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(● For our 526-event International Sports Calendar from October 2020 to June 2021,
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Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:
● Athletics ● The specially-created FBK After Summer distance meet in Hengelo (NED) resulted in a quick 10,000 m for local star Sifan Hassan, despite heavy rain.
The World Champion in the 1,500 m and the 10,000 m, Hassan had ideas of chasing the world record, but slowed in the wet and cold conditions in the second half of the race to finish in a world-leading 29:36.67 – a European record and moving her to no. 4 all-time – only the ninth women’s 10,000 m ever under 30 minutes. Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu was second in 30:57.73.
Kenya’s Olympic 1,500 m champ Faith Kipyegon wanted to take a shot at the 1,000 m world mark, but that was impossible in the conditions, so she settled for a win in 2:32.82, with Winnie Nanyondo (UGA) second in 2:40.50.
The men’s 5,000 m was an easy win for Ethiopian star Yomif Kejelcha in 13:21.84, ahead of Australia’s Stewart McSweyn (13:16.05) and Matthew Kimeli (KEN: 13:24.54).
● Cycling ● The 103rd Giro d’Italia rolled through its first week with a first UCI World Tour victory for Portugal’s Ruben Guerreiro in the ninth stage (of 21), a mountainous, 208 km route that ended uphill in Roccaraso in the central Italian mountains.
Only Spain’s Jonathan Castroviejo was close, eight seconds back, with Mikkel Bjerg (DEN) finishing third (-0:58). Race leader Joao Almeida (POR) finished 19th and Wilco Kelderman (NED: 8th) moved up from third to second overall, now 30 seconds back of the lead. Spain’s Pedro Bilbao had a tough day(17th) and fell to third (-0:39). Italy’s Domenico Pizzovivo (-0:53) and Vincenzo Nibali (-0:57) are fourth and fifth.
The star of the week was French sprinter Arnaud Demare, who won the mass sprint finishes in Stage 6 (over Australia’s Michael Matthews) and Stage 7 (over Slovakian star Peter Sagan, with Mathews third). Stage 8, a hilly route with one major climb, went to Britain’s Alex Dowsett, who won by 1:15 over Salvatore Puccio (ITA); it was Dowsett’s second career win in the Giro.
The race has a day off on Monday; there are three hilly stages coming up and two sprint stages (one a time trial) before next Sunday’s quadruple climb with an uphill finish in Piancavallo in the Italian Alps.
One of the best-loved Classics of the spring season, Belgium’s Gent-Wevelgem, was held on Sunday and Dane Mads Pedersen posted his third win of the season with his first-ever Classics win in a sprint finish after 232.5 km, over Florian Senechal (FRA) and Matteo Trentin (ITA), all in 5:19:20.
Belgian cycling fans – perhaps the most fanatical in the world – were overjoyed with a 1-2 finish by Jolien D’Hoore and Lotte Kopecky over the 141.4 km route. D’Hoore managed the final sprint best, finishing just ahead of Kopecky, Lisa Brennauer (GER), Sarah Roy (AUS) and Marta Cavalli (ITA).
Coming up next Sunday is one of the annual features, the Ronde van Vlaanderen – the Tour of Flanders – for both men and women.
The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships was full of surprises at Leogang, Austria, as a new set of champions was crowned during a busy (and rainy) week of racing.
In the featured Cross Country Olympic division, Swiss star Nino Schurter was looking for a sixth world title in a row, but he was well off the lead from the start and finished ninth.
France’s Jordan Sarrou took the lead quickly and was never headed, maintaining his advantage for a 45-second win over Swiss Matthias Flueckiger, 1:25.37 to 1:26:22 on a muddy, 22.5 km track. France collected the bronze medal as well with Titouan Carod in 1:26:32.
The women’s Cross Country saw two-time winner – and defending champion – Pauline Ferrand-Prevot of France smoke the field, finishing in 1:27:33, more than three minutes clear of Eva Lechner (ITA: 1:30:34) and Rebecca McConnell (AUS: 1:30:34).
The 2019 World Champion, American Kate Courtney, did not finish. Erin Huck was the top U.S. finisher in 17th. Denmark’s Annika Langvad, the 2016 World Champion, withdrew and announcer her retirement at age 36.
Sunday’s Downhills saw Britain’s Reece Wilson move from third to first in the last section of the 2.3 km course and finish in 3:51.243, decisively quicker than fast-closing David Trummer (AUT: 3:54.440) – who went from ninth-fastest to second in the final segment – and Remi Thiron of France (3:57.196).
