Vernon’s Olympic dream dashes to the ground
Andy Vernon‘s hopes of pulling on a British vest in the Olympic arena of London in August have been dealt a devastating blow in the form of a fracture just as he was gathering steam to mount a decisive assault on the upper qualifying territory.
The 26-year-old AFD runner was on a flowing run of form as he clinched two Olympic B qualifiers of 13:23.20 and 27:53.65 over the 5000 and 10000m respectively on the trot, both PBs, in California to raise his stakes as a contender for a berth, particularly over the longer distance.
But an estimated eight-week spell on the sidelines eliminates even an outside chance of making the grade as it extends beyond the qualifying period, thereby leaving no way back for him.
Claire Hallissey reflects on a hectic but also jubilant last month since snatching a dramatic late place on Team GB for the Olympics, crossing the line as first Brit in a PB of 2h27:44 in a virtual run-off for the remaining third spot in the Virgin London Marathon, before she engages in a new three-month cycle of preparations for the big thing itself – a rather wild dream come true.
Richard Kilty (Twitter):”Will Be running in my first GB senior relay team In Rome at the end of the month”
Farah and Chambers land immense early clashes
World champion Mo Farah will be squaring off with great Kenenisa Bekele, the Olympic champion and world record holder, in an eagerly anticipated duel over 5000m at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, that is going to serve as an effective dress rehearsal for their highly likely fierce clash in the Olympic arena of London.
Hayward Field represents a happy ground for the Brit as it lent a fitting setting to his surge into global prominence through a sensational victory in a European record of 26:46.57 over 10000m last year, yet so has been for the Ethiopian in the past.
There will be no quarters given or taken in a relentless battle for the spoils where pride and reputation will be also put on the line as the winner is going to gain a substantial confidence boost and edge over his rival before the Olympics, with the likes of Edwin Soi (KEN) and Kenenisa’s brother Tariku blending into a high quality backdrop.
That said, Bekele’s enigmatic rollercoaster run of form perpetually shifting between extreme ends over the past three years still renders him sort of an unknown quantity notwithstanding a very impressive display round the streets of Dublin last month.
Having picked up an Olympic A qualifier of 13:15.21 at Stanford, Chris Thompson will be also stepping on the starting line on a longer rein and a burden off his shoulders pursuing a time into new territories, hopefully well inside the 13:10 marker.
After the Olympic barriers were lifted, the gates to major meetings seem to open up wide too for Dwain Chambers as has ensured of a lane in a mighty early task against Usain Bolt in the dash in Ostrava on May 25, with three more sub 10 sprinters on show on a particularly fast track that promises scintillating times.
The British number one has been rubbing shoulders with the top Jamaicans either on the training ground or competing on the track during a lengthy spell under Stephen Francis in Kingston, therefore it will be interesting to see how more competitive he can be off a substantially different perspective.
Meanwhile, both British female relay squads will be out on a runout to polish up their preparations for the Olympics at the Compeed Golden Gala in Rome, the third leg of this season’s Diamond League, with the 4x100m quartet carrying the additional task of consolidating their spot among the top 16 ranked teams in the world.
They are facing Italy, Canada, the Dutch, Spain and Switzerland whilst the long relay girls are lining up against the same outfits save South Africa in the stead of Canada.
Dai Greene, the reigning world champion, is launching his Olympic campaing in earnest at the same meet in a mouth-watering first showdown against a rampant Bershawn Jackson, who looks back to his very best on the strength of his early season outings.
World indoor champion Yamile Aldama is also down to tackle the triple jump and surprise bronze medallist Andie Osagie will be taking on on European champion Marcin Lewandowski in an interesting men’s 800m.
UKA announce elite athletes for Olympic test event
Jack Green will be doubling up over the flat and the hurdles 400m
UK Athletics have released the list of athletes that will be contesting the elite events of the special Olympic Test Event, incorporating the new-scheme BUCS Championships, at the new Olympic stadium at Stratford from 4 through to 7 May.
The event formally inaugurates the competitive age of the athletics jewel of London and is additionally intended to acquaint many Olympic hopefuls turning up with the geography and the sense of the atmosphere of the arena, overseen by Lord Sebastian Coe and IAAF president Lamine Diack among a 40000-sell out allocated house.
Among the main attractions on the schedule, Lawrence Okoye and Abdul Buhari take their robust rivalry in the discus from California over to Britain, where also entered Brett Morse may not make it across the Pond in time, while Rob Grabarz, Tom Parsons and Samson Oni commence their series of battles in the British skies in a highly competitive high jump.
Holly Bleasdale makes her debut into the outdoor season and along with Sophie Hitchon are likely to be the ones most looked for to provide a shade of a UK record to the picture of the stadium’s premiere, the latter having already carved out three into the women’s hammer timeline.
Perri Shakes-Drayton and Jack Green will be looking to lay down a swift starting marker over a flight of hurdles round the track, the latter doubling up over the flat 400m on Sunday, while rising star Andrew Pozzi and groupmate Lawrence Clarke will be flying over the high sticks.
Meadows’s Olympic dream hanging by a thread
Jenny Meadows, Britain’s top female 800m runner in the post Kelly Holmes era, has taken the bit between her teeth and will be running on a fine line, or rather a shaky achilles tendon, to salvage what she has identified as her last realistic chance of an Olympic medal in London.
The European bronze medallist figured she could not afford the time for the injury to fully mend, a rare vertical tear, and has opted to throw caution to the wind and resume training, hoping that her achilles holds all along the way.
In her make or break attempt, Meadows will be making the most of all available means as far as Manchester United’s rehab facitilities to ensure of a safest possible passage through her build-up, determined to even compete in trainers if it comes to that.
This is the latest music/dance effort of ‘Barbie Jingles’ (Montell Douglas) and ‘The Danvers’ (Tasha Danvers) called ‘Trackstomp”.
Lawrence Okoye delivers a second 66m display on the trot as he reaches 66.25m for runner-up behind Dutchman Erik Cadee in the discus at the UCSD Triton Invitational, a fabulous follow-up on his temporary world-leading 66.67m at the MtSAC Relays last weekend.
Sophie Hitchon sets a new UK record of 70.47m, her second already this season, at the MtSAC Relays to obtain the Olympic B standard in the women’s hammer in the process.
Radcliffe has to pick her way carefully
Steve Cram reflects on Paula Radcliffe‘s worrying display in the Vienna half marathon last Sunday and feels that she has to contemplate well which route to take from now on up to the Olympics in London.
Meantime, Beijing Olympian Liz Yelling, a contender for the last remaining spot in the women’s marathon for Team GB in London, believes that Radcliffe won’t toe the starting line in August unless she arrives there 100% fit and can do herself justice.
Avery starts off to PB in Watford
Kate Avery has kept up her steady comeback to form as she opened her account on the track to sound effect in a slight PB of 9:13.11 in a mixed race over 3000m at a low-key meet in Watford on Wednesday, laying her haunted three-year-old previous figure of 9:13.68 to rest at last.
That actually represented the peak of a highly successful summer campaign to clinch silver at the European U20 Championships in Novi-sad, Serbia, so committing it to history could signify a turn of fortunes for the Shildon athlete who struggled subsequently to remain on pace.
‘Essex wonder’ Jessica Judd followed on a little over six seconds behind in 9:19.39 to initiate her own track season on the front foot as she will be focussing more on the 800m this summer.
On the men’s side, highly rated U20 Charlie Grice provided the most notable performance of the day to put away the men’s 800m in an opener of 1:51.71.
UKA to fund tickets for British athletes in London
UK Athletics have pioneered the finance for further Olympic tickets on top of the official allocation of two apiece for British competitors to ensure that they receive the best possible support by their loved ones in their attempts to claim success and glory in London, a ‘performance decision’ as CEO Niels de Vos has put it.
Greene lines up Rome outing
World champion Dai Greene has come out to confirm Rome as the official curtain to his Olympic itinenary that is plotted on the European Diamond League stops leading up to London, having indicated that in his recent IAAF diary series.
Wicks and Nicholls out of London marathon
Phil Wicks and his namesake Nicholls have pulled out of Sunday’s Virgin London marathon through late injuries leaving Dave Webb, sitting out the race, ever closer to clinching a berth alongside already selected Scot Overall for the London Olympics in August.
Webb was a top 20 finisher over the distance at the World Championships in Daegu last September, equating to the A standard of 2h12:00, and has opted to take a Paveyesque gamble on his current advantage.
Having turned 28 last Saturday, Wicks could pose a serious threat on his solid debut of 2h15:37 in Amsterdam last autumn, suffering cramps late out of missing his drinks in the early to mid stages, and was coming on the back of a 63:14 clocking over the half marathon in Wokingham.
Bud Baldaro-coached Nicholls is also a new kid on the block in the event as he debuted on the non-particularly fast course of Edinburgh in 2h19:21 last May.
Meanwhile, Guernsey’s Lee Merrien claims to be heading into the selection run-off in the form of his life as he now rises as the main hopeful to beat the high standard, having returned from a sound altitude training stint in Kenya.
This is a spectacular guide in PDF form containing everything you would like or need to know about the Virgin London Marathon, held next weekend in the British capital, ranging from history and all top ten past results through details of the course and start-lists down to detailed profiles of the main contenders and leading British entries. A must-see!
BUCS entry lists are out
Andy Pozzi, Charlie Purdue, Harry Aikines-Ayreety, Eilish McColgan, Meghan Beesley, Montell Douglas, Lynsey Sharp, Jack Meredith and Stevie Stockton will be among the main student entries of this season’s BUCS Championships to be held between 4 to 7 May as a trial run of the facilities of the new Olympic Stadium at Stanford, London.
The full entry lists can be found here:
Eilish McColgan (Twitter): (on her first brace of races since suffering a fracture to her foot last August) “First race done! Won my 15.. So glad to back racing! 4.25 on my own around the windy track of G’mouth! 4sec quicker than last years opener..” “Just won my 3k! In a PB😀 yaaaay! Now to help out Dundee Uni in the 4x400m.. Jesus!”
Richard Kilty (Twitter):”I will be racing at the Great City Games,Manchester 200m straight,May20th,Live on BBC Luke Lennon-Ford Joining me in that race too”
Andy Turner (Twitter):”BIG session today and completely smashed now, managed to have cramp in both quads for 20 minutes after i finished too, nice!!”
Osagie pumped up for London
Andie Osagie is riding on the thrill and confidence of his surprise bronze medal in Istanbul as he is turning his sights firmly on the Olympics in London, aiming to follow up on his spectacular success.
The 24-year-old ended a long drought traced back to Tom McKean‘s golden triumph in distant 1993 for Britain in the championships as his tactical shrewdness and fiercesome kick told over the superior times of many of his rivals.
At the same time, he will probably need to drop his times down to 1:43 in order to turn up really competitive in London in summer which is something not beyond his range anyway.
Delano Williams setting sights high this season
Williams comfortably wins the 200m from lane three at the CARIFTA Games
New British asset Delano Williams, who has recently earned a British passport, is targeting a time in the region of 20.0/20.1 secs over 200m when lining up against the likes of Christian Malcolm and Richard Kilty at the UK Olympic Trials in Birmingham towards the end of June.
The 18-year-old is not fazed by any likely criticism that could arrive from certain quarters over his switch of allegiance from Turks & Caicos and appears bent on maintaining his focus and delivering the goods on the track.
For that matter, he further enhanced his credentials as he comfortably picked up the 200m title at the recent CARIFTA Games in Bermuda in a time of 20.83 secs (0.5m/sec), placing a sound 0.25 secs between himself and runner-up Blake Bartlett (BAH, 21.08).
Juniors knocking up nicely in men’s hammer
The British hammer is on the up again, as evidenced by early performances around, and the male juniors are following steadily in the footsteps of the seniors in the early days of the new season.
Following Nick Miller‘s 72.80m in the States in mid March, Callum Brown became the second Brit to reach beyond the qualifying standard of 71m for the World U20 Champs as he improved a long way to a PB of 71.16m with the junior implement (6kg) in Bury St Edmunds on the last day of last month, scratching his week-old previous figure of 68.55m set in Cambridge.
The City Of Norwich thrower is born in 1994, thus still eligible for the age group next year, as is teammate Michael Painter who set a third PB on the trot at 69.22m in his hometown in early April having rounded off last summer with 66.81m.
Incidentally, Miller has also added the qualifying distance with the senior implement (7.26kg) to his name, twice at that, as he posted a massive PB of 65.09 at the Texas Relays in Austin and followed up with an even better 66.88m at the John Jacobs Invitational in Oklahoma last weekend, both PBs.
On the junior women’s side, Abi Carter has already comfortably notched the qualifying distance of 58m laying down a PB of 60.51m at Loughborough in early March, first ever foray into the 60m region, and Welsh girl Toni Welsh also bettered her own figures considerably to 55.81m at the same meet.
Further, world youth champion Louisa James opened up to 55.60m at the Woodford Green Open Throws last weekend for a solid start.
Sargent returns the Aussie route
Forgotten sprint talent Lucy Sargent, a 23.93 secs performer over 200m at 15 in 2004, has turned up a latest comeback surprise into the frame as she attempts to reignite her career nearly four months before the Olympics in London.
The now 23-year-old raced for the first time in over two years over a rare 400m and came away with a very encouraging clocking of 53.93 secs, a huge PB, for runner-up behind Australian Caitlin Willis-Pincott (52.68, PB) in Brisbane on April 1.
Apparently, that was an early season endurance/strength competitive runout before she turns her eyes on her main distance and it will be interesting to see whether she could move on to stake a claim on Olympic selection down the season, coached by Trevor Marsay.
The previous time she stepped on a track was well behind at the UK Indoor Trials in Sheffield in 2010 where she reached the semifinal stage.
Nicola Sanders (Twitter):”Mondays sessions kill me!… Afternoon nap time!”
Brett Morse (Twitter):”64.30 in my first slam session of the season. Feeling a little off still so very happy”
Richard Kilty (Twitter):”400,300,200 killer session with the 400 lads Conrad Williams, Luke Lennon-Ford & Nigel Levine We Going Hard”
Joice Maduaka (Twitter):”Excellent time trial session today. Joicey rolled out”
London timetable out on IAAF website
Phillips Idowu will be a man on a mission to claim that elusive Olympic gold in London
IAAF have issued the official athletics timetable of the Olympic Games in London, running from 3 through to 12 August, which is packed with mouth-watering and fascinating action all along the line. Of special British interest, of course, are among others, all things equal:
– the Heptathlon starring Jessica Ennis which gets underway on the very first morning of the action (August 3) and concludes the next day
– the women’s 400m, hopefully featuring reigning champion Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders, kicking off with the preliminary heats also on Day I
– the women’s triple jump with world indoor champion Yamile Aldama, the qualifying round on the opening day
– the men’s 400m hurdles featuring world champion Dai Greene, setting out on the morning of Day I too
– the men’s long jump with Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson opening with the qualifying round on the same day
– the men’s 10000m with Mo Farah, a straight final late on the second day
– the women’s marathon featuring great Paula Radcliffe in a stand-or-fall last charge for Olympic gold on the morning of the third day (August 5)
– the women’s 1500m with hopefully both Hannah England and Lisa Dobriskey, starting with the heats on Day IV (August 6)
– the women’s 100m hurdles where Istanbul Britain’s skipper Tiffany Porter goes in the morning heats of Day IV,
– the men’s triple jump with Phillips Idowu pursuing that elusive Olympic title, the qualifying round on Day V (August 7), the final two days later
– Mo moves into the second part of his Olympic saga over 5000m, setting out with the heats on Day VI (August 8)
Cram on Britain’s London Olympic kit
Steve Cram lays out his own views on Team GB’s new Olympic kit and is ranging wider over issues regarding the matter as he recalls his own days of the traditional ‘blue & red’ bars in the late 70s to early 80s.
Fan helps Greene out of ticket dead end
World champion Dai Greene has found himself at the centre of yet another amazing story as his frustration over ticket allocation to Olympic competitors in London, allowed only two in each of their sessions, was answered by a most unlikely source.
Mr Matt de Monde, having become an expert on finding tickets on foreign websites, came upon a relative tweet of the athlete’s on twitter and took great pains out of his own initiative, having contacted Greene’s girlfriend Sian Edwards, to rake up a good eight tickets to his assistance.
World rowing champion Zac Purchase was also accommodated to securing a further 14 tickets by a random group of five along the same lines.
Incidentally, the March edition of Greene’s IAAF diary is out where, among others, he indicates that he is probably going to open his Olympic campaign in Rome on May 31, though not confirmed yet, and heaps praise on young teammate Andy Pozzi who mounted a superb debut at major senior international championships occupying fourth in the 60m hurdles, improving his PB in the progress.
Hannah England (Twitter):”I’m having a lovely training camp in Tallahassee, Florida. Great weather and facilities”
Chambers ramps up summer build-up in Jamaica
Dwain Chambers seems to sense that his time may be coming to pull on a British vest in an Olympic Games again as he has veered beyond the Great Albion shores and over to faraway Jamaica in order to streamline his gear in view of a massive summer.
In fact, it could hardly come better than training alongside the likes of former world record holder Asafa Powell and fellow top Jamaicans Nesta Carter and Michael Frater as a late surprise invitation for a warm-weather stint surfaced by their tutor and top sprint coach Stephen Francis, which the Briton seized with both hands.
Chambers, of course, remains still subject to the CAS ruling on BOA’s appeal to retain their ‘by-law’ in place, bound to come out in the next two or three weeks, but he ought to get the ‘green light’ to compete in London all things equal.
Incidentally, Simeon Williamson is also back training in Jamaica with the rival group of Glen Mills starring Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, as is his habitual practice around this time of the season, and opened his outdoor account in a rare appearance of a 21.84 secs over 200m at the UWI Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica, into a -1.4m/sec headwind.
The former UK dash champion was fairly satisfied with his time, arguably his best start ever, and actually intends to put in a few more races over the distance this season so that he gets a solid speed endurance platform before he turns to tackle his specialty of the 100m.
Florida-based hurdler Angelita Broadbelt-Blake was also out in action at the same meet to come third in a PB of 24.32 secs (0.8m/sec) for third in the women’s equivalent.
Ania returns to racing
British international sprinter Emma Ania looks to mount a last-ditch attempt to catch the train to the Olympic Trials in June and, hopefully, the connection to the Olympic Games in London late the following month, even as only a member of the short relay.
