Monday, 31 July 2017 13:28

Van Niekerk double bid could steal some of Bolt's thunder

By Mark Gleeson

Usain Bolt’s farewell will be the major narrative at the world championships but South African speedster Wayde van Niekerk’s bid for the 200 and 400m double could steal some of his spotlight.

The Jamaican great has dubbed the 25-year-old Van Niekerk as the sport's next superstar and that is likely to be reinforced at the global showpiece event in London which starts on Friday.

But a showdown between the pair, who are good friends and trained together in Jamaica this year, will not happen with Bolt running only the 100m and relay to mark the end of his glittering career.

“One person I know who will step up, and he’s been doing good work, is Van Niekerk. He’s shown that he really wants to take my place. He’s been dominating in all events – I feel like if he runs the 800, he’d probably do well also,” Bolt said before the Diamond League meeting in Monaco last week in which Van Niekerk won the 400m with the best time of the year.

Cape Town-born Van Niekerk is the reigning world champion and he broke Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record to win Olympic Gold in Rio de Janeiro last year.

All this in a race he dislikes.

“I think most everyone knows that the 400m is not my favourite distance. I know it’s a bit crazy. I enjoy the shorter distances," he said.

"I try to tell myself that I need to be more positive about the 400m, it is the race that has placed me at the top."

This time Van Niekerk attempts the 200-400m double that marked out Johnson as the star of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics after the ruling body of world athletics changed the London programme to make it possible.

In June, he ran personal bests in both the 100m (9.94 seconds) and 200m (19.84) and a world record 30.81 in the rarely run 300m. Van Niekerk is the only sprinter in history to have run the 100m in under 10 seconds, the 200m in under 20 and the 400m in sub 44.

"I'm in great shape. My record of 300m has given me confidence, so I look forward to see how it translates into the other two events,” Van Niekerk added.

His coach Ans Botha, a 75-year-old grandmother, says they have been training for both events since last year’s Olympics.

"It is the 400m that put him on the stage and which has made him strong mentally, but Wayde doesn’t like it," she said.

"After Rio, he told me he needed new challenges and that he wanted to double at the World Championships. I’ve had to adapt my program because I'm there to share his dreams.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Track king Bolt eyes final hurrah at athletics worlds in London

London (AFP) - Sprint superstar Usain Bolt will seek a final golden hurrah when he takes to the track at the IAAF World Championships in London this week.

Bolt has dominated sprinting since taking double individual gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, going on to win a further six Olympic golds and also picking up 11 world titles.

World records of 9.58 and 19.19sec in the 100 and 200m when winning in the 2009 Berlin worlds were followed by the towering Jamaican winning consecutive world golds in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay in 2011, 2013 and 2015, with the exception of a false start in the 100m in Daegu in 2011.

The 30-year-old scored triple gold at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics in London and Rio, his sole hiccup being stripped of his 2008 Olympic relay gold after teammate Nesta Carter failed a drugs test.

It is a staggering tally for a track athlete who has admitted he wants to go out on a high as athletics seeks to turn a new page.

"My main aim is just to win (in London). I just want to retire on a winning note," Bolt said recently in Monaco, where he won the 100m in 9.95sec, dipping under the 10sec barrier after two sluggish outings in Kingston and Ostrava.

Bolt has opted not to defend his 200m world title, meaning he will not race against South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk, the athlete Bolt has tipped to take over as the next track and field superstar.

"That's one of the most disappointing things in my career now," he said. "He came along at this late stage and I didn't get to compete against him, because I think he's one of the best now."

World and Olympic 400m champion Van Niekerk, who will attempt an audacious 200-400m double in London, added: "Usain has been a massive inspiration.

"But I've still got quite a long way to go before I even get close to the heights that Usain has reached."

One of the stand-out moments of the 2012 Olympics at the same stadium in east London was 'Super Saturday', when Britain won three gold medals in the space of an hour to set the packed stadium alight.

- Farah, but no Ennis-Hill -

Distance running legend Mo Farah, on an unbroken streak of nine global final wins (the 5000m in 2011, and the 5/10km double in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016), will again compete, but there is no Jessica Ennis-Hill, the heptathlete having retired, or long jumper Chris Rutherford, out injured.

But Ennis-Hill will sit atop the podium once more as the world champs sees the reallocation of a number of medals from previous championships including two golds.

The upgrades follow the disqualification of the results of the original medallists after their sanction for anti-doping rule violations.

Ennis-Hill will pick up a 2011 gold and the US women's team the 2013 4x400m title.

"I'm delighted that the athletes are properly honoured for their achievements and what better way than in front of passionate athletics fans at a major championship," said IAAF President Sebastian Coe.

"For those receiving gold medals, their moment in London will be all the more special as they will hear their national anthem played. Whatever their nationality, clean athletes worldwide will celebrate with them."

Coe, a two-time Olympic 1500m gold medallist, will chair a series of IAAF meetings in the run-up to Friday's start of the track and field proper.

Coe heads up the IAAF Council meeting on Monday, with lively discussion expected on Russia, which will miss the worlds because of its state-sponsored doping programme that also saw its athletes barred from the Rio Olympics.

Since then several Russian athletes have been cleared to compete under a neutral flag as the IAAF works with all parties to ensure a transparent anti-doping culture in the track and field powerhouse.

The Council meet is followed by the 51st IAAF Congress with Coe on hand to launch an innovative one-day convention called IAAF Athletics Connect on Wednesday.

Tellingly, in Bolt's swansong season, the convention is designed to "prompt discussion about building a strong future for athletics".


Injury Sidelines South African Hurdler Steenkamp

A rollercoaster week of emotion for hurdler Rikenette Steenkamp has ended on a definite downer as she has been forced to withdraw from the IAAF World Athletics Championships, starting in London on Friday.

She’s been forced to follow Olympic javelin silver medallist Sunette Viljoen’s decision to withdraw from the South African team.

Rikenette Steenkamp received a late invite from the IAAF to be part of the World Championships team but pulled out due to a hamstring injury.

The 24-year-old Tukkies student, a national 100-metre hurdles champion at every age-group level, told Team SA, "I was busy training, actually preparing for World Student Championships, not worlds. My second last run, I felt it pull slightly. It’s not a severe injury, but full recovery is very important to me so I had to withdraw."

"The timing is just heart-breaking as I’ve had a great season. Actually, it’s a miracle season. Since January to now, I’ve performed beyond my expectation. So, I’m still smiling," added Steenkamp.

"I haven’t decided yet on World Students in Taiwan. I’ll give it a few days."

Steenkamp is refusing to let her bad news get to her and remains steadfastly behind her fellow South Africans in London.

"I won’t fight what happened and understand that everything happening is happening for a purpose. I’ll give my body the rest it needs."


Jamaican Management Working Through Delays

BIRMINGHAM, England:

Sprint superstar Usain Bolt is likely to head straight to the Jamaican team hotel in London ahead of the World Championships, while other top names, such as Omar McLeod and Hansle Parchment, are yet to arrive as management works to correct a number of logistical issues.

Bolt, who last competed at the Monaco Diamond League meet on July 21, has since been in Germany, where he has been fine-tuning his preparation ahead of the August 4-13 championships, and with the team leaving it's training base at the University of Birmingham tomorrow for London, team manager Ian Forbes say it was likely that the eight-time Olympic and 11-time World champion will join up with his teammates there.

Forbes and the rest of the management team have been working around a number of setbacks that have affected members of the squad, including Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod, as well as Olympic and World Championships medal winner Hansle Parchment, who both experienced delays securing their documentation, but are expected to arrive shortly.

The management team has also had to make preparations for three late additions to the team - high jumper Kimberly Williamson, shot put athlete Gleneve Grange and 800m runner Kimmara McDonald, who were invited to the championships by the IAAF.

"It's always challenging because athletes are coming from various parts of the world, and there is one of the late invitees who actually made it in already. The other is flying in and will arrive tomorrow (today), and the third is just in the final stages of acquiring the visa to get here. Of course, they compete all over the world and sometimes it poses a challenge getting everyone together, but all-in-all, things are falling into place," said Forbes from the team's base at the University of Birmingham.

An additional eight athletes, including members of the MVP Track Club, arrived in camp yesterday.

"There are still a few more to come. There are one or two others awaiting delivery of passports with visas, but they are coming in," Forbes sought to reassure. "There is Hansle Parchment, Omar McLeod and one or two others."

When asked about Bolt's arrival timetable and whether he may be heading straight to London, Forbes replied: "It's appearing that way because we depart on the first (August 1)."

Bolt has received treatment and has been training in Germany in the build-up to what will be the final competition before his retirement from the track.

The Gleaner also understands that 800m athlete - turned - 400m hurdler Ricardo Cunningham is affected by passport issues and will also arrive late in the country.


What The 1932 Olympics Looked Like In LA

July 30 marks the 85th anniversary of the opening ceremony of the 10th Olympic Games, which introduced the world to Los Angeles (population 1.2 million in 1932).

A look back at those Games shows a glimpse of the success the city would like to repeat in 2024 or 2028.

The campaign to bring the Olympics to Los Angeles began in 1919. Once the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was open in 1923, the International Olympic Committee awarded the city the Games – the only city to bid. Los Angeles was relatively unknown to Europeans and, according to Paul Zimmerman, author of “Los Angeles the Olympic City, 1932, 1984,” a member of the IOC had to be told Los Angeles was a suburb of Hollywood to earn his vote.

By the opening ceremonies, the world was in the midst of the Great Depression, and several nations could not afford to field teams for the Games. The economic environment in 1932 kept President Herbert Hoover from traveling to Los Angeles, so Vice President Charles Curtis opened the Games.

A gym and a stable

Before the Olympics, the Coliseum was a football and track and field venue for USC and UCLA. During the Olympics, the stadium was the venue for field hockey, gymnastics and equestrian events as well as track and field. The Olympic Stadium featured a scoreboard that was 44 feet wide and operated from behind on three floor levels.

Automatic timing for track was used for the first time.

Other firsts for the 1932 Games included the use of a three-tiered podium, and the first Olympic Village. For the 1932 Olympics, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum expanded seating capacity from about 75,000 to an estimated 101,000-plus seats. The stadium was called the Olympic Stadium during the Games, which took place July 30 to Aug. 14, 1932. In 1984, the stadium became a state and federal historical landmark.

Portable village

The Olympic Village was temporarily set on 321 acres in Baldwin Hills. The village was a series of two-bedroom bungalows for 1,206 male athletes and their support staff. Another side effect of the tough economic times was that visitors were charged $2 a night to stay in the village. The owner of the land, who leased the site for the village, insisted that no paving was to be done, so water trucks roamed the area to keep the dust down on miles of dirt roads. The bungalows were removed not long after the Games.

Female athletes stayed in the Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard.

Aerial view of the 1932 Olympic Village near the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and W. Vernon Boulevard in Baldwin Hills:

Leatherhead demonstrators

Another sign of the times was that the 1932 Games had to cancel the soccer competition because fewer countries were able to attend than had been at the 1928 Games.

What took its place? American football. Football was held as a demonstration sport, and two college all-star teams faced off at the Coliseum on Aug. 8. The final score was 7-6, and football hasn’t been seen at the Olympics since.

The smaller games

The 1932 Olympics had 14 sports with 117 events, about half the size of the 2016 Games, which had 28 sports and 306 events. Sports in 1932 were scattered around Los Angeles County, with the Rose Bowl hosting track cycling and sailing events held in San Pedro.

By comparison, the 1984 Games had venues in Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties. The plan for the Los Angeles 2024 or 2028 Olympic proposal is more similar to the 1932 Games, with all venues in Los Angeles County. Here’s a look at the proposal for the next Olympics in Los Angeles.

The 1932 Games were small and short. Summer Olympic Games from 1920 to 1928 lasted more than 70 days; the 1932 Games were 16 days.

Marketing the Games

With the world in dire economic times, most of the advertising for the 1932 Games focused on domestic travel. Celebrities turned out to support the cause and lure people to see Southern California. The turnout for the Games was good, and the success helped the city receive the 1984 Games, which is considered the most profitable Olympics ever held.

This September, the IOC is expected to announce Los Angeles as the host of either the 2024 or the 2028 Games.

Growing up and out

In 1932, the city of Los Angeles had a population of about 1.2 million people. It grew to 2.9 million by the 1984 Games and is about 3.7 million today.

Other notable athletes

Babe Didrikson won five events at the U.S. trials, but because of Olympic rules at the time, women could compete only in three events. She won two golds and a silver.

U.S. swimmer Helene Madison won three golds in swimming.

Stanisława Walasiewicz, known as Stella Walsh, won the gold medal in the women’s 100 m for Poland. Walsh was a Polish-born American who won gold in 1932 and silver in the 1936 Olympics. Her medals were disputed later because after she was killed by an armed robber in 1980, it was discovered that she was intersex and would have been ineligible to participate. You can read more about it here.

1932 Olympics medal count

Gold Silver Bronze Tot.

U.S. 41 32 30 103

Italy 12 12 12 36

France 10 5 4 19

Sweden 9 5 9 23

Japan 7 7 4 18

Sources: IOC, LA84, Los Angeles Public Library, UCLA, “Los Angeles the Olympic City 1932, 1984,” by Paul Zimmerman, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, National Park Service

Photos from the Library of Congress, The Associated Press and Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection


Season's best for Walsh in warm-up

New Zealand shot putter Tom Walsh has completed his tune-up for next week's world athletics championships with another 22m-plus winning effort in London.

The Olympic bronze medallist threw a season's best 22.06m to easily beat Domincan thrower Dillon Simon's second-placed 18.65m at the English national championships.

It's the second time this season he's bettered 22m, backing up from a 22.04m effort last week at the M-F Athletic Elite Shot Invitational at his training base in Athens, Georgia.

Walsh is currently ranked third in the world this year, behind Americans Ryan Crouser who hasn't been beaten in his last 10 competitions and has thrown over 22m in eight of them, and Joe Kovacs.

Walsh is only the fourth athlete this season to have bettered 22m, and his London efforts build nicely on the 21.97m he threw in Lausanne last month to finish second in the Diamond League meeting.

His personal best stands at 22.21m, set in Zageb last September.

The world championships begin in London on August 4, with Walsh's shot put qualification the following day.


Usain Bolt: now you see him, soon you won’t

He’s the fastest man who has ever lived, holder of eight gold medals and three world records. As Usain Bolt approaches his final race in London this week, we celebrate a sprinter who made running look both effortless and fun

There’s an old EA Sports commercial I dimly remember from my childhood. They make video games (I never played any of them) but the TV ad, or at least its tagline, has stuck in my head. Somehow, it shows mankind at the beginning of time or maybe I’ve conflated it with the opening from 2001: A Space Odyssey. A couple of cavemen are sitting around, arguing, until one of them comes up with a game. “I’m better than you and I can prove it,” he says. Since then, we’ve invented a lot of ways to prove it. By kicking balls into nets or throwing them into baskets; by striking them with rackets or clubs; by pressing buttons on a console. But the simplest game is also the one kids turn to first. I’ll race you: to that tree, to that fire-hydrant, to the lamp-post. Hey, I told you so. I’m faster than you.

Usain Bolt is better than us and he can prove it. Eight gold medals, three world records; he hasn’t been beaten in the 100 or 200m since Justin Gatlin edged him by a hundredth of a second in Rome in 2013. Not only is he better, but he’s better at the purest and most ancient test of what people can do that’s ever been devised… and he’s not just faster than us, but than anyone who has ever lived. What was that like to grow up with? And as he approaches his final world championships in London this week, another question must be on his mind. How do you retire from that? He was born, as Paul Simon once sang, at the right time. And the stories he tells in his “autobiography” (written with Matt Allen) about growing up in the village of Sherwood Content in Jamaica are full of the myths of innocence.

“There were yams, bananas, coca, coconuts, mangoes, oranges, guavas. Everything grew in and around the backyard… Coxeaths’ wild bush was like a natural playground. I only had to step out my front door to find something physical to do. There was always somewhere to play, always somewhere to run and always something to climb. The woods delivered an exercise programme suitable for any wannabe sprinter, with clearings to play in and assault courses made from broken coconut trees.”

He “trained” by carrying water from the well to his house – two buckets at a time, to save himself a trip. Athletes, maybe even more than other people, depend on the myths they can tell about themselves and Bolt’s memoir lingers on his early playground races and the names of the schoolboys he compared himself to: the kid at Waldensia primary named Ricardo Geddes, whom he finally beat on a school sports day, and later Keith Spence of Cornwall College, muscly but short, a quick starter who couldn’t keep pace with him around the bend. So that winning Olympic gold, the way he tells it, feels just like a continuation or extension of his childhood, whereas for the rest of us, growing up involves some kind of adjustment or re-evaluation.

That something weird was happening to him, he couldn’t help but notice. Like Clark Kent in the newsroom, who slowly begins to understand that other people suffer from things that he doesn’t. Colds and hangovers, shaving cuts. Bolt’s mother’s Christianity (she’s a Seventh-day Adventist), though he never had much patience for it as a child, eventually gave him a kind of explanation: “I turned to religion more and more as I got older, mainly because I came to realise that I’d been given a serious gift. The one thing I began to see was that God always helped people who helped themselves.” If there’s a convenience to this kind of thinking, how can you blame him? It’s one thing to win the lottery – you might feel lucky (even though it’ll probably screw you up eventually). But what are you supposed to feel when the prize you win is somehow who you are? “I had so much natural talent that on sports day no one else came close to me and I’d line up in just about every race on the card and come first.”

His arrival on the scene coincided with dark days for track and field. Everyone seems to be a potential drug cheat these days and many of his biggest rivals have been caught doping: Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay. But even that fact has contributed to Bolt’s appeal. In The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway talks scathingly about what he calls the “hard-shelled technicians” – the bullfight aficionados who care only for a certain kind of formal or technical perfection. They’re missing something, whatever it is that makes the fight worth following, the human gesture, the air of tragedy – and part of the damage that drugs have done to sport is the impression they give of letting the technicians take over. Drug-taking doesn’t just mean cheating but medicalisation. Cheating in the heat of the moment we can accept and even sometimes admire – Diego Costa pushing the edges of the legal when he elbows a defender or makes a dirty, last-ditch tackle at the touchline. But performance-enhancing drugs involve not just needles but persistent and highly technical deception, on a tight schedule. It’s the kind of cheating you might accept from your accountant.

Which is why it’s been so important to Bolt that he looks like the kind of athlete who doesn’t need them. If you had to imagine the fastest guy in the world, he would look like Bolt – long limbed, restless, happy. It makes sense when he kicks out his legs that he starts drifting past the competition. If Gatlin had never been caught, if he had broken three world records and won eight Olympic golds, I still don’t think the world would have warmed to him. He looks like he’s spent too much time in the weight room, like he’s trying too hard. This is an old distinction in the world of athletics – you can hear it played out already in Chariots of Fire. “You long for victory just as I do,” Harold Abrahams tells the master of Trinity College, “but achieved with the apparent effortlessness of gods. Yours are the archaic values of the prep-school playground. I believe in the relentless pursuit of excellence and I’ll carry the future with me.”

The apparent effortlessness of gods isn’t a bad description of Bolt and may explain why the British love him. That line about the playground fits, too (he got a scholarship to William Knibb Memorial high school in Falmouth, Jamaica), because Bolt somehow still makes running feel like he’s racing everyone else to the nearest tree. Of course, that’s all crap. You can’t be the fastest human in history without working your arse off. But it’s part of his appeal.

I sucked as an athlete, by which I mean I was deeply mediocre. I was on the bench as a high-school basketball player and tried to crash the captain’s practices in college. I had better luck in Europe, where my grad school team won a national championship and I briefly made a living as a second-tier professional in the German leagues. But the reason I quit is because I wasn’t good enough to enjoy myself. Maybe that’s an awkward phrase (which reveals something not so pleasant about me) but it also more or less describes what being an athlete is like. It’s fun to be better than people; it’s less fun not to be.

As it happens, the most dispiriting afternoon of my professional career occurred on the running track. The coach was trying to whip us into shape a few weeks before the season began. Maybe the gym was overbooked. (Part of the misery of minor-league sports is that you have to share court time with every aerobics class in town.) Anyway, after an hour of playing ball he decided to lead us on to the track. Summer dusk, after a cool day. Ten or 11 tall, tired, skinny guys trying to stretch out aching joints. And he made us run intervals – 20 metres, 40, 60 and up. Don’t kill yourself. Until we reached the 100m mark, where it suddenly turned into a race.

The first thing you realise about running 100m is that it’s not a sprint. No one (not even Bolt) can maintain peak acceleration for that long. The second thing I realised is that everyone on the team who wasn’t a muscle-bound big man was also faster than me. Sports is a rigorous profession – it is very good at sorting out the slightly better from the slightly worse. But basketball players can go through life kidding themselves that there are external factors to explain whatever has happened to their career. They couldn’t find the right system. They didn’t get the ball enough. It’s just bad luck. But running 100m felt very unlike bad luck and felt a lot like concrete fact. This is who I am, the guy who came 7th. There’s nothing you can do about it.

Which is how it works for athletes. You keep winning until you come up against the kids who are better than you, at which point you start to lose. And so the sifting begins. And once it’s over, a few people are left: Serena Williams, Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Usain Bolt. And my guess is they greet and recognise each other like X-Men when they meet – this funny thing is true about us, which we have to deal with.

So why do we warm to them? Why do we want to watch them win? This doesn’t totally make sense to me. People talk about Bolt’s charm and that’s obviously a part of it. But there’s a reason (to adapt Douglas Adams) that no language on Earth includes the phrase “as charming as an athlete”. Very slight gestures on the track get amplified into a personality. The windows of self-expression are small. A necklace tucked into the jersey, the way you stretch out your legs, settling in the blocks or jog around the track on a victory lap. Bolt has managed to find a perfect gesture for these narrow windows. It’s so famous that Obama tried it on when Bolt froze shyly in his presence on the president’s visit to Jamaica. And reality herself has been his brand consultant. No novelist could have given a sprinter a better name. All of which explains why we might remember him, but not quite why we’ve taken him to heart. Sitting on the couch, in front of the TV – rooting for someone, identifying with him, almost because he is so unlike us, so unimaginably fast.

When Eric Liddell has to justify his running career to his missionary sister (in another scene from Chariots of Fire), he says: “I feel that God made me for a purpose. But he also made me fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Maybe that’s what we feel, too, watching Bolt, whether we believe in God or not. Or maybe it’s just Bolt’s pleasure we feel – the joy of being the fastest kid in the biggest playground in the world, which somehow he expresses for us and lets us partake in. Saul Bellow has a line in one of his short stories. In the end, everyone consents to the life they lead – and my experience of playing basketball backs this up. At some point in a game you consent to what’s going on. Especially when you’re losing. You say, OK, you’re right, you’ve proved it. But when you’re winning too – you have to consent to winning as well, you have to agree to victory, to accept the facts. (A version of one of Bolt’s sayings: “If I beat you in a big meet, you’re not going to beat me again.”) For some reason, we like to witness someone consent to that, too. Maybe just so we can see what it looks like.

So what’s he going to do with the rest of his life? John Updike puts this worry into the thoughts of his hero and former high school basketball star Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, as he shrugs off the shackles of family life and sets off on the road (before he shrugs them back on again). “After you’ve been first rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second rate.” But first rate doesn’t begin to express what Bolt has been. And there’s a lot of life to live after the age of 30.

Of course, it’s not over yet. He’s got one last hurrah… and it’s a mistake to understand people only according to their successes. (Online, you can still find, like a glimpse of prehistory, the heat results for the 2000 high-school championships in Jamaica. Bolt came fifth, behind Keith Spence.) Bolt doesn’t just win by showing up and for much of this season, he has struggled to break 10 seconds. Andre De Grasse is the man in form, with a (wind-assisted) 9.69sec in Stockholm a month ago. He’s made it his mission to beat Bolt before he retires. The 100m sprint is about as simple and pure as sport gets. There’s no rub of the green, or bounce of the ball, or referee’s whistle to influence the outcome. And yet there’s still something out of an athlete’s control, that remains mysterious. Has Bolt got another gold medal in him? You don’t know what you’re going to do until you do it. Whether you’ll win or lose, how fast you’ll run. Which is another way of saying you don’t know who you are until it’s over.

Bolt’s high points

Humble origins
Bolt’s father, Wellesley, still runs the grocery shop where his son once stacked shelves, while Usain claims his early motivation came from a desire to buy his mother a washing machine.

Charming in London
Bolt solidified his reputation as a lovable superhero by bookending victories with eccentric dancing, fist-bumping volunteers and taking infinite selfies.

Painful close-up
After cruising to gold in the 200m at the Beijing world championships in 2015, Bolt was run over by a cameraman on a Segway. Bolt joked that his rival Justin Gatlin was trying to have him killed.

Pointedly versatile
At a loose end in Rio last year, Bolt casually turned his hand to the javelin, loosing a maddeningly respectable throw of 56m – better than most heptathletes.

Retirement plans
Bolt is a keen footballer and has expressed a desire to play professional cricket on his retirement. In 2009, he played in a charity match and bowled Chris Gayle, the West Indies’ star batsman. Kit Buchan

Painful close-up
After cruising to gold in the 200m at the Beijing world championships in 2015, Bolt was run over by a cameraman on a Segway. Bolt joked that his rival Justin Gatlin was trying to have him killed.

Pointedly versatile
At a loose end in Rio last year, Bolt casually turned his hand to the javelin, loosing a maddeningly respectable throw of 56m – better than most heptathletes.

Retirement plans
Bolt is a keen footballer and has expressed a desire to play professional cricket on his retirement. In 2009, he played in a charity match and bowled Chris Gayle, the West Indies’ star batsman. Kit Buchan


Nafi Thiam's Unique World Champs Preparations

In a little village just outside Liege, against a backdrop of waving cornfields, two houses sit side by side. The one on the left looks like a Bond villain’s lair: a sprawling modern abode with ornate manicured hedges, extensive glass panelling and an expensive German car in the driveway. The one on the right is a skinny brick building with a modest, unassuming facade and one, maybe two, bedrooms.

The house on the left belongs to a family lawyer. The house on the right belongs to Nafi Thiam, Olympic champion.

If that seems a trifle incongruous, then it helps to get to know Thiam herself. Virtually nobody outside the rarefied world of heptathlon had heard of the 21-year-old when she pitched up in Rio de Janeiro last summer. Even Thiam barely expected to threaten the podium. Two days later, she had the gold medal, beating defending champion Jessica Ennis-Hill in one of the shocks of the Games.

Winning in Rio changed Thiam’s life forever. Ahead of this week’s world championships in London, she is not only the favourite, but one of the rising stars of the sport: young, marketable and one of only four heptathletes to break the magic 7000-point barrier. The double Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee believes her world record, which has stood for 29 years, is under imminent threat.

In another sense, however, Thiam’s life has changed curiously little. She still trains at a local track in Liege and competes in small provincial meetings. She has had the same coach since the age of 14. And during term-time, she still gathers up her books and makes the short trip to the University of Liege, where she has just finished the second year of a geography degree.

It is indicative of a young woman who, for all the rewards and fame within her grasp, is determined to live as normal a life as possible. Certainly there are few visible trappings of stardom in the home she has been living in for the last few months. The living room is light and airy; a stack of novels on the table hint at a perspective beyond the daily treadmill of eating, sleeping, training and competing.

“After Rio, everyone told me my life was going to change,” she explains. “I was a bit scared, because I didn’t want my life to change. I’m a shy person, I don’t really like to be in the spotlight. People look at me in the street, and sometimes I don’t really feel comfortable.”

On the track, however, Thiam comes into her own. Standing at over 6ft tall, powerfully yet elegantly built, she could have been made for heptathlon. The high jump and the javelin are her trump cards, and whereas she was once less assured in the running events, she has improved to the point where the great Carolina Kluft - an athlete with whom Thiam is often compared - believes she has no real weaknesses.

How does she reflect now on her Olympic Games, which began in relative anonymity and ended with a surprise phone call from the King of Belgium? “It was just two crazy days,” she says. “I never thought about winning in Rio. Even when I see videos of it now, it’s like, ‘wow’. Everything went good, no problems, just… flowing.”

But there was a problem. Six weeks before the Games, Thiam was throwing the javelin at the Belgian championships. “It was my last attempt,” she remembers. “So I really put a lot of force in it, and heard it cracking inside.”

Thiam had ripped two ligaments in her elbow. Her doctor advised surgery, but she pushed on regardless. “We worked too hard to stop,” she says. “So the doctor said, ‘OK, you can throw, but you’re probably only going to have one throw, because of the pain’.”

The pain was so severe Thiam even sat out the warm-up. And if you watch back the footage of her throw, you can see her grimacing in agony at release. She is still clutching her arm when the javelin lands 53.13 metres away. A personal best. In an Olympic final. With torn ligaments. That was when Thiam knew the gold was hers to lose.

“Every athlete feels pain sometimes,” she says. “But the Olympic Games is only every four years. For me, that was more important than the pain.”

It is a long way from the top step of the Olympic podium in Rio to the village of Rhisnes in south Belgium. That was where it all began for Thiam, in her first race, a cross-country at the age of seven. The prize: a pot of jam. “When I was a kid, I really liked eating,” she smiles now. “I thought if I do more of those competitions, I would get more jam.”

At the age of 14, Thiam started working with the celebrated coach Roger Lespagnard in Liege. Money was tight - her father had returned to Senegal and her mother, a teacher and former athlete, could not afford a car. So Thiam would take her kit to school in the morning, jump straight on the train to Liege in the evening, train for a couple of hours, do her homework on the way back, and eat her dinner alone at the kitchen table, while the rest of the house slept. It was a tough life, but Thiam says: “I never regretted it. I always knew what I wanted to do. I always wanted to do better, to see an evolution, to beat my records.”

These days, Thiam is comfortable but by no means wealthy: certainly not as wealthy as you would expect for a woman at the very top of her sport. “In Belgium, it’s really hard to live on athletics,” she says. “It’s not one of the big sports like tennis or football. I have a few sponsors, not so many. But it’s not going to allow me to live for years.”

Which is why, even with an Olympic gold in her drawer and a world championship on the horizon, she insisted on carrying on her geography degree. “I want to have something besides athletics,” she says. “I like climatology, I like geomorphology - how the earth is shaped by rivers. A lot of subjects, like a heptathlon. Maybe that’s why I love it.”

With Usain Bolt heading towards the exit, athletics is on the hunt for new icons. Strong, female icons. And yet you wonder how someone so resolutely down-to-earth will cope with the global fame that will surely be her due before long. Occasionally, she admits, she wonders the same thing.

“I really appreciate my privacy,” she says. “My private life, my family, my boyfriend. People want to know, and I understand that, but it’s something I really want to keep for me.”

Remarkably, the world championships will be Thiam’s first visit to Britain. And for all her world-beating talent, sometimes you forget how far she has come in such a short time. She trains on a simple outdoor track in Liege, and in winter you have to shovel the snow out of the inside lane before you can start. She nods when I ask whether she may eventually have to move abroad.

“Maybe,” she says. “It’s a bit sad. We have a lot of good athletes, but not too much investment. There is only one indoor track in Belgium and it’s really far from here. I would maybe be better in the high jump and long jump if I had the possibility to train in the winter.”

For Thiam’s rivals - most notably Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake - there is an ominous warning here, when you think of the obstacles she has overcome to get to this point. Basic facilities. Minimal funding. The difficulty of fitting training around her studies. This is a woman who won the Olympics with an injured arm. Just imagine what she could do when she really gets going.


Might De Grasse Have Bolt Running Scared?

  • Jamaican Usain Bolt is set to retire after the World Championships in London
  • Young Canadian Andre De Grasse appears to be the nominated successor
  • De Grasse won the silver medal in the 200m and bronze in the 100m at Rio
  • He arrives in London in great form and is looking to knock Bolt off his perch

In time, it may go down as one of the prophetic images of the Rio Olympic Games.

As the young Canadian Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt edged towards the finish line during the 200m semi-finals in Rio, the pair turned to one another, exchanging smiles and playful barbs. Bolt secured victory by a margin of 0.2sec, wagging his finger at the young flyer alongside him.

It felt significant, a ceremonial handover in action, with Bolt’s message clear: not quite yet, Andre, but soon.

‘We just clicked,’ De Grasse grins. ‘I looked over, he looked over and he was smiling, saying, “You’re not going to beat me”. I was saying, “I’m coming for you, I wanna beat you, I wanna be the greatest, I wanna be the best”.

‘It just happened and the world smiled with us. I wanted him to know I’m coming. Don’t take it easy on me because I’m coming.’
According to De Grasse, he and Bolt will never be ‘rivals’.

The Jamaican eight-time Olympic gold medal-winner has declared his intention to retire following the World Championships in London, which start on Friday. De Grasse appears to be the nominated successor.

London will be dominated by Bolt’s farewell, but De Grasse will not be mistaking respect for deference. At the recent Diamond League meeting in Monaco, his coach, Stuart McMillan, suggested that Bolt had forced De Grasse out of the 100m race to clear the field for the senior man. Bolt’s management denied the claim fiercely, as has DeGrasse himself.

De Grasse, now 22, won the silver medal in the 200m and bronze in the 100m at Rio. He arrives in London for the World Championships in blistering form, having posted a wind-assisted 9.69sec, which doesn’t count for official records, in the Stockholm Diamond League last month.

Bolt has publicly endorsed De Grasse, citing similarities between the pair’s running styles and stating that the ‘sport is in good hands’ with the youngster breaking through.

Puma, Bolt’s long-term sponsor, agree. Within a month of his 21st birthday, the German sportswear company handed De Grasse the largest first contract ever granted to a track and field athlete, reported to be worth a guaranteed £7.5million, in addition to a potential £20m in bonuses.

Further lucrative commercial deals have followed from Gatorade and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. De Grasse is not a sprinter in the conventional sense: he is only 5ft 9in tall and, at 11 stone, he is 53lb lighter than Bolt.

‘To replace the greatest in Usain Bolt, I knew what I was getting into,’ De Grasse told Sportsmail. ‘I did have a bit of hesitation. Everyone can be nervous. I was thinking, “Can I handle this and take on the pressure?” I knew it would provide for myself and my family. I can’t have fears or hold back, I want to relish it.’

De Grasse’s story also inspires. He grew up playing basketball, dreaming of a career as an NBA superstar. He did not contemplate track until a friend hauled him along to a high school regional meet when he was 17.

De Grasse spent his formative years as a disaffected youth in Markham, a multiracial suburb of Toronto. As he drifted through his teenage years, hope began to ebb away.

‘Track saved my life,’ he says. ‘Life can be difficult. I fell into athletics. I remember that first race, I wasn’t prepared. I wore a T-shirt, baggy basketball shorts and borrowed a pair of spikes. I was very green. I never even knew about starting blocks.

‘The first time I ran I made a standing start, the sideways run-up like in basketball. People in the crowd were laughing. I just looked down and ran.’

De Grasse ran 10.9sec. Tony Sharpe, the former Canadian Olympic sprinter, happened to be in the crowd scouting a different 400m runner. Startled by De Grasse’s time, Sharpe immediately recruited the sprinter.

At last, De Grasse found the purpose he craved. Sharpe has described a battle between ‘good and evil’ pulling De Grasse in different directions.

De Grasse says: ‘As a teenager, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I lacked guidance and direction. Basketball wasn’t working.’
He credits his mother, Beverley, with always being there for him. ‘She made massive sacrifices for me, paying for basketball camps, working two jobs, dropping me to every practice, every time she got me there no matter what. A lot of parents don’t do that. She gave me that wisdom. My dad... he’s been in and out... we are OK but he lives in Barbados.’

In early interviews, De Grasse admitted to falling in with the wrong crowd and taking recreational drugs. ‘I never really did drugs,’ he says now, ‘but I was lost. I find it hard to explain to people what might have happened if I didn’t have sport... I really don’t know where I would have ended up.’

He grimaces when asked what became of his old friends. ‘I have no idea . . . not good, it’s hard. I maybe have two or three friends left from high school. I had problems in my 10th grade, things weren’t going right. Mum took me out of one particular school and changed things for me.’

De Grasse has seen through his education, taking a two-month break after Rio to fulfil his sociology degree after earning a scholarship at the University of Southern California.

The word ‘hope’ is tattooed on his inner forearm. ‘I don’t believe the world is fair. You see it everywhere. I’ve seen things all over the world, whether it’s Doha or in Canada or America. I see how people live. You drive through neighbourhoods on your way to events. Brazil was striking for that.

‘You go past these slum parts and it’s not fair. If these kids had the opportunity or met someone to give them the opportunity, things would be different.

‘My brother got me into that because he has a Masters in social work. I’ve been with him to see kids who have really grown up with nothing. I wanted the degree so I can do it properly.’

Now De Grasse wants to gatecrash Bolt’s grand farewell: ‘I was a bit disappointed after Rio because I felt I could beat Bolt in the 200m. I had a good semi-finals and then in the final, maybe the last 20 or 30 metres, I just had very little left in the tank. I was relaxed and felt ready but maybe just six races over six days hit me and I had nothing left.

‘It’s not a rivalry,’ he says of the relationship he has on the track with Bolt. ‘He has dominated for so long. I’ve still not beaten him — but I’d love to. To have a rivalry you have to have a back and forth. He is on his way out and a veteran. I’m trying to prove myself.

‘I want to be an Olympic champion, world champion, maybe even a world record. I’m determined to be the best.’


Eilidh Doyle will lead with her heart as Great Britain skipper

EILIDH DOYLE will tap into what’s fast-becoming a unique knowledge of home championships to lead the Great Britain team into London 2017.

The 30-year-old hurdler from Perth was elected captain by her fellow athletes last week, the first time the position has been decided by peer voting.

The World Athletics Championships complete a hat-trick of global events on home soil for the Scot after the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

And she hopes to make it four with the World Indoor Championships staged in Birmingham next March.

“I’ve been extremely lucky,” Eilidh says. “It’s brilliant if you can get just one opportunity to compete at a home championship. When I look back on my career, I’ll see just how fortunate I was.

“Many athletes say that after an Olympics there’s usually a down period, but I’ve always had something to aim at. After 2012, I had Glasgow and after Rio I’ve had this.

“When I make my speech as captain, I’ll draw on my experiences of competing in a home championship. I’ll just talk from the heart like I always do.

“I think it’s really important to use that home element, as we did in 2012 and we Scots did in Glasgow. I’ll stress how the fantastic home support can get you fired up.”

For Doyle, the captaincy is one of a number of additional elements that have combined to make these Championships even more significant for her.

“I was surprised to be nominated, because I felt there were so many more athletes ahead of me in terms of what they’d achieved,” she says.

“It definitely adds an extra dimension to a championship that I was so excited about anyway.

“And there’s a source of extra pride to be captaining so many fellow Scots in the British team.

“It also shows how Scottish athletics has developed and everything that’s come out of Glasgow 2014.

“And they’re not in the team to make up the numbers. They’re capable of competing with the best in the world. They can win medals.”


was 2012 in fact the dirtiest Olympics ever?

  • One in seven of all finalists have doped. either before or since London 2012
  • More than one third of all finalists at the Games are connected to doping
  • Russia are the worst offenders but also Jamaica, Turkey and Belarus

They promised to be the cleanest Olympic Games — but are, in fact, contenders to be the dirtiest. It was hailed the greatest track and field programme in history — yet an investigation by The Mail on Sunday can now reveal that almost one in seven of the finalists had been sanctioned for doping offences.

And while capacity crowds at London roared on track and field stars at the 2012 Olympics, few of those in the £430million stadium, which their taxes had paid for, would have imagined that more than one third of those competing in finals had some kind of connection to doping.

And yet, as the stars descend on London once again for this week's World Athletics Championships, which was a promised legacy from those tainted Games, the full truth of the London 2012 track and field programme is only now emerging.

The Mail on Sunday has analysed the London 2012 athletics results over the past month in the light of the Russian drugs scandal and the ongoing revelations of doping around the world, and the shocking results, which have been hailed as ground-breaking by senior Olympic officials, athletes and coaches, show:

Out of 656 track and field finalists at the London 2012 Olympics, 87 finalists or 13 per cent had previously committed a doping violation or have since done so; that's almost one in seven.

A further 138 finalists or 21 per cent fall into a category which suggests they have an association with doping, in that their coach, agent or doctor is associated with doping or has been investigated; or they have failed or missed a drug test but evaded a ban; or leaks from the Fancy Bears hacking website have revealed suspicions around their blood profiles.

That means more than one third of the stars of the London 2012 athletics programme — 34 per cent — were either dopers or have support staff or profiles which suggest some kind of connection to doping.

The worst country was unsurprisingly Russia, whose systematic doping has since been exposed.

Of their 53 finalists, 29 have committed doping violations, with gold medallists Sergey Kirdyapkin (50km walk), Tatyana Lysenko (hammer) Mariya Savinova (800m) and Yuliya Zaripova (3,000m steeplechase) all since stripped of their medals after re-testing of their samples.

Yet the scandal is a global issue rather than a Russian problem. Of Turkey's nine finalists, four have been sanctioned for doping. Eight of the 21 Jamaican finalists have been sanctioned — though one of these was only for cannabis. And half of Belarusian finalists, seven out of 14, have committed doping offences.

The dirtiest race of the games — now dubbed the dirtiest race in history — is the women's 1,500m, where five of the top nine runners have since or had previously received doping bans, including gold and silver medallists Asli Cakir Alptekin, who has been stripped of her medal, and Gamze Bulut, both from Turkey.

The women's 4x100m final alone featured seven sprinters who have been sanctioned for doping offences: two from Jamaica, two from Ukraine, two from Trinidad and Tobago, one from Nigeria as well as another sprinter from Brazil whose case is still in progress.

Other countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya, which have no athletes on the list who have been convicted of doping, have since been identified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as territories where testing has been inadequate, with Ethiopia placed on a 'critical' list prior to Rio 2016 by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

International Olympic Committee (IOC) figures, former athletes and coaches expressed their shock at the figures on Saturday night and paid tribute to the depth of the research compiled by The Mail on Sunday.

'These are impressive statistics,' said Dick Pound, the most senior IOC member and the former head of WADA. 'I think it's a great story and a bit of a wake-up call to folks. With that amount of smoke, there is bound to be fire and it's very troubling for athletics.'

Toni Minichiello, coach to Jessica Ennis-Hill, London 2012 heptathlon gold medallist, said: 'That's quite a shocking level. I'm stunned by that. I don't know what to say. It's very, very sad. It is a harrowing figure, a horrible figure and I feel embarrassed about my sport to hear those kind of figures. The man in the pub will just say: 'You must all be at it.' The depth of testing and investment has to be increased.'

Jenny Meadows, the 2009 world bronze medallist over 800m and 2011 European Indoor champion, who lost numerous medals to athletes who have since proven to be cheats, said: 'That is quite a staggering statistic. But I think it needs to be told. And it isn't just Russia — it's other nations as well. Russia are getting the brunt of it and were the biggest offenders but it's going on in other nations and it spoils the authenticity of our sport.'

Pound, whose WADA Independent Commission in 2015 revealed the extent of what he described as state-sponsored and systematic doping in Russia, agreed and said: 'In that commission I said that it would be naive to think that Russia was the only country involved and that athletics was the only sport. There are a lot of bad folks prepared to do whatever they think they have to do to win and that is a problem across sports.'

The full extent of the doping across nations in track and field at London 2012 has only emerged in recent years, with German TV broadcaster ARD's documentary on Russian doping prompting Pound's inquiry which showed that senior IAAF figures, including then president Lamine Diack, contrived to cover up doping so that athletes were clear to compete in London.

Much of the recent exposure of cheats has also been done by a reformed IAAF, but with the sport, now under the leadership of London 2012 chairman Seb Coe, attempting to showcase itself in London this week, our figures demonstrate quite how widespread and deep the doping culture was.

On Thursday it will be five years since track and field began at the London Olympics and, with even the morning sessions in the stadium sold out for heats, the track programme was judged the most-successful ever in the post-War era.

Diack, since disgraced for covering up doping, was particularly enthused and praised the British public in 2012 at a long and rambling press conference. 'Eighty thousand seats filled in the morning, afternoon and evening. Here you had people who know athletics, love it and react to it.' Alongside him was his soon-to-be successor Coe, who said: 'It's an incredible opportunity to showcase our sport in the best possible light.'

Before the Games, the IOC had promised that London would be one of the cleanest ever. Coe said: 'What I can say to athletes coming to London is that we will have the technology in place that is in excess of any technology that you have ever encountered anywhere in the world.' IOC member Denis Oswald, who now heads up one of the inquiries into Russian doping, said before the Games: 'About 6,000 athletes will be tested during the Games and all participants will have been tested several times before the Games. We've done the best we could do to have the cleanest possible Games next summer.'

While the new-look IAAF and Coe have received praise for being one of the few federations which is now taking the problem seriously, Pound does not believe that his colleagues in the IOC or across federations are committed to ensuring clean sport.

He said: 'I have said before, the percentage of dopers is in double figures and yet we catch around two per cent. That indicated to me that the testing wasn't effective which is why WADA put together the study group last year to investigate why. Our science is pretty robust, our system is good, so why isn't it working? Our conclusion was people didn't want it to work.'

Pound is also critical of the IOC for hiving off responsibility to WADA. 'I think the leadership of sport is responsible for making sure that sport is clean,' he said. 'This business of trying to push it off on to an independent body on the basis that, well, you have a conflict of interest. The people promoting the sport and selling TV rights on the basis that it is clean sport are washing their hands of the doping and corruption side of it.'

Meadows and Minichiello echo those concerns. Meadows frequently raced Savinova, who was stripped of her 800m 2012 gold and was shown to have participated in systematic doping. Savinova has kept her gold medals from the 2010 world indoors, where Meadows was second, and 2009 European indoors, where Meadows was fourth. She has been disqualified from the 2010 European Championships, which she won and Meadows was third.

'I feel really let down,' said Meadows. 'That was my time. The three years when I was winning medals, several are the wrong colour. We expect fans to turn out and we want them to believe what they see.'

Though Meadows will be at the championships this week and says she retains her faith in the sport to reform, she admits that the revelations about doping contributed to her decision to retire. 'In 2015, when all these allegations came out, I had just lost the heart for it,' she said.

'When push came to shove in training and I had to take myself to a dark place, my mind wouldn't connect with my body and I couldn't do it anymore. It was just like I had lost the belief and the drive. It [doping] prevented me from getting medals at the pinnacle of my career and then meant I ran out of steam and love for the sport in the last 18 months of my career. And I walked away thinking, 'I don't want to be a part of this'.'

Minichiello will be in London this week as a BBC commentator and next Sunday will watch Ennis-Hill finally receive a gold medal from the 2011 world championships, originally awarded to Russian Tatyana Chernova, who beat Ennis-Hill into second but whose sample was later shown to contain steroids.

'It's pleasing she's getting the medal that she deserves,' he said. 'It's just that it's dragged out for so long. We're looking at a sample which was taken in 2009 and we're now in 2017. Chernova should have been caught in 2009 but she competed for four more years.

'If doping is at this level … it shows there's isn't enough anti-doping going on at the major championships. These stats wouldn't occur if there was a greater depth of testing at the time and leading into a major championships.'

The IAAF has stressed that since 2012, the leadership has changed and they have been the most forceful in responding to the crisis, by banning Russia from the federation.

They have set up the Athletics Integrity Unit — independently tasked with cleaning up the sport.

The IAAF said: 'Eighty per cent of the disqualified athletes from London 2012 are from four countries, the largest offender of which being Russia. Their athletes were let down by their national system which in turn failed to safeguard the goals and ambitions of clean athletes the world over. The IAAF Taskforce is working with their counterparts in RusAF to establish a system which addresses those failings and protects the level playing field of competition.'

The IOC failed to respond to emails asking for comment.


The World Championships, By The Numbers

Usain Bolt will bring the curtain down on his remarkable career in London.

The Athletics World Championships come to London’s Olympic Stadium from August 4 to 13.

Here, we take a look at the event in numbers.

10
– duration in days of the event.

16

– it is the 16th staging of the World Championships, the first coming in 1983 in Helsinki.

48
– the number of medal events across the competition.

60,000
– the capacity of the London Stadium when restored to ‘athletics mode’. It can hold 54,000 for West Ham football matches or up to 80,000 for concerts.

£9.58

– the cost of child tickets for the Championships, in honour of Usain Bolt’s world record 100 metres time of 9.58 seconds at the 2009 Championships in Berlin. There are also ‘Jackson’ (£12.91), ‘Edwards’ (£18.29) and ‘Gunnell’ (£52.74) tickets on specific days in honour of Britain’s world record holders.

87
– athletes selected in the Great Britain team.

207
– the record number of international federations which competed at the 2015 Championships in Beijing, with a total of 1,931 athletes in action.

4,000
– the number of volunteers – known as ‘runners’ – set to be involved in the staging of the event.


Wlodarczyk Now Has 17 Throws Over 80m

With her spectacular series yesterday—the best mark missing her own WR by just 11cm—Anita Wlodarczyk now has 17 throws past the 80m (262-5) barrier. Nobody else has even 1.

Here's what she did in Cetniewo: 263-10, 271-10, 264-8, 264-10, 267-9 (80.42, 82.87, 80.69, 80.73, 81.63, f)

That's an average of 266-7 (81.27).

Her 17 throws over 80m all-time, with Cetniewo in bold (! = secondary mark in a series):

82.98 | 272-3...... Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland)........... 8/28/16

82.87 | 271-10..... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 7/29/17

82.29 | 269-11..... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 8/15/16

81.77 | 268-3...... ———Wodarczyk !.................... 8/28/16

81.74 | 268-2...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/15/16

81.63 | 267-9...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 7/29/17

81.27 | 266-7...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/28/16

81.08 | 266-0...... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 8/01/15

80.85 | 265-3...... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 8/27/15

80.79 | 265-0...... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 7/23/17

80.73 | 264-10..... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 7/29/17

80.69 | 264-8...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 7/29/17

80.42 | 263-10..... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 7/29/17

80.40 | 263-9...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/15/16

80.31 | 263-6...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/28/16

80.27 | 263-4...... ———Wlodarczyk !.................... 8/27/15

80.26 | 263-4...... ———Wlodarczyk...................... 7/12/16

Overall, Wlodarczyk has the 24 farthest throws in the world this year and the top 29 all-time.


ASA bosses hog the light

On Friday, Athletics SA (ASA) was still making changes to its original team for this week’s World Championships – a list that swelled from 24 to 29.

The additional numbers were at the behest of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which asked one of the more understaffed competing countries to fill vacant spots “to complete the fields in [these] respective disciplines”, said ASA’s press release explaining how their “lean and mean” team was getting flabbier by the day.

The story of how the London-bound team went from 24 of 38 athletes who met the IAAF qualifying marks; was pruned to 23 when the governing body vetoed one of ASA’s favoured athletes; and then grew to 26 and finally 29 is a neat encapsulation of how administrators at ASA are past masters at cocking up a sure thing.

In a season in which the athletes’ performances – led by – got the sport to elbow for room with soccer, rugby and cricket in the nation’s consciousness, the folks at ASA couldn’t help but fritter away pretty much all that goodwill by selecting a team that almost felt like it was designed to show the athletes who’s boss.

And with that act of inexplicable spite – the IAAF would have paid for all 38 athletes who met its qualifying standards, but the ASA was inconsistent about which of the athletes who didn’t achieve its more stringent marks got selected – the administrators once again nudged the athletes out of the spotlight.

But despite the efforts of a handful of officials who were exposed for not understanding their own sport this week, the world championships will not only go on for the South African athletes, it will also be a good one.

There is much excitement over world 400m world record-holder Van Niekerk’s attempt at also winning the 200m; Manyonga’s goal to go one step up on the rostrum from his Olympic silver in the long jump last year; Semenya’s late entry for the middle distance double (800m and 1 500m); Simbine’s hopes for a first major championship medal in the 100m; and Sunette Viljoen’s perennial struggle to crack the golden nod in the javelin, especially after silver in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last year.

