Alfons Juck, in his style, gives you the global perspective of the sport. Note that the most flagbearers in any sport came from track & field. 10,450 athletes will compete in Beijing, there are 15,000 members of the media, and there will be 304 gold medals given out during these games.
EME NEWS (AUG 9, 2008)
BEIJING (CHN): Athletics had the most flagbearers during the opening ceremony with 61 representatives, ahead of swimming (19), judo (17), weightlifting (12) and wrestling (10). The biggest group in athletics are sprinters (25) ahead of runners (20). Smaller numbers for jumpers (7) and throwers (4) added by special cases like combined eventer (NCAA-bound) Jangy Addy, walker Allan Segura, El Guerrouj´s coach Abdelkader Kada or 1980 Olympic double gold medalist Miruts Yifter. Chinese star Liu Xiang was saved, he did not play any role at the ceremony.
Sprinters: Makelesi Bulikibo (Fiji), Jonathan Williams (Belize), Fatmata Fofanah (Guinea), Ronald Forbes (Cayman Islands), Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica), Fabienne Feraez (Benin), Stephane Buckland (Mauritius), Rakia Al-Gassra (Bahrain), Debbie Ferguson (Bahamas), Vida Anim (Ghana), Kineke Alexander (St. Vincent), Virgil Hodge (St. Kitts), Felix Sanchez (Dominican rep.), Amandine Allou (Ivory Coast), Brian Dzingai (Zimbabwe), Kurt Couto (Mozambique), Churandy Martina (Neth. Antilles), Alleyne Francique (Grenada), Susanthika Jayasinghe (Sri Lanka), Aissata Soulama (Burkina Faso), Solomon Bayoh (Sierra Leone), Suksavanh Tonsacktheva (Laos), Albertina Ndikert (Chad), Franka Magali (Dem. Rep. of Congo), Ahamada Feta (Comoros)
Runners: Grace Momanyi (Kenya), Fabian Naasi (Tanzania), Abubaker Kaki (Sudan), Joao Ntyamba (Angola), Sultan Simret (Eritrea), Francine Niyonizigiye (Burundi), Mariana Ximenes (East Timor), Marcel Tschopp (Liechtenstein), Lopez Lomong (USA), Nguyen Ding (Vietnam), Temalangeni Dlamini (Swaziland), Emilia Ondo (Eq. Guinea), Mohamed Al-Yafee (Yemen), Mireille Derebona (Central Afr. Rep.), Souleymane Chebal Moctar (Mauritania), Nader Al-Massri (Palestine), Celma Da Gara (Sao Tome), Maine Tsotang (Lesotho), Hem Bunting (Cambodia), Pang Mun Il (KPDR)
Jumpers: Christian Olsson (Sweden), Nelson Evora (Portugal), Mohamed Al-Khuwailidi (S. Arabia), James Graymon (Antigua), Lavern Spencer (St. Lucia), Jerome Romain (Dominica), Pamela Mouelle Mboussi (Congo),
Throwers: Vadim Vasilevskis (Latvia), Joachim Olsen (Denmark), Dilshod Nazarov (Tadjikistan), Victor Fatecha (Paraguay)
Combined events: Jangy Addy (Liberia)
Walking: Allan Segura (Costa Rica)
Others: Abdelkader Kada (Morroco, coach), Miruts Yifter (Ethiopia, Olympic winner 1980)
GREECE: 200m sprinter Anastasios Gousis, (PB 20.11 in 2007), 8th at the Osaka World Championships and 2nd of the 2008 European Cup, is being called back to Athens after failing a drug test for the anabolic steroid methyltrienonlone, the same substance that was already found in 11 Greek weightlifters, the swimmer Ioannis Drymonakos and 400m specialist Dimitris Regas.
SOUTH AFRICA: Sunette Viljoen has been cleared to compete by the IOC and added to the South African team. The javeling thrower had recorded a personal best of 62.24m in a local meet in Potchefstroom on February.
SOUTH AFRICA: There is question about 2008 world indoor long jump champion Khotso Mokoena's knee. "It's a simple jumper's knee, but he is able to maintain full training and we are giving it attention back at the Daegu camp," said chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Ismail Manjra. 800m Samson Ngoepe is receiving physiotherapy for a quad strain, Sapa informs.
USA: Deena Kastor the Olympic marathon bronze medallist four years ago knows all about Paula Radcliffe's injury tribulations in the last few months but still believes she can clinch the title in two weeks time. "But she's the biggest competitor out there as far as I'm concerned," said 35-year-old Kastor determined she herself can improve on her Athens performance where she was defeated after producing a brave finish by Mizuki Noguchi and Catherina Ndereba.
NEW ZEALAND: World champion Valerie Vili achieved last week in Townsville in her first competition since last two months excellent 20.08 what is her season best.
AUSTRALIA: Recovering from back and ankle injuries, long jumper Bronwyn Thompson (4th place at the 2004 Olympic Games) is running against time to be able to compete to Beijing. Athletics Australia is requiring her to jump 6.60m if she is to make the trip next Friday. She recorded 6.22m in a solo competition in Brisbane yesterday in her first full run-up jumps in six weeks but is hoping to manage the required distance at another attempt next week, Fox Sports informs.
JAMAICA: MVP Track Club members of coach Stephen Francis, including former world record-holder Asafa Powell have decided to put their differences with Jamaican Olympic officials aside by reporting for relay practices. Former world-record holder Asafa Powell says for Jamaican media, he is confident he be will wearing a golden medallion after the finals of the 100 metres is run in Beijing on Saturday, August 16. Powell looked extremely sharp in training on Thursday and admitted that he had missed opportunities to snare athletics' most prestigious gong in the past.
Staff Changes at European Athletics
LAUSANNE (SUI): European Athletics website informs about changes to the staff. Hungarian Ede Rutkovszky started his role as a Coordinator in the Competition Department this week. The 30-year-old native of Debrecen, Hungary is vastly experienced and was the Event Manager at the last European Athletics U23 Championships in his home city in 2007. A former Hungarian International triathlete, he was also the Technical Manager for the 1st IAAF Road Running Championships which were also held in Debrecen.
Meanwhile, Pierce O'Callaghan, who has been the Communication Manager since 2006 has resigned due to family reasons. He will remain in Lausanne until October before returning to his native city in Dublin.
Used with permission of Alfons Juck, EME News.