2011 AREVA Paris: C'est Usain Bolt! by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Usian Bolt, 2011 Ostrava, photo by PhotoRun.net

Usain Bolt is in Paris! And of course, the media is in a feeding frenzy, but that is the key to promoting a major meet! Feed the beast! Give the local media something that they can identify with!

I am off to the train now, heading to Paris for the AREVA Paris meeting. I will be at AVIVA Birmingham on Sunday. The World Youth Champs is tremendous and should be on all track fans vacation plans in future! Lille Metropole has been tremendous, more on that on the train!

Bolt in Paris
PARIS (FRA): World top star of athletics Usain Bolt arrived to Paris on Tuesday and was guest of Laurence Ferrari in TF1 prime time show. His main rivals in the 200 m at the new track of Stade de France should be French European champion Christophe Lemaitre, Daegu bound Darvis Patton of USA, his training partner recently improved Mario Forsythe and Berlin medalist Alonso Edward of Panama. 

Mutai for Italy
CASTELBUONO (ITA): Boston marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai will run 86th Castelbuono road race (11.3 km on a challenging course) in Italy on July 26. Already earlier confirmed for that race was US marathon record holder Ryan Hall.

Urech, Perry for Luzern
LUZERN (SUI): The 25th Spitzen Leichtathletik meet of Luzern (July 21, EA Classic) announced top field for women´s 100 m hurdles. Fresh national record holder and European leader Lisa Urech leads the list. Comeback race is announced by former double world champion Michelle Perry who returns after baby break. Also in the race former world indoor champion Derval O´Rourke, NCAA Champion Nia Ali and British record holder Tiffany Porter. New tribune is also ready after last year because of the stadium works the meet was held in Nottwil. More stars are expected to be announced soon.

Dix for Canada
HALIFAX (CAN):  The Aileen Meagher International Classic in Halifax on July 10 and the 2011 Toronto International Track and Field Games in Toronto on July 13 have added American sprinter Walter Dix to their respective 100-metre fields. Dix, double bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games, is excited about returning to Canada to chase Usain Bolt's Varsity Centre stadium record of 10.00 set in 2009 at the Festival of Excellence.  The Florida native raced in, and won, the 100-metres at last year's Aileen Meagher. It will be first competitions for Dix after winning double at US Nationals. Dix will line up against Canada's fastest men including current NTL 100-metre points leader Justyn Warner and Bryan Barnett. Also in the field Commonwealth games gold medalist Lerone Clarke of Jamaica.

Hooker for Germany
LEVERKUSEN (GER): Olympic and world winner in the pole vault Steven Hooker confirmed his participation at the 2nd Pole Vault Classic in Leverkusen on July 30. He will meet returning home star Danny Ecker, Korean Kim Yoo-Suk and Jason Wurster of Canada.

Top fields for Birmingham
BIRMINGHAM (GBR): The Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix will host a field of international and domestic stars as the number one global athletics tour roars into the West Midlands on Sunday. Of the 17 disciplines on show at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium 15 of them will contain a World or Olympic champion with more than 40 global medallists set to line up, enhancing the event's status as one of the strongest in world athletics this year. Organizers are informing in a release. In the 100m, Asafa Powell, who set a world-leading time of 9.78secs en route to victory on the Lausanne leg of the Samsung Diamond League last month, joins a star-studded line-up featuring an astonishing nine athletes who have run 9.99secs or faster. In other track action at Birmingham Alexander Stadium this Sunday, the world's fastest woman of the year so far, Carmelita Jeter, will line up in the 200m. The American has six victories in Britain over the last two years to her name and will hope for a seventh when she faces Marshevet Myers, who will contest the 100m for the USA at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu next month. Plenty of eyes will be on the triple jump, where Britain's World and European champion Phillips Idowu takes on the 22-year-old Parisian taking the discipline by storm, current World Indoor champion and World Indoor Record holder Teddy Tamgho. In the 5000 m, double European gold medallist Mo Farah, the world number one over 10,000m, attempts to break his own British record of 12:57.94 he set last year in Zurich. He lines up against reigning Samsung Diamond League champion Imane Merga, the world number one over this distance, and Dejen Gebremeskel, the last person to beat Farah - and in astonishing fashion - having lost a shoe in the Boston Indoor Grand Prix in February. Domestic hopes will be on Welsh 400m hurdler Dai Greene, who attempts to break Kriss Akabusi's 21-year stronghold on the British record and reigning World bronze medallist Jenny Meadows, who competes in the 800m. Fresh from her success in Germany at the weekend, where she set a new British record of 4.70m, 19-year-old pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale will line up against Silke Spiegelburg, World Indoor champion Fabiana Murer and European champion Svetlana Feofanova. One of the strongest competitions of the day will be the 100m hurdles, with the terrific field being headed by the world's top four athletes: Commonwealth champion Sally Pearson, Olympic champion Dawn Harper, current world's fastest Kellie Wells and Tiffany Ofili-Porter, who will look to better her own British record. Meanwhile, no less than four 22m throwers will line up in the shot put, with Olympic champion Thomas Majewski to battle it out with the event favourite, Canada's Commonwealth champion Dylan Armstrong. Javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen, dubbed athletics' answer to David Beckham and holder of all major international titles, has fully recovered from injury and aims to re-claim the world number one ranking from Vadim Vasilevskis, the Ukrainian Olympic silver medallist. Botswanan Amantle Montsho will look to challenge the 50-second barrier and continue her winning run over Sanya Richards-Ross in the 400m, while long jumper Brittney Reese makes her long-awaited debut in Great Britain having just leapt 7.19m, the world's best jump for four years. Embarking on a thrilling high jump competition will be Croat Blanka Vlasic, the two-time World champion and Olympic silver medallist tipped to be the first person ever to jump more than two metres at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium. Finally, Brits Christine Ohuruogu and Chris Thompson will miss the event through injury.


