.  With the evolution and the dynamism in the sport, new approaches and professionalism need to be injected in order to move to the next level.

“I will work with the staff at our Kenyan Athletics Training Academy  and offer expertise in competition organisaton, lias with grassroots and national federations to make sure the objectives of the Academy are achieved.”

Several unique and standard races are being planned along with time trials. 

Joseph continued, “With the state-of-the-art facility in Thika new talents in the neighboring regions and elite runners will get wholestic training in preparation for local and international competitions 

"I wish to lay strong tradition and culture of discipline, team work and integrity in accordance with World Athletics, Athletics Keny and AIU.   More so inject the spirit of sportsmanship and respect to the sport and to the individual.”

The Academy is unofficially open now and the official opening date is September 1.  A grand opening along with a race is being planned.  

(06/17/2021) Views: 267 ⚡AMP
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Race walking mixed team to debut at Paris 2024 Olympics

A race walking mixed team event is set to make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024, following confirmation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board that it will be the mixed-gender contest added to the athletics programme.

The IOC Executive Board previously decided that the number of athletics events should stay at 48 for Paris - which led to the men's 50-kilometre race walk being dropped in favour of a mixed-gender event in the quest for gender equality.

World Athletics and the IOC have agreed that this will be a race walking event, although the competition format - including the distance and the number of athletes in each team - has not been chosen yet.

A proposal for the format is due to be presented to the IOC Executive Board in December.

The Executive Board has also approved World Sailing's proposal to scrap the mixed kiteboarding event and instead have men's and women's contests.

This was World Sailing's first alternative option in place of mixed offshore, which was removed from the programme after concerns were raised by the IOC.

These included additional broadcasting costs and the field-of-play security.

Sailing will maintain 10 medal events, with kiteboading - set for an Olympic debut at Paris 2024 - now accounting for two of them.

Additionally, the IOC Executive Board approved the new competition format for modern pentathlon, which is set to be based in one venue.

As proposed by the International Modern Pentathlon Union, this 90-minute competition begins with riding, followed by the fencing bonus round and swimming, before closing with the laser-run.

Breaks of between five and 15 minutes will occur between each discipline.

The equestrian leg lasts 20 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of fencing, 10 minutes of swimming and 15 minutes for the laser-run.

The Paris 2024 Olympics, scheduled to take place from July 26 to August 11, will be the first fully gender-balanced Games, with exactly 50 per cent male and female participation, says the IOC.

 

(06/15/2021) Views: 128 ⚡AMP
by Michael Houston
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Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Paris 2024 Olympic Games

For this historic event, the City of Light is thinking big! Visitors will be able to watch events at top sporting venues in Paris and the Paris region, as well as at emblematic monuments in the capital visited by several millions of tourists each year. The promise of exceptional moments to experience in an exceptional setting! A great way to...

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Sifan Hassan will turn her attention to the mile in Gateshead

Sifan Hassan will test her speed once again when she races the mile at the Muller British Grand Prix – a Wanda Diamond League meeting – at Gateshead International Stadium on 13 July.

The world 1500m and 10,000m champion holds the world mile record with 4:12.33 and last weekend set a world record for 10,000m with 29:06.82 at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Hengelo, although it survived only two days before being beaten by Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia.

The Dutch athlete is clearly in form to challenge her world mile record if conditions are good in Gateshead. In addition to her 10,000m world record in Hengelo, she beat Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and European champion Laura Muir of Britain over 1500m at the Diamond League in Florence on Thursday night, clocking 3:53.63.

“I’ve raced several times in the past at events in the UK – at the Anniversary Games in London, meetings in Birmingham and Glasgow and of course the 2017 World Championships and 2018 World Indoor Championships. There is always a warm welcome, a great atmosphere and the fans have good knowledge of the sport,” said Hassan.

“Running over one mile in Gateshead on 13 July gives me a chance to test my speed ahead of the Olympic Games. Maybe I can run a good time too although much will depend on the weather. Hopefully it will be warmer and drier than it was for the Diamond League in Gateshead last month!”

Gateshead staged the first Wanda Diamond League event of 2021 after it was moved from Rabat in Morocco to the North East of England and now the same venue will host the seventh Diamond League of the season after it was moved from its original home of London.

(06/15/2021) Views: 72 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Some Veteran Pro Runners Are Making Less This Year, and They're Ditching the Sport

Many athletes are confronting a bleak financial reality. Some are quitting the sport entirely.

What do Noah Droddy, Ben True, and Andy Bayer have in common?

They’re all ranked among the top 10 Americans of all time in their events—Droddy in the marathon, True in the 10,000 meters, Bayer in the steeplechase.

How Much Do Pro Runners Make? For Some Veterans, It’s Less This Year

And they were all dropped by their sponsors at the end of 2020.

This news took a while to seep out—after all, athletes don’t tend to publicize it when their sponsors reduce their pay or stop supporting them altogether. But Droddy, 30, and True, 35, have been open about their status and confirmed it in calls with Runner’s World (both had been sponsored by Saucony), and Bayer told the Indy Star that Nike dropped him and he has left the sport, at age 31, for a job in software engineering.

Droddy—one of running’s most recognizable figures in races with his long hair, backward baseball cap, and habit of losing his lunch at marathon finish lines—summed up his situation in a tweet on February 19.

Is he right? Is it typical for top runners, at the height of their careers, to lose financial backing from shoe companies? Or is this an anomaly at the end of an unusual, pandemic-marred 15 months?

Runner’s World had conversations with eight athletes, four agents, two marketing employees at brands, and three coaches to get a sense of the current economics for athletes. They painted a complex picture.

Are most pro runners broke?

Many are just getting by. For years, America’s pro runners have been on shaky financial footing. With the exception of those who win global medals or major marathons, distance runners often struggle to earn enough money to pay for their essentials (rent and food), plus cover all their running-related expenses, such as coaching, travel to races and altitude camps, health care, gym membership, and massage.

Over the past year, the pandemic has erased lucrative racing opportunities. Additionally, shoe companies have been reevaluating their sports marketing budgets, from which runners are paid. Experts say that the result has been an increasing bifurcation between the sport’s haves and have nots.

The most successful, those destined for the Olympic team or starring on the roads, are earning generous base payments and bonuses for setting records or winning. Many of the rest are scraping by, with smaller contracts, if any, and they’re supplementing their shoe company earnings with jobs.

Running’s middle class, much like America’s, is shrinking.

The exception is runners who belong to a single-sponsor training group, like those in Flagstaff, Arizona (Hoka); Boston (New Balance); and Portland, Oregon (Nike). In those cases, coaching, travel, and training camp costs are absorbed by the club, easing the financial pressure on athletes and making it possible for them to pursue the dream.

Brands these days appear to be more eager to devote dollars to groups and the athletes who train with them, rather than individual athletes training on their own in different locations. That presents a quandary for midcareer runners who have achieved a level of success. Faced with the loss of a sponsorship, they aren’t always willing to pick up and move to a new town and a new coach.

