Olympic champ among 5 Russian canoeists to get Rio bans

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MOSCOW (AP) — Olympic champion Alexander Dyachenko and four other Russian canoeists have been barred from competing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after being named in a recent report alleging a state-sponsored doping cover-up.

The International Canoe Federation said Tuesday that the five were mentioned in World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren‘s report last week, which specifically detailed how Russian state officials allegedly intervened to cover up hundreds of failed drug tests.

“This is a bitter blow for the Olympic movement and we are saddened that our sport in implicated,” ICF general secretary Simon Toulson said in a statement. “The ICF will continue its strong zero-tolerance stance and remove all athletes that contravene its rules in anyway … If you step out of line you won’t make the start line.”

While the International Olympic Committee refused Sunday to impose a blanket ban on Russia, it brought in new criteria preventing Russians from competing if they have previously served a ban or were implicated in McLaren’s report.

Dyachenko won gold in the men’s double kayak 200 meters at the 2012 Olympics in London. The four other banned canoeists are Alexei Korovashkov – a 2012 bronze medalist in the C2 1,000 meters event – Andrei Kraitor, Elena Anyushina and Nataliya Podolskaya.

Podolskaya rejected any suggestion of doping, telling Russian news agency R-Sport that “everything written there is pure lies.”

The ICF also said that Russia would not be allowed to enter boats in four events in which the excluded athletes would have raced. Austria, Germany, Sweden and Iran are in line to receive places instead.

Three Russian rowers have also been excluded, taking to at least 15 the number of Russians barred from the Rio Games by various international federations since the International Olympic Committee ruled on Sunday that Russian athletes had to face tougher selection criteria in the wake of the country’s massive doping scandal.

World Rowing said earlier Tuesday that Ivan Podshivalov and Anastasia Karabelshchikova were excluded because they previously served doping bans, while Ivan Balandin from Russia’s men’s eight was implicated in the McLaren report.

On Monday, swimming’s world governing body FINA ruled out seven Russians including reigning world 100m breaststroke champion Yulia Efimova.

Russia’s track and field team is almost entirely banned from the games under an earlier decision from the IAAF, leaving long jumper Darya Klishina as the only athlete eligible to represent Russia out of 68 who were entered.

Legal challenges also loom for Russia. Efimova’s agent has said he is preparing an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the Russian Canoe Federation’s general secretary Irina Sirayeva said that the five banned Tuesday could follow.

“The intention to defend the athletes is there,” she told R-Sport. “We’ve spoken about how we want to defend them at CAS but now we need to go over all the information provided once again.”

On Tuesday, triple jumper Ekaterina Koneva – a former world championship silver medalist – told local media she was considering a lawsuit in civil court.

MORE: Yulia Stepanova, doping whistleblower, appeals her Olympic ban

2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final

Annemiek van Vleuten, with broken elbow, becomes oldest to win world road race title

Annemiek van Vleuten
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WOLLONGONG, Australia — Annemiek van Vleuten surprised herself and the rest of cycling by recording the finest win of her career on Saturday at the world road championships.

Overcoming an elbow fracture sustained three days earlier, the Dutch great won her second world road race title with an attack in the last 600 meters that caught the other eight leaders napping.

The 39-year-old rider and her Dutch teammates were in disbelief at the finish after she put the exclamation mark on a 164.3-kilometer event. She became the oldest man or woman to win a world championships road race, according to Gracenote.

The 2019 World champion and reigning Olympic and world time trial winner claimed cycling’s triple crown this year when she landed the Italian, French and Spanish tours.

But for Van Vleuten, who will retire at the end of next season, what she did on Saturday was extra special.

“Maybe this is my best victory . . . I am still speechless, I still can’t believe it,” she said. “It took me some time to realize I’d really pulled it off because I’m waiting for the moment that they tell me there was someone in front or it was a joke. I had the feeling it cannot be true.”

She crashed in Wednesday’s mixed team relay at the worlds and sustained the fracture, describing the pain during Saturday’s race as “hell.”

The win also continues the domination of the Dutch women, who have finished on the road race podium at all but three of the last 20 worlds.

Earlier Saturday, Britain’s Zoe Backstedt celebrated her 18th birthday by turning the junior road event into a one-woman race.

In wet and cold conditions, Backstedt cycled away from the peloton with a solo attack at 10 kms and stayed clear for the remaining 57 kms to win by more than two minutes. Eglantine Rayer of France was second ahead of Dutch rider Nienke Vinke.

Backstedt retained her junior road race title and also is a world champion on the track and in cyclocross.

The championships end Sunday with the men’s road race.

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