Willis Gets his real medal and wins Mile, by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

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Nick Willis, a Kiwi that we like (we like all Kiwis), got his medal in NZ today in an emotional ceremony and he won the mile. Nick showed some real class and got his friends to do an appeal on TV4 NZ for Christchurch. A class young man all the way around, a honor to his country and to his sport. 

Willis_Nick-NewBalGP11.JPGNIck Willis, 2011 NB Indoor Games, February 5, 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net
WELLINGTON (NZL, Feb 26): Top New Zealand´s runner Nick Willis recieved his olympic 1500 m silver medal from Beijing 2008 on Saturday in an emotional event at Newtown Park in Wellington. The ceremony was planned to be staged during a Christchurch meet on the same day but after the devastating earthquake it was moved to Wellington as a fund-raiser for the victims. In a one mile race Willis clocked excellent 3:58.37 ahead of US runners Will Leer 3:58.80 and Brandon Bethke 4:00.04.  NZ media are writing that another training partner, US record holder Alan Webb, who earlier in the evening ran the 800 m, helped the pacemaking as the field reeled off 60 second laps after a 58 for the opening 400m.

SAN JUAN (PUR): Kenyan road world record holder Leonard Komon is competing on Sunday at San Juan 10km despite Athletics Kenya not allowing Punta Umbria team members to go. That was the reason why Vivian Cheruiyot and Linet Masai will not run as they initialy wanted to attack the women road WR at the distance. Athletics Kenya General Secretary David Okeyo said Komon would be dropped from World CC Team if he ran in Puerto Rico, writes Reuters. 

ROMA (ITA): The 37th edition of the Mezza Maratona Roma-Ostia, Italy's largest half-marathon, has a record field of 12,000 entries with hope of  10,000 actual finishers which will be a new record (there were 8509 finishers last year).  That's because the slightly downhill, point-to-point course from Rome to Ostia has been modified to reduce the distance along the water near the finish to just 300m, thus mitigating the chance for bothersome headwinds.  The change was accomplished by extending the opening loop to three kilometers before the runners begin the long straightaway to Ostia on the Via Christoforo Colombo. Leading that field will be the Ethiopian Abreham Cherkos Feleke, the 21 year-old who in 2006 set the world youth record for 5000m of 12:54.19, still his personal best.  His road racing experience is limited, but he ran 13:15 for 5 km on the road in Carlsbad in 2006, and made a fine marathon debut in Amsterdam last October in 2:07:29, finishing fourth. Chasing Feleke will be Italy's Ruggero Pertile, the 2010 Torino Marathon champion who has run 1:02:17 for the half-marathon distance.  Other contenders include Kenyans Abraham Chebii --whose 1:02:59 half-marathon best is misleading because he's run 12:52.99 and 27:04.20 on the track-- and Joel Kimurer, who clocked 1:00:09 when he won the Hervis Prague Half-Marathon last March. Elite athlete coordinator Giampaolo Urlando has arranged a match-up of two of Europe's best athletes on the women's side.  Jessica Augusto, the petite Portuguese who won the bronze medal at 10,000m at the European Championships last summer in Barcelona, will face off with Italy's Anna Incerti, whose bronze medal in Barcelona came in the marathon. Also competing for the women's title will be Kenya's Monica Wangari (1:10:33 PB), Hungary's Krisztina Papp (1:10:53), Ethiopia's Abeba Zemichael and Gadse Bedane (no known performances to RRW), Ukraine's Olha Kotovska (1:14:16), Norway's Kirsten Marathon Melkevik (1:10:19), and China's Changqin Ding (1:20:01). Informs RRW. 

TOKYO (JPN): Respected agent and former top runner Jos Hermens was in Tokyo to explain the current situation around Haile Gebrselassie.  "Haile Gebrselassie asked me to come to Tokyo to explain to everybody what has happened. He is sorry that he could not be here. He was looking forward to compete here. Having won the Fukuoka Marathon before, he enjoys running in Japan. His training was going very well. However, last week he injured his knee when he fell during the training run in the countryside. Sometimes he falls, but falling on grass is not a problem.  But this time he banged his left knee on the hard rock when he fell and it was very painful. He wounded his knee, so he rested for a few days. But after a few days his pain has shifted more to the inside of his knee.  When he tried to run on a treadmill for 10 minutes, it was very painful on his both knees. By favoring his left knee, his right knee also started to hurt.  So he decided to have it diagnose with MRI.  The MRI showed that his knee is bruised and the conclusion was that this injury will be difficult to heal in a few days or a week. It will take a month to recover.  He is very sorry and he promises to comeback to here, hopefully next year. Of course, you never know for sure about future, but he really would like to comeback to Tokyo." Hermens also added that the ultimate goal is London 2012 Olympic marathon and for that Haile needs to run fast time to qualify for the Ethiopian team. "It is difficult to say anything about his program in the next few months, but his next marathon will be in the fall. He is determined to run much longer into the future. He is still very strong. Also the MRI shows that besides the bruise his knee is very strong and shows no damage in knee itself.  His first scheduled race will be half marathon in Vienna in mid-April, but not sure whether he will be ready for the race or not. It all depends on the speed of his recovery. But, it will be very difficult to compete there.  In May, he is scheduled to run 10Km in Manchester.  Hopefully he will be recovered for that race. Half marathon and 10Km races are important to him for speed workouts. However, at the moment, recovering from an injury is most important," added Hermens.  

LEIPZIG (GER): German athletes are competing during this weekend National Indoor Championships in Lepzig with added motivation. Open letter of top group of competitors regarding live broadcast from Daegu in summer brought new initiatives. Television ARD/ZDF is now saying they are ready to open again the negotiations. For Sunday in Leipzig is a press conference announced with participation of  IAAF Director of Communications Nick Davies and IAAF Council member Helmut Digel is expected. Leichtathletik.de is thinking that the TV rights issue will be one of the themes of the conference. 


