Beijing Updates, August 20, 2008, by Alfons Juck, EME News, Notes by Larry Eder


Here Alfons Juck continues to update us on the global world of the sport, plus offers some perspective on the events of last night, Day five in Beijing Track & Field.

Nick Willis, third in the men's 1,500, gave his country New Zealand their first Olympic medal at the event since 1976, when John Walker took the gold!

EME NEWS (AUG 19, 2008)

Holm to continue with jumping this year

BEIJING: Unlucky fourth 2004 olympic winner Stefan Holm already added two meetings on his website for post-olympic time. That means he will continue to jump this season. It is as he said that if he wins he will immediately end the career, if not then he will jump until the end of the season. Holm is scheduled to jump at Finnkampen the match Finland-Sweden in Helsinki on Aug 29 and then plans to be at World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.

Bolt against Powell and Gay in Brussels

BEIJING: Golden League final meet of the year in Brussels on Sep 5 promises something special at 100 m. At Van Damme Memorial the first this years clash Usain Bolt - Asafa Powell - Tyson Gay should be held. Another chance to see the world record to be broken,. Scientists calculated that Bolt had his highest speed between 50-80 metres having a 10 m split of 0.82 (43.9 km per hour). If he would continue in that speed his final time would be 9.60. At IAAF website a poll says that Bolt is able to break the 200 m world record this evening. 70% of readers say yes, only 30% are thinking that he will not run the 19.32 or faster.

Drama of Lolo Jones

BEIJING: US world indoor champion Lolo Jones from Baton Rouge was a clear leader in the 100 m hurdles final and also on the way to break the 12.40. But unfortunately at the 9th hurdle it happened. Here her voice as per USATF website:"You hit a hurdle about twice a year where it affects your race. It's just a shame that it happened on the biggest race of my life. About the middle part of the race, the hurdles were just coming up very fast, and I just told myself what I always tell myself, 'keep things tight.' But it's kind of like a car. When you race in a car and you're going max velocity and you hit a curve, you either maintain control or you crash and burn and today I crashed and burned."

Tyagachev spoke for Silnov

BEIJING: Russian National Olympic Committee president Leonid Tyagachev was personally involved in the decision to include Andrey Silnov additionally to Olympic high jump squad. "I personally was involved in the change," he said. He was included into the team only after his 238 in London as he initially did not qualify at Russian Nationals.

Baldini decision soon

BEIJING: Olympic marathon title defender Stefano Baldini should decide soon about his participation on Sunday´s final athletics event. On Wednesday he is to have a test which should help to make the decision.


200m women quarter-final:

Jamaica's Sherone Simpson was the fastest runner of the quarter-finals with 22.60s. Her two teammates Kerron Stewart (22,63s) and title defender and world leader Veronica Campbell-Brown (22,64s) advanced to the semi-finals without any problem. Same for their three counterparts from the USA Allyson Felix (22,74s), Marshevet Hooker (22,76s) and Muna Lee (22,83s). Russia's Yuliya Chermoshanskaya won semi-final number three in a new personal best of 22,63s. And, interestingly enough,in semi-final number two Rakia Al-Gassra from Bahrain clocked 22,76s as first in front of France's Muriel Hurtis-Houairi (22,89s).

5.000m women heats:

Defending Olympic champion and Osaka gold medallist from Ethiopia Meseret Defar clocked impressive 14:56,32min for a heat in which six athletes were faster than 15 minutes, amongst them the doublers Elvan Abeylegesse from Turkey (14:58,79min = SB) and Shalane Flanagan from the USA (14:59,69min = SB). In the first heat, Defar's counterpart, world leader Tirunesh Dibaba started her 'double gold'-project crossing the finish line as first after 15:09,89min. All three Ethiopians (Meselech Melkamu qualified with 15:11,21min) and Kenyans (Sylvia Jebiwott-Kibet - 15:10,37min, Vivian

Cheruiyot - 14:57,27min = SB and Priscah Jepleting Cherono - 14:58,07min) advanced to the final. Interestingly all 3 medalists from 10k are competing and a special duel Dibaba-Defar is expected in finals.

110m hurdles men quarter-final:

Now that Liu Xiang is out, the 110m hurdles competition looks quite clear - who should be able to spoil world record holder Dayron Robles' victory if not he himself by making a mistake? The Cuban clocked 13,19s in quarter-final number two and advanced easily and safely to the semi-final. His counterpart, David Oliver from the USA, also had a smooth passage with 13,16s, the fastest time of the quarter-finals. Behind him, Ladji Doucoure from France clocked 13,39s and qualified.

