Vlasic no indoors
SPLIT (CRO): Croatian high jump star Blanka Vlasic will not defend her world indoor title from Doha 2010. After returning from training camp in South Africa she decided not to jump during the indoor season. "The reason is that I have been advised to remove a small piece of cartilage in my foot. It has disturbed me off and on the last year and now it is time to fix it. It is a small operation done with arthroscopy so I will be able to walk out from the clinic the same day. The rehab is also short and I feel very positive about this. I have a very strong and solid training behind me so this will make me look very positive for the summer season and the Olympic Games in London as my highest goal," Vlasic said in a statement prepared by her management company. It will be her second indoor season in a row after 2011 without jumping.
Samsung continues with DL
MONACO (MON): The IAAF, which has the rights to commercialise the title sponsorship of the Samsung Diamond League, confirmed that Samsung have triggered a contractual option to continue as Title Sponsor for the 2012 season. Samsung, which first signed as the Title Sponsor of the then 'IAAF Diamond League' in July 2010 for a two year contract through 2011 with an option for 2012, has gained strong exposure across the 12 markets and 14 meetings of the series, and has enjoyed worldwide exposure thanks to growing TV coverage. The Samsung Diamond League in 2011 came close to a cumulative total of 290 Million viewers and attracted a rising spectator attendance approaching 400,000 spectators across all 14 meetings. In addition to its series title sponsorship, Samsung has also directly supported some individual meetings by acquiring local sponsorship packages in Stockholm, Brussels, Lausanne, Monaco and Doha. Informs IAAF.
Lel feeling good
DUBAI (UAE): "I hope it will be a great day for me on Friday," race favorite Martin Lel said at Wednesday's press conference before Friday Dubai Marathon. "It's great to have such a strong race to help me try for Olympic selection. I've seen how Haile has performed well here, and if the group is strong, I hope to produce a good race". Except top Kenyans and Ethiopians to note the participation of veteran Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa will be 40 years old next week; and hopes to celebrate that by qualifying for his fifth Olympic Games, with a performance close to 2.10. "This is very important for me. I've done some great sessions at home, and am looking to make the (Olympic) team. For me, 40 is the new 21. I've watched Dubai on TV, and seen Haile and the Kenyans go for world records here. If the wind drops I think we'll get some wonderful times". Reports Pat Butcher, also on his blog (globerunner.org).
GLASGOW (GBR): Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland athletes will return to competition at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow this Saturday 28 January looking to launch their 2012 seasons in style. 5000m World Champion Mo Farah (1500 m) and World Championships medallists Hannah England and Andy Turner will all don the Aviva GB & NI vest as athletes step up preparations for this summer's Olympic Games in the first meet of the Aviva Series 2012. Also set to star is high jumper Robbie Grabarz, who rose to the top of the 2012 world rankings with his astonishing leap of 2.34m in Germany at the weekend. Aviva International Match regulars Helen Clitheroe (3000 m) and Mark Lewis-Francis will return to Glasgow to defend their 2011 titles in the 3000m and 60m respectively. But reigning 800m champion Jenny Meadows will miss the chance to defend her title after withdrawing from the meet with a minor injury. The 17-strong team welcomes two new caps, with Margaret Adeoye competing in the 200m and Claire Gibson replacing Meadows in the 800m. Organizers are informing.
Fast 1500 m expected
CHEMNITZ (GER): Erdgas Hallenmeeting of Chemnitz will start the European international meets indoor season on Friday. The fans will see another version of shot put duel World Champion 2011 David Storl against World Champion 2007 Reese Hoffa after Nordhausen last Friday. Top field in men´s 1500 m with World indoor silver medalist from Doha and Daegu fifth placer Abdelaati Iguider of Morocco. With him young Ethiopians Alemayehu Zebene and last year African Champs bronze medalist Soresa Fida with outdoor best 3:34.72. Fida is still a junior and in fast race could attack the world junior indoor record 3:36.28 of Belal Mansoor in 2007. Nigerian Peter Emelieze is 60 m favorite and home Alexander John after fast time last weekend at 60 m hurdles (against US Ty Akins). Women´s 800 m will see fast Ukrainian Liliya Lobanova against former world medalist Tatyana Andrianova of Russia. In the 60 m hurdles European indoor champion Antoinette Nana Djimou will compete with strong US duo Lori Smith and Yvette Lewis. Russian 15 meters jumper Nadezhda Alekhina is the top triple jump name with Serbian record holder Biljana Topic. Men´s pole vault should be also an event of big spectators interest. Strong German class will be represented mainly by Bjorn Otto, Raphael Holzdeppe and Malte Mohr. From international jumpers to mention Czech Daegu finalist Jan Kudlicka, Russian Aleksandr Gripich and former world champion Giuseppe Gibilisco.
Spank and Strutz
DRESDEN (GER): Dresden Jumping meet on Friday will have local star and world medalist Raul Spank in men´s high jump as top name. In the 7th edition of the event he will open after great marks in triple jump and at 60 m hurdles his high jumping season. His main rivals African Champion Kabelo Kgosiemang of Botswana, Russian former world indoor medalist Andrey Tereshin and Bulgarian Viktor Ninov. Interesting entry is the son of legendary father Viktor Brumel. In second event of the evening, women pole vault World medalist Martina Strutz is the main jumper. Against her Czech world finalist Jirina Ptacnikova (season opener) with Anna Battke and Julia Hutter from the German elite. Tereshin and Ptacnikova are title defenders, meet records are 230 and 460.
