Archive for September, 2011

Jodie Williams claims the European U20 100m title in a UK U20 record of 11.18 secs

British teenage sprint sensation Jodie Williams has added to the already wealthy silverware on her sideboard, as well as to her birthday presents turning 18 on Wednesday, as she has topped the 2011 women’s European Athletics Rising Star award charts for the season on a respective voting conducted by European Athletics among federations, media and fans.

Mike McFarlane’s charge finished ahead of Dutch multi-event wondergirl Dafne Schippers (HOL), a superb sprinter as well, and breathtaking Russian 7m long jumper Darya Klishina, whose chances may have been dealt a blow after a disappointing final in Daegu, to become the first British female winner of the constitution since Steph Twell in 2008.

The award shapes a fitting top-off to a season that saw her clinch a superb sprint double at the European U20 Championships in Tallinn, setting a UK U20 record of 11.18 secs over 100m (0.5m/sec) in the process, as well as marginally missing out on a first international senior medal at her tender age by a mere hundredth of a second in the women’s 60m during the European Indoor Championships in Paris last March. The previous UK national marker of 11.24 secs also belonged to her from last summer.

Her only complaint out of a sublime campaign may have been that she didn’t get to improve on her last season PB of 22.79 secs over 200m, as well as beating Kathy Cook‘s long-standing U20 record of 22.70 (1979), as she ran into strong headwinds or wet turfs most of the time, setting 22.94 secs into a -1.5m/sec in winning the 200m in Tallinn and 22.95 secs into a -1.1m/sec at Crystal Palace two weeks later. But she has still got one more season on her side to accomplish that as well.

Distance girl Charlie Purdue occupied 13th place in the list despite missing the entire summer following surgery in May.

European Athletics Rising Star Top 5

1.Jodie Williams (GBR), 2.Dafne Schippers (NED), 3.Darya Klishina (RUS), 4.Angelica Bengtsson (SWE), 5.Maria Kushina (RUS)


Jack Green snatches European U23 gold ahead of Nathan Woodward in the final few strides in Ostrava

Jack Green, turning 20 next Thursday, fared well himself to make a creditable sixth in the respective men’s lists, topped not surprisingly by new shot world champion David Storl (GER). The guru Malcolm Arnold-coached athlete hit the peak of his season when he pipped fellow Briton Nathan Woodward over the last few strides coming from well behind off the final hurdle in 49.13 against 49.28 secs in a dramatic final at the European U20 Championships in Ostrava, enjoying also two excellent fourth places in his inaugural couple of outings in the glamorous setting of the Diamond League series.

In his latest appearance, he sneaked under 49 secs for the first time ever in 48.98 secs at Crystal Palace, shaping his current PB.

European Athletics Rising Star Top 5

1.David Storl (GER), 2.Pawel Wojciechowski (POL), 3.Jimmy Vicaut (FRA), 4.Adam Kszczot (POL), 5.Zigimunds Sirmais (LAT), 6.Jack Green (GBR)


On the occasion of Sebastian Coe‘s birthday today, it would be most fitting to hold a little feature on maybe the greatest ever middle distance runner to grace the track in athletics history, still steering and influencing the fortunes of the sport in the country to a large extent from high-placed quarters nowadays.

Sebastian Newbold Coe, as is his full name, was born on 29 September 1956 in London and during his amazing running career he set no less than 11 individual world records, eight outdoors and three indoors, over distances from 800m through to the mile, as well as anchoring a 4x800m British outfit comprising also Steve Cram, Peter Elliott and Gary Cook to a twelfth global mark in a superb 1:44.03 leg in 1982. No other Briton has ever neared those dizzy numbers.

Every bit as magnificent, he also makes the most successful British Olympian in track and field as he has won two individual golds and two silvers, the only man to have won the 1500m title twice and on the trot at that. Come to that, his winning time of 3:32.53 ahead of then world champion Cram in Los Angeles in 1984 still stands as the fastest time ever recorded in an Olympia 27 years on. On top of that, Coe never failed to make the podium in every single event he has contested in major championships to provide a further measure of his athletic grandeur.

His one and only coach during his entire career was his late father Peter Coe, the man who changed the course of history in terms of middle distance training. Strangely enough, while the Africans, in particular the Moroccans, embraced his training principles and concepts to produce scores of classy runners over the last three decades, the Britons seem to have largely deserted his ideas.

Sebastian Coe still continues to claim races and win titles in other regions of athletics these days as the man who spearheaded London’s winning campaign over next year’s Olympic Games, as well as being one of the four vice presidents of IAAF.

Here are some of his greatest running moments:

Coe sets three world records in 41 days to soar to the very top of global athletics in 1979, named athlete of the year; he destroys Alberto Juantorena‘s 800m milestone by nearly a second in 1:42.33 in Oslo, becomes the first man to dip under 3:49 in a time of 3:48.95 over the mile and edges inside the 1500m world record in 3:32.03 in Zurich.

The ‘Clash of the Titans’ with Steve Ovett in Moscow Olympics in 1980. Astonishingly enough, he loses the race he couldn’t lose due to poor tactics, the 800m, but stages an amazing rally to end Ovett’s over three-year unbeaten run over 1500m later that week – his first Olympic crown. The following year, the two engage in a memorable battle over the claim to the mile world record, which shifts hands between them three times within a few weeks with Coe eventually on the winning end courtesy of an astonishing 3:47.33 in Brussels.

