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    We’re twin sisters, 27, who both secretly battled same disease… now we’re plotting Olympic gold at Paris 2024 together

    TWO TWIN sisters aiming to bring back Olympic gold for Team GB this summer have been battling the same disease since being 13.The 27-year-old Londoners Lina and Laviai Nielsen first started to dream of representing their country in the relay race together while chasing around the primary school field.
    Twin sisters Laviai and Lina Nielsen are hoping to bring back the gold this summerCredit: Rex
    The success of the siblings is even more remarkable after the pair were diagnosed with the same diseaseCredit: Reuters
    That looked set to become reality when they were selected for Britain’s 4x400m team at the 2017 European Indoor Championships.
    However, after a stress fracture in her foot ruled Lina out, it took another five years before the pair were chosen together again.
    But they were unable to compete alongside each other at the 2022 World Championships as Lina suffered a relapse of the multiple sclerosis that both sisters suffer from.
    Up until that point in their careers they had kept it secret after originally being diagnosed aged 13, but the flare-up prompted them to finally reveal their story.
    Laviai is still yet to suffer major symptoms like her sister, and she told BBC Sport: “We’re still deciding not to take medicine because we’re not sure of the side effects.
    “We’ve always been pretty good with our diet and nutrition, but after Lina’s flare-up we’ve taken it even more seriously. So far it’s all gone well.”
    Despite those previous setbacks, the duo are hoping it will be third time lucky after being chosen together again for the World Indoor Championships this weekend in Britain’s 4x400m team.
    Laviai explained how they hope to not only make it to at least the final, but that she is desperate to compete over 400m hurdles and join her sister in a bid for Olympic gold at the Paris Games this summer.
    Most read in Athletics
    And Laviai tried to put into words just exactly what it would mean if they were to stand together on the relay podium.
    She said: “We would definitely celebrate it greatly. It would be huge.”
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    Lina, who finally made her international debut in 2022, has now switched and made the 400m hurdles her primary individual event.
    She added: “There have been so many setbacks along the way.
    “It’s the nature of sport – it is cut-throat. Sometimes you need luck on your side.
    “Hopefully we’re all good this time round. It can’t get better than finally racing together in front of a home crowd.”
    The sisters are hoping it’ll be third time a charm at the World Indoor ChampionshipsCredit: Getty
    Laviai Nielsen pictured winning the 400m ahead of Lina in Birmingham this monthCredit: Rex More

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    Glam British athlete Lauryn Davey branded ‘sexiest woman alive’ as she stuns in barely-there bikini

    BRITISH athlete Lauryn Davey stunned fans with her latest Instagram upload.The heptathlete is a British Olympic hopeful and is hopeful of making Paris 2024.
    Lauryn Davey posted this snap from her time away from the trackCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She also shared behind the scenes pics of her trainingCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She is currently undergoing warm weather trainingCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    And enjoyed the sea on a pebbly beachCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She posted the photos alongside the caption: “Off track and on track bits from camp 🌿⚡️🌷🌞☁️ zero brownie points for guessing my favourite colour 🌱”
    Davey is currently in camp as she ramps up her preparation for the Olympics.
    The upload showcased what she’s been up to in terms of training and away from camp.
    The Welsh heptathlete is a vegan and preaches the benefits of the diet regularly.
    That was referenced in the comments on her post with one fan calling her a “Green goddess”.
    Another wrote: “LAURYN 😭😭😭😭😭”
    A third commented: “Super cute!! You are glowing ✨”
    A fourth wrote: “You are Stunning 😍”
    Most read in Athletics
    She also posed by the hurdlesCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    Davey regularly gives fans a look at her life away from the trackCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She has 26.5k followers on InstagramCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She regularly visits exotic locations
    While a fifth said: “Sexiest woman alive”
    The heptathlete also studies veganism alongside her training at Swansea University.
    Five celebs that could have been professional athletes including mega movie star and a member of the royal family
    The Team GB hopeful regularly shares pictures of her budding medical profession alongside her studies.
    Lauryn is a fan of open water swimming
    She recently posed in a hot tubCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    The stunning blonde modelled several bikinisCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    Lauryn also posed on a boatCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey More

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    Norin Betani dead at 24: Zambia women’s player dies days before Olympics 2024 qualifier

    A ZAMBIAN women’s football has died ahead of an Olympics 2024 qualifying match.Norin Betani, 24, passed away on Wednesday, February 21, as confirmed by the Zambian FA.
    Norin Betani has died at the age of 24
    Betani had been expected to travel with the team to Gahna for the qualifying match at the Accra Sports Stadium on Friday.
    A statement from the Zambian FA read: “We regret to announce the death of one of our female players.
    More to follow…
    The Sun is your go to destination for the best football, boxing and MMA news, real-life stories, jaw-dropping pictures and must-see video.Like us on Facebook at and follow us from our main Twitter account at @TheSunFootball.

