Happy Fourth of July to all! This was one of my favorite holidays as a kid. My grandfather, a police office in St. Louis, loved it and would put flares around the yard at night and we watched fireworks! I will be celebrating the fourth next weekend upon my return to Fort Atkinson. But enjoy the day with your loved ones!
It is mid morning in Eugene, Oregon and the fans are still talking about the great racing last night. The newest star, Anna Willard, set the American record in the steeplechase last night. This last spring, she ran a 4:12 1,500 meters relay leg, a sub 2:04 800 meters and a sub 54 on the 4 x 100 meters. Finally! An American who has leg speed in the steeplechase! If Willard can get into 9:15-9:20, which seems quite likely, she can be a world player. She needs to get that 1,500 meters down under 4:05 ( preferably 4:00) and her 800 meters down a bit. But Anna ran the race with consumate skill and grace. Making the move with 500 meters to go and just extending it, she stayed out of trouble and is on the road to Beijing!
Oh, watch for three Running Network/ Michigan Runner programs today! Our producer, Jenn McCafferty, is hard at work cleaning up the files and posting them! We hope you have as much fun watching them as we do prognosticating!
EME NEWS (JULY 4, 2008)
US OLYMPIC TRIALS (Day 5): Merritt beats Wariner, Richards easily
EUGENE (USA, July 3): The men's 400 final was the highly anticipated rematch between Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner and the man who defeated him a month ago in Berlin, LaShawn Merritt after tow days rest at US Olympic Trials. And again, Merritt found the formula to beat Wariner, 44.00 to 44.20. Both runners ran hard down the backstretch, but Wariner, running in full view of Merritt on his outside, could not make up any of his rival's stagger advantage. Off the final curve, it appeared that the Olympic champion would put on his signature surge and salvage the win, but Merritt's finishing strength was too much. Merritt's comments afterwards reflected his confidence: "When I got to the curve, I was smelling Beijing and victory, so I just wanted to bring it home." Despite the loss, Wariner was upbeat: "Everybody wants to come out and win. My main goal was to have fun and make the team. You win some, you lose some." David Neville sprinted strongly down the final 100 metres on the outside and captured the third team spot in 44.61. Fourth Reggie Witherspoon was already over 45 seconds with 45.01. That could be a sign for olympic relay that also hurdlers (all three fast enough Clement, Jackson, Taylor) could be used.
The women's 400 metres was won by Sanya Richards in 49.89 (she missed the world lead by 0.06), with Mary Wineberg (50.85) and Dee Dee Trotter (50.88) taking the next two places. Richards ran well off the gun, but Wineberg, running on Richards' inside, fought the wind strongly on the backstretch and had a small lead after 200. That extra effort in battling the wind took its toll off the final curve, where Richards sprinted ahead for a strong finish and made up for her failure to make the US world championship team in the 400 last year. Monique Henderson (50.98) finished right behind Trotter in fourth. Followed by Natasha Hastings (51.13) and Ebonie Floyd (51.26) both supervised by Michael Johnson´s team.
The women's long jump saw performances not often encountered in US competitions. On her final jump, Brittney Reese leaped a PB 6.95 for the best outdoor performance by an American in eight years. It lifted her past Grace Upshaw, who finished second with a third-round PB 6.88. Funmi Jimoh took third with 6.72w, just ahead of the 6.70 performance of heptathlon winner Hyleas Fountain. Former world champion Tianna Madison ended in fifth at 6.58. Reese´s winning mark is second best in the world this year.
The women's steeplechase was won by Anna Willard in a new American record time of 9:27.59, with Lindsey Anderson (9:30.75) and Jenny Barringer (9:33.11) completing the Olympic trio. The top three had separated from the others with just over two laps remaining, and Willard sprinted away from erstwhile leader Barringer with about 500 metres remaining to enter the US record book.
The opening rounds of the men's and women's 1500 metres served to eliminate only six runners out of a field of 30 in each case. On the women's side, the fastest times came from Christin Wurth-Thomas (4:13.40) and Tiffany McWilliams (4:13.54) in the first heat. A notable non-qualifier was Brie Felnagle, who dropped out midway through the first heat.
