European Athletics : Your Sport for Life, by Alfons Juck, Notes by Larry Eder

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The EAA has come up with their plan for changing the face of Athletics in Europe. Included will be more transparent approach to eliminating the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs...

EME NEWS (OCT 18, 2008)

EUROPEAN ATHLETICS WITH NEW STRATEGY

AMSTERDAM (NED): European Athletics is moving forward. Its President Hansjörg Wirz launched the new European Athletics Strategy in front of a packed press conference during final day of the European Athletics Convention in Amsterdam on Saturday. Announcing the new slogan which the organisation has adapted, namely, that athletics is "Your Sport for Life", Wirz outlined an ambitious vision for the future of the sport in Europe.

"We have put a lot of work into this new strategy and our vision is very clear and simple. The time has come for European Athletics to project our enormous experience and expertise gained in all areas of the sport. There is so much more to European Athletics than just running a series of European meetings. For the highest number of Europeans to form a loyal relationship with athletics for life," said Wirz. He named within the restructuring the events schedule that the European Athletics Championship will take place every two years from 2012 onwards, as opposed to every four years as at present. The European Team championships will see some exciting rule innovations and it is replacing European Cup. Wirz also spoke about the one day meetings: „One of our biggest innovations here will be the restructuring of the one day meetings. This will be the biggest change in our sport for the last 40 years. It involves transforming the whole European calendar into an integrated and more coherent format." Another new item is the inaugural Youth Conference in Oslo in December 2008, European Athletics will be launching its youth policy and developing strategies to engage young people in athletics. He also mentioned in war against doping that EA wants to create a „Doping-free zone". In future, European Athletics wants to lead by example with a zero tolerance approach to doping.

CALENDAR FINALIZED

AMSTERDAM (NED): At the end of the convention also the 2009 European Athletics calendar has been finalised and is available to download from the European Athletics website. In the final touches of the calendar the third best Swiss Meeting in Luzern was given the highest category of EA Premium. In first calendar proposal the event was downgraded to EA Classic. In total 48 from 50 European federations were represented.

The culmination of Saturday evening in Amsterdam's beautiful Koepelkerk, where Europe's finest athletes and Rising Stars of the future will be awarded the titles of Waterford Crystal European Athlete of the Year and Waterford Crystal European Athletics Rising Stars of 2008. The Waterford Crystal European Athletes of the Year for 2008 are Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS) and Andreas Thorskildsen (NOR) and the European Athletics Rising Stars are Steph Twell (GBR) and Raphael Holzdeppe (GER). Interestingly two pole vaulters, one javelin thrower and runner.

EUROPEAN EVENTS WITH SITES

AMSTERDAM (NED): The calendar of main European Athletics (EA) events for

2009 got all its sites except of European Champion Clubs Cup on track. The

cross country event for clubs will be held in Istanbul on February 1. The

9th European Cup Winter Throwing is planned for Tenerife Island at Los

Realejos (Spain) one week after European Indoor Championships on March

14-15. The 13th European Cup 10 000 m moved the traditional April date to

June 6 and will be in Ribeira Brava in Madeira Area, the Island belonging to

Portugal. Also all sites for new European Team Championships (June 20-21)

are clear. As already announced the highest category will be in Leiria,

Portugal and First League in Bergen, Norway. The Second League organiser is

Banska Bystrica, Slovakia and Third League Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina.

European Cup Combined Events will have (June 27-28) Super League in

Szczecin, Poland, First League in Zaragoza, Spain and Second League in

Maribor, Slovenia. Except of European Indoor Championships in Torino (March

6-8) the other championships are the U23 in Kaunas, Lithuania (July 16-19),

junior in Novi Sad, Serbia (July 23-26) and Cross Country in Dublin

(December 13) and also the European Cup Race Walking in Metz, France (May

24).

FEOFANOVA´S NO TO INDOOR

MOSCOW (RUS): Olympic pole vault bronze medalist and former world record holder Svetlana Feofanova confirmed she will not jump during the indoor season 2009. As All-Sport informs she said from her holidays in Bali: „I will not compete indoors at all, I need a break as we agreed with my coach Yevgeniy Bondarenko. And summer is still far away." That opens the way for new name to emerge at March European Indoor Championships in Torino because also the biggest star of the event Yelena Isinbayeva said she will not compete there. But at least she will be seen at some meetings during the undercover season.

