Yelena Isinbayeva signed by Li Ning, $7.5 million deal, by Alfons Juck, Note by Larry Eder


Yelena Isinbayeva, the women athlete who, more than any other, has controlled her event with her extraordinary jumping, is a global star. adidas noticed her first, and promoted her as one of their icons. Now, Li Ning, the Chinese sports apparel company, has offered her, and she has reportedly accepted, a $7.5 million US deal that will go out to 2014. The Chinese sports companies are here!

Photo courtesy of Victah Sailer, Photo

The Chinese are here. In a sponsorship deal, the largest for a track and field athlete. Li Ning, the very popular Chinese sportswear retailer, has taken Yelena Isinbayeva from long time sponsor adidas. Isinbayeva's deal reportedly allows her to have a casual footwear contract, and other concessions, much like women tennis players.

The story behind the scenes is most unsettling. adidas recently signed on as sponsor of the Russian Federation. Isinbayeva is one of the prime sellign points of the Russian Federation. Sergei Bubka is closely involved with Russian Federation as well as IAAF, and mentoring Isinbayeva. Did Bubka have knowledge of the deal? Obviously, such information getting out to adidas would have changed the value of the deal.

The obvious needs to be noted: Chinese companies will start to play the global sports marketing game in every more increasing numbers. The Chinese sports fan is educated and globally sophisticated. Isinbayava, as adidas knew and promoted, is a global sports phenomenon. Li Ning figured that out, and found the cache to pay such an extraordinary amount in these current times. EME NEWS (FEB 12, 2009)

LONDON (GBR): Pole Vault superstar Yelena Isinbayeva has agreed a USD7.5 million deal with China's largest sportswear retailer Li Ning. Isinbayeva is set to leave her current sponsor Adidas, for who she appeared in a high-profile advertisting campaign in the build-up to the Beijing Olympics last year, to join Li Ning in a deal to run beyond London 2012 to 2014. The deal is significant because of the amount of money - a record for an athlete - and the entry of a Chinese company into the athletics marketing world with a high-profile athlete. Li Ning established the company in 1990, two years after retiring, and it has since grown into China's biggest sportswear brand and at home is more popular than international giants Adidas and Nike. She is to open her season this Sunday in Donyetsk.


DUSSELDORF (GER): Olympic 110 m hurdles champion and world record holder Dayron Robles has decided to end his indoor season due to a thigh injury. The organisers of coming top meetings in Europe are not too happy but after being examined by the renowned sports doctor, Dr. Jens Enneper, an MRI was taken which uncovered fluid in the tendon/hamstring area. It was decided by his coach Santiago Antunez, that he will not compete any further for the indoor season. The injury is not severe, but enough to cause concern. He wants to be ready for summer and mainly World Championships, but also Golden League meetings where his event belongs to golden events.


BUDAPEST (HUN): New website devoted to sport of athletics has been launched this week. The is managed by Attila Spiriev and his Elite company group and is based mainly on world rankings but also other interesting statistics connected to the rankings, athletes profiles, meetings scoring, news etc. You can for example find all competitions of the year for the athletes included into the world rankings, but also national rankings, all-time rankings etc. In a special competition rankings it shows for example that number one meeting in 2008 was Zurich Weltklasse ahead of Rome Golden Gala and Brussels Van Damme Memorial. The compilers used not only the existing scoring system with points for best events but also world record bonuses and bonuses according to the quality of starting fields.


TAMPA (USA): USA half-marathon record holder Ryan Hall will open his 2009 season by running the 32nd annual Gasparilla Distance Classic 15-K in Tampa on Saturday Feb 28, informs Race Results Weekly. Hall is in training for the Boston Marathon on April 20, will use the Gasparilla race to test his fitness and possibly set a personal best, according to his coach, Terrence Mahon.

PARIS (FRA): Olympic long jump champion Maurren Maggi pulled out of the Paris Bercy meet on Saturday because of a painful right knee, Nord-Eclair informs.

