Justin Gatlin is training for a return to sprinting in late 2010, after his drug ban ends. He will find a different world in the sport of track & field. There will be meets he can not enter and there will be sponsors that will not touch him.
If our sport is to be saved, if our sport is to prosper in the coming years, track & field must have tough but fair drug testing, including out of competition testing, but also punitive, if not draconian punishments. As Oliver Cromwell was supposed to have said, "Nothing says strength like a head on a pike."
Now, I am not asking for public executions with positive drug tests, but the European meets who will no longer offer convicted drug positives a place in their meet fields and the footwear companies who will neither sponsor nor supply product to convicted drug positives should be applauded.
As our society has put a sense of right and wrong into " gray areas", ethical relativism is not good for our sport. It has made us cynical of every performance. Just think what would happen now if an Australian runner with a crew cut showed up in Scandanavia and took the 10,000 meter record down by 32 seconds? Well, Ron Clarke did that in 1967, and if some other athlete did that now, no matter what nationality, they would be suspect!
That is not a good thing for our sport. In order to clean up our sport, we need to have standards that insure that the clean are applauded and the dirty are banned.
EME NEWS (JAN 12, 2009)
ALGIERS (ALG): 1992 1500m Olympic champion Hassiba Boulmerka announced she'll be campaigning for the presidency of the Algerian federation. The Elective Assembly will take place on January 22. Another former athlete, El Hachemi Abdenouz, twice military cross-country world champion (1980-1984) will also be among the candidates. Current president Amar Bouras doesn't plan to look for a new term, Liberté informs.
CLAY AND STUCZYNSKI AOY IN USA
MOUNTAIN VIEW (USA): Bryan Clay and Jenn Stuczynski are the US Athletes of the Year according to poll organised by Track and Field News. Clay got 249 points ahead of 400 m Olympic winner LaShawn Merritt (245) and 400 m Hurdles oly gold medalist Angelo Taylor (173). Another hurdler Kerron Clement was fourth (170) ahead of another quarter-miler Jeremy Wariner (149). Other olympic medalists are following with David Oliver sixth (134) and Christian Cantwell seventh (123) with Walter Dix eighth (78). Top ten is completed by Tyson Gay (31) and Derek Miles (28). In women section very close win for pole vault Olympic silver winner ahead of discus gold medalist Stephanie Trafton Brown (211-218) with close third Sanya Richards (216). Fourth is Hyleas Fountain (167) ahead of Lolo Jones (156) and Shalane Flanagan (153). Allyson Felix is seventh (139) and Olympic winner Dawn Harper only 8th (73). Last two places in top ten for Sheena Tosta (65) and Muna Lee (33).
KHABAROVA AND BURKENYA RETIREMENTS
MOSCOW (RUS): Two retirements from Russian Athletics. Relay European Champion 2006 and Olympic silver medalist 2004 Irina Khabarova is the first one. At age 42 she was still able to run 11.53 last year at 100 m. Another one is Olympic triple jump 2004 medalist Danila Burkenya. His best from 2004 is 17.68 and he retired at age of 30. Last year he was still 8th at World Indoor Championships and Olympic Games participant.
COPENHAGEN (DEN): Denmarks most popular athlete now after he is also well known as a dancer shot putter Joachim Olsen is not thinking abour retirement. Although it is not know when he will return, he recently said for Danish Media that he is having London 2012 as target. Retired javelin record holder Christina Scherwin convinced him to continue. „Once I came back in training, I could feel that I still love to practice," Olsen was quoted.
MOSCOW (RUS): One of the highlights of coming Russian Winter IAAF Permit meet in Moscow will be men´s Pole Vault. World indoor champion and Olympic silver medalist Yevgeniy Lukyanenko will face German world junior record holder Raphael Holzdeppe. Also in the field on February 1 should be French Romain Mesnil and Renaud Lavillenie along with Ukrainian Maksim Mazuryk.
FRANKFURT (GER): Last week for first time a special European Athletics working group met. The group is considering changes in calendar and competition structure mainly towards the one day meetings. As EA vice-president Jose-Luis de Carlos pointed out nothing will be done without agreement with IAAF. The world governing body is also preparing changes orientated towards Golden League series and other world one day meetings. Until end of the February detailed proposal will be forwarded to EA Council.
KYIV (UKR): Disgraced Ukrainian heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska who was banned for life for second offence and was forced to return her silver Olympic medal in Beijing spoke to home media.
„I ask forgiveness from all Olympians, all athletes, all coaches and managers who participated in the Olympics, because I was responsible for such a negative time. Yes, I took probably drugs, but I do not know how it came to my body. I do not take anything forbidden. How the drug was found in my body, I do not know. In one way or another situation, blame me, and I confess. How it happened - it is my problem. It was a psychological blow to the head, I do not want anyone see or hear, how bad I was at that time, how disappointed. I wanted to be alone with children, understand what's happening. I fully took care of children, took my family – that is two children and me. This is to me more important than what happened around me. It was very unpleasant, it was painful, but I still do not regret the 17 years that I spent in sport."
