LaShinda Demus, the 2011 World Champion at 400m intermediate hurdles, will run in Ostrava on May 25. Demus just ran an 800 meters in 2:07.49 at Oxy this past weekend. It will be fun to see her race. LaShinda Demus is quite an amazing story, and I love watching her race so gutty around the hurdles.
TOP DUELS, RETURN OF KENENISA
DOHA (QAT): Third edition of the Samsung Diamond League starts on Friday at the Qatar Sports Club with the Doha Meeting. Organizers prepared also a concert at the end of the event and want so attract people to stay until the end. Ticket prices are from 20 to 100 QR. In the hot weather despite evening time a series of world leading marks is expected. Due to the begin of the season in more than half of the events (technical events will have 4 attempts). In total 19 with 3 non-DL (men 100 m, 800 m, 3000 m).
Short event by event preview
100 m: Non DL event but with great expectations. Season openers for Jamaican star Asafa Powell and US former world and olympic winner Justin Gatlin. Behind waiting Nesta Carter.
200 m: World silver winner Walter Dix against the clock, also season opener for him at the distance.
400 m: World leader and olympic winner LaShawn Merritt can improve his best of 2012. Briton Martyn Rooney and hurdles olympic winner Angelo Taylor will be also ready.
800 m: Another non DL event with top field headed by world record holder and world champion David Rudisha.
1500 m: Here real group of top names. World champion Asbel Kiprop, showing shape last weekend at 800 m Silas Kiplagat, last year winner Nixon Chepseba. Is Sudanese 800 m star Abubaker Kaki ready for something special also in the longer event?
3000 m: King is back. Kenenisa runs his first 3000 m on the track since 2009. But others also improved in the mean-time, strong group of Kenyans will chase him with always fast Augustine Choge, former world champion Eliud Kipchoge, talented junior Isiah Koech and world medalist Edwin Soi. This is non-DL event.
Steeple: First fast race of the year with Paul Kipsiele Koech, oly winner Brimin Kipruto, African champ Mateelong, World Youth Champion Conseslus Kipruto.
High Jump: World champ Williams with other two Daegu medalists Dmitrik and Barry. Do not forget World indoor champion Hondrokoukis.
Long Jump: South African Mokoena already in shape, but even better Briton Rutherford. Season openers for Howe and Menkov.
Discus Throw: Oly winner Kanter with in-shape Malachowski, old timer Alekna, world medalist Hadadi. Or world leader Kovago?
100 m: VCB opens the season, but in this „like Jamaican championships event" also olympic winner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson will run. US side represented by specialist for longer events Allyson Felix and in-shape Lashauntea Moore.
800 m: Kenyan duel. Oly winner Jelimo vs. 2007 world champ Jepkosgei.
3000 m: This is one of the top clashes of the evening - Vivian Cheuriyot against Meseret Defar (that is the alternative to Bolt-Gay in sprints in terms of rivalry).
100mH: Returnees are having top shape. BFH from injury, PLS from pregnancy. But Kellie Wells is also fast.
400mH: On the paper Jamaican affair, Walker and Spencer. What is the shape of improving Briton PSD?
Pole Vault: German indoor and meet record holder Silke Spiegelburg is the name to watch.
Triple Jump: World medalist Olga Rypakova is the choice, veteran ladies also competing (Lebedeva, Mbango).
Shot Put: Ostapchuk and Camarena-Williams.
Javelin Throw: Classy field - Abakumova meets main rival Spotakova as in Daegu, but Obergfoll reported good training and Ratej leads the world list.