LONDON (GBR): Stephanie Twell from Great Britain has an exact aim for her future. She wants to win Olympic gold in the 1500 m event 2012 in London. ‚Winning a medal would be overwhelming. But winning gold in front of the home crowd would be spectacular', said the U20 world champion. KINGSTON (JAM): Olympic winner Donald Quarrie, athletes liaison for the Jamaica International Invitational track and field meet, said for Jamaica Gleaner that American world champion Tyson Gay could be one of the athletes in action at the 2009 Jamaica Invitational on May 2 at the National Stadium. Speaking at a press launch for the sixth staging of the meet he added that apart from Gay, several top athletes, including Olympic champions, have expressed an interest but it would be premature to divulge names at this time. He indicated that names of the athletes would be made available in upcoming weeks.Olympic triple gold medallist Usain Bolt and 200m gold medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown are also regular participants at the meet. Last year Bolt clocked a Stadium record 9.76 seconds in winning the 100m.

Asked whether MVP Track Club athletes who opted against competing at last year's meet would be among those high-profile names, Quarrie used the presence of Olympic 100-metre champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser, who was also in attendance, to indicate that there might be representation from the MVP Track Club. Chairman of the Sports Development Foundation, David Mais, one of the major sponsors of the meet, said it cost US$330,000 to stage the event last year. He mentioned that the athletes management and agents will make strong representations for increases in appearance fees and, as such, different components, including entertainment and cultural packages, will be added to make the meet more attractive.

INDIANAPOLIS (USA): The Project 30 Task Force issued its final report, analyzing Team USA Performance in Beijing and charting a course for programmatic change to maximize Team USA performance in Olympic and World Championship competition. Informs USATF website. Central to its recommendations is the hiring of a General Manager to oversee all matters pertaining to athlete development and performance, including High Performance, Elite Athlete Services, Team USA Management, Team USA Staff management, National Championships, Sport Science application and Sports Medicine, Youth Development and Anti-Doping programs. Additional recommendations include targeting development of technical events to achieve 30 clean medals in London 2012, shortening the Olympic Trials to five days, terminating the National Relay Program, strengthening the sport's anti-doping culture and establishing a well-defined Professional Athlete designation. The Project 30 Task Force is composed of Carl Lewis, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Ralph Mann, Mel Rosen, Aretha Hill Thurmond and Deena Kastor. The USOC nominated to the Task Force Steve Roush, Doug Ingram and Jay Warwick, making the Task Force a nine-person group.

WATTENSCHEID (GER): Germany's 400m runner and vice European indoors champion Bastian Swillims will stop his indoors season because of an inflammation in the bone of his knee. His 400m club colleague Falco Lausecker is also forced to make a break because of an injury of his left foot (oedema at navicular bone). German 1.500m indoors champion Christoph Lohse will also do without indoors competitions due to health reasons.

SYDNEY (AUS): Top American stars Bershawn Jackson and David Oliver will join a star studded entry list for the fast approaching Sydney Track Classic and World Athletics Tour meeting in Melbourne.

Jackson the former world 400 metres hurdles champion and Oliver the Olympic 110m hurdles bronze medallist will compete in Australia's two top track and field meetings on February 28 and March 5.

The pair will join an impressive list of visiting international athletes, including former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell, Olympic pole vault silver medallist Yevgeniy Lukyanenko and American sprint star Xavier Carter. Jackson at both venues will clash with South Africa's Louis Van Zyl winner of the Commonwealth gold medal in Melbourne two years ago who he has beaten in 14 of their 22 head-to-heads. Oliver will make the long trip to Australia after a highly successful indoor season where last weekend he equalled the world's fastest 60m hurdles time for this year in Stuttgart.

BERLIN (GER): Germany's Frankfurt marathon winner Sabrina Mockenhaupt will compete at the 31st Berlin half marathon on April 5th. The 28-year-old has a PB of 1:08:51h and takes place four on the German all-time-list.

