It was May 1995 when I first saw Sergei Bubka jump outdoors. It was the Bruce Jenner Classic and Bubka cleared 19-6. 4,000 fans stayed after the meet to watch the greatest pole vaulter of his generation vault.
Yelena Isinbayeva is the Bubka of the women's vault. Her dominance, her confidence and her athleticism make her a global hit. We shall see how many times Yelena can break the WR this year....
EME NEWS (DEC 4, 2008)
Isinbayeva can attack the jackpot
MONTE CARLO: There will be 11 Golden League events in 2009 (five repeated from 2008). Five for men and six for women. The jackpot structure remains with athletes winning all six events getting 1 million USD, if no one, then 500 000 USD will be given to athletes winning five events. It will be finally confirmed after Golden League working group meeting next week, but it was already published in IAAF Council decisions send to national federations and published. After first year in 2007 returning for second time since 1998 (start of the series) as golden event is women´s Pole Vault. That means a nice jackpot chance for Yelena Isinbayeva who was unbeaten last summer. For fourth time in a row (since 2006) again women´s High Jump will be part of the series with good chances for nearly unbeaten Blanka Vlasic of Croatia. The third and last technical event will be men´s javelin to be organised for fifth time in a row since 2005. That will be again the chance for Scandinavian throwers Andreas Thorkildsen and Tero Pitkamäki to renew their rivalry. In the hurdles section both short sprints will be staged, the women´s 100 m looks open but the men´s could be a good chance for World record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba (even more with Liu Xiang beeing out for summer most probably). There is no long distance planned (last time men´s 5000 m was part in 2005 and women´s 5000 m in 2006). In middle distances men´s 800 m and women´s 1500 m which gives wide range of possibilities in consideration of possible jackpot candidates. Obviously women´s 800 m is not returning after Pamela Jelimo won the whole jackpot in 2008. Both 400 m races for men and women are planned too. Here the chances are open for rivals LaShawn Merritt and Jeremy Wariner and on the women side Sanya Richards against Christine Ohuruogu. Then the usual 100 m races are remaining. The women situation is very open, on the men side Usain Bolt already said he will not try to go for the jackpot. But the chances could remain mainly for Asafa Powell. Interesting to note based on statistics of Lennart Julin at the Swedish federation website that one men event (hammer) and four women (steeple, shot, discus, hammer) were never golden. Only one time held were men´s shot and discus and women long jump.
The calendar of Golden League 2009 is different in comparison with 2008 in only one point. In June part only one event will be held (Berlin) as Oslo is returning to July to join Paris and Rome and after the World Championships as usual Zurich and Brussels will be staged. There is a possibility that for 2010 a new Golden League concept will be introduced.
The events - men: 100 m, 400 m, 800 m, 110 m Hurdles, javelin, women: 100 m, 400 m, 1500 m, 100 m Hurdles, high jump, pole vault.
The dates: June 14 Berlin, July 3 Oslo, July 10 Rome, July 17 Paris, Aug 28 Zurich, Sep 4 Brussels.