What do contracts look like?

If you’re a top runner in the college ranks, and you’ve won multiple NCAA titles at the Division I level, shoe companies—Nike, Adidas, Brooks, Saucony, Hoka, and others—will usually come calling, offering more than $100,000 a year for multiple years, with a spot in a group or a stipend to pay your coach. Those companies are betting on those NCAA champions to be Olympians of the future.

Dani Jones, for instance, won three individual NCAA titles at the University of Colorado, and she signed with New Balance at the end of last year. Her agent, Hawi Keflezighi, said she entertained competing offers from other companies.

A midcareer athlete with a breakthrough performance—hitting the podium at a major marathon or making an Olympic team, for instance—might also be rewarded with a base contract worth $50,000 to $100,000.

The top sprinters earn even more (although their careers are typically shorter). Usain Bolt famously made millions, and Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse was 21 when he signed a deal worth $11.25 million—before bonuses—from Puma in 2015, the Toronto Star reported.

The payouts drop significantly after that. Let’s say you’re a distance runner, but you haven’t been able to get a big win in college, although you’ve come close. The lucky ones are looking at deals for about $30,000 to $75,000 per year.

Your agent takes a 15 percent cut of that. And this base salary most often comes without benefits: no health insurance, no 401(k). As independent contractors, pro runners are paying all their own taxes. (In contrast, traditional full-time employees have half of their Social Security and Medicare taxes paid by the employer.)

Many young runners out of college join pro groups, and they’re not making anything beyond free gear and coaching. Others might get a stipend worth $10,000 or $12,000 a year.

The contracts typically sync with the Olympic calendar. At the end of 2020, many athletes’ contracts were expiring—even though the Olympics didn’t happen. That’s how Droddy, True, and Bayer were dropped. Shannon Rowbury, a three-time Olympian, told Track & Field News her deal with Nike was extended for one year, two if she makes the Olympic team this summer.

If an athlete has a good Olympics, the sponsoring company often has an option to extend the deal for an additional year, which includes the world track & field championships. It’s at the company’s discretion—not the athlete’s.

Parts of the sponsorship model appear to be changing, but slowly. When NAZ Elite announced a new deal with Hoka last fall, it included health insurance for the runners. Similarly, members of Hansons-Brooks in Rochester, Michigan, get health insurance if they work in the Hansons running specialty stores. And last May, Tracksmith brought Mary Cain and Nick Willis on as employees at the company—Cain in community engagement, Willis as athlete experience manager—with the plan that both would continue to train and race at an elite level.

Why doesn’t anyone know exactly how much runners are making?

As part of these deals, athletes have to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), promising to keep the terms quiet. If an athlete violates the NDA, the sponsor can void the contract—or sue for breach of contract.

This is, in fact, similar to other sports. In basketball, LeBron James is being paid $39.2 million this season by the Los Angeles Lakers. But he also has an endorsement deal with Nike, and the exact structure of that is unknown.

In running, prize purses are publicized—$150,000 for winning the Boston Marathon, $25,000 for being the top American at New York in 2019, $75,000 for winning the Olympic Marathon Trials.

But as in other sports, the terms of the sponsor deals are kept mum. And appearance fees at major races, as well as time bonuses within those appearance fees, which represent a major source of income for road runners (mainly marathoners), are also mostly unknown.

Athletes feel that the silence around sponsor contracts and appearance fees puts them at a disadvantage—it’s hard to know their market value. Yes, they can—and do—have quiet conversations with peers about it. But lacking broad knowledge, they lack power.

And as a result, the industry is rife with rumors and assumptions. Athletes’ values are often inflated through the grapevine.

“I think it is very similar to the dynamic that would occur if no one knew the price of home sales,” Ian Dobson—a 2008 Olympian who ran for Adidas and Nike during his pro career, which ended in 2012—told Runner’s World. “How could you ever be confident in a sale price if you didn’t know what any other homes in your neighborhood were selling for? Granted, we don’t know every detail of every home sale in the neighborhood, but it’s certainly helpful to know in general terms the dollar amount that these are going for so that we can all understand what value our home might have.”

Also, athletes keep quiet when their circumstances change. They feel embarrassed. One athlete told Runner’s World, “No one in track wants to be the one to say, ‘I got dropped,’ or ‘I got reduced.’ It's all taboo.”

Even so, $30,000 is nothing to sneeze at—especially for a job that’s about pursuing individual goals.

No, it’s not. But not every contract is structured the same way.

Some pay that base amount, no matter what. Other contracts penalize athletes with reductions if, for instance, they don’t finish in the top three in the country in Track & Field News rankings, or if they get injured and can’t race a certain number of times per year.

That’s why numerous Nike athletes seemed to be eagerly seeking racing opportunities of any kind last summer amid the pandemic. Marathoner Amy Cragg raced a 400 meters at an intrasquad meet on July 31, and finished in 90.15 seconds—6:00 pace—presumably to check a box on her contract. On August 7, she ran 800 meters in 3:03.85. The record of those races are in her World Athletics profile.

A Nike spokeswoman, when asked about athletes racing in 2020 to meet contractual obligations, responded: “We do not comment on athlete contracts.”

Time bonuses, once seen as a reliable way to beef up athletes’ base payments, are also becoming less frequent or harder to hit, as shoe technology improves and fast times become more common, according to one agent.

What role do agents play?

For athletes who have never previously had a sponsorship deal, it’s almost impossible to secure one without the help of an agent, who can get in the door at all the major brands.

For American distance runners, there are nine main agents—all men—negotiating the deals (Keflezighi, Josh Cox, Paul Doyle, Ray Flynn, Chris Layne, Dan Lilot, Tom Ratcliffe, Ricky Simms, and Mark Wetmore). Karen Locke, one of the few female agents in track and field, represents a few distance runners among her roster of clients in field events.

Of course, all the prominent agents—who have multiple clients across multiple brands and at various stages of their athletic careers—have data about what athletes are worth. But they have a duty to each one to maintain confidentiality about the specifics of that deal.

Agents bring to their athletes a broad picture of the market and what each might command, providing advice to those considering offers: Yes, this a fair offer, a solid deal. Or no, you can do better.

They also help get athletes into competitive track races like the Diamond League and elsewhere, or into the World Marathon Majors. They can handle travel arrangements to meets and help to make sure records get ratified. Generally, their role is to go to bat for athletes, no matter what they need.

For their services, they take 15 percent of everything an athlete earns: sponsor deals, appearance fees, and prize money, no matter how small the race or winnings.

Agents are supposed to negotiate on behalf of each client individually, but athletes have no idea if that’s happening. Are they being used as part of a package deal? Thrown in at a minimal rate as a thank you to a brand for giving a generous deal to a superstar? Or, on the upside, getting a small appearance fee from a major marathon that they wouldn’t be able to get into on their own, because they have the same agent as a mega-star?

