RAK Half Marathon: Duel in the Sand, by Alfons Juck, Note by Larry Eder


Deribe Merga and Patrick Makau Makau racing along the RAK half marathon course this morning in the UAE, photos by Photorun.net.


RAS AL KHAIMAH (UAE): Although today's RAK Half-Marathon winners in the United Arab Emirates did not break the existing half-marathon world records, two pending world records were set at intermediate points, a senior IAAF official reported. Intermediate race leader Deribe Merga of Ethiopia passed the 15 km point in 41:29, equalling the IAAF-ratified world record set by Kenyan Felix Limo at the Zevenheuvelenloop in Nijmegen, Netherlands in 2001. Race winner Patrick Makau crossed the 20 km mark in 55:38, surpassing by ten seconds Haile Gebrselassie's IAAF-ratified record set in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2006. (Samuel Wanjiru passed 20 km in 55:31 at the City-Pier-City Half-Marathon in Den Haag in 2007, but the time was not accepted as a record because there was no manual timer to back-up the transponder reading.) „The course was measured by IAAF ‚A' measurer, John Kunkeler, and will have to be validated as part of the official procedure," said IAAF senior manager for road running, Sean Wallace-Jones, who watched the race from a lead vehicle. Informs Race Results Weekly. Also, although the IAAF does not recognize world junior records set on the roads, Ethiopian Abebu Gelan (19), fourth in the women's race, ran the fastest-ever half-marathon by a junior in 1:07:57.


LIEVIN (FRA, Feb 20). New triple jump star Teddy Tamgho gave once more a display of his class with a 17.44m jump in his fourth attempt, on the first day of the French championships in Liévin. It is the third best performance ever for Tamgho who recorded 17.58m and 17.45m in Paris Bercy on February 13. Karl Taillepierre (16.97m) and Jules Lechanga (16.91m) followed with nearing 17m performances in his tow. Emmanuel Ngom Priso set a new personal best of 6.63 on his way to an easy win in the 60m; a first French title for the Cameroon-born athlete who won't be able to travel to Turin, as he needs to wait until next June before being able to represent France in international championships. Last year 200 m world junior champion Christophe Lemaître was second in 6.71. Ngom Priso went on to record the best time of the 200m heats with 21.29. 40 year old Patricia Girard was defeated by Cindy Billaud in the 60m hurdles 8.14 to 8.24, despite a promising 8.18 in the heats. High jumper Abdoulaye Diarra asked for the bar to be raised directly to 2.28m after eliminating his last opponent at 2.18m but didn't manage to clear that height, 1cm above his PB. Laurence Manfredi won the shot put with her best throw at 18.08m while Haoua Kessely won the long jump with her only valid jump of 6.41m. Poland's Sylwia Korzeniowska was an easy winner in the 3000m walk, clocking 13:12.21 and Maria Martins took the 1500m title in 4:16:94. In the 400m heats, Olympic finalist Leslie Djhone advanced to the final with 47.17 but the best time of the heats was achieved by 21 year old Yannick Fonsat (46.97).

SUMY (UKR, Feb 20): Ukrainian distance star Sergiy Lebid confirmed he is ready for any surface. The multiple European CC champion won during last day of national indoor championships the 3000 m in solid 7:52.66. Another former terrain European champion Tetyana Holovchenko won the women 3000 m in good 9:19.80. In interesting 800 m Natalya Lupu won in 2:02.27 ahead of Tamara Tverdostup (2:02.70). Good triple jumping by Svitlana Mamyeyeva (14.11) and close duel in men category. Yevhen Semenenko improved to 16.96 and beat Viktor Yastrebov by 2 cm (16.94). Andriy Kovenko achieved the fastest 10 000 m walk of the season indoors with 39:49.28. Interesting also the junior winner Igor Yashchenko who is only 15 years old and clocked 44:16.17.

KAUNAS (LTU, Feb 20): Two jumping standards for Torino highlighted the first day of Lithuanian Indoor Championshisp. Narvydas Stanys cleared 225 in High Jump and Povilas Mykolaitis leaped to 792 cm in Long Jump. Decathlon world record holder Austra Skujyte improved in Shot Put to overall best 17.28 and qualified for European Indoor event in this event, but she also hopes to be invited for pentathlon. There Viktoria Zemaityte improved to 4415 points and got the title. Also to note the 7.34 60 m win for Lina Grincikaite.

