The outdoor season is starting with some real fast times! Asafa Powell ran a relaxed 9.72 anchor in his 4 x100 meter relay opener. Jeremy Wariner ran his 44.2 split for 400 meters in his 4 x 400 meters in his second race of the year!
A long and tough season awaits all those who dream of Beijing. Some will make it, some will not. There will be many, many surprises.
In less than four months, seven hundred athletes will vie for the 133 positions on the US Olympic Track & Field team headed for Beijing. The Olympic Trials, to be held in Eugene, Oregon will have races that will in many cases, surpass the races in Beijing. The hardest part of getting to Beijing is making the team for Beijing in the U.S. Think about it-men's 100 meter hurdles, men's 200 meters, men's 400 meters, men's shot put, women's 100 meters, women's 200 meters, ---in each of those races, there will be, left behind, athletes who could make the Olympic finals.
Watch how each athlete starts their seasons. The season is long, and Beijing will be no picnic. Hot, muggy, smoggy, the races and events will take on a different feel as much of the battle on making the finals will be about giving it one's all, heat after heat.
Since 2004, there have been either Olympic champs, World Champs, Euro, Asian Champs each and every year. That four years is longer than most elite athlete's entire careers. However, Beijing will be a real turning point. Watch the athletes who emerge this year, some who showed their stuff in Valencia, some who will show up early in the Golden League...
POWELL TIMED AT 9.72 IN THE RELAY
KINGSTON (JAM, Mar 22): At UTECH 50th Anniversary Track Classic the MVP Track Club ran 39.22 to win the 4x100 m. World record holder Asafa Powell received the baton with a comfortable lead and ran a very relaxed anchor. Unofficial split of 9.72 for Powell, before him running were from first to third Jamaicans Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Darrel Brown of Trinidad. The relay time is of course a flyer and gives the advantage running without starting from the blocks. Outstanding run by Nesta Carter in 200 m. The Osaka relay silver holder clocked new personal best 20.38 (+0.9) in powerful relaxed run, a win over training partner Michael Frater (20.81). Former world medallist Brigitte Foster made a solid return to the hurdles with an easy win in 13.16 (+0.5). Her first good race since last May. Excellent women's 400m by former sprints world number one Sherone Simpson. She ran away with victory in a new personal best of 51.25, but she was pushed all the way to the finish. With 100m to go hurdles specialist Melaine Walker was in the lead but World juniors 2006 medalist Sonita Sutherland and Simpson began to make up ground in the home stretch. Simpson was the strongest in the end finishing ahead of Sutherland's 51.32 and Walker's PB 51.61. In 4th place was sprint specialist Kerron Stewart in 52.08 PB. Simpson said after the race: „Wow, that was a hard race! I just remained patient and fought hard in the end. I knew I could win because my training is going so well. I am working harder than ever this year and I am healthy again. I am stronger than I have ever been. I plan on being faster than I was in 2006 and making a shot at four medals in Beijing (100m, 200m, and both relays, editor note)." In other action Andrew Hinds of Barbados improved to 10.20 (+0.1) to win the 100 m. Relay world silver medallist (4x400) Shericka Williams won the women´s 100 m in 11.49 (+0.5). Jovanee Jarrett missed her Long Jump PB due to strong wind with 661 (+3.7), so her best still remains this years indoor 658 cm. British Germaine Mason went over 215 in High Jump and talented Bobby-Gaye Wilkins who was recent Jamaican HS Champion at 400 m improved her 800 m best to 2:04.87.
WARINER 44.2 IN RELAY
HOUSTON (USA, Mar 22): World and Olympic winner Jeremy Wariner ran the anchor leg for winning Waco All-Stars 4x400 m quartett during 57th Texas Southern University Relays. He was timed at 44.2 and shut down 10 m from the finish line, also fine 44.6 split for Darold Williamson. The final time of Ayre/JAM-Witherspoon-Williamson-Wariner was excellent 3:01.10. Second USA Blue (Torrence-Stallworth-Nixon-Blakely) was also good 3:02.60. USA Blue achieved 39.60 at 4x100 m (Capel-Blanton-Edmonson-Rodgers). Former 200 m world champion John Capel who returned from his marihuana ban apart of relay also won the 100 m in 10.42 . Women relays saw 4x100 m win by USA Blue (L. Wilson-S.Woods-L.Radcliffe-L. Smith) in 44.11 before USA Red (L. Moore-Hooker-Floyd-Palmer) 44.17. At 4x400 m USA Blue achieved 3:33.70 (Sibley-K.Howard-Floyd-S.Woods).