High jump men final:

World leader Andrey Silnov from Shakhty in Russia cleared 2,36m for Olympic gold. The big surprise of this final is silver medal winner Germaine Mason from Great Britain who achieved a new personal best of 2,34m. Russia's Yaroslav Rybakov cleared also 2,34m, which is a new season's best for him, and got the bronze. The unlucky person was Stefan Holm of Sweden: Neither could he defend his Olympic title, nor did he get any medal at all: He had to be satisfied with rank four (2,32m). Unclear is why Silnov tried at 242 (and one jump was so close) as he would only equal European record, break the Olympic and Russian records by 2 cm...

Discus throw men final:

World champion and world leader Gerd Kanter from Estonia spoiled Lithuanian

Virgilius Alekna's plans to achieve his third win in a row after Sydney and Athens: With 68,82m from his fourth attempt he won the gold medal. Alekna threw only 67,79m and had to take the bronze medal. The happy and surprising silver medal winner is Piotr Malachowski from Poland who achieved 67,82m in his second throw.

200m men semi-final:

While Usain Bolt approached his second gold medal a little bit by winning his semi-final in 20,09s, Churandy Martina from the Netherlands Antilles ran another national record: 20,11s. All three US-sprinters qualified (Walter Dix - 20,19s, Shawn Crawford - 20,12s and Wallace Spearmon - 20,14s). Christian Malcolm from Great Britain (20,25s) will be the only European representative in the final.

400m men semi-final:

No problem for defending Olympic champion, world champion and world leader Jeremy Wariner to qualify for the final - he clocked strong 44,15s. Yet, his challenger and teammate, LaShawn Merrit achieved a better time of 44,12s in his heat number three. Leslie Djhone from France crossed the finish line as first in heat number two after 44,79s. Two more Europeans will also be in the final: Martyn Rooney from Great Britain (44,60s = personal best and European lead 2008) and Sweden's Johan Wissman (44,64s = SB).

400m women final:

From the start until the last 70 metres, everything looked like Sanya Richards from the USA would finally get the long awaited gold medal because she was leading clearly in front of the other runners. But world champion Christine Ohuruogu from Great Britain had the better reserves, overtook her and - big surprise - crossed the finish line as first after 49,62, a world leading mark. Sanya Richards was so much a victim of her too high speed from the start that she also had to let Shericka Williams from Jamaica (49,69s = PB) pass her and thus was left with only the bronze medal (49,93s).

100m hurdles women final:

Another top favorite failed in the final: World leader Lolo Jones from the USA came only seventh after 12,72s as she stepped at the ninth hurdle. But her teammate Dawn Harper was the sensation clocking a new personal best of 12,54s and winning the gold medal. Australia's Sally McLellan and Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep grasped the silver and bronze medal (12,64s both) in an extremely tight finish (Places four and five 12,65s: Damu Cherry from the USA and Delloreen Ennis-London from Jamaica and place six 12,66s: Brigitte Foster-Hylton).

1.500m men final:

With Bernard Lagat from the USA not qualified, this final looked like a safe thing for Rashid Ramzi from Bahrain. He let the Kenyans make the pace and then took the lead on the last 400m (52.9). Nobody could attack his final sprint, Kenya junior Asbel Kiprop tried his best but did not succeed and got the silver medal (3:33,11min). Ramzi clocked fast 3:32,94min to become Olympic champion. Surprise bronze medallist is Nicholas Willis from New Zealand with 3:34,16min, his country's first medal since 1976.

British evening

Christine Ohuruogu added the Olympic 400metres title to the world championship gold medal she won last year with a phenomenal performance in Beijing on Tuesday night. Ohuruogu said: "I don't know where I am right now. You never think it's a reality, it's something you dream about. As I came across the line I thought 'Oh my gosh' - I don't know what to say. I'm just so proud of myself. Today I warmed up for an hour and a half. I had to keep stopping and sitting down to sort my head out. I felt tired, I hadn't slept for the last two nights, the pressure was getting to me. I thought 'If I don't win, what will happen?' As it gets closer and closer you get more scared and realise it is a lot harder than it you think it is." Ohuruogu just over two years ago was considering quitting athletics after being suspended for 12 months for missing three out-of-competition drugs tests. While Ohuruogu's performance was not a surprise, Germaine Mason's silver medal in the high jump was a welcome addition to the Team GB's tally.
Mason, who was born in Jamaica but switched nationalities in 2006, had one failure at 2.29m and then opted to pass on that height, moving up to clear 2.32m and 2.34m with his first attempts. "I am a bit speechless but I am very happy and overwhelmed. I feel like Superman! I went way above my limits tonight - personal best and silver medal. I feel very British. Britain is my home and it will be forever. I spend six months a year in Jamaica doing a lot of training with Stephen Francis and Asafa Powell and then I come back to Europe to compete on the circuit."

used with permission of Alfons Juck, Publisher of EME News

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