2012 Compeed Golden Gala: Vivian Cheruiyot Vs Meseret Defar, by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

The Compeed Golden Gala Roma meet is held in the grand setting of the 1960 Olympic stadium. Last year was my first attendance, and it was tremendous. This year's meet, held on May 31, will feature a battle between Vivian Cheruiyot and Meseret Defar! Should be a great competition! 

Cheruiyot-Defar-Masai-World11.JPGVivan Cheruiyot, Meseret Defar, Edith Masai, 2011 WC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Vivian against Defar
ROMA (ITA): World champion Vivian Cheruiyot will clash at the Compeed Golden Gala meet of Rome with former olympic winner and world champion Meseret Defar of Ethiopia at the 5000 m. Also in the race Kenyan world medalist Sylvia Kibet and former top miler Gelete Burka. This could come close to world record. Another distance highlight on May 31 will be women 800 m with Pamela Jelimo, Caster Semenya along with world champion Mariya Savinova and 2007 world champion Janeth Jepkosgei. Women´s 1500 m will see new star and world indoor winner Genzebe Dibaba in duel with 3000 m world indoor winner Helen Obiri and former world champion Maryam Jamal. In expected excellent Rome weather also men´s steeple could very special with world champion Ezekiel Kemboi, Olympic winner Brimin Kipruto, always fast Paul Kipsiele Koech, another world medalist Richard Mateelong and European Champion Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France.

Richardson vs Merritt
NEW YORK (USA): World champions from Daegu hurdler Jason Richardson with high jumper Jesse Williams along with world indoor champion Aries Merritt and 2009 world gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross are the latest additions into the field for adidas Grand Prix in New York on June 9. They joined previously announced 2011 World Champions Yohan Blake (100 meters), Carmelita Jeter (100 meters), and David Rudisha (800 meters), giving the event seven current World Champions with many more athletes yet to be announced. Also added to the field are Jamaican stars Sherone Simpson, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 100 meters and 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100-meter relay, and Jermaine Gonzales, 2011 World Championships bronze medalist in the 4x400-meter relay.

Questionmark over men´s 200 m
KINGSTON (JAM): RJR news reports that Asafa Powel is doubtful for the men's 200 metres at Saturday's 9th staging of the JN Jamaica invitational (IAAF World Challenge). It's understood that Powell is nursing a minor groin injury and a decision on his participation in the 200 metres will be made over the next few days. He confirmed that on his twitter saying: "Had a rough week in training!!! Everyone wants to know about this weekend but still undecided." Powell was set to meet with Yohan Blake over the 200 m. Season debut in the women 100 m is set for for Trinidad´s record holder Kelly-Ann Baptiste. The Daegu bronze winner in the 100 m will meet with a strong field headed by world champion Carmelita Jeter along with Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson. Usain Bolt competes in the 100 m against Richard Thompson, Nestar Carter, Michael Frater. Jermaine Gonzales the Jamaican record holder is in the 400 m, top high hurdles clash with world indoor champion Aries Merritt, British European champion Andy Turner, Jamaican record holder Dwight Thomas. Brigitte Foster-Hylton will run in the 100m hurdles, with world champion Brittany Reese leading the long jump field. 2009 World champion Christian Cantwell is the star of the shot put.

Big throws at Pre
EUGENE (USA): Prefontaine Classic is promising not only top sprints or distances. The best in the world will also meet in technical events. For example in women hammer best two in history of the event German Betty Heidler and Poland´s 2009 World champion Anita Wlodarczyk. Also throwing will be current world champion Tatyana Lysenko and multiple global medalist Zhang Wenxiu of China. Pre Classic will be the only Diamond League meet of the year staging also the hammer, but of course not as Diamond event. Women discus will be part of the series with olympic winner Stephanie Brown-Trafton, European champion 2010 Sandra Perkovic and former Eurowinner Darya Pishchalnikova of Russia.

