The Sports Examiner

TSX INTEL REPORT: More events to be moved from Tokyo due to heat? Here are some candidates; Amgen Tour of California on “hiatus” & meet Grant Holloway, Twitter star!

= TSX INTELLIGENCE REPORT ~ 1 November 2019 =

● LANE ONE ● IOC moves Tokyo marathons and walks, but are there still more events to be moved?

The International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission is in Tokyo, meeting with the 2020 organizers and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which is quite unhappy about the move of the marathons and race walks some 516 miles north to Sapporo.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has complained that the government was not consulted, or even told in advance, of the plan to move these events, and has stated that Tokyo will not pay to stage events in Sapporo.

In the meantime, the marathons and walks cannot be the only events being discussed in view of the high temperatures projected for the Games period in Tokyo beginning on 24 July 2020. What about the Open Water swimming events – the 10 km swims require last about two hours – and the triathlons, with open-water swimming (1,500 m) and road running (10 km)?

The Open Water test event earlier this summer featured water temperatures so high at 7:30 a.m. that the event was close to cancellation. The international federation (FINA) has rules that limit the water temp, as does the International Triathlon Union. Are these on the table for discussion in Tokyo … or will they stay stuck on the marathons and walks? More here.

● CYCLING ● AEG’s Amgen Tour of California “on hiatus” for 2020 and may be gone

Over the 10 months of the annual UCI World Tour in road cycling – the highest-profile races each year – there has been only one race in the U.S. over the past three years: the Amgen Tour of California for men and the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race. Not any more.

Organizer AEG announced on Tuesday (link) that it “will put the Amgen Tour of California race on hiatus for the 2020 racing season.”

The reason is simple: not enough money.

“This has been a very difficult decision to make, but the business fundamentals of the Amgen Tour of California have changed since we launched the race 14 years ago,” said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports.

“While professional cycling globally continues to grow and we are very proud of the work we have done to increase the relevance of professional cycling, particularly in the United States, it has become more challenging each year to mount the race. This new reality has forced us to re-evaluate our options, and we are actively assessing every aspect of our event to determine if there is a business model that will allow us to successfully relaunch the race in 2021.”

The Amgen Tour had been a popular destination for riders including Tour de France winners Bradley Wiggins (GBR) and Egan Bernal (COL) and sprint superstar Peter Sagan (SVK), winner of a record 17 stages at the race. But barring a major breakthrough with new sponsors, it’s likely done, and a bad blow to professional cycling’s profile in the U.S.

● FOOTBALL ● Only six teams at 2-0 in FIFA men’s U-17 World Cup in Brazil

After the move of the tournament from Peru to Brazil earlier in the year, the FIFA men’s U-17 World Cup continues with group play heading into the final games.

A total of 24 teams are playing, in six groups of four. Thus far, Brazil and Angola lead Group A (both 2-0); Nigeria is 2-0 in Group B; France is 2-0 in Group C; Senegal is 2-0 in Group D and Italy is 2-0 in Group F.

The U.S. men lost their first game (in Group D) to Senegal, 4-1, then had a scoreless draw with Japan. The Americans will play the Netherlands on Saturday with advancement at stake either as the second team in the group, or possibly as one of the “best” third-place teams.

The semifinals will be played on 14 November and the medal matches on 17 November. Look for results here.

● JUDO ● UAE, IJF and Euronews recognized by International Fair Play Committee in Abu Dhabi

In the face of obvious discrimination against athletes from specific countries, the International Judo Federation has insisted that such actions will not be tolerated. As the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament was about to start last week, a special ceremony was held to honor the “historic accomplishment of enabling the participation of Israeli athletes with full recognition of its national insignia as well as the playing of its national anthem upon the victory of Israeli athletes, for the first time, in Abu Dhabi” or in any Persian Gulf country.

The change of policy in the UAE was recognized by the  2018 Willi Daume World Fair Play Trophy for Promotion by the International Fair Play Committee jointly to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi; UAE Wrestling and Judo Federation President Mohamed bin Thaalloob Alderie; International Judo Federation President Marius L. Vizer, and Michael Peters, chief executive of EuroNews.

Said Vizer, “I want to thank the UAE government, who’ve helped us to open the door for international peace and it was not an easy decision but was one we all welcomed and applauded. Thank you to all of our judo family for your support and hard work in all of challenging moments such as Iran and Israel.” More here.

● ATHLETICS ● Keitany looks for fifth New York City Marathon title Sunday

The final major marathon of 2019 comes Sunday with the TCS New York City Marathon, with cool temperatures of about 50 degrees expected, but with some winds.

The 2018 winners are back to defend their titles, with Kenyan star Mary Keitany trying for a fifth title in the past six years in the women’s division. The last two men’s champions, Lelisa Desisa (ETH: 2018; pictured) and Geoffrey Kamworer (KEN: 2017) will face off again in the men’s race.

Desisa will also have serious competition from countrymen Tamirat Tola (2:04:06 lifetime best), fourth at New York last year, and Shura Kitata, who finished second at both the London and New York marathons last year.

