2011 Pan Am Games: Dwight Thomas wins high jump! by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Dwight Thomas, 2010 AVIVA Gateshead, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Pan Am Games, held in Guadalajara, have been a great athletic ending to 2011. We watched the swimming events from our favorite Super Mercado in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin on Friday afternoon. Athletics performances have been pretty impressive for so late in the year.

Mexico and Cuba have had some strong performances, as has the United States. Dwight Thomas, the 2007 World high jump champion, won the first gold for the Bahamas in the Pan Am Games!


GUADALAJARA (MEX, Oct 27): Cuban Omar Cisneros highlighted the Thursday programme of athletics at Pan-Am Games with new national record and first sub 48 seconds in the history of the event at 400 m hurdles 47.99. It is also new Games record, CAC U23 record and fifth best result 2011 in the world. He also beat favorites Jamaican Isa Phillips 48.82 and former multiple global winner Felix Sanchez 48.85 (his fourth games in a row and only second medal). The expected 200 m finals did not brought faster times than in semifinals. Young Cuban Roberto Skyers won the men´s race in 20.37 (-1.0) just ahead of Jamaican Lanceford Spence 20.38 and Brazilian Daegu 6th placer Bruno de Barros (20.45). South American record holder Ana Silva clearly won the women race for Brazil in 22.76 (+0.5). Silver for Jamaican Simone Facey 22.86 and bronze for Mirely Sanchez of Dominican republic 23.02 (national record). It was first Brazilian gold in the women 200 m in the history of the Games. 2007 World Champion Dwight Thomas won for Bahamas first gold in the high jump with 232 second attempt clearance (tried at 234). Silver for Diego Ferrin who improved the Ecuador national record to 230 and bronze for Cuban Victor Moya 226. But Cuba won other golds on that day. Alexis Copello in the triple jump (17.21, -1.3) ahead of 2003 winner Yoandri Betanzos (16.54, +0.4). Misleidys Gonzalez in women shot put (18.57) as she defended her title (beating Cleopatra Borel-Brown 18.46 and Michelle Carter 18.09). Another Cuban win for Adriana Munoz at 1500 m who after 800 gold completed a double here (4:26.09). Munoz achieved the same double back in 2003 in Santo Domingo. On the other hand Cuban favorites were beaten surprisingly in women javelin by US thrower Alicia DeShasier with lifetime best 58.01 m. Brazilian marathon runner Marilson Gomes dos Santos won the 10 000 m clearly in 29:00.64 and Mexican gold in women 5000 m for Marisol Romero (16:24.08), for her a double after getting the 10 k. Fast hurdles prelims, world record holder Dayron Robles clocked 13.22 (+1.8) and his team-mate Orlando Ortega improved to 13.33 (+0.6) in winning the other heat. Cuba was the fastest in the 4x400 m heats (3:04.33) and USA in the 4x100 m first round (39.19) when Trinidad did not finish and Jamaica was disqualified. Track action ends on Friday at the Games, still on Saturday 50 km walk and on Sunday men´s marathon on the programme.



MOSCOW (RUS): High jump world champion Anna Chicherova decided to compete indoors in 2012. She confirmed that for Russian media. But she still can miss World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. „In the past when I competed at the indoor main event my summer season was not good. That is why I decided just to compete at the meetings and not the championships in winter," she said. Her last indoor competitions were back in 2008. Chicherova already started with training for winter. But she also admitted in case she will feel really well she still might consider Istanbul. This coming winter could be very interesting in terms of women high jumping. Returns are planned for Chaunte Howard and Tia Hellebaut (after birth of a child), Ariane Friedrich (possible return, coming from heavy injury) and adding Blanka Vlasic and Antonietta Di Martino even the world indoor record (208) might be under threat.



