Category: International Meetings


The crowds poured in by the thousands round the Quayside to attend the sign-off episode of a sensational summer and relish a last encore of some of their Olympic heroes at the Great City Games in Newcastle, serving as the fall equinox of home athletics as the outdoor track season takes to the streets thereon to hand over the baton to the road in the shape of the Great North Run the following day.

A street version of the once traditional GBR vs USA matches, the Americans may have settled the affair as early as midway through to finally prevail 6-3 in wins between them but the British fans were delighted to witness some surprisingly strong late performances from athletes such as Chris Tomlinson and Dwain Chambers that lend even more promise to the following season.

Dan Pfaff-bound Holly Bleasdale suffered a low flight of just 4.10m, admittedly having not done any training since London, as she slipped to a surprise defeat by Mary Saxy (4.25) in a short-run opening women’s pole vault, U20 hot prospect Katie Byres rounding out the field at 3.80, while Hannah England looked to have measured her efforts superbly only to be denied by a marauding late charge from burgeoning half-miler Brenda Martinez at the death in the mile to turn the tide decisively in favour of the US team from the early days.

World champion Jenny Simpson opted to embark on an unfamiliar hard run straight to the front to open up a healthy gap on the field that she held well into the second half of the race until an audacious move by Julia Bleasdale, always relishing to test her limits, saw her haul in the American off the Swing Bridge where England worked her way back on terms more steadily soon.

As the finish line loomed ahead turning into the home stretch, England was well poised to strike out past a tiring Simpson for home, maybe a click too early, and looked like having done enough to clinch top honours for Britain, Bleasdale falling behind and Anna Pierce with Shannon Rowbury out of contention; yet, out of nowhere screamed past lightning Martinez like a train down the way, in a late established trademark fashion, to steal a victory against the odds over the last 40m in 4:34.99 to 4:35.56.

The 25-year-old half-miler was the least fancied among the American quartet to figure at the top, venturing on the upper end of her range, but she is already a useful miler (4:06.96 PB over 1500m) and offered a full measure of her fiercesome kick to suggest a major new force in the making over both distances in view of next season.

Nonetheless, there were many positives for the Brit to draw out of the tussle before swinging out to the terminal stop of a season that never came her way, her luck not lasting even as far as the finish line of an early Pyrrhic victory in Hengelo, lining up at the renowned 5th Avenue Mile in New York.

Behind the two, Pierce battled into the top three in 4:36.44 ahead of Simpson, who had to eventually do with fourth in 4:37.17 for all her pains, whereas Bleasdale faded back into fifth in 4:38.89. U20 sensation Jessica Judd gained further valuable excerience in a fastest ever mile on any surface in 4:42.30 followed by Eilish McColgan in 4:42.84 in the rear two places.

Following next, the men’s equivalent was nothing short of a nailbiting thriller either as a rejuvenated James Brewer turned back the pages of his form book to reignite his U23 promise and give great Bernard Lagat, the red-hot favourite, a real scare and a race for his money.

The legendary former double world champion attempted to lay down his law from the outset by means of a brisk pace at the helm but, much to a growing astonishment around, could not shake off the stout challenge of the Brit who moved alongside into the final quarter of the race, growing in confidence with every stride.

So much so that Brewer appeared to turn the screw and Lagat digging deep to hang on into the final burn-up but the American made his expertise count as he ground out a vital metre entering the home track straight and used his body expertly to shut the ways past as his young rival rallied to threaten again late for a narrow victory in 4:01.62 against 4:01.81, a road best for the latter.

Mark Rowland-coached Jordan McNamara was a clear third some way behind in 4:02.86 and U23 Jonny Hay worked his way through in the late stages for fourth in 4:05.03 ahead of 800m man Mukhtar Mohammed.

The spectacle of Brewer back in full flow was a delight to watch and will afford a further boost alongside Ross Murray’s summer revelation to the British mile scene in quest of a return into the thick of affairs at global level as Andy Baddeley could be pondering a move up in distance, with the likes of James Shane hopefully returning fully fit next season.

By stark contrast, Olympic short relay champion Jeneba Tarmoh bossed the women’s 100m from her first step out of the blocks minutes earlier and never allowed a slightest shade of doubt cast on the outcome as she made a slick transition into a firm lead and drove powerfully down the track to win comfortably in a fast late-season 11.17 secs (0.6m/sec), placing a thorough gap on compatriot Miki Barber and Anyika Onuora who battled it out for the runner-up spot behind in 11.37 and 11.42 secs.

Chris Tomlinson lands at a superb third-round 8.18m to nail a top-notch long jump on the Quayside

Mo Farah comfortably dominates the men’s 2 miles

Full Results

http://www.greatcitygames.org/Results/2012_gncg.aspx

Greg Rutherford has been long touted to take British long jumping to new realms but a little touch of the art of great Carl Lewis, the undisputed master of the game, seems to launch him towards the heights of his potential.

A tweak on his take-off phase out of the book of the American four-time Olympic champion, overseen by coach Dan Pfaff,  is paying already handsome dividents as he reached a new PB of 8.35m as early as his third showing this season, equalling Chris Tomlinson‘s British record in the process.

After all, Rutherford is a useful sprinter himself, holding a PB of 10.26 secs over 100m, so such a tune-up was always bound to fall in nicely with his gear.