He was named athlete of the year for a second time in his career having also slashed another chunk off the 800m world record to an astonishing 1:41.73, which still remains third fastest time in history 30 years on, and well over a second off his own mark into a dazzling 2:12.18 over 1000m (1:44.56 through 800m), second fastest ever still.

Olympics 1984 in Los Angeles, Coe suffers defeat at the hands of great Brasilian Joakim Cruz in 1:43.74 to 1:43.00 in the 800m but again digs deep into his resources to come back and claim an unprecedented second Olympic title in the 1500m over world champion Steve Cram in style, setting an Olympic record of 3:32.53 in the process.

Coe is not the favourite this time round but Cram, on top of his own game, to win the European title in Stuttgart in 1986 but builds up fabulously round the top bend to storm past his great rival and rising Scot Tom McKean down the home straight to gold in 1:44.50.

Patrick Makau conquers top of the world in an awesome world record of 2h03:38 in Berlin

You can never dismiss Paula Radcliffe, can you? She has made several miraculous comebacks against the odds through her outstanding career but maybe this one could go down as the hardest and most daring to date, shaking off a dismal display in the streets of London in late May and a last couple of seasons deep in the shadows to firmly restore her game back into the thick of affairs. That demands some courage, grit and class to pull off and she showed them all!

Much to virtually everyone’s surprise, she even dared challenge stride for stride a flowing debutant Florence Kiplagat (KEN), as if driven by her predator competitive instict rather than the particular dictates of the race, over the first 12km at a pace around low 2h20 which could have spelled suicide to her hopes – even herself admitted pre-race that this was very much of a journey in the dark. But her gamble paid off to drive her out into the light.

Florence Kiplagat runs away with victory in the ninth fastest time ever as Paula Radcliffe secures that much needed Olympic qualifying A standard some way behind

The Kenyan did finally break away to move through the gears into an overwhelming victory in 2h19:44, second fastest this term and ninth all-time over the distance, but the Brit held her ground in resilient fashion all along even though her pace was slightly dropping off. In the end, she had to give way only to fast-finishing Irina Mikitenko (GER), runner-up in a SB of 2h22:18, in the late stages but gritted her teeth to a classy 2h23:46 to nail that much needed A qualifying standard and revive her Olympic dream and challenge.

For she may have lost convincingly on the day but her rivals must have paid heed to her remarkable recovery of form as they know that 10 months is a sufficient enough spell for her to get back on the very top of her game, entertaining them all on her home ground in London in the battle for the Olympic crown next summer.

23-year-old Ethiopian Atsede Habdamu could very well claim the title of the most consistent performer of the year as she crept a second inside her PB in 2h24:25, occupying the 4th slot again as in Dubai in January.

For good measure, Radcliffe’s time was her fastest since her 2h23:09 in the Big Apple in 2007 and the best by a Brit since Mara Yamauchi’s 2h:23.12 in 2009. Among the other British girls coming home a long way behind, Amy Whitehead knocked off nearly four minutes to a new best of 2h35:39 in 14th place and Becky Penty removed close to six minutes from her own to a new figure of 2h36:19 for 17th.

The limelight, though, was dominated by that amazing runner Patrick Makau and he merited every ouche of it as he stormed to a new world record of 2h03:38, slashing a sound 21 secs off the previous landmark. Despite the imperious figure of the Emperor Haile Gebrselassie in the field, the very owner up to the race, the Kenyan was apparently struggling to rein in his pace and was itching to go as the leading pack breezed midway through in 61:44, and when he went around the 26th km he really let it rip and wasn’t to be caught.

Like Radcliffe, ‘Gebre’ was riding pretty much on a flatline matching the Kenyan’s every stride; but unlike the Briton, he didn’t take his foot off the gas the slightest and when he tried to contain Makau’s break he turned over swiftly a kilometre later. He had to momentarily drop out with breathing problems only to rush back in to the chase of the Kenyan a minute or so later, but was eventually forced to throw in the towel around the 35th to a bitter ending to his quest for an Olympic qualifier.

In the wake of a rampant Makau, pacemaker Stephen Chemlany felt inspired to hang on to second in 2h07:55, a smashing PB, and Edwin Kimaiyo made it a clean sweep for the Kenyan contingent in 2h09:50, also a big PB.

Not far off behind them reeled out the other, even more astonishing, successful British story of the event that even the finest of scriptwriters would have struggled to come up with. Scott Overall, wavering between distances for seasons, on his debut and on a bumpy ride in the run-up, got off to a sizzling pace around 2h09 that might have set some alarms going early but, to everyone’s astonishment, kept feeling and going strong on and on to pull off the unthinkable eventually. He did not only finish a smashing fifth and top non-African… Overall, but also came to clinch a massive Olympic A qualifier of 2h10:55 which very much equates to half a berth on the British Olympic team.

Of course, there is a long way ahead and many can happen but one thing the Blackheath runner hasn’t got to worry about is necessarily racing over the distance again or chasing a time up to the Olympics, which is a considerable edge over his compatriots in the race for spots in London. By the way, his debut time constitutes the fastest clocking by a Briton since Thomas Abyu‘s 2h10:37 in 2007 in Dublin.

Former steeplechaser Ben Whitby came 11th in 2h16:27 (SB) and Tony Ford was 18th in 2h17:16 (SB) among other Britons behind.


