STATUS QUO — July/August

HERE’S THE LATEST in the aches, pains & eligibility departments, with whereabouts violations very much in the news, particularly for reigning world champions Christian Coleman and Salwa Eid Naser (see “Last Lap” for more on each):

After several years of relative inactivity, 4-time USATF 800 champ Duane Solomon formally retired. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

Last month’s report noted the provisional suspensions of sprinters Deajah Stevens and Gabby Thomas for whereabouts failures. As noted in “Last Lap,” Thomas was exonerated but Stevens received an 18-month sitdown.

Not so lucky was former marathon WR setter Wilson Kipsang, who earned a 4-year ban for missing tests. He blamed the Kenyan bureaucracy for his problems.

Now on the bubble is fellow Kenyan Elijah Manangoi, the ’17 world 1500 champ. He has been provisionally suspended by the AIU for his whereabouts failures.

Sharrika Barnett, a 10-time All-America in the 400/4×4 for Florida, has retired at 23. Should the dual citizen return to competition, it would be for Jamaica.

French 100H recordholder Cindy Billaud (12.56 in ’16) has retired at age 34.

Another French star, ’17 world 800 gold medalist Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, will not compete this season due to a foot injury.

2-time Aussie Olympian Melissa Breen (11.11) has retired at 29. She says she knew it was time when she switched from thinking, “I get to go to training” to “I have to go to training.”

World 1500 champ Timothy Cheruiyot had an unspecified injury over the winter but is planning to race in August.

Former Texas A&M hurdler Robert Grant (49.15 in ’17) is now representing Italy.

Ohio State sprinter Eric Harrison (10.22/20.39) has changed his nationality from U.S. to Trinidad. He will be eligible for international competition July 15, 2021.

Geoffrey Kamworor, 5 times a world champ in off-track events, was hit from behind by a motorcycle while on a training run near his home in Eldoret, Kenya, in late June. After being taken to the hospital on the motorcycle, he underwent surgery to clean up loose bone fragments. His scalp was lacerated, his knees bruised and his right tibia was fractured.

Indian javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang, a finalist at the ’17 Worlds, has been provisionally suspended and he may be looking at an 8-year ban after a positive test following a previous warning.

Rio long jump 6th-placer Emiliano Lasa of Uruguay is recovering from surgery to a tibia.

Stanford alum Sean McGorty has revealed that his problems last year were caused by a foot infection that could have ended his career. Three surgeries were needed to shave his bones and clear out the infection, which could have cost him his foot had it penetrated the bone marrow. “July, August and September were some of the hardest months of my life,” he says. “A hamstring strain this past spring was nothing in comparison.” He has chopped almost 10 seconds off his 5000 PR this summer.

Renaud Lavillenie had surgery July 2 to repair a broken thumb. The vault great hopes to get back to competition by late August.

Jamaican hurdler Leah Nugent, a ’17 World finalist in the 400H, missed most of the ’19 season with a foot injury but has now recovered.

Romanian triple jumper Elena Panţuroiu, who was 4th in the ’18 World Indoor, is expecting a child.

Past NYC Marathon winner (’05) Jeļena Prokopčuka has announced her retirement at age 43. As recently as ’15, the Latvian had won the Osaka Marathon.

Thomas Röhler has withdrawn from the javelin at the August Nurmi Games because he became a father in July and doesn’t want to risk travel during the pandemic.

German hurdler Cindy Roleder, the ’16 Euro champ, is expecting her first child in the fall but plans to return in time for the Olympics.

David Rudisha had surgery on his left ankle in late May to repair a fracture. The 800 World Record holder reports that he won’t be able to train for 12-16 weeks.

Claudia Salman-Rath is due to give birth in September. The German long jumper/heptathlete has not competed since ’17, when she placed 8th in the Worlds heptathlon.

The Olympic 50K walk champion in ’08, Italy’s Alex Schwazer has hit the end of the road in his strenuous campaign to overturn his latest doping conviction—a second offense in ’16. In May the Swiss federal court—the last resort in this instance—rejected his appeal.

Duane Solomon, the 4th-placer in the ’12 Olympic 800, has announced his retirement at 35. Since ’17 he had only raced once.

Lithuanian walker Živilė Vaiciukevičiūtė has retired at age 24, saying she didn’t want to extend her career with the Olympics uncertain. She was the winner of the Euro Cup 20K last year.

Even though marijuana’s active ingredient is not generally considered to be performance-enhancing, American vaulter Cole Walsh began serving a 6-month suspension in January after a THC positive. The sit-down was reduced to 3 months after he completed a counseling program about use of the drug. The Oregon alum posted on social media, “I ate a chocolate bar containing THC to help me sleep during a flight; I didn’t imagine it would represent enough carboxy-THC in my body to make me positive on a test.”

Jamaica’s teen sprint star Briana Williams has opted to delay her professional debut until ’21 because of concerns about COVID-19.


Doping Bans
12 years—Etaferahu Temesgen (Ethiopia, distance);
8 years—Mary Kibarus (Kenya, distance);
4 years—Japhet Kipkor (Kenya, marathon), Asbel Kiprop (Kenya, 1500), Wilson Kipsang (Kenya, distance), Alexander Shustov (Russia, high jump), Vincent Yator (Kenya, distance);
2 years—Dmitriy Bobkov (Russia, long jump), Natalya Ivoninskaya (Kazakhstan, 100H), Kenneth Kiprop (Kenya, distance), Alex Korio (Kenya, distance), Stanislav Tivonchik (Belarus, pole vault);
18 months—Deajah Stevens (U.S., sprints). □

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