On the evening of February 16, after I had witnessed Kenenisa Bekele run two miles in a world best of 8:04, with the second mile in 4:01, I had a chance to sell hello to the great athlete. He was sitting at dinner with Jos Hermans his long time advisor and agent, after the Norwich Union GP in Birmingham.
I congratulated Kenenisa on his fine running, and said, " Hope to see you in Valencia." as I had heard he was considering the indoor over the cross country. Kenenisa smiled, but said, " I have to make a decision soon." He smiled, Jos smiled, and I thanked them for their kindness and went on my way.
A few days later, Bekele announced his intention to run Edinburgh. His brother, Tariku, ran a brilliant last 1,000 meters, just over 2:22, ( last 800 in 1;53), to keep the gold medal for the World indoor 3,000 meters in the family on March 9, and 21 days later, the elder Bekele brother will see how he has recovered from Mombasa, and the brutal conditions of last year!
Here is our global news for the day from EME News and Alfons Juck:
JAMAICA WINS ALL FOUR 4x400 m GOLDS
BASSETERRE (SKN, Mar 24): Jamaica was crowned with all four 4x400 m relay golds during last day of CARIFTA Games in St. Kitts and Nevis. The best quality was the winning time of Youth Girls 3:39.62 just missing the event best 3:39.50. Junior girls were only slightly better with 3:39.12. Jamaican U17 boys achieved 3:19.26 and juniors 3:09.71. This team was composed of three gold medalists of the event (Keiron Stewart/110H-Ramone McKenzie/second at 200m-Nickel Ashmeade/200m-Andrew Peart/400mH). World Youth medalist from Ostrava Nickel Ashmeade won the 200 m in windy 20.16 (+5.2) as Ramone McKenzie was second in 20.33. Junior girls 200 m final was legal (+1.4) as Nivea Smith of Bahamas improved to 23.01 and home Meritzer Williams again bettered her best to 23.11 with best Jamaican Jura Levy as third also fast (23.28, PB). Only 15 years old Kirani James of Grenada (already World medalist last year in Ostrava) won after 400 m also the 200 m in U17 category registering PB 21.38 (+2.0). Only 16 years old Jamaican Natoya Goule improved to 2:05.90 while winning the juniors 800 m. High hurdles finals brought two meet records. Aaron Wilmore of Bahamas clocked 12.88 (+0.6) at boys 100 m Hurdles and Kierre Beckles of Barbados achieved 13.43 (+0.4) in junior girls category at 100 m Hurdles. Other hurdles winners were Kenrisha Brathwaite of Barbados in U17 girls (100mH in 14.04, - 0.9) and Jamaican Keiron Stewart in U20 110 m Hurdles successful.5). Jamaica was the best country ahead of Trinidad and Bahamas.
Reigning European cross country champion Sergey Lebid will not compete in Edinburgh on Sunday. The Ukrainian, who has won the continental title a record seven times and was a world cross silver medallist 2001, the only European-born runner to reach such a high position on the podium since Britain's Tim Hutchings in 1989, has not fully recovered from a bout of influenza he suffered last month. Interestingly he was able to win the police European Championships in France (Vichy, March 15) clocking 31:10 at 10.25 km.
A total of 70 Member Federations of the IAAF have made final entries to compete at this weekend's 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Record participation was in 2000 in Vilamoura, Portugal with 806 athletes from 76 countries. In the editions without short races the best attended were in 1997 Torino with 73 countries and 1994 in Budapest with 760 athletes. In Mombasa last year, the figures were 63 countries and 470 runners.
The world's best distance runners will assemble in Holyrood Park, in the Scottish capital on Sunday afternoon to do battle in four races – senior men and women, and junior men and women – part of the course for which tackles the steep incline and decent of Haggis Knowe whose slopes dominate this year's World Cross Country venue. With a support program which includes a Distance Running Seminar on Friday evening (28), a Home Countries Cross Country International (a race between Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales first contested at Hamilton Park Race Course in Scotland in 1903) contested on Saturday afternoon (29), and a ‚Welcome the World' 5K mass participation road race on Sunday morning (30), Edinburgh is set to witness a global festival of distance running this weekend, informs an IAAF in a press release.