Men 1.Patrick Makau (KEN) 2h03:38 (WR, AR, PB), 2.Stephen Chemlany (KEN) 2h07:55 (PB), 3.Edwin Kimaiyo (KEN) 2h09:50 (PB), 4.Felix Limo (KEN) 2h10:38 (SB), 5.Scott Overall (GBR) 2h10:55 (PB), …, 11.Ben Whitby (GBR) 2h16:27 (SB), 17.Anthony Ford (GBR) 2h17:16 (SB), 21.Andi Jones (GBR) 2h18:34 (SB)

Women 1.Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 2h19:44 (PB), 2.Irina Mikitenko (GER) 2h22:18 (SB), 3.Paula Radcliffe (GBR) 2h23:46 (SB), 4.Atsede Habdamu (ETH) 2h24:25 (PB), 5.Tatyana Petrova (RUS) 2h25:01 (PB), …, 14.Amy Whitehead (GBR) 2h35:39 (PB), 17.Becky Penty (GBR) 2h36:19 (PB)


Post-race news

***Kenyan Olympic Selection Poser – Over 150 men and 50 women led by the likes of Patrick Makau and Mary Keitanyhave obtained the Olympic qualifying marks so far in Kenya giving selectors a nice ‘heavy’ headache in view of London.

***Patrick Makau’s new marathon world record reignites the question of how fast man can go

***Haile Gebrselassie turns his sights on Dubai

After a long summer of relentless pulsating action of athletics, we’re going to need to get used to some more ‘spare’ menus over the following few months as far as the new indoor season gets underway in January. Not that this is necessarily bad as everyone around could use a little break, turn our attention on other things and come back with a sharpened up appetite for more after New Year. As of this weekend, it is going to be mainly road, and later cross-country, events that are going to entertain us in the meantime and there are a few big affairs lined up over the next couple of days like the 5th Avenue Mile in New York and the Berlin Marathon, featuring Paula Radcliffe on her return to top notch racing as she attemps to revive her Olympic dream, tomorrow. So let’s catch up with the action as it shapes up around:

5th Avenue Mile, New York, USA, September 24

Great Bernard Lagat (USA) wrapped up a fabulous season of the highest quality in style as he convincingly knocked last year’s winner Amine Laalou (MAR) off  his  prestigious seat by well over a second in a time of 3:50.5 to 3:51.7, the fastest winning time on the course since Aussie Craig Mottram‘s 3:49.9 in 2005. For that matter, Kiwi Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis also set 3:50.5 winning the 2008 edition of the race.

Third was a surprisingly strong David Torrence (USA) in a fast 3:52.4 to hold off astounding compatriot Jeff See who ended up just outside the top three in an excellent 3:52.9. By contrast, noted Kenyan Boaz Lalang sank way down the field in 14th place slightly inside 4 mins (3:59.1).


1.Bernard Lagat (USA) 3:50.5, 2.Amin Laalou (MAR) 3:51.7, 3.David Torrence (USA) 3:52.4, 4.Jeff See (USA) 3:52.9, 5.Craig Miller (USA) 3:54.4, 6.Jon Rankin (USA) 3:54.7, 7.Gareth Heath (USA) 3:55.3, 8.Jeff Riseley (AUS) 3:56.6, 9.Haron Lagat (KEN) 3:57.0, 10.Anthony Famiglietti (USA) 3:57.1, …, 14.Boaz Lalang (KEN) 3:59.1, 17.Nick Symmonds (USA) 4:04.9

Bernard Lagat lays down his law in the men’s mile

World 1500m champion Jenny Simpson, a former steeplechaser, topped off a nearly surreal campaign to winning ways in the women’s version in 4:22.3 as she edged out Sally Kipyego (KEN) and Hannah England, who finished tied for second and third in 4:22.6, although the anticipated challenge of Diamond League winner Morgan Uceny surprisingly never really took shape, coming a distant sixth in 4:26.2 . The winner’s time was the fastest since Lisa Dobriskey‘s 4:18.6 shortly after the Beijing Olympics in 2008 come to that.

England, for her part, must be feeling pleased to wrap up a wonder season on a high with yet another high-profile top three placing to bolster up her foothold in the top tier of the middle distances on the global stage. As a matter of fact, what a trio of milers could Britain field in London if England, Dobriskey, Steph Twell, who made a low-key return to racing this weekend, and Charlene Thomas are all healthy and on top of their game!

Shannon Rowbury, the winner of the previous two occasions, endured a modest display to trail home seventh in 4:27.0 where Daegu ‘chase finalist Barbara Parker enjoyed an encouraging run in 4:31.7 to round out the top ten.


1.Jenny Simpson (USA) 4:22.3, 2.Sally Kipyego (KEN) 4:22.6, 3.Hannah England (GBR) 4:22.6, 4.Ingvill Makestad Bovim (NOR) 4:24.6, 5.Susan Kuijken (HOL) 4:25.5, 6.Morgan Uceny (USA) 4:26.2, 7.Shannon Rowbury (USA) 4:27.0, 8.Sarah Hall (USA) 4:29.1, 9.Brenda Martinez (USA) 4:29.6, 10.Barbara Parker (GBR) 4:31.7, …, 14.Alysia Montano (USA) 4:34.0, 20.Maggie Vessey (USA) 4:44.5

Jenny Simpson tops off a fairytale season winning the women’s mile with Hannah England just pipped on the line for a still excellent third

Course map

IAAF Report


Luckwell hits Olympic A qualifier in the javelin

Merwyn Luckwell, the former rugby player that has turned a javelin thrower, picked up where he left off last weekend to launch his spear to a stunning PB of 83.52m and gain a sound foothold well inside the Olympic A qualifying territory, backed up with his second furthest throw ever of 82.92m in the process. That took place at a low-profile meet in Wales as the 26-year-old smashed his previous best of 81.05m dating back to early 2009 at the European Winter Long Throws Champs at Compiegne (France) and added almost three metres to his SB of 80.60m.

