Lots of news to catch up on from around the world of athletics…..
EME NEWS (SEP 26, 2008)
Gebre thinks again WR
BERLIN (GER): Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie returns on Sunday morning to the scene of his 25th world record, 2:04:26 in the real-Berlin Marathon last year. Writes Pat Butcher. The Ethiopian shows little sign of slowing down, and with a swipe at cyclist Lance Armstrong for daring to retire three years ago (and now planning a comeback), the Ethiopian suggested that he himself might still be running and racing up to the 2016 Olympics, when he would be 43 years of age. Gebrselassie, who also broke 2.05 in the Dubai Marathon earlier this year admitted he had gone too fast in the first half of the race in the Gulf, and plans a more sedate pace in Berlin on Sunday in the 35th edition of the event. “I learned from my mistake in Dubai, the race was also fast-slow, fast-slow. The pace here in Berlin last year was perfect, and on Sunday, I would like to do the same as the first half last year (62.29)”. This will be the third successive year that Gebreselassie runs Berlin. In 2006, he got the measure of the course with a 2:05:56 on a windy day, and last year he took almost half a minute off his pal, Paul Tergat’s world record of 2:04:55, also set in Berlin in 2003. He admitted that his switch back to long distance training, in preparation for Berlin had given him a few problems, but insisted he was still here to attack his world record. “I was in good shape until two weeks ago, when I started getting cramps, but when you reach such a high level, you always get problems. I’m confident now, but I can’t predict a time”.
Citing his first international run, as a junior in Berlin, he said he would like to run in next summer’s IAAF World Championships, in the German capital. “Berlin is my lucky city, I ran well in a junior Ekiden (marathon relay) here years ago, and now I’m a marathon runner, I want to run in a world championships here”.
Asked if he would still be around for the London Olympics in 2012, he replied, “Why not in 2016 as well? In sport, what I advise is not to announce a retirement. Look at Lance Armstrong, he retires for three years, and wants to make a comeback. Let retirement come by itself. When someone sets a deadline for retirement, he retires at the time he sets the deadline. That’s why I have plans to run for many years”.
Berlin on the way to be best
BERLIN (GER): In the average all-time rankings of ten best performances the Berlin marathon is having a real chance to be the number one after this weekend. London leads this ranking (compiled by Ken Nakamura) with 2:05:57.6 average. But Berlin is very close second with 2:05:57.7 and one faster time than 2:06:49 will make it. With Haile Gebrselassie running there is a high possibility this will happen. In top five of this ranking is also Chicago (2:06:15), Amsterdam (2:06:40) and Rotterdam (2:06:43). Gebrselassie is already best ever in average of five best marathons with 2:05:38 and this position could only be strengthened by him on Sunday. Khalid Khannouchi is second (2:06:16) and Paul Tergat third (2:06:37).
In the women category Berlin is third with 2:21:39 average of ten best results behind London (2:19:47) and Chicago (2:20:25).
Bad news for athletics events
BORDEAUX (FRA): This is good news for football, but maybe not so good for athletics in Europe in future. The UEFA Executive Committee today approved the expansion of the final tournament of the UEFA European Championship from 16 to 24 teams, as from the 2016 edition. This format would generate a total of 51 games, compared with 31 now, to be played over a period of 29 to 31 days depending on the match schedule. This historic decision gives middle-ranked countries a much greater chance to qualify for the finals. But it also means less space for athletics events in terms of dates, television, media space etc.
BUDAPEST (HUN): Discus thrower Roland Varga (PB 67.38 in 2002) is since early August this year Croatian citizen. For Hungary his best placing was 7th at World Championships 2001 in Edmonton. As junior he won silver at World Junior Championships 1996 and in 1999 got silver at European U22 event. As Gyorgy Csiki reports, he will be eligible to compete for Croatia only since August 7, 2009. Still on time for World Championships in Berlin. It should be also noted that he served a two years doping ban in 2006-08.
DAEGU (KOR, Sep 25): To add to Korean Meet is seventh meet record by Jamaican Brigitte Foster-Hylton who won the 100 m Hurdles in 12.79 clearly beating another Olympic finalist Sarah Claxton of Great Britain (13.01) and US hurdlers Nicole Denby (13.27) and Candice Davis (13.36). Russian Aleksandr Petrenko won the triple jump (16.97) ahead of Olympic medalist Leevan Sands of Bahamas (16.95). PolandÂ´s Barbara Madejczyk won the women javelin (57.95). Second at 110 m Hurdles home Lee Jung-jun clocked new national record 13.53 behind Ryan Wilson (13.50) but beating Joel Brown (also 13.53).
MOSCOW (RUS): President of Russian Athletics Federation Valentin Balakhnichev informed All-Sport that the investigation and hearings in case of seven provisionally banned Russian athletes (Soboleva and co.) will continue the whole month of October. “We are still seeking informations and analysis, we are talking with IAAF, it is not that easy to get all relevant data to make the decision,” explained Balakhnichev. In the meantime most of the athletes involved said if banned, they plan to take the case to CAS. All-Sport even informs that Yulia Fomenko plans to run a mile road race in St. Petersburg on October 11.
