MELBOURNE (AUS): Athletics Australia has identified for nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) a team of 54, the largest of any sport to date, for selection to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. This follows the close of the Athletics Australia Qualifying Period, the Final Selectors' Meeting and subsequent approval by the Athletics Australia Board of Directors on Tuesday 12 June 2012. After first round of selections the latest group is Melisse Breen for 100 m, Eloise Wellings for 10 000 m and Kathryn Mitchell in javelin. On the men side Ryan Gregson and Jeff Riseley for 1500 m, David McNeill for 5000 m, Tristan Thomas for 400 m hurdles, Dale Stevenson for shot put and Scott Martin for discus. Also in this group the reigning olympic winner Steve Hooker. Three relays are qualified - women 4x100 m (Breen, Butler, Knox, Pearson, Van Veenendaal), men 4x100 m (Alozie, Leathart, McCabe, Ntiamoah, Ross) and men 4x400 m (Cole, Milburn, Offereins, Solomon, Steffensen, Thomas). The rest of the team was identified already earlier.
BRANSON ABOUT MAKAU
PRAGUE (CZE): Agent Zane Branson of Posso Sports send his statement concerning the situation of marathon olympic selection in Kenya and stated that Patrick Makau was also ready and healthy to be considered at least as stand by runner. „We will always respect a National Federations right to select their teams as the see fit. That is not our issue. What does greatly concern us is the false statement given by the President of Athletics Kenya in his 12 June press conference as the reason for overlooking our client Patrick Makau. One of our jobs as Makau's Athletics Kenya and IAAF registered Athlete Representative is to defend his integrity (and ours, as his representative) when it is called into question. And the statements made in the 12 June press conference about Makau are completely untrue. We were never formally asked for an explanation as to why Patrick Makau failed to finish the 2012 Virgin London Marathon. But we did voluntarily provide such an explanation, in person to Athletics Kenya Treasurer Mr. Kinyua, immediately post-race in London, and in e-mails to the Federations e-mail address on April 25 and May 8. We clearly stated that Makau's problem was a minor sciatic nerve irritation and that within two weeks of the London Marathon he had resumed normal and full training. I am in no way questioning the naming of Emmanuel Mutai / Stanley Biwott as the replacement for Moses Mosop. But I do want to make clear that Patrick Makau and ourselves did make it known to Mr. Kinyua, Mr. Kiplagat and four other AK officials (after the London Marathon) that his problem was minor and he would be ready to represent his country with distinction if selected," says the statement.
JAPAN SETS CRITERIA FOR 2013
TOKIO (JPN): Brett Larner informs on his blog that the Japanese athletics federation, announced the criteria for selection for Japan's team for next year's Moscow World Championships. To encourage Japanese athletes to get faster, the qualification times announced for the marathon are far higher than in previous years, while track and field events will see their first-ever specific qualifying marks. Five men and five women can run the marathon in Moscow. To make the team, men must run 2:07:59 or better and women 2:23:59 or better at any of the three major domestic men's and women's marathons. Any athlete who clears these times at one of five specified overseas races will also be a candidate for the team. The domestic races for men are the Fukuoka International Marathon, the Tokyo Marathon and the Biwako Mainichi Marathon, while for women the races are the Yokohama International Women's Marathon, the Osaka International Women's Marathon and the Nagoya Women's Marathon. The five international races are the World Marathon Majors, Berlin, Chicago, New York, Boston and London. If no athletes clear the criteria, the top three Japanese finishers at the above domestic races as well as the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon for men and the Hokkaido Marathon for women will be considered.
GREEN AND PLEASANT
LONDON (GBR): Oscar-winning producer Danny Boyle has unveiled what the Olympic Stadium will look like during the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 next month and revealed that the first sequence will be called „Green and Pleasant." The venue will be transformed to „celebrate the English countryside" and will feature fields containing 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, 70 sheep and three sheep dogs, real grass and a plough, along with 10,000 volunteers with music by British dance act Underworld. It even includes a game of cricket going on. It is expected to be rung to mark a Shakespeare-inspired segment based on The Tempest which will feature 900 children. Where Her Majesty the Queen fits in - rumours abound of her having filmed an opening James Bond sequence with Daniel Craig at Buckingham Palace - is also „part of the puzzle." Boyle is best known for directing award-winning films such as Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours and Trainspotting. Informs insidethegames.
WIRZ BEFORE HELSINKI
LAUSANNE (SUI): With two weeks to go until Helsinki 2012, President Hansjörg Wirz has outlined the reasons why he believes Olympic-year European Athletics Championships will become a key part of the international athletics and sporting calendar. "A biennial European Athletics Championships will provide athletes with a more regular stage on which to become top-level champions," writes President Wirz. "Indeed, we must ask the question: how many European medals are really 'secure' for London 2012? Many athletes need this high level of competition ahead of London 2012 and future Olympics. A more regular top-level event improves athletes' performances, whether it's a physical effect such as how the championships fit into training and competitive programmes or a mental impact by giving an athlete more motivation or an additional focal point. An aspiring Olympic medallist must be extremely strong mentally to choose not to compete and then see their rivals being successful at Helsinki 2012." About 1350 European athletes have competed at recent editions of the European Athletics Championships, whereas 500-600 fewer athletes compete at an Olympics or World Championships, says Wirz. He also noted that the European Athletics Championships offers a chance for a bigger number of athletes (1350 in Barcelona) in comparison with a full season of 39 one-day meetings in Europe. For example in 2011 only 289 European athletes - out of the 3396 athletes - participated in more than three meetings. And only 662 participated in two to three meetings. Informs European Athletics.
