Archive for January, 2012


After a gruelling five-stage practice the previous weekend in Michigan, Tiffany Offili-Porter sat in her blocks for her first serious assignment of her Olympic campaign and delivered in style as she crossed the line an excellent runner-up in a top quality field at the US Open at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

The new-founded meeting came in place of the iconic Milrose Games, moved over to the Armory for its centennial anniversary, and a resurgent Lolo Jones stormed through the odd 50m hurdles to a dream comeback in a swift 6.78 secs leaving the Briton slightly behind in 6.83, smashing an ‘ancient’ British best by a full 0.2 secs in the process.

Yvette Wray‘s 7.03 secs, set in Grenoble in 1981, stood there for almost 31 years waiting for a successor and the European silver medallist answered the call to credit a further UK landmark to her pedigree in emphatic manner.

Furthermore, the impressive string of scalps collected in the race overwhelmed, once more, the feeble argument in certain quarters of British media and press that she switched allegiance from USA because she couldn’t make major championship teams there.

The names of Kellie Wells, a marginal third in 6.84, Olympic champion Dawn Harper, fifth in 6.90, and global leader in the 60m hurdles Kristi Castlin trailing last in a tight affair simply demonstrate that she could very well. Come to that, she establishes herself more and more like a genuine medal contender in London and hardly anyone could argue against that.

Jones, for her part, shrugged off a frustrating season that ended untimely and up on the operation table to show that she still remains a prime force to reckon with and she is still in with a shout for even gold in London.

In the men’s equivalent, never-say-die Terrence Trammell made his own forceful statement that he holds his own well into his 30s as he claimed a convincing win over US record co-holder David Oliver in 6.45 to 6.50 secs to blow the race for Olympic places on the American team open wider at the outset of the season, twice a silver medallist himself on the ultimate stage.

Rising prospect Omo Osaghae was third in 6.52 and Tiffany’s husband Jeff came just outside the top three by a hair’s breadth in 6.53 secs, with Aries Merritt winding up fifth at an identical margin further behind.

Results

http://www.flashresults.com/2012_Meets/indoor/01-28-USOpen/realtime/

(more later…)

Asha Philip beats Jodie Williams twice in a short space peaking in a UK-leading 7.24 secs for an astonishing comeback.

If Charles van Commennee has said he needs two or three surprise packages to surface leading up to London, well, he has obtained more than his fill so far through the first few weeks of the new year as the enticing call of the ultimate showpiece looming large in the distance seems to fire up remarkable breakthroughs and comebacks by British athletes.

After seeing young Welshman Joe Thomas destroy Boaz Lalang (KEN) amidst a quality 800m field in Glasgow, his face must have been bubbling with glee at the news that ‘forgotten’ sprint prospect Asha Philip did not only finally shrug off the longtime effects of a horrific injury back in 2007 but even more so shot straight to the top of the UK rankings in stunning fashion.

The former World Youth champion, 21 years of age now, mustered a mere three races up to 2010, all outside 12 secs in the 100m, and wound up at a SB of 11.47 at the widely suspected Chaux-de-Fonds last summer so hardly recommended Olympic material.

But talent is never lost, it simply may demand plenty of time, persistence and patience to reignite. And Mike McFarlane’s third ‘musketeer’ has commanded deep inner resources to wait her time and pull out of the shadows into the light.

Most spectators at the Lee Valley must have had their eyes popped out at the sight of Philip pipping 2011 European Young Athlete Jodie Williams on the line as well as checking the times immediately after; a big PB of 7.30 secs, erasing her five-year-old mark of 7.35 secs, to match the UK Athletics qualifying standard for Istanbul into the bargain against a marginally slower 7.31 secs season opener for the latter.

Astonishingly enough, that turned out a mere appetizer. In the second flight of races later, to everyone’s amazement Philip blew away the challenge of her sensational groupmate to storm to a second big best on the trot in 7.24 secs, toppling Glasgow MVP Jeanette Kwakye off the British top a mere day after her winning 7.26 secs and matching Belaruse’s Yuliya Balykina as third fastest in Europe.

The competition for spots in the women’s 60m for Istanbul is getting really exciting with five sprinters lying within 0.09 secs of each other, Abi Oyepitan and Laura Turner just outside the qualifying standard, and it’s going to be very interstesting to see how it shapes up into the main part of the indoor term. But Philip looked awesome and could build on her fairytale return.