“Agents want to bring in the most money for their combined athletes—if they manage 20 athletes, they’re trying to bring in the maximum money they can across 20 athletes,” one athlete told Runner’s World. “That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re trying to maximize for each individual. The difference between earning $20,000 a year and $30,000 a year is profound in terms of your ability to actually train as a professional. But it translates into a small amount [$1,500] for the agent.”

Why is the market tricky right now?

The pandemic caused upheaval in marketing budgets. Also, the people who work in marketing at shoe brands can be inexperienced in the running industry, and turnover often runs high at those positions, jeopardizing relationships between athletes and brands that have lasted years.

The marketing budget questions are not limited to running, said Matt Powell, a sports business analyst and vice president for NPD.

“I think brands are taking a more circumspect view of endorsement contracts in general—whether it’s teams, leagues, or individual athletes,” he said. “They’re [questioning whether] they’re getting the return on that investment.”

Nike is rumored to have cut its marketing budget for running, amid layoffs at the company. Nike did not return an email from Runner’s World seeking clarification on the budget or the numbers of runners it currently sponsors.

Although Nike’s superstars are said to be fine and not facing any reductions in their deals, one Nike athlete, a 2016 Olympian, told Runner’s World, “It’s pretty much assumed that everyone is getting less.”

And it’s believed that several of these contracts are for shorter periods of time than they might have otherwise been: through the world championships in 2022 in Eugene, Oregon, instead of through the next Olympics in 2024.

In answer to questions from Runner’s World about True and Droddy—as well as rumors about a new Saucony-sponsored training group—Saucony responded with an emailed statement from Fábio Tambosi, Saucony’s chief marketing officer:

“At Saucony we believe you cannot have a sports brand without the inclusion and authentic connection with athletes. We are excited about the evolution of Sports Marketing as a brand pillar for years to come, and remain committed to building an athlete strategy that aligns with this goal.” 


Good news abounds, too

On the positive side for distance runners, Puma has re-entered the distance running market. Molly Seidel was lured from Saucony to Puma, and Aisha Praught Leer told Women’s Running she signed a “big girl contract” with Puma. Additionally, the company started a group in North Carolina, coached by Alistair Cragg and with three athletes so far.

The shoe company On has also invested heavily, starting a new team in Boulder, Colorado, coached by Dathan Ritzenhein and with athletes like Joe Klecker and Leah Falland.

Keira D’Amato, 36, signed her first pro contract, with Nike, after a string of impressive performances during the pandemic on the track and roads. She has kept her job as a realtor.

Keflezighi sees an opening for apparel brands that don’t have footwear to sponsor more athletes. Women’s apparel company Oiselle has done this for years, and Athleta is now sponsoring Allyson Felix. Could a menswear company be far behind? These arrangements leave athletes free to choose their own running shoes, which can be advantageous as shoe technology advances so quickly.

Why do brands have pro runners anyway?

Beyond the individual dollar amounts in contracts, brands seem to be rethinking what the role of a professional athlete is. Is it to inspire with performances, and hope those performances translate into shoe sales? Or is it to connect with fans on social media and promote product sales that way?

“You have to kind of look at it big picture,” True told Runner’s World. “These companies aren’t giving athletes money for charity; they’re doing it for a marketing investment and they’re looking for a return on their investment. And currently—and this is not ideal, in my mind—you look at the rise of social media and influencers. They are very inexpensive for marketers to go after and they get their products in front of a lot of eyeballs.”

A 2:20 male marathoner who also has a drone and a great Instagram account or YouTube channel might be gaining followers, True said, while a 2:05 marathoner is training hard and devoting his craft toward the next race.

“The average person, they don’t understand that 15-minute difference,” he said. “One historically will cost that company a lot of money. The other does not cost much at all and will get a whole lot more eyeballs on the product. You have to understand that.”

In his nine years with Saucony, True, training on his own in Hanover, New Hampshire, was part of only one ad campaign the company ran. The company preferred to use models for its ads and catalogs.

In February, True ran 27:14 for 10,000 meters, a personal best and faster than the Olympic standard. He wore Nike spikes and a plain yellow singlet. If all goes according to plan, he’ll race the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in June and try to make his first team. His wife, professional triathlete Sarah True, is pregnant and due in July. And after that, he’ll run a fall marathon. True intended to debut at the marathon last fall, before the pandemic canceled all the races.

He’s moving ahead and training hard, despite the financial uncertainty. “I would have loved to have spent my entire career with Saucony,” he said. “I very much enjoyed working with them. I’ve been fortunate enough that I have had probably a lot more support than many other people in my position. That’s been nice.”

At this point, he is hoping another company will pick him up to take him through the next few years. “If a company just gave me a bonus structure that is fair for the result, I’d be happy with that,” he said. “It’s not like we’re looking for huge amounts of money. I’m very pragmatic and very realistic. I don’t think you should be paid for potential; I think you should be paid for results.”

(06/13/2021) Views: 129 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Dina Asher-Smith aims for new peak in Tokyo

Dina Asher-Smith had just reached the peak of the mountain when she was plunged into the unknown.

Fresh from her triumph in the 200m, and a silver medal in the 100m, at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, where she was confirmed as one of the fastest women in the world, Asher-Smith had just begun her run into the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 when the whole world came to a screeching halt, her and her sport included.

The 25-year-old Londoner could never have imagined voluntarily sitting out a year of international competition before the pandemic hit but that is what she elected to do when the world changed in March last year.

"We were in a situation that nobody around the world has been in before and I know that I was no different from anyone else," she reflected, after a triumphant return to the 200m in the Wanda Diamond League in Florence on Thursday (10).

"Every day I was worried for my parents’ health, my grandparents’ health. With that in mind, I was thinking, is it right for me to be bouncing around the world and doing that? I don’t know. That was my emotional frame.

"But also, from a more athletic point of view, we just saw it as: Okay, the Olympics have been postponed. If you had been given, or were forced, to have an extra year (of preparation), what would you do? For us, it was to get stronger, it was to improve my technique, it was to improve my mentality, my nutrition, my sleep, everything. So we really used the time to go up another level and I really hope that I can perform and show that’s what I was doing."

Asher-Smith admits it felt more like a risk than an unexpected gift at the time, stepping away from the known path to glory, sitting out while her rivals returned to racing in the latter part of last year. But she and her coach John Blackie believed it was the right approach for her and she trusts that the benefits will show when she finally arrives in Tokyo next month.

So far, it looks like a good decision.

Asher-Smith returned to the international scene last month, running, and winning, the 100m at the Gateshead Diamond League meeting against a stacked field that included the new American threat Sha’Carri Richardson and the dual Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and in appalling weather.

"You have to take the good performances when they come, so I was really happy to do well and do well in front of a home crowd," she said afterwards.

"I think psychologically it was good that I was able to focus in the circumstances - the fact that it was my first 100m, the fact that it was at home. It was suddenly a very big race for my first 100m against some incredibly talented women with some incredibly fast PBs, some incredibly fast times already run in the season and then the weather. I was just happy that despite all of those things happening in the background I was just able to focus on me and perform the way that I wanted to, at the end of the day."