KENENISA BEKELE FOR SHANGHAI
SHANGHAI (CHN): New names for second this year Samsung Diamond League in Shanghai is javelin world champion Matthias de Zordo who will compete against Andreas Thorkildsen, the reigning olympic winner. Kenenisa Bekele is the star of the 5000 m. The men's triple jump offers the highest quality with all three medallists from last summer's world championships looking for an early-season psychological advantage. World champion, Christian Taylor of the USA, silver medallist, Great Britain's Phillips Idowu and bronze medallist, the USA's Will Claye, promise fireworks. Olympic and world 1500m champion, Asbel Kiprop of Kenya, steps down a distance to the 800m to face the reigning European champion, Marcin Lewandowski of Poland as well as formidable two-lap specialists, former world champions, Alfred Kirwa Yego of Kenya and South African Mbulaeni Mulaudzi. In the shot put top Americans Reese Hoffa, Christian Cantwell, Adam Nelson and 2012 world indoor champion, Ryan Whiting, looking to dominate. Last year's world leader, Dylan Armstrong of Canada, may have other ideas. The men's 400m hurdles is a three-way clash between the double Olympic champion, Angelo Taylor, former world champion, Bershawn Jackson and the fastest man in the world last year, South African LJ van Zyl. The youngest of the Dibaba sisters, Genzebe, 21, comes off a highly successful indoor campaign where she lifted world indoor 1500m gold and set an excellent personal best of 4:00:13, fifth fastest in history. That time is over five seconds faster than her outdoor best from last year, so this latest Dibaba model is also clearly destined for great things. World indoor 3000m gold, Helen Obiri of Kenya and former 800m world champion and fellow-Kenyan, Janeth Jepkosgei, will test the young Ethiopian's strength and speed. Amantle Montsho of Botswana carried all before her last year, culminating in gold in Daegu. Fellow one-lap finalists, USA's Francena McCorory and Jamaicans, Shericka Williams and Novlene Williams-Mills are her main rivals in the Shanghai stadium. Organizers are informing.
TOP WOMEN HJ AND PV FIELDS
EUGENE (USA): Pre Classic on June 2 announced fields for two women jumping events. Americans Jenn Suhr and Chaunte Lowe are the headliners for pole vault and high jump. Among her challengers at Pre are none other than the gold and silver medalists at last year's Daegu World Championships: Fabiana Murer of Brazil and Martina Strutz of Germany. The women's pole vault field has plenty more, including two with World Championships gold medals: Svetlana Feofanova of Russia and Anna Rogowska of Poland. The veterans will be challenged by a two youngsters, led by 20-year-old Holly Bleasdale of Great Britain and 18-year-old Angelica Bengtsson of Sweden. In the high jump field world champion Anna Chicherova of Russia. Other top names Ariane Friedrich of Germany, world junior indoor record holder Mariya Kuchina of Russia, Sweden´s star Emma Green Tregaro and other Russian Svetlana Shkolina.
SARANSK (RUS): Over 350 000 USD are on offer for the three senior races - men's 50km and men's and women's 20km - from the IAAF as prize money at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Saransk over the weekend. Individual top six will get from 30 000 to 3000 USD. Top six teams from 15 000 to 3000 USD per team. Prize money is offered only in three senior races. In other issues the city course was officially measured and approved by official measurer Tadeusz. Among first teams arriving to Mordovian capitol city were China and Australia. On Thursday and Friday test competitions will be held.
MAGYAR SPEAKS ABOUT SDL
ZURICH (SUI): Weltklasse meet director and one of the main persons behind the Diamond League Patrick Magyar spoke to Swiss Sports News Agency SI before the start of the 3rd edition of the Samsung Diamond League. „Our main aim was to improve the overall quality of all meetings. One of the areas where we had big differences was the tv production. It was positive last year that here we noted improvements for example with Doha and Shanghai. And no meet had no sufficient marks in technical part of the evaluation. For example Monaco and Rome had clearly more spectators as in the past. We can say the spectators number was increased overall in 2011 by 15 percent," said Magyar. For future Magyar would prefer a structure where the athlete from top ten in his event competes at all six Diamond League meets, then four of second level and three free options. About possibilities to increase the number of the meetings in the series he said: „We do not have TV stations except of specialized channels which would show all meetings. So whether we have 14 or 16 is not that important. But it is the highest category of track meets and that is important. I would like to see additions for example from Germany or Latin America. But we can also discuss about a reduction. But to do so we need first clear system to score and rank the competitions." About the financial situation Magyar concluded: „TV money is making from 10 to 15 percent of the overall budget of each meet. That means in case we increase TV money overall by 10 percent, each meet can increase by 1 to 2 percent. The most important money for each meet is from local sponsors and ticket sales. But that could be also different from country to country."
