South Africa

Getty Images

Chad le Clos swims into world championships with pain

Leave a comment

Chad le Clos must reportedly swim through injury if he is to take gold at a fourth consecutive world championships next week.

The South African swimmer learned he has a groin hernia that may need surgery after worlds in South Korea that start Sunday, according to the Times of South Africa.

Le Clos, a 27-year-old who beat Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly at the 2012 Olympics, said the injury is 10 years old, but it’s given him more trouble than usual the last six weeks, according to the report.

“I’ve been pushing off the wall at 70 percent, 80 percent max in training,” he said, according to the Times. “It’s only [sore] when I push off the wall, not actually when I kick.”

Le Clos’ condition will make it all the tougher in the 100m and 200m butterflies.

In the 100m, le Clos missed a chance at a third straight world title in 2017 when he failed to make the final. He ranks third in the world this year behind defending champion Caeleb Dressel and Frenchman Mehdy Metella.

Le Clos is the defending world champ in the 200m but ranks eighth in the world this year, more than two seconds shy of Hungarians Kristof Milak and Tamas Kenderesi.

MORE: Swimmers are first athletes to make 2020 U.S. Olympic team

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Wayde van Niekerk has setback in return from injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic and world champion and world-record holder at 400m, suffered a knee bone bruise that sets back his international return from 2017 knee surgery five or six weeks.

Van Niekerk, who has raced once since the summer of 2017, is still hopeful of defending his world title in about three months in Doha.

“It’s very disappointing as I probably pushed myself too hard, but I’m now working towards the goal patiently,” he said in a press release. “I will review my competition schedule with my team, and together with my coach we will decide where and when to race.”

Van Niekerk was scheduled to return this summer, namely at a Diamond League meet in London in three weeks. A representative for van Niekerk said that he withdrew from the meet. Van Niekerk’s account also tweeted that he “won’t be participating in the upcoming Diamond League events.” The Diamond League regular season runs through Aug. 24.

Van Niekerk has a bye into worlds as a defending champion. Two months after the 2017 Worlds, he tore a meniscus and an ACL in a celebrity tag rugby match. Van Niekerk made a low-key return at a meet in South Africa on Feb. 28, clocking 47.28 seconds. His world record from the Rio Olympics is 43.03.

During his absence, American Michael Norman emerged as the world’s top 400m runner (also in the absence of 2008 Olympic champ LaShawn Merritt and 2012 gold medalist Kirani James). Norman, 21, ran the sixth-fastest lap in history on April 20, a 43.45 that was also the fastest 400m ever run before the month of June.

Van Niekerk’s best time since Rio was 43.62. He has never raced Norman head to head.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Christian Coleman beats Justin Gatlin for the first time; Pre Classic recap

Caster Semenya allowed to race 800m at Pre Classic

AP
1 Comment

Caster Semenya has been switched from the 3000m to the 800m at next week’s Pre Classic, marking her first scheduled 800m since a Swiss Supreme Court ruling allowed her to race her Olympic gold-medal distance while she appeals a new IAAF testosterone rule.

“Caster’s representation requested that she be moved from the 3,000 meters (where she was originally entered) to the 800 meters, and we are happy to comply,” Prefontaine Classic meet director Tom Jordan said in a statement, confirming a Reuters report.

NBC Sports airs live Pre Classic coverage on June 30 from 4-6 p.m. ET.

Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion, was originally entered in the 3000m because the rule bars her from races between 400m and the mile unless she takes testosterone-suppressing measures, under which she would be allowed to return to those distances late this year. Semenya refuses to take those measures.

A Swiss Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago lifted the restriction for Semenya — but not other athletes — while her appeal is pending. The IAAF has until Monday to respond to the court before a ruling could be made. A resolution could still be months away, with Semenya possibly able to race until that day comes.

Semenya has won 30 straight 800m races dating to 2015, including the Rio Olympics and 2017 World Championships. All three Rio Olympic 800m medalists have said they are affected by the new rule capping testosterone in women’s races between the 400m and mile.

That meant none raced at Diamond League stops in Stockholm and Rabat, Morocco, earlier this month. Last Sunday’s Rabat meet offered Semenya a late invite, more than a week after her restriction was lifted, but Semenya said it was too late for her to travel in time to race.

American record holder Ajeé Wilson won the Stockholm 800m without any of the Olympic medalists in the field.

MORE: Caster Semenya to IAAF: Focus on dopers, not us

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!