OTHER NEWS

LONDON (GBR): Athletics will continue to be held at the Olympic Stadium after it has staged the 2012 Games, the sport's chief executive in Britain claims he has been promised. Informs insidethegames.com. London Mayor Boris Johnson has admitted he has spoken to two Premiership football clubs, assumed to be West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, about taking over the Ł580-million Stadium after the Olympics have finished. They would not be prepared to move in unless the track was ripped up but Niels de Vos, the chief executive of UK Athletics, said he had already received assurances that the original plans promised by London 2012 when it was bidding for the Games will remain in place. That means the 80,000-seat Stadium will be downsized after the Olympics and continue to stage athletics events.

De Vos also revealed that capacity could be added to the Stadium so that the World or European Championships could be staged in Britain for the first time.

DUBLIN (IRL): Top agent Paul Doyle is among the candidates to be appointed as the director of athletics to oversee Ireland's preparations for London 2012. Doyle himself confirmed for EME News he is considering the position.

Reports published in Dublin claimed that Doyle is one of two big names being considered by the Athletic Association of Ireland (AAI) to replace Britain's former performance director Max Jones, who was acting as the director of athletics in a part-time capacity. The other name being considered is reportedly Poland's legendary race-walker Robert Korzeniowski. Doyle - whose company Doyle Management also currently looks after Irish sprinter Paul Hession - is based in Atlanta and represents from world top athletes Asafa Powell, Reese Hoffa, Bryan Clay or Shelly-Ann Fraser with Sherone Simpson just to name a few. The American has coached Olympic athletes from 12 different countries, including Pauline Davis. He is also having a strong Irish connection as he is married to Karen Shinkins, Ireland's top-ranked 400m runner. Korzeniowski, a household name in Poland, also has connections here through Ireland's world-class race-walkers. He is a four-time Olympic champion and, since retiring in 2004, has coached Ireland's Robert Heffernan among others.

LONDON (GBR): Triple jumper Phillips Idowu admitted during the parade of Olympians end of the week in London that he was disappointed after leaving Beijing with a silver medal but had now been inspired to go one better in London. Idowu said: „I am feeling great now. I have had a really good time since I got back. I have had a really positive response from everyone. This is crazy right now. There is so much support for the team and we did really well. These are the guys that are inspiring me to go on to 2012," he was quoted by insidethegames.com.

PARIS (FRA): French pole vaulter Jérôme Clavier (4th at the 2008 World indoor championships and 7th at the Olympics) will undergo surgery for groin hernias next Thursday. The eight weeks needed for recovery will keep him out of action for most of the winter season."It's a pity because, I had a good shot at a medal at the 2009 European indoor championships in Torino. On the other side, this injury came before I went back into training. I prefer to rest a bit and take my time to be ready for the start of the summer season" commented the athlete who aims to become more regular at 570-580 level next year, L'Equipe informs.

NEW YORK (USA): On the heels of Nick Willis's victory at last month's Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile, the New Zealand theme continues in New York next month when Rod Dixon and Kim Smith run the ING New York City Marathon. Dixon, 58, will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of his classic victory over Geoff Smith at the 1983 New York City Marathon by running the race with his daughter. Smith, 26, and the New Zealand record holder for 10,000m amongst other distances, will be making her marathon debut. Informs Race Results Weekly.

DRESDEN (GER): Both course records are under threat in Sunday's 10th Morgenpost Dresden Marathon, where two runners from Tanzania are the favourites: Phaustin Baha Sulle and Fabiola John. But in the men's race there is plenty of opposition from Kenyan runners, who will make it difficult for the silver medallist of the IAAF's World Half Marathon Championships in 2000. The race is expected to have a field of around 7000. Other top marathons of the weekend are Amsterdam, Beijing and Reims.

ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Double Olympic champion and world recor holder Tirunesh Dibaba now has a new website www.tiruneshdibaba.net. With two days since its launch the website has already received 200,00 hits. The website was developed and is maintained by Enigma Sport Advertising managing director Elshadai Negash. On the site you can find a very interesting news section which gives details about planned wedding of Dibaba and Sileshi Sihine.

