The latest in the aches, pains & eligibility departments:
In a major development, the IAAF has started processing transfers of allegiance again. Of most interest to U.S. fans is the news that USC 400H star Rai Benjamin has been cleared to represent the U.S. immediately.
New Zealand’s Olympic shot gold medalist Valerie Adams, 34, is expecting her second child in April.
Almaz Ayana, Ethiopia’s Olympic 10K champ and WR holder, reportedly underwent knee surgery over the summer.
Another Ethiopian great, Kenenisa Bekele, stopped late in the Amsterdam Marathon because of hip problems exacerbated by a recent injury.
At the end of September horizontal jump great Will Claye was cleared after an August out-of-competition test had turned up trace amounts of Clenbuterol, a steroid-like drug used for veterinary purposes. USADA ruled that the positive test likely came from eating contaminated meat in Mexico, noting, “Claye will not face a period of ineligibility for his positive test, and because the sample was collected out-of-competition, there are no competitive results to be disqualified.”
800 star Donavan Brazier set an indoor PR in winning the USATF Indoor in February but never ran outdoors. He now reveals that he was sidelined by Achilles problems and has joined the Nike Oregon Project.
Jamaican discus thrower Fedrick Dacres has had surgery to fix a torn meniscus in his left knee.
British hammer thrower Mark Dry, who won bronze at the Commonwealth Games, has had a hip joint replacement, but nonetheless intends to continue competing.
Mo Farah was bitten on the rear end by a dog on a late July run in Switzerland. No serious damage, but shots were required.
Hagos Gebrhiwet withdrew from the Delhi Half-Marathon because of illness.
Janeth Jepkosgei, the ’07 world 800 champion, has returned to training after a 2-year absence for maternity and injury. The 34-year-old Kenyan says she intends to move up to the 1500 or 5000.
Marathon great Meb Keflezighi says he is considering coming out of retirement to run in the ’20 Olympic Trials Marathon, when he’ll be 44.
Sally Kipyego, returning to the sport after maternity, has canceled her plans to race the NYC Marathon because of a bout of malaria.
The Sydney McLaughlin Sweepstakes has concluded with news that the precocious long-hurdle star has signed with New Balance.
Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui, one of the year’s fastest 3000 runners, has a foot injury.
Eric Kiptanui, a favorite for the Delhi Half, withdrew with an ankle injury.
Polish 800 star Adam Kszczot is planning to skip the ’19 indoor season in order to prepare for the long outdoor campaign.
After a long rehabilitation from injury, Canada’s Jaimie Phelan, the ’17 NCAA 1500 champ for Michigan, is returning to racing. Finished with her eligibility, she will be training with coach Mike McGuire’s pro group.
There won’t be any spring marathon for Galen Rupp, who had to have foot surgery (see Last Lap) after the Chicago Marathon.
Another Canadian miler who was a Michigan All-America, Nicole Sifuentes has announced her retirement at age 32.
Dutch decathlete Eelco Sintnicolaas has had surgery on a bad ankle.
After taking ’18 off to recover from injuries, Jamaican sprinter Odean Skeen has returned to training.
German vaulter Silke Spiegelburg, with a frustrating collection of 4th-place finishes in OG/WC competition, has retired at age 32. A foot injury troubled her leading up to her final competition.
New Balance nabs another: Harvard sprinter Gabby Thomas, the NCAA Indoor 200 champ, has decided to skip her final year of eligibility, signing a pro contract.
High jumper Vernon Turner transferred from Oklahoma to Arkansas after earning All-Am honors indoors and out. But halfway through the fall semester he had a change of heart, announcing that in January he would be back competing for the Sooners. □