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Happy New Year to you

I feel I could not find a better way of wishing you all readers of Athletics Stargate a happiest and most exciting new year, a massive in so many aspects 2012, than a song that has been very much ringing in so many of those last 32 years of my life, ABBA’s everlasting “Happy New Year” which was broadcast on the Swedish TV on the New Year of 1980 heralding the then new decade. It’s quite astonishing that it has been so long since then but it always strikes within my heart as fresh and new as if it had come out only yesterday…

I hope you had a spectacular time last night with plenty of fun and joy to wake up today with a sharpened appetite and anticipation for what is lying ahead down the way, with the Olympics in London that we’ve been so eagerly waiting for looming now high and large on the horizon.

Unfortunately, this New Year was meant to be the last of great Frank Horwill, the man who introduced the famous ‘five pace’ training theory in middle distance running, as he passed away earlier today. He was also one of the co-founders of the British Milers Club. May he rest in peace, he will be solely missed…

Wrapping up the first post of 2012, here is a nice New Year effort by two hopefuls of making the British Olympic team in London, Beijing 400m hurdles bronze medallist Tasha Danvers and UK 100m record holder Montell Douglas. Do have a look at it, it’s fun! Happy New Year to you all again!



The Christmas message

I wish you a hopeful Christmas

I wish you a brave new year

All anguish, pain and sadness

Leave your heart and let your road be clear

I feel that this particular stanza from the well-known track “I believe in Father Christmas” (1975) by Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) encapsulates best what I would like to wish you all either regular followers or new visitors of Athletics Stargate, hoping that you all enjoyed a spectacular and happiest Christmas.

It has been a great experience and journey since I set up this place in late July and I am particularly pleased by the fast growing reputation and warm response met with in many quarters of the sport around.

After a much needed rest for a few days, I will start shaking things up around here so that the site is geared up and tweaked properly for an anticipated thrilling and pulsating season that peaks in the Olympic Games in London. I am really getting so excited about it!

Thankyou all and have a great New Year, Costas.

Part VI of our Christmas run-up, just two days off now, and it’s the turn of Commonwealth silver medallist Greg Rutherford to pick some seasonal goodies for you. So here are his two favourite songs of the season:

An 80s oldie but never-fading and very popular track the globe around, “Last Christmas” by British pop band Wham..

Also a big favourite round, here is Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you”

I’ll throw in a last one for today, Eurythmics and “Winter wonderland”!



Nine days before Christmas and our fourth part hosts Scottish and UK U23 steeplechase record holder Eilish McColgan who has lined up some fabulous songs for you.

My very own theme in this Christmas run-up as well, a song released by glam-rockers Wizzard way back in 1973 but enjoying a real revival this season! “I wish it could be Christmas everday”

“Driving home for Christmas” by Chris Rea, a very nice season track.

Last pick by Eilish is Mariah Carey‘s “All I want for Christmas is you”. Since it was put up again only a few days ago, I thought that we could also use the “Love Actually” edition of the track. Enjoy!



In the third part of our Christmas run-in, European U23 champion Jack Green opts for something different and more precisely his favourite movie related to the season; fabulous “Miracle on 34th street”, the 1994 version starring Richard Attenborough and Elizabeth Perkins. So here are some nice looks at it:

A video compliled with scenes from the movie in the sound of “Baby please come home”

A trailer of the film

On the run-in to Christmas

Having noticed many Christmas lovers among the athletics fraternity of late, I’ve come up with the idea of setting up a run-up to the festive season with relative stuff like songs or clips from well-known  movies. I do hope you enjoy it all on the way so let’s get going with two lovely Christmas songs picked by international sprinter Joice Maduaka for today:

An oldie but never-look-like-fading season favourite for many, “Last Christmas” by Wham dating back to the mid 80s

“All I want for Christmas is you” by Mariah Carey, released back in 1994

Mountain West Cross Country Championships – Fort Collins, Colorado, October 29

Ross Millington pulls away to a comfortable win

Ross Millington has got his season off to a flying start as  he notched a fabulous win on the snowy country at the Mountain West Championships in Fort Collins, Colorado, in what was anticipated as a cutthroat tussle to the very end in the lead-up.

By contrast, nobody responded when the European U23 5000m silver medallist made his move into the final third of the race to open a decisive gap on the field and eventually cruise home on top, leading Los Lobos (the Wolves) to a third consecutive team title in the process.

This strong start comes to underline his aspirations of the coming season, with a crack at the A standard at the back of his mind.

Ruth Senior after her race

Following suit, Ruth Senior earned the women’s top honours as she is making her way through her last collegiate season to also head her side to a fourth title on the bounce, with Natalie Grey following in fourth. Sarah Waldron, Scot Josephine Moultrie, Kirsty Milner and Imogen Ainsworth were also competing for UNM.

Elsewhere, U20 Callum Hawkins came on top for Butler University in the Horizon League, followed in second by Ross Clarke, but European U20 1500m champion Adam Cotton suffered down in just 54th for Harvard University on his collegiate debut in the Heptaganols, David Forrester came fifth in the ACC region and Tom Farrell wound up eighth for Oclahoma in the Big12.

Former world silver medalist Yamile Aldama, the 11th hour-surprise package of the British team, has celebrated her selection for Daegu by means of a first international win in Tallinn, Estonia, the venue of the European U20 Championships a few weeks ago.

The former Cuban edged a useful win through a second-round SB and UK-lead of 14.20 (1.7m/sec), backed up with a 14.09m (1.9m/sec) in her next attempt, before calling it a day over the second half of the competition despite coming under pressure from Natalia Viatkina in the late stages, the Belarusian grinding out leaps at 14.17 (2.4m/sec) and 14.16 (2.0m/sec) in her 4th and 5th effort. Hopefully, Britain’s new asset hasn’t suffered any setback and was simply a matter of precaution or the like.

