Bekele Fourth in Edinburgh, Dibaba Wins in Edinburgh, by Alfons Juck, Note by Larry Eder

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Starting off a long season, where he hopes to get WR for 5,000m and 3,000m outdoors, plus the 3,000 m indoors, Kenenisa Bekele is not one to take racing lightly. However, Bekele had one of his rare defeats, taking fourth in the Edinburgh XC event. This was his first defeat over XC since his heat induced dnf at the WC in 2007!

Lots of action this weekend and some nice performances on Friday night in US indoor action!


BEKELE FOURTH, DIBABA OVER CHERUIYOT

EDINBURGH (GBR, Jan 9): Kenenisa Bekele was beaten at Saturday´s Edinburgh International Cross Country Race. The Ethiopian world and olympic winner ended in snowy conditions only fourth (29:17) as the win went surprisingly to Kenyan Joseph Ebuya (28:41). Other Kenyans Titus Mbishei (28:43) and Eliud Kipchoge (29:04) were second and third. The Kenya duo Ebuya-Mbishei pushed the pace from the start of the 9km race and by halfway already started stretching away from former World 5000 m Champion Eliud Kipchoge and Bekele. After continuously taking turns in the lead the 19 and 22 year olds opened up a decisive gap and with 3km to go it was clear that the winner would come from the PACE Sports Management camp headed by Ricky Simms. Bekele last time lost a cross country race in 2007 when he did not finish the World Championships in Mombasa. „I got killed by three Kenyan‘s,” Bekele said and admitted he had undertaken some positive training sessions before coming to the Scottish capital via London where last Thursday he visited the Olympic Park in east London. „I normally would only arrive a day before so I missed a couple of training sessions. You can see that the weather made it very difficult. I think I was slightly out of shape today which also didn‘t help,“ added the world champion. Mexican Juan Luis Barrios was 5th (29:25), best European Ukrainian specialist Sergiy Lebid was sixth (29:51) and best Briton Chris Thompson 7th (29:52). Olympic winner Tirunesh Dibaba beat in women 6 km race in her first competition on snow the reigning 5000 m world champion Vivian Cheruiyot to score a victory for Ethiopia by 10 seconds (21:37-21:47). Third Ethiopian junior Kalkedan Gezahegn posted 21:48 in close finish over best home runners. Stephanie Twell had her best run of the winter in 5th place after leading in the middle part of the race and lost in finish to European champion Hayley Yelling-Higham who was fourth (both credited with 21:51). Also sixth steeple world medalist Milcah Chemos had 21:51. A below par Mo Farah placed 3rd (13:28) with Tom Lancashire fourth (13:43) in the 4km race which was held at the start of the program. Winner Ricky Stevenson clocked 13:20 ahead of Steve Vernon (13:23), Andy Baddeley ended seventh (13:54).


THORKILDSEN DID NOT GET IT

OSLO (NOR): Last year’s winner of the Norwegian sports-person of the year award Andreas Thorkildsen did not extend his reign as Norway’s leading athlete. This year Petter Northug, a cross country skier, was presented the award after winning 3 gold medals at the Nordic world ski championships published NRK Sport. Norway’s double Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen won the award twice in his career so far, in 2004 and 2008, was among five finalists.


RAMZI BANNED FINALLY AT HOME

MANAMA (BRN): Gulf Daily News reports that miler Rashid Ramzi has been now officially banned for two years by Bahrain Athletics Association. He was stripped of his men‘s 1500 m Beijing Olympics gold medal by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for failing a drug test with CERA.


BEKELE POSITIVE ABOUT WINTER OLYMPICS

EDINBURGH (GBR): Kenenisa Bekele strongly hinted that if cross country was to be included in future Winter Olympic Games he would seriously consider challenging for the gold medal. Bekele after winning a record sixth world long race title in 2008 announced that it would be his last appearance at the championships where he also won the short course event on five successive occasions. However Bekele retains a great passion for a discipline in which he has been so successful and had no hesitation in signing an open letter along with other legendary distance runners Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat, that it should be added to the Olympic program. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in September 2008 fully supported the idea and made an official request to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to implement the proposal. Bekele also said for BBC that in 2010 he wants to attack world records as main target. Specially at 5000 m and 3000 m outdoors and 3000 m also indoors in Birmingham on February 20.


OTHER NEWS

GLASGOW (GBR): World indoor hurdles champion Lolo Jones will be the captain of US Team at Aviva International Match in Glasgow on January 30. “I’m looking forward to captaining the US team at the Aviva International Match,“ said the 27-year-old Iowa star. „It looks like it will be one of the strongest teams we have sent there and of course we hope that we can lift the cup at the end of the event,” she said. Writes David Martin. British representative in the race will be olympic finalist Sarah Claxton. Other three teams will be Germany, Sweden and Commonwealth selection.

KARLSRUHE (GER): BW-Bank Meeting planned for Karlsruhe on January 31 (IAAF Indoor Permit) new names announced are for men´s 60 m race. Long jump world champion Dwight Phillips will compete against double olympic finalist Churandy Martina of Netherland Antilles and 4x100 m Berlin world champion Steve Mullings who just recently had his wedding. Home sprinters will be represented by Christian Blum and Tobias Unger. Meet record 6.45 of Roland Pognon will be a tough target, at the time being it was European indoor record in 2005.

EGMOND (NED): Due to bad weather conditions on the course the organizers canceled Sunday´s 38th OWN Egmond Half Marathon. Dutch Federation web-site is informing. It was a common decision of public authorities, medical responsible persons and athletics organizers.

