Athletes are human. Even the best. Take World record holder, World Indoor 3k champ Meseret Defar of Ethiopia for instance. She was trying to defend her African Champs 5k in her hometown, in front of the hometown crowd. In slow, hot conditions, she took a very close second to Meselech Melkamu, her countrywomen. Afterwards, she reportedly collapsed and got sick, complaining of some sickness since her Valencia win.
Koji Murofushi, the track rock star of Japan, will hold off his first hammer competition until early June 2008. Injuries are still slowing his comeback.
The global season is going strong, as the top athletes are beginning their long campaigns for Beijing. 99 days to go.
EME NEWS (MAY 1, 2008)
DEFAR LOST ON TRACK FIRST TIME SINCE SEPTEMBER 2006
ADDIS ABABA (ETH, May 1): World Athlete of the Year 2007 Meseret Defar lost a track race first time since September 2006 when she was defeated at World Athletics Final in Stuttgart by Tirunesh Dibaba and first time to somebody else than Dibaba since July 2005 when she was third behind Dibaba and Berhane Adere at Golden Gala of Rome. In windy 5000 m of 16th African Championships her home rival Meselech Melkamu was stronger in finish in slow race at altitude with 15:49.81. Defar was second with 15:50.19 with Kenyan national CC champion Grace Momanyi third and credited the same 15:50.19. The difference per website of the event was 7 thousands in favor of world record holder. Reportedly Defar had problems with her stomach since after World Indoor Championships and claimed it also after the race. She also did not defend her title from 2006.
Sprint titles for Nigeria as Olusoji Fasuba wins menÂ´s 100 m in excellent 10.10 (+1.2) and Damola Osayomi clocked 11.22 (+0.1) to be the fastest woman. In menÂ´s race silver also for Nigeria as veteran Ucchena Emedolu achieved 10.21 and bronze for South African Hannes Dreyer in new PB 10.24. Fasuba won the event for third time in a row. WomenÂ´s title defender Vida Anim of Ghana won silver (11.43) beating Delphine Atangana of Cameroon (11.46) and other Nigerian who was very fast indoors Franca Idoko (11.47). Excellent depth in menÂ´s long jump as seventh place was worth of 784 cm. Winning Morrocan Yahya Berrabah got his first important medal as he already in first round achieved the decisive 804 (+0.6). Winner from 2003 Jonathan Chimier of Mauritius was second (799, +0.1), NamibiaÂ´s Stephan Louw third (798, +1.5) and another centimeter behind Morrocan triple record holder Tareq Bougtaib (797, +1.4). Top two in womenÂ´s 100 m Hurdles finals recorded solid times. In USA living Fatmata Fofanah won first gold for Guinea ever at African Championships with 13.10 (-0.2) and close second Toyin Augustus of Nigeria also good in 13.12. Fofanah was born in Sierra Leone, but her parents lived in Guinea until she was 5 before moving to US. South African Hannes Hopley dominated as expected the discus (56.98) and Algerian Larbi Bourrada scored new PB to win the decathlon (7574), it is also second best winning mark in the history of the championships. Tunisia remains the only winning country in women pole vault. After four titles for Syrine Balti this time Leila Ben-Youssef (based in USA) won with clearing 400 cm. In 800 m semis top Kenyans advanced, this time Asbel Kiprop was the fastest (1:48.35). South African Commonwealth Champion Louis Van Zyl was the best at 400 m Hurdles heats with 50.06 and female 4×100 m teams from Ghana (44.17) and Nigeria (44.25) recorded the fastest heats times. BotswanaÂ´s African Games winner from last year Amanthle Montsho achieved the best 400 m semifinal time 51.16, second fastest 17 years old Sade Abugan of Nigeria coming close to her best with 51.60 and another junior Racheal Nachula of Zambia improving her national record to 51.99. Fastest male semifinal result at 400 m was also a national record for Benin as Mathieu Gnaligo clocked 45.88.
Meselech Melkamu: â€žI’m very happy. I didn’t expect this result. The secret behind my victory is the support of the crowd. I’ll try to renew this performance in Beijing”.
Meseret Defar: â€žI’m very sick” (agencies are reporting that she collapsed after finishing and had ice applied to her right ankle. She then stood up and took a few steps before doubling over in pain and vomiting on the track)
Olusoji Fasuba: â€žIt was a tough race, because I haven’t done any speed work yet. This is the first time I was pushed until the 60m in an African Championships, but after the acceleration everything went fine. I know it’s going to be a good year, because I wasn’t ready to get a 10.10 now and I made it. I’ll be heading to Doha Super Grand Prix directly after the Championships.”
PEREZ AND TYSSE-PLÃ„TZER WINNERS IN ITALY
SESTO SAN GIOVANNI (ITA, May 1): NorwayÂ´s 36 years old Kjersti Tysse-PlÃ¤tzer is in shape of her life. She won the fourth leg of IAAF Race Walking Challenge in Sesto San Giovanni, Italy today clocking 1:30:07 at 20 km. The Olympic silver medalist from 2000 was also the winner of first two rounds of the series in Mexico and Portugal and leads the standings with 30 points. The race was faster in second half after 10 km split 45:40 with 44:27. The Osaka fourth placer from last year Tysse-PlÃ¤tzer remains unbeaten this season and goes with this record to IAAF World Cup next weekend in Cheboksary and later to Olympic Games. But it should be noted that the best Russians including world champion Olga Kaniskina did not compete abroad this spring. Reigning Olympic champion Athanasia Tsoumeleka from Greece finished second (1:30:21) and confirmed she is back to be count with. Third position for Romanian Osaka 6th placer Claudia Stef (1:32:52). Current world champion and former olympic winner Jefferson Perez of Ecuador send a warning before World Cup next weekend with winning here at 20 km after 1:20:40. Reigning olympic gold medalist Italian Ivano Brugnetti was close second (1:20:51) with Erik Tysse of Norway beeing third (1:21:40). 50 km world champion Nathan Deakes of Australia was a late withdrawal due to muscle problems.