BLAKE WINS IN 10.32
BASSETERRE (SKN, Mar 22): Jamaican junior record holder Yohan Blake won as expected the 100 m at 37th CARIFTA Games (the biggest junior meet of Caribbean Countries) clocking 10.32 (+0.1, he also achieved wind-aided 10.20 in semis, +4.7). Second Dexter Lee achieved 10.48 to make it a Jamaican double. At Bird Rock Stadium in capitol of St. Kitts and Nevis Jamaica also won girls junior gold as Carrie Russell won the 100 m in 11.39 (+2.5) beating home emerging name Meritzer Williams (11.41). In youth sprint finals (U17) Jamaican did not score a win. Boys winner Geno Jones was from Bahamas (10.76, -1.6) and girls winner Michelle-Lee Ahye from Trinidad (11.66, +0.4). Grenada won two golds in 400 m boys races. Best junior was Russell Bartholomew (46.86) and in U17 category Kirani James (47.87). Bahamian high jump tradition continued with U20 win of Raymond Higgs (210). Special guest also IAAF President Lamine Diack.
RUSSIAN WOMEN TRIUMPH
CAPE TOWN (RSA, Mar 22): 2005 winner Marco Mambo (36) from Zimbabwe achieved his third victory at Old Mutual Two Oceans ultra marathon (56 km). Running in difficult wind conditions (over 40 km/h in souther part of the course) he clocked 3:11:35. South African Mzwanele Maphekula (marathon best 2:17:45 this year) was second (3:12:30) and Simon Peu finished third (3:13:33). Defending champion Bethuel Netshifhefhe looked keen to take up the challenge but he too jumped to quick and by the time the standard marathon mark came around he was slipping backwards through the field. Former winner Mluleki Nobanda (3:14:10) claimed fourth with defending champion Bethuel Netshifhefhe taking fifth in 3:14:15. Olympic winner from 1996 Josia Thugwane did not finish at the end. Russian twins dominated the women race. Olesya Nurgalyeva won (3:34:54) with Yelena second (3:35:25). Third another Russian and 2006 best here Tatyana Zhirkova (3:39:24) as last year winner Madina Biktagirova was fourth (3:46:52). Best homer unner Riana van Niekerk on fifth place (3:53:09). The half marathon was won by Zimbabwean George Majaji (1:03:31) and Lesotho's marathon record holder Mamarolla Tjoka (1:15:05) before Zimbabwean best marathon woman Tabitha Tsatsa (1:15:08) who only last Sunday achieved her sub 2:30 in Seoul marathon.
ANOTHER DUEL PRICE-PECANHA
SANTA FE (ARG, Mar 22): During first day of next leg of Argentinean part of South American Grand Prix the middle distance rivalry continued. This time at 1500 m home Leonardo Price beat Brazilian Fabiano Pecanha (3:51.34 – 3:51.74).
MIKITENKO IN GREAT SHAPE BEFORE LONDON
PADERBORN (GER, Mar 22): German Irina Mikitenko won the half-marathon at 62nd Paderborn Easter Run in new PB 1:08:51 what is the fastest by German at home soil. In German all-time lists this mean fourth place. She returned only shortly before the race from her training camp in Kirgizstan and was pleased with the results towards her London marathon preparation. It was also new course record and the same was achieved by best man Charles Ngolepus of Kenya who was timed at 1:01:24. Both marks excellent in 3-4 degrees temperature and rain mixed with snow. Second place for Jonathan Maiyo (1:01:44) and best European Buta Urige from Norway (of Ethiopian origin) who was fourth (1:04:09). Surprise European win at 10 km by Austrian Martin Proll who clocked 28:46 and plans to qualify for Olympic Games at 10 000 m later in the spring. Kenyans were beaten as Boash Mayaka as second and John Kales as third achieved 28:47. Other Kenynan Peninah Arusei won women 10 km (31:42) beating Sabrina Mockenhaupt (32:07).
KENYAN WINS IN DALLAS
DALLAS (USA, Mar 22): Kenyan wins at The ‚Post Apartment Invitational 8000 Challenge'. Wilson Kiprotich was the best at 8 km race here with 22:18 (only 6 seconds behind course record) and the World junior CC Champion back in 1997 Rose Kosgei in women´s (26:20). Poland´s Dorota Gruca was second (26:59). Information by IAAF.
