Drake & Penn Relays Means: Relay o Mana this week! News by Alfons Juck, Notes by Larry Eder

Merritt, Parchment, Richardson, 2012 London Olympic Games, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

Otto, Lavillenie, Hozldeppe, 2012 London Olympics, Pole Vault, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

Jenn Suhr, 2012 AVIVA Birmingham Meeting, photo by PhotoRun.net

This coming weekend in the US is a huge weekend of track & field. Track fans will be able to see both the Drake Relays and Penn Relays on TV this weekend as well. In Drake, the Hy-Vee Supermarket chain is in their first of five years, bringing 18 London Olympic medalists to Des Moines, Iowa.

The Penn Relays, sponsored by Nike, and USATF, has some amazing relay teams this year. RBR is putting Penn on the schedule for 2014. 



DES MOINES (USA): Des Moines will play host to nearly 8000 track and field athletes this week as they gather to compete in the 2013 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee. The 104th edition of America's Athletic Classic will feature world's finest elite, collegiate and high school competitors in 111 events over the course of six days of competition. Highlighting the action inside Drake Stadium will be 13 London Games Rematches that will pit 2012 Olympic medalists and finalists against each in a rematch of last summer's Olympic competition. In addition to bragging rights, those world-class athletes are also competing for a 50 000 USD purse in running events and a 25 000 USD purse in field events, both among the biggest purses offered in the world. Seven of those London Games Rematches will be staged on Friday night as part of Hy-Vee Night at the Relays. 2012 Olympic medalists scheduled to compete during Hy-Vee Night at the Relays include Aries Merritt (110mH - Gold), Jason Richardson (110mH - Silver), Hansle Parchment (110mH - Bronze), Michael Tinsley (400mH - Silver), Javier Culson (400mH - Bronze), Maryam Jamal (1,500m - Bronze), Lugelin Santos (400m - Silver), Lalonde Gordon (400m - Bronze), Jenn Suhr (Pole Vault - Gold), Yarisley Silva (Pole Vault - Silver), Brittney Reese (Long Jump - Gold) and Janay DeLoach (Long Jump - Bronze). Saturday then includes six London rematches. Olympian and crowd-favorite Lolo Jones stepping into the blocks for the women's 100-meter hurdles London Rematch at 2:46 p.m. She'll race against silver medalist Dawn Harper and bronze medalist Kellie Wells. Other 2012 Olympic medalists scheduled for Saturday competitions include Zuzana Hejnova (400mH - Bronze), Christian Taylor (Triple Jump - Gold), Renaud Lavillenie (Pole Vault - Gold), Bjorn Otto (Pole Vault - Silver) and Reese Hoffa (Shot Put - Silver).



PHIILADELPHIA (USA): Before the start of the 119th Penn Relays, USATF announced an updated relay pool for the USA vs. The World Events on Saturday. In the men 4x100m it will be a USA vs. Jamaica showdown with Justin Gatlin, Trell Kimmons, Ryan Bailey, Doc Patton and Jeff Demps running for USA. Other U.S. men in the relay pool include: current world leader Mike Rodgers and Wallace Spearmon. The Jamaican team will include Nesta Carter of the 2012 Olympic gold medal relay, along with Jason Young, Kimari Roach, Dexter Lee and Rasheed Dwyer. Other international challengers include: the Bahamas, Canada, France, Germany, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. With a world record to their name, the Team USA women in 4x100 m will be hard to beat. The record setting relay lineup of Allyson Felix, Tianna Bartoletta, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter. The U.S. has plenty of depth to fill in case Jeter will not be available with the likes of Chelsea Hayes, Jeneba Tarmoh and Alexandria Anderson. The U.S. and Jamaican rivalry will be strong in this event as Jamaica brings three members of their silver medal Olympic team with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart. The international field will also include: the Bahamas, Canada, Germany, Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago. It will be a gold medal reunion with 2012 Olympic gold medalists Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix, DeeDee Trotter and Francena McCorory in the relay pool for Team USA. Olympians Keshia Baker, Natasha Hastings and Mary Wineburg will also strengthen the U.S. lineup. Internationally, Team USA will face the United Kingdom, Russia, Nigeria, Jamaica, Canada and the Bahamas. While Russia took silver in London, none of the medalists will be competing this weekend; however, Jamaica will send three members of its bronze medal team with Christine Day, Shericka Williams and Novlene Mills. Team USA will face a tough challenge in the men's 4x400m with the gold medal quartet of Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller from the Bahamas traveling to Franklin Field. Also challenging for the win will be the Caribbean All-Stars team led by Olympic champions Kirani James and Felix Sanchez. Team USA will feature Olympic silver medalists Tony McQuay and Manteo Mitchell. While LaShawn Merritt was injured and unable to run in the 4x400m in London, he will run his first relay since last year's USA vs. The World. Other members of the Team USA relay pool include: Bershawn Jackson, Jeshua Anderson and Jamaal Torrance. Team USA's 2012 Olympic 800m trio of Alysia Montano, Geena Gall and Alice Schmidt will all be on hand for the new event women 4x800 m. They will face strong squads from Canada, Ethiopia, Kenya, Russia and the United Kingdom. The U.S. men look strong with 2012 Olympians Bernard Lagat, Nick Symmonds, Duane Solomon and Andrew Wheating in the medley relay pool. They will go up against deep fields from the United Kingdom, Morocco, Kenya, Ireland, Ethiopia, Canada and Australia. From the USATF.