Chula Vista, near San Diego in California, may be widely regarded as a heaven for discus throwers but looks also to turn a happy ground in the case of the 25-year-old Briton who had matched the Olympic A standard of 8.20 (1.2m/sec) on his previous call at the venue a week earlier.

All the same, Rutherford had trouble adapting his run-up on the runway in the early to middle stages as he twice came shy of the board to record 7.89m (2.1m/sec) and 8.02m (1.9m/sec) where he simply ran through when he readjusted on the third effort.

But it all eventually came together in the very next attempt as he rode on a perfect tailwind of 2.0m/sec to land that big new lifetime best and sweep to the summit of the global rankings, erasing a previous marker of 8.30m that stood since the qualifying round in Berlin in 2009.

Suffice it to say that such a distance raises him as a genuine medal contender in London and he apparently felt content with his day work to pass on his last couple of attempts and save for more demanding occasions later into the season.

Surveying the scene from a largely new perspective, the co-British record holder is turning now his sights firmly on his first serious mission of the season at the opening leg of the new Diamond League in Doha, Qatar, where he will be aiming to establish himself in the driving seat of the event early on the way to the Olympics.

Also lining up will be Tomlinson himself to set up a first head-to-head at the forefront of the British scene although it might be a journey into the unknown to an extent for the latter on his first outing since the final in Daegu early last September.

An operation and a consequent delayed build-up due to a lengthy rehabilitation stretching into the winter spelt a later opener to the season and the European bronze medallist could just be looking to get a feel of his current shape and regain his footing on the international stage before he engages higher gears.

There have been mixed feelings on the road for the British girls as Gemma Steel and Charlotte Purdue battled it out for the top honours in the streets of Dublin to underline their promise whereas Paula Radcliffe suffered a serious blow to her hopes of eventually claiming that elusive Olympic medal in London as she faltered well off her target in Vienna.

On the track, Martyn Rooney opened his account to winning ways in style in Los Angeles and Abi Oyepitan evoked robust glimpses of the form that paved the way to the 200m final in Athens, with young Sophie Papps illustrating a glittering future in the women’s sprints at the Lee Valley.

OMV Half Marathon, Vienna

The much hyped “Emperor vs the Queen” virtual handicap race against great Haile Gebrselassie never really waltzed round the streets of the city of Johan Strauss as Radcliffe faded away over the back end of the half marathon course despite an encouraging start.

On a specially arranged format, the Briton was afforded a headstart of 7:52 on the differential between the lifetime bests of the two legends of distance running and showed purpose in the early stages to move past the opening 5k on schedule in 16:13.

But it turned all uphill from there on as the effects of a recent bout of bronchitis and pleurisy caught up with her and her strength started to waver in a test of mentality rather than an intended gauge of form and sharpener that reared up.

In due consideration, that was a race the world marathon record holder should have never run but she may have fallen for that false feeling of full recovery so many times when strength hasn’t actually settled back in yet, meddled with the anxiety of slipping behind her Olympic agenda.

By stark contrast, the ’emperor’ showed rejuvenated again, as if holding a charm of making, so much so that he soon released his rabbits of their duties to follow his own preferred tempo and breezed past Radcliffe slightly after the 15km mark, extending a shout of encouragement to his credit, on the way to wrapping up both contests in a time of 60.52.

Topping the women in a final time of 72:03, the slowest she has ever returned over the distance, will hardly offer any consolation for the Brit who, as Steve Cram wisely points out, will have to pick her way and races up to London very carefully henceforth, without any margin for mistakes.

SPAR Great Ireland Run, Dublin

The spell of the Olympics in London looks to work wonders on almost every department of home athletics and the spectacle of season revelation Gemma Steel and returning-to-action Charlotte Purdue pulling away from the field into a commanding British one-two in the women’s 10km race stirred life into hope of a revival over a distance that has been deep in the shades in recent years on the track.

Steel worked up a decisive four second gap on her domestic rival over the final kilometre of the course to collect the spoils in a huge best of  32:06, moving ninth in the UK all-time lists, and built on a sound run on all surfaces since autumn but Purdue won’t feel hard done by either with runner-up in a big new lifetime mark of 32:10 to slot into eleventh fastest ever herself.

Even more so when the young AFD runner came into the race still feeling a swift 15:29 long leg at the National Women’s 6-stager at Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, the previous day in her legs to show that form is falling in nicely down the way. Both times, without a doubt, indicate that the two Brits could pull the A standard of 31:45.00 on the track in the following several weeks and a place on the British team to London, an exciting prospect.

On the other hand, Helen Clitheroe endured a bad day at the office on her comeback from a training spell in Portugal as she looked rather uncomfortable midway through and trailed a long way behind the main action in fourth in 33:02 (SB), with Frenchwoman Christelle Daunay splitting the Brits in third in 32:27.

The men’s race could not bear the term contest by any means as great Kenenisa Bekele stormed to the front with the gun to force a searing pace, confident and flowing round the route, that saw him walk away with victory in a swift 27:49, a huge course record, as none survived on his tail even by the halfway mark.

