OmRiyadat English

OmRiyadat English

Kenya dominated the World Cross-Country Championships on Sunday, Geoffrey Kamworor defending his men's title, Irene Cheptai leading a historic cleansweep in the women's race and Asbel Kiprop helping to secure a third gold in the mixed relay.

Kamworor had to rely on a late break to win the men's race in 28min 24sec, making him the first back-to-back winner since 2006.

Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei had led for most of the race, to the delight of the home crowd, with dozens of Ugandans running alongside him.

But there was drama as he collapsed in the final lap, eventually recovering to hobble over the line in 30th place.

Kamworor made no mistake with his perfectly-timed run, sprinting in ahead of Kenyan cross country champion Leonard Barsoton, with Ethiopia's Abadi Hadis rounding out the podium.

"I was confident of retaining my title," said Kamworor.

"When the Ugandan broke away, I kept my cool and ran my race. I knew he would get tired. His pace was so high and it would have been amazing if he had maintained to the end."

Kamworor added: "From the start of the race I was really focused. I knew there were a lot of Kenyans who travelled overnight and I didn't want to disappoint them."

- Kenyan women shine -

Kenya proved to be even more dominant in the women's race, Cheptai leading home five of her teammates for a first-ever podium cleansweep for the east African running powerhouse.

"The course was very tough," Cheptai said. "We didn't think it was possible to get one through six but we cooperate as Kenyans."

Cheptai, who was seventh at the world championships in Guiyang two years ago, clocked 31:57 around the 10km course. Silver went to Alice Nawowuna and bronze to Lilian Rengeruk.

Defending champion Agnes Tirop placed fifth and Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon was sixth in the biennial event, the first major sporting showpiece held in Uganda, only the fourth African country to host the worlds in its 44-year history.

Morocco hosted twice in 1975 and 1998, South Africa in 1996 and Kenya in 2007. The competition was changed from an annual to a biennial event in 2011.

There was joy for the home nation as Jacob Kiplimo won the under-20 men's race, Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia claiming gold in the junior women's race.

Kenya, powered by three-time world 1500m champion and 2008 Olympic gold medallist Asbel Kiprop, also took gold in the inaugural mixed relay.

Beatrice Chepkoech held on to see off Genzebe Dibaba's spirited last leg for Ethiopia to claim gold by eight seconds, a Turkish team made up of four former Kenyans taking bronze.

More than 550 athletes from 59 countries took part at the worlds, but a refugee team from South Sudan had to drop out at the last minute due to what an IAAF official termed "administrative hurdles".

AFP -- OmRiyadat

Kenya and their east African middle and long-distance running rivals, Ethiopia, will come face-to-face again at the 42nd World Cross Country Championships in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday.

The two countries who have dominated the global event more than any other nation, have strong teams at this year's event which is held at the picturesque Kololo Independence Ground.

Kenya's world champion Geoffrey Kamworor, leads a strong team in the 10km senior men's race, but many believe Ethiopia, led by national champion, Getaneh Molla, should challenge.

A total of 557 athletes from 59 countries will face a testing course which has been fitted with a water jump and a hill to challenge the runners endurance.

"The quality of performances you will see tomorrow absolutely and quintessentially exemplifies the fact that this is a truly global sport," Sebastian Coe, IAAF President, told reporters.

"There's no greater heartland for that talent and that passion than Africa for these cross country championships. This is a country, and this is a continent that takes cross country very seriously."

Despite finishing third at the Kenyan trials last month, Kamworor -- World Half Marathon champion in Cardiff last year --and Leonard Barsoton, who won the Kenyan trials, are favourites in the senior men's race.

Stern competition is expected from Molla and Ethiopian team mates Muktar Edris, Abadi Hadis -- a national 10,000m champion -- Mohos Tuemay and Ibrahim Jeilan.

Ugandan hopes rest on national champion Joshua Cheptegei, African cross country silver medalist Phillip Kipyeko and Timothy Toroitich.

"We have the experience and the best athletes. We have trained well and I have no doubt that we will triumph," Kenya's Leonard Komon told Reuters at the Kololo Independence Ground on Saturday.

Olympic 1,500m champion, Faith Kipyegon and three-time winner over the same distance, Asbel Kiprop, will lead Kenya in a new event -- the mixed relay.

However, much is expected of USA led by Kenyan-born Paul Chelimo and Ethiopia led by Genzebe Dibaba.

Kenyan Agnes Tirop, women's 8km senior defending champion, will lead a team including African champion Alice Aprot and Kipyegon in a race expected to be dominated by Kenya and Ethiopia.

World Cross Country silver medalist Senbere Teferi, who also won silver in 5,000m at the World Championships in Beijing, Belaynesh Oljira, Dera Dida and Sentayehu Lewetegn will lead the Ethiopian challenge against Kenya.