On top of that, Luckwell moves up two places into sixth in the British all-time lists with the new specification while his new lifetime mark is the best landed by a Briton since Nick Nieland, who has made a coy return to action himself this season, set 84.70m in Riga (Letonia) in 2006. Needless to say, he has as good as put one foot in the Olympic team as only James Campbell and maybe Lee Doran look capable of reaching the A standard next summer of the other javelin throwers around the country. Though that could well be subject to change.

Also noteworthy was Richard Shuttleworth‘s substantial PB of 72.52, improving from 71.61m last  weekend, to narrowly miss out on the domestic U20 rankings top held by Joe Dunderdale a mere 3cm higher. Both today performers train under Esa Utriainen.


International Race Walking Naumburg, Naumburg, Germany, September 24

Alex Wright, still 20, walked to a big SB and UK-leading mark of 1h26:42 over 20km to overtake groupmate Tom Bosworth, a SB of 1h27:18m, to the top of the domestic rankings this season, improving from 1h28:07 in Lugano (Switzerland) last March. Both athletes train under Andy Drake by the way.

Irishman Brendan Boyce secured the Olympic A qualifying standard as he clocked a solid 3h57:58 over the far longer tough 50km distance.

Start-lists & Results


Thompson back in good shape in the streets of London

Chris Thompson, the European 10000m silver medalist, showed that he is well back on track as he set a massive PB of 62:11 for third over the Run To The Beat half marathon held mainly round the streets of Lambeth and Greenwich in South London yesterday. According to a tweet by Jemma Simpson it was done in a so-called ‘tempo run’ which makes the display even more impressive, a nice confidence boost after missing Daegu despite a superb start to the season.

Two Kenyans, not anything unusual, finished ahead of him in Milton Kiplagat Rotich (61:19) and Edwin Kipyego (61:57) while their compatriot Alice Mogire impressed with a 69:51 clocking as first woman home.



SEAA Road Relays, Aldershot, 24-25 September

The event marked the low-key return of Steph Twell to action for the first time since suffering that freak injury over cross-country in Belgium last winter and the apparent good news is that she has come off in one piece and unscathed, which may have been presumably her main goal testing her leg over its response in racing conditions.

For that matter, Charlie Purdue showed a sharp return to form as she clocked easily the fastest leg of the day in 12:15, a three seconds faster than last year when she was flying on every surface at this stage.

Both athletes are coached by Mick Woods for good measure.

Fastest legs

1.Charlotte Purdue (U23) 12:15, 2.Emelia Gorecka 12:48, 3.Jess Peterson 12:48,…, 7.Emma Pallant (U23) 13:01, 8.Steph Twell (U23) 13:03


Heslop draws the eye in Swansea

Justina Heslop has remained firm on a trail into new territories as she edged the Swansea Bay 10km in a lifetime best of 32:40 ahead of Kenyan Edith Chelimo (32:48), an 71:21 half-marathon performer this term, to slash 31 secs off her previous marker. Incidentally, she recently set also a best of 73:12 over the half-marathon in the Czech Republic.

Gemma Steel was third in 33:47 and veteran now triathlete Andrea Whitcombe, who was fourth at the 1990 World U20 Championships over 3000m, fourth in 33:53.

On the men’s side, Phil Wicks was second in 29:43 to Kenyan Edwin Kipkorir, who clocked 29:29 some way ahead, with Ben Tickner third in 30:14 and U23 Welshman Dewi Griffiths fourth in 30:22.


Dylan Arm-strong, sometimes names aren’t so coincidental, has wrapped up easily his best ever season in the ring to winning ways as he sneaked victory over Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski (POL) by a mere 3cm in Warsaw on Tuesday, registering 88.67 to 88.64m respectively after surviving a late onslaught by the Pole.

On most likely double-checking these figures, they are no typos whatsoever but the actual distances attained by the heavyweights, former world champion Christian Cantwell (USA) not far off behind in third with 87.24m. Nor had the contenders grown into any mythical cyclops or giants of the long past to toy with the iron-cast implements like baseballs.

Actually, that was a way-out shot competition laid on for the occasion that incorporated some special features as eight rounds rather than the conventional six were available to the throwers. But it was getting more complicated from there on. Each couple of rounds were taken with an implement of different weight, moving top-down from the overweight 8kgr through the standard senior 7.26, the U20 standard 6 and finally 5kgr. And there was more to that as only the best put with each weight counted towards a total that eventually determined the final placings of competitors.

It was Cantwell that emerged top of the first couple of rounds (8kgr) with a mighty 20.27m to the Canadian’s 20.03m and Majewski’s 19.75m, extending his lead through a 21.42m with the standard senior shot to 41.69m in all. Armstrong got a best of 21.23m to follow in second with 41.26m and Majewski mustered 20.86m for third at 40.51m.

For all his ascendancy with the heavier standards, the American giant slightly faltered as the weights lowered to return only 22.71m (total 64.40m) compared to the Canadian’s 23.26m (total 64.52) to creep ahead and the Pole’s 23.15m (63.66) with the U20 implement (6kgr).

The final two rounds (5kgr) saw Armstrong reach 24.15m in his last effort to seemingly place the spoils beyond reach as Cantwell slipped to just 22.81m, light weights turning out not his specialty. Yet, that was to prove barely enough moments later as Majewski stepped into the ring to unleash a monster of 24.88m in the very last attempt of the contest and almost steal an unlikely win. But there was still 3cm left to spare between them and the world bronze medalist could breathe a big sigh of relief at the end.


