Merry Christmas to all subscribers! by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

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Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, photo by PhotoRun.net

Merry Christmas to all, and best wishes for well earned days of rest....2012 is not far off, and it should be an amazing year, indoor and outdoors! Looking forward to seeing many of you this year! Special thanks to Alfons Juck, aka the Juckster, a man who provides us with much of the news from around the world. (Special thanks to IAAF.org and USATF.org as well). Also thanks to Victah Sailer, aka Victah, aka Photorun.net and his merry group of photographers, who provide most of the photos we use all year. There are more to thank and we will thank them over the next week. For now, enjoy the bit of athletics news...

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL SUBSCRIBERS!

BOLT OVER BLAKE AT 100 M
LONDON (GBR): In the annual World Top Ten merit rankings by Athletics International (and published by Athletics Weekly) in 8 men and 3 women events Daegu World Champions are not the number ones. The selection panel consisted of Peter Matthews, Mel Watman, Stan Greenberg, Mirko Jalava, Alfons Juck , A Lennart Julin and Ed Gordon. The panel assessed the year's records of the leading contenders and the ranking order was determined by consensus. Among the factors considered were athletes' placings in significant competitions followed with the quality of athletes' best marks, their consistency, and win-loss records against other ranked competitors. Marks made indoors were not considered, nor were any athletes who were suspended for 2 years during the year for drug-related offences. In the men´s 100 m Usain Bolt is ranked number one over World champion Yohan Blake. In similar situation Jason Richardson at 110 m Hurdles ranked as second behind Cuban Dayron Robles. In pole vault Pawel Wojciechowski is second to French Renaud Lavillenie, the same in hammer as Koji Murofushi is second with Krisztian Pars beeing the leader and Mathias De Zordo second to Andreas Thorkildsen. Third in rankings from world champions is Dwight Phillips in long jump (first Mitchell Watt and second Ngoni Makusha), fourth is David Storl in shot put (ahead of him Dylan Armstrong, Reese Hoffa and Christian Cantwell as 1-2-3). The lowest from world champions in marathon as Abel Kirui is ranked 7th with world record holder Patrick Makau beeing the leader. In rest of 14 events the Daegu winners are leading the rankings. Women in 2011 had only three cases with Daegu winners not beeing on top. In the 1500 m Jennifer Simpson is fourth with her team-mate Morgan Uceny on top followed by Maryam Jamal and Hannah England. In marathon Edna Kiplagat is third because Lilya Shobukhova and Mary Keitany are 1-2. World record holder Betty Heidler leads hammer with Tatyana Lysenko second. The remaining 18 events are having World champions on top. The prestigious rankings by Track and Field News will be published on January 1.



CHRISTMAS SPECIALS

TRAINING: Sprinting super star Usain Bolt had training on December 24 but will get two extra days off. That is Monday and Tuesday as for him Sunday is regular rest day. The fastest man on earth will be back to training on Wednesday. Heptathlon star Jessica Ennis won't be following the footsteps of fellow multi-event legend Daley Thompson and training on Christmas Day. Ennis says for UK media Sunday will be treated as her usual day off as she prepares for the most important year of her life. Czech decathlon star Roman Sebrle will have the days off with his two children and wife Eva. Legendary javelin world record holder Jan Zelezny gave free time to his group until January 3. They will of course have some jogs and other activities in the mean-time but nothing major. Slovak hammer star Libor Charfreitag came home to Slovakia from Dallas for two weeks and will even compete on December 30 in Trnava in winter outdoor weight throw. Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius was also in training on December 24, but will not be at the track on Sunday what is his usual rest day.

BIRTHDAY: Christmas Birthday for US world medalist sprinter Wallace Spearmon. He celebrated his 26 years on December 24. He is back in training after missing most of 2011 due to injury.



OTHER NEWS


VOLGOGRAD (RUS): Russian star olympic winner and world champion Tatyana Lebedeva was elected the President of athletics federation of Volgograd region. She is also vice-president of All-Russia Athletics federation and prepares for a come-back in olympic year. Another top athlete living in Volgograd Yelena Isinbayeva supported the decision of Lebedeva to accept the elections result.

NAIROBI (KEN): Kenya national athletics coach Julius Kirwa predicts a tough 2012 athletics year for the Kenya after excellent performances this year. Kirwa believes Athletics Kenya will have to work hard to ensure to maintain the high standards set by athletes both at regional and global levels of competition. "2011 was a very good year for our runners and the challenge now is to ensure we take the same performances to next year particularly because it is an Olympics year," said Kirwa. Kirwa said he will be laying a special focus on reclaiming the 800m gold medals that were won by Wilfred Bungei and Pamela Jelimo at the 2008 edition of the games held in Beijing, China. "Kenya has abundant talent and all that matters is a great understanding between an athlete and coach," he said. "I have a vision that we are going to do well and the athletes have also shown they are ready to work hard as they did this year." "You know surprises in Kenya can come from anywhere and we might even have some unknown athletes making the list the Olympic Games," observed Kirwa. All-Africa.com informs.

RIGA (LAT): World long jump bronze winner Ineta Radvica was voted Latvian Sportswoman of the Year 2011. In the shortlist for that award also other track athletes heptathlete Aiga Grabuste and javelin thrower Madara Palameika. In the male short list no track representative was listed. The traditional awards evening was held in Splendid Palace Theathre.

NAIROBI (KEN): The Nation informs that a school named in honour of former world 800 metres champion Janeth Jepkosgei was opened in Nandi County on Friday ahead of Saturday's Shoe 4 Africa women's road race in Iten. Athletics Kenya national chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, and the founder of Shoe4Africa, Toby Tanser, led residents of Kabirirsang village in the official opening of Janeth Jepkosgei Shoe4Africa Primary School, Kapsumbeiywo. Shoe4Africa spent 8 million Kenyan shilling on the project that has an administration block and classrooms.

EGMOND (NED): Boston marathon winner in 2010 Kenyan Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot signed for the 40th PWN Egmond Half Marathon on January 8. Also in the field Eritrean Samuel Tsegay and Kenyan Wilfred Kirwa (last year second placer here).

BUCURESTI (ROU): Hammer throw European U23 Champion and Daegu 6th placer Bianca Perie was named Romanian Athlete of the Year 2011. Romanian Athletics Federation announced her name from shortlist of other 14 athletes who were also awarded without specific rankings. They are Marian Oprea, Ligia Grozav, Roxana Perie, Denisa Dragomir, Rebeca Rus, Andreea Ograzeanu, Esthera Petre, Carmen Toma, Alexandru Ghinea, Bianca Razor, Alina Rotaru, Elena Panaet, Ioana Doaga and Ioana Dan.



RESULTS


MOSCOW (RUS, Dec 24): During second day of Students Meet 60 m national champion Natalya Murinovich won her 300 m heat in 40.18 but overall fastest was Yekaterina Vukolova 39.68. In the men´s 300 m the fastest by Artem Vazhov (34.35). Andrey Patrakov cleared 225 in the high jump and junior medalist Aleksey Fyodorov achieved 16.25 in the triple jump. Aleksandra Pavlyutenkova posted 2:48.57 in the 1000 m.

MOSCOW (RUS, Dec 24): In the opening indoor meet fast 600 m by only 15 years old Anna Ustinova (born 1996) 1:32.95.

CHARLEVILLE-MEZIERES (FRA, Dec 23): Kenyan Sammy Kagara Main won here a 8 km road race (23:00).

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