Liu Xiang Surgery Successful, by Alfons Juck, Note by Larry Eder

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When Liu Xiang halted his hurdling at the Beijing Olympics in round one, after less than twenty-five meters of running, the sixty thousand fans in the Birds' Nest gasped. The rest of the day, on nine Chinese TV stations, the coverage of Liu Xiang went from shock to despair to eulogizing the athlete and his coach. Within days of his injury, Liu Xiang apologized to the Chinese people.

Well, all of China should be relieved that their most famous athlete has made it through his planned surgery in an hour long surgery. Four pieces of bone were removed from his
Achilles tendon on his right foot. His rehabilitation will begin in days, but it is not known when he should be able to resume competing.

Also, the BBC and UK Athletics worked out a deal for the televising of the major events that UK Athletics holds in thier country, with a deal that goes through 2014. This is important for the sport.

What is scary for the sport is that the EBU was not given a deal for the 2014 and 2016
Olympics by the IOC. That could mean that Olympic viewing will only be on cable or pay for view in Europe, drastically cutting down viewing options in Europe for those two Olympics.


BBC AND UK ATHLETICS WITH NEW DEAL

LONDON (GBR): UK Athletics (UKA) has announced that its major domestic track and field meetings will be televised live on the BBC until well after the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. In current difficult situation in the world economy this is great news for athletics not only in UK, but also in general. The governing body has confirmed that the BBC will remain as the host broadcaster for its Major Events Series for the next six years until December 2014. The news comes on the day UK Athletics finalised the details of its 2009 Major Events Series confirming that the flagship Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace has again been ratified by the IAAF as a two-day event in 2009, following the success of such a move this year. Next year's programme of live UKA events on the BBC will kick off with the Aviva International match in Glasgow on January 31 and finish with the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead on bank holiday Monday, August 31 (IAAF Grand Prix). The traditional highlight will be the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on July 24 and 25. The other events televised by the BBC in 2009 will be the indoor Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham in February (IAAF Permit) and the Aviva World Trials in the same city in July, which act as the main selection meeting for Britain's team for the World Championships in Berlin. Writes David Martin.


LIU XIANG SURGERY SUCCESSFUL

HOUSTON (USA): Chinese star hurdler Liu Xiang underwent successfully his surgery in Houston, USA, agencies are informing. „During an hour-long surgery, the 25-year-old Liu had four small pieces of bone - ranging in size from a pea to a navy bean - removed from the Achilles' tendon in his right foot", said Dr. Thomas Clanton, who performed the procedure at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. All looks optimistic that he should run again. The question mark remains when, most probably not in 2009.


RYBOVA HAS A SON

PRAHA (CZE): Former World and European indoor Pole Vault champion Pavla Rybova (31, formerly Hamackova) became a mother on Wednesday. The son received the name after his father Jiri. He was 3.89 kg and 51 cm big. His father Jiri Ryba is a former decathlete. She won a bronze also at 2005 World Championships in Helsinki. Whether she returns to jumping remains open.


MAKAU TO DEBUT IN MARATHON

HEERENBERG (NED): Kenyan long distance star Patrick Makau will not compete on Sunday at Wincanton Montferland 15 km race because of visa problem. But he will return to Netherlands next spring. He will run first the Den Haag Half-Marathon and then to debut at the marathon in Rotterdam. Makau competed this year in seven half-marathons, won five of them and got a silver medal at World Championships. The main star for Sunday so remains World Half-Marathon champion Lornah Kiplagat. She also announced that for 2009 her main aim will be marathon and the ultimate goal is London 2012 Olympic Marathon. Also a book was recently published with the title „From Jesse Owens to Lornah Kiplagat". It is not only about top sports personalities but mainly about the Lornah story.


ROMANIAN TEAM FOR BRUSSELS

BUCURESTI (ROU): Romanian Ancuta Bobocel will try to defend her U23 European Cross Country title next weekend in Brussels. She is one of the 8 runners selected from Romania to compete in Belgium. No senior women is entered, but senior men is the best current long distance runner in the country Marius Ionescu who is European junior champion 2003 at 10 000 m. The only team will be junior men with Trifan Adrian Ionel, Roman Rares, Daniel Preda, Alexandru Ghinea, Alexandru Corolevschi and Sorin Minerean.


LAHSSINI OUT

PARIS (FRA) : El Hassan Lahssini has been withdrawn from the French team for the European Cross-Country Championships in Brussels and replaced by Hassan Hirt. The athlete didn't meet the requirements of the longitudinal monitoring set up by the French federation.