Reuters -- OmRiyadat

The head of European athletics has called on Frank Fredericks to step down from the world athletics' (IAAF) federation council pending an investigation into allegations he accepted payments before the awarding of the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.

A statement issued on Wednesday by Svein Arne Hansen, who does not name Fredericks but clearly refers to his case, comes a day after IAAF president Sebastian Coe said the Namibian would stay on the council while the ethics board decides if an investigation is necessary.

"In recent weeks the IAAF Council has been confronted with new and disturbing integrity-linked accusations related to one of its members," Hansen said in his statement on Wednesday.

"In my personal opinion, any individual who finds themselves under such suspicion now or in the future should step aside from all their sport-related duties until the issue is resolved as it is not good for the organization they serve."

The head of European athletics has called on Frank Fredericks to step down from the world athletics' (IAAF) federation council pending an investigation into allegations he accepted payments before the awarding of the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.

A statement issued on Wednesday by Svein Arne Hansen, who does not name Fredericks but clearly refers to his case, comes a day after IAAF president Sebastian Coe said the Namibian would stay on the council while the ethics board decides if an investigation is necessary.

"In recent weeks the IAAF Council has been confronted with new and disturbing integrity-linked accusations related to one of its members," Hansen said in his statement on Wednesday.

"In my personal opinion, any individual who finds themselves under such suspicion now or in the future should step aside from all their sport-related duties until the issue is resolved as it is not good for the organization they serve."

As well as being in charge of European Athletics, Hansen, like Fredericks, is an IAAF Council member.

"I want to emphasize that in the current case we are dealing with allegations and must always presume innocence until they are proven," Hansen added.

"However, should the allegations turn out to be true, they would reveal an extremely disappointing betrayal of athletics and its values, which would damage the sport's image in the eyes of its supporters and the public."

Former sprinter Fredericks, an International Olympic Committee member, stepped down two weeks ago as head of the IOC team evaluating bids to host the 2024 Games and has also removed himself from the IAAF task force looking into doping in Russia.

French newspaper Le Monde had reported that Fredericks received almost $300,000 from Papa Massata Diack, the son of disgraced former IAAF President Lamine Diack, prior to the election of Rio as the 2016 Olympics hosts back in 2009.

Fredericks has said he received the money but denied any wrongdoing, saying it was for "services rendered" to promote the sport in Africa and had nothing to do with the Rio vote.

The IOC has also launched an investigation into the matter.

French prosecutors are investigating whether bribery was involved in the awarding of the 2021 world athletics championships to the U.S. city of Eugene and are also looking into several other host city decisions.

Reuters -- OmRiyadat

Commonwealth Games 400 meters hurdles champion Kaliese Spencer and world championship relay medalist Riker Hylton have been charged with breaching anti-doping rules, Jamaican athletics officials confirmed on Tuesday.

"We have been advised by JADCO (Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission) that athletes Kaliese Spencer and Riker Hylton have been referred to the Independent Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel for a hearing to be conducted in accordance with Article 8 of the JADCO Anti-doping Rules 2015," the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) said in a statement.

"Both athletes are alleged to have violated article 2.3 of the said rules which speaks to 'Evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection'."

Under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules, "evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection" is one of 10 possible ways that athletes or their support staff can be charged with an anti-doping doping rule violation.

The maximum penalty is a four-year suspension.

Jamaica's Spencer won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and was also a world championship silver medalist in the 4x400m relay in Berlin in 2009.

She did not respond to Reuters' phone calls or text requests for comment.

Hylton, who won a 4x400m bronze at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, told Reuters on Tuesday that he had been notified of his provisional suspension by JADCO.

He said the anti-doping body claimed he had declined to provide a sample for testing last year at the Stadium East field.

Hylton, however, said that he had not been properly informed that he had been selected for testing and only found out that he had been accused of declining to provide a sample after he had left the stadium.

"Honestly they (JADCO) never did their job properly because they were supposed to make the person know that you were selected to be drug tested and they did not let me know that," Hylton said.

JADCO has not responded to Reuters' requests for comment.

Reuters -- OmRiyadat

Paris Olympic bid officials have ruled out any possibility of the French capital hosting the 2028 Games and say it is 2024 or nothing.

Three-times Olympic canoeing champion and bid co-chairman Tony Estanguet told Reuters on Tuesday, however, that Paris was open to the idea of the hosts of both Games being decided at the same session in Lima next September.

But he said Paris, which last hosted the Games in 1924 and is up against two-times hosts Los Angeles after others withdrew, was only an option for the Olympics that follow four years on from Tokyo 2020.

 

Paris Olympic bid officials have ruled out any possibility of the French capital hosting the 2028 Games and say it is 2024 or nothing.