Moravia series returns also in 2009
BRNO (CZE): The Moravia High Jump Tour series will continue despite financial difficulties also in January 2009. It will be the fifth annual of the special high jumping tour in two cities (Trinec on Jan 21 and Hustopece on Jan 24) with nearly the same competitors at both places and same format with music. Both last overall winners are returning. Sweden´s Linus Thornblad will compete only at first leg in Trinec due to his commitments at home, but female winner Czech Barbora Lalakova (also national indoor record holder with 199) confirmed her attendance at both meetings. She is returning after heavy Achilles injury in April and subsequent surgery and long rehabilitation time which forced her to pass the entire summer season. "I m back, doing full training. I will start to jump next week during the training camp in Lanzarote," she was quoted. Other star only for first leg in Trinec is the Russian Olympic and world medalist Anna Chicherova who could attack as first women at the event the two metres mark. The same are hoping the organisers of second and final leg in Hustopece and they attracted as their star the German Ariane Friedrich who last season on the same place jumped 199 and since then eleventimes cleared in competition two metres or more. Another special guest in Hustopece will be Ukrainian Heptathlon Olympic winner Natalya Dobrynska who will attack her PB of 186 cm. The male star for Hustopece is still under negotiation. But the majority of jumpers will compete at both events and here the main names are the local stars like Tomas Janku. The 2006 European medalist will have this indoor as last part of his succesfull season, he is no more planning to compete in summer. With him Olympic finalist Svatoslav Ton, world finalist Iva Strakova and talented Jaroslav Baba who was also in finals in Beijing and is Olympic medalist from Athens. Only one missing from Czech stars is Romana Dubnova who had a heavy leg injury in Beijing and is still having rehabilitation after surgery. From foreign jumpers doing both competitions and so aiming for overall 1000 USD prize (marks from both meets counting together are the decisive factor) are on the men side talented Ukrainian Andriy Protsenko (230, medalist from European juniors 2007), US Olympic trials fourth placer Cedric Norman, best Slovak jumper Peter Horak and Russian World Indoor medalist Andrey Tereshin. In the women field also Ukrainian Olympic 2004 medalist Viktoriya Styopina, Russian junior champion from last year Yekaterin Bolshakova and Poland´s number one Kamila Stepaniuk. Other names are still under negotiation, apart of overall prize for winner also at each meet the prize money starts with 1000 USD for men and women each. In four years the series saw 14 marks 230 and more and 20 marks 192 and more on women side. Meet records are in Trinec 232 (Jaroslav Baba, 2004) and 197 (Barbora Lalakova, 2008) and in Hustopece 236 (Ivan Ukhov, 2008) and 199 (Vita Palamar with Ariane Friedrich, 2008).
Kamel plans to return to Kenya
NAIROBI (KEN): Kenyan-born world indoor 800m bronze medallist, Youssef Saad Kamel plans to ditch his Bahraini passport and return to Kenya next year, saying that Bahrain had failed to deliver on the contract they signed after he accepted to become a citizen in 2003. The son of former world champion Billy Konchellah, Gregory Konchellah/Kamel said "Promises are not honoured. Sometimes I can go for several months without a salary. When I ask for the money I am told to wait," adding ""I am prepared to come back home and run for Kenya at the 2009 World championships in Berlin," AFP informs. The Gulf Daily News reports that Kamel's threat has come apparently as a response to a warning issued to Kamel by the Bahrain Athletics Association (BAA) after he left his training camp in Ethiopia earlier this week without permission from either the BAA or his coach Tareq Sabt, Maryam Yusuf Jamal's husband. "If Youssef is truly serious about giving up his Bahraini citizenship, then the BAA board will also look at it seriously and take a final decision in the next few weeks," BAA president Shaikh Talal declared. "He has made statements like this many times before," is the quote from Bahrain. He clocked Asian record this summer 1:42.79 at Herculis Meet in Monte Carlo and was fifth at Olympic Games.
EUROPEAN CC NEWS
FINLAND: Former SPAR European Cross Country champion Annemari Sandell-Hyvärinen will lead the Finnish challenge in Brussels. It will mark the return of the 1995 winner after an eight-year long hiatus. The 31-year old, who is now mother of two, had a brilliant start to her career in early 90s, creating several national records that stands till date. Sandell participated in the SPAR European Cross Country Championships between 1996 to 1998 and finished on the podium twice. The Finnish contingent comprises of 11-athletes in four categories. Senior runners will be Mårten Boström and Juha Puttonen on men side and Annemari Sandell-Hyvärinen on the women.
SWITZERLAND: Swiss Athletics announced a 10-member team. 25-year-old Stephane Joly will lead the Swiss contingent along with Ueli Koch in the men's senior category. Alexandre Roch will be the only representative in the U23 category, while Maxime Zermatten and Christophe Ryffel will lead the challenge in the junior category. Swiss athletics has decided not to field any athlete in the women's senior category, while Astrid Leutert will be the only runner to feature in the U23 category. Tiffany Langel, Priska auf der Maur, Martina Tresch and Celine Hauert will be participating in the junior girl's category.
