TSX REPORT: Commonwealth Games 2026 to be saved after all? Ukraine preps for Russians in Paris; USATF skips another World U-20 champs

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1. Commonwealth Games Federation says 2026 host coming
2. Ukrainian protocol for meeting Russians in Paris on the way
3. Russian IOC member rips Pozdnyakov on tennis name-calling
4. USATF to skip World U-20 Champs for second time in four years
5. NAIA bans transgender athletes from women’s category

● The Commonwealth Games Federation announced that it will reveal a host for the 2026 Commonwealth Games – in some format – next month, after losing the Australian state of Victoria as its host last year and getting turned down by Malaysia and Singapore. It also endorsed a study of the 2022 Commonwealth Games that reported a £1.2 billion economic impact!

● Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee is working on a protocol for its athletes to follow in Paris, telling them not to be seen with Russian or Belarusian athletes, don’t take pictures with them … and don’t shake hands!

● The senior Russian member of the International Olympic Committee – and head of the Russian Tennis Federation – classified comments about Russian tennis players as “foreign agents” to be “stupidity,” as senior officials continued to criticize each other.

● USA Track & Field announced it will not send a team to the World Athletics U-20 Championships in Lima, Peru in August, citing unrest in the country, the late date vis-a-vis the U.S. school calendar and the lack of warm-up meets over the summer. It also announced its 2024 Journey to Gold schedule, with the same seven meets as in 2023.

● The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) passed a new transgender participation policy on Monday, requiring that only females by birth can compete in women’s competitions. It passed by 20-0.

World Championship: Ice Hockey (U.S. women take down Canada, 1-0, in overtime to win Group A) ●

Panorama: London 2012 (Russian Poistogova suspended for doping, losing 2012 women’s 800 m silver) = Paris 2024 (French Mint says medal production on schedule, despite protests) = Los Angeles 2028 (Kosovo government allocates €4 million to train athletes for LA28) = Athletics (3: Sensational 234-2 discus opener for Alekna in Berkeley; Kenyan marathoner Cheboror suspended for whereabouts; Butch Reynolds documentary premiere in Cleveland) = Hockey (USA Hockey explains why Carolina star Matson cannot try out for Olympic team) = Modern Pentathlon (new format for LA28 tipped from OBS meetings: more handicap racing) = Ski Mountaineering (Bonnet and Gachet Mollaret sweep first two races in Cortina World Cup) = Weightlifting (more world records at IWF World Cup) ●

Commonwealth Games Federation says 2026 host coming

“Following the April meeting of its Executive Board, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is pleased to confirm that it is considering multiple proposals to Host the 2026 Games.

“Significant progress has been made and we are excited by the early concepts, which aim to reset and reframe the Games. We are now working collaboratively with the relevant Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) to undertake further detailed assessments, and aim to announce the 2026 Commonwealth Games Host in May. Our CGAs have asked, and we have agreed, to keep their proposals confidential while this process is on-going.”

So, a promise of more information to come on a 2026 Commonwealth Games next month. The 2026 situation and the future of the Commonwealth Games – first held in 1930 – has been in free fall since last year when the Australian state of Victoria abandoned the hosting duties it had signed onto in 2022. No other Australian hosts could be found with the requisite governmental support, and in the past month, both Malaysia and Singapore have turned down the opportunity to host in 2026, even with a subsidy of £100 million (~$127 million U.S., i.e., £1 = $1.27).

Not coincidentally, the CGF on Monday also promoted a year-after report by KPMG on the highly-successful 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (ENG), highlighting a significant economic impact:

“The evaluation analysis estimates that the Games contributed approximately £1.2 billion [Gross Value Added] and approximately 22,380 FTE years of employment in the UK economy between FY 2017/18 and FY 2023/24.

“Of this total net GVA contribution at least £217.3 million of GVA is estimated to have been generated in Birmingham; and £516.3 million of GVA381 is estimated to have been generated in the West Midlands (including Birmingham).”

“The Games were delivered under budget. Financial data provided during the course of this evaluation shows that between FY 2017/18 and FY 2023/24 approximately £810.9 million (£858.7 million in 2023 prices) of Games-related spending was incurred to deliver the Games, including:

— £638.3 million (£670.8 million in 2023 prices) of operating spending to deliver the Games, of which £120.5 million (£124.5 million in 2023 prices) was funded through commercial income, resulting in a net operating cost of the Games of £517.8 million (£546.3 million in 2023 prices); and

— £172.7 million (£187.9 million in 2023 prices) of capital spending on sporting and other infrastructure needed to host the Games, providing assets for future use, of which approximately £25.0 million (£27.2 million in 2023 prices) would have been invested by SMBC in a new alternative leisure centre had the Games not taken place in the West Midlands and is therefore not considered an additional cost of the Games.

