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Mo Farah dominant, Shelly Fraser-Pryce sluggish in final pre-Rio races

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LONDON (AP) — Mo Farah cruised to victory in the 5,000 meters and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce fell short in a sluggish sprint on Saturday in contrasting fortunes for the Olympic champions in their final races before heading to Rio de Janeiro.

Back on the London track where he became a double Olympic champion four years ago, Farah dominated the field to finish 15 seconds ahead of fellow Briton Andrew Butchart.

Farah clocked 12 minutes, 59.29 seconds at the London Diamond League meet, delighting home fans at the Olympic Stadium.

“Not many people get a chance to compete in their home town and have so many memories of the place,” said Farah, who also won gold in the 10,000 at the 2012 Olympics.

The 33-year-old Farah has never felt in better shape heading into a major event.

“Training is going well,” he said. “It’s harder for me to defend (the titles), the reason being the rest of the guys had four years’ preparation to try and beat me.”

The other headline attraction on Saturday, Fraser-Pryce, knows what it’s like to be beaten after running the 100 in 11.06 seconds to finish third.

“I don’t have a lot of fitness because I haven’t been racing,” the Jamaican said. “So it was very important for me to come here to do these runs, just to see where I am and go back to training.”

The race was won by Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast with a personal best of 10.96, with Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago 0.03 seconds adrift.

Fraser-Pryce, a championship specialist who has won three world and two Olympic golds in the 100, is trying to become the first woman to win the same individual event at three successive Olympics next month.

“I’m hoping for the impossible to happen,” she said. “Psychologically I think am in a better place than I was a couple of weeks ago because I was really struggling.

“I am really confident. I am comfortable with where I am at. I am not 100 percent where I want to be, but you have to use what you have and get there.”

There was a more predictable outcome in the 200, with world champion Dafne Schippers winning in 22.13.

“I’m comfortable with being tagged as the favorite,” the Dutch sprinter said. “I’m never nervous which is good for me.”

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Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

“Was starting to think that I’m so old that I can’t time trial anymore,” Mantia, a 34-year-old whose last 1500m personal best came in 2015, told media in Utah. “Maybe there’s a little bit of hope left.”

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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MORE: Shani Davis retires, takes new role in speed skating

Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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