BERLIN (GER): Dismayed at missing the Olympics because of a back problem, Irina Mitkitenko is hoping to make amends by winning in Berlin this Sunday at 35th Berlin Marathon, writes Pat Butcher. She could also with her win equal with 65 points with Wami at the head of the World Marathon Majors’ table, for a share of the half-million dollar bonus. A win in Berlin would net her â‚¬50,000 euros for a start. And although she faces a young woman, Askale Tafa of Ethiopia, who has run a faster time (2.23.23), Mikitenko looks to be the woman on form after her world fastest road 10k this year, 30.57 in Karlsruhe earlier this month. “I feel stronger than ever than ever after that (10k),” she said in Berlin on Thursday. “I was disappointed to miss the Olympics, but you can’t look back. I’m concentrating on the present, on Berlin on Sunday, and the future”. She refused to be drawn on whether, like Wami last year, she would run the final ‘Major,’ New York in early November, as a means of cementing her claim to the big bonus. But neither did she discount it. It was almost superfluous to ask if, at 36 she wasn’t getting a bit old, since, as she quickly pointed out, the Olympic marathon was won by Constantina Dita-Tomescu of Romania, aged 38. “Thirty six is a perfect age,” said Mikitenko. “I’m certainly looking forward to London 2012”.
KOSICE (SVK): Former Slovak prime minister Mikulas Dzurinda (53) will run next weekend on Oct 5 again the Kosice Peace Marathon. It will be his 23rd marathon and 18th in Kosice. His aim is to fulfill the necessary standard 3:35 for Boston Marathon which he never contested so far and try to compete at the oldest marathon in 2009. Last year he clocked 3:35:13, but was after surgery.
BRUSSELS (BEL): Announcing his retirement during a press conference, 38 year old Belgium sprinter Eric Wijmeersch also opened up about his doping past. He points to fellow countryman Renno Roelandt, a current WADA official for driving him to take drugs in 1998. “It took place after the 1998 European Championships in Budapest. Renno, who was then the president of the Flemish community’s anti-doping commission, advised me to use growth hormone. He told me ‘I would try, if I were you. It can’t be detected and you’ll be faster'” explained Wijmeersch before adding ” I followed his advice and took drugs from the end of 1998 to early 2001″. Wijmeersch also explained that he wasn’t settling scores but that he wanted to denounce the hypocrisy that prevails in Belgium sport. Doctor Renno Roelandt, the vice-president of the Belgium Olympic committee and a member of WADA, acknowledged that he talked about growth hormone with Wijmeersch in 1998 but added that he never “gave, provided or prescribed banned products”. “It happened at a time where a lot of strange things were taking place and Belgium athletics wasn’t a factor at world level. But I never injected, given or provided growth hormone or any other banned product to athletes, nor prescribed banned products” he reacted in a press release sent to Belga agency, informs AFP.
AUBURN (USA): Rosalind Council, a former NCAA and SEC champion hurdler for the Auburn track and field team, passed away Monday, Sept. 8, in her hometown of Carboro, N.C. She was 43 years old. To this day, Council still ranks second in Auburn history in the 55-meter hurdles (7.53) and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (13.03). Informs University website.
MODESTO (USA): SacBee informs that The California Invitational Relays, the “Biggest Little Track Meet In The World” and the source of 31 world records since 1942, has reached the finish line in Modesto. The meet will be transplanted to Sacramento State’s Hornets Stadium next May 9 and will remain under the sponsorship of SaveMart Supermarkets, which has bankrolled the Relays since 1999. Gregg Miller, who will continue as meet director, cited sagging attendance for the Relays’ departure. The event drew only 2,710 last May, the smallest turnout in more than a decade.
NAIROBI (KEN): East Standard Informs that former steeple world champion and world record holder Moses Kiptanui, who is challenging Isaiah Kiplagat for the Athletics Kenya chairmanship wants the entire office to resign. Kiptanui claimed Kiplagat asked him not to contest. But he said he will ensure AK has new officials. “Kiplagat approached me to withdraw my candidature, but I won’t do that. We are now demanding they all step aside so we can investigate in what circumstances an AK van was stolen,” said Kiptanui. But Kiplagat dismissed Kiptanui’s claims and wondered why he should approach him to withdraw his candidature.
ADDIS ABABA (ETH): IAAF informs that the list of honours Ethiopian runner Tirunesh Dibaba has earned was recently added when her club, the Prisons Police, bestowed the rank of Chief Superintendent for her services to club and country. She has now surpassed distance running ace Haile Gebrselassie, who is a Major with the Omedla Police club, and is equal in rank with Derartu Tulu, who is also a chief superintendent. Her future-husband Sileshi Sihine, meanwhile, also moved up a rank going up to Major Officer. She has also achieved more in six years than both Tulu and Gebrselassie managed in careers spanning two decades. Also included in the awards were other athletes who represented the Prisons Police club at the 29th Beijing Olympics. African 1500m champion Gelete Burka rose to Deputy Officer, African 3000m steeplechase silver medallist Mekdes Bekele and Yacob Jarso, fourth in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase final in Beijing, both move up to Warden. Their club coach Hussein Shebo, who is also the assistant coach of the national team, moved up to Superintendent.