HIGHTOWER IS THE PRESIDENT

RENO (USA): Former world class hurdler Stephanie Hightower was elected to a four-year term as USA Track & Field's president Friday at the 2008 USATF Annual Meeting at the Silver Legacy Resort in Reno, Nevada. As USATF writes, she succeeds two-term incumbent Bill Roe, whose eight years as USA Track & Field's President will come to an end on Sunday, the final day of the Annual Meeting. Hightower led the way after the first round of voting with 304 votes, with USATF Vice President Dee Jensen in second place with 263 votes and former USATF Vice President Bob Bowman in third place with 58 votes, which caused him to be eliminated. In the afternoon runoff election, Hightower was the victor with 328 votes, with Jensen tallying 300 votes.

Hightower brings a wealth of experience to the USATF presidency. In addition to serving as USATF's Women's Track & Field Committee Chair, she started her USATF Board service as a member of the Athletes Advisory Committee (ACC) and serving as AAC Secretary and AAC/USOC representative. She was ranked number one in USA in 1980-82 at 100 m Hurdles. Previous USATF Presidents include Dr. Evie Dennis (1979-1980), Jimmy Carnes (1980-1984), Dr. LeRoy Walker (1984-1988), Frank Greenberg (1988-1992), Larry Ellis (1992-1996), Pat Rico (1996-2000) and Bill Roe (2000-2008).


AMSALEM RE-ELECTED

PARIS (FRA) : Bernard Amsalem was re-elected for a third term as president of the French federation. He got 66.59 percent of votes and so beat his principal opponent Philippe Lamblin who was the president in period 1997-2001. Other candidates were former head-coach Richard Descoux, Joel Lucas and former marathon runner Chantal Langlace.


ROBLES AND LOLO ANNOUNCED

KARLSRUHE (GER): As first German indoor meet the IAAF Permit of Karlsruhe (Feb 15) announced its first top stars for the coming edition. Olympic Hurdles champion Dayron Robles, US World Indoor Champion Lolo Jones and home High Jump star Ariane Friedrich are the first top names. It will be the 25th anniversary of the meet and for the first time Alain Blondel is in charge as Meeting Director, since Siegfried König decided to step back and to hand over to his athletes coordinator Blondel after this year's meeting. The 24th edition of the meeting in February had been crowned by Susanna Kallur's world record. The Swede clocked 7.68 seconds in the 60m Hurdles, writes IAAF. The men's Pole Vault could well produce another highlight as five top German vaulters have already been signed with Danny Ecker, the world bronze medallist from Osaka, former World Indoor Champion Tim Lobinger, the reigning World Junior Champion Raphael Holzdeppe plus Björn Otto and Fabian Schulze. "Since we will have the 25th edition we will invite all those athletes who have broken a European or a World Record in the history of our meeting," said Blondel, who has already received several confirmations.


OTHER NEWS

COLORADO SPRINGS (USA): The economic crisis has forced the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to cut its administrative costs by 10 percent in 2009, although athletes will see their funding increased by the same amount a year ahead of the 2010 Winter Games. The proposed 2009 budget will be presented to the USOC Board when new chairman Larry Probst runs his first meeting since succeeding Peter Ueberroth in October. The USOC hopes to reduce its 450-member staff through natural wastage and by not filling open positions, chief executive Jim Scherr said.

BEIJING (CHN): Beijing has started selling souvenir sets of left-over grass and steel from its famed Bird's Nest Olympic stadium for 2,900 yuan (420 dollars) each. The packs include grass cut on the night of the Games' closing ceremony, preserved in a clear box, and model Olympic torches made of steel that was not used for construction of the National Stadium, the Beijing News said. There are 10,000 souvenir sets available for sale inside the Bird's Nest, as well as various department stores around Beijing and online, AFP informs.

PARIS (FRA): Eurosport will broadcast a document about the wedding in Addis Ababa of newly-crowned 5000m & 10,000m Olympic Champion Tirunesh Dibaba and 10,000m Silver medallist Sileshi Sihine on Monday Dec 8 at 6.45 pm (GMT) at second channel. Eurosport journalist Angus Torode was the only European journalist present and as he says: „It was a wonderful experience on a personal level, while professionally it provided me and therefore Eurosport with a fantastic exclusive story illuminated by some fascinating and beautiful pictures. On top of the pictures of the Wedding ceremonies and celebrations, I was also able to interview the happy couple, plus other Ethiopian star athletes Gete Wami, Meseret Defar and Haile Gebrsalassie, in English and in Amharic; also a rare interview with another Olympic distance champion Deratu Tulu." The 13-minute programme follows the path of the Wedding celebrations themselves, plus the path to that day ,including how they met and how rival Meseret played Fairy Godsister, despite the rest of the World believing the relationship between the two women is hostile.

ARNSTADT (GER): As local media are informing the 33rd High Jump with Music, the best indoor special meet in the world is secured. New title sponsor has been found and so top athletes like home star Ariane Friedrich, Russians Anna Chicherova, Andrey Silnov and Yaroslav Rybakov can compete. From the stars for the moment only Croatian Blanka Vlasic goes a different way as on the same day the IAAF Permit meet in Stuttgart also stages women High Jump. In Arnstadt as usual only 8 men and 8 women will start.

