At the conclusion of the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff this weekend, Kenya's runner stood tall, winning both the men's and women's individual and team titles and securing seven podium places overall. First up, Peres Jipchirchir won the women's race in a final kick over world-leader Cynthia Limo. To make it a clean podium sweep for Kenya, Mary Wacera Ngugi came in third. Kenyan and Ethiopian swept the top eight placements to power to first and second in the team race, with Japan third for the ninth straight time. On the men's side, Geoffrey Kamworor won the title for the second straight year (and third time overall), despite a fall right at the line for an ominous start to the race. Kenyan countryman Bidan Karoki kept pace through 20km before falling back for second, and ahead of Mo Farah's third place podium finish in his event debut. As in the women's, Ethiopia finished second in the team race, with Eritrea coming up with bronze. Other notable finsihers over the weekend were Peru's Gladys Tejeda's South American record in ninth place for the women, and Ethiopia's Abayneh Ayele and Tamirat Tola both setting personal records in their fourth and fifth place finishes, respectively, in the men's race.
Rio Water Polo Field for Women Complete
The four final teams in women's water polo qualified for the Summer Games in Rio at the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Gouda this week. A twelve-team event turned into a must-win quarterfinal stage, with each of the four winners there guaranteed an Olympic berth. Pre-tournament favorites Spain and the USA eased through over France and host Netherlands, while Russia and Italy also secured a ticket in their close wins. Those latter results were at the expense of Greece, losing in penalties to Russia, and the Canada, losing by only one point to Italy. The three European qualifiers (Italy, Spain, Russia) also had qualified through the same event for 2012, while the Dutch and Greek losses means that two previous Olympic medalists (Netherlands gold in 2008 and Greece silver in 2004) will not be at Rio. Bad for them, but great for sport diversity!
Switzerland continues to be the class of women's international curling, with their third straight World Championship title this week in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The gold also represents their fourth gold in five years. 2016's title comes at the expense of Japan, losing 6-9, but making their first world podium on either the men's or women's side of competition. Russia defeated host Canada for the bronze medal and third-place.