"I want to thank all of our opponents for their cooperation and understanding. Our thoughts are with those in the path of Hurricane Irma both here in South Florida and afar.  We are comforted in knowing that our community is strong and will come together, if needed, to recover from the storm."

Rogers keeps progressing, wins four golds

ASHLAND — Ashland resident Jan Hoverstock-Rogers is continuing her rapid rise in track toward the top of the World Masters Athletic Rankings for the women’s 40-44 age group.

At the North and Central America and Caribbean Region of World Masters Athletics 2017 Track and Field Championships on Aug. 11-13 at York Lions Stadium in Ontario, Canada, Rogers snagged four gold medals in her age group — 100-meter dash (12.92 seconds), 200-meter dash (26.84), 4x100-meter relay (55.29) and long jump (4.3 meters).

“I got down in the lanes that I was going to be in the 100 and 200 and visualized how I was going to race, how it felt on my feet and my legs, how powerful I felt, and then I was ready to go,” Rogers said. “I felt invincible (after winning the four golds).

It was surreal. Being around my teammates (Southwest Sprinters Track Club) made it that much more special.”

A few weeks ago, Rogers got tested for power and velocity training at SPIRE Institute, where she will get set up with Triphasic Training to reboot her indoor-season training. Her husband, Steve, and her father-in-law, Larry, are also building workout equipment to help aid Rogers in increasing her power and speed.

“For me, variety is the key, and speed and jump workouts make my body happy, so I know that’s something I need to work with,” Rogers said.

Rogers is utilizing the various training methods for one specific reason — to break records.

“There’s a lot of things we’re doing to make me faster and stronger because I’m setting myself up to break the women’s (40-44 age group) 60-meter dash indoors (record) and the women’s (40-44 age group) 100-meter dash outdoors (record),” Rogers said.

“I want to be ready.”

She will not compete competitively again until the indoor track season begins in December.

Anita Wlodarczyk and Pawel Fajdek win Hammer Throw Challenge

Britain’s Sophie Hitchon and Nick Miller both finish in top five

Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk and Pawel Fajdek have won the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge after topping the end-of-season standings for the fourth time.

For the first time in the history of the series, British athletes finished in the top five in both the men’s and women’s events.

Sophie Hitchon placed fifth with 219.97 points in a contest won by world record-holder Wlodarczyk with 235.6 points, while Hitchon’s fellow British record-holder Nick Miller also finished fifth with 229.56 points behind winner Fajdek’s 248.48.

The scoring system takes each athlete’s three best marks from the series and equates metres to points. Prize money is awarded to the top 12 finishers at the end of the challenge. The athlete with the highest score wins $30,000.

Wlodarczyk went undefeated for the entire season for the third consecutive year, with her three best winning marks being 79.72m in Ostrava, 78.00m in Sao Bernardo do Campo and 77.90m at the IAAF World Championships in London.

World silver medallist Wang Zheng placed second overall in the challenge standings with 225.77 and Azerbaijan’s Hanna Skydan was third with 221.75.

Three-time world champion Fajdek broke his own record score in the men’s series.

His points tally included marks of 83.44m in Ostrava, 82.64m in Szekesfehervar and 82.40m in Turku.

Fajdek’s compatriot Wojciech Nowicki finished second in the standings. The world and Olympic bronze medallist scored 236.32 to finish comfortably ahead of Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov with 231.40.

Final standings

1 Pawel Fajdek (POL) 248.48
2 Wojciech Nowicki (POL) 236.32
3 Dilshod Nazarov (TJK) 231.40
4 Pavel Bareisha (BLR) 230.84
5 Nick Miller (GBR) 229.56

1 Anita Wlodarczyk (POL) 235.62
2 Wang Zheng (CHN) 225.77
3 Hanna Skydan (AZE) 221.75
4 Malwina Kopron (POL) 220.03
5 Sophie Hitchon (GBR) 219.97

Juggling act: School, athletics left middle-distance runner McBride exhausted

Brandon McBride's rookie season as a professional middle-distance runner, filled with big expectations, stress and success, quickly became a lesson in how to balance academics and athletics.

After graduating from Mississippi State University last year with a bachelor's degree in business administration, McBride enrolled in a master's program in public administration at his alma mater.

"I took on too much earlier in the season with my assistantship, internship and my graduate program. It took much more than I thought out of me," McBride, 23, told CBC Sports recently.

A season of travel competing on the Diamond League circuit, racing at the Canadian track and field championships and debuting at the world championships left the Windsor, Ont., native mentally and emotionally exhausted and unable to compete for a Diamond League Trophy and $50,000 US in Brussels last Friday.