LAUSANNE (SUI): As media are informing, the IOC refused the offer of EBU for TV rights of Olympic Games 2014 and 2016. EBU said it was surprised how high were the financial expectations of IOC. Since 1956 the EBU always won the right to broadcast the Olympic Games. For Beijing Games EBU paid 443,4 millions USD and for Winter Games 2006 in Torino 135 million USD. The rights for EBU are secured in connection with 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and 2012 London Games. First signal of changes was that for 2014 Winter Games the rights for Italy and Turkey were sold to private companies.

RENO (USA): At the Annual Awards Breakfast Saturday morning at the 2008 USA Track & Field Annual Meeting, award winners were announced for their achievements on and off the track. Interesting to note that long time Track and Field News writer and statistician Dave Johnson got the Meet Director of the Year Award for his work at Penn Relays. Deena Kastor is the Runner of the Year. Gill Athletics Field Athlete of the Year is Olympic silver winner in heptathlon Hyleas Fountain. Renowned coach Bobby Kersee gets the Joseph Robichaux Award for Women´s Track and Field. In the same category Olympic medalists Shalane Flanagan and Stephanie Brown Trafton will receive C.C. Jackson Awards. Harrison Dillard Award goes to 400 m runner LaShawn Merritt, Glenn Cunningham Award to Bernard Lagat, Jim Thorpe Award for Derek Miles, Al Oerter Male Thrower of the Year is Christian Cantwell. John Bennett Award for Bryan Clay and Shirley Crow.

MONTE CARLO (MON): Latest two doping cases confirmed by IAAF. Polish javelin thrower Pawel Rakoczy who was with 77.71 second at National Championships this year was caught at U23 match with Germany in June I Rostock for sibutramine and received a public warning. Young Russian long jumper Dmitriy Grishin (19) is the second case (PB 762). He had positive test at Caucasus Cup Meet in May this year and is banned for two years until October 2010.


RESULTS

BARINGO (KEN, Dec 6): As IAAF informs 25-year-old Vincent Loritam from Tegla Lorupe's stable in West Pokot district is the new Baringo Half-Marathon champion after emerging the strongest during the fourth edition with 1:02:06.4. He beat home boy William Chebon by 17 seconds. The women's 15km event was won by Reims marathon winner Agnes Kiprop in 50:55 ahead of Joan Ayabei (52:13) and Diana Chepkemoi (53:26).

GENEVE (SUI, Dec 6): Kenyan Mike Kigen won the 31st Escalade Road Race in Geneve. At 7.25 km he achieved 20:24 and beat Ethiopian Tolossa Chengere (20:39) and Eritrean Abraham Tadesse (20:50). One of the best European long distance runners home star Viktor Rothlin was fourth in 20:56. Former Olympic winner Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia won the women 4.75 km race in 15:26 beating her team-mate Tsige Worku by 2 seconds (15:28). Third place for best European runner Karolina Jarzynska of Poland (15:48). She competes also next weekend in Brussels at European CC Championships. The entries closed at 26,880 runners.

GOSSAU (SUI, Dec 6): Kenyan wins at Christmas Race here. Hosea Tuei clocked 24:24.5 and Emily Biwott 28:22.1 at 8.18 km.

BOONE (USA, Dec 5): In of the first indoor meetings in USA Virginia Tech senior distance runner Tasmin Fanning (21) shattered the school record in the 3000 m with 9:08.77. She was recently third at NCAA CC Championships.

AMES (USA, Dec 5): Sprinter Rae Edwards (10.06 100 m best) clocked solid 6.69 in his season opening 60 m here. He was third last season at US Indoor Championships. Another US Trials short dash semifinalist Ivory Williams tried at 400 m with 47.93. 13.34 summer runner Dexter Faulk opened with 7.86 at 60 m Hurdles.

CANBERRA (AUS, Dec 6): On Saturday at the Pacific School Games the latest Australian sprinting talent Melissa Breen (18) completed the double, clocking 11.35 (+3.8) in the 100 m. In the equivalent men's age group, Jared Bezuidenhout collected his third medal of the Games. With the assistance of a huge 5.2 m/s tailwind, the West Australian flew home to win in 10.56. In other 100m results, New South Wales sprinter Jake Hammond won the boys 17 years in a very quick 10.51 (3.1), Queensland's Mitchell Flesman was victorious in the boys 16 years final in 10.68 (5.0). Theophilos Toumazos of South Australia obliterated the old Games record in Pole Vaultrecord by a massive 50cm. The 17-year-old had the gold medal in his grasp when the bar reached 3.80m, but he continued on solo, successfully clearing all marks up to 4.70m before three unsuccessful attempts at 4.80m eventually ended his run. Informs Athletics Australia.

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