French star Myriam Nicole was looking for a second consecutive title in the women’s Downhill but Swiss Camille Balanche was unstoppable, riding cleanly in the tough conditions in the final section to win in 5:08.426. Nicole finished in 5:11.556 for second and Slovenia’s Monica Hrastnick was a distant third in 5:25.392.
● Golf ● Korea’s Sei-Young Kim shot a brilliant final-round 63 to run away with the Women’s PGA Championship at the Aronimink Golf Club in Newton Square, Pennsylvania.
That followed her third-round 67 that gave her the lead, but Sunday’s round included seven birdies and no bogeys to give her a first LPGA Major victory and her 11th career LPGA Tour title. She finished at 266, 14 under par for the tournament.
Fellow Korean Inbee Park, a three-time winner of this event, finished with a 65 on Sunday to move from fourth to second (271: -9) and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Nasa Hataoka (JPN) tied for third at 273 (-7).
● Skiing ● American superstar Mikela Shiffrin announced on Instagram on Friday that she suffered a back injury and won’t compete in the FIS Alpine World Cup season opener in Soelden (AUT) this week:
“After tweaking my back skiing last week, I have been advised to sit Soelden out to let my back heal so I can race the rest of the season. Having started in Soelden for the last eight years straight, this feels…really frustrating and strange (for lack of better words). Luckily, this injury will heal and I will be back in the start soon.”
Shiffrin has not raced on the World Cup circuit since 26 January, leaving the tour after he father’s death and then having the last events of the 2019-2020 season canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. She is the active leader with 66 World Cup wins so far and needs 16 more to tie countrywoman Lindsay Vonn for the most all-time in the women’s division.
● Tennis ● The French Open was completed successfully in Paris, with more history from Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who defeated Serbian Novak Djokovic, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to win his 20th career Grand Slam title, tying Swiss Roger Federer for the most ever.
It was the 13th career French Open title for Nadal, the most ever and he defeated the 2020 Australian Open winner in Djokovic.
The women’s final made more history, this time for Poland’s Iga Swiatek, who defeated American Sofia Kenin, 6-4, 6-1 in Saturday’s final. Swiatek, 19, became the first Pole to win a Grand Slam singles title. She swept through her seven matches without losing a set.
Kenin, 21, won the Australian Open way back in January and this was her second Grand Slam final.
In Doubles, three of the four finalists were mixed-nationality teams. Germans Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies won the men’s event over Mate Pavic (CRO) and Bruno Soares (BRA), 6-4, 7-5; Hungary’s Timea Babos and France’s Kristina Mladenovic won the women’s Doubles over Alexa Guarachi (CHI) and Desirae Krawczyk (USA), 6-4, 7-5.
This was the final Grand Slam event of 2020,with Wimbledon canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 Australian Open is scheduled for 18-31 January.
● Wrestling ● The 2020 USA Wrestling National Championships was another showcase for the brilliant, five-time World Champion Adeline Gray, who won her fifth U.S. title at 76 kg with a 10-0 technical fall against Victoria Francis (results here and here) in Coralville, Iowa.
Worlds medalist Sarah Hildebrandt was the class of the field as expected in the 50 kg class, defeating Amy Fearnside by 8-0 in the final. Katherine Shai won at 53 kg by 10-0 over Rhonda Heaton, and Lauren Louive pinned Xochitl Motts-Pettis in 2:47 at 57 kg.
Oft-injured Jennifer Page returned to the mat to claim her third national title at 62 kg, winning the title over Macey Kitty by 4-3 in the final. Forrest Molinari, the favorite at 68 kg, won her matches at 68 kg by pinfall and technical fall to that her class.
The men’s Freestyle division saw ninth-seeded Andrew Alirez win the 65 kg division by shutting down third-seeded Evan Henderson, 5-1 in the final; Alirez was named Outstanding Wrestler. Vitali Arujau won his first national title at 57 kg; other winners included Logan Massa (repeater at 74 kg), Gabe Dean (86 kg), Kollin Moore (97 kg) and Mason Parris at 125 kg.
In Greco-Roman, Benji Peak won the 67 kg title and was named Outstanding Wrestler of the division after winning his matches by 9-0, 11-0, 9-0, 9-0 and 8-0. Alex Thomsen (60 kg), Kendrick Sanders (77 kg), Alan Vera (87 kg), Nick Boykin (97 kg) and Cohlton Schultz (130 kg) won the other national titles.
Many of the top wrestlers in the country did not compete in Coralville; if the UWW World Championships are held in December as scheduled, the 2020 Nationals will be the primary selection meet.