LOS ANGELES (USA): Olympic winner Allyson Felix plans three events for Moscow World Championships. „I want to be in both relays and in the 200 m there," she said. She won 3 golds in this same events already at Olympic Games. As this time she is not the title defender from Daegu she must qualify at US Championships in the 200 m.



JOHNSON CITY (USA): Chris Layne, agent of 100 m world champion Carmelita Jeter, points out that the recent article in Jamaican media about her situation is not correct. „Coach John Smith said that he never spoke to anybody. So I am not sure where this information came from. Carmelita Jeter was never scheduled for Doha and while still a little sore from the cramp she sustained at MtSAC Relays, is planning to join her teammates on Team USA at Penn Relays," says Layne.







ROTTACH-EGERN (GER): Olympic silver winner in pole vault Bjorn Otto confirmed two more meets in Germany recently. First in Ratingen on May 20 (together with Raphael Holzdeppe who is Olympic bronze medalist) and then a special meet on July 13 in Rottach-Egern.


KINGSTON (JAM): Six more Jamaican athletes have been confirmed for a Penn Relays lineup that already includes double Olympic 100m champion Shelley Ann Fraser Pryce. The six are all athletes of the MVP Track Club, Nesta Carter, Sherone Simpson, Kaliese Spencer, Shericka Williams, Anneisha McLaughlin and Christine Day, according to the club. The events in which the seven will compete have not yet been made public but it's expected that Fraser-Pryce will lead the women's sprint relay team, which should include Simpson. Informs Jamaica Observer.


ROMA (ITA): Italian Antidoping National Tribunal banned walker and 2008 Olympic winner Alex Schwazer for 3 years and 6 months. He tested positive for recombinant erythropoietin in July 30 last year. It will end on January 30, 2016. Schwazer must also pay the cost of the proceedings worth 5500 Euro.


MONTREAL (CAN): Athletics Canada's Canadian Half Marathon Championship is set for this Sunday April 28 in Montreal with a number of elites eying a national title. Headlining the men's and women's elite fields are Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene. The half marathon national championship is held in conjunction with Canada Running Series' Banque Scotia 21k.


MOSCOW (RUS): This Saturday Russian Marathon Championships will be held in Moscow. It will be also a important test before the World Championships as the runners will use the same route as in August. Start in Sports Complex of Luzhniki and competitors will return to the same place. National standards for the World Championships team are 2:13 and 2:30. Main favorite in the men race is 2010 European medalist Dmitriy Safronov.







PATIALA (IND, Apr 23): The 17th Federation Cup in India started with 5000 m win for Nitender Singh in 13:55.28. The 27-year-old Asian Games silver medallist Kavita Raut was an easy winner over 10 000m in 35:30.21. National 110 m hurdles record holder Siddanth Thingalaya won the 100 m sprint in 10.55. Renjith Maheswari topped the triple jump 16.65.


JOHANNESBURG (RSA, Apr 22): More results from Varsity meet. Gideon Trotter clocked 20.83 in the 200 m, PC Beneke 49.49 at 400 m hurdles. World leader Zarck Visser again confirmed top long jump shape with 816 (+0.9) win. Correct time for Wayde Van Niekerk at 400 m was 45.42.







PRINCETON (USA): Peter Matthews writes that New Zealand hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe is not a junior by world rules. NZ call juniors under-20 by age and she was born in June 1993.

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