FRANKFURT (GER): Kenyan marathon runner Wilson Kipsang said "I can do that". That was after seeing Patrick Makau breaking the marathon world record in Berlin in September. He confirmed that to Pat Butcher. Kipsang is in Europe now to defend the BMW Frankfurt Marathon title he won last year. Prior to last year's race, he was asked what his objectives were. "I have three goals," he said. "To set a personal best (then 2.07.10), to break the course record (then 2.06.14), and to break 2.06". Good as his word, Kipsang went out and ran 2.04.57, the third fastest of the year, and the eighth best in history. Kipsang restricted himself to two goals this time. "One of the expectations is to run a personal best, the other is to break the world record". He followed that by expressing a wish to go through halfway in 61.50, which compares to Makau's 61.44 on his way to the new record of 2.03.38. Leading rival and one of his predecessors as winner here, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot is more typical of the 'quiet Kenyan'. Not to be confused with Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (they have both won the Boston Marathon), this one had his breakthrough here in 2008, when he won in a then course record of 2.07.21. Another colleague Gilbert Kirwa then won 2009, in a record 2.06.14, with Robert K second in a personal best 2.06.23. He bettered that when he won Boston last year, in 2.05.50. He was almost apologetic in saying, "Frankfurt 2008 was my first race outside (Kenya), and I ran 'something'. I think I can do 'something' on Sunday, to show you again, like I did in 2008 and 2009". The other leading men are Deriba Merga, who only lost Olympic bronze in the last 400 meters to one of his Ethiopian colleagues in Beijing. Expectations are surrounding Flomena Chepchirchir's debut marathon. The Kenyan, only 19, has won two half-marathons in just a few seconds either side of 69 minutes this year, and also won the Berlin 25k in 1.23.22. Her manager Gerard van der Veen reckons she can run around 2.25, and that would suggest a good race with her colleague, Agnes Kiprop, whose best is 2.24.07, and Ethiopians Merima Mohamed (2.23.06), and Mamita Daska, who won Dubai last year in 2.24.19. German hope, Sabrina Mockenhaupt, who won here in 2008 in 2.26.22, is looking to run 2.24, but knows anything under 2.30 will qualify her for London 2012. An outsider is Moroccan born Italian (who has also competed for Bahrein) Nadia Ejaffini, who ran a sub-69min half-marathon recently. There are also interesting numbers of other European runners seeking their olympic qualifications. The BMW Frankfurt Marathon enjoys one the most unusual finish areas in world marathoning. The last 100 meters of the race is run inside the 19th century Festhalle, which for those of you who know London better than Frankfurt resembles the Royal Albert Hall. That latter venue is well known for its Proms concerts, featuring largely classical music. In true local style, the Festhalle on Sunday morning features an oompah band, and a spectacular indoor fireworks display to greet the winners. Writes Pat Butcher. In total 15 000 runners entered marathon (more not possible) and some 10 000 more are expected for marathon relay.



LAUSANNE (SUI): European Athletics announced that newly crowned world champions Robert Harting of Germany and Anna Chicherova of Russia have been voted as the European Athletes of the Month for September. A week after winning the world title in Daegu, the giant from Germany continued his good run at the Diamond League final in Zurich and won the title with a throw of 67.02m. He competed in four other meetings in September, won them all and ended the season unbeaten. Chicherova finished her outdoor season on an equally impressive note clearing 2.05m at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels. And, like Harting, she remained undefeated in the three meetings she participated in after the World Championships in Daegu. Poland's Adam Kszczot clocked the European season leading time and a national under 23 record of 1:43:30 in Rieti and was voted second in the men's poll followed by javelin world champion Matthias de Zordo of Germany. The Daegu gold medallist enjoyed a fantastic finale to the summer, improving his personal best to 88.36m in Brussels to win the Diamond Race for 2011. In the women's poll, hammer world record holder Betty Heidler of Germany finished second behind Chicherova after registering four wins in two weeks following the World Championships at Elstal, Berlin, Dubnica and St Wendel. Her throw of 77.53m in Elstal was the second best throw of her career and better than anybody else apart from herself this year. She also pocketed the hammer challenge for the year 2011. The female winner of the 2011 European Athlete of the Year Mariya Savinova of Russia finished third in the poll after she took the top prize in the 800m at the Diamond League meeting in Zurich, clocking 1:58.27.