With an eye toward the Commonwealth Games next April, McBride opted to call it a season after consulting with his coach Chris Scarrow and agent John Regis shortly after finishing fourth at a Diamond League meet in Birmingham, England on Aug. 20.

"I am the type of person that if I'm going to do something, I want to approach it with 100 per cent effort," said McBride, an aspiring corporate lawyer.

"My heart wouldn't have been in it [in Brussels] because of the accumulation of fatigue. Who am I to rob an opportunity for someone else?"

A month after stopping the clock in one minute 46.69 seconds in the 800 metres at the Golden Gala in Rome, McBride went 1:45.23 to win the men's title at the Canadian championships in Ottawa on July 8.

He also led midway through the Aug. 8 world final in London, England before fading and finishing eighth in 1:47.09.

"I think people forget this was my first world championships," said McBride, who placed 14th in his Olympic debut last summer in Rio de Janeiro. "It was different going to these meets as a collegiate. The expectations aren't as high because you're still considered young, in a sense.

"As a professional, you have sponsors and depending on what the athlete and sponsor have agreed to, it can be very stressful."

McBride ran a season-best 1:44.41 at Diamond League Monaco on July 21 to inch closer to Gary Reed's Canadian mark of 1:43.68, an accomplishment that won't top the 2014 NCAA champion's priority list for 2018.

"What I focus on is bettering myself day by day and year by year," said McBride, whose personal best of 1:43.95 was set at the London Muller Anniversary Games in July 2016. "The experience I gained from racing this year was huge.

"Even though I didn't obtain a PB [personal best], if I continue to progress, anything is possible." 

Bad Air Quality Cancels Oregon XC Preview

EUGENE, Ore. – Due to the continued air quality issues in the Eugene and Springfield areas, Oregon cross country has made the decision to cancel the Oregon XC Preview this Thursday, Sept. 7, at Springfield Golf Club.
Director of Athletics Rob Mullens, Oregon head coach Robert Johnson, coaches Andy and Maurica Powell and director of athletic medicine Dr. Greg Skaggs have monitored the situation closely over the last couple of weeks, and came to the decision to cancel the meet in order to ensure the safety of both student-athletes and fans.
Fan and student-athlete safety is the primary concern for the University of Oregon, and Dr. Skaggs, university administration and the coaching staff determined that the air quality was simply unsafe for a cross country meet.

The Ducks will still host a pair of meets in 2017 at Springfield Golf Club, the Bill Dellinger Invitational on Sept. 29 and the Pac-12 Championships on Oct. 27.

Don't look down! London runners stretch their legs 16 floors up

LONDON (Reuters) - Athletes risked vertigo on Tuesday at the launch of London’s highest running track, 16 floors above the capital's streets.

"It's incredibly exhilarating running at that height, with panoramic views in every direction," said Benjamin Lesser, an amateur marathon runner who works for one of the developers of the building topped by the track.

“It's very uplifting," he added.

The 150-metre running loop, perched atop the new White Collar Factory overlooking the tech-heavy Old Street area of London, will be for all occupiers of the building and is five floors higher than a planned track at a new European headquarters of Google in London.

But it stands 10 storeys lower than the world's highest outdoor track at Singapore’s Pinnacle@Duxton residential development, which is located 26 floors above the street.

(Reporting by Rachel Wood; Editing by William Schomberg)

Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay sweep the titles at the USATF 20 km Championships

Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay made it a clean sweep for the Nike Oregon Project Monday at the USA Track & Field 20 km Championships in New Haven, Connecticut.

Rupp won the men's title in 59 minutes, 4 seconds, edging Leonard Korir of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. Korir battled Rupp for the last mile before settling for second in 59:05.

Hasay won the women's race going away in 1:06:35. Defending champ Alphine Tuliamuk crossed second in 1:07:49.

Rupp and Hasay both are graduates of the University of Oregon.

Here are results from the top men's and women's finishers.

-- Ken Goe

David Oliver returns home to lead Track & Field Program

WASHINGTON – Director of Athletics Kery Davis named former Olympian and alum David Oliver as its Director for Track & Field Program at Howard University. The announcement was made today, Tuesday, Sept. 5.

"We are thrilled to welcome one of Howard's most decorated former student-athletes back to the Mecca," said Davis. "David is a globally recognized track and field champion and brings a unique passion to help student-athletes achieve their dreams on the track, in the classroom and in life after Howard. Most importantly, his personal achievements at the highest levels of competition will be an example to our student-athletes of what you can achieve through hard work, dedication and passion for your craft."