As for London, there is no individual medal contender to emerge yet though there could be solid chances of a finalist or two in the sprints; yet, the women’s short relay looks to gain a quality growing pool and could mount a challenge for silverware – with Tiffany Porter and hopefully a fully-fit Montell Douglas also playing a part.

Elsewhere…

Andy Pozzi blasted off to a stunning start into the U23 territory by means of a massive PB of 7.66 secs over the hurdles to storm straight to the summit of the UK rankings and an agonizing hundredth of a second short of the qualifier for Istanbul.

But on the evidence of this inaugural showing it ought to be a matter of time, or even simply turning up, before he sweeps it aside following up with an equally impressive 7.67 secs in the second round.

For good measure, that new marker sees him move up to number four in the UK U23 all-time indoor lists behind world record holder Colin Jackson, 1988 European silver medallist Jon Ridgeon and late Ross Baillie.

In the second flight, runner-up some way behind him was Julian Adeniran in a PB of 7.81 secs ahead of Richard Alleyne in 7.85 (SB), Ben Reynolds in 7.91 and Alex Al-Ameen, who crept under 8 secs in the opening series (SB), followed back in fourth.

Reynolds, incidentally, had made huge inroads into this previous marker, that stood way outside 8 secs, to a new Northern Irish record of 7.88 secs in his first run with U20 James Gladman improving substantially right on 8 secs sharp in second place behind.

On the other hand, European U20 champion Jack Meredith, also due to compete, pulled out late apparently owing to injury, hopefully not a serious one.

Andrew Robertson, the European U23 100m bronze medallist, picked up where he left off on his season debut to power to a substantial PB of 6.65 secs in the men’s dash, tying that time in the second round later on to build in necessary consistency as well. His new figure takes him equal second along with Glasgow winner Mark Lewis-Francis and just a hundredth behind top marker Simeon Williamson in the UK lists.

Late summer revelation Luke Fagan got off to a solid season opener of 6.73 secs, just a fraction shy of his PB, behind a revamped Leevan Yearwood (6.71) in the second round and European U20 silver medallist Adam Gemili recorded a straight effective PB of 6.72 secs in the junior races since his previous one was a handtimed 6.7 secs.

Among others, European U20 200m champion David Bolarinwa sneaked inside his two-year-old PB in 6.80 secs, shared by Jeffrey Lawal-Balogun , 17-year-old Chijindu Ujah (twice, PB) and 400m speciallist Cornard Williams to slice a good 0.04 secs off his best.

Louise Wood set two PBs of 8.32 and 8.31 secs in quick succesion over the hurdles but lost to Finn Nooralotta Neziri (8.29) the second time out while U23 James Forman ran an overall PB of 47.92 secs in the 400m and Laura Langowski took the women’s two-lapper in 54.88 secs.

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Celtic Cup, Cardiff

Stephen Davies further attested a firm return to his best with a dominant display to notch the men’s 1500m in a fairly fast 3:44.19, placing a solid well over four seconds on second-placed Adam Bitchell (3:48.48). Current form indicates that a time inside 3:40 indoors ought to arrive sometime soon for the Welshman.

Also miler Mark Mitchell moved up for some early overdistance track work to come away with an easy victory in a virtual time trial of a big PB of 8:07.90 over 3000m.

In the women’s pole vault, guest Sally Peake could not line up a third Welsh indoor record on the bounce, failing three times at a would-be total mark of 4.37m, but still cleared her third best ever 4.32m to establish a sound foothold in that region.

Also guesting Sally Scott picked up a SB of 4.12m, as did rising prospect Lucy Bryan to clinch the scoring end at 4.02m.

On the men’s side, U23 Scot Gregor McLean reached his highest ever of 5.25m indoors for a walkover in the scoring competition as guest U23 Nick Crutchley also met that mark for an indoor best of his own.

Among U20s, talented Yasmin Miller took a firm hold of the women’s 60m hurdles in 8.78 secs and Bianca Williams romped to the top of the flat 60m in 7.69 secs.

Finally, Scot Noni Mordi edged a SB of 12.78m in the triple jump as she settles back into action after missing the entire last season.

Samson Oni was only watching in the background, having bowed out early himself, as Robbie Grabarz soared over a world-leading 2.34m in Wuppertal but he rose out of the shadow and over an Olympic A qualifier of 2.31m to claim the domestic spotlight a week on in a thrilling high jump competition in Hustopece, Czech Republic, last night.

