VLASIC ON HER WAY BACK
SPLIT (CRO): High jump star Blanka Vlasic is healthy, back in training and hopes for indoor season 2013. She confirmed all that for Croatian daily Jutarnji List. „Now I feel really cool," she said although there's still ice ready for her left foot in case pain should return. Vlasic says she is starting the second part of her career and with the main goal Rio 2016. „The plan is to be even better and come back stronger than I was before. I'm missing the competition. I want to confirm all of what I do in training. I miss the final product. You train to compete. I have a lot of plans, desires and ambitions. This injury was like a gift because I realised where are the priorities also in normal life," she was quoted as saying. For 2013 she wants to be in Goteborg in winter and Moscow in summer. The return competition is planned for home, a special high jump meet in Split on January 29. Another home event indoors is scheduled for February 18 in Zagreb. Her last competition was on September 16, 2011 in Brussels with 193 cm.
CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS THIS WEEKEND
MONACO (MON): The focus of the Athletics' world shifts to Barcelona, Spain, this week with the Catalan capital preparing for one of the greatest ever celebrations in the sport's history. The annual World Athletics Gala of the International Athletics Foundation, usually hosted in Monaco, has exceptionally moved to Barcelona, and will serve as the climax of a packed programme of activities to mark the IAAF Centenary. Over 120 star athletes, whose careers reflect many of the outstanding moments in our sport's history, are traveling to Barcelona. Among them are champions from the London Olympic Games of 1948 and 2012 as well as many other legends of the sport. Joining the athletes will be more than 600 members of the World Athletics Family, and other International Sports' Federations and the International Olympic Committee. On Thursday 22 and Friday 23, an IAAF Council meeting chaired by IAAF President Lamine Diack takes place in the Hotel Arts, which serves as the HQ Hotel for the IAAF Centenary Gala weekend. During its discussions the venues of the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and 2015 IAAF World Youth Championships will be decided. Council will also receive progress reports from the three 2013 IAAF World Athletics Series events including the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. On Thursday evening, in the Palacio de Albéniz a dinner given by the City of Barcelona will be hosted by Barcelona Mayor Xavier Trias. While on Friday 23 following an IAAF Press Conference to mark the end of the Council meeting, a Welcome Banquet will be held in the evening in the historical Drassanes Museum. On the morning of Saturday 24, an IAAF / Nestlé Kids' Athletics exhibition event takes place at the Arc de Triomf, in the centre of the city, with the eight teams of 10 to 11 year-old kids being led by athletics legends like Fermin Cacho, Pauline Davis-Thompson, Meseret Defar, Frank Fredericks, Maurice Greene, Yelena Isinbayeva, Paula Radcliffe and Irena Szewinska. Then, on Saturday afternoon, the 2012 Athletes of the Year Award Ceremony takes place at the Hotel Pullman Skipper. Following the Award Ceremony a VIP visit has been organised to the IAAF Centenary Historic Exhibition which is housed at the Museu Olímpic i de l'Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch, next to the Olympic stadium on the hill of Montjuic which overlooks the city centre. Then in the evening the celebrations come to a spectacular close with the IAAF Centenary Gala Show in the MNAC Museum which is also located on Montjuic, where the first 24 Members will be welcomed as the new IAAF Hall of Fame is officially inaugurated.
SPRAINED ANKLE FOR LAVILLENIE
AUBIERE (FRA): „Nothing very serious," reassured Olympic pole vault winner Renaud Lavillenie on his Facebook account on Monday. The world number one in his event sprained his right ankle during a weight-lifting session. „Nothing to worry about," confirmed his new coach Philippe d´Encausse. The schedule remains unchanged for the member of the Clermont Athletisme Auvergne. A stay at Reunion which starts on November 29 and his first indoor competition on January 12 at home track of Aubiere. Informs L´Équipe.
LUBBOCK (USA): Former Mansfield High School and Texas Tech pole vaulter, Shade Weygandt at 21 will begin her career as a professional track and field athlete, thus foregoing her senior year of eligibility for the Red Raiders. Shade will begin training with elite coach Danny Wilkerson in December and with fellow elite athletes. Informs Trackandfieldnews.com. Shade will split her time between Lubbock, South Bend, and Boston while completing her degree in Psychology at Texas Tech University she is due to graduate in May. She improved last season to 450 cm and was 7th placer at World Juniors 2010. Her dream is to qualify for Olympic Games 2016.
