Kuwait being suspended by IOC

Kuwait
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WASHINGTON (AP) — For the second time in five years, Kuwait is being suspended by the IOC for political interference, which leaves its athletes in limbo for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti who heads the global association of national Olympic committees and is a senior IOC member, told The Associated Press that the Gulf country will be sanctioned by the IOC on Tuesday.

The move comes after Kuwait failed to amend its disputed sports legislation by the Oct. 27 deadline set by the International Olympic Committee. FIFA suspended Kuwait’s soccer association over the same issue two weeks ago.

“As a Kuwaiti, I am very sad,” Sheikh Ahmad said in an interview Monday night. “All of us are upset. It’s a very sad story. It’s [because of] human mistakes.”

The IOC is concerned about government meddling in the running of Kuwait’s Olympic committee and national sports federations. The IOC said the new sports law threatens the autonomy of the sports bodies and would mean Kuwait no longer complies with the Olympic Charter.

The suspension comes with Sheikh Ahmad in Washington to chair this week’s general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees. He does not sit on the Kuwaiti body and was not directly involved in negotiations between the IOC and Kuwait on the issue.

The sheikh said Kuwait is one of 206 national Olympic committees due to attend the ANOC meeting Thursday and Friday. He said the Kuwaiti delegates will be allowed to stay but won’t have any voting rights.

“I hope there will be an understanding very soon,” Sheikh Ahmad said, warning that otherwise a “whole generation of athletes” will suffer.

If the suspension is not lifted before next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Kuwaiti athletes would be barred from representing their country at the Games. The IOC would have to give them special dispensation to compete as individuals under the Olympic flag.

“I will give my full support to bring them,” the sheikh said.

Kuwait was suspended by the IOC in 2010, also in a dispute over government interference. The country was reinstated in 2012 ahead of the London Games after Kuwait’s ruler, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, pledged autonomy for the Olympic committee and promised new legislation for institutions governing sports.

Sheikh Ahmad said he couldn’t understand why Kuwait would now establish a law that goes back on the ruler’s pledge to the IOC.

“I think it’s related to politics because the sports minister has lost an election to the president of shooting,” he said.

In recent years, the IOC suspended the national Olympic bodies of India, Ghana and Panama for political interference, but all were eventually reinstated. The IOC recently gave Sri Lanka until the end of the year to revise its sports legislation or face suspension.

FIFA suspended Kuwait after it failed to change its sports law by Oct. 15. Kuwaiti teams and clubs are banned from international competition, and the association and its members are barred from receiving any FIFA development assistance.

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

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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

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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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