Spearmon (100 m) and Dix (150 m) at City Games
MANCHESTER (GBR): Top American sprinters Walter Dix and Wallace Spearmon are both hoping to produce record breaking performances when competing at next month's Powerade Great CityGames, Manchester. The pair, whose major task this year will be upsetting the gold medal ambitions of Usain Bolt and other high profile sprinters at the Olympic Games in August, will join other top stars competing at the fourth staging of the unique street athletics event on 20 May. Dix  recently flew to a slightly windy 9.85 seconds over 100m in Walnut, California, suggesting he could attack the US record of 14.51sec achieved by Tyson Gay last year when he takes on the 150 metres contest on the straight track in the city's Deansgate. Before that he runs the 200 m in Doha and 100 m in Daegu. Dix 25, will line up against Trinidad's Richard Thompson the Olympic 100m silver medallist and Marlon Devonish who is the fastest Briton over the distance Now the 27-year-old former World 200m silver medallist Spearmon is hoping he can give the Powerade Great CityGames Manchester its first ever sub 10sec performance when stepping down to 100m in a couple of weeks' time. Against him Britons Mark Lewis-Francis and Christian Malcolm and French talent Jimmy Vicaut.

Farah for Crystal Palace
LONDON (GBR): Reigning World and European 5000 m champion Mo Farah confirmed that he will use the 5000m at the Aviva London Grand Prix on 13 July, as a crucial part of his preparation for this summer's Olympic Games. Last year, Farah stormed to victory in the 3000m on the Friday night of the two-day Samsung Diamond League meet to a rousing standing ovation, with a time of 7:40.15. Farah, who currently trains in Portland, Oregan, is looking forward to returning to London for his last meet in Britain before the Olympic Games. He also plans to run the 5000m at Pre Classic in Eugene on June 2.

Majewski, Mulaudzi, sprinters
OSTRAVA (CZE): Fresh father Tomasz Majewski, the reigning olympic winner from Beijing, is the latest addition into the fields of 51st Ostrava Golden Spike meet on May 25 (IAAF World Challenge). In the shot put he will face reigning world champion David Storl, previous gold medalist Christian Cantwell and Daegu silver winner Dylan Armstrong. Majewski´s son Nikolaj was born last week. In the men´s 800 m added into the field with David Rudisha are 2009 World Champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and last year European indoor and U23 Champion Adam Kszczot of Poland who plans to come to Ostrava directly from his training camp in St. Moritz. Men´s 100 m field with world record holder Usain Bolt will have four more sprinters with sub ten personal bests. US world medalist Darvis Patton has 9.89, Zimbabwe´s long jump world medalist Ngoni Makusha also 9.89, British world indoor champion 2010 Dwain Chambers 9.97 and Commonwealth and Pan-Am Games winner Lerone Clarke 9.99.

W. Korir confirms Chicago
CHICAGO (USA): The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced that Wesley Korir, the newly crowned Boston Marathon champion, will return to run Chicago's fall classic for the fifth consecutive year. Korir is the first elite athlete announced for the 35th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 7. Korir, a native of Kenya who attended the University of Louisville in Kentucky and still lives and trains there, was runner-up at the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a personal best 2:06:15. Organizers are informing.

Prague against Istanbul with Spotakova
PRAHA (CZE): Czech Athletics Federation is sending a strong team for the weekend´s council meeting of European Athletics in Sofia. Prague is bidding to stage the European Indoor Championships 2015 in the modern multifunctional O2 arena. The only other bidder is Istanbul, the recent organiser of World Indoor Championships. The third candidate Beograd withdrew earlier. In the Czech presentation team among others javelin world record holder Barbora Spotakova, deputy minister for school and sports Jan Kocourek and federation president Libor Varhanik. The ministry and the city of Prague are guaranteeing support for the bid. The Czech capital city already twice before wanted to bid for European Indoor Championships, but this time all is ready for a top bid with all advantages according to the needs of indoor athletics and current technological possibilities. In 2009 Prague Indoor top meeting was held in the arena with Meseret Defar clocking still valid two miles world best and Yelena Isinbaeva attacking her world indoor record before nearly 10 000 spectators.

Athletics fans as co-meet directors in Brussels
BRUSSELS (BEL): In this Olympic year, Belgian and international track and field fans will get a unique opportunity to participate in the organization of the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme. Fans are invited to choose the athletes they would like to see in action on Friday, 7 September at the King Baudouin Stadium, during the final leg of the Samsung Diamond League. From now until 1 June, they can make their choice from a list of  world class athletes in each event. Organizers are informing in a release. First responses were promising as thousands of fans send their wishes. The athletes on this list were pre-selected based on their performance and track record. From June onwards, the athletes chosen by the fans will be invited to participate in the Belgian Diamond League meeting this year. Out of all the completed forms, five people will receive a nice surprise: a unique meet and greet package for 2 persons including an overnight stay at the official athletes hotel.



