2011 Drake Relays: Cantwell, Webb & Cherry by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Christian Cantwell, Greece 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

Webb_Alan-NewBalGP11.JPGAlan Webb, 2011 NB Indoor Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net

Cherry_DamuQ_USOut.JpgDamu Cherry, 2010 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Christian Cantwell, Alan Webb and Damu Cherry have been announced to compete at the 2011 Drake Relays, to be held the end of April 2011. Drake Relays, sponsored by ASICS America, has been sold out for the past thirty years, and is one of the most popular track and field relays in the country!


BOSTON (USA): Usain Bolt vs. Tyson Gay might not happen before Daegu World Championships. US record holder´s agent Mark Wetmore said that for Reuters. Both sprinters have different schedules, Bolt plans to start competing earlier than Gay who is not going out of the USA before the national trials. Gay is also in more difficult situation with the need to qualify for Worlds whereas Bolt has wild cards for both 100 m and 200 m as reigning world champion and is not forced to run the nationals. For the moment Bolt has scheduled races in Rome (100 m), Ostrava (event tba), Oslo (200 m), Paris (200 m) and Monaco (100 m). He will most probably open at Jamaican Invitational on May 7. And there is one more competition possibility in July-early August period in Europe for Bolt. Gay will soon start with 4x400 m relays (Florida Relays and Texas Relays) and first international race is announced for New York on June 11 at 100 m. It is expected he will arrive in July to Europe to compete. But nothing is officialy confirmed yet. Asafa Powell´s schedule is also not known yet apart of his duel with Bolt in Rome on May 26.



DES MOINES (USA): US record holder Alan Webb is scheduled to run the mile at the 102nd Drake Relays on April 30. His main rival should be Kenyan Boaz Lalang. Both have also entered the Grand Blue Mile, held in downtown Des Moines, Tuesday, April 26. Also announced to compete are shot put world champion Christian Cantwell and olympic finalist hurdler Damu Cherry.



ROMA (ITA): Huge Italian racing weekend on Sunday will see at the Alà dei Sardi cross country race a star-studded competition with Punta Umbria World Cross Contry champion Imane Merga who will take on second placer Paul Tanui and Tariku Bekele, winner in Alà dei Sardi in 2008. The women's race will be highlighted by Berlin world silver medallist Sylvia Kibet, former 5000 metres world junior champion Sule Utura and reigning world 3000 metres world junior champion Mercy Cherono. The Treviso Marathon will feature Marco Bona (bronze medallist at the World Military Championships in Athens last year) and former European Junior Cross Country bronze medallist in 2001 and husband of European Marathon bronze medallist Anna Incerti. Incerti will line up at the Stramilano Half Marathon on Sunday morning. The top runner from Bagheria is in very good form. She finished fourth at the Osaka Marathon in January in her new PB of 2:27:33 and won the Roma Ostia Half marathon in a new course record of 1:09:06. Incerti will face Italian top runners Deborah Toniolo and Marcella Mancini. In the men's Stramilano race the top name will be Swiss European Marathon champion Viktor Rothlin who will make a final test before the London Marathon. Rothlin will take on Kenyan Matthew Kisorio, fourth in Punta Umbria last week, and Eric Ndiema, third at the Paris Half Marathon in 61:49 but a sub-60 runner last year. Former European Junior and Under 23 champion Andrea Lalli from Italy will make his debut over the Half Marathon distance here. Also on the programme on Sunday is Ferrara Marathon.



TORONTO (CAN): Canadian hurdler Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, the current top ranked women at 100 m hurdles in the world is celebrating for more than one reason, yes she is very happy with her 2010 season punctuated by the inaugural Diamond League crown, but the current news is much more exciting for her and husband Bronsen. "I'm pregnant!," The 28-year old from Whitby said, as though she just won the lottery. "We have been keeping the news quiet until we were ready to share with everyone, we are very proud to announce that we are 3 months pregnant, it's so nice to now be able to let the world know!" That also explains why she was not competing indoors. With the baby set to arrive in September, the powerful Nike hurdler will have ample time to resume her preparations towards the podium in London. Lopes-Schliep is more than accustomed to overcoming challenges. In 2007 she returned to competition following surgery to remove a cyst on one of herovaries. The surgery took place shortly after a series of competitions in Brazil in May and Priscilla was able to return to the track in July to qualify and later compete at the World Championships that summer in Osaka, Japan. In 2008 she surprised the world with Canada's lone medal in athletics at the Beijing Olympic Games. Informs her agent Kris Mychasiw.







