Conseslus Kipruto, Olympic steeplechase champion, pleads not guilty to ‘defilement’

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Olympic steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya has been charged with having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl and was released on bail Monday after pleading not guilty.

Kipruto was charged with what is referred to as “defilement” in Kenyan law — sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18. Because the girl is under 16, Kipruto faces at least 20 years in prison if convicted, according to Kenya’s sexual offenses laws.

The charge is comparable to statutory rape.

The 25-year-old Kipruto, who is a policeman, was charged in a courthouse in Kapsabet, a town in the high-altitude Rift Valley region that is famous for producing a stream of world-class distance runners. Kipruto lives in the region and was born in nearby Eldoret, another renowned running town.

Kipruto wore a red sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head in an attempt to hide his face from photographers at the courthouse. He also had a mask on because of the coronavirus. Police officers who escorted Kipruto to court tried to prevent journalists from taking photographs of him. He was released on $1,800 cash bail.

Kipruto is alleged to have had intercourse with the girl on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21, according to the charge sheet, and was first arrested last Wednesday. Kenyan media reported that the girl had disappeared from her home and had stayed at Kipruto’s house for three days.

Kipruto could argue that the minor deceived him into believing she was over the age of 18 or that he reasonably believed she was over 18. He made no arguments in his defense on Monday apart from denying the charge.

Kipruto won the Rio Olympic 3000m steeplechase. He followed that with back-to-back world titles in 2017 and 2019.

He hasn’t completed a race this season. He withdrew from the Diamond League meet in Monaco in August after testing positive for the coronavirus.

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

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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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