MADRID (ESP): Spanish Athletics Federation included to the olympic selection Alessandra Aguilar for women marathon. She concluded recently three months ban after being positive at CC race in Cantimpalos last December for heptaminol. She joins Vanessa Veiga and Elena Espeso in the team. Three men selected for marathon are Carles Castillejo, Nacho Caceres and Jose Carlos Hernandez. Walking olympic selection includes for women 20 km Maria Jose Poves, Beatriz Pascual and Maria Vasco. In men´s 20 km only two have A standard Miguel Angel Lopez and Alvaro Martin. The trio for 50 km is composed by Mikel Odriozola, Benjamin Sanchez and ever young Jesus Angel Garcia who will go for his 6th games at age of 42 years.
MOSCOW (RUS): The reconstruction of the track at Luzhniki stadium started on Tuesday, informs general secretary of Russian Federation Mikhail Butov. After the reconstruction ahead of the 2013 World Championships the straight will have 10 lanes, the oval 8 lanes. In the field synthetic grass will be changed to natural.
JOHANNESBURG (RSA): James Evans was re-elected as President of Athletics South Africa at the quadrennial elections held at the Garden Court OR Tambo with marathon runner Hendrick Ramaala winning the race for the Vice President. James Evans and Harold Adams were the only two candidates standing for the position of President as Hendrick Ramaala, Motlatsi Keikabile and Aleck Skhosana withdrew before voting commenced. Evans received 33 votes with Adams second, receiving 24 of the votes. With a total of 31 votes, Hendrick Ramaala was elected as the Vice President of Athletics South Africa against the 26 of Geraldine Pillay. Harold Adams, Motlatsi Keikabile and Aleck Skhosana withdrew their nominations, leaving the race between Pillay and Ramaala.
VELENJE (SLO): 17th International meet of Velenje in Slovenia (EA Classic) staged to rememeber the Miners Day here will have on Thursday as top highlight the men´s hammer with home star and olympic winner Primoz Kozmus in a duel with Hungarian world medalist from Daegu and second best in 2012 so far Krisztian Pars. Other stars at this best one day meet in Slovenia are Daegu medalists Lazaro Borges of Cuba in pole vault and Russian Olga Kucherenko in the long jump, the recent winner of Diamond League in Oslo. Home spectators will also support Martina Ratej in javelin and triple jump duo Snezana Rodic and Marija Sestak against Belgian record holder Svetlana Bolshakova and Russian European indoor champion 2009 Anastasiya Potapova. Young hammer record holder Barbara Spiler will face former world champion Yipsi Moreno of Cuba. Women 100 m hurdles will see the fight of national record holders from Ireland (Derval O´Rourke), Austria (Beate Schrott) and Czech Republic (Lucie Skrobakova) with fastest Slovenian Maria Tomic. Very good field in the 1500 m includes returning olympic winner Nancy Lagat of Kenya, home runner Sonja Roman, fast Moroccan Siham Hilali and Slovak record holder Lucia Klocova. In other men events Jamaican Ainsley Waugh aims for 100/200 double. His main rivals Briton Danny Talbot in shorter sprint and Ireland´s Paul Hession in the 200 m. Young talent Zan Rudolf will have in the 800 m plenty of good opposition to try to improve his national junior record 1:47.10 from last year and confirm the ambitions for World Junior Championships in Barcelona. South African Elroy Gelant is the top entry in the 5000 m. Briton Conrad Williams and South African Ofentse Mogawane will face best Slovenian (former US) Brent Larue in the flat 400 m.
GOTEBORG (SWE): Another solid Thursday international fixture will Goteborg Grand Prix as part of Folksam Grand Prix series. Swedish interest will be displayed mainly in the 400 m by Johan Wissman (against Yusif Rabah of Sudan and Briton Robert Tobin. Kim Amb will compete in javelin with Stuart Farquhar of New Zealand and South African Robert Oosthuizen. World junior record holder Angelica Bengtsson is in pole vault, Carolina Kluft in long jump and Emma Green-Tregaro with Ebba Jungmark in high jump. In the hurdles Norway Christina Vukicevic is facing Swiss record holder Lisa Urech. Cubans Misleidys Gonzalez (women) and Carlos Veliz (men) are the shot put favorites. In the men 800 m fast Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi will face Egyptian record holder Mohamed Hamada, both achieved this year already sub 1:45 times. South African record holder Simon Magakwe is the 100 m favorite as is his team-mate Tsholofelo Thipe in the women 200 m against Norway record holder Ezinne Okparaebo. Ingvil Makestad of Norway and Australian Zoe Buckman will be running the 800 m.
LERUM (SWE, Jun 12): Fourth Swedish long jump over 8 meters is Andreas Otterling. He achieved 803 at a meet here and qualified for European Championships. His previous bests were 789 indoors and 772 outdoors.
ST. PETERBURG (RUS, Jun 10): At Pugachev-Yonov Memorial Aleksey Dmitrik cleared in men high jump 231, in women competition Yevgeniya Kononova went over 192. Belarus record holder Anastasiya Shvedova cleared 435 in the pole vault.