Beijing Update: August 19, 2008, Olympics Day 5, by Alfons Juck, Notes by Larry Eder


Welcome to day five. Well, the US finally had a decent day in Beijing on day four. Stephanie Brown Trafton takes the first US track gold in Beijing, and also first since 1984 for a US athlete and first for a US women since 1932! Jenn Stuczynski took silver in the pole vault and Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson swept the 400 meter hurdles.

This morning all three US women ( Allyson Felix, Muna Lee, Marshevet Hooker) moved on in the 200 meters. Tonight we have the Women's 400 meter final, Women's 100 m hurdle final, Men's 1,500 final an Semis in the Men's 200m and 400 m, plus the Men's Discus final.

The mourning for Liu Xiang continues, Day 2. On Chinese TV there was a documentary about his family, his races, his coach on late last night and today it was announced that Liu Xiang apologized to the Chinese people for his injury. I do not know of anyone who had more pressure on them for the Beijing Games.

Athletes such as Liu Xiang, Tyson Gay, Bernard Lagat will have another day. This is the nature of our sport, pushing the body to its limits has its consequences. In the pursuit of excellence athletes push themselves, sometimes to the point of injury.

Take a moment and look at Osaka champions, many of them have fallen here. The Olympic stage is unforgiving....


Bekele will double

BEIJING: Today it was confirmed from Ethiopian camp that Kenenisa Bekele will try the double at 5000 m after his 10 000 m olympic record win. He can be the first to do so since 1980 by his countrymate Miruts Yifter who was the flagbearer for Ethiopia at the opening ceremony here in Beijing.

Isinbayeva plans until London

BEIJING: Yelena Isinbayeva after her great win with world record said about the future: "My goal is to win at Olympic Games 2012 in London with another world record. I carefully counting them. Then I will leave the track with satisfied." She also said that she has a boy-friend Artyom who lives in Ukraine. "No, I will not move to Ukraine, I will take him to Russia," she said.


200m heats

USA's Muna Lee recorded the best performance, clocking 22.71. Muriel Hurtis-Houairi was the leading European finishing second to Lee (22.72). The two other Americans world champion Allyson Felix (23.02) and Marshevet Hooker (23.07) also won their heats, as well as defending Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica (23.04). Belgium's Kim Gevaert was a non-starter, preferring to spare her Achilles before the 4x100m relay. All favorites advanced.

Javelin qualification

World champion Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic and German Christina Obergföll showed great promises throwing 67.69m and 67.52m respectively. This are the best results ever in qualification. Defending champion Osleidys Menendez of Cuba struggled, qualifying as next to last with 60.51m. The field in the final will be all European but for Menendez and Chinese Li Zhang.

Long jump qualification

The great shock of the day was the early exit of world leader Naide Gomes. The Portuguese couldn't get her act together after two 7meters fouls, and landed at 6.29m in her third attempt. American Brittney Reese had the best result, 6.87m as only three athletes reached the automatic qualifier of 6.75m, Brazil Maurren Higa Maggi (6.79m) and heptathlon silver medallist Lyudmila Blonska of Ukraine (6.76m). Sweden's Carolina Klüft and defending champion Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia secured their place with a performance of 6.70m. 2004 bronze medallist Russian Tatyana Kotova (6.57m) and South African born Turkish Karin Mey Melis (6.42m) failed to advance.


BEIJING: Jamaica's annual Invitational Track and Field Meet held in May, could be upgraded to a full IAAF Grand Prix by next year. Sports Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, told journalists and track and field enthusiasts gathered at the Puma/Jamaica Lounge in Beijing yesterday, that high level discussions were taking place to have Jamaica host the region's first premier athletics event. She was guest speaker at the launch of the new edition of Judge Patrick Robinson's informational publication, 'Jamaican Athletics, a Model for the World.' Minister Grange said the Grand Prix would form part of a package of sports tourism initiatives, which will seek to bring the world's best athletes to Jamaica regularly.

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