On the men's side, Alan Webb pushed the pace hard in the third heat and came up with the evening's fastest time of 3:41.27, with world champion Bernard Lagat easily qualifying in fourth in the same heat with 3:42.11. Others moving forward included Lopez Lomong (3:43.38), Sydney Olympian Gabe Jennings (3:44.39), and NCAA champion Leonel Manzano (3:43.41).
Stacy Dragila's return to top competition at age 37 after an Achilles injury seems to be complete. The first-ever Olympic gold medallist in the women's pole vault cleared 4.30 in the qualifying round to join eight others at that height—plus three at 4.20—for Saturday's final. World leader Jenn Stuczynski is among that group, as are Mary Vincent, Jillian Schwartz, April Steiner, and Lacy Janson.
The men's high jump saw eleven competitors jump 2.20, with an additional three also advancing after first-jump 2.15 clearances. Among those advancing to Saturday's final are world leader Dusty Jonas, current world indoor bronze winner Andra Manson, Jesse Williams, Tora Harris, Jamie Nieto, Scott Sellers and Jim Dilling.
Helsinki finalist Jarred Rome had the top mark in the men's discus qualifying with 63.05. Among those advancing were three-time world shot put champion (and two-time US discus champ) John Godina with 61.64, 21-year-old university student Matt Lamb (PB 62.36), another Helsinki finalist Ian Waltz (62.25) and Adam Kuehl (61.37).
Jessica Cosby was the only competitor in the women's hammer to achieve the automatic qualifying mark with 69.70. Surprisingly, Brittany Riley had to take all three throws and finished only in the fourth spot with a best of 66.90. Helsinki finalist Erin Gilreath moved ahead with 66.08, as did Loree Smith (68.06), Kristal Yush (67.14) and Amber Campbell (66.77), among others.
The men's steeplechase qualifying was led by Anthony Famiglietti's 8:25.17, as the former Universiade champion led from the start in an apparent attempt to achieve the A-standard of 8:24. Billy Nelson (8:26.17) and defending US champion Josh McAdams (8:26.47) chased Famiglietti's fast pace. The other section was won in a more leisurely 8:32.57 by Ben Bruce, as Kyle Alcorn (8:32.70) crossed the finish line almost at the same time. The last runner to qualify was Brian Olinger with 8:35.89, one of the three Americans currently with the A-standard. If no others run 8:24 or faster in the final, the US Olympians in this event would be Olinger, McAdams, and Steve Slattery.
Former world junior champion Michelle Carter led the qualifiers in the women's shotput with 18.33, as Moscow indoor finalist Jill Camarena (17.87) and Kristin Heaston (17.64) were among the additional leading finalists.
Update on Ethiopian Marathon team
ADDIS ABABA (ETH): The Ethiopian national athletics team could break tradition and move to either Japan or South Korea for an acclimatization training camp. The team is expected to move to either of these locations two weeks prior to the men's and women's marathon. Meanwhile, the team containing seven men and seven women runners has been reduced to thirteen following the withdrawal of Tariku Jifar due to injury. It is still uncertain how the best 3 men and women will be selected for Beijing with a decision expected in the next two weeks.
Gebrselassie training alone for 10 000m
ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Ethiopian distance running star Haile Gebrselassie has told local media that he is training alone in preparation for the Beijing Olympics. The former two-time Olympic 10 000m champion is expected to be confirmed in Ethiopia's 10 000m along with Kenenisa Bekele and Sileshi Sihine, but he is training alone and on grass following the aggravation of an achilles heel injury and cancellation of Milano Meeting.
Raquil - no Olympics
PARIS (FRA): The 400m European champion Marc Raquil is out of contention for the Olympics following a motorbike accident on Wednesday evening in Paris. A car cut in front of him and he had to slam on his brakes to avoid. Though not seriously injured, Raquil hurt his adductor muscles in the process and will need between four to six weeks of treatment before to be back at 100%. Even though his season's debut has been disappointing (47.68 in Sotteville), this new event comes as a shock for the Paris 2003 bronze medallist, whose career has been marred by injuries since then.
