Merrit Leads World at 44.72, Bekele has press conference by phone


Anyone who thinks that any medal in Beijing is sacred has another thought coming. La Shawn Merrit, in his 400 meter opener, ran 44.72 to eclipse the world leading mark of 44.82.

Kenenisa Bekele has a flight delay and did his IAAF press conference for Edinburgh, Scotland via his cell phone, oh technology!

A happy birthday to my brother, Brian, who is all of 45 this year. He is my youngest sibling and we have three sisters as well. A very good prep distance runner, and an even better soccer player, he now focuses his vocation, avocation on the arts:

EME NEWS (MAR 29, 2008)

L. MERRITT 44.72 AT 400 m

RALEIGH (USA, Mar 28): World Championships silver medallist LaShawn Merritt showed excellent early shape at Raleigh Relays clocking the world leading 44.72 at 400 m. He never has been so fast in March. He deleted from first place of yearly lists the Australian time 44.82 by Jeremy Wariner. Second placed Jamaican Lenford Green improved to 45.56. Another Jamaican and recent World Indoors relay silver holder Adrian Findlay won his speciality the 400 m Hurdles in good 49.69. Latvian Leva Zunda was the best woman with 56.79. Shot putter Mitchell Pope confirmed his 20+ shape with 20.04 m. Recent Valencia 60 m sixth placer Damola Osayomi from Nigeria clocked in 100 m heats windy 11.22 (+3.9).


TALLAHASSEE (USA, Mar 28): Jamaican shot putter Dorian Scott achieved new continental record at Florida State University Relays with impressive 21.45 m. The 26 year old recent World Indoor sixth placer improved massively from his last weekend 20.65 best. Only North America, Europe and Africa have better regional best marks. He won last year also a silver medal at Pan Am Games, but in Osaka was a non-qualifier. He is now actually second best non-US or non-European shot putter behind Janus Robberts of South Africa (21.97 in 2001). US Garrett Johnson who was last year based in UK also improved to 20.94 (before 20.84 in 2006). Good relay times at 4x200 m by men of Florida State (Brunson-Byram-Garvin-Clark) 1:22.09 and women of Texas AM (Baker-Beard-K. Carter-Facey/JAM) 1:32.40. Keith Moffatt jumped solid 225 in High Jump and Lacy Janson also good 445 in Pole Vault. Irishman Mark Carroll won the 5000 m in 13:53.72 and Canadian Kevin Sullivan (volunteer assistant at Florida State University) the 1500 m clocking 3:41.63. Irish runners behind him Gareth Turnbull (3:42.33) and Thomas Chamney (3:42.73).


DALLAS (USA, Mar 28): Slovak Osaka third placer Libor Charfreitag started his season with so far farthest throw of the year 78.84 m. The hammer competition of Bobby Lane Arlington Invitational was held at SMU facility in Dallas, the home place for Slovakian national hammer record holder. "To be honest I wanted a 80 meters, but technically it was not as good as I planned. On the other hand my hammer preparation started in November, that is one month later than last year, so there is no worry. My next competition before returning to Europe will be at Mt. SAC in Walnut," said the Slovak Athlete of the Year 2007.


PRAGUE (CZE, Mar 29): Kenyan European debutante Elijah Karanya won the 10th Hervis ½ Marathon in the center of Prague. Due to strong head-wind no chance for breaking the course record (1:01:00), so his winning time was 1:02:08. Kenyans took top 11 places, second was former track world junior champion Gordon Mugi (1:02:23) and third pacemaker Mark Tanui (1:02:41). "It was very tough in the windy conditions, but I made it, so must be satisfied," said the winner. Pre race favorite Jackson Kirwa started too fast in first 5 km and then struggled to finish as 8th (1:04:42). Except of the first year, Kenya won all next men races here. Asha Gigi was on the other side the first Ethiopian female winner (1:12:00) and beat the course record holder (1:10:08 in 2006) Kenyan Caroline Kwambai who was second as last year (1:12:31). Third place for Russian Yelena Sokolova (1:17:03). Best male European was Swede Oskar Kack as 12th (1:07:38, debut). In total 5750 runners from 52 countries competed in this IAAF Silver Label race, for the winners prizes of 3500 E (men) and 2500 E (women).


DUDINCE (SVK, Mar 29): 29 years old Poland´s Grzegorz Sudol won the 50 km European Athletics Permit walking race "27th Dudinska patdesiatka" in South Slovakian Spa place Dudince and defended his national title with new PB and world leading 3:45:47. His best so far was 3:49:09 from 7th place at Olympic Games 2004 in Athens. He repeated his win here from 2006 and was leading with his countryman Benjamin Kucinski (a 20 km specialist who tested himself and did not finish) since shortly before 30th km. Second place and Slovak title for Peter Korcok (8th from European Champs 2006) who for first time in his career achieved sub 3:50 with 3:48:17. With national title win he also secured for himself the Beijing participation. It was his third win here after 2002 and 2004. Third Lithuanian Donatas Shkarnulis achieved not only national title of his country but also new national record 3:49:30. Lithuanian improvement was confirmed as his twin brother Darius Shkarnulis debuted at 50 km with excellent 3:56:38 as fifth and in-between the fourth placer Tadas Shushkevicius also improved to 3:54:37. Slovakian Athens Olympic participant Kazimir Verkin as sixth clocked PB 3:57:17 and secured for himself the third place in Slovak Olympic Team. Milos Batovsky who did not finish today is the second Slovak for Beijing because of last year 3:54:10. Seventh place for new Czech Champion already 40 years old Roman Bilek who improved to 3:58:42 and secured his Olympic participation. Last sub 4 hours (and Olympic A-qualifier) breaker was as 8th Poland´s Artur Brzozowski who celebrated his 23rd birthday with 3:59:43. Great depth in ideal weather conditions, cloudy and 10 degrees with 8 walkers sub 4 hours, top three sub 3:50 and top 7 achieving personal bests. Five countries organized their 50 km walk national championships here (Poland, Slovakia, Czech, Lithuania) and the last to note is Hungary where 45 years old Zoltan Czukor a former winner here (1990) was the best as 13th with 4:06:12. German champion 2007 Maik Berger and French Denis Langlois did not finish the race. (there will be an update in the evening after 20 km races)