“This equates to a net Games-related public sector cost of £665.5 million (£707.0 million in 2023 prices).”

The report indicated that only 2% of ticket buyers for the 2022 Commonwealth Games came from outside Great Britain, a very minor percentage compared to other mega-events of this size. However, almost 835 million around the world saw the 2022 Games on television.

The new host announcement could be of a traditional host, or the disassembly of the Games into parts, held at different locations throughout the Commonwealth.

Ukrainian protocol for meeting Russians in Paris on the way

“Don’t congratulate each other, don’t stand next to each other in photos, don’t give joint interviews, of course, and don’t shake hands.”

That’s the core of the code of conduct being worked on now by the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, in preparation for at least some Russian and Belarusian “neutrals” being present at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

NOC chief Vadym Guttsait said during a television appearance that the complete requirements are being finalized: “That is, we are in the middle. Now we will resolve the last issues, and it [the protocol] will be approved.”

After the issues at last year’s world championships of the Federation Internationale de Escrime (FIE), where Sabre star Olha Kharlan was disqualified for not shaking hands with Russian Anna Smirnova after their elimination bout, Guttsait said the details are being discussed in advance with the relevant federations.

Ukrainian star high jumper – and World Champion – Yaroslava Makuchikh said on the World Athletics “Inside Track” podcast that she thinks of the situation at home all the time:

“I’m competing for my country, for my people, for our soldiers. I’m thankful to all of them that I have the opportunity to train outside of Ukraine and to represent my country. I like the fact that people have been inspired by me to start track and field. Doing sport is really important for your physical and mental health. Perhaps in 10 years’ time we’ll have a new generation of athletes in Ukraine.

“Sport has helped me to take on the challenge with this war. Being an inspiration for my country helped me to focus at the [2022] World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and win the gold medal.”

Russian IOC member rips Pozdnyakov on tennis name-calling

Shamil Tarpischev has been a Russian member of the International Olympic Committee since 1994 and continues as the President of the Russian Tennis Federation. He did not take kindly to comments from Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov – a gold-medal-winning Olympic fencer – calling out Russian tennis players like Daniil Medvedev as “foreign agents” for their willingness to play at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

On Monday, Tarpischev told the Russian news agency TASS:

“Calling [tennis players] foreign agents is stupidity. An athlete does a job to which he devoted his whole life and never betrayed the country. This is utter stupidity.

“And that a tennis player plays more than 30 competitions abroad is the specifics of the sport. They performed before the pandemic, now, and will do so later. At the same time, when possible, many come home to prepare. Both [Veronika] Kudermetova and [Karen] Khachanov came to train here. Blame them for not spending much time at home.

“This is ignorance of the specifics of sports by those people who begin to speak out on this subject. There are no tournaments in Russia where tennis players could win points in order to be in the rankings.

“The sporting unity of Russia must be preserved, and not destroyed by statements. And I am grateful to the tennis players and other athletes that they are true patriots of our homeland.”

Russian and Belarusian wrestlers did very well at the final European Wrestling Qualifier for Paris 2024, with eight Russian and five Belarusians reaching the finals and securing an Olympic quota spot.

However, that does not mean that the Russians will go. Russian Wrestling Federation chief Mikhail Mamiashvili said Saturday:

“The Russian Wrestling Federation fully supports the policy of the President of Russia, and Russian wrestlers will consider the possibility of participating in the Olympic Games to prove that, despite all the difficulties, restrictions and sanctions, the medals of the main world sports forums will still go to the strongest power: Russia.

“But in order to make a decision on participation in the Olympic Games, you must first win the right to participate there on a sporting basis, which is what Russian wrestlers are doing today at a qualifying tournament. I want to emphasize that at the moment we are not talking about participation in the Olympics, but about winning the right to participate there.

“And Russian wrestlers, according to the sporting principle, are allowed to qualify, and according to the sporting principle, they compete for the right to be among the participants in the main sporting event of the four years, and after that we will decide whether to participate in the Games based on the criteria that will be proposed by the International Olympic Committee.”

USATF to skip World U-20 Champs for second time in four years

USA Track & Field issued a statement on Monday, pulling out of another World Athletics junior championship:

“After careful consideration concerning both the domestic & international athletics calendar, consultation amongst the internal team, advice of security consultants and relevant government authorities, it has been decided that USA Track & Field will not be sending a Team to the 2024 World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Peru. …

“We understand that this decision may be disappointing for those who were looking forward to participating, but we have the responsibility to prioritize the safety and security of all involved.”

