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Canada's Tristan Woodfine hits Olympic standard in personal-best time at London Marathon – CBC.ca

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Canada’s Tristan Woodfine ran below the Olympic qualifying standard of two hours 11 minutes 30 seconds on Sunday, finishing the London Marathon in a personal-best 2:10:51.

The native of Cobden, Ont., placed 14th among 29 finishers after pushing the pace around the 25-kilometre mark of the 42.2 km race and putting himself on track for a 2:10:15 finish.

Later, Montreal native Brent Lakatos won the men’s wheelchair race in 1:46:04 to go with his 2018 Berlin Marathon victory.

A year ago, Woodfine clocked a 2:13:16 PB to finish second among Canadian men at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a two-minute drop from his previous best of 2:15:19 just nine months earlier at the Houston Marathon in January 2019.

The former triathlete was excited to see how he would perform in London after a strong summer of training that included four or five quality long runs of 30-40 km on a 1.8 km flat loop course near his home in the Ottawa Valley.

“I think he’s going to surprise some people,” Canadian record-holder Cam Levins said of Woodfine in an interview with CBC Sports after they trained together earlier this year in Kenya. “If he’s even in similar shape to what he was in Kenya, he’ll do awesome.”

Sunday’s men’s elite-only race was contested in a “secure biosphere” or bubble on a 2.15 km loop sealed off from the public around St. James’ Park in central London, replacing the traditional tour of city streets due to the coronavirus pandemic. Runners completed 19 laps, plus 1,345 metres en route to the iconic finish on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace while 45,000 others from over 100 countries participated in a virtual marathon.

Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata wins in sprint finish

The addition of 5,000- and 10,000-metre track work to his summer training, Woodfine said, made the slower-type marathon workouts “more relaxing and easy.”

“[London] might be the fastest marathon course I get to run in my career so I’m excited to have had the buildup I’ve had,” the 27-year-old told CBC Sports. “I’ve been able to hit times and paces I’ve never hit before. Anytime I do similar workouts to my Toronto build I’ve been running much faster, so I take a lot of confidence from that.”

Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata ended Eliud Kipchoge’s four-year winning run on Sunday in a sprint finish in 2:05:41, 1-100th of a second ahead of Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba, while Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia was third in 2:05:45. Kipchoge, the world record-holder from Kenya, was eighth in 2:06:49.

In a women’s race devoid of Canadians, Brigid Kosgei of Kenya took a commanding lead entering the final lap and retained her title, stopping the clock in 2:18:58 in cold and wet conditions.

WATCH | Kitata, Kosgei capture men’s, women’s races in London:

Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata outsprinted Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba to win’s the men’s London Marathon while Kenyan world record holder Brigid Kosgei cruised to a dominant victory in the women’s race. 1:42

Levins, who was spotted walking late in Sunday’s race, dropped out of his third marathon before the finish. The Black Creek, B.C., native was 12th through 35 km and on pace to finish 5-100ths of a second off his 2:09:25 national mark from his debut marathon in 2018 at the Toronto event.

The 31-year-old, who has yet to achieve the Olympic standard, had only ramped up his training for London in late August — a typical marathon buildup can last 12 to 18 weeks — yet was “ready for something really quick with the right day.”

Levins didn’t gain entry to the 40th London Marathon until Aug. 23, two days after running a 1:02:12 half marathon in a time trial on a non-certified flat course on Sauvie Island near his home in Portland, Ore. His 1:02:14 PB was set on Jan. 19 in Houston.

Calgary resident Trevor Hofbauer is the only other Canadian male to have secured a spot for Tokyo after he gained an automatic berth as top Canadian in the men’s race at last year’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

New racing wheelchair pays instant dividends

Lakatos, who lives about 140 km northwest of London in Longborough, England, finished 12th at last year’s London Marathon, so it’s safe to say testing the racing wheelchair the University of Texas engineering grad designed earlier this year paid off in a big way Sunday.

