Monday, 21 August 2017 22:58

Can Qatar host the World Championship?

London will be remembered for the departure of athletics’ biggest star- Usain Bolt.

The focus shifted to the 2019 Qatar World Athletics Championships after the curtains descended on the London edition of the biennial event.

London will be remembered for the departure of athletics’ biggest star- Usain Bolt. Mohammed Farah was yet another superstar that called it quits.

As we now turn to 2019, serious concerns come into play. The big question is whether Qatar has what it takes to successfully organize the event.

The tiny, wealthy Persian Gulf nation of Qatar was in the spotlight immediately it won the rights to host the 2019 athletics meet.

Qatar, with a population of 2.2m, had earlier also been selected as the site for the site for the 2022 Football World Cup.

Qatar’s choice as world cup venue generated widespread debate because of allegations of corruption in the bidding process and concerns about human rights issues related to foreigners’ working on construction projects.

The choice of Doha as venue for the next world athletics meet equally raised serious concerns. The biggest amongst these was the scorching temperatures.

Temperatures between 28 September and 6 October, when the event will take place, are likely to top 37C, which will be dangerous for middle- and long-distance runners.

You’ve certainly not forgotten what happened to Cheptegei at the World Cross Country in Kololo.

High afternoon temperatures had him burning out thereby missing out on possible gold before settling for a distant 30th position.

“It is not going to be easy. But we shall have to adjust,” says Cheptegei, who after Farah’s departure from rack, is seen as the next king of long distance running.

It is for similar reasons that an adjustment has been made in the marathon.

Both the men and women’s marathon will for the first time be run at night. This will be on a lighted course.

It will be interesting to see how Uganda adjusts to this innovation. If running on our streets during the day is dangerous what about at night?

The bulk of our streets are not lit. Then there is the scramble for space with cars and boda bodas. You then also have open man holes and sewers to maneuver!

And not only athletes are bound to be affected by the extreme temperatures. There is likelihood of half empty stands as spectators keep away from the intense heat.

Organisers are however putting up a spirited fight in their quest to assure the public that all will be well.

They made it clear in their presentation to IAAF that they were prepared to use cooling technology in the outdoor stadium if the world athletics body deems it necessary.

Qatar can paint the event as a paradise. The facts on the ground could however be a completely different issue.

So the sooner we started preparing for our sojourn in the desert the better.


Flanagan Receives Her Upgraded '08 Silver Medal

Shalane Flanagan already had her moment. Now she has her medal.

Without ceremony or fanfare, Flanagan got her silver medal for the 10,000 meters in Beijing on Monday, with a U.S. Olympic Committee representative delivering it to her home in Oregon.

That her acceptance of the medal, which was upgraded from bronze after Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse failed a doping test, came in low-key fashion was Flanagan’s choice.

The USOC offered to hold a ceremony for her, Flanagan said, but she didn’t feel like she needed one.

“To be honest, I talked to my family and my coach and I said, ‘Well, what’s important to you guys?” she said last week. “Because I had my moment in Beijing. And the thing is, it was a wonderful moment. I have no regrets about it. I have the fondest memories of that experience of being in that stadium. I actually don’t feel the need to change it, that experience. I got to stand on a podium.”

As retesting of samples has rewritten athletics history books, reallocation of medals has often come without the recognition athletes would have received during the Olympics. Perhaps most famously, American shot putter Adam Nelson received his gold medal from the 2004 Olympics in Athens, which was awarded after Ukrainian Yuriy Bilonog’s urine sample was positive in retesting, at the Atlanta airport in 2013.

Flanagan got her medal two years after she learned a retest of Abeylegesse’s sample from the 2007 world championships tested positive for steroids. The Turkish runner claimed silver in the Beijing race with Flanagan taking bronze.

Following the retest, the International Association of Athletics Federations in March gave Abeylegesse a two-year suspension and stripped her results from August 2007 to 2009.

Flanagan, 36, has been a vocal athlete against doping as her sport has been mired in doping scandals. Most notably, two investigations commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in the past two years found widespread and state-sponsored doping in Russia.

The IAAF has yet to lift its ban of the country’s athletics association, one which dates back to November 2015. And the International Olympic Committee continues its inquiries into individual and systemic doping cases that were detailed in a December report from Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren.

Like many athletes, Flanagan faces the doubts about the competitions she enters.

“It’s really hard. I feel like I’ve worked really diligently over the last seven years trying to prove myself as a marathoner to the world, and to myself,” she said. “I can honestly say, I don’t feel like I’ve had a fair shot.”

The four-time Olympian pointed to the London Olympics, from which nearly 20 Russian and Eastern European track and field athletes have been sanctioned following positive retests.

The documentary Icarus details Grigory Rodchenkov’s turn from former director of the Moscow lab and orchestrator of the Russian doping scheme to a whistleblower. In that and the McLaren report, Flanagan sees more reason for doubt.

“I can constantly look at races I’ve competed in and just go back, well, geez,” she said. “I definitely have had some really low moments and just like, why do I keep doing this? But I keep on thinking if I persevere long enough, my time will come.”

On Monday, that time came in a small way. Flanagan said she recently returned her bronze, and a USOC spokesman said she received a replacement silver medal.

The IOC did not respond to USA TODAY Sports’ email inquiring as to whether Abeylegesse returned her silver medal from the race.

Earlier this month, the IAAF reallocated the medals from the 2007 world championships, where Abeylegesse’s silver in the 10,000 meters was disqualified. American Kara Goucher and Brit Jo Pavey received their silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the world championships in London.

Flanagan was glad to see that for her sport. She just chose a different way for herself.

“I don’t want people to think I’m disrespectful or just not appreciative,” she said. “I’m extremely appreciative. I just, I have that memory and I actually don’t want to change it.”


Greg Rutherford sets his sights on 2018 return

After being forced to sit out the chance to defend his world long jump title, London 2012 gold medallist Greg Rutherford has a newfound focus for his 2018 season.

An ankle ligament injury and hernia of the groin left Rutherford devastated at having to miss another chance to compete in the London Stadium – the scene of his famous Olympic triumph. Instead he watched on from the mixed zone as a summariser and interviewer for Eurosport, working with fellow former Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards. Now though, back at home and with his mind turning to 2018, a new challenge has appeared. “It was frustrating probably for the first two days, once the long jump was over though I completely fell into this whole role of talking about the sport and trying to give some form of opinion that was useful,” he said of his new role in front of the camera. “But obviously I would have given anything to have been in that long jump competition because it was a great competition and one I think I would have absolutely thrived off.

“Fortunately I still managed to be involved and had the level of understanding of the event that I wouldn’t have had if I was just at home. “I’m now focussed on getting fit and healthy again and having a very good year next year, and seeing what the future holds.

“I’ve got surgery in about two weeks’ time, that will hopefully repair the hole in my groin – which is the hernia I’ve got. “From there I start the rehab process again, and the aim is to be ready for the indoor season next year.” Already a gold medallist at all the major outdoor events in which he can compete, Rutherford is targeting a triple in 2018 – of more than one variety. With the World Indoor Championships being held in Birmingham in March, and the Commonwealth Games following a month after before the European Championships in the summer, Rutherford has three significant targets in the next 12 months.

“I’m hoping that I’ll be fit and healthy and have a really good run at the three majors that there are next year,” added the 30-year-old, who took on the role of tail walker for last Saturday’s parkrun event in Milton Keynes as part of UK Sport’s #teamparkrun initiative to allow elite athletes to say thank you to the public for their support. “If I end up winning the Europeans again I think I’ll set a record of three on the trot, which a long jumper hasn’t done before. “So I’m excited by the prospect of next year and really focussed on that going well.”


WC Throws Rankings: Bow Down To Poland

The best throwers in the world faced off at the World Championships this month for a chance at individual glory. At the same time, London also gave countries a chance to prove they were the best. Achieving the top team ranking is about more than producing one champion; it can only be achieved by having depth across multiple throwing events. As we have for the past two years, we ranked the top throwing countries by giving the top eight finishers in each event 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points respectively. The results this year were a bit surprising and showed a changing of the guard.

What was the best throwing country in 2017?
Since starting our rankings two years ago, Germany has maintained a strong lead. They won by 19 points in 2015 and 9 points in 2016. Taking the pole position this year, however, was Poland. Their team was led by a strong effort in the hammer throw and multiple top eight finishers in four of the eight throwing events.

Poland actually only scored one more point than they did at the last championship. Therefore you could say that Germany lost the title just as much as Poland won it. At the last World Championships Germany scored 64 points. This year just 24. As a result they fell from first to fifth rank overall. America, ranked second in Rio, also slipped down to fourth position.

China was close behind in second position this year and was the only country to score points in every throwing event. What is even more interesting is that all of their points came from the women’s side. That’s an impressive feat, but history also has taught us many lessons about teams that have disproportionate women’s results. Led by strong javelin results, the Czech Republic also moved from 10th to 3rd place. America took third place, with nearly all points coming from the shot put. Germany made up for a a weaker discus with strong javelin results.

Overall 25 countries scored points in 2017, down from 30 at the Olympics last year.

Shot Put
America retained its title as the top shot putting country with a silver medal in the men’s shot put and bronze in the women’s shot put. In total they scored 19 points, down from the 32 points and two gold medals they won in Rio, but still very strong as they had five finalists in the shot put. China sent three women to the shot put final to score 14 points for second place.

Discus
Without Germany’s normal dominance, the discus throw showed the most parity of the throwing events. Nothing demonstrated this better than the podium where the men’s title was captured by a mere two centimeters and the women’s final also featured a close competition. Croatia and Lithuania scored the most points, but both had just one athlete leading their team. In terms of number of finalists, both Germany and China led the way with three finalists each. Also of note is that Jamaica had two individuals score points in the men’s discus, a rarity for the sprinting powerhouse.

Hammer
No country dominated one event like Poland dominated the hammer throw. They walked away from the meet with four medals: two gold and two bronze. They sent five hammer throwers to London and the worst one placed sixth. In the end they had nearly triple the number of points as the next best country, China. Russia, competing as Authorized Neutral Athletes, also picked up substantial points with two men in the hammer final.

Javelin
Germany had hoped to dominate the javelin and potentially sweep the medals in the men’s competition. But despite scoring more overall points than last year, they did not retain the title as best javelin country. The Czech Republic picked up gold in the women’s competition, and silver and bronze in the men’s competition to rank first overall.

Throws points rankings at the 2017 World Championships
You can sort the following table by event, gender, or total points.


Voisin’s golden touch

At the end of every major international event it’s the successful athletes who get all the praise while the coaches and team managers are seldom mentioned, applauded or even recognised.

Team managers are the first to rise on mornings to make sure everything is in place for the athletes and are the last to rest their heads after all those under their charge have checked in and are well tucked in too.

Ask why is it that team managers are so overlooked and arguably under appreciated by many and why they are seen as just pencil pushers?

In an interview, Dexter Voisin, manager of the T&T team that brought international joy after securing two medals (a gold and bronze) at the recent 16th IAAF World Championships in London, England, pointed out that a team manger’s job was in the background.

He lamented: “All supporters and fans see is the finished product, which is the athletes, but there are different aspects of creating and putting that product together and getting ready for display appears to be the least of John Public’s concern, but that’s okay. I’m sure that every team manager wants to see our athletes succeed.”

Voisin, one of several grandsons of T&T’s late queen of parang Daisy Voisin and the fourth of six siblings to parents Cecily and Anthony, said at the end of the day the manager’s job is to make sure the performance of the athlete is challenge free before every event.

The manager’s role is to ensure that the athlete is given all the necessary support to perform at his/her ultimate best when the competition bell rings, no excuses and failures must be aimed or directed at the manager, none. The Manager’s responsibilities and planning starts long before the team is even selected. ”

A native of the Siparia, which is dubbed the “The Sand City,” Voisin chose distance running over all other sports during his teenage years growing up on Coora Road.

He said: “During my teenage years, Siparia was a very rich sporting village with football, cricket, cycling, basketball and netball for the girls of course, but I decided that athletics and in particular distance running would be my thing.”

He recalled, “In 1981 I joined Mendez Athletic Club with the likes of Moses Ranghel, the 1983 T&T Marathon champion, Ben Basanta, my brother Paul, the 1990 T&T marathon winner, Randolph Henry and Kenrick Brown, and we competed in races all over Trinidad. Every weekend we were running, sometimes we would compete in back-to-back races on Saturday and Sunday.”

Voisin, a graduate of the Fyzabad Anglican Secondary School (1981-86) and San Fernando Technical Institute (1986-88), represented T&T at the 1987 and ‘88 Carifta Games in the 5000 metres event, winning the bronze in ‘88, pointed out that London 2017 was unique.

He said: “Once again the team achieved its best results at any World Championships in terms of finalists and medals. The feeling was different, it was the most amount of T&T flags displayed at the medal ceremony. Our Caribbean colleagues stayed back in the stands and sang our national anthem together with us displaying the red, white and black to the world like if it was theirs. What a feeling that was. I felt overjoyed and very proud.”

Voisin’s talent as an athlete earned him an athletic scholarship to the United States, but he decided against it and instead enlisted in the T&T Regiment in 1989, alongside his brother Paul.

At present, he holds the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1, Regimental Sargeant Major to the Defence Force headquarters.

He recalled: “My first tour of duty as a team manager was in 2005, where I was selected to manage the CAC Championship team in Bahamas and later that year the World Championships team in Helsinki, Finland, a selection which was not intentional by the then leadership (former Defence Force Sgt Major Kenneth Doldrun was NAAA president) at the time due to internal politics.

“There I was a young inexperienced administrator with just one year on the executive with a task to manage our senior athletes on the world stage,” he pointed out.

“I remember getting 100 per cent support from Hasely Crawford and other members of the executive. At that championships our men’s 4x 100 metres relay team of the very talented Darrel Brown, Jacey Harper, Kevon Pierre and Marc Burns won a silver medal and I was walking with my chest out and my head held as high as I could stretch my neck,” he laughed.

The seven-time World Championship team manager, the longest reign by an one individual in the NAAA’s history, said he had no regrets when he decided to choose the Defence Force over taking up a scholarship.

“The Defence Force presented me with opportunities to represent and serve my country and there’s no price tag on that. Only so many of us as nationals get such exclusive opportunities. Sports has developed me socially to become the person I am today in every aspect that I can think about.”

After deciding to hang up his road running shoes and track spikes in 1997, he became the head coach of the T&TDF athletic team in subsequent years and was appointed assistant secretary on the the NAAA executive in 2004, a post he held up until 2016, then elected unopposed as general secretary in November 2016.

Looking back and reflecting, he said Helsinki was his initiation to team management and this helped him gain the respect and confidence of other NAAA members to the point where in 2006 he was appointed to manage senior national teams at regional and international meets.

Managerial Assignments to date

• World Championships- 2017, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2005

• Brazil Rio Olympic Games - 2012

• CAC Championships - 2005

• CAC Games - 2006

• World Juniors - 2008, 2010

• Carifta Games- 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011

There’s no doubt as to why Voison holds his single Olympic Games managerial stint as his proudest assignment.

“My most memorable assignment is the Rio Olympics 2012, where we recorded our best results in the country’s Olympic history. We won our second Olympic Gold medal in 36 years and in an event (Javelin with Kershorn Walcott) that shocked the world and will remain in the history books for all different reasons. We achieved the most medals in any single Olympic Games.”

For the first time he revealed: “The night before the javelin finals, a decision had to be made by the team doctor and team management about whether to withdraw Keshorn from the event due to a back strain which occurred during the World Junior Championships the week before. The discussions surrounded the view of preserving a 19-year-old field athlete and thrower from T&T with the potential of a great future, of challenging the best in the world. In the end a decision was made by all parties which I participated in and it should be recorded as the decision which changed our Olympic history and ignited and united a country.”

He said the the memory of the team’s return to Piarco International Airport from the event still stands out.

“As we stepped off the plane the newly-crowned Olympic champion, his coach and his manager were hurriedly escorted into a private room while the rest of us were left to mingle with the general public and force our way out of Piarco. We were stuck in traffic for hours. The team doctor an I stood on the pavement joking about what just took place while we awaited our transport to arrive,” he said.

A proud father and husband, Voisin hailed his family (wife Joanne and children Jeneal and Tyrell) as his immediate support team.

Looking back, he said: “The institutional knowledge and experience that I have gained from my 27 years in the Defence Force are the ingredients that I’ve applied to my sporting experience. They have certainly helped me in my planning and execution as a team leader throughout the years.”

He ended: “Let me express congratulations again to those four young men, T&T’s gold medal winning team of Jarrin Solomon, Jereem Richards, Machel Cedenio and Lalonde Gordon for the great job they have done. They have made their country proud...Well done guys.”

Assistant Sports Editor


Tom Walsh proves mettle to go back-to-back over American rival Ryan Crouser

Tom Walsh takes the responsibility of being a world champion seriously.

So much so that when the big Kiwi went out and competed for the first time as official shot put champion of the world, in the Birmingham Diamond League early Monday (NZT), he felt a large weight on his shoulders.

But neither that, nor the groin injury he is shaking off to finish his northern hemisphere season, could stop him winning his first Diamond League competition of the year, and making it two in a row over his arch-rival, Olympic champion and best thrower in the world, Ryan Crouser.

Walsh came right when it mattered in Birmingham to haul in Crouser's first-round throw of 21.55 metres with his penultimate toss (21.75m) and then, as he did at the world champs in London, he put the icing on the cake with a competition-best 21.83m in the final round. He collected US$10,000 (nearly NZ$14,000) for the victory.

Crouser, who has failed to fire in the UK after a storming season hitherto, finished second with that first-up effort that he matched in the fourth round. Czech Tomas Stanek was third with 21.16m.

Walsh's series was: 20.75m, 21.29m, a no-throw, 20.92m, 21.75m and 21.83m. Crouser, who has a season's best of 22.65m, went: 21.55m, two straight fouls, 21.55m again, 21.53m and finished on a no-throw.

"That's what I wanted – to compete well and to compete like a world champion," Walsh told stuff.co.nz from Birmingham. "I wanted to prove I deserved to be world champion and I'm pleased that I did that. The first four throws weren't that good, but the last two were a lot better and to back up that world title and compete well is a big thing for me.

"I'm a competitive guy, and every time I go out I really want to win and to throw far, so just to do that again I'm really happy."

Walsh figured his winning throw of 21.83m was pretty close to a 22m effort, all things considered.

"It's probably 20 or 30cm uphill to the landing area [in Birmingham], so that definitely takes something off the throw for sure, and it was a little chilly which doesn't help things," he added.

"It's tricky because you've got some guys who have done what they wanted to at the world champs and you've got others who are trying to prove a point. Sometimes the guys who have done well find it hard to get themselves up and the other guys are trying too hard. That's why today's comp was a little bit up and down.

"But you never take winning for granted. At the moment men's shot put is crazy deep, and whenever I can win it's a good day."

There were no complaints this time either from Crouser, and Walsh confirmed some bridges had been rebuilt following the world champs controversy when the giant American's dual protests had carried over to just before the medal ceremony the night after the event.

In fact he went as far as to suggest their rivalry might even have gone to a new level with back-to-back wins now for the 25-year-old Kiwi.

"We're fine. We've had a few dinners together and been to a few other things, so we're all good," said Walsh. "He's still disappointed in himself in terms of the way he competed, and rightfully so.

"He's definitely got something to prove over these next few comps, so I'll have to watch my back because he'll be back in really good nick."

Walsh has two meets to conclude his season before he returns to Christchurch to hammer some nails in the new home he is building in Prestons Park with sponsor Mike Greer Homes. He will line up in Zagreb on August 28 (Euro time) and rounds things off with a shot at the US$50,000 (NZ$68,300) up for grabs at the Diamond League finale in Brussels on September 1.

"There is definitely a bit of a carrot there," added Walsh with a chuckle. "The Diamond League, behind the world champs, is what you want to win. It would be great if I could defend my title and come home with the cash as well."

The pride of Timaru has already banked close to $115,000 in prize-money this campaign, but it goes without saying the champ is hungry for more.


Mirror Sport: World 100m champion Justin Gatlin offers 'official apology' to athletics fans and admits London boos 'hurt'

Justin Gatlin has offered his first public apology to athletics fans for cheating and admitted the pain of being being booed after winning the World Championships 100m.

The American shocked Usain Bolt to win the blue riband event at London 2017 but didn't get the response he would have liked.

He was booed when he took the podium the following night to be presented his gold medal by Lord Sebastian Coe.

Speaking to ITV News, Gatlin was asked if his lack of public remorse for the drugs offence which saw him banned for eight years - reduced to four years on appeal - had been the source of the crowd's treatment of him.

"Yeah I can’t understand that," he said.

"If they want an official apology, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I apologise for any wrongdoings I’ve brought onto the sport.

"I love the sport. That’s why I’ve come back and run to the best of my abilities. I have worked hard to right my wrongs."

Gatlin has often pointed out the community work he's carried out in a bid to be a revered figure in the sport again, along with a letter of apology to the IAAF that never got the public airing he would have hoped.

His supporters point out that his first offence in 2001 was deemed by the Panel of the American ­Arbitration Association to be “at most, a ­technical or a paperwork ­violation”. He was given a two-year ban, cut to one year on appeal.

But the second, in 2006, has been harder to shake - he tested positive for testosterone.

He is still battling to be a hero on the track but says he's representing his country and loved ones on the track.

"I wanted people to respect me, to love me, to know I’m hard working like anyone else," he said.

"I felt it fell on deaf ears. It took away my focus on being a runner. I was so consumed by what people were thinking about me and judging me.

"I really had to dial in and focus on being a runner and my natural talent through all the talking."

Gatlin adds that those who booed him in London would do well to educate themselves about who they are chastising from the stands.

His message to them? "Go further than being a fan. Get to know an athlete… They all have stories, backgrounds, take the time to read the fine details rather than the headlines. Become a fan of the sport. Know who you’re rooting for and know who you're booing."

"I looked in the crowd who were barely half my age and definitely weren’t around in 2006, 2004 when everything happened to me. They couldn’t understand what I went through."


Farah Passes His Shirt & Torch To Andrew Butchart

Sir Mo Farah admitted he may not compete for Great Britain again after winning his final track race in Britain.

The four-time Olympic champion took victory in the 3000 metres at the Diamond League in Birmingham in seven minutes 38.64 seconds on Sunday.

He will retire from the track at the Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday to focus on marathon racing.

Farah handed his vest to Scotland's Andrew Butchart at the end of the race and conceded it will take him two years to get to grips with the marathon so there are no guarantees he will return for GB.

The 34-year-old said: "To be honest, to have achieved what I have achieved has been incredible. If I come out of the marathon and I'm the best at the marathon, I might compete, it depends.

"But as an athlete, the next couple of years, it's going to take me at least two or three marathons to get it right, to learn from it, it's not easy. It could be my last time.

"This is it for me, that was my message for Andy - 'this is me done, take over from me and just inspire them, see what hard work is about and what it takes to be a champion'.

"He has got a great attitude and we need to inspire the next generation. I gave it to him because he's a great athlete, he gives 110 per cent and is learning over the years. He's a good guy."

Farah took the lead with just over a lap left and beat Spain's Adel Mechaal with Davis Kiplangat third and Butchart finishing fourth.

He will race in the Diamond League in Zurich on Thursday and intends to appear at the Great North Run in September but does not yet know when his first marathon will be.

Farah said: "All I ever wanted to do as an athlete is run for Great Britain. I remember when I did the mini marathon as a kid, I got interviewed and asked what I wanted to do, I said I want to run for Great Britain.

"Now it's finally done, I won't be competing for Great Britain, in terms of major championships, I won't be taking part. It feels a bit sad.

"It has been an amazing week – I've managed to have a bit of downtime with the family and relax but emotions have been high coming into this event; not as much as London [for the World Championships] but it is my last time at home and I really enjoyed it.

"I was just thinking about the race and who was there. I had to technically get it right.

"I never dreamed that I would become a four-time Olympic champion and multiple world champion. I now have to see what I will do on the road. I don't think I'll have the same pressure so I'll go and enjoy it.

"Running was a hobby when I was younger but it has become a job and I love it. It can be hard when you get the pressure but the roads will be something completely different."

Butchart, 25, finished sixth in the 5,000m Olympic final last year - which Farah won - and came eighth in the final at the World Championships earlier this month.

He said: "He [Farah] just said 'It's up to you now, do your best, it's your time to shine.'

"I don't know [what he'll do with the vest] but it is such a great gesture for him to give it to me. I'll definitely look after it and cherish it.

"It's going to be hard to follow him. We'll do our best, we always do, but I'm going to miss him massively. He's a massive inspiration.

"Every year he comes out on top. Every year he is finishing high up in the major championships."


Bittersweet Day For Jamaicans In Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, England:

IT WAS a day of mixed fortunes for the Jamaican athletes at the Birmingham leg of the IAAF Diamond League as some of them tried to make up ground for a poor showing, by their standards, at the recently concluded IAAF World Championships in London.

In the 100m, double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson won in 10.93 seconds, which went some way to making up for her setback in London, where she fell ill. Jura Levy, who was part of the quartet that won a bronze medal in the 4x100m in London, was third in 11.08 seconds. Christania Williams, Natasha Morrison and Schillonie Calvert-Powell all failed to make the final.

Thompson is six points ahead of Ivorian Marie-JosÈe Ta Lou (who came second here) in the overall Diamond League standings for this event.

In a very tough 400m, which involved all the medallists from London 2017, the Jamaicans found the race a bit too difficult as Novlene Williams-Mills, Shericka Jackson and Chrisann Gordon finished in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. Williams-Mills clocked 51.62 seconds while both Jackson and Gordon were given the same time of 52.08 seconds.

Former World Junior champion Janieve Russell, who did not qualify for the World Championships, finished third in the 400m hurdles in 54.67 seconds.

Kimberley Williams pulled out a big jump in the triple jump event (14.44m) and finished in second place behind the World Champion Caterine Ibarguen. Her compatriot, Shanieka Ricketts, finished in sixth place with a distance of 14.00m.

In the overall standings for this event, Williams is now on 24 points, seven behind Ibarguen.


Preview Of A Look At Matthew Centrowitz

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Chris Kwiatkowski is the co-author of Matt Centrowitz’s self-published memoir “Like Father, Like Son – My Story on Running, Coaching and Parenting”. A 2012 graduate from the University of Oregon where he competed for the Duck’s on the national stage, Chris holds PBs of 13:51 5000m, 28:56 10,000m, 48:17 10miles and 64:10 half-marathon. Currently, Chris lives and works in Washington, DC as an assistant track coach at American University and a free-lance writer. 

Chris and Matt’s son, 2016 Olympic Champion Matthew Centrowitz, are best friends and former college roommates. This piece is in commemoration of Matthew’s 2016 Olympic gold medal run in Rio.

There are semi-packed bags scattered across the floor with various articles of clothing strewn about. You wouldn’t know if he was planning to leave or had just gotten back from a trip; as if to say his body stays here, but his mind is elsewhere. The walls are curiously bare, very uncharacteristic of an athlete with so many awards and allocates to his name – Matthew Centrowitz – the name strikes fear into the hearts of competitors around the world. The dimly lit desk in the corner of the room is adorned with open logbooks of training from the present and the past. This is his library, his place of study. His notes on the day’s efforts are highlighted and reviewed with previous efforts, strategies and cautious reminders. Only one picture decorates the blank walls above the desk. A quick glance at the very apparent dismay of it raises a puzzling question. Why would his only picture be of a crushing loss? “I don’t need any help remembering the races that I win”, he speaks softly with his hawk-like eyes focused on the picture. His thought is obvious; the images of this painful defeat replaying like a nightmare.

He has not always been in the spotlight and atop the podium. Like many of us, he has taken his turn at the hellish merry-go-round of injuries. Bad workouts, bad races, failure – time and time again. What sets him apart is not some genetic gift. It is not some lucky streak. For Matthew, track is all he ever thinks about.

His place is not unwelcoming, but it is by no means homey. When you step inside, the feeling is chilling. You are overcome with his sickness for success. The contagious thought process festers in your brain. The infectious drive sears your heart and burns your throat should you attempt to get rid of it. For a fleeting moment you understand how he feels every day, what it is that sets him apart. And you are forced to ask yourself – if you had the opportunity, in all of its glory and agony, would you really want it?

He sat right across the table from me slouched in comfort, collecting his thoughts with a presence of mind few are able to do. As we sat, drinking in his apartment, he revealed his secret to me, which little did I know would take him to the top of the world in the months that followed. His poise turned to passion as he spoke, “People don’t understand – ‘How are you so good’ they ask me, ‘You’re always screwing around, how do you get so lucky’ they say… I never stop thinking about the top, never!” he said, a fire brewing in his eyes. “I work harder than any mother fucker because this is all I got, I’m not going to make it anywhere else in life”, he barked. “I need to win, I have to be the best, I’m going to get to the top and believe me when I tell you … I’m going to stay there!” his fist slamming the table to accent each part of his statement. Chills ran down my spine. Nobody was going to beat him, and he knew it. Beware, the Track Man commeth.

End of preview


"My Greatest Challenge" With 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.”

Steve Landells for the IAAF


ASA ‘ran a good race’

Athletics SA (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana remains unapologetic for his organisation’s stringent selection criteria for the IAAF World Championships, despite heavy criticism.

Skhosana and company feel vindicated now that the country is celebrating its most successful achievement yet at the event.

In fact, a swashbuckling Skhosana says people must expect even tougher qualifying criteria for the next IAAF World Championships to be held in Doha, Qatar, in 2019.

He insists he has no time for critics and feels vindicated by the team’s haul of six medals – three gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

A small team of 27 athletes managed the record haul by South Africa, who only garnered three medals in Beijing in 2015.

However, as celebrations continue, there are a number of things that need to be addressed urgently, such as:

. The country needs sound representation in the men’s 800m;

. A woman javelin thrower;

. A 400m hurdles man;

. A discus thrower; and

. Both women and men high jumpers.

These should be cause for concern if SA are to maintain their performance at the next championships, in case a big name like Caster Semenya or Wayde van Niekerk sustains an injury as happened with javelin queen Sunette Viljoen, who was a guaranteed medal contender in London.

SA’s six medals also came from four athletes from a team of 27 and that is something that ASA has to work on as they cannot continue to rely on poster boy Van Niekerk and golden girl Semenya.

“We have set a benchmark and this is the time to celebrate,” said Skhosana.

“This is not a time to apologise. I’m not apologetic. For as long as I’m still the head of ASA. I’m not going to allow the team to decline in the world championships. We need to increase our medal tally.

“And the message is loud and clear: We will not lower the qualifying standards.”

He added: “The qualifying saga is now water under the bridge. We are not going to apologise to anyone and we are not going to feel sorry for anyone.”

The president said the ASA board was scheduled to hold a meeting to discuss the team’s performance at the world champs.

“We have not yet set the objective for 2019, but we sure want to better the standard.


Mo Farah refuses to let British summertime weather rain on his final parade in front of home crowd

Mo Farah’s farewell was as fitting as possible: a victory, a Mobot, a thousand selfies and, to cap it all, driving rain unleashed from a viciously dark Birmingham sky.

There were 19 world champions at the Birmingham Diamond League, but almost all the spectators inside the Alexander Stadium on Sunday were there for one man.

A man who, despite the continuing rumours, is Britain’s greatest and most loved athlete. Four Olympic and six world titles ensured that and, wearing the ‘Thank You Mo’ bibs that were handed out around the stadium, the Birmingham faithful were here to say goodbye.

Never again will their hero grace a British athletics track and, he revealed afterwards, never again will he represent his country, not even in his next guise as a marathon runner. “All I ever wanted to do as an athlete is run for Great Britain,” he said. “It’s been amazing. It’s been incredible. Now it’s finally done.

“I won’t be competing for Great Britain in terms of major championships. I won’t be taking part.

“It feels a bit sad. Obviously I think I will feel it more when I watch it on TV and see the guys, athletes I train with and people I have been in the circle with. I think it might detach me a little bit.

“But at the same time it has been an honour, I wouldn’t change any part of my career, what I’ve done.”

Introduced to the crowd from an open-top Bentley driven round the track before the action began, it was wholly understandable that the day had something of a testimonial feel about it.

Not one of his 13 rivals had inflicted a defeat on Farah during his track career and the chances of them doing so over 3,000m on Sunday were close to nil.

With two of the three Kenyans present employed to serve as pacemakers, Farah was content to keep himself far from trouble in the opening stages, bathing in the cheers that followed him round the track from his position at the back of the pack.

Only nearing the halfway stage did he decide to take closer order. Slowly he moved up – fifth became fourth, became third, became second until, entering the last couple of laps, he decided to take the lead.

From that moment onwards there was no passing him. With little need for a signature sprint finish in the closing stages, a simple steady acceleration was enough.

Clear by the time he entered the final straight, he raised his hands in a triumphant Mobot celebration as he crossed the finish line in seven minutes 38.64 seconds and sunk to his knees to kiss the ground. The 59th and final British track victory of his long and illustrious senior career.
Heralding the end of an era, he then took his shirt off and handed it to British team-mate Andy Butchart who finished fourth.

“This is it for me,” said Farah. “That was my message for Andy – ‘This is me done, take over from me and inspire, see what hard work is about and what it takes to be a champion.’ I gave it to him because he’s a great athlete, he gives 110 per cent and is learning over the years. He’s a good guy.”

One final track appearance remains in Zurich on Thursday, after which Farah will turn his attention to the road. The end of one chapter and the start of another.

The difficult questions will remain, no matter how strongly he argues against them – his protestations have become increasingly vehement in recent times.

As ever he was asked about his public mission to seemingly distance himself from his coach Alberto Salazar, who remains under investigation by the United Stated Anti-Doping Agency. Farah has recently insisted “for the last three or four years I’ve been pretty much by myself”.

That claim was scrutinised on Sunday morning when it emerged that photographs posted on social media appeared to place Farah alongside team-mates from Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project for 10 of the past 12 months, but he rebuffed queries while insisting that the day was about “enjoying myself”.

There are doubts and there are many who cannot believe. But those inside the Alexander Stadium were not among them.

They were there to say thank you – to witness their country’s greatest on a British track for one final time.


2018 World Indoor Champs Tickets Go On Sale

Tickets for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 will go on sale on Monday (21), with thousands expected to be snapped up in the next few days, following a superb summer of athletics.

Nearly 8000 tickets for the championships were bought on the first day of the pre-sale period at the end of May and organisers of the event, which will be held at Arena Birmingham from 1-4 March, have seen a huge increase in interest following the IAAF World Championships London 2017, so demand is expected to be high for general sale too.

“The IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 will be one of the biggest sporting events of the year and is not to be missed,” said British Athletics Chief Executive Niels de Vos. “After the amazing success of the IAAF World Championships in London this month, we are already looking forward to welcoming the world’s best athletes to Birmingham for what will be a fantastic global event.

“Indoor athletics is all about excitement and drama and the state-of-the-art Arena Birmingham is the perfect venue, allowing spectators to get close to the action and offering the perfect view from any seat.”

Tickets prices have been set with families in mind. “We wanted to ensure that this event would be fantastic value for families in Birmingham and beyond,” said Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader for Birmingham City Council, who are jointly organising the championships. “With all children’s tickets costing £5 and prices starting at £20 for adults, a family of four can come to some sessions of the championships for just £50.

“Staging this event in Birmingham, so soon after London’s hugely successful World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships, means that those people who missed out on tickets this summer now have another chance to experience the excitement of live athletics and to come and watch the world’s best athletes at a major championships and this time they’ll be competing in one of Birmingham’s world-class sporting venues.”

There are six different sessions for the championships, one on Thursday 1 March, two on Friday 2 March, two on Saturday 3 March and one final session on Sunday 4 March. The price of tickets varies across these sessions, with three categories of ticket (pink, green and blue) offering great choice as well as great value. Every single session has concession tickets available. The £5 tickets are available for children aged 2 to 16, students and people over 65 and no fees are charged on these tickets.

Those people who have signed up at wicbirmingham2018.com to receive updates about the championships will be given an hour’s head start on buying tickets at 9am tomorrow and general sale will then begin at 10am.


Alozie Says London '17 Pressure Sucked Amusan In

Former 100m hurdler, Glory Alozie has said up and coming Tobi Amusan failed to rise to expectations, as the youngster bowed to the pressure of competition at the IAAF World Championships in London, which ended last Sunday with Nigeria missing on the medals table.

Tobi

Amusan, based in the USA was rated as one of the favourites to reach the podium having ran a season’s and personal best of 12.57 seconds prior to the championships, in which she was making her debut. During the heats she produced 12.97 seconds, but in the semi-final she did 13.04 and crashed out of the final race won by Australian Sally Pearson with 12.59 seconds, Dawn Harper Nelson was second with 12.63 while German Pamela Dutkiewicz placed third with 12.72seconds.

“I wasn’t surprised our girl Tobi failed to make the final. I had a similar experience at the 2004 Olympics in Athens; my 12.62 couldn’t get me into the finals neither!

“Having run so fast before the championship put so much pressure on her, and there was a high expectation from every angle including her rivals. She is just a young athlete who may not know how to handle things.

“But I’m sure that she must have learnt a lot from this championships. I bet if the race is to be run again, she’ll do better than her performance now. In 1997 I couldn’t make the team to Athens 1997 Worlds, so that made me to go home and work harder and I was able to run the fastest time in the world in 1998.

“Let’s give Tobi a little time and everybody will see the good stuff she is made of. Running 12.57sec is not a child’s play over the hurdles. Only a very good and talented athlete can run that fast,” said Alozie who still holds the Africa record with 12.44 seconds achieved in the World Championships 1999 Seville, Spain.


Jessica Ennis-Hill: My favourite Sheffield hangout – and my least favourite airline

How often do you travel?

I travelled all the time, all over the world when I was competing. But since I retired from athletics, these days I’m mostly travelling for holidays. Recently, my family and I went to Portugal. We stayed at a villa just outside Albufeira and it felt so peaceful there.

What do you need for a perfect holiday?

To be able to relax, switch off and enjoy good food and nice wine. I’m happy to do nothing, relax around a pool and not worry about having to exercise as much as I did when I was competing.

Are you an adventurous traveller?

Ironically, I’m a “low-risk” traveller, despite all the daring things I’ve done in my life as a professional athlete. So you wouldn’t find me bungee jumping off a cliff or anything like that.

Most remote place you’ve been?

The Maldives. We were on one of the tiniest islands which you could walk around in five minutes.

Favourite place you’ve competed?

Osaka in Japan. It was so different from anywhere I’d been. When I had time off between competitions, I got to explore other parts of Japan, such as Kyoto, where I loved visiting the temples.

Favourite place for running?

The Peak District, quite close to where I live. It has the most beautiful scenery, with lots of lovely hills. Lake Garda is also a really scenic place for running.

Favourite holiday destination?

I like to try different places, but one of my favourites is Italy, where the people are nice, the food and wine are amazing – it’s a beautiful country. I’ve enjoyed breaks in Rome, and I’ve competed around the Lake Garda area, which is so beautiful.

Favourite hotel?

This incredible hotel, Qualia Resort, on Hamilton Island in Australia, where I had my honeymoon. It has a cool, contemporary design and we stayed in an amazing suite with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to sea.

What’s one thing a first-time visitor to Sheffield must do?

Visit Made by Jonty, this lovely little café that’s great for brunch.

Favourite city?

New York. I’ve competed there a few times and had my hen-do there too. There are familiar bits everywhere, and you see an iconic building at every corner.

Favourite restaurant?

One of my favourites has been the Quay Restaurant in Sydney, which offers incredible views overlooking the harbour and the bridge.

Favourite bar?

I really enjoyed Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood in London recently, which has such a nice cosy feel to it. I also love SushiSamba, which has amazing views.

Favourite city for nightlife?

New York, especially the Meatpacking District. We went to the 40/40 Club near there, owned by Jay-Z, which was really good fun. The man himself [was] unfortunately not there.

Favourite airline?

Emirates. It offers such a luxurious feel. I didn’t enjoy flying with Delta Air Lines. It was one of those airlines that made you feel like passengers are an inconvenience. So you wouldn’t dare ask the cabin crew for anything for fear of being shouted at.

The most underwhelming place you’ve been?

I enjoyed most places I’ve been to, but I was anxious the first time I went to Rio de Janeiro. This was before the Olympics. I was there to attend a sports event and I was told not to wear jewellery, to avoid the beach and to stay on a certain side of the road, among other safety precautions. Even though I enjoyed Rio, it did make me feel a bit on edge.

Best health tips for travelling?

Keep hydrated, drink a lot of water, have electrolytes and wear compression gear, which helps limit swelling on your legs. Especially for long-haul flights, I always bring a good lip balm and moisturiser, such as Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream. An eyeliner is also essential for me.

Where next?

I’d love to see Sardinia. It looks stunning and I’ve wanted to visit for ages.

Evie’s Magic Bracelet: The Sprites’ Den (Hodder Children’s Books, £5.99) by Jessica Ennis-Hill is out now.

Interview by Soo Kim


Ahmed shows off range, runs 3:56 for the mile

The Canadian record holder over 5,000m and 10,000m hangs with some of the best middle-distance runners in the world and breaks four minutes in the mile

The Canadian 5,000m and 10,000m record holder is now a sub-four-minute miler.

Racing at the Birmingham Diamond League in England one week after the conclusion of the IAAF World Championships, Mohammed Ahmed ran 3:56.60 for the mile. He’s run 13:01.74 for 5,000m and 27:02.35 for 10,000m, both marks the fastest in Canadian history.

Ahmed beat several big names in the Emsley Carr Mile including Olympic silver medallist Evan Jager and 3:34.78 1,500m runner Robby Andrews. The St. Catharines, Ont. native finished fifth overall in the race, less than two seconds back of Jake Wightman’s winning mark of 3:54.92.

According to MileSplit’s conversion calculator, Ahmed’s mile (1,609m) time converts to a 3:39.14 for 1,500m, the more common of the two distances. Ahmed’s 1,500m lifetime best is 3:40.18, according to his All Athletics profile. The Birmingham mile is believed to be his mile debut.

The Canadian record in the men’s mile is 3:50.26.

According to Ahmed’s agent Dan Lilot, the 26-year-old will be running the 5,000m at the Zurich Diamond League on Aug. 24.

At the 2017 IAAF World Championships, Ahmed finished sixth in the men’s 5,000m and eighth in the men’s 10,000m.


Elaine Thompson returns to winning ways at Birmingham Diamond League

Reigning double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson returned to winning ways on Sunday to beat Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast in the women's 100 metres at the 12th meeting of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League in Birmingham, London.

The victory came 14 days after the 25-year-old Jamaican disappointed at the distance at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Thompson was expected dominate at the World Championships but finished a mere fifth in 10.98 behind gold medal winner Tori Bowie (10.85) of the USA, Ta Lou (PB 10.86), who claimed silver, and Dutch athlete Dafne Schippers (10.96), who won the bronze.

On Sunday, Thompson turned the tables of Ta Lou and Schippers by securing victory in 10.93 seconds. Ta Lou clocked 10.97 for second place. Thompson and Ta Lou were well clear of Jamaican Jura Levy, who finished third in 11.08. Schippers finished sixth in 11.22.

The other Jamaican sprinters Christania Williams, Natasha Morrison and Schillonie Calvert-Powell failed to qualify for the final

Williams (11.23) and Morrison (11.24) finished fourth and fifth respectively in Heat 1 won by Thompson in 10.97 seconds; while Calvert-Powell (11.23) was seventh in Heat 2 won by Ta Lou in 10.94).

Thompson's victory was the only Jamaican success in Birmingham, but Kimberly Williams was denied victory in the women's triple jump in one of the closest contests of the day.

The 2012 Olympic champion Olga Rypakova was the early leader before Williams took the lead with 14.44m in round two, matching it in round four.

Two-time world champion Caterine Ibarguen then produced the third 14.44m leap of the day but was second on countback to Williams. The Colombian saved her best for the final round, though, leaping 14.51m to take a late victory over Williams.

Shanieka Ricketts, the second Jamaican in the field, could only manage sixth place with an effort of 14.00m.

In the women's 400m hurdles, Jamaican Janieve Russell clocked 54.67 seconds for third place behind Czech athlete Zuzana Hejnova (54.18, a season best) and 2017 London World Championships silver medallist American Dalilah Muhammad (54.20).

Jamaican hurdler Ristananna Tracey, who won the bronze medal at the 2017 London World Championships, was listed on the provisional entry lists, but did not compete.

In the women's 400 metres, Novlene Williams-Mills (51.62 seconds) was the best placed Jamaican with a fifth place finish. Shericka Jackson (52.08) and Chrisann Gordon (also with 52.08) finished sixth and seventh respectively.

American Allyson Felix was beaten by 19-year-old Salwa Eid Naser.

The Bahrain athlete won in 50.59, with Felix clocking 50.63.

Jamaican Kemoy Campbell (8:07.26) finished ninth in the men's 3000m.

The race was won by Mo Farah, who delighted the home crowd in his final track race in the United Kingdom.

The 34-year-old, who became just the second man to complete the long-distance double-double at Rio 2016, will switch his attention to the roads after next week's meet in Zurich and signed off in his last race on home soil by winning in seven minutes and 38.64 seconds.

Farah, who won 10,000m gold and 5000m silver at the IAAF World Championships in London this month, sat in the middle of the field before making his trademark push with 600m remaining, taking the lead for his own on the final lap.

He paid tribute to the fans in Birmingham and expressed his excitement about moving on to the next stage of his career.

"Emotions were high, not as high as London, but it was the last time at home and I really enjoyed it," Farah told BBC Sport. "This is what it's all about.

"All I dreamed of as a youngster was racing for Great Britain. I want to continue to see what I can do on the road without having a target on your back and the pressure.

"It can get a little hard when you have some pressure. Going to the road it's going to be a new game and I'm excited."


HuffPost - "Let's Not Forget Justin Gatlin Is Human"

Harbir Singh - HuffPost

Justin Gatlin was booed at the Athletics World Championships, in London last week. He received his gold medal for his 100m victory, among a stadium full of boos and comments from the UK head of athletics: “dopers should be given lifetime bans and shouldn’t be allowed compete”.

The following few days were full of news stories about “the two times drug cheat” who beat Usain Bolt, in Bolt’s final race. This was not the end of the story that everyone wanted, but there are two sides to every story.

On the other side of the story, is a man who was banned in 2001 for taking a medication, which was a treatment for ADD (attention deficit disorder), which he has had since he was 14-years-old.

The United States Anti Doping Agency released a statement following the positive drug test stating, “Justin Gatlin had no intention to cheat, and did NOT cheat”. Nonetheless, the International Association for Athletics Federation rules dictate that if you test positive, you have to be banned, regardless of the circumstance, and so he was, and his reputation was permanently tarnished.

Next, he fought through the shame, loss of income, served his time and made an incredible comeback; winning the gold medal in the 100m finals at the 2004 Olympic Games. The past was behind him, and he silenced his doubters. He was cheered for when he received his gold medal. Wrong had been put right.

