It is Monday, June 9, and I am, of course, delayed in the Eugene, Oregon airport. I am on the flight with most of the Oregon team going to the NCAAs in Des Moines, Iowa. Coach Lance Deal, finely adorned in jacket, tie and slacks, looks a bit different, not much though, from his silver medal hammer throwing days! His medal in Atlanta is still one of my favorite moments in the sport, first because he never, ever gave up and two, because he showed, and still shows that sports and class still exist.
The Pre Classic was a huge success in many ways. The changes at Hayward enhance the viewing and enjoyement and the facility is suitable for our cathedral of sport, and that is, my friends what Hayward Field is.
I wanted to tell you that the Bekele 10,000 meter yesterday really started the meet out on the right foot. Thanks to Jos Hermans, who told me way back in April that he wanted to do this but was not sure it could happen, and to John Capriotti, who with his team of Tim Phelan, Josh Rowe and Pasqual Dobert have made this meet the showcase of Nike's track & field talent.
Gaining pacesetters at this time of the year was a nightmare, however, the boys from the swoosh hit a home run with Abrehem Feleke, who took Kenenisa through the 5,000 in 13:09.9! That truly helped Kenenisa, who then ran a fine 13:16 for the second half all by himself!
Brad Walker's 6.04 meter jump and Jenn Stuczyynski's 4.90 meter clearance also shows how well the pole vaulters are doing in the US system. Much of the credit for
the strength of our vaulting program has to go to Coach Bob Fraley, Jan Johnson, and Steve Chapel, who all in their own unique ways, push the pole vault each and every day.
It is looking like Beijing could be the best EVER performances by the US in an Olympic Games. This is due to a true revival of young talent in many of our events, the dedication of our coaches with their 1.4 million high schoolers and 100,000 college
athletes, and the focus of the new stars and old stars on getting the job done and the new, tough drug standards.
Do not laugh, the new drug standards are catching more athletes, but also the legal cases with big names have got to shake and scare many coaches and athletes. There will always be cheats, but they have to spend more and more money and that means that they are less and less. The sad thing is that most believe that drugs are getting worse. The key will be how USOC, which is talking the talk, will spend the money to support WADA and USADA.
I have heard that Shalane Flanagan is doing fine, a bit beat up after her fine 10,000 meters, but that is expected. Kim Smith of New Zealand, the second placer there, told us in New York last week that she was still tired after the great effort.
Kara Goucher ran a super 5k this past weekend. She stayed back and moved up over the last two kilometers very methodically. She does have that Emil Zatopek, running is pain thing down pretty well, and when 'that look' comes on, Goucher is right in the zone. The women's 5k now has three US women who have broken 15 minutes this year and with Flanagan, if she runs at the 5k, there will be four US women under 15 minutes.
The crowd at Nike Pre yesterday set a meet record with 14,442. Great announcing by our friend, Mr. Scott Davis, a man who can make a squirrel racing sound exciting (if you do not believe that, go back to last week's piece on the Reebok GP).
EME NEWS (JUNE 8, 2008) UPDATE
Bekele 26:25.97 - fourth best ever, Defar no record, Walker jumps 604
EUGENE (USA, June 8): Ethiopian world champion and world record holder Kenenisa Bekele won the 10 000 m at Prefontaine Classic today (held in the morning) and clocked the fourth fastest time ever and best outside Europe 26:25.97. Only he himself twice (26:17.53 in Brussels 2005 and 26:20.31 in Ostrava 2004) and Haile Gebrselassie (26:22.75 in Hengelo 1998) were ever faster. After great pace (13:09 by Abrehame Feleke at 5 km) world junior champion 2006 Ibrahim Jeylan (still a junior) also from Ethiopia got 27:13.85 as second. Third Ethiopian Maregu Zewdie improved hugely to 27:14.13 and fourth the best Kenyan Mark Kiptoo (27:14.67).