A gap of almost a minute up on his nearest rival, as well as a few fleeting smiles looking round on the way, told the tale of a man back in serious business and feeling pleased with his form and fitness even though there was hardly a field to really test him over the distance. But time and races will tell whether he is back to his best once he swings onto the track next month with his showdown against Mo Farah over 5000m in Eugene looming large on the horizon.

Spaniard Ayam Lamdassam hung on to runner-up in 28:48 a mere second ahead of Italian Daniele Meucci, fourth and third behind Farah over 10000m in Barcelona, as they trailed a long way behind while Nick McCormick enjoyed another encouraging run to end up fifth in 29:04 and will take plenty of heart from a scalp like former European 5000m champion Jesus Espana.

Tiffany Porter and Richard Kilty came out of pre-season training to highlight the action at the first weekend of April from a British perspective as they became the first athletes to obtain so-called ‘current’ A Olympic standards in the sprint hurdles and the 200m respectively, such markers counting as of the turn of the month.

Lennie Waite set a world-leading time in the women’s ‘chase and Margaret Adeoye insisted on startling people with her rate of progress among other notable performances as the bulk of action is currently being staged across the Pond. So let’s have a look around and pick up what happened.

Florida Relays, Gainsville

Tiffany Porter was swift out of her marks to breeze over the sticks to a UK-leading 12.96 secs into a slight headwind (-0.5m/sec), tying the Olympic A standard in the process, and state her case as a medal contender in London from the outset of her outdoor season.

That was effectively the best ever opener for the British captain and silver medallist in Istanbul since her 12.71 secs last year in Austin was aided by a 4.9m/sec gale, suggesting that even faster times could be on the way this summer.

Selectionwise, there has never been an issue but more of a formality to be named on the Team GB sheet as such is her authority on the domestic scene, yet it is always a nice feeling and a boost to stamp it from early on.

Bridgette Owens came second and Loreal Smith was third in 13.26 and 13.36 secs respectively behind the Briton.

Porter extended her presence at the meet leading off the Star Athletics B on the way to a third place in the women’s 4x100m, anchored by top American hurdler Kristi Castlin, in 43.88 where fellow Briton Abi Oyepitan was also out on the same leg to blow off some cobwebs and set up Pure Athletics A, containing Shalonda Solomon and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, to win the relay in 43.33 secs.

Istanbul dash bronze medallist Tianna Madison anchored the Boogiefast Track Club A in between in 43.75 secs while Kellie Wells and Demu Cherry were drafted in fourth-placing Star Athletics A.

Andy Turner delivered further good news for Team GB as he was quick to shrug off injury concerns by contributing the third leg to ‘Train Gang A’, led off by late-making up-his mind David Oliver, into third overall out of two heats in 55.75 secs over a rare 4x11om hurdles relay – Star Athletics A the victors in 54.30.

The European champion was feared to have suffered a recurrence of his achilles complaint earlier in the week but all Turn-er-ed out well in the end.

Oliver, for his part, made a hash of his individual race on the first day as he was caught on the wrong foot by the flying start and hurdling of Ronnie Ash to hit the last obstacle hard with his trail leg and stray deep into the adjacent lane of David Payne on the right.

The American record holder recovered his own stripe of the turf as best as he could to wind up fourth in a windy 13.43 (3.0m/sec) and went on to apologize to the Olympic silver medallist (13.47) for hindering his race, while he also opted to leave a decision late over the hurdle relay due to a slight injury sustained.

Ash held his form nicely to the tape to win in 13.10 from runner-up Dexter Faulk (13.25), who startled the world with his 7.40 secs heat over 60m hurdles at the US Indoor Trials, and third-spotted Lehann Fourie (13.31).

Briton Alex Al-Ameen edged the fourth heat in a SB of 14.03 into a slight headwind of -0.4m/sec for a useful start to his own term.

Star of the meeting turned Bershawn ‘Batman’ Jackson as he swept round the track to a huge world-leading time of 48.49 secs in the 400m hurdles and announced that he is back in serious business after crashing out of the medals in Daegu, showing evident glimpses of the form that earned him a sensational world title in Helsinki back in 2005.

Jonny Dutch was no slouch either as he followed through in second place some way behind in a swift season opener of 48.96 secs to move likewise up in the world rankings overnight before Jeshua Anderson edged him out of the runner-up spot in winning in 48.86 secs the following day in Tempe, Arizona.

European bronze medallist Martyn Bernard made a tentative inaugural outing, first since Daegu, over 2.15m for fifth in a high jump competition that saw the rise of a potential new star in 21-year-old Ricky Robertson, who soared over successive lifetime bests of 2.30 and 2.32m at the first time of asking to soar to the top of the global outdoor rankings.

The American held a previous best of 2.29m from Athens, Georgia, last May and will fancy his chances of joining the likes of world champion Jesse Williams in London.

Another athlete to raise her own stakes substantially on the international rostrum out was Octavious Freeman, turning her 20 on April 20, as she walked away with a brace of world leads in her bag out of a fabulous double in the women’s sprints within a short space, doubling as PBs as well.

The Florida-based rangy sprinter comfortably notched up the 100m in 11.10 secs (1.2m/sec) from Tiffany Townsend, second in 11.22 secs (SB), and returned later on the first day to edge out Shalonda Goodman over the furlong in 22.80 to 22.85 secs (0.5m/sec), also a PB for the latter.