VIENNA (AUT): Kenya's Peninah Arusei and Portugal's Ana Dulce Felix will run their debuts at the Vienna City Marathon on 17th April. While the half marathon featuring Haile Gebrselassie will get a lot more attention than usual the main event will still be the marathon. Peninah Arusei has quite some experience regarding distances beyond the half marathon. The 32 year-old very successfully ran the Berlin 25 k race on four occasions. She won Germany's oldest major city road race three times (2006, 2008 and 2009) and placed second in 2007. When she took the race two years ago she established a fine course record of 1:22:31. While her record was broken a year later Peninah Arusei still is in seventh position on the 25 k world alltime lists. And her 1:22:31 suggests that she should be able to do very well in the marathon. Her half best is impressive 1:07:48. Ana Dulce Felix proved that she is in fine form as well for her first full marathon race (she had started in the New York Marathon in November 2010, but gave up early). It was at the Lisbon half marathon last Sunday, where she almost exactly clocked the same half marathon time as Peninah Arusei in Paris. The 28 year-old from Portugal finished second with 68:33 minutes. This is a personal best and on top of that a national record. Among their rivals will be three women who have sub 2:29 personal bests so far: Elza Kireyeva (Russia) was third in Dublin in 2010 with 2:28:02, Fate Tola (Ethiopia) took second in Turin 2010 in 2:28:22 and Elisabeth Chemweno (Kenya) was fifth in Hamburg with 2:28:55 in 2006. The Vienna City Marathon could well see its best women's elite race for many years on 17th April. Organizers are informing in a release.


PRAGUE (CZE): Three runners with sub one hour bests and five women with under 1:10 life-time fastest will headline the Hervis Prague Half Marathon on April 2. The event is sold out concerning the participation possibility at level of 9500 runners. Organizers are hoping for first sub one hour time as the event record is 1:00:07 by Nicholas Kipruto from 2009. Kipruto is also among this year participants. Austrian Gunther Weidlinger is also listed and will have second half-marathon in one week after the nationals this weekend. Three sub one hour runners are Ethiopian Azmeraw Bekele (59:39) and Kenyans Jairus Chanchima (59:43) and Titus Masai (59:51). Interesting debuts are prepared for Robert Kirui (last year 13:50 on the track in Kenya) and Jonathan Chirchir (last year 2:21 at a marathon in Nairobi). Women category has even a brighter star in Kenyan Lydia Cheromei who was this year already second in Dubai marathon with excellent PB of 2:23:01. Former half-marathon world silver winner has a 1:08:14 best and could well attack the course rceord 1:09:03 by Rose Kosgei in 2009 (she is also running). French marathon record holder Christelle Daunay is another top name (her best here is 1:08:34). In the debut department trio of strong Ethiopians is announced. Korahubish Itaa is reigning world youth steeple champion from Bressanone, other two are Birtukan Eshetu and Tirunesh Kefyalew.


BERLIN (GER): Berlin Half Marathon scheduled for April 3 is having also three men with sub one hour bests in its line-up. Ethiopian Ayele Abshero is leading the list with 59:42 career best. Kenyans Kiplimo Kimutai (59:44) and Leonard Langat (59:52) are the other two. Also to note is the participation of former fast track runner Abraham Chebii who now has a 1:00:07 half best. Another similar case is Ethiopian Abebe Dinkesa with interesting track past and current 1:00:04 fastest time. The course record 58:56 is of high quality. In women race home Sabrina Mockenhaupt, Austrian Andrea Mayr and Ethiopian Fate Tola are the top names. Also here was the participation limit achieved, 25 500 runners are entered.







WELS (AUT): One of the top European marathon runners Gunther Weidlinger will try to defend his national half-marathon title on Sunday in Wels. Also running is former national champ Roman Weger and European marathon participant from Barcelona Florian Pruller. Weidlinger prepares for Dusseldorf Marathon early May.


SEOUL (KOR): Widespread wireless internet availability on Daegu's public transport system will make the job of the media reporting on the IAAF World Championships 2011 much easier. Stefan Thies, Head of Media Operations for Daegu 2011 told AIPS congress delegates at a dinner hosted last night by Mayor of Daegu, Mr Bum-il Kim, that the 2,500 accredited media will be able to use internet on the bus network and subway system, and that free wireless will also be available in the lobbies of the media hotels.


BERLIN (GER): The Sports Committee of German Parliament discussed this week the issue of live broadcast from World Championships 2011 and 2013. It was a closed discussion, not for public. Politicians appealed to the German stations ARD and ZDF to try to find solutions but not for any price. They asked stations and rights holders to re-start their negotiations. A final solution should be known soon also because of different technical and logistical issues. At the website "kein-wm-blackout.org" already 3700 votes supported the live transmissions from Daegu and Moscow in Germany.