United Kingdom cross country champion Laura Kenney has had her application for Scottish eligibility processed by its legal representative with immediate effect.
The Royal Sutton Coldfield runner, whose mother is Scottish, recovered from a spell of injury at the turn of the year to win the UK title and World Trials. The European U23 5000 meters gold medallist will join fellow Scot Andrew Lemoncello in the Norwich Union GB team for next Sunday's World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, informs David Martin.
Surprise Kenyan women Champion Grace Momanyi who was past two years in Japan and is member of police services squad at home announced that she wants to qualify at 10, 000 m for Olympic Games.
Dieudonne Disi who competed at World CC Championships every year since 2003 said, that he plans to debut in marathon in 2009. His Half-marathon best is high level 59:32.
Mark Butler provides interesting stats before the races. Kenya has 245 medals so far as the most successful country in the history of the championships followed by Ethiopia (203) and USA (59). Kenenisa Bekele is the best individual in terms of winning medals with summary of 25 (15-8-2) in time 2001-2006. Best woman in this ranking is also Ethiopian Worknesh Kidane with 20 medals (11-5-4) in 1997-2005. Ethiopian women have so far the longest winning streak in the long race which started in 2002 and is currently at number six. Will Tirunesh Dibaba be able to make it seven?
DONGIO (SUI, Mar 24): Kenyan World Athletics Final winner Edwin Soi won for third time the Giro Media Blenio 10 km road race in Switzerland. In 24th annual he clocked 28:59.7 beating last year World Cross Country silver medallist Moses Mosop (is not competing in Edinburgh) who achieved 29:01.6. Best European runner was Ukrainian Vasyl Matviychuk (29:31.8) as 6th.
NEW ORLEANS (USA, Mar 22): Kenyan Moses K. Kigen won the jubilee 30th Crescent City Classic in New Orleand clocking excellent 27:44 at certified 10 km course. Informs Race Results Weekly. Only one second behind Robert Letting (27:45) and another second former world class track runner and course record holder Sammy Kipketer (27:46). Women race was also dominated by Kenyans as Genoveva Jelagat achieved clear win with 32:11 (PB). Former Kenyan national record holder and Africa Games track medallist Leah Malot was second (32:53). Russian Lyudmila Biktasheva was sixth (33:02).
MEGARA (GRE, Mar 23): The Greek 20km Race Walking Championships were held in the seaside area of the city of Megara, approx. 40 km west of Athens. The men's race was won by 50 km specialist Konstadinos Stefanopoulos in a time of 1:29:17, followed by Alexandros Papamihail (5th last year in the European Juniors of Hengelo), who made his debut in the distance, clocking 1:31:19. Close in third place was Theodoros Kefalopoulos, nephew of coach Napoleon Kefalopoulos, with 1:31:40. Theodoros Koupidis, the best Greek 20k walker, did not compete due to illness. In the absence of Athanasia Tsoumeleka and Athina Papayianni, Evaggelia Xinou had no problem in notching her 2nd national title with a time of 1:37:15. Despina Zapounidou could not challenge her, so she was content with 2nd place in 1:40:35.
CAROLINA (PUR, Mar 22): National record holder and Osaka semifinalist Javier Culson started his 400 m Hurdles season at local meet with very solid 49.43 time. His national best from last year is 49.07.
NEW YORK (USA): The World Marathon Majors, the best series of marathon races in the world, will rely on Championship timing for 2008. With a $1,000,000 series purse to be awarded to the overall points winners, plus millions more in prize and bonus money distributed by the individual events throughout the year, there is no room for error in timing and scoring, informs Race Results Weekly. "With nearly 14 years of real world timing experience behind us ChampionChip® is by far the most tested and trusted form of active sports timing," says Mike Burns, President of ChampionChip USA. The five races in the World Marathon Majors —the Boston Marathon, Flora London Marathon, real,- Berlin Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and ING New York City Marathon—had a combined total of 152,000 finishers in 2007, each one of them timed with a ChampionChip® transponder.