Castlin was also involved in the flat sprints to come away with a double of PBs in 11.60 and 23.46 secs in the 100 and 200m respectively to make the most out of Gains-ville.

In the men’s sprints, Jeff Demps edged the men’s 100m from Trinidadian Keston Bledman in 10.11 against 10.14 secs (1.1m/sec), moving second and fourth in the global lists, while Maurice Mitchell blasted to a wind-assisted 20.08 secs over 200m (3.4m/sec) well in front of Isiah Young (20.35).

Brit Julian Thomas returned arguably his best run in years to finish third in the fourth heat in a marginally windy 21.11 secs (2.1m/sec) and could draw hope to see again the regions of his PB, a 20.85 secs in 2005, and why not even further yet.

Scot Jade Nimmo struggled in the women’s long jump, won by Shameka Marshall at a SB of 6.52m (-0.7m/sec), as she could not place a mark farther than 6.08m (-1.0m/sec) on the day, with two fouls and passing her final two efforts.

Results

http://www.deltatiming.com/results/events_byschedule.aspx?yf=2012&mf=2012-florida-relays

Sun Angel Classic, Tempe

Richard Kilty carried his indoor thunder into his mini outdoor premiere in sundrenched Arizona to demonstrate that he is arriving into the thick of affairs, at least as far as the European picture is concerned, as he dismissed his PBs over both sprint distances sight unseen from the off with aplomb.

Having eased to a startling 6.61 over 60m on the boards of Birmingham in winter, he employed this new-found momentum to run over a begging 10.32 from Crawley last August and draw a huge new mark of 10.23 secs (0.3m/sec) up on the scoreboard on the other end of the straight, inside the Olympic B benchmark and straight to the top of the British lists.

That proved more than enough to dominate a first heat involving world indoor triple jump champion Will Claye back in sixth (10.64) while coach Linford Christie, nursing a broken bone out of a benchpress workout, was further content to see European silver medallist Mark Lewis-Francis off to a solid opener of 10.33 secs (0.0) minutes later for a close runner-up behind U23 American Ryan Milus (10.29).

On a surge, Kilty was soon back on the track later to even more striking effect as he powered round the 200m to a second lifetime best of an Olympic A marker of 20.50 secs on the day in totally still conditions (0.0) to afford fascinating glimpses into what he could perform come summer.

Indeed, had the wind been on, say, 1.5m/sec that run could have likely ranged in the high 20.3s to suggest that the time may have come to witness a Brit in the low 20 secs since Christian Malcolm‘s exploits early last decade, and why not even inside that barrier for that matter.

That made a second win in the bag for the 22-year-old who finished comfortably ahead of American Jeremy Dodson (20.68), already a 20.38 secs (1.8m/sec) performer this season, for a further measure of the quality of his form.

Luke Lennon-Ford was also out on a double sprint workout to put together SBs of 10.93 and 21.38 (0.0) over 100 and 200m respectively, a member of the silver medal winning quartet in the long relay in Istanbul.

On the women’s side, new-look Laura Turner, much improved in alignment and dynamics, followed Kilty’s trail to fashion a dash double of her own in a UK-topping 11.47 and 23.71 (SB), both in breathless conditions (0.0), in an encouraging start.

The one to steal the impressions, nevertheless, was ever-surging Margaret Adeoye who looked so at home over a rare 400m to tour round the lap well on top in a huge PB of 53.43 secs and even claim that she hardly felt any lactic in her legs after the race.

After all, her inexaustible strength is her main asset to render her a real deal for the longer distance in future even though she looks well on the way inside 23 secs over her specialty (200m) on the evidence of her displays so far.

European indoor finalist Richard Strachan also joined in the chorus of promising displays in that first ‘Team Christie’ run-through as he battled for runner-up in a solid 46.22 secs in the men’s equivalent behind Donald Sanford, who set a new Israeli national record of 45.76 secs.

The performance of the meet arguably goes to American Jeshua Anderson who powered round over the hurdles to a global runner-up of 48.88 secs and get in between countrymen Bershawn Jackson and Jonny Dutch in the seasons early charts, with Thomas Phillips a distant sixth in 51.58 secs.

Canadian Malindi Elmore, a 4:02.64 performer way back in 2004, rekindled some of her old form as she convincingly saw off Jamaican 800m star Kenia Sinclair in 4:16.38 to 4:17.54 while her compatriot Nathan Brannen won the men’s equivalent in a brisk 3:39.85, with Brit Darren StClair still struggling down in seventh place in a SB in 1:49.60 well behind winner Andrew Ellerton (CAN, 1:48.03) in the 800m.

The bulk of the main action continued to come, rather unchacteristically, from beyond the European borders in the women’s hammer in these opening phases as Jessica Cosby narrowly missed out on Erin Gilreath‘s US record by only 16cm with a PB of 73.71m, third best in the world, and Heather Stacey virtually ensured Canada of a double representation in the event in London with a PB of her own at 72.16m, comfortably over the Olympic A standard.

Results

http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/asu/sports/c-track/auto_pdf/2011-12/box_score/stats_20120408aaa.pdf

Stanford Invitational, Stanford

Lennie Waite sparked her Olympic bid into life as she drew desperately shy of the B standard by a mere 0.35 secs running away with top honours in the main section over the women’s barriers, building up a winning margin of over 12 seconds.