Three-times Olympic canoeing champion and bid co-chairman Tony Estanguet told Reuters on Tuesday, however, that Paris was open to the idea of the hosts of both Games being decided at the same session in Lima next September.

But he said Paris, which last hosted the Games in 1924 and is up against two-times hosts Los Angeles after others withdrew, was only an option for the Olympics that follow four years on from Tokyo 2020.

"(2028) is not an option for us," said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) member at a media briefing in London.

"Our project is only feasible and guaranteed for 2024...the land to build the Olympic and Paralympic village is only available for 2024.

"This is the fourth bid by Paris and we believe it is now or never. This is the last chance to see Paris bidding for the Games. Afterwards, I think Paris and France will do different things."

Bid officials said land earmarked for the village had to be handed over to developers after the 2024 Games -- or next September if Paris lost out to California.

IOC president Thomas Bach has hinted he would not be against awarding the 2024 and 2028 Games at the same time.

The IOC Executive Board has agreed to set up a working group to explore potential changes to the process and report back in July.

Officials from both bid cities have said they are not looking beyond 2024, and Los Angeles reiterated that on Tuesday.

"Los Angeles is the right city at this critical time for the Olympic Movement and is only bidding for 2024," the city's bid committee said in a statement after Paris had made their position clear.

"With all permanent venues already built and 88 percent public support, only LA 2024 offers the lowest-risk and truly sustainable solution for the future of the Olympic Movement in 2024 and beyond."

Estanguet said Paris, which has 95 percent of its permanent or temporary venues in place, would have no problem with a double vote.

"We are ready for this option, and we welcome this process," he said. "But I can only say that Paris is only possible for 2024. We cannot accept 2028."

With photographs of abandoned and decaying venues from last year's Rio de Janeiro Games already doing the rounds, Estanguet promised that there would be no 'white elephants' left after a Paris Games.

He said the city would also be a safe option for the IOC, both in terms of the organization and security despite a series of militant Islamist attacks over the past two years in which more than 230 people have been killed.

"Of course we will maintain the safety of the Games," he said.

"We proved recently that we are completely able to organize strong international events with total security," he added, referring to last year's European soccer championship in France.

"We want to have security and we have the expertise in France at the moment. There is no question about our ability to maintain safety during the Games."

Asked how confident he was of Paris's eventual success, Estanguet said it would be a case of fighting right down to the last minute.

Reuters -- OmRiyadat

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 09:21

Life bans for China's marathon cheats

- China will ban marathon cheats for life to clamp down on scandals that have dogged the fast-growing sport, which saw nearly three million participants across the country last year. The Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) said in a statement late Monday that people who run under false names, or cheat in other ways such as replacing a runner with another person during the race or having more than one identifying PIN chip will be banned. First-time offenders will receive a lifetime ban from the race in which they cheated. A second offence will result in a bar for life from all Chinese marathons. The December death of a runner in a half-marathon in China's southeastern city of Xiamen threw the spotlight on distance-race cheating in the world's most populous nation. After the man called Wu had a heart attack and died 4.5 kilometres (3 miles) from the finish line, it was discovered he was running on someone else's behalf.

AFP -- OmRiyadat

Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia ran the fastest time in five years in winning the NYC Half, and Molly Huddle of the United States won her third straight women’s title in the 13.1-mile race

Lilesa, the silver medalist in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics, was timed in 1 hour, 4 seconds Sunday and finished ahead of Britain’s Callum Hawkins (1:00:08) and fellow Ethiopian Teshome Mekonen (1:00:28). Lilesa outsprinted both in the final stretch for his first win in 2017.

Huddle finished in 1:08:19 over the course from Central Park to Lower Manhattan. Emily Sisson, Huddle’s training partner, was second (1:08:21) and Burundi’s Diane Nukuri was third (1:09:13).

Huddle’s time was the third-fastest in the 12-year history of the event, which drew 20,000 runners.

South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk, a two-time New York City Marathon champion in the wheelchair event, won the men’s race in 47:28. U.S. Paralympian Susannah Scaroni won the women’s race in 55:06.

AP -- OmRiyadat

 

A whistleblower says he fled Russia, in an interview broadcast on Saturday, because of threats following his claims that Russian athletics has failed to tackle a widespread culture of doping.

Russia has been in the spotlight over what the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) calls state-sponsored doping across multiple sports over several years.

Andrey Dmitriev, a 1500m runner, claimed in January that Russian athletics coaches, who face suspension over violations of international doping laws, continue to work with athletes, which he secretly filmed to prove.

However, in his latest interview, the 26-year-old told German broadcaster ARD that he fled to an undisclosed location after being threatened in Russia and branded a traitor for his revelations.

"When I realised what was heading my way, I knew I had better leave the country," he said.

