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Iraqi sprinter Dana Hussein suspended from Tokyo 2020 after testing positive for banned substance

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Iraqi Olympic sprinter Dana Hussein has been suspended from Tokyo 2020 after it was revealed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that she had tested positive for a banned substance at the recent 2021 Arab Athletics Championship in Tunisia, Al-Roeya newspaper reported.

The head of the Iraqi delegation participating in the Olympic Games, Haitham Abdel Hamid, said that Hussein, who competes in the 100m and 200m events, has been banned under the IAAF’s anti-doping rules, while the sprinter has explained in a social media video that the punishment was temporary while the results are investigated further.

The Iraqi National Olympic Committee had received a letter from the IAAF to inform it that Hussein has been suspended starting from July 16, exactly one week before the Tokyo Olympics’ official opening ceremony, until the case has been concluded.

The 35-year-old Hussein insisted that the suspension imposed on her is temporary and pending a response from the Iraqi Olympic Federation on the medical report.

The runner was seen explaining her situation in a video clip that was widely viewed on Twitter, saying that the amount of banned substance detected in the positive test was less than the minimum needed for suspension in the case of cortisone, a medical substance used to treat allergies. She added that the suspension would last until July 23, the day that the Iraqi Olympic Federation would officially respond to the IAAF.

A source in the Iraqi Athletics Federation confirmed that the runner, who had submitted to a series of drug tests during her participation in the 2021 Arab Athletics Championship in June, had undergone a nose job before leaving for Tunisia, and it is thought that substances used during that operation could have resulted in the heightened level of cortisone in her blood.

Iraq is participating at Tokyo 2020 with its smallest ever Olympic delegation, with only three other athletes taking part: Muhammad Riyad (rowing), Fatima Abbas (shooting, 10m air pistol) and Taha Hussein (athletics, 400m).

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PSG coach Pochettino must work on weaknesses as stars flop

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Paris Saint-Germain was able to start its superstar attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for the first time on Wednesday in the Champions League.

Instead of fireworks, though, they only produced a big thud as PSG drew 1-1 draw against modest Belgian side Club Brugge.

“Fantomatique” — or “Ghost-like — was the headline in French sports daily L’Equipe on Thursday.

While 2020 champion Bayern Munich and last season’s runner-up Manchester City won and scored freely, PSG’s performance highlighted that the team still has glaring shortcomings despite being able to field three of the world’s best forward.

The fact that Keylor Navas was the busier goalkeeper on the night — and PSG’s best player — should be of concern to coach Mauricio Pochettino ahead of playing much tougher teams in the competition.

“We’ve got a magnificent squad, but we need to find balance,” Pochettino said.

But given PSG’s remarkable summer recruitment drive, Pochettino knows he has little room for error in a season where the Qatari-backed club has been touted by many observers as the favorite to win the Champions League.

Behind the veneer of Messi’s arrival, the reality is that the midfield and defense still look very vulnerable, and allowed a modest side like Brugge to muster 16 shots at goal.

That is alarming considering that City is PSG’s next opponent in the group stage. Pep Guardiola’s side visits Parc des Princes on Sept. 28, giving Pochettino little time to make his team more solid.

PSG has a home game against Lyon in the French league on Sunday followed by a midweek trip to Metz before hosting Montpellier.

Pochettino also has a thorny goalkeeping dilemma to resolve — whether to stick with Navas or start Italy’s European Championship star Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Last season, Navas rescued PSG with outstanding performances against Barcelona and Bayern in the knockout stages before PSG’s limitations were exposed by City in the semifinals.

PSG would likely have lost against Brugge without Navas who, through no fault of his own, now finds himself fighting for the No. 1 jersey. Pochettino sounded evasive when asked after the Brugge game if Donnarumma would play against Lyon.

“Anything’s possible,” Pochettino said. “Decisions will be made game after game with regards to the performances.”

But rotation could also work against Pochettino, for he needs a settled goalie to take command of a brittle defense that was too easily exposed by Brugge.

Even the signing of Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and Italian league champion Achraf Hakimi at right back did little to stop the waves of Brugge attacks.

Wijnaldum lost a surprising number of tackles and was not helped by Leandro Paredes, who failed to control a simple pass early on as it rolled under his foot and led to a yellow card as he then fouled a Brugge player breaking through.

Wijnaldum and Paredes were both replaced by Pochettino, whose midfield clearly struggles when Marco Verratti is absent. The Italy star’s ball retention and distribution is superior and takes pressure off his teammates.

With Messi and Neymar up front, PSG also has a forward line that isn’t known for tracking back to defend, which can lead to the midfield getting overrun and the defense being exposed as a result.

Central defenders Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe looked exhausted at the end on Wednesday, as they often did last season when PSG lost eight games and the league title to Lille.

Messi’s positioning on the right of the three-man attack offers little protection to the midfield or to Hakimi, who by nature is a very attacking player and leaves space behind him where the opposition is free to counter.

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Boateng appeals assault verdict, 1.8 million euros fine

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Germany’s 2014 World Cup winner Jerome Boateng has filed an appeal against his conviction for assault and 1.8 million euros ($2 million) fine, a court official in Munich confirmed Thursday.

A spokesperson for Munich regional court told AFP subsidiary SID that both Boateng’s lawyer and the state prosecutor have contested the verdict.

A week ago, Boateng looked visibly shocked after being found guilty of assaulting and insulting his former partner, the mother of his twin daughters, during a Caribbean holiday in 2018.

The prosecutor had asked the court to give Boateng a suspended 18-month prison sentence and a fine of 1.5 million euros, but the former Bayern Munich defender avoided a custodial sentence when the judge gave his verdict last Thursday.

The 33-year-old Boateng, who left Bayern Munich to sign for French club Lyon at the start of the month and made his debut off the bench last Sunday, denied the allegations.

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Haaland scores as Dortmund beats Beşiktaş 2-1 away in opener

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Erling Haaland scored again to help Borussia Dortmund to a 2-1 win at Turkish champion Beşiktaş in their Champions League opening game on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Jude Bellingham was outstanding as he scored the opener and set up Haaland for the Norwegian’s ninth goal in six games across all competitions this season. Haaland scored 10 in eight Champions League games for Dortmund last season.

Beşiktaş made the much better start, roared on by vocal supporters, while the visitors seemed to struggle with the soft playing surface.

Former Dortmund forward Michy Batshuayi almost scored in the sixth minute when he drew a good save from Gregor Kobel.

It took 17 minutes before the visitors first showed a threatening sign, but the move between Marco Reus, Julian Brandt and Haaland lacked precision and broke down.

Bellingham scored three minutes later when he took Thomas Meunier’s cross on his chest before firing the ball through goalkeeper Ersin Destanoğlu’s legs.

From then on it was all Dortmund, though the visitors had to wait before Bellingham set up Haaland for the second just before the break. The England midfielder moved past a defender by switching the ball from his right foot to his left before he picked out Haaland for an easy finish.

Destanoğlu stopped a central shot from Bellingham early in the second half, before Kobel did well to deny Batshuayi again at the other end.

Dortmund coach Marco Rose made three substitutions at once with 20 minutes remaining, with Bellingham among those to go off, before Destanoğlu saved another good chance from Haaland.

Ansgar Knauff came on for Haaland with five minutes of normal time remaining and grazed the crossbar in injury time.

Francisco Montero scored Beşiktaş’ consolation goal in the fourth minute of injury time with a header off Miralem Pjanic’s free kick.

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