Also in the morning the second world record attempt was not successful as world champion Meseret Defar of Ethiopia clocked after fast begin 14:38.73 meet record at 5000 m.
In the main early afternoon programme world champion Brad Walker achieved in pole Vault new US record and world leading 604 cm. Only Sergey Bubka (615), Maksim Tarasov and Dmitriy Markov (both 605) achieved better marks ever. Another world lead by Adam Nelson with 22.12 in shot put and clear win over world champion Reese Hoffa (21.73) as world indoor champion Christian Cantwell was a no-show.
In sprints Wallace Spearmon clocked 20.14 (+1.6) meet record and beat Olympic winner Shawn Crawford (20.25) and Xavier Carter (20.29). LaShawn Merritt confirmed great shape with 44.65 400 m win and Trinidad´s Darrell Brown dominated the 100 m (10.07). Anwar Moore did not had luck with wind as his 13.09 (+2.7) was aided. World record holder Liu Xiang was "dqued" after false start. World champion Kirwa Yego registered his first victory of any sort in the past two years outside of the World Championships, and his first in a final (other than the worlds) since 2005 (1:44.01, also a meet record). Shadrack Korir of Kenya won the mile (3:50.49, Webb only 7th 3:55.47) and world champion Bernard Lagat the two miles after 8:12.45 (world lead). In the strong field second former world champion Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain (8:13.16) and steeple world leader Paul Koech (8:13.31). Another big guns, Craig Mottram fifth (8:18.19) and Saif Saeed Shaheen seventh (8:22.86). In remaining men events wins for Brazilian Jadel Gregorio in Triple Jump (17.26, +1.3) and Russian European Champion Andrey Silnov after jump-off with 231 over Tora Harris (230).
On the women side great 100 m field and win of Torri Edwards clocking meet record 10.94 (+1.3) ahead of Jamaicans Sherone Simpson (10.99) and Kerron Stewart (10.99). World champion Allyson Felix third (11.06) and former world champ Lauryn Williams only sixth (11.21). Sanya Richards won the 400 m (50.10) and emotional last win at Hayward Field for legendary Maria Mutola (1:59.24). Ethiopian Gelete Burka clocked meet record at 1500 m (4:00.44) and Olympic winner Joanna Hayes windy 12.53 (+3.1) at 100 m Hurdles.
In technical events hammer world champion Betty Heidler of Germany won with meet record and US all-comers record 73.93 and Stephanie Trafton beat in discus (63.50) Czech world medalist 2005 Vera Cechlova (63.10). Loaded long jump field saw Maurren Higa Maggi of Brazil winning (702, +3.3) when world champion Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia was only fifth (662, +1.4).
Morozov walking world record, two men sub 1:17, Kalmykova sensational women winner
SARANSK (RUS, June 8): Walking history was rewritten at Russian Championships as first two ever times at 20 km under 1:17 were registered. 20 years old Russian Sergey Morozov achieved new road walking world record today at Russian Championships at 20 km with 1:16:43. Informs All-Sport Agency. IAAF ratified road world record is 1:17:16 by Vladimir Kanaykin in the same city last year on September 29. Morozov who is from Saransk directly (under the guidance of miracle coach Chegin) is World Youth champion 2005 and last year European Junior Champion. What is also special that according to known dates it is his first completed road 20 km ever. This year he was disqualified at winter championships in Adler in February. He is also World Cup winner 2006 and European Cup winner 2007. Former record holder Vladimir Kanaykin was second also below the record 1:16:53. Third Aleksandr Yargunkin back in 1:20:01. Morozov qualified so for Olympic Games at 20 km and will be joined by already qualified Valeriy Borchin and Ilya Markov. Kanaykin wanted to qualify for Beijing in two events as he is already there at 50 km. For IAAF ratification the most important factors are number of international judges and doping control. All-Sport reports that the number of international judges (at least 3) was fulfilled.