Current standings after four rounds – women: 1. PlÃ¤tzer 30, 2. Tsoumeleka
16, men: 1. Tysse 26, 2. Perez 22
KIPRUTO ONLY 26 SECONDS BEHIND WORLD RECORD
MARSEILLE (FRA, May 1): Kenyan Silas Kipruto (24) had a great 10 km road win in Marseille today clocking 27:28, just 26 seconds behind the road world record of Haile Gebrselassie (27:02 in 2002). His track best is 13:13.95 from last year at 5000 m and he was also second this year at WorldÂ´s best 10 km in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Second Tanzania Dickson Marwa achieved 28:01 followed by Mark Kiptoo (28:14). Best European was Ian Boneham of Great Britain who finished eighth (29:52). Ethiopian Atsede Habtamu was the best woman after 32:13 beating home Olympic marathon qualifier Cristelle Daunay (32:34).
POZNAN (POL, Apr 30): Surprise hammer throw winner of European Cup Winter Throwing this year Anita Wlodarczyk from Poland improved her best at local meet to 72.18 m. She had before 71.84 from winning competition in March in Split.
SENART (FRA, May 1): French Marathon titles for Samir Baala (33) 2:19:45 and Laurence Klein (39) in new PB 2:41:12.
ST. QUENTIN (FRA, May 1): Former international hurdles medalist Linda Khodadin is returning slowly to action, at national meet she clocked 12.15 (+2.0) at 100 m.
RECHBERGHAUSEN (GER, May 1): German Olympic sixth placer Lars Borgeling won first outdoor pole vault duel with 550 cm. Unfortunately Tim Lobinger and Fabian Schulze did not compete due to injuries. World indoor shot put finalist Christina Schwanitz achieved 18.16 im in Shot Put.
CHAMPAIGN (USA, Apr 30): Unattached Pole Vaulter Mark Hollis again improved at Illinois Twilight after clearing 575 cm. 21 years old sprinter Dominique Worsley bettered his 100 m best to 10.34 (+1.7). BotswanaÂ´s Garologelwane Masheto is missing the African Championships and registered a 400 m win here after 46.61.
TONGEREN (BEL, May 1): Belgian Champion in marathon Rik Ceulemans achieved 2:23:43. Best woman Alemitu Bekele (former Ethiopian representing Belgium since 2006) clocked 2:49:05.
KNOKKE (BEL, May 1): More than 3000 participants at Knokke 10 km road race with Guy Fays winning in 29:18 and Nathalie de Vos the women race (34:39).
VILJANDI (EST, May 1): Estonian marathon record holder and silver winner from European Championships 2002 Pavel Loskutov won the national CC title at 12 km clearly with 34:50.
TOKYO (JPN): Reigning Olympic hammer champion Koji Murofushi informs that he will start the season later as expected, but it should be in June. He considers options in Japan and Europe. As informed already, he is passing next weeks Osaka Grand Prix Meet because of back injury.
LAUSANNE (SUI): Sport’s highest court CAS is planning to rule in next two weeks in the case of amputee South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius’s bid to race at the Beijing Olympics in August. â€žBoth parties requested a speedy resolution. We will try to shorten the time as much as we can to two weeks,” CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb told the Associated Press. If cleared organizers of top meetings in Rome and London are ready to invite him to compete.
KINGSTON (JAM): Decathlon World Championships silver holder Maurice Smith will compete at SaturdayÂ´s Jamaican Invitational meet in Shot Put. It will be his first competition of the year after he due to injury was not able to accept the invitation for World Indoor Championships in Valencia. Jamaica Gleaner informs that 400 m Hurdler Melanie Walker is a late withdrawal from the meet.
BERLIN (GER): Kenyan world-class runner Patrick Ivuti will be among the favourites this Sunday, when the traditional Berlin 25 km race will take place. Organizers are informing in a release. Ivuti recently withdrew from Boston Marathon. In the women’s race Peninah Arusei will be up against defending champion Flomena Chepchirchir (both Kenya). Adding all running events organisers from BERLIN RUNS expect well over 7000 participants. This is a 10 percent increase compared to last year’s figures. The start of the race is in front of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium while the finish will be on the blue track inside the arena.
KINGSTON (JAM): Jamaican Junior National Championships will be held separately this year from the senior title fights (June 27-29). Jamaican federation (JAAA) will stage the junior event earlier on June 13-14 because of the entries deadline and visa issues for World Junior Championships in July in Bydgoszcz.
MELBOURNE (AUS): Australian top sprinters Patrick Johnson and Matt Shirvington did not followed a request by Athletics Australia to run for a 4x100m relay squad only in Japan next week, when fellow Australians will be looking to clinch a place in the event at the Beijing Olympics. Information by Australian media. They will also compete individually, but as the selectors said they will still be considered for Olympic Team. Other news from Australian camp are that the 400 m Commonwealth champion John Steffensen has split from coach Larry Wade in the lead-up to his first international race of the Olympic year. Wade is the former high hurdler of world class but also served a doping ban in 2004-2006. Steffensen is to open the second part of the season at adidas Classic in Carson on May 18.
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