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    Olympics icon slams proposed rule change as an ‘April Fool’s joke’ as athletics bosses trial major new format

    ATHLETICS ICON Carl Lewis has slammed proposals to change the long jump event, saying: Is it April Fool’s Day already?SunSport revealed on Monday that World Athletics bosses are trialling a new format where long jumpers use a ‘take-off zone’ rather than a take-off board.
    Carl Lewis has criticised the new proposals to change the long jump formatCredit: AFP
    Lewis won four of his nine Olympic golds in long jumpCredit: Reuters
    The governing body says that data collected during the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest showed that a THIRD of all attempts were recorded as no-jumps.
    The rule experiment will take place throughout this year in lower-level competitions and jumps will be measured from the front of the take-off foot within that zone.
    It will not be part of the Paris 2024 Olympics programme – the competition will remain the same.
    Should it prove successful, if it has the full backing of the top stars, then it could be implemented from 2026 onwards.
    Lewis – winner of four successive Olympic long jump titles between 1984 and 1996 – is not a fan of the concept.
    The American, 62, said: “You’re supposed to wait until April 1st for April Fool’s jokes.
    “Actually, it wouldn’t change the distances that much. You would just see more bad jumps measured.”
    Lewis’s displeasure is also matched by Britain’s leading female long jumper, Jazmin Sawyers, who reckons there are more cons than pros with the idea.
    Most read in Athletics
    The reigning European indoor long champion believes the potential positives are that every jump would count, there could be bigger jumps and it may prevent slipping on the board.
    Yet from her perspective, the negatives are the difficulties to implement it at grassroots level – given the computer technology involved – and the chance it may encourage some to cheat.
    Sawyers also feels there will be less drama, no more super-imposed measurements on TV, the crowd won’t be able to tell if it is a big jump and hitting the take-off board remains “an essential element of the skill”.
    She said: “I think there are a lot of reasons not to do it.
    “I appreciate they’re trying to do something. But this how I view it. I don’t think this particular innovation is a good idea.
    “I’d also just like to say: Can we stop messing with the long jump? Can we just leave it alone?
    “Maybe just try it on some other event. Try something else. I don’t think this is what long jump needs. The idea of speeding up the measuring – that’s great.
    “At the British championship last weekend, it was taking over a minute sometimes to get each result and it was really slowing down the pace of the competition.

    “It made it a bit more boring. When it could have been a bit more exciting.
    “The idea of speeding up the measurement is great. I don’t think you will be able to do that if you bring in this take-off zone.”
    The Stoke leaper, whose personal best is seven metres, added: “We removing an essential element of the skill of long jumping. Part of the skill is that you have to hit the board.
    “If you remove that, it changes the event completely. I don’t think you can then compare the old records to the new records. It just becomes a different event when part of the skill isn’t hitting the board.
    “So much of the drama of the event is whether somebody will hit the board or not. It’s whether they were this close.
    “Was it a foul? Was it not a foul? That drama is removed and really we’re doing something different.
    “Yes, we’re still just jumping into sand. But the idea that we are trying to hit a certain mark is part of the skill.
    “If runners didn’t have to go at the gun and they could go whenever they felt like, and we just took the fastest time, it’d be just a time trial.
    “It would be a different event. I think this will make it a different event.
    “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the long jump. I think having the board is part of the drama.”
    Carl Lewis ranked in the top five sportsmen of the 20th centuryCredit: EPA More

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    Olympics athletic event may never look the same with plans to trial radical new format

