Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Mixed results for World champions in Zurich

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce consolidated her status as world’s fastest woman, winning a 100m race at a Diamond League meet in Zurich on Thursday, 10 days after she captured her third World Championship in the sprint.

Other gold medalists from Beijing last week, including Wayde van Niekerk, David Rudisha and Genzebe Dibaba, were not as fortunate in the first top-level meet since Worlds. Full results are here.

Fraser-Pryce clocked 10.93 seconds in Zurich, pulling away from the field early and cruising over the last 20 meters. The two-time Olympic 100m gold medalist won her World Championship in 10.76 on Aug. 24 and has a personal best of 10.70.

Fraser-Pryce beat a field that included World bronze medalist Tori Bowie (third, 11.06) and two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown (sixth, 11.22).

“It is not easy to race again in such a close time,” after Worlds, Fraser-Pryce said, according to the IAAF. “I needed to adjust again, but we are used to it, we are professional athletes.”

Earlier, World 200m silver medalist Elaine Thompson won a separate 100m race in 11.06.

The Diamond League season concludes on Sept. 11 in Brussels, a meet that could include Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin (in a separate race from Bolt) and Allyson Felix, all of whom skipped Zurich.

Also Thursday, South African 400m World champion Wayde van Niekerk was no match for LaShawn Merritt in Zurich.

Merritt, the 2008 Olympic and 2009 and 2013 World champion, prevailed in 44.18. Reigning Olympic champion Kirani James was second in 44.28, followed by van Niekerk in 44.35. Van Niekerk won the World title in 43.48, the sixth fastest time ever, and was undefeated this season going into Zurich.

Olympic and World champion David Rudisha lost the 800m lead on the final lap and faded to fourth. That’s the first time this year Rudisha has been lower than second in a race he’s finished. Poland’s Adam Kszczot won in Zurich in 1:45.55 after placing second to Rudisha at Worlds.

Rudisha said he raced scared due to cold and wet weather, according to the IAAF.

“I was a little bit afraid of this,” he said.

Russian Sergey Shubenkov showed no fear in following his World title in the 110m hurdles with a victory in 13.14. The race was missing World silver medalist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica and bronze medalist Aries Merritt, the Olympic champion and world-record holder recovering from a kidney transplant.

The World champions in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m met up in the women’s 3000m. The 5000m title holder prevailed over the 1500m gold medalist. Ethiopian Almaz Ayana outsprinted countrywoman Genzebe Dibaba on the final lap to win in 8:22.34. American Jenny Simpson, the 2011 World 1500m champion, was fourth. Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot, the World 10,000m champion, was sixth.

Kenyan Asbel Kiprop took the men’s 1500m over countryman Elijah Manangoi, just as he did at Worlds. Kiprop clocked 3:35.79, prevailing by .22.

Evan Jager finished third in the 3000m steeplechase, an improvement over his disappointing sixth at Worlds. Jager clocked 8:18.39, 10.15 seconds behind Kenyan winner Paul Koech. Jager’s personal best is 8:00.45. Nobody from the Western Hemisphere has broken eight minutes in the event.

South Africa’s Anaso Jobodwana finished third in the 200m, just as he did at Worlds, but neither Bolt nor Gatlin raced in Zurich. Instead, Panama’s Alonso Edward prevailed in 20.03, followed by Jamaican Rasheed Dwyer (20.20) and Jobodwana (20.24).

Kenyan Eunice Sum won her sixth straight 800m at a Diamond League meet, after she was upset at the World Championships last week. Sum, who took bronze in Beijing, beat the World gold and silver medalists in Zurich.

Czech Zuzana Hejnova followed her second straight World title in the 400m hurdles with a victory in 54.47. World silver medalist Shamier Little wasn’t in the race, while World bronze medalist Cassandra Tate took fifth in 55.50.

Great Britain’s Greg Rutherford again held off the top Americans in the long jump. Rutherford, the Olympic and World champion, tied Marquis Dendy at 8.32 meters, but Rutherford’s second best jump was better than Dendy’s.

In the women’s long jump, World champion Tianna Bartoletta finished second to Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic. Bartoletta said she was still in pain from spraining her left ankle at the World Championships, according to the IAAF.

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Hayato Sakamoto, Japanese baseball MVP, tests positive for coronavirus

Hayato Sakamoto
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Hayato Sakamoto, an MVP of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, is one of two players from the Yomiuri Giants to test positive for the coronavirus, according to several Japanese media reports.

Sakamoto, a 31-year-old shortstop, and catcher Takumi Oshiro tested positive ahead of the NPB’s planned June 19 start to the season that had been delayed to the coronavirus.

The tests showed traces of the coronavirus, according to Kyodo News.

The Giants canceled Wednesday’s practice game with the Seibu Lions to limit the spread of the virus.

Sakamoto is the reigning Central League MVP. He has been called the Derek Jeter of Japan for playing the same position as the Yankee great and being the veteran captain of Japan’s equivalent club, the Giants, which own a record 22 Japan Series titles.

Sakamoto, who played in the last two World Baseball Classics, has been considered a lock for Japan’s baseball team at the Tokyo Games in 2021 as the most well known active player who hasn’t left for Major League Baseball. MLB is not expected to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, which would keep the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka off the Olympic roster.

The sport returns to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, though it is not on the 2024 Olympic program nor guaranteed a place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Japan reached the semifinals of all five Olympic baseball tournaments when the sport was previously on the medal program but never took gold.

In a 2018 survey, Sakamoto was ranked as Japan’s eighth-most popular athlete across all sports, foreign or domestic, active or retired.

Sky Brown, 11-year-old Olympic skateboard hopeful, suffers serious injuries in fall

Sky Brown Skateboard Fall
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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old British Olympic skateboarding hopeful, recently suffered her worst fall, requiring surgery, she said in a video posted from a hospital bed.

Brown suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand and was at first unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital, according to the BBC, which quoted her father.

Video of the fall from a skateboarding ramp was posted on her social media. She appeared to be wearing a helmet in the video.

“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do,” Brown said. “But this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that, it’s OK, don’t worry. I’m OK. It’s OK to fall sometimes. I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’ve just go to do it with love and happiness.”

Brown is the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline.

Later Tuesday, Brown reposted an Instagram post from what appeared to be her father’s account. The caption of that post said Brown fell 15 feet to flat concrete.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” the caption read. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

“4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks.”

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Last week the worst thing I could ever ever imagined happened to @skybrown . She fell about 15ft off the side of a vert ramp to flat concrete. I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital. We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive. We prayed and begged God to give Sky another chance. Word came back while she was still unconscious, multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm, which she broke into pieces because she used it to break her fall, broken right fingers and lacerations to her heart and lungs. 4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks. More importantly her Doctors and the trauma team say it’s a miracle how well she is dealing with the pain and recovering incredibly fast. They said it’s shocking and believe it’s because of her grit, positivity and attitude. Skys brother @oceanbrown has been so brave. He saw his sister fall to the ground lying in a pool of blood and was screaming in tears that night outside of the hospital. He has still not allowed into the hospital to see her. They miss each-other dearly, but no siblings are allowed to enter the hospital because of coronavirus. They’ve been spending hours a day on FaceTime with each other making funny faces to one another in fits of giggles and laughter. Sky promises Ocean daily that she will make a fast recovery so they can be together again. Sky is constantly joking and smiling and it’s hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don’t have to. Thank you to the heroes that are the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that have tirelessly worked on her and helped her get to this point.

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