The US-based ‘chaser clocked a new PB of 9:48.35 to brush aside her previous figure of 9:49.67 from Nivone, Belgium, last August and find herself sitting nicely atop the early global lists for a considerable confidence boost.

That said, she has definitely got to beat the A standard (9:40.00) in a potential race with Eilish McColgan for the effective remaining third spot in the event on the British team given that Barbara Parker and Hattie Archer (nee Dean) already hold a sound foothold in that region from last summer.

In the women’s 10000m, Sarah Waldron forayed deep into unknown territories to come away with a massive PB of 32:36.07 in fourth place and storm the top of the UK lists, slashing a big chunk of roughly 1:15  off her previous best from last year.

Despite the size of her improvement, her time could not quite be regarded as a surprise since the groundwork had been laid during the indoor season through runs of 15:59.93 and 16:07.04 on the American circuit.

Tom Farrell got his outdoor campaign off to swift start as he battled hard round the last 300m to a straight PB of 3:41.07 in a tight finish for the minor top three places over the men’s 1500m, polishing up his speed nicely in view of his attempt at the Olympic A marker over 5000m at Stanford at the end of April.

Jamal Aarrass (FRA), looking particularly strong in these early days, came away a convincing victor of that second of two main heats in 3:39.04 (SB), Chris Derrick edging an even more packed first section in a slower 3:41.17.

Promising U23 miler Rich Peters enjoyed a direct ride inside 14 mins in his induction into the 5000m as he set 13:56.89 to finish fourth in the second heat, Jim Walmsley on top in 13:52.87, and build in further endurance insulation but fellow Brit Ross Clarke failed to complete the distance.

Over double the distance, late bloomer Matthew Bond eradicated his lifetime best into a new mark of 29:08.69 to take the second section of the men’s 10000m with Dathan Ritzenhein prevailing in a season-warm-up 28:21.48 in the main race.

The highlight of the meet came in the shape of rising prospect Bridgetta Barrett who climbed over an equal global-leading 1.95m (SB) in the women’s high jump, having set a total best of 1.97m indoors in Fayetteville this winter.

Results

http://www.rtspt.com/events/stanford/invite2012/

Elsewhere…

James Alaka set out for the new season with a brace of runner-ups both times behind 19-year-old Prezel Hardy Jr in his best ever openers of 10.36 (1.0m/sec) and 20.90 secs (0.8m/sec) over 100 and 200m at the Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene, Oregon.

The European U23 100m champion was fairly satisfied albeit he might have liked a little more out of his showing as his American rival pulled together runs of 10.32 and 20.60 secs over the respective distances for a sprint double up front.

At the Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister Classic in Los Angeles, Leevan Yearwood and U23 Tremayne Gilling opened up slightly faster yet as they registered 10.32 and 10.35 secs (0.7m/sec) for a British one-two in the 100m, comfortably sharpest starters ever to a season for both.

But also out on the track competing was veteran now Donna Fraser to set 12.22 secs in the women’s 100m as she still refuses to ‘lay down her arms’ just a few months prior to her 40th birthday, a prime example of dedication and love for the sport.

Mind you, Fraser still firmly occupies fifth position in the UK all-time lists over 400m in 49.79 secs set when slightly missing out on Katharine Merry and bronze in the Olympics in Sydney 2000, a European U20 champion way back in 1991 as well.

Finally, Tyrone Edgar continued his steady comeback to racing and form as he shaved a hundredth off his SB to 10.29 secs on a sweet tailwind of 1.6m/sec to cruise to victory in the 100m at the North Texas Invitational in Denton.

As Wallace Spearmon sheathed his guns after a searing 19.95 secs over 200m the previous weekend, Sanya Richards-Ross took up the mantle and stepped up to the start of the 100m to show her own quality and firepower very much in the pattern of the script of the “Quick and the dead” – and proved as lethal and quick on the draw.

After all, this was Texas and you can’t afford to turn anything less than that when called on to perform on split second timing.

Blast out of her blocks she did and blazed down the straight and away in a manner reminiscent of a dash speciallist, a spectacular tireless footwork all along, to cross the line in a devastating 10.89 secs a street ahead of a decent field, signalling her menacing intentions ahead of the summer.

For slightly windy (2.9m/sec) it may have been, yet that constituted the fastest run ever turned in by a female sprinter in history at the early stage of March to strike fear into the hearts of her rivals over what she could be capable of come the peak of the summer season.

Even more so when she won a thorough world indoor title over her specialty (400m) in 50.79 secs a mere three weeks earlier to show deep resources of speed available at any given time and occasion, a powerful weapon in her immense armoury.

Come to that, she looks as though she is perfecting her racing model by mastering a distance that will enable her to lay a yet sounder 200m platform going into the summer, which combined with her strength could render her an invincible challenger even for someone as gifted as Allyson Felix.

So has the time come for her to fulfil her undisputed potential and claim that elusive Olympic crown? Her major championships record nowhere near matches her prestigious feats and glittering times on the circuit so far; at the same time, the manner she dispensed with the rounds of the 400m in Istanbul and her lightning run in Austin suggest that her best may be still lying ahead of her.