Two for Cyprus
NICOSIA (CYP): Two Greek female athletes, high jumper Effrosíni Drósou and pole vaulter Mariánna Zahariádi, opted to compete for Cyprus, beginning from this season. This is not a transfer really, as both athletes have double nationalities, with one parent being Greek and the other Cypriot. The former already competed for Cyprus in the European Cup 2nd League Group B, while the latter is expected to participate in the forthcoming World Junior Championships. Informs Thomas Constas.
Grandson of President
PATRA (GRE): In the men's 100m/200m results from the Tofália meeting in Patra on Monday, you will notice an athlete named Ahmed Bongo (10.55 and 21.05), representing Gabon. This athlete competed for Mauritius (MRI) in 2006, in the World Junior and the African Championships. He can be found in some websites as Ahmed Bongo-Ondimba and Ahmed Bongo-Peeroo. As Thomas Constas informs, this athlete confirmed the information that he is the grandson of the President of Gabon, Mr. Omar Bongo-Ondimba. But he added that he lives with his mother (probably of Mauritian origin) in Mauritius and trains with Stéphane Buckland.
KYIV (UKR, July 3): Third day of Ukrainian National Championships saw excellent jumping results, european lead in women´s 800 m and sensation in men´s shot put. World indoor medalist Tetyana Petlyuk won the 800 m in european leading time 1:58.38 ahead of Yulia Krevsun who clocked also very good 1:58.77. Triple jumper Olha Saladuha equalled her PB 14.84 (0.0) and confirmed fourth place in current world lists. Behind her good 14.26 for Svitlana Mamyeyeva and 14.24 for Lilya Kulik. Former World indoor bronze medalist Denys Yurchenko equalled his outdoor best with 583 to win the Pole Vault and tried twice at six metres. Another favorite Maksym Mazuryk started at 550 in first and then three times missed 570 but still was second. In the high jumps the 2005 world champion Yuri Krimarenko won the men competition with 228 ahead of European Junior Champion 2007 Oleksandr Nartov (228) and current junior Bohdan Bondarenko (225). Former succesfull jumper Andriy Sokolovskiy was only 7th (220). Olympic medalist Vita Styopina confirmed good current shape with 195, second Vita Palamar and third Iryna Myhalchenko got 192. Sensation in men´s shot put as current olympic champion Yuri Bilonog had three fouls and Andriy Semenov as winner registered 19.75 m. Good men triple jump depth with Viktor Yastrebov (17.04), Yevhen Semenenko (17.03, equalled his PB), Viktor Kuznetsov (17.00) and Mykola Savolainen (16.96). Favorite wins at 400 m hurdles with Anastasia Rabchenyuk (56.45) and Stanislav Melnykov (50.47). Head-wind was against faster 200 m winning times: 23.19 for Natalya Pyhyda and 20.91 by Ihor Bodrov. European CC medalist Tetyana Holovchenko won tactical 5000 m in 16:09.69.
WINDSOR (CAN, July 3): Heptathlete Jessica Zelinka looks on her way to record a season's best after recording 3742 points on the first day of the Canadian Championships. Her series : 13.17/+2, 1.71m, 13.91m, 23.92/+1.2. She scored 6034 points in Götzis while her last outing in Arles was marred by strong winds and three fouls in the long jump. Jillian Drouin and Susan Coltman are currently second and third with 3555 and 3439 points. Jamie Adjetey-Nelson is leading the men's decathlon with 4280 points, (10.77/+3.3, 7.68m/+2, 14.05m, 2.06m, 50.37) ahead of Massimo Bertocchi (4145pts).
ALGER (ALG, July 3): Rabie Makhloufie claimed the 3000m steeplechase title in 8:32.29, Hassane Mourad Bencheikh won the triple jump with 16.45m and Souad Ait Salem dominated the 5000 m in 16:33.06 on the first day of the Algerian championships.
