Archive for November, 2011

Jessica Ennis has let drop, much to the surprise of many, that she intends to launch into a full-scale indoor campaign peaking in the defence of her world pentathlon crown in Istanbul in March.

The world’s arguable number-one female multi-eventer was throught set to give the indoor showpiece a miss in order to fully focus on the ultimate challenge looming large on the horizon, the London Olympics, where lies the only major title missing from her awesome collection.

Nevertheless, her defeat to Russia’s Tatyana Chernova in Daegu may have felt a little bitter to settle for and urged a shake-up of plans and an earlier than anticipated head-on encounter in order to show who is still the boss around and restore normal order as a further mental boost on the way to London.

Apart from the Russian, Germany’s Jennifer Oessen, forming a habitual bronze medal backdrop to all recent major battles on the big stage, looks also likely to line up in Turkey to ensure of a near full replay of the affair in an indoor environment.

There is some concern, all the same, whether Ennis may be risking a little coming out in top gear just a few months before what could be the paramount showdown of her career but at the end of the day both herself and her coach Tony Minnichiello have shown to know their way round the ropes very well.


UK Athletics have just announced the make-up of the British team that will travel to Vilenje, Slovenia, to contest the year’s European Cross-Country Championships next weekend.

There are no surprise calls whatever involved, save maybe that sensational U17 prospect Jessica Judd hasn’t eventually been picked for the U20 women’s outfit, as selectors seem to have gone stricktly by the book and for top five finishers at the respective Trials held in Liverpool on Saturday.

The mid to late stages in the women’s race with Hattie Dean a creditable seventh at last year’s European XC Championships

Steph Twell has been named as expected on a strong U23 women’s side, featuring Hannah Walker, Lauren Howarth and Emma Pallant,  that show the makings of firm gold medal contenders as Andy Baddeley returns to the picture after a while to join the likes of Andy Vernon.

Apart from the U23 women, the U20 women’s side look odds-on to claim the European title spearheaded by the fabulous duo of Emelia Gorecka and Annabel Gummow, silver and bronze medallists over 5000m in Kaunas last summer.

The overall side selected has as follows:

Senior Men

Andy Baddeley, Mark Draper, Ryan McLeod, Frank Tickner, Andy Vernon, James Walsh

Senior Women

Elle Baker, Julia Bleasdale, Hatti Dean, Freya Murray, Gemma Steel, Emily Wicks

U23 Men

Philip Berntsen, Matthew Gillespie, Mitch Goose, Matthew Graham, Derek Hawkins, James Wilkinson

U23 Women

Lauren Howarth, Emma Pallant, Lily Partridge, Naomi Taschimowitz, Steph Twell, Hannah Walker

U20 Men

Kieran Clements, Niall Fleming, Richard Goodman, Jack Goodwin, Jonny Hay, Mark Shaw

U20 Women

Beth Carter, Emelia Gorecka, Annabel Gummow, Katie Holt, Gemma Kersey, Laura Muir

Charlotte Purdue, one of Mick Woods‘s wonder distance girls, has finally opted out of the European Cross Country Championships in Slovenia a fortnight from now as she has apparently failed to shake off a knee complaint troubling her during the last ten days or thereabouts.

The European U20 XC reigning champion suffered the injury while training at altitude at Iten in Kenya last week and was forced to cut short her warm-weather stint there slightly earlier than intended to urgently return back to Britain.

She was feeling confident of making the starting line fully fit in Vilenje despite missing the European Trials in Liverpool yesterday but came out earlier to post “Decided not to run the European XC this year” on Twitter, indicating that she needs to keep her eyes on the greatest picture that is the London Olympics next summer.

At the end of the day, a very sensible decision on her part as the Olympics come around only once in four years, let alone in your own backyard, while she could still go back and contend for that very same title with even higher prospects on the country in a year again.

Senior Men (9.8km)

Andy Vernon has opened his individual account on the country to fabulous effect as he streaked past a surprisingly strong Mark Draper in the dying stages of the senior men’s race to convincingly defend his title in 29:19 in windy conditions, placing a good three seconds in between.

The World Student Games champion opted to sit in the leading pack to keep close hold of procedures throughout and didn’t hit the front but for roughly the last furlong where his superior track speed over the distance told. A substantial mental boost, he has got now a sterner task on his hands at the racing ground of Vilenje in less than a fortnight as he is turning to face his last year’s demons and force his way into the medals.