She found better conditions at the FBK Games in Hengelo, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting, last week, where she registered her first sub-11 second clocking (10.92) of the season, before turning her attention to the 200m in Florence.

At the press conference before this meeting, she confessed she still felt a little race rusty, but it didn’t show as she dominated an international field to win in 22.06, just a touch slower than Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s world-leading time of 22.03 for this year.

"My team and I know I’m in good shape and I’m happy to come out and run that today but I know I can go quicker so I’m excited to be able to go again," she said.

What is already clear is that she will need to be better than ever to triumph in Tokyo. Richardson set the early season pace with a 10.72 clocking in April, then Fraser-Pryce blasted to 10.63 in Jamaica last week, the fastest time in the world for more than 30 years.

The British Championships and Olympic trials (June 25-27) are next on Asher-Smith’s agenda and then she has more international racing lined up, finishing with the second Diamond League meeting to be held in Gateshead on July 13, to bring her to a new peak in Tokyo.

(06/12/2021) Views: 73 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Barred from competing in her preferred event of the 800m, Burundi´s Francine Niyonsaba has now qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in both the 5,000m and 10,000m

Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, the 800m silver medallist at the Rio Olympics, qualified for the 10,000m at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday after running under Olympic standard at the Ethiopian Trials in Hengelo, the Netherlands.

The race was Niyonsaba’s first at the distance, but her 31:08.51 finish beat the Burundian national 10,000m record by 20 seconds. Longer races are still quite new to the previously middle-distance specialist, but a 2019 World Athletics ruling now prevents Niyonsaba and other athletes with DSD (differences of sexual development) from competing in any event between 400m and the mile, as officials determined that the higher-than-usual (but natural) testosterone levels in these athletes gives them an unfair advantage over their competitors. 

Niyonsaba has had an amazing past few weeks. World Athletics’ DSD athlete ruling gave her three options: compete in races shorter than 400m, jump up to events longer than the mile or take medications to lower her testosterone levels. She picked the long route, and after not racing at all in 2020 and the first half of 2021, she jumped into the first 5,000m race of her career in late May at an event in Spain. 

At that race, Niyonsaba came close to the Olympic standard of 15:10.00, running 15:12.08. Just over a week later, she was back in action, this time in France, where she not only managed to beat standard, but also broke 15 minutes with a 14:54.38 run. Both of Niyonsaba’s 5,000m races broke the Burundian national record in the event.

She wasn’t done there, though, and although it was a big jump from the 800m up to the 5,000m, Niyonsaba took another leap on Tuesday and committed to a 10,000m race. With her ticket to the Tokyo Games already booked and nothing to lose, she stunned everyone with yet another Olympic-qualifying run, dipping well under the standard of 31:25.00 with her 31:08.51 finish in Hengelo (in the same race that Letesenbet Gidey broke the 10,000m world record with her 29:01.03 performance). 

As listed on Niyonsaba’s WA profile, her two latest races bring her national record tally to seven. She has competed in eight different events throughout her career as an elite runner, and she failed to run a Burundian record in only one of them, the 600m. She is without a doubt one of the greatest athletes Burundi has ever produced, and she’s still fighting for more as she races toward the Tokyo Olympics. 

(06/10/2021) Views: 140 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Sifan Hassan breaks the world 10,000m record in Hengelo

There was little about Sifan Hassan’s run at the FBK Games in Hengelo on Sunday (6) that gave the impression she was being patient. Eyes firmly fixed on the track ahead, her arms pumping and legs turning with incredible consistency, she looked like a person who had places to be – and fast.

But, at the same time, she seemed calm and in control. Despite traveling at a pace of 2:55 per kilometer for the majority of her 10,000m, there was no fluster or signs of the tiredness that she later revealed had gripped her in the early stages. Hassan was flowing towards the finish line, where – 29 minutes and six seconds after she started – her world record ambition would be realised. Inside, the Dutch 28-year-old was giving herself a stern talking to.

“Having travelled from America, I had jet lag and I felt terrible at the beginning,” Hassan revealed. “Everything felt heavy, but I just tried to hang on to the lights. Sometimes I accidentally passed them, and I thought ‘no, calm down! Be patient.’”

The lights she describes formed part of the Wavelight technology used at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Stadion during the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in the Dutch city, programmed to highlight the pace needed to improve the world 10,000m record of 29:17.45 which had been set by Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

The blue lights showed world record tempo, while the green indicated the speed of Hassan’s own European record of 29:36.67 run on the same track eight months earlier. Ultimately, the double world champion’s patience paid off, as she waited until the final kilometre to move away from those bulbs. Then it was Hassan’s turn to light the way.

After kilometres of 2:56.12 and 2:56.07 behind pacemakers, Hassan ran splits of 2:55.72, 2:55.42, 2:55.42, 2:55.69, 2:55.93, 2:55.48 and 2:55.20 before upping the tempo and completing the final 1000m in 2:45.77.

As she reached her destination, the clock read 29:06.82 – a time more than 10 seconds faster than Ayana’s world record mark. What makes the performance all the more remarkable is how it forms part of a CV which also boats world records for the mile (4:12.33), women-only road 5km (14:44) and one-hour event (18,930m), plus European records in the 1500m (3:51.95), 3000m (8:18.49), 5000m (14:22.12) and half-marathon (1:05:15).

And then there’s the fact that Hassan feels she can go even quicker still.

“I know I am in shape to go under 29 minutes,” said the Tim Rowberry-coached runner, who has trained in Kenya and Utah, USA, in recent months. “But my coach said ‘no, we train for under 29 so you can run 29:17’. Yesterday I had confidence, I was like ‘I want to go 29:10’ but he said he wanted me to go exactly with the pace.”

Having started her season with a 14:35.34 5000m and then run 2:01.54 for 800m in May, she added: “I am not the sort of person who always runs a fast time in my first race. I know my training has been amazing, but I didn’t know how it would be in my competition. When I got to the last mile or the last 1500m I thought ‘okay you can do this, you can hold it’.”

The path for that performance had been paved in Hengelo last year. “I was scared in October,” she explained. “I was tired in the last couple of laps.

“I learned a lot from that race. That race taught me to hold myself back. I was telling myself that I have time to go under 29 minutes, I am just young – now I should just get the world record.

“Patience,” she added. “I learned patience.”

Her manager Jos Hermens, himself a world record-breaker, also believes that quicker times are to come.

(06/07/2021) Views: 101 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Doping-Olympic champion Brianna McNeal banned for five years, CAS to hear appeal before Tokyo Games

American Olympic 100 meters hurdles champion Brianna McNeal has been banned for five years for an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Friday, with her participation in the Tokyo Games in doubt until her appeal is heard.

McNeal, who had been charged and provisionally suspended for "tampering within the results management process" in January, was sanctioned by a Disciplinary Tribunal as it was her second violation of World Athletics' anti-doping rules.

The ban is effective from Aug. 15, 2020. The AIU said McNeal has appealed against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with the case set to be heard before the July 23-Aug. 8 Tokyo Olympics.

