David Rudisha

Zurich Diamond League final preview

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The Diamond League circuit concludes with two finals meets in Zurich on Thursday and Brussels on Sept. 5.

The finals are labeled that way because they mark the last competitions in individual event Diamond Races, accumulation points standings that determine season-long champions.

The Diamond League finals provide double the points than the previous Diamond League meets. That means first place in Zurich awards eight points, second place gets four points and third place two points.

Each of the 32 individual event Diamond Race winners receive $40,000 and a Diamond Trophy. Half of the Diamond Races conclude in Zurich. The other 16 conclude in Brussels.

In Zurich, 14 of the 16 Diamond Races are still in play. Only LaShawn Merritt (400m) and Sandra Perkovic (discus) have their titles already clinched, so long as they show up in Switzerland.

The rest of the events are headlined by Allyson Felix and David Rudisha with Universal Sports and UniversalSports.com coverage starting at 2 p.m. ET. Don’t forget Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell racing in the 100m, a non-Diamond Race event.

Here are five Diamond Races to watch in Zurich:

Men’s triple jump — 2 p.m. ET

Standings
1. Will Claye (USA) — 14 points
2. Christian Taylor (USA) — 12 points

The Americans who went one-two at the London Olympics will do battle for another title in Zurich. This time, London silver medalist Claye is in the driver’s seat.

Claye has had a better season than Taylor, leaping personal bests 17.66m in May and 17.75m in June, the latter winning the U.S. Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Claye celebrated that jump, while wearing a backwards cap, by running into the stands.

But Taylor, who opened his season running 400m races, won the last Diamond League triple jump in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 12. Claye was second there. If that result repeats in Zurich, Taylor will claim the Diamond Race title.

Women’s 1500m — 2:38

Standings
1. Abeba Aregawi (SWE) — 12 points
2. Sifan Hassan (NED) — 10 points
3. Jenny Simpson (USA) — 9 points

Simpson, the 2011 World champion, is having the best season of her career. She’s gone under her previous personal best twice, including a 3:57.22 in Paris on July 5. Then she beat the Ethiopian-born Aregawi and Hassan, along with Genzebe Dibaba, in Stockholm on Thursday.

That victory put Simpson in control of her own destiny in Zurich. Win, and she takes the Diamond Race. If she finishes second, she can also capture the season title if Aregawi doesn’t finish first or third and Hassan doesn’t win.

Women’s 100m — 2:59

Standings
1. Kerron Stewart (JAM) — 7 points
2. Murielle Ahoure (CIV) — 3 points
3. Veronica Campbell-Brown (JAM) — 2 points
3. Blessing Okagbare (NIG) — 2 points
3. Myriam Soumare (FRA) — 2 points

Few could have predicted how this event would play out this season. Olympic and World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce prevailed in the opener in Doha but hasn’t won since and isn’t in the Zurich field after scratching the Birmingham 100m on Sunday.

American Tori Bowie, primarily a long jumper until March, won three of the six Diamond Race events so far this season, giving her 12 points and the lead. But she pulled up with a leg injury in Birmingham and will miss Zurich, meaning she is not eligible to win the Diamond Race.

That leaves the Jamaican veteran Stewart as the leader. Stewart, 30 and a 2008 Olympic 100m silver medalist, hasn’t broken 11 seconds this year for the first time since 2007. She’ll likely need to finish second to win the Diamond Race, and it won’t be easy. Okagbare and Campebell-Brown are the fastest women this year in the field. Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix and the world’s fastest 200m runner this year, the Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers, are also in the field.

Men’s 800m — 3:08

Standings
1. David Rudisha (KEN) — 8 points
2. Nijel Amos (BOT) — 6 points
3. Asbel Kiprop (KEN) — 4 points
3. Adam Kszczot (POL) — 4 points

The Olympic champion and world record holder Rudisha will clinch the Diamond Race title with a victory or by finishing second if Amos, Kiprop and Kszczot don’t win. Rudisha, who came back in June after missing more than a year of competition with a knee injury, has looked more beatable this season that any time over the last five years. He is coming off a 600m victory in Birmingham, England, on Sunday.

World champion Mohammed Aman can prevail in the Diamond Race with a win if Rudisha doesn’t finish second. Aman won a pair of 800m races at Diamond League meets this year, but they didn’t count in the Diamond Race standings.

Women’s 100m Hurdles — 3:17

Standings
1. Queen Harrison (USA) — 17 points
2. Dawn Harper-Nelson (USA) — 13 points

Americans have won all six 100m hurdles races this season — Harrison with three, Harper-Nelson with two and World champion Brianna Rollins with one. Australian Olympic champion Sally Pearson is also in this field, but the Diamond Race will come down to Harrison, a 2008 Olympian in the 400m hurdles, and the 2008 Olympic champion Harper-Nelson.

Harper-Nelson closed the gap on Harrison with a Birmingham victory and owns the fastest time in the world this year (12.44).

