Some fun sprint clashes on the horizon at the adidas Outdoor classic! Tyson Gay and Alyson Felix will be doubling! This Friday, Alyson opens up her individual events with a double in Doha, but this year, she did not have to brave a Spanish final beforehand!
With Asafa Powell injured, Usain Bolt is the man from Jamaica and he should prove to be tough this year. Liu Xiang is drawing crowds where ever he appears, so watch his move to the US on May 31 for the Reebok Grand Prix and the Nike Prefontaine on June 8.
EME NEWS (MAY 8, 2008)
GREAT 100 m FOR WOMEN, GAY TO DOUBLE
CARSON (USA): Seven women ranked among the top 10 in the world â€“ including the last three World Champions â€“ are expected to toe the starting line at the Adidas Track Classic on May 18 for what may be the best 100 meter dash of the year before the Olympic final, organizers announced. Top four from Osaka final of last year will clash against each other. Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica in her first open 100 of the year against Lauryn Williams (the world champion 2005), Carmelita Jeter and 2003 World Champion Torri Edwards. Also running is current world leader Kerron Stewart of Jamaica, world indoor champion 2006 Lisa Barber and improved Marshevet Hooker. Big names from other events will go down to 100 m also. Worlds top 400 m Sanya Richards will also compete (last year improved to 10.97) and world champion at 200 m Allyson Felix (11.01) who is yet to break the 11 seconds. Felix is going to double in Carson at 200 m. Triple world champion Tyson Gay will also double in Carson and the 100 m will be his first of the year. In both cases tough opposition for him. At 100 m Osaka silver holder Derrick Atkins of Bahamas and at 200 m third fastest ever Xavier Carter.
RUSSIAN TEAMS THE FAVORITES
CHEBOKSARY (RUS): Walking power Russia is for first time staging the IAAF Race Walking World Cup. In heart of Chuvashya in Cheboksary where walking is more popular than soccer. FridayÂ´s opening is already sold out and on the streets during the competition on Saturday and Sunday tens of thousands are expected. And they expect home triumphs. The Russia teams did not travel abroad before, just competed at winter champs in Adler and trained hard. The weather forecast for first day from 11 to 13 and partly cloudy, to improve on Sunday to 14-16 and more sun could bring also some world records. Mainly at 20 km for women where world champion Olga Kaniskina already this year achieved 1:25:11 (official world record 1:25:41 by Olimpiada Ivanova from 2005) but due to missing number of international judges it was not sent for ratification. Over the weekend at 23rd edition all will be ok and also both junior records will be under threat (41:57 by Gao Hongmiao for women and if male will achieve sub 40 minutes). For Russian added motivation also the fact that two best seniors will qualify for Olympic Games (under the provision they will finish in top eighth). From top names missing are both world champions from Osaka Jefferson Perez (Ecuador) and Australian Nathan Deakes, European champion Yohan Diniz of France and also IAAF Challenge leader Kjersti PlÃ¤tzer of Norway. In total more than 452 athletes (290 men and 162 women) from 55 countries will compete. The biggest number of entries at menÂ´s 20 km (119), women 20 km (105), 50 km men (106) and in both junior races 57 girls and 65 boys.
20 KM WOMEN: Top three from Osaka will compete in women 20 km race and not only gold holder Kaniskina, but also silver winner Tatyana Shemyakina and bronze holder Maria Vasco of Spain are in the group of favorites. Big questionmark is the shape of Ryta Turava of Belarus, the European Champion 2006 and title defender. She did not compete since last spring. Also in the field reigning Olympic winner Athanasia Tsoumeleka of Greece, top Germans Melanie Seeger with Sabine Zimmer and PortugalÂ´s world medalist Susana Feitor. The other Russians Anisia Kirdyapkina (world junior best holder), Tatyana Sibileva (2007 World Champs 9th) and Lyudmila Arkhipova will be also the ones to watch. Since 1995 Russia and China are exchanging the team titles.
20 KM MEN: This race has the big favorite in SpainÂ´s European Champion, Osaka silver holder and title defender Francisco Fernandez (fast 10 km recently), into shape coming reigning Olympic winner Ivano Brugnetti of Italy and NorwayÂ´s Erik Tysse who was achieving high placings at IAAF Challenge races. TunisiaÂ´s world bronze medalist Hatem Ghoula is there also. Home team is very strong too with Valeriy Borchin, Sergey Bakulin, Andrey Krivov, Ilya Markov (1999 World Champion) and Viktor Burayev (2001 Worlds bronze). Chinese Han Yucheng and Lu Ronghua are the top from Olympic host nation.