The AIU added that CAS had granted McNeal "provisional relief and temporarily stayed" the tribunal's decision so she can compete until the end of the U.S. Olympic trials on June 27.

The AIU did not elaborate on its decision for "confidentiality reasons".

McNeal, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and was world champion in 2013, had denied testing positive for any banned substance.

The 29-year-old led a U.S. clean sweep of the 100m hurdles podium at the 2016 Olympics but was banned for a year when she missed three out-of-competition drug tests, which constitutes an ADRV.

Her ban, which was applied for the 2017 season, resulted in her missing the World Championships that year.

(06/04/2021) Views: 127 ⚡AMP
by Toby Davis
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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World record-holders ready to clash in Hengelo

Five world champions, four Olympic gold medallists and two world record-holders are set to compete at the FBK Games – a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting – in Hengelo on Sunday (6).

Pole vault world record-holder Mondo Duplantis will be raring to go after his 23-meet winning streak came to an end at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Gateshead at the end of last month. Battling tough conditions, the 21-year-old from Sweden gave the bar a slight nudge on his final attempt at 5.80m – what would have been a winning height – and it came down, meaning victory went to two-time world champion Sam Kendricks.

Kendricks won’t be in Hengelo, but Duplantis will have one eye on the US vaulter’s meeting record and Dutch all-comers’ record of 5.91m.

Olympic champion Thiago Braz and Dutch vaulter Menno Vloon, who set a national indoor record of 5.96m earlier this year, are also in the line-up.

Double world champion Sifan Hassan will return to the track on which she set a European 10,000m record of 29:36.67 last year and will again contest the 25-lap discpline. The Dutch distance runner has tested her form over a range of distances this year, clocking 8:33.62 for 3000m indoors, followed by 14:35.34 for 5000m and 2:01.54 for 800m outdoors.

Kenya’s Daisy Cherotich, New Zealand’s world finalist Camille Buscomb and Canada’s Andrea Seccafien will all be hoping to emerge from the race with lifetime bests.

World 800m champion Halimah Nakaayi will open her 2021 campaign over her specialist distance. The Ugandan middle-distance runner takes on a quartet of Britons – Laura Muir, Kelly Hodgkinson, Jemma Reekie and Adelle Tracey – as well as Norway’s Hedda Hynne and France’s Renelle Lamote.

In the men’s event, indoor sensation Elliot Giles lines up for his first outdoor 800m of the year, taking on fellow Brits Max Burgin – who set a European U20 record of 1:44.14 in Ostrava last month – and Daniel Rowden. Tony van Diepen, one of the Netherlands’ top performers at the World Athletics Relays Silesia 21, is also in the field.

Recent Montreuil winner Abel Kipsang goes in the men’s 1500m where he’ll take on Uganda’s Ronald Musagala and Britain’s sub-3:30 performer Jake Wightman.

Asher-Smith, Kerley and McLeod set to produce sprint highlights

Although she has raced there only once before, world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith has fond memories of racing in Hengelo.

It is where, as a teenager back in 2015, she set her first senior national record over 100m, clocking 11.02. Six years on from that performance, and having bagged many more records and medals, the world 200m champion will be hoping for a sub-11-second clocking to improve on the 11.35 season’s best she recorded when winning in Gateshead, running in heavy rain and into a -3.1m/s headwind.

Nigeria’s world and Olympic medallist Blessing Okagbare, who has a season’s best of 10.90, and two-time world 200m champion Dafne Schippers are also in the line-up.

World 4x400m champion Fred Kerley has so far this year produced his most impressive performances at 100m, clocking 9.91 and 9.96 in recent weeks. In Hengelo, however, he’ll step back up to his specialist 400m discipline and will aim to improve on the 44.60 season’s best he recorded in Doha last week.

(06/04/2021) Views: 73 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Research reveals running boom during Covid-19 pandemic

More people have taken up running during the Covid-19 pandemic, and all of those intend to maintain their newfound passion for the sport once the pandemic is over.

The power of running during this time has been revealed on Global Running Day, with new findings from Nielsen – the official research and intelligence supplier to World Athletics – highlighting how runners have increased their participation and the health benefits they gain from it.

Across 10 surveyed countries, four in 10 people consider themselves to be runners and 30 per cent of those run at least once a week. Distinct from many other participation sports, recreational running has an equal participation split. Of all runners, 53% are men and 47% are women. More than a fifth of all runners reveal that they run more often than they did previously as a result of Covid-19 and most in that group say they will continue to run more often once the pandemic is over.

Among the many benefits of running is the chance to experience the ‘runner’s high’. “It begins with this peace of mind and then a greater ease of movement, a sense of power and confidence, optimism and hope, and you will often hear runners describe feeling loving and connected to everyone and everything,” explained Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist, educator and author of The Joy of Movement, during a recent World Athletics 'Run Anywhere' Webinar in collaboration with Mass Participation World.

The survey reflects this, with three quarters of all runners agreeing that ‘running is good for my mind as well as my body’.

Those aged 25-34 are most likely to be passionate about running, with 50 per cent agreeing that it is a part of who they are. Runners are more likely to consider themselves to be warm and friendly, family oriented, optimistic and passionate, showing greater confidence to associate themselves with positive personality characteristics.

For current runners, the biggest factors in the decision to run are health reasons, the ability to go at your own pace and not needing much equipment. Recent research by runrepeat.com also identified the growing popularity of running, supporting the findings of the Nielsen study.So, what are you waiting for? Why not mark Global Running Day by discovering the power of running for yourself?Further findings are available in the World Athletics and Nielsen Sports 'Recreational running consumer research study'.

(06/02/2021) Views: 168 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba, who changed events due to testosterone rule, runs Olympic qualifier

She ran a time of 14 minutes 54.38, which is also a new national record, as she finished fourth in the race to easily better the Olympic qualifying time of 15:10.00.

It was just her second race over the distance having just missed out on the qualifying standard when she ran 15:12.08 at a meeting in Spain last month.

"A challenge is not a barrier. It's an opportunity to do better. Heading to Tokyo with a great qualifying time," she posted on Twitter.

The race was won by Kenya's Beatrice Chebet, who finished just over two seconds ahead of Niyonsaba.

The 28-year-old, who won silver over 800m at the 2016 Games in Rio, has decided to move up to the long distance event rather than taking testosterone-reducing drugs.

Under the latest World Athletics regulations Niyonsaba is classified as having 'Differences of Sexual Development' - or 'DSD' - and so is not allowed to compete in events between 400m and a mile without taking testosterone-reducing drugs.

At the same meeting on the outskirts of Paris Burkina Faso's Hugues Fabrice Zango continued his good form with another win on the triple jump with a leap of 17.67 metres.

Ivory Coast's Marie Josee Ta Lou won the women's 100m in a time of 11.06 seconds just ahead of The Gambia's Gina Bass in 11.30.

Ta Lou's compatriot Arthur Cisse was victorious in the men's event clocking a time of 10.11 seconds.

