Global sports roundup
Olympic great passes away
ROME – Former 200m Olympic champion and world record holder Pietro Mennea has died at the age of 60.
He had been battling a tumour and was hospitalised in Rome.
“Italian sport is in mourning,” the Italian Olympic Committee CONI said of his death.
The Italian was a hugely successful athlete, the pinnacle of his career coming in 1980 when he won the 200m Olympic title in Moscow.
The previous year he had set a time of 19.72 in the 200m. It stood as a world record for 17 years until Michael Johnson broke it, and remains the European record over the distance.
After athletics he served for five years as a member of the European Parliament.
Kenyan athletes banned
NAIROBI – Two more Kenyan marathon runners have been banned after positive tests for banned substances following suspensions for three other marathoners from the east African nation last month.
Athletics Kenya secretary general David Okeyo told Reuters today that Salome Jerono Biwott and Jynocel Basweti Onyancha had both been suspended for two years.
Last month marathon runners Wilson Erupe Loyanae and Nixon Kiplagat Cherutich were banned for two years while Moses Kiptoo Kurgat was suspended for a year.
“The number is growing and we are not happy about the statistics. We only hope that the culprits remain at a manageable level and that the (doping) issue is not as widespread as previous reports have indicated,” Okeyo said.
Last week German freelance journalist Hajo Seppelt told Reuters an underground television investigation aired before last year’s London Olympics had convinced him there was a widespread doping problem in the country which, along with Ethiopia, dominates distance running.
Britain atop cycling world
LONDON – Great Britain is now the No 1 cycling nation in the world, according to one of the key men behind the Tour de France.
Jean-Etienne Amaury, the president of Amaury Sport Organisation, which runs the race, believes a combination of growing public support and wins in prestigious events such as the Tour and Olympic Games have transformed Britain into the sport’s new standard-bearer.
Cycling received a huge surge in interest last summer, when Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour and followed that up by claiming gold in the Olympic time trial in front of hundreds of thousands of fans.
His achievements were further amplified by Mark Cavendish’s fourth victory in a row on the Champs-Elysees, Lizzie Armitstead’s dramatic silver medal in the women’s Olympic road race and Britain’s track cyclists powering to eight gold medals in the Velodrome.