Canadians win World pairs title; best U.S. finish since 2011

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Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford became the first Canadians to win a pairs World Championship since 2001, while the best U.S. pair finished seventh in Shanghai on Thursday.

Duhamel and Radford, the two-time World bronze medalists and pre-event favorites, added to their lead from the short program Wednesday and prevailed by 7.41 with 221.53 total points (full results here).

China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong and Pang Qing and Tong Jian earned silver and bronze.

The last Canadian World champions in pairs were Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, who took the crown in 2001 and then were co-Olympic champions in the 2002 judging scandal.

Also Thursday, U.S. champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim executed a quad twist, but both also erred on jumps in the free skate to finish seventh. They were also in seventh after the short program.

It’s an improvement over their ninth-place finish from their Worlds debut in 2012 and marked the best U.S. finish since 2011, though they came to Shanghai with a top-six goal.

“We can improve on every aspect of our skating,” Scimeca said, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “There are no limits to our potential.”

U.S. silver medalists Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier finished 12th in their Worlds debut.

The reigning Russian Olympic champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov and 2014 German World champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy were not in the competition. Savchenko and Szolkowy are no longer competing together.

Pairs Final Results
Gold: Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) — 221.53
Silver: Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (CHN) — 214.12
Bronze: Pang Qing/Tong Jian (CHN) — 212.77
4. Peng Cheng/Zhang Hao (CHN) — 206.63
5. Yuko Kavaguti/Aleksander Smirnov (RUS) — 198.91
7. Alexa Scimeca/Chris Knierim (USA) — 185.81
12. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 172.51

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Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein

Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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