Kenya's Abel Kipsang was the other African winner on the night in the men's 1500m as he finished ahead of compatriot Charles Simotwo, with Morocco's Brahim Kaazouzi in third place.

On Friday South Africa's Caster Semenya, Niyonsaba's great rival over 800m and another athlete classified as DSD, finished outside the qualifying mark for the 5,000m.

The 30-year-old finished in 15 minutes 32.15 seconds at meeting in Durban - 22.15secs outside the qualifying time.

It was her second bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

(06/02/2021) Views: 127 ⚡AMP
by Sport Africa
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Mo Farah is set to race at European 10,000m cup

The European 10,000m cup is taking place this Saturday, June 5 in Birmingham, U.K. According to European Athletics, 111 athletes from 26 countries will be competing, including an Athlete Refugee team in the men’s race. The highlight of the meet for track fans will be the return of Mo Farah, who will be running his first 10,000m since the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.

38-year-old Farah will be aiming to hit the Olympic standard of 27:28 on Saturday, which shouldn’t be a problem for the 4-time Olympic gold medalist (twice in the 10,000m, twice in the 5,000m), whose PB at the distance is 26:46.57, set in 2011. He will be toeing the line with other strong British runners, including Marc Scott and Sam Atkin. Both men have already run Olympic qualifying times at the distance with 27:10.41 for Scott and 27:26.58 for Atkin, which should make for an exciting race.

Other notable athletes set to compete in Birmingham include reigning European 10,000m champion Morhad Amdouni from France and European 10,000m silver medallist Bashir Abdi from Belgium. Abdi is one of Farah’s main training partners.

European 5000m silver medallist Eilish McColgan will be the fastest seed on the women’s side, with a recent personal best at the 10,000m of 30:58.94. Several other women are within striking distance of McColgan, however, and with many of them yet to hit the Olympic qualifying standard, we are likely to see some fast racing on Saturday.

(06/01/2021) Views: 84 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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17-year-old Erriyon Knighton breaks Bolt’s world U18 200m best with 20.11 in Jacksonville

After a string of 200m victories and some swift – albeit wind-assisted – times over 100m in the past two months, 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton finally entered the record books with his 20.11 200m win at the Duval County Challenge, a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meeting, in Jacksonville on Monday (31).

Knighton, who hails from Tampa in Florida, turned professional at the start of this year and has been mixing it with the world’s best during the outdoor season. He clocked a wind-assisted 9.99 over 100m in Clermont at the start of May and followed it with a 200m PB of 20.30 at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting at Mt SAC. More recently, he won the future stars 100m race at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Boston, clocking 10.16.

In Jacksonville, however, Knighton made another step up in class, taking on some of the world’s biggest sprint stars.

Drawn in lane three, Knighton got off to a solid start and trailed European champion Zharnel Hughes and 2016 world indoor 60m champion Trayvon Bromell as they entered the straight.

Bromell briefly edged in front while Hughes faded slightly, then Knighton held his form well to take the lead, crossing the line in 20.11 (1.6m/s) to take 0.02 from the world U18 best set by Usain Bolt back in 2003.

Bromell finished second in 20.20, his fastest time for five years, while Hughes was third in 20.30.

World silver medallist Brittany Brown won the women’s 200m in 22.43 (1.0m/s), beating Dezera Bryant (22.47) and Kyra Jefferson (22.63).

Shamier Little improved her own world-leading 400m hurdles mark by more than half a second, dominating the race to win in 53.12 – the second-fastest time of her career.

Jamaica’s Ronda Whyte was a distant second in 54.33. Dalilah Muhammad, competing in a separate heat, clocked 55.01 in what was her first hurdles race since breaking the world record to win the world title in 2019.

World champion Grant Holloway notched up another convincing 110m hurdles win, clocking 13.10 (1.1m/s) to finish ahead of Devon Allen (13.22) and Daniel Roberts (13.23).

Jamaica’s Brittany Anderson came out on top of a strong 100m hurdles field, winning in 12.59 (0.7m/s). World indoor silver medallist Christina Clemons was second in 12.64, just 0.01 ahead of 2015 world champion Danielle Williams.

Elsewhere, world U20 champion Brianna Williams won the women’s 100m in 10.98 (1.0m/s), from Mikiah Brisco (11.09). World indoor bronze medallist Ronnie Baker took the men’s race in 9.99 (1.3m/s) after clocking a wind-assisted 9.91 in the heats.

(06/01/2021) Views: 83 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Ethiopian runner sets men’s 50K world record with 2:42:07 run in South Africa

Ketema Negasa broke the men's world record and South Africa's Irvette Van Zyl ran the second-fastest women's 50K in history

Ethiopia’s Ketema Negasa broke the men’s 50K world record on Sunday, running 2:42:07 at the Nedbank Runified race in South Africa. Negasa led the way as he and three other runners beat American CJ Albertson‘s previous record of 2:42:30. In the women’s race, Des Linden‘s recent 2:59:54 world record remained unbeaten, but South Africa’s Irvette Van Zyl ran a national record of 3:04:23, which is the second-fastest women’s result in history.

Negasa’s record

Negasa is primarily a marathoner, but he has never been able to match the necessary times to shine in Ethiopia. He owns a marathon PB of 2:11:07, a time that would rank him in the top 10 all-time among Canadian runners but isn’t even in the top 250 results in Ethiopian history. After his run on Sunday, though, it looks like ultras may be his forte.

It’s important to note that Albertson’s world record, which he set in November 2020, came on a track, while Negasa’s run on Sunday was on the road. Ultrarunning world bests are unique in this sense, because while Albertson and Negasa ran on completely different surfaces, their runs count in the same category of the 50K in general, as the International Association of Ultrarunners introduced a rule that eliminated surface-specific records in 2014. In other World Athletics-sanctioned events, the surface comes into play. For example, the 5K and 5,000m world records both belong to Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, but they’re two different times.

Negasa’s run worked out to an average per-kilometre pace of 3:15 for the full 50K, which helped him top Albertson’s result by 23 seconds. He crossed the line in first place, and he was followed closely by Machele Jonas, who also beat Albertson’s record with a 2:42:15 run. Third went to Mphakathi Ntsindiso in 2:42:18, and in fourth place was Kiptoo Kimaiyo Shedrack, who just beat Albertson’s record in 2:42:29.

Irvette Van Zyl run

Had the Nedbank Runified race been held a couple of months earlier, Van Zyl would have broken the women’s 50K world record. Since the race took place in late May, though, Van Zyl was late to the party, and her time is second-best to Linden’s. When she ran her race in Oregon, Linden became the first woman to break three hours over 50K, and she smashed Aly Dixon‘s previous record of 3:07:20.

While Van Zyl didn’t manage to beat Linden, she did crush Dixon’s result with her 3:04:23 finish, which is the new South African 50K record. Behind Van Zyl was Lilian Jepkorir Chemweno, who finished in second place in 3:05:00, which is now the third-fastest 50K in history.