TOKYO (JPN): The Japanese Olympic Committee is considering holding a large-scale half marathon in Tokyo to boost the Japanese capital's bid to host the 2016 Summer Games. Kyodo News informs. The JOC wants to jointly stage the event featuring around 30,000 competitors with the Olympians Association of Japan and is looking to pencil in the race for mid-September. The International Olympic Committee will select the host city for the 2016 Games in October at its general assembly in Copenhagen.
PENSACOLA (USA): As www.pnj.com informs banned sprinter Justin Gatlin is still thinking about his comeback in 2010. The Olympic and world gold medalist and Woodham High School graduate will be 28 by the time the ban is lifted, putting him in unchartered territory among the track and field community. Age 28 in track is like 40 in football, 45 in baseball or 65 in golf. When you're hoping to run an event like the 100 meters against the world's best, your older body just doesn't let you compete at the same level again. But when you hear him talk about a comeback, his confidence is what makes the long-shot proposition intriguing. „People ask me if I still have it or if I'm too old," said Gatlin, smiling, as he donned USA Track & Field warm-ups that seemed to fit just right. „But I think my time off has preserved my legs. I still have the same speed — I've been running, and I'm still getting times that I had when I stepped off the track. So it's still there. The dedication is there and the will is there." He says his block times (starting times) right now actually are better than they were in his prime. Better than his 2004 gold medal days. „I want to upset the balance in track and field once again. Obviously, that's what happened with me, (the ban) did upset the balance in track and field," Gatlin said. „Now, I want to upset the balance in a positive way. I want to be that dark horse."
KYOTO (JPN): Japan Running News is reporting that Olympic 2004 marathon winner Mizuki Noguchi returned to Kyoto last week from a training camp on Amami Oshima island after carrying out her first full training since withdrawing from the Beijing Olympics women's marathon with an injury to her right thigh. „I did everything that was on the schedule," commented Noguchi. Since her original injury on July 25 the pain in Noguchi's leg has come back each time she has restarted her training. Her personal trainer Hisakazu Hirose, who accompanied Noguchi on the training camp, described her plans for the spring. „We hope that she'll be ready to race 10000 m or a half marathon in April or May." Noguchi's team is targeting the April 26 Hyogo Relay Carnival and May's Kansai Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships as another step toward a full comeback at September's Berlin Marathon.
SANTANDER (ESP, Jan 10): National High Jump record holder Ruth Beitia started with 190 and tried also at 195 at a local meet.
SHEFFIELD (GBR, Jan 11): Kevin Sempers (5580 in heptathlon) and Catherine Holdsworth (3838 in pentathlon) were the British combined events champions. David Guest (17 years) scored new national junior record in heptathlon 5372 points.
EAUBONNE (FRA, Jan 11): Senegal´s 2001 world champion Amy Mbacke Thiam was competing after 200 m national record on Saturday also on Sunday and clocked 53.25 at 400 m.
MOSCOW (RUS, Jan 11): More from Christmas Cup. Roman Smirnov achieved 34.09 and Yelena Novikova 37.99 at 300 m. Oksana Sukhachova registered good quality 1:09.85 at 500 m. The 1000 m saw two runners under 2:40 which is always good quality indoors. Anna Alminova clocked 2:39.13 and Yevgeniya Zolotova 2:39.50.
UNNA (GER, Jan 11): At High Jump indoor meet the 16-years old Kimberly Jess cleared 191 cm what equals the national record in this age category. She is last year World junior champion and so a big talent of the event. Such names like Brigitte Holzapfel, Andrea Breder, Heike Balck and Karen Scholz also achieved 191 indoors in the past. Her goal is 192 what is the German Federation standard for Torino.
LUDWIGSHAFEN (GER, Jan 11): Pole Vaulter Kristina Gadschiew jumped at regional championships 430 what is exactly the Torino standard. She tried also at her would-be indoor PB 445 cm.
WARSZAWA (POL, Jan 11): Joanna Piwowarska achieved the standard for Torino at local meet here with clearing 440 in Pole Vault.
UXBRIDGE (GBR, Jan 11): Andy Turner is fast already at the begin of indoor season as he achieved 7.68 at 60 m Hurdles after 7.72 in his heat. Rion Pierre who is world junior relay medalist improved at 60 m to 6.72.
NASHVILLE (USA, Jan 11): Former US Champ Danielle Carruthers achieved good 7.74 at 55 m Hurdles here and also 6.94 in flat 55 m. Second here was Briton Joice Maduaka in 7.03.
ADDIS ABABE (ETH, Jan 9-11): A strong comeback performance by 2007 World Youth 3000m Steeplechase champion Legesse Lemiso was the highlight of the 2009 Ethiopian Short and Middle Distance Championships (9-11 January 2009), an annual three-day event among club athletes held at the Addis Ababa stadium. This years event served as the perfect chance for youngster Legesse Lemiso to launch his comeback after a largely unsuccessful 2008 season blighted by injury. He won his event with 8:54.85. Writes Elshadai Negash.
TAMPERE (FIN): Finnish federation website informs about sudden death of Pole Vault national record holder Jani Lehtonen. He died at home in Tampere on Monday 22 December. The reason is not known. He was 40 years old and his national marks were 583 indoors in 1994 and 582 outdoors in 1993. His best international position was 5th place at World Indoor Championships 1993 in Toronto.
Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.
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