Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Sports in brief

Doping

Russia accused of systemic, massive cheating

GENEVA — Members of Russia's secret service intimidated workers at a drug-testing lab that analyzed samples from top athletes, persuading them to cover up positive tests. They impersonated lab engineers during the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year and kept the facility under close surveillance. That lab once destroyed more than 1,400 samples, fearing the discovery of doping violations.

Athletes, meanwhile, adopted false identities while traveling to avoid unexpected testing, and some who tested positive paid to make doping violations disappear. Others bribed anti-doping authorities to assure favorable results, and officials routinely submitted bogus urine samples for athletes who were doping.

Those allegations were among hundreds contained in a report released Monday by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Across 323 pages, it implicated athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and various Russian institutions in a "deeply rooted culture of cheating" in Russia's track and field program.

"It's worse than we thought," Richard W. Pound, founding president of the World Anti-Doping Association and a co-author of the report, said at a news conference. "This is an old attitude from the Cold War days," he said.

All of Russia's track and field athletes could be barred from the 2016 Summer Olympics. The report was triggered by a German documentary's investigation.

Russian officials responded with defiance, disputing the investigation's findings. "Whatever we do, everything is bad," Vitaly Mutko, Russia's minister of sport, told the news agency Interfax.

Golf

Malnati latest to join list of first-time PGA winners

Peter Malnati finished his final round with a one-stroke lead. He went to the clubhouse, where he watched the rest of the tournament on TV, talked with his wife and did a few pull-ups to stay loose. Turns out the extra exercise wasn't needed. He had his first PGA Tour victory already wrapped up. The 28-year-old Malnati shot 5-under 67 to rally past a crowded leaderboard and win the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss., beating William McGirt and David Toms by one stroke. Malnati finished at 18 under in a rain-soaked tournament that was forced to complete play Monday. He was one shot behind going into the final round but closed with five birdies over his last 12 holes. Then, it was time to wait. "It was kind of all surreal at that point," Marnati said. "I was definitely happy. I don't really know what all I was feeling." The victory continued a trend for younger winners: He's the fifth first-time winner in five events this season. The waterlogged event was delayed five times, either by rain, lightning or darkness. On the final day some golfers had to play 30 holes.

Soccer

U.S. Federation sets limits on kids heading balls

The U.S. Soccer Federation unveiled a series of safety initiatives aimed at addressing head injuries, including a policy that sets strict limits on youth players heading the ball. The new guidelines resolve a proposed class-action lawsuit filed against U.S. Soccer and others last year, and will prohibit players age 10 and younger from heading the ball and reduce headers in practice for those between the ages of 11 and 13. The regulations will be mandatory for U.S. Soccer youth national teams and academies, including MLS youth club teams. But the USSF can only issue recommendations for other soccer associations and development programs not under its control.

Germany: The country's federation president resigned over a suspect payment to FIFA, saying that he was taking "political responsibility" while still claiming he did not do anything wrong. The payment in connection with the 2006 World Cup in Germany has led to a tax evasion probe against Wolfgang Niersbach and two other former top-ranking federation officials. Frankfurt prosecutors are investigating a payment of $7.22 million the federation made to FIFA in connection with the 2006 tournament.

MLS: Former French star Patrick Vieira was hired to coach New York City FC, one week after the club fired Jason Kreis. … Portland and Dallas advanced to the Western Conference final late Sunday.

Times wires

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