The Denver, Colo., native was destined to be a track & field star after his mother, Brenda Chambers, secured a spot on the 1980 Olympic Team in the 400-meter hurdles.

Oliver returns to his alma mater as a highly decorated professional athlete.  He was the 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist in the 110-meter hurdles, and the 2013 World Champion in the same event.  On the indoor track and field stage, he earned the Gold medal in the 2008 USA Indoor Championships in the  60-meter hurdles and bronze in the 2010 World Championships.  He maintained top 10 rankings in the world for 11 consecutive seasons, and has received several accolades including the 2010 Jesse Owens Award which recognizes the USA's Most Outstanding Track Athlete.  A two-time All-American as student-athlete at Howard University, Oliver was inducted into the 2016 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame and the 2014 Howard University Hall of Fame.

"I am happy to be back," Oliver stated. "I am looking forward to taking over the reins and rebuilding our program."

Off the track, Oliver dedicates his time to helping with youth track competitions and mentorship through the David Oliver Indoor Classic in Winston Salem, N.C., and David Oliver Classic in Washington, D.C., while assisting sponsored athletes on the Quicksilver Track Club in Atlanta, Ga. 

"During my tenure I've gotten to know Mr. Oliver very well. I've been impressed with his dedication to his craft that has seen him victorious at the highest level of his sport," said University President Wayne A.I. Frederick. "He represents the best of what Howard University has produced. He understands that our focus in the classroom and on the field of competition must be excellent and I'm confident that he will equip Howard athletes with the tools to ensure their all-around success." 

Oliver has been featured in several major magazines, including Essence Magazine, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Sobe Fit Magazine, Stack Magazine, Spikes Magazine, and ESPN the Magazine. In Sept. 2008, he was honored at HU's 141st Opening Convocation for his outstanding achievements in athletics.

Oliver was also honored by the Mayor of Denver with the key to the city and named October 3rd "David Oliver Day."  He has also received the key to the city of Greensboro, N.C.

Oliver obtained his bachelor's degree from Howard University in business administration in 2004. He is married to Emily Oliver and they have one son, Dawson (age 6).

JCSU Track and Field Coach Lennox Graham Resigns

Charlotte, N.C. – After almost 10 seasons as head coach of the Johnson C. Smith University track and field and cross country programs, Lennox Graham has announced his resignation.

“I wish the track and field programs, the athletic department and Johnson C. Smith University nothing but great success in the future,” said Graham. “I also want to thank God for my future opportunities to coach a sport that I love.”

Since his appointment in 2007, Graham has transformed the JCSU track and field program, having an immediate impact at the CIAA, NCAA and international levels. He was named the USTFCCCA Division II Women’s Outdoor Track and Field National Coach of the Year for the 2012-13 season and also earned nine CIAA Coach of the Year designations. He also garnered two Atlantic Region Coach of the Year honors.

Graham has coached numerous athletes to medalist finishes, All-CIAA, All-Region, and All-American designations. Under his guidance JCSU athletes have participated in NACAC, Junior Pan-American Championships, Penn Relays, NCAA Championships, World University Games, and the IAAF World Championships.

No stranger in international coaching, in the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, Graham coached siblings Danielle and Shermaine Williams to the 100m hurdles final – a first for female siblings in the history of the World Championships. Danielle Williams won the event in 12.58 seconds while Shermaine placed seventh by running a 12.91. He also coached Danielle to the 2015 World University Games Championship in the 100m hurdles and again in the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. In 2016, Graham served as a coach with the Jamaican contingent in the Rio Olympic Games.  All told, he has coached three JCSU athletes that have qualified for the Olympics in Leford Green (Jamaica, 2012), Shermaine Williams (Jamaica, 2012 and 2016), and current standout Kendra Clarke (Canada, 2016).

In 2011, Graham guided the JCSU women’s team to its first CIAA Outdoor Championship. The Golden Bulls also won CIAA titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016. In 2017, JCSU’s women’s team also captured the first CIAA Indoor Championship in school history.

Collectively, Graham has coached 27 NCAA Division II Champions (Indoor and Outdoor), had five athletes set NCAA Division II records (60m hurdles, 200m, 400m hurdles, 4x100m), and has coached JCSU athletes to 213 All-America designations.

Prior to JCSU, Graham served as the head coach at Kingston College (High School) in his native Jamaica. Also a successful high school coach, he guided his team to six Jamaican National High School Championships over his tenure. In addition, he has coached many individual and relay champions at the Jamaican High School, Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), Central American and Caribbean (CAC), North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships, the Pan American Junior Championships levels.

