January 17, 2012

Eritrean wins US Olympics Marathon Trials in Houston

Eritrean sport news
Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan won their divisions at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Houston.

Meb Keflezighi remembered to wear his nasal strip this time — and made history at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials Saturday in Houston.

The Eritrea-born Keflezighi won the 26.2-mile race in a personal-best time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, 8 seconds to qualify for his third Games. At 36, Keflezighi is the oldest winner of the U.S. trials and the first man to win the event and the New York City Marathon (2009) in his career.

The top American men’s and women’s distance runners competed for three marathon spots on each team that will represent the United States at this summer’s Olympics in London.

Shalane Flanagan, a 30-year-old from Portland running the second marathon of her career, won the women’s competition in an event-record time of 2:25:38.

“That’s encouraging,” said Flanagan, a bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Olympics. “I knew I was capable of something like this, and I believe I’m capable of something even faster.”

Ryan Hall (2:09:30) of Flagstaff, Ariz., and Abdi Abdirahman (2:09:47) of Tucson, Ariz, finished second and third.

Desiree Davila (2:25:55) of Rochester Hills, Mich., placed second in the women’s race and Kara Goucher (2:26:06) of Portland was third.

Baseball

Rangers, Fielder talk

Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan acknowledged the American League champions have had talks with free-agent slugger Prince Fielder, who hit 38 homers for the Milwaukee Brewers last year.

Ryan described the discussions with Fielder, 27, and his agent, Scott Boras, as “very preliminary.”

Kouzmanoff has deal

Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, 30, and the Kansas City Royals agreed to terms on a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training. He hit .235 with seven homers in 73 games last year with Oakland and Colorado.

Tennis

Serena has major task

American Serena Williams knows better than most what it takes to win a Grand Slam tournament.

The 13-time major singles champion approaches the Australian Open, which begins Sunday, troubled by a sprained left ankle that needs regular ice treatment.

Williams has played two competitive matches — at the Brisbane International in Australia — since losing the U.S. Open final in September. “Two is plenty for me, for sure,” she said with a smile.

Motor sports

Frenchmen look solid

Frenchmen Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres were on the verge of adding to their Dakar Rally titles after strong finishes in the next-to-last stage. The rally ends Sunday in Lima, Peru.

Driver Peterhansel has nine Dakar titles and Despres is a three-time winner in motorbikes.

Peterhansel, who has won Dakar on a motorbike six times and in a car three times, was almost 43 minutes ahead of second-place Mini teammate Joan Roma of Spain.

In motorbikes, Marc Coma of Spain probably lost the chance to successfully defend his title because of gearbox problems and a wrong turn.

Elsewhere

• The NCAA Division I Board of Directors believes scholarship limits should be expanded but wants time to work out the details. The board unexpectedly delayed implementation of a $2,000 expense allowance, opting to ask the working group to make a modified proposal in April.

• Italian skier Daniela Merighetti, 30, earned the first World Cup victory of her career, despite a broken left thumb. Lindsey Vonn of Vail, Colo., was second in the downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

• Beat Feuz, 24, of Switzerland won a World Cup downhill in Wengen, Switzerland, and leads the downhill standings.

• Paul Scholes, 37, playing in his second soccer match since saying he was retired and not competing for six months, scored to help Manchester United rout Bolton 3-0 in the English Premier League. Scholes has 151 league goals.

• Jose Aldo of Brazil stopped American Chad Mendes in the first round to retain his featherweight title at UFC 142 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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