KINGSTON (JAM): Olympic and World champion Usain Bolt warns Justin Gatlin not to take things lightheartedly on his return to the track. Gatlin, who is expected to be back in competition after July 25th, had announced earlier this week he is targeting Bolt, Powell and Gay upon his return. Reported on Trackalerts.com Bolt has now advised Gatlin that things will be a lot more difficult this time around „I think he is going to have his hands full, not just by me and Asafa and Tyson, but a lot of other upcoming sprinters“ says Bolt.

KINGSTON (JAM): Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser were on Friday night named Jamaica‘s track & field athletes of 2009. Bolt, who was being named for the second straight year, was the obvious choice for top male honors after also claiming several prestigious international awards, such as the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year and Laureus Sportsman of the Year. Fraser, on her turn, earned the prize after winning another sprint gold medal for Jamaica and breaking the long term national record at the IAAF World Championships. MVP coach Stephen Francis was honored with the coach of the year award, The Jamaican Gleaner writes.

DALLAS (USA) As redraiders.com informs, Texas Tech track star Gil Roberts and two teammates who have been all-Americans were arrested as robbery suspects on Wednesday evening after allegedly trying to flee Academy Sports with stolen goods. Roberts competed for US at Berlin World Championships in the 400 m. Lamont Adams is 46.87 runner from Texas Tech and Tim Foster as the third one has 47.36. All three were arrested.

AUCKLAND (NZL): Valerie Vili was selected as one of the three finalists for the New Zealander of the year awards write athletics New Zealand in a press release. Other contestants are warehouse founder Stephan Tindall and inventor Ray Avery. Vili‘s international sporting success has developed her into a leader and role model for all New Zealanders.

PRAHA (CZE): One of 25 top Czech special items to be presented at the World EXPO 2010 in Shanghai will be also one from athletics. Together with Charles Brigde in Prague, Czech crystal or writer Milan Kunder also Jarmila Kratochvilova and her 800 m world record will be presented. It is the oldest world record in the books among official championships events. Kratochvilova herself was also invited to Shanghai to be part of Czech Program at EXPO exhibition.


MUMBAI PREVIEW

MUMBAI (IND): An elite athlete field had been put together by Elite Athletes coordinator Ian Ladbrooke to participate in the 7th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2010 (SCMM 2010) on January 17, according to a press release from event promoters Procam International on Saturday. According to Ladbrooke, “the IAAF Gold Label has attracted a very fast field and a sub 2-10 finishing time for the men and a sub 2-30 time for the women is being targeted.” The course record for men stands at 2:11.51, set last year by Kenyan Kenneth Mugara, while the record for women is 2:34:08, held by three-time winner Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia, set in 2008. While Kenneth Mugara is missing for this year’s line up, due to injury, last year’s runner-up David Tarus, also of Kenya, will be back and going by his current form is one of the front runners to take home the winner’s purse of USD 35,000. Another strong challenger from Kenya will be Daniel Kiprugut Too who has the fastest time from entered athletes 2:08:38 in the Paris Marathon. Ethiopia’s Gebo Burka has personal best of 2:10:18, set at the Cannes Marathon in November 2009, and Kenyan Luka Chelimo, winner of the Toronto Marathon in September 2009 with a personal best of 2:10:26.The Europeans too are expected to put up a good show in Mumbai with Moldovan Balkan record holder Iaroslav Muschinschi and Ukranian Yuriy Hychun. Besides Kebebush and Seboka, there are another 11 Ethiopians in the women’s field, with youngster Firehiwot Dado, who clocked two sub 2-30 timings in 2009, 2:27:08 while winning the Roma Marathon in March and 2:29:20 while finishing 4th in Frankfurt in October. The Kenyan challenge will be spearheaded by Alice Chelangat, with Irene Jerotich and Rose Kosgei the other notable names. Jerotich clocked 2:28:57 while winning the Nairobi Marathon in October 2009. Kosgei, a 69-minute half marathoner is making her debut in Mumbai and will also be a name to reckon with. Also to count with is Russian Natalya Volgina with 2:27:32 best. Triple world champion in decathlon Dan O’Brien will be the brand ambassador for this year’s Mumbai Marathon. The flame from Marathon, the Greek city from where the culture of greatest running foot race originated will arrive at Mumbai a week before the annual race, a gesture and recognition for Asia’s fast growing and popular marathon.


RESULTS

LOUGHBOROUGH (GBR, Jan 9): World heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis began her 2010 season at Loughborough with three indoor personal bests. She registered 639 for long jump, 8.12 at 60m hurdles and 13.67 in shot put.

PRAHA (CZE, Jan 9): Current best Czech pole vaulter and Universiade winner Jirina Ptacnikova cleared in her first meet during regional championships 415 cm and immediately tried at Doha standard 440. “We have new run-up, so I need to get used to it. There were too many people around, but I have good feelings from my first meet,” she said.


US FRIDAY INDOOR ROUND-UP

LAWRENCE (USA, Jan 8): Dexter Faulk clocked new facility record 7.76 at 60 m Hurdles while winning at Easton Classic meet. Sub 10 runner Ivory Williams posted 6.71 at 60 m.

CHAPEL HILL (USA, Jan 8): Olympian Barbare Pierre of Haiti achieved new national 60 m record 7.25 at Tar Heel Invitational.

NEW YORK (USA, Jan 8): Armory track saw excellent season debut for Erin Donohue. The Beijing and Osaka participant got 4:38.12 lifetime indoor best.

FAYETTEVILLE (USA, Jan 8): SEC Champion Katie Stripling cleared 430 in pole vault at Arkansas Invitational and second Tina Sutej celebrated new Slovenian record 425. Mike Granger improved at 60 m to 6.73 and experienced Antwon Hicks 7.81 at 60 m Hurdles. NCAA fourth placer Leslie Cole posted good 23.51 at 200 m and Shelise Williams improved her indoor 400 m best to 53.29.

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