Until, 2006, another positive test, this time for testosterone, a drug which is hard to justify. Gatlin was tested 34 times before and after that event, and the other tests were negative, Gatlin pointed to sabotage by a disgruntled massage therapist in his team. It didn’t matter, the positive test resulted in an eight-year ban, effectively a lifetime ban, and the label of a two-time drug cheat.

Knocked down a second time, he could have retired a multiple World and Olympic Champion; an accomplishment most athletes would be proud of, but he did not. He wanted to clear his name, prove he had achieved it drug-free and so over the next four years, he visited schools to talk to youngsters, about drugs, he cooperated with anti-doping agencies and worked as an undercover agent for them, and did whatever else was needed to get his ban reduced.

Four years later, he was allowed to compete again, still a substantial amount of time when you consider the peak performance age for a 100m sprinter is 25-years-old. In a sport like sprinting four years can be a lifetime.

Fast forward to 2017, Gatlin he had served his time, and wanted to prove himself against one of greatest sprinters of all time, someone whom he had lost to in the past: Usain Bolt.

The rest of the story is well known; he beat Bolt and received criticism from attendees, the media, and high profile athletes.

Gatlin story could have been one of coming back against all the odds and beating the favorite, at 35-years-old, unheard of in that event.

His moment on the podium could have been the moment which made all of the challenges worthwhile. Instead, he will be remembered by most, as the two-time drug cheat, who beat Bolt and was booed.

Let’s not forget, he’s human like the rest of us, there are two sides to every story and we’ve moved on from being spectators at gladiator games in ancient Rome.


Bolt To Open Chain Of Fast Food Restaurants

The sprint legend is opening 15 Tracks & Records shops in Britain

Olympic Champion Usain Bolt might have had a disappointing end to his athletics career earlier this month, but now it seems that the Jamaican star has set his sights on a new career - in the fast food industry.

The sprint legend is preparing to open 14 Tracks & Records shops over the next five years.

The fast-food chain that serves jerk pork and burgers was launched in Kingston, Jamaica in 2011.

The restaurants will offer traditional Jamaican dishes when they open in the UK such as jerk pork, janga soup and pan chicken as well as the athlete’s own creation - burgers a la Usain - according to Caterer magazine.

Bolt said: "London has always been a special place for me [and this] is giving us the opportunity to share our vision and our culture with you all."

Earlier this month, we reported that Bolt blew £7,030 on booze in one night as he celebrated his retirement.

Along with pals, Bolt drank five bottles of Dom Pérignon Champagne – two of them £940 magnums.

He also ordered a bottle of vodka at £570, three bottles of £500 cognac, 23 Red Bulls costing £5.50 each and 18 cans of coke at £2.50 a pop.

Bolt – who pulled up with cramp in his farewell race two days earlier – also tipped £500 cash on top of a 15 per cent service charge added to the £6,530.23 bill.

One partygoer said: “He was buying everyone drinks. It descended into a crazy party.”

Bolt, 30, was with partner Kasi Bennett and Love Island stars at London’s DSTRKT nightclub during a three-day bender.

He posted a Snapchat video at 5am a day earlier pouring champagne in his ear and saying: “Don’t judge me. This is what I do. I don’t give a s***.”

Bolt – who has eight Olympic Gold medals – retired after the World Athletics Championships in London earlier this month.

He pulled up in the 4x100m relay.

The lifelong Red Devils fans was hoping he would be able to recover from his hamstring injury in time to be able to take part n Manchester United's legends match against Barcelona next month.

But then he revealed he faces three months of rehabilitation to fix a hamstring tear.

Bolt shared a scan of his world record-holding leg showing the tear.

"Sadly I have tear of the proximal myotendinous junction of biceps femoris in my left hamstring with partial retraction. 3 months rehab," he posted on Twitter, before deleting the post.

Bolt continued, refuting any suggestion he had not truly been injured at the World Championships.

He added: "I don't usually release my medical report to the public but sadly I have sat and listened to people questioning if I was really injured.

"I have never been one to cheat my fans in anyway & my entire desire at the championship was run one last time for my fans.

"Thanks for the continued support my fans and I rest, heal and move onto the next chapter of my life #Love&LoveAlone."


Barshim sets season’s best high jump record in Birmingham

Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim, who astonished the track and field world with his non-traditional hurdling technique on his way to becoming the reigning world champion in high jump this August, one-upped himself in Birmingham when he soared over the bar set to 2.40 meters. That’s just a smidge over 7 feet, 10 inches!

The men’s outdoor high jump world record is currently 2.45m, set by Cuba’s Javier Sotomayor in 1993.

At the 2017 Worlds, the 6-foot-2 Barshim cleared the bar at about 6 feet, 4 inches with his now famous feet-first maneuver.

At Birmingham’s Diamond League event his technique may have been conventional, but his final leap was no less breathtaking.

After trading jumps with Syria’s Majed Aldin Ghazal up to 2.35m, Ghazal decided to bow out, but the Qatari continued on. With the meet already won, Barshim raised the bar to 2.40m.

“I knew I had that jump in me but I needed that pressure on my shoulders,” Barshim said. “I love it here. I had the [meet] record here from 2014 and I also won in Birmingham last year so it is a lucky place for me.”

The 2.40m final jump for Barshim registered as a meet and season record. After climbing down off the landing pad, Barshim’s fellow jumping competitors mobbed him in celebration.


"No Need To Rush Talented Teenaged Athletes"

Tony Sharpe - Sports News Durham Region

A few weeks ago, I came across an article about the peak age of performance for athletes.

Based on the findings of a study done in France a few years ago, the average age was 26.1 years for peak performance. In the 100-metre sprint for example, the peak age for performance for males was 25.4 years and 26.1 years for female sprinters.

This led me to question some of the aggressive training methods being deployed by the coaches of high school athletes. Five or six days-per-week training programs are quickly becoming the norm for many.

Quite often, they are experimenting in the weight room with untrained instructors, which can lead to serious injury.

Even more disturbing is the high rate of injury among the more naturally talented athletes. These are the kids that showed significant potential before any formal coaching.

Then in comes that coach wanting to make a name for himself by aiming to put them on the Olympic podium before they graduate from high school. Or, perhaps, these excited coaches really do not know any better.

Overzealous parents are also to be blamed. They are sometimes guilty of getting caught up in the hype and losing perspective of just how long it takes for an athlete to reach full potential.

The millennial athlete is also a part of the problem. This is a generation where instant gratification is expected. I often hear very talented athletes talk about quitting because they are not running fast enough.

In part, this behaviour is being driven by some of the sensational high school performances we read about or stories of high school athletes representing their country at major international events. But we need to remember, those are the anomalies, not the norm.

In recent years, the term Long-Term Athlete Development has become a marketing line for many sports organizations, with many having no long-term development program in place.

As mentioned in the study, the average age at which an athlete reaches his peak performance is 26.1 years old, so why the rush?

As a sprint coach, I hate to say this, but let's slow it down.


Adam Gemili disqualified as Britain’s top sprinters are brought back to reality

• Gemili false starts in the 100m at the Birmingham grand prix 
• Mitchell-Blake and Talbot struggle in 200m, Asher-Smith fifth in 100m

A week after soaring to scarcely imagined heights at the world championships many of Britain’s top sprinters came tumbling back down to reality at the Birmingham grand prix on Sunday.

Poor Adam Gemili, who ran a storming second leg as Britain’s 4x100m men’s relay team took gold, felt it hardest as he was controversially false started in the 100m. Meanwhile his relay team‑mates Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Danny Talbot faded to finish fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 200m. With Dina Asher-Smith, who inspired the women’s 4x100m team to silver, also coming fifth in a high-quality women’s 100m final, it was left to CJ Ujah to fly the flag highest for British sprinting by winning the men’s 100m in 10.08sec.

Inevitably, however, the eyes were drawn to Gemili’s pained expression as he was disqualified from what he intended to be his redemption race after an injury-hit season. “Honestly I didn’t feel like I false started,” he said afterwards. “It’s the first time in my career that’s ever happened to me. I just feel like I’ve let so many people down. It’s just absolutely gutting.

“I know I’m in great shape but I haven’t had an individual race since the world championships to prove it. I know it’s only the grand prix – it’s not the world champs – but it feels the same for me. This was my redemption race to show everyone that I am in good shape and back running fast. I just want to say sorry.”

Gemili does not have the best of luck here – two years ago he was taken off the track on a stretcher after ripping his hamstring while blasting under 10 seconds for the 100m for the first time, while he hobbled along the home straight during the UK trials in July and ended up missing out on the individual 100m and 200m at the world championships due to the hamstring injury that had blighted much of his season.

Ujah, however, was in much more optimistic mood after beating James Dasaolu by 0.03, with Zharnel Hughes third a further 0.02 back. “I was optimistic coming into this race and you can see my current mind-set in my result,” he said. “I am very confident at the moment.”

Mitchell-Blake, meanwhile, admitted he had to learn the lessons from his disappointing fifth in the 200m in a modest 20.46sec, behind the world champion Ramil Guliyev, who ran 20.17. “That was a brutal race,” Mitchell-Blake said. “Obviously the time wasn’t that pleasing but I just have to learn from it going forward. It has been a lot physically but a lot emotionally too to recover from the world championships.”

In the women’s 100m Elaine Thompson looked back to her best after a strangely subdued performance at the world championships as she won in 10.93sec. Marie-Josée Ta Lou was second in 10.97 with Asher-Smith fifth in 11.21. “I had to bounce back first time after a disappointing world championships but the time is nothing to get excited about,” Thompson said. There was better news for British athletes in the men’s 400m as Dwayne Cowan won a weak race in a personal best of 45.39sec. “I’m pleased to set a PB but maybe I could have run 44 something,” he said.


Meeting Birmingham men/women results

Aug 20 (Gracenote) - Results from the Meeting Birmingham Men/Women on Sunday

Men's 100m

1. Chijindu Ujah (Britain) 10.08

2. James Dasaolu (Britain) 10.11

3. Zharnel Hughes (Britain) 10.13

4. Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Britain) 10.19

5. Ojie Edoburun (Britain) 10.25

6. Andy Robertson (Britain) 10.46

7. Kyle de Escofet (Britain) 10.78

. Adam Gemili (Britain) DSQ

Men's 200m

1. Ramil Guliyev (Turkey) 20.17

2. Ameer Webb (U.S.) 20.26

3. Aaron Brown (Canada) 20.30

4. Isaac Makwala (Botswana) 20.41

5. Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Britain) 20.46

6. Daniel Talbot (Britain) 20.47

7. Christophe Lemaitre (France) 20.53

8. Isiah Young (U.S.) 20.55

Men's 400m

1. Dwayne Cowan (Britain) 45.34

2. Vernon Norwood (U.S.) 45.52

3. Rabah Yousif (Britain) 45.58

4. Teddy Atine-Venel (France) 45.70

5. Brian Gregan (Ireland) 45.93

6. Kevin Borlee (Belgium) 46.23

7. Martyn Rooney (Britain) 46.28

8. Josephus Lyles (U.S.) 46.75

Men's 800m

1. Nijel Amos (Botswana) 1:44.50

2. Adam Kszczot (Poland) 1:45.28

3. Marcin Lewandowski (Poland) 1:45.33

4. Brandon McBride (Canada) 1:45.39

5. Elliot Giles (Britain) 1:45.44

6. Kyle Langford (Britain) 1:45.69

7. Asbel Kiprop (Kenya) 1:46.05

8. Guy Learmonth (Britain) 1:46.28

Men's Mile

1. Jake Wightman (Britain) 3:54.92

2. Chris O'Hare (Britain) 3:55.01

3. Benjamin Blankenship (U.S.) 3:55.89

4. David Torrence (Peru) 3:56.10

5. Mohammed Ahmed (Canada) 3:56.60

6. Jordan Williamsz (Australia) 3:56.89

7. Evan Jager (U.S.) 3:57.39

8. Thiago Andre (Brazil) 3:57.91

Men's 3000m

1. Mo Farah (Britain) 7:38.64

2. Adel Mechaal (Spain) 7:40.34

3. Davis Kiplangat (Kenya) 7:40.63

4. Andrew Butchart (Britain) 7:44.10

5. Patrick Tiernan (Australia) 7:46.99

6. Richard Ringer (Germany) 7:49.92

7. Hassan Mead (U.S.) 7:51.09

8. Soufiane Bouchikhi (Belgium) 7:55.55

Men's 110m Hurdles

1. Aries Merritt (U.S.) 13.29

2. Sergey Shubenkov (Russia) 13.31

3. Devon Allen (U.S.) 13.40

4. Balazs Baji (Hungary) 13.47

5. Orlando Ortega (Spain) 13.48

6. Andrew Pozzi (Britain) 13.53

7. David King (Britain) 13.65

. Garfield Darien (France) DSQ

Men's High Jump

1. Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar) 2.40

2. Majed Aldin Ghazal (Syria) 2.31

3. Tom Gale (Britain) 2.24

4. Luis Joel Castro (Puerto Rico) 2.24

5. Mateusz Przybylko (Germany) 2.24

6. Sylwester Bednarek (Poland) 2.20

7. Robert Grabarz (Britain) 2.20

7=. Michael Mason (Canada) 2.20

7=. Gianmarco Tamberi (Italy) 2.20

7=. Donald Thomas (Bahamas) 2.20

Men's Long Jump

1. Jarrion Lawson (U.S.) 8.19

2. Ruswahl Samaai (South Africa) 8.03

3. Mike Hartfield (U.S.) 8.02


Farah motors home in victorious adieu to home crowd

British athletics legend Mo Farah began the day taking a lap of honour in an open top Bentley and ended it by giving the crowd what they wanted in his final race on home turf -- a victory. The 34-year-old, who had agonisingly fallen just short of a third successive distance world double in London last Saturday taking silver in the 5,000 metres, cruised home in the 3,000m at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting. "It's been an amazing week," said Farah. "I have been tired but had a little downtime with family. Emotion was high, not as high as London but it was the last time at home."



Farah Bids To Give British Fans Emotional Farewell

LONDON: British athletics great Mo Farah will hope his final track race on home turf on Sunday will have a happier ending than last Saturday’s world 5,000 metres final.

The 34-year-old, who will compete in the 3,000 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, produced a courageous performance just falling short of overhauling Ethiopian Muktar Edris.

That defeat, his first since the 10,000m in the 2011 world championships, ended a remarkable run of global titles in which he upset the Kenyan/Ethiopian hegemony in distance races and included achieving the 5,000/10,000 double in successive Olympics.

Farah, who came to England aged eight with his mother and two of his brothers after a long trek from war-torn Somalia, is assured of a warm reception from the spectators if not from the press at whom he fired a blast after his 5,000m defeat.

His relations with large parts of the British media have deteriorated over the years because of his association with controversial coach Alberto Salazar.

The spectators, though, have largely given him the benefit of the doubt and Farah admits Sunday’s race will have his emotions in turmoil.

“It’s definitely going to be emotional,” said Farah, who will make his final track appearance in the Zurich Diamond League meet next week.

“I’ve had a long career and to come here year after year, it’s been something special.

“But, at some point, anything we do in life must come to an end and this is it. I just have to take care of the race and respect my opposition. I have a job to do Sunday and to do well.”

Farah is intent on not letting the occasion get to him and believes he is still in fine fettle despite his exertions in London at the world championships.

“It’s important for me to go out with a win,” he said.

“I think people realise that it’s not as easy as me just turning up, you’ve got to be in the best shape. I’m in great shape and if I could come away with a win that would be great.”

Farah can also perhaps expect a surprise from UK Athletics after he has crossed the line judging from what their chief executive Niels de Vos said.

“Mo Farah is thought by many commentators to be the greatest distance athlete of all time,” said de Vos.

“I could not agree more. We are planning to commemorate his final track race in the UK in style on Sunday in what will be one of the highlights of the summer.”

In truth the field lining up against Farah should not present any problems but other events on the card have a far more competitive edge.

None more so than the women’s 100 metres which sees Olympic champion Elaine Thompson try and restore some of her lustre after flopping in the world final.

However, bitter rival Dafne Schippers, who finished in front of her in the 100m as she took bronze and boosted by retaining her 200m crown, will be intent on denting the Jamaican’s morale further.

Dual sprint world silver medalist Marie-Josee Ta Lou also lines up as does Australian great Sally Pearson, fresh from her remarkable comeback to regain the 100m hurdles world crown. --AFP


Without 2 Stars, Track Show Will Roll Gloriously On

The IAAF World Championships in London were a curious lot. The times were down, the drama was up and, while the world fawned over a pair of golden spikes running for the last time, a hedgehog stole the show.

Little went according to the script we had envisaged for London, and that may be no bad thing. We were left heartened, rather than with a heightened sense of expectation of the phenomenal parade of athletes on the international circuit.

At the end of a golden road for some of the brightest lights the sport has ever seen, the world of track and field chose to remind us that those stars, as untouchable as they seemed for periods of perfection, remain as mortal as the rest of the field.

The likes of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah have made it seem almost too easy, routine and obligatory, even, for them to mark these august occasions with a record or a dominant performance. Both left their ultimate stage looking distinctly human; Farah in tears, and Bolt brandishing an X-ray as proof that his last dash was snapped by the elements. Maybe they should have resisted temptation, and walked away in Rio gold. Leave them wanting more, and all that

Wayde van Niekerk, the heir apparent for the track and field crown, concealed a temperamental back for much of the 2017 season, but it didn’t stop him defending his one-lap title. It did, however, emphasise how difficult it will be to carry the torch of inspiration on his own.

The golden spikes of Bolt will not be easily filled by just one athlete. How could they be? He was a freak of nature, whose thumping chest entrance could only be matched for drama by his completely unexpected exit; forlorn on the track, watching the next generation streak away.

Of course, it is not how we will remember him, or Farah. They have inspired for a decade, and they leave the sport on a fascinating plateau. Maybe, just maybe, the next few years will not have a standout superstar in the Bolt mould; not one outrageous talent who rises above the rest.

Despite that reality, there is much to look forward to over the next few years. For one thing, these Championships reminded us that, in sport, nothing lasts forever. The Jamaican sprint dominance looks to be in its autumn, just as America rises once more.

Maybe, we will see the star dust sprinkled liberally around the sport, not just the track. Van Niekerk, in full cry, is destined to make more headlines, as he is yet to reach is peak. What a thought.

Caster Semenya, who medalled in the 1500m for ‘fun’, will continue to let her feet answer the mud-slinging that follows every title she adds to her collection. Akani Simbine has been in so many high-profile finals that a medal surely beckons one of these days.

Luvo Manyonga speaks of records, and such is the arc that he is currently on, only a fool would bet against him one day touching the stars that he seems to leap for at every major meeting he's in.

The optimism goes beyond the rainbow nation, of course. From the long-jump pit, to the high-jump bar, where you will find the freak that is Mutaz Essa Barshim, a man who can casually scissor jump well over 2m for kicks. The German rivalry in the men’s javelin, the US shot-put tussle

The compelling narratives are there, waiting to unravel themselves in due course.

Roll on Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games next year.

Roll on Doha, for the World Championships in 2019. Roll on Tokyo 2020, when all those narratives will reach their thrilling climax. The world may have lost Farah and its lightning Bolt, but their exit leaves the stage open for so many fresh faces of inspiration. The show will roll gloriously on. It always does.


Jamaica Urged To Use More Science & Technology

After a symposium with Japan and UK athletics deputy coach, London Queen Elizabeth Stadium away from the Jamaican crowd watching the World Championships wondering what we have gotten right as a nation and where we have gone wrong with Brand Jamaica athletics.

Japan, Bahrain and Botswana seemed to be emerging as formidable competitors in athletics. During the semi-finals, Isaac Makwala from Botswana seemed to be a serious challenger for the 400m title. I was a little sad that Makwala was denied entry into the stadium to compete against the defending champion, South African Wayde Van Niekerk.

I was, however, buoyed by the tremendous amount of goodwill the crowd had for Usain Bolt, who had failed to live up to the expectations of retiring as the 100m world champion. Bolt has transcended race, class and country to be no longer Jamaican but 'To the World'.

From earlier in the day during a coffee meeting at the University of East London (UEL) Docklands campus I had started to ponder what could be salvaged from Usain's goodwill. The UEL's lounge overlooking the river had served as a vibrant discussion area where Usain's importance to athletics and Jamaica as the athletic stimuli which forced Africa and the Caribbean to higher athletic achievement were discussed.

I was repeatedly asked about the science behind the athletic aura of Jamaicans. When I had left the meeting for the London Stadium I felt a deep, bone-tired sadness. Everyone wanted to study the Jamaican athletes. I had done minuscule scientific work with Maurice Wilson at Sprintec, which seemed to have paid off with 10 members making the team to World Championships 2017. However, no systematic research has been used in the athletic trajectory of Jamaica.

Is this why the cracks are now showing? Our foods are being marketed as sports food in the UK, yet GraceKennedy and others are lost in the global battle of the emerging sports food industry.

Days before, at a symposium on another campus, they had fed me saltfish, seasoned patties, hard-dough corn bread and baked banana chips as one of their signature dishes. They insisted that's what the Jamaican athletes ate. The dish is very popular with student athletes in the UK.

Usain gave Jamaica visibility, but there is a dark side to Jamaica that refuses to incorporate scientific ideas and technological strategies from those who they deem are not part of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) or Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) entourage. If these ideas are not coming from certain quarters, they are often stolen or go dead.

Professor Helen Asemota, a naturalised Jamaican and former consultant to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, was in London too. She and Professor Taku Wakahara from Japan enjoyed some of the salt fish patties. As Jamaican academics we were up in London in the euphoria of Bolt's departure, trying to market to a small group yam cookies and yam nutrient smoothies as bio-sports foods.

I tried to mileage the Jamaican sprinters to the Japanese as archetypes of runners who should be studied and honed with technique to produce who the sprinters of the future should look like. Tokyo mantra for 2020 “Is Winning Medals Using Science”. That is legal science.

The Jamaican high commissioner to the UK listened to our proposal of using science and technology to improve performance. He marvelled that such ideas were coming out of Jamaica. He was so stunned and literally blindsided, yet the Japanese investigators had noticed the work being done by us Jamaicans long ago and had flown in from Japan to meet us at a conference in London, which should directly start a collaboration that will help their athletes and make them a force to reckon with for Tokyo 2020.

Jamaica cannot, in this era, survive on just natural ability, as nature can be cloned and technique honed to produce better sprinters. We have an immeasurable reservoir of emerging talent in Demish Gaye, Yanique Thompson, Fredric Dacres, Rochelle Burton, Dejour Russell and others. How Jamaica harnesses this talent will determine if Jamaica remains dominant in athletics.

It cannot be done without science and technology. We are moving past the era that allowed Jamaicans to excel by natural ability and grit. We love our athletes and administrators but the time has come where a deeper analysis of what we need to retain Jamaica's dominance is necessary. We should not be having so many incidences of injuries in the cold as seen in World Championships 2017.

We should have kept records of how our most elite athletes adapt to certain environments based on notations of how they reacted before. I have seen Christopher Taylor and Jason Livermore not perform at their best because it was cold at the Penn Relays. One of my collaborators who has a MSc in Physical Therapy and who went with the youth team to Nairobi indicated that many did not perform as should because Kenya was colder than Jamaica was at the time of the youth championships.

If we have the data we are able to plan and have contingencies in place. Usain has done too much for the IAAF for our sport administrators to not have collectively lobbied federations from the tropics to make the IAAF provide leg warmers in the waiting areas for those athletes from the tropics who are not used to prolonged cold conditions. This would have minimised muscle cramping and muscle tears in London.

We should have been the first one marketing a sport dish around Bolt, yam, Trelawny and the Cockpit Country. GraceKennedy, Sport Development Foundation, JAAA — we need your support but believe me you also very much need new ideas; you cannot just sponsor those in your network.

The Government must not just entertain those who they are comfortable with. Too many useless people sit on sports boards and in administrations, and their worthless ideas get recycled ad nauseam. Some of us are not in the network of who is who in Jamaica, but we have done some detailed analyses of what can be done to improve sport performance. We have the scientific data from the brilliant exploit of the quadruplet of 1952 who set our first relay world record in the 4x 400m.

We know that someone like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, because of her fantastic stride frequency, is prone to toe injuries, so we can use this data to work on the deficiencies in athletes like Jura levy and Sasha-Lee Forbes who are immensely talented but small in stature like Shelly-Ann with the same step turnover.

We have observed that Rusheen McDonald, who was on the last leg of the 4x 400m World Championships 2017 team which did not qualify for the final, needs psychological/psychiatric help to start believing in himself again. He is our national record holder; we must get him back to where he was pre-World Championships 2015, where he was ridiculed for setting a national record in his heat and exhausting himself so he could not qualify for the final.

The benefits of yam and ginger are documented inside and outside of Jamaica. They are using cinnamon and ginger and coconut water as alternate substitutes to Gatorade and Powerade in the rehydration and reduction of muscle inflammation in athletes. Ginger is legal by World Anti-Doping Agency and must be in our repository of anti-inflammatories for cold and immune recovery.

Yes, we have our orthopaedic surgeons and medical practitioners readily available, however we must put scientific policies in place that are technologically driven to ensure the best outcome for our athletes. As we plot Jamaica's athletic future post-Usain Bolt, let us use more science and technology to maintain our position in athletics.

Please provide access for some of us to help Brand Jamaica. Whilst we might not have social access in Jamaica, the world has become a global village and is willing to pay premium prize for our scientific work. We can become global merchants, however we would prefer to be patriotic.


Are Kenyans Losing Battle In Long Distance Running?

Former athletes and coaches say more needs to be done if Kenya are to remain dominant in most races once again.

Kenyan men surrendered three titles while women could not retain two crowns at the just concluded IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.

Questions still linger on whether Kenya can reclaim the 5,000m and 10,000m after a relatively poor show over the distances in London.

The performance in London were at par to the 2013 Moscow worlds. Kenyans are known to perform well in Asia than in Europe or America.

In 1988, the country posted a good show at the Seoul Olympic Games with John Ngugi winning gold in 5,000m. The Beijing Olympics (2008), Beijing worlds (2015) and Rio Olympics saw Kenya give an impressive show over the various events.

But Moses Tanui, the 1991 world 10,000m champion, differs with the trend.

ALSO READ: Kenya to bid for 2023 world championships
“There is nothing like good results in Asia. The results in 5,000m and 10,000m men in London were disastrous. The problem lies with the coaches.

“There was need for proper preparations, selections and a smart winning strategy. We just allow our athletes to do pace setting. Look at how Paul Chelimo (USA) and Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda) made brilliant moves in 5,000m and 10,000m and made away with medals. We need to review our coaching skills,” said Tanui.

Athletes prefer road races

However, disaster has been lurking in men’s 5,000m and 10,000m races for long and track coaches are now scratching their heads.

Bernard Ouma, the middle distance coach, said: “Running requires periodic long-term planning and a perfect programme tailored to boost endurance. This includes a balancing act between transitions and competition timing. For instance, if an athlete starts his preparation late, it’s mostly likely that his form will pick up late and he will hit top form after the competition,” he said.

“The best 5,000m runners are those who transited from 1,500m event. Asbel Kiprop and Timothy Cheruiyot can emerge as the best 5,000m runners for Kenya, watch out. Asbel just needs to start Commonwealth preparation early and I can assure he will be the man to beat in Gold Coast, Australia, next April,” Ouma said.

Douglas Wakiihuri, the first Kenyan to win London Marathon in 1987, said athletes in 5,000m and 10,000m opt to line up for road races, which pays handsomely.

“The emergence of many road races and lack of competition in 10,000m has made Kenyans to prefer road races to the track. There is the element of huge money in road races in big city races.

“There is need for Kenyans to graduate from track at the right age. You get athletes aged 22 competing in road races abroad. So, there is need for steady transition,” he said.

Hellen Obiri became the second Kenyan woman to win gold in 5,000m after Vivian Cheruiyot’s exploits in Berlin (2009) and Daegu (2011).

It remains a riddle as to when men will reclaim the 10,000m title that Charles Kimathi won in Edmonton, Canada, in 2001.

Kenya has three gold medals in Paul Kipkoech (1987), Moses Tanui (1991) and Charles Kamathi (2001) while Ethiopia lead with nine medals from Haile Gebreselassie (1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999), Kenenisa Bekele (2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009) and Ibrahim Jeilan in 2011. Britain boasts three titles from Mo Farah’s wins in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

However the bad show by the men in track distance running did not water down Kenya’s superlative show as women ventured into virgin grounds in 1,500m – winning first gold medal since IAAF introduced the race in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1995.

But London also witnessed Kenyans failing to retain the titles that they won in Beijing in 2015.

The men’s squad lost the 800m (David Rudisha), javelin (Julius Yego) and 400m hurdles (Nicholas Bett) titles even as Geoffrey Kirui reclaimed the marathon title last won by Abel Kirui in 2011 in Daegu. Elijah Manangoi retained the 1,500m title won by Asbel Kiprop in 2015 and Conseslus Kipruto changed the pecking order in 3,000m steeplechase, chalking up victory as Ezekiel Kemboi had won in 2015.

It was a tall order for Haron Koech, who had trained his sights on retaining his younger brother’s, Nicholas Bett’s, 400m hurdles crown. He bowed out in the semi-finals.

Bett, Olympic 400m silver medalist Boniface Mucheru and Eric Keter, who finished seventh in the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo to set the then national record of 48.70 seconds, stand out among Kenya’s high achieving hurdlers.

Keter also finished fifth at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany to slap a new national mark of 48.28 seconds and won the 1991 All Africa Games title.

Kipyegon Bett, who has 1:43.76 best personal in the two-lap race, could not retain David Rudisha’s title and settled for bronze. Emmanuel Korir, who has a world leading time of 1:43.10 set in Monaco Diamond League, carried the nations’ hopes after winning at the national trials and, more importantly, had not lost any race up to the semi-final in London.

He reportedly picked up a hip injury while in London.

Michael Saruni, who boasts 1:44.61 in the two-lap race but was dropped from London squad on questionable grounds to accommodate Rudisha and Ferguson Rotich despite finishing third in trials, stands as another prodigy to succeed Rudisha.

The women’s 800m title has remained a pipe dream for Kenyans since the entry of South Africa’s Caster Semenya on the global scene in 2009, where she overshadowed 2008 Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo and 2007 world champion Janeth Jepkosgei.

The entry of Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba into the battle has also complicated Kenya’s quest to reclaim lost grip.

Interestingly, some well-built and muscular women seem to have been dominant in 800m in the global scene since 1983 when Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czech Republic set the current world record of 1:53.28.

Margaret Nyairera, Kenya’s sole hope in London, finished fourth behind Semenya, Niyonsaba and America’s Ajee Wilson.

Manangoi became the second Kenyan to win 1,500m crown after Asbel Kiprop’s three wins in Daegu, Moscow and Beijing.

If their performances in the Diamond League meetings where Manangoi, Timothy Cheruiyot and Ronald Kwemoi top world rankings are anything to by, then Kenya would still continue to hold a firm grip on the race.

But Faith Chepng’etich, the Olympic champion, warmed fans’ hearts as she became the first Kenyan to win 1,500m crown in the IAAF World Athletics Championships history.

Winny Chebet, who has six silver medals in 800m before graduating to 1,500m this season, would emerge as Chepng’etich’s rightful team mate.

There is, however, a steady invasion into Kenya’s track speciality, the men’s 3,000m steeplechase.

Kenya has recorded three podium sweeps – 1997, 2007 and 2015 – as well as striking the 11th gold medal in the history of the World Athletics Championships.

London provided a perfect indicator that Kenya’s performance in the race is waning.

Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhisi-Benabbad and America’s Evan Jager have always spoiled the Kenyan party.


Still joy for Adelle

TEAM GB star and former Camelsdale Primary School pupil Adelle Tracey achieved two personal bests competing in both the heats and semi-finals World Athletics Championships 800 metres race.

But her 2:00.26 time in last Friday’s semi-finals was still not fast enough to take her through to Sunday’s final.

Adelle is now focusing on improving her running before next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia and the European Championships in Berlin.

Frustrated to have missed out in London but delighted to have improved her times, she said: “Two personal bests in two days and an unforgettable experience at my first outdoor major championships in front of a home crowd! I’ve loved every second.”


Sprinter Mitchell-Blake Eyes More Invididual Success

The world 200m fourth-placer is keen to maintain momentum after his recent performances in London

For Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, any world gold medal-winning celebrations will have to wait a few more weeks as he looks to push on from forming part of GB’s victorious 4x100m relay team and achieve further individual success this summer.

The 23-year-old anchored the quartet – also including CJ Ujah, Adam Gemili and Danny Talbot – to European record-breaking success in London and now, a week later, they are all preparing to get back on the track at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham.

Mitchell-Blake will contest the 200m – the event in which he also secured a fourth-place finish at the IAAF World Championships in London – along with Talbot, while Ujah and Gemili will line up in the all-Brit non-Diamond League 100m at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on Sunday.

Given that they are now world champions, will their rivals – including Turkey’s world champion Ramil Guliyev and Botswana’s Isaac Makwala in the 200m – be considering them as ones to watch?

“I don’t believe there’s a target on us,” Mitchell-Blake says. “It’s a new race, a new atmosphere. It’s a week later, a lot can happen.

“We’re world champions, but that’s in the relay,” he adds. “Now it’s our time to perform as individuals.”

That mentality applies when it comes to future major championships, too.

“None of us are here just to make the championships or to get knocked out in the heats,” says the US-based sprinter, who was born in Newham and raised in Jamaica. “All of us have big ambitions.

“Track and field is a very competitive sport but we definitely expect ourselves not just to make semi-finals but to make finals and then push on for medals.

“We’ve always had the aspiration of getting medals, it’s not just now,” he adds. “I feel it’s only a matter of time, sooner rather than later, that you’ll see us reaping the rewards.”

Among those in London to witness GB’s golden relay success was the nation’s 2004 Olympic 4x100m title-winning quartet of Jason Gardener, Darren Campbell, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis. Four days later, the Athens champions were back in action themselves, running as part of a golden relay event at the Manchester International.

Having the 2004 quartet in the London Stadium watching them was “pretty cool”, Mitchell-Blake says, adding: “They paid their respects to us. It was a pretty special moment to know that the guys that we look up to are now saluting us. It was like coming full circle.”


Exclusive interview: How gorgeous Faith Kipyegon downed Semenya and Dibaba in style

  • Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon won the 800m race beating world-renowned athletes
  • Her father was a runner in the 800m and 1,500m categories


It was billed as the penultimate race of the 2017 London World Championships, with a start list brimming with menace, speed, endurance and athletic power.

Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya of South Africa, US champion and Olympic bronze medallist Jenny Simpson, Great Britain’s Laura Muir, Netherlands’ world indoor champion, Sifan Hassa, defending champion and world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia – all with below four-minute times in the 1500m women’s race.

And in that mix of gunpowder stood a coy, tiny gazelle from Ndabibit village in Kuresoi, Nakuru. That girl is Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon.

She didn’t disappoint. Cruising down the stretch, her legs cutting through the air with the rhythmic power of a well-oiled engine, Faith struck Kenyan women’s first gold medal in 1,500m in the IAAF World Athletics Championships history, leaving the sporting world dazed.

The 22-year-old Kenyan track queen is drop-dead gorgeous, an eye candy who stopped male athletes on their tracks at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Her beauty and style side-lined the ‘yellow-yellow’ Ethiopian track superstars that Kenyan men drool over.

The lithe girl from far-flung Ndabibit village, who caught the world’s attention, running barefoot to finish fourth at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in 2010 is now a track assassin. Gorgeous in running kit and absolutely stunning in an evening gown, she is the perfect poster that would leave any pin-up model gasping in envy.

This beauty would no doubt cause a traffic jam on Moi Avenue if she crossed that road on a Sunday morning! Then meet her in her room at Keringet Athletics Camp in Nakuru County listening to a mix of Tanzania music super star, Diamond Platnumz – and you will confirm her unbridled love for Bongo Flava.

Her full lips sit pretty on her lovely, bright face, emphasising a beauty that the manicured nails and blow-dried soft hair crown with such great flair. Faith has come so far since her maiden trip abroad on July 4, 2011 for the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France.

She has come a long way from the clean-shaven Winners Girls High School student who, as a junior, raced her peers to the ground.

When she threw down the gauntlet to race down her opponents, it was evident she has come of age. “I won the Olympics last year but the victory at the World Championships is sweeter because I fought the hardest,” says the 22-year old, who lined up for what was termed as the most unpredictable race of the championships.

“In Rio, I was only wary of Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia because I had a fantastic season. In London, Caster Semenya, Dibaba, Sifan Hassan, Laura Muir and Jenifer Simpson were all gold medal prospects,” she said.

The senior world championships gold was the only major medal lacking in her collection. She has achieved what most of her peers just dream of. Sample her calling card; World Youth (Under 18), World Junior (Under 20), World Cross, Commonwealth Games, World Relays and Olympic titles.

“I couldn’t sleep the moment we landed in London. I did not even feel hungry. It was an extremely difficult time waiting for the competition. The only good thing is that the pressure was not only on me but also on the rest of the field.

“It was well distributed among us, especially after I lost to Sifan at the Monaco Diamond League before coming into the championships,” said Faith, before making history as the first Kenyan female world champion in 1,500m since the race was introduced in Gothenburg Sweden in 1995.

“I knew it would be a tough race and everyone was going for gold. I knew nobody would go to the front in the first two laps and they would go faster in the last lap. So I trained for it,” she said.

She is managed by Dutchman Jos Hermens of Global Sports Communications, whose stable collected five gold, six silver and four bronze medals in London.

At times, Faith trains in Dutch’s oldest city of Nijmegen, where their management has a camp.

As a Form Two Student at Winner’s Girls High School in Keringet, Faith was among young athletes feted at the centenary celebrations of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Barcelona, Spain, in 2012.

All along Faith had wanted to improve on her father Samuel Koech’s exploits in athletics.

“My father was a good 800m and 1,500m runner but unfortunately, he never boarded a plane. He would only win his races up to nationals and go back home as there were no big competitions like we have these days,” Faith said.

In 2014 during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, Faith, then a Form Three Student, exhibited exceptional courage to snatch the Commonwealth Games 1500m gold medal at Hampden Park Stadium.

She beat a classy field that included track star Hellen Obiri and a strong Australian and Canadian challenge to win her maiden track championship race since graduating to seniors, having won the Africa cross country championships in Kampala, Uganda, in March that year.

At only 22, she has a long career ahead, and no doubt, her charming smile will light up the finish line again and again, her athletic, beautiful frame draped in the national flag.

“You know, it’s really hard to say I’m the best or that I will the best ever. I prefer to make short-term plans to avoid putting too much pressure on myself. So far, I’m happy with my achievements,” she said.


Emmanuel Korir Goes Pro, Signs With Nike

According to UTEP Athletics, freshman sensation Emmanuel Korir has signed with Nike and will forgo the rest of his NCAA eligibility to run professionally. He will continue to train under UTEP associate head coach Paul Ereng in El Paso, Texas, while pursuing his education.

"Emmanuel started running well at the start of the indoor season, that's when the idea of turning pro came up", Ereng said in a UTEP Athletics press release. "He's ranked number one in the world in the 800m and top 10 in the 400m so he has the tools to become another household name for Kenya."

The 22-year-old Korir put the world on notice in his NCAA debut this year after moving to the United States from Kenya to train with Ereng.

2017 Highlights:
- He won the NCAA indoor 800m title after being out with an injury for three weeks leading up to the race.
- He ran a sub-45 second open 400m twice becoming the youngest to join the sub-1:47/45.0 club.

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}- He ran the No. 2 all-time NCAA 800m in 1:43.73 via a negative-split 52.48/51.25, becoming the third man to join the sub-1:44/45.0 club.
- He ran a 43.34 4x400m relay split.
- He won the NCAA outdoor 800m title.
- He won the Athletics Kenyan Trials 800m title in 1:43.86.
- He ran a 1:43.10 800m in Monaco.

As the 800m world leader heading into London two weeks ago, Korir didn't live up to his billing as he failed to advance to his first global championship final, but he did have to endure a much longer season than many of his competitors. Keep an eye on him as he begins to train solely for the professional circuit.


How Sally Pearson coached herself to be the one of the best athletes in the world

WHEN Sally Pearson walked off the medal dais after singing the national anthem inside the London Olympic Stadium for the second time in her career, an official was waiting for her with a package.

Inside was her athletes’ pass, information from the world championships final which she’d won an hour earlier, a box to put her gold medal in and then at the bottom there was another box.

“What’s this?” Pearson asked.

“That’s a medal for your coach,” the official said.

The Australian hurdles champion started laughing.

For the first time in the championships history the coaches of medal-winning athletes were also getting medals.

It was funny because Pearson would be giving the medal to herself.

Twelve months earlier the 2012 Olympic 100m hurdles champion had made a brave decision to coach herself, a move that raised eyebrows around the Australian track and field scene.

History wasn’t kind to self-coached athletes and the odds were certainly stacked against Pearson.

She’d missed the previous two years because of injury, was turning 30 and had from 2013 to 2015 gone through three coaches.

But this wasn’t just about coaching, this was about saving a career and Pearson had decided the only person who was capable of doing that was herself.

She’d had an epiphany on a plane from Sydney back home to the Gold Coast when she watched aerial skier’s Lydia Lassila acclaimed documentary ‘The Will to Fly’.

It charted Lassila’s rise to Olympic gold and then her return after motherhood.

Pearson had been dealing with her own demons after breaking her wrist in 2015 and then being forced to pull out of the Rio Olympics because of achilles and hamstring issues.

She was hating life but became inspired by how Lassila had fought back from so many setbacks that by the time she had left Gold Coast airport the comeback and coaching decision had been made.

On the first day of the athletics in Rio, Pearson and her husband, Kieran, sat down at their kitchen table and started mapping out a plan that ultimately would lead to one of the greatest comebacks in Australian sporting history.

“It took me hours and hours and hours on the first day to write a program out and decide what was best for me and what I could and couldn’t do, being an older athlete and having these injury troubles,” Pearson said.

She put together a small group that would be called ‘Team Pearson’.

It included a couple of close friends, her mum Anne, two training partners, a biomechanist, physiotherapist, manager Robert Joske, long-time race agent Maurie Plant and, of course, Kieran.

They all knew her well enough to know that once she set her mind on something, there was never going to be any deviation and they’d all better strap in for the ride.

“I never doubted it, she knows her body,” Kieran said about his wife’s coaching venture.

“She has been doing it more than long enough. She has got the determination that whatever she sets her mind to she is going to do it and she is going to do it properly so there were never any doubts about her achieving her dreams.”

Pearson had been with her first coach, Sharon Hannan, for 14 years before splitting after the world championships in 2013.

She then had brief tenures with former training partner Antony Drinkwater-Newman and then podiatrist and coach Ashley Mahoney.

Australian head coach Craig Hilliard was on board with the self-coaching from the start.

“She’s been a long time with Sharon her former coach who took her to a gold medal,” Hilliard said.

“You learn a lot through that. As a coach, you get to a point where if you can’t as a coach instil all those beliefs and how to program after a ten-year period, I would say as a coach I hadn’t done my job properly.

“She knows what’s right and wrong, she’s pulled in the people she wanted technically and to bounce ideas off. She’s got a biomechanist, she’s got the right team around her and she was comfortable.”

The one thing Pearson knew how to do was get fit. For the first few months of the comeback she quietly went about getting her battered body back in shape.

Hours were spent in the pool and gym, getting her legs back and bulletproof again.

At the start of February while the focus in Australia was on the new Nitro series with Usain Bolt the star, Australia’s biggest star quietly went to Europe for a series of indoor meets.

The trip was a costly exercise financially given she’d had her funding downgraded by Athletics Australia after two years out of the sport but it was seen as critical to get her back into international competition.

Pearson made the podium in every race and given she knew she was only three-quarters along in her training with virtually no speed work or specific hurdling, it was a timely confidence boost.

From there it became about positive reinforcement at each step along the way.

Next was the national championships where she ran the world championships qualifying time in the heat and then produced a wind-assisted 12.53 sec in the final which reduced her to tears afterwards.

They were tears of joy because for the first time she realised her legs could still move fast enough.

Another trip overseas was next to Boston, Manchester and then to Jamaica where she took part in Bolt’s final meeting at his home in Kingston.

She was beaten by reigning world champion Danielle Williams but not by much which added another tick to the confidence box.

Progress was being made and then just before she left Australia for the final time in July Pearson did a 100m flat race and clocked 11.25 sec. It was the quickest she’d run in years and the penny dropped ... her speed was back.

The key moment in the lead-up to the world championships came in the London Olympic Stadium, the scene of her greatest triumph five years earlier and the venue for the following month’s world championships.

American Kendra Harrison was the world record-holder, she’d broken it by clocking 12.20 sec in London the previous year just before the Rio Olympics.

Like Pearson she hadn’t actually competed in Rio but it wasn’t because of injury, she’d choked in the US trials and had missed a spot in the team.

In this Diamond League meet, Harrison won but it wasn’t by much. Pearson had pushed her all the way and ran 12.48 sec, her fastest time for five years.

Suddenly everyone was talking about the old champ and importantly Harrison was starting to think about the Australian.


At the Australian team camp in Tonbridge, Pearson made the important decision to take off her coaches’ hat and pass the responsibility to Hilliard and team hurdles coach Matt Beckenham.

She needed to just be an athlete for two weeks, they were given a program to follow but it was important she had a new sets of eyes on her training.

A couple of minor technical flaws were worked on in the camp and by the time of the world championships the steely resolve and inner belief that had been her strength when she was Olympic and world champion was back.

She found her heat run disappointing but returned to the stadium eight hours later in the semi-final and delivered a statement, clocking 12.53 sec to be the fastest qualifier into the final.

Harrison had made a meal of her semi-final, almost crashing at the first hurdle and then only just qualifying for the final by .01 sec.

The lane draw for the final played into the hands of Pearson as she was in three with Harrison on her inside in two.

Dealing with much-hyped Americans in major finals had been a constant throughout the Australian’s career.

Lolo Jones had been the hot favourite at the Beijing Olympics but clipped a hurdle in the final and faltered, allowing Pearson to grab a surprise silver medal.

She knew Harrison was mentally fragile and it was something the Australian prayed on given her biggest asset was strength of mind and determination in the biggest moments.

After two hurdles in the final they were together, by the third Pearson was in front and by the fourth it was over. Harrison was hitting hurdles, she was choking.

Pearson had no hesitation afterwards declaring her second world title her greatest victory given the circumstances.

It had been a masterclass in motivation, focus and discipline and some pretty damn good coaching.

“Every single emotion that you can hold in your body just came out when I crossed that finish line,” she said.

“It wasn’t surprise, it wasn’t shock, I was just proud, so proud of what I had done to get here.”


SWANNY’S WORLD OF SPORT: Dreary and undignified athletes, a muscle-bound slogger, biting the hands that feeds, an heroic referee

Thank goodness that’s over.

Hour-by-hour coverage of boring racing punctuated by hopeless analysis with the honourable exception of the great Michael Johnson.