In 2019, the 40-year-old Montreal native won two gold medals and a silver at the World Para Athletics Championships. In all, Lakatos has won 18 WPA medals, including 13 gold.

A seven-time Paralympic medallist, Lakatos is hoping to make a fifth Summer Games appearance in Tokyo.

In June, the 11-time world champion was named Para-athlete of the year by Athletics Canada.

Sara Hall achieves rare American feat

Meanwhile, Sara Hall became the first American woman to finish on the podium since Deena Kastor won the London Marathon in 2006, placing second in a personal-best 2:22:01 ahead of world champion Ruth Chepngetich (2:22:05) of Kenya, whom she overtook with metres remaining.

Kosgei, the 26-year-old world record-holder, comfortably won her duel with Chepngetich, the world champion. Kosgei broke for home with 11 km remaining to leave Chepngetich, who had looked the stronger in the mid-stages of the race, far behind.

“The weather was not good so we struggled,” Kosgei said. “I struggled up to the moment I finished.

“We have not prepared well due to the pandemic. I will be prepared for good results next year.”

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NBA Targeting Dec. 22 Start, 72-Game Schedule With Finals Over By Olympics – RealGM.com

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The NBA is targeting Tuesday, December 22nd for the start of the 20-21 season with a 72-game regular season that finishes before the 2021 Olympics begin on July 23rd. The league has started the season on a Tuesday in recent years with a doubleheader on TNT. Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year and would likely feature a full slate of games throughout the day on ABC, ESPN and TNT.

Beginning the 20-21 season around Christmas Day would allow the league to return to a semi-normal schedule while potentially allowing stars to play in the Olympics. 

“It may be too quick, but it also makes too much sense,” one high-ranking team official told The Athletic.

The NBA still prefers in-market play for the 20-21 season instead of a bubble or multiple bubbles.

There has been more support for a quicker than previously planned turnaround because it allows the league to return to its typical schedule and will generate more revenue. 

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Ravens acquire Yannick Ngakoue from Vikings – theScore

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The Baltimore Ravens acquired defensive end Yannick Ngakoue from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Ngakoue’s tenure with the Vikings lasted just six games after the Jacksonville Jaguars dealt him to Minnesota this offseason for a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round selection.

The star pass-rusher will fly to Baltimore in the next 24 hours to complete COVID-19 testing so he can join his new team next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Schefter adds. The Ravens have a bye in the upcoming Week 7.

Ngakoue has been a target of general manager Eric DeCosta for a while now, as Baltimore attempted to acquire him multiple times in recent months. The defender grew up in Bowie, Maryland and went to Maryland college before the Jaguars made him their third-round pick in 2016.

“We are excited to add Yannick Ngakoue to our football team,” DeCosta said, according to Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan. “Yannick is someone who we are very familiar with going back to the draft process years ago. He is an exciting player and a dangerous pass-rusher who makes us better.”

Pass-rush depth was viewed as a major need for the Ravens despite ranking second league-wide with 22 sacks. Ngakoue should start opposite Matt Judon at outside linebacker, with Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser, and Jaylon Ferguson in the rotation.

The 25-year-old notched five sacks across six games with the Vikings. He’s accumulated at least eight quarterback takedowns every year since entering the NFL.

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Canadian Milos Raonic drops out before European Open quarterfinal with injury – TSN

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ANTWERP, Belgium — Canada’s Milos Raonic has withdrawn from the European Open because of an abdominal strain.

The No. 5 seed, from Thornhill, Ont., was scheduled to face No. 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in a quarterfinal at the ATP Tour 250 hard-court event on Friday.

Dimitrov was awarded a walkover win and will face No. 8 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia or American Marcos Giron in the semifinals.

South African qualifier Lloyd Harris faces France’s Ugo Humbert and No. 3 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia meets Great Britain’s Daniel Evans in the other quarterfinals.

Plagued by injuries throughout his career, Raonic was coming off a run to the semifinals last week at a tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is ranked 19th in the world.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.

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