Haile Going for 2:03:20? by Alfons Juck, Notes by Larry Eder

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In the EME News for today, Alfons Juck notes that Haile Gebrselassie is in great shape, better than his winning shape for last years' Dubai marathon, which is scheduled for January 16, 2009. If he breaks his world record, that means $1.25 million payday. Haile is not one for exaggeration, so his suggestion that he could run 2:02.59 more likely 2:03.20 makes sense. It is absolutely mind boggling, but it makes sense. My pick: Haile runs 2:03:45 to break his current world record. We shall see, less than ten days from now!

EME NEWS (JAN 6-7, 2009)

DYLDIN BEATS BORZAKOVSKIY

YEKATERINBURG (RUS, Jan 7): Russian quarter miler and Olympic medalist Maksim Dyldin clocked solid 1:01.65 at 500 m and beat former 800 m Olympic winner Yuriy Borzakovskiy (1:01.77, PB). But for the two-lapper a excellent time and shows he is having good form before major European indoor meets later in February. At 18th Yalamov Memorial meet organised by local club Luch former world indoor medalist Andrey Yepishin won the 60 m but was not satisfied with 6.80, same time for second Ivan Teplykh. World Indoor bronze medalist Yevgeniy Borisov achieved fast 7.59 to win the 60 m Hurdles ahead of Igor Peremota (7.78). Yevgeniy Shishakov was the unexpected High jump winner with 220, the same height for former world champion Vyacheslav Voronin and Aleksandr Shustov in next places. European relay medalist Tatyana Veshkurova won the 300 m in new PB 37.50 which belongs to top 50 of all-time list. 19 years old Yekaterina Yefimova clocked excellent 37.58 for second and showed she could be the new name in Russian 400 m scene. Even more higher quality the 600 m 1:26.11 by Mariya Savinova what is number 12 in all-time performer list. Also excellent 1:26.87 for second Oksana Sukhachova. For both improvements showing they can also be very fast at 800 m. The only Russian 1500 m Olympian from Beijing Anna Alminova achieved good quality 5:48.37 at 200 m. Mariya Bolikova clocked 7.27 60 m win and Tatyana Dektyareva 8.27 at 60 m Hurdles.

SNOW AT CAMPACCIO

SAN GIORGIO (ITA, Jan 6): Snow made conditions very tough at the 52nd edition of the Campaccio EA Permit Cross Country race. Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya and Aniko Kalovics from Hungary took the honours in the famous cross country race of San Giorgio su Legnano. Kipchoge, who ran for the first time in snowy conditions, held off eight-times european cross country champion Sergiy Lebid from the Ukraine in the men's 10 km. Lebid went to the front building up a solid gap in the first two laps and continued to run in the front until the third lap but after 18 minutes on the clock Kipchoge began to close the gap on the multiple european cross country champion. Kipchoge managed to catch up on Lebid with 22 minutes on the clock during the third lap. During the last lap Kipchoge increased his gap on Lebid. Inside the local stadium of San Giorgio Kipchoge unleashed his decisive kick beating Lebid by two seconds. Kipchoge crossed the finish-line in 29:56 to Lebid's 29:58. Leonard Komon, world cross country silver medallist from Edinburgh last year, finished third in 30:12. Andrea Lalli finished as first european under 23 runner in fourth overall position in 30:23 holding off Edwin Soi by five seconds. Kipchoge will take on Lebid again on Saturday 10 January in the Edinburgh IAAF Cross Country race. Aniko Kalovics took her second win in San Giorgio su Legnano repeating her victory in 2004. The hungarian cross country and road race star took a gun-to-tape win beating olympic finalist and italian 3000 metres steeplechase record holder Elena Romagnolo. Kalovics went to the front from the early stage of the race during the first of three laps of the women's 6 km race. The hungarian led over Elena Romagnolo by 11 seconds, which she increased to 22 seconds at the end of the second lap. Kalovics cliched her second win in San Giorgio repeating her feat of 2004. Kalovics, who prepared for this race in Potchefstroom in South Africa for three weeks, took the race unchallenged crossing the finish-line in 20:33 beating Elena Romagnolo by 29 seconds. Italian Federica Dal Ri prevailed over Holovchenko in a dramatic sprint for third place. Both Dal Ri and Holovchenko shared the same time of 21:21.

EUROPEAN INDOORS IN TWO MONTHS TIME

TORINO (ITA): The 30th European Athletics Indoor Championships in Torino, Italy will begin in 2 months time. The Championships take place in the Oval Lingotto, the venue for the speed skating events at the Winter Olympics three years ago, and already tickets have been selling quickly and the organisers are hopeful for a sell out event over the three days. "The people of Torino have a great love and passion for sport and for athletics" said Anna Riccardi, the CEO of the Local Organising Committee. "Our slogan is "Athletics Emotions" and I have no doubt that the full array of emotions will be visible over the weekend of the championships" she added. In total 26 finals will take over the three days of frantic competition and as the host nation won three gold medals at the last edition in Birmingham in 2007, there will undoubtedly be a great atmosphere.