That represented an equal PB, the original set two years ago in neighbouring Slovakia, to earn a solid footing in the battle for places on the British team for London and take up the cause led by Grabarz as the high jumpers are striking back after their downfall from grace last October.

Oni rises over a last-gasp equal PB of 2.31 to land in Olympic qualification territory

Those two also figure as firm favourites to occupy the two places on offer for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul come March as Tom Parsons is on the comeback trail from surgery and will most likely miss the indoor term while Martyn Bernard is knocking some rough edges off following injury problems of his own – shouldn’t be discounted though.

The 30-year-old Belgrave jumper didn’t so much suggest what was to come in the early stages as he needed a second attempt to get 2.24m out of the way but followed up with a first time clearance over 2.28m to set up nicely and come within striking distance of his main goal.

At the critical stage, 2.31m, he failed first time out but spurred on by a top quality company of four around still left in the competition, involving the likes of Aleksey Dmitrik and Ivan Ukhov, as well as a rousing atmosphere from the stands he rose equal to the barrier to steer clear into qualifying dreamland.

He even had a very good final effort at a would-be new lifetime mark of 2.33m later on but he will be more than happy to return home having taken the massive burden of the standard off his shoulders, placing an excellent third with some fine scalps under his belt like Ukhov himself and local favourite Jaroslav Baba on countback.

Further down the order were also Daevu bronze medallist Trevor Barry (BAH) and fifth-placed Dimitris Hondrokoukis who both stayed at 2.24m on the day.

The star of the evening was Dmitrik, the only one over 2.33, who moved on to clear a superb new global-leading 2.35m at the death before attempting a national record of 2.41m, but it wasn’t to be.

Dmitrik rises superbly over a world-leading 2.35m at the third

Results

http://www.skakani.cz/skakani/vysledky/13/2012_12_muzi-a.xls

Fellow Russian Svetlana Shkolina was the victor or the women’s competition that rather surprisingly didn’t hit equivalent heights at a top-out of 1.95m ahead of returning American record holder Chaunte Howard-Lowe and Irina Gordeyeva, the latter two tying at 1.93m.

Ariane Friedrich (GER), struggling to revive her career, was down at 1.84m for an eventual ninth.

Results

http://www.skakani.cz/skakani/vysledky/13/2012_11_zeny-a.xls

Extensive video containing plenty of the action in Hustopece

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Ivan Ukhov bounced back to win the anchor leg of the Moravian High Jump Tour over a SB of 2.32m and turn the tables on Aleksey Dmitrik, who slipped down into fourth at just 2.25m, in Trince on Monday.

On a perfect card up to that stage, the European Indoor champion then raised the bar at a potential world-topper of 2.36m but could not overcome that barrier, failing in all three attempts.

Daegu surprise bronze medallist Trevor Barry moved up several places on his Hustopece display to take second at a season and indoor best of 2.29m where Jaroslav Baba sneaked third on countback at 2.25m.

In women, Maria Kushina (RUS) came narrowly shy of the World U20 indoor record of 1.97m she set at the same ground a year ago, still in that age group, but her SB a centimetre lower was still good enough to nose over countrywoman Svetlana Shkolina for top honours on countback.

Romania’s Esthera Petre was third at 1.93m and US record holder Chaunte Howard-Lowe followed in fourth at 1.90m on countback.

The curtain-drawer of the meeting was reserved for Mo Farah who responded with a massive win over Augustine Choge in the 1500m

Mark Lewis-Francis powers to a winning start over Kim Collins in the 60m

Joe Thomas destroys the field in the men’s 800m

Results

MEN

60m 1.Mark Lewis-Francis 6.65 (SB), 2.Kim Collins (SKN) 6.66 (SB), 3.Christian Blum (GER) 6.67, 4.Ivory Williams (USA) 6.69

200m 1.Danny Talbot 21.17 (SB, UKL), 2.Kim Collins (SKN) 21.39 (SB), …, 4.Calvin Smith Jr (USA) 21.71 (SB)

400m 1.Pavel Trenikhin (RUS) 46.68 (SB, EL), 2.Chris Brown (BAH) 47.42 (SB), 3.Jamaal Torrance (USA) 47.46 (SB), 4.Richard Buck 47.63 (SB, UKL)

800m 1.Joe Thomas 1:47.35 (iPB, UKL), 2.Soren Ludolph (GER) 1:49.14 (SB), …, 4.Boaz Lalang (KEN) 1:49.97 (SB)

