It is a cold Saturday in Wisconsin. Cross country in the US is over, and while some indoor meets are starting up, the season really gets going after the Holidays. In Fort Atkinson, we have about sixteen inches of snow, just from this week and expect another few tonight before the Artic Chill hits.
My walks to work have been cold, slipprier and snowier. I have to admit, as long as the sun gets out for a bit, I am fine with the snow. It is just that we are over 30 inches for the year so far, last year we were at 25 and we should hit 40 inches by end of December. So much for global warming. I am waiting for wooly Mammoths to walk down our main street.
I am heading to a warmer clime, Monday night, December 22, 2008 and will be returning January 2, 2009. Please note that, through the wonders of technology, there will be one posting from December 23, 2008 through January 1, 2009. They will be new posts, just programmed for daily arrival for the information-deprived. Have a Wonderful Holiday and Happy New Year!
ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
VIENNA (AUT): Discus thrower Gerhard Mayer and distance runner Andrea Mayr won the „Golden Emil" the prize for best athletes of the year in Austria. The poll was organized via Internet for fans, media, coaches and officials. Second in men section is distance record holder Gunther Weidlinger and third 400 m runner Clemens Zeller. Mayer was 18th at Olympic Games and prepares for the European Cup Winter Throwing in March. Mayr won already in 2005 and was first before marathon runner Eva Maria Gradwohl and javelin record holder Elisabeth Pauer. Mayr clocked national steeple record and won the Mountain Running World Trophy. Mayr announced her marathon debut for Vienna next April. The best junior is sprinter Bernhard Chudarek who clocked national junior 100 m record 10.48.
MONACO (MON): IAAF World Athletes of the Year, Usian Bolt and Yelena Isinbayeva head the list of six nominations that Athletics has received in the annual Athlete of the Year ballot covering all sports organized by the United States Sports Academy. A total of twelve stars from all sports have been selected. Athletics nominations are Usain Bolt, Bryan Clay and Haile Gebrselassie and on the women side Tirunesh Dibaba, Yelena Isinbayeva and Paula Radcliffe.
KIYIV (UKR): The Athlete of the year in Ukraine is Olympic heptathlon gold medalist Nataliya Dobrynska. She was elected during The Election Conference of Ukrainian Athletic Federation.
PARIS (FRA): In the L´Équipe vote for sports personalities of the year in France the best athlete is steeple Olympic medalist Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabad as number 15. Last time an track athlete won the poll was in 2005 by Ladji Doucouré and Eunice Barber in 1999.
TOKIO (JPN): The Athlete of the Year in Japan in the poll of Japan Athletics Federation (JAAF) is the 4x100m Relay team of Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Shinji Takahira, and Nobuharu Asahara. They won bronze medals in Beijing. Special Awards went to former Olympic marathon winner Naoko Takahashi and coach of Fukushima University track team Kazuhisa Kawamoto.
Valuable Athletes trophies went to hammer thrower Koji Murofushi and walker Yuki Yamazaki. Rising star award was given to distance runner Arata Fujiwara, 10 000 m Olympian Kensuke Takezawa and 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima.
MINSK (BLR): Hammer Olympic winner Oksana Menkova and decathlon silver medalist Andrey Kravchenko have been named athletes of the year in Belarus. Best juniors named by national federation were silver medallists at World Junior Championships in combined events Eduard Mikhan and Yana Maksimova. Coach of Menkova Andrey Vorontsov was number one in coaches section ahead of Lyudmila Nikiporchuk who coaches shot put Olympic medalist Natalya Mikhnevich was second and Ivan Gordienko who guides Kravchenko was third. Gordienko was also best coach of young athletes as he also guides Eduard Mikhan.
RIO DE JANEIRO (BRA): Olympic Long jump gold medalist Maurren Higa Maggi was awarded with „Brasil Olímpico" trophy for her achievements in 2008. She confirmed during the celebration that she wants to continue to compete until London 2012 Games. The male winner of the trophy was swimmer Cesar Cielo. Other personalities from athletics honored were Maggi´s coach Nelio Moura, Aida dos Santos (fourth at Tokyo Games 1964) for her achievements in terms of Women in sport and 17 years old sprinter Barbara Leoncio.