EUGENE (USA): Register Guard informs that Oregon director of track and field Vin Lananna confirmed on Thursday that the city of Eugene is planning to submit a bid to the International Association of Athletics Federation to serve as the host for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships. "Our intention is to submit a bid to the IAAF," Lananna said. "USA Track & Field will make the bid on behalf of TrackTown, USA." As recently as last August, the IAAF expected bids from Eugene, Nassau, Bahamas and Kazan, Russia, but the latter two cities have since dropped out. Hayward Field is already the site of the 2012 Pac-12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships, May 12-13; the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, June 22-July 1; and the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. And of course the traditional Samsung Diamond League Prefontaine Classic fixture early June.



DUBLIN (IRL): Local media are informing that Moses Kangogo Kibet is preparing to put his 2010 title on the line as the Kenyan returns for the 2011 National Lottery Dublin Marathon this bank holiday Monday. Kangogo Kibet stormed over the finish line in Merrion Square last year setting a new course record with his time of 2.08.58. From other names Ben Maiyo holds the fastest personal best time (2.07.09) of all the elites who will line out on Monday but Gilbert Chepkwony has 2:08:33 from winning Kosice last year. Leading the women's entry is Shuru Diriba Dulume of Ethiopia who ran 2.28.26 at the Dubai Marathon in 2009. Three Russian athletes have also entered, as has Halalia Yohannes of Namibia who ran 2.33.26 for second place in Dublin in 2009.



MARSEILLE (FRA): The French classic race from Marseille to Cassis will celebrate on Sunday the 33rd edition. In total 15 000 runners are expected. Start is at the Stade Velodrome of Marseille and finish at Port de Cassis. At the 20.308 km distance African runners as in past year are the favorites. Since 1993 there are only male African winners of the race, women from Africa are leading the result lists only since 2006. Title defender Philemon Limo who won also the Prague Half Marathon this year is the main name to watch. Also to note Kenneth Kipkemoi who recently improved to sub 1 hour half in Valencia. Ethiopian challenge is headed by Regasa Tilahun with 59:19 personal best at HM. In women category Lydia Cheromei is also Prague HM winner with superb 1:07:33, her main Ethiopian rival is Atsede Bayisa, the Paris marathon winner in 2010. Course records 59:01 and 1:08:30 will be under threat.







BRUSSELS (BEL): The Belgian 4x400m team has returned from a five day adventure in Iceland. The team, under the lead of Jacques Borlée en specialist Alain Hubert, faces winds up to 100km per hour and freezing temperatures of minus 20 degrees. All athletes came back healthy and enjoyed the adventure reports sporza.be.


LONDON (GBR): Production on the medals to be presented at next year's Olympics and Paralympics has begun at the Royal Mint headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales. A specially selected team of designers, technicians and craftsmen, who have been testing and refining the minting process to ensure every medal produced meets highly exacting specifications, will produce around 4,700 medals which will be awarded during the 805 Victory Ceremonies writes Insidethegames.


RIO DE JANEIRO (BRA): The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) laboratory in Rio de Janeiro is facing an investigation after it falsely reported that Brazilian beach volleyball player Pedro Solberg tested positive for doping. The facility in Rio is Brazil's only WADA-accredited laboratory and therefore expected to play a major role in testing samples from athletes at both the FIFA 2014 World Cup and also the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics reports Insidethegames.


LONDON (GBR): A groundbreaking new study into the benefits of mentoring for athletes involved in the On Camp with Kelly initiative could become a significant legacy for sportsmen and women post London 2012. After unveiling evidence which shows that 80 per cent of the athletes being mentored by Dame Kelly Holmes and her team have fared better than athletes of comparable ability outside the scheme, Dr Anna Waters added that interviews with runners had led to the formulation of a six-step mentoring model, which could be of general use in sport beyond next year's Olympics. The six key areas, ranked by athletes in order of importance, are securing a mentor, training with other comparable athletes, effective preparation, learning about fitness, organising realistic goals and staying healthy through a combination of diet, exercise, and mental and physical work.