I was going to make Mo Farah my hero of the week (he is at least very watchable), but then he launched a ridiculous tirade at the press. Still I suppose it deflected attention away his final-race flop. Then I was going to award the ultimate PT honour to Usain Bolt, but he held a press conference alongside the disgraced Justin Gatlin and attacked one journalist for daring to mention drugs. The biggest stars in athletics are in denial, flawed or both. As are those who run the sport and those who commentate on it. Athletics is a dreary, undignified mess. I won’t miss it.

A MUSCLE-BOUND SLOGGER

The Daily Mail, as well as other national newspapers I’m sure, need to realise there are many better, and indeed more relevant, golfers in the world than Rory McIlroy.

The blanket coverage of McIlroy is extremely irritating. He’s a muscle-bound slogger of a golf ball with no short game and a terrible putting stroke. His cockiness is out of all proportion to his current record. Give those column inches to those who actually challenge for the biggest events.

BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS

Predictably, and irritatingly, first-class counties, who rely on ECB funding to survive, are racing to snap up Indian stars ahead of a Test series between England and India next summer.

HERO OF THE WEEK

It’s time to forgive Craig Pawson for awarding the dodgy free kick which relegated Posh in 2011.

Especially if he carries on making the big calls in the Premier League without fear or favour towards the big clubs. His dismissals of Chelsea cloggers Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas last weekend were highlights of the opening day.


Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake says athletics will never fill void left by Usain Bolt

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake tasted glory in Usain Bolt's final race and is longing for more.

While the 23-year-old Londoner reckons it is impossible for track and field to fill the void of the newly-retired Jamaican, he hopes Great Britain's sprinters can build on their 4x100metres relay success at the London 2017 World Championships.

"Usain Bolt left a void but it's one that can never be filled," Mitchell-Blake said.

"What he's achieved in the sport is truly remarkable. Anyone can go on and achieve great things in the future but what he's done in the sport as an individual, I honestly believe no-one will be able to match that – not just on the track but off the track as well.

"He's a universal icon. He's more recognised than any other athlete in the world."

Bolt quit in agony at London 2017 after suffering a hamstring injury while he tried to take Jamaica's relay team on to the podium. Mitchell-Blake, meanwhile, anchored Britain to gold.

The juxtaposition of Mitchell-Blake's ecstasy and Bolt's agony was clear as the eight-time Olympic champion limped away from his final race.

"It's still so surreal," added Mitchell-Blake, who placed fourth in the individual 200m that Bolt opted not to run.

"Every time I see the celebration I relive it pretty vividly.

"I wasn't aware we'd won until the official time came on the scoreboard.

"I've watched the race a couple of times with family, with friends and by myself. It's a proud moment of mine."

What Bolt's departure does is create an opportunity, not least for Mitchell-Blake in the 200m, once Bolt's signature event.

The Londoner, who is based at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, United States, runs in the 200m at the Muller Grand Prix Birmingham on Sunday.

There he will compete against world champion Ramil Guliyev, the Turkey athlete who beat pre-race favourite Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa to gold in London.

British relay team-mate Danny Talbot will be running in a rival lane in an event full of pedigree and left "wide open" without Bolt.

"It probably brings back more of the competitive spirit, just because of the nature of the crazy times he was running," Mitchell-Blake added.

"The sport might take a step back in time. But everybody now feels it's more wide open and we are vying for gold."

Mitchell-Blake says Britain's sprint group can fulfil a potential demonstrated by the relay success, his own 200m performance and Reece Prescod's seventh place in the 100m final.

"We were all gutted not to get medals when we failed as individuals," Mitchell-Blake added.

"But I feel like it was fitting we got the relay gold at home. It just goes to show we're on the cusp of doing something special.

"It's now our time to build our own legacy and get our places in history.

"I believe it's only a matter of time, sooner rather than later, you'll see us reaping the rewards."


That Moment When… Krause Won Steeple Bronze

German steeplechaser Gesa Felicitas Krause earned the bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015. Here the 25-year-old talks about the significance of that achievement.

“I have always been a girl who has dreamed big. I competed at my first Olympic Games as a 20-year-old in London, where I placed seventh in the final but I realised from that moment I wanted more and I had lots of scope to improve.

“My training in the winter of 2014-15 went well. For the first time, I had an altitude training camp in the autumn and we had four training camps in the countdown to the 2015 World Championships in Beijing where we increased the range of training. I remember I was away from home in Frankfurt for long periods of time and that was tough.

“I felt in good shape and I set my first PB in three years in Monaco (9:20.15) in the countdown to the World Championships. During my final pre-Beijing training camp in Davos, Switzerland, I created a mental picture of what I wanted to achieve and I felt well prepared. I was sure I was in great shape and I wanted to achieve a PB at the major championships. That was the only thing I could influence.

“In my heat, I finished second behind Olympic champion Habiba Ghribi and it was pleasing to comfortably qualify. In the final, my coach Wolfgang Heinig told me to be aware and awake, but to not stress.

“In the final Lalita Babar of India ran away from the field, but unusually nobody followed her. My focus was to stay with the world-leading girls that year in the chasing group. When the pace suddenly accelerated, it felt comfortable, and going into the final lap I told myself to be patient as I could finish anywhere from sixth to first.

“I remember leading going into the final 100 metres and I pushed as hard as I could. I didn’t quite have the speed to hold off Hyvin Kiyeng or Ghribi, but to get bronze (and set a PB of 9:19.25) was a huge achievement for me.

“It was a huge breakthrough moment and a beautiful and inspiring moment too. Winning the bronze medal made me believe that anything in sport can happen and even if I am not in shape to run nine minutes flat for the steeplechase, if you work hard enough on the day than the rewards can follow.

“Without doubt, winning bronze changed the way I was perceived in the public, but it also changed my belief and made me think it was possible to beat the African athletes. In this sport anything can happen.”

Steve Landells for the IAAF


Athletes set for World Champs rematches in Birmingham

World gold medallists Mutaz Essa Barshim, Tom Walsh, Katerina Stefanidi and Dafne Schippers look ahead to the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham

Many recently-crowned world champions will be among those returning to action on Sunday (August 20) as IAAF Diamond League series action continues at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham.

Fresh from their gold medal-winning performances in London, high jump champion Mutaz Essa Barshim, shot put star Tom Walsh, pole vault winner Katerina Stefanidi and 200m champion Dafne Schippers reflected on their performances in the UK capital and voiced their hopes for further success in Birmingham.

“First of all I want to enjoy tomorrow,” said Barshim, who added the world title to his high jump bronze claimed in London five years before. “My target for this season was to win gold in London; it’s done out of the way so I want to go out there, enjoy and of course I want to jump good.

“I know I’m in good shape but I always want some pushing, some pressure to jump high,” added the 26-year-old, who set the joint meeting record of 2.38m with Bohdan Bondarenko in 2014. “I really would love to take a new meeting record. Of course that depends how I feel tomorrow, but I know I am in good shape. I’m just looking forward to going out there and jumping as high as possible.”

All of the London world medallists in the men’s shot put and women’s pole vault will be competing, while the women’s 200m medallists form part of a stacked 100m line-up.

“I think I’m in good shape,” said Schippers, who will race against 200m silver medallist Marie-Josée Ta Lou and bronze medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo as well as Britain’s Asha Philip, Desiree Henry and Dina Asher-Smith. “I have had a good week with a lot of rest. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Stefanidi was a class apart in London but she said: “Pole vault is very open right now. I’ve had an undefeated season outdoors so it would be cool to keep that going. I think there’s many girls who can come out and jump high.”

Walsh added: “I pride myself on competing, and competing well, and the goal for me is competing like a world champion over the next comps I have. Not just turning up for the show, turning up and being right there.”


SA trio gear up for Diamond League

Three South African athletes will compete at the 12th of 14 legs in the IAAF Diamond League series in Birmingham, England on Sunday.

Ruswahl Samaai, who secured the bronze medal in the Long Jump at the recent IAAF World Championships in London and fellow long jumper Khotso Mokoena, are in the start lists for their specialist discipline.

While world champion Luvo Manyonga will not take part, they will face a formidable challenge, with all nine men in the field having leaped beyond eight metres this season.

On the track, amputee sprinter Ntando Mahlangu will turn out in the T42 200m men sprint, as the teenage prodigy aims to upset his senior opponents in the half-lap dash.


Mo Farah ready to bring curtain down on his track career as baton is passed to Britain's young guns

It was supposed to be a triumphant announcement, but social media rarely allows such things.

One response to news that Britain will take on the United States in a new head-to-head athletics competition next summer was particularly laced with sarcasm. “Less chance of finishing fourth I suppose,” said the Twitter wag.

They had a point – no country experienced more fourth-place finishes at the London World Championships than the hosts, while only the US produced more finalists missing out on the podium.

The natural question is: was this a case of missed opportunities or a springboard for the future? After all, Britain has never managed so many top-eight athletes in the history of the World Championships.

“I know everybody wants medals, but there are so many people that have never finished a competition as highly as they have done – and they are 20 or 21,” said Dina Asher-Smith, fourth in the 200m. “That bodes well, especially when those ahead of them are more experienced or reigning world or Olympic champions.”

The statistics support her case. None of the British athletes who finished fourth were over 25 and just three of the other dozen who made finals without winning a medal were over 26. If near-misses can provide the experience necessary to reach greater heights, there should be a glut of medal candidates at future global events. Which is handy because Britain certainly needs it. Following Jessica Ennis-Hill’s retirement, Sunday marks an historic moment for Mo Farah, who will imminently bring the curtain down on his track career. Sunday sees his last British appearance at the Birmingham Diamond League, before next week’s final track run-out in Zurich.

The duo have won nine of Britain’s 15 world titles over the past decade and – considering there was not a single other British individual medallist at London 2017 – a changing of the guard is vital to safeguarding the future of the sport in Britain.

Asher-Smith and Langford will hope to offer a glimpse into that future on Sunday, with Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake completing the trio of World Championship fourth-placers.

The London-born, Jamaican-raised, American-based sprinter not only finished fourth over 200m, but also anchored a British 4x100m team with an average age of 23.75 to gold. He maintains that experience can stand the current crop in good stead.

“There were some greats in that race – Yohan Blake, Justin Gatlin, Bolt, Coleman. The relay gold shows we’re on the cusp of something special, ‘‘ he said. “What Jess and Mo did is what they did. It’s now our time to build our legacy and get our places in history.”

By 5pm, Farah will have graced a British track for the final time. He will perform his Mobot, take off his spikes and turn to the next generation. Let’s see who will step up.


Tianna Bartoletta's Blog: "Clipped Wings"

I am.

If this were Jeopardy and "I am." was the answer given then the question would be this: “Who is Team USA’s best leadoff leg in recent history?”

Answer: I am.

I’m not trying to be cocky or arrogant it’s not actually my style. But like Liam Neeson a la “Taken” I do possess a particular set of skills…

Those skills include my ability to use geometry, physics, adrenaline, and pure savagery to destroy the stagger within 50 meters, sometimes sooner.

I know the second leg like the back of my hand. I know which foot she steps with first, and that that causes a slight delay in her acceleration even though her body is moving, I know the second step momentarily tightens the space I have between her and the inside lane. I know that I will run her down and that she will hit the turbo because I am screaming “go” at the top of my lungs in full speed into her left ear.

I probably yell “stick” but it’s unnecessary, it’s unnecessary because we can feel when the exchange needs to take place. That moment is akin to the split second before a whistling tea-kettle pierces the silence with its scream to announce boiling water.

When the gun goes off I’m at a gentle boil, when I catch the first runner I’m at a rolling boil, when I’m in the exchange zone I’m screaming that it's time.

And it is.

And we pass the baton.

And because I know she’ll take it from there I turn around and begin the trek back to the starting line to meet my team at the finish.

Yes, I often referred to the 4x100 meter relay team as my team.

Why?

Because I have been through a lot of horrible things in my life…and I’m somehow still standing, still managing to smile. So I am often uniquely qualified to explain to my team that we have everything under control.

In 2012, it was talking to a nervous Jenebah Tarmoh before the first round and making her laugh during the long walk from the call room to the track. It was adjusting her headband on her face and telling her I would do the hard part, that I would get her the baton and she could just run, and that after the race we’d talk about where we wanted to go on vacation. Before the final it was keeping the conversation light and fun as Bianca, Carmelita, Allyson, and I chose to talk about the epidemic of bad weaves present in the call room, where we stood on cruises, and Red Vines versus Twizzlers.

I kept them laughing.

2016 required a different kind of leadership. I was exhausted, the long jump final was the night before, I didn’t get in until after midnight and had to be back at the track at 7am. I sprain my ankle at takeoff in every championship final I’ve been in and that morning my ankle was not even weight bearing. I had them tape it for stability and I took some ibuprofen, and I asked my ankle (I know it seems weird) to just allow me to punish it on the turn for one more race and I’d get treatment.

Everything was going well…and then I saw the baton fly through the air.

I walked back to the start, and watched Morolake bring it in. The first and only question I asked of Allyson and English were if they were ok and if there were any injuries we needed to tend to.

The mixed zone was hard, I didn’t know what happened- I couldn’t see from my vantage point. But I saw the replay with Lewis Johnson of NBC along with the team. Allyson mentioned we would protest so we rushed through the rest of the media mixed zone and got back to the warm up area.

Once there, Allyson walked behind the tent and I followed her. I told her that I wasn’t there to talk to her, that I was just there to be with her. I told her she could cry and I wouldn't say anything or try to comfort her but that I would stand there with her.

She cried.

And I stood by her.

Later we found out we were running again by ourselves, a still controversial decision that fans of other countries continue to call me a cheater for. Our team was gathered and the solo time trial was explained to us.

I said to them, “okay, we can do this. But I need to go to sleep. I’ll be back. Eat and rest ladies. This is going to be fun”

I went back to my condo and fell asleep.

In the call room, when it was just us, I asked the ladies for their attention. I told them to be prepared to be booed. After all, we were in Brazil and we got them disqualified. I said to them that if that happens to just use it as fuel to go even harder. That it’s really hard to judge it you're running fast when you’re running alone so to just run with everything you had. I assured them that I’d set the tone.

I walked out to my blocks and stood there alone, looking at the outside lanes, stripped of the visuals that typically help me run devastating leadoffs.

I looked at my shadow…

Smirked a bit…

And thought, guess I’m racing you then.

By the time we got to the final, anxiety had reached a fever pitch, the feeling in the call room was as electrifying as it had ever been.

But we had lane one.

The reason Team USA didn’t pose when they announced us was my fault.

I assured my team that I would take it upon myself to make sure that our lane wouldn’t matter by the first handoff, I told them that I would catch two for them. I told them that we could be anywhere, run anywhere, and that we could get this done. That this was nothing, we were the best, the defending champs, the world record holders, that we were going to put on a clinic, that we were going to quiet all doubt about whether we belonged.

I pulled Allyson aside and said to her, "this gets done in two and we will watch English and Tori bring it home. But we get this done in two". Allyson gave me that intense stare she's known for before races. She nodded her head up and down repeatedly, her jaw muscles flexing and I knew she heard me, I knew she would deliver.

And then I told them all…"I can’t smile and pose guys, I’m sorry. I have to go to a different place to run this leg I promised you…

This isn’t cute…

This isn’t pretty…

This is war…

And I’ve never seen a soldier pose before battle."

They agreed.

They believed.

And you know what happened next.

41.01 from lane one.

I had no way of knowing that that would probably be the last time I represented Team USA at a global championship.

I had no way of knowing that those accomplishments would mean nothing to the new relay coach.

No way to foresee that Richburg would tell me on the phone the night before my flight to not even show up to Birmingham relay camp— essentially robbing me of a chance to even race off for the position.

No way to know after missing a week of long jump training to go to relay camp in Monaco that that would mean absolutely nothing in the big picture.

No way to know that Richburg would tell me in the lobby once we arrived in London that I still may run.

And they had no way to know that given everything that I was going through in my personal life that the last thing I needed was to be jerked around by older men making me feel disposable, and worthless, or that my previous accomplishments, and successful execution in that role didn't matter in the slightest.

Honestly, I tried to insulate myself from the drama that these relay selection processes seem to incubate in after Monaco when I recognized that this environment, this ambiguity, and this chaos was something that I probably couldn’t handle emotionally.

I asked my coach to help me, he stepped in made some calls because he knows me and he knows that I’m at my best when I have specific guidelines, rules, protocol. With that information, I can make the best decision.

The problem was that there were no guidelines, no rules, no protocols.

The whole process was breaking me down.

I wanted to run.

I wanted to fly.

I was available.

This hurt.

But my wings were clipped.

Congratulations to my Team USA ladies who brought home the gold medal anyway.

Blogger’s Note: I wrote this blog because I’ve remained mostly silent on why I did not run the first leg of the relay. Not wanting to distract from the team, I kept my mouth shut all while hearing rumbles that I was being a diva, or was making demands, none of this was true. I confronted Orin Richburg early during the champs and said to him, “It’s one thing to have been shut out of running this relay, it’s another to hear false reports of my character in the process.” He assured me it wasn’t coming from him, I made it clear I would set the record straight if it continued. So here we are. I’m setting the record straight.

Tianna Bartoletta


Track and Field's Hall of Shame

Every sport has moments it would rather forget

The 2017 IAAF World Championships came to a close on Sunday in London. As with the 2012 Olympics, which also took place in the English capital, the latest installment of the biennial event appears to have been a success. In terms of ticket sales, it was the most well-attended track and field world championships in history: 900,000 spectators turned out in droves to witness the grand finale of the Usain Bolt/Mo Farah era. With Eugene, Oregon, slated to host in 2021, TrackTown USA can only hope to inspire similar levels of enthusiasm four years from now.

Not that the IAAF wasn’t dealt a few wild cards last week. Some were minor, like the streaker who warmed up the track for the finalists in the men’s 100 meters on the eve of the first full day. In the subsequent race, alleged former doper Justin Gatlin won the 100-meter final, causing London Stadium to erupt in boos and IAAF president Seb Coe to admit that a Gatlin victory was hardly “the perfect script.” A few days later, gold medal contender Isaac Makwala was involuntarily barred from the men’s 400-meter final on the grounds that he had contracted a contagious virus—a decision that BBC commentator Michael Johnson suggested was “horribly wrong.” In the men’s 4x100 meters, Usain Bolt’s illustrious career came to a disappointing end as the sprinter suffered a cramp in his hamstring and crashed to the track in agony. His team blamed event organizers for allowing too much time to pass between warmup and the start of the race.

Embarrassing as these moments were, the sport of track and field has seen much worse. Here are some historical highlights.

Down Goes Decker

To a veteran athletics enthusiast, the boos that rained down on Justin Gatlin after the men’s 100-meter final might have brought back memories of another incident when the crowd was less than charitable to an athlete on the track. In the women’s 3,000 meters at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Mary Decker was the clear favorite—both to win the race and in the hearts of those in the stands. After all, Decker was the local girl, having grown up within 50 miles of the Los Angeles Coliseum. South African Zola Budd, meanwhile, had grown up on the other end of the world.

Competing for Great Britain (South Africa was barred from the Olympics because of its apartheid regime), Budd ran barefoot and hung at Decker’s side for the first half of the race. With just over three laps to go, Budd cut in front of Decker, who, moments later, would clip the South African’s heel, trip, and tumble off the track, injuring herself in the process. The degree of Budd’s culpability for taking out the hometown favorite remains debatable (watch the race below), but to the thousands who were present that day, Budd was the villain. Such was the intensity of the audience’s booing that it may have affected her race; she faded badly on the last lap and finished in seventh place. “The main concern was if I win a medal,” Budd said in a 2009 Runner’s World article, “I’d have to stand on the winner’s podium, and I didn’t want to do that.”

Marathonus Interruptus

The marathon-themed nightmare isn’t uncommon among dedicated runners, but most are spared the experience in waking life. Vanderlei de Lima wasn’t so lucky. With less than five miles to go in the men’s marathon at the 2004 Olympics, the Brazilian was having the race of his life. On the streets of Athens, de Lima was leading by half a minute when he was accosted by eschatologist wacko Neil Horan—the Irish “priest” whose other contributions to the world of sport include running onto a Formula One track toward oncoming traffic. A fan was able to help free de Lima from his kilted tormentor, but the attack cost the Brazilian a good portion of his lead, and he was noticeably shaken up afterward. De Lima ended up finishing third and was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship in addition to the bronze. At the time of the attack, an Australian TV commentator spoke for most: “That is just the worst thing I have ever seen at the Olympic Games.”

The Steeplechaser You Love to Hate

One of the unexpected highlights of the just-concluded world championships was Hero the Hedgehog, perhaps the most versatile mascot in history. Fortunately, Hero never entered the crosshairs of steeplechaser and self-styled enfant terrible Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad. Following his win at the 2010 European Athletics Championships, the Frenchman made the mascot kneel in front of him, and then promptly pushed him to the ground. At the European Championships two years later, Mekhissi-Benabbad did it again, this time violently shoving what turned out to be a 14-year-old girl. Lest anyone should think Mekhissi-Benabbad’s résumé is limited to roughing up costumed cheerleaders, he is also known for engaging in post-race fisticuffs with fellow athletes, as well as premature shirtless celebrating. After a fourth-place finish last summer in Rio, Mekhissi-Benabbad helped get bronze medalist Ezekiel Kemboi disqualified for (literally) one misstep during the steeplechase.

A Violation of Privacy

The next development in the controversy surrounding Caster Semenya—the allegedly hyperandrogenic South African 800-meter runner who won the gold medal in London on Sunday—is expected to come sometime in September or October. At that time, the IAAF will once again attempt to convince the Court of Arbitration for Sport that athletes like Semenya must artificially reduce their atypically high testosterone levels in the name of a “level playing field.” “This is an incredibly sensitive subject,” IAAF President Seb Coe told the Guardian last week. Unfortunately the IAAF didn’t do enough to treat it as such when, during the 2009 World Championships, the organization revealed that Semenya had been asked to undergo a gender verification test, leading to a media frenzy. The disclosure was widely condemned as a careless violation of an 18-year-old’s privacy (sports scientist Ross Tucker recently referred to Semenya’s “outing” as a set of “almighty screwups”), the fallout from which the IAAF is still dealing with today.

Tainted Golds

All doping scandals hurt professional athletics, but when an Olympic gold medalist is involved, the pain is most acute. Nothing is more delegitimizing for a sport than when the athlete standing on the top of the podium in the premier competition turns out to be a fraud. Unfortunately, this regrettable circumstance has only become more common in track and field. The first high-profile case came at the 1988 Games in Seoul, when Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was disqualified for steroid use a few days after winning the 100 meters and setting the world record. More recently, U.S. sprinter Marion Jones had her remarkable five-medal (three gold) performance at the Sydney Games stricken from the record after she confessed to steroid use in 2007; her abrupt retirement from track and field at the time was followed by a six-month jail sentence. No fewer than six track and field athletes from the 2012 London Olympics have since been stripped of their gold medals. Last April, Jemima Sumgong, winner of the women’s marathon in Rio, tested positive for EPO—prompting LetsRun.com co-founder Robert Johnson to ask, “What’s the point of being a fan anymore?”


Bolt A Beacon Of Light In Darkest Days

The word 'legend' is thrown about all too often these days, but in some cases no superlative is enough.

But, for the best part of a decade, one man has stood out above the rest.

He has been the brightest beacon of light in athletics' darkest days, a beacon that dimmed with one final determined flicker here in London.

On Sunday, Usain Bolt bade farewell to the sport whose weight he has held on his shoulders as it battled against the greatest of struggles.

His success on the track of the Olympic Stadium will forever define London 2012. But this is a sport in crisis.

One in seven of all finalists that summer have been caught doping before or since, more than a third of finalists are connected to doping and while Russia are the worst offenders, Bolt's own Jamaican team doesn't escape censure.

But - for one night only - perhaps we could allow ourselves to just glory in the moment, as Bolt took in one final lap of honour in the place in which he solidified his status as the greatest of all time.

Granted, his final World Championships didn't exactly go as the script had entailed - missing out on the 100m title to Justin Gatlin and pulling up injured in the relay.

But, as more than 55,000 people took to their feet to salute the hero of a generation, it was apparent his legacy is far more than just his feats on the track; he is a king of the people.

"For me, the lap was brilliant. The support hasn't changed," said Bolt, struggling to keep his emotions in check as he waved goodbye.

"It is sad that I have to walk away now. The energy of crowd was great. I feel so at home and welcome here.

"I was saying goodbye to fans and saying goodbye to my events, I've dominated them for years. They have been everything to me. I almost cried, but it didn't come.

"One championship doesn't change what I've done. I have shown my credentials throughout my career so losing my last race isn't going to change what I've done in my sport.

"I've proven that by working hard, anything is possible. I personally feel this is a good message to send to youngsters to push on.

"If I can leave that to the younger generation, then that's a good legacy to leave."

It has been an era of the sport that, for many years to come, will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Bolt himself has been a victim of it - his relay gold medal from Beijing 2008 stripped away when Jamaican team-mate Nesta Carter tested positive in China.

Many saw Bolt as the only one who could save the sport, but yet even he fears for its future, warning athletics will 'die' if dopers continue to destroy its reputation.

So as the curtain falls on its hero's time on the track, where does world athletics go from here?

"I have always been strong on doping," he said.

"I've said it, athletes should get life bans if you go out of your way to cheat an athlete. The sport is now on the way back up and we have to do everything to keep it in a good light.

"I've shown that you can do it without doping so that's what I hope the young athletes will take from it."

Beijing was his birth, London his coming of age and Rio his swan song, yet while Bolt's feats on the track could never be described as anything less than remarkable, it's his personality off it that has catapulted him into a different stratosphere.

Try as you might, it's impossible not to like the man - his persona one that is so desperately craved by other sports the world round.

His very presence raises a wry smile, the not knowing of what is about to come next.

The talk this week has been about who will fill his size 13 spikes. But away from the stadiums, the arenas, and the training tracks, it could take some time.

Bolt exits the stage, his successor unknown, much like the future of his sport. Lightning doesn't strike twice.

Sportsbeat 2017


Sun Devils Reflect On World Champs Experience

Seven Sun Devil student-athletes -- past and present -- competed at the IAAF World Championships for track and field in London from Aug. 4-13.



Former NCAA champion Amy Cragg earned the bronze medal in the marathon, snapping a 34-year medal drought for American women with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 18 seconds, just seven seconds off the gold-medal time and less than a second from the silver medal.
 
Bryan McBride advanced to the high jump final with a near personal-best leap of 2.29 meters and took eighth overall. Ryan Whiting advanced to the shot put final and finished seventh in his third outdoor World Championships since 2011. Chris Benard took sixth place in the triple jump with a mark of 17.16 meters. Shelby Houlihan (13th overall) qualified for the 5,000-meter final with a personal best 15:00.37.


 
NCAA hammer throw champion Maggie Ewen and long jumper Christabel Nettey also competed.
 
TheSunDevils.com caught up with four of those athletes for some quick thoughts on their experience. Here are their responses.
 
How did you feel about your performance?
 
Ewen: "I feel like my performance did not accurately represent where I was in my training. They were not the distances I would have liked to see."
 
McBride: "I felt bittersweet about my performance. I executed everything the way I wanted to in the prelims, which set me up to be in the finals. And during the finals, that execution wasn't there and being my first World Championships, I think competing back to back from prelim to final is something I'm not used to yet. But, overall, I am very happy with it! I ended eighth in the World at my first major championship and that is something I can be proud of!"


 
Houlihan: "Very disappointed in my performance. I didn't feel that the result reflected what I was fully capable of."
 
Whiting: "I felt like I could have performed better. Unless you have the gold in hand, that is kind of always the case. All things considered, it was a step in the right direction, making the finals and finishing seventh at the World Championships after not qualifying for the meet the last two years definitely feels good."
 
What was the most memorable part of the competition for you?
 
Ewen: "The most memorable part of the competition for me was watching the final of women's hammer. Watching such talented women in person and knowing that, someday, I could be down there competing alongside them, was really motivating."
 
McBride: "The most memorable moment would be when I looked at the screen and knew I made it to the finals! The finals is always the goal before the goal and coming off of a disappointing 2016 season not making a team, to be out there in front of 60,000 people and making the World Championship final is a feeling I will always remember!"


 
Houlihan: "Watching my teammates win medals. It was so amazing to watch and inspires me to want to be on that podium."
 
Whiting: "For me, the most memorable part of my competition was seeing the Kiwi, Tom Walsh, win the shot put competition. Tom is a good friend of mine and it couldn't have happened to a better guy."

What would you say you gained from the experience?
 
Ewen: "I obviously gained a lot of experience from this competition. I have never been to a meet like this so I did a lot of learning. Another thing I gained was a new appreciation for how hard I need to work. Competing on the national stage is tough but the world stage is a completely different animal."
 
McBride: "I would say that this experience gave me just that, experience. I can leave London now knowing how these major championships work and what to expect when you go through the warm-up area and the call room. I now know how it feels to have that many people watching you and some more efficient ways of handling that kind of excitement. I now know how it feels to go from prelims to a final and the amount of toll the body takes from that and I can do a better job of training my body for that in the future. I can now say I have experience under my belt when it comes to these meets and that is the most important thing I could have taken away from this."
 


Houlihan: "I gained experience in racing a 5k at the highest level. I'm still learning the event so that can be frustrating at times, especially this time, and gaining that experience in the event will only help me in the future."
 
Whiting: "I feel like I gained another notch in my belt, experience wise. This was my seventh national team and as I get older I feel like I can really appreciate what it takes to perform at the highest level year after year."
 
What was your favorite London moment, not associated with your competition?
 
Ewen: "I don't really have a favorite London moment, but I am very happy that I was able to experience such a beautiful and historic place with my family."  
 
McBride: "The best London moment would be when I bit into my very first Nando's chicken! This food chain in London had some of the best tasting chicken I have ever had in my life! And I've had a lot of chicken. My chicken standards have risen to a higher level."


 
Houlihan: "Going to Platform 9¾ in King's Cross Station the day after my race! I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and I couldn't stop smiling because I was so excited."
 
Whiting: "Overall, the highlight of the meet for just about everyone has to be the fact that this was Usain Bolt's last major championships. Every time I have met and interacted with him he is gracious and a real asset to the sport."
 
With the World Championships over, what are your immediate plans?
 
Ewen: "My immediate plans are to rest, but knowing me it won't be long until I am back at the track. Also, school starts this week so my schedule's about to get really busy." 
 
McBride: "I am currently heading back home to San Diego with plans to chalk up this 2017 as successful and over. It is definitely to rest, relax and enjoy my summer for a few months before I get back to the grind for the 2018 season."


 
Houlihan: "I'll be racing a 1,500 in Birmingham next!"
 
Whiting: "With World Championships over, I came home on Aug. 8 to be with my family (wife Ashley, formerly Evans, an ASU swim alum, my son 4 and my daughter 1.5). I have two more meets planned for the end of the season. I leave on the 17th for Birmingham, UK and then come back for my younger brother's wedding and return to Brussels for my last meet of the year on the 31st of August."


NCAA Champ Jefferson Started Out As A Swimmer

As a young girl growing up in the Boston Edison Historic District on Detroit’s west side, Kyra Jefferson loved playing and running around with her cousins. She had no idea that hanging out with them would turn into a long, successful career, and a national championship.

Now, not only is she a University of Florida graduate, but on June 10th, Jefferson became the 200-meter Women's NCAA Track Champion with a collegiate-record time of 22.02 seconds.

Now Jefferson is approaching the next stage of her life, while never forgetting those moments where it all began.

“A lot of my cousins ran track for Think Detroit Pal, so I decided to run track too,’’ Jefferson recalled. “I started when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I wasn’t that good, but I wanted to hang out with my cousins and friends in the summertime.’’

A diamond in the rough

Jefferson wasn’t the best track athlete because this was a new sport for her, according to her mother.

“Kyra didn't start out as a track athlete, she started as a competitive swimmer,” said Michelle Watkins, Jefferson’s mother.

Although Jefferson’s cousins helped her find a new interest in track, she still swam for most of her high school years. The motivation came from her mother to pursue both sports.

“Kyra and I actually had an agreement,’’ said Watkins. “She was in the eighth grade and said to me, ‘mom, I think I could get better if I just focus on track a little more,’ so in the ninth grade we allowed her to do both track and swimming.”

Jefferson swam for Cass Technical High School until her junior year and ran track at the school all four years.

Track practice was routine for Jefferson.

She would practice for a couple hours at Cass Tech after school, then again with her mother, who was the track coach for both Northwestern High School and New Breed Track Club. Just like Jefferson, this was new for her mother. Watkins didn't start coaching until her daughter started running track, although she ran track when she was younger.

“I saw a need for kids who weren't being taken serious because they weren't the superstar of the team, and my kid was one of those who wasn’t a superstar,’’ said Watkins. “She was kinda always being overlooked. I said, we are going to miss a diamond in the rough because she isn't the best right now.’’

An eye toward college

As Jefferson approached the end of her junior year she was faced with many decisions regarding college. She narrowed her choices from 10 schools to five, realizing she could only go on five official visits due to NCAA rules.

“I had offers from other schools, but I went on official visits to The University of Florida, Louisiana State University, University of Tennessee, Florida State University, and Texas A&M University,” said Jefferson in a recent phone interview with the Free Press.

And she went on her official visits alone. Her mother described this decision as a way of “pushing the baby bird out of the nest.’’

“We (Watkins and her husband) did all the research from an academic point because the key thing was that she was going to be a student athlete, student first then an athlete,’’ said Watkins. “But, she's going to be there by herself for four years so it had to be her decision” as to where to go.

Watkins wanted Jefferson to make a decision by Dec. 1, of 2011. This way she could enjoy the end of her senior year of high school, with no stress and pressure from college coaches.

“I choose the University of Florida because I liked the campus, I liked how the team seemed like a family, and I like how the coach (Mike Holloway) helped his girls,’’ Jefferson said.

“Some girls came in running 24 (seconds) and left running 23 (seconds), as compared to other schools where the girls come out only running a little bit better. I liked how the coach was coaching me to be better, not just to win championships.’’

Kyra accomplished both.

The big race

The NCAA 200-meter final in Eugene, Ore., was the last collegiate race of Jefferson's career at Florida.

“Going into that race I didn't know what to expect. I knew that the girl I ran against, (Oregon’s) Deajah Stevens, was going to be a really good competitor because she was the top person in the NCAA at the time,’’ said Jefferson. “I was nervous because I hadn't ran some of those fast times she was running, and I actually didn't know what to expect.

"My coach kinda just told me to just trust that I belong there, to believe that I belonged in the race and that I was just as good and better than anybody else.”

Right before the race Jefferson gave herself some last-minute encouragement.

“I literally remember what I was saying to myself a couple seconds before,’’ she said. “I just kept saying faith and focus, faith and focus and just tried to make sure that I stayed as relaxed as possible.’’

When the race concluded cheers erupted from the Hayward Field stands, which included some of her Gator teammates and parents. But one cheer stood out -- her mother’s.

“If you go back and play the big race, if you hear someone screaming in the background, that’s me,’’ said Watkins. “I didn't realize she broke a record at first, I was excited for the fact that she won her favorite race, her final track meet of her collegiate career.”

Jefferson’s time broke a collegiate record which had stood for 28 years. Dawn Sowell of LSU ran 22.04 in 1989. Jefferson ran 22.02.

“I turned around and screamed because I didn't even know that was the collegiate record at first. I just knew that I had PR’D (personal record), which I haven’t done in two years, so I was literally crying,” said Jefferson.

“I used to have this fear, I was scared to be great. I was scared that if I ran my hardest it would be too good to be true. My whole mantra this whole year is to always believe something good was going to happen, so during this race I knew that if I won or Deajah won I was going to run my hardest.”

Even though her collegiate track days were coming to an end, Jefferson's professional track life is just beginning.

Jefferson graduated from Florida in April with a bachelor’s degree in event management and a minor in mass communications. She finished with more than 15 track honors.

Jefferson, who still lives in Gainesville, Fla., just recently signed professionally with Nike. She is running with the team overseas as part of the Diamond League, a league for independent runners from across the world.

Jefferson might now be thousands of miles away from her family, but their support follows her wherever she goes.

“Her dad and I support her in everything that she does, I'll never stop doing what I’ve always done, which is attend the meets that I can,’’ said Watkins. “So every race that she runs in the U.S., I'll be there. My plan is to go to her professional race in Zurich in August which is the Diamond League Championship.”

Jefferson aspires to go to the Olympics as a competitor and leave a champion.

Outside of track, she has had a long obsession with HGTV. She is in the process of obtaining a real estate license so that she can also sell “million dollar homes.’’

From Detroit to Gainesville, now all over the world with Nike, Jefferson has had a long and adventurous "run." She may now be a professional striving toward Olympic dreams --- with a side of real estate --- but she will always be the young girl who just wanted to hang out with her cousins. The swimmer turned track star from the west side's Boston-Edison.


Driven Caster Semenya has ‘no time for nonsense’

She says her focus now is to study, graduate and create opportunities for athletes in Limpopo.

Caster Semenya eyes the reporter across the room, her relaxed demeanour and hearty chuckle replaced by a firm expression as she shifts forward in her chair.

She has again been asked about an invasive public probe into her gender, as she has on many occasions since she won the world title in Berlin at the age of 19.

Back then she was thrown to the wolves by administrators and politicians, who ignored a teenager’s vulnerability in order to flaunt a gold medal, and the subsequent global reaction ultimately locked a shy young girl deep within her shell.

She switched off, avoided most interview requests and closed herself down to the prying eyes of the outside world.

Semenya has never specifically avoided the question about her gender, but while at a younger age she was far more conservative in her response, she has finally emerged from her cocoon, and she now puts her foot down if she feels she’s being pushed.

“I have no time for nonsense,” she says after being asked about her condition and an impending decision on the matter during the World Championships in London.

She simply doesn’t want to discuss it any more, and one can hardly blame her as any decisions regarding the rules on hyperandrogenism are completely out of her control.

What she can control is her performances on the track, and elevated natural testosterone or not, she has proved her immense ability, both when it was believed her hormones were being suppressed by medication, and now that we know they are not.

Her inconsistent performances since 2009, while compounded by injuries, disruptive training and a wobbly switch between coaches, have been largely accredited to the belief that her condition gives her an advantage over her competitors.

However, whether that advantage is either real or fair remains under debate. Last year the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) suspended the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rule which forced athletes with hyperandrogenism to suppress their natural testosterone levels, supposedly through medication.

Running injury-free in a new environment, Semenya subsequently burst back to her best when she broke her seven-year-old national record to win the Olympic title in Rio last year in 1min 55.28sec.

Last week she charged across the line in 1:55.16 to win the world title in London and climbed to eighth position in the all-time women’s 800m world rankings.

Though she has had her ups and downs over the years, Semenya was one of the best middle-distance runners in the world even when she was believed to be taking medication which slowed her down.

She now holds the 24 fastest times on the SA women’s all-time 800m performance lists, and when Russian doper Mariya Savinova’s case is finalised, her silver medals at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympic Games should be elevated to gold, making her South Africa’s most accomplished track and field athlete.

Away from the track, Semenya has a lot on her plate, and training and competition offer only one aspect of a well-rounded life. Recently married to former elite distance runner Violet Raseboya, she has settled well into adult life.

In her final year as a sports science student at North-West University, Semenya has already ventured into both business and philanthropy by investing in the Princess D menstrual cup which aims to provide sanitary options to teenage girls in rural and disadvantaged areas.

She also speaks fondly of the foundation she wants to start back home in Limpopo, and in other areas, to give talented athletes opportunities and direction.

“I still want to break world records but there are a lot of things on my mind,” she says, looking ahead to her future as an athlete, an entrepreneur and a spouse.

Her soft, bubbly expression evaporates once more as she draws herself away from her comfort zone on the track.

It’s time to be serious, and when Semenya sets herself a goal, it’s best not to stand in her way.

“Right now I have to go back to school and study. I still have to graduate, and that must come first.”

And as much as the debate on the CAS decision may still be raging in the background, Semenya has made it clear she will not lose sleep over it.

Regardless of the impending result, she has already moved on, and she is happy enough with herself that she doesn’t need approval. Nothing will sway her attention now.

“Like I’ve said before, my focus is more on getting healthy and competing,” she says.


British great bids to give fans memorable farewell

British athletics great Mo Farah will hope his final track race on home turf on Sunday will have a happier ending than last Saturday's world 5,000 metres final.

The 34-year-old, who will compete in the 3,000 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, produced a courageous performance just falling short of overhauling Ethiopian Muktar Edris.

That defeat, his first since the 10,000m in the 2011 world championships, ended a remarkable run of global titles in which he upset the Kenyan/Ethiopian hegemony in distance races and included achieving the 5,000/10,000 double in successive Olympics.

Farah, who came to England aged eight with his mother and two of his brothers after a long trek from war-torn Somalia, is assured of a warm reception from the spectators if not from the press at whom he fired a blast after his 5,000m defeat.

His relations with large parts of the British media have deteriorated over the years because of his association with controversial coach Alberto Salazar.

The spectators, though, have largely given him the benefit of the doubt and Farah admits Sunday's race will have his emotions in turmoil.

"It's definitely going to be emotional," said Farah, who will make his final track appearance in the Zurich Diamond League meet next week.

"I've had a long career and to come here year after year, it's been something special.

"But, at some point, anything we do in life must come to an end and this is it. I just have to take care of the race and respect my opposition. I have a job to do Sunday and to do well."

Farah is intent on not letting the occasion get to him and believes he is still in fine fettle despite his exertions in London at the world championships.

"It's important for me to go out with a win," he said.

"I think people realise that it's not as easy as me just turning up, you've got to be in the best shape. I'm in great shape and if I could come away with a win that would be great."

'Greatest distance athlete of all time'

Farah can also perhaps expect a surprise from UK Athletics after he has crossed the line judging from what their chief executive Niels de Vos said.

"Mo Farah is thought by many commentators to be the greatest distance athlete of all time," said de Vos.

"I could not agree more. We are planning to commemorate his final track race in the UK in style on Sunday in what will be one of the highlights of the summer."

In truth the field lining up against Farah should not present any problems but other events on the card have a far more competitive edge.

None more so than the women's 100 metres which sees Olympic champion Elaine Thompson try and restore some of her lustre after flopping in the world final.

However, bitter rival Dafne Schippers, who finished in front of her in the 100m as she took bronze and boosted by retaining her 200m crown, will be intent on denting the Jamaican's morale further.

Dual sprint world silver medalist Marie-Josee Ta Lou also lines up as does Australian great Sally Pearson, fresh from her remarkable comeback to regain the 100m hurdles world crown.


Asha Philip backs new generation of British athletics stars to emerge

Medals last for ever but euphoria, Asha Philip admits, is temporary.

Six days after a superb Saturday when the sprinter revelled in the joy of a World Championships silver in the 4x100metres relay at the London Stadium, the circuit moves on and the 26-year-old has another target to shoot for.

Next stop, Birmingham, for Sunday’s Muller Grand Prix, with many of those who shone in the capital last week convinced to stay on for the Diamond League meeting as the athletics season nears its end.

The Alexander Stadium will bring Mo Farah’s last track appearance on British soil. Although there were inevitable declarations from UK Athletics that meeting their World Championships medal target of six was a sign of strength, the four-time Olympic champion was the lone individual gold medallist in London.

As yet, no candidate to succeed him in the lead role has emerged. Watch this space, though, argues Philip, who believes the scent of renewal is in the air, enriched by hopefuls like Callum Hawkins in the marathon, Kyle Langford in the 800m and her relay team-mate Dina Asher-Smith in the 200m, all close to a podium in London.

“Sport has that,” says Philip. “It goes in waves. I think we’ve shown with the number of fourth places that they’re almost there.

“But the next couple of years, you’ll see that new wave of names. It’s sad that legends are leaving but they can’t do it forever.”

The wheel must keep turning, she acknowledges. A world youth champion in 2007 before a knee injury curtailed her ascent, Philip has gone from prospect to veteran during a period that has seen Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford elevate themselves to Olympic glory and leave Generation Next keen to follow. “I hope kids have watched what we’ve done and believe in themselves,” Philip added.

But now it is back to competition. Next year, the Commonwealth Games and European Championships take place. Beyond that, another World Championships and an Olympics in Tokyo.

In Birmingham, the scrap for domestic supremacy will be renewed. But the bonds between the quickest women here are far from temporary. “As much as we like competing against each other, we still want each other to do well,” said Philip.


Usain Bolt reacts to cheating allegations at 2017 World Athletics Championships

'I don't usually release my medical report to the public but sadly I have sat and listened to people questioning if I was really injured,' says the sprint king.

Usain Bolt delivered a rebuke to those who questioned whether he really suffered an injury in his farewell race at the World Athletics Championships by revealing details of his hamstring tear on Thursday.

The Jamaican, stung by speculation that he had pulled up in the anchor leg of the 4x100 metres relay final in London on Saturday because he was too far behind to win the race, said the injury would need three months of rehabilitation.

Accompanied by an x-ray of the injury to his left hamstring, the eight-times Olympics gold medallist was also adamant in social media posts that he never cheated his fans.

The 30-year-old explained on Twitter: "Sadly I have tear of the proximal myotendineous junction of biceps femoris in my left hamstring with partial retraction. 3 months rehab. I don't usually release my medical report to the public but sadly I have sat and listened to people questioning if I was really injured.

"I have never been one to cheat my fans in any way & my entire desire at the championship was run one last time for my fans. Thanks for the continued support my fans and I rest, heal and move onto the next chapter of my life #Love&LoveAlone."

The posts on Twitter were removed shortly after they had been posted. Bolt had been three metres down on the two leaders as he took on the last leg of the relay, which was won by Britain, only to pull up sharply and fall to the ground, coming to a halt after a forward roll on the track.

He speculated on Sunday that the injury, which ended a wretched final championships for him after he only managed to win bronze in the individual 100 metres the previous weekend, might have been caused by having a long wait before the race.

Bolt, who won 19 global championship golds, is widely considered the finest sprinter in athletics annals.


Michael Johnson interview: ‘It’s time to simplify athletics – get rid of events that people don’t watch’

Michael Johnson enjoyed the World Championships more than most but tells Matt Dickinson that athletics is at risk of becoming peripheral

If a pundit’s job is not only to entertain and enlighten but to challenge, Michael Johnson can count himself among the best in his field. At the World Athletics Championships in London, the running great took on Steve Cram over the “demonisation” of Justin Gatlin live on prime-time BBC in what was a vital debate about how sport deals with cheats.

And as that instantly recognisable bass voice comes down a telephone line from the United States, reflecting on what those ten days in London told us about the state of track and field, Johnson does not shy away from difficult arguments. Indeed, he positively demands that his sport confront them.


Lincoln-Way East graduate leads U.S. relay team to gold

Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Allyson Felix.