(05/30/2021) Views: 93 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Hobbs Kessler Breaks Alan Webb’s Legendary High School 1500m Record

Runs 3:34.36 to Get Under Olympic Qualifying Standard

In one of the most incredible runs ever by an American high schooler, 18-year-old Hobbs Kessler ran a 3:34.36 1,500m at the Portland Track Festival tonight to obliterate the US high school record. The previous record, 3:38.26, was set by Alan Webb as a 1500 split en route to his legendary 3:53.43 high school mile record at the 2001 Prefontaine Classic.  

Webb’s 3:53.43 has gone unchallenged for two decades, but according to World Athletics’ scoring tables, Kessler’s 1500 tonight was the superior performance; converting to 3:51.34 for the mile (Webb’s 3:53.43 mile converts to 3:36.30 for 1500). Kessler’s time is also faster than Jim Ryun‘s US U20 1,500 record of 3:36.1 which had stood since 1966.

Kessler, who was last in the lead pack of ten with 200m to go, moved up well the final 100 meters, and threw up his hands just before the finish line as he saw the clock and finished 5th in a race won by reigning US champ Craig Engels in a personal best of 3:33.64. Engels, the 2019 US indoor/outdoor champion and a World Championship finalist, entered tonight with a pb of 3:34.04 — barely faster than what Kessler ran.

Kessler, a senior at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., was already a high school record holder after running 3:57.66 in February to take down the indoor mile record. Now he is, quite simply, one of the best milers in the United States, regardless of age. His time was the third-best by an American in 2021 — only the winner Engels and fourth-placer Henry Wynne (3:34.08) have run faster this year.

How incredible was Kessler’s run? He didn’t just break the US high school record by almost four seconds; he also ran faster than the collegiate record of 3:34.68 set by Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse two weeks ago. He also hit the Olympic standard of 3:35.00 — one of just seven Americans to have done so during the qualification period.

Kessler’s run was so much faster than any other high schooler has run for 1500 that it is hard to even make comparisons. Webb’s 3:53.43 at Prefontaine, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on Thursday, is the obvious one. Just like Webb, Kessler finished 5th in a field of pros, and just like Webb, Kessler was mowing them down over the final 100 meters.

As impressive as Kessler’s run was tonight, it was not the greatest ever performance by an American U20 athlete. That remains Jim Ryun’s 3:51.3 mile in July 1966 — a world record at the time that would stand for eight years. Ryun was just 19 years old at the time of that race, which came after his freshman year of college.

Kessler is a high school senior. His sometimes training partner, Nick Willis, an Olympic 1500m silver and bronze medallist, was in this race and tried to put it in perspective on the broadcast afterwards, “I became a spectator to the greatest performance ever by a high school miler,” said Willis, noting he himself went out at the pace prescribed for the rabbits for 800, yet was in last place. “It’s like Jim Ryun reincarnated again…He’s such a rookie in terms of running…. He’s so raw.”

(05/30/2021) Views: 190 ⚡AMP
by Let’s Run
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South African Caster Semenya runs PB, misses 5,000m Olympic standard by 22 seconds

Olympic and world 800m champion Caster Semenya raced a 5,000m on Friday at a race in her home country of South Africa, and while her 15:32.15 run was a 20-second PB, it was still well off the Olympic standard of 15:10.00. 

A 2019 World Athletics ruling bars Semenya, who is an athlete with DSD (differences of sexual development), from competing in races from the 400m up to the mile, so she has set her sights on the 5,000m for the upcoming Tokyo Games.

Since the WA ruling blocked Semenya and other DSD athletes (who have higher-than-normal levels of testosterone) from competing in anything from the 400m to the mile, it gave her a couple of options: drop down to sprint races or jump up to longer runs. A third option offered by WA was for DSD athletes to take medications to lower their testosterone, but Semenya refused to do so. 

At first, Semenya dabbled in sprints, and in 2020, she got her 200m PB down to 23.49 seconds. This was still well off the Olympic 200m standard of 22.80, though, and Semenya shifted gears once more, this time jumping up to the 5,000m (which is the next-shortest race available to her and other DSD athletes in the Olympic program). She has raced the 5,000m three times in 2021, improving with each run. 

First, she ran 16:14.43 in March, finishing more than a minute off Olympic standard. A few weeks later, she broke 16 minutes for the first time in her career, posting a huge PB of 15:52.28. Unfortunately for Semenya, despite the big step toward Olympic standard, this time was still 42 seconds slower than she needed to run. On Friday, she got closer to standard, but she still sits well away from 15:10.00. The Olympic qualifying window closes at the end of June.

One piece of good news for Semenya is the fact that only one South African woman has hit Olympic standard during this current qualifying period. Dominique Scott ran 14:59.08 at a race in the U.K. in July 2019, which gives her by far the best result among South African women since the qualifying window opened in May of that same year.

This is good for Semenya because it means she doesn’t have to compete with other South African Olympic hopefuls. Each country can only send three men and three women per event to the Olympics, and if three South African women had already hit standard, it would likely mean that Semenya would have to not only run under 15:10.00, but also beat the slowest of those athletes. 

Semenya is not the only DSD athlete looking to make the Tokyo Games in the 5,000m — Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba has also made the jump up in distance. Niyonsaba won silver behind Semenya in the 800m at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the 2017 world championships. While Semenya was the stronger of the two in the 800m, it looks like Niyonsaba is better at the 5,000m, as she recently ran a Burundian national record of 15:12.08. This time won’t get her into the Olympics, but seeing as she’s just two seconds off standard, she appears to have a much better shot at making it to Tokyo than Semenya does.

 

(05/29/2021) Views: 88 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Francine Niyonsaba runs 5,000m debut, finishes just off Olympic standard in 15:12.08

World and Olympic 800m silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi raced a 5,000m in Spain on May 22, and she finished with a national record of 15:12.08.

Niyonsaba’s result was just off the Olympic standard of 15:10.00, and it was her first official race over 5,000m. Like South Africa’s Caster Semenya, Niyonsaba is an athlete with DSD (differences of sexual development), and a 2019 World Athletics ruling prevents her from competing in any events from 400m up to the mile. 

Niyonsaba, Semenya and other DSD athletes (who have higher-than-usual rates of testosterone) had to make a tough decision when WA barred them from competing in certain events. They could take hormone-suppressing drugs to lower their testosterone levels, drop down in distance to compete in sprinting events like the 100m and 200m or jump up to races longer than a mile. Refusing to take any hormone suppressants, Semenya has spent the past couple of seasons testing out both ends of the racing spectrum, running races as short as 200m and as long as 5,000m. 

Semenya has made progress in both arenas, but her PBs of 23.49 seconds in the 200m and 15:52.28 in the 5,000m are well off the Olympic standards of 22.80 and 15:10.00. Niyonsaba, however, has set her sights solely on the 5,000m, and her undivided focus on the longer race seems to have paid off, as she is now just a couple of seconds away from qualifying for the Tokyo Games. 