In all fairness, Athens may have come a little too early for her back in 2004 while Beijing didn’t entertain the very top of her form four years later. Therefore time will tell over the next few months whether she has reached Redemption and dismisses the ghosts of the past.

Incidentally, Richard-Ross’s PB over the dash stands at 10.97 secs (-0.7m/sec) from 2007 in Shangai and ought to be due for substantial revision by the look of her early form.

Porscha Lucas came well behind in second despite a 11.11 secs clocking, a hundredth faster than her lifetime best, and Chastity Riggien was third in 11.23 secs.

Astonishingly enough at this phase, Sanya’s sizzling 10.89 secs dash merely sufficed to steal a March on young compatriot Kimberlyn Duncan who minutes earlier had stormed to an as astounding 10.94 secs on an identical tailwind of 3.0m/sec to command a University/College final of even greater depth in style, holding off Chelsea Hayes and Dominigue Duncan who set 11.09 and 11.15 secs respectively.

That was a robust early statement by the 20-year-old, holding PBs of 11.09 and 22.24 secs from last season, to underline her credentials as a potential contender for a berth on the US team in what should be a sensational affair at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene. Hayes, nonetheless, was the fastest out of the heats in a SB and global-leading 11.20 (1.5m/sec) the previous day with Duncan at 11.26 (1.3m/sec) and her namesake Dominique in 11.30 secs (2.0m/sec).

Sanya’s part in the meeting was not over yet and after a short breather she tripped over to the peak of the home straight to pick up the baton from Shelise Williams and  anchor the Hart Of Texas to a convincing win in a swift 3:27.03 in the Invitational 4x400m women’s relay, wrapping up an superb day’s work in style.

Runner-ups were the TG Elite, led off by Istanbul’s bronze medallist Natasha Hastings, in 3:29.23 and star-studded Sprinting Speed, featuring Jessica Beard, Francena McCorory and Alexandria Anderson, were third in 3:29.86.

Jeremy Wariner anchors in a solid 44.58 secs in the main 4x400m race

In the men’s equivalent, Jeremy Wariner lined up further evidence that he is firmly back on track as he turned on a solid 44.58 secs anchor leg to clinch victory for the Central TX All Stars in a time of 3:01.54, with Tabarie Henry deployed in the second leg.

The 2004 Olympic champion came under an ambitious attack up the back straight by Jeremy Davis and Leroy Dixon, tying up Next Level Athletics and HP All Stars, but held his ground well on the inside and when he engaged higher gear coming off the top bend he pulled away nonchalantly to carve out a near 10m gap on his rivals.

Meanwhile, Spearmon, for his part, along with groupmate and friend Darvis Patton have opted to return back to some serious pre-season training after their March exploits but did come out to stretch their legs over the first half of the men’s Invitational 4x100m that also involved a revamped Tyrone Edgar round the top bend, romping to a comfortable win in 38.64 secs.

They might have been a little astounded, all the same, to be bettered in terms of time by a less glamorous side of Auburn comprising Marcus Rowland, Harry Adams, Michael de Haven and Keenan Brock who combined fabulously round the track to a world-leading 38.30 secs earlier on in the university race, beating Texas A&M into second place in 38.84 secs.

In the short dash, Canadian Aaron Brown nicked the top of the podium on a photofinish verdict from Cordero Gray as they shared a windy 10.09 secs (2.9m/sec) in the invitational contest but it was sprinter-cum-footballer Jeff Demps who delivered the fastest time of the day as he dominated the university finals in an also windy 10.01 secs (2.9m/sec).

Chris Thomas edged the 110m hurdles over Trinidadian namesake Mikel by a shade as they both set PBs of 13.45 and 13.48 secs in maybe the only race to be held in legal conditions (1.9m/sec), Barrett Nugent prevailing in a wind-assisted 13.37 (2.9m/sec) in the university version, where Nicole Denby caught the attention through a windy 12.78 secs to earn top honours in the women’s hurdles.

The women’s high jump enjoys a revival in exciting times in the States following Chaunte Howard-Lowe‘s major upset over Anna Chicherova (RUS) in Istanbul, Brigitta Barrett emerging as a new star from the ranks, and veteran Amy Acuff pulled her weight in saliently over a straight world-topping 1.95m on her very return to action after three years.

Turning her 37 on April 14, the American will be looking to make a fourth Olympia on the trot having narrowly missed out on bronze in Athens in 2004, fourth at 1.99m, and getting the Olympic A standard out of the way was a best possible start.

Teenage prodigy Delano Williams blew away the field  over the 200m final to wrap up a sensational sprint double at the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, then went on to reveal that he has obtained a British passport that enables him to represent Britain henceforth.

The 18-year-old hails from the British dependent islands of Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean, which have no NOC, so applied to represent the Great Albion instead and earn the right to compete in the London Olympics, thereby an identical case to Istanbul bronze medallist Shara Proctor who has switched allegiance from Anguilla.

Williams will still have to be cleared first to become eligible for the British team for London but that shouldn’t normally take that much time while he already holds the A qualifying standard for the 200m with 20.53 secs from earlier this winter, which would render him as a genuine contender for an individual berth.