1500m 1.Mo Farah 3:39.03 (iPB, EL), 2.Augustine Choge (KEN) 3:39.14 (SB), 3.Valentin Smirnov (RUS) 3:39.89 (iPB), 4.Karsten Schlangen (GER) 3:41.37 (SB)

60mh 1.Konstantin Shabanov (RUS) 7.54 (PB, EL), 2.Dexter Faulk (USA) 7.60 (SB), 3.Lawrence Clarke 7.67 (PB),.., 5.Andy Turner 7.74 (SB)

HJ 1.Aleksandr Shustov (RUS) 2.29, 2.Andra Manson (USA) 2.26, 3.Robbie Grabarz 2.26,…, 5.Donald Thomas (BAH) 2.20

PV 1.Karsten Dilla (GER) 5.72 (ePB), 2.Dmitriy Starodubtsev (RUS) 5.60, 3.Andrew Sutcliffe (U23) 5.40, 4.Steve Lewis 5.30

WOMEN

60m 1.Jeanette Kwakye 7.26 (UKL, SB), 2.Yasmin Kwadwo (GER) 7.46 (SB), 3.Virgil Hodge (SKN) 7.51 (SB), …, 5.Angela Williams (USA) 7.59 (SB)

200m 1.Margaret Adeyoe 23.68 (PB), 2.Cathlin Tschirch (GER) 23.70 (SB), 3.Candice McGrown (USA) 24.22 (SB)

400m 1.Julia Terekhova (RUS) 53.51 (PB), 2.Natasha Hastings (USA) 53.54 (SB), 3.Shana Cox 53.84 (SB), …, 5.Shelayna Oskan-Clarke 55.37 (SB)

800m 1.Erica Moore (USA) 2:02.86 (PB), 2.Yekaterina Martynova (RUS) 2:03.55 (SB), …, 5.Claire Gibson 2:08.16 (SB)

1500m 1.Denise Krebs (GER) 4:23.09 (SB), 2.Hannah England 4:23.11 (SB), 3.Irina Maracheva (RUS) 4:26.32 (SB), 4.Charlene Thomas 4:26.53 (iPB)

3000m 1.Helen Obiri (KEN) 8:42.59 (SB), 2.Helen Clitheroe 8:45.59 (SB,EL), 3.Korina Harrer (GER) 9:02.64 (PB)

60mh 1.Danielle Carruthers (USA) 8.09 (SB), 2.Cindy Roleder (GER) 8.11 (SB), 3.Tatyana Dektaryeva (RUS) 8.14 (SB), .., 5.Gemma Bennett 8.16 (SB)

LJ 1.Darya Klishina (RUS) 6.75 (SB), 2.Shara Proctor 6.59 (SB), 3.Bianca Stuart (BAH) 6.38, 4.Bianca Kappler (GER) 6.36, 5.Fummi Jimoh (USA) 6.24

TJ 1.Yamile Aldama 14.03 (SB, UKL), 2.Kristin Gierisch (GER) 13.89 (SB), …, 4.Laura Samuel 13.07 (SB)

Full Results

http://www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series/aviva-international-match/timetable/

(More later…)

There have been a few interesting performances by British athletes halfway through a week leading up to the traditional formal premiere of the indoor season, the AVIVA International Match in Glasgow.

Steve Lewis opened up with a 5.50m showing for an eventual seventh at the Springer Meeting in Cottbus, Germany, operating still off a 16-stride run-up to the bar. The twice world finalist vaulter looked pleased with his season debut and will be eyeing more representing Britain in the arena of Kelvin Hall on Saturday.

Topping the order was Greek Kostas Filippidis who equalled his own national indoor record of 5.72m for a second time on the trot, the first at Villeurbanne last Saturday, ahead of local favourite and former World U20 champion Raphael Holzdeppe who could muster 5.66m on the day.

Last way down the results list figured former world champion Giuseppe Gibilisco (ITA) at just 5.30m.

There was no pole vault but high jump instead on the women’s side as Svetlana Shkolina edged out her compatriot Irina Gordeeva on countback at a SB of 1.96m for both.

Results

http://leichtathletik.de/results/4559_cottbus_25012011.htm

Also in Germany, U23 Chris Baker ended up fifth at 2.14m in the high jump at the Kolner Hochsprung Meeting in Cologne, which was 6cm short of his recent PB of 2.20m in Birmingham behind Robbie Grabarz.

