FLORA London News: Lel is Ok, Shobukhova is debuting, by Alfons Juck, Note by Larry Eder


Your favorite blogger is off to FLORA London and will begin updates on Saturday morning.. Note that I will update London via twitter live as well on Sunday and update you on what I see in my travels....Note that Dathan Ritzenhein and Meb Keflizighi might be seen working on a 2:07.30 pace on Sunday. Good luck to both Dathan and Meb !


LONDON (GBR): Interesting note from Ken Nakamura before London Marathon. For the first time since the Olympic women‘s marathon was inaugurated in 1984, all six defending Olympic medalists are competing in the same race on Sunday. Russian European 5000 m record holder Liliya Shobukhova will debut on Sunday in marathon in London´s streets. „I had a very good training camp in Kislovodsk recently and it was different to my previous camps because I was running 36-38 km per day which was more than before. I never ran more than 36 km even in training. I follow my own pace in London,“ said the Olympic sixth placer. She will decide about her marathon future and Berlin World Championships based on London experience and result. In the field will be also other Russian top runners Svetlana Zakharova, Lyudmila Petrova and Inga Abitova. The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Zhou Chunxiu is taking part in her first marathon since Beijing Olympics after an ankle injury. However, 2007 London Marathon Champion Zhou Chunxiu said, „I got an inflammation and I‘m afraid if I get a fever, I won‘t be able to compete. Now I have a sore throat when I run and cough a little bit.“ On the other hand the hip problem of Martin Lel is not as difficult as thought before and he will compete. And Sammy Wanjiru is hungry for world record. A leading bookmaker has been quoting Mara Yamauchi this week at 25-1 to win Sunday‘s Flora London Marathon, which is only slightly less generous than the odds of 40-1 it has been offering for fellow Briton Jo Pavey. British media are informing. Around 35,000 runners will pound the streets of London. They will tackle the 26 miles, 385 yard course from Greenwich and Blackheath in south east London to Buckingham Palace via Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. Fun runners and charity fundraisers will run alongside professional athletes, celebrities and those in colourful fancy dress. London is the true highlight on marathon spring season.


PHILADELPHIA (USA): World and Olympic winner Christine Ohuruougu will be also present at Penn Relays. Great Britain (all Pace Sports Management athletes) will have women Special Medley Team. Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders will run the 200 m parts, Jemma Simpson the 800 m and Perri Shakes Drayton the 400 m. In the men 4x100 m of Great Britain Simeon Williamson and hurdler Andy Turner will be there.


CHICAGO (USA): Although the spring season of the World Marathon Majors has not yet concluded, one of the Majors‘ fall races, the Bank of American Chicago Marathon, has already sold out at 45,000 entries, organizers announced as Race Results Weekly informs. Entries for the October 11 race are still available, however, through one of the race‘s 70 affiliated charities. In 2008, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon was the second largest marathon in the United States with 31,401 finishers. The ING New York City Marathon was the largest with 38,096 finishers.

STOCKHOLM (SWE): Former Olympic heptathlon champion, 26-year-old Carolina Kluft will not compete in the triple jump this season in order to concentrate on the long jump, Swedish media are informing. The Swedish athletic star retired from heptathlon last year to focus on the long jump and the triple jump at the Beijing Olympics. She finished ninth in the long jump but failed to qualify for the triple jump final. Kluft has been recovering from a shinbone stress fracture and missed last month‘s European indoor championships. During the indoor season she competed in 60 m sprints. She will make her competitive comeback in New York Grand Prix Meet on May 30.

PARIS (FRA): The new web site of Areva Golden League meeting in Paris, which will take place on July 17, 2009 at Stade de France, has been launched. Check it at http://www.meetingareva.com

SYDNEY (AUS): Fifty athletes have today been named to Athletics Australia‘s National Under 17 Development Squad. The 2009 squad includes eight athletes bound for Bressanone, Italy, to contest the 6th IAAF world youth championships in July: Kent Adams (high jump), Damien Birkenhead (shot put), Taryn Gollshewsky (discus throw), Cameron Hyde (110m hurdles), Kurt Jenner (long jump), Shannon Jennings (5000m walk), Amy Pejkovic (high jump) and Brooke Stratton (long jump). „We‘re trying to embrace all the young talent that‘s out there and let them know that the national sporting organisation is watching them and impressed by them and wants to encourage them to go forward,“ said Athletics Australia National Youth Performance Manager Sara Mulkearns. Informs Athletics Australia.

BARCELONA (ESP): The company IMAGINA will be in charge of producing and directing the European AthleTics Championships Barcelona 2010 ceremonies, following an agreement reached by the event‘s Organising Committee, which found the proposal both suitable and interesting. The opening ceremony will take place in the Reina María Cristina Avenue, next to the Magic Fountain on 26 July, the evening before the start of the competition. The closing ceremony will take place inside the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium after the last final on 1 August 2010. IMAGINA sets for example the main stage by the Magic Fountain and focuses on the event‘s artistic components. Regarding the Closing Ceremony, it will have less importance and be shorter than the Opening Ceremony. The proposal focuses on having a party with live music, reflecting the mix of cultures that is characteristic of Barcelona.

LAUSANNE (SUI): The International Olympic Committee (IOC)‘s Coordination Commission for London 2012 wrapped-up its fourth visit to the British capital. The three days of meetings - from 21 to 23 April - and site visits allowed the Commission to fully assess the advances made on the London 2012 project by the local organisers. The Commission was impressed by the good progress that London 2012 has made since its last visit and put this down in no small part to the strong spirit of partnership that is being shown, under the leadership of LOCOG, by all of the stakeholders involved in the Games. Speaking after the meetings, Commission Chairman Denis Oswald said, „We have been greatly impressed by the good progress that London 2012 has made since our visit last year, particularly in moving from planning to operational delivery. This was evident in all the presentations and discussions we had about LOCOG‘s Games time planning, and of course during our visit to the Olympic Park. Seeing the transformation that has taken place in the Lower Lea Valley is nothing short of astounding and this area will be a great legacy for the people of London and Great Britain.“ Informs IOC in a release.