Sensation in women 20 km race as last year world youth champion Tatyana Kalmykova (18) clocked the second best ever junior 20 km 1:26:36. IAAF is not ratifying junior road walk records at 20 km (only at 10 km). Kalmykova so surprisingly qualified for Olympic Games. Favorites were disqualified, for example the fastest junior ever Anisya Kirdyapkina (this year 1:25:30), Osaka silver medalist Tatyana Shemyakina or fourth placer from World Cup in Cheboksary Lyudmila Arkhipova. Interestingly Kalmykova who won this year the junior race at IAAF World Cup was debuting at 20 km! She joins Olga Kaniskina and Tatyana Sibileva who were named to Beijing after World Cup. Here second Tatyana Gudkova (1:28:17) and bronze for Yevdokiya Korotkova (1:29:44).
Harting beats Alekna in new PB
KAUNAS (LTU, June 8): The highlight of European Athletics Permit meeting Kaunas 2008 was the men´s discus. But the spectators could not celebrate the win of the home star Virgilijus Alekna despite his excellent 68.18 effort in third series. German Osaka medalist Robert Harting was better as he also in third round achieved winning new PB 68.65 (his series: 67.66-67.85-68.65-67.79-66.34-f). High quality field was added by third Gabor Mate of Hungary (66.32), fourth Hungarian Zoltan Kovago (65.57) and fifth Piotr Malachowski of Poland (65.52). In other men events meet record for Russian Ivan Nesterov at 800 m (1:47.69) and solid sprints of Ukrainians. Dmytro Hluschenko got 10.30 (-0.9) at 100 m and Sergiy Demidyuk 13.58 (-0.5) at 110 m hurdles ahead of US Jeff Porter (13.68). Russian Pavel Fomenko and Canadian Michael Mason cleared 227 in High Jump and Estonian Tonis Sahk was best in Long Jump (784, -0.1).
Women produced five meeting records. Home Lina Grinickaite 11.37 at 100 m (+0.5), Elge Balcunaite at 800 m (2:01.23 ahead of Russian Natalya Tsyganova 2:01.39). Another two for Poland. Kamila Stepaniuk in High Jump (191) and Ursula Piwnicka in Javelin (60.27). French Phana Anarchasis (51.92) beat Olympic medalist Natalya Antyukh from Russia (52.48) at 400 m. Solid 4x100 m relay for Lithuania (44.31) ahead of Japan (44.37).
Return of Inzikuru
KAMPALA (UGA, June 7): 2005 steeplechase world champion Dorcus Inzikuru made her return to competition at Kampala Pan African Permit meet on Saturday, five months after giving birth to her daughter Emmanuela. She finished 9th of the 5000m (18:50.0) in a race won by Dorcus Chesang in 16:04.3. Inzikuru confessed she still needs to lose another 2kg from 50 to 48kg, before being able to return to serious competition.
Kluft Swedish triple record
VAXJO (SWE, June 8): Combined events queen confirmed she is meaning it serious with triple jump. She twice bettered the Swedish record here with 14.24 and 14.29 m. Her series: 13.99-13.81-14.12-14.24-14.29-f.
Kiprop 3:36.3 at altitude
NAIROBI (KEN, June 7): Promising miler Asbel Kiprop claimed the 1500m title in 3:36.3 on the second day of the Kenya Police championships. He didn't have an easy victory though, being pushed all the way by Moses Masai (3:37.3), the winner of Berlin Golden League's 5000m in a world leading time of 12:50.55 last week-end. Vixon Polonet was third in 3:40.6. Sammy Kitwara sealed a double with a victory in the 5000m in 13:34.0 following his 10,000m title on Friday (28:12.2). African steeplechase champion Richard Matelong followed as close second in 13:34.7, while Bernard Sang was third in 13:35.2. 2006 1500m world junior champion Irene Jelagat easily won the 1500m in 4:15.6 and Antoninah Ruto the 10,000m in 34:04.9.
