Mo Farah

Mo Farah on sub-2-hour marathon, athletes changing countries, Usain Bolt race

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British distance-running great Mo Farah made headlines two weeks ago when he said he was “considering the feasibility” of a marathon being run in under two hours.

That didn’t mean Farah thought he could be the first sub-two man. Far from it.

“For me to say I can run under two hours is ridiculous,” Farah, the Olympic and world champion in the 5000m and 10,000m told the BBC. “My goals are to run the London Marathon and do the best that I can.”

The marathon world record is 2 hours, three minutes and 23 seconds, set by Kenyan Wilson Kipsang at the Berlin Marathon last month. The previous mark was also set in Berlin, Patrick Makau‘s 2:03:38 in 2011.

Kenyan Dennis Kimetto flirted with the world record at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, winning in 2:03:45.

Farah plans to make his 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 13. He told the BBC his time goal is to get close to the British record of 2:07.13 set by Steve Jones of Wales in Chicago in 1985.

“I think in years to come (sub-two hours) is doable, but not in the first marathon,” Farah said.

Farah was also asked about England soccer player Jack Wilshere‘s comments about athletes’ nationalities.

“The only people who should play for England are English people,” Wilshere said last week. “If you live in England for five years it doesn’t make you English. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years I am not going to play for Spain.”

Farah was born in Somalia to a British father and moved to England at age 8. He trains in Oregon but has always competed for Great Britain.

“There’s people out there who switch nationality,” Farah told the BBC. “There’s Kenyan guys who last year or two years ago were running for Kenya and then they switched to Qatar and Bahrain and other countries. Yes I do have a problem with that.”

One of Farah’s 5000m rivals, Bernard Lagat, competed for Kenya at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and then the U.S. at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Farah also told Sky Sports he has yet to decide if he will compete at the Commonwealth Games in July and August. That’s a slight departure from a Telegraph report last week that Farah wanted to compete in both the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships, but probably just one event in both.

“I don’t even know if I’m going to do it, the Commonwealths or the Europeans,” Farah told Sky Sports. “It all depends how I come off the marathon, it’s totally different from the track.”

Farah also addressed the potential charity race between him and Usain Bolt.

“I don’t know, we’re still working on that,” he told Sky Sports. “Hopefully it will happen at some point. It would be good for charity but I don’t know if it will happen in one year, two years or whenever.

“It’s just something I said out of the blue – ‘it would be great to do it for charity!’ And now it’s gone worldwide.”

Farah’s training fist fight on Christmas

Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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