WATTENSCHEID (GER): Germany's 400m runner and vice European indoors champion Bastian Swillims will stop his indoors season because of an inflammation in the bone of his knee. His 400m club colleague Falco Lausecker is also forced to make a break because of an injury of his left foot (oedema at navicular bone). German 1.500m indoors champion Christoph Lohse will also do without indoors competitions due to health reasons.

LAUSANNE (SUI): Good news for media. AIPS members covering the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Torino next month will be given free access to wireless internet. In a deal struck with President of the Italian Athletics Federation, Mr Franco Arese, who is also President of the Torino Organizing Committee, AIPS President Gianni Merlo secured the free service for the championships will run from March 6 - 8, 2009. Members should present their AIPS card upon registration and they will be given access to the WLAN service free of charge.

MELBOURNE (AUS): Athletics Australia has named a strong 18-member team to compete at the 37th edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan on March 28. Australia will be led by world cross country gold medallist Sonia O'Sullivan (team coach) and national distance coordinator Tim O'Shaughnessy (team manager). Heading the senior women's team is Olympic marathon representative Lisa Weightman. 2008 national 10,000m champion Melinda Vernon (VIC) who placed 41st on debut in Edinburgh last year, has also been named, whilst two-time junior representative and reigning national 10,000m champion Lara Tamsett (NSW) has been promoted to the senior team. In the men's senior team, the experienced Michael Shelley (QLD), who finished 51st in Edinburgh, will be pulling on the green and gold for the fourth time. Three-time World Cross Country and Olympic 5000m representative Collis Birmingham (VIC), who placed 74th in Edinburgh, will also add a wealth of experience. The junior teams will be led by Ryan Gregson (2008 - 31st), Richard Everest (2008 - 47th) and Emily Brichacek (2008 - 21st). Informs Athletics Australia. The team: men - Liam Adams, Collis Birmingham, Michael Shelley, women - Erin Densham, Tara Palm, Lara Tamsett, Melinda Vernon, Lisa Weightman, junior men - Richard Everest, Ryan Gregson, Joshua Johnson, David Ricketts, Brett Robinson, Harry Summers, junior women - Emily Brichacek, Tamara Carvolth, Hollie Emery, Chloe Tighe.


MUSTASAARI (FIN, Feb 12): At Botnia Games great improvement by Finnish sprinter Joni Rautanen who achieved new PB 6.68 at 60 m and even a national record at 100 m (10.36). World junior record holder Mykyta Nesterenko of Ukraine achieved 61.14 in discus ahead of Frants Kruger (60.40). This hall allows discus throw competition. Another finnish best at special event was the 9:58.71 by Sandra Eriksson at 3000 m steeple.

HIMEJI (JPN, Feb 11): Satoru Kitamura won the 10 mile road race in 47:57 ahead of Atsushi Sato and Terukazu Omori who clocked the same time.

VIENNA (AUT, Feb 11): At ASVO Indoor Gala in Austrian 400 m runner Clemens

Zeller crossed the finish line as first in the new world leading time of

46.27 (also a PB). His countryman, 22-year-old Andreas Rapatz ran 1:48.57 in

the 800m event and achieved the qualification for Torino. Germany's Nadine

Kleinert won the women's shot put with 18.15 which is also the ticket to

Torino for her. Good result also for Slovenian Miran Vodovnik 19.43 in Shot

Put (he also achieved already 19.72 last weekend). Slovak Jaroslav

Dobrovodsky won the Long Jump, equalled the national record 778 cm and beat

8 metres jumper Mauro Da Silva of Brasil (775, he also won the 60 m in


PRAHA (CZE, Feb 11): At Prague Pole Vault indoor meet US Jeremy Scott cleared 555 to win ahead of Michal Balner (545). German Martina Strutz was the female winner with 415 cm.

JABLONEC (CZE, Feb 11): Czech shot putter Jana Karnikova went over 17 metres for first time indoors with 17.04. She missed the Torino qualifier by 16 cm. Her outdoor best is 17.29 from last year.

Special thanks on Notes by Alfons Juck

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