50 KM MEN: Here only bronze holder from Osaka is competing, the Italian Alex Schwazer and all signs are set for home success. Vladimir Kanaykin (world record holder at 20 km), Sergey Erokhin, Andrey Ruzavin, Denis Nizhegorodov (2004 Olympics silver) and Sergey Kirdyapkin (2005 World Champion) are the names to watch. Spanish veteran Jesus Angel Garcia won the cup back in 1997 in Podebrady.
10 KM JUNIORS: In both male and female races clash Russia-China could be expected. Zhang Rui achieved this year 39:50 and could be the world record holder, but home Aleksey Barchaykin and Spanish twins Manel and Lluis Torla will be also fighting for top honors. Russians are even stronger favorites in girls races with world youth champion from last year Tatyana Kalmykova and silver holder from same event Irina Yumanova and also to mention is Elvira Alembekova.
FELIX TO DOUBLE IN DOHA
DOHA (QAT): Interesting switches of events at FridayÂ´s Qatar Grand Prix in Doha, the first IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting of the year. 200 m world champion Allyson Felix will double at 100 m and 400 m. 800 m world indoor champion Tamsyn Lewis of Australia runs the 400 m. Here also fresh African champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana is running. Last year 800 m world champion Janeth Jepkosgei is competing at 1500 m against all-time hero from two-lapper Maria Mutola of Mozambique. Interestingly also World indoor silver holder Yulia Fomenko of Russia competes here. Other female favorites are world indoor champion Lolo Jones at 100 m Hurdles (here US champion of last year Virginia Powell is to debut into the season), World champion Blanka Vlasic in High Jump, former world medalist Tatyana Kotova in Long Jump and last two Olympic champions in hammer with Kamila Skolimowska of Poland and RussiaÂ´s Olga Kuzenkova. Women Pole vault is having European indoor medalist Yulia Golubchikova of Russia as main name, but also strong contingent of three Germans (Hingst, Strutz, Spiegelburg). Osaka medalist Eunice Jepkorir is the main favorite for women steeple where a world leading time could be expected.
On the men side great 200 m. Fastest European in last year Jaisuma Saidy Ndure of Norway will open his individual season against top two US athletes but from 400 m. One lap specialists and Osaka gold and silver holders Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt will build up a special opposition for him. First legal sub 20 seconds of 2008 could be expected. Saidy will be doubling on Friday as he is scheduled to run the 100 m too. As Asafa Powell is not there because of his chest injury, the main rivals will be fresh African Champion and world indoor title holder Olusoji Fasuba of Nigeria, Jamaican world medalist Michael Frater, TrinidadÂ´s Darrell Brown and French Ronald Pognon. At 800 m without Abubaker Kaki (cramped at African Championships after the relay and so decided not to run) but with World champion Alfred Kirwa Yego, world indoor champion 2006 Wilfred Bungei and African champion and world leader David Rudisha. Open race is the 1500 m headed by Osaka bronze holder Shadrack Korir of Kenya. MenÂ´s 3000 m is having great depth with former world champion Eliud Kipchoge, steeple last year world leader Paul Kipsiele Koech added by Isaac Songok, Edwin Soi and Augustine Choge. Unfortunately all Ethiopian athletes pulled out of the meet due to reasons not connected to sport. In the steeple world champion Brimin Kipruto runs against Osaka bronze holder and fresh African champion Richard Matelong. US Indoor champion and world leader David Oliver is the main name at 110 m Hurdles and at 400 m Hurdles European Champion Periklis Lakovakis of Greece and African Champion Louis Van Zyl of South Africa. In throws world champion Reese Hoffa (shot put) and Olympic winner Andreas Thorkildsen (javelin) are the favorites, open competition is the discus with possible â€ždark horse” Ehsan Hadadi of Iran. In menÂ´s triple jump US Arik Wilson with British Nathan Douglas are the top names.
LIU THE BIGGEST STAR
OSAKA (JPN): For the second IAAF GP fixture of this weekend at Nagai Stadium which watched last year World Championships the main star is world champion and world record holder Chinese Liu Xiang at 110 m Hurdles. The Chinese megastar informed that after Osaka Grand Prix his next race will be at Pre-Olympic competition in Beijing on May 22 and then his trip to USA with New York Grand Prix meet on May 31. His main rival on Saturday in Japan will be US bronze holder from champs David Payne. Otherwise, the meet is struggling in comparison with Doha quality. Other top names are Pole Vault world champion Brad Walker, former world medalist at 400 m Hurdles James Carter, Osaka 100 m bronze holder Carmelita Jeter (all USA) and Worlds 100 m finalist Marc Burns of Trinidad. Also home elite is present except of injured Olympic champion in hammer Koji Murofushi.
