Turkey’s track and field federation announced two-year drug bans for 31 of its athletes Monday, a news story that bordered an Istanbul 2020 Olympic candidate city panel on its website with the slogan, “Bridge Together.”
The timing for terrible news is certainly not ideal. The nation has been flooded with negative press for months leading into the Sept. 7 vote in Buenos Aires, where the International Olympic Committee will choose from Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo for the host of the 2020 Olympics.
The latest setback for Turkey was not surprising. The 31 bans came after reports of massive positive tests from Turkish athletes leading into the Mediterranean Games in June. Five days ago, nine other Turkish track and field athletes received two-year bans.
The list of athletes, which includes the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the men’s hammer throw, can be found on the Turkish track and field website here.
More suspensions could be on the way, including one for the 2012 Olympic champion in the women’s 1,500 meters, Asli Cakir Alptekin. She was provisionally suspended in May through the biological passport program as irregularities were found in her blood levels. She could face a lifetime ban because she’s already served a two-year ban for previous doping.
“The files of Asli Cakir Alptekin, Nevin Yanit and Pinar Saka were not assessed because the process of investigation following their defense statements is continuing,” the federation in the statement on its website.
Turkey’s track and field chairman resigned amid the scandal last week.
Long list of star track and field athletes who won’t compete at world championships
Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, recently met former soccer star David Beckham at a restaurant.
Both global sporting icons posted similar photos on social media with similar captions Monday morning.
Beckham played midfield for Manchester United, and Bolt is a longtime fan of the soccer club.
Bolt, who is planning on retiring after the 2017 World Championships, was recently asked about the possibility of Manchester United while hosting a Facebook Live.
“If I had the chance to play for Manchester United, I would go right now,” he said, laughing. “I would retire and start playing futbol right now. That’s how much I really want to play for Manchester United.”
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Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was running down the open field when he encountered Chicago Bears safety Chris Prosinski.
Prosinski went low and Elliott, a high school state champion in the 110m and 300m hurdles, decided to go high and hurdle the defender:
The track and field community took notice of Elliott’s hurdle.
Lolo Jones, a 100m hurdler who competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, gave Elliott grades of an A++ for difficulty and an A for technique on Twitter. She wrote that it “hands down would’ve been best NFL hurdle technique of the yr.” if a second Bears defender, Jonathan Anderson, hadn’t prevented Elliott from landing cleanly:
Dawn Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the 100m hurdles, also had a positive review of Elliott’s efforts:
Emma Coburn, the 2016 Olympic 3000m steeplechase bronze medalist, thought Elliott’s leap resembled her event:
Elliott finished with 30 carries for 140 yards to lead the Cowboys to a 31-17 win during Sunday Night Football.
His mother, Dawn, who was a track and field athlete at the University of Missouri, posted a photo on Twitter to remind everyone where her son inherited his hurling gene from:
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