Highlights from Liverool on Saturday

Likewise, distance ‘drifter’ Draper, hardly a familiar figure in these quarters, cashed in on his recent altitude training spell in Kenya into runner-up (29:22) straight away and is looking for a lot more in Slovenia while hopefully earning a British vest will Mark a new beginning for him to reach his potential – maybe reverting to the barriers as shown late in summer?

Third, a mere two seconds adrift, came Ryan McLeod, the son of Olympic 10000m silver medallist Mike, to grab the last automatic slot in a solid display and returning-to-action Andy Baddeley may have done enough to earn his place following in fourth at a similar distance behind.

Apparently moving up to 5000m, the Beijing 1500m finalist employed a more reserved early pattern and showed only in the second half of the race to work his way through, edging out early leader James Walsh in an identical time (29:26) at the end.

Bristol’s winner Frank Tickner wound up sixth in 29:29, Steve Vernon was seventh some way behind in 29:38 while marathon Olympic hopeful Phil Wicks occupied an eventual ninth in 29:49 and US-based Keith Gerrard closed out the top ten in 29:52.


1.Andy Vernon 29:19, 2.Mark Draper 29:22, 3.Ryan McLeod 29:24, 4.Andy Baddeley 29:26, 5.James Walsh 29:26, 6.Frank Tickner 29:29, 7.Steve Vernon 29:38, 8.Ben Whitby 29:45, 9.Phil Wicks 29:49, 10.Keith Gerrard 29:52, 11.Jonny Taylor 29:53, …, 16.Jonny Mellor 30:04, 17.Ricky Stevenson 30:05, 19.David Bishop 30:05, 28.Jon Pepper 30:18, 26.Ben Moreau 30:20, 28.Glen Watts 30:29, 38.Steve Mitchell 30:56


U23 Men

‘American’ Mitch Goose rose a rather surprise U23 top finisher in 29:55, 12th overall, in a separate contest incorporated into the senior’s race but, rather astonishingly, it wasn’t pre-race favourite James Wilkinson he had to hold off to the title, trailing well behind in fifth (22nd overall) by a good 16 secs. But, quite likely, a one-off for the latter who ought to be shown confidence and be drafted into the age group outfit still.

Dereck Hawkins came home in second  just under 30 minutes (29:59) and steeplechaser Matthew Graham got his hands on the last automatic spot in 30:05.


1.Mitch Goose 29:55 (12th overall), 2.Dereck Hawkins 29:59 (14th), 3.Matthew Graham 30:05 (18th), 4.Matthew Gillespie 30:09 (20th), 5.James Wilkinson 30:11 (22nd), 6.Ashley Harrell 30:12 (24th), 7.John McDonnell 30:33 (32nd), 8.Charlie McLean 30:39 (42nd), 9.Daniel Clorley 31:04 (44th)


U20 Men (6.7km)

Jonny Hay emerged an impressive winner out of his much anticipated duel with Richard Goodman as his sizzling turn of pace in the final burn-up saw him fashion sheer daylight of six seconds between them at the end, clocking 20:23 to 20:29 respectively.

Both were very pleased with their displays, however, having also just returned from altitude training in Kenya. The last automatic berth was staked out by Mark Shaw who slotted nicely in the gap between the top duo and fourth-placer Kieran Clements for a convincing third in 20:37.


1.Jonny Hay 20:23, 2.Richard Goodman 20:29, 3.Mark Shaw 20:37, 4.Kieran Clements 20:44, 5.Niall Fleming 20:46, 6.Jack Goodwin 20:53, …, 8.Robbie Farnham-Rose 21:00, 9.Charlie Grice 21:05


U17 Men

1.Laurrie Probert 17:38, 2.Charlie Joslin-Allen 17:42, 3.James Lanswood 17:47, 4.Tom Bains 17:50


Senior Women (8.1km)

A dark horse as she had been going into the Trials, steeplechaser Hattie Dean showed plenty of horsepower in her gear to upstage pre-race favourite Gemma Steel into a fairytale comeback on the country of Liverpool, having not raced since late May in Rome.

But a touch of altitude training in the land of the runners, the famous Rift Valley, went a long way against a currently flying Steel, on an unbeaten run since September, who made her intentions clear from early on to make a tough pace out of it from the front and not leave matters to a late burn-up at the hands of faster finishers.

And her tactics all but worked to plan quickly since soon only Dean was still following along, yet fairly comfortably, as the two kept moving away from the rest of the field with every stride and lap.  But when the crunch came, the Barcelona ‘chase fourth placer’s strength and track speed told to work her crucial space that stretched up to four seconds in the end for a superb victory and a big confidence boost.