GREAT FIELDS FOR FBK GAMES
HENGELO (NED): 26th edition of FBK Games of Hengelo, the only dutch IAAF World Athletics Tour fixture, is having great fields for May 24 as it was announced at a press conference. More than 200 athletes from 46 countries are expected to compete at this first big European meeting in Olympic year. Among them such superstars like Haile Gebrselassie (10 000 m), Kenenisa Bekele (5000 m) and from the latest roster World indoor record holder Susanna Kallur of Sweden who will open here her season at 100 m Hurdles. For Mr. Hengelo Gebrselassie this will be the race which will decide about his Olympic participation. From other Osaka individual world champions also Brimin Kipruto in steeple, Alfred Kirwa Yego at 800 m, Irving Saladino in Long Jump will compete. 1500 m world champion Maryam Jamal of Bahrain will run the 800 m. Olympic champion Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania is the star of discus competition. In sprints improved Churandy Martina of Netherland Antilles and female world leader Kerron Stewart of Jamaica are the top names along with former global winner Allen Johnson at 110 m Hurdles. Excellent 5000 m for women is expected with Ethiopian stars Meselech Melkamu and Gelete Burka against Kenyans Lineth Masai and Osaka medalist Prisca Jepleting. World Indoor champion Christian Cantwell competes in Shot Put. Also to note the 10k entry of former world champion at 5000 m Eliud Kipchoge who only so far once competed at the distance last year in Hengelo (26:49.02). From European point of view Belgians Kim Gevaert (100 m) and Tia Hellebaut (High jump) along with home stars Bram Som (800 m) and Rutger Smith (shot and discus) are to be mentioned.
EAA GOING NEW WAYS TO MAKE ATHLETICS MORE ATTRACTIVE
LAUSANNE (SUI): In order to make athletics competitions more attractive six EAA Premium and Premit Meetings will test new rules this season. In the 3000m, 5000m and 3000m steeple events three athletes will have to leave the track before reaching the finish line. In the 3000 m and steeple event, those who are last with five, four and three rounds left will have to stop their competition. Same procedure in the 5000 m event with the rule applied with seven, five and three rounds left. In the throws, long and triple jump all athletes get two throws/jumps, then the best six of them one more and finally the top four a last, fourth attempt. There, the order will be reversed, i.e. the best will compete at the end. As far as high jump and pole vault are concerned, every athlete gets a maximum of seven jumps. Only the winner can be accorded additional jumps if he or she tries to break a national, area or world record. The six meetings and disciplines are as follows:
May 31st, Zaragoza, womenÂ´s 3000m
June 10th, Riga, womenÂ´s high jump
June 15th, Zhukovskiy, menÂ´s 5000m
June 24th, Jerez, menÂ´s triple jump
July 19th, Barcelona), menÂ´s discus
September 10th, Rovereto, womenÂ´s shot
SOUTH AFRICAN TEAM FOR WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
PRETORIA (RSA): Twenty athletes will represent South Africa in Bydgoszcz, Poland, at the IAAF World Junior Championships from July 8th to 13th. The selection was made after the recently held National Junior and Youth Championships. Twelve team members are placed in the top ten 2008 World Junior List, amongst them Orazio Dremona (no. 1 shot put with 20,19m), Victor Hogan (no. 1 discus with 63,94m) and Stefan Brits (no. 1 long jump with 7,74m). Another favorite for the world title is javelin thrower Tazmin Brits, gold medallist at last yearÂ´s World Youth Championships. At the last edition 2006 in Bejing South Africa won only one medal (gold by Robert Oosthuizen in the javelin). So for 2008 an improvement is expected from the team.
HARD FIGHT FOR TICKETS TO BEJING IN GERMAN DECATHLON AND HEPTATHLON TEAM
LEVERKUSEN(GER): Stefan Drews, who came 7th in the 2006 European Championships estimates that eight German decathlonists can achieve the qualification (8.050 points) for the Olympic Games. But only three of them will get a ticket to Bejing. Four meetings play an important role for the nomination: Desenzano (Italy, May 10th and 11th), Bernhausen (Germany, May 19th and 20th), Goetzis (Austria, May 31st and June 1st) and the final “showdown” in Ratingen (Germany, June 21st and 22nd). The situation in the heptathlon team is similar. Jennifer Oeser, who came 7th in last yearÂ´s World Championships, sees six athletes capable of achieving the necessary 6.130 points. Those will have a safe nomination who score the most points in Ratingen (if the result is better than 8.050 and 6.130 points respectively). Tickets two and three for Bejing will be given according to the results at the four meetings.
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