Away from the usual suspects, Ruswahl Samaai is a dark horse for a medal at the very least in the long jump, while, if rumours of South Africa getting a reprieve and possibly getting a 4x100m relay team due to three teams pulling out are true, there could be a possible medal there, too.

Looking at Van Niekerk, most were worried about how close Botswana’s Isaac Makwala got to him in his last 400m race in Monaco, and this before the world championships this week, in a season in which he has posted personal bests in the 100m (9.94sec), the 200m (19.84sec) the 300m (30.81sec) and the world lead in the 400m (43.62sec).

Former South Africa sprints coach Marc Labuschagne was one of the concerned observers, but it wasn’t because of how close Makwala was to beating Van Niekerk:

“My worry is what he’s done to his legs when you consider he’s still got to go through all the rounds in the 200m and the 400m.

“It’s not the total mileage he’s done [Van Niekerk’s only raced twice in the 200m], it’s the time he ran.

"That was something like the fifth-fastest time in the world, so you worry about his recovery by the time he runs in the world championships.”

Labuschagne then said he was splitting hairs and “trying to find a chink in his armour, but if I were to bet my house on it, I would still bet Wayde”.

Another “concern” was Manyonga, who won but pulled up lame in his last Diamond League jump in Stockholm, the injury being a sore ankle.

But his coach, Neil Cornelius, said that was a thing of the past.

“It’s sorted out, it was sorted out a while ago,” he said.

“We’ve had an excellent week’s preparation in good weather in Durban and there’s no soreness and no discomfort. So, physically and mentally, he’s good to go.

“Before the Olympics, we didn’t compete for a month, but we’ve been able to prepare at 100% intensity here.

"We’ve also had time to fix all the things I was worried about: his landing has really impressed me and his drift to the side is better.”


5 Records On Day 6 At USATF Junior Olympics

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- Perfect weather and a packed house produced five national age group records on the penultimate day of USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships at Rock Chalk Park.

Watch on demand video of today’s events on USATF.TV+ and cheer on USATF Future Stars live tomorrow starting at 8:00 a.m. CT.

The 800m finals boasted two Junior Olympic and national records in the 8 & Under boys’ division and the 9-10 boys’ competition. In the 8 & Under race, Grant Reynolds (Conyers, Georgia; USATF Georgia) went out hard and never looked back after passing through 400m three seconds ahead of the field. Reynolds eclipsed the previous record of 2:29.55, running 2:28.59 for a new JO and national record. Brandon Leacock (Rolesville, North Carolina; USATF North Carolina) followed Reynolds lead and used decisive front running tactics finishing in 2:18.51.

As the track events came to a close for the day, Elite Eagles - A and Track Houston Youth Track Club - A stormed down the homestretch in the 15-16 boys’ division of the 4x100m Relay. Both teams broke the previous national record of 40.90, Elite Eagles would claim the title in 40.56 and Track Houston would finish second in 40.86.

After setting a national record in the preliminary rounds of the 9-10 girls’ 200m on Thursday, Tarrianna Jackson (East Point, Georgia; USATF Georgia) was back on the track and again broke her own record of 26.32 running 26.10 in the final. In two races this week, Jackson has taken .40 off a 13-year-old record set back in 2004 by Robin Reynolds.

The track was not the only site of record breaking performances, on the high jump apron Tierra Hooker (Sicklerville, New Jersey; USATF New Jersey) set a national age group record in the 13-14 girls’ high jump. After passing on 1.75m/5-8.75, the youngster from New Jersey raised the bar to 1.77m/5-9.75 and was clear over the bar on her second attempt to best the previous record of 1.74m/5-8.5 set in 1986 by Cheryl Mills.

In near-perfect distance running weather, the 3000m finals started the day in fine fashion. The 15-16 boys’ race was won by Brayden Harris (McClure, Pennsylvania; USATF Mid-Atlantic) in 9:14.49. Harris ran a smart race by sitting in the pack while the leader changed multiple times over the first two kilometers. He made his move with 400m to go, sliding in front of Alex Mainvielle (Torrance, California, USATF Southern California) and closing hard to win by two seconds over Mainvielle, who would go on to run 9:16.81.

Kennedy Lightner (Little Rock, Arkansas; USATF Arkansas) kept the crowd on their feet as he nearly set his second national record of the week in the 15-16 boys’ 200m running 21.01.

In Saturday’s only semi-final event, Alexander Nunley (Garner, North Carolina, USATF North Carolina) of Run U Express solidified himself as the clear favorite for tomorrow’s 13-14 boys’ 100m hurdle final. The athlete, who is coached by 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson, was the only athlete to run under 13.40 and is the fastest in the field by .25 seconds.

SATURDAY FINALS:


Girls’ 3000m 11-12
Cleo Naranjo, El Paso Panthers Running Club, 10:44:08

Boys’ 3000m 11-12
Ethan Vander Meer, Unattached, 9:52.13

Girls’ 3000m 13-14
Sophie Atkinson, Track Houston Youth Track Club, 10:02.04

Boys’ 3000m 13-14
Brayden Harris, Juniata Valley Striders, 9:14.49

Girls’ 3000m 15-16
Autumn Princ, Kansas Flyers Track Team, 10:22.55

Women’s 3000m 17-18
Malakai Holloway, Eagle Wings, 10:42.76

Girls’ 200m 8 & Under
Madison Poythress, Star Track, 29.42 N



Boys’ 200m 8 & Under
Noah Roberts, Quicksilver Track Club, 28.11

Girls’ 200m 9-10
Tarrianna Jackson, Need 4 Speed, 26.10 N

Boys’ 200m 9-10
Chandler Jordan, Jackrabbit Track & Field Club, 26.06

Girls’ 200m 11-12 
JaMeesia Ford, Fayetteville Flyers, 25.30

Boys’ 200m 11-12 
Myles Pendarvis, Cobra Track, 24.46

Girls’ 200m 13-14
Kayla Davis, Run U Express, 23.60

Boys’ 200m 13-14
Quaron Adams, Unattached, 22.31 + 2.1m/s

Girls’ 200m 15-16
Alexa Rossum, ATL Zoom Athletics, 23.90

Boys’ 200m 15-16
Kennedy Lightner, Fellowship of Champions, 21.01 N

Women’s 200m 17-18
Kynnedy Flannel, Track Houston Youth Track Club, 23.54

Men’s 200m 17-18
De’Shawn Ballard, Port City Track Club, 21.17

Girls’ 800m Run 8 & Under
Micah Neal, Mach 1 TC, 2:40.66

Boys’ 800m Run 8 & Under
Grant Reynolds, Mark Trail Flying Eagles, 2:28.59

Girls’ 800m Run 9-10
Aamerie Anderson, Eagles Elite, 2:27.97

Boys’ 800m Run 9-10
Brandon Leacock, Roseville Lightning, 2:18.51 J N 

Girls’ 800m Run 11-12
Cha’iel Johnson, Miami Gardens Xpress, 2:15.98

Boys’ 800m Run 11-12
Tyler Hunt, Diablo Valley Track & Field, 2:10.57

Girls’ 800m Run 13-14
Michaela Rose, FIA Ambassadors, 2:12.14

Boys’ 800m Run 13-14
Malik Campbell, Track Houston Youth Track Club, 2:01.06

Girls’ 800m Run 15-16
Emoni Coleman, Need 4 Speed, 2:17.22

Boys’ 800m Run 15-16
Aden Baughman, Revolution Running & Fitness, 1:56.72

Women’s 800m Run 17-18
Jean Jenkins, Afterburners Track, 2:12.30

Men’s 800m Run 17-18
Britt Sease, Unattached, 1:53.12

Girls’ 400m Relay 8 & Under
River Cities Track - A, 1:00.97

Boys’ 400m Relay 8 & Under
Track Houston Youth Track Club - A, 57.55

Girls’ 400m Relay 9-10
Willis/Camden PAL- A, 54.50 

Boys’ 400m Relay 9-10
Hallmark Track - A, 52.47

Girls’ 400m Relay 11-12
Track Houston Youth Track Club - A, 49.91

Boys’ 400m Relay 11-12
Jackrabbit Track & Field Club - A, 49.99

Girls’ 400m Relay 13-14
Track Houston Youth Track Club- A, 46.86

Boys’ 400m Relay 13-14
Desoto Nitro- A, 44.56

Girls’ 400m Relay 15-16
ATL Zoom Athletics- A , 45.61

Boys’ 400m Relay 15-16
Elite Eagles- A, 40.56 J N

Women’s 400m Relay 17-18
Team QUEST- A, 45.52

Men’s 400m Relay 17-18
Port City Track Club- A, 40.38

Boys’ Long Jump 13-14
Curtis Williams, Tallahassee Zoom Track, 6.45m/21-2



Girls’ High Jump 15-16
Annika Williams, Northwest Flyers Track, 5-8¾ 

Men’s Javelin Throw 17-18
Chandler Ault, 65.71m/217-7

Girls’ Discus Throw 11-12
Layla McGee, East Palo Alto Greyhounds, 32.00m/105-0

Boys’ Shot Put 9-10
Jeremiah Kelley, 9.50m/31-2

Boys’ Pole Vault 15-16
Samuel Wright, Lodi, 4.75m/15-7

Boys’ Long Jump 11-12
Kai Rednour-Bruckman, Diablo Valley Track & Field, 5.29m/17-4¼

Girls’ High Jump 13-14
Tierra Hooker, Willis/Camden PAL, 5-9¾ J N

Boys’ Shot Put 13-14
Tucker Smith, Columbus Running, 16.46m/54-0

Girls’ Javelin Throw 15-16
Jamila Otieno, Throw1deep Club, 40.49m/132-10

Girls’ Discus Throw 13-14
Results not available at this time, will update

Boys’ Long Jump 8 & Under
Noah Roberts, Quicksilver Track Club, 4.20m/13-9½

Girls’ Long Jump 11-12 
Results not available at this time, will update


Bolt won't be easily replaced

Muhammad Ali stood alone on many fronts, but Joe Frazier, George Foreman and a few others still stood toe-to-toe with him in the ring. Jack Nicklaus contended with Arnold Palmer on the front end of his career and Tom Watson on the back end.

Usain Bolt? Nobody has been a match for him, on or off the track.

The man who reshaped the record book and saved his sport is saying goodbye. His sprints through the 100 meters and Jamaica's 4x100 relay at the world championships, which begin Friday, are expected to produce golds yet again, and leave track with this difficult question: Who can possibly take his place?

"You would have to have someone who's dominating, and no one's doing that," said Michael Johnson, the former world-record holder at 200 and 400 meters and perhaps the sport's brightest star in the 1990s. "You'd have to have someone who has that something special like he has, in terms of personality and presence. You're not going to have that."

Though he will not retire undefeated, Bolt stands in the rarest of company: an athlete who was never beaten when the stakes were greatest. And with a showman's flair as transcendent as his raw speed -- Chicken McNuggets for dinner, his fabled "To The World" pose for dessert and dancing away at nightclubs till dawn -- he hoisted his entire, troubled sport upon his shoulders and made it watchable and relevant.

Since his era of dominance began in 2008, Bolt went undefeated at the Olympics -- 9 for 9 -- in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay. (One of those medals was stripped because of doping by a teammate on the 2008 relay team.



) He has set, and re-set, the world records in all three events. His marks of 19.30, then 19.19, at 200 meters, were once thought virtually impossible. He set a goal of breaking 19 seconds in Rio de Janeiro last summer, and when he came up short, it became clear the barrier will be safe for years.
At the world championships, Bolt's only "loss" came in 2011, when he was disqualified for a false start in the 100 meters. Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake won the title that year, as well as the Jamaican national championships at 100 and 200 meters leading to the London Olympics. Heading back to London five years later, Blake is an afterthought.

And Bolt's mastery of this sport remains unchallenged.

"I'll be sad to see someone like him go," said America's Justin Gatlin, Bolt's longest and sturdiest challenger, who has been disingenuously portrayed as the brooding bad boy set against Bolt's carefree party guy. "He's such a big figure in our sport. Not only is he a big figure, but the kind of guy who always will be a competitor when he steps onto the line."

Though it's tricky to compare dominance in track to that in any other sport, there's an element of Nicklaus in Bolt's dominance. Impressive as his 18 major championships are, Nicklaus' 19 second-place finishes and 73 top-10s spoke to his ability to get into the mix in most of the majors over the quarter-century while he was collecting titles. Nicklaus had to fend off Palmer, Watson, Johnny Miller and a dozen other legitimate contenders at every event. Bolt hasn't faced anything like that.

Yet they shared this important similarity: Often, the contests were over before they even began. Or, as Tom Weiskopf once said: "Jack knew he was going to beat you. You knew Jack was going to beat you. And Jack knew that you knew that he was going to beat you."

At the worlds two years ago, Gatlin had Bolt beaten in the 100 but leaned in at the finish line a microsecond too early. Bolt passed him and won by 0.01 seconds. The American all but admitted he psyched himself out.

Speaking to the pressure of racing someone such as Bolt, the Scottish sports historian and former Olympic coach Tom McNab compared sprinting to running in a tunnel.

"And once you become aware of what's happening outside your tunnel, you're in trouble," he said.

In boxing, Ali wasn't necessarily unbeatable, but he was incomparable as both a sharp-witted showman and an athlete with a social conscience, using his platform to preach tolerance and oppose war.

Bolt hasn't sought that sort of impact, at least not yet, but it's hard to overstate the mark he made on his troubled sport and, thus, the Olympics, which have long featured athletics as the must-see event of the final two weeks.

Over years and decades, the showcase sport of the Olympics has devolved into a sordid litany of doping scandals. The latest concerns widespread corruption and cheating in Russia, and heading into Rio, it undermined not only the sport and its managers, but the Olympics and their leaders' willingness to deal with it.

But when Bolt sauntered onto the track, flashed a peace sign and blew a kiss to the crowd, all was forgotten. Not just for the 9, or 19, seconds while he was running, but for the entire evening and beyond. He made track, and thus, the Olympics, eminently watchable.

He'll do it one more time on a smaller stage -- track's world championships -- but a stage with plenty of symbolic meaning.

When he headed to London for the Olympics in 2012, Bolt held all the records, but was portrayed as vulnerable, following the false start, a long list of nagging injuries and his losses to Blake.

By the time he left, he had pretty much anointed himself as the greatest. Four years later, he said that was precisely his goal: "To be among Ali and Pele," he said.

He's on that list, but when the lights go out after the relays Aug. 11 -- 10 days before his 31st birthday -- it will be time to say goodbye.

"Once he's gone," McNab says, "there's no major personality that would make any significant impact at the world level."


Raymond Kibet Aiming For The 400 Final London plans

Kenya’s Raymond Kibet, a chemical engineering student at Tulane University in New Orleans, USA, will be a man on a mission at the World Championships slated for August 4 to 13 in London.

Kibet, who clocked a personal best 45.21 seconds two months ago in the USA to qualify for the World Championships men’s 400m, and won the Kenyan trials, will be targeting a sub 44 seconds in London, which should put him in the final.

“ I had a good season in 20, took a slump in 2016 but I am glad to be back strong,” said Kibet, who now has a planned programme for the next two years with his focus on winning gold at 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Even though Nicholas Bett won the World 400m hurdles title in 2015 Beijing and Boniface Mucheru silver in 400m hurdles at Rio Olympic Games, Kibet reckons that sprinters are not getting the attention they deserve in the country.

He now feels that excelling in 400m in London will draw Kenyans’ attention to the short races and perhaps appreciation that plenty of talents lies in the country.

Also in Team Kenya’s 400m men’s side are National champion Collins Omae and African Games 400m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa.

“I want Kenyans to know that the country too has quality and talented sprinters,” said Kibet adding that the performance of Kenyan sprinters at the just ended World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi was a case in point.

Moitalel Mpoke and Mary Moraa claimed silver medals for Kenya in boys’ 400m hurdles and girls’ 400m respectively.

“This shows what Kenya can do if more attention is given to sprints in terms of equipment and quality coaching,” said Kibet.

He said that it’s his move to the USA where he is studying after the Rio Olympics that greatly improved his game.

Kibet, 21, said lack of proper coaching and equipment while in Kenya in addition to lack of exposure was his main undoing until he met coach Eric Peterson in Louisiana, USA.

“I was weak off the blocks, I didn’t know how to load towards competition and I lacked exposure and a good coach,” said Kibet, who draws his inspiration from world champion Bett.

“I have improved greatly in the last one year where I have competed frequently besides being introduced to the gym by Peterson.”


Ujah Wants To Spoil Bolt's Farewell Race

CHIJINDU UJAH is ready to hit top gear at the World Championships to try to give Usain Bolt the biggest shock of his stunning sporting life.

Britain’s No.1 sprinter is relishing what may be the last chance he gets on the track to tackle the planet’s fastest man.

Bolt, 30, has decided it is the perfect time to hang up his running shoes once he has displayed his explosive speed in the 100 and 4x100m relay at the London Stadium event which starts on Friday.

Justin Gatlin, the last man to defeat the Jamaican, claims his old rival will do a U-turn and carry on competing “because he loves it so badly”.

 

But if Bolt does race off into the sunset after his latest visit to the 2012 Olympic venue, Ujah wants to try and make his farewell he does so with his tail between his legs.

Ujah, 23, who failed to make the Rio Olympics 100m Final by 0.01secs, showed he is in hot form when winning the Diamond League 100m in Morocco recently when he ran under 10 seconds again.

His personal best of 9.96secs may be well adrift of Bolt’s world record 9.58 but Ujah, the youngest Brit to break the 10sec time barrier, said: “Psychologically it’s a big thing to beat him. He’s won so many titles but you can’t be thinking about that when you line up next to him. If I can beat him now it will give me the world of confidence.

“It was Bolt who inspired me into athletics when I was watching him back nearly 10 years ago. I did follow athletics a little bit when my parents used to watch it on TV but I just used to watch the finals.

“But then in 2008 it was the first major championships where I actually followed heats, semis and finals. I was actually waking up early to come and watch everything. So that really inspired me.

“When I was pretty young I used to see famous athletes all the time at meets and people would ask why I wasn’t taking pictures of them like everyone else. But I felt I belonged there. I was never fazed by celebrity.”

And he added: “I don’t really take being British champion as anything special because I’ve got to race against the world’s best.

“As a British team we have to realise yes, it’s great being the best in our country but you have to raise your game on the world stage. I’m excited about the World Championships in my own backyard. I want to stand up and perform.”

Mo Farah also takes centre stage again, bidding to light up his “second home” in Stratford as he did five years ago at London 2012. Farah, 34, is delaying his retirement until the Diamond League Final in Zurich on August 24.

The only man to achieve an incredible triple double – winning gold medals in two events in three successive major Championships – is keen to put on another spectacular 5,000m and 10,000m show.

He said: “I’m not quite in the shape I’d like to be at this stage but I’m moving well so I hope it’ll go well on the day.

“It will be emotional. But for now, I can’t really think about it too much. I just have to get my head down and put in the graft.”

Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads the British women’s medal hopes. The Liverpudlian, 24, will also bid to step out of the shadows of the now retired Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Johnson-Thompson, who finished sixth in Rio, said: “I’ve changed so much to my performance since Rio, the way I approach each individual event. I feel in a great place to really show my best in London.”


5 To Watch At The World Championships

The world’s best athletes will compete in London next month.

Usain Bolt will run his final race on the global stage, while 2012 Olympic 110metres hurdles champion Aries Merritt is aiming for more London glory following a kidney transplant in 2015.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the ones to watch in London this summer.

Usain Bolt

How can the Jamaican be ignored? It will be his swansong after a glittering career, and Bolt is expected to bow out in style. The eight-time Olympic champion is at home in the capital having defended his 100m and 200m Olympic titles in London five years ago. This time he will look to retain the 100m and 4x100m golds he won in Beijing two years ago. He will not defend his 200m crown. Athletics will not be the same without Bolt, so dominant since his first Olympic triumphs in Beijing nine years ago, and he will want to go out with a bang.

Aries Merritt

The hurdler has made a comeback from a kidney transplant in 2015 and returns to the London Stadium for a major championships for the first time since winning Olympic gold in 2012. He remains the world record holder for the 110m hurdles – clocking 12.80 seconds in 2012 – and won his Anniversary Games race in July. It followed his Diamond League victory in Rome and he will be aiming to top the bronze medal he secured in Beijing two years ago – just four days before his kidney surgery. Merritt has gradually got quicker since his comeback and his season’s best of 13.09secs is joint fourth in the world this year.

Elaine Thompson

The Jamaican sprint queen is the reigning Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m and is favourite to claim the 100m in London. The 25-year-old has run the two fastest times of 2017 – clocking 10.71 and 10.78 – with Trinidad’s Michelle-Lee Ahye the closest in 10.82. She finished second in the 200m in Beijing two years ago, but is focusing solely on the 100m this year.

Dafne Schippers

One of the biggest threat to Thompson’s title hopes, Schippers finished second behind the Jamaican at the Anniversary Games in July. Fifth in the 100m in Rio last year, the Dutch sprinter claimed silver – behind Thompson – in the 200m. Schippers will aim to defend the 200m title she won in Beijing two years ago in a personal-best time of 22.63. She also set her 100m PB (10.81) at the last World Championships, and will be hoping to deny Thompson in the shorter sprint.

Allyson Felix

The defending 400m champion is the fastest woman in the world over the distance this year. Felix, a six-time Olympic champion and the joint most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history, set a new world lead in London in July by clocking 49.65. She surpassed the previous world best time this year of 49.72 set by fellow American Quanera Hayes. It could be the 32-year-old’s final World Championships.


Indian Sprinter Chand Gets WC Invite

Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand is likely to take part in next month's World Athletics Championships as she has received an invitation from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) despite failing to touch the original qualification standard.

Dutee, who missed the original entry standard of 11.26 seconds, got an invite from the IAAF as the target number of 56 athletes for women's 100m event was yet to be reached for the August 4-13 World Championships in London.

Dutee's best of 11.30 seconds, which she clocked during the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi on May 15, during the qualifying period gives her a global ranking of 100.

"We have got an invite from the IAAF offering a quota entry for Dutee Chand in the women's 100m race. It's because the targeted number of athletes in that event (women's 100m) has not been reached," Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla told PTI.

"We have been told to reply yes or no within 12 hours and we are accepting it," he added. Dutee's coach Nagpuri Ramesh said that she currently has a United Kingdom visa and she would be ready to take part in the World Championships.

"Dutee has a UK visa. The AFI applied for visa for all those athletes whose timings are very close to qualifying standards so that they have their visas ready in case of such invitations. She is ready for the World Championships," he said.

After participating in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar earlier this month, where she claimed a bronze clocking 11.52 secs, Dutee took a break from competition.

She missed the National Inter-State Athletics Championships held at Guntur from July 15-18. Dutee's future was also under a cloud after the IAAF recently decided to submit fresh evidence at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland in support of its policy of barring female athletes who produced natural testosterone (male hormones) above permissible range from taking part in competitions.

Dutee got a ban imposed on her by Athletics Federation of India overturned in 2015 as the CAS partially upheld her appeal. The world's top sports tribunal, however, had given time of two years to the IAAF to produce conclusive evidence that female athletes with high levels of naturally producing testosterone have an unfair advantage over their peers.


Never bet against Bolt - Bailey

Former 100 metres world record holder Donovan Bailey has backed Usain Bolt to bow out in triumph at the world championships next month despite his slow buildup to the athletics showpiece.

Bolt logged his season best of 9.95 seconds just over a week ago in Monaco, a time beaten by a raft of sprinters this year.

But the 30-year-old Jamaican is still raging favourite to win his fourth 100m world title, and with good reason, according to former world and Olympic champion Bailey.

"Anyone that bets against Bolt at a major championship isn't smart," the Jamaica-born Canadian told Reuters on Saturday.

"Those athletes have to have a mistake-free race to make (the 100m final) interesting," he said of Bolt's rivals.

Bolt is currently ranked joint seventh with archrival Justin Gatlin on the year's top timesheet which is headed by world leader and American NCAA champion Christian Coleman.

Coleman ran 9.82 seconds in Eugene, Oregon last month.

Bolt's Jamaican training partner Yohan Blake is second on the list with 9.90, ahead of South African Akani Simbine (9.92) and Americans Cameron Burrell and Christopher Belcher.

Former Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Ato Boldon, who won the 100m world championship in 1997, thinks only Blake has a chance to spoil world record holder Bolt's party in London.

"If Blake is healthy, he can be a real threat to Bolt. I don't know that anyone else this year has shown me that they can be better than Bolt in the last 50m," Boldon told Reuters.

Bolt, who has won eight Olympic and 11 world championship gold medals, is planning to quit the track after competing in the 100m and 4x100m relay in London.

Boldon, a four-times Olympic medallist, said there could be no debate about the world's greatest ever sprinter.

"There isn't anyone who can say that he (Bolt) has not been the best ever," he said.

"Jesse Owens was the most important, Carl Lewis made sprinting profitable, but Bolt is the GOAT (greatest of all time)."


Wlodarczyk Threatens Hammer WR With 271-10

World and Olympic hammer throw champion Anita Wlodarczyk threw 82.87m at the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial in Cetniewo, Poland, on Saturday (29), the second farthest throw of all time.

Wlodarczyk exhibited unprecedented form just one week before competition begins in her event at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, with each of her five measured efforts sailing beyond 80-metres - more than any other woman has ever reached.

After an opening round 80.42m toss, the Pole followed up with her 82.87m effort, her third beyond 82 metres and just 11 centimetres shy of the 82.98m world record she set last year. She filled out her series with efforts of 80.69m, 80.73m and 81.63m to close out a competition in which she radically rewrote the all-time top-ten performance list.

There were strong performances across the programme of this throws meeting's fifth edition.

Pawel Fajdek, the reigning men's world champion, was consistent as well, throwing beyond 81 metres on each of his four measured efforts, topped by an 81.85m in fourth round. Like Wlodarczyk's series, each of Fajdek's were better than any other thrower has reached this season.

Michal Haratyk won the shot put with 21.88m a lifetime best, ahead of Konrad Bukowiecki, the European indoor champion, who reached 21.40m.

Piotr Malachowski won the discus with 67.68m, a season's best, ahead of Robert Urbanek who threw 65.01m.


That Moment When… Vetter Changed Coaches

Over the past couple of seasons, Germany’s Johannes Vetter has developed into one of the world’s best javelin throwers. Here the Olympic fourth-place finisher and 94-metre thrower talks about the significance of moving to his current coach Boris Obergföll.

“In September/October of 2014 I changed from my old coach in Dresden to train with Boris Obergföll. In 2014 I had come off a season when I threw a personal best of 79m, but I was inconsistent. I threw well in some competitions, but not so well in others. I felt I needed a change and better technical advice.

“I had spoken with Boris in several training camps in the past and I was impressed not only by his technical knowledge, but also his approach to the mental side of competition. On top of that, he was also a world-class thrower and understands what it is like to perform at the highest level (Obergföll won two World Championships bronze medals and boasts a lifetime best of 90.44m). I was really pleased when I asked him if he wanted to coach me and he agreed.

“Of course, it wasn’t an easy move. Offenburg was more than 600km from my home city of Dresden and I also had to give up my studies to be a police officer. Then I decided to go into the army because of the good sports programme they have for athletes.

“I am a really hard worker and a dedicated trainer so I was surprised when I first saw Boris’s training plan. I was used to a very rigorous regime, so I asked Boris, ‘are you sure we train enough?’ Yet for him his training is all about looking after an athlete. It is a smart approach which includes a lot of physio treatment and making sure the body is in the best possible shape.

“Technically I’ve made many changes since being with Boris. It has not always been easy. For the previous five or six years it had been drilled into me to throw the javelin a certain way, but over time I came to make the improvements Boris wanted.

“After throwing a personal best of 85.40m in Jena in 2015, I realised that I had made the right decision to be coached by Boris. Last year I made even greater improvements, throwing a best of 89.57m and finishing fourth at the Olympics Games. The next challenge is to throw more consistently, which I think I am doing.

“There is little doubt that under Boris I’ve made huge improvements, advancing my PB from 79m to 94m. Qualifying for the 2015 World Championships (Vetter finished seventh) and the 2016 Olympics were an important step. He is a great motivator who has improved me every day. I am confident that will continue in future.”


5 Things About '92 Olympic Champ Linford Christie

Christie won Olympic gold aged 32 – becoming the oldest Olympic 100m champion by four years and 38 days.

It is 25 years since Linford Christie won Olympic 100 metre gold in Barcelona, four years after his silver medal in Seoul.

Here we take a look at five things about the former Olympic, world and European champion.

The oldest Olympic 100 metres champion

In Barcelona in 1992 Christie became the third British athlete to win the Olympic 100m, after Harold Abrahams and Allan Wells, taking gold ahead of Frankie Fredericks and American Dennis Mitchell. Without Carl Lewis, who failed to qualify for the USA in the individual sprints, Christie – aged 32 at the time – ran 9.96 seconds to become the oldest Olympic 100m champion by four years and 38 days. Christie did not want to cry after winning gold in case the pictures were replayed and used to mock him. “When I began to wind down, I felt mentally exhausted,” he wrote in his autobiography. “It may be 10 seconds but that had been 10 years to me. Mentally, physically and spiritually, it’s tough because of the need to dig in, concentrate, avoid mistakes and get everything right.”

Olympic heartbreak
The reigning Olympic champion was disqualified in the the final of the 100m in Atlanta four years later after false starting twice. It was his last major race before his retirement from athletics the following year. It was one of the biggest disappointments of the 1996 Olympics for Team GB as they won just five medals – coming 36th in the table behind Ethiopia and Kazakhstan – with only Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent winning gold in rowing’s coxless pairs. Canada’s Donovan Bailey claimed victory, and a new world record at the time, in 9.84 thrilling seconds, beating Fredericks and Ato Boldon.

Drugs ban

Christie tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone in 1999, having already officially retired and when he was only competing in selected meetings. He was cleared by UK Athletics but the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) overturned the decision and banned him for two years. Chrsitie always claimed he was not guilty and has supported anti-doping measures, stating his total opposition to the use of drugs in athletics. He is banned for life by the British Olympic Association from ever having anything to do with a British team at the Games again.

Record breaker
Christie hosted the BBC show Record Breakers from 1998 to 2000. He took over from fellow ex-athlete Kriss Akabusi, who had co-presented with Cheryl Baker, and was also in I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here in 2010, lasting 18 days. Christie also appeared as himself in the 1999 film Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, making a brief appearance in the pre-credits scene. The film starred Charles Dance and was produced by Everton chairman Bill Kenwright.

Impressive medal haul

Christie collected 24 major medals at the Olympics, World and European Championships as well as the Commonwealth Games. Along with his Barcelona gold he won the 100m World title in 1993, the 1986 European crown and 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games golds. He won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 1993, having finished second behind Nigel Mansell in 1992. In 2010, he was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame and in 2009 he was inducted into the London Youth Games Hall of Fame.


Canada Adds 9 To World Champs Squad

ANNIE LEBLANC (800M), MARIA BERNARD (3000M STEEPLECHASE), ANGELA WHYTE (100M HURDLES), ALYX TREASURE (HIGH JUMP), TARYN SUTTIE (SHOT PUT), KELSIE AHBE (POLE VAULT), LINDSEY BUTTERWORTH (800M), AND LEYA BUCHANAN (100M) AND ALYCIA BUTTERWORTH (3000M STEEPLECHASE) RECEIVED INVITATIONS FROM THE IAAF AND WERE ADDED TO THE TEAM. BRENDON RODNEY WILL NOW ALSO PARTICIPATE IN THE MEN’S 100M. IAAF INVITED ATHLETES WERE REVIEWED AND VOTED ON BY THE NATIONAL TEAM COMMITTEE, REFERENCING THE SELECTION CRITERIA.

Athletics Canada named today a team of 57 athletes to compete at the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London, England, from Aug. 4 to 13.

“Our team features a great combination of seasoned world-class performers and talented upcoming athletes who are ready to make their mark,” said Head Coach Glenroy Gilbert. “Canadian success at recent Olympics, Paralympics and World Championships has been noticed and respected around the world. We look to capitalize on that positive momentum and perform at a high level in London.”

The team includes nine World Outdoor Championship medallists and two defending World champions. Nine athletes and one relay team on the roster is currently ranked top 10 on the IAAF performance list.

Competition will take place in London Stadium, the site of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Canadians in the 2017 Top 10 (as of July 17)
Damian Warner, second, decathlon
Men’s 4x100m, second
Christabel Nettey, third, long jump
Evan Dunfee, fourth, 50km race walk
Andre De Grasse, eighth, 200m
Elizabeth Gleadle, ninth, javelin
Michael Mason, ninth, high jump
Mohammed Ahmed, 10th, 5000m
Mohammed Ahmed, 10th, 10000m
Alysha Newman, 10th, pole vault

In 2015, at the last World Outdoor Championships in Beijing, China, the team won two world titles and eight medals overall. Medallists included Derek Drouin (high jump gold), Shawn Barber (pole vault gold), Brianne Theisen-Eaton (heptathlon silver), Damian Warner (decathlon silver), Melissa Bishop (800-metres silver), Andre De Grasse (100-metres bronze), Benjamin Thorne (20km race walk bronze) and the men’s 4x100-metres relay team (bronze).
Female athletes
Melissa Bishop, 800m, Eganville, Ont., Dennis Fairall, Ottawa Lions Track and Field
Rachel Cliff, 10000m, Vancouver, Richard Lee, Unattached
Brittany Crew, shot put, Toronto, Richard Parkinson, Unattached
Crystal Emmanuel, 100m/200m, East York, Ont., Charles Allen, Flying Angels Track Club
Phylicia George, 100mH, Markham, Ont., Dennis Shaver, Flying Angels Track Club
Elizabeth Gleadle, javelin, Vancouver, Larry Steinke, Chinook Track and Field Club

Rachel Hannah, marathon, Barrie, Ont., David Korell, University of Toronto Track Club
Travia Jones, 400m/4x400m, Regina, Dennis Shaver, Unattached
Tarah Korir, marathon, St. Clements, Ont., Wesley Korir, Unattached
Geneviève Lalonde, 3000m steeplechase, Moncton, N.B., Dave Scott-Thomas, Speed River TFC
Natassha McDonald, 4x400m, Brampton, Ont., Collin Lewis, Project Athletics
Lanni Marchant, 10000m, London, Ont., Dave Mills, London Western Track Club
Noelle Montcalm, 400mH/4x400m, Belle River, Ont., Don Garrod, University of Windsor Athletics Club
Carline Muir, 400m/4x400m, Edmonton, Nick Dakin, Unattached
Christabel Nettey, long jump, Surrey, B.C., Bashir Ramzey, Unattached
Alysha Newman, pole vault, London, Ont., Doug Wood, Bolton Pole Vault

Anicka Newell, pole vault, Saskatoon, Cameron Meyer, Project Athletics
Jessica O’Connell, 5000m, Calgary, Mike Van Tighem University of Calgary Athletics
Dayna Pidhoresky, marathon, Vancouver, Josh Seifarth, Unattached
Sheila Reid,1500m, Newmarket, Ont., Mark Rowland, Newmarket Huskies
Andrea Seccafien, 5000m, Toronto, Ross Ristuccia, University of Toronto Track Club
Nicole Sifuentes, 1500m, Winnipeg, Mike McGuire, Unattached
Gabriela Stafford, 1500m, Toronto, Terry Radchenko, University of Toronto Track Club
Aiyanna Stiverne, 400m/4x400m, Laval, Que., Ronald Morency, Unattached
Sage Watson, 400mH/4x400m, Medicine Hat, Alta., Calgary International
Jillian Weir, hammer throw, Kingston, Ont., Greg Jack, Unattached
Natasha Wodak, 10000m, Vancouver, Lynn Kanuka, Prairie Inn Harriers

Male athletes
Mohammed Ahmed, 5000m/10000m, St. Catharines, Ont., Jerry Schumacher, Niagara Olympic
Bolade Ajomale, 4x100m, Richmond Hill, Ont., Kevin LaSure, Flying Angels
Shawnacy Barber, pole vault, Toronto, Dennis Mitchell, Project Athletics
Mathieu Bilodeau, 50km race walk, Québec City, Gerry Dragomir, Race Walk West
Aaron Brown, 200m/4x100m, Toronto, Dennis Mitchell, Phoenix Athletics
Johnathan Cabral, 110mH, Peribonka, Que., Jamie Cook, Unattached
Andre De Grasse, 100m/200m/4x100m, Markham, Ont., Stuart McMillan, Speed Academy
Evan Dunfee, 50km race walk, Richmond, B.C., Gerry Dragomir, Race Walk West
Derek Drouin, high jump, Corunna, Ont., Jeff Huntoon, Sarnia Athletics Southwest

Eric Gillis, marathon, Antigonish, N.S., Dave Scott Thomas, Speed River
Akeem Haynes, 4x100m, Calgary, Stuart McMillan, Unattached
Matthew Hughes, 3000m steeplechase, Oshawa, Ont., Jerry Schumacher, Unattached
Justyn Knight, 5000m, Toronto, Chris Fox, University of Toronto Track Club
Michael Mason, high jump, Nanoose Bay, B.C., Jeff Huntoon, Unattached
Brandon McBride, 800m, Windsor, Ont., Chris Scarrow, Windsor Legion
Tim Nedow, shot put, Brockville, Ont., Dane Miller, Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club
Brendon Rodney, 4x100m, Brampton, Ont., Simon Hodnett, Hamilton Elite Athletics
Gavin Smellie, 100m/4x100m, Brampton, Ont., Desai Williams, Flying Angels
Ben Thorne, 20km race walk, Kitimat, B.C., Gerry Dragomir, Race Walk West
Thomas Toth, marathon, Peterborough, Ont., Zach Johnson, Unattached
Damian Warner, decathlon, London, Ont., Les Gramantik, Unattached

Staff
Glenroy Gilbert, Ottawa, Head Coach
Carla Nicholls, Regina, Team Leader
Scott MacDonald, Ottawa, Technical Manager
Jared MacLeod, Winnipeg, Team Manager
Corey Dempsey, Niagara Falls, Ont., Assistant Manager
Kurt Downes, Harrow, Ont., Team Coach
Dave Scott-Thomas, Guelph, Ont., Team Coach
Heather Hennigar, Halifax, Team Coach
Jeff Huntoon, Toronto, Team Coach
Richard Parkinson, Stouffville, Ont., Team Coach
Jim McDannald, Montreal, Media Attaché

Danielle Chow-Leong, Toronto, Massage Therapist
Dr. Simon Pearson, Victoria, Chiropractor
Brenda Scott-Thomas, Guelph, Ont., Physiotherapist
Dr. Ricky Singh, Georgetown, Ont., Chiropractor


Lesley Tashlin, Ottawa, Massage Therapist
Dana Way, Winnipeg Beach, Man., Biomechanist
Dr. Paddy McCluskey, Victoria, Team Physician
Dr. Trent Stellingwerff, Victoria, IST Lead/Physiologist
Dr. Penny Werthner, Calgary, Mental Performance


A Look Back At Mo Farah's Golden Moments

The four-time Olympic champion will turn his attention to the marathon after the World Championships in London next month.

Sir Mo Farah will race for the final time on the track at a major championships when he bids to defend his world 5,000 and 10,000 metres titles in London.

Another two gold medals would take the four-time Olympic champion’s total of global titles to 11 and continue his unprecedented spell of long-distance domination before he turns his attention to the marathon.

Here we take a look back at his nine triumphs so far:

2011 World Championships, Daegu – 5,000m

Having been pipped at the line by the unknown Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan in the 10,000m days earlier, Farah upgraded his silver to gold over the shorter distance, holding off a late charge from American Bernard Lagat.

2012 Olympic Games, London – 10,000m
Farah completed ‘Super Saturday’ for Great Britain by winning the third of three home gold medals in the Olympic Stadium in one night, kicking away down the home straight to roars from the crowd.

2012 Olympic Games, London – 5,000m
Farah became just the seventh man in Olympic history to achieve the illustrious 5,000m and 10,000m double, resisting a late attack from Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel.

2013 World Championships, Moscow – 10,000m
He gained revenge on Jeilan by powering down the home straight to hold off the Ethiopian and claim the only global crown missing from his collection.

2013 World Championships, Moscow – 5,000m
Farah completed the double-double, two world titles to go with his twin Olympic crowns, kicking with 650m to go and holding off a host of challengers down the home straight.

2015 World Championships, Beijing – 10,000m
He put a summer of speculation and rumour behind him to again prove unbeatable on the track, bursting away from the twin Kenyan challenge of Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor and Paul Tanui down the home straight.

2015 World Championships, Beijing – 5,000m
Helped by the slow early pace, he racked up a seventh straight global title and completed the ‘triple double’, surging past spent Kenyan Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku to take the victory.

2016 Olympic Games, Rio – 10,000m
Farah recovered from a fall after being tripped by training partner Galen Rupp to become the first British track and field athlete to win three Olympic gold medals.

2016 Olympic Games, Rio – 5,000m
Farah avoided any such drama and pulled clear down the home straight, holding off the challenge of American Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo and Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet to become only the second man after Lasse Viren to retain Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m titles.


What's The Gear That Keeps Kara Winger Going?

Kara was very kind to take time out of her busy travel and preparation for 2017 World Championships and give us an inside look at the gear that keeps her going! Kara is the most successful and distinguished Javelin Woman in USA sport history. She currently holds the American Record and has represented the stars and bars in 3 Olympic Games!

Kara Winger-Athlete

Javelin: 66.67m

I want to approach this list from a travel perspective. I’m currently in the middle of a two-month stay in Europe that has already taken me to five countries on two different continents, and will see me in five more countries before it’s over. I’ve honed my travel skills, as this is my ninth season as a professional, and when I’m traveling for so long, I need to feel like myself to be my most successful. Therefore, this list addresses training and competition effectiveness as well as personal comfort items!

  1. Shoes

I learned a long time ago that your throwing shoes need to be in your carry-on luggage. If I get to a meet and literally everything but my javelin spikes get lost, I can still compete in a borrowed uniform and newly-purchased socks and sports bras. No shoes, no result, though! I wear ASICS Javelin Pro spikes and bring along extra individual spikes, a wrench, and shoelaces. Great training shoes are essential as well, and really help your legs out with all of the extra walking you do when away from home. The ASICS GEL-Craze TRs are my favorite shoes of all time, and I’m traveling with ASICS Roadhawk FFs right now. I typically wear my training shoes on the plane so that I’m sure they’re with me.

  1. Therapy tools

Time with quality physios is precious when on the road, so you need to be able to take care of your own small issues. I always have my Triggerpoint Foam Roller and a lacrosse ball (pick one up at any sporting goods store), as well as a light bungee for rehab resistance work and KT Tape’s new strips. Keeping your body healthy is your first step to high-quality performance!

  1. Implements

For me, this means packing a completely separate bag (more on that below). I have a RockBack case that holds four javelins. It has been to five continents with me, and I’ll cry the day it’s not usable anymore! You can’t practice without implements, and I always bring them to competitions, too (because it hasn’t been good when I chose to leave them home). Eliminate doubt and bring what you know you need to perform at your best.

  1. Quality luggage

My javelin bag is about 7.5 feet long, has handles in the middle, and is easily manageable on its own. Add a suitcase with all of my clothing and spare things, carry-on luggage and a backpack, and I have no free hands. My eBags EXO Hardside spinner 2.0 suitcase rolls so easily on four wheels, and is sturdy enough to tow my carry-on suitcase with a strap as well, even down cobbled European streets. The eBags TLS Mother Lode mini is perfect for my throwing shoes, extra snacks, and a few key clothing items, and functions as a backpack holder in long customs lines. An ASICS backpack transports my essentials while on the plane and my competition gear in the stadium. Travel days can be stressful enough without a luggage breakdown, so plan to manage all of your belongings in advance.

  1. Video equipment

I spend a lot of time training alone, so I film most of my practices. While traveling, it’s even more likely that I’ll be alone while throwing. I always have my iPad charged and memory available to record throws so I can make adjustments that I might not feel. Practice film and comparison to past clips is really helpful for me, and it’s nice (and sometimes essential to my success) to be able to share with my coach back home as well.

  1. Entertainment

My iPad isn’t just my filming equipment, but the location of all of my books and TV shows for long flights and hotel down time. I bring my laptop and an external hard drive so I can blog and email more easily than on my phone, edit photos, or free up memory from various devices. I find it really helpful to do things that keep my brain engaged in all of the down time that exists on travel trips, and not just totally zone out to television (although there’s definitely a time for that!). I earned my MBA online over the last four seasons, and I loved having classes to take care of when I was on the road. It gave me purpose in a way that’s totally different from track and field, and felt like it kept me sharp. I own my nerdiness enough to say that I truly miss school! Related to this is having a portable battery to charge devices on a travel day. I spent an unexpected six and a half hours in a van in Italy last summer, and would have gone completely crazy if not for my battery and Arrow episodes ready to go on my iPad.

  1. Plane sleeping tools

Sleep is so important, especially on the way to a big competition in a totally different time zone. I sleep as much as possible on trans-oceanic flights, and involved in that is an excellent neck pillow, eye mask, scarf, hooded sweatshirt, ear buds under Bose noise-cancelling headphones, and compression socks. I also take my contacts out, brush my teeth, and even wash my face the best I can before passing out: Keeping my routine normal, even on an airplane, helps me get big chunks of sleep without the help of medicine while traveling. (I tried a sleeping pill once but it was a horrible, groggy, two-days-wasted experience for me.) These little details are great for super early morning flights as well, so you can hit the ground a little recovered after 4am wakeup calls.

  1. Snacks

There is something so comforting about having the same snacks you would normally eat at home on the road, and the benefits to packing them are twofold in my mind: Your nutrition stays familiar and, as you eat your snacks, your suitcase gets lighter! I’ve already lost about 2 kilos from my luggage in snacks alone on this EuroTrip. The snacks I bring are mostly based around my competition requirements, so I pack Zone bars (Chocolate Mint and Double Dark Chocolate) and fruit snacks (I like all of the varieties of the Simply Balanced brand at Target) as well as a bunch of different powdered drink mixes to pour into water bottles. I have Nuun hydration tablets, Propel, Minute Maid Iced Tea, and some iced coffee packets, as well as Emergen-C (usually for the plane).

  1. Great headphones

Related to number 7! I thought about purchasing noise-cancelling headphones for my entire career, and finally pulled the trigger in 2015! My Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones go all the way over my little ears and shelter me from all of the chaos of a long travel day. I usually wear my ear buds underneath these, so I can preserve the battery for noise-cancelling only and roll the cord of my smaller headphones up and stick it in my shirt to roam around the airplane. Plus, the ear buds are another layer of noise-cancellation! I sleep a ton better on the plane with my headphones on and am just generally calmer when I’m able to tune foreign auditory stimuli out for a while. Bonus: Don’t bother your roommate with whatever show you’re watching (we’ve all heard audio from too-loud ear buds before).

  1. Portable speaker

Music is important for my many solo stateside practices, too. My JBL Charge speaker stays home, but my JBL Clip 2 comes with me everywhere!


Provisional WC Entry Lists Now Available



Asics Relishes New Role In World Championships

With its founding principles based on achieving “a sound mind in a sound body” ASICS believe the IAAF World Championships London 2017, which open on 4 August, provide the perfect fit for the global sportswear giant and Official Partner of the IAAF World Athletics Series.

After ASICS committed to a multiple-year partnership with the IAAF last year, the 16th edition of the biennial event represents the company’s first such involvement at a World Championships.

Taking on a multi-faceted role which includes everything from kitting out the many volunteers, who ensure the smooth running of the championships, to providing the kit for half-a-dozen key nations, Asics will be at the heart of the sport’s flagship ten-day event, which is expected to be watched by billions around the world.

ASICS – an acronym for the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano” translated as ‘a sound mind in a sound body’ – have also launched a multi-year brand campaign around London, designed to encourage more people to be more physically active and to enjoy the benefits of embracing an active lifestyle.

INSPIRING LONDONERS TO MOVE
Research by ASICS has recently revealed that Londoners’ daily commute on the underground can make them feel twice as tired and three times more stressed than those that walk their commute.

Some 92 per cent of those who do physical activity also believe it improves their mood, but the problem is that most of us struggle to fit it in, with almost three-quarters of Brits (73%) saying the reason they don’t move more is because they don’t have the time.

In response to this, ASICS has partnered with the IAAF World Championships London 2017 to launch #IMoveLondon, a campaign to help inspire Londoners to trade the misery of the daily commute for the benefits of getting outside and moving more.

ASICS has created a video series with the SMSB (Sound Mind Sound Body), which shows how people can turn their city into a gym by illustrating the amazing locations where Londoners can get active. The SMSB is a global community of creative and sports enthusiasts founded by ASICS and curated by DJ and poet Charlie Dark, who are leading workshops at a series of pop up events hosted by ASICS around the capital.

Run the Tube is a multisensory movement experience, which creates an 85-metre tunnel made from hoops of light that respond to the music being played. Designed by American artists Rob Jensen and Warren Trezevan, Run the Tube will take up residence at three locations – the Leake Street Tunnel, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Clapham Common -- from August 3-10.

IAAF President Seb Coe said: “With the IAAF World Championships coming to London, it’s more important than ever to get the host city moving more. We’re extremely excited to work with ASICS on a campaign that will encourage Londoners to positively disrupt their everyday with exercise – even long after the Championships have finished.”

Paul Miles, Senior General Manager, Global Marketing Division ASICS Corporation, said: “ASICS knows that movement helps get the most out of life – helping you to feel good in your mind and body. We also know how tough it can be to find the time to get the benefit of exercise into our increasingly busy lives. We’re all inspired by the amazing athletes taking part in the IAAF World Championships in London this summer. With #IMoveLondon we want to spread that inspiration by helping Londoners swap the time they’ll normally be commuting to enjoy the benefits of exercise by getting active in their exceptional city.”

ASICS will also be involved in a number of other significant activations in their association with the IAAF World Championships. They’ll open their Out of Home execution on July 31 and include domination at Oxford Circus and Stratford tube stations, as well as the Westfield Shopping Centre (near the London Stadium) – a presence in more than 15 key tube stations around the British capital and a massive outdoor banner at the iconic Piccadilly Circus. It’s a total plan which is excepted to deliver well in excess of 51m impacts.

The sportswear giant also plans to open its flagship store - its biggest worldwide – on Regent Street in central London on August 2 as it seeks to further its growing presence in the UK.

AT THE HEART OF THE IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS LONDON 2017
ASICS will also have a very distinctive on-track presence inside the cavernous Olympic Stadium with their sponsorship of six national federations; Italy, France, Japan, Korea, Netherlands and Morocco – which between them won seven medals at the 2015 IAAF World Championships and in London will be hoping for more continued success.

As an innovative company committed to designs that inspire athletes to perform at their best and unlock their potential Asics branded athletes in London – which include Olympic 200m bronze medallist Christophe Lemaitre of France, America’s rising 8.58m long jump talent Jarrion Lawson - will compete in the hi-tec HL_0 Sprint Suit, designed with rigid and high stretch materials to eliminate restrictions on the wearer’s motions without energy loss.

Meanwhile, in a smart design concept the triangle motif of ASICS’ IAAF delegation uniforms capture the same geometric patterns seen at the 2012 Olympic host stadium, venue of the IAAF World Championships in London.

Without question ASICS will be genuinely at the heart of the sport’s marquee event and it is an opportunity they are relishing.

Miles concluded: “We are very proud to partner with the IAAF to ensure the London World Championships deliver an unforgettable experience to all involved. From the outfitting of all the volunteers with our newest apparel and footwear, to our support of six national federations and many sponsored athletes, ASICS is excited at the opportunity of contributing to inspire millions of people to get physically active!”

Steve Landells for the IAAF


London 2017 will smash records for ticket sales to become biggest World Championships in history

Organisers of London 2017 have confirmed the event will smash records as the biggest World Championships in history.

