2012 Houston: Keflezighi & Flanagan, by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Meb Keflezighi, 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon, by PhotoRun.net

Flanagan_ShalaneFL1-USOlyT12.JPGShalane Flanagan, 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Meb Keflezighi & Shalane Flanagan, the two winners of the 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon, showcased the Olympic spirit & dream. For Meb, this will be his third Olympic team, and for Shalane, her third Olympic team as well! Meb made the team off five and one half weeks of training, and Shalane, off the long build up from the fall, and in her second marathon!

The truth is, the two teams named may be our best yet. Both the men and the women are in top form, or, will be there shortly. The testament on how tough they are can be seen in the highest quality of the fourth placers: Dathan Ritzenhein is one of our most talented and gutsy male runners and Amy Hastings showed her stuff here: a class act showcasing a future in our sport, that is, without limitations. Watching the TV coverage afterwards, especially the battles by Dathan and Amy, put tears in my eyes. But, that is what great sports challenges are supposed to be. 

Keflezighi and Flanagan
HOUSTON (USA, Jan 14): Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan won the USA Olympic Trials Marathon on a chilly, picture-perfect day in southern Texas.  All six podium finishers earned spots on the USA Olympic Team for the London Olympics in the world's only binding Olympic marathon trials which pick an entire team on one day. Off of a fast early pace set by his key rival Ryan Hall, Keflezighi, eventually broke away from Hall and three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman in the 24th mile.  Keflezighi, who also ran the ING New York City Marathon last November, broke the tape in a personal best 2:09:08, making his third Olympic team. "This race was all about 1-2-3," the 36 year-old father of three daughters told the crowd assembled at the finish area.  He added: "I just wanted to make my third Olympics for my girls." Hall, the defending Trials champion who had the pack on a sub-2:07 pace in the early miles, finished second in 2:09:30.  Abdirahman, who dropped off the lead pace in the final miles, struggled to hold his form and take third place in 2:09:47, just 8 seconds ahead of the closing Dathan Ritzenhein 2:09:55.  For Abdirahman, his performance today puts him on his fourth Olympic team. Four more runners went under 2:12.  In the women's race, which started much more conservatively than the men's, an early pack of nine dwindled to four in the 15th mile: Flanagan, Amy Hastings, Kara Goucher, and Desiree Davila.  Hastings, fell back, rejoined the group then fell back for good and would finish fourth (2:27:17).  At the front, Flanagan and Davila worked together to drop the slightly under-trained Goucher, then Flanagan spurted away from Davila at the 40-K mark.  Her long blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, Flangan strided smoothly to the finish in an Olympic Trials record of 2:25:38, which was also a personal best.  It was also her first marathon victory. "These are dreams," Flanagan, who lives in Portland, Ore., told the crowd in her post-race interview.  "We fulfilled dreams today." Davila finished a close second in 2:25:55 making her first Olympic team, and Goucher --who like Flanagan is coached by Jerry Schumacher under the Nike Oregon Track Club program-- was third in 2:26:06.  All four of the top finishers smashed the Trials record of 2:28:25 set by Colleen De Reuck in St. Louis in 2004. Fifth former Kenyan Janet Cherobon-Bawcom improved hugely to 2:29:45 and beat 2004 Olympic medalist Deena Kastor (2:30:40, her fastest since 2009). Informs Race Results Weekly.

Pearson opens with 11.25
BRISBANE (AUS, Jan 14): At the Brisbane Track Classic, Australia's golden girl of the track Sally Pearson opened her domestic campaign in blistering fashion. She clocked 11.25 to win the women's 100 m (+0.1) and was 0.2 s faster than her first 100 m event last year. The IAAF World Athlete of the Year and 100m hurdles world champion, Pearson is confident in the strength of her body and keen to continue her strong domestic form across the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour. Pearson said: "That was really, really good, it's a sign that what I did last year worked as I am already undertaking a similar plan and the results are starting to come. I know that I need to listen to my body to keep it healthy and I know that this year is about bringing home an Olympic gold medal, even if it's in 13 seconds. After the world championships I was in perfect shape and that has carried over. I got straight back into it and am ready to go, this time underlines that more for me." Earlier in the evening for the women's 4x100m relay, Pearson led teammates Melissa Breen, Charlotte Van Veenendaal and Hayley Butler to a comfortable victory ahead of Australia Junior (45.52) and Australia 'B' (45.62) in 44.01. Australian men achieved 39.66 in the 4x100 m and 3:05.84 in the 4x400 m. Australian women including Jana Pittman got 3:34.12. Lauren Boden won also the 300 m in 38.20 ahead of Jana Pittman 39.02. New South Welshman James Gurr ran a solo final lap in the men's 800m to cross the line in 1:47.31, almost half the straight in front of his nearest rival. Aaron Rouge-Serret won the men's 100m in 10.34 (+0.6). Australian Flame Henry Frayne leapt 791 cm (0.0) to win the men's long jump. Next meet of the Australian series will be Hunter Track Classic in Newcastle on January 21. Informs Athletics Australia.