Ania anchors Britain’s 4x100m team in sixth from the inside in Berlin 2009
The 32-year-old Shaftesbury Barnet athlete, coached by Michael Khmel, has raced sparsely since 2009 and turned up to return a brace of 60m dashes of 7.65 and 7.56 secs at a low-key indoor meet at Crystal Palace on Wednesday, her only second outing in the last couple of years and her fastest time since that season.
Her best campaign was the previous run-up to an Olympia back in 2008 when she set her lifetime best of 11.21 secs in Turin and came a splendid runner-up at the then European Cup in Annecy just a hundredth of a second slower, yet she was edged out of an individual berth for Beijing at the UK Trials.
Olympic current relay qualifying tables
IAAF have released the current qualifying lists of 16 teams for each relay event for the Olympic Games in London drawn up on the average of the two fastest times set by each side since the outset of the qualifying period, namely 1 January 2011. A necessary condition underlying is that those times have to be achieved in races of at least three international outfits being involved.
Britain look set to field a full set of relay teams as the men’s 4×100 (ave 38.32) and the women’s 4x400m (ave 3:23.34) are lying fourth, the men’s 4x400m are sixth (ave 3:00.77) and the women’s 4x100m seem safe in 13th (ave 43.68).
Gorecka lays down the law at the English Schools
Emelia Gorecka displayed vigorously that she holds all the aces currently on the country as she nonchalantly powered away to a thorough victory by a sound 25 seconds in 14:46 in the U20 women’s race, maintaining an undefeated run that stretches over six races this year.
Essex wonder Jessica Judd followed on a well-beaten runner-up in 15:09 although she was always bound to suffer under the hammer of the European XC champion having herself admitted to turning her focus more on the 800m, thus her endurance feeling the effects a little.
The U17s forayed the top four places, however, as Becky Straw was third in 15:39 and Rebecca Murray came a further second behind in 15:40, with Georgia Peel down in seventh in 15:59.
Jon Davies, also an U17, emerged maybe as the sensation of the day as he turned into overdrive in the dying stages to stun his seniors to a superb win in 23:02, placing a good seven seconds between himself and long-time leader Kieran Clements (23:09).
Robbie Farnham-Rose was third a further ten seconds adrift and Harvey Dixon may have been a little disappointed to wind up outside the medals in fourth in 23:28.
Great Steve Backley, a four-time European champion in the javelin, lays down the 12 Rules for Success in sport.
Ollie Williams (BBC, Twitter):”Seen reports Dwain Chambers training in secret with GB relay team? UKA deny any training going on.”
Brits looking for good distances in Montenegro
Goldie Sayers at the European Cup last summer
Goldie Sayers, Brett Morse, Jade Nicholls and Merwyn Luckwell are heading a relatively small, but quality, British outfit of ten throwers that will compete at the European Cup Winter Throwing in Bar, Montenegro, at the weekend aiming to wrap up a short late winter break on a promising note and store up more good distances into a solid platform for summer.
Sayers has already sent her spear into the Olympic A qualifying territory with a sound 62.18m at Loughborough two weekends ago so something in the 63-64m region looks very likely while Nicholls comes on the back of a potential world best of 58.97m in the discus in Vaxjo, Sweden, last Saturday and could use a forecast sunny background and a little favourable breeze to breach the 60m line from early on.
Her main rival on the domestic front, Eden Francis, will be out not only to obtain an initial gauge of her discus throwing but also doubling up in the shot which has emerged as a serious plan B for Olympic selection, especially now that the B standard has been ammended down to 17.20m – just 28cm over her recent PB that is!
Sarah ‘United’ Holt has got every reason of eyeing a PB in the hammer as she opened up a mere 8cm shy of her lifetime marker of 66.48m at Loughborough, as will Alex Smith and Mark Dry on the men’s side to add to their own recent PBs of 75.63 and 73.36m respectively at the same venue.
In the men’s javelin, Merwyn Luckwell will be fancying a mark into the 80s following a season opener of 79.70m joined by UK champion Lee Doran, with his eyes fixed on a high 70m mark, while Daegu finalist Brett Morse (59.14i SB) will be out for a first crack deep into the 60m region and Chris Scott will be on a high coming from an indoor best of 58.13m in Vaxjo last Saturday.
Men: Alex Smith (HT), Mark Dry (HT), Brett Morse (DT), Chris Scott (DT), Merwyn Luckwell (JT), Lee Doran (JT)
Women: Goldie Sayers (JT), Jade Nicholls (DT), Eden Francis (DT & SP), Sarah Holt (HT)
Timetable & Results
Race-Walking Team for Lugano announced
England Athletics have announced Alex Wright, Tom Bosworth and Ben Wears, all U23s, as lining up at the first leg of the European Athletics Walking Permit Meetings in Lugano, Switzerland, in a race boasting the likes of European champion Yohan Diniz (FRA) and Olympic champion Alex Schwarzer (ITA) over the longer distance (50K).
The meet is held on Sunday and a first visible target for the Brits will be to earn a footing around the 1h26-1h27 province or thereabouts and hopefully build on from there towards an Olympic B standard.
BOA reserved over ‘By-law’ appeal outcome
The British Olympic Association came out ‘cautiously’ optimistic through chairman Colin Moynihan following the hearing of their appeal to CAS to retain their long-established ‘by-law’ in place, specially held in London, although the legislation in question clashes with the prescriptions of the universal anti-doping code enforced by WADA.
BOA attempt to turn the tide in their favour on a technicality claiming it is a rule of eligibility rather than a sanction, nevertheless from the moment the by-law bars athletes that have served time on serious doping offences from competing in the Olympic Games for life it effectively constitutes an additional ban. Which, in turn, looks bound to turn its undoing as in the case of Lashawn Merritt last autumn.
Dwain Chambers, maybe the top name affected by the legislation, remains coy over the verdict of the CAS on the appeal but deep inside he must know that his time to return to the Olympic fold has come save some dramatic development. Incidentally, he was involved in a training session of Britain’s 4x100m relay squad recently as if to offer a further pointer to that matter.
Mo’s form a concern for Cram
Legendary Steve Cram seems particularly pleased and excited over the robust performance and a best ever medal haul of nine from the British team on show in Istanbul but also slightly concerned about Mo Farah‘s dip of form and failure to land a medal on the back of two more defeats on the circuit.
Cram feels there was actually no use Farah turning up at the championships since he was missing that bite in his racing to do himself justice and losing to a major opponent like Bernard Lagat could only serve to offer his rivals a lift in confidence.
At the same time, he reckons that the world 5000m champion can iron out whatever underlying issues by summer while he regards Jessica Ennis‘s defeat to Natalya Dobrynska simply reflects how fine are margins in the top tier and that it will require a performer short of weak links to conquer the heptathlon in London.
Finally, he is also thrilled about Andie Osagie‘s breakthrough in the 800m and lauds the displays of up-and-coming athletes like Holly Bleasdale and Andrew Pozzi who rose to the occasion and performed with flying colours, even exceeded expectations in some cases, on the big stage.
Jenny Meadows January video blog
The January edition of Jenny Meadows‘s video blog is out entirely filmed during a warm-weather training spell in South Africa. The European 800m bronze medallist was aiming to contend for gold at the World Indoors at the time but injury forced her to withdraw from her plans as she couldn’t regain full fitness in time to toe the startling-line in Istanbul.
Therefore, she is going to turn her attention on the peak of her Olympic cycle that is nothing else than the Games in London, which she has identified as virtually her last shot at Olympic glory herself.
Aldama gets green light for London
Aldama claims a staggering world title in the triple jump in Istanbul
Yamile Aldama has topped off a stunning first global title at the age of 39 with the news that her nationality switch has been approved to become eligible to compete for Britain in the home Olympics in London, doubling her delight and elation.
IOC agreed to reduce the normal waiting period of three years and open the way for the former Cuban who received British citizenship two years ago and therefore she can concentrate fully and undistracted on her preparations for the ultimate sports showpiece on the planet.
Following her golden success in Istanbul, Aldama will be riding on the crest of the wave and looking to add that elusive Olympic medal, and why not even gold, to her collection having finished fourth in Sydney and fifth in Athens.
German-born to a British father rider Phillip Hindes comes along the same lines to offer a further boost to a powerful cycling squad aiming to emulate the overwhelming golden campaign of Beijing four years ago.
Partirdge gets Bath boost ahead of London Olympic run-off
Susan Partridge has gained solid hopes of beating the necessary A qualifying standard and get seriously into the running for the coveted third spot in the marathon for the British Olympic team as she came first Briton home, second behind victor Jane Muia (KEN, 71:19), among the women in a substantial PB of 71:34 over the half marathon in Bath.
The 32-year-old Leeds City runner slashed a sound 66 seconds off her six-year previous best but as importantly got the better of Beijing Olympian Liz Yelling, fifth in 73:14, and high-standard holder Louise Damen, a below-par eighth in 74:31 on the day, in the process for a further confidence boost.
With Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi already selected, the first Brit home in the virtual race-off in the London Virgin Marathon next month will gain considerable credits towards this end although the effective standard to beat may be lying at around 2h28 rather than the formal 2h31:00.
Jo Pavey, the woman in pole position, has taken a gamble on her brace of 2h28 clockings last year and out of the race to lay down the gauntlet for the rest of hopefuls so anyone wishing to overtake her will have to display comparable form in that aspect.
Helen Davies was third in a big PB of 72:35, first trip under 74 mins ever, and Amy Whitehead took fourth in also a sizeable PB of 73:09 in a considerable shake-up to the complexion of the event, with Jessica Draskau-Petersson edging a PB of 73:30 in sixth.
On the men’s side, Chris Powner surfaced a surprise third and top Brit on a debut of 64:45 behind a dominant Edwin Kiptoo (KEN, 62:01) to better fourth-placed Ben Tickner, also PB of 65:06.
Baker dominates at Trafford
Winter find Elle Baker carried on her breakthrough streak into a swift debut of 32:44 over 10km in the streets of Manchester, coming off a big PB of 9:05.12 over 3000m indoors in Birmingham, to open up nearly a minute winning gap on Kate Avery.
The 28-year-old Stockport athlete was part of Britain’s silver medal women’s team at the European XC Championships in Velenje and finished third at the UK Indoor Trials in Sheffield making for a promising going so far.
Runner-up Avery may well have been pleased to knock 40 secs off her own best into 33:38 that could signify that she is drawing out of the shallow waters she was stranded in for a couple of seasons and out into a breezy opening.
Felicity Milton followed in fourth place in 34:29 and Emily Wicks crossed the line fifth in 34:37.
On the men’s side, Anthony Ford edged out Joe McDonald in a more competitive race in a solid 29:04 (SB) to miss out on his best by a mere two seconds, with the Welshman smashing his best into 29:08.
Alex Hains returned a huge PB of 29:34 for third while talented U23 miler Daniel Clorley was also involved to lay out a promising debut display of an endurance platform in 30:04 for eighth.
This is an interesting video by London marathon hopeful Alyson Dixon offering glimpses into her recent altitude training spell and routines in the land of the distance runners in Iten, Rift Valley in Kenya.
Perri Shakes-Drayton, the European 400m hurdles bronze medallist, has launched her new website which can be found on this link:
So has, as a matter of fact, triple jumper Nathan Douglas which can be located on the following link:
Ross Millington, the European U23 silver medallist over 5000m, rewinds and looks back at a breakthrough season peaking in a massive PB of 7:49.11 over 3000m in Seattle in view of the NCAAs this weekend, held among the favourites in the mix for the medals.
On the road at the weekend…
Olympic marathon hopeful Lee Merrien moved up his preparations a notch ahead of the virtual run-off for the remaining two Olympic places in London as he fought his way to a decent 16th in 64:12 at the Paris half marathon, notched up by Kenyan Stanley Biwott in a fast 59:44 (PB).
The John Nuttall-coached runner wasn’t overly pleased with his overall display on a relatively hilly course as he slightly struggled in the late phases of the race. However, all that won’t matter if he can draw under 2h12, the Olympic A qualifier, next month and gain a sound footing in the frame for selection.
Apart from already selected Scott Overall, Dave Webb holds a distinct advantage over the rest of the pretenders on his top 20 finishing in Daegu, considered equivalent to an A standard, whereas Andrew Lemoncello has pulled out of the running as he couldn’t make the Virgin London marathon starting-line fully fit to do himself justice following an injury in Fukuoka last December.
As regards the race itself, Bernard Koech was second in 60:06, a PB, and Reuben Limaa got third in 60:57 (PB) for a Kenyan full podium in the event.
Miler Mark Mitchell clocked a huge best of 30:33 over 10km at Nairn, Scotland, while Matt Bowser sneaked inside 30 mins in 29:59 to fend off Irishman Sean Connolly into second in 30:01 with Tomas Abyu third in 30:13 over in Dewsbury.
Further, World ITU champion Helen Jenkins, already selected for the women’s Triathlon for the Olympics, posted a massive best of 15:51 over 5km on the road at the StDavid’s even in Cardiff, with veteran now Andrea Whitcombe almost a minute behind in 16:48.
For those who remember, the latter was fourth at the World U20 Championships in Plotviv, Bulgaria, in 1990 before she switched to the triathlon herself.
Morse honing his throwing in Sweden
Brett Morse throws a 2.25kg implement out to the 61-62m region during his training spell in Sweden
Indoor throwing with the 2.25kg implement
No late additions to British team for Istanbul
Eventually, none of the provisionally named three athletes subject to obtaining the qualifying standard as far as the IAAF deadline, February 27, has managed to earn a last-gasp spot, meaning that the British team will eventually travel 36-strong for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul the following weekend.
JJ Jegede in a post-competition interview following a surprise win the AVIVA GP
Long jumper JJ Jegede, needing a 8.15m mark to meet criteria, tore his hamstring during his very first attempt at the XL Galan in Stockholm, landing at only 7.26m, and was forced to withdraw from the rest of the competition. Hopefully, his injury isn’t serious and he will be back in full training in good time for the outdoor season.
Andrew Sutcliffe could not make his way further than 5.45m for fourth in the pole vault at the French Championships in Aubiere, failing three times at 5.62m subsequently, but was always faced with a daunting task to equal Steve Lewis‘s UK-leading 5.72m to snatch a place, also the Olympic A standard.
Finally, sprinter Andrew Robertson did not line up anywhere following his provisional inclusion to the team. Apparently, something cropped up to call off late competition plans.
That means that Britain will be represented by a sole sprinter in the men’s dash for the first time in the history of the championships but that arguably couldn’t get better than the reigning champion himself, Dwain Chambers.
Phillips Idowu intent on pursuing excellence
Profiled by Tom Fordyce for BBC, Phillips Idowu shows once again relentless in pursuing perfection and success as he is seeking that impeccable jump and the Olympic title to crown a spectacular career, boasting a global and a European gold among others on his pedigree.
Idowu has showed that he can go a lot further than his 17.81m PB when winning the Europeans in Barcelona
He is the first to admit that this perfect effort will require plenty of luck and everything to fall in place timely to come out but he can envisage interesting numbers flashing up on the board if he gets near that.
When asked over the ‘twittergate’ issue with UK Athletics coach Charles van Commennee, he defty dribbles round the question to heap praise on coach Aston Moore, a former international triple jumper himself, whom he acknowledges as instrumental in turning his fortunes round from a near man into a major champion.
Idowu doesn’t look concerned at all that Jessica Ennis enjoys a far greater share of the spotlight even though on identical credentials, actually even edging ahead on his Beijing silver, and takes pride in his own moments of brilliance and excellence, stressing that he doesn’t need to be plastered all around to draw self-fulfilment.
British U23 record for Bosworth
A British indoor record that has slipped notice is Tom Bosworth‘s new U23 mark of 19:50.52 over 5km race walking in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the Woody’s DIY Irish Championships on February 11, an event that originally used to be part of major indoor events.
The man that he replaced at the top is Daniel King who had set 20:24.04 back in 2004. The senior topper belongs, by the way, to Martin Rush with 19:22.29 way ago in 1992 followed by Bosworth’s coach Andy Drake in 19:28.20 set a year earlier yet.
Luke Lennon-Ford wound up a disappointing distant third in 47.87 secs in the main 400m heat at the International meeting in Metz, France, on Wednesday. In-form Frenchman Yanik Fonsat was first across the line in an indoor best of 46.64 secs, having also run a swift 20.82 secs over 200m this term, followed by Spaniard Mark Ujakpor in 46.81 secs.
The European U23 bronze medallist will be racing once more at the second leg of the McCain Indoor City Challenge at the Lee Valley before he flies off to Istanbul with the rest of the British team as a member of the 4x400m relay.
Down Under, Commonwealth bronze medallist Martin Brockman scored 7331pts for third in the decathlon at the 2012 Victoria Junior in Melbourne, Victoria, and pressure is mounting as time is running out on him to gain that elusive B standard and a possible ticket for the London Olympics.
His card read 11.04w (4.3m/sec, 100m), 6.99 (-0.8m/sec, LJ), 14.48m (SP, PB), 1.94 (HJ), 49.95 (400m), 15.52 (0.8m/sec, 110mh), 38.53 (DT), 4.40 (PV), 51.40 (JT) and 4.56.42 (1500m).
Dai Greene’s IAAF Diary launch
World 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene initiates his IAAF Diary series and is talking about coping with expectation and pressure heading to a home Olympics, the shaping and tweaks to his winter training this season, experiencing theatre for the first time with girlfriend Sian Edwards and adopting a puppy together.
Brits in America
There were many Britons involved in action at ‘fringe’ meetings around the States last weekend as the US World Trials in Albequerque dominated the limelight by right.
In fact, Ross Millington wasn’t far off the thick of the action as he raced to an easy win in 4:07.23 over a tactical mile for the Mountain West Conference Indoor Champs in the same surroundings, with U23 Sam Evans third in 4:12.33 – both in the colours of the ‘Lobos’.
U23 Lorraine Ugen showed a swift recovery of form after a poor start to the season as she leapt to a winning 6.51m, her farthest ever indoors,and a brace of 7.50 and 7.51 secs over the dash in quick succession.
They were assisted by the high altitude of Albequerque (roughly 1500m), of course, but they augur well for her jumping her summer where she could emerge as a dark horse to snatch a place on Britain’s Olympic side.
David Forrester was runner-up behind Ryan Hill (8:00.70) in 8:02.64 in the 3000m, his third fastest ever, at the ACC regionals in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where Hannah Brooks contributed the lead-off to a winning display by Florida State in the Distance Medley.
