Category Archives: Athletics

Athletics News

David Bedford kicked out as CEO of Athletics Canada over sexual tweets

David Bedford has been kicked out as head of Canada’s governing body for track and field late on Wednesday after a controversy over comments he made on social media.

Athletics Canada announced the change in the evening in a statement posted on its website and Twitter, then removed it without explanation and released it again after a board meeting.

“It has been agreed that Mr. Bedford will be retiring from the organization effective immediately,” said the statement, which made no mention of the circumstances of the departure.

Mr. Bedford told The Globe and Mail he had no comment, but said on his personal Facebook account that he’d planned on retiring in 2022 when he took the role of chief executive officer in April, 2019.

He did not mention the controversy over his tweets as a cause for his decision to step down from Athletics Canada.

Last Saturday, a member of the track and field community notified Athletics Canada’s board about sexualized comments from Mr. Bedford on Twitter, going back to at least August, 2021.

The chair of the board, Helen Manning, confronted Mr. Bedford about the social media activity, and he deleted the tweets and made his account private. Screenshots of the tweets were then circulated in the media. The Canadian Press first reported about the issue on Monday.

The turmoil within Athletics Canada follows sexual abuse and harassment scandals the board had to deal with in recent years.

Two sources told The Globe on Tuesday that the Athletics Canada board of directors had concluded Mr. Bedford’s actions were firing offences.

Athletics Canada’s board of directors assembled in an emergency meeting on Monday evening, and voted to explore his dismissal after the 12-member group was near unanimous in concluding he was no longer fit to lead the organization, according to two sources familiar with the board’s decision making process.

Members of the board said Mr. Bedford acted unprofessionally while presenting himself as the head of the organization on Twitter, and that his behaviour is contrary to the organization’s stand on gender equity and inclusion, the sources said.

Mr. Bedford’s personal Twitter account listed him as head of Athletics Canada, and he joined discussions on the social media platform with tweets that included sexually charged comments aimed at female participants. Some of the activity appeared to take place during last year’s Olympic Games, while Mr. Bedford was overseeing Canada’s track and field team in Tokyo.

Mr. Bedford defended his actions, saying he never directed comments at anyone involved in track and field, did not harass or abuse anyone, and that the posts were meant to be humorous. The board disagreed, and sought external legal counsel with the aim of dismissing Mr. Bedford with cause, according to the sources.

The two sources and two others at Athletics Canada’s administration said the process that allowed Mr. Bedford to retire in place of dismissal did not involve all 12 board members.

The Globe is not identifying the sources because they are not authorized to speak publicly about internal matters.

Athletics Canada’s chief operating officer, Mathieu Gentès, will step in as interim CEO, effective immediately. He has worked with Athletics Canada since 2005, and was named COO in 2016.

Mr. Gentes says he doesn’t see the controversy around Mr. Bedford’s social media posts as a step backward for the organization. “I think that we have done so much on the safe sport side, we’ve been moving forward and haven’t put our head in the sand with these issues,” he told The Globe shortly after being named interim-CEO. “We had so much momentum over the last couple of years. Has the organization made mistakes? Yes. Do individuals make mistakes? Yes. But right now our leaders are making decisions to improve the organization.”

Michael Saruni the star to watch at Millrose Games

Kenya’s Michael Saruni will be the star to watch at the Millrose Games, the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting that will be held on January 29, 2020 in New York City.

Saruni is the African indoor record holder with a time of 1:43.98 that places him as the fastest indoor 800m ever achieved in the US. This time also made him the second-fastest indoor performer at that time.

“It will be really great to come back to The Armory and the Millrose Games where I had such a great winning race,” Saruni said.

The 26 years-old will face off with the seventh fastest world indoor all-time list for 800m, Bryce Hoppel who holds a personal best of 1:44.37.  The 24 year-old finished fourth at the 2019 World Championships.

Five other Olympians will take part in this race, including NCAA champion, Isaiah Jewett, Charlie Hunter of Australia, Mexican record-holder Jesus Lopez of Mexico, Spanish record-holder Saul Ordonez and Irish record-holder Mark English. Isaiah Harris, who represented the USA at the 2017 World Championships.

