Thomas Bach
AP

IOC: Refugees eligible to compete in Olympics for first time

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Highly qualified athletes who are refugees will be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time in 2016, the president of the International Olympic Committee announced Monday.

IOC chief Thomas Bach made the announcement to the U.N. General Assembly, which adopted a resolution urging all countries to stop fighting and observe a truce during the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Bach appealed to all 193 U.N. member states to help the IOC identify talented refugee athletes.

“This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis,” he said.

Until now, Bach said, qualified refugee athletes were not able to participate because they couldn’t represent their home countries and their national Olympic committees. But he said the IOC has decided to welcome refugee athletes to the 2016 Olympics, at which they will live in the Olympic Village alongside 11,000 athletes from 206 national Olympic committees.

“Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic anthem,” he said.

Currently, there are about 20 million refugees in the world, and the number is growing. The U.N. refugee chief, Antonio Guterres, said earlier this month that more than 500,000 refugees and economic migrants have entered Europe this year, and thousands more are following in their footsteps.

Bach said the IOC has created a $2 million fund “to bring hope through sport to refugees.”

“At the same time, we are assisting high-level refugee athletes to continue their sports careers,” he said. “We help them to make their dream of sporting excellence come true, even when they have to flee from violence and hunger.”

Bach said the IOC needs help in identifying high-level refugee athletes. He stressed that in Olympic sports, “all people are equal, regardless of their race, gender, social status, cultural background, faith or belief.” He said the Olympic Games are the culmination of this vision and the principle of nondiscrimination.

Bach alluded to world soccer’s corruption-hit governing body, FIFA, in telling the General Assembly that the IOC “has ensured that we are in compliance with the highest standards of good governance and transparency.”

“In this respect, we are asking other major sports organizations to undertake the necessary and swift reforms in order to restore their reputation,” the IOC president said.

The Olympic Truce resolution was introduced by Carlos Nuzman, president of the Rio organizing committee, on behalf of the Olympic movement and Brazil. It was approved by consensus, with about 180 countries as co-sponsors. It urges all U.N. member states to observe the truce beginning seven days before the Olympics take place, from Aug. 5 to 21, 2016, and continuing until seven days after the end of the Paralympic Games, which will be held from Sept. 7 to 18, 2016.

The resolution recalls an ancient Greek tradition in which the legendary oracle of Delphi called for a cessation of hostilities to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage and participation for athletes in the ancient Olympics.

The General Assembly revived the tradition in 1993 and, since then, has adopted resolutions before the summer and winter Olympic Games, but countries have continued fighting wars, regardless of the Olympics.

MORE IOC: Thomas Bach speaks out against boycotts

Mondo Duplantis, Elaine Thompson-Herah win to end Diamond League season

Mondo Duplantis
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Mondo Duplantis completed one of the greatest seasons in track and field history, under some of the most unusual circumstances for much of the year, by winning the last Diamond League meet of 2020 in Doha on Friday.

Duplantis outdueled pole vault rivals Sam Kendricks and Renaud Lavillenie in the Qatari capital, the site of his last defeat to Kendricks at the 2019 World Championships.

Duplantis, who was raised in Louisiana and competes for his mother’s birth country of Sweden, won on countback with a 5.82-meter clearance.

Back in February, the 20-year-old Duplantis twice raised the world record at indoor meets, ultimately to 6.18 meters. Eight days ago, Duplantis cleared the highest outdoor height in history, taking Ukrainian legend Sergey Bubka off the record books.

Full Doha results are here.

While the Diamond League is finished for 2020, one major event in the sport remains this year — the London Marathon on Oct. 4 at 2 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

The two fastest men in history, Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele, headline the fields on an adapted looped course.

In other events Friday, Kenyan Hellen Obiri surged to the lead after the bell in a 3000m that included five women who won 2019 World Championships medals across four different events. Obiri clocked 8:22.54 in the non-Olympic event, holding off world 10,000m bronze medalist Agnes Tirop and world 3000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech.

Jamaican Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah won the 100m in 10.87 seconds, eight days after clocking the fastest time in the world this year of 10.85.

Thompson, who swept the 100m and 200m in Rio, has traded world-leading times with countrywoman and 2008 and 2012 Olympic 100m champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce the last two seasons.

Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon made a rare 800m start, winning in a personal-best 1:57.68. The only woman to run faster over the last two years is double Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya, who is now barred from events from the 400m through the mile unless she takes testosterone-suppressing measures.

Aaron Mallett won the 110m hurdles in a personal-best 13.15 seconds, making him the third-fastest American over the last three years behind Grant Holloway and Daniel Roberts. The top three at Olympic Trials next June make the Tokyo team.

MORE: Cathy Freeman reflects on 20th anniversary

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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