Crocked ex-world champs out of Rio

Former triple jump world champion Teddy Tamgho clutching his knee in agony after breaking his leg at the French athletics championships on Saturday. The Frenchman is expected to be out for at least six months.
Former triple jump world champion Teddy Tamgho clutching his knee in agony after breaking his leg at the French athletics championships on Saturday. The Frenchman is expected to be out for at least six months. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Broken leg hits Tamgho, illness puts paid to Ohuruogu as 67 Russians eye chance for Rio

ANGERS (France) • Already likely to miss some big-name Russian stars following the country's ban in a doping scandal, the Olympics' track and field competition took another hit over the weekend with two former world champions being ruled out of the Rio Games.

Former triple jump world champion Teddy Tamgho broke his leg at the French national trials on Saturday, the country's athletics federation said.

The 27-year-old suffered the injury to his upper left leg in Angers where the French championships, which double up as the Olympic qualifiers, are taking place.

It will take up to six months for his leg to heal, meaning he has no chance of making the Aug 5-21 Rio Games.

"Again, it was a jump which could have gone to 18 metres plus. But God is great, it's not over," tweeted the Frenchman, who had to be stretchered off the track and into an ambulance.

Tamgho, who hit the sand heavily and screamed with pain, holding his knee, has been plagued by injury throughout his career. In 2011, he fractured his ankle. In 2013, he broke his left leg for the first time. Last year, he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in Doha.

Another athlete who will not be in Rio is former world and Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu, who withdrew from the British Olympic trials in Birmingham on Saturday because of illness.

"Sorry guys, won't be running today, I have been fighting a virus and not yet ready to resume racing," the 32-year-old said on Twitter.

The British Championships also double up as the trials for Rio.

Ohuruogu won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games and silver four years ago in London. She was world champion in 2007 and 2013.

She finished seventh at the Diamond League meet in Birmingham on June 5, with compatriots Seren Bundy-Davies fourth and Anyika Onuora fifth.

Meanwhile, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko revealed that 67 Russian athletes are planning to apply to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to compete in Rio despite their country's suspension for state-sponsored doping.

The IAAF Council decided last week to maintain the ban on Russian track and field competitors in Rio after findings of drug- test violations, including ignored positive and altered test results.

But the IAAF left the door ajar and clean athletes could still compete in Rio if they can prove they have not been tainted by the disgraced Russian system.

The figure of 67, however, seems unrealistic because the IAAF has strict criteria, limiting applications to athletes who train outside Russia, which would exclude pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva and 110m hurdles world champion Sergey Shubenkov.

"Tomorrow 67 Russian athletes will submit their individual requests to participate in the Olympic Games, which they have the right to," Mutko told Russian television on Saturday.

"It will be a huge failure for me if the entire Russian team is excluded.

"I'm ready to assume my responsibilities and resign.

"I'm not the one pushing the athletes to dope, but if there are failures, that means that I'm not working as I should."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Crocked ex-world champs out of Rio'. Print Edition | Subscribe