Ostrava, Behind the Scenes, EME News Special, by Alfons Juck

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In this special, Alfons gives runblogrun readers the insider's eyes on the Golden Spike meeting:

EME NEWS (JUNE 14, 2008) OSTRAVA SPECIAL

TWO WORLD RECORDS HIGHLIGHTED 47th GOLDEN SPIKE

OSTRAVA (CZE, June 12): After three years with not favorable weather finally (even still little bit colder then expected during this time of the year) the full Ostrava City Stadium (20 000) saw something special. Two world records were last time registered in Brussels Van Damme 1997 edition (5000 m and 10 000 m) or London Grand Prix 2005 when Yelena Isinbayeva twice jumped pole vault record. Also in Ostrava 2004 two world records were initially celebrated (10 000 m by Bekele and Dragila in Pole Vault 483), but the pole vault mark was later declared as not superior to world indoor record and thus not ratified. But also other three world leads (200 m Bolt, HJ Vlasic and 300 m Wariner) along with other four european leads, in total 10 meet records and 8 all-comers records made the best ever Golden Spike. If we do not count Dragila, still already 6 world records since 2001 when the Golden Spike was rejuvenated by current organizing team (Turova steeple 2002, Bekele 10 000 m 2004, Gebrselassie one hour and 20 000 m in 2007, Tune one hour and Robles 110mH in 2008).

FORGOTTEN WORLD BEST

In all excitement of two world records one world best was not announced yet. It is the 15 000 m split of Dire Tune 48:54.91 what is a world best, former one by Silvana Cruciata of Italy who clocked in her one hour race in Rome on May 4, 1981 was 49:44.0.

PRIME MINISTER AND STANLEY CUP WINNER

Among the celebrities at the meet Czech Prime minister Mirek Topolanek and Ice-hockey recent Stanley Cup winner from Detroit Red Wings Jiri Hudler.

ROBLES KNOWS LEONARD

Last time a world record was set in Ostrava by a Cuban was in 1975 when Silvio Leonard clocked here 9.9 (+1.7). „I know him personally, he works as a coach and also in the stadium in Havanna," said Robles about Leonard. „But he has some more weight by now," added the new world record holder with a laugh.

PACEMAKERS PROBLEMS

In distant races pacemakers were a problem in Ostrava. Dire Tune speeded up the pace when she was alone, the help was more moral in the first part of the one hour. Also Drahomira Eidrnova in women´s 800 m was not as quick as agreed during the first lap. Not to speak about men´s 5000 m and women 10 000 m where the pacemakers did not had any chance to keep the agreed pace. The only one who did the job as agreed was the Sudanese help of Idriss Abdulgadir at slightly over 50 seconds level.

HAPPY ZELEZNY

The Golden Spike Ambassador Jan Zelezny was happy as a coach. Vitezslav Vesely coached by world record holder achieved olympic A-qualifier 78.00. „It is tougher to sit on the tribune and try to give advice," he commented. Zelezny recently only as fun tried to throw and got 76 metres in training, not bad for somebody who will turn 42 years on Monday.

EVENTS OVERVIEW

MEN'S 100 METRES

The Osaka silver medallist, Derrick Atkins of Bahamas, led from start to finish in his 10.07 win, which equaled his season best mark from late April in Berkeley. Far back in second from his spot on the far outside was Brian Dzingai of Zimbabwe in 10.25, just ahead of American John Capel with 10.27.

MEN'S 200 METRES

Usain Bolt's first 200-metre race of the year was a splendid one, as the Jamaican posted a world-leading 19.83, also a meeting record. The 1.96m-tall Bolt didn't have quite the same start he enjoyed two weeks ago in New York in his world-record 100 metres race, but he commanded this competition within a few steps after the gun. Running immediately to Bolt's right, the diminutive Brian Dzingai created a humorous sight in his attempt to run down the massive Bolt, as the Zimbabwan came away with second in a season-best 20.17. American John Capel, at 20.71, and Stéphane Buckland of Mauritius, with 20.74 claimed the next two positions.

