Liu Xiang's future is Unclear, by Alfons Juck, Notes by Larry Eder

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Liu Xiang is trying to avoid surgery for his injuries, incurred during last year's buildup to Beijing. He is seeking assistance in the US at this time to determine if he needs surgery.....

Farah Leads FOREIGN ENTRIES

ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Britain's European medalist Mo Farah will lead the foreign challenge in the 2008 TOYOTA Great Ethiopian Run, alongside Sweden's steeple specialist Mustafa Mohammed and a group of promising Kenyan runners, race organizers confirmed earlier today. Mo Farah is currently training in Addis Ababa in preparation for the European Cross-Country Championships in Brussels on Saturday 13th December 2008. A number of Kenyan athletes have also confirmed their participation in the race and will try to go one better than their compatriots Nathan Naibei and Lineth Chepkirui who both recorded second-place finishes in the race in 2005 and 2006. With Deriba Merga (4th, 2008 Olympic Marathon) and Tsegaye Kebede (3rd, 2008 Olympic Marathon) as winners of the race in 2006 and 2007 respectively, the event has become an important development race for upcoming Ethiopian athletes. More than 400 top club runners are expected to confirm their entry in the next ten days, alongside the 32,000 entered in the mass race. Organizers are informing in a release.

GEBRE TO RUN IN NIGERIA

LAGOS (NGR): World marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia has confirmed his readiness to participate at the 2nd Glo Lagos International Half Marathon scheduled for February 21, 2009, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and Globacom, the title sponsor announced during a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday. "We were together in Monaco recently and he confirmed to me that he is interested in coming to run the Glo Lagos International Half Marathon. Unlike the last time when he couldn't make it, Gebrselassie will be in town for this second edition," announced Violet Odogwu-Nwajei, president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). Gebrselassie is to lead a planned field of 100 elite international runners. The prizemoney structure for men and women's race: 1- US$ 50,000, 2- US$ 25,000, 3- US$ 15,000, 4- US$ 10,000, 5- US$ 5,000. Unlike the first edition when there was nothing for the local runners, the first Nigerian male and female winners will go home with brand new Kia Picanto cars while the second set of Nigerians to breast the tape in the male and female categories will get N1 million each. Before Lagos he is due to run the Dubai Marathon on January 16.

OBERGFOLL TO SOUTH AFRICA

OFFENBURG (GER): Olympic javelin bronze medallist Christina Obergfoll of Germany announced that she will make some changes in her preparation for 2009. For first time in the plan is training camp in South Africa. The world silver holder from Osaka said that in 2009 she wants to try to be in best possible shape because of Worlds in her home country and expects 2010 to be more quiet.

FASUBA PREPARES FOR BERLIN

LAGOS (NGR): After a disastrous outing at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (out in second round), Africa's fastest man and world indoor 60m champion, Olusoji Fasuba, said his immediate target is World Championships in Berlin. Fasuba made this declaration after leading the quartet of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps 4x100m athletics team comprising Uche Isaac, Chinedu Oriala and Ahmed Ajiboye to a first place finish in the invitational relay event of the just concluded Nigeria Police Games. According to him, he suffered a lot of injuries before the Olympics and two days to the Olympics, he sprained his ankle. Fasuba dispelled rumors that he was on the verge of dumping Nigeria for a European country, adding that with adequate funds, he hopes to be at the 2012 Olympics flying Nigeria's flag.



LIU´S FUTURE STILL UNCLEAR

HOUSTON (USA): Question marks still hang over Liu Xiang's future after he wrapped up his trip to the United States this week without a firm decision on the foot injury that saw him hobble out of the Beijing Olympics without even attempting to defend his gold medal in August. Informs China Daily.

He spent seven days in US gathering second opinions from doctors there after Chinese experts recommended he undergo surgery, a drastic measure that China's 110m world champion hurdler and his coach Sun Haiping are praying can be avoided. Liu posted a note of optimism on his official website ahead of his return to quell the fears of legions of Chinese fans. „They (US doctors) were all optimistic," he said, without elaborating on whether he would proceed with surgery. „So I think (the injury) is not that serious.""

„First of all, I hope I can recover soon and get back onto the track. As I still dream of a brilliant future, I will try and heal as fast as I can."

Visits to doctors in Houston, Charlotte and Duke University confirmed the opinion that surgery would likely be Liu's best option and the athlete is expected to mull their advice in the coming days before arriving at a final decision.

OTHER NEWS

MARATHON (GRE): The Marathon returns to its source this weekend. The Athens Classic Marathon takes place on the original course from Marathon to Athens, on Sunday morning. Prior to that, on Saturday, the Association of International Marathons (AIMS), in tandem with the IAAF, the Municipality of Marathon, the Hellenic Athletic Federation (SEGAS), under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of the Interior and the General Secretariat for Youth, holds its second annual symposium, in Marathon. Over a hundred delegates from 50 marathons worldwide, with representatives from ancillary business and media will assemble for the one-day symposium, which concentrates this year on, 'Adding Value To Your Marathon'. Informs Pat Butcher.