MONTREAL (CAN): World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey is confident that the plan to increase the length of bans for serious drug cheats from two to four years will survive legal challenges across the world. The move to double the length of bans for dopers was made in the latest draft World Anti-Doping Code while the controversial „Osaka Rule", which bans athletes convicted of serious doping offences from competing in the next Olympic Games, has been dropped. There are fears that a four-year doping ban will face similar legal challenges for being too harsh but Fahey feels that WADA will be successful in implementing the ban. „Whenever we look at strengthening sanctions for doping offences, we need to take in to account the principle of reasonability and human rights. We have taken legal advice over this issue and we are confident the four years won't breach any current law in any part of the world," he said.
AUCKLAND (NZL): Double Olympic champion Valerie Adams has backed the World Anti-Doping Agency's move to double bans on drug cheats from two to four years. Informs tvnz.co.nz. Adams says the system should be tightened so to eliminate violators from accessing the next Olympic cycle. „I think WADA's idea is great. Olympics-to-Olympics is where things need to be looked at," Adams said.
STOCKHOLM (SWE): The top Swedish indoor meet XL Galan (February 21) will be very important for home stars as last tune-up before the European Indoors in Goteborg. Long jumper Michel Torneus, 400 m European Champion Moa Hjelmer and world junior record holder in pole vault Angelica Bengtsson confirmed their presence at the meet held in famous Ericsson Globe Arena. Torneus will be soon in preparation in Tenerife, Hjelmer will travel to South Africa and Bengtsson temporarily moved to Clermont-Ferrand in France to train under the guidance of coach Damien Inocencio.
LONDON (GBR): Sprint star Usain Bolt will not appear in this year's Big Bash Twenty20 League but may consider switching to cricket or football after the 2016 Olympics. The Jamaican, 26, held talks with Shane Warne's Melbourne Stars in October. But Bolt's agent Ricky Simms told BBC Sport: „Usain is currently an athlete focused on his preparations for the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. He may try his hand at cricket or football when he retires from running but that would be after 2016."
LAUSANNE (SUI): European Athletics confirmed the site for the 2013 edition of European Cup Winter Throwing. The 13th edition will be held on March 16-17 in Castellon, Spain. It will be second time this event will be held in Spain after Tenerife in 2009.
TORONTO (CAN): Sprinter Justyn Warner, wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy and Athletics Canada Chief Executive Officer Rob Guy were in Toronto to take part in TO2015's York University Stadium and Toronto Track and Field Centre renovation plans announcement. Architectural renderings and funding details were confirmed for the CIBC Stadium at York University which will host track and field competition at the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. The site will also host the opening and closing ceremonies. The $45.5 million project is jointly funded by the Government of Canada and York University. Following the announcement Cassidy, a 2012 Paralympian, and Warner, the 4x100-meters relay anchor at the 2012 Olympic Games, took some 60 kids through some fun filled track and field activities.
LAUSANNE (SUI): European Athletics has announced that Italian mountain runner Alex Baldaccini and Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse have been voted as the European Athletes of the Month for October. The 24-year-old Baldaccini won the men's race at the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) Grand Prix final in Ljubljana. Abeylegesse, the 2010 European Athletics Championships 10 000 m gold medallist returned to form with a run over 20km in Paris in 65:42, the fastest time by a European over this distance since 2006. Poland's Gregorz Sudol, a silver medallist at the 2010 European Athletics Championships 50km walk, clocked 3:46:01 over the same distance to win as a guest at the German championships in Gleina on 14 October and was voted second in the men's poll. The 17-year-old Hungarian hammer thrower Bence Pásztor, who threw 83.30m with the 5kg youth implement in Veszprém on 13 October, the best mark in the world for his age group in 2012, was voted third. Three-time Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova of Russia ran the fastest time by a European this year when she clocked 2:22:59 while finishing fourth in Chicago on 7 October and was voted second in the women's poll ahead of Slovenia' Mateja Kosovelj. Kosovelj won the women's race at the WMRA Grand Prix final on home soil. Informs European Athletics.
INDIANAPOLIS (USA): Sydney Holden has been named USA Track and Field's Youth Athlete of the Year after setting an age-group record and winning the sub-bantam National Junior Olympic Championships in the 400m. At 8 years of age she was timed with 1:10.69 in the 400 m.
OSLO (NOR): Petar Vukicevic has been suspended after receiving emails on doping procedures from the former coach of Jamaican star Merlene Ottey. The Norwegian Athletics Association on Monday suspended the coach on suspicion of having supplied athletes with performance-enhancing drugs. The decision came after the Norwegian press published emails about doping allegedly sent to colleague Srdjan Djordjevic a Serbian coach. In the emails, Vukicevic appears to admit that some of the athletes he is training are using performance-enhancing drugs and asks for ways to circumvent doping controls. „I am totally innocent, never had anything to do with doping and everything in the emails is manipulated," said Vukicevic for TV 2 of Norway. He also says that emails were delivered to Anti-Doping Norway by his former wife and in manipulated version. And the correspondence dates back to period 2001-2003. His daughter Christina Vukicevic is national record holder at 100 m hurdles with 12.74 from 2009. His son Vladimir Vukicevic also clocked Norway´s men hurdles record 13.55 this year and is 2010 World Junior Championships silver winner.
