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  31 Jul 2021, 10:19

Biles out of more Olympic events as doping case rocks athletics

   TOKYO, July 31, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Simone Biles pulled out of two more
events at the Olympics on Saturday, raising major doubts over whether she
will compete again in Tokyo as Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare was thrown
out after failing a doping test.

  US swimmer Caeleb Dressel powered to a third gold medal of the Games but
his bid for a potential six titles was thwarted.

  Biles came to Tokyo seeking five gold medals to equal the Olympic all-time
gymnastics record of nine, but mental health issues forced her to pull out of
the team final on Tuesday and she did not take part in the all-around
competition.

  USA Gymnastics said the 24-year-old would sit out two more events.

  "After further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles has decided to
withdraw from the event finals for vault and the uneven bars," the USAG
statement said.

  "She will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in
the finals for floor exercise and balance beam."

  Biles said on Friday she was struggling with the "twisties", a mental block
that has taken away her ability to perform the high-risk moves that she has
trademarked.

  Elsewhere on Saturday Dressel established himself as the dominant male
swimmer of the Tokyo Games as he smashed his own world record to win the 100m
butterfly title for his third gold medal.

  The American touched in 49.45 seconds to better his own world best of 49.50
set two years ago.

  Dressel could win another two gold medals, having already won the 100m
freestyle crown and the 4x100m relay title with his team.

  But he can no longer win six titles after the US team were beaten by
Britain as the mixed 4x100m relay made its Olympic debut.

  His US teammate Katie Ledecky stormed to her third straight Olympic 800m
freestyle title with a dominant swim to bank her fourth medal in Tokyo.

  - Okagbare fails doping test -

  The morning action at the Olympic Stadium was overshadowed by Okagbare's
failed doping test.

  The Nigerian won her women's 100m heat on Friday but on Saturday the
Athletics Integrity Unit said she had tested positive for human growth
hormone in an out-of-competition test on July 19.

  The 32-year-old won the long jump silver medal at the 2008 Beijing
Olympics.

  US 400m hurdler Sydney McLaughlin said she believes her world record could
go as she prepares for the latest instalment of her rivalry with 2016 Olympic
champion Dalilah Muhammad.

  On day two of the athletics programme, McLaughlin glided through her heat
in 54.65sec while Muhammad won hers in 53.97 on a track that is producing
fast times.

  Asked if she believed her world record of 51.90 could fall in Tokyo she
replied: "I think anything is possible. It's a really great group of girls so
I wouldn't put it past anybody."

  Pole vault world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden eased through
qualification for a final missing his American arch-rival Sam Kendricks, who
tested positive for coronavirus.

  In the inaugural mixed triathlon, Britain's Jonny Brownlee finally stepped
out of his brother Alistair's shadow by winning a gold medal as part of the
victorious British quartet.

  He finished in the silver medal position behind his elder sibling in the
individual event at the 2016 Rio Olympics and took bronze behind him at
London 2012.

  "It feels absolutely amazing to complete the set, to have three Olympic
medals, three different colours," said Brownlee.

  Belinda Bencic of Switzerland takes on Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech
Republic for the women's singles title later in a tennis competition that
lost big names Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty in the earlier rounds.

  Men's world number one Novak Djokovic had his hopes of a first Olympic
title crushed on Friday as he lost to Alexander Zverev of Germany 1-6, 6-3,
6-1 in the semi-final.

  Zverev will face Russian Karen Khachanov in Sunday's final.

  In other action on Saturday, defending champions Brazil play Egypt in the
quarter-finals of the men's football tournament, while Spain face Ivory
Coast.

  And Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen can give China a second badminton gold in the
men's doubles final.

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