GREAT LINE-UP FOR EDINBURGH

EDINBURGH (GBR): Andy Baddeley is determined to defend his Bupa Great Edinburgh International four kilometres title on Saturday after his thrilling victory in last year's race. Baddeley the world's fastest miler in 2008, seemed to have forfeited his chances of victory in Holyrood Park when Andy Vernon blazed to the front with 800metres of the race remaining. But the experienced international remaining very calm put in a seering burst in the final 100m to win the encounter by less than a second from his talented younger rival. Now the pair plus third placed Tom Lancashire who made his Olympic debut over 1500m in the summer, will again go head-to-head in the short course event which fetches together the country's top middle distance runners. European junior champion Stephanie Twell faces a massive task if she is to maintain her unbeaten winter record in next weekend's Bupa Great Edinburgh International Cross Country. Twell will be amongst a stellar field competing in Holyrood Park on Saturday which includes Mestawet Tufa and Linet Masai who last March claimed World Championship's silver and bronze medallists at the venue. Joining the Ethiopian and Kenyan duo in the 5.6kilometres race will be many other top African stars including Genzebe Dibaba who like Twell is one of the globe's most exciting emerging young talents. The men's 8.9km race will see Zersenay Tadese the 2007 world cross champion in action against a host of fellow African stars while Andrew Lemoncello an excellent third in Antrim, will carry British and Scottish hopes for a top position. Informs David Martin.

GL DISCUSSIONS CONTINUING

LONDON (GBR): The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said today that a decision about which cities will host meetings in the proposed restructuring of its Golden League schedule would not be made until all the necessary financial partners had been secured. The world governing body in a move to make the meetings more popular and spread them around the globe is hoping to increase the number of competitions from six to possibly 12 from next year, and to move the elite Golden League outside Europe for the first time.

An IAAF spokesman confirmed that highly successful Super Grand Prix meetings in London and Lausanne could be pencilled in at the expense of current ones if the programme is expanded since there would be individual negotiations with interested parties only once the finances have been secured. „Everything is still in the planning stages and no decisions have yet been taken about the restructuring of the Golden League series. Until the negotiations are complete, we don't know which of the current GL meetings will remain inside and which new meetings will come in." said IAAF communications director Nick Davies. „There is a meeting of the IAAF Advisory Board headed by President Lamine Diack, in the first week of February 4, and the investment package should be presented to them." The group which will include IAAF senior vice president Sergey Bubka, Sebastian Coe and Bob Hersh, will consider the format and how it can be implemented to the IAAF Council at their meeting in Berlin on March 21-22. In the meantime Russian Federation president and IAAF Council member Valentin Balakhnichev said, that Moscow could be also an option to be included in the series.

GEBRE READY

DUBAI (UAE): Haile Gebrselassie doesn't need to make a New Year's resolution, in order to break another world record. For a start, the Ethiopian New Year begins on September 11, "so we don't celebrate the European New Year," said the man himself yesterday, by phone from his home in Addis Ababa. And, although the world records have come with the same metronomic regularity that he applies to his marathon running, he won't be drawn just yet on whether next week's Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, on Friday, January 16, will be world record number 27. Writes Pat Butcher. But he says he is in better shape than when he won Dubai last year, in 2.04.53, then the second fastest on record. "Last year, I had a little injury two weeks before Dubai, but this year everything is OK, I feel fine. And I won't make the mistake of going too fast, like last year." If he breaks that record in Dubai, he will win a one million US dollars bonus, in addition to the first place prize of $250,000, already the biggest in marathon running. But, "everything has to be perfect for another record, weather, pacemakers. If I don't get injured, maybe 2.02.59, but considering my shape and my age, 2.03.30, or 2.03.20". Gebrselassie still concentrates on running. "It's my top priority, because without running, I wouldn't have everything else. I get up at 5.30 every morning, and go training. And it's cold here in the morning now. At Entoto (hills outside Addis), it's about plus one (degree centigrade). I go to the office at about 9.30 or ten o'clock, and work until four. Then I train again. I go to bed about 9.30, ten at the latest".

OTHER NEWS

TOKYO (JPN): Japan are to launch a new high-performance programme in April that is designed to double the number of medals they win at the London 2012 Olympics. Informs insidethegames.com. The project, the first of its kind sponsored by Japan's Sports Ministry, is designed to provide intensive support for athletes considered to be Olympic medal contenders. Its first goal is to double the medal count that Japan achieved at last year's Beijing Olympics at the next Games in London 2012. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has earmarked 600 million yen (?4.3 million) for the project in its 2009 draft budget, in addition to the money distributed to individual sports federations for their programmes to develop athletes. Under the Ministry's project, eight teams of experts, including doctors, counsellors, physical trainers and scouting staff, will be created with each giving support for top-level athletes, particularly those capable of winning gold medals. National coaches will also be named for around 17 sporting events in which Japan is believed to have strong medal chances.