French wins in Arles
ARLES (FRA, June 8): The fourth leg of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge in Arles recorded home success with victories for Nadir El Fassi and Blandine Maisonnier, who both broke the 8000 and 6000 points barrier for the first time, with wind-assisted scores of 8123 pts and 6157 points respectively. El Fassi (10.89/+8.9, 7.47m/+5.8, 13.57m, 2.05m, 51.22, 14.55/+1.7, 41.28m, 4.85m, 60.42m, 4.23.80) defeated pre-competition favourite Romain Barras by 63 points (8086w points). Franck Logel, the leader after day one who eventually finished third with 7947w points, held onto the lead until the javelin throw where he lost 11 meters to Barras (60.56m) and El Fassi (60.42m). With one event to go, Barras had a 30 points lead but he was no match in the 1500m, clocking 4:33.75 ten seconds against 4:23.80 for the 2002 world juniors silver medallist. There was drama from the onset of the second day in the women's event when Jessica Zelinka had three fouls in the long jump, leaving the Canadian out of contention for the final victory. Maisonnier (13.63/+4, 1.80m, 12.68m, 24.72/+3.5, 6.44m/+3, 37.64m, 2:13.06) and Netherlands' Laurien Hoos then exchanged the lead following their respective victories in the long jump (6.44m) and the javelin throw (51.76m, more than 9 meters above the rest of the field). The 30-point lead was however far from enough for Hoos to prevent Maisonnier from prevailing after the 800m. Hoos finished second with 5961w points ahead of New Zealand's Rebecca Wardell (5940 points).
Unger 10.17 and Spiegelburg 465
REGENSBURG (GER, June 8): At the "Sparkassen Gala" meeting in Regensburg on June 8th, German Tobias Unger managed a fantastic season opening with 10,17 in the 100m event which is also the qualification standard for Beijing. The 28-year-old wants to concentrate this summer on the 100m only. The German relay with Unger, Alexander Kosenkow, Till Helmke and Martin Keller achieved the second best time in the word with 38,70s. The German women were not as convincing with a relay time of 43,26s behind the winning British team (43,06s). Pole Vaulter Silke Spiegelburg got herself into a pole position in the fight for tickets to Bejing as her 4,65m - which is a new PB for her - meant also the nomination for the European Cup in Annecy. Carolin Hingst improved to 4,55m as well as Elisaveta Ryzih and Kristina Gadschiew who cleared the qualification standard of 4,50m. The German men were not as successfull as Great Britain's Steven Lewis and France's Jerome Clavier were the only ones to clear 5,60m whereas Alexander Straub and Tim Lobinger finished already after 5,50m and 5,40m respectively. Former triple jump world champion Charles Friedek managed 15,97m in his only valid jump and was clearly defeated by Daniel Kohle and Andreas Pohle (both 16,39s). Hurdles specialist Jonna Tilgner won the 400m hurdles (56,12s) and flat - here with more than a second better than her PB (now 51,90s) to be recommended for the 4x400m relay. German steeple record holder Antje Moeldner won her former speciality distance, the 1.500m, in 4:13,61 before South Africa's Rene Kalmer (4:13,76). Hurdler Carolin Nytra won in 13,11s.
Konopka again positive
BRATISLAVA (SVK): Slovak shot put European Indoor champion 2007 Mikulas Konopka was again positive dope tested. He had his first failure in winter 2002 when he was forced to return the bronze medal from European Indoor Championships in Wien. According to the reports in Slovak media he had positive result in out-of-competition test on May 13. He is now waiting on the outcome of B-sample analysis. If confirmed he will be facing a life-time ban.
EAGLE ROCK (USA, June 7): Canadian, Jared Connaughton set a new meet record at the Jim Bush Invitational at the Occidental College track on Saturday. Connaughton, who earlier this year ran a personal best over 100 of 10.15 has transfered his new found speed over to the 200m while running his Olympic A+ standard in a time of 20.35 (+1.0). Mickey Grimes was second with 20.46.
