Omani medal hopes sailing toward 2024

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The Sultanate of Oman has competed in every Olympics since 1984, but is still yet to win a medal. No big deal since 72 countries can say the same, but now Oman is getting serious. And like the old saying goes: if at first you don’t succeed, put all your resources into a single sport.

That sport is apparently sailing.

More than half of Oman’s border runs along the Arabian sea, so the ministry of tourism and Oman Sail have developed a youth program aimed at teaching kids teamwork, leadership, and confidence through sailing. It’s also an unabashed investment in winning the country its first Olympic medal.

“We are targeting the youth to get involved with sport because of the
 positive values associated with sportsmanship,” says Oman Sail manager Rashid al Kindi. “Achieving success in sport helps drive national pride and self worth. Our message to parents is let your children come sailing because it is good for them.”

The program, which includes intense clinics taught by some of the worlds best sailors, hopes to draw around 70,000 Omani kids to sailing by 2020 with the goal of winning a medal in 2024. And while the clinics will emphasize fun, safety, and general good vibes, the best kids will be identified through a strict selection process to start five person national youth teams beginning as soon as next year.

Those teams will hope to compete in the the 2014 and 2018 Youth Olympics, the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships (which Oman has bid to host in 2016), and eventually the Olympics. Add up all the investment, time, effort, and experience and we wouldn’t be shocked to hear the Omani national anthem when the 2024 Games finally come around.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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