Other top notch athletes to race at the Millrose Games include Olympic shot put champion Ryan Crouser, Donavan Brazier, world 800m champion, world shot put champion Joe Kovacs, Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu, Olympic pole vault champion Katie Nageotte, world indoor pole vault champion Sandi Morris, world 100m hurdles record-holder Kendra Harrison, 2016 world indoor 60m champion Trayvon Bromell, Olympic 200m bronze medallist Gabby Thomas, and Olympic 1500m bronze medallist Josh Kerr.

World Para Athletics Championships in Japan postponed

The World Para Athletics Championships, which were meant to take place this summer in Kobe, Japan, have been postponed until 2024 due to Covid -19 pandemic.

Para Athletics Championships were to be held from August 26 – September 4. The championships were already pushed back until 2022 from 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but after a request by the Kobe Local Organising Committee (LOC) that date will be moved again.

“Both World Para Athletics and the LOC have reached an understanding that the competition will not take place in 2022,” said World Para Athletics.

“Both parties are working closely to assess the feasibility of a postponement to 2024 in order to retain the World Championships within the Paris 2024 cycle.”

That means that the next scheduled championships will take place in Paris next year, with Kobe then taking the reins in 2024, the same year France host the Paralympics.

It would have been the first time that the competition had been staged in East Asia. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates hosted the most recent World Championships in November 2019.

Paris is set to hold the biennial event in 2023, one year before it stages the Paralympic Games.

That would see France become the first nation to hold the event on three occasions after Lille 2002 and Lyon 2013.

Britain is the only other country to have held the World Championships twice – at Birmingham 1998 and London 2017.

It remains to be seen whether the International Paralympic Committee stick to that format because if they do it would mean that the World Para Athletics Championships would take place in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

Kenya Withdraws From Winter Olympics In Beijing

Kenya will not participate in this year’s Winter Olympics which is scheduled to be held from 4th – 20th February 2022 in Beijing, China.

Kenya has participated in the last four editions including the 2018 edition of the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Kenya however has no athletes to represent the country in this year’s event.

There were two Olympics and one Paralympics hopefuls on the path to Beijing 2022, namely Sabrina Simader (Alpine skiing), Dennis Moronge (Cross-country skiing) and Daniel Safari Katheku (Para skiing).

Daniel Katheku, has been training through scholarships in South Korea and USA, but due to travel restriction he was unable to honour qualification events in the last two years.

Dennis Moronge, a resident in Czech Republic was in the path line to Olympics, but restrictions in Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic made him miss out on qualification events to gain enough points for Beijing.

Sabrina Simader was the only one who had met the qualification standard. NOC-K had seen great potential in her, disbursing Kshs. 8 million in the last 3 years towards her training and preparation.

She however required more financial resources to sufficiently train for the specific event in which she qualifies in Beijing and therefore felt she wasn’t well prepared, opting instead to focus on World Championships and tours this year with a clear focus of preparing for the next Olympics.

Armand Duplantis crowned Swedish Sportsman of the Year

Tokyo Olympic game Pole Vaulter champion, Armand Duplantis was crowned the Sportsman of the Year at the Swedish Sports Awards that were held on Monday (17) in Sweden.

 The 22 year-old added to his list of accolades, the European indoor and Olympic gold medals. His consistency at the highest level was also unparalleled as he cleared 6.00m or higher in 12 of his 17 competitions in 2021.

Duplantis battled for the award with Olympic champion Daniel Stahl who won the discus title in Tokyo, Olympic equestrian champion Peder Fredricson and world champion speed skater Nils van der Poel.

“First, I want to say thank you to the Swedish people. You mean so much to me. Everyone has supported me so much and I am so grateful. I want to make you proud. And I will continue to do so.

“In 2021 it was my biggest goal to take the Olympic gold. Representing Sweden was an honour and I am so happy that I was able to win for you,” said Duplantis who also paid tribute to his parents Greg and Helena Duplantis who also serve as his coaches.

“I want to say thank you to my mum and dad. They are the best and they have been since the beginning.”