Needless to say that both booked their place on the team to Vilenje a fortnight on, clocking 27:05 and 27:09 respectively, with Scott Freya Murray, racing into form after an intermittent year due to sorts of injuries, just pipping up-and-coming U23 Hannah Walker for the last automatic place as both shared the same time of 27:32. The latter must have been more than content to clinch her age group title though.

A race of fairytale returns was most fittingly suplemented a place behind with the delightful sight of Steph Twell, in her first serious competitive test since her freak ankle injury in February, who applied well and performed beyond all expectations to secure the runner-up spot and a berth in the U23 side in 27:37. Maybe the story of the day above all with her hopes receiving a massive mental boost in view of London next summer.

Charlene Thomas, also on a return after a lengthy injury lay-off, came in well behind in 14th in 28:15 and Sian Edwards, a nearly forgotten golden prospect of the recent past, trailed a long way back in 34th well over two minutes behind the top places; can she revive the promise she showed in the U20 ranks only a few seasons ago?


1.Hattie Dean 27:05, 2.Gemma Steel 27:09, 3.Freya Murray 27:32, 4.Hannah Walker (U23) 27:32, 5.Steph Twell (U23) 27:37, 6.Julia Bleasdale 27:39, 7.Elle Baker 27:44, 8.Naomi Taschimovitz (U23) 27:45, 9.Emma Pallant (U23) 28:04, 10.Emily Wicks 28:05, …, 14.Charlene Thomas 28:15, 15.Justina Heslop 28:19, 16.Lauren Howarth (U23) 28:24, 17.Katrina Wooton 28:26, 19.Natalie Harvey 28:39, 20.Jessica Sparke 28:35, 31.Andrea Whitcombe (W35) 28:35, 24.Emily Pidgeon (U23) 28:43, 25.Beth Potter (U23) 28:49, 30.Kate Avery (U23) 29:10, 31.Jessica Coulson (U23) 29:21, 32.Abbey McGhee (U23) 29:24, 34.Sian Edwards 29:31, 41.Felicity Milton 29:41


U23 Women

Behind Walker and a buoyant Twell, new face in the swim Naomi Taschimovitz ensured of a British vest taking third in 27:45 and Emma Pallant followed in fourth in 28:04 to effectively qualify herself.

On the other hand, Lauren Howarth must have been disappointed with just a 16th finish in 28:24 while Emily Pidgeon ranged further adrift in 24th in 28:43 and Kate Avery ended up well down the order in 30th in 29:10, both still looking to find their way.

Most surprisingly, new Mick Woods-asset Jess Coulson trailed way behind in 31st only a couple of months on setting a UK age best over 10 miles, some niggle possibly creeping in in the interim.

1.Hannah Walker 27:32, 2.Steph Twell 27:37, 3.Naomi Taschimovitz 27:45, 4.Emma Pallant 28:04, 5.Lily Partridge 28:09, 6.Lauren Howarth 28:24


U20 Women (4.4km)

The eagerly anticipated three-way clash in the affair, incorporating the U17 group, remained on paper as Emelia Gorecka turned up with ideas of her own to demolish the field with aplomb in the most impressive performance of the day.

The race stood as a contest only round the first lap until the European U20 5000m silver medallist, another one of Mick Woods’s wonder girls, moved up a gear to swiftly open up a decisive gap that was ever growing and claim the race sight unseen.

Her final winning margin of 16 seconds, wrapping up the distance in 14:54, simply echoed the magnitude and quality of her supremacy and form as she will be heading to Slovenia with confidence sky high to add the European title to her silverware.

Notwithstanding a thorough defeat, sensational U17 Jessica Judd turned in a stellar display of her own to convincingly hold off  European U20 bronze medallist Annabel Gummow into a superb runner-up for her tender age, clocking 15:10 to 15:15 respectively, and demonstrate her amazing range once more while Stoke’s Katie Holt emerged as a new force, just a 9:55 performer over 3000m last summer, to grab a sound fourth in 15:23 further behind.

1.Emelia Gorecka 14:54, 2.Jessica Judd (U17) 15:10, 3.Annabel Gummow 15:15, 4.Katie Holt 15:23, 5.Amy Griffiths (U17) 15:25, 6.Beth Carter 15:28, 7.Gemma Kersey 15:31, 8.Laura Muir 15:42, 9.Grace Baker (U17) 15:42


U17 Women

Apart from highly-anticipated Judd, 15-year-old Amy Griffiths shone brightly herself to clinch a striking overall fifth and second in the U17 class in 15:25 as she is rising a new fascinating prospect through the ranks and a potential heir to the summit.