The U.S. government issued a travel advisory on 23 November 2023 concerning Peru of “Exercise increased caution.” Further USATF cited the timing and lack of competition in the U.S. after June:

“The August 26-31 date of the event is at the end of the summer period and will be problematic for many high school and college athletes as many will have already returned to school/campuses for the 2024-2025 academic year.”

(The World Athletics calendar shows two Continental Tour Silver meets in the U.S. July, with the Ed Murphey Classic in Memphis from 11-13 July and the Holloway Pro Classic in Gainesville on 19 July; none are shown in August.)

This is the second time in three World U-20 Champs that the U.S. will skip. USATF decided not to send a team to the 2021 World U-20s in Nairobi, Kenya, issuing a statement that noted:

“Due to a number of factors including timing, logistics, and most importantly the health and well-being of our athletes and team staffs, USATF will not send athletes to the following 2021 events,” which included the World U-20s, the Pan American U-20s in Chile and the NACAC U-23s in Costa Rica.

Lima was selected for the meet in 2021. It will be fascinating to watch the attitude of other U.S. federations toward Peru, as the 2019 Pan American Games was successfully held in Lima and will be held in Lima again in 2027.

USATF announced its “Journey to Gold” schedule for 2024, with the same seven meets as in 2023 (although on slightly different dates):

28 Apr.: Bermuda Grand Prix (Devonshire, BER)
04 May: Throws Festival (Tucson)
17 May: Distance Classic (Los Angeles)
18 May: L.A. Grand Prix (Los Angeles)
25 May: Prefontaine Classic (Eugene)
09 Jun.: NYC Grand Prix (New York)
21-30 Jun.: U.S. Olympic Trials (Eugene)

The Prefontaine Classic is a Diamond League meet and the L.A. and NYC Grand Prix meets are World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meets. The Bermuda Grand Prix and Throws Festival Continental Tour Silver meets.

NAIA bans transgender athletes from women’s category

On a 20-0 vote from its Council of Presidents on Monday, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) adopted a new transgender participation policy which includes:

● “A. Participation by students in sports designated as male by the NAIA:
“All eligible NAIA student-athletes may participate in NAIA-sponsored male sports.

● “B. Participation by students in sports designated as female by the NAIA:
”Only NAIA student-athletes whose biological sex* is female may participate in NAIA-sponsored female sports.”

● “*For the sake of this policy, biological sex is defined by distinguishing characteristics and can be supported by birth certificate or signed affidavit. While rare, there have been cases where the sex assigned at birth does not match the biological sex, which led to the use of biological sex in this document.”

The policy does not apply to Competitive Cheer and Competitive Dance, which are open sports, not segregated by sex. Further, women who have begun “masculinizing hormone therapy” may practice, but not compete in a “countable contest.”

The NAIA is an association of 241 smaller colleges and universities, covering about 83,000 students who compete in athletics. The new policy will take effect on 1 August 2024.

The prohibition on transgender athletes in women’s sports is in contrast to the much-larger NCAA, which has allowed transgender athletes in women’s competitions, subject to lowered levels of testosterone. However, the NCAA policy on testosterone levels is separate and is not yet connected to those of any International Federation, leading to criticism – and a lawsuit – from some female athletes.

NAIA President Jim Carr told The Associated Press:

“We know there are a lot of opinions, and a lot of people have a very emotional reaction to this, and we want to be respectful of all that. But we feel like our primary responsibility is fairness in competition, so we are following that path. And we’ve tried as best we could to allow for some participation by all.”

The AP further noted that “At least 24 states have laws barring transgender women and girls from competing in certain women’s or girls sports competitions.”


● Ice Hockey ● The U.S. got a taut, 1-0 overtime victory over Canada in their final pool-play match at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Utica, New York.

The two sides, which have met in 21 of the 22 prior women’s Worlds finals, put up 49 shots between them in regulation time, but neither American Aerin Frankel (26 saves) nor Canadian star Ann-Renee Desbiens (23 saves) could be beaten.

The Canadians had been on the offensive in the second and third periods, but the U.S. came out shooting in the overtime, piling up seven shots in the first 3:38, with Kirsten Simms finally getting the winner off a 3-on-1 break and a crisp pass by defender Caroline Harvey for Simms’ quick-release shot. Canada did not get a shot off in the overtime.

The two teams are in a path to meet again, with the U.S. winning Group A at 4-0 and Canada at 3-1. Group B play will finish on Tuesday, with Germany at 3-0 and Sweden at 3-1 so far. The playoffs will start on the 11th.


● Olympic Games 2012: London ● Another historical doping positive, with more medals to be re-allocated, this time in the women’s 800 m.

