Long Distances at AREVA, by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad ran a pb of 3:33.12 this past week. On Saturday, at AREVA Paris, Mekhissi-Benabbab will go for the European steeple record of 8:01.38, held by French runner Bob Tahri! 

Kids Clinic
LAUSANNE (SUI): Seven helicopters left for Colombier, Delémont, Fribourg, Geneva, Sion and Lausanne. The Kids Clinic took place on the 6 sites with different stars (Felix Sanchez, Carmelita Jeter, Tyson Gay, Renaud Lavillenie, Asafa Powell and many more). More than thousand kids from 8 to 14 years old were there, all willing to have a special coach for the afternoon. They all received precious tips and advice and will keep an incredible and unique memory of this day. The traditional event by event preview before Athletissima will be published later today.

Long distances at Areva
PARIS (FRA): Men steeple will be a special highlight at the Areva Meeting on Saturday in Stade de France (IAAF Diamond League). French star Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad will try for a fast time and thinks about European record 8:01.18 of another French runner Bob Tahri from Berlin World Championships 2009. Also in the field olympic and world winner Ezekiel Kemboi and Diamond Race winner Paul Kipsiele Koech from Kenya. Both with byes from Kenyan Trials and so could be in the field. Other top Kenyans are at home preparing for the trials (except Haron Langat and Bernard Nganga who will help with the pace). Interestingly women 5000 m looks like Ethiopian trials with no less than 11 runners from the African country headed by sisters Tirunesh Dibaba and Genzebe Dibaba. No Kenyan is running. 

Vesely and his groin problem
PRAHA (CZE): European javelin champion Vitezslav Vesely had an unlucky day in Birmingham on Sunday. In his first throw which was a foul over 85 meters (would be enough to win) he injured his groin on the right leg. He tried in second attempt but the pain increased and so he stopped the competition. "I did not want to risk the injury will be bigger," he said immediately on Sunday. After returning and visiting the doctors he must stop the training for 5 days and was forced to cancel another Diamond League meet, Athletissima of Lausanne. "Im aware Im losing great scoring opportunities in the Diamond Race specially when Tero Pitkamäki is also not throwing. But my main goal is Moscow and there I want to be healthy." Because of this he also cancelled his other planned meet in Heusden on July 13

Top names for Gyulai Memorial
BUDAPEST (HUN): Third edition of Istvan Gyulai Memorial (EA Classic) in Budapest on July 10 will see fast sprinters. Despite the withdrawal of the top star earlier announced (Yohan Blake) Puskas Stadium will still see great names with ever young Kim Collins and 2008 Olympic medalist Richard Thompson from Trinidad and Tobago in the 100 m. In the 200 m Olympic bronze medalist Warren Weir will clash with another top Jamaican Jason Young and Norway´s record holder Jaisuma Saidy Ndure. One of the best fields of the meet will be women 100 m with reigning world champion Carmelita Jeter, world leader Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad, in-shape Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria and other fast US runners Barbara Pierre (10.85 improvement) and 200 m specialist Kimberlyn Duncan. Home spectators will support mainly hammer olympic winner Krisztian Pars against Czech Lukas Melich, Slovenian 2008 Olympic winner Primoz Kozmus and Szymon Ziolkowski from Poland (IAAF Hammer Challenge). Olympic winner Christian Taylor returns to Budapest to jump against top Cubans Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Ernesto Reve. In the women 400 m Sanya Richards-Ross will test her shape against Jamaicans Novlene Williams-Mills and Shericka Williams. Improved Hungarian hurdler Balazs Baji will run his event against another Daegu winner competing Jason Richardson. Yuriy Borzakovskiy is the star of the 800 m, Kellie Wells of 100 m hurdles, Ugandan Benjamin Kiplagat in the men steeple with the aim to run under 8:20. Deep field is also announced for women 400 m hurdles. US Dalilah Muhammad, Tiffany Williams, Turquoise Thompson, Jamaican champion Ristanana Tracey, Briton Eilidh Child, Italian Yadisleidys Pedroso and Australian Lauren Boden.

Makau vs. Kipsang
BERLIN (GER): There will be a showdown between the two fastest marathon runners in the world on September 29 at the Berlin Marathon. Patrick Makau who set the current marathon world record in Berlin in 2011 (2:03:38 h), will face Wilson Kipsang who just missed Makau's record (by only four seconds) in Frankfurt.  Germany's top two marathon greats also plan to compete in the capital: Irina Mikitenko and Jan Fitschen. Both achieved their personal best times on the fast Berlin course: Mikitenko in 2008, when she ran a new German record (2:19:19), and Fitschen in 2012, with his personal best (2:13:10). Irina Mikitenko hopes to break the Masters World Record (ages 40 and over), which currently lies at 2:25:43, while Jan Fitschen hopes to beat his record on the course. The field of elite international runners also is highlighted by two other top women: Kenyan Florence Kiplagat and US Desiree Davila. Organisers are informing.

