Rio De Janeiro: Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana launched the Rio Olympics athletics by smashing the women’s 10,000m world record as the Games reeled from doping scandals. Chinese swimmer Chen Xinyi was suspended for failing a doping test and a Polish weightlifter and Bulgarian runner were both kicked out for drugs transgressions. In shock results, defending champion and world record-holder Sun Yang flopped dismally in his 1,500m freestyle heat and the USA, who have won the last three Olympic competitions, were knocked out of the women’s football.
Athletics took centre stage in Rio needing a lift after the Russia doping storm, but there were immediate questions about Ayana’s 10,000m run, which broke a 23-year-old world record. The 24-year-old pulled away from the field midway through the race and never let up before powering home in 29min 17.45sec. Her winning time was nearly 14 seconds quicker than the previous world best of 29:31.78 set by Wang Junxia in Beijing in 1993. Ayana’s stunning performance set tongues wagging but the Ethiopian smiled as she insisted she was “crystal clear”. “My doping is my training, my doping is Jesus — otherwise I’m crystal clear,” she said.
The world sports tribunal had earlier expelled European champion weightlifter Tomasz Zielinksi and Bulgarian 3,000m steeplechase runner Silvia Danekova over doping as the Games registered its first major cases. – Rising star – Chen, 18, a rising star in the Chinese swimming team, was suspended after she tested positive for a banned diuretic following Sunday’s women’s 100m butterfly, where she placed fourth. Poland’s Zielinski tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone — just three days after his brother Tomasz suffered the same fate.
Damekova, a 3,000m steeplechase athlete, admitted she had tested positive for the blood booster EPO. David Rudisha cruised into the semi-finals of the men’s 800m in Rio after a Kenyan coach was sent home in disgrace for allegedly trying to impersonate an athlete for a doping test. Sprint coach John Anzrah offered a urine sample in place of 800m medal hope Ferguson Rotich, who competed in Friday’s heats and duly qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals. More (AFP)
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