Liu Xiang starts Olympic Torch Relay in China, EME News by Alfons Juck and Commentary by Larry Eder


Liu Xiang will have the weight of all of China on his shoulders this summer, and he showed his stature today as he was the first runner in the Olympic Torch Relay. Sanya Richards is looking at both relays for Beijing (wonder what Alyson Felix is thinking about?).

Liame Diack had some very supportive words for Dwain Chambers, but it will take a legal battle for Chambers to see Beijing as a competitor.

And congrats to Ian Stewart, who was awarded an award by the IAAF in Edinburgh this past weekend. Stewart won the Euro 3k indoor and World Cross all in same month, I believe, among his many honors. Congratulations Mr. Stewart!

EME NEWS (MAR 31, 2008)


BEIJING (CHN): Olympic winner, world champion and world record holder Liu Xiang was the first runner of today in Olympic Torch relay. He brought the torch to Tian´anmen along Chang´an Avenue. Earlier in the day, a chartered Air China flight carrying the Olympic Flame touched down at Beijing Capital International Airport. On Tuesday, the Torch begins its relay around the world, making its first stop in Almaty, Kazakhstan.


ARLINGTON (USA): Golden League jackpot winner Sanya Richards started her season last weekend with fast sprint times. Afterwards said for, that she wants to qualify for Olympic Games not only at 400 m and 4x400 m relay, but also wants to be part of 4x100 m. If qualified for any event the coaches can choose her also for shorter relay. „I really want to be on the 4x100 relay team in Beijing, so today (Arlington, note) was kind of a rehearsal for that. In a perfect world, I'll get three gold medals—one individual and two in relays," she was quoted.


EDINBURGH (GBR): Both Sunday Ethiopian terrain champions Kenenisa Bekele nor Tirunesh Dibaba have yet decided whether they will try to double at the Olympics or just stay with the 10 000m. They both will compete (along with Meseret Defar) at African Championships which will be for first time in their home country in Addis Ababa from April 30 until May 4. The events for them are not clear yet, but it is likely they will not run the 10 000 m. „It is very close to these Championships but I feel I have to compete. It would like putting on a great feat, and being the guest of honor and then not turning up. If I was not to compete there," said Bekele. Dibaba might run one 10 000 in May, Bekele will have the chance at Hengelo Meet on May 24, but that is not confirmed yet.


SPLIT (CRO): Croatian High Jump star and fresh world indoor champion Blanka Vlasic confirmed for EME News that she got an special invitation from president of the country Mr. Stipe Mesic to be a guest at dinner with visiting US President George Bush on Friday. "I feel very honored to be invited for such a special occasion," she said. Vlasic is planning to start her season early May at Qatar Grand Prix meet in Doha.


EDINBURGH (GBR): In an interview with The Observer IAAF President Lamine Diack reacted to recent situation around british sprinter Dwain Chambers and his relation to UK Athletics : „I could not see how they could say he could not run. I did not have a problem with him. Why should I? Even the athletes said they did not have a problem with him. We have regulations that I have to follow. Chambers was suspended for two years. After that he was eligible again. He was put in Britain's team for the 2006 European Championships. Then he went to play American football but came back. There is no problem with that. He had to be allowed to run unless there was new evidence. UK Athletics knew full well they could not prevent him. They would have had no chance if it had gone to court. They would have lost."



Rumours abound in Edinburgh that the United States could put in a bid for the 2010 World Cross Country Championships, which is likely to be awarded at the IAAF Council meeting in November. An IAAF official confirmed that there had been informal discussions about its feasibility.


Both the silver medalist and bronze medalist in the senior men's race admitted that they had given up hope of beating Bekele long before reaching the line. „I knew I was not going to win going at start of the last lap," said Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese, the 2007 champion," Going up the hill (Haggis Knowe, 350m before the line) the last time, I knew Bekele was stronger," added Kenya's Leonard Komon.


Liz Yelling was the best European-born finisher at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh as 15th in women race. Her top priority is winning the British Olympic trial race at next month's Flora London Marathon, despite her attention to that task emphasized she is still a world class country performer.