ANKARA (TUR): Headliner of 12 members team of Turkey is 3000 m title defender Alemitu Bekele. In total Turkey will send 7 women and 5 men. The team - men - 400 m: Tamac, 800 m: Kilic, 1500 m: Koyuncu, Girmalegese, 3000 m: Akkas, Girmalegese. Women - 400 m: Redif, Saka, 800 m: Kurt, Aydin, 1500 m: Karakaya, 3000 m: Bekele, Haydar.

BUCURESTI (ROU): Romania is sending 16 athletes, only four are men but with the biggest medal hope Marian Oprea in triple jump. Other three men are Alin Anghel also in triple jump, Adrian Vasile in long jump and Cristian Vorovenci for the 800 m. Remaining 12 athletes are females - 60 m: Ograzeanu, 800 m: Nunu, Lavric, 1500 m: Bobocel, Doaga, 3000 m: Barca, high jump: Petre, long jump: Deiac, Tigau, Sandu, triple jump: Bujin, Toma. 

ROMA (ITA): High jump world leader Antonietta Di Martino and triple jump title defender Fabrizio Donato are the headliners of Italian team which is composed of 27 athletes (14 men and 13 women). The team - men - 60 m: Di Gregorio, Tumi, 800 m: Scapini, 3000 m: La Rosa, Meucci, 60m hurdles: Abate, high jump: N. Ciotti, Fassinotti, pole vault: Gibilisco, Piantella, Stecchi, long jump: Donato, triple jump: Donato, Greco, Schembri. Women - 60 m: Levorato, 60 m hurdles: Pennella, high jump: Di Martino, Lamera, pole vault: Benecchi, Bruno, triple jump: La Mantia, shot put: Rosa, 4x400 m: Arcioni, Bazzoni, Bonfanti, Milani, Spacca. 


FUKUOKA (JPN, Feb 26):  Kenyan Bitan Karoki won after dominating the Chiba Cross Country also the the Fukuoka race (IAAF CC Permit). At 10 km he clocked 27:52 ahead of other Kenyans living in Japan Nicholas Makau (28:50) and Jacob Wanjuki (28:53). Fourth best Japanese Akinobu Murasawa 28:58. In Japanese women field Hitomi Niiya won with front running tactics clearly in 19:09 at 6 km ahead of Yuko Shimizu (19:28) and Ai Igarashi (19:36). Bernard Waweru of Kenyan won the 8 km junior race (23:11) and Japanese Katsuki Suga was the best in junior girls in 19:10 at 6 km over Kenyans and would be second among women.

RIGA (LAT, Feb 25): Latvian jumping and sprinting talent Elvijs Misans (21) improved at a local meet to exactly 8 metres in long jump and said an important word for the Paris team selectors. His previous best was 770 from early February. Misans also won the 60 m at the meet with 6.82. 

BUCURESTI (ROU, Feb 25-26): Ioana Doaga who is also selected for European Indoor Championships scored an interesting double (2:06.38 at 800 m and 4:19.35 in the 1500 m) at Romanian Indoor Junior Championships. 

NORMAN (USA, Feb 25): Irish runner David Rooney improved hugely to 13:46.25 win at 5000 m at Southland Conference Champs.

BLACKSBURG (USA, Feb 25): Zimbabwean long jump olympic fourth placer and national record holder Ngonidzashe Makusha leaped at ACC Championships to third best mark in the world this year 815 cm. In women long jump Jamaican Kimberly Williams who is triple jump CAC champion, improved to 655 cm in long jump. In sprint heats Maurice Mitchell clocked 6.61 at 60 m, Brandon Byram 21.02 at 200 m and Brianna Rollins 8.13 in women´s 60 m hurdles.  

LINCOLN (USA, Feb 25): Jessica Beard clocked fast 22.97 in the 200 m heats during Big 12 meet and could challenge the world lead (22.89) in the finals. Jeneba Tarmoh had the second fastest 23.18 and Tiffany Townsend posted 7.24 in 60 m heats. Rakieem Salaam confirmed his position in men´s sprints beeing fastest in 60 m (6.62) and 200 m (20.97) heats. Bahamian Demetrius Pinder got 46.53 in 400 m heats and Jamaican Keiron Stewart 7.70 in 60 m hurdles heats. 

HOUSTON (USA, Feb 25): Talented junior Aurieyall Scott (18) improved in 60 m heats to 7.27 at Conference USA meet. 

SEATTLE (USA, Feb 25): Good 5000 m also at Pacific Mountain Conference as Miles Unterreiner achieved his PB 13:48.13 and Mohamud Ide new national indoor record for Somalia 13:48.15. 

NAMPA (USA, Feb 25): Kurt Felix scored a new Grenada national record in heptathlon 5691 points during WAC Conference meet. 

WINNIPEG (CAN, Feb 25): Sam Effah posted 33.75 at 300 m during first day of Canada West Championships meet. In the women 300 m also fast 37.89 by Amonn Nelson. 

PERTH (AUS, Feb 26): Russian Sergey Kucheryanu who lives in Australia cleared 550 in pole vault during an Interclub meet.   

AUCKLAND (NZL, Feb 26): Carl Van der Speck clocked 10.43 (+2.8) in the 100 m during Auckland Championships. 

SAO PAULO (BRA, Feb 23): Olympic winner Maurren Maggi returned to competition at local sprint/jumps meeting with 632 (+0.5) win. Her team-mate Keila Costa was more impressive in triple jump 14.24 (-0.8). In men´s jumps Rogerio Bispo got 788 (+0.9) in long jump and Jefferson Sabino 16.93 (+0.3) in the triple jump.

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