Former European U20 silver medallist Amy Harris notched the long jump at 6.21m and also triple-jumped to 12.79m (SB) for fourth on the second day.
Chris O’Hare landed a distance double in comfortably winning both the 800m and the mile in 1:49.98 (iPB) and 4:07.81 at the Conference US Indoor Champs in Birmingham, Alabama, with U23 fast-progressing Andrew Heyes wrapping up a British double in 4:09.78 in the latter.
For good measure, Heyes got a second runner-up spot in the immediately longer distance in 8:12.93 and Geraint Davies was sixth in the 5000 in 14:32.59.
(Full results in the respective page)
Keep Team GB athletes pumped with the “Eye of the tiger”
If you recall, “The eye of the tiger” was the famous theme of “Rocky III”, starring Sylvester Stalone, written and performed by American band Survivor way deep into the 80s and it is dusted off and employed in Cadbury Dairy Milk’s “Keep Team GB athletes pumped” project.
Jodie Williams (twitter):”Done my last ever U20 race! Sad times, good to end it on a win though :)”
PS Does this mean that Jodie Williams does not plan to defend her world U20 title?
Jeanette Kwakye is thought to have pulled out of the British team headed to Istanbul as a precaution due to an ongoing achilles complaint, replaced by teenage sprint sensation Jodie Williams.
Cram optimistic about British chances in Istanbul
Legendary Steve Cram assesses the performances of British athletes at the AVIVA Grand Prix last Saturday as well as the team’s prospects of silverware at the forthcoming World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, from 9 to 11 March. His insights are always valuable.
Delano Williams looks ominous
Precocious youngster Delano Williams, who could be representing Britain this season, displayed searing early form as he tore round the furlong to a big PB of 20.53 secs, an Olympic A qualifier, at the Milo Western Athletics Championships in Montego Bay, Jamaica, last weekend.
The 18-year-old, hailing from the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Caribbean, improved from 20.70 late last summer for a senior national record and backed that up with a sound 10.34 secs over the shorter dash.
No wind-readings have been available yet but both times are reported as legal on websites and in papers around Jamaica, where he is based, striking very impressive indeed.
For that matter, Christian Malcolm‘s long-held UK U20 record of 20.29 secs could come under heavy siege in summer all things equal.
Dixon survives the famous ‘Kenyan Fartlek’
Olympic hopeful Alyson Dixon offers a very close and fascinating first-hand account of a session of the famous ‘Kenyan Fartlek’ she stumbled into during the last days of an altitude training spell in Iten, Rift Valley in Kenya, on her blog.
Tough though it was, the Liz Mc Colgan-coached marathoner did – literally – survive and pull off the venture in the end, something she admits can take pride in.
Meadows and Williams withdraw from Birmingham
There have been a few major withdrawals of British athletes from the AVIVA Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday that could also signal an end to their indoor season campaigns along with their bids for places on the British team for Istanbul.
Sprint sensation Jodie Williams has pulled out of the women’s virtual run-off for the second spot behind UK Trials winner Jeanette Kwakye in the women’s 60m to leave the way wide open to menacing comeback girl Asha Philip, who was the victim of a false-start in the semifinals in Sheffield.
Of course, Laura Turner and Abi Oyepitan are still in the reckoning but it’s going to be a big ask for them to knock Phillip off the driving seat on the strength of her form book.
Simeon Williamson and Mark Lewis-Francis, the latter rather struggling with a hamstring complaint, are not lining up in the men’s dash either meaning that the men’s second spot alongside Dwain Chambers should go now between season revelation Andrew Robertson and Harry Aykines-Ayreety, the runner-up and third placer respectively in Sheffield.
Jenny Meadows, silver medallist over 800m in Doha two years ago, seems to be struggling to come on terms with full fitness in time for Saturday’s race, having not competed on the boards yet this winter, and her hopes of laying a claim on the world indoor title in Istanbul hang in the balance, with the selection deadline on 19 February coming too soon for her.
Nevertheless, a special clause in the selection policy allows UK Athletics coach Charles van Commennee and the selection panel to name athletes considered as medal or top six prospects within the IAAF frame, winding up on February 27, so she could still make the cut provided she proves her fitness.
People may have been quite surprised to see former world indoor 60m champion Oli Fasuba (Nigeria) turning up for the Navy at the RAF vs British Universities in the Steel City on Wednesday, February 15.
He was nowhere near his best, however, as he ran nearly half a second down on his PB, apparently not training regularly, to finish behind U23 decathlete Daniel Gardiner who set a PB of 6.87 secs for a good confidence boost.
Commonwealth 200m champion Leon Baptiste was another notable sprinter to line up as he posted 6.90 secs in another heat, having effectively called quits on his indoor season early.
Niall Flannery, a finalist at the European U23 Championships, put out a solid double outing of an indoor best of 48.26 over the flat 400m and an outright PB of 1:52.02 over 800m for a good competitive workout.
Commonwealth bronze medallist Max Eaves prevailed over U23 Gregor McLean at 5.30 to 5.15m in the pole vault while U23 Micah Nottingham set up nicely for the weekend by way of a SB of 54.31 secs in the 400m.
At the 60m Open meet at Crystal Palace, Tremayne Gilling showed a gradual return to form as he set a new PB of 6.74 secs over the distance to scratch his previous best of 6.76 secs, set twice last year and tied at the UK Trials last weekend. He struggled for fitness last summer but he is apparently back on trail now.
Gemma Bennett also set 8.37 secs over the sticks accompanied with a SB of 7.56 secs in the flat 60m.
Spring tempo workout down the Oregon way
This is a very interesting video just released by Flotrack on a tempo workout out in the beautiful countryside of Oregon last spring, pre-season that was, which features Chris Thompson, Sally Kipyego, Nick Symmonds and Jemma Simpson among others.
A sneak peek into Eilish McColgan‘s rehabilitation sessions on her foot, having suffered a fracture at the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace last summer, as she is easing her way back into full training. Incidentally, she’s already into training sessions on the track over the last few weeks and she will hopefully make the start-line of the outdoor season fully fit and ready to bid for a place on the British team for London.
Isobel Pooley (Twitter): “Jumped 1.93m today off a 10cm box with only a four stride run up, less than half the distance of my full run…”
UK javelin champion Lee Doran has put up his latest video blog over his training spell in Stellenbosch, South Africa, on his website. Here it is:
Gianni Frankis suffered a hamstring tear during the 60m hurdles final at the UK Trials in Sheffield, where he placed runner-up in 7.72 secs, and will be missing the rest of the indoor season. A shame as he would have most likely run inside 7.7 secs for the first ever time and possibly near the qualifying standard for Istanbul as well.
McFarlane appointed as UKA relay assistant coach
Former Olympian Mike McFarlane, 5th in the 100m in Los Angeles in 1984, has been assigned as assistant coach to Lloyd Cowan with the women’s short relay so that they can ensure of the best possible build-up to the Olympics, where the team could have an outside medal chance.
McFarlane finishes sixth behind Linford Christie in the 100m final at the Europeans in 1986 in Stuttgart
Coach to Dwain Chambers a decade ago, he has established himself among the top sprint coaches in the country in recent years guiding some sensational sprinting talent in the shape of double European U20 champion Jodie Williams and World Youth champion Desiree Henry, as well as resurgent Asha Philip until recently, to an impressive CV.
Rimmer confident of making outdoor season fully fit
European silver medallist Mike Rimmer is pulling out all the stops to reach the starting line of the outdoor season in high gear following a double hernia operation last month to clear up a mysterious injury that ruined last summer.
The 26-year-old Liverpoolian went under the knife as a last resort on the counsel of two specialists to discover a 3.5cm-tear in his groin area that affected him largely.
He is through an intensive rehabilitation regime that involves mainly stretching, strength and conditioning work as well as hypnosis to make it back in time for a potential second appearance in an Olympics.
Parker launches new website
Daegu steeplechase finalist Barbara Parker has got a new personal website underway that contains many interesting features and offers glimpses of her training and build up towards the summer season and, of course, the Olympics in London. Definitely worth a look!
Midweek domestic action
James Wilkinson saw off Michael Crouch and a dangerous Jonny Mellor for a solid winner in the 5km road race at the historical Armagh, Northern Ireland, in apparently wet conditions as both Brits set personal bests on the road in 13:55 and 13:57 respectively either side of the American’s 13:56, extending a consistent promising run of displays over all surfaces.
James Walsh came sixth in also a best of 14:02, a touch outside 14 minutes, as further Americans Landon Peacock (14:00) and Brian Harvey (14:01) slotted in between while Luke Cragg followed a further place behind in 14:05 (PB).
One shouldn’t fail to mention never-give-up Tony Whiteman, into his 42 now, who ran a sound 14:28 – remarkably a best ever time for him over the distance!
At the Inner Varsity Games in Birmingham, Meghan Beesley further confirmed that she is lying on the brink of a breakthrough as she tore to a new indoor best of 53.74 secs over 400m, shadowing her four-year-old previous figure of 53.84 secs.
By the sense of things, the European U23 bronze medallist over the hurdles is on the way to at least the low 55 secs region and there could be more.
Emma Pullen was second in a SB of 54.16 secs where U20 Leah Burrow set a PB of 55.83 secs ahead of international U23 hurdler Lauren Bouchard (56.06, SB) in another heat.
U23 Zara George smashed her total PB to 24.36 secs in the 200m.
On the men’s side, Richard Davenport clocked an interesting 1:51.78 over 800m in his first showing over any distance this term while U23 Ben Gregory cleared a SB of 5.01m in the pole vault.
Finally, U23 Nick Crutchley was fifth on a SB of 5.10m in the pole vault at the Botnia Games in Vaasa, Finland.
The outstanding performance of this low-key meeting was Qatar’s Ismail Ismail impressive return to form through a fast solo 1:45.71 over 800m, although it won’t count for ranking purposes on the grounds of the oversize track.
Early weekend results for Britons (February 4)
Nick McCormick and Andy Vernon delivered solid times of 13:32.88 and 13:38.10 for third and fifth respectively behind Collis Birmingham‘s (AUS) Olympic qualifier of 13:15.57 over 5000m respectively to move into the top two positions of the early year UK lists in the distance.
For that matter, it could be particularly promising for McCormick’s 1500m ambitions in summer, having run in the 3:40.80 a couple of weeks ago.
Julia Bleasdale smashed her PB over 1500m as she posted 4:16.56 to slice over three secs off her previous marker for fourth as Zoe Buckman was a comprehensive winner in 4:11.65.
Over to the States, Chris O’Hare started off his new season to a brisk pace as he commanded the men’s 1000m in a big PB of 2:20.99 on the first day of the Meyo Invitational in Indiana, doubling up over 3000m later today.
Up in Canada, Tyrone Edgar improved to a SB of 6.72 secs over 60m at Saskatoon, his fastest since 2009.
Mo out for more in Boston
Following an impressive win over Augustine Choge in Glasgow, Mo Farah holds the underdistance course across the Atlantic as he is racing over the mile at the New Balance Games in Boston tonight, looking to take in another quality sharpener in view of his 2-miler record-breaking mission in Birmingham later this month.
The world 5000m champion looked as though overflowing with pace last weekend and he could even threaten long-holding Peter Elliott‘s UK indoor landmark of 3:52.02 under suitable circumstances, namely some good fast pacemaking.
It is hard to see where a serious challenge could come from even if among the field is new training partner and Daegu 1500m finalist Ciaran O’Lionaird (IRL) and loyal companion Gallen Rupp as coach Alberto Salazar looks to adopt a multi-distance competitive approach, very much in the pattern of late Frank Horwill‘s five-pace training.
James Brewer, among a select seven Brits for New Balance’s ‘British Miler’ project, showed back to his very best coming runner-up behind Andy Baddeley in 3:57.92 at the Armory a couple of weeks back and will be eager to build on that towards a faster time, a week before the UK Indoor Championships.
‘Badders’ himself moves up to tackle an anticipated searing 3000m affair that involves last year’s winner Dejen Gebremeskiel (ETH), who turned in a shocking one-spike 26.2 last 200m to stun Farah, and American rising star Matt Centrowitz, 1500m bronze medallist in Daegu and son of former Olympian Matthew.
On the strength of his opener, Baddeley looks capable of a time inside 7:50, the world indoor qualifier, while Mark Draper is also lining up in this event looking to make amends on a rather modest season starter on the track.
Charlene Thomas is down for a rare outing over 1000m against the likes of top Americans Morgan Uceny and Anna Pierce so will have her work cut out in a sharpener before Sheffield next weekend.
Line-ups for McCain’s Indoor City Challenge first leg
UK Athletics have announced the line-ups for the opening leg of the McCain Indoor City Challenge this season up in Sheffield on Saturday.
Among the top names that feature is Britain’s golden girl Jessica Ennis, going in he 60m hurdles and the long jump, Glasgow surprise victors Joe Thomas (800m) and Margaret Adeoye (200m), Samson Oni in the high jump and season debutant Marilyn Okoro.
The contest of the fixture, however, could turn the first clash this term between Malcolm Arnold‘s swiftly-rising charges Andy Pozzi and Jack Meredith over the high hurdles in the U23 age group now, likely to produce fireworks.
Further, one should also keep an eye on multi-event rising star Katarina Johnson-Thompson, taking in three events, Meghan Beesley (400m) and high jumper Isobel Pooley, while Emma Ania makes a return into the frame in the women’s short dash.
As regards interesting entries, that ought to be Emma Jackson in the unfamiliar 200m for her and Welsh hurdler Caryl Granville in the… shot put!
Hitchon from the beginning
UK hammer record holder and hot prospect Sophie Hitchon plots her development over the last six years, both technically and performance-wise, in this very interesting latest video of hers.
Francis wintering well
Eden Francis, the European U23 discus champion in 2009, looks over a lengthy rocky patch stretching over the previous two seasons and firmly back on track as attested by two PBs in the shot in as many showings this winter, which augurs well for her Olympic aspirations in summer.
Her first marker of 16.82m came at the Loughborough Students AC Open Meeting about two weeks ago and she improved on that tonight, February 2, with a put of 16.92m for second at the Gugl meeting in Vienna, Austria, the farthest by a British girl since veteran Jo Duncan‘s 17.13m in 2006.
For good measure, the Briton displayed solid consistency across her series with 16.64, 16.60, 16.92 and 16.72 passing on the final two attempts.
In fact, the Olympic B standard in the event lies at 17.30m which is not that far off her new lifetime figure and could offer a second string to her bow in pursuing a place in the sun of London Olympics.
Qualification in her specialty is going to be a tough tussle against Jade Nicholls all things equal as they will need both to better the A standard so that they can both be named on the British team, achieving the B standard for Daegu last summer with PBs of 59.78 and 60.76m respectively.
Christina Schwanitz (GER) was a thorough winner way ahead of Francis at 18.58m.
U23 Ashley Helsby set a PB of 8.34 secs in winning the B final of the women’s 60m hurdles as double world indoor champion Lolo Jones claimed the A in a SB of 7.96 secs ahead of compatriot Yvette Lewis in 8 secs dead, the latter having set a SB of 7.98 secs in the heats.
JJ Jegede was third in the men’s long jump on a second-round 7.62m well behind Ingisius Gaisah (GHA) topper of 7.93m in his fifth attempt.
Serbia’s Asmir Kolasinac provided arguably the performance of the meeting with a 20.64m put in the men’s shot.
Jack Green, the European U23 European champion over 400m hurdles, is also taking good steps on the spotlit stage of modelling by way of frequent shoots for various brands while he recently occupied a lengthy feature spread in ‘Bello’.
Hazell strips off for male magazine
Commonwealth heptathlon champion Louise Hazell definitely loves to tease and has moved a step further into her on-the-side modelling line to pose nude for ‘Vogue’, a well-known men’s magazine. She said that she always wondered how it would feel like and would relish to tread that risque shooting route again.
Holly Bleasdale (Twitter):”Was just getting in my car outside my parents when policeman knocked on my window and asked for an autograph!! That’s a first!!!”
Chris Tomlinson (Twitter):”I jumped pain free for the first time in 5 months! Such a nice feeling, bring on 2012!”
Holly Bleasdale (Twitter):”First session of 16 on 4.60poles tonight!! Exciting, Andrew Sutcliffeis psyching me up for it :)))”
Nice BBC footage with great Steve Backley passing his tips on to Martin Brockman in order to help master the javelin and gain more distance in the discipline and equivalent points for the decathlon. The Commonwealth bronze medallist has already improved by around 3m to a big PB of 57.29 since the shooting of that video so Steve’s tips look to be working the trick!
Brits return from South Africa
The majority of the large British contingent that were out down in Stellenbosch, South Africa, on a nearly month-long warm-weather training camp have returned to Britain this morning, landing at Heathrow in London.
The camp revolved mainly around the sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws and involved leading athletes from the groups of Malcolm Arnold, Dan Pfaff, Tony Lester, Chris Zah and Nick Dakin among others; Dai Greene, Martyn Rooney, Perri Shakes-Drayton, Nicola Sanders, Goldie Sayers, Greg Rutherford, Jack Green, Tasha Danvers, Rhys Williams, Marlon Devonish and Nathan Woodward to name a few.
‘Lemon’ turns sights on 10000m for London
Andrew Lemoncello has been forced to change horses midstream as he was running out of time to arrive fully fit and competitive at the startline of the Virgin London Marathon on April 22, a virtual run-off for the remaining two Olympic berths available in the event alongside already selected Scott Overall.
The Scot suffered a hamstring injury relatively early in his race in Fukuoka, Japan, on December 4 in an attempt to secure the Olympic A standard, and likely selection in the first wave named the following day, to limp his way to the finish in a time of 2h24:31 and has been on rehabilitation since.
The London date comes well too early for such a distance as the marathon and ‘Lemon’ has made up his mind over shaking up his plans and go for the 10000m on the track instead. Nevertheless, his task will be hardly any easier since only a run inside the Olympic A standard of 27:45.00 will draw him into contention, with a PB of 27:57.23 from 2009.
Mo Farah and Chris Thompson have already performed in this territory and stand certain to be selected for the two of the three places available on the British team.
Purdue plans ‘Big Apple’ return
Charlotte Purdue is looking for a return to action in the New York half-marathon in March as she has been forced again on the sidelines due to twisting her ankle on a cobbled street turn during the Great South Run in Portsmouth, where she kept on going for an excellent fourth.