In a busy week of awards and commemorations, Ethiopia’s Olympic double champion Kenenisa Bekele had an avenue in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa named after him by the city’s administration. “The Kenenisa Avenue” will run in one of the city’s major sections and will bear his name for visitors.
On the other hand, Dibaba has a hospital on the outskirts of the city named after her. “The Tirunesh Dibaba Hospital” is currently under construction in a joint collaboration between the Ethiopian and Chinese governments and is located in the Akaki-Kaliti sub-city in the suburbs of Addis Ababa.
INDIANAPOLIS (USA): Walking expert Bob Bowman will bid for USATF president post. In his announcement he says: “I believe USA Track & Field is at a critical crossroad in its history. We are going through another restructuring at the insistence of the USOC, including a dramatic change in the size and make up of our Board of Directors. We have a new CEO who has come to us from outside track & field. He has some great ideas to re-energize the marketing of our sport and lead us back to the position on the America’s sports landscape our sport deserves. And, with this being the start of a new Olympic quadrennium, we need to focus on achieving the success in London that we had hoped for in Beijing…If elected, I will also lead an effort to bring IAAF World Championship events to the U.S. It has now been 17 years since we last hosted an IAAF major world competition. Since suffering the unprecedented loss of two of our IAAF Committee members at the last IAAF Congress, it’s never been more important that we improve our influence there.”
LONDON (GBR): Disgraced sprinter Dwain Chambers last night said he had no plans to take on the British Olympic Association in the high court again but indicated that he had not abandoned his dream of running in London in 2012. In July the sprinter failed in court to overturn the BOA’s lifetime ban against him running for the team at Olympic Games because of his drugs offence. But there were indications that had it been a full-blown case – instead of an attempt to gain a temporary injunction – he might have had a stronger chance of winning. The Guardian informs.
NEW YORK (USA): 2000 Olympic Games 100m and 4x100m gold medalist Maurice Greene made his debut appearance on the hit ABC series “Dancing With the Stars.” Greene is paired with professional dancer Cheryl Burke, who is the first two-time winner on the show, winning in Season 2 with singer Drew Lachey and in Season 3 with all-time NFL great Emmitt Smith. They performed foxtrot and got 18 out of 30 possibility mark. The tandem of Greene and Burke are competing against 12 other couples on the show.
Other athlete on the screen is former 400 m runner Crystal Cox (50.52 in 2004) who will appear on the CBS hit reality series “Survivor” in its 17th season. Cox and 17 other castaways will be dropped off in Gabon, a West African nation near the Republic of Congo, where they spend 39 days fighting for 1 million USD.
GLASGOW (GBR): This winter, three of Scotland’s biggest and best cross country races will be linked to create the Stewarts Grand Prix, based on the model that has been in Scottish road racing over the past three years.The competition is open to senior and junior (under-20 age-group) men and women. The events included will be Scottish District Championships (November, December), Scottish Inter-District Championships (January), Scottish 4k Championships (January). In total 2000 GBP prize money will be available.
DARMSTADT (GER): German Long Jumper Kofi Amoah Prah who recently retired was banned for two years by the Disciplinary committee of German Athletics Federation (DLV). He tested positive for Cocaine and Methylecgonin at National Championships on July 5 in Nurnberg. Initially he was fourth (779 cm), but now he is disqualified and also his other competitions afterwards are cancelled.
European Champion Clubs Cup Juniors – summary
LAUSANNE (SUI): After finally all results arrived a summary of all groups is possible. Russian SC Moscow Teams are the winners of top group of European Champion Clubs Cup for Juniors. In Serbia in cold and rainy weather the men won in the A Group with 98 points very closely before Spanish Playas de Castellon (95) with British Enfield Haringey third (89). Women of Moscow were clear winners with 119 points ahead of Czech Olymp Brno (96) and Turkish Enka Spor Kulubu (93). Relegated were boys teams from Bosnia and Hercegovina (Sloboda Tehnograd) and Slovenia (Kronos Ljubljana) and girls squads from Great Britain (Bromley AC) and Germany (Olympia Dortmund).
Men of Czech Sokol Opava won the B group in Rennes, France with three points margin (89-86) over Greek Panelinios Athens and Centotori Pavia of Italy (85). Two top teams will be promoted into A group. Seventh Zoetermeer of Netherlands (63) will be relegated into C group. On the women side Italian Studentesca won with 106 and will be in A group in 2009 together with second Spanish Playas de Castellon (98). Relegation is there for Clubs from Switzerland (Chaux de Fonds, 63) and France (Haute Bretagne, 58).
Poland clubs of Podlasie Bialystok won the C Group in Nivelles, Belgium and will be promoted into B Group for 2009.