Ian Kinsler eligible to play for Israel baseball team at Olympics

Ian Kinsler
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Ian Kinsler, a recently retired MLB All-Star, is now eligible to represent Israel at the Olympics.

An Israel Baseball federation spokesperson confirmed Jerusalem Post report that Kinsler recently made aliyah to fulfill Israeli citizenship requirements to become eligible.

Kinsler, 37, retired from the MLB in December after 14 seasons and 1,999 hits, most with the Texas Rangers.

Kinsler reportedly would have been eligible to play for Israel at the World Baseball Classic due to his Jewish heritage. He did not, but did play for the U.S. at the most recent World Baseball Classic in 2017, smacking a home run in an 8-0 win over Puerto Rico in the final.

Baseball returns to the Olympics for the Tokyo Games for the first time since 2008. Israel qualified for an Olympic baseball tournament for the first time by winning a joint European-African tournament in September.

Israel, then ranked 19th in the world, upset the highest-ranked European nations — the Netherlands (No. 8) and host Italy (No. 16) — and wrapped it up with an 11-1 win over South Africa. The most notable name on that Israel roster was Danny Valencia, an infielder who played parts of nine MLB seasons from 2010-18.

Active MLB players, as with previous Olympic baseball tournaments, are not expected to be eligible for the Tokyo Games. Other recent MLB players to express interest in the Olympics or Olympic qualifying included fellow All-Stars Adam Jones (U.S.) and Justin Morneau (Canada). The U.S. and Canada have not yet qualified.

It’s believed that two players with prior MLB All-Star experience competed at the Olympics for any nation — Australian catcher Dave Nilsson and Canadian pitcher Jason Dickson.

Many players competed at the Olympics before making an MLB All-Star team, including Stephen Strasburg and Jason Giambi.

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MORE: Israel baseball turned to Shlomo Lipetz for the biggest out in program history

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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