These are some of the big-name track stars who Lincoln-Way East high school graduate Aaliyah Brown said inspires her. Earlier this month, Brown was on the same world stage with the former Olympians at the recent IAAF World Championships in London as part of the winning women's 4x100-meter relay, which included Felix.

Brown was the rookie on the relay in this year's biggest international track meet. Like Felix, the other members of that team — Tori Bowie, and Waubonsie Valley high school alum Morolake Akinosun — are former Olympians.

The victory Aug. 12 in the women's relay was a first for Team USA since 2011. That same day, Brown's heroes fell short. Bolt, of Jamaica, pulled up with a leg injury in what would be his last career race in the men's 4x100 relay, and Britian's Farah finished second in the 5,000-meter run.

"I'm still in awe," Brown said in telephone interview with the Daily Southtown. "To go out for the first time and come out with gold has boosted my confidence as I continue to run."

The 22-year-old former Southland resident said the experience was a dream come true.

Since she was age 6, Brown ran track on various teams. She competed with AAU track clubs and Lincoln-Way East before joining Texas A&M University. She won multiple high school state medals and collegiate all-American honors. Brown, who recently completed college, now lives in suburban Atlanta.

Lincoln-Way East Athletic Director Mark Vander Kooi said it was clear that Brown's track skills were "special" the first time he saw her compete.

He said Brown led the the team to a state title.

"She was really spectacular," Vander Kooi said. "It didn't matter where we were at in the race, once she got that baton we were winning."

Brown said competing in high school played a role in her athletic development, recalling that the program taught her "how to be a great teammate."

Brown said she set her sights on running at the professional and international level at age 10. Brown said she made a vow last summer to be selected for this year's team in London.

"I always wanted to compete professionally and I always wanted to win gold," Brown said.

After securing the spot, Brown said she felt like she belonged on the big stage. Brown was the first leg of the winning quartet, handing the baton to Felix.

"It wasn't strange being there," Brown said. "I want to be like them, so I felt like I was in place."

Now that she has added Team USA to her athletic resume, Brown said she plans to continue progressing on the track. While she plans to compete at next year's indoor IAAF World Championships, Brown is training to win a spot in the 2020 Olympics.

"This will definitely motivate me to keep striving for greatness and keep the gold in America," Brown said. "I've always had my eyes on the bigger picture."


Ten memorable races from world track and field championships (video)

Ten memorable races from the world track and field championships, including Usain Bolt‘s last events before retirement …

Usain Bolt upset by Justin Gatlin in 100m finale (Day 2)

For the first 95 meters, eyes were glued on Bolt trying to catch young American Christian Coleman. But it would be Justin Gatlin, out in lane 8, who shocked everyone with an incredible late surge to win his first global title in 12 years.

Women’s marathon ends in close sprint, U.S. medal (Day 3)

The top four finishers were separated by 10 seconds. The silver and bronze medalists finished in the same time after 26.2 miles on the roads of London, ending on Tower Bridge. Amy Cragg snagged third with her final kick, the first U.S. marathon medal at worlds since 1993.

 

Tori Bowie’s perfect lean steals 100m (Day 3)

In three years, Tori Bowie went from last place in the world indoor championships long jump to fastest woman in the world. The soft-spoken Mississippi native used a textbook lean — showing poise of a sprinter with two or three times her experience — to beat Ivorian Marie-Josée Ta Lou by .01.

 

A 1500m sprint for the ages (Day 4)

The women’s 1500m was billed as perhaps the most competitive final of the meet. It delivered. The last 100 meters were chaotic to say the least. Kenyan Faith Kipyegon won, but American Jenny Simpson again proved her racing acumen, moving up on the rail for silver in a race that also included Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya (bronze) and world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba (12th).

 

Duck splashes in women’s 400m (Day 6)

The rematch between Allyson Felix and Shaunae Miller-Uibo provided another incredible finish. However, neither the defending world champion nor the reigning Olympic champion took gold in the London rain. Miller-Uibo came off the final turn in the lead, with Felix the primary chaser. But the Bahamian tripped after looking at the scoreboard. Felix didn’t have that extra gear. Instead, Phyllis Francis surged past both of them for her first individual global medal, a gold. Francis, a former University of Oregon standout, attributed her experience in Eugene for preparing her to race in wet, chilly conditions.

Wayde van Niekerk misses double on Turkey Day (Day 7)

Wayde van Niekerk’s admirable attempt to match Michael Johnson‘s 400m-200m double from the 1995 World Championships and 1996 Olympics came up two hundredths of a second short to an unknown.

Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev (born in Azerbaijan) stunned the Olympic Stadium by holding off Van Niekerk in the last strides of the 200m final. Guliyev came off the turn with a step on favorites Van Niekerk and Isaac Makwala — but the two Africans ran out of gas. Van Niekerk, tired from racing six times in six days, tightened up before his lean. Makwala, tired from his medical controversy and having raced a pair of 200m the night before, faded earlier in the stretch.

Shocking one-two in women’s steeplechase (Day 8)

In a meet full of upsets, you can make a strong argument this one-two was the most unforeseen. Americans Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs topped the strongest women’s 3000m steeplechase field of all time. Four years ago, the U.S. put no women in the world steeplechase final. Three years ago, Coburn was such an afterthought that East Africans thought she was a pacer in a Diamond League race. But in London, the Olympic bronze medalist Coburn lowered her American record and Frerichs set a personal best by 15 seconds. The next four finishers, all Kenyan-born, were four of the five fastest women of all time in the event.

 

Mo Farah beaten in last championship track race (Day 9)

For Mo Farah, it ended in tears. In his last global championship track race, the Brit lost at an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2011. He had won the previous 10 straight Olympic and world championships 5000m and 10,000m. But Ethiopian Muktar Edris relegated Farah to silver in the 5000m and celebrated with his own version of Farah’s famous “Mobot.” Farah, 34, intends to move to road running and the marathon after this season.

 

Usain Bolt tumbles in last career race (Day 9)

It was not a fairytale ending to Usain Bolt’s career. It was a disastrous one. Bolt pulled up with a hamstring injury and tumbled to the track while anchoring Jamaica’s 4x100m relay. He lay face down, his hands covering his eyes in pain. Bolt later got up and was helped across the finish line by his teammates.

 

One last surprise in 4x400m (Day 10)

Fittingly, worlds ended with a first-time champion upsetting a global power. Trinidad and Tobago, a twin-island nation of some 1.5 million people, won the 4x400m with an anchor-leg surge past the U.S., population 320 million.

 


Courtney Frerichs Still In Shock Over London Steeple (Video)

Nixa native Courtney Frerichs has watched the tape, so she has proof that it actually happened.

Frerichs and fellow American Emma Coburn shocked the international running community with their one-two finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Aug. 11 at the IAAF World Championships in London.

"Sometimes I still find myself wondering if it actually happened," Frerichs told the News-Leader this week in a phone interview from London.

Frerichs shattered her personal best by finishing the race in 9 minutes and 3 seconds. Coburn, meanwhile, set an American record with her time of 9:02.58. The women became the first Americans to finish first and second in the steeplechase at the Worlds or Olympics.

Kenyans have traditionally dominated the steeplechase, and Frerichs said she kept expecting one of her Kenyan competitors to pass her down the stretch.

"When I looked up at the scoreboard right there at the end, I was just in complete shock," Frerichs said. "It seems too good to be true. It was just an absolutely amazing feeling."

The race featured one of the favorites backtracking after completely missing a water jump and later falling down during another jump.

ESPN.com writer Jesse Washington called it "one of the best races in running history."

"I feel very honored that people think that," Frerichs said. "I am really proud of how far we have come."

So how did Frerichs do it?

Frerichs said her training went to another level over the last six weeks and she felt strong throughout the race.

"In that last lap, at that point I knew I was in fifth and my mentality totally switched," Frerichs said. "I didn’t come here for fourth or fifth, I’m going to do everything I can to get a medal."

The other key, Frerichs said, was trying to stick close to Coburn from the start.

"She’s obviously been very dominant in the U.S. over the last few years, and recently established herself on the international stage," Frerichs said. "So I was really nervous about that but knew that it was a good time to put myself out there."

Americans collected several other distance running medals at the world championships, and Frerichs said she hopes the Americans can build off of last week's performances.

Frerichs said the best thing about her strong performance last week was having Coburn by her side.

"It’s a scary thought to take on a group of really talented women by yourself," Frerichs said. "But when you have someone that you trust and you look up to that you’re doing it with, you suddenly feel like you are a greater power out there."

Frerichs said she will be back in the Springfield area in September and she plans on holding a track and field event for kids either then or closer to Thanksgiving.

And she'll have her silver medal with her.

"I will bring it with me when I come home so that my friends can see it," Frerichs said. "It’s definitely going to be one of my most prized possessions."


Russian triple-jumper Pyatykh gets four-year ban: CAS

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has imposed a four-year ban on Russian triple-jumper Anna Pyatykh for violating rules on prohibited substances, the tribunal said on Friday.

The ban takes effect from Dec. 15, 2016, the date her provisional suspension began, it said in a statement.

"The CAS acted as first instance decision-making authority for this matter, substituting for the Russian Athletics Federation, currently suspended by the IAAF," it added.

Reporting by Michael Shields


Miller-Uibo "Still Young & Have A Lot More Years"

IT was a unique love affair all around in London, England, for Shaunae Miller-Uibo at the 16th International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) World Championships.

Still in the honeymoon phase of her February 4 marriage to her college sweetheart Maicel Uibo - a decathlete from Estonia - in the Crown Ballroom at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Miller-Uibo found herself chasing a feat in the women’s 200/400 metre double that has never been accomplished.

Since she was denied the opportunity to attempt the feat last year when she clinched the Olympic Games’ gold medal in the 400m in a dive across the finish line ahead of her American rival, Allyson Felix, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Miller-Uibo had petitioned the IAAF for a change in the schedule to go after the feat in London.

With her goals set to perfection as she was completing the perfect race in the 400m final, her legs just gave away as she relinquished almost a 10-20m lead in the last 50m and ended up in fourth place.

With no spot on the podium to receive another global medal, Miller-Uibo had to go back to her first love of the sport, the 200m, where she eventually rebounded from the crashing defeat in the one-lap race to snatch the bronze in the half-lap race.

In falling short of her goals, Miller-Uibo said she has to look at it as a learning process that will only make her stronger as she continues that quest for global supremacy in the years to come.

“I think it’s been a great experience for me. I’m still young and I still have a lot more years in me, so I’m just taking it one step at a time,” she said. “Obviously, the championships didn’t go as planned, but I don’t let things get me down.

“It only encourages me to go even better the next time so for right now, I’m happy with my performance. I think I came back pretty strong and I’m just looking forward to moving on from here.”

This weekend, Miller-Uibo is expected to be back in action in England at the Grand Prix Birmingham where she will get a chance for redemption against the World Championships’ three medallists, American champion Phyllis Francis, Bahrain’s silver medallist Salwa Eid and, of course, Felix, the bronze medallist.

She admits that because of her love for the event, the 200m will be more memorable for her than the disappointment that took place in the 400m that put a damper on the celebrations intended with her husband, family members and friends in London.

“Coming from the disappointment of the 400m, I was able to shake it off and come back and still be able to get a medal,” she pointed out. “I thank God for taking me through every step of the way.”

Despite not attaining her lofty goals this year, Miller-Uibo said it’s still on her ‘to do list” so she’s going to look at what the future holds as she prepares to come back and try it again in the 17th edition of the championships in Doha, Qatar, September 28 to October 6, 2019.

“The good thing I got from it is that it can be done,” Miller-Uibo reflected. “It was just so unfortunate what happened in the 400. I felt I had the race in control. Then in the 200, I went out there and I tried my best.

“We worked hard this season. I know in two year’s time, I will be more than prepared. I just hope the world is ready to see what we can bring in 2019. We’re definitely going back at the double and see how things work out. So I’m looking forward to it.”

Her husband, Maicel, who had double duties competing in the decathlon, was right by the side of his wife, cheering and supporting her every step of the way.

“It was particularly exciting. In the multiple events, we do it a little different from those in the individual event, but it was interesting to see how they go through the rounds,” he said. “It’s more of a guessing game to see how everybody will place in the final.”

Looking at the attempt by his wife for the rare double, he said he felt she gave it her best shot. “The trip in the 400m was unfortunate, but overall I think she did very well,” he said.

When they are both done, Uibo said he’s working harder because right now he wants to be able to match his performance with that of his wife when they have their conversation around the dinner table.

Coming from Estonia, a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe to the sunny isles of the Bahamas just off the coast of Florida, Uibo said he’s been warmly received into the Miller family and welcomed in the track fraternity.

“I like it. I feel like I’m in a good place,” said Uibo, who does most of his training in the Bahamas while Miller-Uibo is in Florida.

Miller-Uibo’s father, Shawn Miller, who had the pleasure of giving his daughter away twice – the first in a coaching change with George Cleare and the second in her hand in marriage to Uibo – said he’s proud of her achievements.

“I was very impressed with her performance. I have to mention the team around her. She had a new coach, Lance Brauman, who did an excellent job getting her prepared to go for the double,” he said.

“It was a little unfortunate what took place, but this is track and field. I guess it was God’s way of saying not now, or to test her faith. It was there. She was ready for it.

“I think Brauman did a great job in getting her ready. Her medical team also kept her fit for the whole year and her manager and agents did a good job in placing her in the right meets at the right time of the year.”

Despite not attaining the double, Miller said the good thing is that the world saw that she has the ability to do it. After the disappointment of the 400m, he said she was able to bounce back for the 200m and held on for the bronze.

“That was a bronze against the best in the world,” Miller said.

With the Commonwealth Games on the horizon for next year, the Miller-Uibo camp is looking forward to making a splash on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, April 4-15.

Before that, she’s also looking at participating in the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom, March 2-4.

#In the meantime, Miller-Uibo said she will try to squeeze in as much time as she can with her husband as they get ready to enjoy their honeymoon, which was delayed because of the vigorous training routine that they both had to endure after the wedding.


2024 Olympics Could Include Video Gaming

As athletes leap, lift and dive at the 2024 Paris Summer Games, will video game players also be competing for gold medals? Adding “eSports” to the roster could be the International Olympic Committee’s next attempt to attract younger viewers.

Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee, confirmed to the Associated Press that he will speak with the IOC and eSports representatives to assess the possibility of including eSports in the official Olympic program.

Anticipating pushback from critics who argue eSports would ruin the Olympic Games, Estanguet urged people to keep an open mind.

“We can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics,’” Estanguet told the Associated Press. “The youth, they are interested in eSport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges.”

The move to consider gaming comes amid falling ratings for the Olympics, particularly among younger viewers.

The Rio Games in 2016 saw a 30-percent drop among television viewers between ages 18 to 34. To combat the decline, the IOC added 3-on-3 basketball and BMX to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

This fall in viewership has a lot to do with the sheer volume of entertainment competing for viewers’ attention, according to BTIG media analyst Brandon Ross.

“If you go back to even before cable in the 1970s when the Olympics were on or any show, there was very little to watch in terms of video on television,” Ross said. “So each piece of content got very, very high ratings. That’s just not the world we live in anymore.”

ESports has grown in popularity over the last few years. The world championship finals for “League of Legends,” a multiplayer online battle area, or MOBA game, pulled in 43 million viewers worldwide last year.

“Eighty-one percent of our fans are [between] 18 and 34,” said Craig Levine, CEO of ESL, the world’s largest eSports company. “Our fanbase is a digital-first audience. That’s where eSports and gaming have grown out of. Popular platforms like Twitch and YouTube and Facebook and Twitter — it becomes a home for this generation to consume media and to interact.”

However, in an interview with Inside The Games, IOC president Thomas Bach sounded skeptical.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether eSports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” Bach said.

The debate over eSports has been going on for years. In 2014, ESPN’s president said eSports were not a sport at all. Two years later, the company launched a dedicated platform to cover eSports.

Ken Hershman, CEO of the World eSports Association, is optimistic the Olympics will undergo a similar evolution.

“As people are educated around what these athletes do, people will see it for what it is and be very comfortable that this is a legitimate sport to add,” Hershman said. “It’s not kids sitting in their basements drinking Red Bulls playing around on a computer.”

The Olympic program will begin to take shape in 2019 with a final decision to be made after the 2020 Tokyo Games.


He Deserves A Spot On Any Greatest-Athlete List

ESPN loves lists, loves to rank plays, teams, high school kids, quarterbacks, slam-dunkers, exit-velocities, touchdown dances and superstars. That these lists and rankings so often are bereft of context and relevance is irrelevant.

In its eagerness to be socially inclusive, ESPN recently released the results of what it portrayed as an extensive survey of exclusion, one entirely based on race.

Respondents were asked to name the top 50 Greatest Black Athletes. The results are in. One through five are Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Willie Mays and Jesse Owens.

It’s interesting that three (Jordan, Ali and Owens) were Olympians, because perhaps the most extraordinary black American Olympic athlete of all time didn’t even make the list, likely because few respondents ever heard of him.

That also was reflected in a 2000 survey in which ESPN personnel ranked the Top 100 athletes of the 20th Century. He didn’t make that list, either.

Milt Campbell, who in 2012 died at 78 to small notice outside of his hometown of Plainfield, N.J., was, by international definition, the greatest American athlete of any hue.

At Plainfield High School, he starred at everything he attempted: running back, bowling, track, swimming.

Also while in high school, he finished second to the legendary decathlete Bob Mathias in the United States trials — in Campbell’s first-ever participation in a decathlon. He was just a kid, who weeks earlier learned that such a 10-skill track-and-field event existed and thus decided he would give it a try.

 

Having made the 1952 Olympic team, he won the silver medal, finishing behind Mathias. At 18, Campbell arguably, but more likely indisputably, was the world’s second-greatest athlete.

Four years later, the Olympic decathlon was billed as an epic struggle between American Rafer Johnson and the Soviet Union’s Vasily Kuznetsov. Campbell beat both, winning gold and bettering Mathias’ Olympic record by 50 points.

Decathletes Mathias, Johnson and Bruce Jenner are known to most, if not all, as American champions with sustaining fame. Campbell? Sorry, wrong number.

At the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Campbell’s achievement was diminished by fate, as a series of rights disputes mostly prevented what was supposed to be televised in the U.S. Those Games showed up in movie houses as part of newsreels. And the Cold War “Blood In The Water” water polo match won by Hungary over the USSR in the midst of the anti-Soviet “Hungarian Revolution,” made the most news.

In 1957, Campbell was drafted by the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. In 1958 he was cut. Why?

The team’s coach and co-founder, Paul Brown, Campbell said, told him he was unhappy Campbell had just married a white woman. Campbell next played in the Canadian Football League through 1964.

 

Still, he wasn’t done. In 1972, at 40, he nearly qualified for the U.S. Olympic judo team.

I came to know Milt Campbell through his love of bowling and mutual friends, PBA Hall of Famer Johnny Petraglia and Lee Livingston, then owner of the massive Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick, N.J. I wanted — needed — to get to know Campbell. And I made sure to do so.

He was wonderful: engaging, candid, funny, opinionated, but open-minded. He seemed pleased by my questions and attention. We remained in touch.

When asked if he was bitter his Olympic achievements provided him only brief, long-forgotten fame and denied him the residual business opportunities enjoyed by Mathias, Johnson and Jenner — all three landed movie contracts — he answered: “I’m only human. How can I not be?”

And so there’s reason, beyond a lack of knowledge and research, as to why 48 years after he won silver in the Olympic decathlon while in high school, and 44 years after he won the gold, that Milt Campbell didn’t even make ESPN’s Top 100 of the 20th Century and its Top 50 Black Athletes survey.

And when I told friends — solid sports fans — that I had met and even dined with Milt Campbell, few had ever heard of him.


Dina Asher-Smith only sees silver lining after World Championships

Dina Asher-Smith is not the kind of person who does glass half-full or glass half-empty conundrums. To her it is a case of just how full that glass is – because it is never, ever empty.

Having earned the title of fastest British sprinter of all time before she had even left her teenage years, Asher-Smith is one of life’s big optimists.

So instead of dwelling on what might have been at the London World Championships last week, Asher-Smith, 21, takes positives from the fact that she was even able to run, let alone post a season’s best time.

Instead of ruing missing out on a 200m bronze medal by just 0.07sec, she gleans strength from taking a quantum leap in such a short period of time since breaking her foot in February.

It is a hugely admirable trait and one that leaves you wondering how on earth she manages it.

“Simply, because I’m young,” she says, laughing as ever. “If I was 28 and this had happened and I did that [finished fourth at a World Championships] then I’d be a bit more angry.

“But I’ve probably got another two or three Olympics in me. This is only my second World Championships as an individual and I finished fourth. Especially with the year I’ve had, I’m really happy.

“This has arguably done more for me in the long term mentally than an easy season and getting a medal would have.

“That sounds entirely crazy as a medal would have been fantastic – I’d have loved that. But when you are young you have to go through trials and tribulations to make you realise what real problems are.

“If I can have three months out and then run 22.22sec and still come fourth, it does fill you with confidence for the future.

“Sometimes things don’t pan out the way you’d want them to. I’d love to have had an injury free run to a home World Championships – that’s the way you’d want to do it.

“You do not want to break your foot a couple of months before arguably the biggest athletics event you are ever going to participate in – well possibly apart from Rio – but at the same time I’d rather get all my learning experiences and my mental tests in when I am younger.

“So when I am older I kind of have that mental prep to go out there and do the business when I am physically at my peak.”

It is an astonishingly mature answer for someone so young. Because there is little point denying it – had Asher-Smith not fractured the navicular bone in her foot during a freak accident in training, not had an operation to insert a metal screw, not had six weeks on crutches and not only been able to put her running spikes back on in the middle of June, she would have been challenging for gold in London.

Fortunately for Asher-Smith, she had a second bite at the cherry in the 4x100m relay, where she was part of the team that won silver behind the United States.

“With the relay girls it was slightly different because we’re already Olympic bronze medallists,” she says. “Did I think we’d come away with the silver medal? No. But you never know with a relay.

“You have to just see how it goes. But I’m so happy to have upgraded the bronze to silver.”

Unlike many of her British team-mates who ensured they peaked for the World Championships, Asher-Smith was only able to compete six times prior to lining up in London and is far from finished with the season.

Her next assignment sees her take on many of the world’s best over 100m at Sunday’s Birmingham Grand Prix, including double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson and Dafne Schippers, who won the world 200m title last week.

Sprint Battles | 100m contests in Birmingham

1.51pm - women’s T37/38 100m final

Two British world champions go head-to-head as T37 gold medalist Georgie Hermitage lines up alongside Sophie Hahn, who won the T38 title. World T38 silver medallist Kadeena Cox also competes, as does Olivia Breen, who finished fourth in London.

2.50pm - men’s T43/44 100m final

Jonnie Peacock intends to take a year off in 2018 after winning his second world title in London. He will expect to triumph here, where he resumes his rivalry with American Richard Browne, who was absent from the World Championships with injury.

3.23pm - men’s 100m final

A fascinating all-British affair sees the cream of the country’s crop take each other on. Chijindu Ujah and Adam Gemili head the pack after winning world gold in the 4x100m. Zharnel Hughes also makes a rare appearance over the short sprint.

4.08pm - women’s 100m final

The only event with heats and a final sees three of Britain's 4x100m quartet competing a week after they won silver at London 2017. They face a formidable field that includes Elaine Thompson, Dafne Schippers and Marie-Josee Ta Lou.

Having improved with every 200m run in recent weeks, Asher-Smith looks certain to surpass her modest 100m season’s best of 11.41sec set in her season opener at the start of July.

“I’m really excited because I’m going to go in there and see what I can run,” she says.

“Running a 22.22sec off not much training is really good, so I am hopefully looking to go a bit

faster in the near future.

“As far as I’m concerned, with the season I’ve had, I’m back to my best.”


UTEP track star decides to forgo collegiate career to run professionally

Adrian Broaddus, Editor-In-Chief
August 18, 2017

UTEP track and field star Emmanuel Korir decided to forgo his remaining three years of collegiate eligibility and run professionally after signing a contract with Nike.

“Emmanuel started running well at the start of the indoor season, that’s when talks of turning pro came up,” said track head coach Paul Ereng in a press release. “He’s ranked number one in the world in the 800-meter and top 10 in the 400-meter so he has the tools to become another household name for Kenya.”

Korir had a dominant freshman year as he debuted for the Miners claiming gold in the 800-meter race with a 1:46.50 time at the Vanderbilt Commodore Invitational. He set a world record in the 600-meter with a time of 1:14.97 at the New Mexico Cherry and Silver. He was also the first UTEP athlete to win a NCAA indoor title in the 800-meter as he won with a time of 1:47.48.

In the outdoor season for the Miners, Korir broke the program record in the 400-meter race at the UTEP Invitational with a 44.67 time. He won his second national title in the 800-meter race at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

This summer he captured gold at the Kenyan trials, which secured his spot on the Kenya national team, and he will participate in the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) World Championships.

Korir will train in El Paso with Ereng and plans to finish school at UTEP.

“The decision for him to turn pro not only benefits him, but also the program,”Ereng said. “We want the best for our athletes and if we can help them achieve the goals they want and help further their education, we will do everything we can to help them.”


Are Kenyans losing battle in long distance running?

Former athletes and coaches say more needs to be done if Kenya are to remain dominant in most races once again.

Kenyan men surrendered three titles while women could not retain two crowns at the just concluded IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.

Questions still linger on whether Kenya can reclaim the 5,000m and 10,000m after a relatively poor show over the distances in London.

The performance in London were at par to the 2013 Moscow worlds. Kenyans are known to perform well in Asia than in Europe or America.

In 1988, the country posted a good show at the Seoul Olympic Games with John Ngugi winning gold in 5,000m. The Beijing Olympics (2008), Beijing worlds (2015) and Rio Olympics saw Kenya give an impressive show over the various events.

But Moses Tanui, the 1991 world 10,000m champion, differs with the trend.

“There is nothing like good results in Asia. The results in 5,000m and 10,000m men in London were disastrous. The problem lies with the coaches.

“There was need for proper preparations, selections and a smart winning strategy. We just allow our athletes to do pace setting. Look at how Paul Chelimo (USA) and Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda) made brilliant moves in 5,000m and 10,000m and made away with medals. We need to review our coaching skills,” said Tanui.

Athletes prefer road races

However, disaster has been lurking in men’s 5,000m and 10,000m races for long and track coaches are now scratching their heads.

Bernard Ouma, the middle distance coach, said: “Running requires periodic long-term planning and a perfect programme tailored to boost endurance. This includes a balancing act between transitions and competition timing. For instance, if an athlete starts his preparation late, it’s mostly likely that his form will pick up late and he will hit top form after the competition,” he said.

“The best 5,000m runners are those who transited from 1,500m event. Asbel Kiprop and Timothy Cheruiyot can emerge as the best 5,000m runners for Kenya, watch out. Asbel just needs to start Commonwealth preparation early and I can assure he will be the man to beat in Gold Coast, Australia, next April,” Ouma said.

Douglas Wakiihuri, the first Kenyan to win London Marathon in 1987, said athletes in 5,000m and 10,000m opt to line up for road races, which pays handsomely.

“The emergence of many road races and lack of competition in 10,000m has made Kenyans to prefer road races to the track. There is the element of huge money in road races in big city races.

“There is need for Kenyans to graduate from track at the right age. You get athletes aged 22 competing in road races abroad. So, there is need for steady transition,” he said.

Hellen Obiri became the second Kenyan woman to win gold in 5,000m after Vivian Cheruiyot’s exploits in Berlin (2009) and Daegu (2011).

It remains a riddle as to when men will reclaim the 10,000m title that Charles Kimathi won in Edmonton, Canada, in 2001.

Kenya has three gold medals in Paul Kipkoech (1987), Moses Tanui (1991) and Charles Kamathi (2001) while Ethiopia lead with nine medals from Haile Gebreselassie (1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999), Kenenisa Bekele (2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009) and Ibrahim Jeilan in 2011. Britain boasts three titles from Mo Farah’s wins in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

However the bad show by the men in track distance running did not water down Kenya’s superlative show as women ventured into virgin grounds in 1,500m – winning first gold medal since IAAF introduced the race in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1995.

But London also witnessed Kenyans failing to retain the titles that they won in Beijing in 2015.

The men’s squad lost the 800m (David Rudisha), javelin (Julius Yego) and 400m hurdles (Nicholas Bett) titles even as Geoffrey Kirui reclaimed the marathon title last won by Abel Kirui in 2011 in Daegu. Elijah Manangoi retained the 1,500m title won by Asbel Kiprop in 2015 and Conseslus Kipruto changed the pecking order in 3,000m steeplechase, chalking up victory as Ezekiel Kemboi had won in 2015.

It was a tall order for Haron Koech, who had trained his sights on retaining his younger brother’s, Nicholas Bett’s, 400m hurdles crown. He bowed out in the semi-finals.

Bett, Olympic 400m silver medalist Boniface Mucheru and Eric Keter, who finished seventh in the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo to set the then national record of 48.70 seconds, stand out among Kenya’s high achieving hurdlers.

Keter also finished fifth at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany to slap a new national mark of 48.28 seconds and won the 1991 All Africa Games title.

Kipyegon Bett, who has 1:43.76 best personal in the two-lap race, could not retain David Rudisha’s title and settled for bronze. Emmanuel Korir, who has a world leading time of 1:43.10 set in Monaco Diamond League, carried the nations’ hopes after winning at the national trials and, more importantly, had not lost any race up to the semi-final in London.

He reportedly picked up a hip injury while in London.

Michael Saruni, who boasts 1:44.61 in the two-lap race but was dropped from London squad on questionable grounds to accommodate Rudisha and Ferguson Rotich despite finishing third in trials, stands as another prodigy to succeed Rudisha.

The women’s 800m title has remained a pipe dream for Kenyans since the entry of South Africa’s Caster Semenya on the global scene in 2009, where she overshadowed 2008 Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo and 2007 world champion Janeth Jepkosgei.

The entry of Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba into the battle has also complicated Kenya’s quest to reclaim lost grip.

Interestingly, some well-built and muscular women seem to have been dominant in 800m in the global scene since 1983 when Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czech Republic set the current world record of 1:53.28.

Margaret Nyairera, Kenya’s sole hope in London, finished fourth behind Semenya, Niyonsaba and America’s Ajee Wilson.

Manangoi became the second Kenyan to win 1,500m crown after Asbel Kiprop’s three wins in Daegu, Moscow and Beijing.

If their performances in the Diamond League meetings where Manangoi, Timothy Cheruiyot and Ronald Kwemoi top world rankings are anything to by, then Kenya would still continue to hold a firm grip on the race.

But Faith Chepng’etich, the Olympic champion, warmed fans’ hearts as she became the first Kenyan to win 1,500m crown in the IAAF World Athletics Championships history.

Winny Chebet, who has six silver medals in 800m before graduating to 1,500m this season, would emerge as Chepng’etich’s rightful team mate.

There is, however, a steady invasion into Kenya’s track speciality, the men’s 3,000m steeplechase.

Kenya has recorded three podium sweeps – 1997, 2007 and 2015 – as well as striking the 11th gold medal in the history of the World Athletics Championships.

London provided a perfect indicator that Kenya’s performance in the race is waning.

Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhisi-Benabbad and America’s Evan Jager have always spoiled the Kenyan party.


Farah "More Relaxed" As He Transitions To The Road

Mo Farah says he is relishing escaping the pressure of the track as he prepares for his final UK track race before switching to the road.

"I'm definitely more relaxed, more chilled," said Farah before Sunday's Diamond League meeting in Birmingham. "I don't have a target on my back."

"I will have more than fun. It's going to be different but I'm excited."

The 34-year-old has won four Olympic titles and collected his sixth world gold in London earlier this month.

Farah finished eighth in a time of two hours, eight minutes and 21 seconds at the 2014 London Marathon, his only attempt at the distance.

Dennis Kimetto's world record - set the same year in Berlin - is almost five and a half minutes quicker.

Farah admits it will be a steep learning curve to close the gap on the world's best over 26.2 miles.

"People expect me to do certain things in the marathon because I have won so much stuff on the track, but it is a completely different event," he added.

"I want to go in with a new mind and vision, forget about what I have achieved as Mo and learn and understand the event and see what I can do on the road.

"It will take me a couple of times at least to get it right."

Farah name-checked New York, Boston, Berlin and London as prestige races that he was considering.

The Daily Mail reported earlier this month that London Marathon officials were preparing a six-figure offer to tempt Farah to run the 2018 and 2019 races in his hometown.

The Zurich Diamond League and Great North Run will conclude Farah's 2017 season, but he says that a return to Birmingham will be a chance to relish what he has achieved with British fans.

"This weekend is about enjoying. I'll go out there and give 110%, but it is not as demanding or nerve-racking as London," he said.

"I want to take care of the race, get a good result and say goodbye.

Birmingham has been good to me and the crowd especially have been amazing. It is definitely one of my favourites."

Farah has accused sections of the media of trying to tarnish his legacy by questioning his association with American coach Alberto Salazar, who is under investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

Both he and Farah deny they have ever broken anti-doping rules.

Farah is one of 59 medallists from the recent World Championships who will be in action at Alexander Stadium.

Dafne Schippers, world 200m champion, will renew her rivalry with silver medallist Marie Josee Ta Lou in a 100m race that also includes London's 110m hurdles champion Sally Pearson and British-record holder Dina Asher-Smith.

All four of Great Britain's gold-winning 4x100m relay team are in action with CJ Ujah and Adam Gemili competing in the 100m, while Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Danny Talbot take on surprise world champion Ramil Guliyev - who beat Wayde van Niekerk to gold in London - and Botswana's Isaac Makwala in the 200m.


Bad Back: No van Niekerk At Zürich Diamond League

World champion Wayde van Niekerk has withdrawn from the men's 400m race at the Diamond League meeting in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday, August 24, due to a recurring back injury.

Van Niekerk, also the Olympic champion and world record holder, has had to manage the niggle throughout the season, overcoming the setback to retain his one-lap crown and take the 200m silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in London, England last week.

"This injury has plagued me throughout the summer and I had to receive treatment from Dr Muller-Wohlfahrt," Van Niekerk said.

"Obviously you don't want your competitors to know if you are struggling in any way, so I've kept it quiet until this point."

Returning to training this week after his successful campaign at the world championships, the versatile 25-year-old sprinter felt the back injury flare up again.

After consultation with coach Ans Botha, it was decided to avoid the risk of competing again at this late stage of the season, as a precaution in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April 2018.

"I am bitterly disappointed I won’t be competing in the last Diamond League event of the season as I haven’t won a Diamond League final before and was hoping to get my hands on one of the fiercely contested Diamond trophies, but we feel it is in my best interest to recover fully, in order to ensure I can take on the 2018 season in good health and at full strength,” Van Niekerk said.


Usain Bolt to miss Manchester United legends match because of injury

• Retired sprinter reveals left hamstring will need three months’ rehab 
• Bolt had been due to play in match v Barcelona on 2 September

Usain Bolt will be prevented from achieving his lifelong dream of playing for Manchester United by the hamstring injury sustained in his farewell race.

United Legends take on their Barcelona counterparts at Old Trafford on 2 September in a charity match, raising money for the Manchester United Foundation and its work in the local community.

Ruud van Nistelrooy, Denis Irwin and Dwight Yorke are among those signed up for the Bryan Robson-managed side, who had hoped to be able to call upon the fastest man in history.

Bolt has long dreamed of playing at Old Trafford and was finally set to get that chance if he was able to overcome the hamstring injury sustained at the World Athletics Championships in his final race.

However, the retired sprinter will not be able to line up for the Legends following a scan on the injury sustained in Saturday’s 4x100 metres relay.

Bolt has long been keen to play for United Legends, whose previous matches against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich raised more than £1.8m for the Manchester United Foundation.

“Sadly I have tear of the proximal myotendinous junction of biceps femoris in my left hamstring with partial retraction. 3 months rehab,” he tweeted, before removing the post.

Bolt had also refuted any suggestion he had not truly been injured at the world championships.

He added: “I don’t usually release my medical report to the public but sadly I have sat and listened to people questioning if I was really injured. I have never been one to cheat my fans in anyway & my entire desire at the championship was run one last time for my fans.

“Thanks for the continued support my fans and I rest, heal and move onto the next chapter of my life Love&LoveAlone.”

Competitions have previously got in the way of Bolt making an appearance for United teams in such exhibition matches, but there is scope for the Jamaican to be involved at another point. Bolt’s love of football is well known, as is his fondness for United.

The Jamaican sprint great has been to Old Trafford on several occasions and last December went as far as to call into MUTV’s phone-in show to praise José Mourinho’s men.

Bolt has been “mind bent on playing for Manchester United” since his first visit in 2009 and has spoken with no little self-belief of his ability as a footballer.

“In my mind, I think I should do a trial and see if they would say, ‘All right, come on’ or if they would say, ‘No, you are not any good’,” he told MUTV.

“I think I would be pretty good because I am fit, I am quick, I can control the ball and I understand all of the play.

“So, I think if I do a trial then they would say, ‘You know what, here is a contract for five years!’.

“You are 30 years old, here’s a five-year contract. Let’s just do it!”


Costa Mesa alumna Day-Monroe fares well in IAAF World Championships

Two-time Olympian and Costa Mesa High alumna Sharon Day-Monroe polished off her fifth appearance at the IAAF World Championships with a season-best showing in the 800 meters.

She placed sixth with a time of 2 minutes 12.64 seconds, closing out the women’s heptathlon with a 926-point boost to her meet totals.

Day-Monroe placed 20th overall (6,006 points) among the 32 competitors in the heptathlon at the IAAF Worlds. A total of 20 nations were represented in the heptathlon competition, which took place from Aug. 5 and 6 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium.

Georgia’s Kendell Williams (12th; 6,220 points), the reigning NCAA champion, and Mississippi State alumna Erica Bougard (18th; 6,036 points) also competed for Team USA.

Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam (6,784 points), an Olympic gold medalist, captured the crown. She rallied to overtake Germany’s Carolin Schafer (6,696 points) on the final day.

Day-Monroe leapt 18 feet, 5 inches (27th) into a headwind of 0.6 meters per second. Her javelin throw soared 133-8, good for 21st in the event.

The former Cal Poly Mustang ranked 12th overall after a strong showing Aug. 5. She completed the 100-meter hurdles in 13.82 seconds. In the high jump, Day-Monroe cleared a height of 5- 8 1/2.

Day-Monroe also placed second to Thiam in the shot put with a mark of 49-8 1/4. She finished the day by winning her heat of the 200 in 24.97.


Pearson's Comeback An Inspiration

SPORTING comebacks: We hear the words often and they are usually associated with “epic failure” or “monumental success”.

This week Sally Pearson was one of the lucky ones and had a successful comeback to the elite level when she won her second world title at the World Athletics Championships in London. She did not beat the world-record time or even her personal best time, but a gold medal win shows she is still a force to be reckoned with after being away from the sport for three years. Will she be better than before she left the sport? Only time will tell — but does that really depict how successful her comeback is? If she is winning gold isn’t that all that matters? I believe so, but if you ask Pearson — a highly competitive and demanding athlete — she may not agree.

However, I am sure she would see her win in London as a fantastic start.

The organisers of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games would be almost more excited about Pearson’s comeback than she is herself. To have a gold medal chance on the track for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast is priceless. And a local girl at that — the fairytale couldn’t be written better.

While talking about the World Athletics Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it would be remiss of me not to mention the performance of Adelaide’s own Jess Trengove. She finished ninth in the marathon, the best performance by any an Australian female in the event at the World Championships, what a fantastic achievement. Our girls are really kicking goals. After winning bronze at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games she too is someone to pin our hopes on at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

Now, back to comebacks. I think it is much easier to judge a successful comeback when the athlete is an individual sports person. You either win, or beat your personal best or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. Judging a successful comeback in team sports like footy or netball is much harder. There are so many factors at play. Time away from a team game at the elite level give others an opportunity to show their worth and while you may still be just as good as you used to be, the opportunity to show it may not be so forthcoming. Coaches may fear disrupting combinations that worked in previous years and to even get a shot at it again may be very difficult.

Being at the top is demanding physically, emotionally and the pressure to perform is a constant. The highs and lows of sport, while exhilarating, can also take a toll and over time and this combination can cause burnout. Players may still be at the top of their game when they chose to retire but emotionally have had enough. When time heals the emotional exhaustion, often players miss the game and the exciting life of highs and lows, and so decide to return.

Unfortunately, despite many being able to be just as good or better than before, the coach has moved on to the next player and so a comeback player never gets the chance. In netball this is why so many feared having children and making a comeback.

However, with the recent successful comebacks of Rebecca Bully and Renee Ingles, this fear may go and open the eyes of players and coaches. It’s exciting, it means we may see more players return to the game.

There was a point a few years back that I thought about making a comeback. I left the game because I was burnt out and because I felt that I was no longer getting any better. I guess I knew it would have to be unsuccessful for me because of this, and while I may have been able to offer something to the team it wouldn’t not have been something I was happy with. I knew I would be slower, not able to jump as high and just not quite as good, I didn’t want that frustration. And playing in the 2013 ANZ Championship grand final, in Adelaide and winning, how could I beat that?


Bolt Deletes Tweet Of Hamstring Tear Photo

 

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who suffered an injury in the final leg of the 4x100-meter relay at the world championships in London last weekend, released a medical scan of his hamstring injury over Twitter on Thursday, then later deleted the tweet. When Bolt sent the original tweet, he said he did it after listening to “people questioning if I was really injured.”

The eight-time Olympic gold medalist was in tears on the track after pulling up in his last race ever on Saturday. Bolt won’t appear in the Manchester United Legends match next month due to the injury.

“Sadly I have tear of the proximal myotendineous junction of biceps femoris in my left hamstring with partial retraction. Three months rehab,” Bolt wrote in the original tweet before deleting. “I have never been one to cheat my fans in any way & my entire desire at the championship was run one last time for my fans.”

Bolt has been considered the fastest man alive for nearly a decade. Nine years ago, he won his first Olympic gold in the 100-meter dash — by a landslide — and broke the world record.


World champions among stars set for Müller Grand Prix Birmingham

The Diamond League series resumes after the IAAF World Championships, with Mo Farah in action as he runs his final track race in the UK

Fresh from competing in London, a number of IAAF World Championships athletes will move on to Birmingham on Sunday (August 20) for the 12th meeting in the IAAF Diamond League series.

Held at the Alexander Stadium, the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham welcomes Mo Farah as he takes on his final track race in the UK and the packed programme will also feature a number of his fellow recently-crowned world champions.

Here we highlight some ones to watch. The full programme with entry lists can be found here, while fans in the UK can watch the action live from 13:30-14:50 on BBC Two and from 14:50-17:10 on BBC One on Sunday.

13:00 – Mixed hammer challenge

Hammer events do not form part of the Diamond League programme but the Müller Grand Prix will include a competition that sees Great Britain facing two other countries.

In a unique format, two men and two women from each country will compete with the combined distance of their best throws used to determine the winning nation. Olympic bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon and British champion Nick Miller throw for GB, while three-time world champion Pawel Fajdek and Joanna Fiodorow are set to compete for Poland and the Germany duo features Johannes Bichler with Carolin Paesler.

13:51 – Women’s T37/38 100m

Four World Para Athletics Championships gold medallists – Sophie Hahn (T38 100m and 200m), Georgina Hermitage (T37 100m and 400m), Kadeena Cox (T38 400m) and Olivia Breen (T38 long jump) – will race over 100m and will be joined by Katrina Hart and Bethany Tucker.

Four-time world champion Richard Whitehead contests the T42 200m at 14:42, while two-time world gold medallist Jonnie Peacock races the T43/44 100m at 14:54.

14:11 – Women’s 100m heats (final at 16:08)

All four of GB’s world silver medal-winning 4x100m team-members are in action, with Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita taking on stacked fields which also feature two-time world 200m gold medallist Dafne Schippers and double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson.

“To compete as a two-time world champion will be amazing and I know the race in Birmingham will be really exciting,” said Schippers, who claimed 100m bronze as well as her 200m gold in London. “I think it will be a great way to say goodbye to the UK for this year, after a summer that I will never forget.”

The impressive line up is also set to include world 100m and 200m silver medallist Marie-Josée Ta Lou, world 200m bronze medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo and 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson as she switches competing over the barriers for the flat.

14:39 – Men’s high jump

World champion Mutaz Essa Barshim hopes to follow his success in London with another win as he takes on his fellow London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz, who will be looking to bounce back after his disappointment of finishing sixth in London.

World bronze medallist Majd Eddin Ghazal is also among those competing, as is Britain’s rising star Tom Gale.

15:57 – Men’s 110m hurdles

Six of the eight world finalists, including medallists Sergey Shubenkov and Balazs Baji, compete alongside Britain’s Andrew Pozzi and David King. Pozzi will be hoping to make more of an impact after reaching the semi-finals in London.

16:17 – Men’s 200m

Every member of GB’s world medal-winning 4x100m quartets are competing in one event or another in Birmingham and the men’s 200m features 4x100m anchor and 200m fourth-placer Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake as well as Danny Talbot. Adam Gemili and CJ Ujah contest the all-Brit non-Diamond League 100m at 15:23.

Also in the 200m, Isaac Makwala is back in action after missing out on the chance to contest the 400m final in London and then taking an unconventional route to the 200m final, where he placed sixth, after running a solo heat. World 200m champion Ramil Guliyev also races.

16:26 – Women’s 1500m

World silver medallist Jenny Simpson competes again on UK soil as she lines up alongside Britain’s world sixth-placer Laura Weightman and Sarah McDonald, plus other finalists in London – Angelika Cichocka, Rababe Arafi, Meraf Bahta and Malika Akkaoui.

16:45 – Men’s 3000m

Mo Farah drops down in distance to race in the non-Diamond League 3000m after winning his third world 10,000m title and securing 5000m silver in London.

The 10-time global gold medallist ran 7:32.62 at this event last year to break the 34-year-old UK record and this time he will go up against a field including fellow Brits Andrew Butchart, who placed eighth in the world 5000m, plus Nick Goolab, Marc Scott and James West, as well as Kenya’s Bethwell Birgen, Jamaica’s Kemoy Campbell and Australia’s Patrick Tiernan.

“To get the opportunity to say goodbye to the track in front of a British crowd is something that means a lot to me and I hope I can take everything in,” said Farah. “I’ve run many great races at the Alexander Stadium over the years, and have a history there, so it’s a fitting venue for my last (UK) track race.”


San Francisco 49ers player free to play despite athletics anti-doping ban

United States long jumper Marquise Goodwin has accepted a one-year ban from the US Anti-Doping Agency but is free to play for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL this season.

Former Olympian Goodwin, 26, says he quit athletics "more than a year ago" to focus on American football and therefore stopped giving Usada his whereabouts for testing.

However, a Usada spokesperson told BBC Sport Goodwin submitted his whereabouts for the first quarter of 2017.

Usada therefore attempted to test him on 17 January, resulting in a missed test - his second whereabouts failure - while the body conducted an out of competition test on Goodwin in his capacity as a track and field athlete on 12 May.

