European marathon record holder Mo Farah is the first major name to sign up to compete in next year's London Marathon, organisers said. The 35-year-old Somalia-born Briton decided to quit the track after last year's world championships and focus solely on the marathon. It paid off - he set a new European mark of 2hrs 05mins 11secs when winning the prestigious Chicago Marathon in October. Farah, a quadruple Olympic champion having achieved the distance double of 5,000 metres and 10,000m in 2012 and 2016, said he was looking forward to pitting his wits against the traditionally strong field the race attracts.
Dipa Karmakar wins bronze at artistic gymnastics world cup
Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar claimed a bronze medal at the vault event on the third day of the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Cottbus, Germany. The 25-year-old from Tripura, who had an injury-marred campaign at the Asian Games, scored 14.316 to secure the bronze in the tournament, which is also a part of the eight-event qualifying system for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Dipa had qualified for the vault finals, scoring 14.100 to finish at the sixth place out of 16 gymnasts in the qualification. Dipa had won a gold in the vault event of Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey in July for her first medal after returning to action following a long lay-off of nearly two years. However, she had hurt her knee again during the Asian Games, missed the vault final and was forced to pull out of the team event. With this performance, the Indian, who had finished fourth at the Rio Olympics, inched closer to qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.
Wrestler Bajrang to miss nationals
India celebrated Bajrang Punia’s historic silver at the World championships in Budapest, but little did the fans know that the champion wrestler took injections and several painkillers to counter a serious elbow injury that threatened to end his medal charge at the Worlds. Now, the pain has got aggravated to such an extent that it will keep Bajrang away from the mat for nearly two months, resulting in the 65kg freestyle wrestler skipping the upcoming Nationals in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda from November 29 to December 2. According to Bajrang, he’s undergoing rehabilitation and isn’t practising. He expects to return during the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) in January, but it will all depend on his recovery. “I suffered injury to ligament of the right elbow joint a week prior to the start of the Worlds. It happened during training. But,I didn’t disclose it to anyone, else people would have said I was making excuses after losing the final,” Bajrang said. “I was in immense pain, but couldn’t have afforded to pull out of the Worlds since it was a big event. My physio gave me injections and painkillers to keep the pain under control. Painkillers were given to me during the bouts as well. I forgot the pain in my pursuit for a medal. I have been away from the mat for 7-8 weeks,” he added. The silver at the Worlds took Bajrang top of the world rankings in the 65kg.
While Bajrang could afford to miss the Nationals, next year is crucial to his 2020 Tokyo Olympics dreams. It will mark the start of the Olympics qualification cycle and first up would be the Asian championships, the selection trials for which will be conducted in early part of 2019.
Sushil, Pooja skip Nationals
Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, Budapest Worlds bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda and 2014 Glasgow CWG gold winner Babita Phogat have decided to skip the event due to different reasons. However, reigning CWG and Asian Games champion Vinesh Phogat and Rio Olympics bronze winner Sakshi Malik will add some star power to a depleted field.
India's five top athletes fail dope tests
Indian athletics continued to add to the doping hall of the shame with reports emerging that five of the top stars including, 400m runner Nirmala Sheoran, have allegedly failed dope tests. The others in the list who have failed the dope tests conducted by world athletics body’s (IAAF) Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) are Sanjivini Jadhav (5,000 and 10,000m), Sandeep Kumari (discus throw) and Jhuma Khatun (1,500m). The only male athlete to figure in the new list of dope cheats is shot putter Naveen Chikara. While two of the athletes caught were training at the national camp at the SAI South Centre Bengaluru, the others were part of the federation’s list of athletes who were to train at the NIS in Patiala. Star athlete Nirmala, who had disappeared for long periods before being flown into Jakarta for the Asian Games, has been traced but she hasn’t joined the national camps, sources said.
“There are reports that these samples were collected during the Inter-State meet held in Guwahati. These results have arrived only now and that’s why some of these athletes were able to compete at the Asian Games,” sources said. “There is no change to the situation from what it was before. Even the other day, some athletes ran away from the camp when Nada officials made a surprise visit to collect samples,” sources added, stressing the fact that athletes continue to do the disappearing act with active connivance of the authorities.