An Ethiopian runner had to pull out of the London Marathon after she and the coach of two other elite marathoners tested positive for the coronavirus, the race director said Tuesday.

Degitu Azimeraw, who won the 2019 Amsterdam Marathon, and coach Haji Adilo tested positive in Ethiopia.

“As a result (of the positive tests), they didn’t get on the plane,” London Marathon event director Hugh Brasher said in a conference call ahead of Sunday’s race.
Adilo is the coach of Ethiopian runners Shura Kitata and Alemu Megertu, both of whom will remain in the race because there was no “face-to-face contact” with their coach in the past two weeks, Brasher said.

The London race has all the trappings of a 2020 sporting event: hotel bubble for athletes, competition modifications and no spectators. Athletes and their coaches are staying at a hotel reserved only for them outside London.

Protocols required virus testing before athletes left for London and on the day of their arrival. They’ll also be tested on Friday.

Instead of snaking along the River Thames, the athletes will compete on a 26.2-mile (42.2 kilometer) closed-loop course consisting of 19.6 clockwise laps around St. James’ Park, ending on the Mall. It should be a fast course for defending champions Eliud Kipchoge, Brigid Kosgei and their challengers, but potential wet weather could dampen hopes of world records.

HORSE RACING

DRUG BILL PASSES HOUSE: The House approved a bill Tuesday to create national medication and safety standards for the horse racing industry as lawmakers move to clamp down on use of performance-enhancing drugs that can lead to horse injuries and deaths.

The “Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act” comes after a series of doping scandals and a rash of horse fatalities in recent years. More than two dozen people were charged in March in what authorities described as a widespread international scheme to drug horses to make them run faster.

Jason Servis, whose champion horse Maximum Security crossed the finish line first at the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference, was among those charged.

The Democrat-controlled House approved the bill by voice vote, sending it to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has co-sponsored similar legislation. McConnell’s home state of Kentucky boasts some of the country’s top breeding outfits and Churchill Downs, site of the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the fabled Triple Crown. Co-sponsors include senior Democrats from California and New York, which also have top racetracks and breeding operations.

Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., co-sponsored the House bill, calling it an overdue step to help restore public trust in the sport and “put it on a path to a long and vital future.”

COLLEGES

COVID-19: South Alabama called off its Saturday game with Sun Belt rival Troy because of COVID-19.

The school on Tuesday didn’t say how many players had been affected by the coronavirus, but the team was stopping workouts.

South Alabama, Troy and the league will try to find a makeup date.

“This postponement is unfortunate, however it’s prudent and wise,” South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann said. “Our most significant concern is the wellbeing of our student-athletes.”

South Alabama’s next scheduled game isn’t until Oct. 17, when Texas State visits.

• La Salle has cut seven sports, effective at the end of the academic year, in a move affecting approximately 130 athletes.

The Philadelphia-based university sliced men’s baseball, swimming and diving, tennis and water polo. It also cut women’s softball, volleyball and tennis. The university announced the move in an open letter on its website.

The cuts drop La Salle’s intercollegiate athletics teams from 25 to 18.

The statement said the university could no longer sustain an athletics department that offered more Atlantic 10-sponsored teams than any other in the conference at a school positioned in the conference’s bottom-quartile in enrollment.

• Purdue University has suspended 14 students — 13 of them athletes — for violating the Protect Purdue Pledge by attending a party Saturday in a residence hall.

The students must vacate the dormitory by Wednesday though they can file an appeal.

All of the athletes compete in winter or spring sports, athletic department spokeswoman Kassidie Blackstock confirmed. Blackstock declined to identify which teams will be affected.

It’s the second time Purdue has suspended a group of students for not following the school’s COVID-19 guidelines. The university suspended 36 students on Aug. 20.

• The University at Buffalo says 25 athletes, including 19 football players, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Athletic director Mark Alnutt says five members of the women’s volleyball team and one women’s soccer player also tested positive. Alnutt says the athletes have been placed in isolation and are doing well.

All three teams have suspended activities through at least Monday.

The spike in cases at Buffalo comes after an athlete reported symptoms consistent with COVID-19, which led to the school testing 322 players.

BASKETBALL

NBA: Chris Paul has enrolled in a historically Black college in North Carolina, where he will take a class and encourage students to get to the polls.

The Oklahoma City guard has enrolled at Winston-Salem State, across town from Wake Forest, where he played for two seasons before going to the NBA, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. His parents also attended Winston-Salem State.

SOCCER

BUNDESLIGA: Bayern Munich forward Leroy Sané will miss around two weeks because of a new injury to the same knee he injured at Manchester City last season, coach Hansi Flick said on Tuesday.

Flick said Sané won’t be available at least until the end of the upcoming international break because of the damaged capsule in his right knee joint. “We hope that after the international break he will back with us,” Flick said.

EUROPA LEAGUE: Armenia will no longer host a Europa League soccer game on Thursday amid the country’s escalating conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan.

UEFA said the playoff game in the capital city of Yerevan, between Ararat-Armenia and Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade, was moved to neutral Cyprus.


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