Video: Youth Olympics 8x100m relay

Top prospects, WNBA rookies make statement in World Beach Games 3×3 hoops

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Before No. 1 high school basketball prospect Paige Bueckers starts her career at Connecticut — or before she even graduates from high school — she is taking some time to help the U.S. women’s 3×3 team make a late charge in the world rankings before next year’s Olympics.

On the beachside court at Qatar’s Katara Beach, the 19th-ranked U.S. women opened the World Beach Games with a couple of routs over the Dominican Republic (22-5) and Jordan (22-4), clinching a spot in the knockout rounds.

Top-ranked Russia should have provided tougher competition Tuesday, with the group win and a better seed in the playoffs at stake, but the U.S. rolled to a 22-3 win.

The U.S. women are currently ranked 19th, but check back as the rankings change daily. The rankings require a bit of calculus, but in general, they reward not just results but participation, a disadvantage for North American teams that don’t have as many international events within easy traveling distance.

Their effort in Qatar won’t be enough to climb into the top three to take one of the automatic Olympic qualifying spots by the Nov. 1 deadline, but they should easily have enough points to reach the qualifying tournament in March.

In last year’s 3×3 World Cup, the U.S. women also defeated Russia 21-13 in pool play but dropped a 17-14 decision to Italy in the quarterfinals. Ruthy Hebard, a University of Oregon forward from Alaska who is projected as a top pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, is the sole carry-over from that team to this year’s World Beach Games team. Hebard and Oregon teammate Sabrina Ionescu, who is not playing in Qatar, were on the U.S. team that took gold at the Pan Am Games this summer.

Two of Hebard’s teammates in Qatar, Jackie Young and Napheesa Collier, have just finished their rookie seasons in the WNBA. Collier, the 2019 WNBA Rookie of the Year with the Minnesota Lynx, has plenty of international experience, including a win in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Young, who is making her international debut, was the top pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft and led the Las Vegas Aces with 4.5 assists per game in her rookier year.

Bueckers, who will turn 18 next week, has already helped U.S. teams win three gold medals in youth full-court tournaments 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup, the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship plus 3×3 gold at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. She was MVP of the U19 World Cup earlier this year.

The team had a balanced attack in its first two games, with Hebard and Collier each averaging 6 points per game under 3×3’s unique scoring system 1 point for a field goal inside the arc, 2 points for a shot beyond the arc, and 1 point for a free throw. Bueckers hit 4 of 8 2-pointers in the first two games and averaged 5.5 points, and Young chipped in 4.5 per game.

Young took charge against Russia, hitting 7-of-14 1-point shots and two free throws for 9 points. Collier had 6 points, including a 2-pointer. Bueckers hit two shots from beyond the arc for 4 points, and Hebard added 3 on 1-point shots. The team’s defense held Russia to 14% shooting.

The U.S. did not enter the men’s 3×3 competition in Qatar. The men are already guaranteed a spot in next year’s Olympic qualifying event.

Elsewhere at the World Beach Games:

  • Daniela Moroz won the women’s kitefoil racing event, Guenther Oka and Jamie Lopina each took bronze in wakeboarding, and Gakuji Tozaki earned bronze in the karate kata event, which is now an Olympic event.
  • The U.S. women’s beach soccer team, which just completed its first-ever training camp, finished 1-2 in pool play.
  • In 4×4 beach volleyball, the U.S. women have advanced to the final, while the U.S. men will play in the semifinals.

STREAMING: World Beach Games on OlympicChannel.com

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Chinese swimmer Sun Yang gets rare open hearing in doping case

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said Monday it will hear the World Anti-Doping Agency’s case against three-time Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang on Nov. 15 in front of reporters — possibly even live-streamed — at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Montreux, Switzerland.

The hearing won’t be completely open. Registration will be required, and photographers and videographers “will be invited to leave the hearing room after the opening,” CAS said in a statement. But those outside the room may still get a glimpse of the proceedings.

“With the agreement of all parties, it is intended to live stream all or parts of the hearing on the CAS website,” CAS said.

CAS noted that it has only held one prior hearing that wasn’t in a private setting — the 1999 case involving Irish swimmer Michelle Smith de Bruin, who won three gold medals in the 1996 Olympics but was banned for four years for tampering with a urine sample, a case that still prompts soul-searching in the Irish media. De Bruin lost the appeal.

Sun is accused of smashing a vial of blood at a drug test last fall. FINA allowed him to continue to compete, but the WADA has appealed, seeking a substantial suspension.

The Chinese swimmer won two gold medals at the world championships this summer and snubbed by some rivals at each medal ceremony, leading to a confrontation with British swimmer Duncan Scott.

RECAP AND VIDEO: Sun taunts Scott after medal ceremony

Sun has won 11 world individual titles in several freestyle distances but also has a long history of controversies ranging from a prior positive drug test and confrontations with other swimmers.

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