Marathon hero G. Mutai wins, E. Kiplagat beaten
NAIROBI (KEN, Jan 14): The world's fastest marathoner Geoffrey Mutai and Lucy Kabuu unleashed speed and power to beat their opponents at the Kenya Police Cross Country Championships on Saturday. Informs The Nation. Mutai broke away from Moses Masai and Titus Mbishei at the half-way mark, creating a gap of close to 200 metres on his way to retaining the men's 12km title in 37:38 at the Ngong Racecourse. Masai was second 38:03 and Mbishei third 38:07 with Josephat Bett fourth 38:36 and Levi Matebo fifth 38:40. Top steeple runner Paul Kipsiele Koech was 9th 39:02 ahead of Sammy Kitwara 39:04 as 10th. Making her comeback to big time local competition after a two-year battle with a tendon injury and maternity leave, Kabuu also surged ahead just before the sixth kilometre mark to win the women's 8km race in 28:22, beating among others, world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat to third place by close to 150m (28:59). Second was Margaret Wangari in 28:45.

Fedoriva 36.54 at the 300 m
MOSCOW (RUS, Jan 14): At Christmas Cup indoor meet fast 300 m by relay olympic winner Aleksandra Fedoriva 36.54. It is 12th best perfomer of all-time. Natalya Nazarova posted another 500 m win in 1:10.15. Natalya Murinovich was the fastest in the 60  m (7.34, faster 7.31 in heats). World medalist and European Champion Ineta Radevica of Latvia as guest leaped to 651 in the long jump. Anastasiya Savchenko went over 445 in the pole vault. In the distances Yevgeniya Zolotova clocked 2:38.92 in the 1000 m and double European U23 Champion Yelena Arzhakova 5:48.85 in the 2000 m. In men events to note Yuriy Kovalov and his 17.00 in the triple jump, Pavel Karavayev got 793 in the long jump and Sergey Mudrov 227 in the high jump. Roman Smirnov was the best at the 300 m (33.80) and national record holder Yevgeniy Borisov achieved 7.84 at the 60 m hurdles.

Ahoure 7.09 at the 60 m
HOUSTON (USA, Jan 13): US National team member Trell Kimmons posted so far the fastest 60 m of the season at the Leonard Hilton Invitational. His winning time was 6.62 ahead of Carlin Isles 6.65 PB and Daegu relay bronze winner from St. Kitts Antoine Adams who improved to 6.67. Even more impressive the women 60 m where Murielle Ahoure clocked fast national record for Ivory Coast 7.09. In 2011 it would equal the best time of the season. Returning Laverne Jones-Ferrete of US Virgin Islands was also fast in 7.14 ahead of Alexandria Anderson 7.32. Aries Merritt got 7.80 and Seun Adigun of Nigeria 8.12 in the hurdles.


MOSCOW (RUS): Reigning British world indoor champion Dwain Chambers is scheduled to compete internationally during the indoor season. He is set for Russian Winter IAAF Indoor Permit in Moscow on February 5. In Russia he will face double world medalist from Daegu Kim Collins of St. Kitts and US sprinters Josh Norman with Rakiem Salaam. From Italy entered are Fabio Cerutti and Emmanuele Di Gregorio.

INNSBRUCK (AUT): With barely 200 days to go to the London Olympics, the International Sports Press Association, AIPS remains hopeful that the Local Organising Committee will change its policy regarding the rate card for the 25,000 Journalists accredited to cover the Games. Addressing AIPS delegates attending the 75th Congress on the opening day on Friday January 13 in Innsbruck, President Gianni Merlo was optimistic that favourable solutions are still at hand. Said Merlo: "I remain hopeful that there will be a solution to on-going negotiations. Because I believe the organisers and even the IOC recognise the important role-played by the Sports Press. Free internet connection will be a big plus to our work in London." The deadline for application for the valued Press rate card was December 31,2011. Jane Pearce, LOCOG Head of Press Operations presented to the delegates key updates on the Press Operations and the on-going accreditation for the Games which runs from 27th July through to August 12, 2012. The Accreditation cards will grant the journalists entry into United Kingdom until November 8,2012. So far the organisers have earmarked the Opening/ Closing Ceremonies and the Swimming Finals as the high demand events where media personnel will need tickets to access the venues. Informs AIPS.

LONDON (GBR): Worlds fastest man Usain Bolt will inspire people and businesses to invest in superfast broadband that supports the latest technology, such as voice over internet protocol (VoIP) solutions. Businness media are informing.  The Jamaican sprinter has been confirmed as the new face of Virgin Media and he has dressed up as the brand's founder Sir Richard Branson for a multi-million pound advertising campaign. Virgin Media is presenting broadband offerings and the new £110 million project the company unveiled this week, which is designed to double speeds for its users.

