Toyota Taps Kluft for Great Ethiopian Run, by Alfons Juck, Note by Larry Eder

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Carolina Kluft is visiting in Ethiopia, promoting the Great Ethiopian Run, as the stars of athletics arrive in Monaco for the IAAF Golden Gala......

EME NEWS (NOV 18, 2008)

MOST OF THE FINALISTS TO ARRIVE

MONTE CARLO: This years IAF World Athletics Gala on Sunday promises to be really spectacular as most of the finalists for the trophy for 2008 World Athlete of the Year are expected to arrive to Monaco. In men section sprinting mega-star Usain Bolt is being considered as clear favorite in race against distance hero Kenenisa Bekele and 110 m Hurdles world record holder Dayron Robles. More open is the situation in women category with double Olympic winner Tirunesh Dibaba, Pole Vault Queen Yelena Isinbayeva and Kenyan running sensation Pamela Jelimo. From this group only Bekele (2004 and 2005) and Isinbayeva (2004 and 2005) already won the title in the past. Sprinters are reigning the world as past two male winners were also fast men (2006 Powell, 2007 Gay). Last time High hurdler won the award was in 1993 when Colin Jackson was the Athlete of the Year. Tirunesh Dibaba could follow in footsteps of her country colleague Meseret Defar who was number one in 2007. Last time a female middle distance runner got the award was in 1996 when Russian Svetlana Masterkova triumphed. In connection to Jelimo also interesting is the fact that since 1988 when this award started never an athlete (male or female) from Kenya won. Cuba has only one title when Ana Fidelia Quirot was Athlete of the Year in 1989. The event is being taken-up by seventeen broadcasters including Pan-Africa: CFI, Pan-Europe: Eurosport, and the Middle East: Al Jazeera, reaching over 100 countries and territories across the world.

DOUCOURE WILL NOT GO TO US

PARIS (FRA) : French hurdler Ladji Doucouré, 4th in Beijing, won't do his usual winter training camp in the US like the past years. "The goal of these trips was to face the Americans in competition as soon as January. But next year, I don't plan to race that early, so there was no point in going there" he said. His group, coached by Renaud Longue‚vre will instead head to Dakar (Sénégal, the country of Doucouré's mother) for two weeks in January. Doucouré then plans to take part in a few meets indoors, before traveling to the ASPIRE Academy in Doha (Qatar) in April to prepare for the summer season, FFA informs. His main aim for winter is to try to win at European Indoor Championships in Torino.

KLUFT ARRIVES IN ETHIOPIA

ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Sweden´s star Carolina Kluft arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday and immediately embarked on a full program of visits ahead of Sunday's TOYOTA Great Ethiopian Run. The 2004 Olympic heptathlon champion and three-time world champion (2003, 2005 and 2007) is on her second visit to Ethiopia, having been a guest of the race previously in 2006. Speaking on her arrival before flying to the northern region of Tigray earlier today, Kluft said: "I have great memories of my first visit here, and have wanted to come back ever since. The people are so friendly here, and as well as attending the races this weekend I want to learn more about development issues in Ethiopia." She visited a project outside Addis Ababa supported by World Food Program and earlier this morning she flew to the northern Ethiopian city of Axum where she will later visit a de-mining project of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) close to the Ethiopian-Eritrean border. Kluft is in Ethiopia for one week before heading south to a training camp in Potchestrom next Monday and is relishing being back in warm sunshine. "It's pretty drab in Sweden right now," she admitted. She also said that she was making a good recovery from injury and has been able to continue some running and gym training. "I'm aiming to start competition indoors either in late January or February." After her return from Axum on Thursday Kluft will attend Friday's pre-race press conference and the children's races on Saturday before Sunday's 10km race. "I'm planning to run with the children on Saturday. When I was here two years ago it was great to see their competitive spirit, and with everyone running in the same T-shirt. I can't wait to see it again this weekend." Organizers are informing in a release.