BUCURESTI (ROU): Romanian media are informing that middle distance runner and European Indoor 2005 medalist Corina Dumbravean will remain banned for life. She challenged that decision at Swiss Federal Court after her appeal was not accepted by CAS. The sports tribunal decided to keep the penalty imposed by Romanian National Anti-Doping Agency. CAS made its verdict on July 26 and in October Swiss Federal Court dismissed the appeal. She was first banned for EPO for two years 2007-2009. In March 2010 her sample from another control showed suspicious nature and there were also problems with another test in May 2010. This proceedings were considered as another failure and the second ban was for life.


NEW YORK (USA): New York City Marathon impresario Fred Lebow and nine-time champion Grete Waitz will be inducted posthumously into the NYRR Hall of Fame as its inaugural class, it was announced by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. The pair will be officially inducted and have their Hall of Fame banners raised at the ING New York City Marathon finish line in Central Park at the Marathon Opening Ceremony on Friday evening, November 4. The Opening Ceremony will also feature the Parade of Nations, and is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Organizers are informing in a release. Allan Steinfeld will represent Lebow and Waitz's husband, Jack, will appear on her behalf at the induction ceremony.


PORTSMOUTH (GBR): Kenyan Leonard Komon after narrowly missing Haile Gebrselassie's World best performance for 10 miles last month is prepared but cautious about lowering the mark at the Bupa Great Run in Portsmouth on Sunday. Komon who already holds the World records for 10 kilometers and 15km was only four seconds shy of the time of 44:23 belonging to the legendary Ethiopian star in Zaandam, Holland. That prompted speculation the gifted 23-year-old Kenyan who will be contesting his first ever road race in the United Kingdom over a very flat course acknowledged as being one of the fastest in the world, could achieve the feat at the south coast venue. „After seeing the course on Saturday , it will be possible to make a prediction," said his agent Marc Corstjens, revealing the cool and wet conditions in Zaandam saw Komon lose valuable seconds in the closing stages of the race. The women's race will headline Ethiopia's Asselefech Mergia a former IAAF World Championships half marathon silver medalist and Kenya's reigning Commonwealth Marathon champion Irene Jerotich. Informs David Martin.


MONACO (MON): It will be first year since 1973 without World Cross Country Championships. The global terrain event is going into two year cycle. IAAF confirms that the series of 12 individual meetings which make up the calendar of the IAAF Cross Country Permit Events 2011/12 season will kick off in Atapuerca, Spain, on Sunday 13 November 2011. New meetings in the circuit are Soria in Spain and Italian San Giorgio. Not part of IAAF series in comparison with last season will be Oeiras in Portugal and Fukuoka in Japan. Over the course of the next four-and-a-half months, many of the world's finest middle and long distance runners will be taking part in the series that traverses three continents before its conclusion at the 81st edition of the Cinque Mulini, the oldest Cross Country Permit meeting, in San Vittore Olona, Italy, on Sunday 18 March 2012. Besides the now-legendary Cinque Mulini race, several other stops on the tour will also be celebrating notable milestones. The first of the two Italian stops in the series, the Cross Country Internazionale Campaccio in San Giorgio su Legnano, will mark its 55th edition on Friday 6 January. The Cross Internacional de Itálica near Seville, the third of three meetings in Spain, will celebrate its 30th birthday on Sunday, 15 January. And in Albufeira, Portugal, the gun will sound the start for the 35th edition on Sunday 26 February. The dates: Nov 13 Atauperca, Nov 20 Soria, Dec 12 Brussels, Jan 6 San Giorgio, Jan 7 Edinburgh, Jan 15 Seville, Feb 12 Diekirch, Feb 12 Chiba, Feb 18 Nairobi, Feb 26 Albufeira, Mar 18 San Vitore.







AL AIN (UAE, Oct 26-27): 17th Arab Athletics Championship started here with 18 Arab countries represented. Difficult to find results. Algerian Issam Nima won the triple jump (16.41). Bahraini Shamma Mubarak won the women 5000 m, Moroccan Aziz Ouhadi won the 100 m, Hamid Ezzine the men´s steeple. The event will continue until Saturday.







GUADALAJARA (MEX): The 44.71 excellent NJR of Luguelin Santos of Dominican Republic is not an Area junior record. That goes of course to Kirani James of Grenada.

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