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Some 2020 Olympic baseball, softball games set 150 miles north of Tokyo

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TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo Olympic organizers agreed Wednesday to hold some of the baseball and softball competition of the 2020 Games in Fukushima, the region devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

While the primary venue for baseball and softball is expected to be Yokohama Stadium, several cities in Fukushima are being considered for games in the preliminary rounds.

Fukushima is about 150 miles north of Tokyo, which is a little farther than the distance between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Previously, the farthest (non-demonstration sport) Olympic baseball or softball games were played outside of the host city was in 1996, when softball was in Columbus, Ga., about 100 miles south of Atlanta.

Holding Olympic events in the disaster-affected areas could send a powerful message of reconstruction.

Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori met with organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori on Wednesday.

“We will now work with the organizing committee to decide on the location and do everything we can to make the event a success in Fukushima Prefecture,” Uchibori said.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month and suggested staging some events in the area.

Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, is scheduled to visit Japan next week for an inspection tour.

Tokyo organizing committee spokeswoman Hikariko Ono said the IOC will make a final decision on the location in Fukushima Prefecture at its Dec. 6-8 executive board meeting.

Baseball and softball were dropped from the Olympics after Beijing 2008 but are among five sports added to the program for the Tokyo Games.

MORE: The greatest Olympic baseball players of all time

Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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MORE: IOC strips Olympic status from boxing body AIBA

Brigid Kosgei shatters marathon world record in Chicago

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Kenyan Brigid Kosgei shattered a 16-year-old world record in the women’s marathon by 81 seconds, winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04 on Sunday.

Brit Paula Radcliffe had held the record of 2:15:25 set at the 2003 London Marathon. Kenyan Mary Keitany holds the female-only record of 2:17:01 from the 2017 London Marathon. Both Kosgei and Radcliffe, the only women to break 2:17, ran with men in their record races.

Radcliffe’s record was the longest-standing for the men’s or women’s marathon of the last 50 years.

Kosgei did it one day after Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a sub-two-hour marathon in a non-record-eligible event in Vienna. She won by a gaping 6 minutes, 47 seconds over Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh.

Kosgei, who won Chicago in 2018 and the London Marathon in April, came in highly favored. The 25-year-old tuned up with the fastest half-marathon ever by a woman (by 23 seconds) on Sept. 8 on a non-record-eligible course.

“2:10 is possible for a lady,” Kosgei said after Sunday’s record.

Jordan Hasay, the top U.S. woman in the field, stopped after feeling a sharp hamstring strain after two miles. Hasay, who was coached by Alberto Salazar before his ban in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency case, is one of several women in contention for the three Olympic spots at the Feb. 29 trials in Atlanta.

Kenyan Lawrence Cherono won the men’s race by one second over Ethiopian Dejene Debela in 2:05:45.

The U.S.’ top marathoner, Galen Rupp, dropped out around mile 23 after straining a calf around the sixth mile. Rupp, who was also coached by Salazar, was racing for the first time since the 2018 Chicago Marathon and Achilles surgery.

Mo Farah, the defending champion and four-time Olympic track gold medalist, finished eighth in 2:09:58. He also dropped from the leaders before the halfway point.

American Daniel Romanchuk and Swiss Manuela Schar won the wheelchair races.

Romanchuk, 21, repeated as champion. He has also won Boston London and New York City in the last year. Schar distanced decorated American Tatyana McFadden by 4:14, though McFadden did qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics with her runner-up finish (as did Romanchuk).

The fall major marathon season concludes with the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, featuring defending champions Mary Keitany and Lelisa Desisa and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden.

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MORE: Chicago Marathon results