U.S. biathlon team to boycott IBU World Cup meet in Russia

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The United States biathlon team has announced it will boycott the final IBU World Cup meet in Russia next month.

The U.S. athletes released a statement Saturday saying that the International Biathlon Union’s recent decision to move forward with the March 22-25 event in Tyumen, Russia — despite a recent doping scandal in that country — is “completely unacceptable.”

The statement says, “In support of clean sport and our own physical safety, we cannot in good conscience participate.”

NBCOlympics.com: Russian curler to return Olympic bronze, Russia Committee to pay fee after doping violation

The U.S. Biathlon team adds “holding the World Cup Final in Russia now sends an outrageous message of anti-doping indifference to the world.”

The World Cup series website says 28 teams have applied to participate.

NBCOlympics.com: A 2nd Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Athletes from Sweden and Canada have also expressed reservations about competing in the event.

The U.S. team statement says the “outcry from our fellow athletes around the world has been respectful, strong and definitive,” and that in addition to the dozens who expressed their opinion to the IBU Athletes Committee members ahead of the decision last month, the IBU received letters representing more 30 athletes from eight countries, including three gold medalists in at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

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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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