coronavirus
Getty Images

Coronavirus wreaks more havoc with sports schedules, including track and field championship

Leave a comment

The World Athletics Indoor Championship, the pinnacle of track and field’s winter season, has been pushed back one year, joining a long list of sports events that have been scrubbed, moved or postponed indefinitely due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China.

The indoor championship was scheduled for March 13-15 in Nanjing, China.

World Athletics (formerly the IAAF) considered relocating the event but said it was concerned by the spread of the virus outside China as well. Postponing the biennial event to 2021 also gives Nanjing the opportunity to put its preparation to use.

“The advice from our medical team, who are in contact with the World Health Organisation, is that the spread of the Coronavirus both within China and outside the country is still at a concerning level and no one should be going ahead with any major gathering that can be postponed,” a World Athletics statement said.

Other organizations agree, moving or postponing their own major gatherings, some of them at 2022 Olympic venues and some affecting qualification for the 2020 Games.

Winter X Games: China has hosted the X Games in the summer, but the Feb. 21-23 competition at the Olympic venue of Genting Resort Secret Garden in Chongli was due to be the first Winter X Games in the country. The event is in limbo after organizers announced its postponement earlier this week.

Alpine skiing World Cup: Another event that would have taken place at an Olympic venue and would have been the first of its kind in China was scrubbed on Wednesday. The course in Yanqing, China, was due to host a men’s downhill and super-G Feb. 15-16. The FIS hopes to bring the men’s World Cup circuit to Yanqing next season, along with women’s races that are already on the schedule.

Olympic boxing qualifiers: Originally set for Feb. 3-14 in Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s coronavirus crisis, the Asia-Oceania boxing qualifiers will be held March 3-11 in Amman, Jordan.

Olympic women’s soccer qualifiers: The women’s soccer qualification tournament also was originally set to start Feb. 3 in Wuhan. The event was originally moved to Nanjing but then moved to Sydney, Australia, a move just announced on Sunday. Organizers confirmed Wednesday that the tournament would remain on its original start date of Feb. 3, but China’s team is under quarantine in Australia.

Olympic basketball qualifiers: The women’s basketball tournament set for Feb. 6-9 in Foshan has been moved to Belgrade. China, Britain, South Korea and Spain are competing.

Diving World Series: A meet scheduled for March 6-8 in Beijing has been canceled.

Tour of Hainan: The cycling tour around the Chinese island, scheduled to run Feb. 23-March 1, has been canceled.

Fed Cup: An Asia/Oceania event in the global women’s tennis tournament has been moved from Dongguan to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. It will take place on its original dates, Feb. 4-8.

Supercup: The Chinese soccer club season opener between Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai Shenhua, scheduled for Feb. 5 in Suzhou, has been postponed.

The schedule changes are reminiscent of the SARS outbreak of 2003, when the Women’s World Cup was abruptly moved to the United States, the world track cycling championships were moved to Germany, and the women’s ice hockey world championships were canceled.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

 

Olympic wrestlers tie for gold medal, 8 years after the competition

Bilyal Makhov
Getty Images
Leave a comment

A pair of doping cases led to the first Olympic gold-medal tie in wrestling history, eight years after the matches took place.

Russian Bilyal Makhov was upgraded to 2012 Olympic freestyle super heavyweight gold, joining Iranian Komeil Ghasemi, who was upgraded last year, according to the IOC’s website.

In February, Russian media reported that Makhov recently tested positive for growth hormone, which would have no bearing on 2012 results.

The move came after the finalists in 2012 — Uzbek Artur Taymazov and Georgian Davit Modzmanashvil — were stripped of their gold and silver medals last year in retests of doping samples from the London Games.

Makhov and Ghasemi each originally earned bronze medals. In wrestling, bronze medals are awarded to each match winner in repechage finals.

Ghasemi, whose only loss in London came to gold medalist Taymazov, was originally upgraded to gold by United World Wrestling in 2019. Makhov, whose loss came to Modzmanashvil, was originally upgraded to silver before the later upgrade to a second gold.

American Tervel Dlagnev and Kazakh Daulet Shabanbay, who lost the bronze-medal matches to Ghasemi and Makhov, were upgraded to bronze-medal positions last year, according to United World Wrestling.

Taymazov became the second athlete to be stripped of gold medals from multiple Olympics for doping, losing his London 2012 title two years after giving up his Beijing 2008 crown. Both were because of retests coming back positive for banned steroids.

Wrestling has been contested at every modern Olympics save 1900.

In 1912, Sweden’s Anders Ahlgren and Finland’s Ivar Bohling wrestled for nine hours in a final without deciding a winner, according to Olympedia.org. The match was declared a “double loss” and both awarded silver medals. There was no gold medalist.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: World wrestling championships rescheduled for 2020

Deajah Stevens, Olympic sprinter, suspended through Tokyo Games

Deajah Stevens
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Deajah Stevens, a U.S. Olympic 200m sprinter, was suspended through Aug. 15, 2021, for missing drug tests, ruling her out of the Tokyo Games unless she successfully appeals.

Stevens, who placed seventh in Rio, missed three drug tests in 2019, grounds for a suspension between one and two years.

The exact length depends on an athlete’s degree of fault and, with the timing in this case, determined whether she would be banned through the Olympics.

Full details of her case are here.

The 18-month ban was backdated to Feb. 17, the date that Stevens requested her case be expedited. Her last of three missed tests was Nov. 25.

Stevens’ lawyer requested the suspension be backdated to the third missed test, which would have kept her eligible for the Olympics, or the date of Stevens’ request for an expedited hearing on Feb. 17, which could have kept her Olympic eligible if the ban was closer to one year.

For Stevens’ second missed test, she did not hear door knocks from a back bedroom. The drug tester called her five times but never received an answer. Stevens said her phone was out of battery power.

For her last missed test, the drug tester again tried to call Stevens. But Stevens changed her phone number six weeks earlier, after somebody was harassing her and threatening her fiance’s life. She had not yet notified drug-testing authorities that she changed her number.

“Despite our sympathy for the athlete, we have not been satisfied on a balance of probability that her behavior was not negligent and did not cause or contribute to her failure to be available for testing,” a disciplinary tribunal found. “She already had missed two doping tests in the last six months. She should have been on red alert and conscious that she could not miss the next one.”

Stevens’ initial provisional suspension was announced May 1 ahead of a June 25 disciplinary tribunal hearing.

Stevens, 25, was disqualified from the 2019 U.S. Outdoor Championships 200m semifinals in her only outdoor meet of the year, according to World Athletics.

She ranked No. 3 in the U.S. in the 200m in 2017 (and placed fifth at the world championships), No. 31 in 2018 and No. 59 in 2019.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Seb Coe: Track and field athletes need 6-7 weeks of specific training to return