Niyonsaba announced her plans to compete in the 5,000m in February, and she now has a little over a month to lower her PB by a couple of seconds in order to qualify for the Summer Games. (The Olympic qualifying window closes on June 29.) After the race, Niyonsaba took to social media to express her excitement in the run, writing, “So happy to be back in international competition with a great debut of 15:12 in the 5K..it was a big challenge but I faced it with great determination and perseverance.” 

(05/27/2021) Views: 87 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Ethiopia´s Ketema Negasa sets men’s 50K world record with 2:42:07 run in South Africa

Ethiopia’s Ketema Negasa broke the men’s 50K world record on Sunday, running 2:42:07 at the Nedbank Runified race in South Africa. Negasa led the way as he and three other runners beat American CJ Albertson‘s previous record of 2:42:30. In the women’s race, Des Linden‘s recent 2:59:54 world record remained unbeaten, but South Africa’s Irvette Van Zyl ran a national record of 3:04:23, which is the second-fastest women’s result in history.

Negasa’s record

Negasa is primarily a marathoner, but he has never been able to match the necessary times to shine in Ethiopia. He owns a marathon PB of 2:11:07, a time that would rank him in the top 10 all-time among Canadian runners but isn’t even in the top 250 results in Ethiopian history. After his run on Sunday, though, it looks like ultras may be his forte.

It’s important to note that Albertson’s world record, which he set in November 2020, came on a track, while Negasa’s run on Sunday was on the road. Ultrarunning world bests are unique in this sense, because while Albertson and Negasa ran on completely different surfaces, their runs count in the same category of the 50K in general, as the International Association of Ultrarunners introduced a rule that eliminated surface-specific records in 2014. In other World Athletics-sanctioned events, the surface comes into play. For example, the 5K and 5,000m world records both belong to Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, but they’re two different times. 

Negasa’s run worked out to an average per-kilometer pace of 3:15 for the full 50K, which helped him top Albertson’s result by 23 seconds. He crossed the line in first place, and he was followed closely by Machele Jonas, who also beat Albertson’s record with a 2:42:15 run. Third went to Mphakathi Ntsindiso in 2:42:18, and in fourth place was Kiptoo Kimaiyo Shedrack, who just beat Albertson’s record in 2:42:29. 

Irvette Van Zyl run 

Had the Nedbank Runified race been held a couple of months earlier, Van Zyl would have broken the women’s 50K world record. Since the race took place in late May, though, Van Zyl was late to the party, and her time is second-best to Linden’s. When she ran her race in Oregon, Linden became the first woman to break three hours over 50K, and she smashed Aly Dixon‘s previous record of 3:07:20.

While Van Zyl didn’t manage to beat Linden, she did crush Dixon’s result with her 3:04:23 finish, which is the new South African 50K record. Behind Van Zyl was Lilian Jepkorir Chemweno, who finished in second place in 3:05:00, which is now the third-fastest 50K in history. 

(05/24/2021) Views: 104 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Kenya's 2017 World Under-18 400m hurdles silver medalist Moitalel Mpoke has qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 20-year-old Mpoke clocked 48.89 seconds to win his 400m hurdles on Saturday during the South Eastern Conference Outdoor Championships at the E.B Cushing Stadium, Texas, United States.

Mpoke met the Olympic qualifying standard by 0.01 seconds to also improve his personal best within three weeks by 0.72 seconds.

Following his win, Mpoke became the first athlete in the history of Texas University  to run a sub 49 seconds in the 400m hurdles breaking a 34-year-old record of 49.05, which was previously held by Craig Calk.

Mpoke becomes third athlete from Kenya to qualify for Tokyo Olympic Games in sprint events after Hellen Syombua and Emmanuel Korir all in 400m.

However, Korir, who is a  specialist in 800m qualified for Tokyo Olympics when he doubled up in 400m and 800m at the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships.

Surprisingly, Korir reached the semi-finals in 800m but stormed the final of the 400m to finish sixth. He run an Olympic qualifying standard time of 44.37 seconds in the semis.

Syombua qualified during the 2019 African Games trials running 51.09 seconds to also set a new 400m national record.

So far 51 Kenyan athletes have attained the Olympic qualifying standards ahead of the national trials set for June 17 to 19 at Kipchoge Keino Stadium, Eldoret.

However, the number includes eight athletes named in the final men and women's marathon team.

(05/18/2021) Views: 149 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Joshua Cheptegei will go for Komen's legendary 3000-Meter World Record on Wednesday

Last year, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei set world records in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters as part of an unforgettable 2020 season.

On Wednesday at the Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, he will try to go one better and become just the third man to hold the 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 records simultaneously. Yes, that’s right. Cheptegei will attempt to break Daniel Komen‘s legendary 7:20.67 3,000-meter world record which has stood for nearly 25 years — since September 1, 1996.

Cheptegei´s camp is under no illusions as to the difficulty of the feat.

“It’s a big ask for Joshua to break [the 3,000-meter world record], we have to be realistic about that,” Cheptegei’s agent Jurrie van der Velden told LetsRun.com. “But we believe it’s possible with the training he’s done. It will be the toughest attempt for him thus far.”

There are several reasons why. First is the 3,000-meter record itself is one of the longest-standing men’s world records and has scarcely been challenged since. Only Hicham El Guerrouj, who ran 7:23.09 in 1999, has come within four seconds of the mark. Even the great Kenenisa Bekele, previous holder of the 5,000 and 10,000 records, never ran faster than 7:25.79.

Second is Cheptegei’s skillset. While the World Athletics scoring tables say 7:20 is equivalent to 12:36 and 26:15 for 5,000 and 10,000 — both marks Cheptegei has bettered — it will be tougher for Cheptegei who, as a distance specialist, is more suited to the longer events. He will need a lot of speed to break 7:20.67 — it’s 3:56 mile pace for seven-and-a-half laps — and Cheptegei, whose 3,000 pb is 7:33.26, has yet to demonstrate the raw 1500 speed of Komen, who had a personal best of 3:29.46.

In Cheptegei’s defense, he has barely raced the 1500. His Tilastopaja profile lists just three races at the distance, the most recent of which was a pb of 3:37.36 on April 24 in Kampala (elevation: 3,937 feet). He will have to run close to that pace for twice the distance to break Komen’s record.

Cheptegei does have a few things working in his favor, however. He has an ace pacemaker in Australia’s Stewart McSweyn, who ran 3:30 and 7:28 last year, and will also benefit from the pacing light system that aided Cheptegei in his world records in Monaco and Valencia last year. The pace is scheduled for 2:26-2:27 per kilometer, with Dutchman Richard Douma serving as the first pacer through 1200 meters before giving way to McSweyn, who will attempt to go through 2000.

Cheptegei also has Nike’s superspikes, which have made Komen’s once-untouchable record seem more attainable. For eight years — from 2012 through 2019 — no man broke 7:28 for 3,000. In the last eight months, five men have done it, all in Nike spikes.

(05/18/2021) Views: 130 ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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