Goodwin's first whereabouts failure occurred when he failed to submit his fourth quarter 2016 filings by the deadline.

His third failure came when he did not supply his second quarter 2017 filings in time.

Under the whereabouts system, athletes must specify where they will be for one hour a day, seven days a week, for three months in advance, as well as where they will be training each day.

A missed test or filing failure constitutes a whereabouts failure and any combination of three breaches in a 12-month period is considered an anti-doping violation.

For Goodwin, who finished 10th in the long jump at London 2012 and has played in the NFL as a wide receiver since 2013, this has resulted in a one-year ban from 1 April 2017, the date of his third whereabouts failure.

'He missed multiple opportunities to inform us'

In a statement, Goodwin said: "I discontinued all practices associated with competing in track and field, including submitting my whereabouts information.

"It appears that because I did not inform Usada of my plans, my name was inadvertently included in their 2017 testing pool."

Usada says Goodwin, who missed out on selection for Rio 2016 at US trials in July last year, has still not informed it in writing as required that he would like to retire from athletics, despite "multiple opportunities over months" to do so.

As an elite track and field athlete he was therefore entered into the world athletics' governing body (IAAF)/Usada registered testing pool.

"He sometimes filed his whereabouts, he was tested and he never informed us - despite being told in writing and through on-line education that he needed to inform us - that he wished to retire or otherwise not participate in the sport," said a Usada spokesperson.

Usada says Goodwin submitted a whereabouts form in the second quarter of 2017 and it conducted an out of competition test in May.

"We always ensure athletes are aware that we are the organisation conducting the tests," said a Usada spokesperson. "We are not involved with the NFL drug testing program."

Usada added they confirmed Goodwin's first whereabouts failure with him and, as with all such cases, notified him in writing that he was still in the registered testing pool.

"What is disappointing is that he was informed he needed to either provide his whereabouts and be available for testing or retire from the sport if he was no longer competing," said Usada.

"He had multiple opportunities over months to do this and was well educated on these procedures but he chose not to do either, and as a result was not able to be tested.

"This is clearly not ideal for us from a testing standpoint."

Why can he still play in the NFL?

 

Goodwin will not be subject to a ban under NFL rules, the 49ers say.

The NFL is not a signatory of Usada or the World Anti-Doping Code and has its own performance-enhancing substances policy.

Goodwin was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2013, playing 49 games in four seasons before signing a two-year deal with the 49ers in March 2017.

In a statement, the 49ers said: "Marquise informed the organisation some time ago that he has no intentions of competing in track and field and has been entirely focused on his football career for more than a year."

"We have been in touch with the League office regarding this matter, and understand that Marquise will not be subject to discipline under the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances as a result of Usada's decision."

Goodwin, who won the Diamond League event in Birmingham in June 2016, added he has never failed a test and has always been "compliant with each and every protocol and policy" during his competitive athletics career.


World Athletics Championships: Cleaner but slower sprinters

Some of the slowest timings in recent years were registered in the sprint events, the 400 metres and the relays at this edition of the World Athletics Championships. Here a look at why unprecedented out-of-competition doping tests, in the aftermath of the Russian doping scandal, could be one of the reasons for the slower timings.

400m men: slowest since 2011
2011 Kirani James 44.60
2013 LaShawn Merritt 43.74
2015 Van Niekerk 43.48
2017 Van Niekerk 43.98, Steven Gardiner 44.41, Abdalelah Haroun 44.48 (5 sub 45s)

5,000 out of competition tests
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) increased vigilance and testing in the run-up to the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.
The AIU was established in April 2017 and handles all aspects of the anti-doping programme for international-level athletes.

n In a 10-month period before the championships, 2,000 blood and 3,000 urine tests — all out of competition — were conducted in an effort to catch cheats. At the championships 600 urine tests were conducted. 600 blood samples were also collected before the championships and will be used to study Athlete Biological Passports.

 

Age and injury
In the men’s 100 metres the slower timings this year could be attributed to injury and the ‘old age’ of the sprint kings. Gatlin is 35 and struggled with injuries this season, and Bolt, 31, whose timings have fallen over the years had his own battles with body. However, Christian Coleman, just 22, clocked 9.94 for silver.

Women 100M: slowest since 2011
2011 Carmelita Jeter 10.90
2013 Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce 10.71
2015 Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce 10.76
2017 Tori Bowie 10.85
Marie-Josee Ta Lou 10.86; Dafne Schippers 10.96

200M: slowest since 2013
2013 Shelly Ann Fraser Pryse 22.17
2015 Dafne Schippers 21.63
2017 Dane Schippers 22.05
Marie-Josee Ta Lou 22.08; Shaunae Miller-Uibo 22.15

49.92 seconds
The winning time of the United States Phyllis Francis in the women’s 400 metres. This is the slowest time ever since 1983.
11 Number of winning times in sprints, including relays and hurdles, which were slower than in 2013.


Fredericks' temporary ban upheld by IAAF tribunal

BERLIN (Reuters) - An athletics disciplinary tribunal upheld on Thursday a ban on former Namibian sprinter and IAAF Council member Frankie Fredericks pending an investigation into potential ethics violations.

Fredericks, a multiple Olympic sprint silver medallist and a rising star among international sports administrators until this year, was temporarily banned in July.

He is being investigated by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) over payments he received from Papa Massata Diack, the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack, on the day Rio de Janeiro won the vote to host the 2016 Olympics.

Fredericks has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He admitted having received money from Massata Diack, but said it was payment for legitimate work he had done.

"Mr Fredericks appealed against the order for provisional suspension and his appeal was heard by an enlarged panel of the Disciplinary Tribunal," the AIU said in a statement.

"Having heard from both parties, the enlarged panel agreed with the AIU's submissions and it declined to lift the order for provisional suspension."

Earlier this year Fredericks, an International Olympic Committee member, stepped down as head of the team evaluating bids to host the 2024 Olympics.

He also removed himself from the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) task force investigating doping allegations in Russia, after the corruption allegations involving himself surfaced.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Alister Doyle)


Japan Sprinters Hungry For Greater Success

Another medal-earning feat by the Japan men’s 4×100-meter relay team at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London was certainly an encouraging sign, and now it hopes to achieve its ultimate goal: winning a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

That, of course, will not be an easy task.

Japan claimed a silver medal in the 4×100 relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and again at last summer’s Rio de Janeiro Games, and grabbed bronze in Britain last week. Yet each time, the Japanese benefited from some kind of luck, such as elite teams being disqualified or making mistakes in baton exchanges.

Such was the case this time in London as well. Japan finished third, but would probably have missed a spot on the podium had Usain Bolt, running the anchor leg for Jamaica, not pulled up with a hamstring injury.

On the bright side, Team Japan has added depth in the relay, which has become a strength. This was proven at worlds, where Japan took bronze without either Aska Cambridge or Abdul Hakim Sani Brown running in the final. Cambridge, who was in a slump, was substituted, with veteran Kenji Fujimitsu moving up before the final, while 18-year-old Sani Brown, who advanced to the 200 final, rested due to a mild injury.

“We have had six sprinters who have run in sub-10.1 seconds this year alone,” Fujimitsu said after the Japan national team returned home on Tuesday. “That’s evidence our overall sprinting ability has improved.”

Yoshihide Kiryu, one of Japan’s ace sprinters, has notched 10.01, the country’s second-best time ever, twice — in 2013 and 2016 — in his career. The 21-year-old, who is a Toyo University runner, insists he’s grown as an athlete since running 10.01 for the first time as a high school senior.

“On the surface, you might think my personal best has not improved,” said Kiryu, who did not qualify for individual disciplines for the world championships this year. “But I clocked a sub-10.1 seconds running in a headwind this year. Before, I was only able to do it when I had a tailwind.”

But Fujimitsu insisted that Japan has to work harder to get the result it wants.

“We have not broken the national record of 10.0 seconds (set by Koji Ito 17 years ago),” he said. “Hakim wasn’t able to advance to the final in the 100. We still have a lot of issues we need to overcome.”

Fujimitsu also said Japanese runners have got to have their top performances when it matters most. He noted that the overall times at this year’s world championships were not as fast as they usually are and that there were more upsets, pointing out a greater chance to make something big happen. But most of the Japanese athletes struggled to deliver.

“As much as times and marks are important, you have to outcompete your opponents,” the 31-year-old said. “That’s another issue we have going forward.”

In London, as was the case at the 2016 Rio Games, Japan was the only one of eight teams in the 4×100 final that did not have a single runner with a sub-10.0 personal best. But outstanding baton exchanges have given the Japanese a slight advantage.

The world is starting to catch on, however.

Shota Iizuka, who served as the second-leg runner for Japan in Rio and London, would not say other countries have begun emulating Japan, which has adopted an underhand baton exchange. But he feels they have gotten better at not slowing down during exchanges.

“I think Britain had practiced a lot going in (the world championships),” Iizuka said of the 4×100 relay gold medalists. “Maybe we’ve given them a little influence.

“There weren’t teams that used the underhand passing (France actually used it), but I think the level of the baton exchange has raised. Britain was really good and they took advantage of it (to win the gold medal).”

Japan is developing into a legitimate gold-medal contender in the discipline, but other countries are also trying to improve.

The quest for the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics will not be easy to achieve.


More Star Runners Moving From Track To Marathon

More Kenyan track athletes are switching from track to marathon as they grow older while opting for slower events.

The star runners who have announced their intent to scale to the energy-supping 42km race include Kenyans Vivian Cheruiyot formerly of the 5,000m and 10,000m fame, Ezekiel Kemboi (3,000m steeplechase) and Britain's Mo Farah (5,000m and 10,000m) among others.

They are following in the footsteps of earlier converts like Paul Tergat, Moses Tanui and Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya; Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele both of Ethiopia; and Shalane Flanagan of the United States - who have all won several elite marathon titles.

Geoffrey Kirui, who won the gold medal at the just-concluded World Athletics Championships in London, oscillates between the 10,000m and the marathon event.

"As athletes grow older, their legs give in speedwise especially when faced with younger and more agile runners. The old guards are therefore compelled to scale up to longer races which are slower but require more endurance," 1987 world marathon champion, Douglas Wakiihuri told Xinhua on Thursday.

Payout at elite city races is also one factor that compels track athletes to convert to marathon running where appearance fees, prize money and bonuses can jolt one's bank account upwards tremendously.

The prize money for winners of the Boston Marathon which stands at 150,000 U.S. dollars for example, is three times what a runner can make by winning Diamond League final on the track.

New York Marathon organizers dole out 100,000 dollars to the victors. Owing to the dynamism of the event, elite marathon runners do only a maximum of two races per year, with the rest of the time spent on training and recovering.

"The two-hour barrier in the marathon seems increasingly surmountable as more and more runners with tremendous pedigree are taking to road running and slowly nudging the marathon clock downwards," Nairobi-based sports scientist Bernard Migo, remarked.

World half marathon silver medalist, Bedan Karoki, and world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor both from Kenya are also heading to the road after their legs can no longer let them keep pace with the nimble upcoming runners that the east African nation churns out with regular consistency.

However, race-switching is not a new found novelty. Czech Emil Zatopek won the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon races within eight days at the 1952 Olympics.

Frank Shorter from the United States won the marathon gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games after running the 10,000m, whereas Finland's Lasse Viren won both long distance track events and finished fifth in the marathon at the 1976 Olympic Games.


U.S. Army Gives Runners Fast Track To Citizenship

5K specialist Paul Chelimo, others in program make their mark in U.S. track and field

U.S. runner Paul Chelimo delivered on the promise of a transcendent season when he captured the bronze medal in the 5-kilometer run last week at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships — track and field’s biggest event apart from the Olympics.

In a tactical touch-and-go race in which not even the unbeatable Mo Farah could maintain his stronghold on first place, Chelimo displayed the racing agility and resolve that recently carried him ahead of world-class fields and positioned him close to the American 3K record.

If an Olympic sport like track and field lives on in the national consciousness through highlight-reel moments (think Derek Redmond), 5K specialist Chelimo has already been full of them in his two years running under the American flag. People who casually tuned in to the Rio Olympics last summer might remember Chelimo as the guy who got his silver medal taken from him and reinstated on live television. Last week, he topped himself in the theatrics department by falling in his semifinal heat, getting back up and catching up to the field in time to qualify for the final.

Chelimo runs for the U.S. Army under its World Class Athlete Program, and with his signature salute and his dominance in the past year, Chelimo has the makings of a star in his sport — to the degree that such a thing exists in track and field in this country.

Chelimo had been a Kenyan citizen competing for the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. NCAA distance running has been dominated by foreign talent, but for a few exceptions, like Bernard Lagat and Eritrean-born three-time Olympian Meb Keflezighi, a naturalization process that typically takes up to five years deters many of these runners from staying in the United States after college.

That was until the Army’s World Class Athlete Program started offering expedited citizenship for permanent residents after they completed basic training in 2009. Chelimo joined the U.S. Army in 2014 and got his citizenship the same year.

Chelimo’s rise to stardom is a reversal from the dominant narrative that the U.S. track and field community has been developing over the past 15 years in magazines and podcasts, a narrative based on native-born or long-naturalized citizens.

In 2001, the sports world briefly turned its attention to track and field when 18-year-old Virginian Alan Webb broke the national high school mile record set by America’s greatest miler, former world record holder Jim Ryun. Webb appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and on the cover of Sports Illustrated along with another distance runner, Michigan-based high schooler Dathan Ritzenhein, who finished third in the U20 World Cross Country Championships the previous fall. Considering that Ryun won a silver medal in the Olympics and no American has placed that high at the World Championships, it seems reasonable to think that the U.S. might finally be able to compete for distance medals in a sport that has primarily been won by East Africans over the past few decades.

As the years rolled by, the number of athletes capable of performances comparable to the best in the world accelerated. A decade ago, only one American runner had run under 13 minutes for 5 km, but in 2010, Ritzenhein and three other runners — Chris Solinsky, Lagat and Matthew Tegenkamp — joined the sub-13 club in the span of less than a year, breaking the American record three times. Each of these achievements was celebrated on magazine covers as a measure of America’s progress against the best in the world.

At the trials for the Athens Olympics in 2004, only three Americans met the qualifying standard of 13:25 for the 5K, and because one of the runners opted out to run the 10K, the U.S. was unable to send a full complement of three runners for the event. At the 2016 Rio Olympic trials, 11 runners met the standard. In other words, there was no shortage of U.S. talent. What was more striking, however, was the lack of fear against the best in the world.

“If you begin looking at the last few years, you start seeing that Americans are slowly climbing back up, that we’ve started to compete and beat Africans,” said 29-year-old American athlete Ben True in an interview with Deadspin. “I was aware that East Africans are dominant, but I never wrote them off as unbeatable.”

True was being interviewed in the middle of a hot streak in 2015 that saw him beating some of the world’s top athletes. When asked about his proudest achievement, he spoke of leading the U.S. team to a second-place finish at the World Cross Country Championships, finishing ahead of running superpowers Ethiopia and Uganda.

A year later, True lined up to run the 5K in the 2016 Olympic trials with Ryan Hill and Galen Rupp, the silver medalist in the 10K at the 2012 London Olympics, joining him as favorites. All three represented the U.S. in the event at the IAAF World Championships a year earlier, finishing a promising fifth through seventh in the final. For Hill and True, the race represented their first chance to call themselves Olympians, and for U.S. track and field, it represented two more weapons with unique racing styles on the world stage.

Thirteen and a half minutes later, all three were left in the dust. Instead, the top three were Kenyan-born Lagat, Somalian-born runner Hassan Mead and Kenyan-born Chelimo.

Lagat came to the United States in 1996 to run at Washington State University and attained U.S. citizenship while winning a medal for Kenya at the 2004 Olympics. He released a public statement declaring his intentions to live out the rest of his life in America in 2005. When he won two golds at the 2007 World Championships, he was rightfully celebrated. Similarly, Mead was a familiar site on the racing circuit, having emigrated in middle school and being an established runner in both high school and at the University of Minnesota.

Chelimo is a former All-American in cross country and track and field at UNC-Greensboro. He became a U.S. citizen and joined the WCAP three years ago.

Over the course of the 2016 Olympic trials, three other Kenyan-born WCAP athletes would join Chelimo on the U.S. National team: Hillary Bor in the 3K steeplechase and Leonard Korir and Shadrack Kipchirchir in the 10K.

The WCAP has been taking up a growing share of the world slots. Within a couple of years of True boasting about leading a squad that could match up against Kenyan runners at the World Cross Country Championships, the 2017 U.S. World Cross Country Championships squad was led by four Kenyan-born athletes: three members off the WCAP and a fourth, Stanley Kebenei, who is in the Army Reserve (Kebenei emigrated as a child and was already a citizen). At last week’s IAAF World Championships, the WCAP increased its contingent from four to six Kenyan-born athletes.

While this growth has been an astounding success for the WCAP, it has thrown some in the track community into a state of confusion. On the message boards at Letsrun.com, although the debate is mostly tempered with appreciation for the performances, one poster writes, “EZ-PASS to citizenship or honorable? Will I see Chelimo in battle if things go haywire? How do they have the time to train if they’re soldiers?” Another adds, “They probably have about 18 months of citizenship combined & definitely haven’t served in the ‘real Army’: a bunch of ‘1 & Done’s!’ ”

Robert Johnson, co-founder of Letsrun.com, said in an email: “I think instinctively most people have a problem with athletes representing countries where they don’t live or really plan on living permanently unless they or their parents were born in that country. Some of the Kenyans and Ethiopians that have switched allegiances to run for Middle Eastern countries still train and live in their home countries for much of the year. On the other hand, it seems that only a few people have a problem with athletes running for a country different than their birth if that’s the country where they actually live.”

Johnson primarily refers to Bahrain and Qatar, which have lured international stars in track and field as well as other sports. In a bid to become a world sports capital, for example, not only did the Qataris import over half their team when they hosted the World Handball tournament in 2015, they even hired 60 Spaniards to travel to the tournament to provide a cheering section. Similarly, Nigeria naturalized over half a dozen track and field athletes before Rio.

“If you come from an impoverished or extremely corrupt country, living in the United States could be a dream for you,” said David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians. “There are extremes that are unnatural like Qatar and Bahrain, so there’s an extreme that goes against the grain for me, but to a certain extent, its understandable from the point of view of the athletes.”

While active U.S. military personnel have been representing the United States since the inaugural modern Olympics in 1896, the World Class Athlete Program officially coalesced in 1997 in Fort Carson, Colorado.

“We didn’t have the level of success that the Army expected them to have, so we looked at each sport and we raised the entry for each program — not just track and field but for all the individual sports. At that time we recommended Dan Browne to take us to the next level,” said WCAP program manager Willie Wilson.

Browne was one of the first disciples of Alberto Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project, which has produced countless global championship medalists since its inception in the early 2000s. When Browne took over the WCAP distance program in 2013 as coach, he used everything he had learned from the marathon greats and briefly moved the team near Nike’s Oregon facilities.

It was the coinciding of the citizenship expedition process — launched across the entirety of the military, independent of the WCAP — and the return of one of the program’s greatest success stories — Browne is a 2004 Olympian and West Point alum — that allowed for an influx of runners who were able to meet the standards.

According to Wilson, the program doesn’t recruit but has become known through its success. He also mentioned that a number of the Kenyan athletes have raced in the same circle collegiately and they come from the same villages in Kenya, so there is a certain effect of agglomeration at play. Hillary Bor, for instance, is the younger brother of WCAP recruits Julius and Emmanuel Bor, who earned accolades at the University of Alabama with fellow WCAP runner Augustus Maiyo.

“Elite athletes want to continue to compete after their careers are over. The World Class Athletes affords the opportunity to do that from whatever university or from whatever country,” said WCAP’s new coach, Lt. Col. Sean Ryan.

Of the 16 soldiers who are currently runners in the WCAP, 13 are originally Kenyan and one is originally Ugandan, and all of those athletes got their citizenship while in the program. What Wilson is eager to stress, however, is that nine of these 13 athletes received their citizenship while serving in units around the Army.

“The vast majority of those soldiers did their work in units just like any other soldier. There were no exception in terms of communication abilities or meeting entry standards,” he said.

As for the work that they do, the WCAP spokesmen concede that once the athletes reach a world-class level, their work shifts to training, but they still have work details (known as military occupational specialties) and continued military training.

As the Army hopes that soldiers will pick up life skills that will last in their careers and make an impact, Chelimo is on track to do that as well. Having grown up in a village with severe water shortages and having been treated for dysentery (infection of the intestines) as a child, Chelimo is working as a water specialist in the Army in hopes of eventually establishing a water treatment plant in his native Kenya.

The athletes also conduct Total Soldier Enhancement Training (TSET), where they instruct drill sergeants across the board on the mental strength, attention control and resilience that produces high levels of physical performance.

“I’ve witnessed them training fellow soldiers and was immediately impressed by their ability to make meaningful and lasting connections that strengthen a trainee’s physical and mental resiliency. WCAP athletes expose soldiers to mental skill training that leads to consistently higher levels of performance,” said Army spokesman Scott Malcolm.

Wilson also noted that many of those soldiers speak Swahili, which is one of the 44 languages the Army looks for in recruiting. Maiyo’s special forces unit assignment was with the United States Africa Command. The Army did note, however, that Maiyo did not deploy to the area of operations.

This year, the program has grown by six recruits and has shown little sign of abating from the national scene.

“We did have four Olympians, which is nice, but what I’ve tried to instill in them is this is 2017. We have bigger goals, and my sights are on 2020 and we have [the Olympics in] Tokyo,” said Ryan.

Perhaps the best perspective on the externalities of the WCAP comes from Andrew Bayer, who missed qualifying for both the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships by one place behind a WCAP runner. Although he questions the speed at which the citizenship is conferred, he supports the athletes 100 percent.

“I think our country was built by immigration. Welcoming new citizens is what the nation has been about,” he said. “At times I’ve gotten frustrated because I didn’t want to lose to them, but when I step back and see how we should be as a people, it’s a lot different.”


Team USA's Tianna Bartoletta medals at worlds despite being homeless for three months

Tears streamed down the face of Team USA's Tianna Bartoletta as she collected her bronze medal in the long jump during the final days of the IAAF World Championships last weekend. Having previously won gold in the event at worlds twice before, and being the reigning Olympic gold medalist at the long jump, Bartoletta's had better finishes, but she wasn't crying sad tears. Her tears came from relief - that she could persevere and even succeed through even the darkest of times.

"[Y]ou may find it hard to believe but this Bronze medal is THE most special medal I have ever won," the 31-year-old wrote on Instagram after collecting her hardware. "Because just three short months ago I had to run away from my own home, I had to decide which of ALL my belongings were the most important, I had to leave my dogs, I had little money, I still have no actual address, all to give myself a chance at having a life and the love I deserved - one that didn't involve fear or fighting, threats, and abuse."

Bartoletta shocked her fans, revealing that she's been homeless for three months, while she escaped what she has alleged was an abusive marriage to her husband of five years John Bartoletta. (For his part, John Bartoletta has characterized the couple's divorce as "amicable," per the BBC.)

"I took a huge gamble blowing my life up in such an important year for me career-wise. But it was about time for me to see that I was worth it," she continued. "It was worth it. Thanks so much for riding with me."

Not having a permanent address, however, was just one of the many obstacles Bartoletta had to overcome on her way to worlds. On Wednesday, she opened up to the BBC about the effect her relationship had on her mental health.

"I lost my personality," she said. "I felt like I became a stranger to myself almost."

Bartoletta said she even thought about suicide.

"It got so dark that I was contemplated walking off a train platform in front of a train in Europe last season because it just started to feel like I had no way out, no way out of the feelings of frustration and shame," she said. "It was just so tempting to call it quits."

Bartoletta told the BBC it took her a while to open up to people about how she was feeling, including family, but doing so put her on the path to feeling better.

"This has been my therapy - sharing this story with you, sharing the Instagram post, blogging," she said. "It has kind of been my way of healing."

Now she hopes to inspire others who might also be struggling.

"The most important thing is you're not alone," she said. "[Depression] is a very difficult situation, it's complex, it's confusing and hard for a lot of people who aren't in it to understand, but . . . I understand."

Others who suffer from similar issues haven't always followed a positive path. At least 102 former Olympians have committed suicide, according to statistics kept by Sports Reference. Twenty-one of them were track and field athletes.

While studies suggest elite athletes have a broadly comparable risk of developing depression relative to the general public, Bartoletta suggested her athletic success acted as an impediment to her getting help.

"[T]he most difficult thing . . . I was still being successful on the track, so I think it was easier to overlook the personality change because I was still bringing it home, medals in huge performances," Bartoletta told the BBC. "So I was able to rationalize the change in my personality, and other people would say, 'Oh, that's just what it took to be elite. It was the sacrifice. She's just the ultimate professional.' "

Going forward, Bartoletta said she has no foolproof plan to keep on the path of growth, but she appears confident that she'll continue to make strides and not just on the track.

"This [world championships] was the finish line for me. The thing that I've been focused on so much till now," she said. "I'm little bit lost again. Because I don't have that routine to fall back on but I'm figuring it out."

Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune


Double disappointment for triple-jump champ Taylor

World and Olympic champion Christian Taylor suffered a double failure on Wednesday as he attempted to break the triple-jump world record at altitude in Tignes, France.

The double Olympic and triple world champion not only failed to trouble Jonathan Edwards's 22-year-old record of 18.29m but he also finished second to American compatriot Will Claye.

Claye won with a modest effort of 17.42m while 27-year-old Taylor's jump of 16.99m was well off his personal best of 18.21m.

Competing at altitude has long been thought to give athletes, especially jumpers, an advantage.

But Taylor admitted he had some difficulty adjusting to the conditions and the elevated track.

"There was a lot of talk about the world record," he said.

"At the beginning I was a little lightheaded, I tried not to think about it, I tried to do everything as normal.

"I realised I needed to control my breathing but with every run I became a little more comfortable and also with the runway.

"I didn't do the indoor season so I'm really not used to elevated runaways. It's my first time since 2013 I've been on a track like this.

"I'm not used to the bouncy response, I was not able to get off of it. But once I realised what I needed to do I just started to increase, increase, increase but it was just not far enough. Now I know for the future what to expect."

Although the 3 000-metre altitude was expected to help in a world record attempt, strong winds made conditions difficult.

Taylor nevertheless said he "had the time of (his) life" competing against a picturesque backdrop of icy snow covered mountains.

"It was a new experience for me. The turnout was incredible, the views are incredible. I just had so much fun."

A few days earlier at the world championships in London, Taylor won with a leap of 17.68m, with Claye second after jumping 17.63m.

South African Luvo Manyonga backed up his world championship win by leaping 8.46m in the long jump, just two centimetres off what he managed in London, but well off Mike Powell's 26-year-old record of 8.95m.

"I was a little disappointed, the wind was pushing me. But I feel that I have 9 metres within me," said Manyonga.

The final athletics competition of the season will be the Diamond League meet in Zurich on August 23.


Hasely Crawford Predicted Jereem Richards Medals

GABRIEL BLACKMANN (NYLO INTERN)

TRINIDAD AND Tobago’s first Olympic gold medallist, Hasely Crawford, took the time off on his 67th birthday yesterday to comment on the remarkable achievements of the national athletes at the IAAF World Championships in London, England.

He spoke during a commemorative exhibition at the Alma Jordan Library, University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine campus.

Crawford, who witnessed the events live in London, said, “Before I left Trinidad, someone asked me ‘what medals?’ I told them we have four great chances. One of them is Jereem, I said it, Richards (in the men’s 200 metres); the (women’s 4x100m relay), Keshorn (Walcott in javelin), and the 4x4 (4x400m relay). I said, but they’ll have to earn it.” Richards was part of the victorious 4x400m relay team, while he copped bronze in the men’s 200m. The women’s 4x100m relay team placed sixth in the final while Walcott finished seventh in his final.

Crawford continued, “If you look at those guys (Jarrin Solomon, Richards, Machel Cedenio and Lalonde Gordon), the way they run in the 4x4, they went for it.

“You have to go for it, and as I said, you have to earn it. And they earned it.” Crawford said that if it wasn’t for Richards’ bad start in the 200m final, he would have won gold. And he had great praise for the athletes and the effort required to run the races and excel.

“You can’t just run like that. You have to be prepared to take your body beyond.

You have to learn to manage pressure. You have to learn to manage speed and you’ll get success.” The exhibition, titled “Hasely Crawford – National Hero”, is part of the annual National Heroes Project launched by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC) on July 21 this year. The initiative aims to recognise TT nationals who have excelled in their respective fields and whose legacy of service, contribution or inspiration has impacted the country.

This year’s focus is Crawford who, at UWI yesterday, took the time to converse with guests and sign autographs.

NGC chairman Gerry Brooks and NGC president Mark Loquan, were among the officials present.

The exhibition detailed his historic run at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada, with video footage of his historic race, as well as excerpts of past articles of races where he excelled.

Also on display were boards showing Crawford’s role as Head of Community Relations of 1996 and his role in the implementation of the Right on Track Programme and his continuous role of community engagement throughout the years.

The exhibition is one in a history of initiatives by the NGC to support local sport, which includes the recent Youth Elite Programme, and runs from July 25 to August 18 at UWI. It will then move on throughout various schools and NALIS libraries across the country.


World championships rematches in Birmingham DL

Several newly crowned world champions headline a Diamond League meet in Birmingham, Great Britain, on Sunday, live on NBC Sports Gold and The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

Many stars made the 125-mile trek northwest from London, where worlds concluded last Sunday, to Birmingham for the last Diamond League meet before the finals in Zurich (Aug. 24) and Brussels (Sept. 1).

They include Allyson Felix, Mo Farah, Elaine Thompson and Shaunae Miller-Uibo, plus surprise world champs Emma Coburn, Phyllis Francis and Ramil Guliyev.

Here are the Birmingham entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

8:22 a.m. — Women’s Pole Vault
8:31 a.m. — Men’s Long Jump
8:41 a.m. — Women’s 800m
9:30 a.m. — Men’s Mile
9:39 a.m. — Men’s High Jump


9:47 a.m. — Women’s Discus
10:03 a.m. — Women’s 400m Hurdles
10:14 a.m. — Men’s 800m
10:23 a.m. — Men’s 100m
10:28 a.m. — Women’s Triple Jump
10:32 a.m. — Men’s 400m
10:40 a.m. — Women’s 3000m
10:53 a.m. — Men’s Shot Put
10:57 a.m. — Men’s 110m Hurdles
11:08 a.m. — Women’s 100m
11:17 a.m. — Men’s 200m
11:26 a.m. — Women’s 1500m
11:36 a.m. — Women’s 400m
11:45 a.m. — Men’s 3000m

Here are five events to watch:

Women’s 3000m — 10:40 a.m.
Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs, the surprise one-two finishers in the world championships 3000m steeplechase, race without the barriers and water jumps here. The two fastest American steeplers of all time face the two fastest Americans in the 5000m all time — Shannon Rowbury and Molly Huddle.

But the favorite has to be Kenyan Hellen Obiri, who is the fastest woman since 1993 in this non-Olympic event. Obiri dusted 10,000m world-record holder Almaz Ayana with her kick to win the world 5000m crown on Sunday.

Men’s Shot Put — 10:53 a.m.
Ten of the top 11 finishers from worlds are here, including the medalists — Tomas Walsh (NZL), Joe Kovacs (USA) and Stipe Žunić (CRO).

Nobody has been more impressive this season than Olympic champion Ryan Crouser, who will look to make up for his shocking sixth-place finish from London. Crouser owns five of the world’s top six throws in 2017, including a 22.65-meter heave at the USATF Outdoor Championships. That’s two feet farther than Walsh’s world title-winning throw.

Women’s 100m — 11:08 a.m.
An interesting field will race in two heats to qualify for this final. It does not include Tori Bowie, who in London became the first American woman to take a global 100m crown since 2005.

But it does include Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson, who earned zero medals at worlds while reportedly slowed by a stomach illness and an Achilles problem. World 100m silver and bronze medalists Marie-Josée Ta Lou and Dafne Schippers are also in the field.

Two Olympic champions making their Diamond League 100m debuts are Sally Pearson, the 2012 Olympic 100m hurdles gold medalist, and Rio 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo.

Men’s 200m — 11:17 a.m.
Who would have thought six months ago that a Diamond League 200m without Usain Bolt, Andre De Grasse, Wayde van Niekerk or Justin Gatlin would be one of the headline events?

After the surprise at worlds, this one is intriguing. Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev is entered after winning an out-of-nowhere gold medal in London. He’ll face a man with reason to carry a chip on his shoulder — Botswana’s Isaac Makwala. Makwala has the fastest 200m time in the world this year but finished sixth at worlds, likely in part due to his medical controversy and having to run an extra 200m heat alone the night before the final.

Women’s 400m — 11:36 a.m.
The three world medalists return here, hopefully to race in better weather conditions. American Phyllis Francis surpassed Allyson Felix and a stumbling Miller-Uibo to claim gold on a wet, chilly night in London last week in the slowest world championships-winning time ever. Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser clipped Felix for silver, with Miller-Uibo falling to fourth.

Felix still owns the fastest time in the world this year and, with Miller-Uibo choosing to race the 100m in Birmingham, is a quarter of a second faster than anyone in this field in 2017.


Pearson, Harper-Nelson To Renew Rivalry In Perth

Athletics WA hopes to write another chapter in the long-time rivalry between freshly minted hurdling world champion Sally Pearson and American Dawn Harper-Nelson next year.

A sponsor for the State’s premier athletics event has cleared the way to lure international talent to take on Australia’s best.
The Jandakot Airport Track Classic will be staged at the WA Athletics Stadium on January 13, a month out from the national championships and Commonwealth Games nomination trials on the Gold Coast from February 15 to 18.

Harper-Nelson will be the event’s No.1 target after she and Pearson again stood on the dais at the world championships in London at the weekend.

The 33-year-old American won gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 ahead of Pearson, who took gold four years later in London.

“There’s been a long-standing rivalry with Sally in particular,” Athletics WA chief executive Wayne Loxley said.

“We’ll definitely be focusing on getting Dawn to make that a real sort of blue-riband event.

“We’ve had her in mind before to get her out, but it’s never worked out. With the form Sally is in, that might be an added attraction to get her out here.

“Without their financial support of the event, we wouldn’t be able to talk about getting probably any real international quality.”

Harper-Nelson spoke of her rivalry with Pearson, 30, after claiming silver in London. The pair warmly embraced after the race.

“Me and Sally have just battled it out for years and it’s been so great to be here with her,” Harper-Nelson said.

“At the end, I could see Sally had won and I thought ‘it’s me and Sally again’.”

Rising West Australian Brianna Beahan is another strong contender in the 100m hurdles.

Loxley remained confident Pearson would come to Perth, with Athletics Australia encouraging its athletes to seek head-to-head contests rather than focus on times in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games.

“I have had discussions with my counterpart at Queensland Athletics David Gynther,” Loxley said.

“He has suggested that she has always liked coming to Perth. Sally loves strong competition and if we could secure Dawn that would just add more reason for her to want to come.”

It is also hoped discus star Dani Stevens would compete in Perth.


Catch up with inspiring Olympians Nikki Hamblin, Abbey D'Agostino

Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand stumbled and fell to the track. American Abbey D'Agostino tumbled over her, landing awkwardly. Just like that, their lives became forever linked and changed.

Their collision -- specifically, their reaction afterward -- was one of the most memorable and uplifting stories of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

ESPN.com caught up with the pair a year later to find out what the two have been up to since their fateful encounter and what's next for these global icons of sportsmanship.

The moment

It was in the second preliminary heat of the 5,000 meters on Aug. 16 when Hamblin fell to the track of Rio's Olympic Stadium. D'Agostino, running behind her, may have clipped Hamblin's feet. Or Hamblin may have been thrown off by another runner. Neither is sure what happened in that split second.

"All I remember is running in the pack and I remember sensing something up ahead and not knowing what it was, but the next thing is, I'm on the ground," Hamblin said. "I've hit the ground pretty hard and I'm laying there wondering, 'What am I doing on the ground? How has this happened? What is happening?'"

She recalls D'Agostino standing over her saying, "Get up, we need to finish this." Although Hamblin has no memory of getting to her feet, both women mustered the will to continue.

D'Agostino, meanwhile, didn't realize she fell again later -- and was then helped up by Hamblin, who stayed close for a while, encouraging her -- until she saw video the next day.

Hamblin, shaken but having avoided major injury, was able to finish the heat in 16:43.61, more than a minute and a half behind winner Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, the eventual bronze medalist.

When Hamblin turned to look back at the track, she was shocked to see D'Agostino still running. After helping D'Agostino to her feet with more than four laps left, she had assumed the American would have to stop. When Hamblin saw her in the final stretch, all she could think was, "Wow."

D'Agostino had torn the ACL in her right knee in the fall. Despite the pain, she'd kept running, praying the whole way.

"I didn't think she was going to finish," Hamblin said. "And yet she ran a mile with an injury."

When D'Agostino finished to loud cheers in 17:10.02, Hamblin met her with a hug.

"It was so special," D'Agostino said. "I think we both knew that what had happened was so crazy, but at the same time so beautiful. ... For both of us to be able to finish despite our dreams of what the race could have looked like, shattered, you know -- to just celebrate the good that came out of it -- that moment together was just unbelievable."

Race officials granted both runners spots in the final three days later, but D'Agostino was unable to compete and Hamblin, hampered by a sore ankle and Achilles tendon, finished last in the 17-woman field.

Their goodwill during their heat drew global attention. The two received the International Olympic Committee's Fair Play Award. President Barack Obama called D'Agostino's actions "exactly what the Olympic spirit and the American spirit should be all about."

"I say it sort of jokingly -- but sort of not jokingly -- like I could possibly still be lying on the track if Abbey had not done that," Hamblin said. "I don't know if Abbey hadn't done that whether I could have been able to get up and finish the race. [What she said] was that thing you need to bring you back into the real world instead of just being in shock. It was, 'Hey, get up, you have to get up and you have to finish and you have to honor what the Olympics is.'"

In February, they were reunited in Monaco for the Laureus World Sports Awards, where they were nominated for best sporting moment. They'd stayed in touch via email and texting, but the ceremony marked the only time they've seen each other since addressing the media the day after their race. This time they were in formal gowns for the ceremony, and they were able to share some downtime together, too.

"We forever will have sort of an unspoken understanding and connection because of the depth of what we experienced, not only in that moment, but also in the wake of it," D'Agostino said.

Hamblin: 'There's always a positive in everything'

Hamblin had hoped to compete in the world championships in London earlier this month, but that didn't happen. After taking three months off after Rio, she started training but suffered a foot injury in April.

"That's kind of ruled me out of racing for this year, but you know, I guess what Rio taught me is there's always a positive in everything, you just have to find it," she said.

She has dived into what she calls her first "grown-up job," working in membership for Cycling New Zealand. Living in the North Island town of Cambridge, she's enjoying being in a professional office environment for the first time and having a different focus. The 29-year-old also will complete her long-delayed sociology degree this fall. Although she can't run, she can cycle and will soon take part in her company's corporate challenge race.

"A goal for this year was to be in London at the world champs and be on that start line, but instead I'm going to be on the start line of a corporate pursuit," she said, laughing.

Once she's healed, she'll start training again with the goal of getting to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. After an Achilles tendon injury took her out of contention for the 2012 London Games, and then the Rio incident, the four-time New Zealand champion in the 1,500 meters and two-time Commonwealth Games silver medalist hopes she'll finally be able to compete without injury or mishap.

Though she wants to win an Olympic medal -- a dream since she was 15 -- she understands she has already done something special at the Games.

"The further time comes between the incident," she said, "when I can separate some of the sadness around it, I understand, 'You actually did a good thing.'"

Though Hamblin says she'd eventually like to be known for more than being "the girl who fell over," she's now comfortable talking about what happened. She laughs easily and sees the positives.

"My result on the track doesn't define who I am as a person," she said. "When I was growing up, my dad would always say to me, 'It's not about the destination. It's about the journey.' ... I didn't understand, like, 'What do you mean?' But Rio, now I get it. I get that quote and I understand what it means. I'm excited because it's changed the way I look at my running. ... I can find positive things about other areas of my life."

D'Agostino: 'I don't regret anything that happened'

The last time D'Agostino, a seven-time NCAA champion, competed on a track was that race in Rio. She had surgery to repair the ACL and meniscus in her right knee, then returned to training in March and April. But she strained her right hamstring, sidelining her again.

This fall, she expects to enter some cross-country or road races, with a return to the track next year.

"It's been more of two steps forward, one back, which I'm learning is what I should expect in the 18 months after surgery," she said.

Yet even without running, the past year has been good. She got engaged in June and will be married next summer. Also in June, she was presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Dartmouth, her alma mater, for her "gold standard" of sportsmanship.

D'Agostino also has taken joy in sharing with people -- in speaking engagements and at clinics -- what she experienced in Rio.

She says a confluence of factors related to her faith primed her for what happened that day. She had several pre-event talks about faith and miracles in the athletes village with Team USA chaplain Madeline Manning Mims, a former Olympic gold medalist, who spoke about how she had once been able to finish a race despite a serious injury.

Ten days before her race, D'Agostino also took part in a Bible study about the power of miracles. And before she stepped to the line for the 5,000, she wrote part of a Bible verse on her hand in ink, something she's done before. This time, it was "Now to him who is able," a piece of Ephesians 3:20: "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us."

"Because of so many things that were working in my life to prepare my heart to respond that way, I was able to show off the character of love and sacrifice that is natural only to God," she said.

Now, D'Agostino, 25, has much to look forward to. She was disappointed she didn't have a chance to compete for a medal in Rio but believes she'll get more chances. She's just grateful for the experience.

"Just to have that opportunity, to be on that stage, was incredible," she said. "So I don't regret anything that happened."

And she now sees running as more of a path than a destination. Like Hamblin, she views running as a wonderful part of her life, but not her entire life.

"It's just a vehicle for me to put on display the athletic and the mental and all the gifts and resources I've been given to be able to do this sport," she said. "It's a better, more mature life balance, I think. I'm developing a more sustainable relationship with the sport."


World Athletics Championships 2017 review

The highs and the lows of 10 tumultuous days at the London Stadium seen through the eyes of those who reported on the World Athletics Championships

Biggest star
Usain Bolt. Judging by the outpouring of love and affection he received it probably has to be him but the achievements of Wayde van Niekerk should not be overlooked. He came within 0.03sec of a 200m and 400m double despite clearly being exhausted after six punishing races. Hero the Mascot deserves an honourable mention too for keeping the crowd gasping and laughing during quieter moments. Sean Ingle

Usain Bolt. Even in defeat, the Jamaican was the man London 2017 organisers were using to sell the final remaining tickets for Sunday evening by reminding the crowd he would be completing a farewell lap of honour. Martha Kelner

Usain Bolt. Who else? Bolt compared his last race to Muhammad Ali’s final defeat to Trevor Berbick in 1981. It would have been a preposterous remark if it had been made by anyone else. Andy Bull

Usain Bolt. There is only one athlete who could end London 2017 with a disappointing bronze medal and a heartbreaking DNF, yet still be the star of the show. Lawrence Ostlere

Breakthrough athlete

Karsten Warholm. The 21-year-old Norwegian stunned himself more than anyone by winning 400m hurdles gold … and then turned up to the press conference in a viking helmet. But Yulimar Rojas, the brilliant Venezuelan 21-year-old triple jumper, who ended Caterine Ibarguen’s quest to become the event’s first three-time champion after an epic duel in the sand, was another who had a breakthrough competition. SI

Karsten Warholm. The Norwegian is only 21 and a former decathlete but he led from gun to tape in the 400m hurdles with one of the most commanding victories of the week. His scream at the end was sensational, too. MK

Karsten Warholm. His winning time in the 400m hurdles may have been the slowest since 1991, but he’s just 21, and has been specialising in the event for only three years. AB

Karsten Warholm. The Norwegian emphatically vindicated his switch from the decathlon to specialise in the 400m hurdles, winning the world title and plenty of fans with his endearing reaction. LO

Mo Farah. It’s hard to argue with him, given he won Britain’s only two individual medals of the championships. However, that was expected. Dina Asher-Smith returning from a broken foot to come fourth in the 200m and then win a silver medal in the 4x100m relay certainly wasn’t. Especially as she started running again only in June. SI

Mo Farah. He has carried the British squad since the world championships in 2009 and did so again as the only individual medallist. His 10,000m gold was arguably his hardest fought so far. MK

Mo Farah. Given no one else won an individual medal, the competition is not stiff. It’s a great shame he still thinks that attacking the press is the best way to respond to questions about his career. AB

Mo Farah. There were several impressive performances but only one athlete brought home an individual gold medal, and he did it in typically convincing style. LO

Best moment

Best is the wrong word, but probably the most thrilling moment came in the men’s 4x100m. As the batons changed hands for the final time, the USA and Britain were fighting it out for gold with Usain Bolt an outsider in his last ever race. As the crowd wondered whether the Jamaican might produce a fairytale finish he dramatically pulled up with cramp before collapsing on to the track, leaving Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake to pip Christian Coleman for the gold. SI

Great Britain’s 4x100m gold because after years of bungled baton changes and tension behind the scenes they finally got it wonderfully, exhilaratingly right. The unconfined celebrations, where they were joined by the overjoyed women’s 4x100 team, were magnificent. It was a perfect example of talent maximisation, a team greater than the sum of its parts. MK

Sally Pearson’s victory in the 100m hurdles was particularly good to watch, especially given that she missed the Olympics last year because she tore a hamstring. It was a great race too, in which she had to overhaul Kendra Harrison and then hold off Dawn Harper-Nelson. Pearson’s first remarks? “That was bloody hard.” AB

Having just won silver themselves, the British women’s 4x100m quartet inadvertently created another memorable moment as they watched their male team-mates from trackside. Standing beside their American conquerors, they screamed GB’s men around the London Stadium before bursting into manic celebration as Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake brought home gold. LO

Worst moment

The conspiracy theories. On the track, they came when Shaunae Miller-Uibo clipped her calf just 10 strides from the line when cruising to victory in the women’s 400m and again when Bolt was injured in the 4x100m. The crazy suggestion the pair might be trying to avoid drug tests. Given they both won other medals in the championships, this was clearly nonsense. Off the track, it was also rubbish that the IAAF were deliberately stopping Isaac Makwala running in the men’s 400m to give their golden boy Wayde van Niekerk an easy path to a gold medal. Still, some believed it. SI

The IAAF’s handling of the Isaac Makwala incident. Not because it was incorrect to ban him from the 400m final and refuse him entry to the stadium but because of its news management. Reasoning was not relayed to the Botswana team, the crowd in the stadium or the media, and it resulted in an uninformed mess. MK

The men’s 100m final. We’ve heard a lot of worthy remarks about why it’s wrong to boo Justin Gatlin. If he had ever publicly come clean about what went on when he was working with his old coach Trevor Graham, or the cockamamie story he told when he failed his second drug test, I’d have more sympathy. AB

There were several reminders of the dangers inherent in athletics, none more so than Deborah John’s horrific head-first crash into the fifth barrier of her 100m hurdles heat. No serious damage was done, but the image of John lying face down and motionless on the track was a harrowing one. LO

Before Doha 2019 the IAAF should …
Realise that a world championships in Qatar would be terrible for the sport. Why? Well, the stadiums will be half-empty. And the event will take place in late September or early October due to the heat, which means the athletes will be tired so late in the year and it will struggle to get a look-in during the football and NFL seasons. Given the serious questions about how Doha won the bid, the IAAF could yet be justified in taking it to another city – Berlin, Paris, heck even London again. SI

It is an age-old problem with athletics but, too often, the crowd in the stadium does not know what is going on or where to look. A textbook example was on the second Saturday night when Mo Farah’s 5,000m was under way while two British women battling for medals in the high jump went largely ignored. What a waste. MK

Invite an independent authority to take a close look at the IAAF’s decision to hold the next world championships in Doha; stop telling the athletes that the onus is on them to replace Usain Bolt by becoming “more colourful”; stop telling everyone else that everything is rosy just because they sold a lot of tickets in London. AB

Boldly innovate the sport as a spectacle. Seb Coe has banged the drum for brave new ideas and now the IAAF must ride the wave from London 2017 and deliver. Bringing fringe field events front and centre in their final throes, like the climax to the women’s high jump final, would harness a swath of untapped entertainment. LO


South Africa: Sports Minister Hails Team SA On World Champs

Sports minister Thulas Nxesi has lauded on the South African athletics team after their stellar performance at the IAAF World Championships in London.