CAEN (FRA, June 8): Kenyan Jonathan Kipkosgei Kibet (2:15:46) and Elisabeth Chemweno (2:35:23) recorded solo victories in the Marathon National de la Liberté on Sunday in Caen. In the half-marathon, Laurence Rotich edged Nathan Chebet, 1:05:23 to 1:05:26 in the men's race while Uganda's Catherine Webombesa (1:18:25) prevailed over Kenyan Joan Maiyo by nine seconds in the women's event.
LJUBLJANA (SLO, June 8): Second best hammer result of the year by world silver medalist Primoz Kozmus who achieved at National Teams Championships second day 80.81 m.
SCHONEBECK (GER, June 8): At throwing meet two javelin Olympic qualifiers. Peter Esenwein got 82.72 and Alex Vieweg 82.60. Peter Sack (20.87) was again better than European Champion Ralf Bartels in Shot Put (20.29). Poland´s former world champion Szymon Ziolkowski registered good 78.02 m win in hammer. German female shot putters showed their class. Christina Schwanitz (19.31) and Nadine Kleinert (19.26).
BIRMINGHAM (GBR, June 8): Dwain Chambers clocked 10.28 to win his race in Birmingham. But was slower than in Kalamata on Wednesday by 0.03.
VIERSEN (GER, June 8): 14th High jump meeting winner was Italian Andrea Bettinelli who cleared 230 in first attempt. Second place for his team-mate Alessandro Talotti who did the same in third attempt. Third position for Czech European silver holder Tomas Janku (228).
LAPUA (FIN, June 8): Mikaela Ingberg (61.59) and Harri Haatainen (81.08) won the javelin at international meeting here. World medalist Tommi Evila got 797 (+1.4) in Long Jump and Mikko Latvala cleared 563 in Pole Vault. Also to note wind-aided sprints by Jamaican Ricardo Williams (10.31, +2.3 ahead of Joni Rautanen also 10.31) and Russian Yulia Kondakova 12.91 (+2.2) at 100 m Hurdles. US Chris Thomas clocked 13.71 (+1.8) at 110 m Hurdles and Estonian Mart Israel won the discus (63.36). Finnish duo Osku Torro and Oskari Frosen cleared 224 in High Jump.
NITRA (SVK, June 8): Solid throws by Milan Haborak (20.00) in Shot Put and Miloslav Konopka (77.35) in hammer. But both are still missing the A-olympic qualifier. World junior medalist 2006 Marcel Lomnicky improved to 72.66 in hammer as second.
ZHUKOVSKIY (RUS, June 8): Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy started the summer season with 1:48.3 win at regional meet here.
NEUSS (GER, June 7): German Hedrit Embaye won the 26th edition of the ' Neusser Sommernachtslauf', a 5km road race, on June 7th in 14:22. Second came Ukrainian Olaksandr Matviychuk and Lars Haferkamp (both 14:23). 1992 Olympic champion Dieter Baumann arrived in 14:25 as sixth. The women's race was dominated by National vice half-marathon champion Julia Viellehner in 16:27 before Petra Kaminkova from the Czech Republic (16:49) and European marathon champion Ulrike Maisch (16:53).
LEVERKUSEN (GER, June 8): For Olympics qualified marathon runner Melanie Kraus won here the 10 km in 34:31. Mario Krockert was the best man (30:25). In the half-marathon Kenyan Matthew Kosgei (1:03:16) was the best as his country colleague Susan Kurui in women race (1:14:42).
BIRGO VALSUGANA (ITA, June 8): Italian national walking titles at 20 km for Alex Schwazer (1:23:28) and Elisa Rigaudo (1:30:32).
CUENCA (ESP, June 8): The 21st 15 km road race winners were Kenyan Peter Kirui (44:11) and Portuguese Ines Monteiro (51:19).
EME News is used with permission of the publisher and proudly sponsored by Shooting Star Media, Inc.