Hellebaut ahead of opener
BRUSSELS (BEL): Defending Olympic High jump champion Tia Hellebaut is determined she can jump the qualifying standard for the London Olympic Games in her first comeback competition. Hellebaut is celebrating her comeback in front of a home crowd in Antwerp during a specially organized high jump gala on Saturday. To Belgian media she said she feels even stronger than in 2008 and should be able to easily jump 195. In the field also world champion Anna Chicherova who will make her comeback not easy at all. In the field strong Swedish duo Emma Green Tregaro with Ebba Jungmark, St. Lucia´s and Estonian record holders Levern Spencer with Anna Iljustsenko. Hellebaut´s schedule includes after Antwerp next meeting in Arnstadt on February 4, Banska Bystrica on February 8, Eaubonne on February 16, Stockholm on February 23 and World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
Radcliffe for Vienna HM
LONDON (GBR): After spending several weeks in Kenya at a high-altitude training camp, marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe will put her fitness to the test on April 15 when she lines up for the Vienna City Half-Marathon. "I am still working out a schedule for her but this is the only definite competition she has so far, although there will be others before the London Olympics," said Gary Lough, her husband and manager, to Athletics Weekly. "I need a test before the Games," she said, "and when I was in Berlin I spoke to Haile and he told me how fantastic the race was in Vienna and I should take part." Radcliffe's immediate plans will see her return to her Monaco home on 4 February. Then reunited with Lough and their two children a week later they will travel to one of her favourite USA training bases in Albuqerque.
PORT OF SPAIN (TRI): The third fastest Trinidad and Tobago sprinter in history is facing serious financial challenges as he prepares for the Olympic Games. Keston Bledman, who jumped to number three on the all-time T&T men's 100 metres performance list with a 9.93 seconds scorcher last June, has not yet received his elite athlete funding cheque. Florida-based athlete told the Express, yesterday, that in addition to rent, he needs money to pay for massages and purchase vitamins. But Ashwin Creed, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, has promised that Bledman will receive a $200,000 cheque very soon.
AMSTERDAM (NED) : Dutch heptathlete Jolanda Keizer again is set back by injury as she was diagnosed with a slight rupture in her Achilles tendon. The injury should be healed in about 4 to 5 weeks but has forced the athlete to withdraw from the Combined Events meeting in Tallinn next week reports the KNAU.
LAUSANNE (SUI): Suisse sprinter Pascal Mancini has tested positive for nandrolon twice in december but has defended his case by stated his doctor made a crucial mistake when injecting him with Cortizone. Mancini's story is confirmed by Swiss Athletics and the athlete is likely to sue the doctor responsible. It is the second time Mancini breaks an anti-doping rule after he did not have a TUE from the IAAF when competing at the IAAF World Championships last summer.
TOKYO (JPN): Former Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi, who is trying to qualify for the London Games after missing Beijing due to injury, has been forced to miss her first full race in more than four years. Noguchi, who won gold in Athens, has a slight inflammation in her left hamstring and has withdrawn from Sunday's Osaka marathon, one of Japan's three Olympic trials, her coach Hisakazu Hirose told reporters. She will instead run Nagoya Women's Marathon in March, the last of Olympic qualifying race.
LONDON (GBR): Jessica Ennis is the star of British Airways's new in-flight "wellbeing" movie, alongside gymnast Louis Smith and Paralympian Shelly Woods. The video features Ennis clearing hurdles and promoting new chairs that should enhance the well being of passengers flying with British Airways writes The Telegraph.
TOKYO (JPN): Agencies are informing that Russian runner Tatyana Aryasova (32) was disqualified as winner of Tokyo Marathon last February. She topped the field in 2:27:49. The Tokyo Marathon Foundation informed that Aryasova did not appeal the decision. She will be banned for two years until April 29, 2013. Japan's Noriko Higuchi, who finished second on the day, was awarded the victory with a time of 2:28:49. HES is a masking agent that hides endurance-boosting blood doping. It was the first time it had been detected at a sporting event in Japan, according to the Japan Anti-Doping Agency.
BERLIN (GER): Readers of the magazine Leichtathletik and the website leichtathletik.de have voted David Storl and Betty Heidler German Athletes of the Year. Storl was a clear winner with 34,7% of the votes while Betty Heidler (27%) took the victory over pole vaulter Martina Strutz (23,3%). In total 15 000 votes came in. Second Robert Harting (19.1 %) and third Matthias de Zordo (12.8 %). In women ranks third Jennifer Oeser (14.5 %). Young AOY were voted hurdler Gregor Traber and steeple runner Gesa Felicitas Krause.
LINZ (AUT): Top women hurdles race is expected at guglindoor meet on February 2 in Linz. US Stars Lolo Jones and Kellie Wells will compete against German Cindy Roleder, Dutch Sharona Bakker, and team-mates Lori Smith with Yvette Lewis. In women 60 m former world indoor champion US Angela Williams is competing and German Christian Blum is the top name in men´s 60 m.
MOSCOW (RUS): Another top race at Russian Winter (IAAF Indoor Permit) on February 5 will be men´s 600 m. Russian star and Daegu medalist Yuriy Borzakovskiy will fight with Poland´s Daegu 6th placer Adam Kszczot. Three top Kenyans will also compete Jackson Kivuna, Boaz Lalang and Richard Kiplagat. Meet record is 1:15.69 (Kivuna as winner here in 2011), Russian record 1:16.02 (Borzakovskiy at this meet in 2010) and world best 1:15.12 (Nico Motchebon, 1999). All under threat.
BALLARAT (AUS, Jan 21): Australian Commonwealth Games finalist Kathryn Mitchell (29) improved to her first 60+ javelin throw with 62.51 m.
ALBUQUERQUE (USA, Jan 20): In first ever 400 m hurdles indoors in USA Jay Hopkins clocked 52.27. Most races at this distance indoors are held in France, first international this Saturday in Bordeaux including all-time hero Felix Sanchez.