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Japanese basketball players kicked out of Asian Games for night out with women

AP
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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Four Japanese basketball players were kicked off their Asian Games team and sent home Monday after delegation head Yasuhiro Yamashita said they “spent the night in a hotel with women.”

Yamashita told a news conference that the four players hooked up with the women after eating and drinking in an entertainment district and were easily identified by wearing Japan-emblazoned shirts.

“I met with the athletes, and they deeply regret what they did,” Yamashita said. “I apologize from the bottom of my heart as the head of the delegation.”

The incident took place after Japan’s 82-71 win over Qatar in a group-stage game last Thursday.

Japanese Olympic officials said they learned of the incident after a newspaper published photographs of the players out on the town.

The JOC identified the four as Takuya Hashimoto, Keita Imamura, Yuya Nagayoshi and Takuma Sato and said the players had to pay for their own flights home from Jakarta.

The JOC described the players’ behavior as a “clear breach of the team’s conduct code, which specifies athletes are to be role models.”

The eight remaining players in the Japan squad have a game against Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah said it was important for athletes to understand that they’re expected to act as role models while representing their countries.

Asked to comment on what a Japanese journalist described as a prostitution scandal, Sheikh Ahmad commended the Japan Olympic Committee for acting swiftly to deal with the matter.

“Athletes should be the good symbol of their society,” Sheikh Ahmad said. “To represent the country is not only to stand with the medal. It’s how you behave with the other athletes, the officials, volunteers … (and) give a good example.”

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2022 Ironman Kona World Championships results

Ironman Kona World Championships
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2022 Ironman Kona World Championship top-10 results and notables (full, searchable pro and age group results are here) …

Pro Women
1. Chelsea Sodaro (USA) — 8:33:46
2. Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) — 8:41:37
3. Anne Haug (GER) — 8:42:22
4. Laura Philipp (GER) — 8:50:31
5. Lisa Norden (SWE) — 8:54:43
6. Fenella Langridge (GBR) — 8:56:26
7. Sarah Crowley (AUS) — 9:01:58
8. Daniela Ryf (SUI) — 9:02:26
9. Skye Moench (USA) — 9:04:31
10. Laura Siddall (GBR) — 9:07:49
16. Heather Jackson (USA) — 9:22:17
DNF. Sarah True (USA)

Pro Men
Race is on Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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Chelsea Sodaro wins Ironman Kona World Championship, ends American drought

Chelsea Sodaro
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Chelsea Sodaro was the surprise winner of the Ironman Kona World Championships women’s race, ending the longest American victory drought in the event’s 44-year history.

Sodaro, a 33-year-old mom to an 18-month-old, prevailed in an unofficial 8 hours, 33 minutes, 46 seconds on Hawaii’s Big Island.

“My mind is a little bit blown right now,” she said in a finish area interview 25 minutes later, standing next to her daughter, Skylar. “This is the culmination of things being right in my life and having perspective. … This is freakin’ incredible, but the greatest gift at the end of the finish line is my little 18-month-old.”

Sodaro was in fifth place after the 2.6-mile swim and 112-mile bike, then recorded one of the fastest 26.2-mile marathon runs in event history (2:51:45) to win by 7 minutes, 50 seconds over Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay.

Swiss Daniela Ryf, who was eyeing her sixth Ironman world title, led after the bike but faded quickly on the run.

MORE: Ironman Kona Race Results

Sodaro, whose lone previous full Ironman was a second-place finish at June’s European Championships (reportedly in the second-fastest Ironman distance debut in history), became the first American to win in Kona since Tim DeBoom in 2002 and the first American to win the women’s race since Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser in 1996.

She is the first woman or man to win in their Kona debut since Brit Chrissie Wellington took the first of her four titles in 2007.

Sodaro (née Reilly) was an All-America runner at Cal, then placed 19th in the 10,000m at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

She turned to triathlon in 2017, made podiums on the World Cup circuit (just below the top-level World Series for Olympic hopefuls) and moved up to long-distance racing in 2018.

At the half Ironman distance, she was fourth at the 2019 World Championships, her last major championship start before the pandemic, pregnancy, childbirth and a move up to the full Ironman this year.

“I’m pretty stoked that I think I maybe get to take the rest of the year off and be a mom for a month or so,” Sodaro said.

The pro men’s race is Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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