KIPLAGAT AND FAGAN

LAUSANNE (SUI): Half-Marathon World Champion Lornah Kiplagat of Netherlands and Ireland's Martin Fagan have been voted the European Athletes of the Month for October on the back of their scintillating form on the road circuit. Kiplagat has really established herself as one of the all time greats of women's road running, winning her third consecutive IAAF World Half Marathon title on the streets of Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil with ease. Fagan on the other hand was the leading European in several top races in a world that seems to be dominated by athletes from Africa. After becoming the first Irish marathoner to qualify for the Olympic Games since 1992, the 25-year-old made a big impact at the Great North Run in Newcastle, England on October 5th leading the Europeans home in 6th position in a high class 62:20. Three weeks later he ran another huge PB to take second place in the Great South Run in Portsmouth, England running 10 miles (16.1km) in 46:58.

His next goal will be to improve on his 9th place finish at last years SPAR European Cross Country Championships at the next edition in Brussels.

The runners up in the womens poll were Britain's Paula Radcliffe and Russia's Nailya Yulamanova while Moldova's Iaroslav Musinschi and Ukrainian Andriy Naumov took the minor placing on the men's side.

VAN HOOSTE PULLED OUT

BRUSSELS (BEL): Leading Belgian distance runner Tom van Hooste has pulled out from the European cross-country championships in Brussels and expressed his doubts about his running future, Belgian media informs. The athlete, who already withdrew from the Olympic marathon last summer, hasn't recovered from hip and pelvis injuries and is also suffering from pulmonary infection. "I tried to be present for the European championships in front of my home-crowd, but now, I'll take time to fully recover and rebuild myself" said Van Hooste who hopes to be back on January 11 for the CrossCup leg in Hulshout. "I also hope to run a half-marathon in 1:02 in April and achieve the 28:00 standard for the World Championships at the 10,000m European challenge early June in Portugal. But if I'm not able to train at 100% by mid-February, then it will mean, there's no hope to get better, I'll quit and start a job. I am 36, the pressure is getting bigger not only on myself but also on my family and that can't last". Tom van Hooste has a personal best of 2:10:38 in the marathon, set last April in Rotterdam and finished 4th of the European cross-country championships in 2003.

FRENCH SELECTION

PARIS (FRA): The selection process of the French national team for the European cross-country championships will start next Sunday, with two events in the national circuit, the Cross National Orange in Les Mureaux and the Cross National Le Maine Libre in Allonnes. Junior and under-23 athletes will gather in les Mureaux, as the National Orange cross-country will serve as the trial for these age categories. The selection of the senior team will be based on the best results from 6 events held between November 23 and November 30. Kenyan Denis Ndiso and Paul Melly will be back in Les Mureaux after their top 2 finish last year, while Nordine Smail and Said Berioui, respectively French champions in the 5000 and the 10,000m in 2008, will head the French field. Ethiopian Adebu Gelan is the current favorite in the women's race. The Allonnes event will be highly contested for the French spots with names like Driss El Himer, Cédric Pelissier, El Hassan Lahssini, Mokhtar Benhari, Simon Munyutu, James Theuri and Mohammed Khaled-Belabbas in the men's events and femmes Samira Mezeghrane, Christine Bardelle, Christelle Daunay, Sophie Duarte, Yamna Oubouhou and Maria Martins in the women's race.

HALL FOR BOSTON

BOSTON (USA): It's been more than 25 years since an American man crossed the finish line first at the Boston Marathon, but race organizers hope that will change next April when Ryan Hall steps to their famous starting line in Hopkinton for the first time. John Hancock Financial, which funds the elite fields for the race, announced today that they had landed Hall, America's top marathoner with a 2:06:17 personal best, for the 2009 edition of America's oldest marathon. Informs Race Results Weekly. The last USA men's champion in Boston was Greg Meyer, who triumphed in 2:09:01 over compatriots Ron Tabb and Benji Durden. Since then, men from Australia, Great Britain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Korea, Italy and Japan have won at Boston, but not a single American (Lisa Larsen Weidenbach won the women's race in 1985, however). Kenyan men have won the race 17 times since Meyer's victory, including the last three editions which were won by course record holder Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot. The 113th Boston Marathon, part of the World Marathon Majors series, will be held on Monday, April 20, Patriots Day in Massachusetts.