Keitany will have to deal with 2019 Tokyo Marathon winner Ruti Aga (ETH), who did not finish in the heat of the 2019 World Championships marathon in Doha and will be highly motivated to show that was due to the extreme conditions there. Much more about the race here.

USA Track & Field named its coaching staffs for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, with plenty of familiar faces (link):

● MenMike Holloway, head coach (University of Florida); assistants: Darryl Woodson (sprints and hurdles), Stanley Redwine (distances), Nat Page (jumps), Gary Aldrich (throws), Tim Weaver (head manager).

● WomenRose Monday, head coach (USATF Women’s Track & Field chair); assistants: LaTanya Sheffield (sprints and hurdles), Megan Watson (distances), Robyne Johnson (jumps), Sandra Fowler (throws), Marsha Seagrave (head manager).

Orin Richburg will support both staffs for relays and Manny Bautista and Danielle Siebert will be Event Managers.

USA Track & Field named its Hall of Fame Class of 2019 (link), including Olympic medal winners Steve Lewis (400 m), Sandra Farmer-Patrick (400 m hurdles) and John Powell (discus) and the late Fred Thompson, founder and coach of the Atoms Track Club.

Lewis won Olympic golds in the 400 m and 4×400 m (1988) and 4×400 m in 1992; Farmer-Patrick won Olympic silver in the 400 m hurdles in 1992 and Powell won Olympic bronzes in the disc in 1976 and 1984. The induction ceremony will take place on 7 December during the USATF Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada.

● ALPINE SKIING ● FIS chief says “We have too many races” in Alpine World Cup

International Ski Federation President Gian-Franco Kasper (SUI) admitted that the Alpine World Cup schedule, with 44 men’s races and 41 women’s races from now through March, is at the breaking point.

“I know it’s not easy for the athletes and also for some organizers,” he told the Associated Press last week (link). “We are now at a certain limit, there is no question. We have too many races. But FIS is not here to prevent races but to organize races.”

Said American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin, “Sometimes it doesn’t really make sense how they make it work. Which races are where? You are traveling all over the place, kind of in the wrong direction half of the time. That’s actually very difficult to manage. But then they can’t expect us to do everything.”

● THIS WEEK ● World Cup action starts in cycling and fencing; major Baseball qualifier starts

Notable events are on this weekend in Badminton, Baseball, Beach Volleyball, Cycling in BMX Freestyle and Track Cycling, Fencing and Swimming.

The Baseball Premier 12 tournament is a crucial qualifier that will admit two teams of the six teams to the Tokyo 2020 tournament. No. 1-ranked Japan is already in as the host country, but the no. 2-ranked U.S. team will try to qualify. The tournament starts Sunday in Mexico, Chinese Taipei and South Korea, with the second round and finals in Japan; the medal matches will be on 17 November.

Cycling action will be in Chengdu (CHN) for the final BMX Freestyle World Cup, in advance of the World Urban Cycling Championships – also in Chengdu – a week later. Australian Logan Martin and American Hannah Roberts are the current World Cup leaders, but 2018 World Champions Justin Dowell and Perris Benegas (both Americans) are close behind.

The Track Cycling World Cup starts this weekend in Minsk (BLR), with defending World Cup and World Championships winners Matthijs Buchli (NED), Wai Sze Lee (HKG) and Kirsten Wild (NED) as the headliners going into the season.

The next-to-last FINA Swimming World Cup is being held in Kazan (RUS), with Russia’s Vladimir Morozov having all but clinched the men’s title. But there is roaring finish ahead in the women’s overall race, with Aussie Cate Campbell just three points ahead of Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu. The series will finish next week in Doha (QAT).

More here; a special preview of the FINA World Cup is here.

● WINTER WEEK ● Chen, Zagitova headline Internationaux de France; World Cups get rolling

The winter sports scene is in full swing now, starting with the third stage in the ISU Grand Prix, the Internationaux de France, in Grenoble. World Champions Nathan Chen of the U.S., Alina Zagitova of Russia and France’s Ice Dance starts Gabriela Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are the strong favorites in their events. Chen will have a substantial challenge from 2018 Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan. More here.

The FIS World Cup circuits in Freestyle Big Air and Snowboard Big Air are on at Modena (ITA) and the first ISU Short Track World Cup will be held at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City. The U.S. nationals in luge will be in Lake Placid with Chris Mazdzer and Summer Britcher trying to defend their 2018 victories. Much more here.

● THE LAST WORD ● American hurdles star Grant Holloway, the 2019 World Champion, is quickly becoming a star on Twitter.

He recently posted, “Need new games to stream! Drop suggestions!” Fellow hurdler Devon Allen suggested Fortnite and Holloway replied“Say that again I will block you.” Some others got the same treatment.

But he’s also personable, raw and authentic. Over a video of himself, standing at attention and saluting the flag during his victory ceremony for the 110 m hurdles at the Doha Worlds, he wrote:

“One of my favorite moments of my life. A lot of people asked me about equal rights & all that BS going around. Do I think it’s unfair? Yes, But my Father served 22 years in the military & I’ll be damned if I ever disrespect what he did for me & this country. It’s bigger then you.”

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