Blanka Vlasic changes Agents, by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder


Vlasic_Blanka1-EmpireSt11.JPGBlanka Vlasic, 2011 adidas NYC GP, photo by

Blanka Vlasic, 2011 WC in high jump, has changed agents to Daniel Wessfeldt. USA Today predicts 2012 Olympic champs. An early Happy New years to our readers...

Vlasic changes agents
MONTE CARLO (MON): High jump star, world and European gold medalist Blanka Vlasic has changed management. After many years with Austrian agent Harald Edletzberger Blanka Vlasic has now joined agents Daniel Wessfeldt and Stina Funke in JRS Sports Management, with offices in Monaco and Sweden. " I have known Daniel and Stina for many years and feel confident with them and their network. I am now looking forward to a strong 2012 and I will kick off the season with a training camp in South Africa and after that a couple of indoor meetings. The main goal for 2012 is of course the Olympic Games in London," she said in a statement forwarded by Daniel Wessfeldt.

USA Today predictions
NEW YORK (USA): USA Today predicted results of Olympic Games in London. For athletics they named top 8 in every event. From Daegu winners the compilers are trusting 10 men (Bolt at 200 m, Kiprop, Kemboi, Borchin, Bakulin, Rudisha, Harting, J. Williams, D. Phillips and A. Kirui) and 10 women (Jeter, Pearson, Kaniskina, Montsho, Cheruiyot at 5000 m, Chernova, Reese, Murer, Adams and E. Kiplagat) to win also in London. In relays they see three repeats from Deagu (men of Jamaica at 4x100 m and USA at 4x400 m and US women at 4x400 m). Interesting to see their prediction of Yohan Blake winning the 100 m ahead of Asafa Powell with Usain Bolt third. US wins are foreseen in 110 m hurdles (Oliver), 400 m (Wariner) and shot put (Cantwell). From Europeans they trust to Mo Farah at 10 000 m, Andreas Thorkildsen in javelin, Renaud Lavillenie in pole vault, Philips Idowu in triple jump and Krisztian Pars in hammer. Other wins for Cuba (Suarez in decathlon), Ethiopia (Merga at 5000 m) and Puerto-Rico (Culson at 400 m hurdles). In women events US win for Allyson Felix at 200, from Europeans Betty Heidler in hammer, Blanka Vlasic in high jump and Barbora Spotakova in javelin. Africa should get golds in the 10 000 m (L. Masai), steeple (Chemos) and 800 m (Jepkosgei). Asian wins in the 1500 m (Jamal) and triple jump (Rypakova) and remaining are Yareli Barrios for discus, Melaine Walker at 400 m hurdles and Jamaican women in the 4x100 m relay.

Bolt and Jeter by
BUDAPEST (HUN): Respected data and stats website announced its Athletes of the Year 2011. They are sprinters Jamaican star Usain Bolt and US 100 m world champion Carmelita Jeter. On the continental level the best in Africa are David Rudisha and Vivian Cheruiyot, in Asia Liu Xiang and Maryam Jamal, in Europe Mo Farah and Tatyana Chernova, in Oceania Mitchell Watt and Sally Pearson and in South America Fabiana Murer and two male athletes sprinter Bruno de Barros and long jumper Irving Saladino. For North and Central America the top ones are the world best.

Bolt´s fan base growing
KINGSTON (JAM): Usain Bolt publicist Carole Beckford informs that with 210 days to go before the London Summer Olympic Games, Usain Bolt is about to set another record. His Social Media numbers have been improving rapidly and even in off season, he seems to be attracting new fans. Bolt's Facebook numbers are moving closer to 6 million and he stands to achieve that before the Games. On Twitter his number has doubled in less than six months. Facebook Fans total 5.72 million, while Twitter has shown great growth since May moving from 125,000 then to 328,000. The interaction for Bolt, who talks 'often' to his fans has opened up a new set of opportunities for him. Since November he has added over 87,000 fans on Facebook and just under 20,000 Twitter followers. Although Bolt is reaping rewards from the track, off the track he has been making a significant contribution to charity, by pledging his support to the 14th Sigma Corporate Run (February 19, 2012); and continues to support projects through his Usain Bolt Foundation. Coming up early in 2012 a few major projects will be announced including business partnerships and more charity activities. Bolt and his Racers Track Club team mates are in full preparation mode for the active 2012 track and field season. He has been also nominated for the RJR Sports Foundation Awards, scheduled for Friday, January 20 in Kingston.

France has the biggest number of top meetings
BUDAPEST (HUN): In one day meetings rankings by France has the biggest number of events in the top 100 with 10. Second is Germany 9 followed by Italy and USA with 8. Fifth position in this ranking for Belgium (6) ahead of Brazil with 5. Four meetings in the top 100 rankings are organised in Switzerland, Spain and Sweden. Three in Great Britain, China, Canada and Finland. Three countries are not havig a meeting in the top 100 but had one in 2010. They are Greece, Ireland and India. Although Weltklasse Zürich achieved the highest Participation Score, it is Herculis Meeting of Monaco which has the best total Competition Score and is ranked first in the 2011 Competition Rankings in the Invitational/One-day outdoor competitions category. Writes Best meets in other areas are Rabat in Africa, Doha in Asia, Sydney in Australia and Rio de Janeiro in South America.