ROMA (ITA): Francesco Uguagliati is the new Technical Director of the Italian Athletics Federation FIDAL. Uguagliati, who was a former National Coach of the Italian Junior Team and the coach of the Sprint National Team takes over the baton from former National Technical Director Nicola Silvaggi, whose mandate for the Italian Athletics Federation expires at the end of the year. Renato Montabone will serve as the new General Secretary for the FIDAL.
GLASGOW (GBR): Peter Stanley, former coach to triple jump World Record holder Jonathan Edwards and World Indoor silver medallist Chris Tomlinson, has been confirmed as the lead coach for horizontal jumps within the new Bank of Scotland National Development Programme structure. Already this week Terry Lomax, the UK Performance Coach for high jump has been confirmed as the new Bank of Scotland technical lead for the event's Development Programme.
MADRID (ESP): Spanish middle distance runner Juan Carlos Higuero will not take part in the European indoors championships. He said that after Olympic Games running indoors was always complicated because the body needs to recuperate. Therefore, Higuero wants to concentrate on the 1500 meters at the World championships in Berlin where he wishes at least to improve his fifth place from Beijing. That means also he will not try to defend his title from Birmingham 2007 in Torino 2009.
DUBAI (UAE): One year after the biggest payday of her athletics career, Ethiopia's Berhane Adere returns to Dubai to defend her title in the 2009 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 16. Last year, the 35 year-old set a new Dubai record for the women's event, taking close to five minutes off the previous record with 2:22:42. She also won the biggest first place prize on the world marathon circuit 250 000 USD. Writes Pat Butcher. With world record compatriot, Haile Gebrselassie returning to defend the men's title that he won last year, Dubai welcomes back both course record holders. Facing Adere will be fellow Ethiopians Bizunesh Bekele, who made one of the fastest marathon debuts in history, finishing second last year in 2:23:09, and 2007 Dubai champion, Askale Magarsa who was third last year, in 2:23:23, also a personal best.
WACO (USA): Sanya Richards has been through a lot in the past couple of years. In 2008 she had a strong season where she got back into peak physical condition and qualified for the Beijing Olympics. Writes Star Telegramm.
After winning her first individual Olympic medal in Beijing, Richards has kept busy with appearances on the post-Olympic tour. She recently stopped at the NAS military base in Fort Worth, one of her last stops before starting to train for the 2009 IAAF World Championships, and discussed what has been going on in her life recently. She said that getting the bronze in Beijing has given her motivation to work hard for another three years. Currently she is in full health and preparation for 2009.
LAUSANNE (SUI): The preliminary entries for the European Cup Winter Throwing are now in, and an impressive 34 countries are set to compete in the 9th edition of the event at Los Realejos, Tenerife in Spain. Informs European Athletics. After dominating the last edition of the event in Yalta, Ukraine last year, the Russian squad will be running to defend their titles. Russia won the team titles in men's senior, U-23 men and U-23 women category, however Germany managed to edge them in the senior women's category. Estonian Olympic and World champion Discus Thrower Gerd Kanter will be the star attraction at the two-day event to be held on March 14-15. More Olympic medallists will be added later.
LAUSANNE (SUI): European Athletics informs, that the second edition of the European Athletics Anti-Doping Education Programme will take place on the sidelines of European Athletics Under 23 Championships in Kaunas, Lithuania and the European Athletics Junior Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia in July 2009. The European Athletics Medical and Anti-Doping Commission in its meeting in Berlin announced that a new interactive programme Real Winner designed by the Norwegian National Anti-Doping Organization will be used at the programme scheduled to be held on July 16-19 and July 23-26 respectively. The Commission also finalized a management structure for the Doping Control Delegates Seminar. The system will help European Athletics in recruiting, training and accrediting Doping Control Delegates.
MADRID (ESP): Spanish hurdler Jackson Quin~ónez has targeted the 2009 European Athletics Indoor Championships in the Italian city of Torino next March as the stage where he will ensure that the spotlight will really be shone on him. Informs EA. „If I'm in good form, I will be in Torino, and I think I will be," said the Spanish 110m hurdles record holder and 60m hurdles record holder indoors. „Of course, I don't know who will be there but in addition to myself as a gold medal contender for the 60m hurdles - and I won the bronze medal at the European indoors in Birmingham last year - I think my strongest rivals could be the Czech hurdler Petr Svoboda, Poland's Artur Noga, and the Dutchman Marcel van der Westen." To add also that he should think about Ladji Doucoure who plans full indoor season.