International athletes have also started confirming their attendance for the event. Archrival and close friend of Sileshi Sihine, the Olympic 5,000 silver medalist Kenyan Eluid Kipchoge, and his wife will be among the guests who will highlight the event. Tirunesh Dibaba will shine out, embraced by her sisters and brother on her big day. Tirunesh's sisters Ejegayehou Dibaba and Genzebe Diababa will be amongst the bridesmaids. Requested by her, Tirunesh's brother has also become Sileshi's best man hence, Dereje Dibaba will also accompany his sisters in accompanying the bride and the groom. The groom's best men include athlete Mulugeta Wondimu and soccer player Bayu Mulu.

MANACAPURA (BRA): Youth athletes competed in a special staged event „Athletics in the jungle" in Brasil. In the Amazonas state close to villages of Iranduba and Manacapura 50 m and Long Jump was staged. And such important personalities were among the spectators as IAAF President Lamine Diack, Senior Vice-President Sergey Bubka, Sebastian Coe, Alberto Juantorena and Olympic winner in long Jump Maurren Higa Maggi.

INDIANAPOLIS (USA): As agencies are informing Doug Logan, the new CEO at USA Track and Field, is optimistic in part because the federation's main sponsor, Nike, has a natural tie-in to his sport and also may not be as vulnerable to shifts in the economy as, say, a bank or a big-ticket item producer. Logan plans to create a regular season and playoffs for American track. He wants to replace the balkanized system of non-Olympic years - lots of unrelated events strewn across the globe, few of which gather all the top athletes in one place - with a schedule that fans can follow to build interest leading to the Olympics. USATF gets about half its $17 million budget from sponsors. Logan thinks that number might grow if names and faces were more recognizable. „When the Olympics roll around, everyone knows who the hurdler is, but then they hit the mental delete button and forget about it," Logan said. „That's the challenge."

KINGSTON (JAM): As Jamaica Observer informs 4x100 Olympic gold medallist Asafa Powell, the present face of Mercedes-Benz in Jamaica, was presented with a Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series poster, superimposed with his image. This 36"x 25" picture was presented to him as a gift from Euro Star Motors, authorised Jamaican dealers in Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Powell has always dreamed of owning this vehicle, and therefore a special order has been made by Euro Star Motors for this particular unit, with the date of delivery anticipated to be early next year. This vehicle is a high-performance, limited edition, specially hand-made and engineered vehicle with an amazing acceleration of 0-200 km/h in 13.8 seconds.

RESULTS

PUNE (IND, Oct 16): During last day of athletics at Youth Commonwealth Games the emerging sprinter talent of England Shaunna Thompson clearly won also the 200 m with Games record and PB 23.42 (+0.8). Kenyan Mercy Koech clocked 9:06.01 at 3000 m with South African Mokgadi Semenya achieving 2:04.23 at 800 m. In boys section host country celebrated a javelin win by Krishan Tripathi (71.52). South Africa got two jumping golds by high jumper Wayne Voigt (211) and long jumper Stefan Brits (738). Ugandan Moses Kibet won the 5000 m (14:10.86) and Shehan Abeypitiyage also got sprinting double winning the 200 m for Sri Lanka (21.27, -1.0, also national junior record). England was the best medal country with 7-3-3 followed by India (6-7-6) and Australia (5-6-8).

BACUCH (SVK, Oct 18): Top Slovak walker and olympian Matej Toth won the 5 km (20:58) race of inaugural Jozef Pribilinec Meet. The event is staged on behalf of Slovak Olympic winner 1988 in Seoul at 20 km. He was of course present. Maria Galikova was the best woman with 22:57. After the meet also the Slovak walkers of the year were announced with Toth in men section and Zuzana Malikova in women beeing the winners.


Runblogrun.com encourages you to check out the sites of Shooting Star Media, inc. (www.shootingstarmediainc.com): American Track & Field (www.american-trackandfield.com), Athletes Only (www.atf-athlete.com), California Track & Running News (www.caltrack.com), MIssouri Runner & Triathlete (www.morunandtri.com), Latinos Corriendo(www.latinoscorriendo.com), Coaching
Athletics Quarterly (www.coachingathleticsq.com), and USATF Fast Forward (www.usatf.org). All of the above magazine websites can be found at RunningNetwork.com (www.runningnetwork.com).

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