In one of the most exciting 5,000 meter races that I have seen, the crowd at the AVIVA Birmingham Grand Prix was entertained by some serious middle distance racing. It was not just the fast pace, but the gutty running between 2,000 and 4,000 meters when the pace could have dropped.
None other than Aussies Craig Mottram, bronze medalist from 2005, who has been bravely coming back from injuries. Abera Kuma lead through 2,000 meters in 5:17.79. Imane Merga lead through 3,000 meters, and then, "Buster" Mottram and fellow Aussie Collis Birmingham went to the fore and kept the pace honest!
I was in Athens in September 2006, when Mottram, for the second time in a row, took Kenenisa Bekele down in the World Cup 3,000m, going to the front and making Bekele hurt. That is what Mottram did tonight, for the first time in nearly four years.
They were rewarded with both making the A standard and both of their seasonal bests! Craig Mottram ran 13:11.51, and Collis Birmingham ran 13:15.70. For Craig Mottram, that is his fastest time since 2006!
Mo Farah has been racing with a confidence that he did not have a year ago. His run at the Nike Pre Distance Gala was a real eye opener, as were his 2010 European Championship wins at 10,000m and 5,000m. His 3:42 last 1,500 meters, 2:25 last 1000 meters and 54.03 last 400 meters is what one has to do to win the big ones today.
Galen Rupp has been developing his kick. His 1:52 for the last 800 meters in Eugene for the 10,000m championships is the type of finishing that a world class distance runner needs to play in this world of uber talented distance runners. Kick or be destroyed ( I seem to remember a coach, who coaches a 12.89 hurdler reminding us of that way back in about 1977 in old RW?).
Galen Rupp is showing some serious guts. Mo Farah's training partner, Rupp was perfectly positioned over the last 1,000 meters and helped push the pace as well (Collis Birmingham lead at 4,000m, in 10:41.45, which really kept that race fast). Buster Mottram and Collis Birmingham put it all on the line to keep the pace honest, and they did!
Mo Farah has won the two 5,000m in Birmingham this year-the first in February at the NAI and the second, last night at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. And guess who was second in both races? Of course, his training partner, Galen Rupp!
The crowds loved the gutsy racing and the tough finishing of all! What a fun race to watch last night!
This has been one of my highlights of my second part of the European tour!
BOLT RETURNS TO STOCKHOLM, BUT FOR 200 M
STOCKHOLM (SWE): Usain Bolt added a new race into his pre-Daegu program. He will run for first time 200 m at DN Galan meeting in Stockholm on July 29. Bolt, who last year lost an epic 100 meters battle in the Swedish capital, with the currently injured Tyson Gay, made a very clear statement to mark the announcement of his return to Stockholm: "I will be back - and I will not lose." Meet director Rajne Soderberg was satisfied: "It is a great pleasure to confirm Usain Bolt's return to DN Galan. The U.S. sports channel Universal Sports voted last year's 100 meters race at the DN Galan between Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay as the top performance of the year in 2010. It will be interesting to see Bolt run the 200 meters." Bolt will also be challenging the meeting record of 19.77, set by former World record holder Michael Johnson in 1996. He is unbeaten at 200 m since September 14, 2007. Before Stockholm which will be his last race before Daegu he will compete in Monaco Herculis 100 m on July 22. With help from IAAF.
HEIDLER LEAD UNBEATABLE
MONTE CARLO (MON): The IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge is now having a break after Madrid meeting until post-Daegu period (Zagreb and Rieti). Currently leading in women standings is clearly world record holder Betty Heidler 228.09 (three results). Second Zalina Marghieva has 214.58 and third Tatyana Lysenko 213.33. The leading margin of Heidler is so big that is hardly to imagine somebody could be better. Her average of three marks is impressive 76.03. In men situation more close. Krisztian Pars has 238.46 ahead of Sergey Litvinov 234.56 and third Dilshod Nazarov 230.62. More changes in men rankings possible also due to the fact that both Zagreb and Rieti are planning men´s competition, whereas women will be only in Rieti.
TAMGHO PROMISES A BIG ONE
BIRMINGHAM (GBR): World record holder Teddy Tamgho had long fouls in Birmingham and promised top mark in next competition. "I lost today but I'm very happy because I had two jumps that were very, very long. I think in the next competition I can get a long one. I'm not worried about today. I'm close to doing something amazing. I just have to wait. It was good for Phillips to win today in his home, but I am in good shape," he said after Sunday competition. His next meeting is this weekend at European U23 Championships in Ostrava. Triple jump qualification is Saturday morning and finals on Sunday afternoon. Stadium record is 17.29 by Czech Jiri Kuntos from 1999, the Czech all-comers record is 17.61 by at that time Soviet athlete Oleg Protsenko in 1987 and meet record 17.57 by Dmitriy Valukevich (at that time representing Belarus, now Slovakia) from 2003 edition in Bydgoszcz.