Edinburgh is set to cash in to the tune of ?2 million from staging the first World Cross Country Championships to be held in Scotland in 30 years.


Current meeting director of all Fast Track high level one day meetings in UK Ian Stewart received IAAF Plaque during a traditional dinner before the world championships race. A man whose name and face is better known to the current generation of world class athletes as the director of the IAAF London Super Grand Prix meeting, Stewart's trophy case is also a full one - 1969 European and 1970 Commonwealth 5000m champion and 1972 Olympic 5000m bronze medallist, 1969 and 1975 European Indoor 3000m winner, among his other career honors.


The 37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be held on Saturday March 28 in Amman, Jordan. It will be for first time that an IAAF championships event will be held in this part of the planet.


TARSUS (TUR, Mar 30): Kenyan Wilson Kipsang won the 5th Tarsus Half-Marathon and cashed 3000 USD for 1:02:50. Second another Kenyan James Kirwa got 1500 USD (1:02:54). Third home runner Bekir Karayel (1:05:54).

ANTALYA (TUR, Mar 30): Ukranian throwing super talent Mykyta Nesterenko improved his own unofficial Youth World Record with 1.5 kg discus to 74.32 m on Sunday. His former mark was 72.31 in Beograd at European Olympic Youth Festival last July. The last year World Youth Champion will be 17 in April. In the series he improved the former best twice, first in fourth to 72.97 and then in fifth round to massive 74.32 (f-71.93-71.55-72.97-74.32-72.95). It was the highlight of 4 nations youth match in Turkey (Turkey - Latvia - Belarus - Ukraine) which was won in boys and girls categories by Ukraine.

SOFTELAND (NOR, Mar 30): Favorite wins of Tysse family at Norwegian Walking Championships in rainy and windy conditions, 5 degrees. Erik Tysse clocked 1:27:00 at men´s 20 km and Olympic medallist Kjersti Tysse-Plätzer achieved 44:08 at 10 km.

CHENGDU (CHN, Mar 30): Female World finalist 2003 and 2005 in discus Song Aimin achieved good 64.31 at local meet in Chengdu. Only 17 years old Ha Xiangping won the 200 m in PB 23.39 (+1.0).

CORAL GABLES (USA, Mar 29): Willie Perry scored a solid double at University meet with 10.39 (-0.2) and 20.76 (+0.1).

EJEA (ESP, Mar 29): Fast walking here as world bronze holder Maria Vasco clocked 43:21 and beat Beatriz Pascual (43:31). Veteran champion Jesus Angel Garcia won the men´s 10 km in 41:53.

LA LONDE DES MAURES (FRA, Mar 30): Emmanuel Boulay (1:27:32) and Poland´s Sylvia Korzeniowska won the national walking meet at 20 km distance.

MADRID (ESP, Mar 30): Kenyan Nixon Kipromo won the 10 km road race "Del Agua" with 29:53. Russian Natalya Sokolova was the best woman (34:09).

AZKOITIA (ESP, Mar 29): Kenyan wins at 15th Azkoitia-Azpetia Half-marathon. William Chebor finished in 1:03:00 and beat Yusuf Songoka (1:04:14). Margaret Atondonyang was the best woman (1:13:32).

RIBARROJA (ESP, Mar 30): Similar times also here at 12th Half-marathon. Winner Wilson Chebet also 1:03:00, Pascalia Chepkorir as first in women category 1:13:30.

CHARTRES (FRA, Mar 30): Ahmed Ezzobayry won the Half-marathon here with 1:04:44.

EME NEWS is news service relating to the sport of athletics. It is published on daily basis with additional updates, as required. Copyright is held by Alfons Juck, Perinvest SK, a.s., Krikova 10, 82107 Bratislava, Slovakia. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The redistribution and/or direct reproduction of material from EME NEWS is prohibited unless permission is given by c Perinvest SK (such as being included in a subscription agreement).Email to respond: [email protected]

Used with permission of the publisher, EME News and Alfon Juck.

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