Not only have Graham’s teams consistently won on the track, his teams have captured numerous USTFCCCA All-Academic Awards, with JCSU’s women’s team having the top GPA nationally in 2011 and the men’s team achieving the honor in 2013.

A standout sprinter and hurdler, Graham graduated from Alabama State University in 1984 with a degree in computer information systems. While a student-athlete for the Hornets, he earned the Most Academic (1985-87), Most Outstanding Hurdler (1984-85), and the Most Valuable Runner (1986-87) awards. He also won the George Hubert Lockhart Award for overall excellence in sports at ASU in 1987.

In 2006 he earned an MBA from the University of New Orleans.

He currently holds an IAAF Level 5 Elite coaching certification specializing in sprints and hurdles.

“We wish Coach Graham tremendous success in his new opportunity,” said JCSU Athletics Director Stephen Joyner, Sr. “We know that he will continue to flourish and will continue to develop top-notch collegiate and international talent.”

A search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

Keitany keeps eyes on prize

World marathon record holder Mary Keitany will lead the Kenya challenge as she defends her title in the New York Marathon in November.

Keitany will have for company the silver medallist at the recent World Championships, Edna Kiplagat and Betsy Saina.

All three athletes have all been training in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

To stay in shape, Keitany will this weekend compete in the Great North Run as a build up to New York Marathon.

“I’m happy to have been named in the New York Marathon team where I will be going for my fourth title. My training has started and I will be using the Great North Run this weekend gauge my body,” she told Nation Sport.

“I really feels good to run in the same course, something I have done for three years now. I still have time to train hard but for now I must concentrate with the half marathon,” said the Iten based athlete.

The athlete said running the half marathon will enable her identify areas to work on for the next two months.

“After this weekend’s race, I will see what to work on and rectify for the next two months before the main race. It will be part of my training,” she said.

Keitany broke a world record (women only) when she clocked 2:17:01 to better Paula Radcliff’s time by 41 seconds at London Marathon in April.

During this weekend’s half marathon Keitany will be joined by her pacemaker, Caroline Chepkoech, who helped her break the world record.

Chepkoech, who was a lone pacemaker in London Marathon, started the race with a high pace that helped Keitany break the record.

She ran in the Brussels Diamond League which was a final event this year and managed to come in second in 5,000m behind the World champion Hellen Obiri.

Betsy Saina will also be using the race as a build up for her major race in New York where she has been leaving for many years.

Saina ran her debut race in Tokyo Marathon in February where she didn’t perform well. Her eyes are now set on the prize.

She has been doing her training in Iten and she is expected to team up with her compatriots in the race.

Defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot will also make a return to the race as she eyes to be in the podium.

Usain Bolt staying positive after 'awful' exit from athletics

Sprint icon Usain Bolt is trying to remain upbeat despite his "awful" exit from professional athletics.

In the final race of his illustrious career – the 4x100 metres relay final at the IAAF World Championships last month – Bolt sustained a hamstring injury and was unable to finish, having come home an underwhelming third in the 100m final.

The Jamaican, who won eight Olympic gold medals and 11 world titles to cement himself as the greatest sprinter of all time, insisted he would not mount a comeback despite the unfitting nature of his departure from the sport.

Bolt remains disappointed with how his last outing on the track went but was pleased to have given the fans another chance to see him.

"It was a rough one. The 100 metres was not the best but I went out there and I gave it my all and the four-by-ones I pulled my hamstring so that was awful," Bolt told Omnisport at the opening of the new Hublot boutique in Kyoto, Japan.

"But everything happens for a reason in life and that's how I look at it. I never have regrets. I did this for the fans. I came back this season to do it for the fans. Everyone wanted to see me and I came out there and I did my best."

After competing at the past four Olympics, Bolt is looking forward to simply watching the Games in Tokyo in 2020 and is confident fresh talent will keep the fans entertained in his absence.

He said: "It's going to be strange, but I'm going to be excited to really have a chance and sit and watch the whole thing develop and watch all the athletes, watch them warm up. For me, it's going to be different, but I'm excited about seeing it.

"It's always going to be a great tournament. I think there are young athletes that have proven themselves to say they will step up to the plate, so there will be great competition which is always good and there will be new stars coming through.

"It's always good for the sport to see different athletes so it'll be good."

Athletics SA announce Commonwealth Games training squad

Athletics SA (ASA) on Monday named a 63-member preparation squad for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

The team consists of athletes who have met a relaxed qualifying criteria compared to the recent IAAF World Championships in London.