PARIS (FRA): Jamaicas 800 m and 1500 m national record holder Kenia Sinclair hurt her calf and was unable to finish Friday's Meeting Areva in Paris. "I hurt my calf...but I will be okay. It was a bit congested for the first 200m. A girl just came over and cut in before me and I had to cut my stride. The girls who were behind me, one of them kicked me in my calves, and when I stepped down I felt something pop. I couldn't make another step," she said for Track Alerts. She planned to visit Germany on during the week to see Dr Müller-Wohlfahrt.
GERMAN WOMEN NEWS
MANNHEIM (GER): European indoor hurdles champion German Caroline Nytra again postponed the begin of the season. She wanted to run in Birmingham on Sunday but was forced to delay the season mainly due to back problems. She still plans to compete this summer. In another German news European 100 m champion Verena Sailer ended her season already because of an achilles injury. She wants to be healthy for Olympic Games 2012.
LONDON (GBR): South Sudan, the world's newest nation, faces a race against time to be able to compete in next year's London Olympics after officially gaining its independence yesterday. Sudan, a former British colony has been plagued for the last 50 years by famine, military coups, terrorism and a conflict between the Muslim north, which includes Darfur, and the Christian south that cost nearly two million lives. Earlier this year, following a 2005 peace agreement at the end of the civil war, the southern states held a referendum to separate. Many western countries, including Britain, the United States and Russia, recognized South Sudan yesterday and the United Nations is expected to vote to recognize them as its 193rd member later this week. South Sudan is now one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world but it is oil rich and expected to expand rapidly. The best-known athlete to have been born in South Sudan is British basketball captain Luol Deng. Currently no track names are known. Then they need to have at least four National federations to allow them to have a founding session of the National Olympic Committee. Only after that can the country be represented in London 2012. A more likely place for South Sudan's debut as an independent country on the major international stage is the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow in 2014. The country has already applied to join the Commonwealth. Informs insidethegames. EME NEWS checked with good sources and no one from current top Sudanese athletes belong to southern part. But it is important to note that the south has good ties with Ethiopia and Kenya.
HOUSTON (USA): RRW informs that the organizers of the 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half-Marathon announced last week that both events had sold out with a total of 24,000 participants. The event used a new lottery system this year to manage demand, and that selection process was completed on June 27. Next year's event, which will be held on Sunday, January 15, occurs one day after the USA Olympic Trials Marathon which will be run on a different course in Houston. That contest will select the American Olympic team for the London 2012 Olympics based on order of finish. The 2011 Chevron Houston Marathon recorded 6899 finishers, while the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon saw 9351 athletes cross the finish line. The 2011 edition was held in rainy conditions, with a threat of lightning, which likely depressed athlete participation on race day.
JOHANNESBURG (RSA) Sowetanlive informs that in a dramatic turn of event, the medical doctor at the Caster Semenya gender controversy could bounce back at Athletics South Africa - this time as its president. Harold Adams, who is the president of Boland Athletics and a former ASA board member, is one of nine administrators nominated for the position. The position of ASA president became vacant after Leonard Chuene was banned along with his deputy Kakata Maponyane and board member Simon Dlamini for their handling of Semenya debacle.
DURBAN (RSA): Insidethegames writes that Sweden's Gunilla Lindberg returned to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board, becoming the second woman on the 15-member body (with Nawal El Moutawakel). Lindberg was elected unopposed to the single position on the Board after Lebanon's Toni Khoury abandoned plans to stand, filling a spot vacated by Norway's Gerhard Heiberg, who stood down after the completion of his four-year mandate. Three new members were also formally elected to the IOC, having previously been nominated by the Executive Board during SportAccord in London in April. They were Jose Perurena, a Spaniard who has been President of the International Canoe Federation since 2008; Gerardo Werthein, the President of the Argentinian Olympic Committee and one of his country's most successful businessmen; and Barbara Kendall, a New Zealand sailboarder who has won three Olympic medals, including gold at Barcelona in 1992. Britain's Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), was also formally re-elected as a member of the IOC as is required under the Olympic Charter. The election of the three new members takes the on the IOC to 113. But that will be reduced at the end of the year when six members will reach the compulsory retirement age and have to step down. They are Australian Phil Coles, Japanese duo Chiharu Igaya and Shun-Ichiro Okano, Swede Arne Ljungqvist, Croatia's Antun Vrdoljak and Lassana Palenfo of the Ivory Coast.