LONDON (GBR): The London Olympic Stadium will be officially opened this weekend in the presence of IAAF President Lamine Diack and 40,000 spectators, one of whom will be plucked from the crowd on Saturday evening to perform the formal opening rites. Informs IAAF.

DUBLIN (IRL): Independent.ie informs that it has always been a bone of contention for some in Irish athletics that the official records of the IAAF, the governing body, show that this country was first affiliated in 1938. Yet, Ireland competed in the Paris Olympics in 1924, won a gold medal four years later in Amsterdam, and two gold medals in Los Angeles in 1932. Ireland also organised its first national championships in 1873, making it the second oldest national body in world athletics after England. Now, though, it appears the record has been corrected. Former Irish walker Pierce O'Callaghan has undertaken the mammoth task of compiling a complete list of national champions in all events from 1873-2012. In the course of his painstaking research, he recently came across a document which showed that the IAAF first recognised Ireland as an independent nation on November 1, 1924 when JJ Keane, Ireland's first International Olympic Committee member, was association president. The IAAF has amended its records accordingly.

RABAT (MAR): Next Sunday Nezha Bidouane, Moroccan former double 400 m hurdles world champion and olympic medallist is holding her annual Women Road race named "COURSE FEMININE DE LA VICTOIRE". It will be the 6th edition, more than 20 000 women are expected to compete.

MONACO (MON): IAAF informs that the IAAF World Challenge Meeting 2012 de Dakar in Senegal has changed its date and it will be staged on 15 September 2012. Initial date was June 16. Dakar was usually held in the past in April and May time, now is moved to the end of the season.

DIJON (FRA): In an article from Le Dauphine it is reported that walking European champion Yohan Diniz will most probably not compete at IAAF Race Walking World Cup in Saransk in two weeks. He's suffering from a light fracture in the 6th rib and won't be able to do walking sessions for at least 2 weeks.

DESENZANO (ITA): The IAAF Combined Events Challenge starts this weekend with the 25th Multistars meet in Desenzano del Garda. In the entry lists 25 men for decathlon and 37 women for heptathlon. Best Italian William Frullani wants to attack the Helsinki (7800) and London (8200) standards. The title defender from last year Brazilian Luis Alberto de Araújo is entered along with last year second placer Brent Newdick of New Zealand. Among favorites Asian record holder Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan, Nicklas Wiberg of Sweden was 7th at World Championships 2009. In heptathlon world medalist and African record holder Margaret Simpson of Ghana will compete against Briton Kelly Sotherton who is returning to heptathlon. Also to name Czech Eliska Klucinova coming back after injuries, Norway´s Ida Marcussen and French Blandine Maisonnier.

AMSTERDAM (NED) : Dutch Hilda Kibet has confirmed she will continue her Olympic preparations by running the Göteborg half marathon on May 12. Kibet does not expect a PB in the Swedish city as she understands the course is very tough. Kibet also confirmed to Dutch media that she will do her final preparations for London in the American city Boulder, where she hopes to be able to fully focused on training.

BRUSSELS (BEL): Belgium's Lindsay De Grande has written on her blog she is not likely to qualify for the London Olympic Games. De Grande was diagnosed with chronic leukemia last summer but was confident she could continue training for the Olympic Games. Although the 22 year old athlete responds well to the treatment, she is still too weak to properly train for the 1500m.

BERLIN (GER): Heptathlete Jennifer Oeser has had to return from a training camp in Lanzarote due to a minor injury reports leichtathletik.de. Oeser currently cannot run and therefore has cancelled her participation at the combined events meeting of Bernhausen. Oeser continues to prepare for the IAAF combined events meeting in Götzis on May 26 - 27.

BERLIN (GER): Susanne Hahn has confirmed her participation at the BIG 25 Berlin 10K on May 6th. Over 10.000 athletes are expected to run at the 32 nd edition of the event. In the men's 25K race Kenyan athlete Dennis Kimetto is the favourite to win the race.