MEN'S 300 METRES

For the first 100 metres of the race, which involved a straightaway run, Jeremy Wariner and Paul Hession of Ireland staged a great battle. The American, running on Hession's inside, managed to gain a small advantage on the curve, which he transformed into a convincing 31.72 victory. In his first-ever attempt at this distance, Wariner was far off the world best of 30.85, which Michael Johnson—coincidentally his manager—ran in altitude-assisted Pretoria in 2000. Hession was timed in 32.47 for second, as Nathaniel McKinney of Bahamas had a PB 33.01 in third. Reigning Olympic, European and World decathlon champion, Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic, made a cameo appearance at the Golden Spike in this event, running 35.68 to finish eighth out of eight places.

MEN'S 400 METRES

Martyn Rooney of Great Britain outkicked Jamaican Ricardo Chambers over the final 80 metres to win in 45.32. Chambers had run an exceedingly hard first 200 and before he had exited the final curve, he was tiring noticeably. On the run-in, Ireland's David Gillick passed Chambers to snare second, 45.65 to 45.83.

MEN'S 800 METRES

Abubaker Kaki of Sudan had the lead after the pacemaker departed with about 350 to go, and he never relinquished it throughout the rest of the race as he won in 1:43.80. Boaz Lalang of Kenya, a US university student, tried to challenge Kaki for the lead on the final curve, but his efforts were well handled by the 18-year-old from Sudan. On the run-in, David Rudisha, also of Kenya, moved past Lalang to narrowly take second in 1:44.47, as Lalang's third-place 1:44.69 was a personal best. Finishing hard on the outside and passing several runners with a superb climax was Josef Repcik, whose 1:44.94 retired the nearly 39-year-old Slovak national record of 1:45.4 by Jozef Plachy.

MEN'S 5000 METRES

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya outkicked Ethiopia's Tariku Bekele over the last 100 metres to win, 13:02.07 to 13:03.52. The second of the two pacemakers departed at 2000, one kilometre earlier than planned, and Bekele found himself leading the large pack with more than half the race remaining. Bekele was content to let Mo Farah of Britain, Augustine Choge of Kenya and Markos Geneti of Ethiopia, among others, help out as frontrunners over the next five laps. The 21 runners stayed bunched all the while, with no more than 15 metres separating them for the next kilometres. Coming into the 4K mark, Bekele asserted himself and moved to the front, but he brought Kipchoge and Mohd Ali Abdosh with him. A lap later, Bekele strode out even more strongly, with only Kipchoge answering the call. At the bell it was a footrace between that pair and a riveting one at that as they were matching each other stride for stride. Finally, with 100 metres remaining the Kenyan applied the final blow for the win. Isaac Songok of Kenya finished third in 13:06.25 with Abdosh fourth at 13:06.52. In all, 17 of the 20 finishing runners established personal or season bests.

MEN'S 110 HURDLES

Dayron Robles had momentary pressure on his left from American Terrence Trammell, but the Cuban had the upper hand even before the first hurdle. Clipping off the ten barriers with computer-like precision, Robles hit the finish line in a photocell time of 12.88, equaling Liu Xiang's world record. However, a review of the photo dropped the time officially to 12.87 for sole possession of history's fastest time. Trammell, the silver medallist in the last two Olympics, finished second in 13.21 with Sergey Demidyuk (UKR) at 13.42 and Jeff Porter (USA) with PB 13.47 in the next spots. Finishing fifth in this historic competition was Petr Svoboda, equaling the 21-year-old Czech national record set by Jiri Hudec in the 1987 Rome World Championships.

