Bobby Curtis, 28:06.74 at Zatopek, by Alfons Juck, Note by Larry Eder

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This coming weekend, in the US has the USATF Club XC, USA Junior Olympics and Foot Locker XC Champs. In Brussels, the SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be held on Sunday-the last big events of 2008.

But the 2009 season has started, down under in Australia. The Emil Zatopek Meeting has been a famous event for nearly three decades. The likes of Pat Scammell, Rob de Castella, Steve Moneghetti, Craig Mottram, Benita Johnson, Lisa Ondieki, among others. This year, Australian Laura Tamsett won the 10,000 meters in 32:56.19 and Dave McNeil won the men's 10,000 meters in 28:03.02.

In second place, US runner Bobby Curtis ran a fine 28:06.74 for second with Michael Shelly in third in 28:08.96, his personal best. Nice start for 2009 for Curtis, who recently graduated from Villanova and is sponsored by Reebok.

EME NEWS (DEC 11, 2008)

More than 170 media representatives

BRUSSELS (BEL): More than 170 media representatives are registered for Sunday´s SPAR European Cross Country Championships 2008, the last championship event in 2008. In Brussels reports will come from 70 written press, 30 photographers, 25 TV and Radio reporters. The biggest numbers are coming of course from Belgium and Netherlands followed by Ireland. That is also logical because the next CC championships will be held in 2009 in Dublin.

No more Olympic Games

LAUSANNE (SUI): IOC confirmed on Thursday the Olympic disqualification of

Belarussian hammer throwers Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tikhon after failing drug tests at the Beijing Games. They must return silver and bronze medals. The medals will now go to Krisztian Pars and Koji Murofushi, also the next order will change to: 4. Karjalainen, 5. Ziolkowski, 6. Charfreitag, 7. Esser, 8. Haklits, 9. Nazarov, 10. Steacy. For example for Charfreitag it is the best Slovak Olympic athletics position since independency. Next action is expected from IAAF in terms of bans. Devyatovskiy is facing life as this was his second offence and Tikhon two years. Both are also disqualified from future Olympic Games under the new ruling.

OTHER NEWS

NEW YORK (USA): Olympic bronze medalist and American 10 000 m record holder Shalane Flanagan announced that she will run under a different management arrangement for 2009. "As of January 1, 2009, Steve Edwards of Ashley Grace, LLC will be representing Shalane Flanagan," the athlete disclosed in an e-mail message to Race Results Weekly. "I'm extremely excited about the new representation and am looking forward to competing in 2009." Flanagan, who is sponsored by Nike and coached by John Cook, was previously represented by Peter Stubbs Management. Steve Edwards is Flanagan's husband.

HONOLULU (USA): The global marathon season comes to a close on Sunday when the world's largest and richest tropical marathon takes place in Honolulu for the 36th time. Organizers have assembled strong and diverse elite fields, and no man or woman has a firm lock on the USD 40,000 first prizes.

The obvious male favorite is six-time Honolulu champion Jimmy Muindi of Kenya who was declared the winner of last year's contest after Ethiopian Ambesse Tolosa was disqualified for a doping violation after crossing the finish line in Kapiolani Park first. Muindi is a veteran of 38 marathons and has a personal best of 2:07:50 set at Rotterdam in 2005. Russian Alevtina Biktimirova is having the best year of her career, finishing second at both the Boston and Bank of America Chicago Marathons. The sturdily-build Russian comes into this year's race as the defending champion after drubbing the field last year by over a minute. Biktimirova, and compatriot Lyubov Morgunova, both have personal best times of 2:25:12, making them the fastest women in the field. Morgunova is a three-time Honolulu Marathon champion (she last won in 2004), but she could be a little tired after finishing ninth at the ING New York City Marathon last month. Race Results Weekly previews.

LAUSANNE (SUI): The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the sports competitions programme for the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held in Singapore in 2010, as well as the qualification system for each event. Some 3,594 athletes will compete in Singapore in 26 sports comprising 201 events. The number of sports in the programme is identical to the London 2012 programme.

NEW YORK (USA): Reigning Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile champion Briton Lisa Dobriskey and 2006 Big Ten 10,000m champion Brian Olinger are the top contenders for victory at the 31st Emerald Nuts Midnight Run scheduled for the stroke of midnight on December 31 in New York City's Central Park, the New York Road Runners announced today. Over 5000 runners, many in costume, are expected for the race, a New Year's Eve fixture in the Big Apple.

MOSCOW (RUS): Russian High Jumper Ivan Ukhov who was warned by IAAF for his behaviour after using alcohol while competing changed the coaches. He is now guided by former excellent jumper and Olympic winner 2000 Sergey Klyugin. He will first compete early January at the meeting in Chelyabinsk.

BRISBANE (AUS): As Australian media are informing, Olympic silver medallist Sally McLellan will miss the February 7 Athletics Australia Cup in Brisbane, the biggest meet in her home state this summer other than the national titles in Brisbane from March 19-21. The Gold Coast star will be racing at two lucrative US Indoor meets in New York and Boston in early February.

"I want to run indoors to get some experience for the 2010 world indoor championships. I've never raced indoors before and it would be really exciting," McLellan said. In New York a duel with Olympic bronze holder Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Canada is very likely. The Canadian is at Millrose the defending champion.

