St. Lucia’s Julien Alfred said her fast 60m dash over the weekend came as a bit of a surprise but it augurs well for the season ahead in which she aims to be in Tokyo next summer representing her country at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Mariya Lasitskene has criticised Russian authorities for their failure to protect the country's athletes after the World Anti-Doping Agency imposed a four-year ban on their participation in global events.

Russian athletes or teams will be unable to compete under their country's flag or anthem at worldwide sporting competitions over the next four years.

This suspension means Russia are set to have no representatives at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the 2022 World Cup.

President Vladimir Putin suggested on Tuesday that Russia have grounds to appeal the proposed sanctions, which relate to the tampering of test results taken from a Moscow laboratory this year.

However, Lasitskene - a three-time high jump world champion, who was unable to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics due to a blanket ban on Russian athletes put in place just prior to the event - has pinned the blame on Russia's Sports Ministry and Olympic Committee.

"I wonder, what exactly Russian Sports Ministry and Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) did over the last four years to protect me?" Lasitskene wrote in an open letter published on Russian sports website Championat.

"You have created numerous commissions, but I didn't find any reports containing results of their work. At the moment I don't have even a neutral status and I don't have an ability to receive it.

"Do you want me to personally sue Mr. Shlyahtin [Dmitri, president of the Russian Athletics Federation] whose actions led to the current situation?

"Okay I will consider this option. I have already missed one Olympic tournament and wasn't allowed to compete internationally for more than a year and a half. And it seems that it's not the limit. Who is responsible for that? Who will bring me back the lost time?"

Vladimir Putin believes Russia has grounds to appeal the four-year ban handed to them by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), a suspension he suggested had "political considerations."

WADA announced on Monday that Russia would be banned from competing at international sporting events for four years, with the country unable to field teams under their flag at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo or the 2022 World Cup.

Individual Russian athletes will still be able to enter global competitions under a neutral flag, as was the case for 168 Russians at the 2018 Winter Olympics when the country was banned.

WADA's International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020, for which they are one of the host nations.

Russia have been given 21 days to respond to the sanctions proposed by WADA, which relate to tampering with data obtained from a laboratory in Moscow this year, and president Putin suggested his country will be lodging an appeal, while also stating his belief that the ban is a political punishment, rather than a sporting one.

"First of all, we need to analyse this decision. Here is the obvious part, which I can see immediately. For example, there are no complaints to the National Olympic Committee. If there are no complaints, the country must be able to take part in competitions under the national flag, according to the Olympic Charter," Putin told a joint news conference following a Normandy format summit, in quotes reported on the Kremlin's official website.

"This means that this part of the WADA decision contradicts the Olympic Charter. Therefore, we have good reason to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"There are also some other arguments, but first our experts and lawyers should analyse everything so that we can talk with our partners competently. However, I believe that the main thing, and everyone seems to accept it, is that punishment must be individual and based on the acts committed by an individual.

"Punishment must not be collective, that is, applied to the persons who have no connection with a given crime. Everyone is aware of this. I believe that the WADA experts are aware of this as well.

"But if they take decisions on collective punishment, I think this is a reason to believe that these decisions do not seek to keep sports clean but are based on political considerations, which has nothing to do with the interests of sport and the Olympic Movement."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reiterated its support for Russia's four-year ban from major international sporting events imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

WADA declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant again at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

Athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games, while Russia's place at the World Cup in Qatar is also in jeopardy.

The IOC had supported the recommended sanction last month and retained its stance following the announcement.

"The representatives of the Olympic Movement today [Monday] supported this unanimous decision in the WADA Executive Committee, which is in line with the statement made by the IOC Executive Board [on November 26] and endorsed by the Olympic Summit," a statement released to Omnisport read.

The IOC said in November it would "support the toughest sanctions against all those responsible for this manipulation".

It added: "With regard to the sanctions following this manipulation, we will still have to evaluate these in detail.

"The IOC emphasises that any sanctions should follow the rules of natural justice and respect human rights.

"Therefore, the IOC stresses that the guilty should be punished in the toughest way possible because of the seriousness of this infringement and thus welcomes the sanctions for the Russian authorities responsible."

WADA's statement on Monday said: "The WADA Executive Committee has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts."

Yohan Blake, the second-fastest man in history, could be set to play T20 cricket for the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), once he hangs up his spikes.

St Lucia’s track queen Julien Alfred stormed to a big win in the 60m dash at the FastTrack Collegiate Opener in Houston, Texas, on Saturday.

Yohan Blake believes IAAF president Sebastian Coe is "killing" athletics by cutting back on Diamond League disciplines.

Sweeping changes announced in November saw the 200 metres, 3,000m steeplechase, discus and triple jump removed from the schedule for the upcoming season in a bid to accommodate a 90-minute broadcast window.