More than 660,000 tickets have been sold for the championships, which begin on Friday evening – far exceeding the previous attendance record of 417,156 sold for the 2009 event in Berlin.

A quarter of a million people will fill the London Stadium next weekend for the opening three days of competition, which will feature Usain Bolt attempting to bow out with a successful defence of his 100 metre title, and Mo Farah bidding for a sixth world title in the 10,000m.

All three opening nights of competition will also be preceded by special ceremonies to reallocate medals originally won by drugs cheats.

Jessica Ennis-Hill will finally receive the 2011 world heptathlon gold she was denied by Russia’s Tatyana Chernova, while Christine Ohuruogu will form part of British 4x400m relay quartets to be given medals from 2009, 2011 and 2013.

 

Organisers of London 2017 have confirmed the event will smash records as the biggest World Championships in history.

More than 660,000 tickets have been sold for the championships, which begin on Friday evening – far exceeding the previous attendance record of 417,156 sold for the 2009 event in Berlin.

A quarter of a million people will fill the London Stadium next weekend for the opening three days of competition, which will feature Usain Bolt attempting to bow out with a successful defence of his 100 metre title, and Mo Farah bidding for a sixth world title in the 10,000m.

All three opening nights of competition will also be preceded by special ceremonies to reallocate medals originally won by drugs cheats.

Jessica Ennis-Hill will finally receive the 2011 world heptathlon gold she was denied by Russia’s Tatyana Chernova, while Christine Ohuruogu will form part of British 4x400m relay quartets to be given medals from 2009, 2011 and 2013.


“It is going to be a special night for me,” said Ennis-Hill. “I’m honoured that the IAAF and the organisers of the London World Championships have offered me the chance to receive my medal in front of the British fans.

“The London Stadium is where I won Olympic gold in 2012 and I never thought I would be back in the stadium receiving another gold.

“I have fond memories of the podium in 2012 and I am looking forward to creating some more next month.”

Organisers have also announced that a last remaining small batch of tickets for every session will go on sale on Tuesday morning as part of changes in stadium requirements.

“For those that missed out on the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games, this is really it – the best chance to see the stadium in that form once more,” said Niels de Vos, championships director.

“I cannot stress enough how amazing the action is going to be.”

Meanwhile, Russia have confirmed they will field athletes in eight disciplines at the championships.

The country is still banned from international competition after the emergence of its state-sponsored doping regime, but 19 Russian athletes have been cleared to compete as neutrals in London.

They will not wear their country’s colours and the Russian national anthem will not be played if they win.

Mariya Lasitskene is a strong favourite to retain her high jump world title, while Sergey Shubenkov will also defend his 110m hurdles world title.

“Russian athletics is in a very complicated situation and has been through a deep crisis over the past two years, but we are gradually getting over it,” said Pavel Kolobkov, Russian sports minister.

“Obviously this situation is psychologically heavy on athletes, coaches and management, but we hope that we will soon get over this crisis.”


3 Added To Jamaica's World Champs Squad

Three Jamaican athletes have been added to Jamaica's team to the World Championships on the invitation of the IAAF.

High jumper Kimberly Williamson, shot putter Gleneve Grange, and 800m athlete Kimmara McDonald have been added to the squad after the world's governing body extended invitations to them because of their top-32 ranking in their respective events.

"Three athletes have been added to its World Championships team to the IAAF World Championships London 2017," confirmed the Jamaica Athletics Administ-rative Association (JAAA).

"The athletes are as follows: Kimberly Williamson, Gleneve Grange, and Kimmara McDonald."

"These athletes, although not meeting the automatic qualifying standard in their respective event, have been invited to participate in the championships by the IAAF on the basis that they are ranked in the top 32 in the world," the release continued.

"Every effort is being made to facilitate their participation with respect to visa procurement, travel, and other logistics issues. We congratulate the three ladies and wish them all the very best in representing their country."

Jamaica had earlier named a 56-member team headed by medal prospects Usain Bolt, Elaine Thompson, Fedrick Dacres, Danielle Williams, O'Dayne Richards, Shericka Jackson, and Yohan Blake.


Brendan Foster's Favorite Moments & Athletes

Nine summer Olympics, nine Commonwealth Games, every World Championships since its inception in 1983 and all the 37 runnings of the London Marathon.

Brendan Foster's commentary career, which has spanned almost 40 years and borne witness to some of the greatest moments and athletes in history, is coming to an end after next month's World Championships.

The 69-year-old, who competed for Great Britain at three Olympics before taking up the microphone, picks out the highlights of his commentary career.

Top three athletes

"Recently, clearly, my favourite has been Mo Farah, the winner of an unprecedented set of medals at the very highest level.

"During the middle of my career, it was Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie.

"And at the beginning of my career it would have been Seb Coe."

Best performance

"The best performance I ever commentated on was Haile Gebrselassie winning the 10,000m at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

"He hadn't trained for three or four weeks beforehand because of an injury.

"The rest of the field did not know and Kenya's Paul Tergat, who was arguably the fastest in the world at the time, did not take advantage.

"Gebrselassie should never have won that race but he did because he just had not learned how to lose.

"He was not fit enough to win, but he dug it out and did not show anyone that he was in pain.

"He could not run a lap of honour at the end, he had to walk it instead. He didn't run again that year.

"It was a heroic performance, that is why it stands out in my memory."

Favourite race

"Mo Farah winning in the 10,000m in London 2012 was the most exciting race I have seen.

"Could this guy, who hadn't even made the final in 2008, really deliver on the form he had showed and win gold in front of a home crowd?

"He could."

Favourite moment

"In the Great North Run in 2013 we had Mo Farah, Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele - three greatest athletes of all time - competing in the race I had founded, running past Gateshead Stadium where I had made my name by breaking the 3,000m world record in 1974.

"The combination of those three elements made for a very emotional moment."

Favourite event:

"London 2012, an event that will never be forgotten."

Funniest moment

"It was 1985 and Steve Jones and Charlie Spedding were running neck and neck, one and two, at the London Marathon.

"At that time we did not have many cameras. We switched from a shot of the two of them together to a brass band playing near the Cutty Sark.

"When we cut back, Charlie was running on his own with Steve out of shot.

"Next time we saw Steve he was rubbing his hamstring and I said to my co-commentator David Coleman, 'it looks like Steve Jones has had to stop because of a cramp'.

"David, noticing that Steve was cleaning his leg rather than rubbing his muscles, said 'I think you have got one letter wrong there.'"

What I'll miss most

"It is the privilege of translating my thoughts and views on something I love to the most knowledgeable athletics audience in the world.

"The BBC athletics audience have been watching the sport since the four-minute mile 60-odd years ago.

"That is a privilege I'll miss."


Usain Bolt is down to his last, blazing curtain call

Muhammad Ali stood alone on many fronts, but Joe Frazier, George Foreman and a few others still stood toe-to-toe with him in the ring. Jack Nicklaus contended with Arnold Palmer on the front end of his career and Tom Watson on the back end.

Usain Bolt? Nobody has been a match for him, on or off the track.

The man who reshaped the record book and saved his sport is saying goodbye. His sprints through the 100 meters and Jamaica's 4x100 relay at the world championships, which begin Friday, are expected to produce golds yet again, and leave track with this difficult question: Who can possibly take his place?

"You would have to have someone who's dominating, and no one's doing that," said Michael Johnson, the former world-record holder at 200 and 400 meters and perhaps the sport's brightest star in the 1990s. "You'd have to have someone who has that something special like he has, in terms of personality and presence. You're not going to have that."

Though he will not retire undefeated, Bolt stands in the rarest of company: an athlete who was never beaten when the stakes were greatest. And with a showman's flair as transcendent as his raw speed — Chicken McNuggets for dinner, his fabled "To The World" pose for dessert and dancing away at nightclubs till dawn — he hoisted his entire, troubled sport upon his shoulders and made it watchable and relevant.

Since his era of dominance began in 2008, Bolt went undefeated at the Olympics — 9 for 9 — in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay. (One of those medals was stripped because of doping by a teammate on the 2008 relay team.) He has set, and re-set, the world records in all three events. His marks of 19.30, then 19.19, at 200 meters, were once thought virtually impossible. He set a goal of breaking 19 seconds in Rio de Janeiro last summer, and when he came up short, it became clear the barrier will be safe for years.

At the world championships, Bolt's only "loss" came in 2011, when he was disqualified for a false start in the 100 meters. Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake won the title that year, as well as the Jamaican national championships at 100 and 200 meters leading to the London Olympics. Heading back to London five years later, Blake is an afterthought.

And Bolt's mastery of this sport remains unchallenged.

"I'll be sad to see someone like him go," said America's Justin Gatlin, Bolt's longest and sturdiest challenger, who has been disingenuously portrayed as the brooding bad boy set against Bolt's carefree party guy. "He's such a big figure in our sport. Not only is he a big figure, but the kind of guy who always will be a competitor when he steps onto the line."

Though it's tricky to compare dominance in track to that in any other sport, there's an element of Nicklaus in Bolt's dominance. Impressive as his 18 major championships are, Nicklaus' 19 second-place finishes and 73 top-10s spoke to his ability to get into the mix in most of the majors over the quarter-century while he was collecting titles. Nicklaus had to fend off Palmer, Watson, Johnny Miller and a dozen other legitimate contenders at every event. Bolt hasn't faced anything like that.

Yet they shared this important similarity: Often, the contests were over before they even began. Or, as Tom Weiskopf once said: "Jack knew he was going to beat you. You knew Jack was going to beat you. And Jack knew that you knew that he was going to beat you."

At the worlds two years ago, Gatlin had Bolt beaten in the 100 but leaned in at the finish line a microsecond too early. Bolt passed him and won by 0.01 seconds. The American all but admitted he psyched himself out.

Speaking to the pressure of racing someone such as Bolt, the Scottish sports historian and former Olympic coach Tom McNab compared sprinting to running in a tunnel.

"And once you become aware of what's happening outside your tunnel, you're in trouble," he said.

In boxing, Ali wasn't necessarily unbeatable, but he was incomparable as both a sharp-witted showman and an athlete with a social conscience, using his platform to preach tolerance and oppose war.

Bolt hasn't sought that sort of impact, at least not yet, but it's hard to overstate the mark he made on his troubled sport and, thus, the Olympics, which have long featured athletics as the must-see event of the final two weeks.

Over years and decades, the showcase sport of the Olympics has devolved into a sordid litany of doping scandals. The latest concerns widespread corruption and cheating in Russia, and heading into Rio, it undermined not only the sport and its managers, but the Olympics and their leaders' willingness to deal with it.

But when Bolt sauntered onto the track, flashed a peace sign and blew a kiss to the crowd, all was forgotten. Not just for the 9, or 19, seconds while he was running, but for the entire evening and beyond. He made track, and thus, the Olympics, eminently watchable.

He'll do it one more time on a smaller stage — track's world championships — but a stage with plenty of symbolic meaning.

When he headed to London for the Olympics in 2012, Bolt held all the records, but was portrayed as vulnerable, following the false start, a long list of nagging injuries and his losses to Blake.

By the time he left, he had pretty much anointed himself as the greatest. Four years later, he said that was precisely his goal: "To be among Ali and Pele," he said.

He's on that list, but when the lights go out after the relays Aug. 11 — 10 days before his 31st birthday — it will be time to say goodbye.

"Once he's gone," McNab says, "there's no major personality that would make any significant impact at the world level."

———

AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.



Rio Champ Thiago Braz Reportedly Out Of Worlds

Thiago Braz, the lone Brazilian to win track and field gold at the Rio Olympics, will reportedly not pole vault at the world championships in London next month.

Braz, 23, is out of worlds due to poor form, a calf injury and back pain and will not compete again this year, according to Brazilian media.

The shock Rio gold medalist struggled in his follow-up season, ranking outside the top 40 outdoors this year with a top clearance of 5.60 meters.

Braz cleared an Olympic record 6.03 meters to upset world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie in Rio. He also cleared 5.86 meters this past winter indoor season.

Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks is the only man to clear six meters this season, going undefeated in 10 competitions, according to Tilastopaja.org. The lone American man to win a world pole vault title was Brad Walker in 2007.

Other stars who will miss worlds include Rio gold medalists Eliud Kipchoge (marathon) and Brianna Rollins (100m hurdles) and London Olympic champions Taoufik Makhloufi (1500m) and Greg Rutherford (long jump).


Fed Prez Says Jamaica Could Beat The Form Charts

By Hubert Lawrence - Reuters

Earlier this month, the respected US publication TRACK AND FIELD NEWS predicted that Jamaica will win 11 medals at the World Championships, which start on August 4 in London.

 They have now dropped that figure to nine, but Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Asso-ciation (JAAA), thinks that the 11 could be surpassed. In the same discourse, he expressed the view that three-time World 100 metres champion Usain Bolt is a special talent.

"I feel it is a reasonable assumption that we can get 11 medals", agreed Dr Blake. "We may surprise and get a few more," he continued. In an observation on the composition of the Jamaican team to London, he said, "I think we have a pretty good team, a good mix of youngsters and more seasoned campaigners."

The team includes athletes like Bolt and Novlene Williams-Mills, who first participated at the World Championships in 2005 alongside newcomers like Jaheel Hyde, Demish Gaye, Megan Simmonds, and Rhonda Whyte.

Even though Olympic 200 metre champions Bolt and Elaine Thompson are only running the 100 metres, Blake views the 11-medal prediction favourably and said, "it's still a good haul."

The July 2 TRACK AND FIELD NEWS predictions pinpoint Bolt, Thompson, Olympic 110 metre hurdles gold medallist Omar McLeod and discus thrower Fedrick Dacres as individual World Championships winners for Jamaica.

In his own prediction about the future of Jamaican track and field, Blake forecast, "When Bolt steps away, we won't have an outstanding brilliant star, but we'll have enough stars.

"He's special," he concluded, "and another talent like him will be a long time in the making."


Farah To End Track Career At Zürich DL

Mo Farah is to postpone his track retirement in order to compete in the Diamond League finale in Zurich.

The Briton, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, originally planned to bow out of track events after his home World Championships in London next month.

Farah – who completed the 5,000 metres and 10,000m double at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics – then changed that plan to agree to run in Birmingham on August 20.

But the 34-year-old, who is to focus on marathon and road running following the end of his track career, will now finish with the 5,000m race in Zurich on August 24 having qualified for the Diamond League final.

"Prior to switching to longer distances and the road, Mo Farah plans to return to Zurich for a farewell appearance," a statement from organisers read.

"Letzigrund Stadium is where he broke the 13m barrier in the men's 5,000m as the first British athlete in 2010, and it is where he was crowned double European champion four years later.

"Now, he plans to bid the track farewell in the legendary arena."


Sponsors Continue Support Of WR Bonuses At Worlds

With the IAAF World Championships set to burst out of the blocks for the 16th time next Saturday 4 August for ten days of scintillating action, the athletes are fine tuning their final preparations for the premier athletics event of the year.

A galaxy of stars are set to descend on London Stadium in the British capital, led by Usain Bolt as the incomparable Jamaican sprinter winds down a career that includes 11 world titles. Two of his individual gold medal performances were propelled by world records, his still-standing marks of 9.58 in the 100m and 19.19 in the 200m set at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, both of which were rewarded with a world record bonus of US$ 100,000, presented with the support of two of the IAAF’s partners: TDK (for the men’s events) and Toyota (for the women’s events).

Once again, the IAAF is proud to present its World Record Programme at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 where athletes achieving a world record will be eligible* for a special World Record Award of US$ 100,000 offered by TDK and Toyota.

The performance must be an improvement on the existing IAAF World Record. Performances which equal the existing IAAF World Record will not be eligible for a World Record Award.

The last world record award to be presented with a bonus was Ashton Eaton's 9045-point tally in the decathlon at the World Championships in Beijing two years ago.

TDK's involvement with the IAAF World Championships goes beyond the world record award as the Japanese electronics company has been the main bib sponsor (men's events) for all 15 previous editions and will maintain that involvement in London.

Another Japanese company – Toyota Motor Corporation – has offered the same sponsorship package for the women athletes since becoming an IAAF partner in 2003 ahead of the World Championships that year in Paris.

IAAF

PRIZE MONEY

More than 7 million dollars on offer in London
A total of US$ 7,344,000 in prize money will be paid* by the IAAF in London as follows:

Individual Events
Gold: US$ 60,000
Silver: US$ 30,000
Bronze: US$ 20,000
fourth place: US$ 15,000
fifth place: US$ 10,000
sixth place: US$ 6000
seventh place: US$ 5000
eighth place: US$ 4000

Relays (per team)
Gold: US$ 80,000
Silver: US$ 40,000
Bronze: US$ 20,000
fourth place: US$ 16,000
fifth place: US$ 12,000
sixth place: US$ 8000
seventh place: US$ 6000
eighth place: US$ 4000

* The payment of prize money and bonuses is dependent upon the usual ratification process, including athletes clearing the relevant anti-doping procedures.


The Bahamas Names Its London Team

nae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner will lead a small team from The Bahamas to the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Championships, set to get underway next week Friday in London, England. 
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) ratified a 21-member team yesterday, one of the smallest in recent memory. Miller-Uibo is the only athlete to have qualified in two events — the women's 200 and 400 meters (in) — and has already stated her intention of running both in London.

Gardiner went under the qualifying standard in the men's doom in every race he ran this season, except for his heat at the BAAA Open National Championships. The other members of the team are: Females Anthonique Strachan (women's 200m), Tynia Gaither (women's 200m), Devynne Charlton (100m hurdles), Jenae Ambrose (women's 200m), Bianca Stuart (women's long jump), Tamara Myers (women's triple jump), Carmiesha Cox (women's 4x100/4x400m), Keianna Albury (women's 4x100m), Shaquania Dorsett (women's 4x400m), Lanece Clarke (women's 4x400m), Christine Amertil (women's 4x400m), Doneisha Anderson (women's 4x400m);

and males Teray Smith (women's 4x200m), Donald Thomas (men's high jump), Alonzo Russell (men's 4x400m), Kendrick Thompson (men's 4x400m), Ramon Miller (men's 4x400m), OJay Ferguson (men's 4x400m) and Michael Mathieu (men's 4x400m). Just eight Bahamians qualified in individual events for the London World Championships. Stuart and Myers are the only two listed for individual events who didn't qualify, but they have been invited by the IAAF because of their global rankings, and to fill the athlete quota requirements for their respective events.

Mabelene Miller and Carl Oliver are the co-managers of the team, Sharon Gardiner is the assistant manager, Dianne Woodside-Johnson is the head coach, Rupert Gardiner is the relay coordinator, Ronald Cartwright, Everette Fraser and Jason Edwards are the assistant coaches, Dr. Keir Miller is the team doctor, and Eugena Patton and Bernique Hanna have been named to the medical team. According to BAAA President Rosamunde Carey, they are still waiting on the names of about three more athletes to be confirmed by the IAAF. They sent in a request for five in total, and so far, just Stuart and Myers have been confirmed to fill the athlete quota requirements. "It's a different make-up for this team that what we're used of seeing," said Carey yesterday.

"There's a good mixture of young and more experienced ones, and we feel very good about their chances. In fact, we believe that all of our qualifiers will make the final in their respective events. Shaunae is looking very good and we're looking forward to her doing some big things, and Steven recently told me that he feels very good about these world championships. He's approaching it with much more confidence than what he had at the Olympics last year. We're looking for him to make the final, and possibly get on the podium. Also, we're very excited about the relays. I believe that we could do some big things in the relays."

Team co-manager Miller is excited as well. "I feel good about the team. I think we have a chance to put three to four athletes on the podium," she said. "There are a few more athletes we hope to add to the team. The management staff is doing everything possible to make sure the team is comfortable and ready to perform." High jumper Jamal Wilson is one of those athletes reportedly under consideration by the IAAF. He was just three centimeters off the qualifying standard this year, and is ranked among the top 45 high jumpers in the world for 2017. A number of notable names are missing though. Chris "The Fireman" Brown has competed in every world championships since becoming a senior athlete.

His streak of nine straight appearances comes to an end this year, as he failed to qualify and has not been added to the team for the relay. "Superman" Leevan Sands has been to six world championships, missing just the 2013 Moscow World Championships in the past 15 years, as a result of that ruptured patella tendon he suffered at the 2012 London Olympics. Also not named to the team this year are national record holders Pedrya Seymour and Jeffery Gibson. Seymour has been injured all year and Gibson is coming off a torn labrum that he suffered at the Miller Anniversary Games in London last year. Be that as it may, BAAA President Carey is confident that the team will do well, and make all Bahamians proud. The world championships will be held August 4-13 in London.


More Impressive: Fast Mile Or Slow Marathon?

There's something a little gimmicky about celebrating distance purely for distance's sake

Last year, speaking to Outside, ultrarunner Rickey Gates made the following observation while reflecting on Mount Marathon, the brief but notoriously brutal mountain race in Seward, Alaska: “There’s a great fascination with ultras being harder than other races,” Gates said, “but the mile is every bit as difficult as 100 miles if you apply yourself to it.”

Coming from a guy who is currently wrapping up a 4,000-mile run across the country, the notion that four laps around a track can potentially pose a serious challenge might seem a little surprising. The mile is every bit as difficult as 100 miles? How can that be the case? Only a sliver of the global running population will ever experience the rigors of racing Western States or Leadville. The mile run, on the other hand, is firmly ensconced as an enduringly unpopular fixture in high school gym classes from Miami to Anchorage.

When the goal is merely to finish, it’s logical to assume that the longer the race, the more formidable the task. There are exceptions, of course. Mount Marathon is “only” a 5K, but every year runners struggle to complete the precipitous 3,000-foot ascent/descent in one piece. In 2012, someone disappeared.

But while surviving an ultra (or, for that matter, a boring old “regular” marathon) can be a gratifying item to cross off your bucket list, it shouldn’t obscure the fact that, as Gates notes, on the hierarchy of running achievement, longer doesn’t automatically mean more difficult. Another way of putting this is that it’s less about what you run and more about how you run.

In high school, I had a running mentor of sorts who insisted that the 800 meters (two laps around a track) was the toughest track and field event. His rationale was that the half-mile is essentially “a two-lap sprint,” requiring an almost all-out effort from the gun. The 1,500 meters was long enough that you could relax and find a groove. In the 400 meters, meanwhile, you had the psychological edge of knowing the race was just one lap. But the 800 was vicious. Two minutes of pure agony.

It’s a contentious claim, to be sure—for one thing, nobody can truly sprint for two laps—but at the time it helped me appreciate the way each event carries its own distinct challenges if one is willing to “apply oneself.” It may be a symptom of distance-running snobbery, but I’ll always find it more impressive when someone tries to run their fastest possible mile than when someone putters through an ultra and then expects adulation because they managed not to die.

(This is not to suggest that the only “right” way to run a race is so you’re semicomatose by the end. I have no beef with anyone who’d prefer to stop every mile for a selfie. If your idea of a good time is running 26.2 miles in Star Wars cosplay, may the force be with you.)

There’s a tendency among certain nonrunners to assume that anyone who pursues the sport competitively aspires to take part in ever-longer events. The underlying assumption here is that race distance, rather than effort, is the ultimate validation of athletic prowess.

This is as untrue for amateurs as it is for professionals. I know dedicated 5K runners who have zero interest in the marathon but could qualify for Boston in their sleep. Some of these athletes have PRs that are so fast that it fills me with a combination of rage and despair, yet they still get asked if they think “they could do a marathon,” as if that would be a career-
defining moment.

Call it the bias of a former track runner, but I’ve always believed there’s something vacuous and a little gimmicky about celebrating distance purely for distance’s sake. It’s the same thing that annoys me about one-upmanship in obstacle-course racing: the idea that the only way to “push the envelope” is by tacking on more miles or adding a larger vat of electrified manure for contestants to plunge into.

Again, this is not to disparage those who might find enlightenment in the church of Tough Mudder or by running 5,649 laps around a half-mile city block. But if you want to test the limits of what you’re capable of, a good old-fashioned 5K can be a just as effective (and probably more affordable) as a more ostensibly “extreme” alternative.
You just have to apply yourself.


US Olympic gold medallist says Birmingham is perfect - except for the traffic

AN Olympic Gold medal-winning hurdler says Birmingham is ready to host a major global sporting event like the 2022 Commonwealth Games , if only it can sort out the traffic congestion.

America’s 100m hurdler Dawn Harper-Nelson gave a massive thumbs up to Birmingham and its sporting facilities as she arrived at Alexander Stadium to begin final training for next months World Athletics Championships in London.

The 33-year-old has been to Birmingham five or six times to compete, including in Diamond League events and in the run up to London 2012 , and says she enjoys the training facilities, the hotels and visiting our cinemas and restaurants.

She said: “I do love coming here, I don’t have to worry about not having things – Birmingham have done it right.

“You have the perfect facilities with for indoor and outdoor here. I don’t have to worry how the weather will be – the track is great, the hurdles are here and the blocks.”

She said Birmingham could definitely stage a major event like the Commonwealth Games but admitted sharing the traffic frustrations with thousands of Brummie commuters.

“When they’ve held Diamond Leagues time and time again they’ve had the practice. But there’s one thing for us, which we always think of, is timing and traffic.” She said the UK’s traffic can be ‘intense’.

Commonwealth Games: The promising Birchfield Harriers who could challenge for medals in 2022

“Your facilities are great, the fans are great, you’ve had the surveys to see what the athletes want, you handle the visits very well here, it’s just that traffic. When you’re in that bus and trying to get to your destination and you have to leave and hour ahead.”

Ms Harper-Nelson stressed that despite the experience from previous stays here, the trip to the Stadium on Friday morning had gone ‘well’.

The USA Track and Field team returned to Alexander Stadium after using it as a training base for the London Olympics five years ago. Ms Harper-Nelson was joined by 4x400m relay runner Natasha Hastings for interviews and a photocall while other USA Track and Field team members including sprinters Isiah Young and Justin Gatlin, limbered up inside the stadium.

Team members also took part in a community sports day with local children in Perry Park next to the stadium.

The 150 strong American team arrived in Birmingham a day after the Jamaicans set up camp at the University of Birmingham.

Birmingham is 'home from home' for Jamaican athletes

Top athletes from Jamaican Track and Field team have described Birmingham as a ‘home from home’ as they arrived for their World Athletics Championship training camp.

Although his team mates are settling in at the University of Birmingham, global sprint star Usain Bolt yet to arrive on campus.

Team vice-president Ian Forbes said the Olympic champion and World’s fastest man is ‘training well’ for his final race before he retires from competitive racing.

Mr Forbes said: “We will certainly miss him, his presence, he’s inspirational but we are hopeful that he will remain around the sport and support us when called upon.”

The University came in for major praise from the track relay stars after they hosted the team for 12 days before the 2012 Olympic Games. Bolt along with Yohan Blake and Warren Weir famously said ‘Big Up Birmingham’ after their Olympic 200m win at London 2012.

This time, the Jamaicans have been making use of the university’s new eight-lane athletics track and £55 million Sport & Fitness Club, which opened in May.

Don Quarrie, who won gold in the 200metres in the 1972 Olympics, called the facilities a ‘home from home’.

He said: “we were successful in 2012, being here this year will help us to be even more successful because you have a brand new track. We regard this as our home from home and we look forward to doing well in London next week.”

Sprint hurdlers Danielle Williams and Jaheel Hyde also endorsed Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games .

Zena Wooldridge OBE, Director of Sport, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have such amazing new facilities on campus, and very excited to have the opportunity of the World Athletics Championships in London to share our new track and indoor facilities with our Jamaican friends.


Sir Mo Farah in numbers

Sir Mo Farah will bring the curtain down on his track racing career next month, competing at the World Championships in London followed by the Muller Grand Prix in Birmingham.

Here, Press Assocation Sport takes a look at the distance runner's illustrious career in numbers.

2 - Farah won an Olympic "double-double", with gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games.

6 - only six athletes - Emil Zatopek, Vladimir Kuts, Lasse Viren, Miruts Yifter, Kenenise Bekele and Farah - have won the distance double in a single Olympics. Viren is the only other man to do so twice, in 1972 and 1976, while Zatopek added the marathon for a unique treble in 1952.

9 - successive wins for Farah in global finals - the 5,000m at the 2011 World Championships, and doubles in the 2013 and 2015 events to add to his Olympic successes.

12:53.11 - Farah's national record for the 5,000m.

26:46.57 - his 10,000m personal best, a European record.

3 - he has won three successive Great North Runs.


Sharon Day-Monroe Preparing to Take on the World

Training has been going great since nationals. I train at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and this summer we are in the process of getting a facility overhaul. This is really exciting for our track program and the school and community. Many people use the facility for workouts and recreation. The adjacent grass field is also being turned into a turf practice field for the football and soccer teams.

Construction began the week of 4th of July, since then my coaches and I have been adjusting around the construction and making it work. At first the project manager was not jazzed about us being on the track with construction going on in various parts of the facility. Ya know, liability, insurance, blah blah. But after my coach and I explained that we were training for World Championships next month he was more open to allowing us to use the track as long as we avoided the immediate areas they were working on. But after a couple weeks of that we lost the infield, so no javelin, and the shot ring was torn up since it will be moved to a new location. Also, the HJ apron and LJ pit were nearing the top of the Demo list. So, we had to change locations.

We have since been out at Cuesta Community College. It’s a bittersweet feeling because I am really excited for the new track and facility, but I was also not psyched about changing up my routine in preparation for World Championships. Cal Poly’s track is like home to me, and I’m not a fan of feeling like I’ve been kicked out of my own house. But so far it has worked out great! I’m thankful that Cuesta is an open facility and the track is available all-day long. Also, there is hardly ever anyone else on the track so we have the full run of the facility. The track at Cuesta is much newer than Cal Poly (not for long) and feels like running on a cloud in comparison. Probably the best part is the unfamiliar environment gives a new flare to training that is just enough spark to end to monotony and boost my adrenaline enough to make workouts a bit easier.

As far as event specific work, everything feels like its lining up nicely for competition in London. My harder running workouts are feeling easier and I’m hitting competition marks at practice in my throwing events; which is not common for me, I’m not the best “practice player” as some might say.

I’m excited to go back to London, it’s one of my favorite cities! I’m also looking forward to competing at the Olympic Stadium once again. I haven’t been back since the 2012 Olympics. Everything is moving in the right direction in preparation for World Championships, I’m just counting down the days until I head across the pond!


London Set For Best-Ever World Champs Attendance

IAAF World Championships London 2017 organisers have announced the latest sales figure for tickets, with more than 660,000 sold for the Championships, which start in exactly one week.

The event, taking place from August 4-13, will also kick off with a bumper opening weekend comprising of a quarter of a million spectators set to flock to the London Stadium over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday sessions.

Yet, in spite of the huge demand for the opening night and both evenings of the Saturday and Sunday, organisers will next week issue the last remaining small batch of tickets for all 14 stadium sessions recouped from changes in stadium requirements.

This means fans can still catch Jessica Ennis-Hill receiving her reallocated 2011 world heptathlon gold during session 5 on August 6, the exact same night fellow Brit Katarina Johnson-Thompson goes for glory in the 2017 event.

It also marks the final opportunity to secure tickets to see Usain Bolt – whose 100m world record inspired 80,000 children’s sales with his £9.58 priced ticket – take to the blocks in the 100m for the last time during session 3 on August 5.

All 14 stadium sessions, including the sold out opening night featuring Mo Farah on August 4, will return to on sale availability for those eager to catch the biggest sports event in the world in 2017 taking place in London.

“We are delighted that so many people are set to visit the London Stadium to be part of the IAAF World Championships this summer, but with tickets still available we want to make sure the message gets out there that there is still a chance to see the world’s best athletes in the world’s best stadium,” said championship director, Niels de Vos.

“For those that missed out on the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games this is really it, the best chance to see the stadium in that form once more and I cannot stress enough how amazing the action is going to be.”

Ennis-Hill said: “It is going to be a special night for me and I am honoured that the IAAF and the organisers of the London World Championships have offered me the chance to receive my medal in front of the British fans.

“The London Stadium is where I won Olympic gold in 2012 and I never thought I would be back in the stadium receiving another gold. I have fond memories of the podium in 2012 and I am looking forward to creating some more next month.”

The IAAF World Championships London 2017 is the biggest event to be staged at the London Stadium since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with 2,000 athletes from 200 nations set to compete across 14 sessions in the London Stadium as well as among London’s most iconic landmarks for the marathon and race walks.


Usain Bolt in numbers

As Usain Bolt prepares to take his final bow on the world stage at the World Championships in London, Press Association Sport reviews the Jamaican sprinter's career in numbers.

9.58 sec - Bolt's 100m world record, set at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

19.19 sec - his 200m record from the same Championships.

36.84 sec - he holds a complete set of sprint world records after Jamaica's relay efforts at the London 2012 Olympics.

27.79mph - Bolt's fastest recorded speed on the track. It was measured from his time of 1.61 seconds for the 60-to-80m split in his record 100m run in Berlin.

8 - Olympic gold medals on Bolt's record. He lost another from the 4x100m relay at Beijing 2008 when team-mate Nesta Carter failed a retrospective drugs test.

11 - world titles.

4 - times Bolt has been named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.

6 - he has been named IAAF Male Athlete of the Year half a dozen times.


Schippers Heading To London Relaxed In Defense

One of the great hopes for European success at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, which start in London on Friday next week, is Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers and the good news is that the two-time European Athlete of the Year could not be more relaxed about her prospects for her 200m title defence.

Schippers won the longer sprint two years ago in Beijing and has made it her priority not to be in the spotlight in the weeks and days leading up to the event after admitting she was caught up in the euphoria of her growing fame, and the resulting air of expectation, before last summer's Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

This year her approach is different and it is why she cannot wait to step out in London where she is also competing in the 100m.

"I have weeks with nothing on and therefore I am a lot more relaxed, which I really need," said Schippers. "The attention has waned but it has also been a question of self preservation for me to stay out of the spotlight."

Even if she retired today, at the age of 25, she would have done pretty well, that is for sure.

Such is her position now among the sport's leading sprinters, it is easy to forget that she first came to prominence as a multi-events exponent, winning the 2010 world U20 heptathlon title and then the European U20 heptathlon title the following year.

At the 2013 world championships in Moscow, Schippers then won bronze in the heptathlon just a few weeks after also winning the bronze medal in the long jump at the European U23 Championships in Tampere.

It all changed for her in 2014 when she stormed to national sprint records and memorably won the 100m and 200m double at that summer's European Athletics Championships in Zurich.

Twelve months on, she had a world championship to savour in Beijing.

First, she won the 100m silver as she broke the national record with 10.81 to go equal-fourth on the European all-time list and then she powered around the bend to smash the European 200m record for gold in 21.63, which was also a championship record.

Rio was not quite what she hoped for despite the fact that many of her contemporaries would have been well pleased, finishing fifth in the 100m before winning a 200m silver medal.

But now London sees her ready to go prospecting for gold again.

Schippers has not raced much this summer, with a 100m best of 10.95 going back to April when she was warm weather training in the USA, but her quickest 200m time of 22.10 came in the IAAF Diamond League in Lausanne at the start of this month, a signal that she is heading towards her peak when it matters most.

"This is my career," added Schippers. "I want so badly to do well."

Jamaica's Elaine Thompson, the Olympic 100m and 200m champion, leads the 2017 world 100m lists with 10.71 and beat Schippers into second place in London in the shorter sprint this month. It could be between the two again at the world championships back in the Olympic Stadium but it is the 200m where the Dutch star is expected to come into her own once more

In addition to being a confirmed championship performer, Schippers combines such strength in her legs with her raw early speed. Throw in her being relaxed and it could be quite a formula for success.


Gatlin Thinks Bolt Might Reconsider Retirement

Justin Gatlin finished second behind Usain Bolt in last year’s Olympic 100 metres final.

Usain Bolt could reconsider his decision to quit the sport, according to American sprint rival Justin Gatlin.

Gatlin finished second behind Bolt in last year’s Olympic 100 metres final and also at the past two World Championships with the Jamaican dominant.

Bolt is due to bow out on the global stage in August’s World Championships in London after the 100m and 4x100m relay, but Gatlin can see him finding the lure of competition difficult to resist.

Asked whether he might change his mind, Gatlin, who is training with the United States squad in Birmingham, said: “Why not? He has that rock star mentality where he can travel the world, have fun, party in different places and then say: ‘I want to take this seriously one more time’.

“He has the opportunity to come back, once he leaves he can have a year of rest and say: ‘I love track so much I can’t leave it too soon’.

“For me it’s a rare moment which you’re not able to appreciate like I do. He’s a true competitor, in my whole career I’ve never raced anyone who’s such a true competitor and who’s going toe-to-toe with me.

“I love that, someone who’s not going to falter or fall down or back away – he’s going to rise to the occasion. That’s what makes me the athlete I am today, it makes me want to rise to the occasion.”

Gatlin, twice banned for drug use, was beaten by Bolt in Beijing two years ago by just one hundredth of a second – losing his 28-run unbeaten record at the time.

But with Bolt stepping down, Gatlin, who also finished second behind the Jamaican in the 200m in Beijing, is excited at what it means.

He said: “It makes you a little more jittery. Who’s going to step up to fill that void, who’s going to rise to the occasion and want to be the next superstar?

“Now you’re not worried about the ‘Usain Bolt Show’. Now you’re more concerned about the head-on competition, people rising to the occasion and saying: ‘I will do it for me and my family now I have the opportunity to run from the front’.”


Usain Bolt set to party in London as he brings down curtain on glittering career

Usain Bolt brings the curtain down on an extraordinary career in London ready to turn the World Championships into his personal party.

The world's fastest man has a habit of hogging the spotlight and that will be no different at the London Stadium in August.

His, expected, final global races come in the capital with Bolt aiming to once again dominate the 100m and relay.

The Jamaican's legacy will remain, even if he is due to hand back one of his nine Olympic medals - 4x100m relay gold from Beijing - due to Nesta Carter's positive drug test from 2008.

Last summer in Rio Bolt ended his Olympic career with three more medals, defending the 100m, 200m and 4x100m crowns he won in London.

"I've worked hard every Olympics to win three gold medals," Bolt said after bowing out of Olympic competition.

"I've proven to the world I am the greatest. I am just happy I've accomplished so much and I'm relieved. I'll miss the crowds, the energy and the competition. It has been a great career."

This year he returns to the capital knowing he is as revered in England as much as anywhere else in the world.

Bolt captured the imagination of the British public at London 2012 as he dominated and defended his individual titles for the first time.

Such is his appeal Bolt's exit will distract from the British challenge which - despite being the hosts - could be lacking gold medals.

Sir Mo Farah aside there are dwindling golden hopes for the hosts, even if Laura Muir will look to win the 1500m and 3000m.

Farah is quitting the track to focus on the marathon and will bring the curtain down at the Birmingham Diamond League a week after the championships.

The four-time Olympic champion won his first two gold medals in 2012.

On Super Saturday five years ago, along with Jessica Ennis-Hill's heptathlon win and Greg Rutherford's long-jump triumph, he won the 10,000 metres before adding the 5000m.

Muir, fresh from just missing out on Zola Budd's British mile record, could also take a slice of Farah's thunder as she becomes the next long-distance star.

Wins in the 1500m and 3000m at the European Indoors in March were her first senior triumphs and Muir will challenge for gold in the 1500m and 5000m.

The Scot is the next golden hope with Katarina Johnson-Thompson yet to make that world class breakthrough and Adam Gemili's falling star only seeing him selected for the 4x100m relay squad.

Instead it is CJ Ujah, who ran 9.98 seconds in the Diamond League meet in Morocco in June, who is the sprinter in form.

Hurdler Andrew Pozzi will aim to build on his 60m European Indoor title in March with Asha Philip, who also won in Belgrade, looking to transfer her 60m form to the 100m.

Sophie Hitchon, who won bronze in the hammer in Rio, will challenge again while Matthew Hudson-Smith could cause a surprise in the 200m - although, like Ujah in the 100m - will not beat Bolt.

While it is a London games, it is still likely to be Bolt stealing the show.


Farah pushes back track finish to Zurich: organisers

Lausanne (AFP) - Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah will delay his impending track retirement by a few days to compete at the Zurich Diamond League final, organisers said on Friday.

The British five-time world champion had originally been due to bow out at home in London after next month's world championships from August 4-13.

He then agreed to run the 3,000-metres at the Birmingham Diamond League event on August 20 but Zurich organisers say he will now also compete in Switzerland on August 24.

"Prior to switching to longer distances and the road, Mo Farah plans to return to Zurich for a farewell appearance," said organisers in a statement

"Letzigrund Stadium is where he broke the 13-minute barrier in the men's 5,000m as the first British athlete in 2010, and it is where he was crowned double European champion four years later.

"Now, he plans to bid the track farewell in the legendary arena."

The Somali-born 34-year-old, who will turn his attentions to road racing and the marathon once he hangs up his track spikes, will aim for a 5,000m and 10,000m double in London.

But having qualified for the Diamond League final, Farah will end his track career with a 5,000m race in Zurich.

In London, he is aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive double at the worlds in the two longest track distances, having also achieved the feat in the last two Olympics.

Also a five-time European champion, Farah has not been beaten in a major track championship since the world indoor championships in March 2012.

He is one of Britain's greatest ever track athletes and the most successful in terms of gold medals won.


Team USA Sets Up Camp In Birmingham

More than 150 athletes, officials and staff representing USA Track & Field (USATF) are staying in Birmingham at the end of July, ahead of the IAAF World Championships, with the city hosting the official training and preparation camp for the team, which includes eight individual gold medallists from the 2016 Rio Games and four defending World Champions.

Birmingham City Council’s sports events team has organised the camp, with training sessions being offered at the Alexander Stadium, the High Performance Centre and in Sutton Park plus accommodation and transportation needs carefully co-ordinated to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This year’s camp follows on from the city’s successful hosting of a similar camp for the American team in 2012, ahead of the London Olympic Games.

Dawn Harper-Nelson, 100m hurdler and double Olympic medallist who won gold in 2008 and silver in 2012, said: “I do love coming here, I don’t have to worry about not having things – Birmingham have done it right.

“You have the perfect facilities with for indoor and outdoor here. I don’t have to worry how the weather will be – the track is great, the hurdles are here and the blocks. Birmingham have done it right.”

More than 150 athletes, officials and staff representing USA Track & Field (USATF) are staying in Birmingham at the end of July, ahead of the IAAF World Championships, with the city hosting the official training and preparation camp for the team, which includes eight individual gold medallists from the 2016 Rio Games and four defending World Champions.

Birmingham City Council’s sports events team has organised the camp, with training sessions being offered at the Alexander Stadium, the High Performance Centre and in Sutton Park plus accommodation and transportation needs carefully co-ordinated to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This year’s camp follows on from the city’s successful hosting of a similar camp for the American team in 2012, ahead of the London Olympic Games.

Dawn Harper-Nelson, 100m hurdler and double Olympic medallist who won gold in 2008 and silver in 2012, said: “I do love coming here, I don’t have to worry about not having things – Birmingham have done it right.

“You have the perfect facilities with for indoor and outdoor here. I don’t have to worry how the weather will be – the track is great, the hurdles are here and the blocks. Birmingham have done it right.”

A second training camp for the Jamaican team is also being held in the city, at the University of Birmingham, with the likes of Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson fine tuning their preparations for next month’s IAAF World Championships in London.

Both teams have been invited to a civic service at Birmingham Cathedral to wish them well before they head south for the start of the IAAF World Championships on Friday 4 August.

Athletes from both teams will be expecting to return to Birmingham straight after the IAAF World Championships, to take part in the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham, which will be held at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday 20 August and many will also be aiming to be back in the city next March when Birmingham stages the IAAF World Indoor Championships at Arena Birmingham (also known as the Barclaycard Arena) from 1 to 4 March 2018.


Six additions take British squad for World Championships to 87



British Athletics has added six more athletes to its team for next month's IAAF World Championships in London.

The squad was initially announced earlier this month for the showpiece event from August 4-13 and with the addition of six more the 87-strong squad will be the largest ever to represent British Athletics at a World Championships.

Meghan Beesley, who will compete in the women's 400 metres hurdles, Chris Bennett (hammer), Rachel Wallader (shot), Nick Percy (discus), Ieuan Thomas (3000m steeplechase) and Alicia Barrett (100m hurdles) have all been added.

Scottish 400m hurdler Eilidh Doyle will captain the British team after winning a ballot of the GB squad.

Defending long jump champion Rutherford has been ruled out of the Championships with an ankle injury sustained during a competition in Italy last month.

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah is bidding to defend the 5,000m and 10,000m titles, while Laura Muir, who has qualified for the 1500m and 5,000m, and heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson will also be in the hunt for medals.


A Bahamian Positive From The World Relays?

According to reports reaching Nassau Guardian Sports, one of the athletes on the 21-member team selected for the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Championships tested positive for a banned substance.

Initially, it was reported that a particular athlete was involved in a confrontation in Freeport, Grand Bahama, following the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' (BAAA) Open National Championships, but when officials were pressed further, it was also revealed that there was a positive test for a banned substance for one of the Bahamian sprinters from the world relays.

When pressed on the matter, BAAA President Rosamunde Carey declined to comment. A source told Guardian Sports: "What happened is that one of the athletes on the men's 4noom relay team got his jaw broken in an altercation after the nationals in Freeport, but further than that, one of the athletes on the team tested positive for steroids from the world relays. That's all I could tell you at this time."

The source did not indicate whether the banned substance had been accidentally ingested or deliberately taken by the athlete in question.

According to the source, the athlete's 'A' sample from the world relays came back positive, and officials are still awaiting the results of the 'B' sample. , The Nassau Guardian sports team will continue to follow the story as it develops.


Sprinter Gemili Upset By British Ultimatum

Adam Gemili reveals selection ultimatum forced him to compete while injured

British sprinter Adam Gemili has revealed he was given little choice but to compete at the trials for the London 2017 World Championships despite being injured.

Gemili, 23, who missed out on Olympic 200m bronze by three-thousandths of a second last summer, was only able to finish sixth at the trials in Birmingham as he struggled with a hamstring injury.

He told British newspapers: "I didn't want to race there but the powers that be said if I wanted to make the team then I had to. I was trying to run with one leg.

"I had a terrible race and I could have stopped, maybe I should have, but I was too proud to go out there and pull up. It was crazy to be at trials but then see other people weren't there.

"If had my time again I wouldn't go to trials. I probably would have run at the Anniversary Games after an extra week of training and a bit more rest, and it might have been a different story."

Londoner Gemili, who was overlooked in favour of Zharnel Hughes, added: "This is worse than tearing your hamstring, worse than missing out on an Olympic medal. This is a lot harder to cope with mentally because I'm completely fit now and because I told them I would be, that's annoying.

"It's a home world champs and that doesn't happen often. It'll be tough to watch the 200 because I would've loved to compete but it's going to be exciting because I believe we could get three Brits in a world championships final for the first time in a long time and they could all be challenging for podium or even gold, especially with [Usain] Bolt only doing the 100m."

Gemili -- the first British man in history to break 10 seconds for 100m and 20 seconds for 200m -- will compete in the British 4x100m team along with Hughes, CJ Ujah, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Danny Talbot, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, and Reece Prescod.


Reese Hoffa Into Georgia Circle Of Honor

When former Lakeside thrower Reese Hoffa showed up in Athens as a 19-year-old freshman 20 years ago, he didn’t realize he’d planted roots in the University of Georgia that would last a lifetime.

“I thought I would go to college, get my degree, come back to Augusta and take a coaching position at one of the high schools or middle schools,” Hoffa said.

Two decades later, the former world champion and bronze medalist in the 2012 London Olympics is still living in Athens. Now his legacy will become a permanent fixture in UGA’s Circle of Honor.

“I’ve known about the Circle of Honor since I was in college and was just half-dreaming that I hoped I would be part of that Circle of Honor,” Hoffa said. “I just thought that I never really met the standards for it.”

The standards are high to be recognized as one of the extraordinary athletes or coaches “who, by their performance and conduct, have brought honor to the university and themselves, and who by their actions have contributed to the tradition of the Georgia Bulldogs.”

Recipients must also earn a degree from Georgia, receive all-American honors and be a member of a national team or Olympic medalist.

Hoffa ticks off all the right boxes for “uncommon distinction” to join a group that includes the likes of Charlie Trippi, Vince Dooley, Billy Payne, Pat Dye, Teresa Edwards and Dan Magill. As a young student-athlete without a lot of means, Hoffa entertained himself by perusing all the athletics history and memorabilia that filled UGA’s Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. The video display of the Circle of Honor recipients was one of his favorite attractions.

“It was amazing,” he said. “These are the top athletes that represent UGA not only in college but as professionals. It sparked my interest. I thought you must be really good to get on this list.”

Back when Hoffa was in school, former Richmond Academy star Forrest “Spec” Towns was the only track and field representative in the Circle of Honor. Towns, who became the first Georgian to win an Olympic gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Games in the 110-meter high hurdles, went on to become coach for the Bulldogs for 34 seasons.

Hoffa will become the fourth track and field athlete inducted into the Circle, joining Towns, sprinter Debbie Ferguson and fellow shot put thrower Brent Noon.

“To be one of the people that represent track and field in elite company humbles you,” Hoffa said. “There are some angels that were whispering in their ears to get me in there. It’s almost unbelievable that my accomplishments and how I represented the University of Georgia and conducted myself that they say, ‘We’re going to put you in.’ I don’t think people go out there and do their sport to be in any particular hall of fame. You just do it because you want to be the best you can be. It’s humbling that people recognize all the hard work and what you’ve done as an athlete to put you up there with the greats of all time.”

Hoffa won world indoor and outdoor championships in 2006 and ’07, respectively, and competed in three Olympics – Athens, Beijing and London – during a long career in which he ranked among the world’s top three throwers for 10 years.

He retired in 2016 after narrowly missing out on making the U.S. Olympic team for the Rio Games. He admits that he dragged out sending in his official retirement papers for a few months.

“It’s probably the hardest thing I ever had to do to hang up my shoes because in the back of your mind you think I can still do it one more year,” he said. “But you have to be realistic to your abilities and where your heart is and I just couldn’t put my body through another year.”

As his body heals from all the years of training and pushing himself to the limits, Hoffa is throwing himself head first into the next chapter of his life. This winter he’ll finish school to get certified as a massage therapist while he keeps his hand in throwing by teaching young kids how to perfect the craft.

“I’m just trying to make sure I fill my time with things that I’m passionate about,” he said. “Obviously I’m passionate about teaching kids how to throw and with massage therapy it’s helping people get well because I know what it’s done for me. It allowed me to continue to have a long career. I just want to be part of someone else’s process of being great down the road. Maybe work on a few Olympians or a few state champions.”

Hoffa will be officially inducted with fellow Bulldog all-Americans Thomas Davis (football), Chris Colwill (diving) and Nicole Barber (softball) at a black-tie gala on Feb. 12. But they will be honored publicly at Sanford Stadium during the homecoming football game against Missouri on Oct. 14. He’ll invite 20 guests including his parents and former Lakeside track coach David Machovec, who originally convinced him to try shot put.

“I hope he can come to see one of his creations and watch me be honored on that day,” Hoffa said.


Ennis-Hill Describes "Super Saturday" At '12 Games

It could not be any other date really.

This summer's World Championships begin on the 4 August, five years to the day since Great Britain's Midas touch turned a red, white and blue London Stadium gold.

In the space of 45 heady minutes, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah won Olympic titles in the heptathlon, long jump and 10,000m respectively.

For the thousands in the stadium and millions watching on television, it was an endless carousel of cheers, grins and hometown glory.

But what was Super Saturday like for those at the heart of the action, bearing a nation's hopes?

Before Sunday's Heroes of Super Saturday programme on BBC One, Ennis-Hill explains the private moments and secret stresses of an unforgettable evening in 2012.

05:00 BST

"The alarm went off at 05:00 BST.

"There was a maybe a half-second of slumber, but I find when there is something I have to do I come round quite quickly.

"The realisation hit me that this was one of the biggest day of my life.