TOKYO (JPN): In his twitter message, Manabe Kawagoe, coach of Yuri Kano, announced that Kano has pulled out of London marathon. After Nagoya cancellation Kano was in the group which got the chance to qualify for Daegu at London Marathon.


SEOUL (KOR): The International Sports Press Association (AIPS) have again called on the 2012 London 2012 Olympic Games organisers to do away with the rate card for the media planning to cover the games AIPS President Gianni Merlo implored the organisers to look into reducing the already high costs for the 5,800 written press and photographers planning to cover next year's Games. "I know having free WI-FI is not possible but maybe you can look into having free LAN in the press working areas just to reduce the costs for the journalists. I urge the organising committee to become the first organisers to abolish the rate card," said Merlo. Head of Press Operations, Jayne Pearce promised to raise the concerns of the sport media with the Local Organising Committee. Pearce presented the media operations concept to the Congress in Seoul stressing the need for journalists to plan and pay for accommodation in advance, in the absence of the Media Village which has often been used at past Olympics to provide affordable media accommodation.


SYDNEY (AUS): Athletics Australia selectors have confirmed an initial team of 27 for the 7th IAAF World Youth Championships, with 10 boys and 17 girls set for Lille. Boasting 15 national under 18 champions and an astounding 23 graduates of the Athletics Australia Under 17 Development Squad, the Australian team also includes national under 18 record holders Danielle McConnell (hammer throw) and Elizabeth Parnov as well as former Australian representatives Monica Brennan (200m), Elliott Lang (javelin), Jenny Blundell (800m) and Brodie Cross (pole vault). Informs Athletics Australia.


PERTH (AUS): Former 400 m hurdles world champion Jana Rawlinson is a possible competitor at the Go for 2&5 Australian Athletics Tour Final next week in Perth. Possibly competing for the first time domestically since 2006 and currently listed in the women's 400m and 400m hurdles, her times and performances ensure an intriguing effect on the point scores of so many athletes.


BATON ROUGE (USA): The LSU Tiger Relays this weekend is expecting a strong relays. In the 4x100 m not only home teams will run but also US hurdles record holder Lolo Jones is expected to be a member of a relay team. In team with her is also expected former relay world champion Muna Lee who passed the indoor season.


LONDON (GBR): Latest Pat Butcher blog at www.globerunner.org is called: The 'killer' quote!


LONDON (GBR): AP informs that IAAF is investigating 2001 world 100 m champion Zhanna Block of Ukraine for doping and could change the results from the event in Edmonton ten years ago. Block (38) who clocked in Edmonton final her life-time best of 10.82 and was a surprise winner over Marion Jones is under scrutiny after a U.S. anti-doping arbitration panel suspended her husband - coach and agent Mark Block - for 10 years last week after finding he trafficked in drugs supplied by BALCO and gave them to his wife. She also won silver medals at World Championships 1997 and 2003. In her career she clocked legal 23 sub 11 times at the 100 m, informs Tilastopaja.


LAUSAUNNE (SUI): European Athletics informs that the official logo and event design for the Helsinki 2012 European Athletics Championships, representing nature and technology, was unveiled at a press conference in the Finnish capital city on Thursday. The winning curve-shaped logo was chosen in an online vote from a shortlist of four, following an initial international contest through design website boblr.com that attracted 257 logo design proposals from 38 countries. The 21st European Athletics Championships will take place at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium from 27 June to 1 July 2012.







DUNEDIN (NZL, Mar 25): Olympic 1500 m medalist Nick Willis won the 5000 m during first day of New Zealand Championships in blustery cold conditions and was timed with 14:34.32. Willis won the national 1500m title in 2006 and in 2008. Carl Van der Speck of Auckland collected his third senior 100m title in a row, clearing away from a strong field mid way down the straight to clock 11.07 in difficult weather conditions. Informs New Zealand Athletics.


KOPRIVNICE (CZE, Mar 19): European indoor medalist Jaroslav Baba still competed here at a special indoor high jump meet and cleared 221 in his final event of the undercover season.


BERKELEY (USA, Mar 24): Strong wind and rain forced the cancellation of much of the second day of competition at the Cal Multis meet Thursday at Edwards Stadium. Sharon Day was leading the heptathlon after first day with 3594 points.


PRETORIA (RSA, Mar 23): Addition to the provincial championships (where Pistorius clocked 45.61) is also the 2:06.56 at 800 m by world champion Caster Semenya.



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