Russia’s Marina Savinova won the race on the track in 1:56.19, but was disqualified for doping, along with sixth-placer Elena Arzhakova (1:59.21). That moved South Africa’s Caster Semenya (1:57.23) up to gold-medal status, followed by Russian Ekaterina Poistogova (1:57.53 for silver), then Pamela Jelimo (KEN: 1:57.59) for the bronze and American Alysia Johnson-Montano (1:57.93) in fourth.

In 2017, the World Anti-Doping Agency found Poistogova to be doping and suggested a lifetime ban, which was shortened by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on appeal to two years, annulling her results only since 24 August 2015.

Now, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, working off of data from the infamous Moscow Laboratory that oversaw the state-sponsored doping program from 2011-15, has imposed new penalties. According to the All-Russian Athletics Federation:

“The period of ineligibility for the athlete is from 28 March 2024 to 27 March 2026, taking into account the period of ineligibility served by the athlete in accordance with the decision in the case of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). All results achieved from July 17, 2012 to October 20, 2014 are canceled.”

That would take away her London (now) silver, which would go to Jelimo, with Johnson-Montano getting the bronze. This would have to be confirmed by the International Olympic Committee.

Poistogova, 33, now competes for Turkey, as the wife of 2017 World 200 m Champion Ramil Guliyev (TUR) in 2021.

● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● The French Mint said Monday that production of the medals for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is on target, refuting claims that the work had been interrupted by workers protesting for higher wages and an “Olympic bonus.”

A statement explained, “Production of the medals is not blocked. All of the medals have been minted and we are at the finishing stage. We will deliver on schedule and on time.”

● Olympic Games 2028: Los Angeles ● The government of Kosovo has created a €4 million (about $4.34 million U.S.) program called “Super Athletes” to develop new stars specifically for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

According to Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Hajrullah Ceku, “‘Super Athletes’ aims to provide sustainable support for the country’s athletes, focusing on athletes with high potential to achieve success in the international sports events.”

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been dogged by political refusals to compete in certain countries which do not recognize it. Nevertheless, it has had success, especially in judo, where its athletes have won three total golds, in Rio in 2016 (1) and at Tokyo 2020 (2).

● Athletics ● A massive lifetime best and world-leading mark in the men’s discus at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational at Cal’s Edwards Stadium on Saturday for two-time Worlds medalist Mykolas Alekna of Lithuania at 71.39 m (234-2), moving him to no. 10 on the all-time list.

His big throw came in the third round, but it was no fluke, as his second-rounder went 69.82 m (229-1) and his fifth try reached 69.96 m (229-6).

At the same meet, World Champion Cam Rogers (CAN) scored a world leader in the women’s hammer at 76.87 m (252-2), on her fifth throw.

At the Miramar Invitational in Florida, Tokyo Olympic 200 m silver medalist Kenny Bednarek of the U.S. won the men’s 200 m over 2019 World 100 m gold medalist Christian Coleman, 20.35 to 20.43, into a 2.8 m/s headwind.

Another Kenyan doping suspension, this time of Kennedy Cheboror, 33, a 2:06:59 marathoner from 2019 who has not run since May of 2022. He was suspended for two years for “whereabouts” failures, and will be eligible again on 3 March 2026.

An ESPN documentary on the saga of 400 m star Butch Reynolds – the 400 m world-record holder for 11 years – is coming, focusing on his efforts to finally get a doping sanction removed.

Called “False Positive” and scheduled to air later this year, it premiered at the Cleveland International Film Festival last Saturday, telling Reynolds’ story as a track star, setting the world mark of 43.29 in 1988 and winning a relay gold and 400 m silver at the Seoul Olympic Games.

But the core of the film involved the years-long effort to overturn a 1990 doping positive, which Reynolds – now 59 – insists was not valid. Suspended for two years by the IAAF (now World Athletics), Reynolds fought the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ordered that he be able to compete at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 400 m. He finished fifth and qualified for the U.S. relay pool, but was not allowed to compete in Barcelona by the IAAF.

After the suspension, Reynolds continued his career, winning World Championships silvers in the 400 m and relay golds in 1993 and 1995. He made the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team, but suffered an injury and didn’t quality for the 400 m final and could not run on the 4×400 m relay.

● Hockey ● USA Field Hockey issued a statement on Friday explaining why star player Erin Matson – who played for the U.S. at the Indoor Pan-Am Cup in March – was not eligible to be considered for Olympic selection in 2024:

“Erin Matson did not meet the qualification requirements and requested a special exception to the published Olympic Selection Process policies. This came after the team qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and in the final stage of preparing the team for Olympic level competition.