"After the recovery, warm-down and physio from the first day's competition I had had about five hours sleep. It felt like I had only just put my head on the pillow.

"But I had to be up early to get my breakfast down and digested and prepare for the long jump which started at 10:05 BST.

"I took a couple of steps out of bed and realised my body was aching everywhere.

"I expected to feel general soreness, but I wondered how I was going to cope as I was struggling to walk to the shower, my muscles stiff and sore.

"Being up so early I missed most seeing any of my team-mates face to face that morning in the corridor of the athletes' village, but they had left me a load of good luck messages on my door.

"It was probably for the best because I did not want any distractions."

09:00 BST

"The first two events that day were the long jump, which just hadn't been clicking at my pre-Games training camp in Portugal, and the javelin, the event that had cost me in the 2011 World Championships.

"I was determined not to throw it away by getting down on any one discipline though.

"My coach Toni Minichello was really businesslike that morning, talking me through the little things to focus on and, on the mental side, just assuring me that he and the rest of the team were all rooting for me."

10:30 BST

"I knew the long jump could be the deal-breaker.

"My first jump of 5.95m was more than half a metre down on my personal best - but when I landed 6.48m on my final attempt, I knew that was a really solid jump.

"The other girls were not jumping at their very best and I was buzzing."

12:00 BST

"After I threw a personal best 47.49m in the javelin, I had such a lead that I would have to do something really stupid to mess it up.

"As I walked back through the stadium I spotted my masseur Derry Suter. He gave me this really excited look. I was feeling the same inside, but neither of us wanted to get carried away and say anything out loud.

"I could feel I was about to cry. I managed to keep my composure but I was so excited.

"Gold was so close I could almost touch it."

14:00 BST

"I just wanted to go straight out and get the 800m over and done with after that but the final event of the hepathlon was not until the evening session.

"I could have gone back to the athletes' village like most of the heptathletes. But I couldn't face the dining hall and the prospect of people telling me that I already had it won.

"Instead, as the crowds disappeared and cleaners picked up litter in the stands, I stayed down in the depths of London Stadium.

"It was really quiet. There were only a few other heptathletes who had done the same as me and hung around. It was a moment of calm after all the noise and pressure.

"I had something to eat, had a nap and chatted with a few of my team.

"The organisers only give you a certain number of passes for your coaches and they are quite strict. But Toni, Derry and my javelin coach Mick Hill kept swapping them about, taking it in turns to come and keep me company.

"It felt like the longest break ever."

18:00 BST

"The rest of the heptathlon field started coming back in dribs and drabs. I could feel their nerves and mine started ramping up again.

"I headed down to the warm-up track and I could see the stadium filling up on the big screens overlooking it and hear the noise increase inside.

"It is the most nerve-racking feeling, especially when you have the 800m to come - an event where you know that you are going to put yourself through a lot of physical pain.

"Toni was pretty chilled. He didn't give me a deep, motivational pep talk, he just gave me a little pat on the back and told me to go for it. He is a man of few words sometimes, but we have worked together since I was 13 and that was all that was needed.

"Then I had to walk to the call room on my own."

20:55 BST

"It was just waiting, waiting and waiting and the nerves building more and more.

"I had a 15-second advantage on my nearest rival, but also knew that anything can happen in the chaos of the 800m.

"There have been races where girls' shoes have fallen off and it was all over for them.

"You check everything - that your kit is how you need it to be, your shoes are tied right, your hair is tight. You don't want the tiniest distraction, the smallest excuse.

"Finally I was on my way to the startline."

21:00 BST

"I prefer frontrunning - to go out hard and get into a rhythm, rather than build up in pace through a race.

"That has always been my way, but this time there was an extra incentive to get out in front of everyone and reduce the risk of a trip or fall.

"I just wanted to stay out of danger and knew I was capable of a time that would win it."

21:02 BST

"I have never been one to celebrate really, but as I came across the line my arms just came up almost through instinct.

"It was like a massive weight coming off. I felt like I had been holding my breath all through that competition.

"The number of billboards and things with my face on in build up to the Games had been surreal.

"British Airways had even created a huge mural with me under the flight path into Heathrow. It had become a running joke among the team as people spotted my face everywhere.

"It it was a huge relief that I hadn't messed up more than anything.

"Derry threw me a union jack that he had secretly been hiding in his bag, already printed up with my name and Olympic champion.

"The other heptathletes were congratulating me as we went round on a lap of honour, but it was all a bit of a blur. When something you have worked for for so long becomes reality it is a little weird."

21:10 BST

"As I was coming off my lap of honour I saw Mo warming up on the home straight and wished him good luck.

"You can actually see the 10,000m final lining up over my shoulder in the post-race interview that I did with the BBC Sport's Phil Jones. You can hear the crowd roar as his name is announced.

"After speaking to Phil I was going through a gauntlet of all the overseas broadcasters.

"Everyone wanted two minutes with me, it was just crazy. Somewhere along the line someone told me that Greg had won gold.

"I knew that he was competing obviously, but I was in my own bubble, still a little concerned someone was going to say I had done something wrong!

"I was watching Mo's race unfold on television screens in between interviews. I had finished the broadcast interviews and was down with the written press, just under one of the stands when he finally won."

23:30 BST

"I had seen my family to point and wave to after the medal ceremony when Lord Coe and Sir Craig Reedie presented me with my gold, but I had to go through anti-doping and more media before I finally got to speak to them.

"I jumped in a taxi and went to Team GB house in Stratford where my agent had arranged for my mum, dad, sister, fiance Andy and the rest of the family to meet afterwards.

"My now brother-in-law Phil and his wife-to-be Margot were there. The 4 August is both of their birthdays and Phil joked that my winning gold had really outshone their day!

"I had a few glasses of champagne to celebrate, but you don't realise how tired you are until you actually stop. I was absolutely drained."

02:00 BST

"It was a strange moment when I got back to the athletes' village and shut that door in that little room and was on my own again.

"I had looked on social media and it was overwhelming the number and variety of people who had congratulated me.

"There were so many random celebrities, people from different walks of life and people from my past - I wish now I had favourited them all so I could look back.

"But there were just so many and so much to do that I didn't manage to.

"I went back to sleep in that same bed almost 24 hours after I had got up, but this time with a gold medal lying right beside me."

Jessica Ennis-Hill was speaking to BBC Sport's Mike Henson.


Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the World Athletics Championships

The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the World Championships in London from 4-13 August.

Men

100m: James Dasaolu, Reece Prescod, CJ Ujah

200m: Zharnel Hughes, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Danny Talbot

400m: Dwayne Cowan, Matt Hudson-Smith, Martyn Rooney

800m: Elliot Giles, Kyle Langford, Guy Learmonth

1500m: Josh Kerr, Chris O'Hare, Jake Wightman

5,000m: Andrew Butchart, Mo Farah, Marc Scott

10,000m: Mo Farah

3,000m steeplechase: Rob Mullett, Zak Seddon, Ieuan Thomas

110m hurdles: David King, David Omoregie, Andrew Pozzi

400m hurdles: Jack Green

High jump: Robbie Grabarz

Triple jump: Nathan Fox

Hammer: Nick Miller, Chris Bennett

Discus: Nick Percy

Decathlon: Ashley Bryant

20km race walk: Tom Bosworth, Callum Wilkinson

50km race walk: Dominic King

Marathon: Andrew Davies, Callum Hawkins, Josh Griffiths

4x100m: Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Adam Gemili, Zharnel Hughes, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Reece Prescod, Danny Talbot, CJ Ujah

4x400m: Cameron Chalmers, Dwayne Cowan, Jack Green, Matt Hudson-Smith, Martyn Rooney, Delano Williams, Rabah Yousif

Women

100m: Desiree Henry, Daryll Neita, Asha Philip

200m: Dina Asher-Smith, Shannon Hylton, Bianca Williams

400m: Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond, Anyika Onuora

800m: Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, Lynsey Sharp, Adelle Tracey

1500m: Jessica Judd, Sarah McDonald, Laura Muir, Laura Weightman

5,000m: Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir, Steph Twell

10,000m: Jessica Martin, Beth Potter, Charlotte Taylor

3,000m steeplechase: Rosie Clarke, Lennie Waite

100m hurdles: Tiffany Porter, Alicia Barrett

400m hurdles: Eilidh Doyle, Jess Turner, Meghan Beesley

High jump: Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Morgan Lake

Pole vault: Holly Bradshaw

Long jump: Shara Proctor, Jazmin Sawyers, Lorraine Ugen

Discus: Jade Lally

Hammer: Sophie Hitchon

Shot put: Rachel Wallader

Heptathlon: Katarina Johnson-Thompson

20km race walk: Gemma Bridge, Bethan Davies

Marathon: Tracy Barlow, Alyson Dixon, Charlotte Purdue

4x100m: Dina Asher-Smith, Desiree Henry, Corinne Humphreys, Shannon Hylton, Daryll Neita, Asha Philip, Bianca Williams

4x400m: Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond, Eilidh Doyle, Laviai Nielsen, Anyika Onuora, Perri Shakes-Drayton


Should Testosterone Be Regulated In Women's Events?

In 2014, Indian sprinter Dutee Chand was barred from competing in the Commonwealth Games, an international sporting tournament between former territories of the British Empire. Chand hadn’t doped—a rampant problem in the sport—or consumed any illicit substances.

But officials deemed that Chand, who was not favored to win the competition, had a seemingly unfair advantage: her body naturally produced a lot of testosterone.

At least, that’s according to a regulation issued by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). Suspended in 2015 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the regulation was aimed at females whose bodies produce unusually high levels of androgens, a group of hormones that includes testosterone. Concerned in part that this condition, called hyperandrogenism, gave female athletes an unfair competitive advantage, the IAAF ruled that if athletes were unable to prove their body was incapable of using the testosterone, women with over 10 nanomoles of testosterone per liter of blood would either have to undergo surgery or take hormone suppressants before they would be allowed to return to competition.

Men typically have much higher testosterone levels then women, and the IAAF believes that this is part of the reason why, on average, elite men outperform elite women by about 10% in track and field events. Take, for example, Genzebe Dibaba, an Ethiopian distance runner who holds five women’s world records between indoor and outdoor track and field. While Dibaba runs a blazing fast 4:13 mile, all twelve American high school boys at this year’s Brooks P.R. Invitational, the premiere high school meet of the summer, bettered Dibaba’s fastest career time. It would seem that we segregate men and women in track and field events with good reason—otherwise, one of the best female milers the world has seen in years would struggle to compete in national meets at the high school level.

The IAAF argues that to uphold the integrity of women’s athletics, testosterone levels require greater scrutiny. The organization has until today to present evidence to the CAS that they hope will convince the court to reinstate the regulation.

It’s expected that the IAAF will include in its package of evidence a study published earlier this month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that links testosterone levels to athletic performance in a subset of women’s track and field events. While the authors conclude that their findings suggest that female athletes with high testosterone levels have a competitive advantage in these events and imply that they support the IAAF’s regulation, other scientists argue that the study is limited, lacks conclusive evidence, and that these conclusions about the research’s broader implications are unsubstantiated.

Most experts agree that the IAAF’s body of evidence is unlikely to convince the CAS to end the suspension. But the ban’s ethical complications are manifold—and that’s where opinions differ.

Just about everyone agrees that the sport’s governing body should regulate athletes’ use of unnatural substances, like steroids. But to what degree should they control what occurs naturally in people’s bodies?

The History of Sex Testing
Sorting people into one of two of categories isn’t easy, because sex is not a neat binary of male and female, says Katrina Karkazis, an anthropologist, bioethicist, and senior researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Biomedical Ethics whose research focuses on intersex traits. Scientists used to think people could either have an X and a Y sex chromosome, and were therefore male, or two X chromosomes, and were therefore female. But as Karkazis explains in her 2012 paper in The American Journal of Bioethics, those aren’t the only two options. Some people are born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome. Also, not everyone has the same sex chromosome pairing in every cell—some people have some cells with an XY pairing and other cells with an XX pairing.

There are also at least five other markers of sex, including hormones, internal genitalia, and external genitalia, and the way that these markers—like chromosomes—express themselves is also not black and white. To further complicate things, a person might have one of these markers present as male, another present as female, and a third present as something in between—an intersex trait.

Sports’ governing bodies struggled for decades with what to do with athletes who can’t be sorted into one of these two categories, resulting in numerous horror stories. Jaime Schultz, a professor of kinesiology at Penn State, described in The Conversation “nude parades” in the 1960s in which female athletes were forced to present themselves naked to gynecologists at the 1966 European Championships and the 1967 Commonwealth Games. Later, the IAAF switched their chromosome testing to a less invasive but still ethically questionable cheek swabbing.

The IAAF and International Olympics Committee (IOC) ended systematic sex testing in the 1990s. But individual athletes have still been subject to scrutiny by the sport’s governing bodies, most recently Chand—the Indian sprinter—and South African 800-meter runner Caster Semenya. Because of her dominant performance at the 2009 World Championships and her stereotypically masculine build, Semenya, a teenager at the time, was “reportedly subjected to a two-hour examination during which doctors put her legs in stirrups and photographed her genitalia.” After the championships, “intensely intimate details about Semenya’s body became a topic for public debate and scrutiny,” Karkazis wrote in her 2012 paper.

After Chand appealed the 2014 ban, the CAS reinstated her and suspended the hyperandrogenism regulation. The CAS wrote in its decision that “the Hyperandrogenism Regulations are based on an implicit assumption that hyperandrogenic females enjoy a significant performance advantage over their non-hyperandrogenic peers, which outranks the influence of any other single genetic or biological factor.” It gave the IAAF two years to gather evidence supporting this assumption.

The IAAF Evidence
Joanna Harper, a medical physicist and the only transgender person ever to be an advisor to the IOC on matters of gender and sport, says that the IAAF is likely to include a study by Stéphane Bermon, a physician and exercise physiologist, that’s receiving a lot of public attention.

The study divided athletes in each track and field event at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships into three groups based on their fT levels (fT stands functional testosterone, or testosterone that the body can use). The authors then tested for a statistically significant difference between the average times of athletes in the upper third of fT levels and those in the lower third. It concluded that “female athletes with high fT levels have a significant competitive advantage over those with low fT” in five track and field events, and that this advantage should be considered by those writing legislation.

While it’s published in the peer-reviewed and highly respected BJSM, the study has raised a few eyebrows. Schultz is skeptical of the research’s merit because of the authors’ ties to the IAAF. Bermon, the lead author, is a member of the IAAF’s Medical and Antidoping Commission, and co-author Pierre-Yves Garnier is the Director of the IAAF’s Health and Science Department. Schultz says that “the federation has been clear that it intends to return to court with proof that testosterone is linked to improved athletic performance,” so the IAAF has a vested interest in producing results that favor the regulation. “It’s very clear that the article is written with a purpose of…[defending] that particular regulation,” Karkazis echoes. “They have a dog in this fight.” Neither author was available for comment.

Beyond the conflict of interest, Garnier’s reputation has recently taken a hit—according to Reuters, the IAAF suspended Garnier last summer for allegedly receiving cash payments in a cover-up of Russian doping cases.

Three statisticians who did not contribute to the research—Dorit Hammerling of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Joe Guinness of North Carolina State University, and Richard Smith of the University of North Carolina—say that the paper does have some statistical merits. They wrote in a group email with NOVA Next that the paper successfully demonstrates a measurable difference in performance between female athletes with high testosterone and those with low testosterone in the five relevant events.

But these findings do come with a few caveats. First, the authors ran tests on 43 events (21 women’s and 22 men’s events), so it’s possible that a few of the five statistically significant results are due to random error. Second, the authors didn’t account for the fact that almost a fifth of the female athletes competed in both World Championships, so a significant number of subjects are counted twice. The authors also only had access to one time and one fT level for each athlete, so they could only analyze a narrow sliver of each athlete’s career. Smith thought a different type of analysis would have been better given the limited amount of available data, but he said “that would require a much higher level of statistical expertise than is show in the rest of the paper.” Smith said he would have liked to see the analysis performed excluding known dopers, whose artificially boosted T levels could have skewed the results.

While the authors are justified in arguing that they found five significant results, some of their other claims are harder to defend. Smith points out that there’s a difference between a statistically significant result and a practically significant result. Two runners can have different times without one having a significant competitive advantage over the other. And while most in the track and field community would consider the two-second difference found between low-T 800 meter runners and high-T 800 meter runners to be significant, that’s only the authors’ best guess for the time difference—it could be a difference as small as a fraction of a second, or as large as four or five seconds. As Smith says, “the broader implications are unclear.”

This distinction is pivotal for the IAAF. Karkazis says “the CAS didn’t say you needed a statistically significant finding, but a finding of a performance difference of a particular magnitude,” a magnitude that the study did not find. The three statisticians agree that the paper doesn’t “[settle] the issues regarding athletes such as Chand or Semenya whose eligibility to participate in female events has been challenged.”

Finally, while the authors make clear in one part of the paper that what they’ve found is merely a correlation and that they can’t conclude that the higher fT levels are causing the better performances, their implication that this evidence is in support of the regulation makes it sound like they actually have found causation. Karkazis says that these are conclusions that “support the regulation but which the science itself in the study doesn’t support.”

Testosterone and ‘Fair Sport’
Harper acknowledges the limitations of the study but argues that “you’d see even a more robust difference between the low T and the high T athletes” if the authors had more data to work with. Much of the performance difference between men and women can be prescribed to testosterone differences, she says.

But Karkazis begs to differ. “There are plenty of studies that show a much more complicated and equivocal relationship than what policy makers would like to claim,” she says.

Schultz agrees, saying that “so many different variables—internal and external—have to align for top performance.” But Harper argues that it’s misleading “to compare testosterone advantages to other natural advantages,” saying the advantages of testosterone far outstrip those of other biological components. She references as evidence studies conducted in Germany in the 1970s and 1980s showing that increases in exogenous testosterone were “spectacularly effective” at improving performances in elite female athletes.

The IAAF claims that the hyperandrogenism regulation protects the integrity of female athletics and promotes “fair sport.” But Karkazis says that by focusing on testosterone, a singular biological component, the IAAF overlooks not just other biological factors, but also inevitable social and economic inequalities in athletics. Athletes in richer countries, for example, have access to better training facilities, coaches, and equipment, and can afford to dedicate more time to training. Professional athletics will always be littered with people who have incredible genetic gifts and socioeconomic benefits. The existence of professional sports itself may even depend on that un-level playing field.

Regardless of where experts align themselves in the debate over testosterone, most seem to agree that the IAAF’s package of evidence will not be enough to convince the CAS to reinstate the hyperandrogenism regulation. Ross Tucker, an exercise physiologist and strong advocate for the regulation, wrote on his blog “The Science of Sport” following the publication of the new Bermon study that “the IAAF evidence does not go far enough, either in terms of the depth or the range.”

“To reduce an athlete’s excellence to her androgen serum level or to disqualify an athlete because of her biology doesn’t strike me as appropriate,” says Schultz. Karkazis, too, argues that women shouldn’t be forced to undergo medical treatment just so they can continue to compete. “The athletes that we’re talking about are no different than any of the other women who are born and lived as women for their entire lives. And I just cannot for the life of me see a reason to treat those women differently.”


6 Brits To Watch Out For At World Champs

The IAAF World Athletics Championships are back again in London this year and it's set to be a stiff competition.

Athletes from across the globe will come together to compete to be the best in the different sports in front of thousands of cheering fans in the stadium and at home.

There are hundreds of athletes from over 100 different countries competing over the 10 day event.
All of them fighting their hardest for gold.

So before the competition kicks off, here are 6 of the best from Team GB to watch out for...

Mo Farah

The first one on our list is Mo Farah, one of British athletics most famous athletes in recent years. Mo was the first man in history to pull off an athletic triple double, that means he won gold in two athletic events at two world championships, one after another! Phew, Mo certainly goes for gold and its no doubt he will want to continue that in London.

Dina Asher-Smith

Dina has been a household name for a number of years now and has shown herself to be a truly determined athlete. In 2016 she won gold in the 200m and secured a silver in the 4 x 100m relay at the European Championships in Amsterdam. She will be looking to add to her medal collection.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Katarina Johnson-Thompson is one of the younger competitors on our list, but that doesn't mean she is to be underestimated. She has won golds at different athletic events over the last few years, including in the World Juniors and competing as an adult at the European indoor Championships in 2015. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Katarina secured a new Team GB high jump record.

CJ Ujah

Another young upstart on our list is CJ Ujah. Fresh from three first place finishes at the recent Diamond League competitions in Rome, London and Morocco, the 23 year old will be looking to add another gold to his trophy shelf. CJ has had plenty of practice running with the big dogs of the athletic world, having raced against none other than the fastest man alive, Usain Bolt!

Sophie Hitchon

Sophie Hitchon swapped ballet for track and field at 14 years old and hasn't looked back. Hitchon secured a bronze and a British record of an amazing 74.54m in the hammer throw during the 2016 Rio Olympic games! Hitchon has said that "The ballet helped by building strength from an early age.".

Laura Muir

Laura Muir is another one on our list who is no stranger to breaking records, holding the British record in the 1500m. She has already grabbed two gold medals in 2017 at the European Indoor championships in Belgrade. No doubt she'll be wanting more from London.


How Much Is Usain Bolt Worth?

USAIN BOLT could end his sensational athletics career after the IAAF World Championships in London next month. But what is the sprinter’s net worth?

The world’s fastest man will lead Jamaica to the IAAF World Championships for what the sprinter has suggested could be his last competitive event.

Last year, Usain Bolt said he wanted to retire after racing in London, but he is now considering waiting until the end of the season before hanging up his running shoes for good.

Speaking at an IAAF event in the Czech Republic, the 30-year-old said: "Right now, I'm just focused on getting through the season.

"I just like entertaining the crowd. I definitely want to try and enjoy every minute of it - it won't be the same sat in the stadium."

The Jamaican ended his Olympic career in scintillating fashion at Rio 2016, winning gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4X100m relay.

Bolt said it is going to be an “emotional” end to the season, adding: "It's just been a great career.

"I've really enjoyed the ups and downs, all the experience I've gathered, all I've been through, the happiness and the sadness."

What is Usain Bolt’s net worth?

Usain Bolt is worth an estimated £26.1million ($34.2million), according to Forbes’ 2017 list of the world’s best-paid athletes.

Of this figure, only £1.7millon comes from winnings. Bolt gets most of his income – a staggering £24.4million ($32million) – from endorsements and sponsorship deals.

Bolt's successes on the track and likeable personality have helped him to become one of the most marketable sportsmen of all time.

He has a number of lucrative sponsorship deals with global brands such as Gatorade, Sprint and Hublot.

He is the 23rd highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes, and the the only track athlete to make it into the top 100.

Bolt’s biggest sponsor is Puma, which pays the sprinter about £7.6million ($10million) a year, Forbes added.

The 6ft 5in star has used his wealth to start the Usain Bolt Foundation, which supports the "educational and cultural development” of children.

Usain Bolt’s career stats
Bolt is widely considered the greatest sprinter in history.

He has broken countless records throughout his career and still holds the title of ‘fastest man on earth’ - a record he set after running 100m in 9.58 seconds in 2009.

Bolt is an 11-time world champion and the only person to hold both the 100m and 200m records at the same time.

The Jamaican has won an impressive eight Olympic gold medals and is the only athlete to win the ‘triple double’, which is where a sprinter wins the 100m and 200m at three consecutive Olympics.

Usain Bolt’s personal bests

100m: 9.58 seconds (WR)

200m: 19.19 seconds (WR)

300m: 30.97 seconds

400m: 45.28 seconds


USAIN BOLT could end his sensational athletics career after the IAAF World Championships in London next month. But what is the sprinter’s net worth?

The world’s fastest man will lead Jamaica to the IAAF World Championships for what the sprinter has suggested could be his last competitive event.

Last year, Usain Bolt said he wanted to retire after racing in London, but he is now considering waiting until the end of the season before hanging up his running shoes for good.

Speaking at an IAAF event in the Czech Republic, the 30-year-old said: "Right now, I'm just focused on getting through the season.

"I just like entertaining the crowd. I definitely want to try and enjoy every minute of it - it won't be the same sat in the stadium."

The Jamaican ended his Olympic career in scintillating fashion at Rio 2016, winning gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4X100m relay.

Bolt said it is going to be an “emotional” end to the season, adding: "It's just been a great career.

"I've really enjoyed the ups and downs, all the experience I've gathered, all I've been through, the happiness and the sadness."

What is Usain Bolt’s net worth?

Usain Bolt is worth an estimated £26.1million ($34.2million), according to Forbes’ 2017 list of the world’s best-paid athletes.

Of this figure, only £1.7millon comes from winnings. Bolt gets most of his income – a staggering £24.4million ($32million) – from endorsements and sponsorship deals.

Bolt's successes on the track and likeable personality have helped him to become one of the most marketable sportsmen of all time.

He has a number of lucrative sponsorship deals with global brands such as Gatorade, Sprint and Hublot.

He is the 23rd highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes, and the the only track athlete to make it into the top 100.

Bolt’s biggest sponsor is Puma, which pays the sprinter about £7.6million ($10million) a year, Forbes added.

The 6ft 5in star has used his wealth to start the Usain Bolt Foundation, which supports the "educational and cultural development” of children.

Usain Bolt’s career stats
Bolt is widely considered the greatest sprinter in history.

He has broken countless records throughout his career and still holds the title of ‘fastest man on earth’ - a record he set after running 100m in 9.58 seconds in 2009.

Bolt is an 11-time world champion and the only person to hold both the 100m and 200m records at the same time.

The Jamaican has won an impressive eight Olympic gold medals and is the only athlete to win the ‘triple double’, which is where a sprinter wins the 100m and 200m at three consecutive Olympics.

Usain Bolt’s personal bests

100m: 9.58 seconds (WR)

200m: 19.19 seconds (WR)

300m: 30.97 seconds

400m: 45.28 seconds


Adam Gemili claims he was forced to run through injury by British Athletics

Adam Gemili has hit out at his controversial omission from the World Championships, revealing that he was forced to run against his will after placing his trust in senior British Athletics figures, who he feels have let him down.

Gemili missed out on Olympic 200m bronze by three-thousandths of a second last summer, but finished only sixth at the British trials earlier this month while struggling with a hamstring injury.

He appealed for more time to prove his fitness, but the selectors ignored his pleas and instead picked Zharnel Hughes for the final 200m berth.

Now fully fit and insisting he could have won a medal at London 2017, Gemili revealed he asked not to run at the trials because he was not fit, but was told he had no choice. “I didn’t want to race there, but the powers-that-be said that if I wanted to make the team then I had to,” he said. “I was trying to run with one leg.

“I said to them: ‘Can I just compete in the 100m?’ But they said: ‘No you’ve got to do the 200m’. I had a terrible race and I could have stopped – maybe I should have. But I was too proud to go out there and pull up.

“I did ask for a bit more time. I made an appeal and unfortunately it was denied, which is their selection policy.”

He added: “I put my trust in a lot of people and I stayed loyal to a lot of people.

“Athletics is a tough sport and I’m realising now, when you speak to a lot of older people in the sport, they say how individual it is and how you have to look after yourself. For me, it makes you tough and hardens you up. I just need to have a bit more faith in what I believe and to be a lot more selfish.

“I’m completely fit now, because I told them I would be and that’s annoying. I was very naive.”

Gemili, who was the first British man in history to break 10 seconds for 100m and 20 seconds for 200m, said the rejection had been the most difficult time in an career that has seen him win three European titles.

“This is tough to take, it’s really tough to take,” he said. “This is worse than tearing your hamstring and worse than missing out on an Olympic medal. This is a lot harder to cope with mentally.

“If I’d got fit after London then fine, I wasn’t capable. But I know now that I’m fit and ready to go.

“The hardest thing is knowing that I could have done something. The 200m this year, with [Usain] Bolt not there, it’s so open to win.

“People are running well, but not crazy fast times and I believe if I was there I could have been very competitive.”

Explaining the decision to select Hughes over Gemili, Neil Black, British Athletics performance director, said “recent performances” had counted in the former Anguilla sprinter’s favour.

Despite his individual snub, Gemili will compete in London as part of the British 4x100m team along with Hughes, CJ Ujah, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Danny Talbot, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, and Reece Prescod.

“I’ve just got to accept I’m part of the relay team and focus on that,” he said. “Hopefully we can go win a medal – I believe we can challenge for gold.

“We’ve never had an era of sprinters in this country running so quickly. It’s just making sure we get it round on the day.”


11 Tips From Gesa Krause

Gesa Krause is the reigning European 3000m steeplechase champion and took bronze at the 2015 World Championships. Here, the German shares her best pieces of advice for on and off the track.

Championship tip

The most important thing about competing at a championship is not to stress. You are often focused on a major event for a whole year, so you should be well prepared. You should trust in yourself that you have done the work and that by the time you get to the championship you should have self-belief.

Tactical tip

In some ways, this depends on what your expectation is leading into the race. I generally always try to run at a decent pace, but to keep relaxed in the early stages. It is also nice to catch others in the race rather than have people pass you.

In the steeplechase in particular, if you go out too hard, you will suffer towards the end.

Psychological tip

Surround yourself with people who believe in you. This helps you to stay focused and motivated, which gives you belief in your own ability. It is also important to remain on your own path. Many athletes become too interested in what other athletes are doing. It may work for them, but it should not impact your routine.

Coaching tip

When I was younger my coach, Wolfgang Heinig, said it is very important to have a big motivation to keep going in the sport.

He said, it does not matter if that motivation is money, whether that motivation is to be able to build a house or that your motivation is simply to enjoy success but whatever it is, it has to be a big motivation. It needs to be big enough to motivate you to suffer in training and reach your goal. He told me this when I was a teenager and I was very inspired.

Top tip for surviving the athletics circuit

I find WhatsApp is very important because it keeps me connected with family and friends when I’m on the circuit. I also find taking time out to experience a city when I’m at a meeting very helpful.

Cooking tip

I would say find your own recipes! I like to create something myself. Sometimes I find it annoying to follow a cookbook because it might need something like 20 ingredients to make the dish.

Fashion tip

Because we often wear sports clothes it is nice to have the chance to dress up for a special event. I love expensive accessories – whether that is a bag, a watch or a necklace – I think you can look quite special with the right accessory.

Driving tip

Don’t drive long-distance. I find it is so boring. So, I would say when you are driving long-distance find someone to drive for you.

Vacation tip

I love to travel. It was a passion handed down to me from my parents and before I started travelling through track and field, I’d already been to around 50 countries. I tend to go on one holiday a year. One year I try to discover something new and the next year I’ll seek out a more relaxing vacation. What I would say is when I do go on vacation, I try not to worry about money and just enjoy the experience.

Social media tip

Don’t let social media control your life. I have fun with social media but I like to decide how often to use it and training should always be the priority.

Dating tip

Be yourself! If you try to change your personality the date will find out at the second, third or fourth date.


Team USA Gets 4 Additional London Invites

INDIANAPOLIS -- The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has extended World Championships invitations to Olympic hammer throwers Kibwé Johnson and Rudy Winkler, as well as Team USATF rising stars Alex Young in the men’s hammer throw and Ariana Ince in the women’s javelin throw. All athletes have accepted and will compete in London early next month.

Johnson, who with the invitation has made his fourth IAAF World Championships team, is a two-time Olympian with a season’s best of 74.32m/243-10. Johnson is a two-time Pan American Games gold medalist and five-time USATF champion.

The 2016 Olympic Trials gold medalist in the men’s hammer throw, Winkler won the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships crown to become Cornell’s first NCAA throws champion. The 2016 and 2017 USTFCCCA Northeast Regional Men's Field Athlete of the Year, Winkler is a three-time First Team All-American and competed for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he finished 18th.

Young is a two-time USATF Champion in 2017, winning the men’s weight throw and men’s hammer throw at the USATF Indoor and Outdoor Championships this year. Young recently finished his collegiate eligibility at Southeastern Louisiana University and his personal best of 73.75m/241-11 came from USATF Outdoors in Sacramento this year.

Ince was the runner-up at the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships and finished eighth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the women’s javelin. Ince is now a volunteer assistant coach at her alma mater, Rice University, and holds a personal best of 61.38m/201-4 from earlier this month.


Rudisha eyes sweet return to London for Worlds

After breaking the World record five years ago in London, David ‘King’ Rudisha heads back to the English capital seeking to conquer the turf on which he won his first Olympic gold medal.

The two-time Olympic and two-time World 800m champion will be aiming to retain his title at the IAAF World Athletics championships slated for August 4-13 and is confident of a strong showing.

“The preparations have been going on well since we reported in camp. I’m happy with the training since this is a very crucial time for us as we make the final preparations.

I have been working on endurance, speed and some good track sessions just to make sure that we have everything balanced. The preparations have been good and we’re all up for this,” the Beijing World champion asserted.

This season, the two-lap specialist has only competed thrice and has had on one victory at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial in Hungary (July 3-4) where he set a season best (SB) of 1:44.90.

In his season opener, 19-year-old Kipyegon Bett (1:44.70) stunned the track King during Shangai Diamond League while he finished fourth in 1:45.17.

In June 10 during the Kingston Racers Grand Prix in Jamaica, another teenager Willy Tarbei (19yrs) upstaged Rudisha to cross the finish line in 1:44.86. The Rio Olympic Champion settled for second place after stopping the timer at 1:44.90.

Later in that month, Rudisha made his 1000m debut at the 56TH Ostrava Golden Spike where he finished fourth after clocking 2:19.43.

“In sports there will always be new crop of young and talented athletes coming up we love them all. They come and find us as senior experienced athletes we work together and do our best.

“I also know that time is not on our side as senior athletes and when the time comes, we shall have had mentored them and they will be ready to continue where we left off.

“For now we are still active and focused in our competitions, so we ask them to be on the lookout since we are going to sweat it out and not give up our titles easily,” the 800m World Record holder said.

Rudisha missed out on last month’s World Championships trials held at the Nyayo National Stadium, after being granted permission by Athletics Kenya (AK) to focus on his title defence.

During Team Kenya naming after the trials, the selectors ‘forgot’ to name Rudisha who had a wild card on the virtue of being the defending champion but instead called out World Relay Champion Ferguson Rotich who also had a wild card after winning 2016 Diamond League, Emmanuel Korir, Kipyegon Bett and Michael Saruni.

Eyebrows were raised and Rudisha was called in the team, the selectors had a tough decision to make on whom to drop in the five-member team. Saruni who is reported to have gone AWOL from camp was axed by the Team Kenya technical department for ‘indiscipline’.

Rudisha will now team up with Korir, Bett and Rotich in the hunt of the coveted medal next month.


2017 World Champs Men/Women Medal Predictions

2017 World Champs Men’s Medal Predictions

by T&FN’s panel of experts


2017 World Champs Women’s Medal Predictions


Day-Monroe to compete in heptathlon at IAAF World Championships in London

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly alumna Sharon Day-Monroe is headed to London, as the former Mustang seven-time track & field All-American will compete in the IAAF World Championship heptathlon on Aug. 5-6.

Day-Monroe advanced to the world stage at the USATF Championships in Sacramento on June 24-25, when she finished third with a score of 6,421 points on NBC. Kendell Williams (6,564) and Erica Bougard (6,557) are her multi-event teammates.

Twenty-five individuals from 16 countries reached the qualifying cutoff of 6,200 points. Day-Monroe ranks 10th in the world this year.

Belgium's Nafissatou Thiam, the 2016 gold medalist in Rio de Janeiro, has the top score on the way to England, as she tallied 7,013 points in Austria in May.



The upcoming schedule is listed below, with each event followed by Day-Monroe's season and career-best outdoor marks:

Saturday, Aug. 5
10:05 a.m. (2:05 a.m. PDT) • 100-Meter Hurdles • 13.31 / 13.50
11:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. PDT) • High Jump • 6' 4.75" / 6' 1"
7 p.m. (11 a.m. PDT) • Shot Put • 51' 3" / 50' 10"
9 p.m. (1 p.m. PDT) • 200-Meter Dash • 24.02 / 24.94

Sunday, Aug. 6
10 a.m. (2 a.m. PDT) • Long Jump • 20' 2.5" / 19' 4"
11:45 a.m. (3:45 a.m. PDT) / 1 p.m. (5 a.m. PDT) • Javelin Throw groups A / B • 164' 5" (same — twice in 2017)
8:40 p.m. (12:40 p.m. PDT) • 800 Meters • 2:08.94 / 2:15.14

This is the fifth career IAAF Worlds heptathlon for Day-Monroe, who won six conference titles as a Mustang (as well as one national championship) from 2004-08 and was inducted into the Cal Poly Hall of Fame in 2015.



Endorsed by ASICS, Day-Monroe finished ninth in Berlin in 2009, 16th in South Korea in 2011, sixth in Moscow in 2013, and 14th in Beijing in 2015.

This is her first trip to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium since the summer of 2012, when she competed in the Olympics for a second time. Day-Monroe is among 77 Olympians featured on Team USA's roster of 132, led by eight gold medalists from the 2016 Rio Games.

As the championships draw closer, Sharon is providing updates via AthleteBiz on her training regimen, discussing her preparation.

"Everything feels like it's lining up nicely for competition in London," Day-Monroe said. "My harder running workouts are feeling easier and I'm hitting competition marks at practice in my throwing events."

"I'm excited to go back to London," she added. "It's one of my favorite cities! I'm also looking forward to competing at the Olympic Stadium once again." To read more from Sharon, click here.


Bolt's Agent Hopes His Client Will Visit Ireland

Ricky Simms - who also has Mo Farah on his books - reveals he dreams of bringing his pal to his hometown of Milford

USAIN Bolt’s Irish agent is hoping to get the superstar to the hills of Donegal when he hangs up his spikes.

Ricky Simms, who has been by the side of the charismatic Jamaican for the past 14 years, says TV, movies and even football are all in the horizon for Bolt after he retires from running after the World Championships in London.

The sports agent, who also has Mo Farah on his books, told how he dreams of bringing his pal to his hometown of Milford, Co Donegal when he finally has some free time.

Ricky, who runs Pace Sports Management, said: “He will not be disappearing from the public eye. I expect you will see a lot more of Usain Bolt in the years to come.

“It is up to him. He has many opportunities. He is still very much in demand as a brand ambassador. He has several other business interests. The International Association of Athletics Federations would like him to be an ambassador.

“He will work more for the Usain Bolt Foundation. He plans to establish a world class medical facility in Jamaica. And then there is the lure of other sports, particularly football, TV, movies.

“Although he will retire from competing he has a million other things going on. His diary is already heavily booked until the end of 2017.”

He added: “Hopefully he will make it to Donegal one day.”

The Donegal man has had a front row seat at the side-lines watching the history-making sprinter repeatedly smash records winning millions of adoring fans along the way.

But he said the champion has managed to remain down-to-earth despite his global fame.

He said: “It is simple. Usain is genuinely a nice guy. He respects people and people respect him back.”


Runner assaults coach after missing worlds team

(AP) -- An Ethiopian athlete has been banned for two years for attacking his coach after learning he didn't make the team for next month's world championships in London.

Ethiopian Athletics Federation spokesman Sileshi Bisrat says 21-year-old steeplechase runner Chala Beyo, who competed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, punched coach Yohannes Mohammed when the team was announced.

The coach needed medical treatment for an injured left eye, and Bisrat says police are searching for the runner.

Bisrat says Chala was carrying a rock when he assaulted his coach, but didn't use it.

Chala ran for Ethiopia in the 3,000 meters steeplechase at last year's Olympics. He didn't qualify for the final.

The federation says it has banned him for two years from all competitions


Acne Doesn't Mean She Dopes, Says Schippers

Dafne Schippers: 'I hate when people see my skin and say I'm a drugs cheat, acne doesn't mean I dope'... as Dutch sprinter labels her frosty relationship with Elaine Thompson as 'very bad'

  • Dafne Schippers converted from heptathlon to sprinting two years ago
  • She stunned the world in the World Championships in Beijing to win 200m gold
  • However the 25-year-old has grown frustrated with questions over steroid abuse
  • The Dutch Athlete is adamant she follows the strictest routine and diet to the law


For Dafne Schippers, a mention of the World Championships provokes pain and pleasure.

'

First to the pleasure. Two years ago in Beijing, Schippers emerged as the young sensation. Within three months of becoming a full-time sprinter — having previously competed in the heptathlon — she stunned athletics by claiming gold in the 200metres with a jet-heeled time of 21.63 seconds.
Only Florence Griffith Joyner, who set the world record of 21.34sec in 1988, and Marion Jones, who ran 21.62sec in 1998, have run faster than Schippers.

Those times are shrouded in doubt, as Joyner’s later career was overshadowed by unproven drug allegations and Jones has admitted to doping. So should the IAAF succeed in wiping all pre-2005 world records, Schippers will become the fastest female 200m sprinter.
Yet the immediate jubilation of a record-breaking sprint in Beijing soon gave way to cynicism. Athletics is a sport dogged by corruption, and mistrust intensified due to Schippers’ complexion. The Dutch athlete, 25, has suffered from acne on her face and back, which is regarded as a sign of steroid abuse.

Two years on, Schippers grimaces. ‘I hate it,’ she admits. ‘I hate it when people ask me those questions. I work so hard as a really good athlete, do my diet, follow the sleep patterns and live my life for the sport. When someone asks you things like that, it’s really hard. What can you say?

‘It’s hard with my skin. It’s me and who I am. Acne is something that runs in the family, even our mother had acne until she was 30 or 40. Some people say, “Oh that’s a typical sign of doping”.’


Schippers admits her confidence has suffered in an image-conscious world. ‘As a woman, it’s not so funny to suffer from acne. It’s hard to have that and hard to have people say things about that on a personal level. People are questioning your sporting integrity and then your personal side with your skin in one go.’

Schippers is also aware of a different suspicion. She is a white female sprinter breaking records and that does not happen often. A white woman has not won the 200m Olympic gold medal since East German Barbel Wockel in 1980, a victory that remains under suspicion due to the country’s doping programme.

Schippers lets out a wry smile. ‘It’s more difficult because everyone knows white girls in the 1980s were not all clean. That makes it more difficult. Everyone thinks, “Oh you are white, it’s not possible”.’

It is why she supports the IAAF proposal. ‘Some of those world records — they are just too difficult to run for that period. I think there were 12 or 13 world records in the 1980s. That’s a lot. Normally you think the track and spikes are better now. We want the sport as clean as possible.’

Growing up in Utrecht, Schippers started sprinting as a nine-year-old, where she became accustomed to raising eyebrows.

‘I was always faster than the guys,’ she laughs. ‘When I played football in school I just ran with the ball past everybody. Before track and field, I had a race and beat all the boys in the class in a sprint. The boys weren’t happy!’

In Rio, Schippers suffered a setback as the Jamaican Elaine Thompson claimed gold and she made a changeover error that led to the Dutch relay team going out in the heats. The rivalry with Thompson is one of the most competitive in the sport.

‘It’s very bad,’ Schippers says of their relationship. ‘I don’t know why. Maybe because we are both big talents. If she says “Hi”, I will say “Hi”. I am more of an easy person. With the European athletes, I can have fun with them. I am an easy person to talk to. If she won’t do that, then OK.

‘When I did heptathlon, it was friendlier. I spent a week in Sheffield with Jess Ennis when I was 18. Jess was a hero for me. I heard a story that nobody thought she could become the best but she really fought for it and she made it. That’s really special.’

Schippers is the Dutch answer to Ennis. She admits to being ‘probably one of the most famous women in Holland’.

‘At the beginning it was very difficult,’ she says. ‘My life totally changed. Now I feel much better.

‘My mood was not great after Rio. I came for gold and didn’t get it. It renews my motivation. When I win, the focus is on the next race. There is always the next gold. Starting in London!’


Big Long Jump By Lanae-Tava Thomas At JOs

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- With multi-events and race walk complete, middle distance runners and sprinters took their turn on the oval in the 400m hurdles, 800m and 200m on the third day of USATF Hershey Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships. Field events took a dramatic turn in the women’s 15-16 long jump with a new national record.

Watch on demand video of today’s events on USATF.TV+ and follow competition live all week.

In dominating fashion, Lanae-Tava Thomas (Henrietta, New York; USATF Niagara) smashed the girls’ 15-16 national record with the ninth-best jump overall this year. Thomas stormed down the runway and lept 6.68m/21-11. Her jump puts her one spot behind 2016 Rio Olympian Keturah Orji on the top marks of 2017.

Competition began under grey skies with the first round of 400m hurdles, along with several final field events. In the boys’ 15-16 division, Jarrett Flaker (Scarborough, Maine; USATF Maine) was the top qualifier with a time of 55.82, followed by Mason Anthony (Elbert, Colorado; USATF Colorado) and Matthew Harris (Atlanta, Georgia; USATF Georgia) just behind in 56.41 and 56.43.

Imagine Patterson (Summerville, South Carolina; USATF South Carolina) marked herself as a favorite in the women’s 17-18 and posted the only time under 62 seconds to qualify with the fastest time of the day in 1:01.86.

In the field events, shot putter Joshua Sobota (Knoxville, Tennessee; USATF Tennessee) nearly clinched Dwight Johnson’s 1987 national record with his final throw of 19.85m/65-1.5. Sobota, who was recently crowned Gatorade Tennessee Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year, held the men’s 17-18 lead from the second round and catapulted to almost 20m on his sixth attempt.

Kassadi Avent took home girls’ 9-10 high jump gold by clearing 1.30m/4-3.25. Avent competed neck-and-neck with second place’s Kyara Fite but ultimately prevailed to win top honors.

Following an hour-long weather delay in the early afternoon, the 800m preliminary heats provided close finishes across age groups and a new national record. Grant Reynolds (Conyers, Georgia; USATF Georgia) ran 2:33.55 to break the previous boys’ 8 & under record of 2:33.73 set by Tristan Page in 2013.

Cha’iel Johnson (Miami Gardens, Florida; USATF Florida) cruised through her girls’ 11-12 prelim in 2:21.33 to advance to Saturday’s final. Johnson holds the national record in her age group at 2:14.80, set earlier this year.

As rain continued in the late afternoon, young athletes overcame wet conditions to complete the first round of 200m heats. In the 17-18 girls heats it was a Texas showdown as Kynnedy Flannel (Alvin, Texas; USATF Gulf) and ShaCarri Richardson (Dallas, Texas; USATF Southwestern) raced neck in neck to the finish in 23.95. Flannel of Track Houston Youth Club taking the win by .002.

Follow along with #JOTF on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

WEDNESDAY FINALS:
For full results click here.

Boys Triple Jump 13-14 
Johnny Brackins Jr., The Doors, 12.75m/41’ 10”

Girls High Jump 9-10 
Kassidi Avent, Willis/Camden PAL, 1.30m/4’ 3 ¼”

Men’s Shot Put 17-18 
Joshua Sobota, GymTek Academy, 19.85m/65’ 1 ½”

Girls Javelin Throw 11-12 
Jasmine Hampton, Sequoyah Youth Track, 35.23m/115’ 7”

Girls Javelin Throw 8 & Under
Isabella Allison, Phoenix Flyers, 17.79m/58’ 4”

Girls Pole Vault 13-14
Kyla Davis, Unattached, 3.50m/11’ 5 ¾”

Boys Triple Jump 15-16
Cameron Hudson, Club Nitro Flyers, 14.57m/47’ 9 ¾”

Girls Shot Put 15-16
Faith Bender, Unattached, 12.97m/42’ 6 ¾”

Women’s High Jump 17-18
Sydney Sapp, OKC Sprinters, 1.70m/5’ 7”

Boys Javelin Throw 11-12 
Max Berger, Rainier Beach Track, 41.95m/137’ 7”

Boys Javelin Throw 8 & Under 
Brady Galligher, New Jersey Striders, 25.42m/83’ 4”

Men’s Long Jump 17-18
Jakobe’ Ford, Seattle Speed Academy, 7.47m/24’ 6 ¼”

Women’s Shot Put 17-18
Veronica Fraley, Junior Striders T&F, Inc., 13.83m/45’ 4 ½”

Girls Long Jump 15-16 
Lanae-Tava Thomas, Maximum Velocity Track Club, 6.68m/21’ 11”


Would 11-Year Wait Be A Blessing Or Curse For LA?

LOS ANGELES — For several years Los Angeles city leaders have focused on winning the 2024 Summer Olympics, supporting a $5.3 billion plan to host the event seven years from now.

Those seven years might soon turn into 11, after the International Olympic Committee’s recent decision to award the games to both Paris and Los Angeles, with one city getting 2024 and the other 2028.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that Los Angeles appears unlikely to be selected for 2024. But the IOC is making the later date “financially so attractive, we would be stupid not to take 2028,” Garcetti said.

The longer window could prove helpful to L.A. — giving the city more time to complete the Purple Line subway to the west side and perhaps providing leverage to extract concessions from the IOC. It might also mean the value of sponsorships and other revenue sources could increase.

But experts familiar with Olympic bidding say an ­11-year wait could present both economic and political hazards. Some have expressed concern that the public will not have time to scrutinize a revised deal before the city must sign a host contract.

“Whoever is taking the 2028 Games is taking a much greater risk,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, who served on the L.A. City Council during negotiations for the 1984 Summer Olympics. “There’s more economic uncertainty.”

For example, it is difficult to predict ticket revenue for an event 11 years out, ­Yaroslavsky said.

As Los Angeles and Paris bid negotiators work with the IOC to decide which city will go first, a Garcetti spokesman said the city is financially protected.

“Garcetti does not believe that waiting four more years would increase our risk profile,” spokesman Alex Comisar said. “Whether we host in 2024 or 2028, our low-risk plan remains the same — using existing infrastructure, and controlling costs.”

Paris bid organizers have dismissed the idea of waiting four additional years. Paris also has a possible advantage for 2024 because that year marks the 100th anniversary of the last time the City of Light hosted the Games.

The budget released by LA24 — the bid committee — for the 2024 Games was called “substantially reasonable” in an independent analysis by the accounting firm KPMG.

Relying on existing venues such as the Coliseum, Staples Center and Pauley Pavilion, L.A.’s proposal is a “low-cost, low-risk approach,” according to a state Legislative Analyst’s Office report.

The mayor and city council formally backed the bid earlier this year, but that agreement was specific to the 2024 Games. City leaders would have to authorize acceptance of the 2028 Games, Sharon Tso, chief legislative analyst, said last week.

That process should also reopen discussions at City Hall over how the event will affect the city and its residents, said Jonny Coleman, an organizer with NOlympics LA, a local group opposed to the games.

“You don’t get to just cross out ‘2024’ and replace it with ‘2028,’” Coleman said. “You actually have to renegotiate it with the public.”

Garcetti said Wednesday that details about a possible bid for 2028 would be released next week.

With an IOC selection announcement coming as soon as August and a formal signing ceremony possibly set for September, there may be little time to consider a new deal.

A key issue for Olympic host cities has always been cost overruns.

Los Angeles, as the only viable bidder for the 1984 Games, had leverage over the IOC allowing it to escape responsibility for cost overruns. L.A. voters also had passed a charter amendment barring city leaders from using taxpayer funds to cover such costs unless they were reimbursed.

L.A. was not able to drive such a hard bargain for 2024. The city agreed to cover the first $250 million in extra costs, the state the next $250 million, with the city responsible for anything above that.

Comisar, Garcetti’s spokesman, said in a statement that refusing to accept financial liability for the 2024 Games “would be a nonstarter for the IOC.”

Given of the prospect of a 2028 Olympics, a July Legislative Analyst’s Office report on L.A.’s bid questioned whether the state’s $250 million guarantee was enough.

“Put simply, due to the time value of money, $250 million from the state will buy less stuff in 2028 than it would in 2024,” the report noted.

The report, which studied a recent IOC evaluation of L.A.’s bid, noted that many Olympic events will take place at privately owned venues, where rental costs could rise in coming years.

Other expenses are also expected to rise.

For instance, the LA24 committee budgeted about $84 million for city services during the 2024 Olympics. Those services, such as police overtime, could be more expensive in 2028.

