Massachusetts-based wrestler to serve as Haiti’s Olympic flag bearer

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The nation of Haiti will have a competitor in the Summer Olympics for the fifteenth time when the Rio Olympics officially begin Friday, with Haitians having competed in seven different events. One of the sports in which an athlete had yet to represent Haiti is wrestling, but that will change this summer. And in representing the nation of his birth, 37-year old Asnage Castelly will receive the ultimate honor during the Opening Ceremony.

According to the Associated Press, Castelly has been selected to be Haiti’s flag bearer when the delegation enters the Maracanâ stadium Friday evening. Castelly, who was selected as a wild card for the 74kg (163 pounds) freestyle wrestling competition, left Haiti with his family when he was nine years old and even served a stint in Iraq in the U.S. Army as a Muslim chaplain. The honor of carrying the flag of his birth nation is simply another piece of validation for Castelly, who had to convince Haiti’s Olympic Committee to allow him to represent the nation in wrestling competitions.

In mid-June Castelly spoke with NPR about this ultimately successful struggle:

“They’re like, ‘Uh, we don’t have wrestling.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean you don’t have it.’ I write them over and over. ‘Uh, who are you? Why you keep on writing? We do not have wrestling.'”

Finally, Castelly managed to convince them that they should have wrestling, and that he could do it for them. He competed for Haiti in freestyle wrestling championships as far away as Mongolia. He did well, but not enough to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

Asnage, currently a member of the coaching staff at Springfield Technical Community College, received word from United World Wrestling that he was selected for an Olympic spot in May. With the dream of representing Haiti now realized, Asnage’s next goal is to win the nation its first Olympic medal since 1928. During those games Silvio Cator won silver in the long jump, four years after Haiti won bronze in the men’s team free rifle competition in Paris.

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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