    THE LONG jump competition will undergo a radical change – as athletes take a leap of faith into the future.World Athletics bosses are trialling a new format where long jumpers use a “take-off zone” rather than a take-off board.
    World Athletics chiefs are planning major changes in the long jump eventCredit: Keith Campbell – The Sun Glasgow
    Trials will start taking place in the lower competitionsCredit: Getty
    Long jumpers will use a “take-off zone” rather than a take-off board.Credit: Getty
    Data collected during the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest showed that a THIRD of all attempts were recorded as no-jumps.
    The rule experiment will take place throughout this year in lower-level competitions and jumps will be measured from the front of the take-off foot within that zone.
    If the tests are successful – and if the competitors fully embrace and love the concept – then it could become permanent for the event from 2026 onwards.
    Jon Ridgeon, 57, a former British athlete and now CEO of World Athletics, said: “We’re looking at all of the disciplines, particularly the field events, and going: ‘Right, how do we make them better?’
    Read More on Athletics
    “At the World Championships in Budapest last summer, a third of all the jumps were no-jumps where athletes stepped over the front of the take-off board.
    “Well, that doesn’t work. That’s a waste of time. So we’re testing at the moment a take-off zone rather than a take-off board.
    “We’ll measure from where the athlete takes off to where they land in the pit.
    “That means every single jump counts. It adds to the jeopardy and drama in the competition.
    Most read in Athletics
    “At the same time we’re working out ways we can get instant results so you don’t have to wait 20-30 seconds before the result pops up.
    “How can we speed up the whole competition? It’s a whole range of innovation we’re looking at based on hopefully robust data.”
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    Britain have had three Olympic long jump champions – Mary Rand (1964), Lynn Davies (1964) and Greg Rutherford (2012).
    The men’s world record is 8.95 metres set by American Mike Powell in Tokyo in 1991 while the top women’s mark of 7.52 metres was established in 1988 by Russian Galina Chistyakova.
    Ridgeon – who won 110 hurdles silver at the 1987 World Championships in Rome ahead of Colin Jackson – accepts that the traditionalists may not be happy.
    Especially as the event was part of the 1896 Olympics for the men while women starting jumping at the 1948 London Games.
    Speaking on the Great British Bosses series on the Anything but Footy podcast, he said: “We’ll spend this year testing it in real life circumstances with very good athletes.
    “If it doesn’t pass testing, we’ll never introduce it.
    Measures have to pass testing
    “So, we aren’t going to introduce things on a whim because one of us thinks it’s a good idea.
    “Yes, it’s going to be based on good data. Yes, we’re going to test it really well.
    “If you have dedicated your life to hitting that take-off board perfectly and then suddenly we replace it with a take-off zone, I totally get that there might be initial resistance.
    “As long as it is based on good testing and good data, I think eventually it’ll work through.
    “It will not be without its controversy. You cannot make change in a sport that was basically invented 150 years ago without some controversy. But I think it’s worth doing.
    “Ultimately this is about not this year, but making sure we have got a sport that is hopefully fit for purpose for another 150 years.”
    In the summer of 2026, World Athletics will introduce a new global competition that will run in the years where there are no World Championships or Olympic Games.
    This World Cup of Athletics will be staged with countries pitted against each other in semi-final and final stages. The host city will be announced this year.
    + Listen to the whole interview which is part of the Great British Bosses series on the Anything but Footy podcast More

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    Manny Pacquaio BANNED from boxing at Paris Olympics as little-known rule ruins legend’s dream

    MANNY Pacquaio will not be competing at Paris 2024, after the International Olympic Committee upheld their rule on the age limit.Pacman, who hung up his gloves in 2021, had aspirations of competing at this year’s Games at the age of 45.
    Manny Pacquiao won’t be competing at Paris 2024Credit: Getty
    The boxing event is set to be held at the illustrious Roland Garros tennis complex.
    But the Philippines legend won’t be there due to a little known ruling.
    The IOC, which oversees Olympic boxing after de-recognising the International Boxing Association governing body, confirmed on Sunday that they wrote to Olympic officials in Philippines explaining the age limit for boxers will stay at 40 years old.
    The age limit was raised from 34 to 40 back in 2013.
    Read more boxing news
    That would have allowed Pacquiao to compete at Rio 2016, although he chose to be a senator in his homeland instead.
    Although it was believed he wanted to try and win a medal at Paris 2024, it was unclear if Pacquiao would have tried to fight at the qualifiers that start this month in Italy and conclude in Thailand in May.
    Reports suggested the Philippines Olympic body were keen to get Pacquiao in as a “universality” entry.
    These are free passes, effectively, that are allotted to countries with fewer athletes at the Games and struggle to have others qualify on merit.
    Most read in Boxing
    However, past sporting success for the Philippines has meant that request wasn’t granted.
    “Universality places are not allocated to (teams) with an average of more than eight athletes in individual sports/disciplines at the last two editions of the Olympic Games,” the IOC said.
    I fought Manny Pacquaio and Canelo but my toughest opponent was ‘the drunken master’ who’s record didn’t show his skill
    “This is the case for the Philippine Olympic Committee.”
    Pacquaio’s remarkable career came to an end in 2021, after 72 fights.
    He won a staggering 12 world titles at a record eight different weight divisions. More

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    I’m a former PSG star… fans should BOO Lionel Messi at Olympics after he ‘took the P**S’ during two years in France