The SA squad earned the nation's best ever medal haul at a world championships, finishing third and scooping a total of six podium places.

"Congratulations are all in order to the entire team including Caster Semenya as she continued to carry out flag high in adding to our gold tally in the women's 800m final and the bronze in the women's 1 500m final - serving as a great ambassador to our women athletes," said a statement issued by Nxesi.

"Both her achievements couldn't have come at a better time as we continue with our Women's Month celebration.

"I also take the opportunity to further congratulate the following athletes for flying our flag high and for ensuring we ended up third in the medal standings. Our golden boy Wayde van Niekerk for pocketing both 400m gold and 200m silver, Luvo Manyonga for collecting gold and Ruswahl Samaai for his bronze," said Nxesi.

"I know this country is waiting in anticipation for the return of all our athletes so that they can be afforded the hero's welcome they deserve. Unfortunately due to their hectic calendar it won't be anytime soon as they still need to take part in the Diamond League...

"Lastly but not the least, congratulations to the entire Athletics South Africa team including those that didn't secure a medal. I urge them to go back and once more work extra hard.

"As for those who will be attending the Diamond League, they must go out there and represent the country well and we will be waiting in anticipation," ended Nxesi.

The IAAF Diamond League takes place in Birmingham on Sunday, August 20.

Sport24


Jamaica Failure Blamed On Junior Program Neglect

The 16th IAAF World Championships is now history. It is one which fans of local track and field will want to forget as quickly as possible as Jamaica walked away with just four medals - one gold and three bronze - to finish 16th overall.

This is unfamiliar territory for Jamaica. For the past six championships, the country has done quite well, finishing with eight or more medals and a place in the top 10, the best performance coming at the Berlin Championships in 2009 where celebrated with 13 medals - seven gold, four silver and two bronze. They placed second overall on the medal table, behind the United States, who ended with 22 medals including 10 gold.

The performance in London is the worst since Helsinki in 1983 and Rome in 1987. In Helsinki, Jamaica, led by Bertrand Cameron's gold in the men's 400 metres and Merlene Ottey's silver in the women's 200metres and bronze in the women's 4x100m, the county ended with three medals . Four years later in Rome, the tally was four - one silver, by Raymond Stewart in the men's 100m, along with two silver medals by Ottey in the women's 100 and 200m and bronze in the men's 4x100m.

Jamaica's team left for London with high hopes several weeks ago as with it being the final championships for the great Usain Bolt, many experts were predicting between 10 and 12 medals.

The athletes gave their best, but over the 10 days of competition, there were several mishaps, including injuries, resulting in many fans asking what really had gone wrong.

The reason is simple. A neglect of our junior programme over recent years has contributed significantly to Jamaica's poor performance. While the likes of Bolt, Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell. Veronica Campbell-Brown, Kerron Stewart, Melaine Walker, Sherone Simpson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and others were bringing in the medals, the junior programme was put on the back burner despite announcements by the present administration that this programme would have been given a lot of attention. This has not been the case, and with majority of our senior athletes leaving the sport simultaneously, the transition will be a long process.

THE GREAT RISE

The reason for the great rise at the senior level by Bolt and company was the vibrant junior programme which was established under former president Pat Anderson, where the likes of Alfred Francis, Brian Smith, the late Charlie Fuller and Juliet Parkes played great roles. At the conclusion of Boys and Girls' Championships in those years, the top athletes from the respective schools, along with their coaches, were invited to weekend camps at G.C. Foster College. The athletes went in on a Friday afternoon and departed on Sunday.

These camps have been shelved, and this is definitely one of the reasons for our recent dismal performance. After the high-school championships, it is the coaches who have to take on the challenge of preparing the athletes for the national programme, and this is a problem as many of the coaches are not paid. Some have to dig into their pockets, and this should not be the case.

A look at the recent National Junior Championships was a perfect example. Many of the athletes who were outstanding at Champs did not turn up at the Trials.

While we were dominating, other countries, including the United States, were planning hard while we took things for granted. It is not too late. We need to go back to the drawing board and invest in our juniors, or we could find ourselves consistently picking up one or two medals at global meets.


'Three hamburgers a week, but no fries' - Usain Bolt receives irresistible offer to play professionally!

It seems like the offers are already flying in for aspiring professional footballer Usain Bolt, as Beira-Mar's amazing contract proposal demonstrates!

The legendary Jamaican sprinter hung up his track shoes for good following this year's Athletics World Championships in London, where injury ruined his swansong.

Moreirense 20/1 to beat Porto

He is now setting his sights on making it in football, with his agent assuring he has received a variety of offers to go pro.


It remains to be seen, however, if the bid made by Beira-Mar, currently in the fourth-tier Aveiro first division in Portugal and briefly the home of Eusebio in the twilight of the striker's career, turns the idol's head.

"Usain Bolt, you'll keep the yellow, we'll keep you a champion," the club proclaimed on Facebook as they rolled out the red carpet.

"Beira Mar, a club where dreams come true, announce that we are ready to make the dream of one of the best athletes of all time come true!

"Usain Bolt, come and make your dream come true, come and play for Beira Mar."

The club are nevertheless aware of their financial limitations, and stop short of promising Bolt the riches he enjoyed as the world's fastest man.

Among the perks offered in lieu of salary are "the honour of putting on our shirt, the world's best fans," and three steak sandwiches or hamburgers a week, depending on the time of year.


London '17 Set Guinness WR For Ticket Sales

This year’s IAAF World Athletics Championships will go down as the best ever for ticket sales after organisers were awarded an official Guinness World Record for the number of tickets sold.

Held in Britain for the first time ever, 2,200 athletes from 203 nations travelled to London as fans from around the world filled into the London Stadium (formerly Olympic Stadium) to make history.

The figure recorded on the official Guinness World Record certificate is 900,000 with Session 12 on the morning of Saturday 12th August the best ticketed session at 56,620.

This World Championships has helped the IAAF reach a landmark of 1.2million spectators at World Athletics Series events in 2017, almost doubling the previous record figure.

The London Stadium was not the sole focus for the Championships with the men’s and women’s marathons, held on the same day of the Championships (Sunday 6th August) for the first time ever, and attracting 150,000 spectators around its landmark filled 10km loop course.

With a backdrop of Buckingham Palace, crowds also flocked to The Mall in their thousands to witness the first ever Festival of Race Walks on Sunday 13th August, which saw all four races held on a single day for the first time ever.

Niels de Vos, Championship Director and CEO of UK Athletics, said: “As the organising committee of the IAAF World Championships London 2017, we are extremely proud to have delivered a Championships that has received such great support from the athletes and the public, whether watching in the stadium or at home.”

“From our record-breaking ticket sales to the fantastic dedication of our Runners and even to our official mascot Hero, it has been a pleasure to stage these Championships for every single one of the 2,200 athletes from 203 nations involved.”


Hamstring tear ended Bolt's World Championship dream

Usain Bolt has revealed he suffered a torn hamstring during the IAAF World Championships 4x100 metres relay - his final race at a major event.

Bolt had hoped to bow out in London with two more gold medals to take his Worlds tally to 13, but his competition ended in disappointment.

Having finished third in the 100m behind Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman to lose his individual crown, the Jamaican then pulled up running the last leg of the relay and was unable to finish.

Initially cramp was blamed for his early exit but Bolt has confirmed it was more serious, before lashing out at critics who had questioned the extent of his injury.

"Sadly I have a tear of the proximal myotendinous junction of biceps femoris in my left hamstring with partial retraction. Three months rehab," the eight-time Olympic champion posted on Twitter along with an x-ray of his leg, the first of four messages which were all subsequently deleted.

"I don't usually release my medical report to the public but sadly I have sat and listened to people questioning if I was really injured.

"I have never been one to cheat my fans in anyway and my entire desire at the championship was [to] run one last time for my fans.

"Thanks for the continued to support my fans and I rest, heal and move onto the next chapter of my life."


van Niekerk Vows Not To Do The Double Again

Cape Town - Wayde van Niekerk will not be doubling up at major athletics events in future after the completion of the IAAF World Championships in London.

Van Niekerk had a 2017 world championship to remember after successfully defending his 400m world title.

It looked as if the South African star would achieve the elusive 200m/400m double, which hadn't been done in 22 years.

Michael Johnson completed his 200m/400m double at the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg and in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

However, Turkey's Ramil Guliyev ruined Van Niekerk's bid when he edged Van Niekerk in the 200m final in London.

Guliyev stopped the clock in 20.09 with Van Niekerk settling for silver a mere 0.02 seconds adrift to cap off his successful World Championship campaign.

Van Niekerk told CNN's World Sport that he'll be focusing on one event at major championships in the future.

"I'd love to improve all three events (100/200/400m), but I'm definitely not doubling up again," said Van Niekerk.

"I think it was a tough six days for myself.

"I really tried my best to give my best every single day because I knew every day would be a new challenge ... I really feel the championship was a success."

Van Niekerk now turns his attention to the IAAF Diamond League on Thursday, August 24 at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich.


Bolt Was The Best Ambassador For Brand Jamaica

Sunday ushered in an era many wanted to postpone. It's time to ponder world athletics without the incomparable Usain Bolt. It's a mark of respect for a career so great that it makes smiles appear.

His athletic brilliance is one thing. As strange as it seems, his monumental 100- and 200-metre records - 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds - may well be broken in the distant future. Theoretically, someone could match his stunning consistency with sprint doubles in three back-to-back Olympic Games. It's a stretch of the imagination but it's possible.

It's harder to imagine a better Brand Jamaica ambassador than Bolt. Along with the speed that has been passed down from his ancestors, Bolt broke the mould of the stony-faced running machine. During his decade at the top, he was the epitome of fun at high speed.

Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, the previous kings of athletics, left the sport with far less fanfare than Bolt received last weekend at the World Championships in London. Lewis' detractors warmed to him and his tuxedo track suits near the end of his brilliant career. By comparison, Johnson was far quieter and less colourful than the tall man from Trelawny.

There were times when Bolt was a running machine and other times when he was a superhero. The first case was exemplified when his precise sprinting at the 2009 World Championships produced mind-boggling world records. The other came into stark relief when he bounced back from injury just in time to nip Justin Gatlin in the 100m at the 2015 World Championships.

MANY DOUBTERS

Sadly, there are Jamaicans who doubt him. One gentlemen beckoned me across on Tuesday at the supermarket only to ask, "Hubert, you tink him fake pull in the relay?" It's a sad thought about an icon who has always given his all.

Presumably, such Jamaican doubting Thomases are few. For me, the painful end to Bolt's career confirmed that he had run the thread off the tyre. Thirteen major individual gold medals, 52 sub-10 100m races and 34 sub-20 200m efforts will do that. Confronted with a deficit in the 4x100m relay, he drew for a gear that was no longer there.

It doesn't matter now. It doesn't even matter that the cramp may also have been caused by a long wait to race in ghastly London weather. What we saw at the end of the World Championships was an outpouring of love for Mr Brand Jamaica, Usain Bolt.

Fittingly, while he walked a coronation lap of the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Park, the air was filled with music by Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley.

Travelling Jamaicans know the difference he has made. When they ventured abroad in the past, their hosts would ask about Marley. If the journey was to an international athletics event, the question would refer to legendary Herb McKenley.

Now all they ask about is Bolt.

- Hubert Lawrence has watched Bolt since 2000.


President Of South Africa Congratulates Team

PRESS RELEASE

President Jacob Zuma has congratulated Team South Africa, who won six medals during the IAAF World Championships 2017 held in London, in the United Kingdom for their outstanding performance that earned South Africa a third place in the medals table of the championship.

"We wish to heartily congratulate our Team South Africa for their sterling performances on the tracks and a job well done at the IAAF World Championships 2017 in London," said President Zuma.

"The country is extremely thrilled and proud of our athletes, in particular those who won the six medals, for this remarkable achievement and excellent performance that earned South Africa a third place in the medals table, trouncing the most advanced countries in the tournament," the President added.

Team South Africa accomplished three gold medals through Mr Wayde van Niekerk who won in the men's 400m race; Mr Luvo Manyonga who won in the men's long jump and Ms Caster Semenya who won in the women's 800m race last night.

Mr van Niekerk won South Africa's only silver medal in the men's 200m while Mr Ruswahl Samaai won a bronze medal in the men's long jump and was joined by Ms Semenya who won a bronze medal in the women's 1500m race.

President Zuma has further extended his sincere gratitude to all South Africans, technical teams and management of Team South Africa for their continued support to all South African athletes.

The Presidency


Patriot Games: Turkish Sprinter's Gold Occasions Pride, Controversy, in Azerbaijan

After winning the 200 meters spring at this month's World Athletics Championships, Ramil Guliyev took a victory lap holding two flags - Azerbaijani and Turkish.

Guliyev was born in Azerbaijan when it was still part of the Soviet Union, but in 2011 he applied for Turkish citizenship. Azerbaijani authorities protested the move, called

him a traitor and demanded his compliance with international rules forcing him to wait three years before competing for Turkey.

Guliyev complied. And when he won on August 11 – bringing Turkey its first-ever gold medal in the country’s World Championship history – he was celebrated in Azerbaijan as well as in Turkey.

Following the race, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev wrote a letter to the victorious athlete. “I would like to note that for the first time, an Azerbaijani athlete becomes the world champion in athletics, he wrote.“It is gratifying that you raised the flags of Azerbaijan and Turkey. It shows that you are a patriot devoted to your people.”

But the same day, muckraking website haqqin.az dug up old interviews where senior sporting officials criticized Guliyev's patriotism. “I haven't heard that he's won anywhere,” said Chingzhiz Huseynzadeh, head of Azerbaijan’s Athletics Federation, in 2011. “That shows that the pursuit of money doesn't always bring success.” Huseynzadeh contrasted Guliyev with another athlete that he singled out as a “patriot.”

The ensuing controversy forced Huseynzadeh to address those old remarks. Speaking at an August 15 press conference he said: “Today he is a hero and we are proud of him. However, I stand by my words six years ago, that [when he sought Turkish citizenship] he committed desertion.”

In Azerbaijan, the government is deeply embedded in the sports industry. The country’s National Olympic Committee is headed by the country’s president, Ilham Alyev, and his wife and first vice president, Mehriban Aliyeva, sits on its board of directors. Many of the most powerful figures in Azerbaijani sport are also personally connected to the president himself.

Sports spectacles, including the 2015 European Games in Baku and a Formula 1 event and the Islamic Solidarity Games this summer, are being used as a form of public relations to boost the country’s international profile. They also, some critics charge, serve to whitewash Azerbaijan’s abysmal human rights record.

Much of this prestige is gained thanks to foreign talent. Azerbaijan sent 56 athletes to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last summer – the most in the country’s history. But more than 60 percent of them were foreign athletes who had recently gained Azerbaijani citizenship.

Government officials are quick to justify such figures. In an interview after the Olympics, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Sports Azad Rahimov said that “if athletes are willing to accept the offers of another country, why pose the question of how ethical the practice is?”

But the extent of the practice in Baku is abnormally high. Of the 14 female athletes sent by Azerbaijan to the Games, only three were native Azerbaijanis. In the larger men’s delegation, just 18 out of 42 of the athletes were Azerbaijani.

And brawn doesn’t come cheap. Successful members of the Azerbaijani team at Baku’s European Games in 2015 were well rewarded. Gold medal winners received 225,000 Azerbaijani manats ($213,750 at the time), with smaller prizes given to silver and bronze medalists. In total, Azerbaijani athletes were paid 8,000,000 manats ($7,600,000). For the Olympic Games in Rio, President Ilham Aliyev again signed an order to reward athletes who medaled in the competitions.

The practice of hiring foreign athletes got unwanted attention earlier this month when the British newspaper The Guardian published an interview with Lily Abdullayeva, an Ethiopian-born runner who competed internationally for Azerbaijan. Abdullayeva charged that Azerbaijani sporting officials withheld money she earned and forced her to take performance-enhancing drugs. At his press conference, Huseynzadeh also addressed Abdullayeva's claims, noting that she had made enough money to buy a house and start a business in Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, many accuse the Azerbaijani government of failing to provide for local talent. Explaining his decision to pursue Turkish citizenship, Guliyev claimed that facilities were limited and that he was not receiving adequate training for international events.

After winning a race in May, Guliyev again brandished his Turkish and Azerbaijani flags. Explaining the decision at the time, he said: “The audience reacted very warmly and there was not a hint of discontent. Everyone was pleased. People understand everything perfectly.”


Sports greats wish Usain Bolt a fond farewell

Usain Bolt is a man universally loved, admired for his historic achievements and his joie de vivre.

At the IAAF World Championships in London on Saturday, the 30-year-old Jamaican ran his final races. Eight Olympic gold medals, 11 World Championships golds, the fastest man in history has left a lasting legacy.
As Bolt brings the curtain down on an incomparable career, we have collected fond farewells from fans and world stars who tell us why they admire the greatest sprinter in history.

To find out what former Germany captain Bastain Schweinsteiger, four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, four-time Formula One world champion Alain Prost and the Jamaican's compatriot and team-mate Yohan Blake had to say, watch the video at the top of this page.


The Tricky Job Of Getting Olympic Medals Back

Gone are the days of Olympians receiving their medals in an airport food court, or having to hold their own medal ceremony.

Britain's 4x400m relay squad from the 2008 Beijing Games got their podium moment in front of a home crowd at the London Anniversary Games last month, finally becoming Olympic medallists after a nine-year delay.

They are among dozens of athletes who are receiving medals after their competitors were disqualified retrospectively and stripped of their achievements because of doping offences.

The new approach of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as part of a stated commitment to supporting clean athletes, is to "honour accomplishments in a more systematic manner".

That has been reflected at the World Athletics Championships, where 16 medals were reallocated at the recent meet in London, with Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill receiving her gold from Daegu in 2011.

Medal reallocation is not a quick and easy process. It is a minefield of retests, appeals and constant calls for disqualified athletes to return their medals, which can sometimes fall on deaf ears.

The Russian Athletics Federation has been asking for 24 Olympic medals to be returned by their athletes. To date, just three have heeded those requests.

If all else fails it seems, the IOC just makes a new batch of medals, as happened in the case of the British 4x400m relay quartet.

Why is this happening?
Athletes stripped of medals

The Russian doping crisis has dominated athletics since it was uncovered in 2014.

It culminated in Russian track and field athletes being banned from competing at Rio 2016 by the IAAF - athletics' world giverning body - after widespread, state-sponsored doping was uncovered in the country.

The IOC retested hundreds of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, using new methods to uncover banned substances that would have gone undetected at the time, covering a number of sports.

As of April 2017, 1,053 samples were retested from Beijing, resulting in 65 sanctions, while 492 samples were reanalysed from London, with 41 sanctions.

The Russians have taken the headlines recently, with eight disqualified from Beijing and nine from London - some pending appeals.

But going as far back as the 1984 Olympics, in athletics alone, athletes from a total of 11 countries have been disqualified and asked to hand back their medals.

Reallocated athletics medals by Olympics*

'We all felt funny about that race'

On 23 August 2008 in Beijing, Michael Bingham, Martyn Rooney, Robert Tobin and Andrew Steele ran a season's best time of two minutes 58.81 seconds to finish fourth - 0.75 seconds behind third-placed Russia in the Bird's Nest stadium.

No quartet had ever run so fast but failed to win a medal.

"We all felt funny about it, felt it wasn't quite right and something didn't add up," Steele told BBC Sport. "It was a big shock for us."

Then, in May 2016, the IOC informed the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) that 14 Russian athletes were suspected of doping at the Beijing Games.

And in July 2016, 4x400m runner Denis Alekseyev told Russian news agency Tass that one of his samples had tested positive.

But it was two months later - on 13 September - that the IOC finally confirmed that the banned anabolic steroid turinabol had been detected in Alekseyev's sample.

The Russian team were disqualified from the 4x400m relay and ordered to hand back their bronze medals, diplomas and medallist pins, with the ROC tasked with ensuring their return "as soon as possible".

A tweet that changed everything

Steele was shopping in New York when he saw the news break on Twitter.

"It was just a relief to get official confirmation," he said. "That press release was the first I had seen. I had been hearing that this might happen and even a year before there were rumours.

"But I couldn't understand why they had not detected the substance in 2008."

Bans, appeals and a stock of blank medals

Alekseyev's disqualification was the start of a nine-month process for Steele and his team-mates to receive their bronze medals.

The 29-year-old Russian, who already served a two-year ban for another doping offence in 2013, was suspended for four years by the Russian Athletic Federation (Rusaf) in June 2017 for his Beijing infraction. He will be able to compete again from 15 November 2018.

Rusaf had appealed for the return of medals in February 2017, at a time when only Kokorin - who himself was not guilty of doping - had handed his back.

Kokorin, 30, did so in December 2016 and a press release at the time from Rusaf said: "The athlete confirmed adherence to the Olympic ideals and observance of the rules of the IOC."

Under IOC rules, the reallocation of medals takes place when "athletes/teams sanctioned have exhausted all their remedies of appeal and when all procedures are closed".

Medals are usually returned to the National Olympic Committees concerned, which sends them back to the IOC.

Team GB confirmed on 21 June of this year that they had finally received the medals from the IOC, but the ones handed to Steele and his team-mates were not the ones that Alekseyev and the Russians were given in Beijing.

To date, Kokorin remains the only member of the disqualified Russian relay quartet to have returned his medal.

The IOC told BBC Sport that four new medals were used to avoid delaying the award ceremony.

"The IOC has got a stock of blank medals for after the Olympic Games and those are engraved at request when it is justified," the IOC said in a statement.

An Olympic medallist... nine years later

It did not matter to Steele and his team-mates that the medals were not the original ones.

"It is nice to be able to say I am an Olympic medallist," said the Briton, who only found out he would be awarded the medal two weeks before the ceremony.

"In the rest of my career, I never got near a podium. It is shame I did not get to experience that at the time, but this was vindication - it means my career was not a waste of time, money and health.

"Having that medal makes it much more real, to actually own this item."

The Team GB quartet were greeted to a rousing reception from the home crown inside the London Stadium, something Steele describes as "surprisingly poignant".

He references the fact US shot putter Adam Nelson was given the Athens 2004 gold medal denied to him by drugs cheat Yuriy Bilonoh by a US Olympic Committee official at an airport food court eight years after the event.

He added. "It was the only podium moment I had in my career and I think I appreciated it more than if I had been younger. I am happy they made a fuss and it was the right thing to do. I guess, in retrospect, it all worked out in the end. "

Steele, 32, spent three years after Beijing struggling with injuries and glandular fever and ultimately missed out on a place at London 2012, finally retiring last year.

He added: "It is a shame we did not get it the medal at the time. It would have been an interesting change in my life trajectory because my career went downhill after that.

"If I had won a medal, it would have guaranteed four years of support. But I got ill with glandular fever and was forced to make sure I ran, as I was worried about my salary and income.

"Athletics became a job and I made myself worse. That may not have happened had I had four years of support."

However, Steele refuses to blame Alekseyev, saying he does not think the Russian had "bad intentions". Another of the Russian quartet - Dyldin - was also subsequently given a four-year doping ban.

"The Russians are good athletes and great guys but the real shame is that the wrong methods are being forced on them," he said.

"There is evidently a different approach to doping and the most upsetting thing is that the doping is from the boardroom level down, not just an individual cheating. When it comes from the men in suits, it is more worrying. "

And what about the rest?

Russia says some athletes' cases are still under consideration, so decisions have yet to be made about their reallocation.

Kokorin aside, Natalia Antukh returned her 4x400m silver from 2008 and Aleksandra Fedoriva-Shpayer gave back her London 4x100m relay gold.

None of that trio have been convicted of doping themselves, but were part of relay squads in which a team-mate has.

A further eight athletes are in the same situation, but have not returned their medals. And none of the 13 athletes disqualified for failing retests of their samples have handed back theirs.

The IOC says the reallocation process is not automatic and is done on a case-by-case basis. It says it is working closely with the ROC to make sure that all medals that have to be reallocated are returned in due course.

There are a further seven Olympic athletics medals reallocations under appeal.

That includes the potential British bronze medals from 2008 of Kelly Sotherton in the heptathlon and Goldie Sayers in the javelin, with appeals ongoing for Tatyana Chernova and Mariya Abakumova respectively.


Missouri Adds 8 To Finalize Signing Class

Illinois State Champ Conrad, Transfers Johnson & McClendon highlight group of signees

COLUMBIA, Mo. –

With the 2017-18 athletic year right around the corner, Mizzou Track & Field increased its roster by eight on Tuesday, with head coach Brett Halter announcing the addition of six freshmen to-be and two transfers with experience in NCAA meets. In the group of eight, Mizzou signed 2017 800m run Illinois State Champion Chris Conrad and added to the depth of its throws events group, with five of the new additions specializing in the javelin, discus, shot put or weight throw.

The signees join Mizzou's current 2017 signing class, which includes highly-touted recruits Austin Hindman, Arielle Mack, Stephen Mugeche, Jayson Ashford, Valeria Kostiuk, Landon Cuskelly, Jordan Speer and Jenna Lutzow. Hindmann, the Gatorade Runner of the Year, recently set the Missouri state record in the 3200m run by running an 8:43.40 at the Arcadia Invitational (April 8), which is currently the second fastest time in the nation. Mack currently ranks 12th in the nation in the triple jump with a mark of 12.38m (40-7.5), while Mugeche, an Arkansas transfer, won the 2014 Missouri State Championship in cross country.

Ashford, who signed with Mizzou in April, won the 200m dash Missouri state title in 2016 and finished runner-up in the 100m dash and 200m dash in 2017. Junior college transfers Kostiuk and Cuskelly each posted top-five finishes in the high jump at recent NJCAA meets and will have two years of eligibility remaining at Mizzou, while Speer and Lutzow both join Mizzou with state titles, as Speer claimed three Kansas first-place finishes in throwing events and Lutzow captured the 2016 Illinois 2A State Championship in cross country. Overall, Mizzou added 26 new Tigers to the class of 2017, including 13 hailing from Missouri and 10 athletes who have combined to win 20 state titles.

"The summer signees have closed out an exciting recruiting class for our program and represents the tireless work of our assistant coaches and staff members," said Halter on the 2017 class. "Each of the signees are terrific athletes, but they are even better people who will strengthen our family. Each member of the class understands and values our mindset while striving to put their individual signature on our rich history as an institution and program."

 

Chris Conrad | Mid-Distance
Previous School: O'Fallon High School
Hometown: O'Fallon, Ill.
800m: 1:49.91 (Ranked 6th nationally)

Coming off an Illinois state title in the 800m run in May, Chris Conrad (O'Fallon, Ill.) will join the Mizzou Track & Field program as a mid-distance specialist. Conrad crossed the finish line at 1:49.91 to claim first place, a time that is currently ranked sixth in the nation among high school seniors. Prior to the championship run, The O'Fallon High School product finished runner-up in the 800m run at the IHSA State Track & Field Championship in 2016 and was a top-15 finisher at the Nike Cross National Midwest Regional in November 2016.

"Chris comes to Mizzou as one of the top 800m runners in Illinois high school history," said cross country head coach and mid-distance assistant coach Marc Burns. "He is a fantastic young man and we are really excited about his future with our program."

Cecilya Johnson | Throws
Previous School: Tulsa
High School: Lutheran South High School
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
Discus: 53.41m (175-2.75)

A two-time Missouri state champion, Cecilya (CeCe) Johnson (St. Louis, Mo.) began her college career at Tulsa where she qualified for the 2016 NCAA West Preliminary Round in the discus as a true freshman. Johnson notched two top-10 finishes in the discus at the American Outdoor Track & Field Championships while at Tulsa, finishing seventh in 2017 and second in 2016 with a personal record throw of 53.41m (175-2.75). Prior to college, Johnson won back-to-back Missouri state titles in the discus in 2014 and 2015 at Lutheran South High School. Johnson, who has three years of indoor and two years of outdoor remaining, will be eligible for competition immediately.

"We are glad to have CeCe return to her roots here in Missouri," said throws assistant coach Rich Richardson. "She is a very talented and is already proven after throwing very good collegiate marks in the hammer and discus. CeCe hit it off immediately with the other throwers on her visit and she is very excited to get here and get to work. The Division-I experience she brings to the team coupled with her talent can only help this throws group grow, get better and score points at the SEC and NCAA meets."

Jordan McClendon | Throws
Previous School: LSU/Tulane
High School: John Burroughs School
Hometown: Black Jack, Mo.
Weight Throw: 21.11m (69-3.25)
Hammer Throw: 57.02m (187-1)

Jordan McClendon (Black Jack, Mo.) will join the Tigers as an in-conference transfer after spending her first two collegiate seasons at Tulane and LSU. As a freshman at Tulane in 2016, McClendon set the indoor weight throw school record at the American Indoor Track & Field Championships, registering a mark of 18.92m (62-1). As a sophomore with LSU in 2017, McClendon qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the weight throw, where she finished 15th with a throw of 19.82m (65-0.5).

McClendon qualified for the NCAA Indoor meet after posting a weight throw personal record of 21.11m (69-3.25) in a first-place finish at the LSU Twilight. Prior to college, McClendon was a three-time Missouri 3A State Champion at John Burroughs School, winning state titles in the shot put in 2012 (as a freshman) and 2014, as well as a discus state title in 2015. She also finished runner-up at the state meet in the discus in 2014 and the shot put in 2015. McClendon will have to sit out the 2017-18 athletic year due to transfer restrictions, then will have two year of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2018 fall semester.

"Jordan is our second new addition in the throws group to return to her home state of Missouri," Richardson said. "Jordan will bring SEC and NCAA experience with her when she arrives on campus. Having qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the weight throw early in her career has given her a glimpse into what she can do as an athlete at the Division-I level. We look forward to helping her achieve the big goals she has set for herself."

Jazmyn Shumaker | Sprints
Previous School: Cedar Hill High School
Hometown: Cedar Hill, Texas
200m: 24.31
100m: 11.64

Coming from the Lone Star State, Jazmyn Shumaker (Cedar Hill, Texas) will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact in sprints events after four female sprinters graduated from Mizzou this past spring. The Cedar Hill High School product clocked a top-50 time in the nation among seniors in the 200m dash at the New Balance Nationals in June, running a 24.31. At the Region 1-6A meet in April, Shumaker ran a wind-aided 11.64 in the 100m dash preliminary round, then followed that performance with a wind-legal personal record of 11.88 in the finals to place third.

"I am thrilled to add Jazmyn to our sprints group," said associated head coach Natasha Brown. "She is an impressive addition who will have a tremendous impact on our program.

Jason Edwards // Osage High School // Osage Beach, Mo. // Multi-Events

Megan Haley // Schuyler Country High School // Queen City, Mo. // Javelin

Cameron Meyer // California High School // California, Mo. // Throws

Blair Widmer // Father Tolton High School // Columbia, Mo. // Javelin

All hailing from the Show Me State, Jason Edwards (Osage Beach, Mo.), Cameron Meyer (California, Mo.), Blair Widmer (Columbia, Mo.) and Megan Haley (Queen City, Mo.) will all join the program and add depth to the multi-events and throws event groups.

"Jason is a well-rounded athlete who has had great success in the javelin and high jump and is very technically sound in the pole vault," said jumps and multi-events assistant coach Iliyan Chamov. "He has shown great potential to be a decathlete and will fit in perfectly in the SEC. I was excited to see his progress in high school and am even more excited to work with him in college."

"I had the opportunity to see Megan compete at the small school state championship this May and was very impressed with what she was doing in the javelin," said Halter. "Megan is new to the event. She has a diverse athletic background which will serve her well over the next few years. I am looking forward to watching her progression in the event."

"Cameron was a very good multi-sport athlete in high school and we are excited to see her be able to focus only on her throwing at the collegiate level," said Richardson. "A good student in the classroom and a big Missouri fan, she fits the profile of the kind of in-state athletes we like to have on the team."

"Blair spent a few weeks this spring working with our former school record holder, Darin File, and made significant improvements in a short period of time," said Halter. "Like Megan, Blair is new to the event. She has a tremendous work ethic and desire to see what she can do in the event. I am excited to see how the next few years unfold for her."


Meet Shot Diva Michelle Carter

Michelle Carter remembers the trip to Lancaster's Cinemark 14 during her sophomore year of high school. She wore a bright orange shirt, a colorful skirt and sandals -- one of her favorite outfits. It worked: A boy at the movies asked for her number.

Then she gave him her name.

"Michelle Carter?" he asked. "What school?"

Red Oak, she told him.

"Aren't you that girl who throws the shot put?"

Yep.

"But I'm so surprised you look like a girl."

Carter laughed.

She's still laughing, at that comment and so many like it, 17 years later, on a summer morning at Jesse Owens Memorial Complex where she trains. She's just 3.5 miles from the theater but has traveled the world since that day, winning back-to-back high school titles at Red Oak and a 2006 college national championship at the University of Texas.

Not to mention a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she became the first American woman to win the event and the first to medal since 1960.

Carter is still a sharp dresser even while competing, from the pink straps of her Nikes up to her yellow nails and diamond-studded ears. A silver necklace engraved "I can" hangs from her neck.

But the focused eyes beneath the fake lashes and the five-ring Olympic logo tattooed on her left foot belie a strength unlike most certified makeup artists (yet another title she claims).

Carter is a throwing phenom, an inspiration to girls throughout sports and the 31-year-old baby girl of Michael Carter. Dad's a three-time Super Bowl champion, four-time All-Pro NFL nose tackle, 1984 shot-put silver medalist and the 20-year coach of Michelle Carter. She goes by "Shot Diva," the moniker she coined at UT a decade ago.

Michael has come to embrace the lashes, nails and bling that belong to his daughter and prized pupil.

"That's Michelle," he says. "She's not going to change, and I love it.

"She brought something back to the sport that's really needed. Being a girly girl in the throwing world associated with strength and grit and men and testosterone and all that? It was a refreshing thing to see."

Like father, like daughter

Michelle first took up shot put in seventh grade, unaware of her dad's Olympic success or that he held -- and still holds, 39 years later -- the high school boys national record. Michael questioned the coach who recommended she try shot put but eventually gave in on the condition he train his daughter.

Their first time out, he says, was "hilarious."

"She was throwing like a ballerina," Michael remembers. "She'd throw the shot and have her left hand over her head like she was doing a pirouette."

Shot Diva no longer sleeps beneath a life-sized Barbie drawn on the wall. But in Rio last year, she was lipsticked and sparkling while launching the 4-kilo metal ball a U.S.-record 67 feet, 8.25 inches.

Michael remained stoic, clapping on camera, thoughts whirling in his head. She did it. Back at his hotel, though, tears flowed "like a big baby," he says. "I mean, more than once."

He was proud Michelle had achieved at the highest level and proud she did it while sending a message:

"You can be a female, feminine, sweet and girly," he says, "and still do your thing and throw just as far as anyone else."

Prep work

In the center of a shot put ring, Michelle stays back over her right leg, careful to move her legs before her upper body for maximum torque, power and throwing distance. Pilates, plyometrics, cardio, abs, ice and Epsom salt baths all prepare her to throw.

Before her mirror, a ring of light bulbs surrounding the fresh face staring into it, Michelle gives similar dedication to her makeup routine. Eyebrows first, since they frame the face. Concealer to cover up the late nights of an elite athlete. Eye shadow before foundation, in case she messes up. Brightening powder, blush, lipstick and fake lashes to top it off.

The makeup isn't to cover her up or provide a false guise. She simply says if she looks her best, she'll feel her best and do her best. With makeup, like shot put, she's "just taking what's already there and making it even more beautiful."

As a plus-sized female athlete -- she's 5-9, 260 -- Michelle knows she's subject to preconceived notions. People "don't see me as an athlete," she says, when they're walking down the street.

NFL linemen like her father can rep 300 pounds and exude strength. Why can't women?

"I could beat sprinters in 20 meters," she says. "I have speed, I have strength, I have agility. I'm a full-blown athlete. I'm just not as cut. I'm a little fluffier than others, but my body is a well-oiled machine."

The throws ahead

Crouched on a concrete slab beside a silver throwing ring on a 90-degree Thursday in July, Carter shows that athleticism. She glistens with sweat as she jogs and stretches, throws with her left arm and right. At one point, she grabs a leaf to escort a caterpillar off the concrete so she won't squash it.

"You're so sweet," Michael chuckles as he coaches lightly from a charred bleacher nearby. He talks sparingly, mostly resorting to their set of a dozen hand signals after a rough throw.

It's a routine that's worked since seventh grade, since she swept the shot put and discus titles in high school and since the dumbfounded boy asked out the cute girl in the bright orange top at Cinemark 14. It's a routine they use to prepare for elite competitions like the yearly World Championships, as well as, each hopes, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

But shot put excellence is no longer their singular goal as Michelle moseys into her 30s. She's planning to expand the You Throw, Girl sports confidence camp she debuted in May and wants to formally launch a Shot Diva makeup line already in the works. Michael wants her to think family.

"I want her to get married, have grandkids," he says. "I need to start on the next generation of throwers. Carter throwers."

Michael envisions taking three generations of Carters to an Olympics, especially if Los Angeles wins the 2024 bid. Michelle would be 38 and Michael 63, 40 years removed from his own medal in Los Angeles. Both admit it'd be special for her to win at the same site.

Three generations of Carters watching, for him, would be even more special. He'll beam yet again as his daughter crouches, readies her turn, executes her technique and explodes.

Maybe the boy from the movie will even tune into the Games. When it comes time for shot put, he'll be able to see that girl -- yes, that long-lashed sparkling shot put diva is still very much a girl -- win yet again.

At the Games, Michelle will be laughing.

Tale of the tape

Michelle Carter

Age: 31

Hometown: Red Oak

College: University of Texas

Family: Michelle's dad, Michael, excelled in the NFL and in field events. Her sister D'Andra won the NCAA discus title in 2009, throwing 182 feet, 5 inches while at Texas Tech. Her brother Michael Jr. was a thrower at South Plains College in Levelland. Mother Sandra wasn't the bearer of the sport gene but jumps in "for emotional support," Michael Sr. says.

Notable: Michelle grew up in Ovilla/Red Oak, lives in Grand Prairie and has been based in Texas her whole life since moving here when she was little. Her dad has coached the Texas Throwbacks youth team since Michelle debuted in 1998.

Family rivalry

Michael and Michelle have had a friendly competition with their shot put careers. Here's how they stack up:

Shot Diva origins

Michelle Carter's Shot Diva personality has reached acclaim via Twitter, Instagram and public stages such as the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. How'd she come up with it?

"There was a song on the radio, and then all the track girls would say 'track diva,' and I'm like, 'I can't say track diva because at that time at the University of Texas I was the only thrower on the team,' " Carter said. "Everybody else was sprinters. So track diva worked for them, but it didn't work for me. I kind of came up with my own, OK, 'shot diva.' That's my thing. I throw the shot. I'm a diva. That works. And it kind of just stuck."

Daddy's girls

Michael and Michelle Carter are far from the only D-FW father-daughter duo to achieve and compete. This year alone, three Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famers had daughters sign collegiate letters of intent to play soccer. A look:

Dad: Emmitt Smith, Florida, running back

Daughter: Rheagen Smith. Greenhill/Texas A&M, forward

Emmitt Smith rushed for 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns, helping the Cowboys to three Super Bowls while playing for Dallas from 1990-2002.

Dad: Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh, running back

Daughter: Maddie Dorsett, Prestonwood Christian/Texas, defender

Tony Dorsett rushed for 12,739 yards and 77 touchdowns in his career. After winning the Heisman Trophy in 1976, Dorsett took home Offensive Rookie of the Year honors with Dallas in 1977.

Dad: Charles Haley, James Madison, linebacker/defensive end

Daughter: Madison Haley, Ursuline/Stanford, forward

Charles Haley collected five Super Bowl rings with the Cowboys and 49ers, tallying 100.5 sacks and 500 tackles in his career. He was twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Year.

Importance of education

Even though all three of Michael Carter's children competed in college sports, education was valued first. Michelle says in high school she didn't set professional or Olympic shot-put aspirations.

"In high school, my goal was just to go to college for free," she said. "That was like my deal with my parents: You have to figure out what it's going to take to go to college for free. And when I realized I was great at the shot put, that's what I did."

Michael says the pressure was less about the scholarship than the pursuit of a degree.

"All I wanted her to do was go to school and if you were going to do it, give it your best," he said about chasing college offers. "Whatever happens after that happens."

Now, Michelle's "You Throw, Girl Sports Confidence Camp" includes a heavy emphasis on college readiness.

More on Michelle Carter

VIDEO: Carter gives some makeup tips and tricks

PHOTOS: The Shot Diva shows off shot put throws, Olympic gold

SPORTSDAY STYLE: Behind the scenes with more Dallas-area athletes


A Switcheroo: Harrison & Carter Trading Events?

LONDON – Training partners Kendra Harrison and Kori Carter have established themselves as two of the premier 100-and 400-meter hurdlers in the world. Next season, however, it could be the other way around.

That’s because Carter- the gold medalist in the 400 hurdles at last week’s London World Championships – and Harrison- fourth in the 100 hurdles – are planning on switching events.

“We want to make history in the sport,” Harrison told Excelle Sports, “and we know we can do more than one event, so it gives us an opportunity to go after something. We know we can dominate in our own events, let’s try to do it in some others.”

Going into the Championships, the 25-year-old Carter and 24-year-old Harrison had two things in common that they don’t brag about. They both faulted out in their semifinal heats at the 2015 Beijing World Championships. Then they each came in fourth place at the 2016 Olympic Trials, keeping them out of the Rio Games. Of course, Harrison gained fame breaking the world record (12.20 seconds) in the 100 meters at the London Muller Anniversary Games last July. Even after clipping a hurdle in the semifinal and qualifying by the skin of her teeth, Harrison was still the favorite going into Saturday’s final, where she finished 0.15 seconds behind champion Sally Pearson of Australia.

“I’ve been training with Kori, and we push each other,” Harrison said. “We all have really high standards. We like to reach our goals, and to have such a strong group of teammates, I think that’s why we are successful. Watching them run and get their job done pushes myself to go out there and do what I can.”

Edrick Floreal serves as Harrison and Carter’s coach in Lexington, Ky., where he also trains Jamaican athlete Omar McLeod, the men’s world and Olympic champion in the 110-meter hurdles. Floreal was coaching Carter at Stanford University, before coming to the University of Kentucky in 2012. In 2013, Harrison transferred from Clemson, where she already was an ACC champion, and Floreal groomed her into the NCAA champion. Carter also went on to win an NCAA title with the Cardinal.

“Coach Flo is a maniac and he is a genius,” Carter told Excelle Sports. “He always puts the work in and tells us we’re not going to be better than anyone else, unless we work harder. That is the sacrifice he puts into us every single day, and I am so appreciative of him.”

But could Floreal juggle the duo’s events and keep them in world class form? Harrison’s 400 hurdles personal best time of 54.09 (set two years ago) would have actually put her in fourth place in the final at London. Carter has a time of 12.76 in the 100 hurdles from 2013.

“I really think if I keep at the 100-meter hurdles, I can go to 12.5,” Carter said. “That’s my goal for next year. I feel like I have every credential. The last few years showed that I wasn’t rising to the occasion. I had to get back to the drawing boards and push myself to the next level because I felt like I had that in me.”

Maybe by the time the next Olympic Trials come around in 2020, Harrison and Carter can redeem their 2016 disappointments together. It just won’t be in the events we are used to seeing them run.


Jarrin Solomon Almost Missed Out On Trini 4×4 Gold

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Jarrin Solomon is still enjoying the gold medal he won with team Trinidad and Tobago at the World Championships in London.

The former University of New Mexico and La Cueva High track star came dangerously close to not being a part of the 4×400 men’s relay team that stunned the United States in its attempt for a seventh straight gold medal.

“They didn’t tell me I was going to run until Sunday at about 1 o’clock and then we ran at 9 o’clock at night… Yeah, so they didn’t even give me a heads up,'” said Solomon. “Like, the night before, I didn’t get real good sleep for two days before because I was upset I wasn’t going to run.”

Solomon considered leaving the event for home Saturday, but thought better of it.

It’s a good thing he did because one of his teammates who felt that he belonged on the team gave up his spot for him. Why was Solomon being left off the team in the first place?

“In pro sports there’s politics,” said Solomon. “There’s politics in everything, and a lot of things people don’t see happens in football, baseball, and basketball, that kind of stuff. Same thing in track and field.”

Solomon is glad he stuck around and extremely thankful for the outcome.

“Going from being in such a low place,” said Solomon. “It just tells people that God is good. You always trust because he can change the course of your life overnight.”

Solomon had won a silver and two gold medals at the World Championships in a past competition. He also has a bronze from the Olympics. The gold medal from last week in London is his first.

Solomon battled a lot of injuries in a season he described as tumultuous. He has a wait-and-see approach on whether he will continue to compete.

“You know I usually get back into training October time. Once I get back around that time I will start to see if I want to do it, if I have the motivation to run again next year, if I want to go to the 2020 Olympics or if I just want to end on a high.”


Tianna Bartoletta's Stressful Divorce (w/ video)

 

The sight of an athlete in tears on a podium is not a rare one in sport.

But Tianna Bartoletta has said the World Championship long jump bronze that she won in London was so much more than a medal.

In an emotional social media post, made just hours after the final, Bartoletta revealed that she had been homeless for the past three months, having run away to give herself a chance at a life without "fear or fighting, threats and abuse".

While her husband John Bartoletta says the divorce they are now going through is "amicable", Tianna Bartotella tells BBC World Service about what she says was the biggest gamble of her life.

