EME News Special Edition, By Alfons Juck

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Alfons updates us on the difference between TFN's World Rankings and the European based, Athletics International Global Merit Rankings.....

EME NEWS (JAN 1, 2009) NEW YEAR SPECIAL

Thank you to all EME NEWS readers and contributors for 2008 support. Wishing to all of you a nice, healthy and happy 2009 with some more world records and great athletics.

WORLD RANKINGS: The biggest differences in men´s 800 m race

MOUNTAIN VIEW (USA): Californian magazine Track and Field News has in total of 11 events olympic winners not ranked as number ones in its 62nd edition of World Rankings. It is the same number as Athletics International, here the panel also had in 11 events non Beijing gold medalists as leaders. In men section Kenyans Alfred Kirwa Yego at 800 m, Haron Keitany at 1500 m and Paul Kipsiele Koech in steeple. Also ranked number one and not Olympic gold medalists are Kerron Clement at 400 m Hurdles and Yevgeniy Lukyanenko in Pole Vault. In women section Sanya Richards is number one at 400 m, Maryam Jamal at 1500 m, Lolo Jones at 100 m Hurdles, Irina Mikitenko in marathon, Blanka Vlasic in High Jump and Tatyana Lebedeva in Triple Jump in non-olympic winners department. In all other events Olympic gold medalists are ranked in top position. In comparison with similar rankings of Athletics International (and published by Athletics Weekly) the differences in number one positions are in men´s 800 m as AI has Abubaker Kaki (only 8th by TFN) and TFN Alfred Kirwa Yego, another difference is at 1500 m with Rashid Ramzi at AI and Haron Keitany by TFN. Third difference is in marathon whereby AI has Haile Gebrselassie and TFN Samuel Wanjiru. Fourth difference at men´s 400 m Hurdles, AI has Angelo Taylor and TFN Kerron Clement as number one. Fifth and last men different number one is the pole vault. AI is having Steve Hooker and TFN Yevgeniy Lukyanenko. In women section only two events with different number ones. Discus as AI has Yarelis Barrios and TFN Stephanie Trafton-Brown and Heptathlon with AI having Hyleas Fountain and TFN Natalya Dobrynska.

The lowest position for olympic winner by TFN is the number three for Nancy Lagat at 1500 m and Dawn Harper at 100 m Hurdles, all other not number ones and Beijing winners are ranked as second. AI had the same Lagat and Harper as third, but also Wilfried Bungei at 800 m and Constantina Dita in marathon.

As in AI rankings all olympic medalists are ranked, the lowest is number seven for four women Natalya Tobias at 1500 m, Zhou Chunxiu in marathon, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep at 100 m Hurdles and Olena Antonova in discus. The lowest male olympic medalist ranking by TFN is number six for US 400 m bronze winner David Neville. AI had as lowest the 800 m silver medalist Ahmad Ismail of Sudan as ninth, TFN has him as fourth.

AI had in 6 men (5000 m, 400mHurdles, triple, hammer, decathlon, 20 km walk) and 6 women events (200, 800, 10 000, steeple, hammer, javelin) the same top three order as the Beijing podium. TFN has this in five men events (200, 5000, hammer, decathlon, 20 km walk) and even 10 women events (100, 200, 800, 10 000, steeple, pole vault, hammer, javelin, heptathlon, 20 km walk).

EUROPEAN VIEW

MOUNTAIN VIEW: TFN has 18 European athletes as leaders and that is by two more than AI. The same ones are all male throws (Majewski, Kanter, Thorkildsen, Kozmus) added by three jumps (Silnov, Evora and Lukyanenko) and both walks (Borchin, Schwazer). In women section three jumps (Vlasic, Isinbayeva, Lebedeva in triple), two throws (Menkova, Spotakova), walk (Kaniskina), steeple (Galkina), marathon (Mikitenko) and heptathlon (Dobrynska). The two more in comparison to AI are Lukyanenko and Dobrynska. TFN has four men events without any European ranked (100, 800, 5000, 10 000) and only one women event (200 m). In other five events only one European athlete is ranked (men´s 200, 1500, marathon, long jump and women´s 100 m). All top three places for Europe are in the same events for both AI and TFN – men high jump, discus, javelin and women high jump, javelin and 20 km walk.

2009 INDOOR PREVIEW

TOP NAMES: Robles, Jelimo, Vlasic, Isinbayeva, Lagat

SPRINTS: With top guns Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay not planning to run indoors there is the question who will be the fastest in the world? Walter Dix and Richard Thompson may run something, in Europe Dwain Chambers wants to attack the number one position. Top 400 m runners may stay away from undercover season although Kerron Clement plans some.

Women situation is more difficult with all the best Jamaicans not planning to run indoor. Some US runners may do the Visa series and in Europe the situation might open for Briton Jeannette Kwakye.

DISTANCES: All top 800 m runners are planning indoor races (Bungei, Borzakovskiy, Kaki etc.) let´s see who will be the fastest. Bernard Lagat, Nick Willis are planning fast races in milers department. Longer events without injured Kenenisa Bekele must not be at level of previous years although names like Paul Koech or Daniel Kipchirchir Komen are planning some fast races.

Pamela Jelimo plans her first indoor races ever (mile in Birmingham and 1000 m in Praha), let´s see the plans for Ethiopian top duo. As for now both announced one competition (Meseret Defar in Stuttgart and Tirunesh Dibaba in Birmingham), in both cases one more is likely.

HURDLES: Dayron Robles could be easily the male athlete of the winter with his full planned schedule in Europe and aims to attack the world 60mH record. In women department Lolo Jones could be the clear choice for something fast as for example Susanna Kallur and Dawn Harper will be not running.

JUMPS: In men High Jump Andrey Silnov looks questionable for the winter so the space is open for new leaders also because Stefan Holm retired and Germaine Mason underwent a surgery. Both top pole vaulters Steven Hooker and Yevgeniy Lukyanenko plan to compete so a six metres mark could be well registered. Long Jump situation looks good for Italian Andrew Howe as he will have European Championships in his home country and Louis Tsatoumas is not planning any competitions. At world level Irving Saladino will not compete indoors. In triple jump olympic winner Nelson Evora plans to compete in Torino and could be the number one.

In women high jump Blanka Vlasic might be the clear queen as her rivals Tia Hellebaut (retirement) and Yelena Slesarenko (no indoors) will not compete. The only threat as of now could be German Ariane Friedrich having so far very good training. Vlasic might come close to world record level. The same for Yelena Isinbayeva who plans 3-4 meets indoors and in all could break her own world indoor mark. She has the space as the difference between her outdoor and indoor mark is exactly 10 centimetres. In long and triple jump new names will be leading as Naide Gomes and Tatyana Lebedeva will not compete indoors.

OTHERS: Men´s shot put will see US top trio competing (Cantwell, Hoffa, Nelson). But as US circuit offers enough competition possibility the question remains whether they will travel to Europe and face for example Olympic winner Tomasz Majewski. In heptathlon Bryan Clay will not compete indoors at all. Olympic silver medalist Andrey Kravchenko could be the bet for gold in Torino, but all-time hero Roman Sebrle plans another attack for the top spot.

Women shot put will not see Olympic and world winner Valerie Vili in Europe (because of her Oceanian season) and so the space could be open for Belarus or German guns. Indoor pentathlon in Torino could see an interesting battle if Olympic winner Natalya Dobrynska decides to compete against strong Briton Kelly Sotherton and many others from the new generation of European combined eventers.

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Special thanks to Alfons Juck for his support in 2008.

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