MEN'S POLE VAULT

Yevgeniy Lukyanenko's first-jump clearance at 5.77 held up as the best of the night and established a new meeting record. The Russian had two failures at 5.82 plus one more at 5.87 to end the evening. Denis Yurchenko of Ukraine placed second with a first-jump 5.72. When Lukyanenko missed at that height, Yurchenko passed 5.77 to try to win at 5.82, where he missed three times. Third place went to another Ukrainian, Maksim Mazuryk, at 5.67.

MEN'S HAMMER (held on Wednesday)

Slovenian thrower Primoz Kozmus waited until the fifth round to unleash his best of 80.27—the day's only 80-metre throw—as he scored a win by more than a metre ahead of Osaka bronze winner Libor Charfreitag of Slovakia, who had a well-timed final-attempt 79.18 to move from fifth to second. Hungary's Krisztian Pars also benefited from a late 78.29 to take third. Sydney Olympic champion Szymon Ziolkowski of Poland, who held the lead with 75.94 at the midway point, ended a distant fourth.

MEN'S JAVELIN

After Robert Oosthuizen of South Africa opened the competition with a 76.27, Vitezslav Vesely of Czech (coached by Jan Zelezny) came back with 78.00 on his next throw and was never challenged. The 21-year-old Oosthuizen, the current world junior champion from 2006, had posted a personal best of 86.80 earlier this year, and the form chart showed him to be a considerable favourite, but the competition today belonged to Vesely. Germany's Stefan Wenk, in his first competition of the year, finished third at 74.84.

WOMEN'S 400 METRES

World champion Christine Ohuruogu made her first 400 metres race of the year a victorious one with a 51.06 win over Ebonie Floyd of the US in 51.44. The British athlete watched Tatyana Veshkurova of Russia take a small lead into the back stretch, but by the halfway point in the race, Ohuruogu was in control. Only Floyd's final thrust at the end might have upset the Briton's victory plans. Veshkurova ended third in 51.70, with fellow Russian Natalya Antyukh just behind at 51.74.

WOMEN'S 800 METRES

Lucia Klocova of Slovakia powered off the final curve and passed previous leader Elisa Cusma of Italy to win in 1:59.54. Cusma had taken an advantage at the bell with the departure of the pacemaker, as Jemma Simpson of Great Britain and Klocova were also in pursuit with 300 metres remaining. Cusma held on for second in 2:00.00, as Olga Kotlyarova of Russia moved to the outside and made up several places with her 2:00.09 third-place performance. Simpson was fourth in 2:00.56, ahead of World Indoor champion Tamsyn Lewis of Australia at 2:00.87.

WOMEN'S 10000 METRES

Tirunesh Dibaba had said she wanted a time under 31 minutes, and although her 31:03.38 missed that mark ever so slightly, it was much better than it might have been after some shaky pacemaking in the early going. After an opening kilometre of 3:04, the tempo slowed drastically with only 3:13 for the next 1000 metres. That forced the frontrunners to move past the pacemaker sooner than planned. Numerous lead changes ensued after that point, and the pace was noticeably irregular, with DiBaba dropping back as far as in eighth place, almost waiting for something to happen. The lead pack of eleven runners stayed close to each other even past the 7K mark. One waited impatiently for someone to turn up the heat. At 7600, Tirunesh moved to the outside to creep up into position for a final assault, but then she fell back again into seventh. The first finishing spark came only just after the bell, as Tirunesh led her sister Ejegayehu and Meselech Melkamu down the back stretch. Ejegayehu appeared ready to take the lead on the final curve, but she was rebuffed by her younger sister, who sprinted down the final straight for a 31:03.38 victory, a meeting record. Ejegayehu finished second in 31:04.05, while Melkamu's 31:04.93 completed an Ethiopian sweep of the top three places. In fact, the top five spots were claimed by that country, with Wude Ayalew (31:06.84) and Aheza Kiros (31:06.93) in the next two places.

WOMEN'S 100 HURDLES

Powered by an excellent start, Candice Davis had a clear lead halfway in the race, but she appeared to lose her balance after nicking hurdle eight, allowing Lolo Jones to sweep by her for the win, 12.68 to 12.79. Following the two Americans were Aurelia Trywianska (POL) in 12.83 and Anay Tejeda (CUB), both season bests.

