2011 Compeed Rome Golden Gala: For Bolt, race is "stepping stone", by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Bolt_UsainPC1a-RomeDL11.jpg             Usain Bolt, 2011 Rome Compeed Golden Gala press conference, May 24, 2011,
photo by PhotoRun.net.

Just look at that photo! This is the real thing! Usain Bolt is opening the 2011 season in Rome and the press is there! Bolt, through his fast running, but almost as important, his youthful style and humor, has reached out to the global sports populace, especially the young sports fans. Put him in a race with Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay, and you have a race of global proportions.

Bolt seems a bit nervous, but that is natural for so early in the season. The Samsung Diamond League will benefit from the World Champs year as will the World Champs. I have to admit, I dream of four races a year where the big sprinters meet up, and the big milers and big throwers, and they are all there....

Yours truly is in Dusseldorf, at 3:20 Central US time, 10:20 in Germany, and I am, well, functioning. Some great races to see in Rome, and I will keep you updated!


       Usain Bolt, Rome DL  Press Conference, May 24, 2011, photo by   PhotoRun.net


ROME (ITA): World record holder Usain Bolt spoke to media before his first race on Thursday in Rome after last year Stockholm competition on August 6. It will be also his debut on Italian soil, the All-Comers record is 9.74 by Asafa Powell in Rieti 2007, and fastest in Rome is Tyson Gay 9.77 in 2009. "I feel in good shape. I am not planning a time because I it's my first race since my defeat in Stockolm against Tyson Gay. This race is a stepping-stone on the road to the World Championships in Daegu. I like Rome and its weather. I put on a lot of work on muscular strength. I have just trained hard since Tyson Gay beat me in Stockolm. Last year was a downtime year for me and I did not take very serious but this season I am back to business. It's never pressure but I feel a bit nervous because I have not run since last August but I feel in good shape. I cannot set a time goal. This year my focus is not to set a new world record but to win medals in Daegu," he was quoted by IAAF and other media. He also predicted that Manchester United will beat FC Barcelona 2:1 in the Champions League final on Saturday. On Tuesday also Asafa Powell arrived and already had a clinic with children.



INDIANAPOLIS (USA): Chicago Tribune writes that olympic and world winner LaShawn Merritt, banned until July 27 for a doping violation, has petitioned USA Track & Field for an exception to the policy that would prevent him from using his wild card entry to the World Championships in Daegu. A decision will be rendered after the U.S. Championships June 23-26.



TURNOV (CZE): European champion Piotr Malachowski won the main event of the 12th Ludvik Danek Memorial. He achieved 64.51 in discus over Hungarian Robert Fazekas (64.06) and Roland Varga who now represents Croatia (63.74). Best Czech Jan Marcell was fourth (62.74) ahead of 2004 olympic medalist Zoltan Kovago (62.55). Jirina Ptacnikova cleared easy 440 in pole vault in solo effort, Jaroslav Baba achieved 220 in high jump.



ADLER/SOCHI (RUS, May 24): Hammer World leader Aleksey Zagorniy confirmed his top shape during first day of Russian Team Championships with 80.96. Second Sergey Litvinov achieved 76.88. Women winner Anna Bulghakova got 68.90 over returning from ban Gulfiya Khanafeyeva 68.02. Also Darya Pishchalnikova is returning from a ban and achieved solid 63.61 in women discus ahead of veteran Natalya Sadova 59.78. Throwers competed in Adler, runners in Sochi. In the 1500 m returned Yelena Soboleva the indoor world record holder and was 7th in the 1500 m clocking 4:10.36. Yulia Zaripova won the race with 4:07.01. In the 400 m Kseniya Zadorina achieved 51.77 over Olesya Krasnomovets 52.13. Konstantin Shabanov clocked 13.76 to win the 110 m hurdles. In solid 1500 m Valentin Smirnov got 3:39.34 over Ivan Tukhtachev 3:39.80. In the long jump Yulia Pidluzhnaya leaped to 680 over Lyudmila Kolchanova (668) and Yelena Sokolova (665).