The former European U20 cross-country champion targets the 10000m in the Olympics in London but doesn’t rule out the shorter distance as well.
The New Throws Area at Loughborough
This is the new throws area at Loughborough, not entirely finished yet, as presented by British hot hammer prospect Sophie Hitchon.
Andrew Steele (Tweeter):”CHEP have singlehandedly saved my career by coming on board at this time and so I’m incredibly thankful for their help” (on finding a sponsor for the Olympics)
Senior and U20 UK record holders Holly Bleasdale and Katie Byres are competing at yet another pole vault-centred meeting on the French circuit today (Saturday 21 January), this time in Lyon, so more fireworks should be expected and maybe more British records all things equal.
Brits battle it out in the mile at the Armory
The British men’s 1500m scene, showing encouraging early signs highlighted by Stephen Davies‘s 3:42.39, is expected to come to life in earnest tonight as five of the land’s top milers are lining up in the men’s mile at the New Balance Games, staged at the Armory in the Big Apple.
Andy Baddeley, winner of the race two years ago, will be looking to get off to a convincing winning start into the season and shrug off a very disappointing last summer.
He faces off with James Brewer, hoping to place two years in the shadows behind him and draw back on track, Colin McCourt, the surprise European Cup winner in 2010 but also through a poor last term, surging back Ricky Stevenson and Mark Draper, who is still looking for his best distance.
The main challenge for the Brits ought to come from American Craig Miller, last year’s victor of the race.
Timetable & Starting-lists
Wilson fails in appeal against doping ban
International sprinter Bernice Wilson, a semifinalist at the European Indoor Championships last year, has had her appeal over a heavy ban on doping offences dismissed by an independent UKADA panel and now faces the long darkness of four years out of the sport until distant 2015.
The athlete returned positive samples for two different anabolic steroid substances, testosterone and clenbuterol, after a 100m race at the Bedford International last June and was imposed a ban subsequently.
European indoor champion Helen Clitheroe talks of her latest training spell at the high altitude in Iten, Rift Valley in Kenya, as well as giving a comprehensive picture of the camp itself in her latest blog.
Also, already selected Scott Overall blogs over the American Olympic marathon Trials last weekend and his early racing plans building up towards the ultimate sport showpiece in London this summer.
Olympic marathon hopeful Louise Damen also talks of her own training stint in Iten in her blog and how she is learning to train properly and efficiently at altitude level under the guidance of Professor Andy Jones, who has travelled out with the British contingent over there.
McLeod feels Farah is gambling on Olympic double-up
Mike McLeod, the Olympic silver medallist over 10000m in Los Angeles in 1984, reckons that Mo Farah is taking a major gamble going out for an Olympic double over 5000 and 10000m in London rather than focus on a single event.
Nevertheless, he somewhat contradicts himself as he goes on asserting that the new British distance sensation missed out on a golden double in Daegu because he went too early in the final of the 10000m, agonisingly pipped over the last several strides by relatively unreckoned with Ibrahim Jeilan (ETH), shaping solid rock evidence that attests his potential to pull it off this summer.
Turning his 60 a week on yesterday, McLeod recalls his own Olympic experiences back in Moscow (1980) and Los Angeles (1984) as he regards that Farah should keep off the media spotlight a great deal building up to the Olympics.
European U23 400m hurdles champion Jack Green is eager to make it count (2012)!
Ellington grabs himself late sponsor for Olympic season
All is well that ends well, as Shakespeare has ever had it, and British international sprinter James Ellington has found funding ‘salvation’ as the hour grew late coming from an unlikely end rather than the dead one his e-Bay auction venture was taking him to.
After the top bid was revealed to be a hoax, King Of Shaves came forth through their chief executive Will King to offer him their financial backing instead to the tune of the targeted reserve of 30,000 pound so as to sustain his Olympic bid. Thus, Ellington will be able to fully focus on his training and efforts en route to London very much like a professional athlete.
By the way, he opened up his indoor racing stint over an apparently first ever in any environment 400m in 49.93 secs in the heats of the SEAA Champs at the Lee Valley last weekend, making the final.
Lizzie Hall, the former UK U23 record holder over the barriers, has been putting together a decent racing string stretching back to October after quite some time.
More precisely, she won the London City Runner Metropolitan League in 22:47 on Saturday and made a runner-up at the Hertfordshire County Championships at Stevenage a week before.
It remains now to be seen whether she is planning a full comeback to action as she hasn’t raced on the track since a very lean itinenary back in 2009, in a couple of low-profile events at that.
Her PB is 9:48.51 from 2006 which was eclipsed as a British U23 milestone by Eilish McColgan last summer.
Eilish McColgan (Twitter):”12x 400s with a 1min recovery! So glad to be back training again! :D”
Barbara Parker, a steeplechase finalist in Daegu, offers an account of her winter build-up, as well as her new home surroundings, over the last few weeks in her latest blog.
Iwan Thomas, the British 400m record holder (44.36), has been back to the grindstone pumping out hill and tracks sessions through the week and racing on the country at weekends. Today’s menu? 8x200m! The man has still got it in him!
Greg Rutherford (Twitter):”Today’s session has killed me! I am so tired its unreal!”
Jonny Hay (Twitter):”A tough race today, Frank Ticker was very strong can’t wait for the next 10km now I have a little experience.” (January 15)
McColgan heaps praise on Runners Service Lab
Eilish McColgan, easing into light training after a season-ending ankle fracture at Crystal Palace in early August, highly praises the expertise and work on her foot of the people at the Runners Service Lab in Belgium in a very insightful and illuminating blog of hers.
Douglas edges back into fitness
Douglas powers out to a world class PB of 17.64m back in 2005
Former European silver medallist Nathan Douglas is sticking it out in a race against time to make the start of the outdoor season fully fit and prepared to bid for an Olympic spot as he eases into some gentle early triple jump drills, currently off a few strides. Hopefully, he can make it.
How to run like a champion
Lloyd Cowan, the coach of Christine Ohuruogu and Andy Turner, recollects his own competitive days by way of comparison to the modern frame of athletics and offers a look into his own relationship and approach with his athletes.
It is particularly interesting the point where he says that he never watches his athletes’ races for fear that he may jinx them and how he was dragged on to the stadium to eventually watch Ohuruogu in her ultimate moment of glory in Beijing, as well as his as a coach.
Katie Byres (Twitter):”So happy 4.36m” (January 8)
Andrew Lemoncello (Twitter):”Procedure went well. I’m in agony now but hopefully this will help me start the year injury free and some great results.” (January 7)
Gauson in good nick stateside
Scot Kris Gauson has got off to a solid start to the new indoor term as he shattered his PB over the odd 1000m to a currently world-leading 2:21.03 at the Hoosier Open in Bloomington, Indiana, on December 9.
The 23-year-old Butler University miler rose as a prime prospect when he ran swift 3:43.10 over 1500m at 18 back in 2006 but failed to build on his promise subsequently until only last season, when he eclipsed his nearly five-year-old best by means of a 3:40.59 clocking in Walnut last April.
Hopefully, he can take things from here to start fulfilling his potential and work his way as a contender for a spot in an apparently very open 1500m in the British team for London by summer.
Simpson and Goodger appointed to head up Welsh athletics
Welsh Athletics have announced that Scott Simpson and Dave Goodger are assigned as National Performance Coach and Coaching Development Manager respectively although the former initially on a part-time footing apparently due to his commitments to UK Athletics and England Athletics.
UK javelin champion Lee Doran offers a comprehensive account of his first week of training in the warm clime of Stellenbosch, South Africa, where he has joined a large contingent of British athletes on a mid-winter warm-weather training camp.
The 26-year-old thrower improved his PB to 78.63m in winning at the World Trials in Birmingham last summer and will have his sights set on a distance over 82m, the A standard, so that he can entertain solid hopes of being selected on Britain’s Olympic team.
Merwyn Luckwell already meets that requirement courtesy of a big PB of 83.52m late last season which follows that any other athlete wishing to be considered have got to do likewise to the UK Athletics selection policy.
Former high jump ace Dalton Grant, European Indoor champion in 1994, talks about the London Olympics and his own anticipation of the great event as well as his very own inspirations and motivation in his competitive years, outside a screening of the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” at cinema.
Moreover, Grant appears in a BBC video Guide to high jump which makes an interesting watch.
Ellington fears that e-Bay winning bid could be a hoax
James Ellington, who competed for Britain over 200m in Daegu, feels apprehensive that the winning bid of 32,550 pound in his auction on e-Bay, which could equip him well to stake a claim on an Olympic berth for London, may turn out a sour hoax.
The Lewisham-raised sprinter followed an untrodden trail of putting himself under the hammer on the well-known e-commerce website to ensure of necessary funds for his build-up but three weeks on the top bidder has yet to show up, while attempts to track the source of the bid have met a dead end as yet.
Martyn Rooney (Twitter):”Got my arse handed to me today by Nathan Woodwardbut really happy to get 6x300s done and all within the target range or quicker, boooom”
“All between 37-39 off of 3mins in set one and 6mins set 2 for those who asked” (January 4)
Holly Bleasdale (Twitter):”Off 14 (strides) today! Ooooo exciting times!!” (January 2)
Helen Clitheroe (Twitter): “Thanks for the messages I might be 38 but generally don’t act it, a little celebration in Kenya.”
Greg Rutherford (Twitter):”Out and about getting everything in order before I leave for south Africa tomorrow! Can’t wait for the heat!”
A latest bird’s-eye view released image of the new Olympic stadium at Stratford, setting up to host the athletics action of the Olympics in seven months from now.
Sotherton on rough path to London
Kelly Sotherton, back in the multi-event frame, admits that she faces a touch and go drive in her attempt to make a third Olympic Games in a row in the heptathlon in London this summer. Despite an encouraging medical assessment on her spinal problems, she knows that her body may not survive the strains of the journey but she hopes to make it in one piece at the starting-line of the season in early May.
She will also have to operate outside the funding scheme, an additional drawback, and even if she attains the Olympic A qualifying standard her place on the British team will be anything but quaranteed. Louise Hazell, the Commonwealth champion, already holds that credit and burgeoning U20 star Katarina Johnson-Thompson is definitely a rising force to reckon with.
Sotherton, however, can’t help dragging up, once again, an indirect complaint about her exclusion from any form of financial backing by UK Athletics in drawing a rather unwarranted comparison with Paula Radcliffe; simply, the marathon world record-holder has run a qualifying time that brings her back on the fringes of medal bidding territory.
Martyn Rooney (twitter):”Off to do 8 laps of 120s with Nathan Woodward, it’s gona be a hot one” (New Year’s Eve)
Green eyeing to upset the stars in London
European U23 champion Jack Green feels confident that he could bounce over a similar distance off a breakthrough 2011 under hurdles guru Malcolm Arnold into the new season and emulate legendary John Akii-Bua, a surprise Olympic champion in 1972, onto the top of the podium over 400m hurdles in London against the odds.
The 20-year-old athlete from Kent, but based in Romanesque Bath, knocked a massive chunk off his PB into 48.98 secs to take his game into uncharted territories this summer, initiated into the Diamond League and making the semifinals in Daegu, so is on a momentum and brimming with confidence and excitement.
Green makes no secret of his high esteem and admiration for former king of the sprints Maurice Greene, his athletic idol, as well as great Edwin Moses, the man who stamped his mark like no other in the history of the 400m hurdles.
Helen Clitheroe:”Off on my travels again in the morning. Only been home for 3 weeks. Back to Kenya I go.”
James Ellington:”Heading gym for the 2nd time today,gonna bang out some cardio,gonna need it for the 400 I’m gonna do indoors”
Tyrone Edgar:”3 weeks till my first race!”
Christmas morning fartlek for Andrew Steele and his groupmates in the northern parts of London, which looks a deserted city like only movies could depict.
Rooney senses medal could fall within his grasp
Martyn Rooney, the European bronze medallist, appears particularly pleased with the way his training is coming along and starts feeling for the first time that he could rise as a genuine medal contender in London if he can keep up the momentum.
Incidentally, he is heading off to South Africa along with Nathan Woodward and the rest of his groupmates under Nick Dakin straight after Christmas for a lengthy warm-weather training spell joined by Malcolm Arnold‘s squad, led by world hurdles champion Dai Greene and Jack Green.
Merwyn Luckwell (Twitter): “Had very good gym session this morning with Abdul Buhari, Daniel Greaves and Martyn Rooney. Snatched 105kg for 1 rep…..”
Nathan Douglas (Twitter): “6x120m this morning, 16/17sec, only strides but the ankle managed it”
Farah sets out on Glasgwegian lane on the way to London
World champion Mo Farah will launch his racing schedule for the new season over 1500m at the AVIVA International at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on January 28, possibly implying plans to attack Spaniard Sergio Sanchez‘s European record of 7:32.41 over 3000m further down the indoor season.
On the evidence of last summer, it could well be only a matter of time, and even turning up, before he sets a new milestone over that distance as long as a proper pacemade race is set up.
Inheritance comes in handy behind Brockman’s Olympic aspirations
There are many ways to get on the same end, as showed in a most striking manner of a self-auction on e-Bay by James Ellington, and Commonwealth decathlon bronze medallist Martin Brockman has made full use of an inheritance by his grandfather to fund a full-time training regime in distant Melbourne, Victoria in Australia, in an attempt to work his way into Britain’s Olympic team in summer.
Coe names his ‘seven wonders’ to watch in London
Lord Sebastian Coe comes up with seven names that in his view can capture the limelight in the forthcoming Olympics in London next summer, including Brits Mo Farah, Dai Greene and Jess Ennis.
Farah to spend Christmas in Kenyan wilderness
World champion Mo Farah has shown time and again that he spares no pains or sacrifices in his relentless pursuing of racing perfection and glory. Most loyal to his principles, he is about to spend Christmas very much 9,000 miles away from home and family training hard at the high altitude of the Rift Valley in Kenya in order to arrive fully and thoroughly prepared to contend for the ultimate prize in sport, Olympic gold, in London come summer.
Twitter (December 17)
Kelly Sotherton:”Dont usually talk training but today I got PBs in all my lab tests.(vo2max etc)All that altitude & work from last year starting to pay off!”
Twitter (December 16)
Rob Tobin:”Good sprints workout completed now on to get massive in the gym (if that’s ever possible for me) with Rhys (Williams)”
Eilish McColgan: “Managed a 5mile run! Woohoo! Never ran so slow in my life but the bionic foot is holding up strong :)”
Radcliffe slams ceremony budget rise
Paula Radcliffe has come out to dub the British government’s decision to up the ‘ante’ of the Olympic curtain-raiser and drawer ceremonies as ‘frivolous’ in times of a wavering global financial state of affairs. The world marathon record holder feels that the money had better have been spent on developing and nurturing talent in sport.
Merrien yet to settle on which course to take
Olympic hopeful Lee Merrien has yet to make up his mind on which marathon to run in spring in his attempt to obtain a late spot alongside already selected Scott Overall on the British team for London. On top of that, the fact that the latter holds the A standard, as does non-selected yet Dave Webb, makes imperative that the Guernsey runner will have to steer inside 2h12 to stake a claim.
Question (on twitter on Monday December 10): Are you doing any indoor events this year to prepare for the Olympics?
Kelly Sotherton: Maybe some shot & 60m hurdles
Mo Farah has made the following statement on his website early today (Sunday 11 December) as concerns the effect of certain comments he made in the Sun over the shortlist for BBC’s SPOTY award this season. Again, it appears that papers are so eager to make far more than there actually is:
“I would like to correct what was written in The Sun newspaper today. When asked about the people who missed out a SPOTY nomination I tried to explain that it is disappointing not to be nominated when you had a good year, as was the case with me last year. At no point did I say or imply anything negative towards the men or women who missed out. The phrases “…a dig at women….and wasting their time moaning….” are completely made up by the journalist. There were some excellent female sporting performances this year, some of which deserved to be in the top 10.”
Emma Pallant (Twitter December 9):
“done course inspection = flat and fast, had physio = emotional! lets see what the team meeting brings…”
Hafsteinsson confirmed as Brett Morse’s coach (?)
A lot is being made out lately about the circumstances that surrounded the sudden midsummer split up between Daegu discus finalist Brett Morse and his former coach Nigel Bevan in a latest row that rages on either on the pages of papers like the Telegraph or the ground of the Athletics Weekly forum.
Bevan, a former Olympian himself in the javelin, seems adamant that head coach Charles van Commennee and UK Athletics encouraged the athlete to link up with Vesteinn Hafsteinsson and engineered an eventual move under the Sweden-based coach.
The Icelander was a notable discus thrower in his competitive days boasting a PB of 67.64m (1989) but his reputation was tainted when he tested positive for nandrolone and was disqualified in the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984, which is the bone of contention that has set the two sides miles apart.
Van Commennee has defended his part in the story maintaining that Hafsteinsson served his ban as an athlete in the past and has developed into a high profile throws coach and an advocate against drugs that guides the like of Olympic champion Gerd Kanter.
For his part, Morse, cited as self-coached for a while, has evaded coming out over the issue in the press or the media as he is currently spending a pre-Christmas training spell along with Eden Francis in Sweden but did reply in a forceful post on the Athletics Weekly forum a few weeks ago which can be seen on this link:
Interestingly, he asserts that he doesn’t train under Hafsteinsson therein contrary to what appears in some latest reports. At the same time, certain statements of his concerning the BOA by-law and the prospect of Carl Myerscough competing in London have been substantially misconstrued.
Jones into early indoor action
Former European U23 200m champion Hayley Jones ‘zoomed’ into some very early indoor racing at the Manchester Open at Sportcity last weekend, apparently looking for some indications over her progress at this particular stage of winter training.
She contested a brace of rounds over 60m to set 7.64 and 7.66 secs in close succession so she must have left well content with her showing, her first trip down the track in 7.68 secs last winter – though she ran 7.52 secs later on that day but that was well in advance into the season in mid January.
Commonwealth heptathlon champion Louise Hazell, dressed like an ancient priestess, occupies a two-page spread in the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
McColgan named Scottish Coach Of The Year
Distance great Liz McColgan has won the Coach Of The Year award at the Scottish Sports Awards.
The world champion over 10000m in Tokyo in 1991 guided her daughter Eilish to two UK U23 records in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, placing 6th in the respective European Championships in Ostrava, and Alyson Dixon to an Olympic B qualifier of 2h34:50 in winning the Brighton marathon last April during this year.
