STATUS QUO — March

THE LATEST in the aches, pains & eligibility departments:

Kate Grace is fighting what might be symptoms of long COVID. (PETER READ MILLER/IMAGE OF SPORT)

Swiss sprinter Ajla Del Ponte has had her indoor season ended early by an inflamed hamstring.

Former Wisconsin heptathlete Georgia Ellenwood ruptured her right Achilles while high jumping in a late February meet trying to qualify for Canada’s World Indoor team. “I can cry now,” she says, “but I will fight with everything I have in me to be a better athlete than I ever was.”

What Kate Grace had originally thought was a mild case of C19 has turned into something more serious as she has struggled to recover, explaining, “I’m taking a longer time to get over the virus. I started to notice this collection of symptoms that I’m now learning are being seen in people with long COVID: out of breath quickly without any activity, irregular/racing heartbeat, lighthead or dizzy and shaky after runs, excessively sweaty…I’m taking a break from structured training to go by feel and fully get better.”

Esther Guerrero ruptured a thigh muscle in the 1500 at the Spanish nationals and will have to miss the World Indoor.

Bahrain’s former WR holder Ruth Jebet, now finished with her 4-year doping ban, is planning to return to the steeple wars.

A major distance find last year, Spain’s Mohamed Katir says he has been hampered this season by a January case of COVID.

Hobbs Kessler, last year’s prep AOY, skipped a late February meet with a “niggle” in his left foot. A follow-up MRI showed a stress fracture in the third metatarsal.

Russian long jumper Darya Klishina is pregnant, and will be skipping competition this year.

Indoor season terminated early: German distance standout Konstanze Klosterhalfen because of a left thigh injury.

Olympic HJ champ Mariya Lasitskene says she was in bad shape at the Russian Championships, where she ended up 3rd: “My physical and psychological condition is terrible. I still have a strong backlash against the illness that I had a month ago. We missed a lot this season, time was lost in terms of preparing for the season.”

After opening up with an 8:47.23 for 3000 in January, Irish runner Ciara Mageean tore her calf. She’s now focusing on recovering for outdoors.

A persistent back injury forced Laura Muir to cancel the end of her indoor season.

Olympic vault gold medalist Katie Nageotte skipped a mid-February competition due to an “angry tendon.”

After running a 2:25:32 at the Barcelona Marathon, Kenyan Vane Nyamboke tested positive for nandrolone; she has been provisionally suspended.

She hasn’t run things through the appeals loop yet, but Nigeria’s sprinter/jumper Blessing Okagbare is faced with taking a decade (or more) away from the sport after running seriously afoul of the doping authorities (see “Last Lap”).

Kansas State’s Jamaican long jumper Taishia Pryce has been dealing with a strained quad and struggled for 15th at he Big 12.

Tanja Spill, the German indoor 800 champ, ended her season early to recover from Epstein Barr virus.

A day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine horrified the world — and ignited protests throughout Russia — vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova posted: “My coach and I decided to skip the championship of Russia. That’s all I can say right now.”

With her change-of-allegiance process still in the works, Norah Tanui (aka Jeruto) had to miss the Olympic steeple, but did win the DL crown and World Ranked No. 1. WA has now approved her switch of nation from Kenya to Kazakhstan. Also approved were Caroline Chepkoech, Daisy Jepkemei and Shadrack Koech.

Olympic marathoner Aliphine Tuliamuk fell on snow-covered ice while running in February, getting a concussion along with some memory lapses for her pain: “My headaches are finally going away. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get back to running and racing in the coming months. I am lucky it wasn’t worse.”

Hurdler Nadine Visser expects to miss the World Indoor after pulling her hamstring at the Dutch Championships.

Kenyan marathoner Daniel Wanjiru is banned through ’23 for a biological passport violation, CAS reaffirmed.

LSU 400 star Noah Williams has gone pro early, having signed with adidas.


The Retirement Corner…

Valerie Adams has said goodbye at age 37, admitting, “It’s pretty hard, but I know in my heart it’s the right thing.” The New Zealand putter medaled at 4 straight Olympics, with golds in ’08 and ’12.

Steepler Donn Cabral, 32, has made his retirement official. The 8-time U.S. ranker — and 2-time Olympic finalist — placed 6th at the Trials and for his final event chose November’s Manchester Road Race.

As reported in “Last Lap,” Justin Gatlin is finished sprinting at age 40.

Czech middle distance star Jakub Holuša, a 3-time Olympian, has called it quits because of heel problems at age 33.

Adam Kszczot has hung up his spikes at 32. The Polish 800 standout was the first man to win 3 Euro titles in the event. “This is unbelievable,” he said. “A long time ago, when I was a young athlete, I could not imagine myself at this point of my career being such a successful man in the 800.”

Briton Tiffany Porter has given up the hurdling game at age 34. The 3-time NCAA champ for Michigan said, “I want to thank you, track & field, for all you gave me, and allowed me to experience. I learned so many lifelong lessons, met so many incredible people, visited so many fascinating countries, and earned a decent amount of cash along the way. You will always be my first love, and I will forever be indebted to you.”

The ’15 world shot champ, Germany’s Christina Schwanitz has retired at age 36 after placing 3rd at her nationals, saying, “Today I was proud, happy, relieved, satisfied and sad — actually every emotion that is attributed to the sport, I felt today in the hour of competition.” In the course of her career, she World Ranked 9 times.


Doping suspensions…
10 years – Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria, sprints);
4 years – Daniel Wanjiru (Kenya, marathon);
3 years – Edward Kibet (Kenya, distance);
18 months – Paul Lonyangato (Kenya, marathon). □

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