CHISINAU (MDA): Athletics Federation of Moldova named Olga Cristea and Ion Luchianov the best athletes of the year. Both athletes participated in the Olympic Games in Beijing where they improved theirs best results. Olga Cristea reached semifinals in 800 meters with the PB 2:00.12, while Ion Luchianov improved national record by almost five seconds in steeple heats (8:18.97) and was a proud finalist. Cristea won this award for 5th time and Luchianov for fourth. Mihail Cravtov, who coached Olga Cristea from the beginning and prepared Luchianov for the Beijing Olympics was named the best coach of Moldova as in the previous year. The announcement was made during the general elections conference of the Athletic Federation of Moldova (FAM). The President of the Federation, Anatolie Balan, was re-elected for the new 4-year period. Victor Lunga was elected as 1st vice-president, former General Secretary Anatol Popusoi became the vice-president, while former vice-president Constantin Negura replaced him as the General Secretary. Serghei Donets was elected as the International Secretary.

Alexandr Gancencho was again appointed as the Head Coach of the Federation.

PARIS (FRA): Former long jump and heptathlon world champion Eunice Barber won't appeal a 5,000 Euro fine for resisting arrest. The French athlete was convicted by a court this month on charges of "outrage, rebellion and refusal to obey" during a run-in with police in March 2006. I've decided to turn the page, and I won't appeal the decision," Barber said in a statement Wednesday on her Web site. "Most of the initial accusations of the police were abandoned one after the other ... I will have to settle for that," she said. But the "bad experience will surely leave me a feeling of injustice and bitterness," AP informs.

MELBOURNE (AUS): Australia's most prosperous event in terms of medal returns in the last Olympic cycle, the men's 50km walk, will be the first of the selection trial events for the 2009 world championships and will be staged at Melbourne's Fawkner Park this Sunday. Australian athletics boasts the reigning world champion Nathan Deakes, and recent Beijing silver medallist Jared Tallent in the longest event on the athletics program, and it's depth beyond that is still surprising to many. Luke Adams stepped into replace an injured Deakes at the Olympics, and finished an admirable 10th place while having a more specific focus in the shorter 20km event. With selection secure for the reigning world champion through the IAAF automatic entry rules, this could allow for up to four Australian athletes to be selected for the world championships in Berlin. Tallent will be an automatic nomination for Berlin after his medal winning heroics in Beijing, and with Luke Adams also carrying a high quality 'A' qualifier from Beijing, there may only be the one spot available to join the very strong team. The form would suggest that it will be two team mates from the Osaka world championships, Chris Erickson and the veteran of Atlanta and Sydney Olympic teams Duane Cousins. With an automatic nomination for the winner who finishes inside the A standard of 3:58:00, both Erickson and Cousins will fancy their chances on Sunday. The weather is predicted to be cool and the Fawkner Park circuit proved to be fast. Informs Athletics Australia.

TRIER (GER): Ugandan world medalist Moses Kipsiro plans for the fourth win

at traditional end of the year 8 km race in Trier, Germany (Dec 31). Additionally he wants also to attack the course record which is 22:21 achieved by Isaac Kariuki in 1997. Kenyan Daniel Gachara won here in the past four times and Kipsiro could equal this feat. In 2006 the Olympic fourth placer Kipsiro came close to the course record with 22:27. Female star of the 5 km event will be the best German marathon runner Irina Mikitenko, her main rival should be another top distance runner Sabrina Mockenhaupt. From Kenya the world junior champion Mercy Cherono could mix the cards and from Ethiopia the 6th from World Half Marathon Championships Abebe Jeylan.

DARMSTADT (GER): World Marathon Majors winner Irina Mikitenko was additionally awarded two new German road records as splits from Berlin marathon win (2:19:19). German Federation confirmed her new national marks for 25 km (1:23:07) and 30 km (1:39:34).

JOHANNESBURG (RSA): Athletics South Africa (ASA) announced that a newly constituted tribunal to hear the Gert Thys doping case was constituted in Johannesburg this week. The tribunal was chaired by Mr Raymond Hack and consisted of Dr Harold Adams and Ms Jody Foster. ASA was represented by Chris Hattingh. The athlete, Mr Gert Thys, was not present neither was he represented. He was formally informed of the time, date and venue of the tribunal but informed ASA that he will not be in attendance. The tribunal unanimously found that Mr Gert Thys committed a doping violation and declared Mr Thys ineligible to participate in athletics from 25th April 2006 to the 11th December 2008 (Date of tribunal) – a period of 2 years seven and a half months. In terms of the decision Mr Gert Thys will forfeit all income, prizes and benefits derived from his participation in the Seoul Marathon on the 17th March 2006. Gert Thys will be reinstated as soon as he has complied with the obligatory number of doping tests that needs to be done during an athlete's period of ineligibility/suspension. Informing SA media.

RESULTS

MELBOURNE (AUS, Dec 11): It was a night on which the immediate past was never far from the mind given the tragic death of dual Commonwealth marathon champion Kerryn McCann last Sunday, two young Australians showed there is a bright future for Australian distance running with outstanding runs in the annual Zatopek meeting. Informs Athletics Australia. Lara Tamsett won the 10 000 m in 32:56.19 and David McNeil in 28:03.02. For McNeil that was the B-standard for World Championships. US Bobby Curtis as second got 28:06.74 and Michael Shelley as third 28:08.96 PB. Olympian Jeff Riseley took out an exciting 1500 metres in 3:39.77. Exciting breakthrough in the men's 800, which was won by former 400 hurdler Tristan Thomas in 1:47.83. Henry Frayne set a national junior record 16.58 in finishing second to Commonwealth Games triple jump bronze medalist Alwyn Jones(16.60) in the triple jump and Dani Samuels was in good form taking the discus with 60.96 metres. World Indoor Champion Tamsyn Lewis opened her domestic season in the 400 (52.57). Ray Williams of the Jump Start to London 2012 program ran impressively to win the 200m in a new personal best of 21.16.

Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.

For more on our sport, please check http://www.american-trackandfield.com

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