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Injury force out big names

Big-name athletes continue to fall off the roster of those competing at the IAAF World Championships, which begin in Saturday in Berlin.

Most of those athletes forced to withdrawal have done so because of injury. The latest casualty is U.S. pole vaulter Jenn Stuczynski. An Achilles tendon injury has kept the Olympic silver medalist from competing since the USA Outdoor Championships in late June and will sideline her for the Worlds.
Another bigger name, Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, could also find herself scratching from the meet. A shin injury has caused Dibaba to struggle this outdoor season to regain the form that carried her to gold in both the 5000m and 10,000m at the Beijing Games.

On Monday, EthioBerlin20009, a new website launched to track Ethiopian athletes at these Worlds, reported that Dibaba dropped out of a training session on Friday in serious pain and was taken to the hospital for an MRI. She was flown to Munich for treatment. A decision on her fitness to compete was expected to be made on Thursday. Should Dibaba not recover in time for the women’s 10,000m final on today, team officials have already lined up national 10,000m champion Aberu Kebede as a replacement, while Tirunesh’s younger sister, Genzebe, could be slotted in for the women’s 5000m.

Dibaba’s husband, Sileshi Sihine, is also looking less likely to compete at Worlds. Sihine, who has taken silver behind Kenenisa Bekele in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympics and 2007 World Championships , is also suffering from a leg injury which, according to a team doctor, is “the most serious injury or illness we have in the team.” Although the doctor said Sihine had been unable to complete a full training session, his situation was being monitored “very closely.” The more bizarre scenario unfolding comes out of Jamaica, where five athletes who tested positive for a stimulant at their National Championships in June have been cleared to compete by officials.


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