Wrestling world championships substituted after not meeting participation criteria

Wrestling World Championships
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The world wrestling championships did not meet a participation benchmark to be held in December, so the event will be modified into an individual World Cup.

“We want to see our athletes compete again on the mat. It’s important to our organization and we are committed to providing them an opportunity,” United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic said in a press release. “There are real challenges to overcome, but we are working together to find a safe and acceptable format where our top athletes can compete in a world class event.”

Worlds, which were added to the schedule after the Olympics were postponed to 2021, were due to be held in Belgrade only if at least eight of the top 10 nations from the 2019 Worlds and 70 percent of total athletes planned to participate.

“With many nations reinstating travel restrictions in response to COVID-19 the participation hurdles were not met,” according to United World Wrestling.

The U.S. and Japan, two world powers, announced last month they would not send teams to worlds.

Wrestling worlds have been held annually dating to 2005 and go back decades in non-Olympic years. This year’s worlds, had they been held, would have had no bearing on Olympic qualification.

The U.S. Olympic Trials were rescheduled from April 2020 to April 2021 at Penn State University.

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Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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