Sopot News , from Alfons Juck, EME News

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SOPOT NEWS

PRIZE MONEY: Remains the same as at last editions of IAAF World Indoor Championships. In total it is 2 464 000 USD offered. Winners will get 40 000, going down to 6th place with 4000 USD. In relays the same amounts but per team. There is also a 50 000 USD bonus for any athlete setting a new World Indoor record.

NETHERLANDS: Sifan Hassan who is in top shape is entered in both 1500 m and 3000 m. She reportedly would opt for the longer distance, because she has done insufficient speed of work. Dutch media are writing. Hurdler Gregory Sedoc will not compete in Sopot as he strained his hamstring in one of his final training sessions ahead of the World Indoors, reports sportdome.nl. The 32 year old won the European indoor crown in 2007.

UKRAINE: Ukrainian Athletics Federation (FLAU) addressed the World Athletics community. The statement says among other: "In a couple of days we will be visiting the World Athletic Championship in, Poland, a country which has common border with Ukraine. We appeal to you with a request to use your influence on the government of your country and NGOs to prevent the escalation of the conflict and maintain peace in Ukraine and worldwide." 

SWEDEN: Sweden's top medal hope Abeba Aregawi who arrived to Gdansk has been divorced from her husband and coach Henok Weldegebriel since last May even though she has said on several occasions since that period that they are still married, reports hd.se. She still remains coached by him. 

SPAIN: Spanish indoor shot champion Borja Vivas will captain the Spanish team in Sopot, reports grada360.com. The 29 year old, who won his 6th consecutive Spanish title in Sabadell, said, "I welcome the captaincy with great enthusiasm. Never thought it would come this far."

GERMANY: Despite balancing a demanding career in law with her sporting pursuits, German hurdler Nadine Hildebrand is having a very successful 2014 and she hopes for it to continue in Sopot where she aims to make the final, reports wz-nesline.de. After a coaching change in 2013, the 26 year old has improved her 60mH best from 8.00 (which she ran in 2010) to 7.91. This new level of performance has given her great confidence as evidenced by her new attitude; "No matter what name beside me, I need have no fear."

RUSSIA: Russian long jump gold medal hope and World champion Aleksandr Menkov is still struggling with slight groin injury: "Maybe I should not talk about my shape and just wait for the start. This season, I competed only twice and both times it was difficult for me. Problems with the groin, unfortunately, are still not solved. As a result I could not train as I wanted. So for the moment I m not sure about my shape for Sopot," he said for Russian media. Russian athletes spent last days of preparation in the new hall of Novogorsk and on Tuesday also Russian Sports minister Vitaliy Mutko visited the team before their departure to Sopot.

UAE: United Arab Emirates will be represented by two female runners. Alia Saeed Mohammed is entered for 3000 m and Betlhem Desalegn for both 1500 m and 3000 m. Other 35 countries have also only women representatives in Sopot. Interestingly also Bahrain, Croatia, Finland, Ghana, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Senegal and Switzerland among others. 

(Editor's note: It is 10 AM local time in Gdynia, Poland. We are 5k from Sopot and staying in a very reasonable, beautiful hotel in a quite neighorhood, called Hotelu Kuracyjynm. People come here for health spa weeks, but we see a few savvy business people who are staying as well. Large rooms, elegant breakfast buffet and superb coffee. Now, for a walk in the neighborhood.)

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