On the domestic stage, UK Trials runner-up Gianni Frankis sped to a big PB of 6.85 secs over the flat 60m to knock a full tenth off his previous best, which (6.95) he had set no less than three times this winter, at the NEB Indoor Series at Newham to indicate that he is gearing up to a big leap on the international ladder.

The 23-year-old, coached by hurdles icon Tony Jarrett, had never run under 7 secs prior to this winter but now has recorded a good seven marks, including a further 6.97 secs in the first round yesterday, in this region packed into the last three weeks alone to demonstrate substantial headway in this department.

As regards the race, he came second on a photofinish decision to Femi Owolade in an identical time, also a big PB for the latter.

U23 Corinne Humphries cut an interesting figure in the women’s dashes by means of a brace of 7.51 and 7.53 secs runs, her fastest two in her career.

Results

http://www.thepowerof10.info/resultsfiles/2012/59537_6002_26012012203940_NEB%20Open%2025.1.12%20v2.xls

Lee Emanuel shows a gradual return to form after a stuttering last summer as he got off to a solid start of a 3:59.69 for fourth in the Cooks Classice Mile at Cooks Garden, New Zealand, speciallymarking the 50th anniversary of the world record over the distance by legendary Kiwi miler Peter Snell.

That made the fourth Brit to run under the ‘magical’ benchmark of four minutes in the distance in less than a week, U23 Rich Peters narrowly wide as well, and there could be a fifth in Kris Gauson, who is racing later tonight, towards a further boost to an encouraging early season.

The Kiwis occupied two places in the top three in the race headed by their star Nick Willis but it was American Will Lear that somewhat spoilt the home party as he held off the Olympic silver medallist to victory in 3:58.49 to 3:58.81.

Results

http://www.athletics.org.nz/Resource.aspx?ID=13797

Allan Scott could not make he final cut of the men’s 60m hurdles as he turned up short in just 7.98 secs for fifth in his heat in Chemnitz, Germany, following a considerably faster comeback of 7.85 secs out of retirement in Glasgow last weekend – but it was always going to prove a demanding task getting  back on track after a lengthy absence from the game.

German Helge Schwarger was a convincing winner in 7.64 secs (SB) from Hungary’s Baji Balazs who set 7.72 secs (SB) in second.

Reese Hoffa (USA) turned in the undisputed highlight of the meeting as he hurled a huge world-leading 21.87m in the men’s shot to turn round last week’s defeat and dominate young German world champion David Storl, who could manage 20.75m on the day. Portoguese record holder Marco Fortes was third at a national indoor mark of 20.57m.

Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider caught the eye as he stormed to a huge global header of 3:37.40 over Kenyan Bethwel Birgen in 3:38.01 and Ethiopian Jana Soresa Fida in 3:39.74, making up the top three spots in the world charts.

Malte Mohr vaulted a SB of 5.72m to sneak win on countback from young compatriot Raphael Holzdeppe, who levelled his own SB, in the men’s pole vault while former Brit Tim Abbeyie, now representing Ghana, was runner-up in the 60m in an equal PB of 6.64 secs behind German Julian Reus (6.59).

Results

http://leichtathletik.de/results/4564_chemnitz_270112.pdf

This is the latest training video up by ‘Prince’ Wallace Spearmon, with Darvis ‘Doc’ Patton in a cameo, dealing with his block start workouts, offering views from many different angles into the bargain. Do have a look at it! By the way, he has promised a lot more in video soon!

Besides the overhead exploits of Holly Bleasdale and Robbie Grabarz overseas on Saturday, there was some serious action on home soil that witnessed a strong return to form for ‘forgotten forces’ Simeon Williamson and Abi Oyepitan in the sprints, as well as a surprise straight world indoor qualifier for Welshman Joe Thomas in Cardiff.

SEAA Championships, Lee Valley

At the Lee Valley, Williamson shrugged off over two years in the shadows and stormed to victory and straight to the top of the UK rankings in a swift 6.64 secs in the 60m, a UK leading mark and his fastest ever opener to a season.

If there had been any questions over his fitness, he dismissed them as early as the quarterfinals of a gruelling four-round racing schedule as he eased up to a comfortable 6.70 secs across the line, following up with a 6.73 secs semifinal, to suggest he is getting back to his very best.