At the same time, an IOC study shows that global Olympic sponsorships have become more lucrative over time.

The 2024 Host City Contract — the binding agreement that the city must sign if it is picked by the IOC — is publicly available. The agreement for 2028 has not been released, an IOC press representative said in an email.

The representative called the dual award bid a “unique situation” and said the “IOC is currently working on getting the relevant documentation ready.”

An IOC poll found that 78 percent of L.A. residents are in favor of the Olympic Games coming back to the city, which hosted them in 1932 and 1984.

Waiting until 2028 allows more time for possible opposition to build against the games, said Andrew ­Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Massachusetts. “The support base could fracture,” he said.


Millar sprinting well despite knee injury

New Zealand sprinter Joseph Millar is confident he'll be in the best shape of his life for next week's World Athletics Championships in London, despite a knee injury affecting his buildup.

Millar has been competing and training in Belgium and London for the past two weeks which has meant he has not had consistent treatment on his knee.

He has now joined up with the rest of the New Zealand squad in Cardiff, where has received regular treatment and was noticing a difference, he said.

"I've been able to start to get on top of it. On my good days I'm moving really well, faster than I've ever moved before."

"It's just the days where it's feeling a little bit iffy where I'm not able to move as fast as I've been doing in training and unfortunately most of those times have happened on race days," he said.

"I have my good days and bad days, but I'm having more and more good days now I'm having treatment on it."

Millar said he would not be competing in anymore races before the World Championships, where he has already qualified for the 200 metres.

He was keen to run the 100 metres if the numbers allowed and he would know in the next 24 hours if that would happen.

If Millar competes in the 100 metres, there was a chance he could race against Usain Bolt with the Jamaican great competing in his last event before retirement.


Canadian Coverage Of WC Will Be On CBC

CBC Sports will be Canada’s exclusive home for live coverage of the top track and field athletes on the planet as they compete at the IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, August 4–13 in London, England. CBC Sports will have weekend afternoon and prime-time coverage on TV as part of ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES, as well as daily streaming live at cbcsports.ca, and on the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices throughout the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. In addition, CBC Sports has announced a four-year media rights partnership with Athletics Canada that will see the network provide exclusive coverage of marquee national athletic events including National Championships, NACAC Regional Championships and the 2020 Olympic Team Trials, among others.



Scott Russell will host CBC Sports’ live afternoon and prime-time TV broadcasts on Aug. 4, 5, 6 and 12 and an additional afternoon broadcast on Aug. 13. He will be joined by several veteran broadcasters, Olympians and former national team members, including: reporter, Olympian and World Champion hurdler Perdita Felicien on-site in London; Gemini Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mark Lee; analyst, Olympian and two-time Commonwealth Games decathlon champion Michael Smith; contributor, two-time Olympic Games gold medallist and three-time World Champion Donovan Bailey; veteran athletics analyst, Olympian and former world record-holder David Moorcroft; and analyst, Olympian and World Championship sprinter Anson Henry, who will provide additional reports for the network’s digital and social media platforms throughout the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.



Canada will be well-represented at the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS with a team of 48 athletes led by Andre De Grasse in the men’s 100-metre, 200-metre and 4x100-metre; Melissa Bishop in the women’s 800-metre; decathlete Damian Warner; Crystal Emmanuel in the women’s 100-metre and 200-metre; reigning Olympic Games and World Champion Derek Drouin in high jump and reigning World Champion Shawn Barber in pole vault.

In addition to Canadian stars, there are a number of intriguing storylines surrounding international athletes at these WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. Foremost is Jamaica’s legendary sprinter Usain Bolt, competing in his final World Championships where he’ll run the men’s 100-metre and 4x100-metre, looking to add to his 13 career medals. Great Britain’s long-distance superstar Mohamed Farah will also run in his final World Championships where he will attempt to win a fourth-consecutive 5000-metre gold and a third-straight 10,000-metre gold.



CBC Sports will have live broadcast and streaming coverage of the men’s 100-metre heats beginning at 3:20 p.m. ET (12:20 p.m. PT) on Friday, Aug. 4, followed on Saturday, Aug. 5 by the semifinals at 2:05 p.m. ET (11:05 a.m. PT) leading up to the final at 4:45 p.m. ET (1:45 p.m. PT). This event represents the final opportunity for Andre De Grasse to face Usain Bolt head-to-head at this level. CBC Sports’ full broadcast and streaming schedules can be found here. In the days ahead of the World Championships, cbcsports.ca will post an interactive feature that will allow users to explore the history of Bolt’s accomplishments over the course of his legendary career.

Partnership with Athletics Canada
CBC Sports has further extended its commitment to showcasing Canada’s high performance athletes through a four-year media rights partnership reached with Athletics Canada, announced today.



With the agreement in place, CBC Sports is the exclusive home of upcoming National Team events, including the 2018 and 2019 Canadian Track and Field National Championships, the 2018 NACAC Regional Championships and 2020 Olympic Trials. CBC Sports will also work with Athletics Canada to provide coverage of several other Canadian track and field events over the next four years.

“We are excited to partner with Athletics Canada over the next four years. As evidenced last summer, Canada’s track and field athletes are reaching new heights on the world stage and CBC Sports is proud to continue to share their stories with Canadian fans,” said Greg Stremlaw, executive director, CBC Sports, and general manager, Olympics. “This partnership with Athletics Canada is another example of CBC Sports’ dedication to providing audiences with more access to high-performance sport, and Canada’s athletes in particular, in the months and years between Olympic Games.”



“CBC has always carried the torch for the Olympic and Paralympic movement in Canada,” said Mathieu Gentès, chief operating officer, Athletics Canada. “Athletics Canada is thrilled at the possibilities of this partnership. A resurgence of track and field paired with CBC Sports’ outstanding broadcasts, reporting and reach on various platforms, will serve as an important factor in extending track and field’s reach to a whole new generation of fans. In the short term, we are looking forward to CBC Sports’ expansive coverage of the upcoming IAAF World Championships.”


IAAF name podium moments at London 2017

Jess Ennis-Hill is among the cheated athletes to receive medal upgrades at IAAF World Championships

Jess Ennis-Hill is one of 11 individual athletes and five teams who will get their rightful medals from previous World Championships in London next month.

Ennis-Hill, who was beaten into second in the heptathlon by Russian drugs cheat Tatyana Chernova at the 2011 World Championships, will get her gold on Sunday August 6 at the London Stadium, with the ceremony accompanied by the national anthem and flags.

The United States women’s 4x400m team will also receive their gold medals after being beaten by the now disgraced Russian team at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, while 10,000m runners Kara Goucher and Jo Pavey will get a deserved upgrade to silver and bronze respectively after being beaten in Osaka in 2011 by Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse, who later failed a drugs test.

British 400m record-holder Christine Ohuruogu is set to receive a total of three relay medals.

IAAF president Seb Coe said: “I’m delighted that the athletes are properly honoured for their achievements and what better way than in front of passionate athletics fans at a major championship.

“For those receiving gold medals their moment in London will be all the more special as they will hear their national anthem played. Whatever their nationality clean athletes worldwide will celebrate with them.”

The reallocation of medals will be at the following times:

Friday August 4

4x400m women – Berlin 2009 – Great Britain (Lee McConnell, Christine Ohuruogu, Vicki Barr, Nicole Sanders) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

400m women – Daegu 2011 – Francena McCorory (USA) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

4x400m women – Daegu 2011 – GBR (Perri Shakes Drayton, Nicole Sanders, Christine Ohuruogu, Lee McConnell) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

400m women – Moscow 2013 – Stephanie Ann McPherson (JAM) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

4x400m women – Moscow 2013 – United States (Jessica Beard, Natasha Hastings, Ashley Spencer, Francena McCorory) (promoted from silver to gold); Great Britain (Eilidh Doyle, Shana Cox, Margaret Adeoye, Christine Ohuruogu) (promoted from bronze to silver); France (Marie Gayot, Lenora Guion-Firmin, Muriel Hurtis-Houairi, Floria Guei) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

Saturday August 5

10.000m women – Osaka 2007 – Kara Goucher (USA) (promoted from bronze to silver); Jo Pavey (GBR) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

1500m women – Osaka 2007 – Irina Lishchynska (UKR) (promoted from bronze to silver).

Long jump women – Daegu 2011 – Ineta Radevica (LAT) (promoted from bronze to silver).

Sunday August 6

Shot put men – Osaka 2007 – Rutger Smith (NED) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

Heptathlon women – Daegu 2011 – Jessica Ennis (GBR) (promoted from silver to gold); Jennifer Oeser (GER) (promoted from bronze to silver).

Sunday August 13

20km race walk men – Berlin 2009 – Eder Sanchez (MEX) (promoted from bronze to silver); Giorgio Rubino (ITA) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

Tags: IAAF World Championships, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Jo Pavey, Kara Goucher, London 2017, Seb Coe


USATF Athlete Of The Week: Ajee' Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS (USATF)-- After her record-breaking 800m performance at Monaco Diamond League on Friday, 2016 Rio Olympian and World Indoor silver medalist Ajee’ Wilson is awarded USATF Athlete of the Week honors.

Wilson (Neptune Township, New Jersey) matched up against the world’s most acclaimed 800m competitors and immediately battled for first position. It came down to the final steps, where Wilson finished third in a time of 1:55.91, shattering the American record and improving on her personal best by over two seconds.

Wilson finished behind 2016 Olympic champion Caster Semenya (1:55.27) and Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba (1:55.47). In total, the impressive field set four national records and seven personal bests.

Wilson told the media afterwards, “U.S. record? Woah! I hadn’t seen the time yet! It felt so good to be competitive again, it was great! Now [I’m] going home in Philadelphia to prepare for London.”

After capturing the 800m USATF Outdoor title, Wilson is set to compete for Team USATF at the 2017 World Outdoor Championships in London, Aug. 4-13.

Other notable performances:

  • Jordan Geist (Cabot, Pennsylvania) easily crushed his competition in the shot put with a second round throw of 22.02m/72-3 to win gold and set an American Junior record at the Pan American Junior Games.
  • 2016 Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager (Portland, Oregon) won his first Diamond League title in Monaco on Friday in the steeplechase after crossing the line in a world leading time of 8:01.29, and a six second lead on the next finisher. His performance fell just short of his American record (8:00.45) but marks the second-fastest time in American history and the first American to win a steeplechase Diamond League title.
  • Alyssa Wilson (Jackson, New Jersey) smashed the high school national record in the women’s shot put with a best throw of 17.70m/58-1 on opening day of Pan American Junior Championships.

Now in its 16th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on USATF.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2017 Winners: January 5, Miranda Melville; January 12, Leonard Korir; January 19, Jordan Hasay; January 26, Keni Harrison; February 2, Michael Wardian; February 9, Mikey Brannigan; February 16, Ajee’ Wilson; February 23, Kathy Martin; March 2, Keturah Orji; March 9, Noah Lyles; March 16, Christian Walker; March 23, Allen Woodard; March 30, Bob Lida; April 6, Anna Rohrer; April 12, Sydney McLaughlin; April 19, Ben True; April 26, Jordan Hasay; May 3, Clayton Murphy; May 10, Gwen Berry; May 17,

Christian Coleman; May 24, Joe Kovacs; May 31, Christian Taylor; June 7, Sydney McLaughlin; June 14, Christian Coleman; Tianna Bartoletta, June 21; Ryan Crouser, June 28; Sam Kendricks, July 6; Allyson Felix, July 12; Julia Hawkins, July 19; Ajee’ Wilson, July 26.


U.S. Olympians receive medal upgrades after doping punishments

U.S. Olympians Kara Goucher and Francena McCorory are among more than a dozen athletes set to receive retroactive medal upgrades in ceremonies at the world track and field championships next month.

The results changes were made due to positive retests of past doping samples from athletes since stripped of their medals.

Goucher, a 2008 and 2012 Olympic distance runner, will be promoted from bronze to silver from the 2007 World Championships 10,000m in an Aug. 5 ceremony at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Original silver medalist Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol in a retest of a sample she gave at the 2007 World Championships, it was announced in March.

Abeylegesse also won Olympic silver medals in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Games.

American Shalane Flanagan stands to get the silver medal in the Olympic 10,000m, but that has not been announced yet. The medal upgrade ceremonies at worlds include past world championships but no past Olympic events.

U.S. 400m runner Francena McCorory will receive two medals on Aug. 4 — bronze in the 2011 World Championships 400m and gold as part of the 2013 U.S. 4x400m relay team with Jessica Beard, Natasha Hastings and Ashley Spencer. Joanna Atkins also ran in the preliminary heats of the relay.

Original 2011 World 400m bronze medalist Anastasia Kapachinskaya was retroactively disqualified in June after a doping sample from the 2011 Worlds was retested and found to contain banned steroids. McCorory originally finished fourth in that final.

Russia was stripped of its 2013 World 4x400m title in February after relay member Antonina Krivoshapka was retroactively banned for a doping offense. Russia beat the U.S. by .22 in that world final.

The biggest cheer at London Olympic Stadium for one of 11 medal upgrade ceremonies will come on Aug. 6, when Brit Jessica Ennis-Hill receives her 2011 World heptathlon gold after Russian Tatyana Chernova was stripped for doping.


Barshim & Schippers Join Field For Birmingham DL

Reigning 200m world champion Dafne Schippers will go head-to-head with Britain’s finest sprinters in a post-world championship celebration showdown at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham on Sunday 20 August.

A host of Olympic and world medallists will compete at the IAAF Diamond League meeting, which will include Mo Farah’s last ever track race on home soil.

Schippers will take on Britain’s fastest ever woman Dina Asher-Smith and European Indoor 60m champion Asha Philip over 100m at the Alexander Stadium.

The Dutch sprint star will be hoping to have added more world medals to her collection over both 100m and 200m in London the week before.

“The Müller Grand Prix Birmingham will be a fantastic celebration for the athletes and a fitting end to an amazing season of athletics in the UK," Schippers said.

“It will be great to have a race later in the season against the best sprinters in a fun and celebratory atmosphere and I know the athletes will put on a spectacular show for the crowd.”

Olympic high jump silver medallist Mutaz Barshim of Qatar will also compete at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham, against home favourite and long-term rival Robbie Grabarz. Barshim has a fantastic record in Birmingham -- he won this event in a stadium record 2.38m in 2014 and also cleared 2.37m in 2016.

Grabarz finished in joint fourth behind Barshim in Rio last year and was joint Olympic bronze medallist with the Qatari athlete and Derek Drouin of Canada at London 2012.

Barshim and Birmingham-based Grabarz will each want to come out on top at both the IAAF World Championships and the Diamond League meet on 20 August.

Barshim, the 2013 world silver medallist, said, “I love competing in the UK so to have another chance to compete there at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham is fantastic.

“I hope I will be celebrating winning another World Championship medal by the time I get to Birmingham and I will be trying my best to jump well.”

Organisers for the IAAF

2017 IAAF Diamond League calendar:
5 May – Doha, QAT
13 May – Shanghai, CHN
27 May – Eugene, USA
8 Jun – Rome, ITA

15 Jun – Oslo, NOR
18 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
1 Jul – Paris, FRA
6 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
9 Jul – London, GBR
16 Jul – Rabat, MAR
21 Jul – Monaco, MON
20 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
24 Aug – Zurich, SUI
1 Sep – Brussels, BEL


Alum Kayla Warren Joins Washington State Staff

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Cougar alum Kayla Warren has joined the Washington State University Track and Field staff as the Operations Coordinator, Wayne Phipps, Director of Cross-Country/Track & Field, announced Tuesday. Warren, 24, replaces Andrea Sabbatine who left the program last month to pursue other interests after two seasons at WSU.

"Kayla will be an excellent addition to our track and field program," Phipps said. "Kayla is highly motivated and possesses both a strong work ethic and a strong understanding of the administrative and athletic goals of our track and field and cross country programs. Her role will be a huge benefit to our coaching staff and as well as our student-athletes."

Warren was born in Seattle when her father Chris Warren, a three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, was playing for the Seattle Seahawks. She graduated from Seattle's Holy Names Academy in 2011 and competed for the WSU Track and Field team from 2011-13 and 2014-16.

Warren scored two sixth-place finishes in the triple jump at the Pac-12 Championships and qualified and competed twice at the NCAA West Region Preliminary Rounds.

Warren earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences with a minor in Forestry in December 2016. While completing her degree, she served as an intern/volunteer at the WSU Bear Center as well as at the WSU Arboretum. In addition to her academics and athletics endeavors, she worked at the renown Cougar Country Drive-In for five years, including more than two years as the head supervisor.

"I care a lot about the Cross Country and Track and Field program because of all it did for me while I was a student-athlete," Warren said. "Being a Coug was the best decision I ever made and to be able to return to serve the program that I am so passionate about is amazing. I am so thankful for this opportunity."


Rai Benjamin Transfers From UCLA To USC

Rai Benjamin will turn 20 Thursday.

If he seems older, it might be because the former Mount Vernon track and field star has certainly packed a lot into 19 years.

One of the nation’s top high school athletes, Benjamin has fast become one of the nation’s top collegiate athletes.

Last month, running for UCLA, the sophomore finished second in the NCAA Division I men’s 400 hurdles championship — second only by 1/100th of a second to a fifth-year senior.

His time, 48.33, was a personal best that was 1.64 seconds faster than when he won New Balance Nationals in 2015 as a Mount Vernon senior and 3.53 seconds faster than when he won New York’s high school championship as a junior.

It is also the third best time ever run by a UCLA 400 hurdler.

Benjamin’s improvement is marked by the invitation he received and declined last year to compete in the Rio Olympics for Antigua — his parents’ birthplace.

THIS SEASON: Rai Benjamin sets PR in the dash at the Armory

ALL-STARS: UCLA and world beckon Rai Benjamin, top area track star

OLYMPICS: Rai Benjamin declines Rio invite to rest from injury

He was not satisfied with his times coming off a broken foot that sidelined him for two months his freshman year at UCLA, a school that embraced him and a school he embraced.

But Benjamin is moving on — away from UCLA and away from Antigua’s track and field program.

The political science major has transferred 15 minutes away to USC. This follows UCLA’s hiring of a new track and field director and its subsequent dismissal of Bruin sprints and hurdles coach Darrell Smith.

The un-updated UCLA website still credits Smith for directing “one of the top recruits in the country in Rai Benjamin” to a sixth-place 400 hurdles finish at last year’s NCAA Championships.

Leaving was not an easy decision.

“I was really happy at UCLA,” he said by phone from Los Angeles. “Under no circumstances did I think I would leave at all … The best thing was the friendships I made here. I was comfortable, happy being so far away (from home) and at the same time being at home.”

“But with my coach being let go, structurally, I needed to be somewhere else. I just felt more comfortable being somewhere else.”

To UCLA’s credit, it granted Benjamin and two other athletes who decided to leave in response to Smith’s departure, waivers, so, instead of sitting out a year, Benjamin can immediately compete for USC.

“They just wanted me to be happy,” Benjamin said.

And seeking the same for himself, Benjamin, who has represented Antigua in some international events, also intends to compete instead for the U.S.

Benjamin’s 400 hurdles time would have qualified him for the U.S. team competing at the World Championships in August. But the International Association of Athletics Federations has blocked all country-to-country transfers until it sets up a new system to combat country-jumping, particularly African athletes being recruited to run for other nations.

New rules should not affect Benjamin, however, since he’s U.S.-born.

Explaining the switch to the U.S., Benjamin referred to his desire to be in a “more competitive atmosphere.”

Benjamin described himself as being in limbo but said he’ll soon meet with USC coaches to discuss his future there.

And he seems optimistic, mentioning USC possibly claiming a national championship.

“We should have a pretty good team next year,” he said. “If everyone does what they’re asked and if everyone performs the way they should, we could possibly win it.”


Jenny Simpson relishing London return

The American runner is looking forward to the IAAF World Championships due to the UK’s middle-distance heritage

At 1500m, Jenny Simpson won the world title in 2011, plus world silver in 2013 and Olympic bronze in 2016 – and she feels London is an appropriate place for her to try to win another global medal in the metric mile.

“Speaking as a 1500m runner, you have to recognise that some of the richest legacy and heritage of our event comes out of the UK,” she says. “I’m thinking of people like Steve Ovett and Seb Coe and those who came before us and really made the mile, the 1500m and 800m, to me, the most exciting spectator events in track and field.”

The American adds: “A lot of other British women have contributed to that legacy in a really meaningful way – like Laura Muir, Hannah England and Lisa Dobriskey.”

Simpson competed in the 2012 Olympics as reigning world champion but failed to do herself justice, going out in the semi-finals.

“I was young. It was my first summer as a professional athlete,” she remembers, “and having had that success it can be really hard to continue and out-do it the next year. It was a big disappointment but also a big growing experience.”

It gives her additional motivation for London 2017, as she explains: “I’m really excited about the chance to go back and compete in London because I know the event is going to be organised so well and there will be an enormous amount of interest and fan attendance.

“The logistics and fan interest is really something that can mark your experience and make it a really memorable event. Because I was disappointed with my 2012 Olympics, I’m looking forward to returning to the stadium and possibly getting some personal redemption.”

“Speaking as a 1500m runner, you have to recognise that some of the richest legacy and heritage of our event comes out of the UK”

With the last two World Championships and the Rio Olympics often short of spectators, London’s expected full houses will make a positive change. While Simpson explains that she does not need a capacity crowd to motivate her, the atmosphere does make a difference.

“I have great memories of Rio, Moscow and Beijing and of feeling really happy about my performances but I remember the Olympics in 2012 just being blown away by the feeling that my sport is so important here and what I achieve really mattered to people in the stands,” she says.

“For me the atmosphere in the stadium due to the interest and enthusiasm of the fans really makes a difference to how I remember the event.”


3 Tracksters Named To Baylor Hall Of Fame

WACO, Texas – Highlighted by NCAA champions Benjamin Becker, Steffanie Blackmon and Jennifer Jordan Washington, Baylor’s 2017 Hall of Fame class includes eight outstanding former student-athletes representing six different sports.

The 58th class of inductees also includes Ron Francis and Bill Hicks from football, Bill Payne and Jeff Jackson from track and field and Melanie Hagewood Willhite from women’s golf.

This year’s class, along with Wall of Honor recipient Jim Daniel, will participate in on-campus enshrinement activities during the Oct. 20-21 weekend. In addition to the Hall of Fame banquet, the 2017 class will be introduced during the Baylor-West Virginia football game on Saturday, Oct. 21 (kickoff time TBA) and ride in the school’s Homecoming parade prior to the game.



Tickets to the 2017 Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame banquet, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in the Brazos Room at the Waco Convention Center, are $50 per person and may be purchased by contacting the “B” Association at 254-710-3045 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Table sponsorships (seating for eight) are also available for $750 (individual) or $1,000 (corporate).

Organized in 1960, the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame recognizes and honors individuals whose participation and contributions have enriched and strengthened the university’s athletics program. Student-athletes are required to wait 10 years after completing their eligibility before they can be nominated for the Hall of Fame.

Beginning with the inaugural 1960 class that included coach Floyd “Uncle Jim” Crow and baseball’s Ted Lyons, 228 honorees have been elected or already enshrined in the Hall of Fame, while another 24 have been added to the Wall of Honor.



Baylor’s record-holder for career singles (141) and doubles wins (104), Becker was a three-time singles All-American, a four-time All-Big 12 pick and won the 2004 NCAA singles championship while leading the Bears to the school’s first-ever team national championship.

A native of Orscholz, Germany, Becker earned Big 12 Freshman and ITA Region IV Rookie of the Year honors in 2002, when he was 37-9 in singles and 21-8 in doubles and finished the season ranked 11th nationally. Capping off an incredible junior season, Becker defeated Tulane’s Michael Kogan, 6-4, 7-6(8), to win the NCAA singles title after helping the Bears defeat UCLA, 4-0, in the team final.



After earning All-America honors the next year, leading Baylor to the ITA Indoor Championship and a runner-up NCAA finish, Becker began a pro career that has seen him earn more than $4 million. Between 2006 and ’15, he ended the season ranked in the top 100 eight times, attaining a career-high mark of No. 35 on Oct. 27, 2014.

Blackmon (2002-05), a key cog on the Baylor Lady Bears’ 2005 national championship team, was a two-time All-Big 12 pick and third-team All-American as a senior when she averaged 15.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-2 post had 22 points and seven rebounds in the 84-62 win over Michigan State in the national championship game.



The Dallas native set school records for career blocks (159) and free throw attempts (656) and still ranks in the top 10 in points (1,955), rebounds (936), free throw percentage (.788) and games played (133). A double-figure scorer in each of her four seasons, Blackmon averaged 17.6 points for a WNIT runner-up team in 2003, then 15.6 and 15.4 the next two years when she was a consensus first-team All-Big 12 selection.

Drafted in the third round by the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Blackmon played overseas in Korea, Israel and Italy and has worked in the Dallas Independent School District for the last nine years. She was inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.



A two-time All-Southwest Conference cornerback, Francis (1982-86) was named the SWC Defensive Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American as a junior in 1985, when he had six interceptions, 12 pass breakups and 64 tackles for a pass defense that ranked third nationally.


Originally recruited as a blue-chip running back out of the tradition-rich La Marque program, Francis was one of just two true freshmen to play during the 1982 season, making four starts at cornerback. Switched back to running back after a redshirt season, he led the Bears in rushing in 1984 with 558 yards and five touchdowns on 127 carries.

Despite playing just two full seasons at cornerback, he still ranks among the top 10 in career interceptions (14) and pass breakups (29). A second-round draft pick in 1987, Francis played four years with the Dallas Cowboys and made four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown as a rookie starter.



Hicks’ time at Baylor covers four different decades as a player and coach, making back-to-back bowl games as a player (1958-61) and winning a pair of Southwest Conference championships in his 13 years as the Bears’ defensive line coach.

A three-sport letterman and three-time all-state pick in football at Little Rock (Ark.) Central High School, Hicks came to Baylor as a freshman in 1958 and earned All-SWC honors as a senior center in 1961. He played on teams that lost to Florida in the 1960 Gator Bowl and beat Utah in the 1961 Gotham Bowl, earning a spot on the Bears’ All-Decade team of the 1960s.



After stints as a freshman coach at Baylor (1962-63) and assistant coach at Texas A&I (1964-65) and West Virginia (1966-68), Hicks had a 13-year run as the Bears’ defensive line coach (1969-81) under Bill Beall and Grant Teaff, being part of the 1974 and 1980 SWC championship teams. He capped off his career as the head coach at Howard Payne from 1982 to ’84.

Baylor’s all-time best in the short-sprint hurdles, Jackson (1993-96) was a five-time All-American and three-time Southwest Conference champion who was the national runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and 55-meter hurdles at the 1996 NCAA Indoor Championships.



Still the school record holder in the 110 hurdles (13.20), he also placed fourth at the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets and fifth at the 1993 outdoor meet. Jackson’s SWC titles came in the 110 hurdles (1993), 55-meter hurdles (1995) and 4x400 relay (1995).

Jackson went on to a pro career, competing at the World Championships and Pan Am Games in 1999 and the Olympics in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. He was inducted into the Garland Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and is the head girls track and field coach at North Garland High School.

A world-class pole vaulter with two marks over 19 feet, Payne (1987-91) was a six-time All-American who still holds the school indoor and outdoor records. He set the indoor record of 18-4 ¾ at a 1990 meet in Norman, Okla., and broke his own outdoor mark with a winning vault of 19-2 ¾ at the Southwest Conference Championships in Houston.



Part of a golden era of Baylor pole vaulters, Payne followed previous All-Americans David Hodge, Todd Cooper and Mike Shafe and preceded Kurt Hanna and Jim Autenreith. Indoors, he finished fourth in 1989, fifth in 1990 and third as a senior in ’91, while his outdoor finishes were fifth in 1988, seventh in 1990 and second in ’91.

He also won four SWC titles and still holds the top five indoor and outdoor marks at Baylor. A FedEx Operations manager, Bill also coaches the PVC Club, helping mentor his daughter, Demi, to the 2015 NCAA championship at Stephen F. Austin.



A record-setting quarter-miler in the 1990s, Washington (1995-98) was a nine-time All-American and ran anchor leg on the 4x400 relay team that won the 1998 NCAA indoor national championship. With nine All-America honors and five conference titles, she is tied for the second-most in program history.


At one point, she held school records in five events – the indoor (53.11) and outdoor 400 (51.85), the indoor (3:33.93) and outdoor 4x400 relay (3:29.11) and the 600-yard run (1:17.66). Washington still ranks third all-time in the indoor and outdoor 400, and the outdoor 4x400 relay time has stood for 19 years.



Individually, she placed third in the 400 at the 1995 NCAA Indoor Championships and seventh the next year and won conference titles in the same event in 1995 and ’98. Her relay success included six top-six NCAA finishes, including winning the national indoor title as a senior in 1998 with Angelique Banket, Alayah Cooper and Yulanda Nelson.

The 2001 winner of the LPGA Dina Shore Trophy, which recognizes a female collegiate golfer who excels both academically and athletically, Willhite (1999-2003) was a two-time Academic All-American and two-time All-Big 12 pick. She was the program’s first first-team All-Big 12 pick as a senior in 2003, when Willhite had a then-school-record scoring average of 74.83 per round.



A three-time all-state golfer at Montgomery Central High School in Clarksville, Tenn., Willhite led Baylor in scoring in each of her last three seasons and finished with a then-record 76.69 career average. She won the Verizon “Mo” Morial Classic as a senior, recorded a pair of top-10 finishes at the Big 12 Tournament and still ranks in the top three in career top-10 (21) and top-five finishes (12).

After playing 4 ½ years on the Duramed Futures Tour, Willhite worked as a civil engineer at O’Brien Engineering and a product test analyst for Nike Golf. She is married and has two daughters, Megan and Laurie.



The Wall of Honor annually recognizes Baylor letterwinners and graduates whose meritorious accomplishments in public or private life following graduation have brought positive public recognition, credit and honor to Baylor and its athletics department.


Daniel, a former baseball letterman, originally came to Baylor out of Oklahoma City on a baseball, basketball and academic scholarship. He earned a BBA degree from Baylor with a major in finance (1962) and went on to get a degree from SMU’s Graduate School of Banking.



A lifelong Oklahoma City resident, Daniel has been involved in the banking industry for nearly 60 years, serving as CEO of Friendly and Bank One from August 1964 to October 1997. Also a civic leader, he is past president of Integris Health of Oklahoma, a past officer and executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention, past director of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club President.

Daniel has funded two endowed scholarships at Baylor and also gave a lead gift earlier this year for the Baylor “B” Association’s Letterwinners Legacy Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of his former baseball coach, Dutch Schroeder.


Schippers More Relaxed For London After Rio Flop

July 26 (Reuters) - Dafne Schippers failed to live up to expectations at last year's Olympic Games but the Dutch sprint queen says she is much more relaxed going into next month’s World Championship in London after learning the lessons of a frenetic year.

Ahead of the Rio Games, Schippers had been expected to complete the 100m and 200m sprint double but collected a lone silver in the 200m after finishing fifth in the 100m final.

"Looking back, it was chaos. Everyone wanted a piece of me. The whole year was full of appointments with the sponsors and media. Everything was new," she told reporters at a function for the Netherlands team headed to London.

"But now I have weeks with nothing on and therefore I'm a lot more relaxed, which I really need. The attention has waned but it has also been a question of self preservation for me to stay out of the spotlight. This is my career, I want so badly to do well."

Schippers, 25, has a new coach in American Rana Reider, who has put less emphasis on competing in the Diamond League and more on peaking in time for the World Championship, where Schippers says she is aiming for two medals.

In the women's 100m, Schippers will have to get the better of Jamaica's Elaine Thompson, with whom she already has an edgy rivalry. Thompson has the best time of the year.

"If you don’t believe you can win, then there is no point lining up at the start. But you must also be realistic. If I run a time of 10.75 in the 100m and finish sixth instead of second if I had run 10.72 secs, then there is not much you can do about it."

In the 200m, Thompson is not running, which sets Schippers up against American Tori Bowie for potential gold. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)


Jaylen Bacon "Really Excited" To Be On Team USA (video)

A 21st birthday is a big milestone in a person’s life and Jaylen Bacon won’t forget his.

The former Lower Richland High School standout and Arkansas State senior will compete with the Team USA Track & Field 4x100 relay team at the IAAF World Championships Aug. 4-13 in London, and Bacon turns 21 on Aug. 5.

Bacon qualified by finishing fourth in the 100 at last month’s USA Championships. The top three finishers earned a spot in the 100 and on the relay team, with fourth through sixth place getting a spot in the relay team.

Bacon is unsure which leg of the relay he will run, but will be part of the squad which includes five-time Olympic medalist Justin Gatlin.

“Competing in the USA championships was one of the best experiences that I have ever had,” Bacon said earlier this month in Columbia before heading back to Arkansas. “We had to run three rounds and every round there was anxiety trying to get to the next round. When I got to the finals, all I wanted to do was qualify. It hasn’t fully set in yet, but it makes me proud to represent my country.”

The World Championships are going to draw plenty of media attention because it will be the final meet of Usain Bolt’s illustrious track career. The world’s fastest man is expected to retire after winning nine Olympic gold medals. Bolt will run in the 100 on Aug. 5 and is expected to be a part of Jamaica’s 4x100 relay team.

Bacon admits he might be a little star struck seeing and competing against Bolt, but knows he can’t let it get in the way of his first crack in competing for Team USA.

Bacon, whose nickname is “The Baconator,” has been training in Arkansas to get ready for the World Championships. He ran third on Team USA’s red squad which finished second in the 4x100 relay Friday in Monaco, a tune-up for the World Championships.

“It gives me a new type of feeling. When I go back to Arkansas State in the fall, it gives me a whole type of mentality,” Bacon said. “I grew up watching guys like Justin Gatlin, and now I can call them teammates. I can say I’m here and I can do this.”

Bacon hopes this summer is the first step on his way to his goal of competing for the USA’s Olympic team for the 2020 Summer Games in Japan. He thought about turning pro after the end of his junior season but has some unfinished business at Arkansas State, including a desire to win a national championship.

The sprinter finished fifth in the 100 and eighth in the 200 at this year’s NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors. It was the first time an Arkansas State athlete earned multiple honors at indoor or outdoor championships.

At Lower Richland, he was South Carolina’s Gatorade Boys Track and Field Athlete of Year his senior season, winning the 100, 200, 400 and 4x100 relay in the state meet.

At Arkansas State, Bacon is the two-time Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Male Track Athlete of the year. He won the 100 and 200 at this year’s SBC championships. His time of 10.0 in the 100 broke a 41-year-old school record set by Ed Preston in 1976.

Bacon set the conference mark in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.35 seconds.

“Being completely healthy, I feel like I’m finally reaching the full potential as far as what I can do. I feel like I’m only getting started,” Bacon said. “It is just living my dream and reaching my goals. It is something I am really excited about.”


Usain Bolt is back in Birmingham! Olympic legend in city ahead of his final championships

Donald Trump blocks model Chrissy Teigen on TwitterDonald Trump blocks model Chrissy Teigen on Twitter

Usain Bolt is back in Birmingham!

The fastest man on Earth is doing his training for the IAAF World Athletics Championships at Birmingham University.

Together with his Jamaican track and field team colleagues, he is based at the Edgbaston campus ahead of the championships which start in London on August 4.

It is a welcome return for the top athletics team who based themselves at the university in 2012 ahead of the London Olympics.

But this time it will be Bolt’s swansong as he has announced he is to retire after the event.

The Jamaicans were due to arrive in Birmingham last Saturday, July 22, and there will be around 50 of them and the campus will be their base for around 12 days.

But so far they are lying low and training hard and have not been seen.

They will be the first to use the new eight-lane athletics track which was only completed in time for their arrival.

The track, in Edgbaston Park Road, replaces the old one they used back in 2012, which has been dug up to make way for a new library.

As well as the athletics track, the team will have the use of the university’s new £55 million sports centre and 50m swimming pool which opened in May.

The team are hoping returning to Birmingham will bring them the same good luck they enjoyed in 2012, when they won a record-breaking four gold, four silver and four bronze medals.

As well as Bolt, the team will include fellow 100m contender Yohan Blake and the 100m and 200m women’s Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson.

After his last visit to Birmingham, Bolt personally thanked the university for the support and facilities which helped win his second “triple” gold in London.

Ahead of their arrival, Zena Wooldridge, the university’s director of sport, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have such amazing new facilities on campus, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to share our new track and indoor facilities with our Jamaican friends.

“We hope we can contribute in some small way to their success in London by creating an ideal preparation environment here in Birmingham.”

The Jamaicans’ visit also coincides with Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, for which the university’s campus would provide a range of training venues, including athletics, and also competition venues for hockey and squash.


Tactics, Salazar & Gold: Matthew Centrowitz's Training

“My bottom end speed is usually pretty good, so like 200’s, 300’s, 400’s – they come around pretty quick – but that 800, 1000 kind of rep, that’s my weakness and what I tend to work on a lot.” -Matthew Centrowitz

‘Centro’ doesn’t really need a lead in. His potent finishing kick has already netted the street smart American Olympic Gold in Rio, and two World Championships minor medals; all over 1500m. We took a look over the training that has helped mould this 1500m superstar.


Profile

D.O.B: October 18th, 1989, Beltsville, Maryland, USA.
Residence: Portland
Coach: Alberto Salazar
Height: 1.75m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight: 60kg (133 lb)

Highlights

Olympic 1500m Gold, Rio, 2016.
World Championship 1500m Silver, Moscow, 2013.
World Championship 1500m Bronze, Daegu, 2011.
World Indoor Championship 1500m Gold, Portland, 2016.
2011 NCAA 1500m champion.

Personal Bests

800m: 1:44.62
1000m: 2:16.67
1500m: 3:30.40
Mile: 3:50.53
3000m: 8:20.09 outdoors – 7:40.74 Indoors
5000m: 13:20.06


Salazar & Nike Oregon Project’s Mental Edge

“In my eyes, it’s the best professional training group in the world.” -Matthew Centrowitz

Centro is a core member of Alberto Salazar’s stable and he attributes the group environment to a lot of his success:

“They taught me not just what I am capable of in these workouts physically but also a lot of stuff mentally and psychologically from these guys and I think that’s a bigger piece really than a lot of these workouts and the physical preparation.” -Matthew Centrowitz

Centro’s goes as far as stating that when it comes down to something like an Olympic final, with a bunch of close to equally talented athletes, that it is more a mental thing than physical:

“I think a lot of it is more mental than physical. The best way to work on that for me over the years was just a lot of races – every race from college to post-collegiate was a culmination of all those races that got me to where I was in Rio and I was able to respond to that slow, tactical race, and be able to handle that type of calibre of field.” -Matthew Centrowitz


Speed

A common training method of Salazar is to add speed repetitions to the end of workouts. Centro’s thoughts on this after he had just met Salazar:

“Working with Alberto for a few weeks over in Europe, he noticed that I don’t work on my speed as much as I should for a 1500-meter guy. So those last couple of weeks over in Europe after London, at the end of workouts I was sprinting when I was tired and doing shorter stuff that I’d never done before. He believes that this is going to mean huge improvements for me over the next couple of years. I expect to see myself have a stronger last 50 meters.” -Matthew Centrowitz


Periodisation – The Salazar Way

“Arthur Lydiard was a revolutionary coach, a great coach. My training system is very different. My belief is that the human body likes continuity, it likes doing things repetitively.” -Alberto Salazar

Like many of the world’s leading coaches, Salazar is a believer in periodisation.

“We have two 20 week periods (cycles) per year.” -Alberto Salazar

A summary of his method of periodisation is outlined below:

  • Two 20 week cycles per year.
  • Two peaks per year at the end of each cycle (usually for the indoor season and then outdoor season).

  • “Within those 20-week cycles we are usually looking for about 5 weeks of building up gradually, and then having about 8-10 weeks at the very maximum level volume and intensity. Then we will go with a 4-5 week taper period into the championship races.” -Alberto Salazar
  • At the end of each 20-week cycle, Salazar’s athlete’s have 4 weeks recovery (2 weeks completely off then 2 weeks of jogging).

Training Specifics

“We do a lot of under and over distance stuff. We’ll go 4-5 miles at a time, maybe 6, a lot slower than race pace. And then we do a lot of repetitions of 800m, 1000m at race pace – over and over.” -Matthew Centrowitz


Semenya breaks silence over gender verification

Athletics superstar Caster Semenya has opened up about the gender verification process that rocked her illustrious career.

The Olympic 800m champion was interviewed by Dr Ali Bacher on SuperSport channel yesterday.

Semenya spoke openly about the scandal in an interview that was aired on Friday and repeated last night.

The revered Limpopo-born runner revealed that when the officials were speaking of chromosomes and questioning if she was a woman or a man, she was confused.

Semenya said the whole process of verification felt like being stripped off her clothes and made to walk in public.

Semenya said she was confused when they said she had an edge over other female athletes because of the higher testosterone in her body.

“I don’t understand when you say I have an advantage because I am a woman.

“When I pee, I pee like a woman. I don’t understand when you say I am a man or I have a deep voice,” Semenya said.

“I know I like man’s stuff, that is not a question, the question is where do I fall in? I am a female that is not a question, that is how I have been raised since I was young.”

Semenya said even after she was banned from running for eight months, she never allowed the scandal to get into her.

However, she criticised the way the matter was handled because her parents were not informed about the verification process.

“My mother was affected because she was the one who was changing my nappies when I was young.”

Semenya said at that time, there were even reports that she might have changed her gender.

“How the hell can you change gender in the rural areas? I’m a woman. We don’t have good doctors, we are not rich to do such procedures.”

She added that she still believes that she was living testimony, and has touched many people’s lives.

Semenya is among athletes who will represent SA at the IAAF World Championships in London next month.


Steve Cram's top 10 tips for running a mile faster than ever before

For runners both amateur and professional, the mile has failed to last the distance. In the Olympics, middle-distance stars like Mo Farah compete for the 5km and 10km golds. On the streets and in the parks, joggers work on their (considerably slower) times for the same distances.

Enter Steve Cram, who along with Steve Ovett and Seb Coe formed the British trio of middle distance runners who led the global field in the 1980s. Cram, now 52 and a coach, presenter and commentator, advocates the mile as a good distance for amateur runners.

Mastering the mile, he says, requires working on your sprinting and endurance, giving your training more variety – which in turn means your body will get more out of it.

1. Use your longer-distance times as a guide

Whatever your 10km pace is, knock 20 per cent off it. If you're running eight miles per hour over a 10km distance, for instance, that's a six-minute mile. If you haven't got a longer-distance personal best, be ambitious with your mile target. A lot of people are a bit timid about what they can do.

2. Give yourself time

Everyone wants results quickly. But a golfer can't change their swing in a day and, likewise, a runner has to be patient. It takes about three weeks for any training effect to show. The more time you give yourself, the better you'll get.

3. Vary your training

The biggest mistake people make in their mile training is doing the same thing each time. You've got to vary your running: pace, and type of runs, and types of training.

4. Do pure speed work

Get someone to have a look at your basic form. Fast running uses your toes and arms more. A good way to introduce that is to do low level hill sprints to teach you to drive with your knees and your arms in a way you don’t normally. Get some strength in, generate a bit more power.

5. Watch fast runners

Look at the way someone like Usain Bolt trains. It's all about being ballistic, being quick, and being explosive. Watch them practise their stride length.

6. Do interval training

This will help your speed endurance. Alternate effort with recovery a few times a minute.

7. Work on your legs at the gym

Plyometrics – an intense form of training based on jumping – will help give your muscles a little bit of extra strength. At the gym, work on your hamstrings, quads and calves.

8. Keep up your stretching

The danger, when you change your training, is that you're asking your muscles to go through a range they haven't got yet. Stretching is really important.

9. Practise the course

If you want to run a six-minute mile, go to a track where it's measured and learn what a 90-second lap feels like. That should be part of your interval training.

10. Concentrate on your third lap

If you're trying that four-lap, six-minute mile, the first and second laps should feel comfortable. People normally speed up on the last lap – which often means they get it wrong in the third lap. You've really got to concentrate on keeping your pace up in that third lap.


Russia Will Pay Its "Neutral" WC Athletes

(Reuters) - Russia on Tuesday told athletes set to compete as neutrals at next month's world championships that they will be paid by the state despite not officially representing their country.

Nineteen Russian athletes were on Monday entered into the competition being hosted from Aug. 4-13 in London.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said athletes who compete at the championships will not miss out financially.

"Salaries and bonuses will be kept in spite of the neutral flag," TASS news agency quoted Kolobkov as telling Russian track and field athletes at a training facility outside Moscow.

Russia's athletics federation remains suspended over a 2015 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report which alleged state-sponsored doping in the sport, something the Kremlin denies.

However, the world governing body, the IAAF, has so far cleared 47 Russian athletes to compete internationally this year under the neutral flag after they demonstrated that their training environment met its anti-doping standards.

The International Association of Athletics Federations told Reuters in an e-mail on Tuesday that all athletes, including neutrals, "have the opportunity to earn money in athletics so long as those payments do not breach the integrity rules of the sport.

"Specifically there is over $7 million prize money on offer to all athletes competing at the London World Championships," the IAAF said.

Yelena Orlova, a Russian athletics federation official, told R-Sport news agency on Monday that it had entered 19 athletes to compete at the competition as neutrals.

The list included hurdler Sergey Shubenkov, who will defend his world title in the 110-metre hurdles, and world champion high jumper Maria Lasitskene, whose personal best of 2.06 meters is three centimeters off the world record set in 1987.

Russian athletes competing as neutrals will not be allowed to wear their country's colors and the Russian national anthem will not be played if they win an event, according to IAAF rules.

The IAAF told Reuters it could not confirm any entry information for the world championships until the ranking process was completed.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Editing by Ken Ferris


Inside Athletics With Ato Boldon: Tianna Bartoletta

The 12th episode of the current season of IAAF Inside Athletics is available to watch online now and features an exclusive interview with 2016 Olympic and two-time world long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta.

Bartoletta, 31, is also a two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 4x100m relay. At the 2012 Games in London, Bartoletta ran the lead-off leg on the victorious relay quartet that set the still-standing world record of 40.82.


No, Usain Bolt is not donating $2 million to Grenfell Tower fire victims

Fake news about the Grenfell Tower fire incident in London has still been circulating.

After last month's hoax alleging a baby "miraculously" survived 12 days in the charred building, another story is making the rounds on social media.

This time it's relating to claims that the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was donating $2 million to Grenfell Tower fire victims:

It claims Bolt "presented a receipt of bank transaction" to British sprinter CJ Ujah after the Diamond League meeting in Monaco on 21 July. The receipt is "to be presented to authorities in London ahead of the IAAF Championship".

However, no other media outlets outside of News360-tv.com reported on such big news.

Later on, a representative for Usain Bolt told Storyful the story was "fake news".

However, that didn't stop many people from sharing it on Twitter:


RIP: Margaret Bergmann Lambert, 103

Margaret Bergmann Lambert, a world-class high jumper who was best known for her nonparticipation in the 1936 Berlin Olympics — she was kept off the German team because she was Jewish — died on Tuesday at her home in Queens. She was 103.

Her niece Doris Bergman confirmed her death.

In June 1936, just a month before the Olympics, Ms. Lambert, then known as Gretel Bergmann, won a meet against some of the best German high jumpers with a leap of 5 feet 3 inches. That height tied a German record and would have been good enough to win the gold medal.

But that she was allowed to take part in the meet was, as she later said, a “charade”: a propaganda tool to show the world that Germany was unbiased in its Olympic team selections. It was a cynical response to organized movements, particularly in the United States, that were urging nations not to send teams to Berlin unless the Germans demonstrated that they did not discriminate.

In fact, the Germans had no intention of sending her to the Olympics, and Ms. Lambert had been coerced into training. Threats were made against her family if she refused.

“It was a terrible shock,” she told Newsday in 2015, “because I was the best.”

Margarethe Minnie Bergmann was born on April 12, 1914, in the small town of Laupheim, in southwest Germany, about 65 miles from the Swiss border. She was an outstanding all-around athlete, excelling in the shot-put, the discus and other events as well as the high jump. “I was ‘The Great Jewish Hope,’ ” she often said.

Continue reading the main story
With anti-Semitism on the rise in Germany — she recalled signs in shops declaring, “No dogs or Jews allowed” — she left home at 19 and moved to England, where she won the British high-jump championship in 1935. But when the Nazis pressured her father to bring her home, she returned to Germany to seek a position on the Olympic team.

Shortly after winning that June meet, held at Adolf Hitler Stadium in Stuttgart, she received a letter from Nazi officials informing her that she had not qualified. “Looking back on your recent performances,” the letter stated, “you could not possibly have expected to be chosen for the team.” Her accomplishment was removed from the record books.

Hurt and angry, she turned down the officials’ offer of a standing-room ticket, “free of charge,” for the Olympic track and field games. Travel expenses and hotel accommodations were not included in the offer. “I never replied,” she said.

In 1937, Gretel Bergmann was able to obtain papers that allowed her to emigrate to the United States. She landed in New York City with no more than $10 — all the money the Germans would allow her to take out of the country. She worked as a masseuse and a housemaid and later as a physical therapist. In 1938, she married a fellow German refugee, Dr. Bruno Lambert, who was a sprinter, though not a world-class one. They had met at an athletic training camp in Germany.

Dr. Lambert died in 2013. She is survived by two sons, Glenn and Gary; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Ms. Lambert continued to compete in track and field events, but for only a few more years. She won the United States women’s high-jump and shot-put championships in 1937 and the high jump again in 1938. She was preparing to try out for the 1940 United States Olympic team when war broke out in Europe, after which she focused her attention on trying to get her parents out of Germany, which she was eventually able to do.

She never forgot what might have been. In 1996, she spoke of watching an important pre-Olympics meet on television at her home in Jamaica Estates, Queens.

“And suddenly I realized that there were tears just flowing down my cheeks,” she said. “I’m not a crier. But now I just couldn’t help it. I remember watching those athletes, and remembering what it was like for me in 1936, how I could very well have won an Olympic medal. And through the tears, I said, ‘Damn it!’ ”

Continue reading the main story

That spring Ms. Lambert received a letter from Walter Troger, the president of the German Olympic Committee, inviting her and her husband to be guests at the Atlanta Olympics.

“We feel that Mrs. Lambert was not treated adequately at the time of the Berlin Olympics,” Mr. Troger later told The New York Times. “We wanted to do something for her; we felt she deserved it.” She accepted his invitation.

“I don’t hate all Germans anymore, though I did for a long time,” Ms. Lambert said. “But I’m aware of many Germans trying to make up for wrongs as well as they know how. And, yes, I felt that the young people of Germany should not be held responsible for what their elders did.”

Although she had once vowed never to set foot in Germany again — and had been gone so long, she said, that she could barely speak the language — she was persuaded to return in 1999, when the stadium in Laupheim, where she used to train, was renamed in her honor. (A sports complex in Berlin had been named for her in 1995, and in 2010 the athletic field at Francis Lewis High School in Queens was renamed for her.)

Ms. Lambert said of her decision to attend the Laupheim ceremony, “I was told that they were naming the facilities for me so that when young people ask, ‘Who was Gretel Bergmann?’ they will be told my story, and the story of those times.”

Ms. Lambert’s story was also told in a 2004 HBO documentary, “Hitler’s Pawn,” and, in partly fictionalized form, in the 2009 German film “Berlin 36.” A memoir, “By Leaps and Bounds,” was published in 2005.

Her German national high jump record was restored in 2009. “It’s very nice,” she said at the time, “except I wouldn’t have committed suicide if it didn’t happen.”


Brit Head de Vos Sees A Bright Future

Niels de Vos has not slept much over the last six months, working 18-hour days as he combines being the chief executive of UK Athletics and London 2017. We meet on the top floor of a Stratford hotel, overlooking the stadium which has just hosted 300,000 spectators over 10 days of the World Para Athletics Championships.

