Liu Xiang is one of the most popular athletes in China. He is also one of the toughest athletes in the sport of athletics, and a artisan at the craft of the hurdles. He has been noted by no less an authority than Renaldo Nehemiah on his ability to hurdle and control his speed in his race, no matter what. But, the world is getting smaller and smaller and David Oliver, Allen Johnson, Terrance Trammell, among others all are focused on one man, Mr. Xiang-and before they can get to him, they have to make it through Eugene, Oregon the end of June!
On a sad note, Stuttgart tearing up their famous track and field surface is another example of how track and field is fighting around the world for its status. We need to shake up the status quo, need to ally ourselves with sports like soccer to help develop soccer/athletic stadiums. We need to think out of the box for our sport to grow or we will end up as an also ran.
EME NEWS (MAY 10, 2008) UPDATE
LIU XIANG OPENS WITH 13.19
OSAKA (JPN, May 10): The fifth straight win at Osaka Grand Prix by olympic champion and world record holder Liu Xiang from China with 13.19 (-0.1) in cold and rainy weather was the highlight of this years edition of the event. He did not had a big opposition as his countrymate Shi Dongpeng finished second way back (13.63) followed by Jamaican Maurice Wignall (13.84). It was his season opener and first competition since World Indoor win in March. He was satisfied with result taking the conditions into account, his meet record here is 13.06 from 2004.
The meet was hampered by rain, cold weather (around 13 degrees) and late withdrawals (Carter at 400 m Hurdles, home stars Tamesue and Sawano due to injuries). Only two meet records were established (men 800 m and women hammer) and no world lead despite beeing early in the season. World champion Brad Walker won the Pole Vault at Nagai Stadium, but did not want risk too much in wet conditions and ended the competition with 540. Very solid the 49.00 of home runner Kenji Narisako at 400 m Hurdles and also two sub 46 at 400 m flat by Chinese Liu Xiaosheng (45.90) and Jamaican Sanjay Ayre (45.91). Very impressive also the new 800 m meet record of Australian Jeff Riseley who dominated the race with 1:46.53 (former MR 1:46.98 by Johnny Gray in 1997). Chinese Hu Kai won the 100 m (10.54) in close finish against home star Shingu Suetsugu (10.55), Australian record holder Patrick Johnson (10.55) and another Japanese Masahide Uenno (10.55). Hitoshi Saito was the best at 200 m (20.87, +0.1), with Johnson beeing only 4th (21.24). Another home wins in jumping events by Daisuke Arakawa in long jump (777) and Naoyuki Daigo in high jump (218). The only male throw without injured olympic winner Koji Murofushi went to Belarus Vadim Devyatovskiy (78.41) with Italian surprise of the year Marco Lingua second (77.77) and Slovakian World finalist Miloslav Konopka third (75.30). Japan won both relays (38.94 and 3:04.87), in the shorter one followed by China (39.32). On the women side the best result possibly the 73.52 hammer new meet record win of world champs bronze medalist Zhang Wenxiu of China. Other Chinese throwing first places for Li Meiju in Shot Put (18.46) and Song Aimin in discus (60.38). Japanese national record holder Kumiko Ikeda won the Long Jump (646, +0.4) and Canadian Dana Ellis the Pole Vault (420). 100 m world bronze holder Carmelita Jeter of USA dominated the 100 m in 11.30. Relay world champion Mary Wineberg was the best at 400 m (51.52). Japanese national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi won the 1500 m (4:13.96) beating Australian Lisa Corrigan (4:14.24) and Sonja Roman of Slovenia (4:14.44). High quality 55.22 at 400 m Hurdles by Asian Games winner Huang Xiaoxiao of China with US Shauna Smith distant second (57.36). In the relay wins for Japan (44.05) and mixed team (3:34.78).
STADIUM IS LOST FOR ATHLETICS DEFINITELY
STUTTGART (GER): The City of Stuttgart has finally decided to transfer its Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadium into a pure football arena. The conversion will start mid-2009 and shall be finished by the end of 2011. It will cost 60 million Euro, 27 million Euro will come from premier ligue soccer club VfB Stuttgart . The German Athletics Federation had fought in vain against this decision which was backed by VfB and high town-hall representatives. As the track will be ripped out, there will be no longer athletics competitions in this stadium which hosted European Championships 1986, World Championships in 1993 and the World Athletics Final since 2006. The new name of the stadium will be Mercedes-Benz-Arena, there will be space for 55.000 spectators.
LOBINGER AND HIS FIRST MEET
COLOGNE (GER): The ASV Cologne meeting on May 18th was declared Olympic qualification competition and will therefore see Germany’s top pole vaulters Tim Lobinger (first competition of the year after injury postponed the begin), Danny Ecker, Bjorn Otto, Alexander Straub and Raphael Holzdeppe. Other well-know participants are US record holder Jeff Hartwig (USA) and the vaulters from Leverkusen Lars Borgeling, Richard Spiegelburg and Malte Mohr.
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