Among other charges of hers are U20 Sarah Kelly, a finalist in the 800m at the World U20 Championships in Moncton last year, and former European U20 1500m champion Morag McLarty.
Malcolm surprised about BOA’s ‘overwhelming majority’ claim
Christian Malcolm has come out to question BOA’s claim that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of British athletes are in favour of life bans for first time doping offenders.
The Welshman, who captained Britain to their best medal tally in over a decade in Daegu, said that neither himself nor many other athletes have been consulted on the matter.
“Basically, they haven’t asked me my opinion on anything about it and the athletes I know haven’t been asked about it either,” he said. “In the last couple of months, nothing has been said to us. So I was quite surprised to hear they said there was an ‘overwhelming majority’, to be honest with you.”
Malcolm’s statements don’t quite come as surprise since BOA, mainly through their chairman Colin Moynihan, have been repeatedly caught out to misinterpret or make misleading claims to their purposes over the last couple of months, with the body’s image increasingly damaged.
On top of that, he comes to follow the line of Jonathan Edwards, Paula Radcliffe, Jessica Ennis and Chris Tomlinson who feel that the BOA by-law is unfair and there should be a uniform policy over doping matters worldwide, with the likes of Dave Brailsford and Brad Wiggins holding identical views in the cycling quarters.
Tomlinson confident he can medal in London
Chris Tomlinson is firmly convinced he can challenge for a medal in the long jump although he admits he is going to have to step up his game further if he is to land gold.
Tomlinson struggling in the long jump final in Daegu
The European bronze medallist enjoyed the form of his life in the run-up to Daegu to reclaim the UK record to a new figure of 8.35m in Paris en route.
A late knee injury, however, sustained in a car accident took the edge off his jumping to finish towards the back of the final pack in the global showdown in Korea, having squeezed through on countback.
In fact, he is still into the last weeks of rehabilitation following surgery on his knee but is drawing near to resuming training, suggesting that any sort of indoor season is very likely ruled out.
IAAF and UKADA ally to share ABP information
IAAF have signed an agreement with UKADA so that the two bodies can share Athlete Biological Passport data and other related information. The programme monitors selected biological variables in athletes that can pick up doping effects turning on the consistency of values in profiles run over time. Shifting levels could suggest doping offence and thereby lead to further investigation.
Commonwealth heptathlon champion Louise Hazell stuns at the Jaguar Academy of Sport Ball.
England Athletics announce international indoor events
England Athletics have released a four-fixture itinenary through the indoor season that English athletes can be selected for that comprises three senior meets, held in Linz, Bratislava and Vienna, as well as a home U20 showing at the Celtic Cup in Cardiff.
Okoye pulling out all the stops for London
Twell happy to be back
Steph Twell was bubbling with joy and excitement, as well as possibly relief, as she put the agony and pain of several months behind her to surprise everyone in grabbing fifth, second U23 on top, at the European cross-country Trials in Liverpool last Saturday. And how couldn’t she be when even only a few months ago she didn’t know if she could even be jogging around this time. But now she is drawing firmly back on track and has gained a sound mental boost in virtually securing another outing in a British vest in Vilenje next weekend.
Farah, Greene and Arnold swoop top UKA gongs
Not surprisingly, Dai Greene and Mo Farah captured the top prizes at the annual UK Athletics awards held at the Park Plaza Westminster Hotel on Saturday night. What may have felt a little odd, though, was that the Welshman won the Best Athletics Performance rank while arguably world’s current top distance runner was somewhat ‘accomodated’ with the AVIVA Series Performance equivalent.
No disrespect to Greene who put in a massive display of British steel to conquer gold over 400m hurdles in Daegu but an individual gold and silver at the World Championships on the part of Farah more than arguably outmerited his cause.
Malcolm Arnold, coach to the ‘Greene machine’ as well as European U23 champion Jack Green, came forth a fair winner of the Elite Athletics Coach of the Year title.
Woods: Twell may have to quit cross country
Mick Woods, the coach of an array of very talented female young runners in Britain, warns that Steph Twell may have to draw her cross-country days behind her in order to safeguard her career on the track.
“There’s no guarantee she’ll ever be the athlete in cross-country that she was before,” he said just prior to the European Trials in Liverpool yesterday. “The injury has changed the dynamics of her running movement. It’s OK on solid surfaces but on muddy ones, her ankle is less responsive. So cross-country might be a thing of the past. But we don’t want that.”
As if playing devil’s advocate, however, Twell may have surprised everyone a few hours later as she mounted a straight return to the thick of the action by placing fifth, second U23 for that matter, in the women’s race to virtually secure a berth on the British squad to the European Championships on the country a fortnight today.
Merry believes Sanders can set the world alight in London
Former Olympic medallist Katherine Merry, a commentator for C4 these days, feels very confident that Nicola Sanders can stage a comeback to top form and into the shake-up for the medals in the Olympics in London come summer provided she can remain on a consistent lengthy injury-free trail.
Sanders sneaks silver at the death from Novlene Williams in a second PB of 49.65 secs on the trot in Osaka, having won her semifinal in 49.77 secs
The former hurdler, winning a European U20 bronze at just 17 in 59.21 secs, set up shockwaves round the world when she roared to a fifth-fastest all-time and a UK indoor record of 50.03 secs when winning gold at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham and followed up with a superb silver medal in a PB of 49.65 secs closely behind Christine Ohuruogu in a thrilling final in Osaka in 2007.
Nevertheless, a succession of injury problems has dogged her and subsequently she hasn’t been able to emulate those standards, the critical stage turning her transition from pre-season to the competitive season in late spring. So it is going to be crucial to come off that phase unscathed and in one piece so that she can build on towards London from there.
So far, she looks to be enjoying some solid early winter training and there is a possibility to employ an indoor campaign of some sort as a winter sharpener for the first time in five years.
Helen Clitheroe on twitter:
“Things I have survived in kenya 1. Masssssive wasp in my pillow 2. cougar (allegedly) on door step 3 Moths 4 Possible deadly spider in hair”!
Coe dispels Greene’s football fears
Sebastian Coe, the mastermind behind London Olympic Games, has been quick off the mark to dismiss World 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene‘s uncharacteristic fears that David Beckham and the rest of the football stars on show in London next summer could overshadow the athletics showpiece, claiming that football has no place in the Olympics.
The former double Olympic 1500m champion responded that sprint superstar Usain Bolt could take some of the gloss off the swimming pool as (hopefully rejuvenated) Ian Thorpe might steal the gymnasts thunder in the same light, but eventually he can’t see football hogging the spotlight in an event of the magnitude of the Olympics.
After all, Greene ought to be looking forward to stacking up against football stars in the same manner he approaches his races, so often seen out to be calling on British athletes to set their sights high and never back out of any challenge. It’s turning up to the athletes and their performances on the track and the infield to outshine every other sport on the Olympic schedule. Here is Greene’s relative statements:
Contrasting views by Cram and Greene over UK Athletics funding
Middle distance legend Steve Cram and world 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene have come out within hours of each other to express considerably contrasting views over the UK Athletics funding scheme, which has come under plenty of criticism over selections for the Olympic season in the last several weeks.
Having earlier questioned the commitment and hunger of a part among British internationals, asserting they don’t aim high enough, the Welshman feels that the financial backing system is far from perfect and there should be harder requirements laid down to earn a share in, an investment to set the scene to winning major medals on the big stage.
Going on further, he also queries – and very rightly so – the involvement of relay runners who don’t meet world standards currently in the top tier funding over athletes that have shown the potential and hold far more chances of achieving individual success.
Cram, on the other hand, ranges wider and hails the athlete funding system as instrumental in turning round the fortunes of British sport into the huge success of Beijing while setting the team on the way to improve on those figures next summer in London.
McColgan cleared of assault charges
Distance legend Liz McColgan, a world champion over 10000m in 1991 in Tokyo, has been cleared of charges of repeated punching and prodding husband Peter at their shared house at Carnoustie, Scotland, last July.
The latter, holder of the Northern Irish record over the barriers, alleged that the above incident took place after his wife received a letter from his solicitor to the effect that their family house was to be sold in case of a divorce.
The Scot denied the allegations and has come to be vindicated by the Arbroath Sheriff Court, which dropped all charges against her.
Off-funding athletes working their way to Olympics… literally!
Richard Buck, the European Indoor 400m bronze medallist, reveals that he has taken up a job at a supermarket in order to back his own bid for a spot in the British Olympic squad in London following his fall off UK Athletics funding.
Buck edges bronze at the European Indoor Championships in Paris
Turning 25 a week ago today, he needs to make up up to 20,000 quid and is hoping to draw sponsorship on the way. Nevertheless, he remains positive and adamant that things will come off well so keeps pushing on, reported to be flying in training and aiming at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul as an intermediate stop.
Commonwealth 200m champion Leon Baptiste has also got a job between 3 to 11pm and therefore has got to fit his training in the mornings. Meanwhile long relay regulars Andrew Steele and Rob Tobin have set up campaigns to ensure of some funding in their endeavours to make the Olympic team in summer.
Taking a breather…
Ricky Stevenson and James Wilkinson during a recovery between runs in training at Iten, near Eldoret in Kenya.
Purdue cuts short altitude training in Kenya
Highly-rated distance prospect Charlotte Purdue has returned to Britain slightly earlier than scheduled from high altitude training at Iten in Kenya, apparently on some knee complaint. Hopefully, that isn’t anything serious and won’t hold up her preparations for the new season at a point that she is back flying again either in competition or training.
Ennis receives MBE honour
Multi-decorated heptathon star Jessica Ennis has been awarded an MBE for her services to athletics to add to her long array of accolades. The honour was presented in an investiture at Buckingham Palace by prince Charles, who said he hoped that would be a boost for her.
Dancing in the street…
It is not known whether Chris Thompson was listening to the 60s hit “Dancing in the street” by Martha & the Vandellas, or David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s duo remake about 20 years later, prior to training but he seems to have taken it to full effect during a long run of his!
Meadows eager to shine in London
Jenny Meadows is out to make the most of what she believes should be her last Olympics in London in summer, though quick to stress that nothing can be ruled out, and spares no trouble to ensure that she arrives there in the best possible position to fulfil her dream either by way of extra trips to her physio or more stretching sessions involved.
The Wigan athlete feels that arriving at the Olympics at the age of 31 suggests that this will be her last chance since on the back end of the peak bracket over 800m according to statistics. Nonetheless, statistics are simply more of guidelines and don’t rule the fortunes of anyone, with great Kelly Holmes offering a prime example as landing that memorable golden double in Athens at 34. And this is more worth paying heed to.
Meadows suffered a shocking end to her medal winning streak on the big stage when surprisingly overhauled into third down the home straight by an inspired Maggie Vessey (USA) in the semifinals of the 800m in Daegu to miss out on a major final for the first time since Beijing in 2008. But she is determined to bounce back in style and into the medals on the greatest of stages.
Simpson withdraws appeal over funding cut
Jemma Simpson has made up her mind over not pursuing an appeal over her shocking fall from UK Athletics funding further to an independent panel. The European finalist is concerned that such a development could considerably affect her preparations for the Olympics next summer and this is something she cannot afford.
She is drawing a lot of inspiration on Andy Turner who found himself in ‘exile’ from funding back in 2009 but rebounded brilliantly to clinch the European and Commonwealth titles and add a global bronze in the 110m hurdles in Daegu last summer.
Jemma says she is feeling gutted about how all this has come about but has no other way but to push forward and keep training hard to attain her goals.
Nonetheless, the Cornish athlete’s latest move could be linked to latest news that head coach Charles van Commennee will be bringing her matter back to the respective panel, with some form of fund reprieve for her on the cards. So hopefully everything is going to pan out well for her.
Enjoying the sunshine….
Richard Kilty and coach Linford Christie in Arizona where they’re spending a warm-weather training stint.
Rimmer could turn to the operating table to deal with mysterious injury
Mike Rimmer may have to resort to surgery as a last means to overcome a mysterious injury that ruined a season that started in the most promising auspices, storming off to a big PB of 3:38.91 over 1500m and following up in by a long way his fastest ever opener over 800m in 1:45.12 in spring.
But before long he was seen to be struggling bad and even reeling in the final stages of his races in a mistifying situation that wasn’t to improve much down the summer and eventually saw him crash out of the heats at the World Championships in Daegu.
Rimmer suffers an early exit in the heats in Daegu
What is worse, the European silver medallist has yet to obtain a precise assessment of the nature or the location of the root of the injury, originally diagnosed as pelvic, despite having sought advice and help with specialists as far and wide as Denmark to receive opinions varying wide.
Rimmer says that his winter build-up is coming on really well but he has still worries in his mind about what happens when he gets into faster training.
Johnson-Thompson over the moon as London wins 2017 Worlds
Highly-rated U20 heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson has received the news of London hosting the World Championships of 2017, around a time she should be enjoying the height of her career, with great delight and excitement as it represents a chance for the up-and-coming generation of British athletes to perform and achieve distinction themselves in a major event before their home crowd.
The 2009 World Youth champion, though, can still entertain hopes to get blooded in a top level event on home soil as she is a dark horse in the race for the two places up for grabs behind Jessica Ennis for the heptathlon, with Commonwealth champion Louise Hazell and returning Kelly Sotherton the favourites.
The Liverpoolian is over an injury that ended her summer season rather early and back into full and heavy training brimming with confidence in view of the coming season.
Miler-turned-steeplechaser Jonny Taylor was a comfortable winnier by well over a minute in 30:23 over the Heaton Harriers Town Moor 10km on the road on Sunday. The 24-year-old sort of felt his way into his new event to eventually clinch fourth at the UK Trials in Birmingham, setting his PB of 8:48.57 in the progress.
Great Paula Radcliffe, buoyed by a staggering return to form as well as ensuring her all-time milestone of 2h15:25 remains put, is the latest to join an already large British contingent of middle and long distance runners over a lengthy altitude training camp at Iten, near Eldoret in the famous Rift Valley in Kenya.
Lewis is confident Bleasdale can shine on the big stage
Steve ‘Air’ Lewis, who made a second consecutive global final in Daegu, holds that new pole vault sensation Holly Bleasdale has got all the makings to go a long way on the international scene despite crashing out in the qualifying round in Daegu.
The 20-year-old, a World U20 bronze medallist in 2010, represented maybe the most startling breakthrough of 2011 as she rocketed high from a starting point of 4.35m to pull out all the stops into a big UK record of 4.70m and a top ten place in the senior global rankings.
Quite unlike what the report below regards, the World Championships in Doha may have come considerably late for her as she started off the season aiming at the much earlier held European U23 Championships, the rest came up on the way and she may have arrived tired and spent in Korea.
‘Roon’ looks to bounce back in 2012
European 400m bronze medallist Martyn Rooney feels that the disappointment of a below par 2011 will fire him up to bounce back at the top of his game into the Olympic season, the same way it happened last time round in Beijing where he placed sixth after a PB of 44.60 secs in the semifinals.
Along with coach Nick Dakin, he opted to put more stress on speed than before in his pre-season build-up but that approach backfired soon as he was often found struggling to assert himself and his endurance missing over the second half of the race. But now he has made up his mind on a return to the roots and taken up again what he knows best and well tried training-wise.
Rooney also regards that himself and the rest of the men’s 4x400m team let the country down in Daegu and need to get that right in the forthcoming season too.
Ross Millington in a workout at the track of the ‘Lobos’ at the New Mexico University
Latest wave of endurance runners arrive in Kenya
Helen Clitheroe and Andie Osagie are among a large late endurance group to arrive at Iten, near Eldoret, at the land of the runners in the famous Rift Valley in Kenya. They are joining a British contingent featuring the likes of James Shane, Steph Twell, Charlie Purdue, James Brewer and Stevie Stockton that have already been there from previous weeks to embark on a gruelling lengthy warm-weather altitude training spell.
Meanwhile, over in Florida, global bronze medallist Andy Turner is enjoying a fabulous warm-weather training stint along with David Oliver and world champion Jason Richardson, saying that he’s making some drastic changes that could set him up nicely towards new territories in the 110m hurdles.
Sebastian Coe explains what happens…
… if the relay torch goes out and more over the much-discussed route of the Olympic flame across Britain.
Olympic Torch Relay comes to life
Deborah Hale, the Torch Relay producer, offers a detailed account of setting up and streamlining the route of the Olympic Torch Relay that is claimed to come within 10 miles of 95% of people around the UK and the surrounding home islands.
Freeman tells British athletes ‘Pressure is privilege’
Great former 400m Olympic champion Cathy Freeman (AUS), who has as good as been identified with her homeland Olympics in Sydney, comes forward to offer her advice and support to British athletes as they will be facing a soaring burden and pressure of expectation leading up to London next summer, just as she did in her time.
Cathy Freeman pulls away to a commanding victory over 400m in Sydney with Katharine Merry, a commentator for Channel 4 these days, getting bronze and Donna Frazer just missing out on the podium
She quotes tennis legend Billie Jean King saying “Pressure is privilege”, adding “You’re doing it for personal reasons. It should be celebrated and you should embrace it. There might be nerves creeping in and cracks appearing, but turn it around and use it to your advantage.”
And she is certainly one to know a great lot about it as she essentially shouldered the weight of hopes of the whole Australian nation singlehandedly in athletics and delivered with flying colours back in 2000.
In particular, she singles out arguably world’s top heptathlete Jessica Ennis, who she feels will draw the spotlight during the London Olympics, to maintain that the Briton has to be selfish and build in and around her something of an insulation from what is happening around and do things on her own terms.
Apart from Ennis, Mo Farah, Dai Greene and Phillips Idowu are expected to carry the lion’s share of golden hopes among the British athletics outfit as head coach Charles van Commennee has set his sights on an eight medal tally in London.
Pavey faces cracking field in the ‘Big Apple’
Jo Pavey will be faced with a line-up of the highest calibre when she steps out to tackle the 26.2-mile course round the streets of New York winding up on a demanding late uphill into Central Park on Sunday.
Heading entries will be top Kenyan Mary Keitany, the London marathon conqueror last April in a superb sixth fastest all-time 2h19:19, and on-fire Kiwi Kim Smith who comes into the race on a US all-comers record of 67:11 over the half-marathon in Philadelphia in September.