LAUSANNE (SUI): With less than two months before the Helsinki 2012 European Athletics Championships, and barely three months before the London Olympics, European Athletics President Hansjörg Wirz addressed the relationship between the two events reports European Athletics. "Helsinki 2012 will be a spectacular opening act for what will happen in London a month later," said President Wirz. "The vast majority of European athletes who will go on to win medals in London will be on display at our Championships, the showpiece of our sport on the continent.

LUBBOCK (USA): As part of a two-year long documentary project entitled `World Olympic Dreams' the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC will film a segment at the Red Raider Open meet hosted by Texas Tech. A group of 12 athletes from the Belgium national team will compete this weekend at the Red Raider Open. The BBC has been following the Belgian twin brother Kevin and Jonathan Borlée in their quest for an Olympic medal.

LONDON (GBR): Hélder Ornelas, 38, a long distance runner from Portugal, has become the first competitor to fall foul of the Athlete Biological Passport instituted by the IAAF and has been banned from competition for four years. It is the first time that the Athlete Biological Passport has been used in athletics as sole evidence in support of an anti-doping rule violation reports IAAF.

PALO ALTO (USA): After his tenth place finish over 5000m at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational last Sunday in Palo Alto reigning Olympic 1500m silver medalist Nick Willis has decided that he will focus on his medal-winning distance for the 2012 season, including the London Olympics. "Great meeting with my coaches and wife today," he posted to his Twitter feed last night.  "The 5000m was a nice idea, but decided that we don't need to keep chasing 'A' standard." Willis, 29, from Lower Hutt, New Zealand, clocked 13:29.56 at the Palo Alto meet, just two seconds off of his career best but more than nine seconds off of the Olympic Games "A" standard of 13:20.00.  Trained by former University of Michigan head coach Ron Warhurst, Willis thinks that the 1500m provides his best chance for Olympic success. Informs Race Results Weekly.

LAUSANNE (SUI): April saw the 2012 outdoor season get underway and many European athletes have started their summer well and impressed at early season meetings in the United States. European Athletics is subsequently pleased to announce that athletes from 12 different countries have been nominated for the April award. The voting will close on 16 May at noon CET.

STANFORD (USA): Two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein still needs a pair of 2012 Olympic "A" track standards and he has plans to pursue them. He'll race 5,000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on June 2 and hopes to be in a 10 000 in Hengelo on May 27 (IAAF World Challenge). Ritzenhein's first track race of 2012 was a 28:21.40 victory in the 10,000 at the Stanford Invitational on April 6. Informs Runnersworld.


SHIZUOKA (JPN, May 3): Australian men's 4x100m relay team has moved closer to securing a lane in London after clocking 38.84 at the Shizuoka International Track & Field Meet. Winning Japan got 38.69 and second China 38.71. Australian winner here was Lauren Boden 55.85 at 400 m Hurdles. Men´s 400 m hurdles winner Takayuki Kishimoto clocked a life-time best 48.88. Yuzo Kanemaru was the best in the 400 m flat (45.47). Ryota Yamagata was the top sprinter at the 200 m (20.66, -0.3). Japan won the 4x400 m in 3:05.52 ahead of Australia 3:07.97. World champion Amantle Montsho improved Botswana national record at the 200 m to 22.89 (0.0) ahead of Japanese record holder Chisato Fukushima (23.12). Yuki Ebihara just missed her Japanese javelin record with 61.14 (top mark is 61.56 from winning the Asian Games in 2010).

BUENOS AIRES (ARG, May 2): At Hugo La Nasa meet first day solid throws by Argentinian athletes. German Lauro achieved in ths shot put 20.32, Jennifer Dahlgren 71.16 in the hammer.  Here second Canada´s Sultana Frizell 68.83. 16-years old talent from Peru Zulema Arenas won the 3000 m in 9:51.81. Federico Bruno achieved new Argentinian junior record at 1500 m with 3:43.68.

TEL AVIV (ISR, May 2): Kenyan guest Jacob Chesari won the 10 000 m staged as national championships for Israeli runners in new all-comers record 27:59.05. Second and national title holder is Tasama Moogas 28:31.96.

BIALYSTOK (POL, May 3): Discus European champion Piotr Malachowski started the season at the opening meet here with good 66.56. Second Przemyslaw Czajkowski improved his personal best to 64.88. In the women hammer throw European U23 silver winner from last year Joanna Fiodorow bettered to 71.51 m.

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