EUGENE (USA): The women 400 m attraction at the 37th annual Prefontaine Classic, the 4th stop on the elite Samsung Diamond League circuit is Sanya Richards-Ross vs. Allyson Felix. Also in the race African Champion Amantle Montsho, European Champion Tatyana Firova and Jamaican Shericka Williams. More US runners include Debbie Dunn and Natasha Hastings. In the men´s race Jeremy Wariner should be ready after dnf in Ponce to take on hurdles olympic winner Angelo Taylor, another specialist Bershawn Jackson, Belgian European Champion Kevin Borlee and Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius of South Africa.



DAKAR (SEN): Jamaican Commonwealth Games winner Lerone Clarke is the star of the 100 m race at Meeting de Dakar on May 28 in Senegela (IAAF World Challenge). Moroccan IAAF Continental Cup winner Amine Laalou is expected to run the 800 m in his season debut.



NEW YORK (USA): The adidas Grand Prix and New York Road Runners will join together to honor the late Grete Waitz on Saturday, June 11, the date of two major running events in New York City. NYRR will dedicate the 40th running of the NYRR New York Mini 10K to Waitz, who shares the record of five wins with Tegla Loroupe. The Mini will take place in the morning on June 11 in Central Park. The adidas Grand Prix will rename the women's 1500 meters the Grete Waitz 1500 Meters to honor Waitz's longtime association with adidas and the running success she found in New York City. The adidas Grand Prix, which is the sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit, will be in the afternoon at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island. Organizers are informing in a release.







MELBOURNE (AUS): Athletics Australia advises that it will submit the nomination of Brian Roe as a candidate for Individual member of the IAAF Council. Brian will also be nominated to continue as a member of the IAAF Technical Committee, of which he has been a member for the past eight years.


NAIROBI (KEN): Lawyers representing the mother of Marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru said on Monday that their client will not withdraw a court injunction that had blocked the athlete's funeral. The lawyers said the matter will not be withdrawn until Police investigations can establish the cause of Wanjiru's death. Wanjiru died after falling off a balcony during a confrontation after his wife found him in bed with a waitress. Ms Hanna Wanjiru has been vocal in insisting that her son was killed and claims that there was blood in the living room of his house reports The Daily Nation.


LONDON (GBR): World 400m record holder Michael Johnson believes Usain Bolt has the potential to improve on his own 100m and 200m world records. "He's very, very young, still very, very raw, so there's certainly still room for improvement, amazing as that may seem for somebody who is running as fast as he is," Johnson said speaking at the launch of a partnership between the Laureus Sport for Good foundation and Connie Henry's Track Academy in north London. Johnson also added he believed the Jamaican could break the world 400 record he set at the 1999 Seville world championships.


BANGALORE: Former World Championship bronze medallist Anju Bobby George from India has resumed training after a long sabbatical and is now working towards qualifying for next year's London Olympic Games. Following the birth of her son Aaron Bobby George is slowly increasing intensity in her work outs and her husband and coach Robert Bobby George was quietly confident that Anju, who will be 35 plus going into the Olympics, would be able to recapture her best form writes The Times of India.


NEW YORK (USA): Some of the biggest players in the NFL have a backup plan to run on the track in case the NFL lockout stretches on. Powerhouse running backs like Kansas City Chiefs' Jamaal Charles, Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson, Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, are all sprinters and are looking to take their speed back onto the track if the nearly two-month-old lockout continues to keep them off the playing fields according to Competitor.


MADRID (ESP): Spanish Federation selected already four runners for the marathon at the World Championships in Daegu. They are European medalist Chema Martinez, Pablo Villalobos and Rafael Iglesias on the men side and as only woman Alessandra Aguilar.


STOCKHOLM (SWE): Former high jump world champion Kajsa Bergqvist is the new studio expert for Swedish television SVT for this summer broadcasts. She will help with her knowledge and remarks during broadcasts from Diamond League series and World Championships in Daegu.







IZMIR (TUR, May 22): One more addition into Turkish Clubs league is the 20.73 by European junior record holder Ramil Guliyev in the 200 m.


UMAN (UKR, May 21-22): At throwing meet Ivan Emelianov of Moldova achieved new national shot put record 20.57 beating Ukrainian Andriy Borodkin (20.34). Natalya Zolotukhina got 72.22 in women hammer.


MIKOLAYIV (UKR, May 21): Viktoriya Styopina cleared 190 to win the special high jump meet Kovpak Memorial.

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