Blake Leeper

Blake Leeper, shown in 2019, waves to the crowd before the men’s 400-meter dash at the U.S. Championships. On Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a decision by the governing body of track that had ruled Leeper’s prosthetic legs give him a competitive advantage against able-bodied runners because of the added height. He will not be allowed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

OLYMPICS

American runner Blake Leeper has been prevented from competing at the Tokyo Olympics because his two prosthetic legs have been ruled as giving him an unfair advantage.

Leeper is “running unnaturally tall” with his prosthetic legs, the World Athletics mechanical aids review panel determined on Monday.

Last October, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a previous decision by World Athletics that ruled Leeper gets a competitive advantage against able-bodied runners because of the added height his prostheses give him.

“The difference in this new application by Mr Leeper is that he now seeks approval to use (prostheses) that are set so that his standing height is approximately 184 centimeters, which is approximately 5 centimeters less than the standing height of 189.2 centimeters for the (prostheses) that were the subject of the application ruled upon by the CAS,” World Athletics said.

The panel ruled that the use of the mechanical aids “in the form of passive-elastic carbon-fiber running specific prostheses” gave Leeper “an overall competitive advantage over an athlete not using such aids.”

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Under the rules governing maximum allowable standing height, Leeper should not be permitted to run at a height greater than 174.4 centimeters.

Monday’s decision means Leeper, who was born with no legs below the knee, can’t compete with his prostheses at World Athletics’ major international events or the Olympic Games.

The case was similar to the one lodged by Oscar Pistorius. The South African runner was cleared to compete in able-bodied events after CAS found his carbon-fiber blades did not give him an advantage.

Pistorius went on to compete at the 2012 London Olympics and reached the semifinals in the 400 meters. One month later, at the Paralympics, Leeper took silver behind Pistorius in the 400.

• Tokyo Olympic organizers and the IOC are to unveil new plans this week to explain how 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes can compete in Japan when the games open in three months in the midst of a pandemic.

The rollout of the second edition of the “Playbooks” – an IOC guidebook explaining how the games can be pulled off – comes as Tokyo, Osaka and several other areas have been placed under a third state of emergency as coronavirus cases surge.

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Japan, which has attributed about 10,000 deaths to COVID-19, has also been slow with local vaccination with about 1% so far getting shots.

Organizers are expected to announce daily testing for athletes. They are also expected to drop a 14-day quarantine requirement, allowing athletes to train when they arrive. Athletes will be required to stay within a “bubble” consisting of the Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay, and venues and training areas.

GOLF

POSITIVE VIRUS TESTS: Will Gordon and Brice Garnett have tested positive for the coronavirus and have withdrawn from the PGA’s Valspar Championship this week in Palm Harbor, Florida.

That brings the number to 12 players who have tested positive since the start of the year. That total does not include Jim Herman, who tested positive at home in Florida before flying out to the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Maui.

On the European Tour, Will Besseling of The Netherlands tested positive after the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open. He has withdrawn from this week’s Tenerife Open. His only close contact was his caddie, and they will self-isolate in Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

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SOCCER

PREMIER LEAGUE: Kelechi Iheanacho extended his career-best scoring form with a blistering winning goal as Leicester rallied to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in the English Premier League and establish a seven-point cushion in the top four on Monday.

The Nigeria striker made it 14 goals in his last 14 games in all competitions – and brought Champions League qualification one step closer for Leicester – when he brought down a long ball forward from Jonny Evans, cut inside and smashed a rising shot with little back-lift inside the near post in the 80th minute.

SERIE A: Joaquín Correa scored twice as Lazio beat AC Milan 3-0 in Serie A on Monday to boost its chances of qualifying for the Champions League.

Correa scored his first after just 77 seconds and doubled his tally in the 51st minute. Ciro Immobile completed the scoring three minutes from time. Lazio closed to within five points of fourth place and the final Champions League berth, having played a match less than the teams above it.

TENNIS

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MUNICH OPEN: John Millman won an all-Australian match against Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (3), 3-6, 7-5 to move into the second round of the Munich Open on Monday. The eighth-seeded Millman saved 13 of 15 break points as he needed almost three hours to overcome Popyrin.

Millman is coming off three consecutive second-round losses since the European clay season began, and will face Guido Pella in the second round. Pella was leading 6-0, 2-0 in his first-round match with Egor Gerasimov when the Belarusian retired.

Lucky loser Ricardas Berankis earned a second-round meeting with top-seeded Alexander Zverev after beating wild card Maximilian Marterer 7-6 (10), 6-3. Federico Coria will take on third-seeded Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev after beating Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in a match which saw seven consecutive breaks of serve in the first set.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE: Formula One will debut sprint qualifying races at three grands prix after an agreement with all 10 teams and governing body the FIA. The sprints will be over 100 kilometers on the Saturdays and will replace the standard qualifying, determining the starting grid for the following day’s grand prix.

F1 said on Monday two European venues and one non-European are set to stage the shorter format, though they were yet to be announced. The two European ones are likely to be Silverstone and Monza. Interlagos could stage the other sprint qualifier if Brazil’s high COVID-19 infection rates do not scupper the Brazilian Grand Prix in November.

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A qualifying session on the Friday after the first free practice will determine the grid for Saturday’s sprint qualifying. The top three finishers will also receive points toward the championship. The first place will receive three points, second place two points, and third place one point.

PRO WRESTLING

WWE LAWSUIT DISMISSED: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the appeals of several former pro wrestlers who claimed in lawsuits that World Wrestling Entertainment failed to protect them from repeated head injuries that led to long-term brain damage.

The former wrestlers asked the high court to review lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits because they were filed too late. The plaintiffs include William “Billy Jack” Haynes, Russ “Big Russ” McCullough, Ryan Sakoda, Matthew “Luther Reigns” Wiese and the wife of the late Nelson “Viscera” Frazier, also known as Big Daddy V, who died in 2014.

Monday’s decision, which the Supreme Court did not explain under its usual practice, put an end to the last remaining lawsuits in an array of litigation originally filed six years ago in Connecticut against the WWE over concussions and other injuries. The WWE is based in Stamford.

 

 

 


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