London GP Calling to Usain Bolt, Compete, and Tax Amnesty! by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Usain Bolt, 
photo by

One of the issues over the past few years has been that Usain Bolt would not race in the UK due to their ability to scoop up too many pounds sterling, in his mind, when he competed. Now comes Chancellor George Osbourne, who has agreed to a tax amnesty to non UK athletes who come to London and compete in the London GP this coming summer. Hats off to the Chancellor, as he has, with a little creativity, worked his magic on increasing the number of world class athletes in the London GP this coming summer! 



EAUBONNE (FRA, Feb 7): The second edition of the women only Meeting Féminin du Val d'Oise saw European champion from Barcelona Myriam Soumare in top shape. She won the 200 m in world leading indoor PB 22.87, second Jamaican 400 m runner Patricia Hall in 23.20. Earlier Soumare was second in the 60 m in 7.21 behind Ukrainian Euro winner from Helsinki Mariya Ryemeyn 7.15. Another top mark from 2008 Olympic gold medalist Tia Hellebaut who cleared 197 in second attempt and tried at two meters. She had good challenge from Ukrainian Olena Kholosha who improved her indoor PB to 195 cm. Spectators in the Stephane Diagana Hall waited also on come back after 2.5 years from former world champion Eunice Barber (38) who leaped to 608 in the long jump (6th). Winner here Eliane Martins from Brazil (640) ahead of Slovak Jana Veldakova (639). German Nadine Kleinert won the shot put (18.00) ahead of US guest Jeneva McCall who competed in her first European pro meet (17.93). European heptathlon champion Antonietta Nana Djimou was here 6th (14.45) and also fourth in the long jump (613). From races good 8:52.48 by Portugal Sara Moreira in the 3000 m over Almensch Belete of Belgium 8:54.14 and Ethiopian Almaz Ayana 8:55.73. Moroccan Malika Akkaoui won the 1000 m in 2:41.94 beating Italian Elisa Cusma 2:42.18 and Poland´s Anna Rostkowska in her first international meet since 2009 2:42.40. Yulia Kondakova of Russia topped the 60 m hurldes in 8.06, second Italian Veronica Borsi 8.07 and third home Alice Decaux 8.08. Marie Gayot won the 400 m 53.14 ahead of former world champion Amy Mbacke Thiam of Senegal (55.02).



LONDON (GBR): The Telegraph informs that Chancellor George Osborne has granted a tax amnesty to overseas athletes competing in this summer's London Grand Prix Samsung Diamond League meeting in the Olympic Stadium. That could also open the door for sprinting star Usain Bolt to run on the anniversary of the Olympic opening ceremony. With the exception of the Olympics, Bolt has not raced in Britain since 2009 because the tax rules for foreign sports stars would leave him out of pocket. But the Chancellor has agreed to a "one-off exemption" for the meeting that will allow the triple Olympic champion and the rest of the world's leading overseas athletes to compete tax-free in a reprise of the track and field programme at the London Olympics. Telegraph writes that the event will retain its two-day format, with an evening session on Friday, July 26, and a second session the following day. Bolt's agent, Ricky Simms, welcomed Osborne's decision to relax the rules. "It's good news for the Diamond League meeting and British sport in general," he said. "The rules were discouraging a lot of the top stars from competing in the UK when they had options elsewhere." Simms added that Bolt had already signed contracts to compete in various meets around the world this summer and he would now have to talk to the sprinter and his coach, Glen Mills, about adding London to his programme. Simms said: "I think it's about two weeks before the World Championships, which is quite late, but it's London and it's the Olympic Stadium again so it obviously has an attraction."