HELSINKI (FIN): Finland have made seven pre-selections ahead of next summer's World Championships in Berlin. With Olympic bronze medallist Tero Pitkämäki also being the reigning World champion, Finland can select a total of four men to contest the Javelin Throw in Berlin, and the federation have elected to pre-select both Pitkämäki, and Olympic fourth placer Tero Järvenpää for the Berlin squad. The other notable athletes who have been given the early call-up for Berlin are European 3000m Steeplechase champion Jukka Keskisalo, and European Hammer Throw silver medallist Olli-Pekka Olli-Pekka Karjalainen, who was fourth in Beijing. The pre-selections are completed by marathon runner Francis Kirwa and two 50km race walkers, Antti Kempas and Jarkko Kinnunen.

KAMPALA (UGA): Boniface Kiprop is one of a number of Ugandan athletes making their mark felt at the head of world endurance running. He trains alongside his brother, who finished 10th in the 2007 World Cross Country Championships and his best friend Moses Kipsiro, the fourth-placer in the 5000m at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Indeed, Kiprop is confident the relatively recent distance running success of the Ugandans can be maintained and he added: "Uganda did not discover Mount Elgon athletes could run like Kenyan athletes (until recently). The federation now supports these athletes. He now plans to compete at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country International on Saturday before returning to Uganda to prepare for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan in March. Kiprop's main target of the year will be the 10,000m at the World Championships in Berlin. Informs IAAF.

LEIPZIG (GER): The German international indoor meet in Leipzig (Feb 1) plans a two day affair. First day on Jan 31 will be devoted to young athletes and talents. The meet is called "Erdgas Athletics" and first prime athlete confirmed is the German Pole Vault Champion Bjorn Otto.

OSLO (NOR): Fast sprinter Jaysuma Saidy Ndure will make some serious attempt to improve the Norwegian 400 m record during 2009. The mark is currently 46.11 by Quincy Douglas in 1999. Norway s top distance runner Susanne Wigene seems ready for a come back in 2009. She has spent a month in Ethiopia training with the best Ethiopian runners and now almost no problems at all with her bad heel.

LAUSANNE (SUI): Banned Belarus hammer throwers Ivan Tikhon and Vadim Devyatovskiy appealed as expected at CAS their Olympic disqualification. The date of a hearing is not known yet. The whole process could last for more than four months.

SOFIA (BUL): 2006 world junior sprint champion Tezdzhan Naimova could be banned for more than two years. That was revealed by the president of Bulgarians athletics federation Dobromir Karamarinov for Bulgarian media. She was already banned for manipulation of the doping sample by her national federation for two years. But according to the new rules of WADA and IAAF she could be banned for four years. All will depend on the position of IAAF whether the world governing body will be in confirmation with the decision or will appeal it. If two years, Naimova will be able to compete again after September 30, 2010.

MUNCHEN (GER): German Athletes of the Year 2008 are Marathon runner Irina Mikitenko and Pole Vaulter Raphael Holzdeppe. That is the result of poll organised by website www.leichtathletik.de and magazine Leichtathletik where 3500 people participated. The WMM winner got 31.3 percent of votes ahead of High Jumper Ariane Friedrich (21.7) and javelin thrower Christina Obergfoll (17.0). World junior record holder Holzdeppe had even more 33.5 with High Jumper Raul Spank second (18.4) and another Pole Vaulter Alexander Straub third (16.4).

WARSZAWA (POL): Shot put Olympic winner Tomasz Majewski ended third in the Sportsman of the Year Poll in Poland. Winner was formula 1 driver Robert Kubica. It was already 74th annual of the poll organised by daily Przeglad Sportowy.

BEOGRAD (SRB): At age 86 silver Olympic hammer medalist from 1948 Ivan Gubijan of Serbia died after long ilness.

RESULTS

BANSKA BYSTRICA (SVK, Jan 6): Goteborg 20 km 6th placer Matej Toth achieved 19:31.0 at 5000 m walk during an indoor meeting here.

ESSING (GER, Jan 6): At special High Jump meet the Slovakian Peter Horak cleared in first attempt 226 and is so first confirmed athlete of his country for European Indoor Championships in Torino. He jumped all heights including 226 in first and missed only 228. Horak equalled so the meet record he is having since 2007.

MIYAZAKI (JPN, Jan 6): Japanese Maki Suzawa won the Half-Marathon here after 1:11:22 personal best. Madoka Ogi as second was close in 1:11:24 ahead of Kenyan Ruth Wanjiru (1:11:25). In 15 degrees temperature 44 of 46 runners finished. Kenyan Jelliah Kerubo Tinega won the accompanying 5 km in 15:55.

MALDONADO (URU, Jan 6): Kenyan Nicholas Koech won the 35th edition of Corrida San Fernando the road race in Uruguay at 10 km. He clocked 29:16 ahead of Jorge Cabrera of Paraguay (30:05) and home runner Andres Zamora (30:10). Female winner was another Kenyan Nancy Kipron who clocked 34:12. Some 6000 runners participated.

SAN SEBASTIAN (ESP, Jan 6): Home runner Ayad Lamdassem won the 79th Cross de Reyes 9.8 km race in 28:31. Second Kenyan Thomas Kipkosgei clocked 28:47. Morrocan Aicha Bani was the best woman at 5.3 km (17:53).


Special thanks to EME News and Alfons Juck.

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