World Track and Field Championships

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Swimming, track and field federations look at flexibility for 2021 World Championships

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The international governing bodies for aquatics (swimming) and track and field are determining the flexibility of the dates of their summer 2021 World Championships now that the Tokyo Olympics will be moved to 2021.

Specific dates for the Tokyo Games have not been determined, but they will be rescheduled beyond 2020 for not later than summer 2021.

The 2021 World Aquatics Championships, which include swimming, diving, water polo and artistic (synchronized) swimming, are scheduled for July 16-Aug. 1 in Fukuoka, Japan.

The 2021 World Track and Field Championships are scheduled for Aug. 6-15 in Eugene, Ore.

FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, said it will work with the 2021 Worlds organizing committee, the Japan Swimming Federation and Japanese public authorities to determine date flexibility, if necessary and in agreement with the IOC.

Cornel Marculescu, FINA’s executive director, said there is no chance of the next worlds being bumped back to 2022.

“No, no, no, no, no, no,” he defiantly told The Associated Press by phone.

Marculescu said the IOC is considering two options for the Summer Games, which will have a direct impact on FINA’s next move.

“If they do it in summer, then we (will have to change) the dates (of the world championships),” he said. “If they do it at the beginning of the year, maybe we don’t need to touch the dates. The only thing we do, we wait to see what is the IOC decision.”

World Athletics has been in discussion with its 2021 Worlds organizing committee regarding the possibility of changing dates. The committee “reassured us that they will work with all of their partners and stakeholders to ensure that Oregon is able to host the World Athletics Championships on alternative dates, including dates in 2022,” according to a release.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Tokyo Olympic marathon moved to Sapporo over heat concerns

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On the heels of world championship marathons that saw many runners drop out in the Qatar heat, even with the races being run at midnight, the International Olympic Committee said Wednesday that the 2020 Olympic marathon and race walks will be moved from host city Tokyo to Sapporo in search of cooler weather.

Only 40 of 68 starters finished the women’s marathon in Qatar, which had a starting temperature of 32.7 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) with 73.3 percent humidity, putting the heat index at 111 degrees Fahrenheit. In the 2017 world championships in London, 78 of 92 runners completed the course. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio, only 24 of 157 runners failed to finish.

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(The men’s marathon in Qatar was run on a cooler evening, and 55 of 73 runners finished.)

The race walks in Tokyo are set for July 31, Aug. 7 and Aug. 8. The marathons will be run Aug. 2 and Aug. 9. This year, the high temperatures in Tokyo for those dates ranged from 93 degrees Fahrenheit to 96; the lowest temperature for the whole week was 78 degrees Aug. 5. In Sapporo, the average high for August is 79 degrees.

Sapporo has already hosted Olympic action — the 1972 Winter Olympics. 

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Nia Ali, mother of two, wins 100m hurdles; U.S. ties record for most track worlds golds

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Nia Ali made it yet another mom to earn gold at the world track and field championships in Doha. The U.S. finished the meet with three titles on the final day, including both 4x400m relays, for 14 overall to tie its record for most golds at a single worlds.

Pretty strong going into an Olympic year.

The U.S. previously earned 14 golds in 2005 and 2007, but had fewer total medals at those meets than in Doha, where they took home 29. However, there was no mixed-gender 4x400m (which the U.S. won in Doha) back then.

Ali, who earned Rio Olympic silver a year after having son Titus, earned her first world title a year after having daughter Yuri. She took a victory lap with both kids after lowering her personal best in the semifinals (12.44) and final (12.34).

Ali led a U.S. one-two with Keni Harrison, who missed the Rio Olympic team then broke the world record before those Games (12.20). Harrison earned her first major outdoor championships medal.

Ali then took a victory lap with both kids. Yuri also took a victory lap with her dad, Canadian Andre De Grasse, after he took 100m bronze last week.

“Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean that you can’t get out here and continue to be an athlete as well, a top, world-class athlete,” Ali, who joined Allyson Felix and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as moms to win sprint titles in Doha, said after the first round on Saturday. “I know [Yuri] is going to look up to me and look at this and it’s definitely going to keep her motivated and show what strength really looks like to be able to go through this and train hard and be on top.”

It was the culmination of a busy season for Ali, who briefly left her summer training base in Germany to attend a parent-teacher conference at 4-year-old Titus’ school in Jacksonville, Fla.

TRACK WORLDS: Results

In the relays, Felix extended her record of most career world titles (13) when the U.S. women won the 4x400m. Felix was not part of the final quartet, but she earned a medal as a preliminary heat runner. Felix had the fastest split of all the runners in the prelims, according to Jon Mulkeen of the IAAF.

The U.S. women — Phyllis FrancisSydney McLaughlinDalilah Muhammad and Wadeline Jonathas — prevailed by 2.97 seconds over Poland in 3:18.92, the world’s fastest since the 2012 Olympics.

The U.S. men’s 4x400m — Fred Kerley, Michael Cherry, WIl London III and Rai Benjamin — had a closer call, topping Jamaica by 1.21 seconds in 2:56.69, the fastest since the 2008 Olympics.

In other finals, Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot led wire to wire to win the 1500m by a hefty 2.12 seconds over Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi in 3:29.26. U.S. Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz was eighth, two years after getting eliminated in the first round at worlds.

Cheruiyot, 23, has lost just three times at 1500m or the mile in 17 meets over the last two years.

Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei won the first world championships 10,000m since Mo Farah left the track for the roads. Cheptegei, who took silver behind Farah at 2017 Worlds, clocked 26:48.36, the world’s fastest time in five years. The top American was 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony flag bearer Lopez Lomong in seventh.

German Malaika Mihambo won a long jump final that included neither reigning Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta (failed to make U.S. team) nor defending world champion Brittney Reese (missed the final by one centimeter). Mihambo, who came in as the world No. 1 this year, recorded the world’s best jump of this Olympic cycle, 7.30 meters, to win by more than a foot.

American Tori Bowie, the 2017 World 100m champion who went nearly five years between long jump competitions, took fourth.

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