'I felt that I became a stranger to myself'

Bartoletta, who won gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, struggled with her form in the early part of this season and was suffering torment away from athletics, too.

There were things that I loved in the beginning that I completely walked away from. I just lost sight of what I wanted.

Other people would say 'oh, that's just what it took to be elite, it was a sacrifice, she's just the ultimate professional' but really, it was just me withering away.

I lost my personality. I felt that I became a stranger to myself. I didn't trust myself to make the right decisions. It felt like I was just getting broken down and I just couldn't take much more of the negativity.

It got so dark last season that it got me contemplating walking off a train platform in front of a train. It just started to feel that I had no way out of the feelings of frustration and shame.

Last season, I wasn't competing very well until my trials in July. To deal with that on top of what I thought was an overwhelming personal situation... I felt like I got no break from the universe and it was so tempting to just call it quits.

'It's hard to ask for help'

For Bartoletta, reaching out to friends and admitting that she needed help to change her situation was a difficult step.

My relationship with my mum wasn't very close to start with, so we were already at arm's length, but when this situation started to happen, I withdrew and was isolated from friends and family.

My personality completely changed, and the most difficult thing was that while all of that was going on was that I was still being successful on the track.

Asking for help was the thing that required the most strength for me. A lot of people look at me and they're like: 'you're such a fierce athlete', 'you're such a strong woman', so it's hard to ask for help, right?

It was one of the hardest calls I had to make because I had to ask for help from people I didn't think were necessarily going to be there for me, because they hadn't been in the past.

When I first reached out, it wasn't to leave - it was just for the emotional support, to get a second opinion whether this was normal or if other people were going through this.

And then once I started to understand, because they were my mirrors reflecting my situation back to me, I was able to see that I needed to move on.

'You are not alone'

Bartoletta has been renting rooms to live in across Holland - where she trains - via a website. She does not regret speaking out about the struggles she has faced.

This has been my therapy - sharing this story with you, sharing the Instagram post, blogging. It has kind of been my way of healing.

What I love about this, even though it's incredibly uncomfortable for me to do, is that the responses I get are not just ones of encouragement, but people telling me their stories.

It validates my hurt a little bit in a way that says 'OK, you were strong enough to make it through', even though at times I didn't think that I was. For this person, to hear from you, that they can do it too.

The most important thing is, you're not alone. You know that, but you don't know it in your heart. You can be strong, or weak and it's not a reflection on you as a person. You're not any less of a person because you can't get out.

It's a very difficult situation, It's complex, it's confusing, and hard for a lot of people that aren't in one to understand. But take the time you need to look at yourself in the mirror and say 'you're worth more than that'.

And even though it is going to be scary, just keep making those decisions and you'll strengthen that muscle and it will become a little easier and lot less scary.

'I'm figuring it out'

After making the decision to start afresh, Bartoletta threw herself into her training to refocus.

I think that that is one of my biggest strengths as an athlete - I'm mentally tough and I knew that I could put all of this in a box and deal with it later.

I'm no stranger to traumatic situations and bad situations unfortunately so this is something I knew I would be able to kind of handle.

When you're at practice, you're at practice and you're safe, this is what you need to do... in a strange way, it forced me to be present because that was the only way I could to get through.

When I sit back and allow myself to think about the what ifs, it gets overwhelming and I freak out a little bit, but I've just been one foot in front of the other.

This [World Championships] was the finish line for me. The thing that I've been focused on so much till now, I'm a little bit lost again. Because I don't have that routine to fall back on but I'm figuring it out.

'Amicable divorce'

In a statement to BBC Sport, her husband, John Bartoletta, said that in their time together they "made an incredible team" and that he would be "forever grateful" for having been a part of her success which included three world championship gold medals.

He said that it was his understanding that they were going through an amicable divorce, that he was very proud of Tianna and wished her "the very best".


Breaking Down London Scoring By Nation

Everyone knows that athletics is a global sport, but this year’s World Championships showed that once again. The IAAF has 215 member federations and 66 countries produced a top 8 finish in London. That includes multiple countries from each continent. But among those countries there were some clear winners and losers.

To assess how the countries competed at the World Championships, Nick Garcia and I scored out the meet like a team competition, using the American-style scoring system of 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points for the top eight places respectively. The IAAF has their own separate point table, but it does not give any extra bonus to the top places and does not break down by event. Using our point table you get a clear picture of which countries were hot, and which were not. You can scroll down to the end to see our complete rankings. But first we have some highlights.

Check It: HERE


Who’s Hot

USAAmerica showed that Rio was not a fluke with another 30 medal performance. While there were some disappointments, they also had new athletes step up and score unexpected points. Along with Great Britain and France., Americans had one of the most balanced teams with champions in nearly every event group. In addition, they showed their recent success in the distance races is still on an upward trajectory. While Kenya still retained the top distance ranking, America closed the gap on Ethiopia for second.

Poland
Poland was one of the big surprises of the World Championships. With eight medals, Poland ranked behind only the United States and Kenya in that metric. Using our point table, they also ranked fifth overall. The key driver for Poland has been the throwing events. They overtook Germany and America, the top throwing countries in Rio, to rank as the best throws nation at this World Championships, sending multiple throwers to the final in four of the throwing events. But their results were not limited to the throws. They produced success stories across all event groups.

Russia
Russian athletes competed under the Authorized Neutral Athletes banner in Rio and ranked just 10th overall in points. While this is historically low, it still counts as a victory for the athletes who have been banned for the last two years and fought hard to distance themselves from the actions of their federation. They have reassembled as a small but strong team ready to move Russia athletics forward. In fact, the smaller squad scored comparable points to the full team Russia sent two years ago.


Who’s Not

Jamaica
As Nick discussed on our podcast this week, most commentators said Jamaica’s sprint dominance was here to stay over the past few years. But as with Usain Bolt, Jamaica has lost its edge and they were miles behind the US in London . Usain Bolt’s bronze was their only medal in the individual sprint races. The relays added just one more. While they still produced incredibly strong results for a country of less than 3 million citizens, they were not the sprint powerhouse we have come to know in recent years. The bright side for Jamaica is that they produced multiple finalists in non-traditional events like the discus and 5000 meters.

Germany and Canada
The two countries most affected by the norovirus outbreak saw their points drop significantly. While that is not the sole cause, it likely played a role. Canada took home eight medals two years ago, and had none this time around. Germany lost its spot as the top throwing country , which contributed to a large drop off of points.

Ukraine and Belarus
Both former Soviet countries have strong athletic traditions, but were essentially non factors in London. Ukraine took home just one medal and Belarus none. Overall Ukraine ranked 30th in points, with Belarus further back in 45th. Both countries have relied on strong field events in the past and they just did not produce results this time around. Added to their was a drop off in the other events where they have both had medalists in the sprints, hurdles, and multi events. When Russia got banned many commentators asked why the IAAF wasn’t looking at cleaning up doping practices worldwide and also looking at other perennial offenders like Ukraine and Belarus. While neither country was directly under the microscope, the renewed focus on doping may be one reason for the poor showing in London.


Related Content

Craig Pickering gave a detailed break down of the IAAF data release for the men’s 100 meter final and analyzed why Usain Bolt lost the final. Also on this week’s HMMR Podcast, Nick Garcia and I look back at the World Championships:lost the final. Also on this week’s HMMR Podcast, Nick Garcia and I look back at the World Championships:

 


Ole Miss Extend's Price-Smith's Contract

OXFORD, Miss. – In her first two seasons as the leader of the Ole Miss Track & Field and Cross Country programs, Connie Price-Smith has directed the Rebels to never-before-seen accomplishments.

For her efforts, Price-Smith has agreed to a contract extension through the 2020-21 season (the longest allowed by the State of Mississippi), Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork announced Wednesday.

“From national champions to historic team finishes, the Ole Miss track record book is being rewritten under Connie Price-Smith,” Bjork said. “We have not only improved in every area of the program but are emerging as a national contender. On and off the track, Connie’s team is setting new standards.”

“I am excited, grateful and honored to have my contract extended,” Price-Smith said. “To me it shows the administration believes in me and my abilities to move the track and field/cross country program forward.”

Some of the Rebels’ notable accomplishments in Price-Smith’s first two years on the job:

  • Best NCAA men’s cross country result in school history (4th)
  • Best NCAA women’s cross country result in school history (23rd)
  • Best NCAA women’s indoor track & field result in school history (12th)
  • Best SEC men’s indoor track & field result in school history (3rd)
  • Best SEC women’s indoor track & field result in school history (5th)
  • 3 individual NCAA titles (Raven Saunders 2016 outdoor shot put, 2017 indoor shot put; 2017 indoor men’s distance medley relay)
  • 17 individual SEC titles
  • 42 All-America selections

Since she arrived at Ole Miss, Price-Smith has served as Team USA’s women’s track & field head coach for the 2016 Rio Olympics, has been elected to the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame, and currently serves as the president of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.


Is Bronze The New Gold For Jamaica?

And so it ends. A disappointing campaign at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London, bookended by reports of a catfight between two members of our mile relay team, moments before the final.

When the Legend pulled up with cramp on the final leg of the men's sprint relay, a few people would have wondered what else could go wrong at a track and field extravaganza that promised so much but ultimately delivered so little. None of those persons could anticipate that an argument over clothing could rob the country of the chance to add lustre to what has been an unpleasant outing in London.

Yes, Jamaica won four medals, a better return than 26 other countries who were also on the overall medal table. And, yes, it's good to see those who disrespected Omar McLeod after his achievements in Rio having to eat humble pie after he won what tuned out to be our only gold medal.

But given the country's record of having won 111 medals in World Championships history, comprising 32 gold, 44 silver and 35 bronze, and a reputation burnished by its dominance of the sprint events at recent editions, there was every right to expect that London 2017 would prove a happy hunting ground for Jamaica.

However, between the time The Legend crossed the line for third and an argument over whether the women's mile relay team should wear their black outfit or the yellow kit, disrupted the mood and forced one member to stand down from the team, the 2017 World Championships has left Jamaicans feeling bilious.

Remember Asafa's Bronze

And it's precisely because there has been so little for Jamaicans to celebrate in London that I have reacted with schadenfreude at how we have celebrated the medals won at this event. I confess to still being vexed with many people who belittled the achievement of Asafa Powell when he won bronze in the 100 metres at both the 2007 and 2009 World Championships in Osaka and Berlin, respectively. Aligned with his failure to win an individual gold at the Olympics, Powell was written off as a waste of time and a runner for profit, who only turned it on for the Golden League (became the Diamond League in 2010) races when big dollars were at stake.

Many spat on his achievements, asking, "A weh bronze a go?", while noting that a bronze is effectively no medal. This was a similar mindset to those who, a generation earlier, had derided the great Merlene Ottey and soiled her reputation with that nasty moniker, 'Bronze Queen'.

So imagine me having a rueful smile on my face when my office erupted in an orgasm of joy when the brave Ristananna Tracey dug deep and overhauled two-time World champion, Zuzana Hejnova from the Czech Republic to take bronze in the 400 metres hurdles final. It was a tremendous achievement from a woman who had advertised from she was a girl at Edwin Allen High that she had the talent to mix it with the best in the world.

Let me be clear: 'Rista's' bronze medal deserved to be celebrated under any circumstance. In fact, any athlete who makes a final at a major championship deserves a pat on the back. But among the many who cheered wildly as Rista won her bronze were people who have previously said that Asafa's bronze was worthless.

So in the time of plenty, when The Legend broke records and gold medals in the sprints were a certainty, Asafa's bronze medals could be disregarded, and it was fair game to disrespect him. But now that times are thin, amid the confluence of factors that caused an abatement in the gold rush at the London World Championships, a bronze medal is getting the respect it deserves.

Warren Weir's retirement has been met with some unpleasant comments from many who see his Olympic bronze and World Championships silver medals as nothing special, simply because he never won gold.

Both The Gleaner and Observer gave Ristananna her due with front-page coverage the morning after her bronze medal effort. My granny always spoke about 'scornful dog eat dirty pudding'. I see many of us chewing right now.

Selah.


London To Host A New U.S. vs. Britain Meet

In life, you have to capitalize on momentum and opportunity. Think of it like running a relay in track and field. It’s a lot easier to succeed when you have a running start.

Track and field is at such a moment, coming out of the 2017 IAAF world championships in London, which featured sell-out crowds at Olympic Stadium, breakthrough performances by the British relay teams and, as well, a U.S. team that won a record 30 medals, including a historic 1-2 finish in the women’s steeplechase that went viral on social media.

With that as backdrop, British Athletics and USA Track & Field on Wednesday announced a one-night, your team against my team throw-down next summer, back at Olympic Stadium.

Organizers are calling it “The Meet.”

When: July 21.

What and how: nine events — including, for sure, relays — and, most important, two hours.

Again, two hours: a show deliberately designed to be compact, fan-friendly and, as a USATF release put it, “to appeal to new audiences,” which is code for — in particular — a young, urban crowd.

“This is the head-to-head in world athletics,” Adam Gemili, who ran the second leg of the winning British 4×1 relay last Saturday night, said in a statement.

“We have a great sporting rivalry with the USA team and we look forward to seeing which nation comes out strongest at The Meet next summer. The event is all about power, speed and excitement. I can’t wait.”

Allyson Felix, who won her 16th world championship medal Sunday in the women’s 4×400 relay, said:

“Bringing team competition back to the London Stadium will be special. There is nowhere like it in the world for track and field, and it has been the site of some memorable Team USATF performances.

“We are really looking forward to The Meet.”

Full details remain to be worked out, including The Meet’s specific format and team rosters. Those are expected early next year.

Especially for American consumers, the notion of a team competition makes eminent sense.

There’s golf’s Ryder Cup. The Davis Cup in tennis.

Since 2003, swimming has seen what’s called a “Duel in the Pool,” at first pitting the U.S. against Australia, since 2009 an all-star European team.

Track and field history is of course writ large with exactly this sort of thing, in particular the U.S. v. U.S.S.R. meets from 1958-1985, a sports icon of the Cold War years.

One of the signature elements of the Penn Relays each April at Franklin Field: U.S. v. the World.

It’s not much of a stretch to see how that helped prompt the IAAF to develop the World Relays, which is now an every-other-year event in the Bahamas.

In principle, team competitions are great. To be obvious, to maximize the odds for success, when innovating you just have to make sure you have the right team. This was the problem with team tennis. It’s the challenge facing team track in the United States.

Again, just being obvious: you are way better off down the line if, for instance, you fill Olympic Stadium with 60,000 fans to watch top talent than otherwise — meaning “teams” that make no intuitive or emotional sense, meets that carry that high school vibe and attendance, even in a purported track hotbed like Portland, Oregon of (depending who’s counting) “a few hundred fans” or an estimated 1,300.

People vote with their pocketbooks, their feet, however you want to describe it.

To stage a mid-summer dual meet back at Olympic Stadium … when leading U.S. athletes would be in Europe, anyway, because it’s Diamond League season … and draw a packed house because British fans have proven, both at the 2012 Olympics and again at the 2017 championships that they will jam that venue … could and should be nothing short of a potential game-changer as track and field, leaning in particular on story-telling in social media, moves to re-brand itself as a sport with wow factor … particularly with young people.

Back to Gemili’s formula: power, speed, excitement.

What, looking ahead to next July, are the challenges?

First and foremost, marketing. Making it an event. Drawing the target audience.

Here, too, a key challenge:

— While the Americans won 30 medals, the Brits won six. Distance standout Mo Farah won two. The other four came in relays: men’s 4×1 gold, men’s 4×4 bronze, women’s 4×1 and 4×4 silver. That’s it. Farah has said he is done with track racing and plans to move to the roads; he would seem hugely unlikely to run in The Meet. The upside for UK Athletics, which USATF receives significant government funding, is that it has every incentive to get better, and what better way than to race the best?

For true track and field geeks:

In the placing table, scoring events 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for places one through eight, considered the best indicator of true team strength, the U.S. finished with 272 points. Then came Kenya, 124. Then Britain, 105. (Then, Poland, 86, and China, 81, with 66 nations scoring points.) So matching the United States and Britain next July is, genuinely, a competitive thing.

The trick will be formatting the two hours. In the relays, no question the Brits can take it to the Americans. In other events?

Meanwhile, The Meet would seem likely to achieve other significant objectives as well:

— The stadium’s chief tenant is now the West Ham soccer team. But keeping the track was a major political focus in the run-up to the London Games of then-2012 chief Seb Coe, now IAAF president. Every time the track gets used for a major event, it’s good for UK Athletics and, by extension, Coe and those who supported his fight to keep the track.

In turn, that’s good for the IAAF and for track and field.

— A considerable challenge with the 2018 international track and field calendar: there is no major outdoor meet, only a world indoor championships, set for early March in Birmingham, England. So, as Gemili pointed out, The Meet can be more than a meet — it can be, if done right, a happening.

— Finally, in contrast to a slew of disasters at recent worlds and Olympics, the U.S. teams got the stick around during the 2017 championships without a hitch. Credit to new relays coach Orin Richburg. The Meet means more high-level relay practice. All such practice, pointing toward the 2019 worlds and, even more, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, can only be a good thing — both for the U.S. and, of course, British teams.

” ‘The Meet is a great idea and will be a fantastic event for athletics fans, especially as it’s at the London Stadium, which is an amazing venue and has given me so many memories over the years,” Mo Farah, the distance standout, said in a statement.

Farah, of course, has announced his intent to move to marathon racing. Given the likely format of The Meet, he would in any event seem to be a spectator. As one of the faces of British track and field, he was nonetheless asked for a few words and also said, “I think the UK has the best athletic fans in the world and I have no doubt they will be there to cheer the British Athletics team on when they compete against Team USATF.

“It is going to be awesome.”


Should Britain Have Had A Better Medal Return?

The ever-estimable Michael Johnson has raised the pertinent question - while making it clear it was a question and not an indictment - as to whether six medals and sixth place in an International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships on home territory was a reasonable return for the £27 million ($35 million/€30 million) lobbed in the direction British Athletics by UK Sport.

He suggested it may be a matter of "concern" while pointing out that he could think of no other athletics federation which received such a huge amount of money.

It was a good question and a fair one from one of the few BBC sports pundits who calls it as they see it.

You can be sure that throughout the seven days before the final weekend, there was some uncomfortable foot-shuffling in the VIP box of the Olympic Stadium in London by the denizens of UK Sport who had set a medal target of between six and eight of any colour.

Until last Saturday (August 12) there had been just one, a gold, inevitably from Sir Mo Farah, followed by a clutch of fourth places and also rans. But of course under UK Sport’s no-compromise, winning-is-everything diktat even fourth represents failure.

Until Sir Mo’s subsequent sobering silver and the cavalry, in the form of those magnificent relay squads charged to the rescue, it seemed as if the funding body would be facing some serious quizzing as to whether athletics still deserves that degree of investment or whether some of that money should have gone to sports now struggling on the breadline having been denuded of their own funding.

So, there were huge sighs of relief all round when Britain’s 80-plus team had hit the low end of their generous target. Just.

Good enough? Johnson leaves it for others to say yes or no.

We heard from those others about how much burgeoning individual young talent there is for Tokyo 2020 and possibly beyond. That is certainly true.

But the medals at these World Championships were spread among 40 nations and many of those countries have emerging talent equal to the Brits.

Surely only two individual medals, from the same athlete, one of less value that anticipated, was not really what it should have been.

Steve Backley must have wondered where our next outstanding field eventers are coming from as must Seb Coe and Steve Cram in respect of Britain’s middle distance runners while dear old Daley Thompson surely pondered whether British decathletes have lost the will to count up to 10 in the discipline he once so brilliantly dominated.

But you wouldn’t find anyone other than a neutral such as Johnsom hinting that Britain’s athletics efforts were inadequate among the BBC’s galaxy of back-slappers and pom-pom wavers.

At times, the unabated chauvinism came close to that which irritatingly emanated from the United States media during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Objectivity seemed to fly out of the commentary box window and Johnson apart, what the BBC need are more proper journalists, not more moonlighters who recoil from anything contentious, especially drugs, or asking awkward questions, with one notable exception in Gabby Logan who was heavily criticised when legitimately asking one obout the medical exclusion of Isaac Makwala from the 400 metres.

What we tend to forget is that sport is no longer just about what happens on track or field, but matters of interest arising off them, some of which are deeply controversial and need airing.

Which is why David Coleman, trained as newspaper journalist with an eye for a story and how to report it (witness the Munich massacre), still has no peer.

At times, I was reminded of the occasion many years ago when, as a young sub-editor on The Times in London, I was dealing with a report from the paper’s shooting correspondent, a retired Army brigadier, on the national championships at Bisley.

There had been an incident during the day’s event when an official was accidentally shot, though thankfully not seriously wounded, when walking behind the target as a competitor fired.

Obviously it was quite a story, but when I read through the Brigadier’s report there was no mention of it. I telephoned him to ask why.

“I deliberately left it out” he brusquely informed me.

“Why?” I asked incredulously.

“Bad for the image of the sport,” came his reply.

I rest my case.

My armchair observations from a brilliantly-organised championships (no-one does big events better than London, as we were constantly reminded by the BBC) was that we had bags of watchable drama and the curiosity that no-one was running faster, jumping higher or throwing longer that in the last Olympics or previous World Championships.

Was it because of a more intensive drugs testing programme? Even Usain Bolt baulked at this suggestion.

It was also apparent that Sir Mo’s testy relationship with the "ingrate" British media is as fractious as that of Donald Trump’s with the American press corps. An inwardly seething Sir Mo didn’t actually use the phrase "fake news", but that was what he implied when castigating much of the press for any innuendo that he may not be as clean as he insists he is.

He pointed out in one of his rare interviews that he sleeps well at night, has never failed a drugs test and is as clean as the proverbial whistle. No doubt.

But he must know we heard exactly the same protestations of complete innocence from Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones.

So I am surprised that Sir Mo cannot understand why questions are now asked of all constantly winning athletes, especially in the light of his continuing association with the under-investigation coach Alberto Salazar, who chose not to accompany him to London.

No matter. He retires from the track with the appreciation of his public and a record as one of the supreme athletes of all time.

And, of course, so does Bolt, arguably the supreme athlete.

Much has been made of the comparisons between himself and Muhammad Ali, and rightly so.

Both are the only two sports figures in history who have transcended not just their own sport, but sport per se. Both remain universally worshipped will be throughout the ages.

Ali used to boast: ”Parachute me into High China and everyone will know who I am.”

Now the same can be said of Bolt.

Both found initial fame and enduring adulation through winning Olympic gold medals and somewhat ironically and symbolically, both left us in the same rather sad manner, losing their last two fights and races respectively as vulnerable shadows of the supermen they once were. Out of sorts and out of condition.

I was there with 18,000 others in a converted Las Vegas car park when a stumbling Ali was humiliatingly defeated in his penultimate fight by Larry Holmes, who repeatedly beckoned to the referee to stop the fight before Angelo Dundee compassionately took it upon himself to do so.

I confess I shed a tear at ringside that night.

And you know what? My eyes were damp again as Bolt was lefty trailing in third place by a drugs cheat, Justin Gatlin, and later pulled up in agony during the final leg of what was to be his valedictory appearance in the sport he had breathtakingly graced with such dignified domination for a generation.

As I wrote at the time of Ali’s own emotional exit. “The Greatest has gone. Finally, a legend has been licked.”

E tu, Usain.


Taylor hunting down record again - at altitude

Tignes (France) (AFP) - Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor will target the world record on Wednesday at altitude in the French Alps, just a week after coming up short in the same bid at the IAAF World Championships.

The American did enough to hold off his compatriot Will Claye to take gold in London, but his winning effort of 17.68 metres was well down on his personal best of 18.21m, and Briton Jonathan Edwards' 22-year-old world record of 18.29m.

Taylor has long been tipped to beat Edwards' mark, and he will try again at 3,032 metres above sea level in Tignes.

"It's been 22 years, so you know how difficult this mark is," the 27-year-old Taylor told AFP.

"My best is 18.21 and my all-time best. When I thought 'this is my moment', it was still too short. This shows me how crazy this distance is.

"For me, 17.68m is not so far. It's not what I went there for. I wanted 18 metres, if I jumped 18m in London, this would be very difficult, emotionally and physically, it takes so much."

Competing at altitude has long been thought to give athletes, especially jumpers, an advantage.

For example, Bob Beamon set his long-time world record in the long jump of 8.90m in 1968 at 2,250m above sea level in Mexico City.

But Taylor insists he would consider a record set on a specially-made jumping track in France as legitimate.

"We have officials, they've done everything for it to be appropriate," he added.

"If the distance comes, I will know I have passed the world record. The 'A' mention (for altitude) from the IAAF on the best marks is not a problem for me."

South Africa's long jump world champion Luvo Manyonga will also be attempting to break his event's world record on Wednesday, the 8.95m effort by Mike Powell back in 1991.


Usain Bolt in numbers — Why the Jamaican is the greatest

A glorious sporting career has come to an end. Usain Bolt, an eight-time Olympic champion, the fastest man in history, retired after the IAAF World Championships in London.

He is a sprinter who has broken records and left a legacy. We look into the numbers which made the 30-year-old Jamaican the greatest sprinter to have lived.

All four of the fastest 100m times in history belong to Bolt. Known in his early years as a prodigiously talented 200m runner, he burst onto the 100m scene by breaking the world record in New York (9.72) in 2008. Eleven weeks later, in Beijing, he improved on his time, clocking 9.69 as he claimed his first Olympic title.

He has dipped under 10 seconds in the sport’s blue riband event 52 times — putting him fourth on the sub-10 seconds all-time list. But Bolt, who last lost in 2013, is a man who peaks for championships. Three of his quickest times have been achieved on his way to winning either Olympic or world gold.

His times have been in decline over the years and the days of him breaking world records are clearly over. The gold-medal winning times aren’t what they used to be, either — from 9.58 in Berlin to 9.81 in Rio last year.

In winning 100m bronze in London, his final solo race, he finished in 9.95 seconds. It was only the third time he had gone under 10 seconds this year.

Men of Bolt’s size aren’t usually speed freaks. His frame is meant to be an obstacle in an event which requires explosive power out of the blocks.

“We never saw prior to Usain Bolt a sprinter who is 6’5 running the 100m,” former Olympic champion Michael Johnson tells CNN Sport. “Typically, that type of athlete would not be able to get out of the blocks and get through the drive phase in the first 30m or so when short, powerful, massive pressure and power is what’s required.”

With his height and weight, the world record holder would not look out of place on the basketball court. He is notably taller than his rivals, as well as the greats of the past. Christian Coleman, the world silver medalist stands at 1.75m, while the new world champion Justin Gatlin is 1.85m.

Scientists have been studying the secret of Bolt’s supersonic speed for years. He hit a top speed of 44.7.8 km/h between 60m and 80m during his world record 100m sprint in Berlin and is almost as explosive as smaller sprinters in the early stages of a 100m race.

Once out of the transition phase, his height comes to his advantage — the Olympic champion needs only 41 strides to cover 100 meters while other elite runners need 43 or 45. And once he has reached top speed, he is able to maintain his momentum more efficiently than others, which is crucial in a race won not by the person speeding up at the end but slowing down the least.

Bolt — who since 2008 has contributed to 40% of the country’s medals at Olympic Games and World Championships — is as cherished as the late singer Bob Marley in his homeland.

Over 30,000 watched him run his last race on home soil in June. But the world record holder is also universally loved. Not only is he one of the wealthiest sportsmen on the planet — according to Forbes he is 23rd on the list of the highest-paid athletes in 2017 — but he is also one of the most popular too, with over 7m Instagram followers and 4.7m on Twitter.


USA, Britain to face off in new track and field dual meet

Coming off a 30-medal performance at the world championships, U.S. track and field athletes will have a chance to compete in London again next summer in a new event called "The Meet."

USA Track and Field and British Athletics announced Wednesday their teams will go head-to-head on July 21, 2018 in the London stadium that hosted the world championships, which ended Sunday, and the 2012 Olympics.

"The Meet" will feature running, jumping, hurdling and relay events in a two-hour competition. Athletes from Britain and the U.S. will score points for their countries in nine events.

"Team competition captures the attention of fans in a way that brings excitement, attention and focus to our sport," USATF CEO Max Siegel said in a statement. " 'The Meet' will bring track and field back to the future by reviving dual-meet team competition in a way that caters to modern fans."

London Stadium was sold out for morning and evening sessions at the recent world championships with a record 705,000 tickets sold for the event.

While the events haven't been announced for "The Meet," relays look to be a highlight for fans. The British men won gold in the 4x100 at worlds, while the USA took silver. American women won gold in the 4x100 and 4x400, with the British women finishing second.

Published By USA TODAY Sports


'As long as he doesn't want too much money' - Manager replies to Usain Bolt rumours

Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough has rubbished suggestions that the club are set to offer eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt a trial at the club.

Brewers chairman Ben Robinson previously claimed he was interested in signing the 30-year-old on the back of his retirement from sprinting, challenging the Jamaican to transfer his enthusiasm and dedication from track and field to football.

And while Clough has ruled out an official move for Bolt, he conceded he would at least add some pace to the Championship side if he were to join.

"I didn't know he [the chairman] picked the players, he'll have to come down and spend ten minutes in the technical area and see how he goes," he told Sky Sports following the club's 2-0 defeat on Tuesday evening.

"Would that be a loan or permanent? I'm not quite sure. He would certainly add some pace.

"He's done great things for athletics and if you look at Adam Gemili, who was in the 4x100m relay, he played football when he was younger. We would be very interested, obviously.

"He's done a tremendous amount for his sport. If he can apply the same amount of enthusiasm and dedication to soccer then who knows what might lie ahead."

Speculation only grew when Bolt's agent, Ricky Simms, revealed the sprinter "has a million opportunities" to achieve his aim of becoming a professional footballer.

“Usain is 30 and could still race for another four years and go to the 2020 Olympics but he has achieved everything he needs to achieve,” Ricky Simms told the Daily Star.

“There are a million other opportunities for him and he is ready to move on to the next chapter."

Bolt, a Manchester United fan, has agreed to play for the Old Trafford club in a charity match against Barcelona on September 2, should he recover in time from a hamstring injury.


"Heavyweights" Expected At Brussels DL

The AG Memorial Van Damme boosts a night full of running, falling, flying, throwing and even some utter kind of powergame one day ahead of the meeting. Because Tom Walsh and Ryan Crouser are two of the world’s most impressive powerhouses that you can imagine.

Tom Walsh (NZL) and Ryan Crouser (USA) already qualified to compete in the Shot Put Diamond League Final. They will show up for nothing less than an awesome feature on August 31st at Square de la Monnaie in Brussels.

The Shot Put Diamond League Final will also be the great final of the AG Urban Memorial Series. Walsh and Crouser are world class athletes in their event.

Walsh became the World Champion with a put of 22.03m. Olympic Champion Crouser had to settle for 6th place only, but he remains the Diamond Race leader and holds the world leading performance. So there is really something special to look forward to on Aug. 31st. Come and discover some world class Shot Put action at Place de la Monnaie in the heart of the city of Brussels !

..........................................

AG Memorial Van Damme


Zürich DL To Host 18 Freshly-Minted World Champs

Organisers have confirmed that 18 freshly-minted world champions will be competing at the Weltklasse Zurich on 24 August, the first of this season's two IAAF Diamond League finals.

Considering the star-studded entry lists, singling out individual highlights is almost impossible in the battle for a piece of the $US 1.6 million prize pot. But in at least three events, the scenarios seem to guarantee athletics blockbusters providing thrills and goose bumps for everyone attending.

The men’s 400m will not be a rematch, but rather a postponed duel between world record holder, Olympic champion, and world championship gold medallist Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa and his rival Isaac Makwala of Botswana. Makwala missed out on the London 400m due to illness. Now, he is looking forward to challenging van Niekerk in the IAAF Diamond League title race.

Meanwhile, Great Britain's Mo Farah recently added another 5000m silver medal and 10,000m title to his four consecutive double triumphs at global championships to wrote another chapter to the sport’s history books. In Zurich, Farah, one of athletics’ greatest, will run his final track race before moving on to the roads and longer distances. Letzigrund Stadium is a worthy arena for Farah's final bow to cap an impressive track career. Zurich is where Farah broke the 13-minute barrier for the first time in 2010, and it is where he was crowned double European champion in 2014. His final track appearance, over the 5000m distance, could quite possibly come with an IAAF Diamond League title. His opponents will include the five top London finalists including world champion Muktar Edris of Ethiopia.

Swiss stars will also be getting a particularly warm welcome at Letzigrund. The Zurich crowd will be treated with finalists from both 400m hurdles contests, Lea Sprunger and Kariem Hussein. There will certainly be thunderous support for the Swiss women's 4x100m relay team when they step onto the track for the Zürich Trophy. In London, they finished fifth.

NEW FINAL SYSTEM
The IAAF Diamond League Finals will be held according to the revised system for the first time this year. The best athletes of the current season qualified for the final based upon points acquired at the 12 preceding Diamond League meetings. $US 100,000 will be awarded in prize money in each event with individual event champions collecting $50,000.

“The new system enhances the status of our meeting even further, and it provides for added suspense and drama, as the points collected at the qualifying meetings have no influence on the outcome of the finals. Everyone starts at zero," said Andreas Hediger, Weltklasse Zürich Co-Meeting Director.

Hediger also noted: “All 16 final events feature the new world champions of London. The IAAF Diamond League thus also proves to be an ideal forum to get to the top of one’s game for major championships.”

IAAF World Championships London 2017 champions at Weltklasse Zürich -

IAAF Diamond League final events:
- Dafne Schippers (NED/200m)
- Caster Semenya, (RSA/800m)
- Sally Pearson (AUS/100m hurdles)
- Emma Coburn (USA/3000m SC)
- Yulimar Rojas (VEN/triple jump)
- Lijiao Gong (CHN/shot put)
- Barbora Spotakova (CZE/javelin throw)
- Justin Gatlin (USA/100m)
- Wayde van Niekerk (RSA/400m)
- Elijah Motonei Manangoi (KEN/1500m)
- Muktar Edris (ETH/5000m)
- Karsten Warholm (NOR/400m hurdles)
- Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT/high jump)
- Sam Kendricks (USA/pole vault)
- Luvo Manyonga (RSA/long jump)
- Johannes Vetter (GER/javelin throw)



Other events:
- Katerina Stefanidi (GRE/pole vault; will compete at Zurich Main Station on Wednesday)
- Mo Farah (GBR/10000m; will compete in the men’s 5000m)

Organisers for the IAAF


Jo Pavey Aims To Defend European Title At Age 44

Jo Pavey is aiming to defend her 10,000m title at the European Championships in Germany in 2018 - a month before her 45th birthday.

Pavey became the oldest woman to claim European gold when she won the 10,000m in Zurich in 2014, aged 40.

The British five-time Olympian missed the World Championships with a heel injury, but has no plans to retire.

"Next year I'll be mostly focusing on trying to qualify for the Europeans - that's the goal," Pavey said.

The 43-year-old has ruled out competing at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in March, but is keen to continue for at least one more season on the track.

"With the Commonwealths being in March, and having a family and all the different phases of my life I'm at now, I just think it's the Europeans that I'm most interested in," Pavey told BBC Radio Devon.

"It was frustrating getting injured early in the season because I was quite pleased with the way the track sessions were starting to unfold.

"I actually felt younger this year than I did maybe in the last year or two, so I was looking forward to trying to put some good track performances in.

"I suppose I have to retire one day, but I'll never completely retire - I'll always keep running."

The Devon mother of two received her 2007 World Championship bronze medal at the London Stadium during this year's event, after Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse was retrospectively disqualified for an in-competition doping offence.


Claye Hopes To Find Right Beats For World Record

For most competitors, athletics is predominantly about championships. The attempt to peak for that one day a year, when the medals are up for grabs, is at the forefront of their minds for the full season leading in. It’s almost as if nothing else matters.

Yet, when USA’s Will Claye stepped out of the London Stadium after taking silver in the triple jump at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, behind his compatriot and long-time rival Christian Taylor, it was clear he was not satisfied. His aspirations were not merely defined by the colours gold, silver or bronze, but by the weight of history. With this in mind, there was really only one thing the world’s media wanted to know.

When is Jonathan Edwards’ enduring world record going to be broken?

“We were put in this position for a reason, to push each other to break the world record,” said Claye. “I feel like it will come one day, and I think it just comes down to executing and having the right conditions.”

INTO THIN AIR
Both Taylor and Claye’s obsession with Edwards’ 18.29m world record is visible to all, and they are planning to go to extreme lengths to try to accomplish it. The search for perfect conditions will take them to an unusual destination this Wednesday (16), as they intend to compete in the ski resort of Tignes in the French Alps, at an elevation of approximately 3,700m (12,000 feet) above sea level. Should that fail, they’ll have a final bite of this illusive cherry, for the time being, at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday, 1 September.

“We are both going up there to try to break the world record. It may have an asterisk beside it, but hey, I’ll take it,” said Claye. “After that we have some time to reboot and get ourselves back together, so Brussels will be big.”

London was Claye’s third time finishing in the silver medal position at a global outdoor championship, after the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. On each occasion his USA teammate Christian Taylor has got the better of him. Despite his admiration for his rival, Claye admits he is growing tired of consistently finishing second best.

“I’m going to work my butt off so I don’t lose ever again,” he says. “It’s like a brotherly rivalry. You don’t want to lose to your brother. It’s very competitive but at the same time you love him.

“I’m always going to have that chip on my shoulder and I’m always going to want to win. I got second, and I don’t ever want to get second again.”

In London last Thursday, Claye achieved a distance of 17.63m with his third-round jump, and finished an agonising 5cm down on Taylor. Despite having a very consistent series, with four of his five other jumps measuring 17.49m or better, the 26-year-old was left unsatisfied by his performance on the night.

“I feel I didn’t execute as well as I could,” he said. “I felt like I left a lot of distance out there. For my furthest jump I didn’t hit the board. That is unacceptable and that is something I’m going to have to live with and work on for the next time.”

MUSICAL TALENTS
Away from athletics, Claye has finally decided to pursue one of his other big passions in life: music. His area of expertise is in the genre of hip-hop, and he released his debut album, entitled ‘Look What You Created’ in April of this year. For now, he sees it as a welcome distraction from the high-pressure world of elite athletics, but he hasn’t ruled out a longer-term future in the business.

“I started making music before I started triple jumping, so I’ve been at it a long time, but I’ve decided now I want to put it out there for the people.

“It gives me a good balance in life. It gives me an outlet to vent and it’s my little diary to just give off who I am. If the right situation comes about in the future, it’s definitely something I would entertain doing professionally. Maybe one of these years I’ll take a year off track and work on a real album with some serious artists.”

That’s all for the future. For now, there’s the small matter of Jonathan Edwards’ long-standing mark, lurking prominently like a back itch that just can’t quite be scratched.

“I feel like Jonathan sees it in us, he sees that we are capable of it,” said Claye. “It seems to be the topic of conversation between us when we meet. You can feel him starting to let it go. He knows that it is coming.

“It’s more about who gets it last, rather than first. Once it’s broken, it’s going to continue to get broken. Just like when the four-minute-mile barrier was broken, it just started to flood afterwards.

“It’s just going to open new boundaries.”

James Sullivan for the IAAF


18 New World Champions Confirmed For Zürich DL

On 24th of August the world’s best athletes are heading to Zurich where the first of two IAAF Diamond League finals will take place in its new format for the first time. 18 new world champions will try to become a Diamond League champion and to win a share of the 1.6 million US dollar prize money on offer.

The eyes of athletic fans were on London during the past 10 days. The first of two IAAF Diamond League final events will no doubt again demand the full focus of the London protagonists. The audience at the Letzigrund Stadium on the other hand expects and is certain to be treated to a night of athletics at its best. The stars of London will be the stars of a two-hour international programme packed with exciting athletics action.

Goosebump moments guaranteed

Considering the star-studded entry lists, singling out individual highlights is almost impossible. But in at least three events, the scenarios seem to guarantee athletics blockbusters providing thrill and goosebumps for everyone attending.

400m duel between Van Niekerk and Makwala

The men’s 400m will not be a mere rematch, but rather a postponed world championship duel between world record holder, Olympic champion, and world championship gold medallist Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) and his greatest rival Isaac Makwala (BOT). Makwala missed out on the London 400m final in a dramatic manner. Now, he is looking forward to challenging top favourite van Niekerk in the IAAF Diamond League title race.

Mo Farah’s farewell

Mo Farah (GBR) just added another silver medal (5000m) and a title (10,000m) to his four consecutive double triumphs at global championships and wrote another chapter to the sport’s history books in the process. In Zurich, Farah, one of athletics’ greatest, will run his final track race before moving on to the road and to longer distances. Letzigrund Stadium is a worthy arena to bow out of an impressive track career. It is where Mo Farah broke the 13-minute barrier for the first time in 2010, and it is where he was crowned double European champion in 2014. His final track appearance, the 5000m race, could quite possibly come with an IAAF Diamond League title. His opponents will include the five top London finalists.

The Swiss stars and their home crowd

After their impressive appearances in London, Switzerland’s stars will be getting a particularly warm welcome at Letzigrund Stadium. The legendary Zurich crowd will be cheering for both 400m hurdles finalists, Lea Sprunger and Kariem Hussein. And there will be thunderous applause for the Swiss 4x100m team when they step onto the track for the Zürich Trophy. In London, they came in fifth in the final – a historic success. Next week, they will be up against the best sprint relay teams once again. Mujinga Kambundji (200m), Selina Büchel (800m), and Fabienne Schlumpf (3000m SC) all missed the championships finals narrowly, and will get another opportunity to prove their skill and top form.

The new format stands the test: All new world champions qualified

The IAAF Diamond League Finals will be held according to the revised system for the first time this year. The best athletes of the current season could qualify for the final at the 12 preceding Diamond League meetings. 100,000 US dollars will be awarded in prize money in each event. IAAF Diamond League champions will win 50,000 US dollars.

“The new system enhances the status of our meeting even further. And it provides for added suspense and drama, as the points collected at the qualifying meetings have no influence on the outcome of the finals. Everyone starts at zero. In addition, the prize money at stake has been increased considerably,” Andreas Hediger, Weltklasse Zürich Co-Meeting Director, explained. The revised qualification procedure has already stood its first test, according to Andreas Hediger: “All 16 final events feature the new world champions of London. The IAAF Diamond League thus also proves to be an ideal forum to get to the top of one’s game for major championships.”

The London world champions at Weltklasse Zürich

IAAF Diamond League final events:

Dafne Schippers (NED/200m)
Caster Semenya, (RSA/800m)
Sally Pearson (AUS/100m hurdles)
Emma Coburn (USA/3000m SC)
Yulimar Rojas (VEN/triple jump)
Lijiao Gong (CHN/shot put)
Barbora Spotakova (CZE/javelin throw)
Justin Gatlin (USA/100m)
Wayde van Niekerk (RSA/400m)
Elijah Motonei Manangoi (KEN/1500m)
Muktar Edris (ETH/5000m)
Karsten Warholm (NOR/400m hurdles)
Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT/high jump)
Sam Kendricks (USA/pole vault)
Luvo Manyonga (RSA/long jump)
Johannes Vetter (GER/javelin throw)

Other events:

Katerina Stefanidi (GRE/pole vault; will compete at Zurich Main Station on Wednesday)
Mo Farah (GBR/10000m; will compete in the men’s 5000m)


World Record Beckons For Caster Semenya

LONDON - World champion Caster Semenya has her sights on the more than three-decades old 800-metre world record held by former Czech athlete Jarmila Kratochvilova.

The South African won her third world title on Sunday evening, adding to the gold from Berlin 2009 and Daegu 2011 tying her with her former coach Maria Mutola of Mozambique at the top of the all-time 800m world championship honours board.

Although Semenya has always been reluctant to talk about her ambitions to break the world record, she admitted the global mark featured on her to-do list.

“The world record is achievable but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be able to run a fast time like that, and we haven’t planned to run faster than that,” Semenya said.

“I am in line to do that but I am a patient athlete and the most important thing is to win as much as I can, focusing more on winning medals.”

Crossing the line in a new South African record time of 1:55.16, she edged slightly closer to track and field’s longest standing record of 1:53.28.

Semenya moved into eighth place on the world all-time performer’s list as the second-fastest African athlete behind Kenya’s former champion, Pamela Jelimo, who holds the continental record of 1:54.01.

Semenya’s coach Jean Verster said breaking the record featured low on their list of priorities.

“For the last three years we’ve had this attitude of racing, and enjoying what we are doing and trying to win titles,” Verster said after his charge added the 800m gold to the 1500m bronze from earlier last week.

“I’m a firm believer that the time when it comes, she feels good at the moment. It’s almost impossible, that is such a quick record, if the race is quick and the other competitors are also going for it, if the pacemakers are going for it, she will make an attempt.”

Two of the athletes who could aid Semenya in a world-record attempt flanked her, sitting at the winners table on Sunday evening.

Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and American middle-distance ace Ajee Wilson gave Semenya a good run for her money.

Niyonsaba had to be content with second place behind Semenya after she and Wilson took the race out fast.

Semenya had too much kick left in her legs, as she blew the duo off the track in the final 30 metres to bag the title.

Niyonsaba clocked 1:55.99, with Wilson rounding off the podium bagging bronze in 1:56.65.

Verster said before they could even consider the world record, Semenya would first have to dip below 1:55.

“It’s almost like baby steps, our first goal and I know the other girls as well, are all thinking ‘let’s get under 1:55 first’,” Verster said.

“If we can get somewhere below 1:55 then we know we are a bit closer, but only when there is good pacemaking, good weather, and the rest of the competition working together, we will see those 1:54s coming.”

 

Semenya was a relaxed figure at these championships, where she interacted with the crowd while she walked the gauntlet of awaiting journalists in the mixed zone.

After fielding questions at the post-race press conference, Semenya insisted that the media pose questions to Niyonsaba who was sitting quietly to her right.

A shy Niyonsaba playfully nudged Semenya for putting her in the spotlight.

“She (Semenya) is maturing as a person, and growing, I’ve said it many, many times that Caster is maybe one of the nicest people you would meet in your life,” Verster said.

“If people can only see the real Caster, they would also change their opinions.”

The Mercury


van Niekerk Sporting A $120,000 Watch

Now that's a hefty price tag, but I guess only the best will do for this world class athlete.

The 400m world champion has scored an ambassadorship role with Richard Mille.

The role came into fruition shortly after van Niekerk broke records at the Olympics in Rio last year.

The custom-made watch, the RM 67-02, is all about comfort and weighs only 32 grams.

It is officially the lightest automatic watch in the Richard Mille collection.

It's the watch van Niekerk wore when he won the 400m final at the IAAF World Championships in London on Sunday, 6 August.

This model is now also already available at retail, where it may be purchased for $120,500 - a whopping R1.6-million in local currency.

The Richard Mille website says the non-slip and hyper elastic qualities of the strap allow it to perfectly fit each wrist by adapting to individual morphology.