MELBOURNE (AUS): The Australian athletics community is saddened by the passing of Peta Jurson (nee Kennedy) on Thursday after a long and brave battle with melanoma cancer. Peta was a former Australian long jump and heptathlon champion who competed at the 1988 IAAF World Junior Championships. Peta was also a very talented netballer who represented the Melbourne Phoenix (2002/2003) and Melbourne Kestrels (1997/1998) in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy. Informs Athletics Australia.
KARLSRUHE (GER): The women's High Jump will be one of the highlights of the BW Bank Meeting in Karlsruhe an IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting on 15 February.
While Germany's Ariane Friedrich had been signed recently for the event, organizers announced that Croatian World Indoor Champion Blanka Vlasic will be among her rivals.
PARIS (FRA): French hurdler and former world champion Ladji Doucouré will make his indoor next season debut in Bordaux on January 25, after a training camp in Senegal from January 5 to 20. Besides, organizers of the Lievin meet are close to a deal to sign Olympic champion Dayron Robles to race against Doucouré on February 10, l'Equipe informs.
INDIANAPOLIS (USA): USATF informs that two-time Olympic medalist and double world champion Bernard Lagat will attempt to tie the Wanamaker Mile win record owned by legendary Irish great Eamonn Coghlan when he competes January 30 at the 102nd Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Millrose Games in New York is the first event of USA Track & Field's 2009 Indoor Visa Championship Series. Next are Reebok Boston Indoor Games on Feb 7, Tyson Invitational on Feb 13 and US Championships on February 28 and March 1 in Boston again. Lagat will be challenged by New Zealand's Nick Willis, the 2008 Olympic 1500 m bronze medalist.
STUTTGART (GER): The 23rd Indoor Meet in Stuttgart announced three stars with Dayron Robles, Blanka Vlasic and Meseret Defar for 3000 m. The event for February 7 is one of the top during the indoor season. Robles will start his European campaign in Sweden (Goteborg, Malmo) and then will remain in Germany (Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Karlsruhe). Vlasic starts in Rijeka on Jan 26 and continues in Sweden (Goteborg, Malmo) before going to Stuttgart this year instead of Arnstadt which is on the same day (Feb 7). Defar plans for the moment this 3000 m race as her season opening. In the Schleyer Halle she in 2007 clocked the current world indoor record 8:23.72.
GOTEBORG (SWE): As already announced Dayron Robles will start his indoor season in Goteborg on January 29. Now the organizers informed that he will clash with the man who beat him as only one in last season. US Olympic medalist David Oliver will also come to Scandinavium Hall and run the 60 m Hurdles. In the field also one of the best Europeans Czech Petr Svoboda and Briton Allan Scott. In men´s Pole Vault world indoor champion Yevgeniy Lukyanenko of Russia will clash with home elite Alhaji Jeng and Jesper Fritz. Also German ever-young Tim Lobinger will be in the field.
PERTH (AUS, Dec 13): Six meters pole vault Paul Burgess started his Australian season with clearing 520 at Perry Lakes Stadium.
BRATISLAVA (SVK, Dec 19): Best Slovak High Jumper Peter Horak started the indoor season with good 221 clearance at Christmas High Jump Meeting. He was jumping only from 6 strides run-up and missed 223 cm. His next outing will be at 5th Moravia High Jump Tour on January 21 in Trinec and 24 in Hustopece.
MADRID (ESP, Dec 13): Junior hammer thrower Javier Cienfuegos achieved new national junior records with senior implement 68.72 in fifth and 69.25 in sixth round. With 6kg hammer his junior national mark is 76.13 m.
Lennart Julin points out that if Tatyana Kivimyagi has turned Esthonian her name ought to be spellt Kivimägi.
Please correct in the Campaccio story that actually it was Kenyan Edwin Soi and not Sergiy Lebid who won by the narrowest of margins the last edition.
Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.
For more on the sport, please check : http://www.american-trackandfield.com