"For the moment, I feel safe. For me, there was no alternative, but to flee.

"Many saw my interview and the evidence that I provided in a negative sense.

"They called me a traitor, a liar, and - excuse my language - poured tonnes of shit on me.

"Right after the interview, I was fired from both training centres in my home town where I was getting paid.

"I had believed that I would be able to change something at first, but when I saw the reaction of many Russians I realised that I had failed.

"Russians are not ready for the whistleblowing culture."

Dmitriev's decision to flee mirrors that of Yuliya Stepanova and her husband Vitaly -- who fled to the United States over fears of reprisals -- following their 2014 revelations of widespread doping in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to Yuliya Stepanova as "Judas" but the Russian track and field team was barred from last year's Rio Olympics and there was a total ban on Russians at the Paralympics.

Dmitriev says when he spoke out in January, it quickly became apparent he could not expect open support from those in Russian athletics

"Immediately after my interview with ARD there was indeed a growing discussion in our country about doping in sports," he said.

"But just for a very short time.

"I wanted other athletes to stand up and speak up, I hoped to see the national team members speak up publicly.

"What people call 'Russian Track and Field' is a horror.

"I wanted the athletes to say that I was right, that I was not lying and that the old coaches need to be gone.

"I was expecting athletes and coaches to protect me, but they have been quiet even though many supported me in private messages."

Dmitriev says the threats started in January and he feared being thrown in jail as questions were suddenly asked about his lack of national service.

"I never broke the law, but I didn't report to the recruitment office for the army," he said.

"The army wasn't interested in me, they never searched for me or whatever.

"But suddenly they appeared, right after my interview with ARD. I am sure that this was not a coincidence.

"They came without advanced notice and tried to take away my passport, tackled me and threatened to put me in jail.

"Two of them held me like if I was a gangster.

"They made me sign a paper saying that I will report to the recruitment office on February 27. I had no choice.

"To go to jail would have been a purposeless heroism that nobody needs."

AFP -- OmRiyadat

Usain Bolt, fellow world record holders David Rudisha and Wayde van Niekerk and middle distance king Mo Farah will headline the JN Racers Grand Prix on June 10, organizers announced on Friday.

The meet dubbed a 'salute to the legend' is set to be Bolt's last professional race in Jamaica as the eight-times Olympic sprint champion closes the meet in the 100 meters.

"It will be my last competition on home soil ... I might shed a tear even though I'm not an emotional person as I close out where it started on Jamaican soil," Bolt told reporters, adding that he was eyeing a time of under 9.8 seconds.

"I'm feeling good ... the fact that I got a few sprints in at the Nitro series in January and I've come back to training, I'm feeling good, coach is happy with the fluency that I have so that's a good sign.

"I haven't really run a fast time early in the season, so for me to a run 9.7 would be very good and I think that would be sufficient enough to say that's a very special time," added the man who won the 100m and 200m at the past three Olympics.

Coach Glen Mills has little doubt Bolt will be ready to give his home fans a sizzling farewell.

"Based on the standard he (Bolt) sets himself I'm sure he'll be in good shape to give the people a performance," Mills told Reuters.

Bolt will end his career at the world championships in London in August.

He will share the spotlight at the Kingston meet, at least partially, with a decorated group including two-times Olympic 800m champion Rudisha of Kenya.

Briton Farah, double Olympic gold medalist in the 5000m and 10,000m, will also be in action, along with American dual Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor.

Also scheduled to compete will be South African van Niekerk, who electrified the Rio Olympics with a world record of 43.03 seconds in the 400m.

Bolt hinted that his 200m world record of 19.19 could one day be under threat from van Niekerk, whose best mark is 19.94.

"Just knowing him, he's a very determined person and he trains really hard," said Bolt.

Reuters -- OmRiyadat

Jamaican sprint great Usain Bolt has already ruled out competing at next year's Commonwealth Games in Australia's Gold Coast but organisers are still hoping he will make an appearance of some sort.

"He won't be competing, you all know that, but we are trying to get him to come in some capacity," Gold Coast organising committee chairman Peter Beattie told reporters on Wednesday.

"(GOLDOC chief executive) Mark (Peters) has met with the (athlete's) manager on a couple of occasions and we will continue those discussions.

"We will do everything we can to get Usain Bolt to the Gold Coast for this event."

The 30-year-old world record holder, who completed a "treble treble" of 100m, 200m and 4x100m Olympic titles at the 2016 Rio Games, said in February he had no plans to extend his career beyond this year's world championships in London.

The sport's great entertainer competed in Melbourne last month at the first Nitro Series meeting with a team of international "All-Stars".

Bolt is also contracted to bring his All-Stars to Australia for the next two years.

Reuters -- OmRiyadat

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