This was his third time of winning the Sportsman award of the year award.

Laura Muir to attack world 1000m record in Birmingham

The Tokyo Olympic 1500m silver medallist Laura Muir will target the 1000m world indoor record at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham – a World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting which will be held on Saturday (19) at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham.

Muir, the 2018 world indoor 1500m silver medallist, is the European indoor 1000m record holder having clocked 2:31.93 in Birmingham in 2017. The current world record is held by Maria Mutola from Mozambique , the Olympic 800m champion in Sydney 2000, who ran 2:30.94 in Stockholm in 1999.

The 28 years-old is a multiple European indoor champion, is determined to get her year off to a strong start at the Birmingham meeting, which takes place in exactly one month’s time and which forms part of the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold series.

“I’m currently out in South Africa continuing my preparations for the 2022 season, so it will be exciting to get a chance to race indoors and I’m looking forward to testing myself over 1000m at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham,” said the 28-year-old, who also holds the European indoor record over 3000m.

“I had an incredible year in 2021 and it was fun to finish it off by racing in Scotland over cross country, but it’s time to get back to running fast times on the track. Birmingham holds many fond memories for me winning two medals at the World Indoor Championships and breaking a number of national records.

“I ran the British and European record of 2:31.93 on this track in 2017 which made me the second fastest of all time over the distance, so I would love to try and go one better and break the world indoor record.

“It won’t be an easy record to break – it has stood since 1999 – but the track is fast and the crowds in Birmingham are great, so hopefully I can run it close.”

Throughout the series, each athlete’s best three results will count towards their overall points score. The athlete with the most points in each scoring discipline at the end of the tour will be declared the winner and will be awarded a USD$10,000 bonus along with a wild card entry for the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade in March.

The Müller Indoor Grand Prix is the fifth meeting of the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Tour (Gold). There are seven ‘Gold’ level meetings across the series, starting with Karlsruhe on January 28 and culminating in Madrid on March 2.

38 Medical Scientists appeal to IOC over transgender Rule

A lineup of 38 medical experts and sports insiders have signed a statement criticizing the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) new framework on transgender athletes, issuing a warning over fairness as part of the debate.

After pledging to revise the guidelines amid fierce controversy over the issue at the Olympic Games in 2021, the governing body concluded that trans women would not be required to lower their testosterone to compete against rivals born as women – one of the cornerstones of the row for those who argue that transitioned athletes have an advantage over their opponents.

The reappraisal appeared to have been partly made in response to high-profile cases including Laurel Hubbard, the New Zealander who briefly competed at the Games in super-heavyweight weighlifting.

Testosterone level regulations have come in for further questioning because of the rise of Lia Thomas, a former male competitor who has broken records at college level as a female swimmer in the US in recent months.

Some campaigners for a change to the rules have suggested that groups and individuals are afraid to speak out publicly because they fear repercussions from others who passionately claim that more restrictive measures threaten the basic rights of transgender athletes.

Now the group of scientists and sports professionals, including members of World Athletics and World Triathlon, have written to the IOC to say that the framework is more focused on inclusion than science around gender and performance.

The authors, who are said to be associated with the International Federation of Sports Medicine and European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations, appealed to the IOC to revisit the guidance in the British Medical Journal Open Science & Exercise Medicine.

They say that the presumption of transgender athletes having no presumed advantage offers a “stark contrast” to the previous ruling by the IOC in 2015, scientific evidence and the findings of various groups and research.

Trans women could be allowed to compete in female sport, the scientists say, by lowering testosterone.

Thomas took testosterone suppressants for a year before being backed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the US to compete.

Cycling and rowing chiefs are among the leaders urging the IOC to set standards based on fairness and science.

While some scientists argue that the evidence around transgender athletes having advantages is inconclusive, others are convinced that trans individuals benefit in competition when they are born as men, with many going through puberty before transitioning.

Professor Jurgen Steinacker told Sportsmail that transwomens’ choices to compete should be respected but that fairness had to be “bi-directional”.