The latter was on schedule for an astonishing time before disaster struck as she cramped up with around 10 miles to go in Boston last spring and may like to test Keitany, for some the arguable world’s number one marathon runner currently, from the front employing some searing pace, a fervent front runner herself.
In fact, she could handsomely deputise for the absence of ‘mercenary’ pacemakers from New York once more and set up a thrilling battle as well as some sizzling times at the end of the affair.
Nevertheless, the Brit should be intent on her own game plan and goal as she will attempting to improve on her debut of 2h28:24 in London and strengthen her position in the race for places in the distance on the British Olympic team.
Although she suffered a convincing defeat at the hands of Gemma Steel up in Sheffield a few weeks ago, she should be gearing up to something in the 2h25s which would make for a strong selection ground on her part.
Jessica Augusto (POR) is going to be a dark horse lining up in her second ever marathon, making a sound debut of 2h24:33, while Russian Inga Abitova, former world cross-country champion Werknesh Kidane (ETH) and returning American Jen Rhines are other names to watch out for.
Incidentally, John Beattie will be going through his initiation to the distance and it’s going to be interesting to see whether he could lay a claim on the Olympic A qualifying standard of 2h12:00.
Thommo takes New York route
Chris Thompson will be swinging round the UN building and up to Central Park via the route of the inaugural Dash To The Finish Line 5km in New York on Saturday, the Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night, as he continues his early build-up towards the Olympic season.
The European 10000m silver medallist said that has been in phenomenal shape in training in his interview after finishing fourth at the Great South Run on Sunday so he would like to add some fireworks of his own in the streets of the ‘Big Apple’ on the occasion of November 5 in his own way.
The event will serve as an appetizer to the New York Marathon the following day and among Thommo’s main rivals will be top Americans Dathan Ritzenhein and Matt Tegenkamp.
World 10000m silver medallist Sally Kipyego (KEN) stands out from a relative stronger-in-depth women’s field that also shows Molly Huddle, the American 5000m record holder, Deena Castor, the Athens 2004 marathon bronze medallist, Lisa Uhl (nee Koll) and Sarah Hall.
The fields of both 5ks:
This IS Nicola Sanders!
Brits heading warm-weather way
More and more British internationals are leaving the rainy and cold British shores to enjoy the sunshine and kinder training conditions of warmer climates and environments as they are laying the early foundations for the Olympic season.
Highly-rated distance prospect Charlie Purdue was off today to join the ‘vanguard’ of Steph Twell, Stevie Stockton, James Wilkinson and James Brewer among others, already arrived since last week, for a lengthy training spell at the altitude of famous Eldoret and the Rift Valley in the land of the runners in Kenya. More are to follow including European Indoor 3000m champion Helen Clitheroe.
On the other hand, sprinters look to be heading west across the Pond and Linford Christie‘s squad comprising the likes of Mark Lewis-Francis, Laura Turner and Richard Kilty flew out to Arizona, USA, where they spent a substantial segment of last spring buidling up towars the summer season.
Daegu pole vault finalist Steve Lewis, for his part, will be making his way Down Under and ‘hook up’ with Olympic champion and friend Steve Hooker and his team shortly in Perth, Australia.
Sharp scoops double Scottish award
Sharp turns on a storming finish to grab European U23 bronze in a PB in Ostrava
Lynsey Sharp has been a surprise winner, even by her very own admission, of both top athlete and U23 athlete of the year in Scotland on Saturday night to cap a marvellous season that saw her blaze her trail down to a massive PB of 2:00.65 and into the medals over 800m at the European U23 Championships in Ostrava. The 21-year-old’s best prior to this summer stood at just 2:04.44 as a first year U20 back in 2008.
Thommo turns south to test Great South Run 10-miler
Chris Thompson has been a late entry at the Great South Run in Portsmouth on Sunday to take in some more competitive pace and gauge his strength over the 10-miler as he keeps up his early winter training.
Following an injury-plagued track season and surgery in August, the European 10000m silver medallist has displayed an impressive recovery of strength and form to line up a huge PB of 62:11 in a so-called ‘tempo-run’ in the streets of South London last month and coming runner-up to Micah Kogo (KEN) over 10km in Sheffield three weeks ago.
This time round he is faced with an even mightier Kenyan task in the shape of in-hot-form Leonard Komon who narrowly missed out on great Haile Gebrselassie‘s world best by a mere four seconds over the same distance last month, setting 44:27 at Zaandam (Holland).
The Kenyan is racing for the first time on the British roads and is highly tipped to take the record in his possession this time round although much will lie with weather conditions, particularly the wind, on the coastal course of Portsmouth.
By the look of things, Thompson looks therefore most likely destined for yet another runner-up tussle against the likes of a rejuvenated Irishman Alastair Cragg and double world marathon champion Abel Kirui (KEN) as he should get the better of Abderrahime Bouramdane (MAR), fourth in the marathon in Daegu, who hasn’t really shone lately.
The Briton will be then flying out to the ‘Big Apple’ next week to race over the inaugural Dash To The Finish Line 5km on Saturday, a prelude event to the New York Marathon the following day, hoping to do a few fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day.
Ryan McLeod, the son of 1984 Olympic 10000m silver medallist Mike, is also among the starters and looks raring to go along with marathon-find Scott Overall, off the back of a 2h10:55 debut in Berlin, and Scot Andrew Lemoncello who is trying to revive his own Olympic bid. Jonny Mellor and James Walsh could offer surprise packages on account of the Brits on show.
Thought likely to contest the 10 miles affair is Mara Yamauchi, forced on the sidelines in Birmingham due to a knee complaint last weekend, as she seeks a late sharpener before she embarks on the long haul to an Olympic marathon A qualifier in the streets of Yokohama.
If she does turn up in Portsmouth, she is going to be faced with the stern challenge of burgeoning Charlie Purdue who has been on a swift upsurge ever since coming back from injury in late summer in a potential incorporated British duel.
They young Briton has showed to have made remarkable ground within a short comeback spell as she was a startling runner-up in the 10km in Edinburgh early this month and will fancy her chances of making some headlines at the expense of pre-race favourite Asselefech Merga (ETH) and Irene Jerotich (KEN), whom she convincingly beat in Scotland.
Freya Murray, the injury-dogged Scot, will be a dark horse going into the race as she returns from yet another knock on the way.
Sally Gunnell and Iwan Thomas, two British greats of the 90s, will be among the scores of runners turning out to compete over the distance, the Welshman having tackled the London marathon earlier in the year.
**Conditions in Portsmouth are cold and windy early in the morning as Iwan Thomas says, which may go against a world record bid by Leonard Komon over the 10 miles course when the race gets underway later.
Yelling out for Olympic qualifying time in Frankfurt
Liz Yelling is the next British girl out at the start gates, to borrow a more track cycling term, to pursue a mark inside the Olympic A standard (2h31:00) for the marathon in Frankfurt, Germany, and move into the mix for places on the British team to London next summer. The Beijing Olympian encounters a quality but also negotiable field that involves highly rated debutant Flomena Chepchirchir (KEN) and home favourite Sabrina Mockenhaupt that aim for a time around 2h25, which could suit her cause nicely.
Raffalli makes account of past season
Julien Raffalli looks back on and takes stock of a summer season where he saw his top charge Holly Bleasdale rocket high from a top junior in 2010 into the elite of global pole vault, as well as Katie Byres enjoying plenty of success at U20 level.
Purdue targets 10k place in London
On a meteoric rise of form since returning to action, Charlie Purdue feels she is well on track to meet her Olympic goal eyeing a place in the women’s 10000m.
The distance shows a shortage of home performers even at decent level currently and seems like deserted by British girls on the big stage since Jo Pavey‘s surprise fourth in Osaka in 2007, falling in stark contrast with distances either way, and the 20 year-old reckons she is well capable of steering under the Olympic A qualifier of 31:45.00.
Mick Woods, her coach, believes she would have already drawn such a time had she not missed the summer after surgery as Purdue reached a UK U20 record of 32:36.75 the previous season, on a limited competitive run-up, and showed superb form on the country to occupy a fabulous 14th at the respective world championships in Spain.
She also intends to get hold of the qualifying standard in the 5000m as she will be turning her attention more on the road and the track, rather than the country, for the coming season. A principal reason is that she will be spending a lengthy spell training at the altitude of the land of the great runners at the famous Rift Valley, Kenya, to lay the much necessary platform to set up her campaign. So she won’t be around when a good part of the cross-country season takes place over Britain and Europe.
Talking of the Rift Valley, among the first Brits to arrive there have been her groupmate Steph Twell, the 2008 global U20 1500m world champion, James Brewer, the 2009 European U23 1500m silver medallist, Stevie Stockton, the European U23 5000m bronze medallist in Ostrava, Ricky Stevenson and James Wilkinson, the 2009 European U20 silver medallist in the ‘chase.
Olympic medals into production in Wales
The time is drawing near for the 2012 Games in London and preparations are stepped up in every direction with the Olympic medals production now underway at the Royal Mint’s headquarters at Liantrisant, Rhodda Cynon Taf. A total of four thousand seven hundred medals of all three colours depicting Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, are being made and will be waiting anxiously to find out their future owners over the Olympic sports arenas and grounds around the British capital.
Martyn back to the ‘Roons’
Martyn Rooney reverts to the magic of the ‘Old Ways’ as he attempts to galvanise his challenge on the global scene on the back of a season that never really got going and he would like to leave behind.
Along with coach Nick Dakin, the European bronze medallist opted to shift his training into a more specific speed-oriented regime heading into this term eyeing to narrow the gap on the top markers worldwide. Although the new rolled-out pattern showed to pay dividents early on, getting off to a marginally windy 20.87 secs (2.1m/sec) over 200m in the States, the main season saw him uncharacteristically struggle to assert himself and his endurance suffer over his main distance.
In stark contrast, Rooney has been well-known for his strong second half into the race and his lacklustre outings may have well made up his mind and ordered a return to the drawing board long before the season was over.
Although, to play devil’s advocate, so many times new elements in training have showed to take more time to bed in and take shape in an athlete’s performance, with many notable cases around. But less than a year before an Olympics, in your very own backyard at that, you can’t easily afford to experiment and need something well tried and trusted to follow.
Martyn Rooney will be seeking to rebuild his trademark strong finish and draw inside 45 secs again over 400m
In light of this U-turn of route, former relay world champion Jamie Baulch reckons that Rooney is doing well to return to what he does best as he needs a consistent training structure in view of London. On top of that, he may stand a good chance of a medal if he can get back to the 44.6 form that forced his way into the Beijing top eight back in 2008, with standards pretty much ‘rubbish’ currently on the global stage as the Welshman puts it.
Suffice to say that Baulch could have comfortably medalled in Daegu on his PB of 44.57 secs from 1996, which is also yet to be matched by any current British 400m runner, so his assertion feels well justified.
O’Hare on 40-minute interview
Spring mile revelation Chris O’Hare, based and studying in Tulsa (USA), talks about very much everything and anything looking back on his season and breakthrough on the scene in this nearly 40-minute interview. Definitely worth listening to.
Heslop runs 15:58 over 5km on the road
Self-coached Justina Heslop ran a SB of 15:58 to cross the line first among both men and women at the Bushy Park 5km on Saturday. The 32-year old is enjoying a good spell on the roads recently having lined up a PB of 32:40 over 10km in Swansea late last month and another best of 73:11 in the half marathon in Czech Rebublic a further week earlier.
Turner out to the sunshine
Andy Turner wins the European title in Barcelona and Commonwealth gold in Delhi
Andy Turner, the global high hurdles bronze medallist, has opted to leave behind the cold and rainy setting of autumnal England and fly across the Pond to share a few weeks of training in the sunshine of Florida alongside friend and top rival David Oliver and his team. A very early warm-weather training stint as could be put in other words.
Deagu pole vault finalist Steve Lewis will be heading also out Down Under soon to spend a training spell with friend and Olympic champion Steve Hooker and his team in Perth.
Haile to grace Great Birmingham Run
The ‘Emperor’ of long distances Haile Gebrselassie will be starting off a renewed challenge to gain a marathon berth on Ethiopia’s Olympic team with a late appearance at the Great Birmingham Run half marathon on Sunday, with Tokyo shaping the outlet and peak of his venture.
The great Ethiopian holds special ties with Britain’s second largest city as he has set two world indoor records at the NIA in the past and received an honorary degree by the University of Birmingham. Those who will turn up to run on the course on Sunday are going to have the rare and special honour of racing with him.
Abderrahime Bouramdane (MAR), fourth over the marathon in Daegu, will be his main rival going into the race while Commonwealth champion John Kelai (KEN) and Manuel Martinez (ESP) figure among the entrants.
Mara Yamauchi, who was looking to ramp up her build-up to the Yokohama marathon, has been forced to withdraw with a slight knee injury. She may now turn her sights on the Great South Run 10-miler next weekend to put in a necessary sharpener before she pursues an Olympic A qualifier in the streets of Yokohama.
In-form Gemma Steel will be out to fashion another impressive display on the trot and should start as favourite for the win while Olympic marathon hopeful Louise Damen is another competitor to watch out for.
The man behind the London Games
Sebastian Coe, the mastermind behind the London Olympics next summer, talks to Journal’s Matthew Futterman in the video incorporated over the challenges and responsibilities of his job as well as how it might have felt competing and winning gold in front of his home crowd, rather than Moscow and Los Angeles.
Coe is adamant that Olympic stadium will maintain athletics legacy
Lord Sebastian Coe has come out again to maintain that the new Olympic stadium at Stratford will uphold track and field legacy after the 2012 Olympics through events like the Diamond League meetings and hopefully the 2017 World Championships, although it will serve also as a multi-puprose venue.
Coulson powers to British U23 best over 10 miles
Jess Coulson, under the wing of Mike Woods now, has not only set up a swift return to her best but is also heading fast to new regions to quickly gain a footing as a new prospect on the British distance stage.
A day after putting in the third fastest leg in 13:51 at the ERRA Relays in Birmingham, the 21-year-old went on to inflict a surprise comfortable defeat on useful Kenyan Edith Chelimo by over a minute in clocking an excellent debut of 52:53 over 10 miles at Twickenham.
Her time makes the fastest ever performed by an U23 British girl in the distance to make her first mark on the way while the scalp of the 71:41 performer over the half marathon will serve as a solid confidence boost. But one also can’t help but notice what a superb work Woods is doing in the women’s distances.
Radcliffe steps up History Stands campaign
Plenty of Paula Radcliffe around the news as the marathon world record holder has met with IAAF president Lamine Diack in Monaco to ask for the new rules introduced over women’s road racing records to be called off, with her overawing mark of 2h15:25 set in London in 2003 to remain as the world record and not a mere ‘world best’ over the distance.
The Briton said that Diack showed understanding and that the matter has come under consideration although the new regime is unlikely to change until 2013.
IAAF’s latest regulation in place commands that times set in all-female competitions be acknowledged for record purposes henceforth, knocking a vast majority or either area or national landmarks off place, and has raised great controversy and debate within road racing quarters recently. As a matter of fact, Canada have been the first country to defy latest dictates stating that they will continue recognizing marks from mixed competitions for women.
For the best part of road racing history, women were racing in mixed conditions and their times were perfectly accepted so the new rules come harsh and unfair on the majority of female runners who have performed their best under such circumstances. Even last Sunday’s Chicago marathon race where Liliya Shobukova delivered an awesome new Russian of 2h18:20 can be considered as such and her mark could hang in doubt.
Even under the new legislation, Radcliffe retains the title of global record holder thanks to a 2h17:42 set also in London two years later but that won’t compensate for a downgrade of one of the greatest ever performances seen in athletics history.
Radcliffe believes BOA ban is unfair
Paula Radcliffe, the marathon world record holder, has been the first British high-profile track and field athlete to come out on record contending that the BOA’s by-law is unfair. She goes on saying that she has supported the rule but given circumstances it turns out harsh on Dwain Chambers and other British athletes in the same light, having served bans on serious doping offences that is, as the only ones penalized in essence.
British high jumpers funding to be dropped off?
According to a latest tweet by former European indoor champion Dalton Grant, British high jumpers are to fall from the ‘grace’ of funding which is definitely going to deal a blow and could affect their preparations for the London Olympics in summer.
Parsons, Bernard and Rob Grabarz all clear 2.28 at the UK Trials in Birmingham. On the face of it, they will all have to make it the hard way to the Olympics entirely on their own resources.
Alright, high jumpers didn’t quite perform to expectations this past summer but that doesn’t outweigh an Olympic silver won by Germaine Mason, a European bronze by Martyn Bernard and top eight appearances at major championships by Tom Parsons and Samson Oni – displaying the potential on the international scene of the event.
A very harsh decision, if it is so, but hopefully Bernard and Parsons, as well as the rest of the top high jumpers, are going to take the bit between their teeth and keep pushing on with their cause. After all, there are examples of people who made major success without funding, such as Christine Ohuruogu or Andy Turner, so they can find sources to draw inspiration on.
Douglas taking steady strides towards comeback
Nathan Douglas, who suffered a freak injury during warm-weather training in Italy last May, is making steady headway back towards full fitness. The former European silver medalist, both outdoors and indoors, is able now to stride although his still feels pain in his injured ankle but reckons that things are coming on well.
Thompson reflects on his early autumn racing and shape
Chris Thompson, the European 10000m silver medalist, looks back on and assesses those last few weeks back in the groove putting in some encouraging road racing and regaining his full fitness, having even quickly fitted in a hernia operation in August – such are the demands with little or hardly any time to spare as the Olympics are looming large on the horizon.
Chambers hopes to compete in London next summer
Dwain Chambers has come out for the first time since the fall of IOC’s late rule 45 to talk about his burning desire to compete in the Olympics in his own backyard in London next summer. The world indoor 60m champion said it would be a great privilege and something he would love to do if possible, stressing that he and his agent Siza Agha are keen to settle the issue outside courtrooms – a path of least resistance as he put it.
Agha has already contacted other athletes concerned like top cyclist David Millar and all appear to be waiting to see if BOA relent in their approach before they make up their minds on moving on to further action. Chambers’s agent added that he was astonished by the body’s comments and latest statistics put out in support of their policy, commenting that such numbers look more historical than anywhere near the truth.
And he may be right as Colin Moynihan even presented WADA’s latest letter as evidence that BOA’s line falls within the demands of the world anti-doping body, whereas it was asking for a review, again, of the ‘by-law’ in place.