DURBAN (RSA): The outcome of potentially decisive first round of voting in the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics race here may be determined by fewer than 95 voters.  As bid strategists scurried around Durban's luxury hotel lobbies in pursuit of the 110 International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who constitute the electorate in this high-stakes contest, it emerged that at least six of them would not be coming to South Africa for various reasons. These are: Guinea's Alpha Ibrahim Diallo, Saudi Arabia's Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz, the United States James Easton, Brazil's Joao Havelange, Egypt's General Mounir Sabet and India's Raja Randhir Singh. In addition, at time of writing, there was still a question-mark over the presence of Samih Moudallal, the Syrian IOC member, whose country is in a state of political unrest at present. In addition to these definite or possible absentees, six further members will not cast a vote because they come from the same country as one of the three bidding cities - Annecy, Munich and Pyeongchang. These are: Thomas Bach and Claudia Bokel from Germany, Guy Drut and Jean-Claude Killy from France and Dae Sung Moon and Kun-Hee Lee from South Korea. It is also thought a number of members including Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, from Belgium, Switzerland's Denis Oswald and, possibly, Britain's Princess Anne may abstain. The list of absentions could grow even further after Cameroon's Issa Hayatou was taken to hospital.  Writes insidethegames.

LONDON (GBR) : IAAF Vice-President and Lonon 2012 boss Sebastion Coe has secretly wed his long-time girlfriend Carole Annett. The father of four children by his first marriage to equestrienne Nicky McIrvine, Coe, kept the news of his second marriage to a very small circle of family and close friends. Writes Telegraph.co.uk.

LILLE (FRA): Jamaica Gleaner informs that already depleted after the withdrawal of world youth-leading 100m sprinter, Jazeel Murphy, Jamaica's team at the IAAF World Youth Championships suffered another major blow after Youth Olympic 100m champion, Odean Skeen, was also pulled from the event - a day before the start of the championships - due to a reccurring hamstring strain. Skeen, the third-fastest youth in the world with a best of 10.41 seconds this year, has been dogged by the injury all season, but recovered in time for the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures Limited National Junior Championships, where he finished second in both the 100m and 200m. It is hoped that he will feel better in time to compete in the 200m, which starts on Friday, two days after today's start to the 100m preliminary rounds.

TOKYO (JPN):  Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said that the Japanese capital city will bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, the Kyodo News reported. According to the Japanese newspaper, Tokyo is ready to host the Olympics "at any cost".

ROME (ITA): European indoor high jump champion Antonietta Di Martino continues her rehabilitation of an injury on her take off foot. Di Martino is still unsure about the date of her return to competition but is still hopeful that she will make it to the World Championships in Daegu. In 2007 Di Martino made a similar return to competition at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka and still managed a 3rd place. Informs FIDAL website.

DRESDEN (GER): World high jump medalist Raul Spank announced his next competition plans. He will jump on Friday in Paris at AREVA DL, then Eberstadt special HJ meet on July 17, German Championships in Kassel and DN-Galan in Stockholm on July 29.


CELLE LIGURE (ITA, Jul 5): Cuban 400 m hurdles record holder Omar Cisneros clocked 49.28 to win his event at the 23rd Arcobaleno meet. South African Thuso Mpuang won the 200 m in 20.85 (+0.8) and another good sprint result was the 45.70 of Briton Richard Strachan in the 400 m. National record holder Diego Ferrin of Ecuador cleared 227 in the high jump. On the women side Souma Fatou of Senegal improved her 400 m best to 51.67 and Italian Manuela Gentili clocked 56.83 in the 400 m hurdles.

RAKVERE (EST, Jul 5): New personal best for Estonian discus thrower Priidu Niit 60.69 m when winning the national U23 title.

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