Moreover, that served to peel off the image of a long established ‘slow-starter’ and he means business from the dawn of the season – really, how inspirational can be the ever-growing call of a home Olympics…

Simeon Williamson eases up to a 6.70 secs quarterfinal

He didn’t have things all his own way, though, as a revamped Rion Pierre, the 2009 European U23 100m bronze medallist, gave him a good run for his money to edge himself a PB of 6.66 secs for runner-up, with Josh Swaray nicking third on a photofinish decision tied with James Ellington in an equal PB of 6.70 secs – the original coming in the penultimate round.

‘E-Bay man’ Ellington had earlier posted a marginally faster PB of 6.69 in the semifinals for a sound early outing while Leevan Yearwood missed narrowly out himself a mere hundredth behind in 6.71 secs for fifth, easily his best indoor run in four years, and European U23 400m champion Nigel Levine put in some solid speedwork in 6.76 secs, having set an identical PB of 6.74 secs in both the previous two rounds.

Furlong specialist Danny Talbot left plenty of promise by way of his easily fastest two lifetime runs in 6.73 (quarters) and 6.74 secs (semis) to hone his speed nicely in view of his 200m international assignment for Britain at Kelvin Hall on Saturday.

It turned as competitive and tight up front in the women’s affair as an Abi Oyepitan from the old edged out Laura Turner in a fast 7.31 secs to 7.33 secs respectively, missing agonisingly out on the Istanbul qualifier by a mere hundredth of a second. But, on the strength of that opener, it ought to be only a matter of time before it falls into her stride.

Incidentally, that represented the fastest time in eight years for the Athens 200m Olympic finalist and just 0.04 secs shy of her PB set that very year, showing that she could be on the way to revise her CV seriously this year – and what a fairytale comeback that would make after such a long time in no man’s land!

Oyepitan had backed that up with a 7.34 secs in the semifinals earlier on, Turner returning 7.36 secs, while Margaret Adeoye was third in the final in 7.44 secs having ranged within a mere 0.02 secs through all three rounds, including a PB of 7.43 secs in the semifinals.

Bianca Williams and 17-year-old Sophie Papps engaged in a scintillating duel in the U20 women’s dash to draw big PBs of 7.46 and 7.50 secs respectively, with Dina Asher-Smith taking the U17 version in 7.61 secs.

Over the sticks, UK Trials runner-up Gianni Frankis put his recent string of equal PBs in the flat to good use as he came within a whisker of PB in 7.76 secs for a strong start, holding off Nick Gayle who set a SB of 7.83 secs.

19-year-old Ben Kelk edged under the 8 secs benchmark for the first ever time in 7.97 secs for third ahead of Alex Al Ameen (8.05).

The women’s equivalent saw a dramatic first, of many as it seems on the way, duel between Gemma Bennett and Beijing finalist Sarah Claxton, the two more likely hopefuls to join an effectively certain-to-be-named Tiffany Porter on the British Olympic team, with the win going to the former by the narrowest of margins in 8.25 (SB) to 8.26 secs respectively.

Hayley McLean, a finalist over 400m hurdles at the World Youth Championships, was the winner of the U20 women’s race in 8.87 secs.

In the jumps, Nadia Williams set a narrow SB of 13.13m to comfortably put away the triple jump and Joe Ive was head and shoulders above anyone else with a SB of 5.30m in the men’s pole vault.

Welsh Senior/U15/U13 Championships, Cardiff

Over in Cardiff, Wales, UK indoor champion Joe Thomas impressed as he opted to embark on a lone run out front in the semifinals that saw him draw under the qualifying standard for Istanbul in a best ever indoor mark of 1:47.82 over 800m, second fastest in Europe.

His previous marker indoors was slighly slower in 1:47.87 when upsetting Andie Osagie to a rather surprise UK indoor title but towards the peak of last winter, suggesting that he could be lying on the verge of a big breakthrough.

The young Welshman is next out to represent Britain at the AVIVA International in Glasgow and on that evidence he could well be on the way to a time in the region of 1:45 further into the indoor season – watch this space!

Ryan Spencer-Jones improved considerably up to 17.87m in the shot in his second outing of the winter and his PB of 17.98m shows already shaking on the face of it.

Elsewhere, UK U23 400m hurdles champion Caryl Granville notched the sprint hurdles in 8.79 secs and a fastest for two years indoor time of 56.43 secs in the heats of the 400m, but faltered in third in a considerably slower 57.02 secs in the final behind Helen Pryer (56.41) later on.