ASA named a list of 13 athletes who automatically made the preliminary team for the quadrennial showpiece “as a result of their performances at the 2017 IAAF World Championships”, with the 13 only needing to prove their competition fitness during the first quarter of 2018.

This is half the number of athletes who lined up at last month's World Championships, from where South Africa returned from with its best ever medal haul winning three gold, a silver, and two bronze.

World 400m record-holder Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya were the standout performers winning double medals at the championships, with long jumper Luvo Manyonga also winning gold.

Van Niekerk won gold in the 400m and silver in the 200m while Semenya won her third 800m world title, adding the 1500m bronze to her collection.

ASA stressed that athletes should not focus solely on the criteria as the team would be selected based on their rankings among Commonwealth nations.

“Athletes must be encouraged to improve their Commonwealth rankings, and not focus on the values of the qualifying standards alone, as the position of the athlete on the Commonwealth rankings will be the primary motivation for an athlete to be included in the final team to the 2018 Games,” an ASA circular read.

Although the circular did not specify where the athletes needed to be ranked, Sascoc has suggested they would have to be among the top-10 in the Commonwealth.

ASA also announced 10 high-profile meetings starting in October and finishing in the middle of December.

The athletics federation will present the preliminary team to Sascoc in the first week of January 2018.

The Star

Japanese schoolboy drawn to Timaru Boys' High because of Tom Walsh

World champion shot putter Tom Walsh's pulling power has extended 9500km, all the way to Japan.

An 18-year-old schoolboy from Osaka has turned up at Walsh's old school, Timaru Boys' High, as he wants to follow in the footsteps of the world champion.

Taito Watanabe's dream is to one day compete in the Olympics against Walsh.

Watanabe said once he decided to spend a year in New Zealand as an international student, the school Walsh attended became an obvious choice.

"My agent said it was possible, so I wanted to come." 

The 108kg athlete has also teamed up with Walsh's original coach, Ian Baird, and is loving every moment of the experience.

"Ian is a very good coach; I am very happy.

"Every day I am getting stronger and better."

At the moment Watanabe's best distance is 13.38 metres, but he hopes to get out to near 18m before he leaves Timaru.

He is already learning plenty.

"No one in Japan learns to spin (in the shot put circle) at school, which is the best way. We just stand and throw," he said.

Watanabe was originally a baseballer but took up shot put at 14 because he liked it.

The international student has enjoyed everything about South Canterbury in the month he has been here, with a lot of firsts ticked off.

His homestay family had already take him skiing and was heading out hunting this weekend.

"It is all good, I love it here," he said.

Watanabe said he might also try rugby next season, as Walsh played No.8 for the First XV.

He had also attended his first school formal, the Jurassic Park-themed Timaru Boys' High ball last weekend.

"It was very good, I really enjoyed it."

But despite all the distractions, Watanabe said shot put remained his focus.

"I want to be No.1 in Japan," he said. 

TBHS sports director Gary Ivamy said Watanabe had been delightful since he had arrived at the school.

"Taito gives everything a go, with a smile on his face.

"He is a great advertisement for international students."

Coach Baird said his new charge was a rough diamond with potential.

"He is very similar to Tom in attitude and size.

"I'm just not sure how well he dances (in the circle), I have not seen him pirouette yet. We have just been using a medicine ball."

Baird said he will have a better idea in October when athletics returns to the Aorangi track.  

"He will certainly take several steps towards where he wants to go, but he is also handy with the javelin, so who knows where he might end up? But he will certainly never be a sprinter."

The colourful young shot putter's only slight disappointment so far in Timaru was when a Stuff reporter turned up to interview him at school. He originally believed he would be meeting his idol, something he hopes can be arranged before too long.

- Stuff

Brazil police say Rio Olympics were bought in corrupt scheme

Brazilian officials said on Tuesday that the country's Olympics chief was the "lynchpin" in a plot to bribe the International Olympic Committee into awarding Rio de Janeiro last year's Games.

Brazilian police said in a statement they were probing "an international corruption scheme" aimed at "the buying of votes for the election of (Rio) by the International Olympic Committee as the venue for the 2016 Olympics."

Revealing a nine-month investigation spanning several countries and dubbed "Unfair Play," police said Carlos Nuzman had been taken in for questioning and his house searched.

Nuzman, who was the pointman for Rio's successful bid to become the first South American host of the Olympics, left his house in Rio's posh Leblon neighborhood while police officers exited with bags of evidence.

Prosecutors said Nuzman was detained to give testimony and although not arrested he had his passport confiscated.