MADRID (ESP): Double olympic winner from Beijing Tirunesh Dibaba is returning to racing at 47th San Silvestre Vallecana end of the year race on Saturday in Madrid. She will face home star Marta Dominguez at the 10 km distance. Last competition of Dibaba is registered from August 2010 in London at the 5000 m on the track. Also in the field Ethiopian Gelete Burka and other home star and Daegu 1500 m bronze winner Natalia Rodriguez. In men´s race Ayad Lamdassem, Chema Martinez, Jesus Espana, Manuel Olmedo are facing Eritrean Teklemariam Medhin and Portugal´s veteran Rui Silva.

BOLZANO (ITA): New addition into the field of 37th BOClassic end of the year race in Bolzano is Half Marathon world champion Wilson Kiprop. Already earlier announced were world champions Imane Merga with Vivian Cheruiyot.  The elite races (women 5 km, men 10 km) will be broadcast live by RAI Sport 1. Another top name is Kenyan Edwin Soi who won here already three times. Also to mention Spanish European 1500 m champion Arturo Casado, Moroccan Abdelaziz El Idrissi and Ukrainian Sergiy Lebid. In the women field to mention Ibtissam Lakhouad from Morocco, Portugal´s Ana Dias, Hungarian Krisztina Papp, Ethiopian Afera Godfay and home top runner Silvia Weissteiner.

PEUERBACH (AUT): The Austrian end of the year race in Peuerbach will have top quality field on Saturday headed by road world record holder Leonard Komon for the men´s 6.8 km. Also in the race Josphat Bett of Kenya, Moroccan title defender Najim El Qady, Germans Jan Fitschen and Steffen Uliczka, Czech group is headed by miler Jakub Holusa. Women´s 5.1 km race has last two years winner Asmera Work Bekele of Ethiopia running with German marathon star Irina Mikitenko and Hungarian Aniko Kalovics. Austrian elite is fully represented and headed by Gunther Weidlinger, Andreas Vojta and Andrea Mayr. 

NEW YORK (USA): Canadian Carmen Douma-Hussar and Landon Peacock lead the elite fields for Saturday night's Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park.  The New York Road Runners, who will organize this iconic four-mile road race held at the stroke of midnight for the 33rd time, expect 5000 runners to take part.

SAO PAULO (BRA): For San Silvestre of Sao Paulo at 15 km top Kenyans Matthew Kisorio, Martin Lel, Duncan Kibet will face Ethiopian Tariku Bekele and home star Marilson Gomes dos Santos. The Brazilian best runner won here already three times in 2003, 2005 and 2010.


MOSCOW (RUS): Another win for high jump World champion Anna Chicherova. She was voted Russian Sportswoman of the Year 2011 by the sports daily Sport Express. In the poll around 100 journalists participated. In an interview she said her plan for 2012 is to jump 210 or even higher.

PARIS (FRA): Fastest European Christophe Lemaitre said for L´Équipe that he wants in 2012 more concentrate on the 200 m. He thinks there is more potential for him at this distance. Lemaitre also confirmed his indoor season will be short without competing at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Also summer he is not planning to many competitions apart of European Championships and Olympic Games.

GLASGOW (GBR): Daegu double bronze medallist Kim Collins will launch his 2012 assault in Glasgow at the Aviva International Match before testing his Olympic credentials against former World Record holder Asafa Powell in an explosive Aviva Grand Prix encounter in Birmingham. The 35-year-old former World Champion, who defied critics by taking 100m and 4x100m bronze at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, this summer, will represent the Commonwealth Select side at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall on 28 January before heading to Birmingham to race at the NIA on 18 February. Collins will contest both the 60m and 200m events in Glasgow before turning his attention to a blistering 60m showdown with Powell in Birmingham. Collins also aims to run at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Organizers are informing in a release.

EDINBURGH (GBR): Recently crowned European champions Atelaw Bekele and Fionnuala Britton will head the European Select men and women's side at the Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry in the New Year. The Belgian and Irishwoman after their solid victories at the Championships in Velenje will start favourites in the International Team Challenge  against the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad and Team USA in Holyrood Park on 7 January. Bekele is part of an extremely strong Euro men's contingent which also includes Ayad Lamdessem (second), Joe Sweeney (fifth) and Javier Garcia (sixth) at the Championships as well as Sergiy Lebid the former nine time gold medallist who will captain the team. Britton will captain the continental side in the 6km race which also includes Spaniard Delores Checa who proved herself to be Europe's fastest 5000 metres performer this year in the women's race which has been added to the programme for the first time. The Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry will also feature what will be a very fast 3km clash between all of the current Olympic distance running gold medallists Kenenisa Bekele, Asbel Kiprop and Brimin Kipruto. Writes David Martin.

