STATUS QUO — February

THE LATEST in the aches, pains & eligibility departments (elsewhere in the issue find compilations of the top 10 NCAA and high school performers for this year):

World decathlon champ Niklas Kaul is finally back to javelin training after elbow surgery last year. (JIRO MOCHIZUKI/IMAGE OF SPORT)

Quartermiler Jasmine Blocker earned a public warning for failing to obtain a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) for a medication she was on.

Just freshly turned pro, Quincy Hall went down in the 400 in ATL #1, the apparent culprit a hamstring.

Ninon Guillon-Romarin, the French vault recordholder, says she hopes to compete in Tokyo even though she has a baby coming in February.

In part, Germany’s Niklas Kaul was lifted to the ’19 WC decathlon gold by a javelin PR, but he hasn’t thrown the spear in competition since. In fact, he’s just finally back to javelin training after elbow surgery last May.

Kenyan Alfred Kipketer has earned a 2-year ban for whereabouts failures.

Luvo Manyonga, the ’17 world champion in the long jump, has been provisionally suspended for whereabouts violations.

In late January Eliza McCartney, the Rio vault bronze medalist, almost made it to the competition runway for her first meet since ’19. However, with recent hamstring/Achilles issues in mind, the Kiwi star decided not to jump. Says her manager, “She just wasn’t feeling quite right, just didn’t free up enough, the wind was a little bit tricky, and for a comeback it probably wasn’t worth the risks around it.”

U.S. hurdler Briana McNeal has been provisionally suspended by the AIU and is facing an 8-year ban “for tampering with the results management process.”

Reigning world 800 champ Halimah Nakaayi only raced once outdoors in ’20 after injuring her shin. She reports that her training has been interrupted since the national stadium she trains at in Uganda was transformed into a C19 hospital.

Justin Robinson, who topped the world 400 list in ’20 while in his senior year of high school, has deferred his admission to Arizona State until next fall to focus on training for the Olympics.

Bralon Taplin of Grenada, already serving a 4-year doping ban, has had 3 more years added to it because of whereabouts problems.

Washington’s Carley Thomas, who ran 2:01.01 in ’19, will not be competing this indoor season. Last summer she broke her femur in two places while tubing. She’s still recovering from the resulting surgery.

OT Marathon winner Aliphine Tuliamuk had her baby girl on January 13. Now she turns back to her training, saying, “We anticipate & hope for a quick recovery.”


Retired

The Arkansas twins, Lexi Jacobus & Tori Hoggard, have left the vault world at 24 to pursue careers in pharmacy (see Last Lap).

Andrew Bumbalough has hung up his spikes at 33. The Georgetown grad hit bests of 3:37.15, 13:12.01, 26:56.78 and 2:10:56 during his long career, which included a 4th in the ’12 OT.

Miler Kyle Merber has ended his competitive career at 30. He announced the news on Instagram: “I’m not done running, I’m just done getting paid for it… the fire was missing… I don’t like to say I am retiring — real runners don’t retire. I’m merely rearranging priorities.”


In The COVID Ward

Two top U.S. women’s vaulters ran afoul of C19: Sandi Morris said her symptoms were minor with the loss of her sense of taste the worst of it; Katie Nageotte said she underwent a cardiac test before being cleared for competition and it took a month to get back up to speed.

Let’s hope we don’t see the name of Mariya Lasitskene in this space as a C19 sufferer. She says she doesn’t want to get the jab, explaining, “As an athlete I really worry how the vaccine can affect my body and my physical shape.”

Italy’s sub-10 sprinter, Filippo Tortu, recently weathered a bout with the virus.


Doping Suspensions
4 years — Viktoriya Khapilina (Ukraine, distance), Maksim Krasnov (Russia, walks), Hanna Krasutska (Ukraine, TJ);
3 years, 6 months — Patrick Siele (Kenya, distance);
2 years — Alfred Kipketer (Kenya, 800). □

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