RAS AL KHAIMAH (UAE): The organizers of the RAK Half-Marathon announced deep fields on both the men's and women's sides for the seventh edition of the historically fast race, to be held on Friday, February 15, in the United Arab Emirates. Headlining the list of entrants are ten men who have run under 60 minutes for the distance, including Geoffrey Mutai, the reigning World Marathon Majors champion, and Stephen Kibet, the seventh fastest half marathoner of all time. On the women's side will be 2012 Olympic Marathon silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo and 2012 Boston Marathon winner Sharon Cherop. The course record of 58:52 was set in 2009 by current marathon world record holder Patrick Makau. Also running Emmanuel Mutai, the 2011 Virgin London Marathon champion. Included on the start list are sub-60 minute half-marathoners Ezekiel Chebii, Feyisa Lelisa, Pius Maiyo Kirop, Geoffrey Kipsang, Joel Kimurer, Stanley Biwott, Daniel Chebii, and Getu Feleke. Track specialist Micah Kogo, who earned an Olympic bronze medal at the 10,000m in Beijing, will also be competing. Though course and world record holder Mary Keitany will not be racing or defending her title (she is pregnant with her second child), a number of notable women will be on the start line. Along with aforementioned marathon specialists Jeptoo and Cherop, Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse, a double Olympic silver medalist from 2008, and 2:19:34 marathoner Lucy Wangui Kabuu will vie for the victory. Fastest in the field is 25-year-old Florence Kiplagat of Kenya, who boasts a personal best of 66:38. Making her RAK Half Marathon debut will be Ethiopia's Meselech Melkamu. Informs Race Results Weekly.


GENT (BEL) : Athletes liaison for the Record Bank Flanders indoor meeting on Febuary 10th Marc Corstjens told Belgian Media he is looking forward to a high quality meeting on Sunday. Highlights of the meeting will be the 60m where Christophe Lemaître is taking on Jamaican Lerone Clarke (also fast Norwegian Jaisuma Saidy Ndure is entered), the 300m in which Kevin Borlée competes against European 400m champion Pavel Maslak and the 400m where Jonathan Borlée takes on olympic medalist Luguelin Santos und current European leader Brian Gregan of Ireland. The women high jump features a head to head between local star Tia Hellebaut and rising star and world leader Alessia Trost, while the specially organized triathlon features Hans Van Alphen as well as Aleksey Kasyanov with Eusebio Caceres and current world leader in heptathlon Eduard Mikhan of Belarus. The men's 3000m is highly anticipated with the presence of Genrmedhin Mekonnen, Paul Kipsiele Koech and Daniel Komen.


SHEFFIELD (GBR): UK Athletics informs that this weekend will see some of the country's top athletes in indoor action at the British Athletics European Trials & UK Championships. The goal for many this year will be the European Indoors in Gothenburg with Holly Bleasdale and Robbie Grabarz among the headliners in Sheffield. The first and second eligible athletes at the trials will automatically be picked if they have attained the relevant standards since April 1, 2012, with a discretionary additional place in each event being available too. The team will be announced following the British Athletics Indoor Grand Prix on February 16. Athletics Weekly picked five events to watch. Men 60 m even without Dwain Chambers, women 60 m (Philip, Ohuruogu, Proctor), women pole vault (Bleasdale), men high jump (Grabarz, Oni, Parsons) and men 3000 m (Baddeley, Vernon, Humphries, Wilkinson).


LONDON (GBR): Dwain Chambers will not be defending his British 60 m title in Sheffield this weekend. He had had a twinge in his lower back the whole week. He has had ongoing specialist treatment which it was anticipated would allow him to compete this weekend. It hasn't and the considered view is that competing in three rounds during the course of Saturday would risk further aggravation and potentially more serious injury that could rule him out of further indoor competition this season. Dwain just needs a further few days rest to make a full recovery. Ironically he is the best physical shape of his career, hopes to be accepting the invitation to compete at the British Grand Prix in Birmingham and will be available for selection for the European Championships in Gothenburg.


DUSSELDORF (GER): The 8th PSD Bank Meeting on Friday offers except already reported top events and names for example high quality 800 for men. Reveng for Adam Kszczot against Kevin Lopez but also with Yuriy Borzakovskiy and Timothy Kitum. French Karlsruhe winner Mahiedine Mekhissi runs this time the 3000 m against Africans. Very interesting hurdles with world champion Jason Richardson against world leader Orlando Ortega against current top German Erik Balnuweit and Moscow winner Konstantin Shabanov. World leader Murielle Ahoure is the top name for women 60 m. And the best field of the year at 60 m hurdles with Ginnie Crawford and Danielle Carruthers, Euro winner Nevin Yanit and Karlsruhe winner Lucie Skrobakova together with Eline Berings. In triple jump world champion Olha Saladukha opens her season.