“We sold more tickets than Wimbledon did and more than the Open golf,” says De Vos. “For a para athletics event that is incredible.”

There will be another 700,000 in attendance for the IAAF World Championships starting on 4 August, for which Usain Bolt is the headline act. Despite the quick turnaround between championships, De Vos is in a buoyant mood. He is particularly pleased having signed the biggest sponsorship partnership of his decade as CEO of UKA, a deal which will be announced next week and which he hopes will underwrite the core costs of the governing body for the next 10 years.

He is also energised by plans to bid for the European Athletics Championships in 2022 and to host the World Para Athletics Championships again in 2019.

“People are now starting to come to us saying: ‘Can we put our event into your stadium because it’s the best stadium in the world and you’re the best team in the world at putting events on.’ So that’s pretty cool,” says De Vos, “We really want this month of athletics in the London Stadium every year to be synonymous with the summer in the same way that Wimbledon is,” he adds. “There are a couple of one-day events which we hope to host next year. I think those will be real game changers, to appeal very much to the future generation. We offered £9.58 tickets for the World Championships the nights Bolt is running and that wasn’t because we couldn’t sell them at a higher price. It’s because those kids will be inspired to watch, participate and officiate in the future. That’s the more precise legacy.”

With Jessica Ennis-Hill’s retirement and Greg Rutherford unable to compete at the World Championships through injury, the number of bona fide gold medal contenders among Great Britain’s number is dwindling. De Vos admits that beyond Mo Farah they will be hard pushed to win any titles but warned against judging the team too harshly even if God Save the Queen is not ringing out too often.

“You can see at the moment that in most disciplines of athletics there is one person way above the rest and everyone else is fighting for the minor medals,” he says. “Certainly Wayde van Niekerk looks nailed on for a gold medal in the 400m and everyone else could pick up smaller medals.

“From a British perspective most of our medal shots could finish anywhere between eighth and second or third.

But very few are likely to emerge and hit gold. There are one or two unfortunate injuries and often expectations are too high because winning a global track and field medal is brutally hard, probably more difficult than any other Olympic sport. But they go in buoyant and what we know is that they’ll be phenomenally well prepared and won’t let anyone down with their level of performance. I’m not discomforted by where we are right now.”

While booming ticket sales for London 2017 are rightly highlighted by De Vos as a triumph of organisation and marketing, the wider health of athletics as a spectator sport in this country is not so certain. At the British Championships in Birmingham in June one former athlete said it was the worst crowd she had seen in 16 years. It has been suggested a credibility crisis, with widespread doping scandals and corruption at the heart of the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, has put off the crowds.

But this is not a narrative De Vos recognises.

“People still trust in athletics,” he says. “I don’t buy that people are not interested in the sport because they’re still piling in to watch. People are aware that actually the sport is the cleanest it’s ever been and they definitely believe in British athletics.

“I just don’t buy this caricature,” he adds. “I don’t think there’s a credibility issue and some of the issues we’re talking about are quite historic. I think we’re in a great place in the UK, with more kids wanting to do athletics than ever before.”


Jamaica "Removes" 3 From London Team

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) dropped three members it said was “inadvertently” named to represent to country at the London 2017 World Championships.

World Youth sprint hurdles champion Dejour Russell, 200m sprinter Kenroy Anderson and 400m hurdler Andre Clarke, all fourth place finishers at the Jamaica Trials, are the athletes taken off the team.

In a release very early Tuesday morning, sent by Director of Records Leroy Cooke, read: “Please note some alternate was inadvertently named to the team, those names have been removed. Sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

The London 2017 World Championships will be held between August 4 and 13 at Olympic Park.

WOMEN
Elaine Thompson, Simone Facey, Jura Levy, Natasha Morrison, Sashalee Forbes, Christania Williams, Jodeen Williams, Shericka Jackson, Chrisann Gordon, Novlene Williams-Mills, Anniesha Mclaughlin-Whilby, Anastasia Le-Roy, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Natoya Goule, Jazmine Fray, Danielle Williams, Megan Simmonds, Yanique Thompson, Rushelle Burton, Rhonda Whyte, Ristananna Tracey, Leah Nugent, Aisha Praught, Kimberly Williams, Shanieka Thomas-Ricketts, Kellion Knibb, Shadae Lawrence, Tarasue Barnett, Danniel Thomas-Dodd.

MEN
Yohan Blake, Julian Forte, Senoj-Jay Givans, Usain Bolt, Michael Campbell, Tyquendo Tracey, Rasheed Dwyer, Warren Weir, Demish Gaye, Nathon Allen, Rusheen McDonald, Peter Matthews, Steven Gayle, Jamari Rose, Omar McLeod, Ronald Levy, Hansel Parchment, Jaheel Hyde, Kemar Mowatt, Ricardo Cunningham, Ramone Bailey, Damar Forbes, Clive Pullen, Fedrick Dacres, Travis Smikle, O’Dayne Richards, Kemoy Campbell


How to Fix Professional Track and Field

What’s Wrong with Pro Track and Field + How to Fix It

Professional track and field is broken and badly needs a lot of help. And I have some ideas.

I say that having been a competitive runner for more than 20 years, the last 12 of those as a professional track and field athlete, as well as a big fan of the sport. I haven’t always loved running. In fact, I would say it has mostly been more of a love-hate relationship for me. However, I can say with absolute certainty that I love running today more than I ever have. To be honest, a big reason for that is because I recently retired from professional track and field.

Don’t get me wrong—I am so very grateful for everything professional track and field gave me. I appreciate the experiences, the travel, the money, the friends and the memories. But there are also a lot of things that I didn’t love about professional track and field. Things like corruption, doping, the inability to clean up the sport, and the blatant greed and mismanagement within the sport. Of these negative factors, it is the mismanagement that poses the largest threat to the future of professional track and field.

It’s clear that pro track and field as a business is totally broken. And I’m talking about it both on a global basis, but also from a U.S. point of view. I have witnessed dozens of meets disappear over the past decade because of declining fan and sponsor interest. Opportunities that used to be available for pro athletes to compete no longer exist, and the new meets popping up are not outpacing the ones that are closing up shop. Those who remain in the sport fight for the few scraps still available.

In my opinion, as a former professional athlete and as a businessman, the problem is not with the product, but rather with the way that product is packaged. Most meets are still being produced and marketed as if this were the 1980s. I have been to many track and field meets—big ones, small ones and meets in many different countries. Nearly all have been painfully boring and out of touch with the modern world, and I’m a guy who loves track and field!

The majority of track meets are long, confusing and oftentimes meaningless. I really mean that. Except for championship races at the professional level, most races are totally meaningless, and are really just glorified practice sessions. Fans don’t understand everything that is going on, they don’t understand what is at stake, and they certainly shouldn’t be paying to watch hurdles being set up for 15 minutes during a break in the action.

With a very few exceptions, the old model of track meets isn’t working. Of all the track meets I have been to in the world, there is only one that I would classify as having a true party atmosphere: the Weltklasse Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland. This popular annual event, held on a warm summer night in late August, is a black-tie affair that people pay thousands of euros to attend. Think Kentucky Derby, but for track and field. And just like the Kentucky Derby, there are three things other than the races that people come for: great food, copious amounts of alcohol and, yes, even gambling.

If you’ve ever been to a horse race, you know that it would not exist without these three things. So why do we expect human racing to be any different? Fans love the Weltklasse Meeting because it’s entertaining. Athletes love Weltklasse because they get paid really well. Who knew alcohol sales and gambling could generate so much revenue?!

Track and field is losing popularity because it no longer transcends the mainstream the way it used to and hasn’t attracted new—and younger—audiences. In this digital revolution, people’s attention spans are a lot shorter and they need to be constantly stimulated. That’s why any successful event in today’s world is full of fast-paced excitement. Young millennials aren’t going to sit through a boring track meet when they don’t understand the old-school nuances of it, and quite frankly neither would I. They want to be constantly entertained, something has to be drawing their attention away from their digital devices or the many other entertainment options out there.

When people go to professional baseball, basketball or football games, they go to be entertained. They go for more than just the game itself—they go for the food, the drinks, the halftime show, the action on the Jumbotron, the T-shirts being flung in the stands, the chance to win stuff and the party.

They also get to see the stars of the sport—LeBron James, Tom Brady or Aaron Judge—in action for the entire two to three hours of the game. If there was a Nick Symmonds fan at a track meet, they’d see me for 1 minute, 45 seconds and that’s it. And that’s another problem with track and field: Most people—especially casual sports fans in America—don’t know enough about the stars outside of the very elite competitors like Usain Bolt.

The bottom line is that we have to think outside the box and do something entirely different.

If I could raise $2–3 million, I could put on the world’s greatest and most modern track and field meet. But first things first, it would have to be in Nevada because gambling is legal there, so ideally that means Las Vegas. The additional revenue from gate receipts, food and beer sales, and gambling proceeds would be key to making it work.

Breaking it down on a very basic level, I’d use $1 million for expenses and $1 million for prize money. There would be 10 events each, with a $100,000 winner-take-all prize. Every athlete in the world would show up to compete—except maybe Usain Bolt, who can command a $250,000 appearance fee. But you’d have marquee names and top-tier competition in every event, and that’s important.

Of all of the things I have suggested, yes, the quality of competition is important, the music and entertainment are important, the food and the booze are important, and the fun atmosphere is important. But the No. 1 thing is gambling. It is the most critical component and I wouldn’t even think about an event production without it. I know there are purists out there who think track and field doesn’t need these things to be popular. I’m sorry, but those people are wrong. Football would be a much less popular sport in America if gambling wasn’t such a big part of it in so many ways. And anyone who says fantasy football isn’t gambling is delusional.

If I told everyone in the stadium and on TV what the athletes were racing for and actually presented a suitcase full of cash at the finish line so people could see what it was all about, that would be meaningful. As it is now, every May people tune in to NBC Sports or happen to land on that channel to see the Prefontaine Classic from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., and they have no idea who the athletes are, what the races mean or what the athletes are actually racing for—even though there might be tens of thousands of dollars on the line.

My event would be two hours long, with a 30-minute pre-meet show that includes eating, drinking, music, Jumbotron videos and a chance to place bets. It would start at 7 p.m. and go to until 9 p.m. and it would be full of fast-paced action from start to finish.

When there is a transition and they’re setting up starting blocks or changing events, there will be music with a big sound system and the hottest hits, dancing, more videos and flinging T-shirts into the stands. Ideally, there would also be an interactive app that engages fans in the stands and around the world with the chance to comment and connect, consume and share content on social media and, of course, win stuff from sponsors.

It’s got to be fun, almost like the atmosphere of a concert, but with track and field taking place.

For kids, we’d have an 18-and-under zone where only they can go in and get photographs and autographs of the top athletes. The bottom line is it would have to give fans a lot of bang for their buck, make it exciting and memorable, all while celebrating the very highest level of track and field.

The meet would include only a limited schedule of events so it could be kept tight and full of nonstop action. I think at the Olympic Games you have to have all 32 standard events because that’s what the Olympic Games is all about. But when you’re talking about a for-profit event, that is specifically about raising the level of the experience, increasing exposure and making money, you’re not going to have the women’s hammer throw or the men’s 10,000-meter run.

Of the 10 events, you’d start with the men’s and women’s 100-meter dashes, maybe the women’s 800m, the men’s mile and men’s and women’s 400m, plus some of the best field events like long jump and pole vault. We might have a couple of relays, too, because those can be exciting and fun for fans, especially with the gambling aspect. I don’t think the men’s 800m would make the cut, and that sucks because it’s my favorite event, but I’ve got be brutally honest here, and we’ve got to have events that will put people in the stands and keep the excitement level high.

When fans leave, they’ll head for the Las Vegas Strip and carry on with whatever else they want to do in Vegas, but they’ll leave thinking, “Wow, that was really cool!” They still might not be able to tell you much about a single athlete they saw competing, but they’ll be stoked to have won $300 after they bet on a long shot who wound up winning the women’s 100. And then they might go home and Google that athlete and learn their backstory, and that’s just one way interest can grow among casual, mainstream fans. But they’ll also tell friends about the experience and want to come back next year.

You want to fix professional track and field in America? You want to make it popular again? Then make it a decadent party. If anyone agrees with me and wants to help me make it happen, drop me a line.


Quiz: Can You Name All The Men's WC 100 Champs?

Usain Bolt will finally hang up his spikes at the World Championships in London in August and we have taken a look back at some of the previous winners of this race.
Keep an eye on the time - you only have five minutes to complete this one!
85% or more is a top effort.

The Check The quiz Here: QUIZ


Coe Not Being Proposed For IOC Membership?

France's Jean-Christophe Rolland and Belgium's Ingmar de Vos are each set to be proposed for membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this year as representatives for International Federations (IFs), insidethegames understands.

Rolland is President of the World Rowing Federation (FISA) while de Vos holds the same position at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

This means that Sebastian Coe and Gianni Infantino, the respective heads of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and football body FIFA, are expected to be overlooked once again.

Candidates for membership are drawn up by the IOC Programme Commission before being formally proposed by the ruling Executive Board.

They are then rubber-stamped at an IOC Session.

This final stage is due to take place in Lima between September 13 and 16.

It is possible that the Executive Board could delay their announcement until their meeting scheduled for between September 10 and 12, or it could be formally announced in August.

Rolland officially replaced IOC Executive Board candidate Denis Oswald as FISA President in July 2014.

The 49-year-old Frenchman claimed a coxless pairs Olympic rowing silver at Atlanta 1996 before winning gold four years later in Sydney.

If approved, he would become the third current French member of sport's most exclusive club alongside two other Olympic gold medallists in Montreal 1976 110 metres hurdles winner Guy Drut and three-time slalom canoeing champion turned IOC Athletes' Commission vice-chair Tony Estanguet.

It comes with Paris widely expected to be confirmed as host of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games during the same Lima Session.

De Vos, meanwhile, was elected to replace Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein in December 2014 as FEI President after serving three years as secretary general.

The 53-year-old spent the previous two decades working in equine roles including at the Belgian Equestrian Federation.

He would become the European nation's second current member of the IOC after Baron Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant.

A maximum of 15 IOC members at any one time directly represent the IFs.

Thirteen of these positions will be filled if Rolland and de Vos are approved.

Coe and Infantino were both also overlooked for IOC membership last year, when Italy's International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation President Ivo Ferriani was appointed as the only new IF representative.

IOC President Thomas Bach said then that four places were still free for IF Presidents, adding that "we wanted to wait until we had a full picture".

It is therefore possible that Coe and Infantino could still be added this year, although there has been no indication that this will happen.

Infantino was elected FIFA boss to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter in February 2016.

Coe replaced Lamine Diack as IAAF head in August 2015, shortly before his predecessor was implicated in a scandal which included the alleged covering up of Russian doping cases.

The Briton, who spoke alongside Bach as a fellow athlete representative at the 1981 Baden-Baden Congress, presided over the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation later in 2015.

This deviated from the IOC policy, championed by Bach, which allowed Russians to compete at last year's Rio Olympic Games under their own flag so long as they fulfilled specific eligibility criteria.

Other IF Presidents to have been overlooked for IOC membership include International Judo Federation boss Marius Vizer.

He publicly criticised Bach at the 2015 SportAccord Convention in Sochi before being swiftly maneuvered out of his position as SportAccord President.

The IOC will not confirm the list of candidates for membership or the number of appointments due to be proposed.

National Olympic Committee and individual representatives are also expected to be named this year.

There are currently 95 IOC members, although one - Ireland's Patrick Hickey - remains temporarily self-suspended following his arrest on ticketing charges at Rio 2016.

This remains 20 short of the maximum ceiling of 115.

insidethegames has contacted Rolland and de Vos for a reaction.


Australia Announces World Champs Team

Forty-eight of Australia’s best will don the green and gold to compete at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships, commencing 4 August 2017.

The biggest team to compete at an able-bodied world championship since Seville (ESP) in 1999 and the largest ever squad to duel in the year prior to a Commonwealth Games, the contingent features Rio 2016 Olympic Games medallists Dane Bird-Smith (Qld, 20km walk) and Jared Tallent (Vic, 50km walk) alongside former IAAF World Championships podium finishers Fabrice Lapierre (NSW, long jump), Dani Stevens (NSW, discus throw) and Sally Pearson (Qld, 100m hurdles).

“As the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast fast approach, it’s with excitement that we confirm a team of 49 athletes for the IAAF World Championships. To see so many of our best qualified to compete in the months before a major competition on home soil is fantastic and our hope now is that this team can build upon the sensational result of our para-athletics team in London,” Dion Russell, Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors, said.

Nick Andrews (NSW, 4x100m relay), Rohan Browning (NSW, 4x100m relay), Jack Colreavy (NSW, marathon), Ella Connolly (Qld, 4x400m relay), Tom Gamble (Qld, 4x100m relay), Georgia Griffith (Vic, 800m, 1500m), Josh Harris (Tas, marathon), Morgan McDonald (NSW, 5000m) and Brad Milosevic (NSW, marathon) will compete at an open age international championship for the first time.

“The competing squad not only features household names like Sally Pearson and Jared Tallent, but also nine debutants including Ella Connolly, a medallist from the Commonwealth Youth Games and the youngest team member, Georgia Griffith, who’ll compete in the 800m and 1500m double and Morgan McDonald, a starter in the 5000m after a very impressive qualification performance as recently as this past weekend,” Russell added.

“In the first year of an Olympic cycle, this is a commendable result. We also have 20 debutants from the Olympic Games in Rio last year returning to compete for Australia again, ensuring that we are likely to see a competitive few months ahead as athletes seek nomination for selection to the Australia Commonwealth Games Team.”

Team Australia has now begun to arrive at the Tonbridge School in Tonbridge (GBR) for a preparation camp that continues until 1 August. The squad will then move to the host city of London for competition across ten days at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 4 August.

Team Australia is expected to expand in the coming days via the IAAF Roll-Down Process, a system which sees desired event quotas filled via specific invitation to athletes based on international rankings. The Selection Philosophy of Athletics Australia is to accept invitations when extended to eligible athletes, before confirming the entry of the athlete via consultation between them, their personal coach and the Head Coach dependant on the athlete’s current form and fitness.

At the IAAF World Championships in Beijing two years ago, Team Australia won two silver medals by Jared Tallent (50km walk) and Fabrice Lapierre (long jump), with three athletes featuring in the top-eight. The year following at Rio 2016, Team Australia won two medals in race walking, with 28 athletes placing in the top-16 for their event.

FEMALE (23):
200m: Ella Nelson (NSW)
400m: Morgan Mitchell (Vic)
800m: Georgia Griffith (Vic)
1500m: Zoe Buckman (Vic), Georgia Griffith (Vic), Linden Hall (Vic)
5000m: Madeline Hills (NSW), Eloise Wellings (NSW)
10000m: Madeline Hills (NSW), Eloise Wellings (NSW)
100m hurdles: Sally Pearson (Qld)

400m hurdles: Lauren Wells (ACT)
3000m steeplechase: Genevieve La Caze (Vic)
Long Jump: Brooke Stratton (Vic)
Discus Throw: Dani Stevens (NSW)
Javelin: Kathryn Mitchell (Vic), Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT)
20km walk: Regan Lamble (Vic), Beki Smith (NSW), Claire Tallent (SA)
Marathon: Milly Clark (NSW), Sinead Diver (Vic), Jess Trengove (SA)
4x400m Relay: Ella Connolly (Qld), Morgan Mitchell (Vic), Ella Nelson (NSW), Anneliese Rubie (NSW), Jess Thornton (NSW), Lauren Wells (ACT)

MALE (25):
400m: Steven Solomon (NSW)
800m: Peter Bol (Vic)
1500m: Ryan Gregson (Vic), Luke Mathews (Vic)
5000m: Morgan McDonald (NSW), Sam McEntee (WA), Patrick Tiernan (Qld)
10,000m: Patrick Tiernan (Qld)
110m hurdles: Nicholas Hough (NSW)
Long Jump: Henry Frayne (Qld), Fabrice Lapierre (NSW)
Pole Vault: Kurtis Marschall (SA)

Shot Put: Damien Birkinhead (Vic)
Javelin: Hamish Peacock (Tas)
Decathlon: Cedric Dubler (Qld)
20km Walk: Dane Bird-Smith (Qld), Rhydian Cowley (Vic)
50km Walk: Jared Tallent (SA)
Marathon: Jack Colreavy (NSW), Josh Harris (Tas), Brad Milosevic (NSW)
4x100m Relay: Nick Andrews (NSW), Rohan Browning (NSW), Tom Gamble (Qld), Alex Hartmann (Qld), Trae Williams (Qld)

Note:
Nina Kennedy (pole vault) and Chris Erickson (50km walk) have both withdrawn.
Claire Tallent comes in to replace the injured Rachel Tallent
Jack Colreavy comes in to replace the self-withdrawn Jeff Hunt
Ella Connolly, Anneliese Rubie and Jess Thornton have been added to 4x400m.


Russia enters 19 athletes into world track and field champs

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia plans to send 19 athletes to the world track and field championships in London next week despite its suspension from international competition for widespread doping.

The 19, including three world champions, have been given exemptions from Russia’s suspension after the IAAF reviewed their history of drug testing.

Maria Lasitskene is the overwhelming favorite to retain her high jump title, following an unbeaten season in the Diamond League. No other woman has leapt over two meters this year, but Lasitskene has done it at 11 different outdoor competitions.

Sergey Shubenkov leads the charge for Russia’s men as he tries to win a second world title in the 110m hurdles.

Russian Athletics Federation director Elena Orlova told TASS news agency on Monday that, besides the 19, it also filed paperwork for doping whistleblower and 800m runner Yulia Stepanova, but the federation isn’t in contact with her and believes she doesn’t intend to compete.

Since they’re officially “neutral athletes” under IAAF rules, the Russians won’t be allowed to wear national colors and the Russian anthem won’t be played if they win gold.

A total of 38 Russians had exemptions that could have allowed them to compete at the championships, but many didn’t make the qualifying standards. Eleven more were approved only for youth events, and 106 applications were declined.

Russia has been suspended since November 2015, when the first in a series of World Anti-Doping Agency investigations alleged drug use and cover-ups were common on its track team.


Bolt, Thompson lead Jamaica's world championships charge

(Reuters) - Usain Bolt is among three Olympic champions leading a strong Jamaican team at the athletics world championships in London next month.

Bolt will chase his fourth successive 100 metres world title and a fifth consecutive 4x100m relay gold at the Aug. 4-14 meeting, his last international competition.

Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson and Omar Mcleod, who won Jamaica's first 110 metres hurdles gold at the Rio Games, were also included in the 59-member squad announced by the Jamaica's athletics administration (JAAA) on Monday.

Hansle Parchment, who won 110m hurdles silver at the last world championships in Beijing, and rising star Ronald Levy join world leader Mcleod in the event.

Reigning 100m hurdles world champion Danielle Williams, who set a new personal best of 12.56 seconds to win the Jamaican title last month, was also included, along with Olympic and world 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson.

The Jamaican team have started their warmup camp inBirmingham and will aim to improve on the 12 medals secured at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.

(Reporting by Kayon Raynor; Editing by Ian Ransom)


Big Grants By The USATF Foundation

NEW YORK CITY – In two weeks athletes from across the nation will band together with pride to represent Team USA at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, England. In preparation for this momentous event, the USATF Foundation announced 25 Stephen A. Schwarzman grant awards in the amount of $25,000 to members of Team USA today, announced Foundation Executive Director Tom Jackovic and Chairman Bob Greifeld.

Earlier this year, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, became the largest individual donor to the USATF Foundation and made an unprecedented $2.5 million donation in support of elite track & field athletes. The gift is meant to provide financial support to the most promising track & field athletes as they train for the World Championships and Olympic Games.

“I’m proud to support these world-class athletes so that they have the opportunity to compete at the highest level and do our country proud. They represent the best the United States has to offer and are people of tremendous drive and determination. As a devoted follower of the sport and former track and field athlete myself, I’m excited to see all that they achieve as they go for the gold at the World Championships and the Olympics,” stated Stephen A. Schwarzman.

As athletes are gearing up for their trip to London to compete at the highest level, they know the world will be watching. The stakes are high and the pressure is on as they attempt to realize their dream of becoming a World Champion.

Along with the stress of competing often comes the financial burden the athletes must undertake to make their dream a reality. These grant funds can be used to ease the stress of expenses of coaching, training, equipment, medical treatment, recovery, and travel. These grant funds will dramatically affect the athletes’ ability to compete and allow them to focus on winning medals.

The grant amount awarded to these elite athletes is $25,000, which marks a record high in giving for an individual USATF Foundation elite grant. The USATF Foundation has always focused on providing financial aid to athletes with a lower income threshold, but with this generous gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Foundation is able to support athletes at a new level.

The 25 talented athletes to receive funding in the amount of $25,000 each are:

Nia Ali                          100m Hurdles
Chris Benard                 Triple Jump
Gwen Berry                  Hammer Throw
Erica Bougard               Heptathlon
Hillary Bor                    Steeplechase
Daniella Bunch             Shot Put
Michelle Carter             Shot Put
Paul Chelimo               5000m
Will Claye                   Triple Jump
Ryan Crouser              Shot Put
Vashti Cunningham     High Jump
Kendra Harrison         100m Hurdles
Quanera Hayes          400m
Sam Kendricks           Pole Vault

Joe Kovacs                 Shot Put
Shamier Little             400m Hurdles
Charlene Lipsey          800m
Christina Manning      100m Hurdles
Dalilah Muhammed    400m Hurdles
Bryshon Nellum        4x400m Relay
Deanna Price           Hammer Throw
Michael Stigler         400m Hurdles
Ameer Webb           200m
Kendell Williams      Heptathlon
Drew Windle           800m


Why Cathy Freeman Broke Down After Olympic Gold

YOU won't find many Australians who don't remember where they were when Cathy Freeman won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

If you were older than 10 (let's say), we'll bet the image of Freeman in her green, gold and silver body suit storming down the straight and crossing the line first in the final of the women's 400m race is scorched in your memory forever. It's one of the most famous moments in Australian sport.

Freeman was the darling of the 2000 Games and one of the most popular athletes in the country. It's why the Australian Olympic Committee offered her the honour of lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony.

Coming off a silver medal in her pet event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, hopes were high the then 27-year-old would go one better on Australia's east coast. And she did.

Freeman was in the middle of the pack when she exploded out of the final bend to take a lead she never relinquished. Jamaica's Lorraine Graham (silver) and Great Britain's Katharine Merry (bronze) couldn't catch her.

Freeman crossed the line, unzipped her suit, crouched down on her haunches, shook her head, put her hand up to her face and closed her eyes.

Australia saw it as her being overcome with emotion. After all, winning Olympic gold was something Freeman had dreamt of doing for years. But Australia was wrong.

Speaking to Mark Howard in an episode of the broadcaster's podcast series The Howie Games, available on PodcastOne, Freeman opened up about why she reacted the way she did after her win. She wasn't emotional or overwhelmed - she was disappointed.

"Another thing that burns away at me is I know I could have run faster than what I actually have, but that's fine," Freeman tells Howard.

"I actually crossed the line, looked across at the time - 49.11 (seconds) - I was immediately disappointed because I would have loved to have run 48 (seconds).

"I just remember leaning over, putting my hands around my knees and just shaking my head."

Howard asked: "So that head shake was disappointment at your time?"

"Yeah," Freeman replied. "I was not happy.

"It's a mighty occasion. I don't mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, but that's just who I am."

Freeman's disappointment was mixed with surprise that none of her rivals took the fight to her when she was down on pace.

Usain Bolt sledged his fellow runners after winning gold in the 200m event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, saying he would have run faster if those alongside him had been able to push him harder. Freeman was clearly being honest rather than disrespectful, but you get the feeling she was thinking the same thing.

"I was surprised nobody forced it, pushed it a bit," Freeman says.

"I was surprised that Lorraine Graham from Jamaica who got the silver didn't go ahead but in that moment people are hesitant because no one really, really committed against me. Nobody really believed they could beat me.

"When I look back at the footage, nobody really believed that they could win and I think it shows because the pace at which I was running when I was back in the field - it shouldn't have been that way. For a real contest there should have been more of a fight earlier on for that stage of the race. That wasn't the case."

One person who may have pushed Freeman - had she been there - was Marie-Jose Perec. The Frenchwoman won gold in the 200m and 400m in Atlanta and in the 400m in Barcelona in 1992, but exited the Sydney Games in bizarre circumstances.

She left Sydney days before the opening ceremony and later claimed it was because she was being threatened and harassed in the lead-up to the Olympics. But many believe Perec simply felt the pressure and freaked out.

"I was really sad," Freeman says of Perec's withdrawal. "My initial reaction was, 'That's too bad,' because I would really have loved to have had the chance to have raced her and of course to have beaten her.

"But I'll never have that chance and that's one thing that really gets to me, always."

On that September day nearly 17 years ago Freeman's fellow runners may not have believed in themselves, but she sure did. The proud indigenous Australian had the natural talent but perhaps more importantly, the killer instinct to boot.

"I wanted to be an Olympic champion and I didn't care about the goings-on around me," Freeman tells Howard. "In my heart and with all of my soul I was ready, willing and I was very able.

"I had a deadly sense of self-belief. I'd go to another level and say I had a deadly sense of self-conviction where you can say whatever you want, you can do whatever you want but you're not going to touch me.

"No one could ever get into this sacred space that only I'm allowed in.

"You really do live your life like you are the only person in the world."

Freeman tells Howard how calm she was during the 2000 Olympics and how little she was affected by pressure. "It's easy, it's really easy, Howie," she says as she described being in her "natural element", completely confident all her work would pay off when the time came.

"It was the most natural space for me to be in and to move through."

But Freeman does deviate from the narrative that details her aura of invincibility to reveal there were a couple of times when she wasn't entirely in control of everything. One such time was several months before the Games when she just lost it without knowing why.

"I had a little panic attack that lasted for three or four seconds - a very private moment - where I thought, 'F*** this, I can't do this, why am I doing this?'" Freeman says.
"I remember my cats were keeping me company and I was having a conversation with my cats.

"I just wanted to not be here, and it didn't last for very long - I think it's very natural for the body to consider other options.

"I still had a very acute awareness of the situation, of the reality that my life was. Just because I act all, 'La, la, la, la, la' and nonchalant it doesn't mean I'm not aware."

The other was the feeling she says every runner experiences on their way to the call room.

"You feel like you're a lamb going off to slaughter, and I mean that," Freeman says. "You're so vulnerable and it's like, 'Oh s***, oh s***, oh s***.'

"I felt scared - not scared where everything's falling apart - it's a feeling of, 'This is it, there's no turning back.'"

Once Freeman was on the track in front of 110,000 screaming fans, that "deadly" self-belief took over. The rest is history.


"My Greatest Challenge" w/ Tyree Washington

Tyree Washington won the world indoor and outdoor titles over 400m in 2003. Here the US sprinter talks about the difficulties he has endured throughout his life battling asthma.

BATTLING ASTHMA: 'MY DOCTORS ALWAYS JOKED AND SAID THEY COULDN’T UNDERSTAND HOW I HAD SUCH BAD ASTHMA AND YET I COULD RUN ONE OF THE HARDEST EVENTS ON THE PLANET'

“Many people don’t know that I have suffered from asthma for my whole life. I almost died from it on numerous occasions. As a baby the doctors told my grandmother, who raised me, I had 72 hours to live. My family was very spiritual and I made it through.

“When I was aged 14 or 15, I suffered smog inhalation in my home city of Riverside, California. My mother rushed me to hospital and I was taken to ER. My lungs were literally collapsing and everything was shutting down on me. For a while, I didn’t know if I was going to make it. Thankfully, I improved, but I remember when I left the hospital bed for a couple of weeks I couldn’t walk. It was very humbling.

“My asthma has been a constant battle through the years because my breathing capacity is at only 75 per cent. My doctor helped me maintain my asthma and I am just grateful I made it and excelled on the track. My doctors always joked and said they couldn’t understand how I had such bad asthma and yet I could run one of the hardest events on the planet. Both scientifically and medically they couldn’t explain it. I wasn’t supposed to win World Championships and become the fastest man in the world during my time in the 400m.

“My asthma made every year of my career very unpredictable. I often had to change my routines because the stresses of being involved in a high intensity sport like track and field would causes my asthma to flare up. I remember racing in Osaka in 1998 and enduring an asthma attack during the race. I wanted to stop at 200m and was telling myself to stop after the next 50 metres. Then I got to 300m and thought, ‘screw it, I’m going to finish the full race’. That race I ran 45.14 for third and I collapsed after the race. I was very stubborn. I wouldn’t go and see a doctor. I just wanted to race.

“Another time I couldn’t find one of my inhalers at home. I was on my hands and knees trying to find one, there was nobody home and I didn’t have my cell phone with me. Thankfully, I found an inhaler at the back of the cupboard. If I hadn’t, it would have been lights out for me.

“My career was always a constant battle. I guess pollen is my enemy – like kryptonite.

“For a long time when I looked back on my career, I felt really hurt I never made an Olympic team because of injury and illness. But over time, I realised that by winning the world indoor and outdoor titles in 2003 I had beaten all the best athletes in the world that year. Once I started to accept this, I could look back and think that despite my illnesses, I had a glorious and blessed career. I am part of a select group of athletes that have won world titles; my talent for track was a gift from God.”


Injured Nicholas Bett Won't Defend World 400H Title

World 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett will not defend his title during the World Championships due August 4 to 13 in London.

Bett, who made history as the first Kenyan to win gold in sprint events a World Championships, accomplishing the feat during the 2015 event, has been ruled out with a right leg injury.

Bett’s manager, Jukka Harkonen, has to that effect written to Athletics Kenya, briefing them about Bett, who has a serous stress fracture on his fibula bone.

Harkonen said that Bett experienced a sharp pain in his right leg during the Diamond League in Doha on May 5 this year and upon discussion, his athlete took a few days leave.

“The pain came again after the Shanghai meeting on May 13 and he started treatment in Nairobi,” said Harkonen.

Even though the doctor in Nairobi, who conducted an MRI indicated that Bett had no problem, Harkonen decided to take him to Lahti, Finland for further check-up and treatment.

“We took a high quality MRI on June 8 and it was discovered that Bett had a serious stress fracture,” explained Harkonen.

Bett would start two weeks of full rest and then another four weeks of pool work before starting easy jogging after six weeks. He missed the National Championships and Trials on June 23-23 at Nyayo National Stadum.

“It’s after he started to jog that the pain recurred and that is why we decided to have another MRI can on July 31 in Lahti, Finland. He won’t be able to compete at that level in London since it will be risky and the possibility of breaking the fibula bone is too big,” said Harkonen, adding that he has not been able to train well as the world champion.

Harkonen confirmed that Bett will be able to resume training effectively and prepare for the 2018 Commonwealth Games after the results are out on July 31.

“It’s disappointing since my main target was to defend my title,” said Bett, at Team Kenya's training camp at Kasarani where he is still having treatment. “I hope to be back healthy and stronger for the Commonwealth Games.”

Head coach Julius Kirwa said it’s quite unfortunate that Bett will not be travelling to London to defend his title.

“I know how he is feeling now but it’s good that he focuses on treating the injury so as to come back stronger,” said Kirwa, who now remains with one athlete Haron Koech, Bett’s brother in the discipline.

Koech managed to qualify on July 16 at a race in Modova, Italy, where Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist Boniface Mucheru, who is also the reigning Africa champion, withdrew mid-race owing to an injury.

Koech clocked 49.39 seconds.

Team Kenya is set to leave the country on August 1 for the London Championships, where the country hopes for a replica of the 2015 Beijing competition by topping the medal standing again.


Makwala/van Niekerk Can Light Up Post-Bolt World

It was as the men’s 400m field exited the final bend in last Friday night’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco that a tantalising glimpse of the Post-Bolt athletics world was revealed.

Having made a point of catching and passing Isaac Makwala midway down the back-straight, South Africa’s world and Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk discovered that the job was not done as the Botswana athlete in the pale blue vest to his right, arms pumping, was now actually edging ahead.

The 25-year-old world record holder, whose first two races of the season – a 300m world best of 30.81 and a 400m in 43.62 – had been relatively unopposed victories, suddenly found himself in a harsher environment, and responded as champions do.

FOR MAKWALA, A PB AT 30
Without losing his form, Van Niekerk moved ahead once again to win in 43.73, although the puffing of his cheeks testified to the late effort that had been required.

Makwala was rewarded with a personal best of 43.84 just a week after his remarkable performance at the Madrid meeting, where he became the first man to run a sub-44sec 400m (43.92) and a sub-20sec 200m (19.77) on the same day, the latter time replacing Van Niekerk’s 19.84 at the top of this year’s world list.

Metres beyond the finishing line, the two men had their arms over each other’s shoulders, emphasising that this is a relationship involving sportsmanship as well as rivalry.

The Botswana athlete is five years Van Niekerk’s senior – indeed, he is only a month younger than the imminently retiring Bolt. But unlike the Jamaican sprint legend, Makwala, whose first IAAF World Championships were in 2007, clearly feels he has important things still to achieve in his career.

With the 200m still to run in Madrid, he had told the press: “I’m satisfied, but I know I can run faster. My goal in London is the gold medal; I can do it.”

In the immediate aftermath of his run on the Stade Louis II track, he was even more expansive: “This race felt good from start to finish. I have now decided I will be doubling 200 and 400 in London.”

So Van Niekerk will have swift company in both the events.

VAN NIEKERK: ‘WE ARE STILL NOT PEAKING’
“It was great performance today, I’m feeling positive about it,” the South African responded after the race. “My body feels to be in great shape and this win from behind gives me lot of confidence.

“We still are not peaking, we trained hard last week, all should be OK for London and my double. I was forced to change my plan when I saw Isaac in front in last 100m. All went well. Now we’re ready for the big plan.”

At the previous day’s press conference, Van Niekerk had said he had held a little back in both of his previous 2017 outings. He had no such leeway in Monaco – and will surely not expect it in London either.

Asked about Makwala’s Madrid double, the South African provided a response that sportingly acknowledged the quality of his rival’s effort while also underlining his own determination to do better.

STRONG MUTUAL RESPECT
“It’s not the first time he’s done it,” Van Niekerk said. “I’ve got lots of respect for him planning to double up. The times he has run and what he did in Madrid show the quality he has as an athlete. It’s something you can’t take lightly. At the same time it’s something you can use to improve your own performance.

“So I’ve got the utmost respect for Isaac, and I’m sure we can continue improving one another’s times. It’s the kind of competition that’s good for the sport.”

Makwala’s first experience of a global championship in Osaka was as a member of Botswana’s 4x400m relay team, which was knocked out in the heats. Ten years on, the Botswana quartet will arrive in London with strong chances of finishing on the podium at least.

In Beijing two years ago, Botswana – boasting London 2012 800m silver medallist Nijel Amos, Makwala’s friend and sometime room-mate, missed a place in the final by one place as they set a national record of 2:59.95.

Now their team has been strengthened by the addition of 20-year-old Baboloki Thebe, who finished third in Monaco in 44.26 and looks a huge prospect for the coming years.

In the meantime Makwala will doubtless be reflecting again upon one of his favourite pieces of advice from his coach, Justice Dipeba, who regularly reminds him: “Champions are not born, champions are made.”

Makwala added: “I like this because he is saying anything can be achieved through training hard and hard work.” It looks as if all of this Botswana athlete’s hard work is about to pay off in London and beyond.


Rudisha to lead strong Kenyan team to London 2017 World Championships

Athletics Kenya (AK) have confirmed that Kenyan superstar athlete David Lekuta Rudisha will defend his men’s 800m title at the IAAF World Championships in London from 4-13 August, 2017.

The announcement ended intense speculation in local media that the two-time Olympic and world record-holder at distance would not make the final squad for the global track and field signature event.

“It is no-brainer. He is the world record holder, world champion and big time performer at big championships. He has to be in team,” AK vice-president, Paul Mutwii told journalists in Nairobi on Thursday.

AK announced the final squad on Friday at which the omission of US based Michael Saruni – one of the five athletes named into the 49-member provisional squad in the men’s 800m with only four eligible to be entered into the competition – caused a huge stir.

US-based Emmanuel Korir, who caused a major upset to win the men’s 800m in 1:43.86 at the Kenya trials, World Under-20 800m champion Kipyegon Bett, 2nd in 1:44.04; and Saruni, third in 1:44.61; and 2016 IAAF Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich were all named in the preliminary team.

David Rudisha opted out of the Kenyan selection trials for London 2017 on 24 June to focus on regaining his shape after an underwhelming season, and initially, his name was missing from the provisional team.

However, he was included in the squad after reports he was missing from the team circulated on social media drawing a huge backlash on the AK.

Rudisha and Rotich had wild cards to the 16th edition of the global event but the Athletics Kenya boss insisted the federation reserves the right to decide the final squad.

With the top two across the line assured of automatic entries as per the rules of the AK Trials, Saruni and Rotich, who finished in fourth place, were contending for the final slot in the team following Mutwii’s announcement on Rudisha.

Rudisha will be returning to the stadium where he won his first Olympic gold medal in the blistering 1:40.91 world record at the London 2012 Games.

TEAM KENYA – LONDON 2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Men 400m Hurdles: Haron Koech, Kiprono Kosgei, Nicholas Bett

Women 10,000m: Agnes Tirop, Irene Cheptai, Alice Aprot

Men 200m: Mark Otieno

Women 5000m: Hellen Obiri, Margaret Chelimo

Men 5000m: Cyrus Ruto, David Kiplagat

Women 400m: Maximilla Imali

Men 400m: Raymond Kibet, Alphas Kishioyan, Collins Omae

Men Javelin: Julius Yego

Men 1500m: Ronald Kwemoi, Timothy Cheruiyot, Elijah Manangoi, Asbel Kiprop

Women 1500m: Faith Chepn’getich, Winnie Chebet

Women 3000m steeplechase: Cellphine Chepsol, Beatrice Chepkoech, Purity Kirui, Hyvin Kiyeng

Men 3000m steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto, Birmin Kipruto, Jairus Birech, Ezekiel Kemboi

Women 800m: Margaret Nyairera, Eunice Sum, Emily Cherotich

Men 800m: Emmanuel Korir, Kipyegon Bett, Michael Saruni, Ferguson Rotich, David Rudisha

Men triple jump: Elijah Kimitei

Men walk race: Samuel Gathimba, Simon Wachira

Women race walk: Grace Wanjiru

Men Marathon: Daniel Wanjiru, Geoffrey Kirui, Gideon Kipketer

Women marathon: Edna Kiplagat, Helah Kiprop, Flomena Cheyech


Eilidh Doyle to captain Great Britain at World Championships

Eilidh Doyle will captain the Great Britain athletics team at next month's World Championships in London.

The 400 metres hurdler was voted into the role by her fellow team members.

She said: "I'm absolutely chuffed to bits. It's a huge honour to have been elected by my peers as the team captain for British Athletics at London 2017.

"To lead your team at a home World Championships is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to have your team-mates vote that they want you to do it makes it even more special."

The Scot is a two-time outdoor world medallist in the 4x400m relay and also won bronze in the event at the Rio Olympics last year.

British Athletics performance director Neil Black said: "I'm delighted for Eilidh. She's a fierce competitor and a fantastic role model for younger athletes in the team.

"Eilidh is Scotland's most decorated athlete and has won a medal at all of the majors. She knows what it takes to win. That's the type of athlete and mindset we need to lead us into a home world championships."

The World Championships get under way at the London Stadium on August 4.


Fitness Doubt Weighs Heavily On Yohan Blake

The city of London holds good memories for Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake.

At the 2012 Olympic Games he won silver medals in the 100m and 200m, finishing behind his friend and training partner Usain Bolt on both occasions. The 200m was especially memorable as his other training partner, Warren Weir took the bronze in a 200m medal sweep for Jamaica.

A year before in 2011, Blake became the youngest-ever World Champion over 100m after Bolt false-started, and he went on to win in a time of 9.92s in Daegu, South Korea.

Since the London Olympic Games, however, Blake has had a terrible time with injuries, pulling his hamstring in 2013 and again in 2014, before finally making his way back to fitness in time for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

His 4x100m gold medal at the games has reignited his taste for success, and he has one final opportunity to win international medals alongside Bolt at the World Championships in London next month.

Blake won both the 100m and 200m at the National Senior Championships in June, signalling a full return to form and fitness. But just when all seemed set to go, he pulled out of the Rabat Diamond League in Morocco a few days ago, reportedly with a sore groin. While it was said to be a precautionary measure, the timing of the injury could not be any worse for the 27-year-old.

The return from injury has been a tough task for Blake, and he has spoken of how difficult it has been mentally for him. So it begs the question, will this latest setback take a toll on the youngest 100m World Champion ever?

Ricky Simms - who also has Mo Farah on his books - reveals he dreams of bringing his pal to his hometown of Milford

USAIN Bolt’s Irish agent is hoping to get the superstar to the hills of Donegal when he hangs up his spikes.

Ricky Simms, who has been by the side of the charismatic Jamaican for the past 14 years, says TV, movies and even football are all in the horizon for Bolt after he retires from running after the World Championships in London.

The sports agent, who also has Mo Farah on his books, told how he dreams of bringing his pal to his hometown of Milford, Co Donegal when he finally has some free time.

Ricky, who runs Pace Sports Management, said: “He will not be disappearing from the public eye. I expect you will see a lot more of Usain Bolt in the years to come.

“It is up to him. He has many opportunities. He is still very much in demand as a brand ambassador. He has several other business interests. The International Association of Athletics Federations would like him to be an ambassador.

“He will work more for the Usain Bolt Foundation. He plans to establish a world class medical facility in Jamaica. And then there is the lure of other sports, particularly football, TV, movies.

“Although he will retire from competing he has a million other things going on. His diary is already heavily booked until the end of 2017.”

He added: “Hopefully he will make it to Donegal one day.”

The Donegal man has had a front row seat at the side-lines watching the history-making sprinter repeatedly smash records winning millions of adoring fans along the way.

But he said the champion has managed to remain down-to-earth despite his global fame.

He said: “It is simple. Usain is genuinely a nice guy. He respects people and people respect him back.”


Runner assaults coach after missing worlds team

(AP) -- An Ethiopian athlete has been banned for two years for attacking his coach after learning he didn't make the team for next month's world championships in London.

Ethiopian Athletics Federation spokesman Sileshi Bisrat says 21-year-old steeplechase runner Chala Beyo, who competed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, punched coach Yohannes Mohammed when the team was announced.

The coach needed medical treatment for an injured left eye, and Bisrat says police are searching for the runner.

Bisrat says Chala was carrying a rock when he assaulted his coach, but didn't use it.

Chala ran for Ethiopia in the 3,000 meters steeplechase at last year's Olympics. He didn't qualify for the final.

The federation says it has banned him for two years from all competitions


Acne Doesn't Mean She Dopes, Says Schippers

Dafne Schippers: 'I hate when people see my skin and say I'm a drugs cheat, acne doesn't mean I dope'... as Dutch sprinter labels her frosty relationship with Elaine Thompson as 'very bad'

  • Dafne Schippers converted from heptathlon to sprinting two years ago
  • She stunned the world in the World Championships in Beijing to win 200m gold
  • However the 25-year-old has grown frustrated with questions over steroid abuse
  • The Dutch Athlete is adamant she follows the strictest routine and diet to the law


For Dafne Schippers, a mention of the World Championships provokes pain and pleasure.

'

First to the pleasure. Two years ago in Beijing, Schippers emerged as the young sensation. Within three months of becoming a full-time sprinter — having previously competed in the heptathlon — she stunned athletics by claiming gold in the 200metres with a jet-heeled time of 21.63 seconds.
Only Florence Griffith Joyner, who set the world record of 21.34sec in 1988, and Marion Jones, who ran 21.62sec in 1998, have run faster than Schippers.

Those times are shrouded in doubt, as Joyner’s later career was overshadowed by unproven drug allegations and Jones has admitted to doping. So should the IAAF succeed in wiping all pre-2005 world records, Schippers will become the fastest female 200m sprinter.
Yet the immediate jubilation of a record-breaking sprint in Beijing soon gave way to cynicism. Athletics is a sport dogged by corruption, and mistrust intensified due to Schippers’ complexion. The Dutch athlete, 25, has suffered from acne on her face and back, which is regarded as a sign of steroid abuse.

Two years on, Schippers grimaces. ‘I hate it,’ she admits. ‘I hate it when people ask me those questions. I work so hard as a really good athlete, do my diet, follow the sleep patterns and live my life for the sport. When someone asks you things like that, it’s really hard. What can you say?

‘It’s hard with my skin. It’s me and who I am. Acne is something that runs in the family, even our mother had acne until she was 30 or 40. Some people say, “Oh that’s a typical sign of doping”.’


Schippers admits her confidence has suffered in an image-conscious world. ‘As a woman, it’s not so funny to suffer from acne. It’s hard to have that and hard to have people say things about that on a personal level. People are questioning your sporting integrity and then your personal side with your skin in one go.’

Schippers is also aware of a different suspicion. She is a white female sprinter breaking records and that does not happen often. A white woman has not won the 200m Olympic gold medal since East German Barbel Wockel in 1980, a victory that remains under suspicion due to the country’s doping programme.

Schippers lets out a wry smile. ‘It’s more difficult because everyone knows white girls in the 1980s were not all clean. That makes it more difficult. Everyone thinks, “Oh you are white, it’s not possible”.’

It is why she supports the IAAF proposal. ‘Some of those world records — they are just too difficult to run for that period. I think there were 12 or 13 world records in the 1980s. That’s a lot. Normally you think the track and spikes are better now. We want the sport as clean as possible.’

Growing up in Utrecht, Schippers started sprinting as a nine-year-old, where she became accustomed to raising eyebrows.

‘I was always faster than the guys,’ she laughs. ‘When I played football in school I just ran with the ball past everybody. Before track and field, I had a race and beat all the boys in the class in a sprint. The boys weren’t happy!’

In Rio, Schippers suffered a setback as the Jamaican Elaine Thompson claimed gold and she made a changeover error that led to the Dutch relay team going out in the heats. The rivalry with Thompson is one of the most competitive in the sport.

‘It’s very bad,’ Schippers says of their relationship. ‘I don’t know why. Maybe because we are both big talents. If she says “Hi”, I will say “Hi”. I am more of an easy person. With the European athletes, I can have fun with them. I am an easy person to talk to. If she won’t do that, then OK.

‘When I did heptathlon, it was friendlier. I spent a week in Sheffield with Jess Ennis when I was 18. Jess was a hero for me. I heard a story that nobody thought she could become the best but she really fought for it and she made it. That’s really special.’

Schippers is the Dutch answer to Ennis. She admits to being ‘probably one of the most famous women in Holland’.

‘At the beginning it was very difficult,’ she says. ‘My life totally changed. Now I feel much better.

‘My mood was not great after Rio. I came for gold and didn’t get it. It renews my motivation. When I win, the focus is on the next race. There is always the next gold. Starting in London!’


Big Long Jump By Lanae-Tava Thomas At JOs

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- With multi-events and race walk complete, middle distance runners and sprinters took their turn on the oval in the 400m hurdles, 800m and 200m on the third day of USATF Hershey Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships. Field events took a dramatic turn in the women’s 15-16 long jump with a new national record.

Watch on demand video of today’s events on USATF.TV+ and follow competition live all week.

In dominating fashion, Lanae-Tava Thomas (Henrietta, New York; USATF Niagara) smashed the girls’ 15-16 national record with the ninth-best jump overall this year. Thomas stormed down the runway and lept 6.68m/21-11. Her jump puts her one spot behind 2016 Rio Olympian Keturah Orji on the top marks of 2017.

Competition began under grey skies with the first round of 400m hurdles, along with several final field events. In the boys’ 15-16 division, Jarrett Flaker (Scarborough, Maine; USATF Maine) was the top qualifier with a time of 55.82, followed by Mason Anthony (Elbert, Colorado; USATF Colorado) and Matthew Harris (Atlanta, Georgia; USATF Georgia) just behind in 56.41 and 56.43.