AUSTRIA: Austria is sending 10 runners. Full teams for men senior and men U23 category and two junior girls. The names - men: Martin Pröll, Florian Prüller, Michael Schmid, Martin Steinbauer, U23: Felix Kernbichler, Valentin Pfeil, Christian Steinhammer, Dominik Zierler. The two junior girls are Lisa-Maria Leutner and Jennifer Wenth.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Two runners will participate from Czech Republic. Milan Kocourek in men´s U23 race and Lucie Sekanova in junior girls competition.
LUXEMBOURG: The only athlete of this country will be male senior Pascal Groben. The 31-years old runner who is mainly a steeple specialist with 8:56 best will debut at a big event.
PORTUGAL: Portugal is sending full teams for all six races. Very strong is the female one with Ines Monteiro beeing in good shape. On the other hand the male senior team is this time having only Rui Pedro Silva as the top contender. In U23 races Nuno Costa and Ercilia Machado are to be considered for top honours as the juniors Bruno Albuquerque and Daniela Cunha. Here the teams - Senior (M): Rui Pedro Silva, Licínio Pimentel, José Ramos, Eduardo Mbengani, Pedro Ribeiro, Rui Teixeira, Senior (W):Inês Monteiro, Jessica Augusto, Anália Rosa, Dulce Félix, Ana Dias, Sara Moreira. U-23 (M): Nuno Costa, António Silva, Ruben Brás, Vítor Reis, João Lopes, Ricardo Mateus, U-23 (W): Ercília Machado, Solange Jesus, Ana Ferreira, Tânia Silva, Joana Costa (only 5), Junior (M): Bruno Albuquerque, Jorge Santa Cruz, Pedro Vieira, Paulo Lopes, Paulo Pinheiro, Filipe Ferreira, Junior (W): Daniela Cunha, Catarina Ribeiro, Carla Salomé Rocha, Liliana Teixeira, Liliana Almeida, Catarina Lima.
POLAND: In total 21 runners (11 men and 10 women) will represent Poland in Brussels. The number one is the only female senior runner Karolina Jarzynska who is currently competing in top shape. No senior men will come, but full junior and U23 teams. The U23 runner Kamil Murzyn will compete already for fifth time at the event. The teams - men U23: Blazej Brzezinski, Marcin Chabowski, Mateusz Demczyszak, Arkadiusz Gardzielewski, Kamil Murzyn, Lukasz Skoczynski, men junior: Przemyslaw Baran, Damian Kabat, Damian Noga, Lukasz Oslizlo, Krystian Zalewski, women U23: Aleksandra Jawor, Izabela Trzaskalska, Anna Wojna, Anna Wojtulewicz, women junior: Alicja Benedyk, Katarzyna Broniatowska, Katarzyna Guz, Danuta Urbanik, Karolina Waszak.
NORWAY: Only one team from Norway will be junior boys with six runners. In total the squad will have 8 names added by two seniors Kirsten Melkevik Otterbu for women race and Nordic CC Champion Oystein Sylta for men. The juniors are: Sondre Nordstad Moen, Lars Erik Malde, Lars Nesbø Bakke, Sindre Buraas, Tom Erling Kårbø and Henrik Ingebrigtsen.
ITALY: In total 28 athletes will compete from Italy having teams for all six races. In men category to note the participation of Daniele Meucci who won bronze medal in U23 category in 2006 and Andrea Lalli who won junior gold in the same year (is competing in U23 race). In the women team the Olympic finalist in steeple Elena Romagnolo and European indoor 2007 bronze medalist at 3000 m Silvia Weissteiner. The teams - men: Giammarco Buttazzo, Gabriele De Nard, Giovanni Gualdi, Stefano La Rosa, Daniele Meucci, Stefano Scaini, U23: Bernard Dematteis, Martin Dematteis, Antonio Garavello, Simone Gariboldi, Andrea Lalli, junior: Manuel Cominotto, Ahmed El Mazoury, Giovanni Fortino, Riccardo Passeri, Davide Ragusa. Women: Federica Dal Ri, Ilaria Di Santo, Emma Quaglia, Elena Romagnolo, Silvia Weissteiner, U23: Valentina Costanza, Martina Rocco, Elisa Stefani, Giorgia Vasari, junior: Lucia Colì, Veronica Inglese, Jessica Pulina
SWEDEN: The main name in Swedish team is the steeple record holder and Olympic finalist Mustafa Mohamed. His team-mates will be Erik Sjoqvist, Oskar Kack, Erik Petersson and Johan Wallerstein. Also full women team is expected to compete with Ida Nilsson, Lisa Blomme, Hanna Karlsson, Ulrika Johnasson and Karin Sennvall. The only U23 representative will be female runner Lena Orn and also the junior girls category will see a sole runner in Mary Alenbratt. But junior boys will have the full team with Mikael Ekvall, Andreas Ahwall, Erik Johansson, Eric Senorski and Anton Danielson.