BOSTON (USA): The 112th Boston Marathon will be televised live, wire-to-wire, both locally and nationally on Monday, April 21. WBZ-TV (CBS owned-and-operated, Channel 4) will once again be providing live local coverage. Their broadcast will run from 8 a.m. (ET) until 3 p.m. (ET). WBZ-TV, now a partner of the Boston Athletic Association for 28 years, will be the only local television station providing live wire-to-wire coverage. VERSUS will once again televise the Boston Marathon for the fourth consecutive year. The telecast will air from 9:30 a.m. (ET) to 12:30 p.m. (ET), making the Boston Marathon the only road race in the United States to have a complete, live, national telecast. Information by race organizers.
LONDON (GBR): A memorial service for former British athletics supremo Andy Norman will be held in Saint Giles in the Fields, Tottenham Court Road London at midday on April 14. Norman who was at the helm of the sport during its halcyon era when amongst others Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett, Daley Thompson and Allan Wells were crowned Olympic champions, died of a heart attack last September, informs David Martin. Returning in his role of the International Association of Athletics Federations advertising commissioner at the World Athletics final in Stuttgart, he collapsed at Birmingham airport. Many of the country's past world class athletes including world triple jump world record holder Jonathan Edwards will be attending the memorial service. Fatima Whitbread his wife, herself a former world javelin champion and record holder is coordinating the memorial service. All friends, associates and athletics colleagues wishing to attend should contact Fatima Whitbread.
KHARTOUM (SUD): IAAF informs that recent World Indoor 800 m champion Abubake Kaki was at home hugely celebrated. In north east of country in Ghadarif he was awarded a piece of land by the head of the state. Due to his success, Kaki has been very much in demand and has had to refuse many more celebrations in order to focus on his preparations for the outdoor season where his main focus will be winning a medal for Sudan at the Beijing Olympics in August. His two announced meetings so far are Doha on May 9 and Ostrava on June 12.
HALLE (GER): Discus world champion Franka Dietzsch confirmed that she will compete at Throwing Meet in Halle on May 24. The organizers of the event want to attract all German throwing medalists from last year in Osaka.
DARMSTADT (GER): German triple jumper Nico Bayer is banned for two years until February 24, 2010. Informs www.leichtathletik.de. His sample from regional indoor championships on January 13 (Stadtallendorf) this years showed presence of Amphetamin. His best is 15.69 from 2006, in that year he was finalist at World Junior Championships in Beijing.
MOSCOW (RUS): Russian discus reigning Olympic champion Natalya Sadova is planning to return to competitions after her doping ban will expire early July this year. That was confirmed by Russian Throwing head coach Aleksey Malyukov for the All-Sport Agency. She plans to compete at Russian National Championships in Kazan (July 17-20) and wants to qualify for Olympic Games to try to defend her title.
This week in World of Athletics will culminate with 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh on Sunday. All eyes will be on men´s race and expected duel Kenenisa Bekele against title defender Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea. EA Walking Permit circuit continues on Saturday in Dudince, Slovakia at traditional meet. On the road half-marathon in Praha and marathons in Monte Carlo, Kuala Lumpur, Treviso, Incheon and Knoxville with Atlanta will be the main ones to follow. On the track US spring season continues in Gainesville with Florida Relays (Xavier Carter), Alabama Relays, LSU Tiger Invitational, Raleigh Relays, UTEP Springtime meet and UT Arlington event (Sanya Richards, Jeremy Wariner, Libor Charfreitag) among others.
EME News is used with permission of the publisher, Alfons Juck, for use in www.runblogrun.com.
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