“Erin was invited by USA Field Hockey to tryout in early 2023, but turned down the opportunity, which established the main pool of candidates for potential selection. Subsequently, Erin has not played in national or international competitions necessary to be evaluated on an ongoing basis since the original selection of the centralized athlete pool in early 2023. It was not possible for the selection committee to fairly evaluate the inclusion of Erin. As a result, Erin did not qualify under the mandatory terms of the selection criteria that all athletes had to follow for possible inclusion on the team.”

Matson was a mega-star for North Carolina, winning four NCAA titles as a player in 2018-19-20-22, then becoming the Tar Heel coach at age 22, winning another title in 2023. She has extensive USA Field Hockey experience, including a bronze medal with the U.S. Pan American Games team from 2019, scoring six goals.

In a November interview, Matson noted the situation was difficult: “The door (to playing for Team USA) is not closed, but it’s not open.”

● Modern Pentathlon ● Although no official announcement has been made, the possible format for the sport at the 2028 Los Angeles Games may have been previewed in a Web post by Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne Secretary Shiny Fang (CHN):

“The new TV product took further shape during a constructive meeting with a comprehensive [Olympic Broadcasting Services] programming team and senior leadership in their Madrid headquarters on March 12.

“One of their many intelligent suggestions related to the order of the event, to start in LA with Obstacle, marking the dawn of a new era and introducing Pentathlon with a series of short and thrilling head-to-head races to grab the attention of new audiences.

“Next comes the new Fencing with single-elimination format that our [national federations] are currently testing, followed by an innovative change to the operation of the Swimming event that is designed to appeal to viewers but is also sensitive to athletes. The idea is that athletes start Swimming with an overall time handicap from points gained in Obstacle and Fencing – something that had already been discussed at times within our community.

“The detail has to be worked out by our internal team and committees, and there are various options and ways to do this, but a Swimming handicap means more relevant races, which means viewers continue to follow the overall storyline without switching off. And then we finish with our dramatic Laser Run as per the status quo.”

This format has yet to be approved, and if a swimming handicap is included, it will make three of the five disciplines subject to a “handicap” system, as that is already in place for the Laser Run.

Observed: As modern pentathlon barely made it back onto the program for 2028, and its future will be judged by its popularity against all other Olympic sports in Los Angeles, there can be little doubt that the UIPM will do whatever OBS prefers in order to try to maximize its chances of audience success in 2028.

● Ski Mountaineering ● The final ISMF World Cup of the season is ongoing at Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA), with superstars Remi Bonnet (SUI) and Axelle Gachet Mollaret (FRA) sweeping the first two events in the men’s and women’s divisions.

Bonnet, the reigning World Champion in the Vertical Race and Individual Race, won both, taking the Vertical in 24:05.93, ahead of fellow Swiss Marti Werner (24:39.51) and Aurelian Gay (24:42.06). Bonnet then won the 6,500 m Individual in 1:26:24.85, beating Italy’s Davide Magnini (1:27:51.18) and William Bon Mardion (FRA: 1:28:41.45).

Gachet Mollaret is also the current World Champion in the Vertical and Individual women’s races and won both in Cortina. She was a runaway victor in the Vertical in 27:35.51, ahead of Sarah Dreier (AUT: 28:59.87) and Tove Alexandersson (SWE: 29:11.90). In the Individual, she led a French 1-2 in 1:40:44.51, with relay World Champion Emily Harrop second (1:42:29.45) and Italian Worlds runner-up Alba de Silvestro third (1:45:31.01).

The Sprint races and relays will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

● Weightlifting ● More world records at the IWF World Cup in Phuket (THA), the final Olympic qualifier, with China’s 2023 World Champion Huanhua Liu winning the men’s 102 kg class and writing his name in the record books twice.

He was only fifth in the Snatch at 181 kg, but lifted a record 232 kg in the Clean & Jerk and the combined total of 413 kg was also a new world mark. Well back in second was Armenia’s Garik Karapetyan, the 2023 Worlds fifth-placer, at 401 kg total.

South Korea’s Jong-beom Won, the 2023 Worlds silver medalist, won the men’s 96 kg class, sweeping all three segments, lifting 170/219/389 kg. Egypt’s Karim Abokahla, last year’s World Champion, finished second at 165/205/370 kg.

North Korea won its fifth women’s gold, with Chun Hui Jong taking the 76 kg division, lifting 114 kg in the Snatch (second) and winning the Clean & Jerk at 145 kg for a 259 kg total. France’s Marie Fegue was second at 245 kg combined; American Estelle Rohr was eighth overall (223 kg).

Competition continues through the 11th.

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