Montell Douglas ended off her own season on a pleasant note as she got another late lower-key international win under her belt in 11.52 ahead of season revelation Anyika Onuora (11.57) for a British one-two in the women’s 100m (0.8m/sec), a confidence boost and a glimmer of hope as the UK record holder is endeavouring to recapture her form of old. Never-die great Merlene Ottey was fourth in a SB of 11.84 secs as she plans to bid for one more appearance in an Olympic Games next summer having turned an astonishing 51!

Montell Douglas wins the women’s 100m ahead of Anyika Onuora and living legend Merlene Ottey

The Polish head-to-head in the men’s 800m never really happened as Adam Kszczot walked away with the win by a huge margin of precisely four seconds in 1:45.48 on runner-up Marcin Lewandowski, the European champion, who set an uncharacteristic 1:49.48.

Global champion Tatyana Lysenko maintained a solid hold on procedures through the women’s hammer to convincingly hold off former world record holder and home favourite Anita Wlodarczyk with 72.19 to 71.02m, bolstering up a sound run of displays in her comeback season to the top, while Olympic champion Gerd Kanter (EST) showed that he is always a force to reckon with as he carved out a very late fifth-round SB of 67.99m to move fifth in the global lists and overtake the top marker thereof Zoltan Kovago (HUN), second at 66.69m.

European champion Piotr Malachowski (POL) remained relatively quiet to come fourth at 63.93m way behind the two.


As she is squaring up for one of the toughest tests of her career, Paula Radcliffe has tasted an unexpected disappointment at the news that her world record of 2h15:25 set in London in 2003 will be no longer standing as such according to the new move and criteria thereof of IAAF on road racing, which rules that only performances from all-female competitions will be acknowledged henceforth.

Paula Radcliffe sets an extraterrestrial 2h15:25 world record in London 2003 – how can one knock such a performance off the limelight?

While that makes sense with regard to track racing, how fair is it really on the part of the world’s athletics governing body to very much put everything into the same kettle without taking into account the individualities and background of women’s road racing? Further, what a mess is to be so unnecessarily and unfairly brought about globewide when a large amount of area and national marks will be taken down.

Let alone the sense of injustice towards greats like Joan Benoit, late Grete Waitz and Ingrid Kristiansen who are likely to figure only on their major championships performances in the revamped official lists under the new regulations. Is it really what they deserve for what they have put into the sport?

For the best part of history, organisers held women road races along with men’s so it wasn’t a case of option to obtain a faster time but rather a matter of contemporary event set-up and way of things. Women didn’t choose to run in mixed races as it can happen on the track and their times were perfectly recognized. And still many events are held in such conditions nowadays.

Now, a common feature that runs through very much every legislation worldwide is that every case is judged on the laws and regulations that were in place at the time it came about, not retrospectively. Which is what is fair. IAAF instead have shown no consideration in that aspect and again come to stretch their authority at the expense of the athletes, current and past. They keep enforcing rules without asking anyone directly interested which is becoming annoying, such as the new false-start rule in the sprints that blew up in their faces in Daegu.But again, they won’t come out to admit they have messed up.

Radcliffe is still going to remain the world record holder as her time of 2h17:42, set also in London in 2005, will stand as a new ultimate mark but it won’t be the same. It’s as though taking something special away from her athletic greatness when the powers that be intend to set that breathtaking feat aside so thoughtlessly, one of the beacons and best ever performances witnessed in athletics.

There should be stressed, however, that neither the World Major Marathons nor Association of International Marathons have endorsed the new changes calling the new rule ‘unfair’ and stating that they will keep acknowledging both types of performances, mixed and all-female, until the matter is discussed with IAAF.

BBC Report

Berlin Marathon – a race of no turning back

On the competitive end, Radcliffe is faced with one of the most demanding challenges of her career as she is racing for the first time over a marathon in nearly two years in the setting of a super fast course in Berlin on Sunday with two specific goals in her mind, which she needs to balance properly into the race so that she comes off with flying colours. First, she has got to land a qualifying time and get that out of the way so that she can build up to London without distractions of any kind, and second, she needs to put in a competitive showing to let her rivals know that she is still around and is not to be discounted by any means, which may prove the hardest part.

Her return to racing over nearly four months ago at the BUPA London 10km was a disheartening spectacle so a big question mark will hang around over her form until the race starts hitting high gears and the pressure mounts in the late stages. She is vastly experienced and her mentality has never been an issue but even she may not know how much ground she has made since late May. Therefore, she might need to be a bit more conservative in her approach and keep leaning slightly more towards a solid time rather than chasing hard a top three placing as far as the final fourth of the distance; and once there she could go for more if she’s got enough left in the tank. A time around, say. 2h25 would be a solid comeback and nothing could be ruled out as concerns her last Olympic challenge, especially with 10 months yet to spare on London given her class.

UK 400m record holder Iwan Thomas, long retired now, took on Olympic rowing hopeful David Smith in a mimic rowing drill during an exhibition event on Trafalgar Square. The man has still got it in him and is always so competitive! I wonder whether they could arrange a re-match over 400m later! Check it out!

Following Yohan Blake‘s astounding display of 19.26 secs over 200m at the Ivo van Damme Memorial in Brussels last week, who emerges in your view as (even slight) favourite to claim the much coveted men’s 200m crown in the Olympics next summer in London? As a matter of fact, it could well turn into those rare occasions where the longer sprint overshadows the 100m as there may turn up even four contenders that could surge inside 19.5 secs by the look of things.

