Beijing Diary, August 21, 2008 Morning Session, Day 7, by Alfons Juck, Notes by Larry Eder

Bryan Clay is leading the decathlon, Trey Hardee is in the fight and Tom Pappas has withdrawn. Also in this mix is the letter from Liu Xiang to the Chinese people, and a note on IOC President Jacques Rogge and his interpretation of Usain Bolt's antics after his world records.

EME NEWS (AUG 21, 2008)

DAY 7 ATHLETICS MORNING SESSION

20km walk

Torrential rains didn't dampen the spirits of the competitors as no fewer than 12 athletes dipped under the previous Olympic record of 1:29:05. Russian Olga Kaniskina, the 2007 world champion and 2008 World Cup winner carried on her winning streak claiming the Olympic title in 1:26:31. Kaniskina said afterwards that without rain she would be able to brešak the world record. Norway's Kjerti Plätzer took her second silver, eight years after Sydney with a new national record of 1:27:07. Italy's Elisa Rigaudo followed in third with a new best mark of 1:27:12. World Youth Champion 2007 Russian Tatyana Kalmykova and Chinese Mingxia Yang were disqualified. Despite the rain it was one of the best 20 km races ever with 9 sub 1:28.

High jump qualification

After a delayed start because of poor conditions, the jury decided to qualify all 15 athletes having cleared 1.93 rather than drag on at the 1.96m qualifying standard. Kazakhstan's Yekaterina Yevseyeva (1.98m this year) and USA's Amy Acuff are the main names out.

Javelin qualification.

Latvian Vadims Vasilevskis (83.51m) and Russian Ilya Korotkov (83.33m) recorded the best throws in the qualifying rounds of the javelin. The throwers in group A were affected by torrential rains while the group B benefitted from better weather conditions. Latvian Eriks Rags, 13th with 79.33m, South African John Robert Oosthuizen (76.16m) and Russian Sergey Makarov (72.47m) were the main victims of the bad weather.

100m decathlon

American Bryan Clay, 2004 Olympic silver medallist and 2005 world champion was off to a good start, after clocking 10.44 for 989 points in the third heat of the 100m. Countryman Trey Hardee followed with 10.52 (970 points) while Ukraine's Oleksiy Kasyanov was third in 10.53, a new PB (968 points). 2007 world champion Maurice Smith of Jamaica placed is placed seventh in the standings with his performance of 10.85. 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan, couldn't do better than 11.83, hampered by an injury.

Long jump decathlon

Bryan Clay, Trey Hardee and Olesksiy Kasyanov held on to their positions after the long jump with intermediate scores of 1994 points (7.78m), 1960 points (7.72m) and (1918 points) 7.56m. German Michel Schrader followed in fourth (1891) thanks to a 7.70m jump, while defending champion Roman Šebrle moved up to 7th (1794 points) after a good 7.68m. Kazakh Dmitriy Karpov didn't start the event.

Shot Put decathlon

At times competing in near-downpour conditions almost identical to those he faced when he won the 2005 world title in Helsinki Clay improved his SP best by 2 cm to 16.27. He leads by 145 points ahead of Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine (15.15 in SP).´Third is US Collegiate record holder Trey Hardee was in third place with 2,657 points (13.49 in SP). 2003 World champ Tom Pappas withdrew due to foot injury. Reigning Olympic winner Roman Sebrle had for his current circumstances solid 100 m (11.21), good Long Jump (768), but was disappointed with Shot Put (14.78) and is currently at 10th place.

Sotherton pleased with Blonska out

BEIJING: Ukrainian Lyudmila Blonska could learn on Thursday whether she has failed a drug test for the second time in her career which would see her banned for life from athletics. The International Olympic Committee has aleady announced she has been "removed from the Olympic Games" and will not compete in the long jump. British Kelly Sotherton outspkingly criticised her rival's past particularly that as a "dugs free" multi-eventer she had returned to set a national record. "I'm totally not surprised by the news, I've been saying all along that she got caught doping when she was scoring 6300 points, how can she not be doping and scoring 6800? I have not seen any of her results since early June and then see comes out here and is producing good performances, which was suspicious. If the B sample comes back positive then that's a life ban, which will bring an end to the saga - hopefully she will be finished."

Martina suffering from dq

BEIJING (CHN): First they finished fourth and fifth and at the end they are getting silver and bronze. First Wallace Spearmon was disqualified by the judges, then US team protested against Churandy Martina of Netherland Antilles (initially second). The protest was accepted and Martina disqualified. Netherland Antilles officials are seeing the US move as against the Olympic spirit. But there is not much to do, the video evidence was already studied when examining the US protest. The only chance would be to appeal to CAS for the way how all happened.

Javelin notes

BEIJING: US record holder Breaux Greer had his only second meet of the year here (after prelims at Olympics) and did not qualify. He said as per USATF website: "I'm trying to be smart for a change. If I take a throw and it doesn't feel the way I want it to, why risk hurting something again and having another surgery? Of course I wish it went better. I'm really looking forward to Berlin (2009 World Outdoor Championships) because I've got some serious redemption to take care of. I'm gonna win the world championships next year. Write that down. "

Jan Zelezny is having first coaching success. The multiple world record and three times world and Olympic winner coached Vitezslav Vesely to his first major final and first 80+ right in the Olympic qualification. The Czech thrower was the only one to achieve a PB in wet conditions. "He can throw even farther, just need to work more on his run-up, he is not enough quick," commented Zelezny.

Liu´s letter

BEIJING: Chinese superstar Liu Xiang wrote a letter. Here the copy.

To all the people who care about and support me:

I am thankful for all understanding and support the people who care about me have given me. At this moment in time I feel sad for all the people who are still disappointed at my pulling out of the race.

On July 13, 2001, the date that Beijing won its bid for the Olympics, it was also my 18th birthday. This intertwined the joy of my birthday celebration and the joy of the successful bid. Although I was an unknown athlete back then, the dream of every athlete was to participate in the Beijing Olympics. I've been putting in everything I've got toward this goal.

At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, I realized my dream of being an Olympic champion. From that moment onward, my unshakeable go

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