Going for gold with Tasha Danvers
Beijing bronze medalist Tasha Danvers (400m hurdles) goes out in her very unique own exuberant easygoing style in a flowing interview outside Crystal Palace NSC about her goals over the Olympics next summer, as well as her future plans. Note in particular, among others, the point where the talk turns to her new book and its title – she is really one of a kind!
Jackson undergoes operation
Commonwealth race walking champion Jo Jackson has gone under the knife on a leg injury late last week and is currently sidelined at what would have been around the beginning of her winter training. Hopefully, she won’t need a long time to get over this latest setback and will be back in full training soon ahead of a massive season for her.
Good news for McColgan
Eilish McColgan has got the all-clear to move to the next phase of her rehabilitation, walking that is, as her latest scan revealed that her ankle fracture has totally healed up. The UK U23 record-holder is expecting to be in condition to start jogging in about two weeks’ time, hoping also to make a British distance training camp at the altitude of Kenya in January in the longer term.
Olympic stadium to stay in public ownership after West Ham deal collapse
Following the break-down of the deal with West Ham to move in post 2012, a decision has been reached by OPLC (Olympic Park Legacy Company), the British Government and the Mayor of London to keep the new Olympic stadium under public ownership after the Olympic Games next summer in order to ensure that its athletics legacy remains solid and intact.
West Ham, via chairman Karren Brady, have confirmed that the club are still interested to move to London’s new athletics jewel in 2014.
London to be McConnell’s last Olympics
Britain’s 4x400m stalwart Lee McConnell has revealed that London Olympics next summer will be her last, provided she ensures of a berth on the team, where she aims to contest both the individual 400m and the relay. The 33-year-old Scot said that she would like to wrap up her career at the Commonwealth Games in her home of Glasgow in 2014 but that will turn on whether she feels capable of competing at the same level for two more years and make herself justice.
Pavey and Thompson gauging their shape in Sheffield
Jo Pavey is applying the finishing touches to her preparations for the New York marathon next month as she tackles the Great Yorkshire Run 10km up in Sheffield today, aiming to put in some good speedwork and gain a further boost on the way. A very encouraging fourth at the BUPA Great North Run over the half marathon three weeks ago, she will be looking for the main opposition to come from experienced Irish girl Maria McCambridge and fellow Brit Gemma Steel.
Chris Thompson, on the other hand, will be faced with a far harder task to earn his spurs in the shape of late entry Mica Kogo (KEN), the former 10km world best holder, but the European 10000m silver medalist will be heading buoyant into the race on the back of a 62:11 recent half marathon in the streets of South London, off an intended ‘tempo run’ at that.
Andrew Lemoncello will be also involved in the affair as he looks to improve on a rather disappointing showing in Edinburgh last weekend and get his own London bid back on track.
McColgan on the mend
Eilish McColgan, the daughter of former world 10000m champion Eliz, is well on the recovery trail as she has started walking this week and is expecting to be jogging in two weeks from now. The 20-year-old Scot suffered a heartbreaking season-ending fracture to her foot at the penultimate water jump during the 3000m steeplechase at the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace, where she carried on to set a UK U23 and Scottish record of 9:44.80.
Ironically, that also shaped a second B standard that would have spelled a place on the British team to Daegu but it wasn’t meant to be for her and had to watch the World Championships on TV from her home. To add insult to injury, her time won’t count as a B Olympic standard either since the respective policy acknowledges marks set from the coming 1 April as such, so she has got to do it all over again. But she hopes that fortune will make it up to her and she will be prepared and ready by the beginning of the outdoor season to pick up where she left off and steer into the A qualifying territory.
Eilish McColgan running her first UK U23 record of 9:47.03 at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham
Wiggins rides to Millar’s support
Cycling heavyweight Bradley Wiggins, who will be mixing it both on the track and the road pursuing glory in London next summer, has riden to the support of David Millar over a potential appeal to regain Olympic eligibility. The double Olympic Individual Pursuit champion admitted that he would like to have the Scot riding alongside him in the Olympics and feels he should be alright to compete, having urged him to appeal against his BOA-imposed ban. In his view, Millar “made his mistakes but he is now someone who believes passionately in the clean sport and has done a lot of work educating in that area since he came back to cycling.”
Incidentally, Jonathan Walters, a leading sports lawyer, reckons that last year’s world time-trial silver medalist stands a good chance of overturning his lifetime barring from the Olympics. “”In light of this decision (Merritt’s clearance by CAS), the BOA’s rule stands on very shaky ground,” he said.
WADA asks BOA to review ‘by-law’
BOA are feeling the noose tightening around their necks as WADA have asked them to review their ‘by-law’, with director-general David Howman maintaining that the ruling has not been approved by his body. Strangely enough, Colin Moynihan claimed yesterday that he had received a letter from WADA ensuring him that the ruling wasn’t falling outside the policies of the global anti-doping body – but seems that hasn’t been the case.
Millar considers appeal against BOA ‘by-law’
Highly-rated road cyclist David Millar is considering an appeal against BOA’s by-law following Lashawn Merritt‘s winning case at the CAS over an equivalent ban by IOC, taken out of force as a consequence in the immediate wake. However, he declined to answer whether he is planning to launch a challenge saying that his priority is to respect and facilitate the efforts of the British cycling team and David Brailsford.
Nevertheless, he went on to stress that he feels very confident he could overturn his Olympic ban if he appealed so he is going to “let the gods decide”. Brailsford, incidentally, said in separate statements that he would like British riders to be treated on equal and consistent terms with their overseas rivals on the sole legislation in place by the global anti-doping authority (WADA) and nothing beyond, hinting that he would accept Millar back on the team if available.
“I’d love to see consistency on a global scale, we have a global anti-doping body in Wada (World Anti-Doping Authority) and we should have a global application of the rules. It shouldn’t be your nationality that decides if you get banned or not, so if you are French you can ride; if you are British you cannot,” said Brailsford.
Ato Boldon tweets that…
…word has it that IOC’s latest rule is to go away allowing Lashawn Merritt, and by extension likely to open the way to Dwain Chambers, to compete in the London Olympics next summer.
IAAF committee sings London praises
In the wake of the Olympic stadium’s new mondo track unveiling by Lord Sebastian Coe, the IAAF evaluating commission for the 2017 World Championships have heaped praise on London’s bid to host the event in six years time, having visited the city and inspected the facilities.
“The city sells itself. It is one that I have always enjoyed being in,” said IAAF vice-president Bob Hersh adding, “the stadium is world-class and we’re pleased with the passion and commitment of the people involved in this bid.”
Coe, for his part, stressed the strong advantages of the London bid and that the ticket sales for the Olympics next summer demonstrate the huge interest in athletics across Britain, with the coveted 2017 global championships seen as instrumental in an anticipated extraordinary decade of sport in the country.
Pressure mounts on BOA to drop ‘by-law’
Travis Tygart, chief executive of USADA, has taken up the chorus of calls on BOA (British Olympic Association) to desert their ‘by-law’, laid down in 1992, because it falls contrary to globally agreed procedures on tackling the issue of doping and goes far beyond the sanctions demanded by WADA.
BOA built-in rule imposes Olympic life bans on athletes that have served time over serious doping offences and Tyrant’s comments come only three days before CAS ruling on Lashawn Merritt‘s appeal on an equivalent sanction set up by IOC is announced.
If the American Olympic champion wins his case, that is going to shake the foundations of the ‘by-law’ which will likely tumble down in a matter of time, opening the way to the likes of Dwain Chambers and David Millar to contest London Olympics next year.
Coe inaugurates new-laid mondo Olympic track
Lord and two times Olympic 1500m champion Sebastian Coe has unveiled, and even tried out along with world silver medalist Hannah England, the new-laid mondo track at the new Olympic Stadium at Stratford in London. Other athletes like UK long jump record holder Chris Tomlinson turned up as an evaluating committe for the 2017 World Championships, which London are also staking a claim to, were also on hand to inspect the facilities. Tomlinson said the new track, although very fast, is not so bouncing but also forgiving.
Farah on shortlist for 2011 Athlete Of The Year Award
Mo Farah‘s amazing track season hasn’t quite ended yet in a sense as he has been drawn on the shortlist for the prestigious IAAF Athlete Of The Year Award alongside the likes of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, David Rudisha and Patrick Makau. On merit, it has been very much of a level season between most of them, give or take, so the Briton could stand a chance of placing the icing on the cake although that 19.26 secs over 200m could tip the balance towards Blake’s favour – the drawback for the Jamaican he didn’t quite set the world alight through the first two thirds of the summer.
Cram looking for good showing by the Brits in London
Middle distance legend Steve Cram is feeling confident and optimistic about the chances of British athletes in the Olympics next summer, holding that the British team have got some eight to ten good medal chances heading to the Games.
Denise Lewis and Jason Gardener pair up to head London 2017 bid
Sydney heptathlon Olympic champion Denise Lewis has been appointed chairman of the Athletes Commission, with multi indoor European sprint champion Jason Gardener her right hand as vice-chairman, to head London’s campaign to undertake the coveted 2017 World Championships against the sole opposition of Doha, with all other candidate cities having dropped out.
A successful bid will see them both earn their way into the respective organising committee and will turn instrumental to uphold the athletics legacy of the new Olympic stadium at Stratford in London.
Twell’s racing appetite already whetted
Having hardly touched racing territory at the SEAA Relays in Aldershot last Saturday, former World U20 champion Steph Twell is straining at the leash and already aiming to compete at the European Cross-Country Championships in Velenje, Slovenia, in December. Before that, though, she plans to fly over to Kenya to put in several weeks of solid training before she tackles the British cross-country trials to qualify in Liverpool in November.
Rutherford targets World Indoor Championships
Rutherford leaps to a last-ditch 8.32m to snatch victory at the death at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon, a marginally illegal tailwind (2.1m/sec) denying him what would have been a British record
Commonwealth silver medalist Greg Rutherford has turned his sights on the World Indoor Championships as a big stepping stone in his build-up towards the Olympic Games in London, where he is holding high hopes of landing into the medals. The 24-year-old suffered a hamstring injury in the qualifying round in Daegu that brought a promising campaign to an untimely bitter end but is almost over that setback and looks poised to resume full training around October 10.
Pywell determined to make London 2012
Steph Pywell, the nearly forgotten girl of British high jump, is talking about her rollercoaster career she very much stumbled into, the off-the-beaten-track trail she picked up her jumping technique on and the string of serious injuries she has had to battle through, curtailing her seasons and holding up her progress.
On the side, she works as part-time personal trainer to pay her way and has been partly involved with modelling, even reaching as far as the top ten of Miss England contest, as she has fallen from the ‘grace’ of funding but feels confident about her Olympic prospects and that she has got a good structure around her to make things work.
This season she just scraped in three competitions in all, between mid June to early July, but still managed to come within a couple of cm of her PB at 1.88m at Hendon, so the groundwork is still there in place to mount her own bid.
BOA sweat on CAS ruling on Merritt’s Olympic ban
That is a more proper title to the story below that concerns the ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Olympic champion Lashawn Merritt‘s case, backed by USOC, that challenges the new IOC rule barring athletes that have served doping bans over six months from contesting the following Olympia.
The verdict is expected next week and if Merritt overturns the new legislation in place that would set up a shockwave that would very likely blow away BOA’s equivalent ‘by-law’ which enforces life bans from Olympics on athletes that have served time on serious doping offences. As a consequence, the likes of Dwain Chambers and David Millar (road cycling) would turn eligible to compete for Great Britain in London next summer.
Incidentally, UKADA have openly urged athletes concerned to challenge BOA’s by-law but it looks as though an American is going to do them the favour.
Overall – more to come
Scott Overall, who seems to have finally found his best distance, feels that there is more to come following his stunning debut of 2h10:55 in the marathon in Berlin last Sunday, particularly coming on the back of a very unconvincing build-up. The Brit ran the last 13 miles of the race entirely on his own, oddly short of even a watch, and regards that with the London crowd behind him and people around him he could do a lot more. Incidentally, if there was such a prize, Overall would be odds-on to claim the turn-up performance of the season award.
Stunning bird-eye views of London’s new Olympic stadium
A last bundle of sensational overhead images of the new Olympic stadium at Stratford, with the track in place now, has come out so there is more material available to stir the imagination and help get a feel of the atmosphere in a full house with the action in full swing next summer in the Olympics.
Radcliffe to undergo surgery this week
Having performed another miraculous racing comeback, Paula Radcliffe is set to swiftly go under the knife late this week and clear up a bone spur in her left ankle that affects her running before she gets her build-up to London Olympics underway in earnest. The spur has been scanned not to be attached which makes for a light operation and the anticipated two weeks recovery will fall into the hole of a necessary two-three weeks lay-off following her exertions in Berlin. Thus, she won’t be missing a thing as concerns her winter training all things equal.
David Hughes going to the altar
British international hurdler David Hughes, twice a Commonwealth finalist, is getting married to his fiancee Amy Freeman today in beautiful Florence, Italy, before flying off away to western Canada on a honeymoon. Best of wishes to them for a happy and prosperous life together ahead.
Baptiste rounds off season in satisfactory tone
Commonwealth 200m champion Leon Baptiste ended a long rocky season on a satisfactory note as he pulled together a useful sprint double over 100m in 10.42 (0.7m/sec) and 200m in 20.81 secs (0.8m/sec) in chilly Watford tonight, having struggled to find any decent 200m races around Europe in recent weeks. But now it’s all about getting some good rest and his batteries recharged before he engages in the hard winter training leading to a massive season, with a potential short indoor stint incorporated in on the way.
Precocious teenager Jessica Judd clocked a fabulous 9:12.81 in a mixed race over 3000m, which amazingly isn’t a PB as she has set a faster 9:08.5 in another mixed event at the same venue back in April. Steeplechaser Glen Watts was the overall winner in a PB of 8:20.95 on the back of also a PB of 8:43.08 over the barriers in the Decanation in Nice last Sunday.
Twell to make tentative return to action
Sensational Steph Twell looks poised to make a eagerly anticipated low-profile return to action in an event in Aldershot next week for the first time since suffering a spiral fracture in her ankle during a race on a muddy cross-country course in Belgium in winter, ruling her out for the entire track season.
In fact, she is still bearing a metal plate on the outside of her fibula with six screws on, as she herself admits, but feels that she couldn’t afford to miss more time along the way as London Olympics loom large on the horizon. Consequently, she has had to take the bit between her teeth and a calculated gamble to be back on track in time so that she could stage a serious challenge next summer.
She has endured a rough patch for months on the sidelines following an unbelievable turn of fortunes in a single freak stroke, like Icarus crashing to the ground after riding high, but she now sees at last a light at the end of the tunnel which will hopefully grow steadily into a long sunny spell.
Rolling Stone reveals athletics passion
Legendary Rolling Stones’s frontman Mick Jagger has come out to confess his passion about the Olympics and athletics, inspired by his late father Joe who was an official in the last London Olympia in 1948, and also admit to being a fan of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah. Incidentally, Jagger is a well-known follower of the national side of England in football.
Paula Radcliffe’s last stand spurred on by London Olympics
Former global champion and marathon world best holder Paula Radcliffe reveals that the incentive of winning that elusive Olympic gold before her home crowd in London next summer has kept her going through injury and illness over the last few mentally tough seasons.
Weightman and Simpson in a fast lane around Europe at the weekend
Laura Weightman is blooded in top level senior action as she is lining up against a classy field over 1500m on the super fast track of Rieti tomorrow. The Italian venue is renowned for accomodating fast times and has been the setting to many world records in the course of time involving the likes of Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe, her coach Steve Cram‘s great contemporary rivals, so it is going to shape the perfect ground for the 20-year-old to chase a fast time and gain an Olympic qualifier. She goes in on the back of a staggering PB of a 4:07.94 clocking in a mixed race at Stretford midweek and it is going to be interesting to see whether she can improve on that time still in quality company.
Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu will set out to seek redemption after a distastrous campaign in Daegu as she is contesting the women’s 400m while sprinters Harry Aikines-Ayreety, Marlon Devonish, Craig Pickering and Leon Baptiste will try to make the most of the usually superb racing conditions to land some fast times over either the the dash or the furlong. Andy Osagie is also on show in the B race of the 800m, along with U23 Muchtar Mohammed, possibly looking to a first ride into the 1:44 territory.
A day later, Jemma Simpson embarks on a late season venture to save something out of an injury ravaged summer as she is racing over 800m at the ISTAF meeting in Berlin, looking mainly to ensure of an Olympic A qualifier in the 800m as a banker for next summer. Tiffany Porter was down to compete in the 100m hurdles but has been a late withdrawal.
Judd runs away with win at Watford
Britain’s middle distance prodigy Jessica Judd turned top performer at the Watford Open last night to stride away from Gemma Turtle for a comfortable win in 4:17.81 in the women’s 1500m despite windy conditions, the latter coming a long way behind in 4:22.40.
James Brewer could not quite cope in his first 800m for quite a while to come 6th in 1:51.64 as he continues a steady build-up from scratch to reach the levels of recent past. The race was won by Zac Randall in 1:50.76.
Results (BMC Races)
London confirmed as contender for 2017 World Championships
London’s bid to stage the World Athletics Championships in 2017 has stepped up as the case presented by the respective team headed by London 2012 and former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe was accepted by IAAF today, topping off the massive boost of recent developments that saw Barcelona and Budapest step down to narrow the race between the UK capital and Doha. Winning the right the stage an event of global magnitude within five years of the 2012 Olympic Games is going to be instrumental to retain the athletics legacy of the new Olympic at Stratford stadium robust and intact having come under plenty of dispute over the past year.
Weightman makes staggering return to form
Steve Cram-coached Laura Weightman has returned to form with a bang as she raced to a big PB of 4:07.94 over 1500m in apparently windy conditions at the Trafford GP at Stretford earlier on, bettering the Olympic B qualifier in the process, to eclipse her previous best of 4:09.60 from last summer.
Having endured a largely curtailed summer, she is staging a late charge to save something out of her season and she looks to have drawn firmly back on track on the strength of her outing tonight. Hopefully, she is going to find a few more races and knock more off her times towards 4:05 to lay a sound platform to challenge the top girls for a place on the Olympic outfit next summer.
Since set in a mixed race, her mark cannot be considered as an Olympic qualifier but comes to fully evidence that she is effectively already lying in that territory.