Usain Bolt is heading towards the Games as reigning champion and world record holder with that 19.19 secs in Berlin two years ago, having showed to have lost none of his potency in defending his global title in 19.40 secs in Daegu, but Blake’s run the other day was really scary. He got a modest reaction to the gun (0.269) and his bend could have arguably been better executed but still that surge down the home straight was enough to take him just 0.07 secs shy of Bolt’s ultimate mark. Let alone, of course, that he has sparcely competed over the distance this season so there looks to be plenty of scope left for him!

Tyson Gay has yet to contest the event in a major championships since winning the world title in Osaka in 2007 and has been sparingly racing over the distance likewise but his ‘straight’ 19.41 secs in the streets of Manchester last year offers a glimpse over what he is capable of. Finally, Walter Dix shouldn’t be written off under any circumstances. He ran 19.53 secs in Brussels and could have drawn into the 19.4s had he not let up towards the line, where he also made a mistake of his own coming off the bend. Therefore, he has got a very good platform to build on towards faster times next season.

Andy Turner in his latest part of his Turner Track tour series. Have a look!

The Great North City Games up in Gateshead, Tyneside, on Saturday followed by the Great North Run from Newcastle to South Shields (13.1 miles) today provide the main athletics attraction on British soil, while the international meeting Notturna di Milano in Milan (Italy), featuring some Britons in action, and the two-day multi-venture of Decastar in Talence headlined by Tatiana Chernova , trailing Olympic champion Natalya Dobrinska in the heptathon overnight, are the most important events around the continent this weekend. So let’s start picking up the action around:

Great North City Games, Newcastle Gateshead, Saturday 17 September

A large crowd turned out in the streets of a damp Gateshead to hail Daegu hero Mo Farah on his first outing since claiming gold over 5000m in Daegu and the world champion returned the welcome home by means of a romp to an easy victory over 2 miles in 8:37.72, pulling away from American Brian Olinger in the late stages to win by over four seconds. A household name after his heroics in Korea, the Briton is enjoying large acknowledgement and deep affections among people around the country and even received a standing ovasion when recently presented to the crowd during the interval of a game of his beloved Arsenal at the Emirates.

Mo Farah wins the 2 mile race in Gateshead

That was the one of only three wins of a depleted British team against seven of an always superior American outfit that boasted the likes of Carmelita Jeter, Jason Richardson, Dwight Phillips, Bernard Lagat and Walter Dix among their ranks as Hannah England employed her trademark kick to come away from a spirited Helen Clitheroe for a convincing victory over the women’s mile in 4:39.49 to 4:40.65 respectively, a fitting follow-up on her recent exploits on the international stage.

The global 1500m silver medalist has got a further race scheduled in a road rematch against Americans Jenny Simpson and Morgan Uceny in the 5th Avenue Mile in New York on Sunday before she calls time on her season.

Jenny Meadows, on a rare outing overdistance, came a decent fourth in 4:44.99 to split the American girls behind the top two but Emma Pallant could finish only last way adrift in 4:53.45, still looking to find her way.

Harry Aikines-Ayreety and Christian Malcolm made a second one-two for Britain in the men’s dash in 10.27 and 10.45 secs respectively (1.5m/sec) ahead of makeshift sprinters Jeff Porter (Tiffany‘s husband) and Omo Osaghae, over to the flat from the high hurdles. From there on, however, it was all USA across the board.

Fresh from an electrifying 19.53 over 200m behind Yohan Blake in Brussels the previous night, Walter Dix had bundles of pace in his legs to tear away to a sizzling 14.65 secs (1.4m/sec, 10.11 through 100m) for a striking victory over the rare ‘straight’ 150m, as Marlon Devonish set a British best ever in 14.87 secs (10.19 at 100m) well behind in second. Arguably, this looks to form the Briton’s best distance on the quality of his runs over the last couple of years but such a shame he cannot translate his times into the 200m, having lost that final third that could render him a real force on international level.

Rising young American Maurice Mitchell came third in 15.08 (10.22 at 100m) and James Ellington filled the last spot in a personal best of 15.18 (10.30 at 100m).

In the women’s version, new world 100m champion Carmelita Jeter made light work to dominate in 16.50 secs (1.5m/sec, 11.31 at 100m), a world best over a ‘straight’ 150m, as Anyika Onuora (16.90, 11.42 at 100m) and Abi Oyepitan (16.98, 11.48 at 100m) trailed a long way behind, with high hurdles Olympic champion Dawn Harper deputizing over the flat in 17.19 secs (11.62 at 100m).

Jason Richardson, the new world champion, demolished a field that involved last summer’s global topper David Oliver with aplomb in a fast 13.16 secs (0.7m/sec) to wrap up a sensational season in style, the latter setting 13.36 secs for runner-up – apparently carrying a complaint though. Britain’s Andy Turner hit a hurdle hard early into the race to stumble out of contention and eventually let up off the final flight in 14.08 secs for last as William Sharman swept past in 13.82 secs.

Elsewhere, Bernard Lagat romped to an easy victory over the men’s mile in 4:06.01, Andie Osagie third in an unfamiliar outing in 4:09.53, Dawn Harper and Danielle Carruthers were a couple of gears up on the British girls in fast 12.73 and 12.77 secs over the women’s sticks (0.3m/sec) while young Holly Bleasdale struggled once again at the end of a very long season to come second over 4.12m in the pole vault, American Becky Holliday getting the win at 4.27m.