Scottish National Open, Glasgow

Allan Scott initiated the second age of his track career on a positive note as he edged his first race since winter 2009 in a decent 7.85 secs, gaining a picture of the early whereabouts of his form. On the face of it, he could draw into the 7.6 province before winter is out which would form a solid platform for the summer.

Former Commonwealth silver medallist Chris Baillie was second in 7.91 secs to show that he is ahead of schedule on last year but wasn’t particularly happy about his display, adding in a 7.13 secs over the flat distance.

Guy Learmonth entered the U23 class in a comfortable 1:51.03 win over 800m, finishing over three seconds ahead of his closest rival.

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— Full results in the respective section —

(More later…)

Vlasic clears a career best of 2.07m in Stockholm back in 2007

Blanca Vlasic is to undergo surgery on her left ankle on the last day of the month, January 31, as revealed by a Croatian news bulletin a little earlier on.

As can be made of a rough translation, the Croatian high jump superstar has more precisely swung to go under the knife now, having an arthoscopy, in order to remove torn cartilage that affects her achilles, causing her persistent pain.

The operation was originally scheduled for September but force of circumstance has forced a turn of plans in this direction, as herself said, and will be performed by Dr Leif Swarda, assisted by professor Jon Carlsson, in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Rehibilitation is anticipated to last until mid March at longest so she is going to have still plenty of time to build up properly and arrive fully fit and competitive in the Oympics in London come summer.

http://www.blanka-vlasic.hr/n.php?id=649

It’s the turn of European 400m hurdles bronze medallist and hot Olympic prospect Perri Shakes-Drayton to feature in the latest series of NIKE commercials under the motto “Make it count (2012)”, a very good one as well. Do check it out!

Mo Farah is headlining the first British outfit in action into the Olympic season at the AVIVA International Match on Saturday as he is stepping down for an opening sharpener over the odd 1500m on the track of Kelvin Hall, Glasgow.

He is faced with a stern challenge in the face of Augustine Choge, holding a PB of 3:29.47 outdoors (2009), and it will be interesting to see how he tackles the race and the pace of the Kenyan.

The world 5000m champion will be also lining up in the mile in Boston over further speedwork later on before he launches his attack on the British and European records in the 2-miler in Birmingham next month.

Deagu silver medallist Hannah England, European indoor 3000m champion Helen Clitheroe,  both returning from Kenya just prior to the meeting, Beijing finalist Jeanette Kwakye, European 100m runner-up Mark Lewis-Francis and Daegu finalist Yamile Aldama will be making their season premieres, as will birthday girl Shana Cox and Shara Proctor coming over from across the Pond.

Global bronze medallist Andy Turner, nursing a slight achilles niggle, will be out to move up a couple of gears on a low-key opener of 7.79 secs at Crystal Palace midway last week while high jump new star Robbie Grabarz is going to draw plenty of the spotlight, as well as hopefully new heights, in a battle against former world champion Donald Thomas (BAH) and top Russian Aleksandr Shustov.

Steve Lewis goes in the pole vault up against season’s top marker Dmitriy Starodubtsev (RUS, 5.90m) having got off to a decent opener of 5.50m off 16 strides in Cottbus, Germany, on Wednesday.

One should also keep an eye on Joe Thomas as the Welshman ran a solo Istanbul qualifier of 1:47.82 from the off in Cardiff last weekend and looks set for great improvements into the season, facing top Kenyan Boaz Lalang.

The British team, as follows, are facing line-ups from the USA, Russia, Germany and a Commonwealth Select side captained by evergreen Kim Collins (SKN) in what has been a long-time formal curtain-drawer for the indoor season.

MEN

60m Mark Lewis Francis
200m Danny Talbot
400m Richard Buck
800m Joe Thomas
1500m Mo Farah
60mh Andy Turner
HJ Robbie Grabarz
PV Steve Lewis

WOMEN

60m Jeanette Kwakye
200m Margaret Adeoye
400m Shana Cox
800m Claire Gibson
1500m Hannah England
3000m Helen Clitheroe
60mh Gemma Bennett
LJ Shara Proctor
TJ Yamile Aldama

Brits on the Commonwealth Select Team: Charlene Thomas (1500m), Lawrence Clarke (60mh), Andrew Sutcliffe (PV), Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (400m), Laura Samuel (TJ)

Timetable & Start-lists

http://www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series/aviva-international-match/timetable/