ORLANDO (USA): The Jamaican 100 m world champion Veronica Campbell Brown will open her season with relay outing next weekend at Florida Relays. Her first serious 100 m race will be at Jamaican Invitational in Kingston early May. She also has a website now at She is not planning to compete in Europe before Jamaican Olympic Trials which will be end of June.


GAINESVILLE (USA): Xavier „X-Man" Carter is getting ready for a big next weekend on his new home track. The X-Man has four events planned for Florida Relay next weekend and one maybe an open race. At the moment he is scheduled for the 4x200m relay on Friday night, and the 4x100m and 4x400m relays on Saturday. The final event will be decided later in the week.


PARIS (FRA): Reuters reports that top french middle distance runner Bouchra Ghezielle denied any wrong-doing after it was revealed by L´Equipe she had a positive A-sample from out of competition test early February at her home in Franconville. „I am very surprised and very angry and even if the B-sample confirms the result of the first test, I will fight to the end," Ghezielle told French sports daily L'Equipe.


LONDON (GBR): As the website informs Rugy Super League club Castleford have called a press conference for Monday morning to make a major announcement amid speculation that they have persuaded Dwain Chambers to try his hand at rugby league. No-one was available for comment at Castleford but Damion Silk, Chambers' spokesman, confirmed on Friday night that the athlete will be going to Castleford to have a look at the club and to discuss the possibility of a rugby league career. However, Silk stressed that it is just a visit and does not mean that Chambers will be committing himself to the Super League club.


MILANO (ITA): La Gazzetta dello Sport, one of the world's most famous sports daily newspapers, is changing to a smaller format with more color photos, but will remain mainly pink. The new edition was launched today. Earlier in the month the website of added also a English section. IAAF Press Commission chairman and AIPS President Gianni Merlo is one of the main journalists of the newspaper.


JOHANNESBURG (RSA, Mar 29): Favorite and Olympic marathon qualifier Norman Dlomo won the Nedbank Matha Series Half-Marathon in Limpopo clocking 1:03:31. His next target is Rotterdam Marathon on April 13 where he plans to achieve a 2:07 mark. Jabulane Gwebu as second registered 1:04:17. Zimbabwean marathon record holder Tabitha Tsatsa won the women race in 1:15:31.

SACRAMENTO (USA, Mar 28): At Sacramento State Nike Elite Meet the winner in decathlon made huge improvement of his best. Ashton Eaton scored 7792 points (7123 before) and second placed Lithuanian Darius Draudvila got 7722.

BATON ROUGE (USA, Mar 28): Former Triple Jump world champion Walter Davis who passed indoors season achieved at LSU Tiger Relays a solid 793 cm (+1.3) Long Jump win.

ATLANTA (USA, Mar 28): Slovakian female hammer record holder Martina Hrasnova (formerly Danisova) achieved at Yellow Jacket Invitational 68.37 m toss. She is at training camp in USA.

CARBONDALE (USA, Mar 28): Another interesting hammer result by NCAA indoor Weight Throw champion and world best holder Brittany Riley. At Spring Classic meet she registered 68.79 m.

JERUSALEM (ISR, Mar 27): Ethiopian Dereje Teferi won the 16th Jerusalem Half-Marathon clocking 1:09:22. Home runners followed Dastao Svonach (1:10:34) and the super vet Ayele Setegne (45 years, 1:10:34).

LAS TUNAS (CUB): Cuban former double world champion in hammer throw Yipsi Moreno achieved in Las Tunas early in March (but only now reported) her seventh best mark exactly 75.00 meters. It is world leading for the Osaka silver holder who had also in series 74.30 and 74.97 m throws.

CHENGDU (CHN, Mar 29): Osaka hammer bronze holder and Asian record breaker Zhang Wenxiu started the year with 70.56 at local meet, informs tilastopaja.


Around 10,000 spectators are expected to line the route under the shadow of Arthur's Seat for the most prestigious athletics meeting to be held in Scotland since the 1986 Commonwealth Games. A global TV audience of 25 million is being anticipated for a race that will unfold just yards from the Scottish Parliament, over one of the most picturesque courses anywhere on the planet. Most eyes, however, will be trained on two Ethiopians (Bekele and Dibaba) with a point to prove. A headline from local media.

The weather forecast is between 5-10 degrees for the race day and possibility of rain and sun. That means totally different conditions than last year in Mombasa.

Australian Craig Mottram will be chasing a top fifteen finish when he lines up against the world's best distance runners, informs Athletics Australia.

Last European individual medals? Senior men Mohamed Mourhit of Belgium winning in 2001 and Sergiy Lebid of Ukraine being second. Junior women Annemari Sandell of Finland being second in 1996. And the oldest Junior men gold of Spanish Pere Casacuberta back in 1984. Only women have recent title with Lornah Kiplagat winning gold for Netherlands last year in Mombasa.

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, Alfons Juck.

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