P. Jeptoo out of Worlds marathon
NAIROBI (KEN): Olympic marathon bronze medallist, Priscah Jeptoo has withdrawn from the Kenya team to the World Athletic Championships slated for next month in Moscow. Informs Kenyan media.  According to Athletics Kenya (AK) vice chairman, Jeptoo cited fatigue after the London Marathon early this year as his reason of pulling out from the global festival. " She has just resumed training and she will not be in position to run at the World event which is only a month away," said Okeyo. She has been replaced by Eunice Kirwa, who finished second at the Amsterdam Marathon last year in a time of2:21.41. Okeyo said the Kenya marathon team is expected to proceed to camp next week at Iten under the tutelage of coaches of Richard Metto and Abraham Kiplimo. Jeptoo's exit leaves Jepkirui to team up with defending champion Edna Kiplagat and Lucy Kabuu in the women's marathon team with Margaret Agai as the standby athlete. In the men's category-Michael Kipyego, Bernard Kipyego and Bernard Koech--will represent the country with Peter Some as the reserve athlete.

Insidethegames views
LONDON (GBR): Insidethegames writes that Lord Sebastian Coe has already implemented strategic changes at BOA following the exit of fellow Tory peer Lord Colin Moynihan. But there is now growing speculation about a possible return to politics for Coe even before the 2016 Rio Olympics, something he has previously resisted. Will his close friendship with Prime Minister David Cameron entice him to change his mind and run for Mayor of London if Boris Johnson, as is widely supposed, stands for Parliament at the next election to further his own leadership ambitions? Writes insidethegames. There is no doubt the Prime Minister would snatch Lord Coe's hand off knowing his candidacy would virtually ensure the City Hall post remains in Tory hands, such is his lordships' public esteem in the wake of a euphoric Olympics. 2015 is a critical year for Coe, who is set to bid for the Presidency of the IAAF a post which would automatically guarantee him membership of the IOC, which he is reasonably predicted to head one day. However, it is strongly rumoured that the present IAAF Lamine Diack, may now opt not to retire, a situation that would leave Coe's sports political aspirations in limbo. Writes insidethegames. Especially as his chief rival, Ukraine's pole vault star Sergey Bubka, already an IOC member, has already thrown his hat into the Olympic rings as one of six candidates vying to take over from Jacques Rogge in September.


NANCY (FRA): Double European silver medalist at 110 m hurdles Garfield Darien of France finished only 8th in Nancy (14.47) and because of health problems (mononucleosis) decided to end the season. He will prepare for 2014 with another European Championships in plan.

LAUSANNE (SUI): European Athletics announced the vote for the Athlete of the June 2013.  The calendar included all four leagues of the European Athletics Team Championships, the European Cup 10,000m, three competitions in the European Cup Combined Events, two European Athletics Premium Meetings and no fewer than 11 European Athletics Outdoor Classic Meetings.  In addition, there were three European meetings in both the 2013 IAAF Diamond League and 2013 IAAF World Challenge series. The voting will close on 16 July at noon CET.

NEW YORK (USA): Nearly five months after announcing the creation of the .US National Road Racing Championships, USA Track & Field selected a date and location for the inaugural event that will serve as the conclusion to the USA Running Circuit (USARC) series. In a press release, USATF announced the event to be held in Alexandria, Va., onSunday, November 17, 2013, over a 12-kilometer distance.

MONACO (MON): The IAAF World Youth Championships, which will take place from 10 to 14 July 2013 in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, is on course to become the biggest gathering of athletes in the history of the Championships. With the deadline for the Entries now closed, IAAF is proud to announce that no fewer than 1532 athletes have been entered, 840 boys and 713 girls. The best attended World Youth Championships so far was two years ago in Lille, when 1322 athletes took part. Athletes will represent 165 IAAF National Member Federations. The most attended edition in terms of different nationalities was Marrakech 2005, when 177 countries made the trip to Morocco.

FRANKFURT (GER): Middle distance runner Homiyu Tesfaye is allowed to run for Germany from July this year. The Ethiopian will debut for his new country next week at the European U23 Championships in Tampere. He is entered there for 1500 m and 5000 m.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): German miler Corinna Harrer could not finish the Birmingham 1500 m race on Sunday. She lost her shoe in the first round after getting spiked from one of the runners. With pain she went out before the last lap. After arriving to Germany the latest examinations are showing the injury is not that bad. She wants to be back to running on Wednesday.

USTI NAD LABEM (CZE): The Czech meet of Usti nad Labem on July 20 will be this year because of the stadium reconstruction devoted only to throws. Specially in shot put Ladislav Prasil who improved to 21.47 this year will face Canadian world medalist Dylan Armstrong, another Canadians Justin Rodhe and Tim Nedow with US Joe Kovacs. From European putters Ralf Bartels from Germany and Spain´s Borja Vivas should compete.