Imagine Patterson (Summerville, South Carolina; USATF South Carolina) marked herself as a favorite in the women’s 17-18 and posted the only time under 62 seconds to qualify with the fastest time of the day in 1:01.86.

In the field events, shot putter Joshua Sobota (Knoxville, Tennessee; USATF Tennessee) nearly clinched Dwight Johnson’s 1987 national record with his final throw of 19.85m/65-1.5. Sobota, who was recently crowned Gatorade Tennessee Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year, held the men’s 17-18 lead from the second round and catapulted to almost 20m on his sixth attempt.

Kassadi Avent took home girls’ 9-10 high jump gold by clearing 1.30m/4-3.25. Avent competed neck-and-neck with second place’s Kyara Fite but ultimately prevailed to win top honors.

Following an hour-long weather delay in the early afternoon, the 800m preliminary heats provided close finishes across age groups and a new national record. Grant Reynolds (Conyers, Georgia; USATF Georgia) ran 2:33.55 to break the previous boys’ 8 & under record of 2:33.73 set by Tristan Page in 2013.

Cha’iel Johnson (Miami Gardens, Florida; USATF Florida) cruised through her girls’ 11-12 prelim in 2:21.33 to advance to Saturday’s final. Johnson holds the national record in her age group at 2:14.80, set earlier this year.

As rain continued in the late afternoon, young athletes overcame wet conditions to complete the first round of 200m heats. In the 17-18 girls heats it was a Texas showdown as Kynnedy Flannel (Alvin, Texas; USATF Gulf) and ShaCarri Richardson (Dallas, Texas; USATF Southwestern) raced neck in neck to the finish in 23.95. Flannel of Track Houston Youth Club taking the win by .002.

Follow along with #JOTF on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

WEDNESDAY FINALS:
For full results click here.

Boys Triple Jump 13-14 
Johnny Brackins Jr., The Doors, 12.75m/41’ 10”

Girls High Jump 9-10 
Kassidi Avent, Willis/Camden PAL, 1.30m/4’ 3 ¼”

Men’s Shot Put 17-18 
Joshua Sobota, GymTek Academy, 19.85m/65’ 1 ½”

Girls Javelin Throw 11-12 
Jasmine Hampton, Sequoyah Youth Track, 35.23m/115’ 7”

Girls Javelin Throw 8 & Under
Isabella Allison, Phoenix Flyers, 17.79m/58’ 4”

Girls Pole Vault 13-14
Kyla Davis, Unattached, 3.50m/11’ 5 ¾”

Boys Triple Jump 15-16
Cameron Hudson, Club Nitro Flyers, 14.57m/47’ 9 ¾”

Girls Shot Put 15-16
Faith Bender, Unattached, 12.97m/42’ 6 ¾”

Women’s High Jump 17-18
Sydney Sapp, OKC Sprinters, 1.70m/5’ 7”

Boys Javelin Throw 11-12 
Max Berger, Rainier Beach Track, 41.95m/137’ 7”

Boys Javelin Throw 8 & Under 
Brady Galligher, New Jersey Striders, 25.42m/83’ 4”

Men’s Long Jump 17-18
Jakobe’ Ford, Seattle Speed Academy, 7.47m/24’ 6 ¼”

Women’s Shot Put 17-18
Veronica Fraley, Junior Striders T&F, Inc., 13.83m/45’ 4 ½”

Girls Long Jump 15-16 
Lanae-Tava Thomas, Maximum Velocity Track Club, 6.68m/21’ 11”


Would 11-Year Wait Be A Blessing Or Curse For LA?

LOS ANGELES — For several years Los Angeles city leaders have focused on winning the 2024 Summer Olympics, supporting a $5.3 billion plan to host the event seven years from now.

Those seven years might soon turn into 11, after the International Olympic Committee’s recent decision to award the games to both Paris and Los Angeles, with one city getting 2024 and the other 2028.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that Los Angeles appears unlikely to be selected for 2024. But the IOC is making the later date “financially so attractive, we would be stupid not to take 2028,” Garcetti said.

The longer window could prove helpful to L.A. — giving the city more time to complete the Purple Line subway to the west side and perhaps providing leverage to extract concessions from the IOC. It might also mean the value of sponsorships and other revenue sources could increase.

But experts familiar with Olympic bidding say an ­11-year wait could present both economic and political hazards. Some have expressed concern that the public will not have time to scrutinize a revised deal before the city must sign a host contract.

“Whoever is taking the 2028 Games is taking a much greater risk,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, who served on the L.A. City Council during negotiations for the 1984 Summer Olympics. “There’s more economic uncertainty.”

For example, it is difficult to predict ticket revenue for an event 11 years out, ­Yaroslavsky said.

As Los Angeles and Paris bid negotiators work with the IOC to decide which city will go first, a Garcetti spokesman said the city is financially protected.

“Garcetti does not believe that waiting four more years would increase our risk profile,” spokesman Alex Comisar said. “Whether we host in 2024 or 2028, our low-risk plan remains the same — using existing infrastructure, and controlling costs.”

Paris bid organizers have dismissed the idea of waiting four additional years. Paris also has a possible advantage for 2024 because that year marks the 100th anniversary of the last time the City of Light hosted the Games.

The budget released by LA24 — the bid committee — for the 2024 Games was called “substantially reasonable” in an independent analysis by the accounting firm KPMG.

Relying on existing venues such as the Coliseum, Staples Center and Pauley Pavilion, L.A.’s proposal is a “low-cost, low-risk approach,” according to a state Legislative Analyst’s Office report.

The mayor and city council formally backed the bid earlier this year, but that agreement was specific to the 2024 Games. City leaders would have to authorize acceptance of the 2028 Games, Sharon Tso, chief legislative analyst, said last week.

That process should also reopen discussions at City Hall over how the event will affect the city and its residents, said Jonny Coleman, an organizer with NOlympics LA, a local group opposed to the games.

“You don’t get to just cross out ‘2024’ and replace it with ‘2028,’” Coleman said. “You actually have to renegotiate it with the public.”

Garcetti said Wednesday that details about a possible bid for 2028 would be released next week.

With an IOC selection announcement coming as soon as August and a formal signing ceremony possibly set for September, there may be little time to consider a new deal.

A key issue for Olympic host cities has always been cost overruns.

Los Angeles, as the only viable bidder for the 1984 Games, had leverage over the IOC allowing it to escape responsibility for cost overruns. L.A. voters also had passed a charter amendment barring city leaders from using taxpayer funds to cover such costs unless they were reimbursed.

L.A. was not able to drive such a hard bargain for 2024. The city agreed to cover the first $250 million in extra costs, the state the next $250 million, with the city responsible for anything above that.

Comisar, Garcetti’s spokesman, said in a statement that refusing to accept financial liability for the 2024 Games “would be a nonstarter for the IOC.”

Given of the prospect of a 2028 Olympics, a July Legislative Analyst’s Office report on L.A.’s bid questioned whether the state’s $250 million guarantee was enough.

“Put simply, due to the time value of money, $250 million from the state will buy less stuff in 2028 than it would in 2024,” the report noted.

The report, which studied a recent IOC evaluation of L.A.’s bid, noted that many Olympic events will take place at privately owned venues, where rental costs could rise in coming years.

Other expenses are also expected to rise.

For instance, the LA24 committee budgeted about $84 million for city services during the 2024 Olympics. Those services, such as police overtime, could be more expensive in 2028.

At the same time, an IOC study shows that global Olympic sponsorships have become more lucrative over time.

The 2024 Host City Contract — the binding agreement that the city must sign if it is picked by the IOC — is publicly available. The agreement for 2028 has not been released, an IOC press representative said in an email.

The representative called the dual award bid a “unique situation” and said the “IOC is currently working on getting the relevant documentation ready.”

An IOC poll found that 78 percent of L.A. residents are in favor of the Olympic Games coming back to the city, which hosted them in 1932 and 1984.

Waiting until 2028 allows more time for possible opposition to build against the games, said Andrew ­Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Massachusetts. “The support base could fracture,” he said.


Millar sprinting well despite knee injury

New Zealand sprinter Joseph Millar is confident he'll be in the best shape of his life for next week's World Athletics Championships in London, despite a knee injury affecting his buildup.

Millar has been competing and training in Belgium and London for the past two weeks which has meant he has not had consistent treatment on his knee.

He has now joined up with the rest of the New Zealand squad in Cardiff, where has received regular treatment and was noticing a difference, he said.

"I've been able to start to get on top of it. On my good days I'm moving really well, faster than I've ever moved before."

"It's just the days where it's feeling a little bit iffy where I'm not able to move as fast as I've been doing in training and unfortunately most of those times have happened on race days," he said.

"I have my good days and bad days, but I'm having more and more good days now I'm having treatment on it."

Millar said he would not be competing in anymore races before the World Championships, where he has already qualified for the 200 metres.

He was keen to run the 100 metres if the numbers allowed and he would know in the next 24 hours if that would happen.

If Millar competes in the 100 metres, there was a chance he could race against Usain Bolt with the Jamaican great competing in his last event before retirement.


Canadian Coverage Of WC Will Be On CBC

CBC Sports will be Canada’s exclusive home for live coverage of the top track and field athletes on the planet as they compete at the IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, August 4–13 in London, England. CBC Sports will have weekend afternoon and prime-time coverage on TV as part of ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES, as well as daily streaming live at cbcsports.ca, and on the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices throughout the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. In addition, CBC Sports has announced a four-year media rights partnership with Athletics Canada that will see the network provide exclusive coverage of marquee national athletic events including National Championships, NACAC Regional Championships and the 2020 Olympic Team Trials, among others.



Scott Russell will host CBC Sports’ live afternoon and prime-time TV broadcasts on Aug. 4, 5, 6 and 12 and an additional afternoon broadcast on Aug. 13. He will be joined by several veteran broadcasters, Olympians and former national team members, including: reporter, Olympian and World Champion hurdler Perdita Felicien on-site in London; Gemini Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mark Lee; analyst, Olympian and two-time Commonwealth Games decathlon champion Michael Smith; contributor, two-time Olympic Games gold medallist and three-time World Champion Donovan Bailey; veteran athletics analyst, Olympian and former world record-holder David Moorcroft; and analyst, Olympian and World Championship sprinter Anson Henry, who will provide additional reports for the network’s digital and social media platforms throughout the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.



Canada will be well-represented at the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS with a team of 48 athletes led by Andre De Grasse in the men’s 100-metre, 200-metre and 4x100-metre; Melissa Bishop in the women’s 800-metre; decathlete Damian Warner; Crystal Emmanuel in the women’s 100-metre and 200-metre; reigning Olympic Games and World Champion Derek Drouin in high jump and reigning World Champion Shawn Barber in pole vault.

In addition to Canadian stars, there are a number of intriguing storylines surrounding international athletes at these WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. Foremost is Jamaica’s legendary sprinter Usain Bolt, competing in his final World Championships where he’ll run the men’s 100-metre and 4x100-metre, looking to add to his 13 career medals. Great Britain’s long-distance superstar Mohamed Farah will also run in his final World Championships where he will attempt to win a fourth-consecutive 5000-metre gold and a third-straight 10,000-metre gold.



CBC Sports will have live broadcast and streaming coverage of the men’s 100-metre heats beginning at 3:20 p.m. ET (12:20 p.m. PT) on Friday, Aug. 4, followed on Saturday, Aug. 5 by the semifinals at 2:05 p.m. ET (11:05 a.m. PT) leading up to the final at 4:45 p.m. ET (1:45 p.m. PT). This event represents the final opportunity for Andre De Grasse to face Usain Bolt head-to-head at this level. CBC Sports’ full broadcast and streaming schedules can be found here. In the days ahead of the World Championships, cbcsports.ca will post an interactive feature that will allow users to explore the history of Bolt’s accomplishments over the course of his legendary career.

Partnership with Athletics Canada
CBC Sports has further extended its commitment to showcasing Canada’s high performance athletes through a four-year media rights partnership reached with Athletics Canada, announced today.



With the agreement in place, CBC Sports is the exclusive home of upcoming National Team events, including the 2018 and 2019 Canadian Track and Field National Championships, the 2018 NACAC Regional Championships and 2020 Olympic Trials. CBC Sports will also work with Athletics Canada to provide coverage of several other Canadian track and field events over the next four years.

“We are excited to partner with Athletics Canada over the next four years. As evidenced last summer, Canada’s track and field athletes are reaching new heights on the world stage and CBC Sports is proud to continue to share their stories with Canadian fans,” said Greg Stremlaw, executive director, CBC Sports, and general manager, Olympics. “This partnership with Athletics Canada is another example of CBC Sports’ dedication to providing audiences with more access to high-performance sport, and Canada’s athletes in particular, in the months and years between Olympic Games.”



“CBC has always carried the torch for the Olympic and Paralympic movement in Canada,” said Mathieu Gentès, chief operating officer, Athletics Canada. “Athletics Canada is thrilled at the possibilities of this partnership. A resurgence of track and field paired with CBC Sports’ outstanding broadcasts, reporting and reach on various platforms, will serve as an important factor in extending track and field’s reach to a whole new generation of fans. In the short term, we are looking forward to CBC Sports’ expansive coverage of the upcoming IAAF World Championships.”


IAAF name podium moments at London 2017

Jess Ennis-Hill is among the cheated athletes to receive medal upgrades at IAAF World Championships

Jess Ennis-Hill is one of 11 individual athletes and five teams who will get their rightful medals from previous World Championships in London next month.

Ennis-Hill, who was beaten into second in the heptathlon by Russian drugs cheat Tatyana Chernova at the 2011 World Championships, will get her gold on Sunday August 6 at the London Stadium, with the ceremony accompanied by the national anthem and flags.

The United States women’s 4x400m team will also receive their gold medals after being beaten by the now disgraced Russian team at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, while 10,000m runners Kara Goucher and Jo Pavey will get a deserved upgrade to silver and bronze respectively after being beaten in Osaka in 2011 by Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse, who later failed a drugs test.

British 400m record-holder Christine Ohuruogu is set to receive a total of three relay medals.

IAAF president Seb Coe said: “I’m delighted that the athletes are properly honoured for their achievements and what better way than in front of passionate athletics fans at a major championship.

“For those receiving gold medals their moment in London will be all the more special as they will hear their national anthem played. Whatever their nationality clean athletes worldwide will celebrate with them.”

The reallocation of medals will be at the following times:

Friday August 4

4x400m women – Berlin 2009 – Great Britain (Lee McConnell, Christine Ohuruogu, Vicki Barr, Nicole Sanders) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

400m women – Daegu 2011 – Francena McCorory (USA) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

4x400m women – Daegu 2011 – GBR (Perri Shakes Drayton, Nicole Sanders, Christine Ohuruogu, Lee McConnell) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

400m women – Moscow 2013 – Stephanie Ann McPherson (JAM) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

4x400m women – Moscow 2013 – United States (Jessica Beard, Natasha Hastings, Ashley Spencer, Francena McCorory) (promoted from silver to gold); Great Britain (Eilidh Doyle, Shana Cox, Margaret Adeoye, Christine Ohuruogu) (promoted from bronze to silver); France (Marie Gayot, Lenora Guion-Firmin, Muriel Hurtis-Houairi, Floria Guei) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

Saturday August 5

10.000m women – Osaka 2007 – Kara Goucher (USA) (promoted from bronze to silver); Jo Pavey (GBR) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

1500m women – Osaka 2007 – Irina Lishchynska (UKR) (promoted from bronze to silver).

Long jump women – Daegu 2011 – Ineta Radevica (LAT) (promoted from bronze to silver).

Sunday August 6

Shot put men – Osaka 2007 – Rutger Smith (NED) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

Heptathlon women – Daegu 2011 – Jessica Ennis (GBR) (promoted from silver to gold); Jennifer Oeser (GER) (promoted from bronze to silver).

Sunday August 13

20km race walk men – Berlin 2009 – Eder Sanchez (MEX) (promoted from bronze to silver); Giorgio Rubino (ITA) (promoted from fourth to bronze).

Tags: IAAF World Championships, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Jo Pavey, Kara Goucher, London 2017, Seb Coe


USATF Athlete Of The Week: Ajee' Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS (USATF)-- After her record-breaking 800m performance at Monaco Diamond League on Friday, 2016 Rio Olympian and World Indoor silver medalist Ajee’ Wilson is awarded USATF Athlete of the Week honors.

Wilson (Neptune Township, New Jersey) matched up against the world’s most acclaimed 800m competitors and immediately battled for first position. It came down to the final steps, where Wilson finished third in a time of 1:55.91, shattering the American record and improving on her personal best by over two seconds.

Wilson finished behind 2016 Olympic champion Caster Semenya (1:55.27) and Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba (1:55.47). In total, the impressive field set four national records and seven personal bests.

Wilson told the media afterwards, “U.S. record? Woah! I hadn’t seen the time yet! It felt so good to be competitive again, it was great! Now [I’m] going home in Philadelphia to prepare for London.”

After capturing the 800m USATF Outdoor title, Wilson is set to compete for Team USATF at the 2017 World Outdoor Championships in London, Aug. 4-13.

Other notable performances:

  • Jordan Geist (Cabot, Pennsylvania) easily crushed his competition in the shot put with a second round throw of 22.02m/72-3 to win gold and set an American Junior record at the Pan American Junior Games.
  • 2016 Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager (Portland, Oregon) won his first Diamond League title in Monaco on Friday in the steeplechase after crossing the line in a world leading time of 8:01.29, and a six second lead on the next finisher. His performance fell just short of his American record (8:00.45) but marks the second-fastest time in American history and the first American to win a steeplechase Diamond League title.
  • Alyssa Wilson (Jackson, New Jersey) smashed the high school national record in the women’s shot put with a best throw of 17.70m/58-1 on opening day of Pan American Junior Championships.

Now in its 16th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on USATF.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2017 Winners: January 5, Miranda Melville; January 12, Leonard Korir; January 19, Jordan Hasay; January 26, Keni Harrison; February 2, Michael Wardian; February 9, Mikey Brannigan; February 16, Ajee’ Wilson; February 23, Kathy Martin; March 2, Keturah Orji; March 9, Noah Lyles; March 16, Christian Walker; March 23, Allen Woodard; March 30, Bob Lida; April 6, Anna Rohrer; April 12, Sydney McLaughlin; April 19, Ben True; April 26, Jordan Hasay; May 3, Clayton Murphy; May 10, Gwen Berry; May 17,

Christian Coleman; May 24, Joe Kovacs; May 31, Christian Taylor; June 7, Sydney McLaughlin; June 14, Christian Coleman; Tianna Bartoletta, June 21; Ryan Crouser, June 28; Sam Kendricks, July 6; Allyson Felix, July 12; Julia Hawkins, July 19; Ajee’ Wilson, July 26.


U.S. Olympians receive medal upgrades after doping punishments

U.S. Olympians Kara Goucher and Francena McCorory are among more than a dozen athletes set to receive retroactive medal upgrades in ceremonies at the world track and field championships next month.

The results changes were made due to positive retests of past doping samples from athletes since stripped of their medals.

Goucher, a 2008 and 2012 Olympic distance runner, will be promoted from bronze to silver from the 2007 World Championships 10,000m in an Aug. 5 ceremony at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Original silver medalist Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol in a retest of a sample she gave at the 2007 World Championships, it was announced in March.

Abeylegesse also won Olympic silver medals in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Games.

American Shalane Flanagan stands to get the silver medal in the Olympic 10,000m, but that has not been announced yet. The medal upgrade ceremonies at worlds include past world championships but no past Olympic events.

U.S. 400m runner Francena McCorory will receive two medals on Aug. 4 — bronze in the 2011 World Championships 400m and gold as part of the 2013 U.S. 4x400m relay team with Jessica Beard, Natasha Hastings and Ashley Spencer. Joanna Atkins also ran in the preliminary heats of the relay.

Original 2011 World 400m bronze medalist Anastasia Kapachinskaya was retroactively disqualified in June after a doping sample from the 2011 Worlds was retested and found to contain banned steroids. McCorory originally finished fourth in that final.

Russia was stripped of its 2013 World 4x400m title in February after relay member Antonina Krivoshapka was retroactively banned for a doping offense. Russia beat the U.S. by .22 in that world final.

The biggest cheer at London Olympic Stadium for one of 11 medal upgrade ceremonies will come on Aug. 6, when Brit Jessica Ennis-Hill receives her 2011 World heptathlon gold after Russian Tatyana Chernova was stripped for doping.


Barshim & Schippers Join Field For Birmingham DL

Reigning 200m world champion Dafne Schippers will go head-to-head with Britain’s finest sprinters in a post-world championship celebration showdown at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham on Sunday 20 August.

A host of Olympic and world medallists will compete at the IAAF Diamond League meeting, which will include Mo Farah’s last ever track race on home soil.

Schippers will take on Britain’s fastest ever woman Dina Asher-Smith and European Indoor 60m champion Asha Philip over 100m at the Alexander Stadium.

The Dutch sprint star will be hoping to have added more world medals to her collection over both 100m and 200m in London the week before.

“The Müller Grand Prix Birmingham will be a fantastic celebration for the athletes and a fitting end to an amazing season of athletics in the UK," Schippers said.

“It will be great to have a race later in the season against the best sprinters in a fun and celebratory atmosphere and I know the athletes will put on a spectacular show for the crowd.”

Olympic high jump silver medallist Mutaz Barshim of Qatar will also compete at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham, against home favourite and long-term rival Robbie Grabarz. Barshim has a fantastic record in Birmingham -- he won this event in a stadium record 2.38m in 2014 and also cleared 2.37m in 2016.

Grabarz finished in joint fourth behind Barshim in Rio last year and was joint Olympic bronze medallist with the Qatari athlete and Derek Drouin of Canada at London 2012.

Barshim and Birmingham-based Grabarz will each want to come out on top at both the IAAF World Championships and the Diamond League meet on 20 August.

Barshim, the 2013 world silver medallist, said, “I love competing in the UK so to have another chance to compete there at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham is fantastic.

“I hope I will be celebrating winning another World Championship medal by the time I get to Birmingham and I will be trying my best to jump well.”

Organisers for the IAAF

2017 IAAF Diamond League calendar:
5 May – Doha, QAT
13 May – Shanghai, CHN
27 May – Eugene, USA
8 Jun – Rome, ITA

15 Jun – Oslo, NOR
18 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
1 Jul – Paris, FRA
6 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
9 Jul – London, GBR
16 Jul – Rabat, MAR
21 Jul – Monaco, MON
20 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
24 Aug – Zurich, SUI
1 Sep – Brussels, BEL


Alum Kayla Warren Joins Washington State Staff

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Cougar alum Kayla Warren has joined the Washington State University Track and Field staff as the Operations Coordinator, Wayne Phipps, Director of Cross-Country/Track & Field, announced Tuesday. Warren, 24, replaces Andrea Sabbatine who left the program last month to pursue other interests after two seasons at WSU.

"Kayla will be an excellent addition to our track and field program," Phipps said. "Kayla is highly motivated and possesses both a strong work ethic and a strong understanding of the administrative and athletic goals of our track and field and cross country programs. Her role will be a huge benefit to our coaching staff and as well as our student-athletes."

Warren was born in Seattle when her father Chris Warren, a three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, was playing for the Seattle Seahawks. She graduated from Seattle's Holy Names Academy in 2011 and competed for the WSU Track and Field team from 2011-13 and 2014-16.

Warren scored two sixth-place finishes in the triple jump at the Pac-12 Championships and qualified and competed twice at the NCAA West Region Preliminary Rounds.

Warren earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences with a minor in Forestry in December 2016. While completing her degree, she served as an intern/volunteer at the WSU Bear Center as well as at the WSU Arboretum. In addition to her academics and athletics endeavors, she worked at the renown Cougar Country Drive-In for five years, including more than two years as the head supervisor.

"I care a lot about the Cross Country and Track and Field program because of all it did for me while I was a student-athlete," Warren said. "Being a Coug was the best decision I ever made and to be able to return to serve the program that I am so passionate about is amazing. I am so thankful for this opportunity."


Rai Benjamin Transfers From UCLA To USC

Rai Benjamin will turn 20 Thursday.

If he seems older, it might be because the former Mount Vernon track and field star has certainly packed a lot into 19 years.

One of the nation’s top high school athletes, Benjamin has fast become one of the nation’s top collegiate athletes.

Last month, running for UCLA, the sophomore finished second in the NCAA Division I men’s 400 hurdles championship — second only by 1/100th of a second to a fifth-year senior.

His time, 48.33, was a personal best that was 1.64 seconds faster than when he won New Balance Nationals in 2015 as a Mount Vernon senior and 3.53 seconds faster than when he won New York’s high school championship as a junior.

It is also the third best time ever run by a UCLA 400 hurdler.

Benjamin’s improvement is marked by the invitation he received and declined last year to compete in the Rio Olympics for Antigua — his parents’ birthplace.

THIS SEASON: Rai Benjamin sets PR in the dash at the Armory

ALL-STARS: UCLA and world beckon Rai Benjamin, top area track star

OLYMPICS: Rai Benjamin declines Rio invite to rest from injury

He was not satisfied with his times coming off a broken foot that sidelined him for two months his freshman year at UCLA, a school that embraced him and a school he embraced.

But Benjamin is moving on — away from UCLA and away from Antigua’s track and field program.

The political science major has transferred 15 minutes away to USC. This follows UCLA’s hiring of a new track and field director and its subsequent dismissal of Bruin sprints and hurdles coach Darrell Smith.

The un-updated UCLA website still credits Smith for directing “one of the top recruits in the country in Rai Benjamin” to a sixth-place 400 hurdles finish at last year’s NCAA Championships.

Leaving was not an easy decision.

“I was really happy at UCLA,” he said by phone from Los Angeles. “Under no circumstances did I think I would leave at all … The best thing was the friendships I made here. I was comfortable, happy being so far away (from home) and at the same time being at home.”

“But with my coach being let go, structurally, I needed to be somewhere else. I just felt more comfortable being somewhere else.”

To UCLA’s credit, it granted Benjamin and two other athletes who decided to leave in response to Smith’s departure, waivers, so, instead of sitting out a year, Benjamin can immediately compete for USC.

“They just wanted me to be happy,” Benjamin said.

And seeking the same for himself, Benjamin, who has represented Antigua in some international events, also intends to compete instead for the U.S.

Benjamin’s 400 hurdles time would have qualified him for the U.S. team competing at the World Championships in August. But the International Association of Athletics Federations has blocked all country-to-country transfers until it sets up a new system to combat country-jumping, particularly African athletes being recruited to run for other nations.

New rules should not affect Benjamin, however, since he’s U.S.-born.

Explaining the switch to the U.S., Benjamin referred to his desire to be in a “more competitive atmosphere.”

Benjamin described himself as being in limbo but said he’ll soon meet with USC coaches to discuss his future there.

And he seems optimistic, mentioning USC possibly claiming a national championship.

“We should have a pretty good team next year,” he said. “If everyone does what they’re asked and if everyone performs the way they should, we could possibly win it.”


Jenny Simpson relishing London return

The American runner is looking forward to the IAAF World Championships due to the UK’s middle-distance heritage

At 1500m, Jenny Simpson won the world title in 2011, plus world silver in 2013 and Olympic bronze in 2016 – and she feels London is an appropriate place for her to try to win another global medal in the metric mile.

“Speaking as a 1500m runner, you have to recognise that some of the richest legacy and heritage of our event comes out of the UK,” she says. “I’m thinking of people like Steve Ovett and Seb Coe and those who came before us and really made the mile, the 1500m and 800m, to me, the most exciting spectator events in track and field.”

The American adds: “A lot of other British women have contributed to that legacy in a really meaningful way – like Laura Muir, Hannah England and Lisa Dobriskey.”

Simpson competed in the 2012 Olympics as reigning world champion but failed to do herself justice, going out in the semi-finals.

“I was young. It was my first summer as a professional athlete,” she remembers, “and having had that success it can be really hard to continue and out-do it the next year. It was a big disappointment but also a big growing experience.”

It gives her additional motivation for London 2017, as she explains: “I’m really excited about the chance to go back and compete in London because I know the event is going to be organised so well and there will be an enormous amount of interest and fan attendance.

“The logistics and fan interest is really something that can mark your experience and make it a really memorable event. Because I was disappointed with my 2012 Olympics, I’m looking forward to returning to the stadium and possibly getting some personal redemption.”

“Speaking as a 1500m runner, you have to recognise that some of the richest legacy and heritage of our event comes out of the UK”

With the last two World Championships and the Rio Olympics often short of spectators, London’s expected full houses will make a positive change. While Simpson explains that she does not need a capacity crowd to motivate her, the atmosphere does make a difference.

“I have great memories of Rio, Moscow and Beijing and of feeling really happy about my performances but I remember the Olympics in 2012 just being blown away by the feeling that my sport is so important here and what I achieve really mattered to people in the stands,” she says.

“For me the atmosphere in the stadium due to the interest and enthusiasm of the fans really makes a difference to how I remember the event.”


3 Tracksters Named To Baylor Hall Of Fame

WACO, Texas – Highlighted by NCAA champions Benjamin Becker, Steffanie Blackmon and Jennifer Jordan Washington, Baylor’s 2017 Hall of Fame class includes eight outstanding former student-athletes representing six different sports.

The 58th class of inductees also includes Ron Francis and Bill Hicks from football, Bill Payne and Jeff Jackson from track and field and Melanie Hagewood Willhite from women’s golf.

This year’s class, along with Wall of Honor recipient Jim Daniel, will participate in on-campus enshrinement activities during the Oct. 20-21 weekend. In addition to the Hall of Fame banquet, the 2017 class will be introduced during the Baylor-West Virginia football game on Saturday, Oct. 21 (kickoff time TBA) and ride in the school’s Homecoming parade prior to the game.



Tickets to the 2017 Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame banquet, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in the Brazos Room at the Waco Convention Center, are $50 per person and may be purchased by contacting the “B” Association at 254-710-3045 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Table sponsorships (seating for eight) are also available for $750 (individual) or $1,000 (corporate).

Organized in 1960, the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame recognizes and honors individuals whose participation and contributions have enriched and strengthened the university’s athletics program. Student-athletes are required to wait 10 years after completing their eligibility before they can be nominated for the Hall of Fame.

Beginning with the inaugural 1960 class that included coach Floyd “Uncle Jim” Crow and baseball’s Ted Lyons, 228 honorees have been elected or already enshrined in the Hall of Fame, while another 24 have been added to the Wall of Honor.



Baylor’s record-holder for career singles (141) and doubles wins (104), Becker was a three-time singles All-American, a four-time All-Big 12 pick and won the 2004 NCAA singles championship while leading the Bears to the school’s first-ever team national championship.

A native of Orscholz, Germany, Becker earned Big 12 Freshman and ITA Region IV Rookie of the Year honors in 2002, when he was 37-9 in singles and 21-8 in doubles and finished the season ranked 11th nationally. Capping off an incredible junior season, Becker defeated Tulane’s Michael Kogan, 6-4, 7-6(8), to win the NCAA singles title after helping the Bears defeat UCLA, 4-0, in the team final.



After earning All-America honors the next year, leading Baylor to the ITA Indoor Championship and a runner-up NCAA finish, Becker began a pro career that has seen him earn more than $4 million. Between 2006 and ’15, he ended the season ranked in the top 100 eight times, attaining a career-high mark of No. 35 on Oct. 27, 2014.

Blackmon (2002-05), a key cog on the Baylor Lady Bears’ 2005 national championship team, was a two-time All-Big 12 pick and third-team All-American as a senior when she averaged 15.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-2 post had 22 points and seven rebounds in the 84-62 win over Michigan State in the national championship game.



The Dallas native set school records for career blocks (159) and free throw attempts (656) and still ranks in the top 10 in points (1,955), rebounds (936), free throw percentage (.788) and games played (133). A double-figure scorer in each of her four seasons, Blackmon averaged 17.6 points for a WNIT runner-up team in 2003, then 15.6 and 15.4 the next two years when she was a consensus first-team All-Big 12 selection.

Drafted in the third round by the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Blackmon played overseas in Korea, Israel and Italy and has worked in the Dallas Independent School District for the last nine years. She was inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.



A two-time All-Southwest Conference cornerback, Francis (1982-86) was named the SWC Defensive Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American as a junior in 1985, when he had six interceptions, 12 pass breakups and 64 tackles for a pass defense that ranked third nationally.


Originally recruited as a blue-chip running back out of the tradition-rich La Marque program, Francis was one of just two true freshmen to play during the 1982 season, making four starts at cornerback. Switched back to running back after a redshirt season, he led the Bears in rushing in 1984 with 558 yards and five touchdowns on 127 carries.

Despite playing just two full seasons at cornerback, he still ranks among the top 10 in career interceptions (14) and pass breakups (29). A second-round draft pick in 1987, Francis played four years with the Dallas Cowboys and made four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown as a rookie starter.



Hicks’ time at Baylor covers four different decades as a player and coach, making back-to-back bowl games as a player (1958-61) and winning a pair of Southwest Conference championships in his 13 years as the Bears’ defensive line coach.

A three-sport letterman and three-time all-state pick in football at Little Rock (Ark.) Central High School, Hicks came to Baylor as a freshman in 1958 and earned All-SWC honors as a senior center in 1961. He played on teams that lost to Florida in the 1960 Gator Bowl and beat Utah in the 1961 Gotham Bowl, earning a spot on the Bears’ All-Decade team of the 1960s.



After stints as a freshman coach at Baylor (1962-63) and assistant coach at Texas A&I (1964-65) and West Virginia (1966-68), Hicks had a 13-year run as the Bears’ defensive line coach (1969-81) under Bill Beall and Grant Teaff, being part of the 1974 and 1980 SWC championship teams. He capped off his career as the head coach at Howard Payne from 1982 to ’84.

Baylor’s all-time best in the short-sprint hurdles, Jackson (1993-96) was a five-time All-American and three-time Southwest Conference champion who was the national runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and 55-meter hurdles at the 1996 NCAA Indoor Championships.



Still the school record holder in the 110 hurdles (13.20), he also placed fourth at the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets and fifth at the 1993 outdoor meet. Jackson’s SWC titles came in the 110 hurdles (1993), 55-meter hurdles (1995) and 4x400 relay (1995).

Jackson went on to a pro career, competing at the World Championships and Pan Am Games in 1999 and the Olympics in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. He was inducted into the Garland Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and is the head girls track and field coach at North Garland High School.

A world-class pole vaulter with two marks over 19 feet, Payne (1987-91) was a six-time All-American who still holds the school indoor and outdoor records. He set the indoor record of 18-4 ¾ at a 1990 meet in Norman, Okla., and broke his own outdoor mark with a winning vault of 19-2 ¾ at the Southwest Conference Championships in Houston.



Part of a golden era of Baylor pole vaulters, Payne followed previous All-Americans David Hodge, Todd Cooper and Mike Shafe and preceded Kurt Hanna and Jim Autenreith. Indoors, he finished fourth in 1989, fifth in 1990 and third as a senior in ’91, while his outdoor finishes were fifth in 1988, seventh in 1990 and second in ’91.

He also won four SWC titles and still holds the top five indoor and outdoor marks at Baylor. A FedEx Operations manager, Bill also coaches the PVC Club, helping mentor his daughter, Demi, to the 2015 NCAA championship at Stephen F. Austin.



A record-setting quarter-miler in the 1990s, Washington (1995-98) was a nine-time All-American and ran anchor leg on the 4x400 relay team that won the 1998 NCAA indoor national championship. With nine All-America honors and five conference titles, she is tied for the second-most in program history.


At one point, she held school records in five events – the indoor (53.11) and outdoor 400 (51.85), the indoor (3:33.93) and outdoor 4x400 relay (3:29.11) and the 600-yard run (1:17.66). Washington still ranks third all-time in the indoor and outdoor 400, and the outdoor 4x400 relay time has stood for 19 years.



Individually, she placed third in the 400 at the 1995 NCAA Indoor Championships and seventh the next year and won conference titles in the same event in 1995 and ’98. Her relay success included six top-six NCAA finishes, including winning the national indoor title as a senior in 1998 with Angelique Banket, Alayah Cooper and Yulanda Nelson.

The 2001 winner of the LPGA Dina Shore Trophy, which recognizes a female collegiate golfer who excels both academically and athletically, Willhite (1999-2003) was a two-time Academic All-American and two-time All-Big 12 pick. She was the program’s first first-team All-Big 12 pick as a senior in 2003, when Willhite had a then-school-record scoring average of 74.83 per round.



A three-time all-state golfer at Montgomery Central High School in Clarksville, Tenn., Willhite led Baylor in scoring in each of her last three seasons and finished with a then-record 76.69 career average. She won the Verizon “Mo” Morial Classic as a senior, recorded a pair of top-10 finishes at the Big 12 Tournament and still ranks in the top three in career top-10 (21) and top-five finishes (12).

After playing 4 ½ years on the Duramed Futures Tour, Willhite worked as a civil engineer at O’Brien Engineering and a product test analyst for Nike Golf. She is married and has two daughters, Megan and Laurie.



The Wall of Honor annually recognizes Baylor letterwinners and graduates whose meritorious accomplishments in public or private life following graduation have brought positive public recognition, credit and honor to Baylor and its athletics department.


Daniel, a former baseball letterman, originally came to Baylor out of Oklahoma City on a baseball, basketball and academic scholarship. He earned a BBA degree from Baylor with a major in finance (1962) and went on to get a degree from SMU’s Graduate School of Banking.



A lifelong Oklahoma City resident, Daniel has been involved in the banking industry for nearly 60 years, serving as CEO of Friendly and Bank One from August 1964 to October 1997. Also a civic leader, he is past president of Integris Health of Oklahoma, a past officer and executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention, past director of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club President.

Daniel has funded two endowed scholarships at Baylor and also gave a lead gift earlier this year for the Baylor “B” Association’s Letterwinners Legacy Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of his former baseball coach, Dutch Schroeder.


Schippers More Relaxed For London After Rio Flop

July 26 (Reuters) - Dafne Schippers failed to live up to expectations at last year's Olympic Games but the Dutch sprint queen says she is much more relaxed going into next month’s World Championship in London after learning the lessons of a frenetic year.

Ahead of the Rio Games, Schippers had been expected to complete the 100m and 200m sprint double but collected a lone silver in the 200m after finishing fifth in the 100m final.

"Looking back, it was chaos. Everyone wanted a piece of me. The whole year was full of appointments with the sponsors and media. Everything was new," she told reporters at a function for the Netherlands team headed to London.

"But now I have weeks with nothing on and therefore I'm a lot more relaxed, which I really need. The attention has waned but it has also been a question of self preservation for me to stay out of the spotlight. This is my career, I want so badly to do well."

Schippers, 25, has a new coach in American Rana Reider, who has put less emphasis on competing in the Diamond League and more on peaking in time for the World Championship, where Schippers says she is aiming for two medals.

In the women's 100m, Schippers will have to get the better of Jamaica's Elaine Thompson, with whom she already has an edgy rivalry. Thompson has the best time of the year.

"If you don’t believe you can win, then there is no point lining up at the start. But you must also be realistic. If I run a time of 10.75 in the 100m and finish sixth instead of second if I had run 10.72 secs, then there is not much you can do about it."

In the 200m, Thompson is not running, which sets Schippers up against American Tori Bowie for potential gold. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)


Jaylen Bacon "Really Excited" To Be On Team USA (video)

A 21st birthday is a big milestone in a person’s life and Jaylen Bacon won’t forget his.

The former Lower Richland High School standout and Arkansas State senior will compete with the Team USA Track & Field 4x100 relay team at the IAAF World Championships Aug. 4-13 in London, and Bacon turns 21 on Aug. 5.

Bacon qualified by finishing fourth in the 100 at last month’s USA Championships. The top three finishers earned a spot in the 100 and on the relay team, with fourth through sixth place getting a spot in the relay team.

Bacon is unsure which leg of the relay he will run, but will be part of the squad which includes five-time Olympic medalist Justin Gatlin.

“Competing in the USA championships was one of the best experiences that I have ever had,” Bacon said earlier this month in Columbia before heading back to Arkansas. “We had to run three rounds and every round there was anxiety trying to get to the next round. When I got to the finals, all I wanted to do was qualify. It hasn’t fully set in yet, but it makes me proud to represent my country.”

The World Championships are going to draw plenty of media attention because it will be the final meet of Usain Bolt’s illustrious track career. The world’s fastest man is expected to retire after winning nine Olympic gold medals. Bolt will run in the 100 on Aug. 5 and is expected to be a part of Jamaica’s 4x100 relay team.

Bacon admits he might be a little star struck seeing and competing against Bolt, but knows he can’t let it get in the way of his first crack in competing for Team USA.

Bacon, whose nickname is “The Baconator,” has been training in Arkansas to get ready for the World Championships. He ran third on Team USA’s red squad which finished second in the 4x100 relay Friday in Monaco, a tune-up for the World Championships.

“It gives me a new type of feeling. When I go back to Arkansas State in the fall, it gives me a whole type of mentality,” Bacon said. “I grew up watching guys like Justin Gatlin, and now I can call them teammates. I can say I’m here and I can do this.”

Bacon hopes this summer is the first step on his way to his goal of competing for the USA’s Olympic team for the 2020 Summer Games in Japan. He thought about turning pro after the end of his junior season but has some unfinished business at Arkansas State, including a desire to win a national championship.

The sprinter finished fifth in the 100 and eighth in the 200 at this year’s NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors. It was the first time an Arkansas State athlete earned multiple honors at indoor or outdoor championships.

At Lower Richland, he was South Carolina’s Gatorade Boys Track and Field Athlete of Year his senior season, winning the 100, 200, 400 and 4x100 relay in the state meet.

At Arkansas State, Bacon is the two-time Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Male Track Athlete of the year. He won the 100 and 200 at this year’s SBC championships. His time of 10.0 in the 100 broke a 41-year-old school record set by Ed Preston in 1976.

Bacon set the conference mark in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.35 seconds.

“Being completely healthy, I feel like I’m finally reaching the full potential as far as what I can do. I feel like I’m only getting started,” Bacon said. “It is just living my dream and reaching my goals. It is something I am really excited about.”


Usain Bolt is back in Birmingham! Olympic legend in city ahead of his final championships

Donald Trump blocks model Chrissy Teigen on TwitterDonald Trump blocks model Chrissy Teigen on Twitter

Usain Bolt is back in Birmingham!

The fastest man on Earth is doing his training for the IAAF World Athletics Championships at Birmingham University.

Together with his Jamaican track and field team colleagues, he is based at the Edgbaston campus ahead of the championships which start in London on August 4.

It is a welcome return for the top athletics team who based themselves at the university in 2012 ahead of the London Olympics.

But this time it will be Bolt’s swansong as he has announced he is to retire after the event.

The Jamaicans were due to arrive in Birmingham last Saturday, July 22, and there will be around 50 of them and the campus will be their base for around 12 days.

But so far they are lying low and training hard and have not been seen.

They will be the first to use the new eight-lane athletics track which was only completed in time for their arrival.

The track, in Edgbaston Park Road, replaces the old one they used back in 2012, which has been dug up to make way for a new library.

As well as the athletics track, the team will have the use of the university’s new £55 million sports centre and 50m swimming pool which opened in May.

The team are hoping returning to Birmingham will bring them the same good luck they enjoyed in 2012, when they won a record-breaking four gold, four silver and four bronze medals.

As well as Bolt, the team will include fellow 100m contender Yohan Blake and the 100m and 200m women’s Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson.

After his last visit to Birmingham, Bolt personally thanked the university for the support and facilities which helped win his second “triple” gold in London.

Ahead of their arrival, Zena Wooldridge, the university’s director of sport, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have such amazing new facilities on campus, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to share our new track and indoor facilities with our Jamaican friends.

“We hope we can contribute in some small way to their success in London by creating an ideal preparation environment here in Birmingham.”

The Jamaicans’ visit also coincides with Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, for which the university’s campus would provide a range of training venues, including athletics, and also competition venues for hockey and squash.


Tactics, Salazar & Gold: Matthew Centrowitz's Training

“My bottom end speed is usually pretty good, so like 200’s, 300’s, 400’s – they come around pretty quick – but that 800, 1000 kind of rep, that’s my weakness and what I tend to work on a lot.” -Matthew Centrowitz

‘Centro’ doesn’t really need a lead in. His potent finishing kick has already netted the street smart American Olympic Gold in Rio, and two World Championships minor medals; all over 1500m. We took a look over the training that has helped mould this 1500m superstar.


Profile

D.O.B: October 18th, 1989, Beltsville, Maryland, USA.
Residence: Portland
Coach: Alberto Salazar
Height: 1.75m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight: 60kg (133 lb)

Highlights

Olympic 1500m Gold, Rio, 2016.
World Championship 1500m Silver, Moscow, 2013.
World Championship 1500m Bronze, Daegu, 2011.
World Indoor Championship 1500m Gold, Portland, 2016.
2011 NCAA 1500m champion.

Personal Bests

800m: 1:44.62
1000m: 2:16.67
1500m: 3:30.40
Mile: 3:50.53
3000m: 8:20.09 outdoors – 7:40.74 Indoors
5000m: 13:20.06


Salazar & Nike Oregon Project’s Mental Edge

“In my eyes, it’s the best professional training group in the world.” -Matthew Centrowitz

Centro is a core member of Alberto Salazar’s stable and he attributes the group environment to a lot of his success:

“They taught me not just what I am capable of in these workouts physically but also a lot of stuff mentally and psychologically from these guys and I think that’s a bigger piece really than a lot of these workouts and the physical preparation.” -Matthew Centrowitz

Centro’s goes as far as stating that when it comes down to something like an Olympic final, with a bunch of close to equally talented athletes, that it is more a mental thing than physical:

“I think a lot of it is more mental than physical. The best way to work on that for me over the years was just a lot of races – every race from college to post-collegiate was a culmination of all those races that got me to where I was in Rio and I was able to respond to that slow, tactical race, and be able to handle that type of calibre of field.” -Matthew Centrowitz


Speed

A common training method of Salazar is to add speed repetitions to the end of workouts. Centro’s thoughts on this after he had just met Salazar:

“Working with Alberto for a few weeks over in Europe, he noticed that I don’t work on my speed as much as I should for a 1500-meter guy. So those last couple of weeks over in Europe after London, at the end of workouts I was sprinting when I was tired and doing shorter stuff that I’d never done before. He believes that this is going to mean huge improvements for me over the next couple of years. I expect to see myself have a stronger last 50 meters.” -Matthew Centrowitz


Periodisation – The Salazar Way

“Arthur Lydiard was a revolutionary coach, a great coach. My training system is very different. My belief is that the human body likes continuity, it likes doing things repetitively.” -Alberto Salazar

Like many of the world’s leading coaches, Salazar is a believer in periodisation.

“We have two 20 week periods (cycles) per year.” -Alberto Salazar

A summary of his method of periodisation is outlined below:

  • Two 20 week cycles per year.
  • Two peaks per year at the end of each cycle (usually for the indoor season and then outdoor season).

  • “Within those 20-week cycles we are usually looking for about 5 weeks of building up gradually, and then having about 8-10 weeks at the very maximum level volume and intensity. Then we will go with a 4-5 week taper period into the championship races.” -Alberto Salazar
  • At the end of each 20-week cycle, Salazar’s athlete’s have 4 weeks recovery (2 weeks completely off then 2 weeks of jogging).

Training Specifics

“We do a lot of under and over distance stuff. We’ll go 4-5 miles at a time, maybe 6, a lot slower than race pace. And then we do a lot of repetitions of 800m, 1000m at race pace – over and over.” -Matthew Centrowitz


Semenya breaks silence over gender verification

Athletics superstar Caster Semenya has opened up about the gender verification process that rocked her illustrious career.

The Olympic 800m champion was interviewed by Dr Ali Bacher on SuperSport channel yesterday.

Semenya spoke openly about the scandal in an interview that was aired on Friday and repeated last night.

The revered Limpopo-born runner revealed that when the officials were speaking of chromosomes and questioning if she was a woman or a man, she was confused.

Semenya said the whole process of verification felt like being stripped off her clothes and made to walk in public.

Semenya said she was confused when they said she had an edge over other female athletes because of the higher testosterone in her body.

“I don’t understand when you say I have an advantage because I am a woman.

“When I pee, I pee like a woman. I don’t understand when you say I am a man or I have a deep voice,” Semenya said.

“I know I like man’s stuff, that is not a question, the question is where do I fall in? I am a female that is not a question, that is how I have been raised since I was young.”

Semenya said even after she was banned from running for eight months, she never allowed the scandal to get into her.

However, she criticised the way the matter was handled because her parents were not informed about the verification process.

“My mother was affected because she was the one who was changing my nappies when I was young.”

Semenya said at that time, there were even reports that she might have changed her gender.

“How the hell can you change gender in the rural areas? I’m a woman. We don’t have good doctors, we are not rich to do such procedures.”

She added that she still believes that she was living testimony, and has touched many people’s lives.

Semenya is among athletes who will represent SA at the IAAF World Championships in London next month.


Steve Cram's top 10 tips for running a mile faster than ever before

For runners both amateur and professional, the mile has failed to last the distance. In the Olympics, middle-distance stars like Mo Farah compete for the 5km and 10km golds. On the streets and in the parks, joggers work on their (considerably slower) times for the same distances.

Enter Steve Cram, who along with Steve Ovett and Seb Coe formed the British trio of middle distance runners who led the global field in the 1980s. Cram, now 52 and a coach, presenter and commentator, advocates the mile as a good distance for amateur runners.

Mastering the mile, he says, requires working on your sprinting and endurance, giving your training more variety – which in turn means your body will get more out of it.

1. Use your longer-distance times as a guide

Whatever your 10km pace is, knock 20 per cent off it. If you're running eight miles per hour over a 10km distance, for instance, that's a six-minute mile. If you haven't got a longer-distance personal best, be ambitious with your mile target. A lot of people are a bit timid about what they can do.

2. Give yourself time

Everyone wants results quickly. But a golfer can't change their swing in a day and, likewise, a runner has to be patient. It takes about three weeks for any training effect to show. The more time you give yourself, the better you'll get.

3. Vary your training

The biggest mistake people make in their mile training is doing the same thing each time. You've got to vary your running: pace, and type of runs, and types of training.

4. Do pure speed work

Get someone to have a look at your basic form. Fast running uses your toes and arms more. A good way to introduce that is to do low level hill sprints to teach you to drive with your knees and your arms in a way you don’t normally. Get some strength in, generate a bit more power.

5. Watch fast runners

Look at the way someone like Usain Bolt trains. It's all about being ballistic, being quick, and being explosive. Watch them practise their stride length.

6. Do interval training

This will help your speed endurance. Alternate effort with recovery a few times a minute.

7. Work on your legs at the gym

Plyometrics – an intense form of training based on jumping – will help give your muscles a little bit of extra strength. At the gym, work on your hamstrings, quads and calves.

8. Keep up your stretching

The danger, when you change your training, is that you're asking your muscles to go through a range they haven't got yet. Stretching is really important.

9. Practise the course

If you want to run a six-minute mile, go to a track where it's measured and learn what a 90-second lap feels like. That should be part of your interval training.

10. Concentrate on your third lap

If you're trying that four-lap, six-minute mile, the first and second laps should feel comfortable. People normally speed up on the last lap – which often means they get it wrong in the third lap. You've really got to concentrate on keeping your pace up in that third lap.


Russia Will Pay Its "Neutral" WC Athletes

(Reuters) - Russia on Tuesday told athletes set to compete as neutrals at next month's world championships that they will be paid by the state despite not officially representing their country.

Nineteen Russian athletes were on Monday entered into the competition being hosted from Aug. 4-13 in London.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said athletes who compete at the championships will not miss out financially.

"Salaries and bonuses will be kept in spite of the neutral flag," TASS news agency quoted Kolobkov as telling Russian track and field athletes at a training facility outside Moscow.

Russia's athletics federation remains suspended over a 2015 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report which alleged state-sponsored doping in the sport, something the Kremlin denies.