Shara Proctor was a more comfortable winner in the long jump with a windy 6.71m (3.9m/sec) from the off following up with a 6.68 (2.1m/sec) in the second round over Russian Olga Balayeva, who had a best of also a first-round 6.58m (1.8m/sec).

Over the men’s 200m, European U20 champion David Bolarinwa, apparently on the wind-down of his season, came third in 21.83 secs into a -1.0m/sec headwind well behind winner Ramil Guliyev (TUR) and Jamaica’s Lerone Clarke, who ran 20.83 and 21.23 secs respectively.

The spotlight was caught, however, by long jumper-cum-hurdler Marcos Chuva (POR, U23) who powered out to a massive last-gasp PB and national record of 8.34m (1.8m/sec) to shatter his previous lifetime best of 8.03m set in Lisboa in June, very much against the flow of his previous attempts. For that matter, he swept up the European charts into a narrow second behind Chris Tomlinson by a mere cm!

Anna Iljustsenko, just 1.68m tall, added another national record of 1.96m on account of Estonia to the meeting tally while Olympic champion Gerd Kanter easily prevailed in th discus at 65.46m and World champion Yaroslav Rybakov (RUS), who won’t be defending his title in Daegu due to a foot injury, was a below-par second at 2.20m behind countryman Nikita Anishchenkov (2.26m).

European Athletics Report

Full results

Nicola Sanders has come to snatch a dramatic late individual place for Daegu as she won the women’s 400m in a SB of 51.84 secs at Nivone (Belgium) earlier on to secure that necessary second B standard.

Following a rather forced late start to the season, the former World silver medalist didn’t really get going into the season until the international meeting of Barcelona two weeks ago, where she carved out her first B standard of 51.94 secs for sixth behind winner Christine Ohuruogu to draw into contention in the qualifying battle.

However, her plans at the UK Trials didn’t come off last weekend which meant that she had to go for broke in a last-ditch attempt, with her cause made even more difficult since she was, along with relay hopeful Kelly Sotherton, forced to scrape a race abroad – London Grand Prix organisers didn’t think fit to afford her a lane in the women’s 400m affair, or even lay on a second national heat come to that. But, thankfully, everything came out well in the end and she is going to have the opportunity to re-establish herself on the big stage.

She owes much, however, to Lee McConnell who didn’t rest on her multible B marks to qualify but tore it up to a big SB of 51.01 secs a little earlier on at Crystal Palace, gaining the A standard and a big mental boost herself.

There was even more drama behind Sanders as Nadine Okyere carved out a crucial last-gasp big PB of 52.26 secs, her previous best of 52.66 set in Geneva earlier this season, that could steal her a relay place at the death ahead of Sotherton, who unfortunately had to pull up 100m out with a hamstring injury. Hopefully, it won’t turn a serious one for the former heptathlon Olympic medalist.

US-based Lennie Waite ‘chased a B qualifying standard of 9:49.67 for runner-up over the barriers but rather too late as Eilish McColgan had turned in a new Scottish and UK U23 record of 9:44.80 at the Palace, yet could still serve as a banker for the Olympic season, while James Campbell‘s bid for a second B in the javelin ended in frustration as he got injured in his third effort and had to pull out with a best of 71.95m on the day.


At the International EAP meeting in Amsterdam in neighbouring Holland, Conrad Williams comfortably won the 400m in a SB and meeting record of 45.63 secs from Frenchman Teddy Venel, second in 46.16 secs, that was also inside the B qualifying standard for Daegu to reignite his bid for a place in the British long relay.

Emily Diamond, a 200m finalist at the World U20 Championships in Moncton last summer, was second and third in the 200 and 100m in 11.92 (-0.3m/sec) and 23.94 (-0.9m/sec) respectively, both won by Jamaican Simone Facey, while Merwyn Luckwell never hit his rhythm to wind up below 70m in the men’s javelin.

Jodie Williams dominates the 100m in a UK U20 record of 11.18 in Tallinn

Teenage sprint sensation Jodie Williams has wrapped up a second gold over 200m in spectacular fashion in Tallinn to carve her name into a special elite group that have accomplished a sprint double in the history of the European U20 Championships.

She was always an overwhelming favourite to achieve the feat, even before the current season started, but there is a long way still between that and having turned your aim into shape and even the very best can tell you that. But now they are there tucked and safe in her bag and she can shed the pressure off her shoulders.

The 17-year-old laid her mark down from the semifinals as she eased off to a 23.21 secs into a -1.5m headwind and returned later to face the same wind and the clock as her only real rivals in the final. Getting out of her blocks to a flying start, she powered round a superb bend to dispense quickly with any token resistance from the field and pulled well away down the home straight to a thumping victory in 22.94 secs, a SB and a UK leading mark this season.

Perfectly executed down to a T and had conditions been more generous she could have eclipsed that 22.79 secs from last summer at Loughborough. As a matter of fact, the wind bowed and afforded her a nice favourable breeze (0.5m/sec) as she stormed to her first gold in a new UK U20 record of 11.18 secs in the 100m the previous day. But it wasn’t to be this once.

Jodie’s 200m post race interview

Jodie may be feeling that she has still got unfinished business with her 200m time but she will have to put that aside for a while to focus on taking home a third gold with the 4x100m team. She is going to definitely have a couple of chances before she calls it a season, as anticipated, early next month – the UK Trials in Birmingham and the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace.

Incidentally, both her times formed A standards for both Daegu and the Olympic Games in London next year although it matters only for the latter as she has long decided to go round the World Championships.