MOSCOW (RUS): Russian R-Sport news agency informs that 1500m world indoor record holder Yelena Soboleva is focusing on preparation to Moscow world championships. "I understand that I have very few years in athletics that is why I'll try to make my retirement praiseworthy and beautiful," said 30-year-old Russian. Soboleva admitted that her comeback after three-year ban and giving birth to the child was more difficult than she expected. "Now we acknowledge our mistakes. I was too hurrying after returning to the track. As a result I had to make a surgery and then tried to return into the athletics once more. I hope that now I'm on the right way to my top shape and aiming to be in the list of our national team for Moscow Worlds." 

KYIV (UKR): Ukraine announced 60 athletes team for home World Youth Championships in Donetsk. There are 29 girls and 31 boys in the list.

NEW YORK (USA): After a dream season in 2012 where she ran a personal best 9:29.53 and made the USA Olympic team, steeplechaser Bridget Franek has decided to take a break from the sport after her disappointing 12th place finish at the USA Championships ten days ago in Des Moines. "Immediately after Nationals I was gung-ho to go to Europe and chase a P.R.," she wrote on her blog two days ago. "Since then, plans have changed.  I've decided to hang up the spikes temporarily and take an extended break from the sport." Franek, 25, who lives and trains in Eugene, Ore., under the Nike-sponsored Oregon Track Club Elite and coach Mark Rowland, suffered visibly in her final in Des Moines, slowing badly in the final laps in intense heat.  She was in third place and only about two seconds behind eventual winner Nicole Bush after five laps, but two laps later slid to fifth place, and then lost 27 seconds in the last lap after a difficult final water jump. The United States will be represented at the IAAF World Championships in the women's steeplechase by national champion Nicole Bush and runner-up Ashley Higginson.  Bush had already achieved the IAAF "A" standard of 9:43.00, Ashley Higginson had the "B" (9:48.00), assuring them of team spots.  Third place Shalaya Kipp of the University of Colorado, Franek's Olympic teammate from last year, can "run herself" onto the team if she achieves the "A" standard by July 20th, or if Higginson improves to the "A" in the same time frame.  If not, fourth place Jamie Cheever, who ran a career best9:29.13 earlier this season, would be added to the team as fourth place finisher from the national championships. Writes Race Results Weekly.

VICTORIA (CAN): This year's Victoria International Track Classic as final for the National Track League Series on Friday, is culminating in a burst of experienced, age-defying athletes and young up-and-coming talent. Organisers are saying in a release.  On the one hand we have Canadian 800-meter record holder, Diane Cummins at age 39 still pushing top international times which I think has led to a following of younger competitors to follow suit such as Melissa Bishop, Karine Belleau-Beliveau and even our own University of Victoria athlete Rachel Francois who recently set her seasonal best.  The Track Classic also includes a match-up between veteran 100-meter hurdlers Angela Whyte and Jessica Zelinka. Other confirmed Olympians participating in the Track Classic include Kamloops shot putter Dylan Armstrong, Parksville high jumper Mike Mason who recently set a personal best of 2.31 meters, and Manteo Mitchell and Josh Mance, teammates on the men's U.S. silver 4 x 400 meter relay team in London. U.S Olympic gold medalist Mary Wineberg, winner in the 400 meters in the Edmonton International and yesterday's Harry Jerome Track Classic will battle it out with Canadian Olympian Jenna Martin in the women's 400-meter event.

PUNE (IND): In embarrassed Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Wednesday pulled out female shot putter P. Udayalaxmi, who was tested positive for a banned stimulant, from the home squad for the ongoing Asian Championships here. Udayalaxmi returned positive for stimulant methylhexaneamine in a test conducted by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on her 'A' sample taken during early last month's National Inter-State Championships in Chennai. The Hindu informs.

CARTAGENA (COL): South American Championships will be held for 7th time in Colombia this week. The city of Cartagena also organised back in 2006 the CAC Championships. One of the top events should be men long jump with olympic winner 2008 Irving Saladino and World indoor champion 2012 Mauro Vinicius of Brazil. Unfortunately top home star triple jumper Catherine Ibarguen will be missed, as will be reigning world pole vault champion Fabiana Murer of Brazil. But there is plenty of top names entered: Argentinian shot put olympic finalist German Lauro, Ecuador Olympic 200 m finalist Alex Quinonez and fast Brazilian sprinters (Ana Claudia Lemos and Bruno de Barros).


NEW YORK (USA, Jul 2): Rudy Winkler broke the US High School hammer record with 79.38, former mark of Conor McCullough from 2008 was 79.24 (5.24 kg hammer).

OLTEN (SUI, Jul 2): Nicole Buchler cleared at a local meet Moscow B-standard of 450 cm.  She also attacked the A-standard 460.

HAVANA (CUB, Jun 28): Talent display at another open meet in Cuba. Reynier Mena clocked new Cuban youth record at the 200 m with 20.72. Junior girls showed good results, Sahily Diago at the 800 m2:01.30 and high jumper Danielys Dutil 190. Yoandys Lescay clocked 45.29 in the 400 m and Yaniuvis Lopez 18.12 in women shot put.

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