EME News correspondent Alphonz Juck has sent us some fascinating stories from behind the scenes in the world of global athletics. I met him last week at the Norwich Union Birmingham GP. We thought you might enjoy some of them:
EME NEWS (FEB 19, 2008)
KENENISA WILL NOT GO TO VALENCIA
ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Kenenisa Bekele will not try to defend his world indoor title from Moscow 2006 at 3000 m in Valencia. He instead will compete at IAAF World Cross Country Championships on March 30 in Edinburgh. Ellen van Langen from Bekele management company Global Sports Communication
His brother Tariku will run the 3000 m as current world leader and will be joined by Abraham Cherkos Feleke who achieved world junior indoor best at 3000 m in Stuttgart. Women team will have Meseret Defar (title defender) and Meselech Melkamu at 3000 m and Gelete Burka at 1500 m. Tirunesh Dibaba is passing the World Indoor Championships. Strong are also both 1500 m runners who improved this indoor season to 3:35.51 and 3:36.63. Informs IAAF.
The team â€“ men â€“ 1500 m: Derese Mekonnen, Mekonnen Gebremedhin, 3000 m: Tariku Bekele, Abraham Feleke, women â€“ 1500 m: Gelete Burka, 3000 m: Meseret Defar, Meselech Melkamu
BUNGEI LEADS KENYAN TEAM
NAIROBI (KEN): World Indoor 800 m title defender Wilfred Bungei will head the Kenyan team for the global championships in Valencia. Athletics Kenya named in total 8 athletes, all runners. He will be accompanied by Richard Kiplagat who improved last weekend in Birmingham to 1:46.33. Also strong the 1500 m duo with world leader Daniel Kipchirchir Komen and 27 years old Suleiman Simotwo who will debut at big championships. Steeple world number one Paul Kipsiele Koech is named for flat 3000 m after his great 2 miles in Birmingham along with last years World Athletics Final winner Edwin Soi. WomenÂ´s 3000 m will feature Sylvia Kibet who improved the 1500 indoor national record and also won in Dusseldorf this winter along with World junior track champion 2006 Veronica Nyaruai (still belongs to junior category).
PICKERING ENDS INDOOR SEASON
LONDON (GBR): European indoor 60 meters silver medallist Craig Pickering will not challenge for a place in next month’s World Indoor Championships because of injury. Reports David Martin. He was aiming to justify his claim for the second slot when competing at the SEAT international meeting in Paris-Bercy on Friday. After missing last weekend’s Norwich Union Grand Prix in Birmingham through illness, it would have been his last opportunity to stake a claim. However the former European Junior 100 m champion suffered a further setback today, when a knee problem developed into a minor hamstring injury. Pickering’s bad news almost certainly mean Simeon Williamson who lowered his lifetime best to 6.57 at the Grand Prix, will partner Dwain Chambers at the championships in Valencia.
OÂ´ROURKE NOT GOING
DUBLIN (IRL): IrelandÂ´s world indoor champion 2006 Derval OÂ´Rourke decided not to travel to Valencia and so try to defend her title from Moscow. Informs European Athletics website. She decided that after her less than satisfactory run in Leipzig on Sunday that she would not compete, having discussed the situation with her coach, Sean Cahill. She ran in heats 8.30 and was third in final with 8.20 on Sunday. It’s understood that O’Rourke felt an aggravation of the foot injury she had during the heat of the event on Sunday and only went through the motions in qualifying. However, her time of 8.20 seconds was well outside expectations and well outside the 7.84 she ran when she won the world title two years ago. â€žThe priority this year is the Olympics and there would be no point in undermining that target by running in the World Indoors,” said Cahill last night.
BARBER TO US
PARIS (FRA): Former Long jump world champion and heptathlon silver medalist Eunice Barber is about to leave to the US for a 4-month stay. She just started light track training since her knee surgery at the end of September. At the moment she doesn’t know yet if she’ll enter the heptathlon or the long jump at the Olympics. “My priority is to start running well again. The heptathlon or the long jump, I don’t know yet. We are going to discuss it with Bob Kersee. Whatever the decision, I’ll go for it 100%. I don’t want to rush. I want to be cautious. I’m a little apprehensive about my knee. It’s true that in the hurdles, the long jump, the sprints the moves are different. I called the surgeon. There’s no problem. Bobby can coach me and make me perform in all the events,” she was quoted.
ELVAN IN PUERTO-RICO
ANKARA (TUR): Former 5000 m world record holder Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey will compete this Sunday at World Best 10 km in Puerto Rico. The Osaka silver holder at 10 000 m behind Tirunesh Dibaba is in good preparation for Olympic Games where she plans to contest the longest track distance. She only once before competed at road 10 km in Istanbul in 2006 with 30:57. World best by Paula Radcliffe is 30:21 from this event in 2003.
POWELL DECISION TOMORROW
SYDNEY (AUS): Asafa Powell currently training in Australia will decide on Wednesday after training about his participation at this years opening IAAF World Athletics Tour fixture in Melbourne on Thursday. Confirmed his agent Paul Doyle. “He wants to run in front of his Australian fans and is ready to do all that he can get on the track. Today his knee was very sore and the chances in comparison to yesterday are lower. But nothing is decided,” said Doyle.