MARATHON WEEKEND: Apart of London super-strong field also other marathons will be staged this Sunday. In Europe Hamburg and Bonn in Germany, Madrid, Zurich, Krakow, Enschede Padova and Antwerp. In Belgium event Kenyans Eliud Lagat and Samson Bungei will take care about the pace and home favorite is Rik Ceulemans but Kenyans Daniel Koech and Emaanuel Tirop are the top names.

LAUSANNE (SUI): Superstar Usain Bolt confirmed another appearance during European summer. The triple Olympic winner and world record holder will run the 200 m at 34th Athletissima in Lausanne on July 7. As the organisers are writing in a release, he will be the star attraction of the evening. Usain Bolt has come to Lausanne every year since 2006. He says he „loves this track, its long curve and the great public“. Last year, he dominated the race in 19.63, equalling Xavier Carter‘s result in 2006, which is still the stadium record. This competition will be his first in Europe after Jamaican Trials end of June. After Lausanne he will have two more races before the World Championships in Berlin. Two 100 m races in Paris on July 17 and London on July 24. The only time he will run the 200 m before Athletissima will be at Jamaican Championships. Bolt will continue to compete on May 2 in Kingston at 100 m, on May 17 in Manchestere at street 150 m and on June 11 in Toronto again at 100 m.

NEW YORK (USA): Australia‘s Benita Johnson is set to return to the Freihofer‘s Run for Women on May 30 in Albany, where she hopes to win the race for the fourth consecutive time. Only eight-time Freihofer‘s champion Lynn Jennings has won more consecutive Freihofer‘s events, storming to victory in 1993 - ‚96. Writes Race Results Weekly. Johnson, the 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Championships gold medalist, has a best time on the Freihofer‘s certified loop course of 15:22.0 set in 2007. She ran 15:45.3 last year, defeating Ethiopia‘s Amane Gobena and pocketing the USD 10 000 first place check.

BRUSSELS (BEL): The World Anti-Doping Agency should reassess its „whereabouts“ rule as many points contravene the European Union‘s (EU) privacy laws, an influential panel has said. Informs insidethegames.com. The panel said there were „numerous issues that remain problematic“ with the rule requiring athletes to give detailed schedules of their whereabouts for drug testing. The panel said: „Care should be taken to avoid the false belief that it ensures, throughout the world, an adequate level of protection for personal data processed in the EU, as required by EU law. It is also in light of the proportionality principle that the Working Party invites WADA and anti-doping organisations to reassess the collection of whereabouts as it is conceived today, and more in general, the current retention period of processed data.“ The panel‘s decision will form the basis of a broader and far-reaching binding legal opinion by the European Commission, the executive arm which oversees EU legislation within the 27-nation bloc due to be published before the summer. EU Sports Commissioner Jan Figel of Slovakia had asked WADA to suspend the rule, in force since January 1, while Brussels examined it. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) supports the rule but WADA is at loggerheads with many sports governing bodies such as soccer‘s FIFA and cycling‘s UCI over the matter. FIFA also say out-of-competition tests should take place only at club training facilities and players should not be tested during holidays in order to respect their private lives.

DAKAR (SEN): African Confederation informs that Abuja Super Grand Prix in Nigeria scheduled for May 5 has been postponed. A new date shall be announced later. The meeting was also supposed to be Area Permit scoring for IAAF World Athletics Tour. The 9th African Junior Championships in Athletics will be held in Mauritius from 30th July to 02nd August this year.


BAMAKO (MLI, Apr 21): At Silver meeting of African Confederation Grand Prix in Mali Botswana´s African Championships silver holder Isaac Makwala achieved a nice double with two good quality personal bests 20.73 at 200 m and 45.56 at 400 m. African winner Vida Anim of Ghana achieved 11.66 and 23.66 sprint double.

ADLER (RUS, Apr 23): During Nizamutdinov Memorial throwing meet at Black Sea resort Anton Lyuboslavskiy started to the summer season with good 20.04 in shot put. Olympian Bogdan Pishchalnikov achieved 62.73 in discus. Olympic finalist Anna Omarova got 18.52 in women shot put. Second best of the year for hammer thrower Aleksey Zagorniy 79.48. In women hammer only average as Mariya Bespalova registered 65.12 to win. In youth discus Viktoriya Sadova (15 years) dominated with 46.70. She is the daughter of 2004 olympic winner Natalya Sadova. Senior discus winner Olesya Korotkova improved her PB to 61.12 m.

DES MOINES (USA, Apr 23): First this years 6000+ score in Heptathlon for Jackie Johnson at 100th Drake Relays with 6020 points (13.41-178-1314-25.38-579-44.13-2:15.75). Second Jamaican Peaches Roach scored new PB 5586 points. The Thursday programme registered new spectator record for that day 6890.

PHILADELPHIA (USA, Apr 23): At 115th Penn Relays a crowd of 24 315 (the best for Thursday since 2006) saw Texas AM clocking 43.80 in 4x100 m college heats. In the same category of 4x400 m heats Jamaican UTech was the fastest with 3:34.99 as Kaliese Spencer anchored with 52.4. Fresh Carifta Games winner Nikita Tracey of Jamaica was the fastest in High School 400 m Hurdles with 57.44 and missed her PB only by 0.03. She was faster than the college runners.

Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.

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