DUBAI (UAE): In another story connected to Usain Bolt. The biggest indoor billboard in the world was unveiled at Dubai International Airport that Guinness has recognized as the world's largest. It is Nissan board including Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world.


ADELAIDE (AUS): A large contingent of athletics' leading ladies are set to make a triumphant return to the National Athletics Series at the Adelaide Track Classic on Saturday 16 February. Following the release of entry lists by Athletics Australia confirmed is the start of Olympians Melissa Breen, Jess Trengove, Kim Mickle and Alana Boyd.


KAMPALA (UGA): The 2012 Olympic marathon champion, Stephen Kiprotich, supports a Dutch initiative for children in Uganda. The organization 'De 4e Musketier' will be holding a marathon in Northern Uganda, together with the developmental aid organization Compassion and Open Doors, to raise funds for impoverished children and persecuted Christians. Kiprotich travelled to Veenendaal on Monday February 4th especially for this fund raising initiative; there he gave a clinic to a number of runners and shared his story. On May 29th, 2013 over 120 Dutch men will run a marathon near Lira. All participants raise a minimum of €10,000, which will be used to support children from poor families in Uganda and persecuted Christians globally.


GRODNO (BLR): Three time world champion in hammer throw Ivan Tikhon was elected deputy director of Grodno's regional sport club Dynamo. "It's very interesting job for me. I have the same aims I had as an athlete but much wider. We have many gifted young athletes and I'll try to help them to grow to the high international level. My feeling and impressions are very new. That's my new challenge. My duties are various from economical to organizational activities" said Tikhon for Grodnenskaya Pravda newspaper. In the same time 36-years old athlete informed he's continuing with own training. In August 2012 Tikhon had to come back home from Olympic Village because of positive doping retest from Athens 2004. "I hope I'll return to competitions despite of the accusations I have received before London Olympics. But I wasn't stressed as much as fours year ago in the similar situation. I have proved my innocence after Beijing Olympic Games. I don't want to pass that way once again. The IAAF didn't make any decision about me yet. I'm just waiting. If they permit me to stay in athletics I'll be happy. If no... so it be," said Tikhon. In any case he already tries as coach of girl's throwing group.


ATLANTA (USA): „The feeling is a bit weird not competing this indoor season, however I have been watching the performances. I think track and field fans will be getting a real treat this season from us, the athletes. My training has been going according to plan and I thank God for health and strength. I am looking forward to starting my outdoor season in March," said Jamaican star sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown for IAAF.


BRUSSELS (BEL): In an interview with, European U23 decathlon champion Thomas Van der Plaetsen said 2012 was a lost year with a hamstring injury slowing him down. However, he is ready to step up in 2013 and is looking forward to starting his season at the IAAF World challenge meeting in Gotzis in May where he hopes to qualify for the World University Games and the IAAF World championships.


BRUSSELS (BEL): Belgian long distance athlete Almensch Belete is no longer coached by her long time coach Henri Salavarda. Belete from now on will be coached by Ivo Hendricx, reports Het Nieuwsblad.


BERLIN (GER): announced that tickets for the German national indoor championships are sold out for Sunday February 24th. For the event on Saturday February 23rd there are still a few tickets left.


LONDON (GBR): Sydney 2000 Olympic triple jump champion and world record holder Jonathan Edwards has been unveiled as the newest member of the Youth Sport Trust Board (YST). The 46-year-old, who won every major competition in the triple jump in a glittering career, and still holds the world record of 18.29 metres set in 1995, played a key role in the success of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, where he served on the athlete representative Board of the Organising Committee. In his new role on the YST, Edwards will help support the charity's new London 2012 legacy commitment „Lead your generation" which was launched following the Games.


SAO PAULO (BRA): Agencies are informing that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has banned Brazil's former South American 10 000 m champion Simone Alves da Silva for five years for doping. Da Silva was found guilty by a CAS judging panel for testing positive to the blood-boosting substance EPO during an event in Sao Paulo in 2011, Brazil's athletics confederation CBAT said on Wednesday. The 28-year-old had been absolved by Brazil's superior sports justice tribunal in February 2012 but was prohibited from competing by the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF) until the CAS hearing. The ban starts in October 2011 and will not allow her so competing at the Rio Games in her home country in 2016.