Grace Baker, also 15, was third and ninth overall in 15:42 to add to a very prolific day for Woods’s group.

1.Jessica Judd 15:10, 2.Amy Griffiths 15:25, 3.Grace Baker 15:42, 4.Abbie Hetherington 16:00

Full Results



Purdue out but Twell comes in at European XC Trials in Liverpool

Top distance hopeful Charlotte Purdue will be missing the second leg of the McCain’s Cross-Country Challenge, incorporating the European Trials for Velenje (Slovenia) a fortnight on Sunday, due to a knee complaint that forced her into a slightly earlier return from a training stint in Kenya last week.

Nevertheless, the Mick Woods-coached U23 runner looks to have been pre-selected on the senior team and can solely turn her sights on the European Championships where she is aiming to steer into the medals.

By contrast, groupmate star Steph Twell, having also just returned from Kenya, is contesting her first serious race since a freak accident in February that saw her miss the entire track season, hoping to snatch a place of her own on the British team.

The 22-year-old tested her leg in a calculated gamble of a low-key road relay in September to come off well and unscathed but she is still lying some way off top shape and therefore may have to fight her way into the U23 outfit, with Hannah Walker, Lauren Howarth and teammate Emma Pallant figuring among the starters.

On the other hand, in-excellent-form Gemma Steel is brimming with confidence and pace as she heads into the race as standout senior favourite to clinch a second back-to-back victory in the series and it’s hard to see where a challenge could come from given the complexion of the affair.

Backing up her claim, the 26-year-old remains unbeaten on any surface or distance since September and would like to add to that three-on-the-trot string.

A further couple of very welcome returns to the fold involve ‘chaser Hattie Dean, fourth over the barriers in Barcelona last year, who competes for the first time since injury ruined a season that started in the most promising colours of a straight Olympic qualifier of 9:37.95 in Rome last May; as well as European Cup 1500m victor Charlene Thomas who hasn’t raced on any surface since the very same time of her highest feat so far as though following parallel fortunes.

Despite their pedigree, both are going to be unknown quantities until the contest gets going and maybe even further until it hits decisive stages, likely feeling their way into action.

Freya Murray, Justina Heslop and Julia Bleasdale are other notable names on the start-lists, which oddly don’t include the name of Thomas – a late withdrawal?

On the men’s side, the presence of World Student Games champion Andy Vernon promises an injection of quality on the opener of the series and a stern test for the likes of Frank Tickner and Phil Wicks, the prominent figures in Bristol, along with the comeback of Andy Baddeley on the country after sitting out last winter. It will be really interesting to see what sort of proposition the latter is going to offer on the back of a poor summer campaign.

U23 steeplechaser James Wilkinson has got to be a red-hot favourite among U23 men while James Walsh, Tom Humphries and Mark Draper, apparently working his way back over the barriers, are other names to watch.

Emelia Gorecka and Annabel Gummow, the silver and bronze medallists over 5000m at the European U20 Championships, engage in a very enticing duel in the junior ranks anew and the affair is spiced up nicely with the presence of sensational U17 prospect Jessica Judd.

The first three-past-the-post in each division gain automatic qualification for Slovenia although an U23 runner that finishes in a senior qualifying spot, with the two age groups blended into a single race, can still claim his place in the top tier.


Entry Lists

Selection policy

The women’s marathon in Yokohama (Japan) last Sunday effectively wrapped up the first ’round’ of the contest between female hopefuls for places on the British team in the event, save some remarkable last-gasp turn, so the time has come for UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenne to take stock and make up his mind on the line to follow in view of the first meeting of the selection panel concerned on Monday 5 December.

The Dutchman may have stirred plenty of controversy over certain issues over the last months, in particular a considerable part of the funding lists make-up, but when it comes to selection matters he is meticulous to a T and leaves no stone unturned.

Great Paula Radcliffe is certain to fill a place in the first issue of selections following an astounding bounce back to form out of the shadows coming third in 2h23:46 in Berlin and few could argue with that. She is sheer class, vastly experienced and a fiercesome competitor like no other and everyone knows what she could be capable of provided she can maintain a steady injury-free course to London. Further, she commands the greatest respect and forms an inspiration to all the other distance female runners in the land.

Van Commennee senses that the world record holder over the distance can extend the range of British gold medal prospects into six in London so he is going to give her the chance to prepare as she thinks best and totally undistracted in the pursuit of the elusive title in her illustrious career.

