Seb Coe, Nick Davies
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Senior IAAF official temporarily steps down amid ethics probe

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LONDON (AP) — The director of IAAF President Sebastian Coe‘s office temporarily stepped down on Tuesday pending an ethics investigation into emails linked to Russian doping cases.

Emails sent by Nick Davies, leaked to a French newspaper and published this week, indicated that he tried to delay public identification of alleged Russian drug cheats ahead of the 2013 World Track and Field Championships in Moscow.

“I have decided to step aside from my role with the IAAF until such time as the ethics board is able to review the matter properly and decide if I am responsible for any breach of the IAAF code of ethics,” Davies said in a statement Tuesday.

Davies was IAAF communications director at the time under Lamine Diack, who was succeeded by Coe as president in August. The French criminal case against Diack deepened this week, with magistrates filing new, tougher corruption charges against him in connection with cover-ups of Russian doping.

French prosecutors also suspect Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, a former IAAF marketing consultant, played an active role in an alleged “system of corruption” that sought to blackmail athletes, with demands of money to hush-up suspected doping.

Davies is reported to have sent an email to Papa Massata Diack in 2013 asking what “Russian ‘skeleton’ we have still in the cupboard regarding doping” and suggesting using the marketing company chaired by Coe — then IAAF vice president — to lead an “unofficial PR campaign” to “avoid international media scandals” related to the Moscow World Championships.

If Russian athletes guilty of doping were not competing in Moscow, “then we might as well wait until the event is over to announce them,” Davies wrote in the email, which was published Monday by Le Monde.

Coe is now losing one of his closest aides just as he tries to clean up the scandal-tainted governing body.

“In order to demonstrate that I am willing to have all allegations of unethical behavior on my part in 2013 properly and fairly investigated I have referred my emails to Papa Massata Diack in 2013, my statements and the circumstances of the emails to the IAAF ethics board,” Davies said in Tuesday’s statement.

Davies has suggested that emails reflected his job “to manage and promote the reputation of the IAAF.”

“What has become apparent today is that I have become the story,” he said. “This is not helpful at the current time, with ongoing criminal investigations by the French police, the IAAF’s ethics board or WADA — all of whom I have voluntarily offered full assistance to and will continue to do so.”

Russia’s track and field federation was suspended by the IAAF after a World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission found evidence of systemic doping and cover-ups.

An official with the Paris financial prosecutor’s office said Tuesday that Lamine Diack is now accused of “active corruption,” which generally involves offering money or other promises in exchange for violating a rule.

Diack had previously been accused of “passive corruption,” on suspicion he took around 1 million euros ($1.1 million) to cover up positive drug tests by Russian athletes.

The official told The Associated Press the new preliminary charges center on suspicions that Diack bribed Gabriel Dolle, the IAAF’s former anti-doping chief who also under investigation, to delay reporting of violations by Russian athletes.

The official was not authorized to be publicly named speaking about an ongoing investigation.

The preliminary charges allow magistrates more time to investigate before deciding whether to file formal charges and whether to send a case to trial. Diack, an 82-year-old former long jumper, is free on bail pending further investigation but barred from leaving France.

Papa Massata Diack told the BBC that his father is in “good spirits” despite the investigation.

“Suddenly they are just going to destroy all he’s built over the last 16 years and all the 39 years he’s spent in the IAAF, so I find it very sad and I could not recognize certain acts or certain declarations made by certain people,” he was quoted as saying from Senegal.

The younger Diack also said he “totally rejects” accusations he himself had any role in blackmailing athletes or seeking money from Qatar ahead of its unsuccessful bid to host the 2017 World Championships. French prosecutors suspect Papa Massata Diack of playing an active role in an alleged “system of corruption” that sought to blackmail athletes, with demands of money to hush-up suspected doping.

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Chloe Dygert crashes over guard rail at world championships, has surgery

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American Chloé Dygert crashed over a guard rail at the world road cycling championships time trial, where she appeared en route to a repeat title, and underwent leg surgery as a result.

Dygert, who last year won by the largest margin in history as the youngest-ever champion, lost control of her bike while approaching a curve to the right. Her front wheel bobbled, and she collided with the barricade, flipping over into an area with grass.

Dygert, who had a left leg laceration, was tended to by several people, put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in Bologna, Italy, about 25 miles from the worlds host of Imola.

“We are relieved that this crash was not worse than what it could have been,” USA Cycling chief of sport performance Jim Miller said in a press release. “While this crash is distressing, Chloe is young and a fighter. With Chloe’s determination, we know she will be back riding before we know it. For now, we want her to focus on healing.”

About 10 minutes after the crash, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won her first time trial title.

Van der Breggen took silver the last three years behind Dygert and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, who missed this year’s race after breaking her wrist last week in the Giro Rosa.

Dygert, 23, had a 26-second lead at the 14-kilometer time check of the 31-kilometer race. Full results are here.

Dygert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics when she won last year’s world time trial title. She has been bidding to make the Olympics on the road and the track.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s time trial airing on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold for Cycling Pass subscribers at 8:15 a.m. ET. A full TV schedule is here.

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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