Russia track and field’s Olympic fate gets decision date

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MONACO (AP) — The IAAF council is expected to rule on the fate of Russian track and field at its next meeting in June.

The IAAF said in a statement on Thursday that its council will be convened on June 17 in Vienna, Austria, for a full-day meeting.

Russia remains banned from international track and field, including the Olympics, after the country’s athletics federation was suspended by the IAAF in November following allegations of state-sponsored and systematic doping made by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel.

The Russian anti-doping agency has also been suspended from conducting any testing in the wake of the scandal, with Britain’s UKAD now conducting most of the tests in Russia.

The council meeting announcement came as the Russian Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday that six more track and field athletes have been banned for various doping offenses.

Russia is hoping to persuade authorities it has done enough to be reinstated in time for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Earlier this week, Russia announced that two outside experts appointed by WADA will start work in Moscow this month to oversee anti-doping reforms. A supervisory board has also been set up to govern the Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, which had been accused of being too close to the Sports Ministry.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and IAAF President Sebastian Coe both attended the SportAccord conference earlier this week but did not meet. Mutko did get a meeting he requested with World Anti-Doping Agency leaders, though.

If Russia is reinstated, the IAAF has insisted that individual Russian athletes will only be allowed to compete at the Olympics if they have been tested at least three times in the preceding six months.

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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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