ADLER (RUS, Feb 19-20): Olympic silver medalist Mariya Abakumova achieved the best result of Russian Winter Throwing championships with 65.25 m in javelin. High quality also Aleksey Zagorniy achieving 80.10 in hammer throw. Aleksey Tovarnov won the men javelin (81.21) and Mariya Bespalova women hammer (69.02). Here the 2004 olympic winner Olga Kuzenkova was fourth (64.09).

YALTA (UKR, Feb 20): During last day of Ukrainian Winter Throwing Championships good discus with top three over 60 metres. Sergiy Pryglo achieved 61.12, Ivan Grishin 60.57 and world junior record holder Mykyta Nesterenko (60.42). Nesterenko also won his category with 1.75 kg (64.18 m). Kateryna Karsak won the discus (59.07) and Roman Avramenko was the best in javelin (78.77).


NUERTINGEN (GER): Stuttgart-Journal informs that athletes from the Carribean (also from Trinidad & Tobago) will prepare for the World championships 2009 in Nuertingen. The training camp will take place from August 1st to 14th.

BERLIN (GER): Frankfurt marathon winner Sabrina Mockenhaupt (2:26:22) from Germany announced that she will not run the marathon at the World championships in Berlin but the 10 000 m as she already has done at the Olympics. The 29-year-old told ‚Aktiv Laufen' that her aim is to beat the National record held by Kathrin Ullrich (1991, 31:03.62min). Mockenhaupts PB is 31:14,21min which is No. 2 in Germany. Apart from Irina Mikitenko, Melanie Kraus and Luminita Zaituc, who have all achieved the qualification, there are now two places left for the marathon team.

RATINGEN (GER): After a three years break, the marketing company of the German Athletics Federation (DLV), the Deutsche Leichtathleitk Promotion- und Projektgesellschaft (DLP) will again play the role of organizer of the combined events meeting in Ratingen (IAAF Combined Events Challenge, which will take place on June 20th and 21t 2009). This had been also the case from 1997 to 2005. The contract between the local club TV Ratingen and DLP was signed for two years.

PORT ELIZABETH (RSA): Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has had to withdraw from Friday night's Yellow Pages meeting in Port Elizabeth. The winner of three gold medals at the Paralympics in Beijing injured his knee while training in gym. Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena will be a notable absentee also. "I have set my sights on the next series scheduled for Stellenbosch on February 27 and Germiston on March 6," he said.


DJIBOUTI (DJI, Feb 20): Kenya's Cosmas Nitunku claimed victory in the 13th Djibouti half-marathon on Friday, with a time of 64:24. Ethiopian Tewodros Shiferaw followed in 64:48, while 2007 winner Alex Malinga from Uganda was third in 66:17.


WARSZAWA (POL): The funeral of Polish hammer thrower Kamila Skolimowska who unexpectedly died on Wednesday will be held next Thursday (Feb 26). The Holy Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Polish Army and is scheduled for midday. She will be buried at Military Cemetery in the Avenue of Merit. Per latest informations the cause of her death was pulmonary artery embolism. That is the information of Polish Athletics Federation PZLA and the family after preliminary autopsy. Detailed results will be known next week. Her body will be transported to Warszawa on Monday. Kamila Skolimowska was also posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Poland. That was confirmed by president of the country Lech Kaczyński for her sporting achievements, for her merits for the development and popularization of sport. During this weekend Polish National Indoor Championships in Spala there will be no music played (either during the competition or for the victory ceremonies) and at the begin a minute of silence will be respected. At starting numbers of all competitors black flags will be displayed. In the mean-time as Polish media are reporting, the Regional Attorney General of Warsaw has opened an investigation into the sudden death. The Warsaw attorney has contacted various Portuguese institutions, including the hospital that treated the athlete, in order to establish the details of the case. The Olympic doctor at Beijing Olympics, Robert Smigielski, claims that it is an absolute scandal that there were so few doctors on location where the athletes were training. Polish Federation PZLA insisted that they do not send doctors with every group of athletes that travels for training, especially considering that there were only a few throwers at the Portuguese training camp. Reportedly, there were only four doctors on site.

Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.

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