MIKITENKO REMAINS IN WATTENSCHEID

WATTENSCHEID (GER): The best German current performer, marathon runner Irina Mikitenko renewed her contract with TV Wattenscheid 01 Club. Her main aim for the moment are the World Championships in Berlin and the goal to win the gold medal for the host country. „It was my best season so far, but on the other hand I missed the Olympics very much," she was quoted. She debuted in Berlin in Marathon in 2007, she won here in 2008. Although the World Championships course will be different, she still can use the home advantage. This year still in plan is the Trier Silvester Road Race. Then the preparation first for London and then the Worlds.

CHAMBERS THINKS ABOUT BERLIN

LONDON (GBR): Sprinter Dwain Chambers claimed that he would not challenge his lifetime Olympic ban imposed on him after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs that prevents him from competing in the 2012 London. Chambers, the original face of London 2012 before he was banned for two years in 2003 after testing positive for the banned designer anabolic steroid Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), said he could not stand the strain of challenging the ban again. Here was speculation afterwards that the Londoner might try again before London 2012. „At the moment I just want to focus on the World Championships next year and maybe then we can start looking ahead," he was quoted as insidethegames informs.

OTHER NEWS

BALTIMORE (USA): World Express Athletic Management manager Mark Pryor announced that it has signed 4 new athletes and 1 returning athlete to its client list. Highlighting the group in 2009 will be Beijing Olympians Brittney Reese and Reggie Witherspoon. Returning is female sprinter Rachelle Boone-Smith, who is now training under Coach Dwayne Miller and with LaShawn Merritt in her hometown of Virginia. Fourth place finisher at US Olympic Trials in High Jump Deirdre Mullen also signed, sprinter Demi Omole with 10.10 best at 100 m is another one. He was injured in 2008 but will now train under Coach Sylvanus Hepburn and US hurdle great Allen Johnson in South Carolina. Grenada´s Trish Bartholomew with 51.29 best at 400 m and Kenyata Coleman in same event (51.67) are the remaining two names. Another update from the group is that hurdler Joel Brown will continue to train in Orlando, Florida with fellow US hurdler and Olympic medalist David Oliver under Coach Brooks Johnson

BERLIN (GER): The city council in Berlin announced that it will support the necessary infrastructure changes at the Olympic Stadium and buying of new implements with 5.6 millions of Euro. Until today in the city budget 8.9 millions were foreseen for the World Championships in August next year. Informs www.leichtathletik.de. Main works are planned in connection with lights, renovation of the track etc.

NASSAU (BAH): As Bahamian media are informing and defending World high jump Champion Donald Thomas is the biggest name that pops out when you take a look at the six athletes that have been placed on probation by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for one year until they improve their performance levels. The Sports ministry recently released the names of 33 track and field athletes that remain on government's subvention. Ten athletes have been added to the list for developmental purposes, nine athletes received a pay increase, 10 were renewed. And with the official announcement of retirement by Tonique Williams-Darling, the 2004 Olympic winner too was placed on the suspended list. According to the recently released listing, Leevan Sands, Chris Brown, Andre Williams, and Andretti Bain received an increase in their subvention along with Shamar Sands, Adrian Griffith, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and Shaniqua Ferguson. On the probation also long jumpers Osbourne Moxey and Jackie Edwards, 400 m runner Nathaniel McKinney, sprinters Dominic Demeritte and Jacobi Mitchell.

WARSZAWA (POL): After Jerzy Skucha now a second candidate for the post of president of Polish Athletics Federation (PZLA) appeared. It is Wieslaw Wilczynski who is chief of sports department of Warszawa City. He was former middle distance runner and thinks that the federation could improve in finding sponsors and possibly aim to organize an IAAF Grand Prix meeting in future. The elections will be held on January 10-11 in Spala.

LONDON (GBR): Johnson and Johnson, one of the International Olympic Committee's multi-million pound TOP sponsors, has confirmed that it will not be renewing its deal for London 2012. Informs insidethegames.com. Johnson & Johnson told American publication Sports Business Journal that it will not renew its 100 million USD deal. The world's most comprehensive, broad-based health care company, who in Beijing were the official sponsors for the category covering consumer and personal care products, medical and diagnostic products and non-prescription medicines. They had signed up in 2005 and it means they were only involved for two Games, the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006 and Beijing. Johnson & Johnson's departure follows the exodus of Kodak, Manulife and Lenovo from the list Olympic sponsors. The IOC have replaced Lenovo with Acer. The IOC has nine partners for 2009-12 and already has raised more than the 886 million USD it received from 2005-08. It has set itself a target of 1 billion USD.