PARIS (FRA): David Monti of Race Results Weekly points out that the outcome of the men's 1500m at the Meeting Areva in Paris cemented the United States' middle distance squad for the IAAF World Championships. After a very tactical 1500m final at the USA Outdoor Championships in Eugen none of the top-four finishers--Matt Centrowitz, Bernard Lagat, Leonel Manzano, or Andrew Wheating--had achieved the IAAF "A" standard of 3:35.00 this season. All four men ran in Paris race, and each got under the "A" standard, led by Lagat who finished third in 3:33.11. Manzano was sixth in 3:33.66, Wheating ninth in 3:34.39, and Centrowitz 11th in 3:34.69. Lagat, who won the USA 5000m title, had already said that he would only contest that event in Daegu, leaving Centrowitz, Manzano and Wheating to represent the USA in the 1500m in Daegu. The USA women's team for 1500m had already been decided. American champion Morgan Uceny ran a swift 4:03.91 in her final in Eugene, well under the 4:05.90 "A" standard for women. Runner-up Jenny Simpson clocked 4:05.66 to lock-up her spot, and third place Shannon Rowbury--the 2009 World Championships bronze medalist--got under the "B" standard of 4:08.90 when she ran 4:06.20. Since full teams can have two "A" standard athletes and one "B," Rowbury is also guaranteed a team spot because she finished in the top-3.
PARIS (FRA): Ethiopian former olympic and world gold medalist Meseret Defar ran 8th sub-14:30 5000m of her career on Friday in Paris. She is way ahead of the runners with second most sub-14:30 5000m; Tirunesh Dibaba and Vivian Cheruiyot both have 3 sub-14:30 5000m. She plans a 10 000 m race later this month in Italy. Stats from Ken Nakamura.
BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Mo Farah last lap was even better as reported, the photo-cell time showed 54.03 for the last lap. Also transponders from ST-Sportservice of Omega were in operation, Farah passed 3500 in 9:23.0 and Rupp 9:23.1. Therefore their final 1500s were 3:43.2 and 3:43.8 respectively. Informs Mark Butler.
MOSCOW (RUS, Jul 9-10): At Moscow Championships fast 800 m by Yekaterina Kostetskaya 1:58.25 what is second fastest in the world. Yevgeniya Zinurova clocked 1:58.49, Irina Maracheva 1:58.71, Svetlana Klyuka 1:58.96 and Yuliya Tutayeva 1:59.83 to have five runners under 2 minutes. Fast 1500 m time 4:05.49 for Anastasiya Vosmerikova beating returning Yelena Soboleva 4:06.64 and Olga Golovkina 4:06.75. European champion Tatyana Firova achieved 51.53 at 400 m. In the 3000 m hand-timed 8:53.0 for Natalya Popkova and in the steeple 9:36.78 for Lyubov Kharlamova. New name to watch at high level in sprints is Yelizaveta Savlinis who improved to 11.30 (twice in heats and finals) and won the 200 m in windy 22.63 (+2.3) but was legally faster in the heats with 22.62 (+1.9). It is third fastest time this year in Europe. Good results also in women technical events. Anna Nazarova leaped to 673 (+0.3) and Olga Zaytseva to 671 (+1.6) in the long jump. Anna Pyatykh achieved 14.24 (-0.6) in the triple. In throws European junior champion 2007 Vera Ganeyeva improved hugely to 63.61. Irina Tarasova won the shot put (18.51) and Tatyana Lysenko was the best in hammer (71.58). Tatyan Mnatsakanova cleared 192 in high jump. From men events to note 3:39.12 at 1500 m for Vyacheslav Sokolov, 560 by Sergey Kucheryanu un pole vault and 78.90 of Kiril Ikonnikov in hammer. Solid depth in shot put when Maksim Sidorov achieved 20.66, Soslan Tsirikhov 20.40 and Valeriy Kokoyev 20.06.
HALIFAX (CAN, Jul 10): US champion Walter Dix clocked 10.08 (+1.8) while winning the 100 m at the fourth leg of Canadian National Track League which was in Halifax as Aileen Meagher Invitational. Second Canadian Justyn Warner 10.28. Impressive improvement for Canadian Phylicia George at 100 m hurdles to 12.76 (+1.8).
HENDON (GBR, Jul 10): During second day of jumps and throws fest Samson Oni cleared 227 in high jump to beat Tom Parsons 224.