BOSTON (USA): Due to the inclement weather that is expected in Boston this weekend, the Valentine Invitational that was scheduled to be held Friday and Saturday at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center has been cancelled. The BU track and field teams will next be in action on Feb. 17 at the USATF New England Open Championships in Cambridge, Mass.


MURMANSK (RUS): Murmansk regional government supported the project of building new multifunctional athletics arena "Dolina uyuta" (Valley of Comfort) with possibility to transform to different sports, from boxing and weightlifting to team sports. Preliminary cost of the project is 425 million roubles (about 15 million USD). Chairwoman of physical culture and sport committee in Murmansk region Svetlana Naumova noted that realization of that project can give new impulse to development and popularization of athletics in „polar city". Indoor athletics arena in Murmansk should be finished in 2015.







MOGILYOV (BLR, Feb 5-6): World indoor bronze medalist Alina Talay won both 60 m and 60 m hurdles during first day of Belarus indoor championships. She clocked 8.01 and solid personal best at the flat distance 7.35. Heptathlete Yana Maksimava improved her PB at 60m hurdles to 8.54 and finished third after another combined eventer Katsiaryna Netsvetayeva was second (8.53 also PB). Maksimava have won the high jump with good 190 (equaled her PB). 20-years old European junior silver medalist 2011 Yuliya Yurenya was first at 400m with indoor PB 54.06. Alena Kopets topped the shot put with 18.73 and Natalya Koreyvo the 1500m in 4:18.56. Natalya Vyatkina and Aleksey Tsapik were the best in triple jump 13.61 and 16.44. During second day Olga Sudareva won the long jump with 660 over Veronika Shutkova 636. Favorites won the 800 m, Marina Arzamasova in 2:04.25 and Anis Ananenko 1:50.97. Anastasia Yatsevich (47:36.75) and Dmitriy Dyubin (40:47.47) became the winners in the 10 000m walk. Maksim Lynsha clocked solid 7.68 in 60 m hurdles.


NEW YORK (USA, Feb 6): Athletes from Australia took four of the six podium spots at 36th Empire State Building Run-Up Powered by the MMRF, led by race winners Suzy Walsham and Mark Bourne. About 600 athletes took part, climbing the 1576 steps from the gleaming marble Art Decco lobby to the 86th floor observation deck of this city's tallest building. Walsham, 39, who lives in Singapore, scored her fourth victory at this race in five attempts, overwhelming her nearest challenger in the invitational women's field by 43 seconds. Her time of 12:05 was her fastest ever here by a wide margin, although it was well of the event record of 11:23 set by Austrian steeplechaser Andrea Mayr in 2006. Brooke Logan, a 33 year-old Australian who lives in Templestowe, took second in 12:48 and Erika Aklufi, a 36 year-old lawyer turned police officer who lives in Los Angeles, took third in 12:57. Men's champion Bourne was a surprise winner. Seven-time winner Thomas Dold of Stuttgart, Germany, came to New York to try to win his eighth straight Run-Up, but caught the flu and could not compete. He had to ride the elevator to the 86th floor with the journalists, instead. Bourne, who said he didn't take the lead for good until the 60th floor, clocked 10 minutes and 12 seconds, handily beating 38 year-old compatriot Darren Wilson from Adelaide (not the athlete who won the Tokyo Half-Marathon in 1997), who clocked 10:45. Mountain runner Rickey Gates, 31, of San Francisco, got third in 11:01. From Race Results Weekly.


SUMY (UKR, Feb 7): During second day of Ukrainian Junior indoor championships world youth silver medalist Iryna Herashchenko cleared indoor personal best in high jump 189. Viktor Lonskyy was the best in the same boys event 215.


TARTU (EST, Feb 5): Additons the 6.62 personal best at 60 m by Antoine Adams of St. Kitts. South African Khotso Mokoena leaped to 795 cm in the long jump.

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