However, the main dilemma lies right below Radcliffe downwards through the ranks. Should he name a second runner on the team from early on in a similar light or leave two places up for grabs in a virtual run-off in the London marathon in April? This is a matter that requires plenty of thought and vision.

As fair and more straightforward as the latter option may look, it presents a certain tricky situation. London marathon falls a little too close to the Olympics and while van Commennee would get his two other runners fair and square that could compromise the chances of a good overall showing in the Olympics considerably. Simply, the next peak in their performance graph may not tie in with and overtake the London Olympics – for that matter, there would be an apparent danger of athletes arriving tired or spent there if they sped up their build-up.

That is a variable that might as well entice towards the former, maybe safer, option; having two individuals building up fully focussed on London, unconcerned about selection issues or tackling another race over the distance, with a vacancy for the taking between the rest in April.

In which case, the name of Mara Yamauchi could come forth first on the back of a solid showing that earned her third place in 2h27:24 in the streets of Yokohama in difficult warm conditions, pulling away a full minute into runner-up in the British rankings this season. The Japanese-based athlete is a monster of consistency and boasts a very good record on the big stage, sixth in Beijing and ninth in Osaka, that could stand her in good stead for an early selection. On top of that, her 2h23 form in the relatively recent past is not beyond her.

That said, the latest global trend in the women’s marathon shows that the top tier is ever more overrun by runners of a sound speed background over shorter distances, either on the track or the road, which might point to a little gamble on Jo Pavey, a 14:39.96 performer over 5000m among others in the past. The 38-year-old is a new girl-on-the-block but looks to have been settling already into her stride and has clocked a brace of 2h28 runs in as many outings so far (PB 2h28:24). The potential is there and she could knock a few more minutes off with a few more months of training behind her.

On the other hand, van Commennee should not haste into assigning all three places early so that he doesn’t miss out on any potential breakthrough from behind. Claire Hallissey came to slash nearly seven minutes off her PB to a new mark of 2h29:27 in Chicago to emerge as a contenter out of virtually nowhere, she is on a momentum and will fancy her chances of pulling off a late upset.

Louise Damen finds herself in an intricate position following her non-finish in Yokohama. She ran only around 10km there meaning that she could be physically on call to race again even within a couple of weeks, which in turn comes within the frame of 5 December. So might she gamble on such a venture? At any rate, she has got a marathon in hand on the others and has got to choose sensibly where to play her card.

From there on, Beijing Olympian Liz Yelling has still got lots of ground to make if her 2h34:58 in Frankfurt is anything to go by, while Alyson Dixon is an interesting character and could improve a good deal on her PB of 2h34:50 in warm and windy conditions in Brighton last April. Susan Partridge completes the list of Olympic qualifiers down to a PB of 2h34:13 in London.

David Forrester (Florida State) confirmed his recent good form on the American country as he placed a solid 16th at the NCAA Championships at Terre Haute, Indiana, on Monday.

The 21-year-old, making a move up to 5000m since last season, was coming on the back of a winning outing in the South Regionals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and covered the roughly 10km course in 29:40.6 as Arizona’s Lawi Lalang (KEN) came away with a convincing win by over 13 secs in 28:44.1 after breaking away past the 5km mark.

U20 Callum Hawkings (Butler) can be content with his 26th spot in 29:56.4 while U23 Tom Farrell finished closely behind in 29:58.6 for Oklahoma, who got runner-ups in the team standings.

Mitch Goose was further behind in 40th place in 30:12.4 for Iona.

Men’s Results

On the women’s side, Hannah Brooks was first Briton home in 20:18.1 for 19th over the 6km distance to head Florida State just outside the medals, climbing fourth on the teams table, with former steeplechaser Ruth Senior further back in 41st in 20:31.3 for the ‘Lobos’ of New Mexico.


Villanova’s Sheila Reid (CAN) edged out Oregon’s Jordan Hasay in a close finish to successfully defend her top honours with a gap of just 0.6 secs separating them at the end.

Women’s Results


After enduring a prolonged frustrating spell due to illness, Kiwi shot put phenomenon Jacko Gill is back on fire in training and actually enjoyed his best ever throwing session last week according to his own words.

Turning 17 just before Christmas, the World Youth champion and record holder released several efforts that measured about half a metre over his practice best with the senior 7.26kg implement at the end of long workout, brimming with excitement and fire again.