ABUJA (NGR, July 3): On the third day of the Nigerian championships, NCAA medallist Blessing Okagbare achieved a new personal best in the long jump with a best leap of 6.86m. In the women's high jump Doreen Amata secured her qualification for Beijing, clearing 1.95m for the second time this year. Obinna Metu and Damola Osayomi claimed the double in the 200m following their 100m victories, clocking respectively 20.58 and 22.77. James Godday was crowned in the 400m, recording 45.36 ahead of Saul Weigopwa (45.80) and Bola Lawal (46.27). Junior Folashade Abugan dominated the 400m with 51.00, her second best after the 50.89 achieved at altitude at the African championships in Addis-Ababa last may. Joy Eze was second in 51.41 and Akoke Odumosu third in 51.50. In the 100m hurdles, Toyin Augustus took first place in 13.10 ahead of Jessica Ohanaja's 13.37 and Joy Digha's 13.46. Selim Nurudeen won the men's race in 13.88. Morufu Lawal was the winner of the 400m hurdles in the men's race in 51.07 and Amaka Ogoegbulam in the women's event (56.46). Vivian Chukwuemeka threw 17.90m in the shot put.
MARIBOR (SLO, July 3): Olympic B-qualifier of Pia Tajnikar at 100 m (11.35, +0.6) was the highlight of the next meet of Slovenian Grand Prix Circuit. In the race also the ever young Merlene Ottey clocked her fastest of the year 11.67 as fourth what is unofficial world record for women aged 48. Sonja Roman clocked new national record at 2000 m with 5:55.42. Sabina Veit improved to 23.26 (-0.2) at 200 m. Slovenian jumpers also confirmed good shape with Nina Kolaric (675) and Snezana Rodic (14.00). In the men events Jan Zumer was fast with 10.31 (+1.3, in heats windy 10.29 +4.9) and 20.76 PB (+1.9). But at 100 m needs A-standard because of Matic Osovnikar beeing already qualified. Second at 100 m Marko Bratoz improved hugely to 10.33. Home High jumper Rozle Prezelj cleared 222 and foreign wins for Croatian Zeljko Vincek at 400 m (46.16) and Austrian discus thrower Gerhard Mayer (61.70).
LA CORUNA (ESP, July 2): Spanish runner Francisco Javier Alves clocked here solid 13:27.20 at 5000 m. This 13:11 runner from 2006 comes back to shape in right time before the main olympic qualification period.
KAUHAVA (FIN, July 3): Good track walking by Jarkko Kinnunen 41:34.50 PB(10 000 m) and Marja Pentinnen (5000 m, 23:07.13 PB).
MADRID (ESP): Spain is sending the team of 36 athletes for the 12th World junior championships in Polish Bydgoszcz. Among 28 men the biggest talent is 400m runner Marc Orozco from Catalunya with a PB 47.70 and the two 1500 m runners, David Gonzales Bustos, the 4th from World Youth Championships in Ostrava 2007, and Víctor Corrales (PB 3:45.29), as the first one is with this year's PB 3:45.25. The same 4th place in Ostrava went to a high jumper Miguel Ángel Sancho, who improved this year for 2.22m and is on the third place of the world junior ranking this year. Manel Concepción, second from the men's Pole Vault in WYC Ostrava 2007, will try to jump over his PB of 5.10m, just like only 17-year-old Eusebio Cáceres who will perform in the men's Long Jump with his huge PB from this year 7.86m (3rd best junior mark). Javier Cienfuegos will be one of the favorites of men's Hammer Throw as he has got the 5th best result of the year with 76.13m. Twins Lluis and Manel Torla are the big names for 10k walking, as the first one achieved bronze medal on the European Junior Championships in Hengelo 2007, and has a PB of 40:21. The athlete with Hungarian origins, Julia Takacs, will represent the same event in the women's category with a PB of 48:00. From 8 women in the squad 4 are sprinters: Estela Villalta (11.85) will perform in 100 and 200m, Alba de Diego in 100m, and Carmen Silva (24.50) 200m. The Spanish team named also women's 4x100 m and both men's relays.
HELSINKI (FIN): Finland will send a team of 27 athletes - 12 men and 15 women - to the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz. The team hopes for at least 2 medals at the championships. The biggest hopes are focusing on 4th from the European junior championships, Hengelo 2007, Jelena Jaakkola in the women´s Javelin (PB 58,89), Vanessa Vandy in the women's Pole Vault (PB 4.31) and Niko Hauhia in the men's Shot Put (PB 19.95 from 2007). Roni Ollikainen will be hoping for good placing in the men's Long Jump with his PB 7.50m (indoors). Tuomas Laaksonen (71.53) and Jaakko Talvitie (71.49) will defend the javelin throwing history of their country.
