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Farah announces return to track for Tokyo Games – Kenyan Tribune
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Farah announces return to track for Tokyo Games

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Four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah has announced he will return to the 10,000m on the track next year in a bid to win a fifth Olympic title in Tokyo.

The British distance runner hung up his track spikes at the end of 2017 after the World Athletics Championships in London, where he earned his sixth world title by winning the 10,000m and claimed silver in the 5000m.

He shifted his focus to the roads in 2018, placing third at the London Marathon and then winning in Chicago with a European record of 2:05:11.

He came close to his marathon PB in London earlier this year, finishing fifth in 2:05:39, three minutes behind eventual winner Eliud Kipchoge.

In his most recent race, last month’s Chicago Marathon, Farah placed eighth in 2:09:58, four minutes adrift of winner Lawrence Cherono.

“It has been really exciting to compete in the marathon for the past couple of years,” said Farah, who won Olympic 5000m-10,000m doubles in 2012 and 2016. “To win the Chicago Marathon, a major marathon, was nice. To finish third at the London Marathon was good.

“It’s been a great learning curve for me. Doing a marathon and to run 2:05, a European record, it was very exciting. The training for it was totally different to the track.

“I have decided that next year at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games I’m going to be back on the track,” he added. “I’m really excited to be competing back on the track and to give it a go in the 10,000m. Hopefully I haven’t lost my speed, but I’ll train hard for it and see what I can do. It’s exciting.”

Farah’s last 10,000m on the track was at the 2017 World Championships where he won in 26:49.51 with Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei finishing second.

Cheptegei, the world cross-country champion, has now succeeded Farah as the world champion at the distance after the 23-year-old won in Doha in 26:48.36.

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Farah’s 2017 victory in London and Cheptegei’s recent triumph in Doha played out in similar fashion. Their splits at 9000m were near identical (Farah 24:20.69 in London, Cheptegei 24:20.79 in Doha).

But Cheptegei was faster than Farah in the final 1000m (2:27.57 v 2:28.82), 800m (1:56.63 v 1:57.55) and 400m (55.38 v 55.63).

Farah, who will turn 37 in March next year, will make history in Tokyo just by reaching the startline as no one aged 37 or older has ever competed in a men’s 10,000m final at the Olympic Games.

Mamo Wolde was 36 years and four months when he earned silver in 1968, while fellow Ethiopian Miruts Yifter was 36 years and two months when he claimed gold in 1980.

Should Farah recapture his speed from his peak track-racing days, it would make for a mouth-watering clash against Cheptegei, one of the most exciting distance runners in the world at present.




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Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.

“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.

“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”

With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.

There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.

Rugby Championship

There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.

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That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.

South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.

“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.

‘Seven Nations’

Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?

Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.

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England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.

Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.

Super Rugby

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Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.

The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.

Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.

South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.

‘Pro16’

Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.

“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.

But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.

While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.

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Currie Cup

The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.

First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.

But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections

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By NATION REPORTER

Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.

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Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.

The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.

Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.

Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.

Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.

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