Jason Day ‘definitely’ wants to play 2020 Olympics

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Australian golfer Jason Day, who skipped the Rio Olympics while ranked No. 1 in the world, said he “definitely wants to” play at the 2020 Tokyo Games, should he qualify.

Day, 30, withdrew one month before the Rio Olympics, citing Zika virus concerns.

The top four players in the world at the time skipped the Rio Games — Day, Dustin JohnsonJordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

“The biggest thing, it’s really unfortunate because I didn’t want it to come off the way it did,” Day said Wednesday. “It was just difficult because I know that if you’re in a certain sport sometimes you only get these opportunities once, and I’m in a sport where I can stick around for a very long time. If I’m good enough, I can be in multiple Olympic teams.”

Day struggled last season, going winless and falling to No. 12 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

If Olympic golf qualifying remains the same for 2020, Day must either stay ranked in the top 15 or be one of the top two ranked Aussies come 2020 to assure himself a spot on the team.

Marc Leishman is No. 13, followed by Adam Scott at No. 30. Both of them also skipped Rio.

“I want to represent Australia very much so,” Day said. “Japan’s one of my favorite countries to ever visit, so if I have the opportunity to get on the team, I’m getting my plane ticket straight away.

“I’m looking forward to playing.”

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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