World women’s curling championship canceled; other curling worlds being evaluated

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The world women’s curling championship tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus on Thursday, two days before it was to begin in British Columbia.

The decision was made after a recommendation by the province’s health officer.

“Also, the decision was taken considering other major sporting events that have been cancelled in the past 24 hours, and various national travel restrictions that are coming into force around the world,” according to a World Curling press release.

“There is an ongoing evaluation” into the men’s world championships (March 28-April 5 in Glasgow) and mixed doubles worlds (April 18-25), according to World Curling. Those, plus the world men’s hockey championship in May, are the lone remaining Winter Olympic sports world championships this season.

World championships were previously canceled or postponed for figure skating, women’s hockey and short track speed skating.

The U.S. women’s team that was entered for worlds included PyeongChang Olympians Tabitha PetersonBecca Hamilton and Aileen Geving.

PyeongChang Olympic champions John Shuster, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner are on the U.S. team entered for men’s worlds. Peterson and PyeongChang Olympic alternate Joe Polo are the U.S.’ mixed doubles team.

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MORE: Olympic sports events affected by coronavirus

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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