Great North Run, Newcastle, Tyneside, Sunday 18 September

Jo Pavey has finished top Briton in fourth in 70:48 in the women’s race to set up nicely for marathon duty in a few weeks time as Helen Clitheroe followed closely home a place behind for an excellent debut of 70:57 over the distance, in particular coming on the back of a runner-up spot behind Hannah England in the mile yesterday.

Lucy Wangui Kabuu laid the ground for a Kenyan double as she totally dominated the field on the Newcastle to South Shields course to clinch victory in 67:06, shaping a well over two minures gap on following marker Jessica Augusto (POR) who posted 69:27. Another Portoguese, Marisa Barrios, was third in 70:29.

Martin Matathi (KEN) moved through the gears over the last third of the race to surge inside 59 mins for a new course record of 58:56 and thoroughly win the men’s affair from compatriot Jonathan Maiyo, who had broken away around the 5th mile but couldn’t hold on to his lead to eventually finish a distant second  in 59:27.

The Kenyans occupied all four top positions as pre-race favourite Emanuel Mutai wound up third in 59:52 and Micah Kogo was fourth in 60:03.

Keith Gerrard, 25, made a very promising debut of his own in 63:39 to move straight fourth in the UK charts this season and might as well start contemplating an earlier move up to the marathon on the evidence of this showing. The US-based runner has also made substantial headway over 10000m by means of a PB of 28:27.03 this term so a solid platform is already in place to mount a move up.

Among other Britons, Scot Freya Murray swang back into action after a long lay-off due to injury to make a strong debut of 72:44 for 10th in the women’s race while veteran Ian Hudspith ran his fastest time since 2007 in 64:14 in 15th place, former steeplechaser Matt O’Dowd (V35) drew his best time since 1999 in 64:32 for 17th, returning John Beattie ran a debut 64:50 following next and Darren Deed posted a personal best of 64:58 a further spot adrift in the men’s race.

Andy Vernon may have been slightly disappointed to come only 20th in 65:45 (SB).

Full Results



Decastar, Talence, France

Day I

Olympic champion Natalya Dobrynska (UKR) is mounting a slight surprise at the moment as she is leading new global champion Tatiana Chernova (RUS) by a healthy 56pts overnight, 3867 to 3811pts respectively after four disciplines.

The Russian, as expected, got to the front after the hurdles running slightly outside her PB in a 13.37 secs (-0.7m/sec, 1069pts) against a familiar modest start from her main rival in 13.76 secs (-0.5m/sec, 1013pts) for the duo to come tied at 1.82m out of the high jump (1003pts).

But Dobrynska bided her time to strike back through a SB of 16.28m (947pts) in the shot that, combined with a poor effort of 12.90m by Chernova (721pts), propelled her to a sound lead of 170pts after the third stop of the heptathlon. However, another modest trip round 200m in 24.80 secs (0.0, 904pts) had her advantage curtailed down to just 56pts at the end of the first day as Chernova was substantially faster in 23.61 secs (-0.7m/sec, 1018) in her heat.

Rather surprisingly, Jessica Zelinka (CAN) is not that far off in third on 3752pts with Karolina Tyminska (POL) fourth on 3706pts.

In the decathlon, favourite Leonel Suarez (CUB) is stuttering way down in eighth on just 3925 after a horrid first day (11.43, 7.18, 13.24, 1.97, 49.39) and will need to call up on his deepest reserves if he is to turn around a nasty situation of a 290pts deficit on overnight leader Andres Raja (EST) on 4215pts.

Day I Results & Standings

Day II

Natalya Dobrynska‘s challenge and potential upset quickly fizzled out into the second day to open the way to Tatiana Chervona for a comfortable victory in the end on an eventual total of 6679pts, the Ukrainian still pulling together a SB of 6539pts.

The Russian actually didn’t even need to reach her best form as a 6.57m (1.8m/sec, 1030pts) leap proved enough to turn round a 56pts deficit into a 28pts advantage from the off since Dobrynska faltered at just 6.31m (1.8m/sec, 946pts) in the long jump.

And it was as good as game over when the world champion landed her spear at 50.62m (872pts) to settle matters in the javelin with her rival unable to go further than 47.40m (810pts), rendering the tail-end 800m a virtual lap of honour as Chernova sailed through in 2:09.92 to wrap up her third straight multi-eventer win – the Ukrainian crossing the line in 2:13.42.

Karolina Tyminska came third on 6301pts through a strong ending of a 2:06.51 over 800m and Canadian Jessica Zelinka was fourth on 6296pts.

Over to the decathlon, Leonel Suarez could make no ground nor improve on a dismal opening day to end up a mere seventh on a vastly disappointing 7889pts as Hans van Alphen (BEL) came through from behind to snatch victory by a mere 16pts out of the hands of Mikk Pahapill (EST) at the death, running narrowly outside his PB in 4:21.10 for 804 and a total of 8200pts against the latter’s much slower 4:38.43 (690pts) to a final tally of 8184pts.




Notturna di Milano, Milan, Italy, September 18

Luke Fagan and Leon Baptiste‘s hopes of fast times over the dash in Milan were blown away by a strong headwind of -3.4m/sec down the home straight, as well as pouring rain, to strive home in 10.57 and 10.65 secs for second and fifth respectively, although the former may be content enough to have placed runner-up behind new Jamaican star Nickel Ashmeade (9.96) who crossed the line in 10.42 secs.

Apparently, that was Fagan’s last piece of action to a breakthrough season while Baptiste will be likely running one more race over his specialty, the 200m, in Watford midweek.