“In this case, I think what they are doing is unfair on females,” the chair of World Rowing’s Sports Medicine Commission said.

“Sport is inclusive but it is inclusive until it comes to winning medals. If you want to compete as a female in sport, you face biological disadvantages compared to cisgender males that must be mitigated against.

“We need to set a limit that respects the right of females to compete on equal terms. If you create a definition of gender that is based on social rather than biological differences, then you effectively destroy the female category.”

Professor Steinacker’s remarks echoed the views of a reported letter from parents of Thomas’s rivals which warned that the integrity of women’s sports is at risk over the issue.

Former international pentathlete Kirsti Miller, who competed for Australia and later revealed she was transgender while working at a jail in 2000, issued a lengthy social media response to one report of the petition.

Miller said that the last nine Olympic Games had featured two openly transgender athletes, neither of whom threatened to earn a medal.

“Sadly, [one report of the petition] still doesn’t get that there is no relationship between unaltered endogenous testosterone in males or females and sport performance,” she claimed.

“In fact, there is no clear biological list of features that allow us to even remotely cleanly separate men from women.”

Lawsuits in several US states have achieved varying levels of success in bids to bar transgender athletes from competing in female college sports.

The new IOC framework is set to be implemented after the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, which run from February 4-20 2022.


World Athletics UPDATES scoring tables for 2022

The World Athletics scoring tables have been updated for 2022 and are available to download from the World Athletics website.

These tables are separate from the combined events scoring system, which remains unchanged.

Statistical data has been analysed since the last edition of the scoring tables – including performances from 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 – and has been used to produce this latest version.

Created in 1982 by the late Bojidar Spiriev, the scoring tables have in recent years been maintained by his son Attila Spiriev .

The World Athletics scoring tables for both indoor and outdoor performances can be found in the

technical information section of the World Athletics website.

Hellen Obiri the star to watch at International Cross Country championships

Double Olympic champion, Hellen Obiri will be the star to watch at the International Cross Country championships that will be held on Saturday at the Billy Neill Country Park, Dundonald.

The 2019 World Cross Country champion is also the Double Olympic 5,000m silver medalist.

The 32-year-old performance in Tokyo matched her silver medal at the Rio Games in 2016 and her last run in the UK saw her winning the Great North Run in September last year.

The race organiser John Allen said, “While the International Cross Country here has always attracted classy athletes from abroad it is particularly gratifying that we have got the services of such a star athlete as Hellen Obiri especially given the ongoing difficulties created by Covid concerning international travel.”

“With her win in the last World Cross, Obiri has shown that she has the versatility to beat the best in the world over either track or cross country.”

Abel Kipchumba to face Jacob Kiplimo at Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

Kenya’s Abel Kipchumba will battle the world half marathon record holder Jacob Kiplimo at the 15th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon that will be held on Saturday, 19th February, in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

Kipchumba secured the second-fastest time in the 2021 Half Marathon distance category, with a personal best of 58:07 that he got at the Adizero Road to Records in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

The 27 years-old would not have an easy leeway as he will face the half marathon biggest obstacle in recent times, the inform Kiplimo.

The 21 year-old dominated the race on his way to beating his closest rival by more than two minutes, as he took one second off the previous world record set by Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie in Valencia in 2020.

The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist in 10000m and fifth in the 5000m, covered the opening 5km in 13:40, 10km mark in 27:05, and passed through 15km in 40:27.

But Kipchumba will be expected to deliver an exciting competition and add to a series of world-class records including first place at the 2021 Valencia Half Marathon and second place in the 2020 Napoli City Half Marathon.

Kipchumba and Kiplimo will attack the race course record of 58:42 set by two Kenyans Bedan Karoki in 2018 and Stephen Kiprop in 2019.

Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, stated, “The unveiling of the race routes, technical sponsor and elite athletes of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon marks an important milestone. The marathon has proven to be a huge success in previous years, and with only a few weeks till the upcoming race, we are excited to welcome back an incredible line-up of athletes and sports enthusiasts to our wonderful Emirate.”

The event will take place with robust safety precautions to safeguard the health and wellbeing of participants and spectators. Participants will have to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.