Former 100m world champion and 200m Olympic silver medallist Blake thinks the decision will do more harm than good to the sport.

"It has changed a lot, I am not going to lie. The times we are running have slowed down, track and field is dying a little," said Blake.

"If [Coe] can take away the 200 and triple jump, I don't know if he is trying to build or trying to kill athletics.

"But that's a stupid move he is making. He must enhance the sport, but he is killing it. It is just madness.

"This is people's careers and where they make money… You cannot do that. Everybody is hating him. We have to take a stand."

Mo Farah has performed a U-turn and elected to defend his 10,000m title at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Two years ago, Farah walked away from track events to concentrate on marathons and he finished eighth across 26.2 miles in Chicago last month having won the event in 2018.

However, the 36-year-old has decided to return to shorter distances and will aim to add to his Olympic medal collection at the next Games.

Farah, who will still need to qualify for the event in Tokyo, won gold over 5,000m and 10,000m at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

"It's been really exciting to compete at the marathon for the last couple of years," Farah said in a message posted on his YouTube Channel.

"To win the Chicago Marathon, as a major marathon, that was nice. To finish third in the London Marathon, was okay, it was good.

"It's been a good learning curve for me - doing the marathon, to run 2:05 - British record, European record. The training for it was totally different to the track.

"Next year I've decided, Tokyo 2020, I'm going to be back on the track. I'm really excited to be competing back on the track and giving it a go in the 10,000 metres.

"Hopefully I haven't lost my speed. I'll train hard for it and see what I can do."

Nine high school student-athletes became first-time scholarship recipients from Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s Pocket Rocket Foundation on Wednesday.

Four-time world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has made it clear that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will be her last but has indicated that she will be attempting to defend her 100m title in Eugene, Oregon in 2021.

Pioneering marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge and U.S. hurdler Dalilah Muhammad were named the world athletes of the year in track and field at a ceremony in Monaco on Saturday.

At the awards ceremony, Jamaican Brittany was presented with a plaque for breaking the World under-20 100-metre hurdles record.

Anderson, who won gold in the event at the 2017 World Under-18 Championships, twice broke the record at the Motonet Grand Prix in Joensuu, Finland on July 24.

The 18-year-old clocked 12.79 in her heat before winning the final in 12.71 seconds.  

Kipchoge was winning the award afer he became the first man to run a sub-two-hour marathon, though the feat wasn’t officially recognized as a world record. That’s because he ran on his own, with a rotating group of pacemakers and in strictly controlled conditions. Kipchoge’s only competitive race this year came when he won the London Marathon in April.

“I am happy to be the first human being to run under two hours. I hope that I inspired a lot of generations,” Kipchoge told the awards ceremony via video link.

Muhammad won world championship 400-metre hurdles in world record time. She earlier broke the record in July at the United States championships.

“It’s been an amazing year. I’m so thankful to be here,” she said.

Muhammad beat fellow nominees Brigid Kosgei, who broke the women’s marathon world record, Sifan Hassan, who won world gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, and Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who claimed gold over the 100 metres at the World Championships.

The world 5,000-metre silver medalist Selemon Barega of Ethiopia was named male rising star of the year, while Ukrainian high jump silver medalist Yaroslava Mahuchikh was the female rising star. Anderson was also nominated in the category.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has suspended several leading Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) officials for their conduct during an investigation into high-jumper Danil Lysenko.

Russian athletes have been prohibited from representing their country since November 2015 following allegations of state-sponsored doping, which have been regularly denied.

Lysenko, a high jump silver medallist from the 2017 World Athletics Championships, was authorised by World Athletics to compete as a neutral athlete following the suspension of RusAF.

In June 2018, Lysenko was notified of a third "whereabouts" failure, with a notice of charge issued against him and a provisional suspension imposed in August 2018.

The AIU investigated the explanations provided by Lysenko, concluding the explanations were false and supported by forged documents.

A subsequent 15-month inquiry into RusAF's conduct has led to senior officials, including the organisation's president Dmitry Shlyakhtin, being charged with serious breaches of anti-doping rules, including a failure to co-operate with an investigation and obstructing an investigation.

In total, seven individuals associated with RusAF – Shlyakhtin, executive director Alexander Parkin, board member Artur Karamyan, senior administrator Elena Orlova, anti-doping coordinator Elena Ikonnikova, Lysenko and his coach Evgeniy Zagorulko – have been charged for anti-doping rule violations of tampering and/or complicity.

All seven have been handed suspensions with immediate effect.

RusAF has until December 12 to respond to the notice, and the AIU board may refer the matter to the World Athletics Council.

Former 100-metre world record holder Asafa Powell says his focus for the upcoming season is to earn a spot on Jamaica’s team to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Good chemistry was a key reason why Michael O’Hara has decided to return to his high school coach as he looks to kick on from a solid 2019 season when he produced a personal best in the 110m hurdles.

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