DUBLIN (IRL): Irish Times writes that potential London Olympic qualifier long distance runner Martin Fagan is facing a two-year suspension for a doping offence. The 28-year-old marathon runner from Mullingar, was informed by Athletics Ireland of an "adverse analytical finding", the technical term for a positive drugs test. Fagan is due to attend an adjudication hearing in Dublin on Monday to explain why traces of the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin were found in the A-sample of an out-of-competition doping test taken at his US training base in December.


AUBIERE (FRA, Jan 14): At the Capitale Perche indoor pole vault meet UK record holder Holly Bleasdale jumped 452 in second attempt and tried at 462. She beat on count back French record holder Vanessa Boslak (452 also in second but had also miss at 443). Third British junior record holder Katie Byres (433). Roman Mesnil won the men´s competition with 548 clearance.

LEVERKUSEN (GER, Jan 14): Karsten Dilla cleared impressive 572 in pole vault during first day of the regional championships and achieved the Istanbul standard this winter as first from strong group of German pole vaulters. Second Greek guest Konstantinos Filippidis 560. For Dilla it is his indoor PB.

KARLSRUHE (GER, Jan 14): European 100 m champion Verena Sailer achieved 7.33 in heats and 7.34 in finals of regional championships. It was her comeback after nearly seven months. Tobias Unger won the men´s 60 m in 6.74.

BLACKSBURG (USA, Jan 13): Local sprinter Keith Ricks posted 6.64 improvement at the 60 m during first day of Virginia Tech Invitational. Torrance Womack achieved 33.42 in the 300 m. In women races last year one of top US juniors Octavious Freeman won the 60 m in life-time best 7.27 and Brianna Rollins clocked 8.07 at the 60 m hurdles.

FAYETTEVILLE (USA, Jan 13): World youth shot put champion 2009 Ryan Crouser started his collegiate career with 19.72 win and personal best with senior implement. At the Dual meet long jumper Marquise Goodwin won the 60 m in 6.72, Jamaican Keiron Stewart clocked 7.77 in the hurdles and Andrew Irwin cleared 550 in the pole vault.

AIR FORCE ACADEMY (USA, Jan 13): Canadian indoor pole vault record holder Kelsie Hendry cleared 440 at the Air Force All Comers meet.
LEXINGTON (USA, Jan 13): Slovenian pole vault record holder Tina Sutej started with 435 at the Kentucky Invitational.

CHAPEL HILL (USA, Jan 14): New national record for Puerto-Rico at the 60 m by Marquis Holston with 6.70 at the Dick Taylor Invitational. Jamaican hurdler Leford Green won the 600 m in 1:19.41.
CARBONDALE (USA, Jan 13): World best holder Brittany Riley got third best mark of all-time at Saluki Open with 25.12 in the weight throw. Two better marks are also from her, 25.56 in 2007 and 25.34 in 2008.

ALLENDALE (USA, Jan 13): US Champs finalist Jeff Porter opened with 7.75 at the 60 m hurdles during the Bob Eubanks Open meet. Mark Hollis cleared 535 in the pole vault.

NEW YORK (USA, Jan 13): Reggie Dixon clocked fast 6.64 at the 60 m during Gotham Cup meet. Also impressive the 46.51 by Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad at the 400 m. Ugandan Julius Mutekanga posted 1:18.38 in the 600 m and Tevan Everett 2:19.78 at the 1000 m. In the women 600 m World youth champion Ajee Wilson (17) achieved fast 1:30.36.

BIRMINGHAM (USA, Jan 13): Relay world champion indoors Tavaris Tate was timed with good 20.96 in the 200 m at the Blazer Invitational. South African Lehann Fourie won the 60 m hurdles in 7.72.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR, Jan 14): Good start to year for Ostrava European U23 100 m medallist Andy Robertson who won the 60 m at Birmingham Open in 6.68. That means equalling his best.

SHEFFIELD (GBR, Jan 14): European heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis won the shot put here at the Northern Championships with 13.95 m. Her indoor best is 14.61 m.

PRAHA (CZE, Jan 14): Talented 16-years old sprinter Marek Bakalar posted 6.80 in the 60 m, Oldriska Maresova cleared 187 in the high jump.

GENT (BEL, Jan 14): European junior medalist Jamile Samuel of Netherlands improved her 200 m indoor best here to 23.64. She also won the 60 m in 7.40.

GERMISTON (RSA, Jan 14): Czech talent Pavel Maslak started at the local meet with hand timed 46.0 at the 400 m. His personal best despite this was considered more as a training run.

PERTH (AUS, Jan 13): Olympic winner Steve Hooker cleared from short approach five meters.

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