GREAT JUMPING PLANNED IN BYDGOSZCZ
BYDGOSZCZ (POL): 6000 spectators in full hall, 30 000 EURO ready for world indoor record and 50 000 E for overall world record that are the basic numbers before tomorrowÂ´s PedroÂ´s Cup Indoor Meet (EA Permit) in Bydgoszcz. It is overall 6th meet of PedroÂ´s sponsored events since 2005. As usual two events are staged and both are offering current world champions from Osaka. Russian Yelena Isinbayeva arrived with private plane accompanied by Sergey Bubka from Laureus World Awards in Russia to Poland today and will have second meet of the year after achieving her 21st world record on Saturday in Donyetsk (495 cm). She is the title defender here from last year (484 cm). Her main rivals will be fellow Russians Yelena Golubchikova (so far second in current yearly lists) and Svetlana Feofanova who is the last one able to beat her indoors back in February 2004. Also in the field South-American record holder Fabiana Murer of Brasil and Ukrainian record holder Natalya Kushch. Home elite with Monika Pyrek and Anna Rogowska will also not be missing.
MenÂ´s high jump will see world champion Donald Thomas of Bahamas on site, but the main favorite will be current Russian world leader and indoor title defender Yaroslav Rybakov (238). He is also winner here from 2005 and it will be his only 5th competition of the year. World Champion 2005 Yuri Krimarenko of Ukraine is also competing along with top Czech duo Tomas Janku (winner in Bydgoszcz 2006) and Jaroslav Baba who are still trying to achieve the Valencia standard 230 cm. Another Russian Aleksey Dmitrik (this year 233) and four home jumpers (Wolski, Walerianczyk, Sposob, Bieniek) are completing the field.
Meet records are 484 by Isinbayeva and 234 of Linus Thornblad (Sweden) both from last year.
VILI 20.13 m AT HOME AND IS WINNER OF HALBERG SUPREME AWARD
AUCKLAND (NZL, Feb 19): Shot Put World Champion Valerie Vili achieved the best result at Black Singlet Invitational, an Area Permit meet which scores for IAAF World Athletics Tour. She achieved 20.13 what is her seasonal best and only for second time surpassed 20 meters during Ocenian summer (first 20.20 in 2006 while winning the national title). She is so clearly the gold medal favorite for Valencia. TodayÂ´s competition was more special for her as she also received the prestigious Halberg Supreme Award for 2007 for the best sports personality in the country. She was not present at the ceremony in Christchurch but was linked with it via video conference and got the award in the stadium. She is only second athlete to get the trophy since 1997 when Beatrice Faumuina was the holder after winning the discus gold at 1997 World Championships in Athens. By the way, she was also competing at Waitakere City Trust Stadium and was second in discus with 58.48. Winner was Australian World Junior Champion Dani Samuels with 60.11. Home sprinter James Dolphin won the 200 m in 20.74 (+0.9) and Australian javelin thrower Jarrod Bannister achieved 81.34 m.
KALAMATA (GRE): The traditional EA Permit fixture “Papaflessia” in Greek City of Kalamata will be held this year on June 4 and not on May 31 is initially announced.
PARIS (FRA): FridayÂ´s national permit meet in Paris-Bercy will be first this winter which is going to experiment according to the proposals of European Athletics. The changes are going to be tested also in the summer before 1st Spar European Team Championships in 2009 where the innovations should be implemented. For example during the 1500 m race at 900 m the last athlete will be eliminated and the same happens at 1300 m. At the 3000 m also three athletes will be going out, always the last at 1200, 1600 and 2000 meters. In Pole Vault each jumper will have 7 attempts, he will have more if in winning position and trying for national, area or world record. In Triple Jump each athlete will have four jumps and afterwards a final be staged with best four who will have only one more attempt.
BYDGOSZCZ (POL): Meeting director of EA Premium Meet in Bydgoszcz (Poland) Krzysztof Wolsztynski was named the Citizen of Bydgoszcz 2007 in the poll of readers of newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. He is heading the organization of the IAAF World Junior Championships which will be held this year and wants his meeting in Bydgoszcz be part of IAAF Grand Prix in future. He is also bidding to stage IAAF World Athletics Final 2009 in Bydgoszcz. In the past Bydgoszcz staged World Youth Championships, European U23 Championships and Super League of European Cup. Wolsztynski is also vice-president of Polish Athletics Federation.
BREST (BLR, Feb 14-16): During Belarus Winter Throwing Championships best results were registered in hammer throw competitions. 28 years old Dmitriy Shako improved his best to 78.12 m and World University Games 2007 winner Darya Pchelnik achieved solid 70.33 m.
MERSIN (TUR, Feb 16-17): New national record in women hammer by Svetlana Sudak with 68.86 m. The former Belarus Olympic and world finalist represents since last year Turkey.
BUDAPEST (HUN, Feb 16-17): At Open meet Croatian sprinter Marja Golub equaled her national record at 60 m (7.39) and Slovak shot putter Milan Haborak improved his season best to 20.13 m.
POMBAL (POR, Feb 16): Brasilian sprinters in preparation for Valencia clocked good 60 m times here at open meet. Jose Carlos Moreira got 6.66 and Vicente Lima 6.70. The South American relay champion Moreira was running first time in his life indoors.
ARICA (CHI, Feb 18): Mexican veteran and 1996 Olympic medalist Bernardo Segura won the 35 km walk race during first round of South American Grand Prix clocking 2:37:36.
MARINA (BRA, Feb 17): New York Marathon winner 2006 Marilson Gomes dos Santos dominated the Brasilian CC Championships with commanding win at 12 km (38:58). Female champion at 8 km was Zenaide Vieira (29:52).
IBIRAPUERA (BRA, Feb 14): At local meet world class triple jumper and global medalist Jadel Gregorio tested his Long Jump with 757 cm as third (win by Luis Tristan with 772 cm). 21 years old sprinter Bruno de Barros improved at 200 m to good 20.71 (0.0).