DURHAM (USA): Insidethegames informs that US Paralympic sprinter Jerome Singleton has been fitted with a new prosthetic leg that he hopes will help him win gold at London 2012.  Singleton will be a strong contender in London and will hope to repeat his 100 metres victory over South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius in Christchurch earlier this year at the IPC World Championships. Despite being born without a fibula Singleton is currently the fastest amputee on the planet and has now been fitted with a new prosthetic leg in Honea Path in South Carolina.

MADRID (ESP): Middle distance runners Natalia Rodriguez and Manuel Olmedo were voted Spanish Athletes of the Year 2011 by Spanish Athletics Federation and magazine Atletismo Espanol. The Daegu 1500 m medalist Rodriguez got 8471 votes ahead of Nuria Fernandez 4270 and Dolores Checa 3855. Best non-runner was fourth placer high jumper Ruth Beitia (3740). In men´s order Olmedo got 8039 votes ahead of Jesus Espana 6804 and sprinter Angel David Rodriguez 6234. Fourth is discus thrower Mario Pestano 4730. Top junior athletes are Tallinn 5000 m and 10 000m winner Gabriel Navarro and triple jumper Ana Peleteiro medalist from Lille World U17 Championships. Top ones in the U23 category are 800 m runner Kevin Lopez and walker Julia Takacs. Enrique Pascual is the coach of the year (Olmedo) and top club is Valencia Terra i Mar. The Gala awards evening will be held on January 21 in Sevilla.

OSLO (NOR):  Norwegian athlete of the year 2011 is sprinter Jaysuma Saidy Ndure. He was Daegu 4th placer in the 200 m race.

HENGELO (NED) : The FBK-Games stadium might add an indoor facility to its complex reveals newspaper The Stentor. The warm-up area that is currently used for the FBK Games will be removed, opening up plans to add an indoor warm up area that could be used for the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Hengelo.

DUBLIN (IRL): Ciaran O Lionaird is among the Irish athletes with preliminary entries for the world indoor championships in Istanbul in March and the Irishman is ready to answer the call if things go to plan. O Lionaird is now training with Alberto Salazar in Portland and told the Irish Examiner "Everything is great here in Beaverton, I spent Christmas at Nike WHQ, staying in the routine. We are in the middle of a hard training block here so I didn't want to disrupt it." O Lionaird is one of Ireland's hopes for the London Olympic Games.

SOFIA (BUL): Bulgarian Athlete of the Year 2011 Vania Stambolova is in preparation for the indoor season and aims to run the 400 m at World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. She was world championships finalist in Daegu at 400 m hurdles.

ROAD TOWN (BVI): With three national indoor records under her belt and four NCAA All America Honors to her credit in her senior year, Chantel Malone was crowned the 2011 Sol British Virgin Islands senior Female Athlete of The Year, during the BVI Athletics Association's 3rd annual Athletes Awards Recognition Gala, held at Drakes Point at Fort Burt, on December 28. Malone, who was the 2009 and 2010 Sol BVI Jr. Athlete of the Year, completed her eligibility at the University of Texas. During the season she broke Ashley Kelly's 400m National Indoor Record, after running 53.23 seconds, then improved on her Long Jump standard with a leap of 665 and extended her own triple jump mark to 13.45m. There was no senior male award presented for the second successive year. Informs CAC website.

AUSTIN (USA): Michael Johnson believes Usain Bolt can cement his legendary status by stepping up to 400m and has backed the Jamaican to break his world record. Johnson believes Bolt has the talent to break his world record if he decides to step up to the one-lap event. "He was a 400m runner before he was a 100m and 200m runner," Johnson told ESPN. "He has always been great as a 200m runner but he was a good 400m runner when he was very young.

LONDON (GBR): Latest blog by Pat Butcher at The Coe & Ovett Olympics on BBC Radio.


TRNAVA (SVK, Dec 30): At the traditional Weight Throw competition (10.5 kg) outdoors European Champion 2010 Libor Charfreitag won with good 41.65 m. In the 29th edition he achieved already his 17th win, his meet best is 43.28 from 2003. Charfreitag was satisfied as he is not preparing for weight throw competitions this season. Second was another NCAA Champion Marcel Lomnicky with personal best 39.91 m. World 2009 medalist Martina Hrasnova won the women competition with new meet record 25.94 m. Her previous one was 24.64 from 2007. Charfreitag returns to his training base in Dallas on January 4, Hrasnova travels early January to her first training camp in South Africa (Potchefstroom) and Lomnicky will fly back to Blacksburg, Virginia to complete his last NCAA indoor eligibility season.

SITTARD (NED, Dec 29): At an indoor pole vault meet German Bjorn Otto cleared 552 and Belgian Chloe Henry went over new national indoor women record with 422 cm.

CHELYABINSK (RUS, Dec 17): Late addition from Russia. World pole vault finalist Dmitriy Starodubtsev improved twice his best during an indoor students competition. In first attempt at 580 and also at 590. He tried then three times at six meters. His former best was 575 from 2008, he is also World Junior champion 2004 and European Junior champion 2005.


GENT (BEL): The international meet will be held on February and not January, the 18th.

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