ROMA (ITA): Thirty-six Italian athletes (20 men and 16 women) will participate in the IAAF World Junior Championships this year. 1500m European junior title holder from in Hengelo 2007, Mario Scapini, will try 800m (PB 1:49.71) with his compatriot Giordano Benedetti of Trento (8th in the world ranking with PB of 1:47.52). Triple jumper Daniele Greco (PB 16.25) is the next hope of the Italian team, as he will run also 100 and 200m (PB 10.38 setting the second best junior time in history in Italy). Also javelin thrower Emanuele Sabbio is in a good shape - ninth in the javelin world junior list with his 71.77m. High jumper Elena Vallortigara will try to add a World junior medal to her world youth bronze medal won last year in Ostrava (1.82 PB). European junior bronze medallist Tamara Apostolico in the women's discus (50,99) is also not missing in the team together with 10km race walkers Federico Tondodonati (42:50.56) and Riccardo Macchia (42:10.99).
ATHENS (GRE): The squad of 6 men and 6 women was announced for the World Junior Championships in Poland, which will start next week in the city of Bydgoszcz. Greek men will run all sprints – 100 m will be the event of 19-year-old Emmanouíl Koutsouklákis (PB 10.56/10.40w), Likoúrgos-Stéfanos Tsákonas will run 200m as he improved this year with the time 21.20sec, and 400 m will be a proof of Pétros Kiriakídis, who already achieved 46.57 this year. Only 17-year-old National youth record holder, Adónios Mástoras, will represent in the men's High jump (PB 2.20m) and National junior record holder in discus (1,75kg), Yeóryios Trémos, will try to improve it again (PB 58.27m). Mihaíl Yelastós will represent at 10 000m Walk (PB 43:39.74).
On the women's side, the national junior record holders, Paraskeví Papahrístou in Truple Jump (PB 13.79/13.86i) and Andriána Papadopoúlou-Fatála in the Hammer Throw (PB 62.08m), are going to be on the start lists. Dímitra Nazíri will perform in High Jump (PB 1.82), former young star Ekateríni Stefanídi in the Pole Vault (PB 4.37i/4.30 -'05), Eléni Theodorakopoúlou will run 800m (2:07.23) and in the women's 5000m Walk we will see Panayióta Tsinopoúlou.
RIGA (LAT): The Bronze medalist from the European Junior Championships in Hengelo 2007, Polina Jelizarova, will be the leader of the Latvian team of 11 sportsmen. Fourth from the World Junior Championships in Beijing 2006 will represent in 3000 m Steeplechase with her PB 9:54.94 (2008). From the other athletes, Janis Leitis will represent in men's 400m as he improved with 46,83, Martins Karabesko made a huge improvement this year and will represent in High Jump with PB of 2.15m. Karlis Daube will run 110mH and Martins Daksa will try men´s Triple Jump (PB 15.65 m). Ugis Svaza has already imroved in men's Javelin on 71.03 m and will compete in this event with his compatriot Ansis Bruns who has a PB of 74.40m (2007). Among women, Madara Apine will perform in Triple Jump (PB 13,22m), Ilva Bikanova, 6th from WYC in Ostrava 2007, High Jump (1.80), and Anita Kazemaka with Liga Brokere will represent in 10 000m walking race.
KAMPALA (UGA): The team of 6 men and 2 women will travel to Poland for the 12th World Junior Championships. The reigning Ugandan junior cross country champion, Geoffrey Kusuro, who will compete in men's 5000m, is the biggest medal hope (with PB 13:18.38 from Hengelo 2008). The participant of the two World Cross Country Junior Championships and also Osaka World Championships last year, Benjamin Kiplagat, will battle for medal in 3000m Steeplechase (NR 8:14.29 from Hengelo 2008). Also a participant from Osaka 2007, Stephen Kiprotich, will represent at 10.000m (PB 28:00.98). The other male athletes on the team include Abraham Kiplimo (5000m), a former Ugandan half marathon champion, Moses Kibet (1500m) and Alex Cherop (5000m). The two women of the Ugandan squad, Doreen Chesang (PB 9:13.70) and Dorcus Chesang born in Bukwo, will represent their country in 3000m. Informs IAAF.