Chris Clarke fared much better than in Brussels two days ago to come runner-up in 46.29 over 400m not far off winner Oscar Pistorius (RSA), who sneaked inside 46 secs to a time of 45.97.

In the men’s 1500m, Kenyan Silas Kiplagat was rampant to storm to a devastating victory by around four and a half seconds in 3:33.28 over a field that involved former world champion Yussuf Saad Kamel, the son of great Billy Konchellah (KEN), who is still working his way back and ended up fourth in a 3:39.05.

James Brewer came home in the middle of the field in eighth in a SB of 3:41.10 but will be satisfied to have claimed the scalp of Spaniard Arturo Casado who finished a place behind in 3:41.86.

Mohammed Amman stuns mighty David Rudisha down the home straight on a damp track

The highlight of the meeting belonged without a doubt to late season’s revelation Mohammed Amman (ETH) who forced mighty world record holder David Rudisha into his first defeat over 800m in two years, edging narrowly ahead in the dying stages to a fast 1:43.50 against the Kenyan’s 1:43.57. A massive win and confidence boost for the 17-year-old Ethiopian who emerges as a force to reckon with in view of the London Olympics next summer.

Olha Saladuha (UKR) carved out arguably the other top display of the meeting as she reached out to a slightly windy 14.94m (2.4m/sec) in the triple jump to comfortably hold off second-placed Olga Rypakova (KAZ), who achieved a best of 14.69 (2.8m/sec) on the day, while Anna Chicherova (RUS) cleared 1.96m to edge out home favourite Antonietta di Martino (1.93) in the women’s high jump.




Meeting International Tangier, Morocco, Sunday 18 September

Dwain Chambers edged out local record holder Ouhadi Aziz to a useful international win in the men’s 100m in 10.28 to 10.32 secs (-0.4m/sec), Lerone Clarke (JAM) last in a dismal 10.84 secs (injured?), and came back later to take third on a first, and probably last, showing over the longest sprint in 20.86 secs (-0.1m/sec) some way behind winner Ainsley Waugh‘s meet record of 20.71 secs, Aziz marginally second in 20.85 secs.

Jemma Simpson was a convincing winner in the women’s 800m in 2:02.21 but had to wait for a while to learn of her time as the clock stopped at 1:52 during the last stages of the race – that would have been an awesome world record!

The overall outlook of displays on the track and the infield ranged on a moderate trail apart from Canadian Dylan Armstrong‘s 21.76m to win the men’s shot from Portoguese Fortes Marco (20.61) and former world champion Christian Cantwell (20.58), suggesting that conditions may have not been very performance conductive.




IAAF Race Walking Challenge Final, La Coruna, Spain, Saturday 17 September

Long-unbeaten Valerie Borchin and Olga Kaniskina (RUS), the world champions over the men and women’s 20km in Daegu, took their form to the streets of La Coruna in Spain and dominated the respective 10km races at the Race Walking Challenge Final with relative ease.

Borchin always maintained a firm hold on the men’s affair and was barely threatened at any point to claim a convincing win, along with a $30,000 prize, in a huge SB of 38:42 ahead of China’s Zhang Wang (38:49, SB), who finished just outside the medals in Daegu, and Wafei Chu (39:06, SB).

For her part, Kaniskina upped the ante in the late stages to pull well clear of Daegu’s silver medalist Hong Liu (CHN) to an eventual 42:37 (SB), placing a good 17 secs distance between herself and her rival.


Men 1.Valerie Borchin (RUS) 38:42 (SB), 2.Zhang Wang (CHN) 38:49 (SB), 3.Wafei Chu (CHN) 39:06 (SB), 4.Joao Vieira (POR) 39:09 (SB), 5.Eder Sanchez (MEX) 39:13 (SB), …, 10.Jared Tallent (AUS) 39:48

Women 1.Olga Kaniskina (RUS) 42:37 (SB), 2.Hong Liu (CHN) 42:54 (SB), 3.Melanie Seeger (GER) 43:06 (SB), 4.Ana Capacinha (POR) 43:12 (PB), 5.Susana Feitor (POR) 43:37 (SB)



BAL Qualifier, Abingdon, Saturday 17 September

Merwyn Luckwell has returned to the top of the British javelin after two years as he released an Olympic B qualifier of 80.60m in Abingdon, showing that he is totally over the long-term injury problems that blighted him since 2009. That mark was the farthest by a Brit since his own PB of 81.05m two years ago to move past James Campbell, a SB of 80.18 back in May, to the top of the UK rankings in the process.

There was further good news from the javelin quarters at the bow-out of the season as U20 Richard Shuttleworth improved to a PB of 71.61m behind Luckwell, scratching his former figure of 70.73m in qualification at the European U20 Championships in Tallinn (Estonia). Both throwers are coached by Esa Utriainen.

Mick Woods-coached Charlie Purdue continued her tentative return to action in a 10:04.1 low-key race over 3000m having missed the bulk of the summer following surgery in May.


English Schools Combined Events Championships, Exeter, September 17-18

18-year-old Liam Ramsey worked up a new U20 best total ever of 7308 pts during a two-day adventure in the decathlon across the weekend in Exeter, to move up from his previous figure of 7233pts in Doncaster back in June. His card read 11.46w (4.6m/sec) in the 100m, 6.94m (2.6m/sec) in the long jump, 13.74m in the shot (6kgr), 1.96m in the high jump (ePB), 49.26 secs over 400m, 14.46 over the junior sticks (PB, 1.2m/sec), 37.66m in the discus, 4.03m in the pole vault, 43.75m in the javelin and rounded out in 4:33.44 in the 1500m.