US SATURDAY ACTION: CASTLIN 12.81, OLIVER 13.33, JAMAICAN RECORD IN SHOT PUT, JETER 11.29, HOWARD 195 IN HIGH JUMP
LAKE BUENA VISTA: US Indoor champion David Oliver achieved excellent 13.33 (+0.9) to win the 110 m Hurdles at Walt Disney World Invitational. He was also part of shuttle relay team which clocked 56.10 and his leg was timed at 13.21. Helsinki 2005 High jump medalist Chaunte Howard achieved Olympic A-qualifier 195 cm in her first outdoor meet since July 2006. British sprinter Joice Maduaka clocked 24.27 (+0.3) at 200 m.
CERRITOS: Osaka medalist Carmelita Jeter achieved 11.29 (+0.7) at 100 m during California Relays. Tonnette Dyer won the 200 m with 23.47 (-1.2), but was timed with 22.98 (+4.6) in heats. Top Hurdler Jenny Adams clocked in heats 23.63 (+3.9). World class 400 m hurdler Sheena Johnson clocked 13.21 (+3.3) to win the 100 m Hurdles. Mike Mitchell achieved in 100 m heats 10.18 (+2.2) and later registered legal 20.56 at 200 m (+0.9). The finals of 100 m was won by Bennie Robinson who ran 10.41 into negative -1.2 wind.
CORAL GABLES: US junior record holder Kirsti Castlin exploded during Hurricane Invitational to great 12.81 (+1.8) at 100 m Hurdles what is her new PB by 0.1. Second Queen Harrison (both will be 20 this year) improved also to 12.83. Third Shantia Moss achieved 13.17 and fourth Osaka seventh placer at 400 m hurdles Tiffany Williams got 13.18. Women of non-collegiate South Florida Elite achieved solid 43.55 and 3:33.79 in relays. Unattached team won the men´s 4x400 m in 3:07.43 with Xavier Carter running first leg.
CHARLOTTE: 24 years old Mitchell Pope is the new member of 20+ Shot Put Club. At 49er Classic he improved to 20.28 m PB.
CONWAY: Former World Youth Champion Jason Richardson came close to his PB while winning the 110 m hurdles during second day of Shamrock Invitational. With his 13.47 (+0.8) he was just 0.04 away from his 2006 best.
CLEMSON: NCAA 60 m bronze medalist Travis Padgett clocked windy 10.11 (+3.6) during Clemson Relays at 100 m.
TEMPE: NCAA 200 m champion Rubin Williams achieved 10.32 (0.0) at Castillo Invitational meet. Former shot put world champion John Godina appeared in discus with 59.47 m win.
TALLAHASSEE: Jamaican World Indoor 6th placer Dorian Scott improved his own national shot put record at Snowbird Invitational to 20.65 m. His former mark from last years Florida relays was 20.60. Second placed Garrett Johnson also good 20.56 m. Rafeeq Curry registered solid triple jump 16.87 (-0.3) and Lacy Janson achieved 430 in Pole Vault. World class hurdler Eric Mitchum (13.23 last year) started the season with 13.62 (+0.9) win.
AUSTIN: Texas AM achieved fast 43.40 at 4x100 m (Adeoti – Lucas – Facey/JAM – George/GRN) at UT Texas Invitational. Aries Merritt was timed with 13.74 (-0.3) at 110 m Hurdles.
EUGENE: At Oregon Preview World Championships participant Lauren Fleshman started the outdoor season with 4:14.74 at 1500 m.
FORT WORTH: 27 years old hurdler Chris Thomas clocked 13.63 (+1.3) and missed his PB from last year only by 0.03. Jamaican Orlando Reid achieved 20.65 with slight over limit +2.1 at 200 m during Horned Frog Invitational.
TUCSON: Canadian hammer record holder Jim Steacy registered during second day of Willie Williams Classic good 76.95 m (his NR from last year is 77.38). NCAA indoor finalist Ryan Fontenot improved to 13.68 (0.0) at 110 m Hurdles.
Australia is the first team to touch down for next weekend's IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, informs David Martin. Team management member and former champion Sonia O'Sullivan who lives in London will join them later in the week to fulfil her appointment. She wants to try to qualify for Olympic Games in Marathon in Boston. The biggest stars of Australian team are Craig Mottram and Benita Johnson.
Giant video screen will now be in action in Edinburgh already for Saturday racing as well as Sunday. First race for Disability Athletics at 13.40 on Saturday.
Nigeria competing for the second time ever and the first time since Glasgow 1978.
Former World Marathon record holder Steve Jones is added to the panel for the UKA/scottishathletics Friday night endurance seminar, which sold out in 24 hours in January. (source LOC website)
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