CLUJ (ROM): More news about Gheorghe Guset story, the Romanian Shot Put record holder. He was quoted after his kidney transplant: „After 6 sessions of horrible dialysis during which I was dizzy and my eyes were tear-dropping, I now feel as if I've been reborn a second time. This was my life's biggest challenge which I've successfully overcome thanks to some fantastic people that I've met here leaded by Professor Dr. Mihai Lucan. I can't say that I wasn't nervous." He was told by the doctor to be very lucky as his athlete body strength has helped to overcome the pain. He has lost a total of 38 kg. He used to weigh 148 kg before being diagnosed renal insufficiency. He had lost 26 kg before have made the surgery 10 days ago and after the intervention he lost other 12 kg. With help of Cosmin Cernat from Romanian media.

TALLINN (EST): Olympic winner and world champion in discus Estonian Gerd Kanter opened his plans for 2009 for spikesmag.com. About his start of the season he said: "Probably at the end of April in the US. Of course, we will compete in the middle of March (in the European Cup Winter Throwing), but that's not so important. It depends on how my team-mates are going and whether they are interested to go. It would be good to go and get a high place for the team. Personally, my goals are to train in the US and (compete) maybe in early May where I would like to go and break the World record. The last two or three years we have been training hard and I've been close – I've been over 73m it is only 70cms from the record, which is only one per cent. To break that record, of course, you need everything to succeed. You need good form, good conditions and you need a good atmosphere in the competition. Everything needs to come together but at a certain time, it's really possible. If you think of 72m, I've been throwing the last two years, it is only 2m and I haven't really had a good competition, so it is really possible. If you really believe in it – it will happen. I really believed one day I would be Olympic champion and it happened."

NAIROBI (KEN): Athletics Kenya secretary general David Okeyo announced that the national cross country championship and the national trials would be merged to cut down on costs. The national team for the 2009 World Cross Country Championship will be selected on February 21 at Ngong Racecourse. Okeyo also announced that due to a reduction of Kenya Commercial Bank's sponsorship, the jackpot for the KCB national cross-country series is to be scrapped this year. There won't be prize for an athlete winning the six rounds, but the prize money for each race will remain, Daily Nation informs.

PARIS (FRA): Leading French racewalker Yohann Diniz announced he is to be coached by Pascal Chirat, the French national coach of walking and road races, one week after his split with Denis Langlois who helped him to the European 50km km title in 2006 and a silver medal at the 2007 World Championships. In Beijing, Diniz pulled out 2:24 into the race. "I have a good engine, but the body doesn't always keep up" said Diniz. "That's partly what failed me in Beijing. I felt pain in the gluteal muscles and the hamstring four days before the event. It's my fault because I had neglected a bit physical preparation recently and had had problems every winter". He added "I was looking for something new, since 2006 I was feeling weariness about training. I had the feeling it was too repetitive. I needed another way of doing things to go on for another four years". Chirat and Diniz will start working together one week a month from January, besides training camps. Diniz went back into training on October 10 and is thinking about doubling 20km and 50km in 2009 at World Championships in Berlin. "I don't know if I'm getting down to 20km or will attempt both distance, but if I want to give a try on both distances, it can only be at the World Championships in Berlin. At the 2010 European Championships, the events are too close, and in 2011 the World Championships will take place in Korea, where climate will make recovery more difficult" he said, inform l'Equipe and AFP.

LONDON (GBR) Hurdler Andy Turner, one of Britain's top athletes and a training partner of Olympic 400 metres champion Christine Ohuruogu, is set to protest to UK Athletics after his GBP 18,000 National Lottery funding was cut. The 28-year-old Sale Harriers runner, who only two years ago won bronze medals in the 110m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, was among those to suffer in the new hard-line approach by UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee.

MONTE CARLO: More doping cases confirmed from IAAF. Mainly the two years ban for middle distance runner Daniela Yordanova of Bulgaria who was positive for testosterone in an out-of-competition test on June 13 in Sofia. She will be banned until August 17, 2010. That means she will miss both World Championships in Berlin and European Championships in Barcelona. Her only lucky time will be when Yelena Soboleva´s ban would be confirmed and she will win additionally two medals from Osaka World Championships (bronze) and World Indoor Championships in Valencia (another bronze). But she is 32 years old and it remains open whether she returns to compete. Another confirmed case is the positive test for norandrosteron of best Armenian male hurdler Hayk Hartenyan from European Cup Second League in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia on June 21. He is banned until July 24, 2010 and his team will lost the points in the event. He was overall 10th at 110 m Hurdles and 8th at 400 m Hurdles.

Also to add from Russian banned athletes the walker Anatoliy Kukushkin (PB 1:23:38 from 2007 at 20 km) who was positive at National championships in Saransk in June with carphedon and is banned until August 5, 2010. Steepler Roman Usov was caught also for carphedon at National Track championships on July 18 in Kazan and is banned until August 3, 2010.

TORINO (ITA): The first record of European Indoor Championships in Turin 2009 comes from Poland. From this country came the first buyer of the ticket on the website www.listicket.it. It was only 26 minutes after the sales opened.

WARSZAWA (POL): Former head-coach Jerzy Skucha is the first official candidate for the position of Polish Athletics Federation (PZLA) president.

The elections will be held in January. Skucha will be supported also by important businessman Jacek Kazimierski who leads Strauss Café Poland company and is behind the Pedro´s meetings. More candidates including the current president and legendary athlete Irena Szewinska are expected to appear.

ZAGREB (CRO): Croatian media are informing about Croatian background of succesfull marathon debutante Kara Goucher. Her father Mirko Grgas emigrated to New York as 13 years old from Zablac which is close to city of Sibenik. Grgas married with Patty Wheeler and they had three children.

Used with permission of Alfons Juck, EME News.

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