Forgotten girl Jess Coulson, back on the track after two years, returned at the same venue after nearly a fortnight to slash well over four seconds off her previous mark into a big PB of 9:14.07 over also a mixed 3000m, her second in as many races this summer.
Weekend Round-up, September 3-4
Charlie Purdue has made a long awaited low-profile comeback to action for the first time since undergoing operation in May to win the 3000m in 9:44.8 at the Southern Women’s League match in Kingstone and hopefully she could line up a few more before the season bows out. The 20-year-old Mick Woods-trained athlete impressed in the second half of last summer as she set classy times of 15:23.4 and a UK U20 record of 32:26.75 and was hoping to bid for the European U23 title after a strong cross-country season before injury hit.
At the same meet, 17-year-old 800m girl Katie Snowden was first in the 400m in a handtimed 56.6 secs.
Over the same distance, Helen Pryer raced to a handtime big PB of 53.7 secs at the Southern Women’s League Premier at Hemel Hempstead. The 32-year-old athlete is apparently mounting a long overdue move up in distance since she has long shown the potential to fare well there and should not be discounted to rise as a contender for a place in the women’s 4x400m team for London next summer.
That was on Saturday while former UK number one Merwyn Luckwell shadowed a SB of 77.85m in the javelin at the Milton Keynes Open Meeting as he is steadily working his way back to his best. That was the third furthest mark in Britain this season for good measure.
At the Sainsbury’s School Games in Sheffield, 16-year-old Efe Uwaifo impressed as he fashioned a big PB of 15.22m (0.5m/sec) in the triple jump, his first ever flight over the 15m region, while sprinters Kevin Tairu and Matthew Hudson-Smith caught the eye with winning big PBs of 10.54 (1.3m/sec) and 21.61 secs (0.1m/sec) respectively.
On the girls’ side, sensational Jessica Judd rode free way out front on her own in a fast 4:18.18 in the 1500m to illustrate her class and Lucy Bryan cleared 3.95m to take the pole vault, with Kimberley Reed hitting 55m sharp in the hammer.
Morgan Lake, just 14, rose over a superb PB of 1.76m in the high jump to improve by a cm on her recent equal PB of 1.75m in Bedford. That was at the McCain Young Athletes main final in Birmingham. Lake is also an exceptional long jumper having set a recent PB of 5.93m.
Folksham Challenge 3, Molndal, Sweden, September 3
Commonwealth champion Leon Baptiste completed a sprint double of 10.49 secs (-0.7m/sec) and 20.78 (0.4m/sec) over 100 and 200m respectively as he is putting some late races in before the end of the season, more content with the longer distance which was affected by a crosswind on the bend.
European silver medalist Rhys Williams won the men’s 400m hurdles comfortably in 50.68 secs, former European U23 champion Lloyd Gumbs racing into fitness in 53.75 secs behind, while former World Youth champion Ben Williams set an outdoor SB of 15.70m in totally still conditions in the triple jump as he is trying to salvage something having missed the bulk of the season.
On the women’s side, Margaret Adeoye took the 200m in 23.56 secs (0.3m/sec) and was runner-up in the short dash in 11.84 secs (-0.1m/sec).
Jemma Simpson clocked 2:01.53 over a mixed 800m race at the Exeter Open yesterday as a gauge of her form in view of some high-profile races scheduled on the international cirtuit chasing the Olympic A standard. At the same meet, Gemma Turtle set 4:18.01 in a mixed 1500m race as well.
Jemma Simpson will be out to test her form in view of some scheduled high-profile autum races on the international circuit as she is competing over a rare BMC 800m in Exeter tomorrow. It’s going to be very interesting to see what sort of time she puts in.
Richard Kilty has wrapped up an up-and-down season on the upper end as he tore to a PB of 10.32 secs over 100m, bettering his previous mark of 10.39 secs set at Chaux-les-Fonds earlier this summer, and went on even stronger to turn in a sound 20.69 secs over the longer sprint into a headwind at the BAL match in Crawley today. Hopefully, he is going to strike more consistency into his sprinting and make his form count into an individual berth on the Olympic team next season.
At the Altetiek Gala in Antwerp, Belgium, Sarah McGreavy won the 100m hurdles in a windy 13.42 secs (2.5m/sec) and U23 Elaine O’Neill the women’s short sprint in 11.69 secs (2.9m/sec).
Watford Open, Watford, August 24
European U20 5000m silver medalist Emelia Gorecka turned at the track in Watford in prolific frame of mind to clock a big PB of 9:08.01 over a mixed 3000m race, knocking well over five seconds off her previous best. A time that could tee her up nicely to pursue a time in the low 15:40s and maybe even faster if she has got still plans to race again over the longer distance.
There was a very good outing for Charlie Grice too as he moved up to a rare 3000m to slash no less than 38 secs off his PB into a new mark of 8:21.36, his third in as many races during the last couple of weeks.
Also, Jonny Hay ran a fast 3:43.19 over 1500m, his second fastest ever, to spare plenty of distance on runner-up 800m man Ben Wallis, second in a big PB of 3:45.04, and looks as though he could lower his time down to around 3:40 by the end of the season.U20 Robbie Farnham-Rose, who was eighth at the recent World Youth Championships, was further adrift in a solid 3:48.28.
Trafford Grand Prix (incorporating BMC Gold Standard Races), Stretford, Manchester, August 23
Miler-turning-‘chaser Jonny Taylor turned his flat speed to good use to turn the tables on Luke Gunn, UK’s top man over the barriers, on his more ‘home’ ground of the mile in a PB of 4:01.72 to the latter’s distance debut of 4:02.59, which in turn must have yielded a big SB of a 1500m split en route.
Former world indoor finalist James Thie was third in a SB of 4:03.00 to just nick ahead of Richard Weir by a mere hundredth, the latter clocking a virtual debut 4:03.01.
Steve Cram-coached Laura Weightman knocked another block off her SB into 2:04.60 over 800m as she endeavours to salvage something out of a largely curtailed season where U20 400m girl Kirsten McAslan looks to be experimenting with a move to the immediate longer distance, slicing a tenth into a new PB of 2:08.39.
In the men’s 800m, Steve Evison was a convincing winner in 1:48.76 ahead of miler David Proctor, who crept under 1:49 for a first ever time in 1:48.98. Jonathan Cook was third in 1:49.22 and Danny Barkes set a PB of 1:49.30, bettering his previous mark of 1:49.68.
In events within the frame of the Trafford Grand Prix, Sarah Holt put out a useful 62.12m to win the women’s hammer and Rick Yates set 47.83 secs over 400m as he is apparently working a lot on his raw speed over the remainder of the season.
Forgotten girl Jess Coulson, now an U23, made a solid return to track action after two years to shatter her PB over 3000m into 9:18.75, hopefully setting the ground for a new successful chapter in her running career.
England Athletics U17/U15 Championships, Bedford, August 20-21
Jessica Judd, the World Youth 800m bronze medalist, moved up a distance to win the U17 Girls 1500m easily in 4:20.34 and display once again her amazing range that spans from a 56.23 secs over 400m through to 9:08.5 over 3000m. The 16-year-old is still looking to find a way past Jo White’s UK all-time best of 2:02.0 over 800m but even if she fails that will take nothing away from a spectacular season on the track throughout.
A very interesting name to watch out for is 14-year-old Morgan Lake who leapt to a big PB of 5.93m (1.5m/sec) in the long jump and shatter her previous best of 5.77m from last summer, narrowly shy of 6m at this tender age. A very promising high jumper with a PB of 1.75i as well, she looks to have the makings of a high calibre multi-eventer for the future on top of that.
Maybe the most fascinating tussle of the championships came in the U17 Boys long jump where Joshua Olawore narrowly pipped Oliver Newport by a mere 2cm as they set PBs of 7.20 (1.5m/sec) and 7.18m (1.2m/sec) respectively.
Luckwell steadily on the up
Merwyn Luckwell, Britain’s top spearman a couple of years ago, has edged up another notch closer to the domestic peak as he is cautiously returning to full action from injury. He registered a SB of 77.10m at the low-profile Southern Athletics League at Stevenage to climb third in the season’s list behind only James Campbell and Lee Doran, therefore it’s going to be interesting to see whether he could hit over 80m by the end of the summer. That made also the third Briton over 77m this term.
Mohammed wins in Sweden
Muchtar Mohammed‘s happy affair with Sweden keeps bearing fruit as he mounted a return to winning ways over KenyanTimothy Kipkorir Limo in 1:47.79 over 800m at the Folksam Challenge at Eskilstuna, the latter setting 1:47.99. The European U23 bronze medalist had set a breakthrough lifetime best of 1:45.90 only a couple of weeks ago again on a Swedish ground, that time round in Karlstad.
Late sharpener for Meadows at Trafford
World bronze medalist Jenny Meadows has put in a late sharpener before she flies off to Daegu as she ran 54.17 secs in a mixed 400m race at Trafford yesterday. Strangely enough, she has yet to beat 54 secs outdoors this season although that doesn’t seem to affect her prowess over her specialty at all.
Richard Yates dipped inside 48 secs again with a 47.96 secs run over the flat 400m while 20-year-old Laura Wake seems to be experimenting with a move to the hurdles, running a second race in a week in 62.50 secs. I understand from the times that conditions may have not been that ideal.
Walker makes encouraging debut over 10000m
Hannah Walker, who was 8th over 5000m at the European U23 Championships in Ostrava, made a useful start of a 33:09.50 over 10000m in her career at the BMC GP event held at Birmingham University on Saturday. She is coached, by the way, by Bud Baldaro.
Martin Samuel hits yet another low
I’ve just come across yet another article of this so-called journalist of the year, Martin Samuel, who once again talks so much of a muchness trying desperately to make a case against another athlete who has switched allegiance to Britain recently; Yamile Aldama. Besides purposedly distorting and making a hash of facts as can be easily seen through his story, I would take him and all ‘plastic Brit’ adversaries on coming in Yamile’s place the other way round and think a few simple things as concerns that misleading story of alleged ‘opportunism’ on her part when she swung to Sudan, told she would have to wait three years before she could compete for Britain in 2001.
Imagine yourself being on top of your game but also at 29 in a sport so cruel as athletics where balance and power in every event can shift so easily and nobody can guarantee the span of your career. You’re told that you have got to wait three years before you can compete in a major championships gain, three years that could be the good ones you have left (or even less) and involve two World Championships and an Olympic Games. What would you do? We know in hindsight that she has carried on her career until our days but neither we nor she did know or could be quaranteed that back then. So she simply did the obvious thing, nothing more and nothing to be pointed the finger at. It’s about time that some people started thinking a little…
Child stands by Charles van Commennee and his ways
Worlds dream over for Thommo
European 10000m silver medalist Chris Thompsonwill be missing the the World Championships in Daegu late this month as a treacherous twist in the form of injury knocked him off track on the way this season, forced to watch the action from the sidelines and leaving Mo Farah as the sole British competitor in the men’s distances. A shame as a strong start to his campaign, illustrated by a PB of 27:27.36 over the distance at Stanford as well as a battling runner-up behind great Haile Gebrselassie in the streets of Manchester in May, recommended that a great deal was in the making but the 30 year-old remains philosophical and keeps looking on the bright side of things. He can still feel content that he has secured the Olympic A standard for London next summer and he has got still a few good chances left down the road to turn the season round at the end.
Judd catches the eye in Watford
Sensational U17 Jessica Judd, the World Youth bronze medalist, struck a dominant figure in the women’s 800m to win in a sound 2:03.18 during the BMC Gold Standard Races in Watford last night, her third fastest ever. By the sense of it, she looks to have still a lot left in the tank to pursue Jo White’s long-standing UK U17 best of 2:02.0 since 1977 down the season.
Behind her, 18-year-old Adele Tracey put in a good show to draw a big PB of 2:05.56 and improve from 2:06.49 last summer, set at the very same track which seems to turn a happy ground for her, while also U17 Mandy Austin was third in a big PB of her own in 2:07.32.
Abraham Ckepkirwok, Uganda’s record holder at 1:43.72, graced the low-key meeting with his presence as he is easing his way back into action to shadow the men’s 800m from U23 Ben Wallis in 1:49.41 to 1:49.49, a good showing for the Craig Winrow-coached athlete. Canadian Matt Lincoln was third in 1:49.68 and former 400m man Mark Berridge fourth in 1:50.27 while versatile Jonny Hay, the European U20 5000m bronze medalist, was seventh in 1:51.19, just outside his PB.
Elsewhere, U20 David Clutterbuck won the 1500m in a substantial PB of 3:47.17, his previous mark at 3:48.55 almost a month ago at the same venue, and European U20 5000m silver medalist Emelia Gorecka came fifth in 4:24.93 in the women’s version, won by Faye Fullerton in a SB of 4:20.88.
Promising throw for Smith
UK champion and Commonwealth silver medalist Alex Smith hurled a sound 74.62m in the hammer in Hull on August 2, which would have been a PB and a B standard for Daegu but for a practice competition. However, it bodes well for an attack on the Olympic B standard and set a banker aside for London next season. Oddly enough, his mark figures in the IAAF season lists.
Trafford GP (inc BMC Gold Standard Races), Stetford, Manchester, August 9
Rather surprisingly been not named on the Daegu-bound British team a few hours earlier, U23 Mick Woods-coached Stacey Smith was out on the track in action to post a useful 4:11.29 over 1500m at Stretford last night, with European U23 5000m bronze medalist Stevie Stockton following on home in 4:14.78 – her third run in the 4:14 province this season. On Smith’s non-selection, I don’t know whether she herself has swung to the World Student Games in China instead.
Veteran Karen Harewood was easily the fastest woman in 2:04.03 over 800m while in-breakthrough form U23 James Wilkinson set a big PB of 3:45.73 over 1500m to eclipse his previous marker of 3:47.02 at the same venue last year, following his first trip into the 8:30s over the barriers in 8:36.50 at Crystal Palace on Friday.
Also, Frank Baddick won the 800m in a PB of 1:49.71, first time under 1:50 ever, followed closely by David Proctor in second in 1:49.80 where Elle Baker ran a SB of 9:16.45 over 3000m.
Malcolm named captain of British team to Daegu
Christian Malcolm, enjoying a robust revival of his sprinting career, has capped a promising so far season with receiving the captaincy of the British team to compete in Daegu from head coach Charles van Commennee, a proud moment as he himself admits in his career.
Waite second in Cuxhaven
Lennie Waite, who edged a Daegu B qualifier in a PB of 9:49.67 last weekend, finished second in 9:52.22, her second fastest time ever, behind Irish girl Fionnuala Briton who won the 3000m steeplechase in 9:51.66 at the EWE Athletics 2011 in Cuxhaven, Germany. The best performance from a lacklustre meeting came from local favourite David Storl who registered a sound 21.05m in the shot.
Turner faces adductor injury scare
European 110m hurdles champion Andy Turner is facing an anxious time to find out about the nature and extent of an persisting injury that has been troubling him lately. He actually rushed to hospital yesterday in order to undergo a scan on his hip to figure out whether he has sustained damage to his adductor, fearing it may have been either torn or irritated. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious as it comes way too close to the World Championships now with just three weeks to go.
PS I see mentioned further below that Olympic 400m Christine Ohuruogu requires a discretionary call. How come that when she holds the required A standard?
“Don’t go for gold in Daegu”, says Dave Bedford!
Former distance legend Dave Bedford has come out to advice Mo Farah not to challenge for gold in Daegu because that could burden him with additional pressure to deliver in the Olympics in London next summer – sorry Dave, that’s absolute much of a muchness….
Midweek domestic resutls
Steve Mitchell continued to display some good late form as he ran away with an impressive win over States-based David Bishop over the mile in Cwmbran, Wales, in a huge PB of 4:00.13 to knock nearly four secs off his previous mark from last summer. Bishop set 4:04.36 in second with Adam Bitchell third in a PB of 4:06.91 and sub 4 man Stephen Davies only fourth in 4:07.55.
At the Woodford Green Open, 18-year-old Jordan Kirby-Polidore caught the eye with an excellent display to shatter his PB into 21.20 secs (1.7m/sec) over 200m. His previous marker stood at 21.39 from the U20 Championships in Bedford and he is still eligible for the age group next year.
Holly Bleasdale sets her sights even higher
Judging by the fact that she cleared 4.70 in a warm-up vault at the recent European U23 Champs in Ostrava, I sense that the new British record holder and European age-group champion looks set to improve her 4.70m substantially and Crystal Palace would provide a perfect setting and occasion to land such a feat.
Harry Aikines-Ayreety slams new false-star rule
Dwain Chambers still barred from the AVIVA London GP
At a time that Euro Meetings have come out to recommend the lift of the ‘by-law’ to prevent athletes that have served bans on serious doping offences people seem to still try to make some point for the shake of it, even if there is hardly any point to make anymore, by keeping Dwain Chambers off the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace on August 5-6. Why all this on him?
Tiffany Offili-Porter asserts “I’m no plastic Brit”
And she does well to do so! I think it’s about time some people got it into their heads and stop stirring up all this pointless and unnecessary issue that leads nowhere. The athlete has held dual citizenship from birth and is perfectly entitled to compete for Britain.
Further, one after the other she has knocked the bottom out of every single “argument” presented by her critics.
She was said to have opted to switch to Britain because she wasn’t good enough to compete for USA at top level but there she is now lying fifth in the world in her first season in the British colours with 12.60 secs, having beaten all top American girls at least once each.
She was said not capable of winning medals but she’s got already a European indoor silver under her belt, in a world class time of 7.80 secs at that, and is definitely heading to Daegu as a genuine medal contender.
Rick Yates looks once again to hit form right when everything seems lost as he came to clock a new PB of 47.39 secs over the flat 400m at Stretford yesterday, just a couple of days after placing a surprising third at the UK Trials in Birmingham in a SB of 50.01 secs. Having also set a PB of 21.6 secs over 200m a weekend earlier for that matter.
The 25-year-old didn’t enjoy the best of build-ups into the season and the shades of 2008 are still haunting him when he made the qualifying standard for Beijing a few days too late, a then UK U23 record of 49.06 secs, but he has got a visible target of gaining the Olympic A standard for next summer. By the way, his previous best over the flat was 47.99 secs from the indoor season.
Fellow hurdler Ben Sumner also recorded a big PB of 47.65 secs in second, first time ever under 48 secs, with U17 Owen Smith following in a PB of 48.37 secs. On the women’s side, U23 Emma Pullen won round the single lap in 54.57 secs.