LJUBLJANA (SLO): Coach Srdjan Djordjevic spoke to Slovenian media and said: „The current story is based on the statements from the former wife of Vukicevic. Myself I do not have a single e-mail with the published content. Otherwise, this post is controversial, the content is manipulated and it should be easy to prove." Djordjevic also said he was back in 2007 invited to Oslo for a lecture on sprint biomechanics and also conducted several tests. He was not involved at all in the training process of coach Petar Vukicevic, he admits they know each other from former Yugoslavia times.
GATESHEAD (GBR): British athletes will be aiming to relive two of their greatest ever team performances when the European Athletics Team Championships return to Gateshead International Stadium on June 22-23 next year. The fourth staging of the Championships is expected to see a host of stars, who performed so well at this summer's London Olympic Games, hoping to add to the host nation victories that the men scored at the memorable European Cup victories in 1989 and 2000. Now the British camp will be hoping the more recent heroes of the London Olympic Games will be mounting a bid for a first win at the European Athletics Team Championships, the successor event to the European Cup. These include double 5000 m and 10 000 m gold medallist Mo Farah, long jumper champion Greg Rutherford, heptathlon winner Jessica Ennis, Christine Ohuruogu the 400m silver medallist and Rob Grabarz, who shared the high jump bronze medal. It won't be an easy task for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team, particularly as the overall winners are based on combined men and women's scores and the eleven opposing teams include the might of Russia and Germany. Writes European Athletics.
LUBBOCK (USA): Texas Tech junior cross country runner Kennedy Kithuka of Kenya has been tabbed the National Male Athlete of the Year by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association of America for the 2012 cross country season. The announcement comes Tuesday after Kithuka became the first male athlete in Texas Tech history to capture the NCAA Cross Country Championship on Saturday in Louisville.
METZ (FRA): Steeple world bronze medalist from 2009 Bob Tahri was satisfied with his first ever outing at the 15 km in Nijmegen on Sunday (7th in 43:48). It was also his first race since World Championships 2011 in Daegu (4th in steeple). „The course is not friendly for fast times with lot of ups and downs. But I was able to stay with the Africans in the last kilometers," he was quoted as saying. His next race will be cross of Dunkerque on Sunday and then he plans a three weeks training stay in Kenya to prepare for the indoor season. Main goal in winter will be the European Indoor Championships. Tahri remains undecided about his events for summer between steeple, 5000 m and 10 000 m.
SYDNEY (AUS): Australian top long jumper Mitchell Watt plans to compete again in March next year. The London Olympic silver medalist said about his plans for IAAF: „Since last time I wrote, I've made the decision to get back to my law studies. I'm doing three subjects over the summer semester, which runs roughly from early November until the middle of January, 2013. It was pretty much a last-minute decision and it's a bit of a change as I think I've only done one subject in the past two years, with World Championships and Olympic Games. The timing seemed right. I'm never traveling over summer and training isn't too intense at the moment. So I've got the opportunity to get it all out of the way before I start competing in March."
RIO DE JANEIRO (BRA): The Maracana, the iconic stadium due to host the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympics, will be ready in late February next year although a quarter of the work remains to be done according to organizers writes Insidethegames.
BRUSSELS (BEL): The hearing of Belgian distance runner Atelaw Bekele who is current European CC Champion has been postponed. Bekele missed three out of competition tests and is to face the Flemish doping tribunal. So far Bekele has not been sentenced and is allowed to continue competing reports sporza.be.
SEVILLA (ESP): Maraton de Sevilla promises one of the most scenic marathon race courses in the world for the February 24, 2013 race date. The organisers unveiled its new race course that brings runners back to the beautiful and historical centre of one of the most touristic cities in Europe. Next years edition will be the 29th already. It is flat and just a few meters above sea level, going across all the major monuments of this ancient city. Around 7000 runners are expected. Chema Martinez, currently one of the best European marathon runners, and former World Champions such as Abel Antón and Martin Fiz, have already confirmed their presence at the race.
PARIS (FRA): French championships will be held next year on July 12-14 in Paris at the Charlety Stadium. Paris remained the only candidate as Reims withdrew from the bidding process.
DAR ES SALAAM (TAN): Triple olympic winner Allyson Felix is in the midst of a 10-day trip to Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania with the NGO Right to Play. She even spent her birthday on Sunday in Uganda. On Tuesday she posted photos on her twitter from a safari adventure in the Serengeti National Park.