His first competition comes next week and the youngster feels he is on track to deliver something massive in the 21m region which would definitely set up shockwaves around the globe. Therefore, there looks plenty to look for in this quarter so everybody’d better pay heed!

Mara Yamauchi has made a strong comeback to marathon racing as she came third in an Olympic A qualifying time of 2h27:24 in Yokohama, Japan, earlier on, gaining a firm foothold in the reckoning for selection on the British team for London in the process.

That was her first outing over the distance since her 2h26:16 on home soil in London last year to move second only to Paula Radcliffe in the British rankings this season, making the fifth Briton to engage the A qualifying territory in a battle royal for berths that is working up nothing less than fascinating and looks likely to go to the wire.

Interestingly, that time might sneak Yamauchi a place behind certain-to-be-named Radcliffe in the first issue of selections on December 5 on her major championship record having placed 6th in Bejing and 9th in Osaka 2007. But what is to come about in that aspect remains to be seen.

Louise Damen dropped out very early, just  after the 10km in 35:15, so apparently something wasn’t feeling alright with her and she will have now to find somewhere else to race over the distance in order to bolster up her own chances. She’s always in contention, though, as she has herself run a PB and an Olympic A qualifier of 2h30:00 in London this season.

As concerns the race itself, Yamauchi went halfway through safe, some way off the main pace, in sixth place in a split of 73:03 to work her way nicely through the second half into her eventual third, although she somewhat struggled in the dying stages as she covered the last 2,195m in just 8 mins.

Conditions were quite warm, mounting over 24C, and that seems to have taken a toll on the runners late into the race as most splits recommend.

Ryoko Kizaki and Yoshimi Ozaki made a Japanese one-two in a race carrying great weight in terms of Olympic qualification for the host nation clocking 2h26:32 and 2h26:49 respectively.



British Olympic qualifiers as of 20 November 2011

A standard: Paula Radcliffe 2h23:46, Mara Yamauchi 2h27:24, Jo Pavey 2h28:24, Claire Hallissey 2h29:27, Louise Damen 2h30:00

B standard: Susan Partridge 2h34:13, Alyson Dixon 2h34:51, Liz Yelling 2h34:58


Back in Britain and over in Leeds, spectators were treated to a fascinating duel between miler-turned-‘chaser Jonny Taylor and miler Nick McCormick over the Abbey Dash 10km that was taken to the very end, with the former grinding out a slight edge that finally earned him the win in an identical time of 29:23.

US-based Luke Cragg was third in a personal best of 29:32 on the road where Matthew Barnes followed on in fourth in 29:54 (SB), just ahead of Joe McDonald by a mere second (29:55, PB).

Not far behind, U17 Mark Scott cut an intriguing figure as he ran an excellent 30:07 to mix it well with the big guys in 12th place, the fastest known time by an athlete of this age group. A name definitely to keep in mind henceforth as he will be making his way through the junior ranks.

Susan Partridge, herself a marathon Olympic hopeful on a B standard of 2h34:13 this term, was an easy victor in women in 33:48 (SB).

Turning down to Brighton, Sussex, former steeplechaser Ben Whitby enjoyed a useful win over the Brooks-powered event over the same distance in 29:52, a big PB.

Amazing comebacks is a very much established tradition in Olympic seasons for American track and field and Stacy Dragila, one of the very greats in women’s pole vault history, hasn’t ruled out a potential return to action to bid for a place in the London-bound US team.

An Olympic champion in Sydney 2000, as well as twice world champion either side of, the Californian will have drawn well into her 41 years of age when London comes around but that doesn’t look to daunt the spirit of the fearless competitor in her who didn’t know when she was beaten in her prime.

In fact, her last competitive season doesn’t lie that far behind as she vaulted 4.55m in Eugene and even competed for the US team in Berlin in 2009, where she failed to make her way past qualification, so she could very likely remain in very good shape.

Dragila still ranks fifth in the all-time lists at 4.83m set back in Ostrava in 2004 and has soared over multiple world records in the skies of pole vault during her spectacular career.

Samsung Diamond League have announced the distribution of the 32 pronounced ‘diamond events’ among the 14 meetings that comprise the third season of the glamorous IAAF series in 2012, calling across Europe, USA and Asia.

The winners of each ‘diamond event’ are to earn a good 40,000 USD in prize money on top of a Diamond Trophy as there are points on offer for the top three finishers on each leg in a 4, 2, 1 grading order apiece towards the overall discipline standings, save the last two stops in Zurich and Brussels where points are doubled.

Diamond League events per meeting

Race season as per event