Indoor Track and Field Championships Return to U.S. -- Federations Focus

(ATR) Also; FEI opens bidding for World Cups; NFL player attempts Team USA rugby qualification; FIBA U17 World Champs.

SOPOT, POLAND - MARCH 09:  Chanelle Price of the United States leads from Marina Arzamasova of Belarus, Lenka Masna of Czech Republic and Angelika Cichocka of Poland during the Women's 800m final during day three of the IAAF World Indoor Championships at Ergo Arena on March 9, 2014 in Sopot, Poland.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
SOPOT, POLAND - MARCH 09: Chanelle Price of the United States leads from Marina Arzamasova of Belarus, Lenka Masna of Czech Republic and Angelika Cichocka of Poland during the Women's 800m final during day three of the IAAF World Indoor Championships at Ergo Arena on March 9, 2014 in Sopot, Poland. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

(ATR) The IAAF Indoor World Championships run through March 20 in Portland, Oregon, just the second time the event has been held in the United States.

The U.S. hosted the first edition of the indoor world championships in Indianapolis in 1987. Since then the event has been held every two years with the competition in Portland marking the 16th edition.

Seb Coe says these championships "are the most important athletics event in 2016" outside of the Rio Olympics this August.

Russian athletes will not be allowed to compete in these championships as the national federation awaits a ruling on its reinstatement by the IAAF Council in May.

Winners of each event will receive $40,000 and if they set a world record they will receive a bonus of $50,000. Athletes from 150 countries will compete for the prize money and title of world champion, as well as momentum heading into the Rio Olympics.

FEI Opens World Cup Finals Bidding

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) opened the bidding process for four disciplines of the FEI World Cup Finals in 2019 through 2021: jumping, dressage, driving and vaulting.

The equestrian federation also began accepting bids for the FEI European Championships in 2019 across all disciplines. Host cities are invited to host single or combined disciplines.

Bidders interested in the 2019, 2020 or 2021 World Cup events are encouraged to bid for all four disciplines.

"It is really exciting to launch the bid process for some of our key events", says FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez. "The process is designed to select candidates able to deliver sporting events of the highest quality and raise the profile of our sport."

Cities have two months to submit the bid application and questionnaire with the deadline falling on May 15.

Beginning in June, interested cities can request a question and answer session with the FEI regarding its bid. Cities will be given the Host City agreement in June with the deadline to sign and submit the agreement Oct. 15. Cities will present their bids to the FEI in October.

The host cities for each event will be selected by the FEI Bureau at the FEI General Assembly in November 2016.

NFL player taking leave of absence to pursue Olympic dream

Nate Ebner of the New England Patriots will be preparing for the upcoming NFL season in a unique way.

The safety and special teams player will be taking a leave of absence from the Patriots to pursue his Olympic dream of making the USA rugby sevens team and competing at the Rio Games in August.

The 27-year-old Ebner was an accomplished rugby player before switching to American football in his third year of college.

He was the youngest player in United States national rugby sevens history when he made the team at age 17. He competed internationally in rugby during his first two years at Ohio State University before walking onto the football team as a junior.

He was drafted by the Patriots in 2012 and will be starting his fifth season with them this fall.

Spain to Host FIBA U17 World Champs

Zaragoza, Spain has been tapped by the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) central board to host the 2016 U-17 basketball world championships.

The championships in Spain represent the first time that the men’s and women’s tournaments will take place at the same time. The tournament will be played from June 22-July 3.

The tournament coincides with the youth world basketball festival endorsed by FIBA and the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB). The FEB proposal will create a unique sporting event that combines the competition with fun, shared experiences, music and technology.

FIBA also announced that Cairo, Egypt will host the U-19 men’s world championship in 2017, the first time Africa will host a men’s youth basketball event. The Italian cities of Udine and Cividale Del Friuli will host the women’s U-19 world championships.

WBSC Creates U-15 Tournament Logo

The World Baseball Softball Confederation has created a new logo for the U-15 Baseball World Cup that will be staged from July 29-Aug. 7 in Iwaki, Japan. To emphasize sustainability the tournament will be held in three existing venues in the region.

The new logo represents a baseball glove made up of geometric shapes with a baseball in the center of the design. The emblem was created by British branding and marketing company WORKS.

Written by Kevin Nutley and Gerard Farek

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