However, the world governing body, the IAAF, has so far cleared 47 Russian athletes to compete internationally this year under the neutral flag after they demonstrated that their training environment met its anti-doping standards.

The International Association of Athletics Federations told Reuters in an e-mail on Tuesday that all athletes, including neutrals, "have the opportunity to earn money in athletics so long as those payments do not breach the integrity rules of the sport.

"Specifically there is over $7 million prize money on offer to all athletes competing at the London World Championships," the IAAF said.

Yelena Orlova, a Russian athletics federation official, told R-Sport news agency on Monday that it had entered 19 athletes to compete at the competition as neutrals.

The list included hurdler Sergey Shubenkov, who will defend his world title in the 110-metre hurdles, and world champion high jumper Maria Lasitskene, whose personal best of 2.06 meters is three centimeters off the world record set in 1987.

Russian athletes competing as neutrals will not be allowed to wear their country's colors and the Russian national anthem will not be played if they win an event, according to IAAF rules.

The IAAF told Reuters it could not confirm any entry information for the world championships until the ranking process was completed.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Editing by Ken Ferris


Inside Athletics With Ato Boldon: Tianna Bartoletta

The 12th episode of the current season of IAAF Inside Athletics is available to watch online now and features an exclusive interview with 2016 Olympic and two-time world long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta.

Bartoletta, 31, is also a two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 4x100m relay. At the 2012 Games in London, Bartoletta ran the lead-off leg on the victorious relay quartet that set the still-standing world record of 40.82.


No, Usain Bolt is not donating $2 million to Grenfell Tower fire victims

Fake news about the Grenfell Tower fire incident in London has still been circulating.

After last month's hoax alleging a baby "miraculously" survived 12 days in the charred building, another story is making the rounds on social media.

This time it's relating to claims that the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was donating $2 million to Grenfell Tower fire victims:

It claims Bolt "presented a receipt of bank transaction" to British sprinter CJ Ujah after the Diamond League meeting in Monaco on 21 July. The receipt is "to be presented to authorities in London ahead of the IAAF Championship".

However, no other media outlets outside of News360-tv.com reported on such big news.

Later on, a representative for Usain Bolt told Storyful the story was "fake news".

However, that didn't stop many people from sharing it on Twitter:


RIP: Margaret Bergmann Lambert, 103

Margaret Bergmann Lambert, a world-class high jumper who was best known for her nonparticipation in the 1936 Berlin Olympics — she was kept off the German team because she was Jewish — died on Tuesday at her home in Queens. She was 103.

Her niece Doris Bergman confirmed her death.

In June 1936, just a month before the Olympics, Ms. Lambert, then known as Gretel Bergmann, won a meet against some of the best German high jumpers with a leap of 5 feet 3 inches. That height tied a German record and would have been good enough to win the gold medal.

But that she was allowed to take part in the meet was, as she later said, a “charade”: a propaganda tool to show the world that Germany was unbiased in its Olympic team selections. It was a cynical response to organized movements, particularly in the United States, that were urging nations not to send teams to Berlin unless the Germans demonstrated that they did not discriminate.

In fact, the Germans had no intention of sending her to the Olympics, and Ms. Lambert had been coerced into training. Threats were made against her family if she refused.

“It was a terrible shock,” she told Newsday in 2015, “because I was the best.”

Margarethe Minnie Bergmann was born on April 12, 1914, in the small town of Laupheim, in southwest Germany, about 65 miles from the Swiss border. She was an outstanding all-around athlete, excelling in the shot-put, the discus and other events as well as the high jump. “I was ‘The Great Jewish Hope,’ ” she often said.

Continue reading the main story
With anti-Semitism on the rise in Germany — she recalled signs in shops declaring, “No dogs or Jews allowed” — she left home at 19 and moved to England, where she won the British high-jump championship in 1935. But when the Nazis pressured her father to bring her home, she returned to Germany to seek a position on the Olympic team.

Shortly after winning that June meet, held at Adolf Hitler Stadium in Stuttgart, she received a letter from Nazi officials informing her that she had not qualified. “Looking back on your recent performances,” the letter stated, “you could not possibly have expected to be chosen for the team.” Her accomplishment was removed from the record books.

Hurt and angry, she turned down the officials’ offer of a standing-room ticket, “free of charge,” for the Olympic track and field games. Travel expenses and hotel accommodations were not included in the offer. “I never replied,” she said.

In 1937, Gretel Bergmann was able to obtain papers that allowed her to emigrate to the United States. She landed in New York City with no more than $10 — all the money the Germans would allow her to take out of the country. She worked as a masseuse and a housemaid and later as a physical therapist. In 1938, she married a fellow German refugee, Dr. Bruno Lambert, who was a sprinter, though not a world-class one. They had met at an athletic training camp in Germany.

Dr. Lambert died in 2013. She is survived by two sons, Glenn and Gary; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Ms. Lambert continued to compete in track and field events, but for only a few more years. She won the United States women’s high-jump and shot-put championships in 1937 and the high jump again in 1938. She was preparing to try out for the 1940 United States Olympic team when war broke out in Europe, after which she focused her attention on trying to get her parents out of Germany, which she was eventually able to do.

She never forgot what might have been. In 1996, she spoke of watching an important pre-Olympics meet on television at her home in Jamaica Estates, Queens.

“And suddenly I realized that there were tears just flowing down my cheeks,” she said. “I’m not a crier. But now I just couldn’t help it. I remember watching those athletes, and remembering what it was like for me in 1936, how I could very well have won an Olympic medal. And through the tears, I said, ‘Damn it!’ ”

Continue reading the main story

That spring Ms. Lambert received a letter from Walter Troger, the president of the German Olympic Committee, inviting her and her husband to be guests at the Atlanta Olympics.

“We feel that Mrs. Lambert was not treated adequately at the time of the Berlin Olympics,” Mr. Troger later told The New York Times. “We wanted to do something for her; we felt she deserved it.” She accepted his invitation.

“I don’t hate all Germans anymore, though I did for a long time,” Ms. Lambert said. “But I’m aware of many Germans trying to make up for wrongs as well as they know how. And, yes, I felt that the young people of Germany should not be held responsible for what their elders did.”

Although she had once vowed never to set foot in Germany again — and had been gone so long, she said, that she could barely speak the language — she was persuaded to return in 1999, when the stadium in Laupheim, where she used to train, was renamed in her honor. (A sports complex in Berlin had been named for her in 1995, and in 2010 the athletic field at Francis Lewis High School in Queens was renamed for her.)

Ms. Lambert said of her decision to attend the Laupheim ceremony, “I was told that they were naming the facilities for me so that when young people ask, ‘Who was Gretel Bergmann?’ they will be told my story, and the story of those times.”

Ms. Lambert’s story was also told in a 2004 HBO documentary, “Hitler’s Pawn,” and, in partly fictionalized form, in the 2009 German film “Berlin 36.” A memoir, “By Leaps and Bounds,” was published in 2005.

Her German national high jump record was restored in 2009. “It’s very nice,” she said at the time, “except I wouldn’t have committed suicide if it didn’t happen.”


Brit Head de Vos Sees A Bright Future

Niels de Vos has not slept much over the last six months, working 18-hour days as he combines being the chief executive of UK Athletics and London 2017. We meet on the top floor of a Stratford hotel, overlooking the stadium which has just hosted 300,000 spectators over 10 days of the World Para Athletics Championships.

“We sold more tickets than Wimbledon did and more than the Open golf,” says De Vos. “For a para athletics event that is incredible.”

There will be another 700,000 in attendance for the IAAF World Championships starting on 4 August, for which Usain Bolt is the headline act. Despite the quick turnaround between championships, De Vos is in a buoyant mood. He is particularly pleased having signed the biggest sponsorship partnership of his decade as CEO of UKA, a deal which will be announced next week and which he hopes will underwrite the core costs of the governing body for the next 10 years.

He is also energised by plans to bid for the European Athletics Championships in 2022 and to host the World Para Athletics Championships again in 2019.

“People are now starting to come to us saying: ‘Can we put our event into your stadium because it’s the best stadium in the world and you’re the best team in the world at putting events on.’ So that’s pretty cool,” says De Vos, “We really want this month of athletics in the London Stadium every year to be synonymous with the summer in the same way that Wimbledon is,” he adds. “There are a couple of one-day events which we hope to host next year. I think those will be real game changers, to appeal very much to the future generation. We offered £9.58 tickets for the World Championships the nights Bolt is running and that wasn’t because we couldn’t sell them at a higher price. It’s because those kids will be inspired to watch, participate and officiate in the future. That’s the more precise legacy.”

With Jessica Ennis-Hill’s retirement and Greg Rutherford unable to compete at the World Championships through injury, the number of bona fide gold medal contenders among Great Britain’s number is dwindling. De Vos admits that beyond Mo Farah they will be hard pushed to win any titles but warned against judging the team too harshly even if God Save the Queen is not ringing out too often.

“You can see at the moment that in most disciplines of athletics there is one person way above the rest and everyone else is fighting for the minor medals,” he says. “Certainly Wayde van Niekerk looks nailed on for a gold medal in the 400m and everyone else could pick up smaller medals.

“From a British perspective most of our medal shots could finish anywhere between eighth and second or third.

But very few are likely to emerge and hit gold. There are one or two unfortunate injuries and often expectations are too high because winning a global track and field medal is brutally hard, probably more difficult than any other Olympic sport. But they go in buoyant and what we know is that they’ll be phenomenally well prepared and won’t let anyone down with their level of performance. I’m not discomforted by where we are right now.”

While booming ticket sales for London 2017 are rightly highlighted by De Vos as a triumph of organisation and marketing, the wider health of athletics as a spectator sport in this country is not so certain. At the British Championships in Birmingham in June one former athlete said it was the worst crowd she had seen in 16 years. It has been suggested a credibility crisis, with widespread doping scandals and corruption at the heart of the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, has put off the crowds.

But this is not a narrative De Vos recognises.

“People still trust in athletics,” he says. “I don’t buy that people are not interested in the sport because they’re still piling in to watch. People are aware that actually the sport is the cleanest it’s ever been and they definitely believe in British athletics.

“I just don’t buy this caricature,” he adds. “I don’t think there’s a credibility issue and some of the issues we’re talking about are quite historic. I think we’re in a great place in the UK, with more kids wanting to do athletics than ever before.”


Jamaica "Removes" 3 From London Team

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) dropped three members it said was “inadvertently” named to represent to country at the London 2017 World Championships.

World Youth sprint hurdles champion Dejour Russell, 200m sprinter Kenroy Anderson and 400m hurdler Andre Clarke, all fourth place finishers at the Jamaica Trials, are the athletes taken off the team.

In a release very early Tuesday morning, sent by Director of Records Leroy Cooke, read: “Please note some alternate was inadvertently named to the team, those names have been removed. Sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

The London 2017 World Championships will be held between August 4 and 13 at Olympic Park.

WOMEN
Elaine Thompson, Simone Facey, Jura Levy, Natasha Morrison, Sashalee Forbes, Christania Williams, Jodeen Williams, Shericka Jackson, Chrisann Gordon, Novlene Williams-Mills, Anniesha Mclaughlin-Whilby, Anastasia Le-Roy, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Natoya Goule, Jazmine Fray, Danielle Williams, Megan Simmonds, Yanique Thompson, Rushelle Burton, Rhonda Whyte, Ristananna Tracey, Leah Nugent, Aisha Praught, Kimberly Williams, Shanieka Thomas-Ricketts, Kellion Knibb, Shadae Lawrence, Tarasue Barnett, Danniel Thomas-Dodd.

MEN
Yohan Blake, Julian Forte, Senoj-Jay Givans, Usain Bolt, Michael Campbell, Tyquendo Tracey, Rasheed Dwyer, Warren Weir, Demish Gaye, Nathon Allen, Rusheen McDonald, Peter Matthews, Steven Gayle, Jamari Rose, Omar McLeod, Ronald Levy, Hansel Parchment, Jaheel Hyde, Kemar Mowatt, Ricardo Cunningham, Ramone Bailey, Damar Forbes, Clive Pullen, Fedrick Dacres, Travis Smikle, O’Dayne Richards, Kemoy Campbell


How to Fix Professional Track and Field

What’s Wrong with Pro Track and Field + How to Fix It

Professional track and field is broken and badly needs a lot of help. And I have some ideas.

I say that having been a competitive runner for more than 20 years, the last 12 of those as a professional track and field athlete, as well as a big fan of the sport. I haven’t always loved running. In fact, I would say it has mostly been more of a love-hate relationship for me. However, I can say with absolute certainty that I love running today more than I ever have. To be honest, a big reason for that is because I recently retired from professional track and field.

Don’t get me wrong—I am so very grateful for everything professional track and field gave me. I appreciate the experiences, the travel, the money, the friends and the memories. But there are also a lot of things that I didn’t love about professional track and field. Things like corruption, doping, the inability to clean up the sport, and the blatant greed and mismanagement within the sport. Of these negative factors, it is the mismanagement that poses the largest threat to the future of professional track and field.

It’s clear that pro track and field as a business is totally broken. And I’m talking about it both on a global basis, but also from a U.S. point of view. I have witnessed dozens of meets disappear over the past decade because of declining fan and sponsor interest. Opportunities that used to be available for pro athletes to compete no longer exist, and the new meets popping up are not outpacing the ones that are closing up shop. Those who remain in the sport fight for the few scraps still available.

In my opinion, as a former professional athlete and as a businessman, the problem is not with the product, but rather with the way that product is packaged. Most meets are still being produced and marketed as if this were the 1980s. I have been to many track and field meets—big ones, small ones and meets in many different countries. Nearly all have been painfully boring and out of touch with the modern world, and I’m a guy who loves track and field!

The majority of track meets are long, confusing and oftentimes meaningless. I really mean that. Except for championship races at the professional level, most races are totally meaningless, and are really just glorified practice sessions. Fans don’t understand everything that is going on, they don’t understand what is at stake, and they certainly shouldn’t be paying to watch hurdles being set up for 15 minutes during a break in the action.

With a very few exceptions, the old model of track meets isn’t working. Of all the track meets I have been to in the world, there is only one that I would classify as having a true party atmosphere: the Weltklasse Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland. This popular annual event, held on a warm summer night in late August, is a black-tie affair that people pay thousands of euros to attend. Think Kentucky Derby, but for track and field. And just like the Kentucky Derby, there are three things other than the races that people come for: great food, copious amounts of alcohol and, yes, even gambling.

If you’ve ever been to a horse race, you know that it would not exist without these three things. So why do we expect human racing to be any different? Fans love the Weltklasse Meeting because it’s entertaining. Athletes love Weltklasse because they get paid really well. Who knew alcohol sales and gambling could generate so much revenue?!

Track and field is losing popularity because it no longer transcends the mainstream the way it used to and hasn’t attracted new—and younger—audiences. In this digital revolution, people’s attention spans are a lot shorter and they need to be constantly stimulated. That’s why any successful event in today’s world is full of fast-paced excitement. Young millennials aren’t going to sit through a boring track meet when they don’t understand the old-school nuances of it, and quite frankly neither would I. They want to be constantly entertained, something has to be drawing their attention away from their digital devices or the many other entertainment options out there.

When people go to professional baseball, basketball or football games, they go to be entertained. They go for more than just the game itself—they go for the food, the drinks, the halftime show, the action on the Jumbotron, the T-shirts being flung in the stands, the chance to win stuff and the party.

They also get to see the stars of the sport—LeBron James, Tom Brady or Aaron Judge—in action for the entire two to three hours of the game. If there was a Nick Symmonds fan at a track meet, they’d see me for 1 minute, 45 seconds and that’s it. And that’s another problem with track and field: Most people—especially casual sports fans in America—don’t know enough about the stars outside of the very elite competitors like Usain Bolt.

The bottom line is that we have to think outside the box and do something entirely different.

If I could raise $2–3 million, I could put on the world’s greatest and most modern track and field meet. But first things first, it would have to be in Nevada because gambling is legal there, so ideally that means Las Vegas. The additional revenue from gate receipts, food and beer sales, and gambling proceeds would be key to making it work.

Breaking it down on a very basic level, I’d use $1 million for expenses and $1 million for prize money. There would be 10 events each, with a $100,000 winner-take-all prize. Every athlete in the world would show up to compete—except maybe Usain Bolt, who can command a $250,000 appearance fee. But you’d have marquee names and top-tier competition in every event, and that’s important.

Of all of the things I have suggested, yes, the quality of competition is important, the music and entertainment are important, the food and the booze are important, and the fun atmosphere is important. But the No. 1 thing is gambling. It is the most critical component and I wouldn’t even think about an event production without it. I know there are purists out there who think track and field doesn’t need these things to be popular. I’m sorry, but those people are wrong. Football would be a much less popular sport in America if gambling wasn’t such a big part of it in so many ways. And anyone who says fantasy football isn’t gambling is delusional.

If I told everyone in the stadium and on TV what the athletes were racing for and actually presented a suitcase full of cash at the finish line so people could see what it was all about, that would be meaningful. As it is now, every May people tune in to NBC Sports or happen to land on that channel to see the Prefontaine Classic from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., and they have no idea who the athletes are, what the races mean or what the athletes are actually racing for—even though there might be tens of thousands of dollars on the line.

My event would be two hours long, with a 30-minute pre-meet show that includes eating, drinking, music, Jumbotron videos and a chance to place bets. It would start at 7 p.m. and go to until 9 p.m. and it would be full of fast-paced action from start to finish.

When there is a transition and they’re setting up starting blocks or changing events, there will be music with a big sound system and the hottest hits, dancing, more videos and flinging T-shirts into the stands. Ideally, there would also be an interactive app that engages fans in the stands and around the world with the chance to comment and connect, consume and share content on social media and, of course, win stuff from sponsors.

It’s got to be fun, almost like the atmosphere of a concert, but with track and field taking place.

For kids, we’d have an 18-and-under zone where only they can go in and get photographs and autographs of the top athletes. The bottom line is it would have to give fans a lot of bang for their buck, make it exciting and memorable, all while celebrating the very highest level of track and field.

The meet would include only a limited schedule of events so it could be kept tight and full of nonstop action. I think at the Olympic Games you have to have all 32 standard events because that’s what the Olympic Games is all about. But when you’re talking about a for-profit event, that is specifically about raising the level of the experience, increasing exposure and making money, you’re not going to have the women’s hammer throw or the men’s 10,000-meter run.

Of the 10 events, you’d start with the men’s and women’s 100-meter dashes, maybe the women’s 800m, the men’s mile and men’s and women’s 400m, plus some of the best field events like long jump and pole vault. We might have a couple of relays, too, because those can be exciting and fun for fans, especially with the gambling aspect. I don’t think the men’s 800m would make the cut, and that sucks because it’s my favorite event, but I’ve got be brutally honest here, and we’ve got to have events that will put people in the stands and keep the excitement level high.

When fans leave, they’ll head for the Las Vegas Strip and carry on with whatever else they want to do in Vegas, but they’ll leave thinking, “Wow, that was really cool!” They still might not be able to tell you much about a single athlete they saw competing, but they’ll be stoked to have won $300 after they bet on a long shot who wound up winning the women’s 100. And then they might go home and Google that athlete and learn their backstory, and that’s just one way interest can grow among casual, mainstream fans. But they’ll also tell friends about the experience and want to come back next year.

You want to fix professional track and field in America? You want to make it popular again? Then make it a decadent party. If anyone agrees with me and wants to help me make it happen, drop me a line.


Quiz: Can You Name All The Men's WC 100 Champs?

Usain Bolt will finally hang up his spikes at the World Championships in London in August and we have taken a look back at some of the previous winners of this race.
Keep an eye on the time - you only have five minutes to complete this one!
85% or more is a top effort.

The Check The quiz Here: QUIZ


Coe Not Being Proposed For IOC Membership?

France's Jean-Christophe Rolland and Belgium's Ingmar de Vos are each set to be proposed for membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this year as representatives for International Federations (IFs), insidethegames understands.

Rolland is President of the World Rowing Federation (FISA) while de Vos holds the same position at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

This means that Sebastian Coe and Gianni Infantino, the respective heads of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and football body FIFA, are expected to be overlooked once again.

Candidates for membership are drawn up by the IOC Programme Commission before being formally proposed by the ruling Executive Board.

They are then rubber-stamped at an IOC Session.

This final stage is due to take place in Lima between September 13 and 16.

It is possible that the Executive Board could delay their announcement until their meeting scheduled for between September 10 and 12, or it could be formally announced in August.

Rolland officially replaced IOC Executive Board candidate Denis Oswald as FISA President in July 2014.

The 49-year-old Frenchman claimed a coxless pairs Olympic rowing silver at Atlanta 1996 before winning gold four years later in Sydney.

If approved, he would become the third current French member of sport's most exclusive club alongside two other Olympic gold medallists in Montreal 1976 110 metres hurdles winner Guy Drut and three-time slalom canoeing champion turned IOC Athletes' Commission vice-chair Tony Estanguet.

It comes with Paris widely expected to be confirmed as host of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games during the same Lima Session.

De Vos, meanwhile, was elected to replace Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein in December 2014 as FEI President after serving three years as secretary general.

The 53-year-old spent the previous two decades working in equine roles including at the Belgian Equestrian Federation.

He would become the European nation's second current member of the IOC after Baron Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant.

A maximum of 15 IOC members at any one time directly represent the IFs.

Thirteen of these positions will be filled if Rolland and de Vos are approved.

Coe and Infantino were both also overlooked for IOC membership last year, when Italy's International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation President Ivo Ferriani was appointed as the only new IF representative.

IOC President Thomas Bach said then that four places were still free for IF Presidents, adding that "we wanted to wait until we had a full picture".

It is therefore possible that Coe and Infantino could still be added this year, although there has been no indication that this will happen.

Infantino was elected FIFA boss to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter in February 2016.

Coe replaced Lamine Diack as IAAF head in August 2015, shortly before his predecessor was implicated in a scandal which included the alleged covering up of Russian doping cases.

The Briton, who spoke alongside Bach as a fellow athlete representative at the 1981 Baden-Baden Congress, presided over the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation later in 2015.

This deviated from the IOC policy, championed by Bach, which allowed Russians to compete at last year's Rio Olympic Games under their own flag so long as they fulfilled specific eligibility criteria.

Other IF Presidents to have been overlooked for IOC membership include International Judo Federation boss Marius Vizer.

He publicly criticised Bach at the 2015 SportAccord Convention in Sochi before being swiftly maneuvered out of his position as SportAccord President.

The IOC will not confirm the list of candidates for membership or the number of appointments due to be proposed.

National Olympic Committee and individual representatives are also expected to be named this year.

There are currently 95 IOC members, although one - Ireland's Patrick Hickey - remains temporarily self-suspended following his arrest on ticketing charges at Rio 2016.

This remains 20 short of the maximum ceiling of 115.

insidethegames has contacted Rolland and de Vos for a reaction.


Australia Announces World Champs Team

Forty-eight of Australia’s best will don the green and gold to compete at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships, commencing 4 August 2017.

The biggest team to compete at an able-bodied world championship since Seville (ESP) in 1999 and the largest ever squad to duel in the year prior to a Commonwealth Games, the contingent features Rio 2016 Olympic Games medallists Dane Bird-Smith (Qld, 20km walk) and Jared Tallent (Vic, 50km walk) alongside former IAAF World Championships podium finishers Fabrice Lapierre (NSW, long jump), Dani Stevens (NSW, discus throw) and Sally Pearson (Qld, 100m hurdles).

“As the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast fast approach, it’s with excitement that we confirm a team of 49 athletes for the IAAF World Championships. To see so many of our best qualified to compete in the months before a major competition on home soil is fantastic and our hope now is that this team can build upon the sensational result of our para-athletics team in London,” Dion Russell, Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors, said.

Nick Andrews (NSW, 4x100m relay), Rohan Browning (NSW, 4x100m relay), Jack Colreavy (NSW, marathon), Ella Connolly (Qld, 4x400m relay), Tom Gamble (Qld, 4x100m relay), Georgia Griffith (Vic, 800m, 1500m), Josh Harris (Tas, marathon), Morgan McDonald (NSW, 5000m) and Brad Milosevic (NSW, marathon) will compete at an open age international championship for the first time.

“The competing squad not only features household names like Sally Pearson and Jared Tallent, but also nine debutants including Ella Connolly, a medallist from the Commonwealth Youth Games and the youngest team member, Georgia Griffith, who’ll compete in the 800m and 1500m double and Morgan McDonald, a starter in the 5000m after a very impressive qualification performance as recently as this past weekend,” Russell added.

“In the first year of an Olympic cycle, this is a commendable result. We also have 20 debutants from the Olympic Games in Rio last year returning to compete for Australia again, ensuring that we are likely to see a competitive few months ahead as athletes seek nomination for selection to the Australia Commonwealth Games Team.”

Team Australia has now begun to arrive at the Tonbridge School in Tonbridge (GBR) for a preparation camp that continues until 1 August. The squad will then move to the host city of London for competition across ten days at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 4 August.

Team Australia is expected to expand in the coming days via the IAAF Roll-Down Process, a system which sees desired event quotas filled via specific invitation to athletes based on international rankings. The Selection Philosophy of Athletics Australia is to accept invitations when extended to eligible athletes, before confirming the entry of the athlete via consultation between them, their personal coach and the Head Coach dependant on the athlete’s current form and fitness.

At the IAAF World Championships in Beijing two years ago, Team Australia won two silver medals by Jared Tallent (50km walk) and Fabrice Lapierre (long jump), with three athletes featuring in the top-eight. The year following at Rio 2016, Team Australia won two medals in race walking, with 28 athletes placing in the top-16 for their event.

FEMALE (23):
200m: Ella Nelson (NSW)
400m: Morgan Mitchell (Vic)
800m: Georgia Griffith (Vic)
1500m: Zoe Buckman (Vic), Georgia Griffith (Vic), Linden Hall (Vic)
5000m: Madeline Hills (NSW), Eloise Wellings (NSW)
10000m: Madeline Hills (NSW), Eloise Wellings (NSW)
100m hurdles: Sally Pearson (Qld)

400m hurdles: Lauren Wells (ACT)
3000m steeplechase: Genevieve La Caze (Vic)
Long Jump: Brooke Stratton (Vic)
Discus Throw: Dani Stevens (NSW)
Javelin: Kathryn Mitchell (Vic), Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT)
20km walk: Regan Lamble (Vic), Beki Smith (NSW), Claire Tallent (SA)
Marathon: Milly Clark (NSW), Sinead Diver (Vic), Jess Trengove (SA)
4x400m Relay: Ella Connolly (Qld), Morgan Mitchell (Vic), Ella Nelson (NSW), Anneliese Rubie (NSW), Jess Thornton (NSW), Lauren Wells (ACT)

MALE (25):
400m: Steven Solomon (NSW)
800m: Peter Bol (Vic)
1500m: Ryan Gregson (Vic), Luke Mathews (Vic)
5000m: Morgan McDonald (NSW), Sam McEntee (WA), Patrick Tiernan (Qld)
10,000m: Patrick Tiernan (Qld)
110m hurdles: Nicholas Hough (NSW)
Long Jump: Henry Frayne (Qld), Fabrice Lapierre (NSW)
Pole Vault: Kurtis Marschall (SA)

Shot Put: Damien Birkinhead (Vic)
Javelin: Hamish Peacock (Tas)
Decathlon: Cedric Dubler (Qld)
20km Walk: Dane Bird-Smith (Qld), Rhydian Cowley (Vic)
50km Walk: Jared Tallent (SA)
Marathon: Jack Colreavy (NSW), Josh Harris (Tas), Brad Milosevic (NSW)
4x100m Relay: Nick Andrews (NSW), Rohan Browning (NSW), Tom Gamble (Qld), Alex Hartmann (Qld), Trae Williams (Qld)

Note:
Nina Kennedy (pole vault) and Chris Erickson (50km walk) have both withdrawn.
Claire Tallent comes in to replace the injured Rachel Tallent
Jack Colreavy comes in to replace the self-withdrawn Jeff Hunt
Ella Connolly, Anneliese Rubie and Jess Thornton have been added to 4x400m.


Russia enters 19 athletes into world track and field champs

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia plans to send 19 athletes to the world track and field championships in London next week despite its suspension from international competition for widespread doping.

The 19, including three world champions, have been given exemptions from Russia’s suspension after the IAAF reviewed their history of drug testing.

Maria Lasitskene is the overwhelming favorite to retain her high jump title, following an unbeaten season in the Diamond League. No other woman has leapt over two meters this year, but Lasitskene has done it at 11 different outdoor competitions.

Sergey Shubenkov leads the charge for Russia’s men as he tries to win a second world title in the 110m hurdles.

Russian Athletics Federation director Elena Orlova told TASS news agency on Monday that, besides the 19, it also filed paperwork for doping whistleblower and 800m runner Yulia Stepanova, but the federation isn’t in contact with her and believes she doesn’t intend to compete.

Since they’re officially “neutral athletes” under IAAF rules, the Russians won’t be allowed to wear national colors and the Russian anthem won’t be played if they win gold.

A total of 38 Russians had exemptions that could have allowed them to compete at the championships, but many didn’t make the qualifying standards. Eleven more were approved only for youth events, and 106 applications were declined.

Russia has been suspended since November 2015, when the first in a series of World Anti-Doping Agency investigations alleged drug use and cover-ups were common on its track team.


Bolt, Thompson lead Jamaica's world championships charge

(Reuters) - Usain Bolt is among three Olympic champions leading a strong Jamaican team at the athletics world championships in London next month.

Bolt will chase his fourth successive 100 metres world title and a fifth consecutive 4x100m relay gold at the Aug. 4-14 meeting, his last international competition.

Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson and Omar Mcleod, who won Jamaica's first 110 metres hurdles gold at the Rio Games, were also included in the 59-member squad announced by the Jamaica's athletics administration (JAAA) on Monday.

Hansle Parchment, who won 110m hurdles silver at the last world championships in Beijing, and rising star Ronald Levy join world leader Mcleod in the event.

Reigning 100m hurdles world champion Danielle Williams, who set a new personal best of 12.56 seconds to win the Jamaican title last month, was also included, along with Olympic and world 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson.

The Jamaican team have started their warmup camp inBirmingham and will aim to improve on the 12 medals secured at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.

(Reporting by Kayon Raynor; Editing by Ian Ransom)


Big Grants By The USATF Foundation

NEW YORK CITY – In two weeks athletes from across the nation will band together with pride to represent Team USA at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, England. In preparation for this momentous event, the USATF Foundation announced 25 Stephen A. Schwarzman grant awards in the amount of $25,000 to members of Team USA today, announced Foundation Executive Director Tom Jackovic and Chairman Bob Greifeld.

Earlier this year, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, became the largest individual donor to the USATF Foundation and made an unprecedented $2.5 million donation in support of elite track & field athletes. The gift is meant to provide financial support to the most promising track & field athletes as they train for the World Championships and Olympic Games.

“I’m proud to support these world-class athletes so that they have the opportunity to compete at the highest level and do our country proud. They represent the best the United States has to offer and are people of tremendous drive and determination. As a devoted follower of the sport and former track and field athlete myself, I’m excited to see all that they achieve as they go for the gold at the World Championships and the Olympics,” stated Stephen A. Schwarzman.

As athletes are gearing up for their trip to London to compete at the highest level, they know the world will be watching. The stakes are high and the pressure is on as they attempt to realize their dream of becoming a World Champion.

Along with the stress of competing often comes the financial burden the athletes must undertake to make their dream a reality. These grant funds can be used to ease the stress of expenses of coaching, training, equipment, medical treatment, recovery, and travel. These grant funds will dramatically affect the athletes’ ability to compete and allow them to focus on winning medals.

The grant amount awarded to these elite athletes is $25,000, which marks a record high in giving for an individual USATF Foundation elite grant. The USATF Foundation has always focused on providing financial aid to athletes with a lower income threshold, but with this generous gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Foundation is able to support athletes at a new level.

The 25 talented athletes to receive funding in the amount of $25,000 each are:

Nia Ali                          100m Hurdles
Chris Benard                 Triple Jump
Gwen Berry                  Hammer Throw
Erica Bougard               Heptathlon
Hillary Bor                    Steeplechase
Daniella Bunch             Shot Put
Michelle Carter             Shot Put
Paul Chelimo               5000m
Will Claye                   Triple Jump
Ryan Crouser              Shot Put
Vashti Cunningham     High Jump
Kendra Harrison         100m Hurdles
Quanera Hayes          400m
Sam Kendricks           Pole Vault

Joe Kovacs                 Shot Put
Shamier Little             400m Hurdles
Charlene Lipsey          800m
Christina Manning      100m Hurdles
Dalilah Muhammed    400m Hurdles
Bryshon Nellum        4x400m Relay
Deanna Price           Hammer Throw
Michael Stigler         400m Hurdles
Ameer Webb           200m
Kendell Williams      Heptathlon
Drew Windle           800m


Why Cathy Freeman Broke Down After Olympic Gold

YOU won't find many Australians who don't remember where they were when Cathy Freeman won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

If you were older than 10 (let's say), we'll bet the image of Freeman in her green, gold and silver body suit storming down the straight and crossing the line first in the final of the women's 400m race is scorched in your memory forever. It's one of the most famous moments in Australian sport.

Freeman was the darling of the 2000 Games and one of the most popular athletes in the country. It's why the Australian Olympic Committee offered her the honour of lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony.

Coming off a silver medal in her pet event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, hopes were high the then 27-year-old would go one better on Australia's east coast. And she did.

Freeman was in the middle of the pack when she exploded out of the final bend to take a lead she never relinquished. Jamaica's Lorraine Graham (silver) and Great Britain's Katharine Merry (bronze) couldn't catch her.

Freeman crossed the line, unzipped her suit, crouched down on her haunches, shook her head, put her hand up to her face and closed her eyes.

Australia saw it as her being overcome with emotion. After all, winning Olympic gold was something Freeman had dreamt of doing for years. But Australia was wrong.

Speaking to Mark Howard in an episode of the broadcaster's podcast series The Howie Games, available on PodcastOne, Freeman opened up about why she reacted the way she did after her win. She wasn't emotional or overwhelmed - she was disappointed.

"Another thing that burns away at me is I know I could have run faster than what I actually have, but that's fine," Freeman tells Howard.

"I actually crossed the line, looked across at the time - 49.11 (seconds) - I was immediately disappointed because I would have loved to have run 48 (seconds).

"I just remember leaning over, putting my hands around my knees and just shaking my head."

Howard asked: "So that head shake was disappointment at your time?"

"Yeah," Freeman replied. "I was not happy.

"It's a mighty occasion. I don't mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, but that's just who I am."

Freeman's disappointment was mixed with surprise that none of her rivals took the fight to her when she was down on pace.

Usain Bolt sledged his fellow runners after winning gold in the 200m event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, saying he would have run faster if those alongside him had been able to push him harder. Freeman was clearly being honest rather than disrespectful, but you get the feeling she was thinking the same thing.

"I was surprised nobody forced it, pushed it a bit," Freeman says.

"I was surprised that Lorraine Graham from Jamaica who got the silver didn't go ahead but in that moment people are hesitant because no one really, really committed against me. Nobody really believed they could beat me.

"When I look back at the footage, nobody really believed that they could win and I think it shows because the pace at which I was running when I was back in the field - it shouldn't have been that way. For a real contest there should have been more of a fight earlier on for that stage of the race. That wasn't the case."

One person who may have pushed Freeman - had she been there - was Marie-Jose Perec. The Frenchwoman won gold in the 200m and 400m in Atlanta and in the 400m in Barcelona in 1992, but exited the Sydney Games in bizarre circumstances.

She left Sydney days before the opening ceremony and later claimed it was because she was being threatened and harassed in the lead-up to the Olympics. But many believe Perec simply felt the pressure and freaked out.

"I was really sad," Freeman says of Perec's withdrawal. "My initial reaction was, 'That's too bad,' because I would really have loved to have had the chance to have raced her and of course to have beaten her.

"But I'll never have that chance and that's one thing that really gets to me, always."

On that September day nearly 17 years ago Freeman's fellow runners may not have believed in themselves, but she sure did. The proud indigenous Australian had the natural talent but perhaps more importantly, the killer instinct to boot.

"I wanted to be an Olympic champion and I didn't care about the goings-on around me," Freeman tells Howard. "In my heart and with all of my soul I was ready, willing and I was very able.

"I had a deadly sense of self-belief. I'd go to another level and say I had a deadly sense of self-conviction where you can say whatever you want, you can do whatever you want but you're not going to touch me.

"No one could ever get into this sacred space that only I'm allowed in.

"You really do live your life like you are the only person in the world."

Freeman tells Howard how calm she was during the 2000 Olympics and how little she was affected by pressure. "It's easy, it's really easy, Howie," she says as she described being in her "natural element", completely confident all her work would pay off when the time came.

"It was the most natural space for me to be in and to move through."

But Freeman does deviate from the narrative that details her aura of invincibility to reveal there were a couple of times when she wasn't entirely in control of everything. One such time was several months before the Games when she just lost it without knowing why.

"I had a little panic attack that lasted for three or four seconds - a very private moment - where I thought, 'F*** this, I can't do this, why am I doing this?'" Freeman says.
"I remember my cats were keeping me company and I was having a conversation with my cats.

"I just wanted to not be here, and it didn't last for very long - I think it's very natural for the body to consider other options.

"I still had a very acute awareness of the situation, of the reality that my life was. Just because I act all, 'La, la, la, la, la' and nonchalant it doesn't mean I'm not aware."

The other was the feeling she says every runner experiences on their way to the call room.

"You feel like you're a lamb going off to slaughter, and I mean that," Freeman says. "You're so vulnerable and it's like, 'Oh s***, oh s***, oh s***.'

"I felt scared - not scared where everything's falling apart - it's a feeling of, 'This is it, there's no turning back.'"

Once Freeman was on the track in front of 110,000 screaming fans, that "deadly" self-belief took over. The rest is history.


"My Greatest Challenge" w/ Tyree Washington

Tyree Washington won the world indoor and outdoor titles over 400m in 2003. Here the US sprinter talks about the difficulties he has endured throughout his life battling asthma.

BATTLING ASTHMA: 'MY DOCTORS ALWAYS JOKED AND SAID THEY COULDN’T UNDERSTAND HOW I HAD SUCH BAD ASTHMA AND YET I COULD RUN ONE OF THE HARDEST EVENTS ON THE PLANET'

“Many people don’t know that I have suffered from asthma for my whole life. I almost died from it on numerous occasions. As a baby the doctors told my grandmother, who raised me, I had 72 hours to live. My family was very spiritual and I made it through.

“When I was aged 14 or 15, I suffered smog inhalation in my home city of Riverside, California. My mother rushed me to hospital and I was taken to ER. My lungs were literally collapsing and everything was shutting down on me. For a while, I didn’t know if I was going to make it. Thankfully, I improved, but I remember when I left the hospital bed for a couple of weeks I couldn’t walk. It was very humbling.

“My asthma has been a constant battle through the years because my breathing capacity is at only 75 per cent. My doctor helped me maintain my asthma and I am just grateful I made it and excelled on the track. My doctors always joked and said they couldn’t understand how I had such bad asthma and yet I could run one of the hardest events on the planet. Both scientifically and medically they couldn’t explain it. I wasn’t supposed to win World Championships and become the fastest man in the world during my time in the 400m.

“My asthma made every year of my career very unpredictable. I often had to change my routines because the stresses of being involved in a high intensity sport like track and field would causes my asthma to flare up. I remember racing in Osaka in 1998 and enduring an asthma attack during the race. I wanted to stop at 200m and was telling myself to stop after the next 50 metres. Then I got to 300m and thought, ‘screw it, I’m going to finish the full race’. That race I ran 45.14 for third and I collapsed after the race. I was very stubborn. I wouldn’t go and see a doctor. I just wanted to race.

“Another time I couldn’t find one of my inhalers at home. I was on my hands and knees trying to find one, there was nobody home and I didn’t have my cell phone with me. Thankfully, I found an inhaler at the back of the cupboard. If I hadn’t, it would have been lights out for me.

“My career was always a constant battle. I guess pollen is my enemy – like kryptonite.

“For a long time when I looked back on my career, I felt really hurt I never made an Olympic team because of injury and illness. But over time, I realised that by winning the world indoor and outdoor titles in 2003 I had beaten all the best athletes in the world that year. Once I started to accept this, I could look back and think that despite my illnesses, I had a glorious and blessed career. I am part of a select group of athletes that have won world titles; my talent for track was a gift from God.”


Injured Nicholas Bett Won't Defend World 400H Title

World 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett will not defend his title during the World Championships due August 4 to 13 in London.

Bett, who made history as the first Kenyan to win gold in sprint events a World Championships, accomplishing the feat during the 2015 event, has been ruled out with a right leg injury.

Bett’s manager, Jukka Harkonen, has to that effect written to Athletics Kenya, briefing them about Bett, who has a serous stress fracture on his fibula bone.

Harkonen said that Bett experienced a sharp pain in his right leg during the Diamond League in Doha on May 5 this year and upon discussion, his athlete took a few days leave.

“The pain came again after the Shanghai meeting on May 13 and he started treatment in Nairobi,” said Harkonen.

Even though the doctor in Nairobi, who conducted an MRI indicated that Bett had no problem, Harkonen decided to take him to Lahti, Finland for further check-up and treatment.

“We took a high quality MRI on June 8 and it was discovered that Bett had a serious stress fracture,” explained Harkonen.

Bett would start two weeks of full rest and then another four weeks of pool work before starting easy jogging after six weeks. He missed the National Championships and Trials on June 23-23 at Nyayo National Stadum.

“It’s after he started to jog that the pain recurred and that is why we decided to have another MRI can on July 31 in Lahti, Finland. He won’t be able to compete at that level in London since it will be risky and the possibility of breaking the fibula bone is too big,” said Harkonen, adding that he has not been able to train well as the world champion.

Harkonen confirmed that Bett will be able to resume training effectively and prepare for the 2018 Commonwealth Games after the results are out on July 31.

“It’s disappointing since my main target was to defend my title,” said Bett, at Team Kenya's training camp at Kasarani where he is still having treatment. “I hope to be back healthy and stronger for the Commonwealth Games.”

Head coach Julius Kirwa said it’s quite unfortunate that Bett will not be travelling to London to defend his title.

“I know how he is feeling now but it’s good that he focuses on treating the injury so as to come back stronger,” said Kirwa, who now remains with one athlete Haron Koech, Bett’s brother in the discipline.

Koech managed to qualify on July 16 at a race in Modova, Italy, where Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist Boniface Mucheru, who is also the reigning Africa champion, withdrew mid-race owing to an injury.

Koech clocked 49.39 seconds.

Team Kenya is set to leave the country on August 1 for the London Championships, where the country hopes for a replica of the 2015 Beijing competition by topping the medal standing again.


Makwala/van Niekerk Can Light Up Post-Bolt World

It was as the men’s 400m field exited the final bend in last Friday night’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco that a tantalising glimpse of the Post-Bolt athletics world was revealed.

Having made a point of catching and passing Isaac Makwala midway down the back-straight, South Africa’s world and Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk discovered that the job was not done as the Botswana athlete in the pale blue vest to his right, arms pumping, was now actually edging ahead.

The 25-year-old world record holder, whose first two races of the season – a 300m world best of 30.81 and a 400m in 43.62 – had been relatively unopposed victories, suddenly found himself in a harsher environment, and responded as champions do.

FOR MAKWALA, A PB AT 30
Without losing his form, Van Niekerk moved ahead once again to win in 43.73, although the puffing of his cheeks testified to the late effort that had been required.

Makwala was rewarded with a personal best of 43.84 just a week after his remarkable performance at the Madrid meeting, where he became the first man to run a sub-44sec 400m (43.92) and a sub-20sec 200m (19.77) on the same day, the latter time replacing Van Niekerk’s 19.84 at the top of this year’s world list.

Metres beyond the finishing line, the two men had their arms over each other’s shoulders, emphasising that this is a relationship involving sportsmanship as well as rivalry.

The Botswana athlete is five years Van Niekerk’s senior – indeed, he is only a month younger than the imminently retiring Bolt. But unlike the Jamaican sprint legend, Makwala, whose first IAAF World Championships were in 2007, clearly feels he has important things still to achieve in his career.

With the 200m still to run in Madrid, he had told the press: “I’m satisfied, but I know I can run faster. My goal in London is the gold medal; I can do it.”

In the immediate aftermath of his run on the Stade Louis II track, he was even more expansive: “This race felt good from start to finish. I have now decided I will be doubling 200 and 400 in London.”

So Van Niekerk will have swift company in both the events.

VAN NIEKERK: ‘WE ARE STILL NOT PEAKING’
“It was great performance today, I’m feeling positive about it,” the South African responded after the race. “My body feels to be in great shape and this win from behind gives me lot of confidence.

“We still are not peaking, we trained hard last week, all should be OK for London and my double. I was forced to change my plan when I saw Isaac in front in last 100m. All went well. Now we’re ready for the big plan.”

At the previous day’s press conference, Van Niekerk had said he had held a little back in both of his previous 2017 outings. He had no such leeway in Monaco – and will surely not expect it in London either.

Asked about Makwala’s Madrid double, the South African provided a response that sportingly acknowledged the quality of his rival’s effort while also underlining his own determination to do better.

STRONG MUTUAL RESPECT
“It’s not the first time he’s done it,” Van Niekerk said. “I’ve got lots of respect for him planning to double up. The times he has run and what he did in Madrid show the quality he has as an athlete. It’s something you can’t take lightly. At the same time it’s something you can use to improve your own performance.

“So I’ve got the utmost respect for Isaac, and I’m sure we can continue improving one another’s times. It’s the kind of competition that’s good for the sport.”

Makwala’s first experience of a global championship in Osaka was as a member of Botswana’s 4x400m relay team, which was knocked out in the heats. Ten years on, the Botswana quartet will arrive in London with strong chances of finishing on the podium at least.

In Beijing two years ago, Botswana – boasting London 2012 800m silver medallist Nijel Amos, Makwala’s friend and sometime room-mate, missed a place in the final by one place as they set a national record of 2:59.95.

Now their team has been strengthened by the addition of 20-year-old Baboloki Thebe, who finished third in Monaco in 44.26 and looks a huge prospect for the coming years.

In the meantime Makwala will doubtless be reflecting again upon one of his favourite pieces of advice from his coach, Justice Dipeba, who regularly reminds him: “Champions are not born, champions are made.”

Makwala added: “I like this because he is saying anything can be achieved through training hard and hard work.” It looks as if all of this Botswana athlete’s hard work is about to pay off in London and beyond.


Rudisha to lead strong Kenyan team to London 2017 World Championships

Athletics Kenya (AK) have confirmed that Kenyan superstar athlete David Lekuta Rudisha will defend his men’s 800m title at the IAAF World Championships in London from 4-13 August, 2017.

The announcement ended intense speculation in local media that the two-time Olympic and world record-holder at distance would not make the final squad for the global track and field signature event.

“It is no-brainer. He is the world record holder, world champion and big time performer at big championships. He has to be in team,” AK vice-president, Paul Mutwii told journalists in Nairobi on Thursday.

AK announced the final squad on Friday at which the omission of US based Michael Saruni – one of the five athletes named into the 49-member provisional squad in the men’s 800m with only four eligible to be entered into the competition – caused a huge stir.

US-based Emmanuel Korir, who caused a major upset to win the men’s 800m in 1:43.86 at the Kenya trials, World Under-20 800m champion Kipyegon Bett, 2nd in 1:44.04; and Saruni, third in 1:44.61; and 2016 IAAF Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich were all named in the preliminary team.

David Rudisha opted out of the Kenyan selection trials for London 2017 on 24 June to focus on regaining his shape after an underwhelming season, and initially, his name was missing from the provisional team.

However, he was included in the squad after reports he was missing from the team circulated on social media drawing a huge backlash on the AK.

Rudisha and Rotich had wild cards to the 16th edition of the global event but the Athletics Kenya boss insisted the federation reserves the right to decide the final squad.

With the top two across the line assured of automatic entries as per the rules of the AK Trials, Saruni and Rotich, who finished in fourth place, were contending for the final slot in the team following Mutwii’s announcement on Rudisha.

Rudisha will be returning to the stadium where he won his first Olympic gold medal in the blistering 1:40.91 world record at the London 2012 Games.

TEAM KENYA – LONDON 2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Men 400m Hurdles: Haron Koech, Kiprono Kosgei, Nicholas Bett

Women 10,000m: Agnes Tirop, Irene Cheptai, Alice Aprot

Men 200m: Mark Otieno

Women 5000m: Hellen Obiri, Margaret Chelimo

Men 5000m: Cyrus Ruto, David Kiplagat

Women 400m: Maximilla Imali

Men 400m: Raymond Kibet, Alphas Kishioyan, Collins Omae

Men Javelin: Julius Yego

Men 1500m: Ronald Kwemoi, Timothy Cheruiyot, Elijah Manangoi, Asbel Kiprop

Women 1500m: Faith Chepn’getich, Winnie Chebet

Women 3000m steeplechase: Cellphine Chepsol, Beatrice Chepkoech, Purity Kirui, Hyvin Kiyeng

Men 3000m steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto, Birmin Kipruto, Jairus Birech, Ezekiel Kemboi

Women 800m: Margaret Nyairera, Eunice Sum, Emily Cherotich

Men 800m: Emmanuel Korir, Kipyegon Bett, Michael Saruni, Ferguson Rotich, David Rudisha

Men triple jump: Elijah Kimitei

Men walk race: Samuel Gathimba, Simon Wachira

Women race walk: Grace Wanjiru

Men Marathon: Daniel Wanjiru, Geoffrey Kirui, Gideon Kipketer

Women marathon: Edna Kiplagat, Helah Kiprop, Flomena Cheyech


Eilidh Doyle to captain Great Britain at World Championships

Eilidh Doyle will captain the Great Britain athletics team at next month's World Championships in London.

The 400 metres hurdler was voted into the role by her fellow team members.

She said: "I'm absolutely chuffed to bits. It's a huge honour to have been elected by my peers as the team captain for British Athletics at London 2017.

"To lead your team at a home World Championships is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to have your team-mates vote that they want you to do it makes it even more special."

The Scot is a two-time outdoor world medallist in the 4x400m relay and also won bronze in the event at the Rio Olympics last year.

British Athletics performance director Neil Black said: "I'm delighted for Eilidh. She's a fierce competitor and a fantastic role model for younger athletes in the team.

"Eilidh is Scotland's most decorated athlete and has won a medal at all of the majors. She knows what it takes to win. That's the type of athlete and mindset we need to lead us into a home world championships."

The World Championships get under way at the London Stadium on August 4.


Fitness Doubt Weighs Heavily On Yohan Blake

The city of London holds good memories for Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake.

At the 2012 Olympic Games he won silver medals in the 100m and 200m, finishing behind his friend and training partner Usain Bolt on both occasions. The 200m was especially memorable as his other training partner, Warren Weir took the bronze in a 200m medal sweep for Jamaica.

A year before in 2011, Blake became the youngest-ever World Champion over 100m after Bolt false-started, and he went on to win in a time of 9.92s in Daegu, South Korea.

Since the London Olympic Games, however, Blake has had a terrible time with injuries, pulling his hamstring in 2013 and again in 2014, before finally making his way back to fitness in time for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

His 4x100m gold medal at the games has reignited his taste for success, and he has one final opportunity to win international medals alongside Bolt at the World Championships in London next month.

Blake won both the 100m and 200m at the National Senior Championships in June, signalling a full return to form and fitness. But just when all seemed set to go, he pulled out of the Rabat Diamond League in Morocco a few days ago, reportedly with a sore groin. While it was said to be a precautionary measure, the timing of the injury could not be any worse for the 27-year-old.

The return from injury has been a tough task for Blake, and he has spoken of how difficult it has been mentally for him. So it begs the question, will this latest setback take a toll on the youngest 100m World Champion ever?