(REUTERS) – RUSSIAN pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova said her victory at the world championships on Sunday had not been overshadowed by the absence of her country’s flag and the scandal surrounding its athletics federation.The 28-year-old Russian, who cleared 4.95 metres on her third and final attempt, said she felt slightly uncomfortable seeing the silver and bronze medallists celebrate with their flags but was too caught up in her own emotions to be bothered.“All that is not too comfortable but I was so happy,” she said. “I was just so happy that I didn’t really think about it… Gold is gold.”Russia’s athletics federation has been suspended since a 2015 report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping in the sport.Since then some Russian athletes have been cleared by the IAAF, athletics’ global body, to compete internationally as neutrals after demonstrating that they were training in a doping-free environment.Barred from wearing their national colours or celebrating with their flag, Russia’s neutral athletes are serenaded by the IAAF anthem if they win gold.Sidorova’s all-time best result left American rival Sandi Morris with silver in her third successive major championship. Greek Ekaterini Stefanidi, the title-holder and Olympic champion, took bronze.Morris, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist, said she had no hard feelings about Sidorova’s status as a neutral athlete.“Sidorova is a friend of mine,” Morris said. “She can’t help what is going on politically.”Drained by her showdown with Morris, Sidorova said she knew her final jump was her last chance to claim the title.“I thought this is a chance that needed to be taken,” she said. “If not, I would have had to jump again and I didn’t really have the strength at that point.”When she returns to Russia, Sidorova plans to celebrate her gold medal with whipped cream she bought before travelling to Doha.“I’ll come home and just eat it all,” she said, chuckling.
It was the first time that Utah had ever defeated USC (5-3, 4-2 Pac-12) in Pac-12 play, and they did so in a nail-biting fashion that recalled memories of the last-second Hail Mary that Arizona State used to beat USC three weeks ago.“We are going to continue to grow and learn,” USC head coach Steve Sarkisian said about the loss. “We are going to be better for it.”USC suited up a season-low 48 scholarship players against Utah, with only 41 of them playing on the field. Following the game, Sarkisian did not blame the team’s lack of depth for letting up in the fourth quarter.“I won’t ever lean on that,” Sarkisian said, in reference to the team’s limited availability of scholarship players.The Trojans’ fourth quarter performance paralleled that of past games this season, including when they struggled to put away both Arizona schools.After being stopped on a questionable fourth down decision to go for it at Utah’s 28-yard line with 2:08 to play, the USC defense allowed Utes quarterback Travis Wilson to lead a game-winning drive, capped off with a one-yard touchdown to wideout Kaelin Clay with just eight seconds left to play.Though the loss is a blow to the Trojans’ Pac-12 title hopes, Sarkisian mentioned that there were still a lot of positives to take away from the game, including success in pass protection and freshman cornerback/wide receiver Adoree’ Jackson’s 100-yard kick return for a touchdown. On Monday, Jackson was named the Pac-12 special teams player of the week.In his Sunday teleconference, Sarkisian said that his team needs to develop a killer instinct, especially if it wants to get back into contention in the Pac-12 South.“I don’t feel this conference race is over,” Sarkisian said.Unfortunately for the Trojans, injuries to key players do not help that cause.Redshirt sophomore left tackle Chad Wheeler will miss the rest of the season due to a torn ACL in his right knee after being injured during the third play of Saturday night’s game. Senior Aundrey Walker will take over at left tackle for Wheeler after finishing out the rest of the game against Utah.Senior linebacker J.R. Tavai will also be out several weeks with a knee injury. Tavai ranks fifth among the team in tackles with 41 and is third on the team in sacks.Finally, redshirt junior tailback Javorius “Buck” Allen banged up his shoulder against Utah but is expected to play on Saturday.The Trojans cannot afford to lose the Pac-12’s leading rusher in Allen, whose career season includes 1,010 yards rushing through just eight games.USC will try and rebound next Saturday on the road in Pullman, Washington where they will get to take on quarterback Connor Halliday and the Washington State Cougars. The Cougars (2-6, 1-4) are coming off a 59-37 home defeat at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats. The Saturday tilt will kick off at 1:30 p.m. As a result of their heartbreaking road loss to then-No. 19 Utah on Saturday night, the USC football team dropped out of the AP Top 25 Poll and is unranked for the second time this season.More bad news · Senior linebacker J.R. Tavai will miss several weeks after injuring his knee against Utah on Saturday. The Redondo Beach, California, native is second on the team with 7.5 tackles for loss so far this season. – Mariya Dondonyan | Daily Trojan
KINGSTON:Digicel and MVP Track and Field Club have, for a third year, partnered to host the Digicel MVP Grassroots Athletics Programme.The initiative is aimed at providing world-class professional level training for high-school track-and-field athletes in their pet events, as well as to introduce them to other disciplines in the sport. These disciplines include hurdles, throws, jumps, middle distance, sprints, and relays.”We recognise that tomorrow’s future starts now. Therefore, we have to begin nurturing the talent of our future track-and-field stars as early as possible,” said Kamal Powell, Digicel’s senior sponsorship and development manager.He added: “Digicel does not want to be there only for the end result, we want to ensure that we play an integral role in their development, taking them from grass roots to greatness.”Already, three of the five clinics have been completed. The first was at Morant Bay High School in St Thomas, then St Elizabeth Technical High School, followed by Vere Technical High School in Clarendon.The remaining clinics to be held in Montego Bay (Catherine Hall Stadium) and Kingston (National Stadium) will host the top-performing athletes from the previously held clinics, who will undergo even more intensive training.Bruce James, president of MVP, noted his pleasure with the progress thus far.”We have already hosted the pre-clinics for 2015 and the response, so far, has been tremendous. Both coaches and athletes have been giving us positive feedback. They are particularly pleased that we have increased the number of technical sessions to now include relays,” said James.Aiming to strike a balance, Digicel has also renewed the four-year scholarship, tenable at the University of Technology (UTech). The scholarship will be awarded to the student who not only demonstrates outstanding athletic talent during the programme, but also meets the matriculation requirements of the university. The student will also be able to train at UTech with the world-renowned coaches and athletes at MVP.The 2015-16 recipient of the scholarship is Marvin Williams, the third-fastest boy in the world in the 400m hurdles this year, with a time of 49.90 seconds.