WOMEN'S 400 HURDLES

Christine Spence's early lead evaporated shortly after the halfway mark as Anna Jesien (POL) and Melaine Walker (JAM) were fighting for the victory down the final straight. A misjudged 9th hurdle by the Pole made things easier for Walker, who crossed the line first in 54.42, with Jesien second in a season-best 54.71. Finishing fast in the lane between Jesien and Walker was Zuzana Hejnova in 54.96, breaking her own Czech national record set last year in the Osaka World Championships. Spence held on for fourth in 55.88.

WOMEN'S ONE-HOUR RUN

Dire Tune of Ethiopia broke an almost ten-year-old record in the women's one-hour run by covering 18517 metres during the sixty-minute race. It surpassed the distance of 18340 by Kenya's Tegla Loroupe, set in August of 1998 in Borgholzhausen, Germany. Tune, along with compatriot and pacemaker Deka Mamitu, had separated themselves well from the other five runners by the 6km mark. The pair continued running together and hit the 10K mark at 32:45, somewhat off the desired time of 32:30. After another lap, Tune took off on her own, covering the 11th kilometre in 3:16, which returned her to just about the target overall pace for the entire hour (3:15 per kilometre). But the damage of the fourth and fifth kilometre—when the pace began to sag—was appearing as if it could not be overcome. Tune was resolute in her quest to break the record as she slowly got back onto pace with a mixture of kilometres between 3:12 and 3:15. Slowly but slowly, lap times of 77 and 78 second seconds dropped to 75 and 70 seconds (her last two full laps), and what appeared at one stage to be a lengthy record miss turned into a splendid success for the 23-year-old.

WOMEN'S HIGH JUMP

Croatia's Blanka Vlasic continued both of her streaks—27 consecutive wins and 24 straight competitions at 2.00 or higher—with her 2.05 performance tonight. It was a meeting record and equaled her own world lead for the season. For the second time in less than a week, Vlasic was taking attempts at 2.10, a would-be world record, but again she was unsuccessful. Vlasic had previously stated her wish for quick recycle times between the higher jumps, and she was helped out by the rest of the field, the best of which were the Russian pair of Yekaterina Savchenko and Svetlana Shkolina, who tied for second at 1.92.

WOMEN'S HAMMER (held on Wednesday)

A heavy afternoon rain delayed the competition for more than an hour. Even when throwing commenced, there was still noticeabe water in the throwing ring. That seemed not to bother Cuba's Yipsy Moreno, who unleashed a meeting-record 76.16 on her opening throw which could not be bettered by the others. Martina Hrasnova of Slovakia had a national-record 74.81 to take second place, while the next to spots went to Polish throwers Anita Wlodarczyk (70.66) and Sydney Olympic champion Kamila Skolimowska (70.50).

WOMEN'S JAVELIN

It was the first meeting of the season among all of the top throwers from last season, and in the end it was Christine Obergföll of Germany coming out on top with a late-round 67.72, a new meeting record. Current world champion Barbora Spotakova had opened the evening with 66.91, and the mark had served as an elusive target for the rest of the field, until Obergföll came up with her winning fling in the fifth round. Incumbent European champion Steffi Nerius of Germany finished third with 65.71, her best of the year, as Britain's Goldie Sayers was fourth at 63.66. Fifth place went to Athens Olympic champion Osleidys Menedez of Cuba with 62.85.

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EME NEWS is news service relating to the sport of athletics. It is published on daily basis with additional updates, as required. Copyright is held by Alfons Juck, Perinvest SK, a.s., Krikova 10, 82107 Bratislava, Slovakia. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The redistribution and/or direct reproduction of material from EME NEWS is prohibited unless permission is given by c Perinvest SK (such as being included in a subscription agreement).

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