MILANO (ITA): The latest Bahraini 100 m record 11.12 for Rakia Al-Gasara (Asian expert statistician Heinrich Hubbeling says this is the right spelling according to her passport) is the fastest Asian women time in last six years and third in non-Chinese Asian all-time rankings. Overall her time means seventh place in Asian all-time lists.
The current Asian Top Ten (by Heinrich Hubbeling):
10.79/1997 Li Xuemei/CHN
10.89/1997 Liu Xiaomei/CHN
11.04/2000 Lyubov Perepelova/UZB
11.04/2000 Susanthika Jayasinghe/SRI
11.06/1997 Tian Yumei/CHN
11.09/1997 Pei Fang/CHN
11.12/2008 Rakia Al-Gasara/BRN
11.13/1997 Li Yali/CHN
11.13/2000 Olga Shishigina/KAZ
11.16/1997 Liang Yi/CHN
MONTE CARLO (MON): The IAAF is delighted to announce that through its Marketing Partner Dentsu, the TV sales process in the Middle East has been concluded with regard to the package of IAAF World Athletic Series events for the period 2010 to 2013. Following strong interest from multiple parties, agreement has been made with Al Jazeera Sport on the basis of a strong financial offer from the broadcaster which provides for extensive coverage of the IAAF's premier series of competitions. The agreement perfectly dovetails with Al Jazeera Sport's position as the host broadcaster of the 13th IAAF World Indoor Championships which will be held in 2010 in Doha, Qatar.
LONDON (GBR): The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in partnership with UK Athletics (UKA), launched a major new drive to promote athletics globally with a cutting edge magazine and interactive global website – SPIKES. The UK, as host to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is seen by the IAAF as the ideal partner and will become the first country to see SPIKES rolled out. Seb Coe, twice Olympic Champion and multiple World Record Breaker, was joined by a host of IAAF Ambassadors Wilson Kipketer, Steve Ovett and Colin Jackson, and UK athletes including Andy Baddeley, Martyn Rooney, Becky Lyne and Marylin Okoro.
MADRID (ESP): The IAAF Grand Prix circuit 2008 continues after break since June 12 in Ostrava with the "Meeting Madrid 2008" at new venue Stadium Mortalaz on Saturday. In difficult calendar position (US and Kenyan trials, several national championships) the organizers assembled very strong fields. The absolute highlight will be first this years high jump clash of World Champion Blanka Vlasic and reigning olympic winner Yelena Slesarenko of Russia. Their head-to-head stat per tilastopaja is 25:13 in favor of Vlasic since 2001. In the women events other top issues will be start of European farewell tour for legendary Maria Mutola at 800 m (against olympic medalist Hasna Benhassi of Morroco), 100 m Hurdles with latest Spanish star Josephine Oniya, Russian Pole Vault duel (Feofanova-Golubchikova-Polnova), excellent long jump (Brazilian Maggi against Portuguese Gomes) and world record holder Cuban Osleidys Menenedez in Javelin. Men 100 m race has excellent depth with European Champion Francis Obikwelu, former world champion Kim Collins, Trinidad´s star Darrel Brown, World finalist Churandy Martina and fastest European Jaisuma Saidy Ndure of Norway. Spanish star Juan Carlo Higuero runs the 800 m against Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Amine Laalou and European Champion Bram Som. World indoor champion Deresse Mekonnen competes at 1500 m. In technical events world champion Nelson Evora clashes with all best Cubans in triple jump, world indoor champion Christian Cantwell as qualifier from Eugene is in Shot Put and Olympic winner Virgilijus Alekna in discus (against local improved throwers Pestano and Casanas). The meet offers also one of the last possibilities to qualify at 4x100 m for men and women.
Used with permission of Alfons Juck, publisher of EME News.