    FORMER Paris Saint-Germain winger Jerome Rothen has urged France fans to BOO Lionel Messi if he plays at the Olympics this year.Messi, 36, joined PSG in a blockbuster transfer from Barcelona in 2021 and spent two years with the Ligue 1 side.
    Lionel Messi is yet to decide if he will join the Argentina squad for the OlympicsCredit: EPA
    Jerome Rothen has urged fans to boo him if he does decide to playCredit: Getty – Contributor
    During that time he scored 32 goals, provided 35 assists in 75 appearances and won two league titles.
    However, former winger Rothen has claimed that he didn’t show any respect to France.
    Towards the end of his spell with PSG, Messi led his country to the World Cup final – where they went on to beat France.
    Rothen has accused the forward of “parading with Argentina” after the final.
    Read More on Football
    Speaking on his talkshow, Rothen s’enflamme, the Frenchman said: “We should not forget what he has not given.
    “As a French and a Parisian, seeing him parading with Argentina? Guys, if there is any way to dispute the fact that Messi took the p**s on us for two years, boo him.
    “He said it would be a disaster to live in Paris and that he hasn’t received the welcome he feels he was owed. Nonsense. 
    “He was above the Eiffel Tower like Neymar was. Every French folk showed him respect when he arrived. You expect respect in return and it never arrived.”
    Most read in Football
    Following his World Cup triumph with Argentina, Messi was given extra time away from PSG duties.
    However, he was greeted with a mixed reception from fans upon his return.
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    Rothen continued: “When he was given off days, he never experienced Paris to the fullest and his performances never lived up to what we hoped for from him…
    “We heard he was not celebrated accordingly after winning the World Cup. You beat France in the final! He shouldn’t have expected to see the red carpet rolled out for him.”
    Messi is yet to decide if he will join Argentina’s squad for the Olympics in Paris this year.
    Javier Mascherano has urged him to join the Under-23s for the games. More

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    I’m Britain’s second fastest woman and a fashion model with Kate Moss’s ex-agency

    FASHION-LOVING Daryll Neita shines on both the running track and the red carpet after being spotted by Kate Moss’s first modelling agency.Britain’s second-ever fastest woman can casually switch between spikes and stilettos and loves to wear high-end clothes outside of sweaty athletics kit.
    Daryll Neita lives and trains in Italy and recently attended a fashion show in MilanCredit: Instagram / daryllneita
    The British sprinter studied fashion at college and it is one of her hobbiesCredit: 2022 Franziska Krug
    Those who will follow her journey to the start line of the Paris 2024 Olympics should realise she has a real passion away from the day job of running in a straight line.
    Neita, who trains in Padua in Northern Italy, told SunSport: “I studied fashion at college. At the time people were so confused.
    “They were like: ‘Why aren’t you doing sports science?’ But that’s not my interest.
    “I might be good at sports and do it every day but when it comes to being creative or having an outlet, I’m interested in fashion. That has always been my thing.
    “I was signed to Storm Model Management. They’re pretty big. They actually scouted Kate Moss when she was younger.
    “During the off-season, I went to Milan Fashion week. I sat front row for the Missoni show.
    “I’m always doing bits and bobs in the fashion space – and I love it.
    “People always ask me what I’d do if I wasn’t in track and honestly it’d definitely be something in fashion. It’s the other side to me.”
    Most read in Athletics
    Athletes sometimes do ‘walk-ins’ before competitions to showcase their personalities and life outside of track-and-field.
    American Noah Lyles, the reigning 100 metres and 200 metres world champion, is someone who has brought style and fashion to the sport.
    British longer jumper Jazmin Sawyers is a creative soul and likes to design her own clothes ahead of meets.
    Neita, whose fashion idol is Naomi Campbell, said: “It’s important to feel good out there.
    “I don’t see why being a sporty person means you cannot also be cool or fashionable.
    “Yes, running fast is the main thing. But life is also about who you are as a person.
    “I feel people are tapping into their hobbies more and you’re probably seeing that with their fashion.
    “Noah is always dressed in something cool. Always doing the fashion walk-ins.
    “He does ask me sometimes: ‘Are you going to walk before the race?’ Honestly, I don’t think I’m there yet where I’m thinking about my pre-race outfit.
    “Maybe next season you’ll see me in a couple of looks before a race.”
    Neita – who finished fifth in the women’s 200 metres final at last year’s World Athletics Championships – has a PB of 10.90 seconds and 22.16 seconds for the two sprints.
    The Jamaicans and Americans rule the world over these disciplines but Neita, 27, hopes to be in the mix for the medals at this summer’s Olympics.
    Power and strength was built up over the winter in the gym and on the track.
    She has not long returned to Europe after a warm-weather training camp in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which was funded by National Lottery money.
    Neita, 27, who opened her year over 60 metres in Paris last Sunday, added: “I’m on the World-Class Programme. I get supported with things like that training camp.
    “Without it, we would be training in the snow in the UK!

    “The funding helps us in so many different ways. Whether it’s medical or travel or assistance. Even for our mental health.
    “I train with people from different nations and they don’t get anything from their federations. And yet they are individual medallists. We are very, very fortunate.”
    National Lottery players have transformed athletics in the UK with more than £300million invested since Lottery funding began. They support elite athletes to win medals on the world stage and have invested in clubs, facilities and programmes across the country to enable more people to take part in the sport. More