UKRAINE: Ukraine is sending four teams out of six. The main name is the record winner of the event Serhiy Lebid who won in the past the event for seven times. His other team-mates will by Yevhen Bozhko, Ihor Heletiy and Vitaliy Rybak. The only women senior runner will be the 2006 European champion Tetyana Holovchenko. Also in women U23 the sole representative is Anna Mihel. The remaining teams - men U23: Ruslan Glibov, Maksim Krivonos, Ruslan Pechnikov, Serhiy Rybak, junior: Oleksandr Domanchuk, Vasyl Koval, Viktor Kurochka, Oleksandr Tershovchyn, Oleksandr Zhulinskyi, junior girls: Yulia Kutah, Viktoriya Pohorelska, Myroslava Polishchuk and Olha Skrypak.
IRELAND: Ireland´s top runner Fionnuala Britton will miss out on competing in European Cross Country in Belgium as she has not recovered to full fitness in time. Reserve Kerry Harty has now been called up to join the rest of the women's team of Deirdre Byrne, Hazel Murphy, Aoife Byrne and Ava Hutchinson.
LONDON (GBR): British 400 m runner Nicola Sanders will not try to defend her title from Birmingham 2007. She is focusing solely on the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Berlin, 2009. As she says for IAAF: "Berlin's the focus of my year. It's nice to have a champs that's not on the other side of the World. Hopefully, I'll get back to my 2007 form – the event hasn't moved on. Sanya (Richards) is obviously a massive threat but Christine showed she's not invincible and lots could stand out this year but I've got as good a chance as anyone." Now, having settled into her new home and training regime, she faces the long, hard winter slog of training; interspersed with a month-long stretch of a warm-weather training and competition stint in the spring. With plans to register a few 200m races in the warmth of the USA, in addition to contesting the British and European circuit this summer, Sanders' primary aim is merely to do more races than in the last couple of summer seasons.
WARSZAWA (POL): Poland´s Athletes of the year are Shot Put Olympic winner Tomasz Majewski (1420 points) and fifth Olympic Pole Vaulter Monika Pyrek (840 points). For Majewski first win in this ranking, for Pyrek already fifth. The poll is organised for 39th time by daily newspaper "Sport" and Polish Athletics Federation PZLA. In the women category last year winner Anna Jesien (400 m Hurdles, 590) was second ahead of hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk (560). Last year male winner Marek Plawgo (805) was third, still before him discus thrower Piotr Malachowski (1205) who won a silver at Olympics. The ranking is based on points for positions in top events. Record holders in this ranking are Irena Szewinska and Robert Korzeniowski, both were able in their careers to win seven times. The official ceremony was held on Tuesday in the John Paul the second Olympic Center in Warszawa.
LAUSANNE (SUI): Churandy Martina hearing that should decide in his case of disqualification in Beijing Olympic 200 m final has been delayed until next year. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said that an appeal filed by the Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee over Churandy Martina's disqualification for running out of his lane will now be heard on January 15. The case was scheduled for this Friday but all parties in the case - including the United States Olympic Committee and the International Association of Athletics Federations governing body - agreed to the postponement. The silver medal was awarded to Shawn Crawford with another American, Walter Dix, getting the bronze after Martina´s disqualification (initially second). Crawford already in summer gave the medal to Martina as a fair-play gesture. A CAS ruling is expected several weeks after the hearing.
WIEN (AUT): Best Austrian female athlete 2006 and 2007 became a mother. Discus thrower Veronika Watzek gave birth to a son Fabian on Nov 29 at 20.52 hrs. The boy is ok, 49 cm and 2.968 kg. She was still able this July to win the National Championships in discus.