At the same time, he is also a very competent quarter-miler of a PB of 45.7 secs, albeit not yet registered in the IAAF statistics, that could set him up nicely to turn a valuable asset for the men’s 4x400m relay in the future as well.

On Friday evening, he accomplished the first part of his campaign as recovered from a poor start to come through strong in the later stages and snatch the 100m title at the death in a PB of 10.37 (-0.5m/sec) from Jazeel Murphy, runner-up in 10.39.

A thriller as the shorter dash turned out, his authority was never to be questioned over the 200m the following day. He swept smoothly round the bend to come into the home straight well in command and built on powerfully thereon all the way to carve out huge daylight on the opposition, crossing the line almost half a second clear in 21.18 to 21.67 secs.

His time may not make headlines at first sight but seen against a -3.3m/sec adverse gale blowing into his face that translates into something in the 20.4 secs region or thereabouts, having eased through the semifinals in 20.75 secs – now that is something to turn heads!

But what really mattered, as he beamed during his post-race interview, was that both golds were buried and dusted in the bag and a giant step was taken towards those precious Olympics in London for a magical couple of days.

Incidentally, Jamaica-based Briton Nethanee Mitchell-Blake scrambled through to sneak bronze in 21.72 secs in that latter final after a PB of 21.49 through the rounds earlier on, completing a virtual British double presence on the podium.

The men’s 50km race walking is an event that has not only fallen from grace but even sunk into an abyss of anonymity as the golden triumphs of Tommy Green (1932), Harry Whitlock (1936) and Don Thompson (1952) in the Olympics feel all but forgotten and ranks are scattered nowadays.

Chris Maddocks was the last walker to represent Britain in the ultimate showpiece back in Sydney 2000 to simply illustrate the plunging fortunes in this quarter through the last age, as does the shortage of marks under four hours since his clocking of 3h57:10 that very year; but that could be about to change…

Driven by the call of the home Olympics, Dominic King walked out of his skin to clock a huge PB of 4h06:34 at the high-profile Dudinska Patdesiatka, Slovakia, on Saturday and earn a solid footing in the Olympic B qualifying territory (4h09) that could hand him a much longed-for spot on the British team for London.

The 28-year-old Colchester Harrier slashed well over 8 minutes off his previous lifetime figure of 4h14:55 from last year in doing so to move up into eighth in the UK all-time lists for good measure. But, funnily enough, his new mark cannot go down even as a family best since twin brother Daniel holds a PB of 4h04:49 from the former leap year.

Nothing can be taken for granted, of course, but with the Olympics held on home soil selectors and fans could feel inclined alike to see Team GB represented in as many events across the Games program as possible, even if King does not suggest medal or top eight material.

By the way, Daniel posted a substantial PB of 71:44 over 10 miles a mere couple of seconds behind his brother at the Lee Valley last month and it will be interesting to see whether he could challenge Dominic’s claim in this matter. At any rate, it’s good to see some light glimmering at the end of the tunnel for the event after some time.

Reigning Olympic champion Alex Schwazer cashed in on a superb sharpener of 1h17:30 to win over 20km in Lugano the previous weekend, a national record and sixth fastest in history, and dominated with aplomb in the teeth of warm conditions into a world-leading mark of 3h40:58, issuing a statement around that he is heading to London fully prepared to defend his title.

The Italian did not fail to admit so in his post-race interview, saying “I was thinking I can go somewhere around 3:45 so I’m even surprised it was so fast. It shows I’m in my best shape ever,” although he should expect a tough proposition from his Russian rivals in particular.

Lukasz Nowak was runner-up well behind in a PB of 3h44:24 and compatriot Rafal Sikora closed out the podium slots in also a PB of 3h46:16 as they endeavour to uphold the vast legacy left to Polish race-walking by great Robert Korzeniowski.

German Andre Hohne was fourth in 3h49:50 and Alexandros Papamichail followed on fifth in a huge PB of 3h55:13, fastest by a Greek race-walker since 1990, while Brendan Boyce as good as secured selection for the Irish Olympic team by way of a second A qualifier on the trot in 3h57:53, a slight PB by five seconds.

European champion Yohan Diniz (FRA) was also due to line up and set up an enthralling encounter with Schwazer on a fabulous national record of 1h17:43 for runner-up in Lugano, tenth fastest ever, but was apparently a late withdrawal.

IAAF Report

http://www.iaaf.org/Mini/WRC12/News/NewsDetail.aspx?id=64450

Incidentally, Tom Bosworth worked his way to a big PB of 1h25:49 for an overall 28th in that same race in Switzerland the previous weekend to draw within shouting distance of the B Olympic standard (1h24:30) for London, providing further evidence of turning fortunes for British race-walking.

The U23 athlete knocked a good 1:29 off his previous best from last year and will need to find at least a further 1:19 off to make a solid case for selection, which looks well capable of. His time was the fastest in two years by a Brit for good measure.

Bosworth’s groupmate Alex Wright got disqualified and Ben Wears pulled a SB of 1h29:52, not far off his PB of 1h29:00, for 36th some way behind.

Guatemala’s Erick Barrondo was third in a hefty national record of 1h18:25 followed in fourth by Ukraine’s Nazar Kovalenko in 1h19:55 to round out four national landmarks out of the top four finishers in a contest of excellent depth.