SAN ANTONIO (USA): Comeback bid of Kenyan former world class marathon runner Margaret Okayo ended early when she dropped out around 15 km with a foot injury during the weekends Rock and Roll San Antonio Marathon. She has a 2:20:43 best while winning Boston in 2002. Her last finished marathon was London in 2006 with 2:29:16 as 9th.

MONTE CARLO: Organizers of traditional Herculis Meeting spread out a press release highlighting this years 22nd edition of the event. 13.822 Spectators to see the performances of 216 athletes that had come from 43 countries. The very last date before the Olympic Games to be held in Beijing, however many athletes had to declare forfeit for the meet in Monaco due to their preparation for the games, hopes were down. Despite this, the evening was a real success with a string of achievements, three continental records, five world best performances of the year, seven national records and two meeting records. The clear number one moment was the new world record for Yelena Isinbayeva in the Pole Vault with 504. This whole and the density of sports achievements at a considerably high level enabled the Meeting to obtain a score of 85 970 points and become therefore the first Meeting of the Year in unofficial ranking. After three years on standby to organize the IAAF World Athletics Final between 2003 and 2005, the Herculis Meeting has regained its best standard. For 2009 the meet is planned to be held on July 28 as one of the last in pre-world championships period.

LONDON (GBR): As spikesmag informs, three-time Olympic medallist Steve Backley swapped his javelin for a smaller set of arrows and proved just as effective to win 8000 GBP in a Pro-Celebrity darts challenge. Backley, who retired from athletics after finishing fourth at the 2004 Athens Olympics, hit the winning double to land the lucrative first prize playing alongside his partner, darts professional James Wade at the Wolverhampton Civic in England. The former javelin star and Wade defeated the pairing of multiple world darts champion Phil Taylor and former Liverpool soccer star Neil Ruddock to claim the glory in the televised competition which featured eight celebrities paired with darts stars.

RESULTS (with help of Race Results Weekly)

MARSEILLE (FRA, Nov 16): Tanzanian Samuel Shauri won the 10 km here with solid 28:28. Home female win for Fatima Yvelain (33:14) beating Kenyan Agnes Barsosio (33:39).

GATESHEAD (GBR, Nov 15): UK Cross Challenge started with Gateshead event. The highlight of the five-meeting series was two-time European junior champion and 1500m Olympian Steph Twell's comfortable victory in the women's senior race (7.3 km, 26:46). Next month Twell will be chasing a third European junior cross country title. On Monday Twell, along with Charlotte Purdue, were pre-selected for the European championships team. Netherland´s Michel Butter won the main men 8.7 km race with 28:18 with best home runner Andy Vernon third (28:31).

METZ (FRA, Nov 16): Russian Aleksey Gurkin won the Cross du Républicain Lorrain as he clocked 26:51 at 9 km. Ethiopian Mimi Belete who lives in Belgium won the 4,08 km in 13:12.

NIJMEGEN (NED): There is still more to add to Seven Hills race and final women winning time. First reports showed 46:56, but later check of official results had 46:57. That was the so-called brutto time, as David Monti informs 46:56.8. So the world record was missed by 2 seconds. Interestingly, the Association of road running statisticians ARRS will rank this mark as first ever in the world all-time list. They are recognizing only solo races, no splits. More, as their world records they are recognizing only women-only races and there the best is 47:17 by Ingrid Kristiansen from 1987.



INTERESTING TO NOTE

MOSCOW (RUS): All-Sport informs about sensational training results of Russian bob-sleigh competitor Aleksey Voyevoda. The winter Olympic silver medalist from 2006 was timed at 60 m with 6.40, but using the 800 m start, not from the blocks. He did not ruled out speculations he might try also some athletics competitions. But his main focus remain bob with aims at next two winter games in Vancouver and mainly his home-town Sochi. It is tough to compare, but still the world record at 60 m is 6.39 by Maurice Greene back in 1998 and 2001. Jamaican top sprinters might attack this mark, but they are not planning to compete indoors so far in 2009.


Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.

For more info on the sport of athletics, try http://www.american-trackandfield.com

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