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Mo Farah compares Eliud Kipchoge to Anthony Joshua, taps London Marathon

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In the settled dust of the fall major marathon season, an argument can be made that Mo Farah is the world’s best marathoner in the non-Eliud Kipchoge division.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m on the track at the last two Olympics and switched full-time to road running this year, took third at the London Marathon on April 22 and won the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7.

The 35-year-old Brit announced Tuesday that he’s entering next April’s London Marathon, which Kipchoge has raced and won three straight times (not counting his 2017 absence for Nike’s sub-two-hour marathon attempt). Kipchoge, who distanced Farah by two minutes in April, has not announced his spring marathon plans, but it would be a surprise if he doesn’t defend his London title.

Farah anticipated the showdown in his post-Chicago victory news conference last month, conceding that Kipchoge is the better marathoner (currently, Farah noted) but that he was not afraid of not only racing Kipchoge, but also trying to test the Kenyan world-record holder.

Kipchoge, who is 19 months younger than Farah, has won nine straight marathons, the longest streak at the highest level of the event in at least 50 years. His world record — 2:01:39 set in Berlin on Sept. 16 — is 78 seconds clear of the second-fastest man in history.

“Do I think I can beat him? Yes,” Farah said in conjunction with his London Marathon announcement, according to the Standard. “Right now, he’s beyond anyone else. In that way, I’d compare him to Anthony Joshua, in that he’s the top of the heavyweight boxing division, but it only takes one great fight to knock him down.”

Farah compared himself to another undefeated British heavyweight, Tyson Fury. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. On the day, when it matters, I feel I can put on the best show,” he said, according to the report.

While Joshua and Fury have never fought, Farah and Kipchoge were in the same track race 14 times between 2006 and 2012, with Farah winning three of the last four as he emerged as the world’s best distance runner in 2011 and 2012.

Farah’s plan beyond the London Marathon isn’t as set as once thought. He has said he might go back on his 2017 retirement from track racing and attempt to race the 10,000m at the world championships in Doha on Sept. 27. Even race on the track at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The last British man to win the London Marathon was Eamonn Martin in 1993.

“My aim is to win the London Marathon one day,” Farah said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be.”

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MORE: U.S. marathon rankings for 2018

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned 4 years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)