Tatiana Sibileva (RUS) walked away a convincing winner in the women’s version despite coming considerably shy of her SB in 1h28:03 ahead of Guatemala’s Mirna Ortiz in 1h28:54, doubling the country’s national marks on the day, and third-spotted Elisa Rigaudo (ITA) in 1h29:25.

Results

http://services.datasport.com/2012/lauf/gplugano/

Jade Nicholls has turned up her late winter-break competitive spell a couple of gears as she spun out a promising last-gasp 58.97m in a first-ever indoor appearance at the relatively known for this purpose throwing meeting in Vaxjo, Sweden, on Saturday.

Britain’s arguable top female discus thrower opened up with 55.23m, a considerable improvement on her outdoor debut of 52.52m at Loughborough, but had to wait until late in the competition to click into higher gear after three fouls and a fifth-round 53.53m – but all is well that ends well according to great Shakespeare.

Apart from an apparent UK best indoors, the good news is that her winning mark also appears to be the farthest ever thrown worldwide in an indoor environment, which would be a very welcome boost and set-out to her Olympic journey.

Prior to the meeting, the best known performance was German Sabine Rumpf‘s 57.95m at the same venue last year by all available accounts to back up this claim nicely.

Nicholls went over the 60m line for the first time ever with a PB of 60.76m at Hendon last summer but was not selected for Daegu subsequently, yet she will be looking to add to this into the Olympic A qualifying territory and secure a spot on the British team for London this time round.

Currently on a training spell in Sweden, Daegu finalist Brett Morse was also out competing to an opener of 59.14m (SB) for fifth while Chris Scott was a place behind at an indoor best of 58.13m in the men’s edition well behind convincing winner Benn Harradine (AUS), who had five efforts over 61m peaking at 64.12m.

David Coleman took the B competition at an indoor best of 51.88m and Ryan Spencer-Jones put 17.13m for fifth in the men’s shot.

Nery Brenes commits a howler stepping on an inside advertisement to tumble down while clear to a remarkable time and Nigel Levine is suddenly presented with an open sight of victory that he doesn’t let go to waste in the men’s 400m

Liu Xiang convincingly holds off Dayron Robles for a second time in as many encounters this winter, setting an Asian record of 7.41 secs

New Jamaican big gun Lerone Clarke upsets Asafa Powell in a national record of 6.47 secs over 60m

The women’s long jump with Shara Proctor twice improving the UK indoor record to an eventual 6.80m while Jessica Ennis grabs an indoor best of 6.47m

A round-up of the field events featuring Holly Bleasdale, Robbie Grabarz and JJ Jegede

New British sensation Holly Bleasdale is engaging a second joust with Yelena Isinbayeva for the right to the women’s pole vault summit in the skies of Stockholm tonight after the Russian ground out a narrow victory on countback in their opening encounter in Bydgoszcz.

The Briton has shown sound consistency to string together two straight wins on home soil over identical heights of 4.70m since while her great rival has risen higher over a winning SB of 4.81m in Lievin, France, and remains unbeaten so far this term.

With the World Indoor Championships just three  weeks away, the tie shapes a weighty dress rehearsal and Bleasdale will be eyeing to restore parity and a substantial mental boost before their crucial indoor showdown. So can she make it tonight or Isinbayeva will extend her lead to two up in their encounters?

Former world champion Anna Rogowska (POL) will be lurking behind poised to pounce on any potential opening that could appear, adding quality to the affair, while Cuban Yarisley Silva and also Pole Monica Pyrek are other names to note among the field.

Apart from the women’s pole vault, the third act of the Liu Xiang vs Dayron Robles saga in the men’s sprint hurdles also takes centre stage in the Swedish arena of the XL Galan although the Chinese former Olympic champion should extend his unbeaten run this season on current form all things equal.

The limelight will be equally on awesome Anna Chicherova (RUS) who is nonchalantly pulling together non-stop clearances over 2m in the high jump on the circuit, with Olympic champion Tia Hellebaut (BE) also falling in.

Joe Thomas is pitted against a top field that involves flying Pole Adam Kszczot, a hot favourite in fearsome form of late, Mohammed Aman (ETH), the youngster who brought David Rudisha‘s unbeaten streak to a halt last summer, European champion Marcin Lewandowski (POL) and Kenyan Boaz Lalang, looking for some good scalps and hopefully get drawn into the 1:45 region fresh from a 1:46.35 PB last weekend.

Andie Osagie goes in the B race where he ought to dominate with aplomb while Helen Clitheroe is out for a quality sharpener against the likes of Morgan Uceny, Anna Pierce (USA) and Btissam Lakhouad (MAR) in the 1500m in view of Istanbul. Hannah England was also due to compete over the distance but has been a late withdrawal.

Shana Cox will be hoping to draw inside 52 secs in a nearly all-British women’s B 400m, with fast-improving Emily Diamond and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke late additions, and Yamile Aldama will be targeting a further SB is in a good quality women’s triple jump.

Last, but not least in any way, JJ Jegede is out in a stand or fall attempt to grab a last ditch qualifier for Istanbul and top out an excellent indoor campaing so far, having landed at a big equal total best of 8.04m to win in Birmingham last Saturday. His mission isn’t easy by any means, though, as he needs at least 8.15m to pull his task off.