DEMUS HURDLES OPENER IN OSTRAVA
OSTRAVA (CZE): 2011 World champion at 400 m hurdles Lashina Demus will start the season in her event at the 51st Ostrava Golden Spike Meeting (IAAF World Challenge). It will be her second time at the Czech event, she won here back in 2006. Demus will face mainly local star and national record holder Zuzana Hejnova. Interestingly Demus improved at Occidental meet last weekend her 800 m best to 2:07.49 (7th in the race). Organizers are hoping the race could bring an attack to improve the meet record of Romanian Ionela Tirlea 53.87 from 2003. Another shot at meet record will be organised in women 100 m hurdles. Here the marks is very old 12.65 by Grazyna Rabsztyn of Poland from 1980 (and equaled by Brigitte Foster-Hylton in 2003). Lolo Jones who is two time winner in the past (2006 and 2008) should start her international season here and will face Kellie Wells who already clocked this year 12.55. In the field also another past winner, from 2010 returning Canadian olympic medalist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. Special participant in men´s hammer will be (May 24) Hungarian Krisztian Pars who leads the current world lists as only one so far over 80 meters this year. Pars is not only the meet record holder (80.71 in 2009) but also competed in all hammer Ostrava editions since 2006 when the organizers started with hammer throwing the day before at the warm-up track. He won in 2009 and 2010, was second in 2011, third in 2008 and fourth in 2006 and 2007.
CASTLIN VS. PORTER
PONCE (PUR): The Puerto Rican stop in the IAAF World Challenge on Saturday in Ponce will have very interesting women hurdles clash. This year US indoor champion Kristi Castlin will run against UK record holder Tiffany Porter. World triple medalist Caterina Ibarguen will switch the event and is expected to compete in the long jump. Interesting European entry here is the Ukrainian Viktoriya Rybalko.
ETHIOPIAN MARATHON TEAM
ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Well informed sources disclosed the Ethiopian olympic marathon selection. Top two from Dubai Ayele Abshero and Dino Sefer will be added by Rotterdam winner Yemane Adhane. First reserve is Markos Geneti. Women team should be composed by Tiki Gelana, who won the Rotterdam race and two best from Dubai Aselefech Mergia with Mare Dibaba. Bizunesh Bekele is the reserve. This information still needs to be officially confirmed by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.
AMSTERDAM (NED) : Dutch 800m runner Ivonne Hak hopes to qualify for the London Olympic Games when competing at the FBK Games in Hengelo. Hak is still unsure whether to compete in Helsinki at the European championships and told Dutch media she will wait a little longer before making her final decision.
BRUSSELS (BEL): In a television interview on Belgian national television both Belgian top decathletes Thomas Van der Plaetsen and Hans Van Alphen talked about the London Olympic Games. Van Alphen has already secured his place for London, while Van der Plaetsen hopes to qualify at the IAAF combined events challenge of Götzis. Both athletes train separately but hope to compete together in London.
LONDON (GBR): Nearly a million new tickets, including some for the men's 100 meters final and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, will be put on sale for the London 2012 Olympics later this week, chairman Sebastian Coe announced. A total of 900,000 tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis exclusively to the one million or so people who applied in previous rounds of Olympic ticket sales and were not successful in securing a ticket reports Insidethegames.
LONDON (GBR): American 2004 Olympic 100m gold medallist Justin Gatlin, who like Dwain Chambers has been blighted by doping controversy, said he is happy the Briton has received the green light to compete at the London Games. Gatlin is busy taking further steps towards redemption after completing his own four-year doping ban, having won a second world indoor gold in the 60m in March. He runs the 100 m in Doha on Friday.
NAIROBI (KEN): Uganda's Moses Kipsiro is currently training in Kenya in the hopes of competing in both the 10.000m and 5.000m at the London Olympic Games. Kipsiro managed a double victory at the distances at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 and is confident he has good chances in London according to CapitalFM Sports.
LONDON (GBR): Other athletes can learn from the professionalism of Jessica Ennis says her coach Toni Minichiello after attending the Multistars meeting in Desenzano. He said: "I was out there with a couple of other multi-event athletes and I was looking around at how everyone else was preparing. A lot of them didn't have their head in the competition. Jess, when she's competing, is very focused. She may say hi to her parents, but then she's straight back into it. She disassociates herself with everything else that is going on around her. You can see why she's so good and so much better than others - she's the ultimate professional." Minichello was quoted by The Star.
BERLIN (GER): Best German female marathon runner Irina Mikitenko will for first time compete after London Marathon this Saturday at the Berlin women 10 km run. She won the race already three times in the past. It is part of her olympic marathon preparation.
HALLE (GER): German discus world champion Robert Harting confirmed his appearance at the throwing meeting in Halle on May 19. He will meet with Poland´s European Champion Piotr Malachowski. Harting who underwent knee surgery after last season is opening the competition year this weekend in Wiesbaden.
LIBEREC (CZE, May 8): Lenka Masna clocked solid opener at local meet with 2:02.86 at the 800 m.
RIETI (ITA, May 9): Solid sprints by Simone Collio 10.31 (+1.2) and 20.97 (+1.8).