Maria Sharapova to play Fed Cup, ensure Olympic place; no Tokyo 2020?

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova is entered in Fed Cup doubles this weekend, meeting the Russian tennis federation boss’ mandate to ensure she can play at the Rio Olympics.

She won’t play at the Tokyo 2020 Games, her agent, Max Eisenbud, said, according to Russian Eurosport.

Eisenbud also said that this weekend would likely mark Sharapova’s last Fed Cup appearance, according to the report, but Sharapova said Friday she hasn’t decided, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Sharapova, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist and five-time Grand Slam singles champion, had said after losing in last week’s Australian Open quarterfinals that she didn’t plan to play again until March due to a forearm injury.

She’s dealt with the injury since before she was named to the initial Fed Cup team earlier in January.

Sharapova must be part of a Russian Fed Cup team once this year to be eligible for the Olympics, but she doesn’t have to play in the Fed Cup, according to the International Tennis Federation.

However, the Russian tennis federation president reportedly said Sharapova needed to play for Russia in Fed Cup in order to be part of the Olympic team. And if she didn’t play for Russia against the Netherlands this weekend, and Russia was upset by the Dutch, she would not go to the Olympics.

Sharapova lost to Serena Williams 6-0, 6-1 in the London 2012 final, the Russian’s first Olympics.

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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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