LONDON (GBR): Athletics has suffered a budget cut for the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics but 17 other sports will enjoy increases, figures released by funding body UK Sport. The 17 sports including cycling, sailing, swimming and rowing - all successful in Beijing - have been given increases after meeting their targets for the last Games. The athletics budget will drop from 26.5m GBP in the run-up to Beijing to 25.1m GBP over the next four years.
LAS VEGAS (USA): Devine Racing, the Chicago-based event management company which in 2005 bought the Las Vegas International Marathon & Half-Marathon, moved it to December and renamed it the New Las Vegas Marathon, has completed the sale of the event to San Diego-based Competitor Group, the owner of the renowned Rock 'N' Roll-branded marathons throughout the United States. According to an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Devine will manage this year's race, which takes place on Sunday, then immediately relinquish control to Competitor Group's event management company, Elite Racing. Informs Race Results Weekly.
MUNICH (GER): The website eurotuner.com informs that the black BMW M3 Coupe, destined for the fastest man in the world, is currently on its way to Kingston, Jamaica and will be handed over to Usain Bolt before Christmas. The Olympic Champion was in Munich before the World Athletics Gala to experience the outstanding driving characteristics of his future BMW M3 while driving it to its limits at the BMW Vehicle Test Facility in Aschheim near Munich. "It was a fascinating experience", commented the athlete following almost three hours of BMW Driver Training, writes Eurotuner.
RABAT (MAR): Moroccan Olympic medallists were rewarded by Morocco's Ministry for Sports and Youth during an official ceremony held on Monday December 1st. Jaouad Gharib was awarded 750,000 dirhams (about 86,000 USD) for his silver medal in the marathon, while Hasna Benhassi's bronze medal in the 800m brought her 450,000 dirhams (about 51,000 USD), Aujourd'hui le Maroc informs.
NEW DELHI (IND): Indian New Delhi will stage the 2010 Commonwealth Games despite the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai, officials insisted. Informs insidethegames.com. Michael Fennel, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federaton (CGF), dismissed claims that the federation was looking for a stand-by venue. The claims arose after Michael Hooper, the chief executive of the CGF, had last week refused to rule out the possibility of the Games being switched from India after nearly 200 people were massacred in the terrorist attack. World Squash Doubles Championships in Chennai were postponed after advice from Australia's High Commission that it was not safe to travel there.
LONDON (GBR): European long jump silver medallist Greg Rutherford firmly believes next year will see him fulfil his vast potential and be a strong candidate for a medal at the World Championships in Berlin. Rutherford admits he was deeply disappointed at last summer's Olympic Games where sickness cost him a medal when he felt he was on target for a podium finish. Informs David Martin. He was then 10th in the Olympic final and revealed: "What wasn't known was I was ill during my time out there and I was rushed to hospital the day after my final. I had multiple infections around my body but at the time it wasn't a good idea to let that be known because it would have just looked like excuses." Rutherford will start his new campaign by competing in the UK Athletics Major Event Series starting with the Aviva International Match in Glasgow on January 31. Then he will line-up at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships, Sheffield, on February 14/15 and the Aviva Grand Prix hosted by Birmingham, February 21.
EDINBURGH (GBR): Kenya's former track 5000 m world champion Eliud Kipchoge will be under serious pressure when attempting to regain the Bupa Great Edinburgh International Cross Country title at the beginning of the New Year. The injured Kenenisa Bekele will not be around to chase a fourth successive win but Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea and another Kenyan Augustine Choge will both provide Kipchoge with serious opposition in Holyrood Park on January 10 in the IAAF permit Cross Country race, writes David Martin.
HYDERABAD (IND, Nov 30): Fast times at Indian Half-Marathon. Singh Kumar clocked 1:03:22 and Sandeep Kumar 1:03:28. Kavita Raut was the women winner in more realistic 1:18:09.
GORNJA STUBICA (CRO, Nov 30): National CC Champions were crowned Drazen Dinjar in men´s 9 km race (32:13) and Liljana Culibrk in women´s 6 km (25:05).
Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.
For more on NXN this weekend: http://www.atf-athlete.com