Tennis star Rafael Nadal also wears a Richard Mille when on the court.

Van Niekerk made world history in June when he became the first man in history to go sub-10 for 100m, sub-20 for 200m, sub-31 for 300m and sub-44 for 400m, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations.

It happened when van Niekerk set a new world record in the little-run 300m at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

In July, the Olympic gold medalist clinched the 400m title at the Diamond League Series in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He did it in a time of 43.62s, a new meeting record.

Just last week, van Niekerk took silver in the 200m final in London.


The Best & Worst Of The World Championships

The summer of sport came to a glorious end last night with the conclusion of the World Championships in London as both British 4x400m relay teams finished on the podium to round off ten days of competition in great style. It has been a strangely anti-climactic world titles: full of drama and upsets, abrupt shifts in mood and momentum. But it is now time to hand out our post-championship prizes (before Seb Coe ‘retrospectively’ beats us to it):

Best Individual Performance Mo Farah. At a home world titles, it was always going to be about Farah, and though he proved fallible in his shorter event, his 10,000m performance that brought him his tenth successive major gold medal was simply breathtaking. Farah was twice clipped from behind on the final lap as the group jostled for position, but he was still able to unleash one more trademark surge to take a magnificent victory in 26 minutes 49.51secs, the world’s fastest time in 2017.

Worst Individual Performance Rosangela Santos. The Brazilian, who won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games as part of the 4x100m relay, brazenly told reporters she had purposefully false started in the semi-final of the 200m to save energy for that same relay. Not that it mattered, given her team were not medal favourites in that event and they ultimately finished only seventh out of eight teams and behind the British women, who won silver. Still, her lack of respect was contemptible. Best Team Performance Britain’s relay teams. The GB relays have long been a byword for near-misses and also-rans, but in some of the most dramatic finals of the championships, national pride was restored as they unbelievably all finished on the podium. Rarely does sport culminate in such upheaval as the men’s 4x100m, but as Usain Bolt hit the deck in his final major race, watching Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake claim GB’s first gold in the event since 2004 left us with unbridled joy.

Worst Team Performance Jamaica. The athletics powerhouse has endured a disastrous championships, claiming only a solitary gold medal when just a year ago, its athletes won a staggering five out of a possible six sprint titles at the Rio Olympics. Sure, Bolt was not at peak form and won bronze in the 100m, Shelley Anne-Fraser Price was unable to compete owing to her pregnancy, and hamstring injuries scuppered their relays, but all in all, it was a rather poor showing. Greatest Overachiever Isaac Makwala. The crowd favourite for the 200m final was undoubtedly the athlete from Botswana. In 48 hours, he missed the 400m final, ran a 200m solo time trial, qualified for the semi-final, and then came sixth in the final. While there were several bewildering stories from the championships here, his was by far the most mind-boggling. His ability to dominate the headlines and reinvent himself into something of a cult hero deserves great credit.

Greatest Underachiever Katarina Johnson-Thompson. There is no denying her potential. Had the 24-year-old matched her effort of 1.92m in the high jump during the earlier heptathlon, she would have likely finished that event with a brilliant silver. Alas, it was again not to be for the hugely talented athlete, who managed to clear only 1.82m in the heptathlon and came fifth on a total of 6,558 points. Incidentally, her lifetime best of 6,691 would have also been enough for a medal. Least Controversial Figure Hero the Hedgehog. Initial impressions of the bizarrely furry creature and its occasionally obnoxious persona were not positive, yet, over time, it became impossible not to warm to the mascot’s wonderfully heartwarming antics. On the track, it somersaulted, tried the high jump, and painfully fell on the steeplechase hurdle. Off the track, it zip-wired, wrote messages and caused consternation. The standard for future mascots has been set terrifically high.

Most Controversial Figure Justin Gatlin. Already the sport’s pantomime villain, denying Bolt his golden farewell in the men’s 100m, the event he had made his own, was never going to bring the two-time doping offender a loving and heartfelt reception. But booing aside, when even the president of the IAAF made no attempt to hide his disdain and publicly admitted he would rather have awarded someone else the gold, the most decisive figure in global track and field is obvious.


Michael Johnson Says Brits Should Be Concerned

  • Michael Johnson has commented on Team GB's performance this past month
  • Johnson has said a haul of six Team GB medal was a concerning number
  • Team GB won a total of two gold medals at the World Championships

Track legend Michael Johnson says British Athletics should be concerned despite hitting their World Championship target with a late rush of relay medals.

UK Sport set the British team a goal of six to eight medals in return for funding of £27million. They managed six after taking five in the final weekend.

Four came in the relays but it is reasonable to question the depth of the success with only Mo Farah's 10,000 metres gold and 5,000m silver to show for the 80 athletes in individual events.

Considering Farah has run his last track race for Britain, there would appear to be a lack of proven contenders before the Tokyo Olympics.

While Neil Black, the GB performance director, has spoken of the squad's great promise, four-time Olympic champion Johnson asked if the return was value for the investment.

He tweeted: 'Four thrilling relay medals. One individual medallist. Farah. He's retiring. £27m investment. I'd be concerned.'

Black drew criticism during a seven-day spell when no British medals were won, so would be entitled to celebrate a vindication of sorts.

But it is a worry that of the athletes held up as medal contenders — Andy Pozzi, Holly Bradshaw, Sophie Hitchon, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Robbie Grabarz, Laura Muir, CJ Ujah and Tom Bosworth — none actually made the podium.


Race Analysis: Why Did Usain Bolt Lose?

by Craig Pickering HMMR Media

Athletics fans love statistics, and I’m no different, which is why it was so exciting to hear that the IAAF and Leeds Becket University were to collaborate on a biomechanics project at the recent World Championships, giving us some insight into what makes up a world class performance in athletics. As the Championships finished last weekend, the first initial reports were released for the men’s 100m and 10,000m, men’s discus final, and women’s pole vault final, which you can find here. The extended analysis will come in time, but the initial analysis does contain plenty of interesting bits of information. As my athletics knowledge is primarily limited to the sprints, that is where I’ll focus. The initial report itself does a great job of presenting the pertinent points, but I hope to add a little extra context where possible.

Analyzing the race meter by meter

The first 60 meters

From the data, we can piece together a decent narrative of the race. When the gun fired, the athletes all recorded reaction times of between 0.123s (Coleman) and 0.224s (Su). Bolt reacted in 0.183s, the second slowest of the race. At 10m, likely due to his superior reaction time, Coleman was winning, although Gatlin and Blake had the fastest 0-10m split, clocking 1.74s. Also at 10m, Bolt was in just sixth place , with a split of 1.78s, the equal fourth fastest of the finalists (along with Simbine). For the next four consecutive 10m splits, Coleman had either the fastest or equal fastest 10m splits of the finalists: 1.00 (10-20m), 0.90 (20-30m), 0.88 (30-40m), 0.87 (40-50m). Because of this, at 50m, Coleman had the lead, with Gatlin in second, and Bolt in fifth (with Blake and Vicaut ahead of him). Between 50-60m, we see athletes (aside from Blake) achieving their fastest 10m split; the fastest comes not from one of the main protagonists, but from Simbine, with 0.84s. Bolt clocks 0.85s, and Gatlin and Coleman clock 0.86s. Coleman still had the lead from Gatlin, the margin 0.06s, with Bolt now in fourth, the big man making his way through the field.

60 to 90 meters

From 60m onwards, it becomes a battle to see who will maintain their speed the best. As we’ve come to expect over the years, the athlete who is initially most successful here is Bolt, who clocks the fastest 10m splits for 60-70m (0.85s), 70-80m (0.86s) and 80-90m (0.86s). This speed maintenance moves him into third place at 90m. Coleman is still winning – just – although he is consistently 0.01-0.02s slower than Gatlin for each of these splits. Simbine, having clocked the fastest 10m split of the race earlier, is now dropping off, going from 0.84s for 50-60m, to 0.88s for 80-90m. During these segments, Bolt’s total drop-off is 0.01s across the 10m splits, which is matched by Gatlin, although the American does so with less total speed. Blake exhibits no drop off in speed in these sectors (he oscillates from 0.88s to 0.87s, back to 0.88s, and then again to 0.87s; this is potentially due to rounding during the analysis), maintaining his speed well, but at a lower speed than his Jamaican compatriot.

The final 10 meters

With ten metres to go, Coleman is spent; he produces a 0.92s 10m split for 90-100m, tied for slowest of all the finalists for this section of hte race and 0.04s slower than his previous 10m segment. Gatlin, on the other hand, produces the fastest 90-100m segment of all competitors in the final, clocking 0.87s and finally overtaking Coleman for the win. Bolt, in a position where he has previously been so dominant, drops off by 0.03s from his previous 10m split, clocking 0.89s and finishing third.

In terms of difference between maximum speed, which occurred between 50-60m, and final 10m segment time, the athlete who best maintained their speed was the winner, Gatlin, with a difference of just 0.01s between the fastest segment and final segment. Gatlin won the race with his speed maintenance . Coleman and Simbine were the worst here, with a difference of 0.06s between their fastest segment and the final segment. Bolt also dropped off by 0.04s.

How fast are the fastest in the world?

Before we analyze Bolt’s race in more detail, it is interesting to look at some of hte other data released. It shows us some interesting facts about speed and maximum velocity:

  • All athletes except from Prescod and Su (seventh and eighth place respectively) had at least one 10m segment where they were the fastest, or equal fastest, in the race.
  • The fastest split, 0.84s, equates to a top speed of 11.9 m/s
  • The slowest fastest-10m split, 0.89s, was recorded by Su. This still equates to top speed of 11.24 m/s.
  • Coleman’s average speed between 10-20m was 10 m/s, which illustrates incredible acceleration.
  • Gatlin produced two fastest 10m segments of all the finalists: the first 10m, and the last 10m.

Dissecting Bolt’s Race

In terms of Bolt, it’s easy to say he lost the race at the start; his losing margin was 0.03s, and his reaction time was 0.04s slower than Gatlin. His 0-10m split was also 0.04s slower than Gatlin’s. Bolt covered the final 90m of the race quicker than everyone else, so it’s easy to point at the start of the race and hold it up as the reason he lost. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

We also have data available from the 2009 World Championships 100m final, where Bolt ran 9.58s, still the World Record. There, he got to 20m in 2.89s (reaction time of 0.146 and 0-20m time of 2.74s). In London, he got to 20m in 2.98s (reaction time 0.183 and 0-20m time of 2.80s). The slowing of reaction time accounts for less than half of the difference between 2009 Bolt and 2017 Bolt. If you want to look at the bigger difference between those two races you have to look at what happened after. In Berlin, Bolt’s best 10m split was likely 0.80s (I’m extrapolating as we only have 20m splits available; he clocked 1.61s between 60-80m). In London Bolt was a full 0.05s slower in a 10m section than at his best; greater than his losing margin.

His top speed is far below what it used to be, as is his speed later in the race. In Berlin, he closed around 0.83 or 0.84s for the final 10m segment (again extrapolating from the 20m segment data provided), whilst in London he finished with a 0.89s split. The difference here is also greater than his losing margin in London, although the drop off in 10m split time is the same (assuming 0.84s in 2009) or similar (assuming 0.83s in 2009) between 2009 and 2017.

Based on this, we can likely conclude two things:

  1. Bolt is no longer the force he was primarily due to a loss of top speed and speed endurance , as opposed to issues with his start; and
  2. Bolt’s slower reaction time and 0-10m segment was still enough to cost him this particular race.

Understanding the role of reaction time

Before we wrap up this analysis, let’s take a deper look at reaction time. As I alluded to on Twitter after the final, reaction time data perhaps doesn’t tell you what people think it tells you. Even the the IAAF/Leeds Beckett report mischaracterize reaction time as the block clearance time. Reaction time is simply the time between the starting signal and when the athletes produce a set threshold of force. So it doesn’t measure how quickly you react to the gun, but how soon you produce that set threshold of force. This is why female sprinters tend to have slower reaction times; not because they react slower, but because it takes them longer to reach that threshold). Reaction time data is collected to ensure that athletes aren’t jumping the gun; it was never intended as a performance metric.  However, because it’s one of only two metrics commonly available (along with 100m time), it is often used as one.

Logically we can argue that, had Bolt met that threshold of force 0.04s earlier – like Gatlin did – he would have won. It’s hard to argue with that. But, similarly, had he achieved the top speeds he was capable of in 2009, he would have won at a canter, even with his slower reaction time. This tallies nicely with the conclusions of the IAAF/Leeds Beckett report, which is that reaction time and performance in the very early stages of the race remain key determinants of race outcome, but that achieving high running speeds and maintaining these running speeds may also equally determine race outcome.

Another reason we should not overvalue reaction times is that it is not correlated with fastest overall times. Between 1999-2015, in WC finals the fastest median reaction times were recorded by athletes in sixth place, with third, fourth, and fifth place also having faster median reaction times than the race winners. So, whilst reaction might be important, it appears not to determine race placing, and each athlete likely has a “normal” reaction time that is individualized to their make-up, height, and other factors. Perhaps the safest conclusion is that a good reaction time doesn’t win you the race, but a slow time can lose it for you . Here it was certainly a contributing factor to Bolt’s loss, but so too was his lack of speed relative to his former self.


"My Greatest Challenge" With Christian Taylor

World and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor is one of the world’s most high profile athletes. Here the US athlete, who claimed his third world title in the event in London on 10 August, explains how the major technical changes he made in 2013-14 were his greatest obstacle.

MAKING THE TAKE-OFF SWITCH FROM LEFT LEG TO RIGHT
“For me, the greatest challenge of my career was switching from jumping from my left leg to my right. I have always had a weakness in my knees, which was something passed down from me by mom and grandma, who have had also had their issues.

"My knee is not smooth and round like most people; it is quite sharp and this causes a lot of crunching and irritation in the cartilage. Since puberty I have had knee problems – an issue which has become much worse by increasing those forces on the knee 15-fold by triple jumping.

"Persistent problems with the patella tendon had created inflammation which hampered my ability to train and compete. It all came to a head at the 2013 World Championships when in Moscow, as defending champion, I finished back in fourth. I said that wasn’t acceptable. I dreamed of chasing the world record but at that stage of my career I didn’t even know if I could take all six jumps in a competition.

"I had never had surgery on the knee. I’m not the sort of person to take short cuts, preferring to take time off and correct the problem through strengthening, so going the surgery route was not what I wanted.

"Instead my coach (Rana Reider) and I made the decision to jump from that other leg. I did this for the first time at the 2013 Brussels IAAF Diamond League, where I jumped 16.89m. I thought, if I could jump nearly 17 metres jumping for the first time off my right leg, then all hope is not lost.

"It was far from an easy challenge. For one, the timing of the jump is completely different as was my weight distribution. I was used to coming into the board and positioning my body to jump off the left leg but now I had to be prepared to shift my weight in the opposite direction. I had to completely re-learn these movements.

"I had to strip everything back to basics and take baby steps. I would start by doing a standing triple jump and then maybe a triple jump off a one-step approach. It wasn’t easy and one of the toughest parts was dealing with the media. I was losing every week and they kept saying, ‘Can Christian return?’

"I reckon it took eight solid months to consider myself a triple jumper off the right foot. I jumped 17.51m to win in Zurich at the end of the 2014 season and that was a huge moment for me. That made me believe my right foot was no longer the weaker foot and that jumping 18m was a possibility.”

In 2015 Taylor jumped beyond 18 metres on three occasions, highlighted by a mighty 18.21m effort – the second longest jump in history – to win the world title in Beijing.


How Many Medals For Collegians In London

NEW ORLEANS – Past and present collegians turned in memorable performances at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London last week.

Those athletes who honed their skills at the collegiate level combined for 55 medals between August 4 and August 13 inside London Stadium. Of those 55 medals, 25 were gold, 18 were silver and the remaining 12 were bronze.

RESULTS: IAAF World Championships

If you’re wondering about collegians from the 2017 track & field cycle, they accounted for 13 medals – six golds, six silvers and one bronze. Christian Coleman and Jereem Richards were the big winners from the World Championships as they each captured two medals.

See below for a full list of past and present collegians that stood out on the world stage.

Corrections and additions to these lists are welcome — email those to Tom Lewis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

* U.S. collegian in 2017

 


Goodwin banned but free to play NFL

The United States Anti-Doping Agency suspended Marquise Goodwin on Tuesday for one year for failing to provide his whereabouts for drug testing, but the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver said in a statement that he is no longer competing in track and field.

USADA said in a statement that Goodwin received three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period. USADA requests the information from a select group of athletes for out-of-competition drug testing.

USADA said Goodwin's suspension began on April 1, the date of his third whereabouts failure.

Goodwin, however, said in a statement provided by the 49ers that he decided to stop competing in track and field so he could focus on his football career and therefore did not supply his whereabouts information to USADA.

"Never in my life have I failed a test," he said. "I have never been opposed to testing and, in fact, have always been compliant with each and every protocol and policy associated with my competitive career in track and field. More than a year ago, I decided to cease competing in the sport in order to concentrate 100 percent on my NFL career. Therefore, I discontinued all practices associated with competing in track and field, including submitting my 'Whereabouts' information.

"It appears that because I did not inform USADA of my plans, my name was inadvertently included in their 2017 testing pool. I greatly appreciate the support of the San Francisco 49ers and the National Football League as I work to clarify this matter," he said in the statement.

The 49ers confirmed that Goodwin had given up his track and field career in order to fully concentrate on football. The team also said that the NFL will not discipline Goodwin under its policy against performance-enhancing drugs.

"Marquise informed our organization quite some time ago that he has no intentions of competing in track and field and has been entirely focused on his football career for more than a year. We have been in touch with the League office regarding this matter, and understand that Marquise will not be subject to discipline under the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances as a result of USADA's decision," the team said in a statement.

Goodwin, 26, failed to qualify to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics, when he finished seventh in the men's long jump at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Eugene, Oregon, last July. He jumped 27 feet, ¾ inches, more than a foot short of Jeffrey Henderson's winning jump of 28 2¼ inches.

Goodwin, who was with the Buffalo Bills when he competed in the trials, signed with the 49ers as a free agent, receiving a two-year, $6 million contract with $4.45 million guaranteed.


The Athletes Hoping To Continue Mo Farah's Legacy

Last week marked the end of an era for Mo Farah and British athletics. The 34-year-old ran his final track race in a major event, settling for silver in the 5000 meters at the world championships. It was an emotional experience for onlookers inside the London Stadium as the search begins for the next star of the sport.

During Farah’s career, he claimed a total of four Olympic and six World Championship gold medals. A YouGov survey named his double triumph at the 2016 Rio Games the stand out moment of the entire Olympics for the British public. Illustrating how he has managed to become a heavyweight in the world of sport.

"There are athletes out there who have won more medals, but the quality of those medals and for Mo to have led an event on his own... wow. I don't know how you can't see him as our greatest ever athlete," former sprinter Darren Campbell told BBC Sport.

As the Somali-born Brit prepares for the challenges of the marathon, his teammates are already trying to fill the void. Last week in London Team GB achieved 11 top-four finishes with a total of six medals. Out of those medals, two were won by Farah. He was the only Brit to claim an individual medal, but it doesn't necessarily reflect on the current state of British track and field.

The next generation

Laura Muir has already established herself as a world class athlete at the age of 24. At this year’s European Indoor Championships, she won both the 1500m and 3000m title. Impressively, she broke both championship records, including one that was set back in 1985. Last year she ran a 1500M race in 3:55.22 to become the quickest British female athlete of all time over the distance.

"I think I've got at least two, even three more Olympics in me. What events? I don't know. Certainly, so much scope for the future," she said.
Besides Muir’s athletic ability, she also inspires many with her academic dedication. The Scot is studying for a degree in Veterinary medicine at Glasgow University and will miss next year’s Commonwealth Games due to exams.

Middle distance runner Kyle Langford grew up living opposite boxer Anthony Joshua. Now the 21-year-old is bidding to create some sporting history of his own. Last week in London, he missed out on a medal by just 0.04 seconds. An impressive achievement for somebody who entered the event as the 40th best 800M runner in the world.

Langford now finds himself in the media spotlight, an opportunity he hopes to capitalize on.

"I'm not saying I'm going to overtake Mo or dominate like him, but it's more that I would love to fill his boots," he told the Press Association. "I feel like I can. I'm not going to say I've got the personality - I hope I do - but people can probably relate to me.”

"Hopefully with my personality, I can get other people involved in athletics. My aim is not to just win Olympic gold or get a world record or be the face of the sport, it's to try to get people involved,” Langford added.

Dina Asher Smith broke her foot at the start of the year in a training accident. Less than six months later, she finished fourth in the women’s 200M world championship final.

The best performance by a British woman in the discipline since Kathy Cook in 1983. She was also part of the women’s 4x100M relay team, who won silver in London.

"Dina is just a lovely member of the team," Race Walker Tom Bosworth stated in The Telegraph. "It's frustrating because she is so bright, so athletic and has it all."

As far as men’s sprinting is concerned, talent is shining brightly. Britain won gold in the 4x100M relay. Three out of those four members are only 23-years-old and have already broken the 10-second milestone - Adam Gemili, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Chijindu Ujah.

A British athlete emulating Farah’s achievements might still be far away, but there is hope for the future. The legacy left by the 34-year-old is unquestionable, but only time will tell if it has had any impact on the rising stars of the sport. A waiting game that will be filled with both apprehension and excitement.

British medals won at the 2017 World Athletics Championships

GOLD - Mo Farah (10,000 M)
GOLD - Men’s relay (4x100M)
SILVER - Mo Farah (5000M)
SILVER - Women’s relay (4x100M)
SILVER - Women’s relay (4x400M)
BRONZE - Men’s Relay (4x400M)


Muir Urged Not To Skip Commonwealth Games

Sportscotland's director of high performance Mike Whittingham hopes Laura Muir will change her mind about skipping the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Muir has said her veterinary medicine exams will mean she will not make it to Australia's Gold Coast.

The 24-year-old finished fourth in the 1500m and sixth in the 5,000m at the World Championships in London.

"We hope to sit down with her and her coach to see if we can persuade her to run," Whittingham told BBC Scotland.

"We are always mindful of people's studies and would do all we can to accommodate her.

"She isn't competing because obviously she's got to put her studies first, but we are regularly in contact with her and so are Scottish Athletics.

"There may be an outside chance she just looks at the programme and thinks, 'well, I didn't win a medal in Rio and was agonisingly close in London', maybe she'll just look at the Gold Coast 1500m and, who knows, we might be able to persuade her to have a fleeting visit."

Muir aims to complete the final year of her studies, with her exams in May. Next year's Commonwealth Games run from 4-15 April.

"We're not going to put pressure on her, because obviously her studies are important, and we believe in supporting an education alongside an athletics career, because it's really important under our duty of care for our athletes," added Whittingham.

"But having said that, I think Laura would like to win a medal, she hasn't as yet won a medal on the world stage, like World Championships and Olympics, and if you look at that pecking order, European and Commonwealth would fit within that global stage.

"So, there's an outside chance she might sit down with her coach and look at the 1500m."

Whittingham's comments came as it was announced that 65 Scottish athletes "with the potential to make the podium" at the 2018 Commonwealth Games or the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea have been handed individual sportscotland Athlete Personal Awards (SAPAs).

The £312,250 will go to athletes across 16 sports, with beneficiaries including Callum Hawkins in athletics, Kirsty Gilmour in badminton, and boxers Sean Lazzerini, Lee McGregor and Aqeel Ahmed.


Chris Brown On The Way Back For The Bahamas

Brown plans to give it a run in the 2018 season

Don't look now, but "The Fireman" is on the way back.

Former Bahamian national record holder in the men's 400 meters (m) Chris "The Fireman" Brown said that he wasn't convinced to give it another run by the results from the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Championships in London, England, but rather this is something that he was contemplating for a while, and he just decided to go full steam ahead with it.

Brown confirmed that he will compete in the 2018 athletics season, starting off with indoor meets and looking to qualify for the world indoors. The 17th IAAF World Indoor Championships is set for March 2-4, 2018, in Birmingham, England, and it could be Brown's swan song in competitive athletics.

The soon-to-be 39-year-old runner said that he knows he can still produce top times at the world level. He's won five individual medals at the world indoors in the men's doom — a gold, a silver and three bronze medals, and is the most decorated athlete of all time at the world indoors.

Brown has personal best times of 43.58 seconds indoors, and 44.40 seconds outdoors. He's The Bahamas' number two athlete of all-time in both events.

The savvy veteran said that it is highly unlikely that he will compete beyond next year.

"I know what I've done throughout my career, and I know what I'm still capable of doing," said Brown. "Some people don't appreciate it, but that's life. I know I could still get out there and drop a fast time. Next season, I plan to be in great shape and competitive at the world indoors. That should be it for me, but I'll do whatever the good Lord has planned for me to do. I'm just taking it one day at a time."

Brown took in the recently completed world championships from his home base in Atlanta, Georgia, and said he was disheartened by the results of the men's 4x400m relay. Brown has been a mainstay on the team over the past 18 years, but this year he missed out. This was the first world championships he missed since he became a senior athlete almost two decades ago.

Notwithstanding The Bahamas' men's 4x400m relay team was without its fastest runner and national record holder in the person of Steven Gardiner, Brown said that he expected a bit more from the team.

"I am a bit disappointed by them not advancing to the finals. I felt they were in a great position to advance based on the heat they were in," said Brown. "With the amount of medalists that were on the team, particularly with us having a quarter-miler who won a silver medal in the open 400, the results were just shocking."

Of course, that quarter-miler didn't run, and the team of Alonzo Russell, Michael Mathieu, Ojay Ferguson and Ramon Miller, in that order, went on to run 3:03.04 in their heat. They were sixth in their heat, and finished nth overall. That wasn't nearly enough to get them through to the final, as only the top three finishers in each heat and the next two fastest times moved on.

This year Gardiner was the only Bahamian to run a sub-45 second race. For the most part, the others struggled to get in that range. Brown said that he felt they still had the leg speed to get it done.

"When you look at the Olympics last year, we weren't running fast and people counted us out. We got to the Olympics and still got on the podium with those same 45 and 46 runners," said Brown. "I feel like the foundation that I help to lay is strong enough to result in continued success. I can't run forever, and that's why I was confident that with a strong group of world and Olympic medalists in the mix, that we would have still experienced success."

According to reports, Gardiner, who blazed a trail of 43.89 seconds in the semi-finals of the men's doom, chose not to run in the relay, even after being asked to do so, because he didn't want to run with guys who were "running 45s and 46s". Brown said that if that is the case, it's just unfortunate, adding that he would have never refused to run for his country when asked to do so.

"When one looks at my career, it's quite obvious what I would have done," said Brown. "When I'm present and on a team to run, I go out there and run like it has been every year for the past two decades. I go out there and represent The Bahamas like I always do."

Brown was particularly disturbed by the results of the men's 4x400m relay at the world championships this year because he felt that The Bahamas had an excellent shot, not just to win a medal, but a gold medal at that.

Trinidad & Tobago shocked the United States in the final, coming from behind to win the gold in 2:58.12. The United States settled for the silver medal in 2:58.61 and Great Britain won bronze in 2:59.00.

Brown is confident that a healthy Bahamian team could have run a 2:58 in the final, or faster.


Bolt: "Someone Told Me Ali Lost His Last Fight Too"

LONDON – Usain Bolt took an emotional final bow on the track at the end of the World Championships in London on Sunday before declaring that, definitely and definitively, there was no way he would ever return to sprinting.

After embarking on a special lap of honour so slow that you could not believe that we were saying farewell to the world’s fastest man, Bolt was asked by reporters already missing him whether he might ever change his mind.

“No, I’ve seen too many people come back and make things worse and shame themselves. I won’t be one of those people who come back,” Bolt said firmly.

Twenty-four hours earlier, the 30-year-old Jamaican’s matchless sprint career had ended painfully on the last leg of the 4x100 metres relay final as he crumpled to the ground in the London Stadium with a hamstring injury.

Bolt, who admitted that it had been a terrible end of a “stressful” championship for him after also losing his 100m crown, said he had felt consoled on Sunday when someone told him “Muhammad Ali lost his last fight too – so don’t be too stressed about it”.

Already he was looking forward to an exciting future, he said, with his management camp talking to IAAF president Sebastian Coe about what he might be able to do for the sport in an ambassadorial capacity.

He also revealed that his coach Glen Mills, the sage of Jamaican athletics, wanted him to become his coaching assistant.

“So, we’ll see how that goes,” Bolt smiled about the man who has put him through a lifetime of pain.

And the great man even had reporters laughing when he gave them a vision of what a 50-year-old Usain Bolt might end up doing.

“I’ve no idea. Hopefully, with three kids, married, still in track and field, trying to help the sport, watching it grow,” he said.

“I don’t know if I’d take my kids to the track, though. I won’t be one of those parents who force their kids into things they don’t want to do.”

It was a wonderful night of celebration for athletics’ greatest entertainer, with Bolt honoured one last time at the stadium where he achieved the second of his three Olympic sprint doubles.

Coe and London mayor Sadiq Khan presented him with a piece of the 2012 track as a memento before he embarked on his celebration lap, slowly soaking up all the non-stop cheers from the 56 000 full house – all to a Bob Marley soundtrack.

He went over to the 200 metres and 100 metres start lines, knelt down and crossed himself.

“I was saying goodbye to my fans, but to my events also,” he said, admitting he had been close to tears.

And after taking rather longer than the 9.63 seconds it took him to win the 100m crown here in 2012, he eventually stopped at the finish line and gave everyone his trademark lightning bolt impression.

Before he had set off on the lap, he had told the crowd he just wanted to entertain and put on a show.

He did just that before, also getting a rare round of applause in the press room from “some of you guys who wrote bad things about me”.

Asked what he hoped his legacy would be, he paused for a moment before saying: “I’ve proved with hard work, anything is possible. I personally think this is a good message to the kids. ‘Push on, be strong, be as good as you can be’ – that’s a good legacy to leave.”

He was also adamant that he would “preach” to youngsters about avoiding the evil of performance-enhancing drugs.

“The sport hit rock bottom last year and the year before, and now we’re on the way back up,” he said.

And his immediate aims? In typical Bolt fashion, he just smiled and declared: “The first thing I’m going to do is have some fun. Have a party and have a drink. I need to chill.”


SA’s best finish at world champs

The South African athletics team’s luggage will be just a little heavier on their return to the country after a record medal haul at the World Championships in London.

The country’s previous best was four medals, including two golds, won in Paris in 2003 to finish joint seventh. But, with Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya earning themselves two medals each in London and a gold and bronze coming from the nation’s long jumpers, South Africans can celebrate a record haul of six medals. That meant they finished in third place behind the USA and Kenya on the medal table – another first to be applauded.

It’s a massive achievement for a team that, heading into these championships, was rattled by a selection shambles that saw many of the country’s athletes left at home. Nevertheless, Van Niekerk, Semenya, Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai ensured the flag was well represented in London.

Thanks to Lebogang Shange’s fourth-place in the 20km walk and Akani Simbine’s fifth place in the 100m, South Africa finished 11th with 52 points on the placing table, which awards points for places in finals of events. Obviously larger teams have a better chance of a higher finish, with the USA topping that table as well with 272 points, Kenya second on 124 and Great Britain third with 105.

“Obviously I think it’s really, really good – our most medals ever and third on the medal table,” said Semenya’s coach, Jean Verster, after his athlete powered to 800m gold on the last night of competition. “But I also think it’s important to look at that fourth place in the walk and Akani’s fifth place in the 100. It would be nice if we had more placings as well.

“Looking at it critically – I think we need to look at the next generation. We’ve got a few stars now but we’ve got to make sure that the new bunch come through as well. What we’ve actually done quite well over the last decade is getting youngsters exposed to these kinds of championships and I’ll just confirm again that I believe we should have brought as many as possible and the guys that stayed behind should have been here,” he added, referring to the questionable selection policy that Athletics South Africa employed.

Semenya herself was enthusiastic about the performance of Team SA, but also pointed to the next generation. “It’s fantastic. We are growing a lot and hungry enough to be the best in the world. We just have to go back and inspire the young ones so that they can do better,” she said. “But I think it’s also all about the development in South Africa. If we focus more on grooming the young ones, I think we can be a better nation.”

Speaking about the nation’s rise up the medal table, she added: “I think it’s about hard work and dedication. We are inspired by the other generation. We had great runners before and what we tried to do was to improve and take over. I think we are hungry enough.”

The 800 world and Olympic champion pointed to the great performance of the country’s youth athletes who recently topped the medal table at the World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi.

“Those young ones, they actually inspired us. We thought if those ones can do it, we need to come up with something, spice it up, and give it our all. Fortunately we were able to win three golds, a silver and two bronzes which is fantastic. For us, being in the top three in the world – that’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us,” she said, pointing out that top-class coaching has played a massive part in that success.

Verster, meanwhile, hailed these World Championships as one of the best to date.

“It’s been a different championship to be quite honest. There have been a lot of surprises and it just shows you they are all human,” he said.

“This was an excellent world champs in the sense that it just showed again – this is how the sport should be. If you go to the medal table and just look at gold medals, there are 24 different countries that won a gold medal. That I think might be a record. I remember over many years between the Americans, Jamaicans, Kenyans and Ethiopians, almost three quarters of all the gold medals went to them but this year it’s been spread around a lot more countries. That is fantastic for our sport.

“Just as an athletics fan, I think this was one of the best champs we’ve had in the sense that we never knew what was going to happen.”

SA Medallists:

Wayde van Niekerk (400m gold, 200m silver)

Caster Semenya (800m gold, 1500m bronze)

Luvo Manyonga (long jump gold)

Ruswahl Samaai (long jump bronze)


Manyonga will try to set new world record

The world long jump champion, Luvo Manyonga, had his sights set on the world record for quite a while now and just maybe tomorrow in France it might happen.

It is certainly going to be a unique world record attempt. If the Tuks/HPC-athlete, or any of the other six athletes competing succeed in doing so, there is bound to be some controversy because they are competing at 3 032 metres above sea-level on a specially built long-jump track. Most of the world record attempts happened at sea level.

The athletes will warm up at an indoor facility in Tignes and will then be flown up by helicopter to the track in the Alps. It is about a two-minute flight.

Mike Powell, who jumped 8.95 metres in 1991 at the Tokyo World Championships, holds the current world record.

It is interesting to note that when Bob Beamon (USA) set his world record of 8.90m at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, he competed at 2 250 metres. At the time it was argued that Beamon had an unfair advantaged competing at such a high altitude.

Earlier this season Manyonga set his South African record of 8.65 metres in Potchefstroom, which is only 1 341 metres above sea level.

In South Africa athletes often do high altitude training in Dullstroom, which is 2 077m above sea level, while the Tuks/HPC-rowers do their high altitude training at Katse Dam in Lesotho, which is at 2 100m.

It will be a definite challenge for Manyonga and the athletes to compete at 3 032 metres. The problem with competing at high altitude is that there is less oxygen, which means an athlete’s respiratory rate and heart rate speed up.

Neil Cornelius (Tuks/HPC coach) made it clear that it is not going to be a case of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread.

“We have planned for the world record attempt. Karen Gibbs (physiotherapist) has been helping Luvo with special breathing exercises to prepare him from competing at 3 000 metres. We also made provision for special thermal clothing should it be really cold in the mountains.”

Cornelius admits that many an athlete has failed in the past when officially going for a world record.

“Although all of this has especially been organised to help the athletes set a world record, Luvo is not obsessed with jumping a specific distance. Obviously, we want Luvo to do that really big jump. I honestly believe he is capable of doing something remarkable.

“But nothing is going to change. Our approach will be the same as at the World Championships in London. Luvo’s goal will be to make sure that his first jump counts because we believe that with a good first attempt you ‘buy’ five more jumps. It is important that Luvo should have fun because the more relaxed he is, the better he performs.

“Competing at such a high altitude certainly creates its unique challenges. For example, I know that Luvo is going to be much faster in his approach than normal, so we will have to make certain adaptions to it to compromise for the extra speed.”

As to whether the IAAF will recognise a world record set at such a high altitude, Cornelius said he foresees no problems.

“All of this is legal. What might happen is that the statisticians will put an ‘A’ in brackets behind whatever distance is jumped to indicate it happened at altitude. Personally, I don’t view this as any different than Luvo jumping at Tuks, which is also at altitude.”

According to Cornelius, the organisers have set three days aside for this world record attempt. If the weather is not perfect tomorrow, the athletes might only compete on Thursday or Friday. But all indications are that tomorrow the conditions will be as near perfect as they can be.

There will also be an attempt at the world triple-jump record at the same time. It is understood that Jeff Henderson (USA), the Olympic long-jump champion, and Christian Taylor (USA), the world triple-jump champion will also be competing.


Watch 'Smile', A Film Celebrating Mo Farah's Historic Career By Nike

 

In celebration of Mo Farah's legacy, as he steps onto the London Stadium track to compete in his final campaign for double gold, Nike launches new film Smile.

The film highlights the tremendous sacrifice and resilient mindset behind his record-breaking career, showcasing Farah's intense training and dedication, all the while maintaining that unbeatable smile.

Smile chronicles the mental strength beneath the smiley persona, providing insight into his journey and the toughest moments within it. His hometown of London provides the backdrop to the film.

British spoken word artist George The Poet provides a powerful tribute that captures the human truth we all recognise: behind every smile, there is a story that is never as easy as it seems.


Usain Bolt to play for Manchester United at Old Trafford in legends game against Barcelona - if he can recover in time

Usain Bolt's athletics career finale didn't go to plan with the fastest man of all time breaking down on the home straight of the 4x100m relay in London.

But a lifelong dream for the now-retired Jamaican sprinter could become a reality at Old Trafford.

It has been reported that Bolt is to be named in the star-studded line-up for Manchester United's legends match against Barcelona.

Now after a career of dominating his opponents on the track, Bolt has to race against the clock to be fit to play in the match.

Bolt is recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in the relay and has until September 2 to be ready.

“This has been his dream for many years. He’s desperate to do it as long as he can get over the injury,” a source told The Sun.

Man United Legends manager Bryan Robson will welcome Bolt's speed to the line up which includes the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes, Dwight Yorke and Phil Neville.

Other former Red Devils stars include Denis Irwin, Ronny Johnsen, Louis Saha, Mikaël Silvestre, Jesper Blomqvist, Quinton Fortune and Dion Dublin.

The Catalan legends will be managed by Jose Mari Bakero, with stars including Gaizka Mendiaeta, Eric Abidal, Migel Angel Nadal, Gheorghe Popescu, Ion Andoni Goikoetxea and Julio Salinas


Semenya 'thrilled' to be 'amongst best in the world'

CAPE TOWN - South African middle distance star Caster Semenya says that she is thrilled to be amongst the best athletes in the world after she picked up her third 800m world title at the IAAF World Championships in London on Sunday.

Semenya won the 2017 final in a time of 1:55.16, setting a world leading time over the distance in the process. She also bagged her second medal at the athletics showpiece, adding the 800m gold medal to the bronze she won in the 1,500m last week in her first major final in the event.

"It is the best (performance) I have ever produced in my life. If you see, it is 1:55.16, it's my lifetime best. It's eighth on the world list, so I'm quite thrilled and it's an amazing feeling to be amongst the best in the world.

The South African now has three World Championships golds to go with her two Olympic winner's medals.

The dominant South African has also equalled Maria Mutola's World Championships record of three 800m gold medals.

Speaking after her final, Semenya dedicated her win to the women in South Africa.

"It is Women's Month and I dedicate this to all South African women and I thank them for all the support, they've been fantastic. I give this glory to them.

"South Africans are proud. I know they're jumping up and down now. It's all about giving back to them now, they deserve this. It's also for the younger generation, it's all about inspiring them, showing them that anything is possible if you work hard and you believe."


Sanya Richards-Ross 'healed' by support after abortion revelation

Former Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross says she has helped other women by speaking publicly about having an abortion.

Richards-Ross, 32, revealed in her new book that she had a termination a day before leaving for Beijing 2008, where she won a gold and bronze medal.

She later claimed that every female athlete she knows has had an abortion but the issue is "not talked about".

"There is a brokenness there," the American told BBC Radio 5 live.

"For me, it was really healing to be able to share that with other friends.

"Now I've had other women reach out to me, not just in track and field but all over the world. They've said 'your courage is helping me to heal myself'. That's meant a whole lot to me.

"I feel bad because I think people misinterpreted when I said 'everyone I know'. I don't intimately know a lot of women in this sport.

"When I started to share my story I was like 'wow', so many women around me have been through the same thing and no matter how close you are, it's something that people don't share."

'Thanks for making it cool to wear make-up on the track'

Richards-Ross won three Olympic golds in the 4x400m relay for the USA, with her first and only individual gold coming in the 400m at London 2012.

She also claimed seven medals at the World Championships - including five golds - before retiring in 2016.

During her career, the Jamaican-American athlete became well-known for her style on the track - which included wearing make-up and nail varnish while competing.

She hopes that her image, as well as her sporting achievements, will inspire female athletes in the future.

"People ask me 'why do you wear make-up when you run?' and 'why are you so stylish?' and a big part of it for me was to show young girls that you don't have to be butch or masculine to be a great athlete," she said.

"I've had so many girls during my career saying 'thanks for making it cool to wear make-up on the track'. My hope is that I've empowered some young women to go towards sports because sport is one of the best life teachers you can have."

Dopers making 'impact' on athletics

Richards-Ross' time of 48.70 seconds in the women's 400m is the fastest since 2005.

The world record of 47.6 was set by East German athlete Marita Koch in 1985 but there has always been doubt cast over the time.

Koch competed during a period when it is known that East Germany was doping its athletes but she has denied any wrongdoing and never failed a test.

When asked about doping in track and field, Richards-Ross said: "The more we hear about these horror stories of the best athletes in the world not being clean, it definitely impacts on our sport.

"I think the IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations] needs to go back as far as they have records to ensure the records we are competing against are clean and fair.

"I want to see the IAAF do everything they can to make sure the sport is clean."


Daily Mail: "At Least Coe's Tainted Sport Won't Be Back Soon"

  • Lord Coe was thanked by the BBC for laying on the greatest games ever
  • Coe also returned the praise to the broadcaster for their wonderful coverage
  • Athletics is undermined by drugs, corrupt execs and state-sponsored doping

The World Athletics Championships ended, predictably, in an orgy of self-congratulation.

Lord Coe, of the IAAF, was thanked by the BBC for laying on the greatest games ever, Coe returned the praise to the broadcaster for their wonderful coverage. Back in the studio all the talk was of how soon the event could return to London. We're so fine, do-lang, do-lang, do-lang, as The Chiffons didn't sing.

'That's why athletics is the greatest sport in the world,' cooed a commentator, surveying a podium containing one Russian athlete, running as a neutral because his country is so bent it is banned, and a gold medallist from Qatar, who has the unique distinction of being the first medal-winner from that country to be born there.

Like Qatar's Bulgarian weightlifters, his predecessors were always imported, at a price.

That little peccadillo — the ruthless corruption of nationality in sport — did not stop Qatar getting the 2019 edition of the Championships, though.

And the issue of fixing and other questionable practices now being investigated in the United States, did not stop the 2021 event going to Nike central in Eugene, Oregon, either. Capacity at Eugene's Hayward Field venue is only slightly smaller than the ground at MK Dons.

So, there's the reality. Not that athletics is coming home any time soon, but that it is a tainted pursuit that sells off its main event to the highest bidder, and the warmth felt for it at the London Stadium was a brief moment in time, no more.
'There is growing confidence within the sport,' insisted IAAF president Coe. 'People are proud to be involved.'

Look, this is Britain. It does not take much to make us proud. The economy is starting to tank and we're still banging on patriotically about hard Brexit. We win a few medals in the relay and we're kings of the world. Give us a big event and we'll get behind it.
Last year, 81,781 turned up at Wembley to watch a football team that had just been beaten by Iceland play Malta.

We go to Test matches in big numbers, whether we're any good at cricket or not. We fill huge stadiums for para athletics events. We were the worst performing host team in Rugby World Cup history, and you still can't get a ticket at Twickenham for love nor money.

You'd want us in the front row at every gig you played but, let's be honest, we're not the most discerning crowd. We laugh at any joke, applaud any entrance. We're up for it all, the best house a rotten turn could hope for.

So, Coe might not want to take London to the bank just yet. Normal service will be resumed in Doha in 2019, where attendances are typically low. Just 15,000 tickets were sold for the Para Athletics Championships there in 2015, compared to 230,000 in London this summer. The Asian Cup and Qatar Open tennis were also sparsely attended.

Yet Doha and athletics are a lovely fit. That's where the event should be held, really, so we can see it for what it is. Full of apologists and cheerleaders and in thrall to commerce. This is also why Nike — the company that endorses and embraces the drug cheat Justin Gatlin, booed in London don't forget — gets its payback in 2021.

Eugene was the host award that bypassed a formal bidding process, a decision so suspect it is being investigated by the FBI. Before London, the IAAF took their marquee event to Russia and China. You can't claim 2017 as a typical year for the sport.
It was Gatlin who talked of the narrative being about white hats and black hats — good guys and bad guys — but in athletics even the white hats are often grey around the edges.

At the time the 2021 host city was being debated, Lord Coe was on the IAAF Council and the payroll at Nike. He made plain his support for Eugene to a senior Nike executive, Craig Masback, a fact revealed by the BBC. Maybe those in front of camera don't watch their own channel.

So, anyway, to answer the queries of the BBC panel: 2023. That's the earliest the IAAF World Championships can return, by which time Laura Muir will be 30. But it won't return then because the sport the BBC think they are covering, the one they called greatest in the world, does not exist.

It should, because there is nothing in essence purer than a foot race or a throwing contest, but athletics is undermined by drugs and corrupt executives and state-sponsored doping and participants who sell their passports to the highest bidder, and there will be plenty of vested interests jostling to host in six years' time and all are ready to pay. Azerbaijan, come on down.

So, for all the phoney euphoria, Qatar is welcome to it. Eugene, too. Anywhere but London. The love of the common people shouldn't be turned into handy camouflage for the IAAF. Let Doha show athletics for what it is.


New UCLA Head Anderson Talks Legacy, Future

UCLA track and field sent more athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships this season than it had in any year since 2004. However, 2017 hardly resembles the 20th-century glory days that saw both teams place in the top-10 – if not the top-five – nearly every year.

The new director of track and field and cross country Avery Anderson competed in Westwood alongside dozens of internationally renown legends of the sport from 1992 to 1996, and Daily Bruin Sports had the opportunity to catch up with Cal State Northridge’s former director on what the past culture was like at UCLA and how he plans to reshape the program.

Daily Bruin Sports: What does it mean to you to be the director of your own alma mater’s program? Did you ever see yourself in (former coach Bob) Larsen’s shoes?

Avery Anderson: No, it’s absolutely incredible. It’s hard to describe – it’s still surreal. I’ve been here a few weeks now, but it’s an awesome feeling to know that I’m able to come back and charged with bringing the program back to the caliber it was when I was here as a student-athlete. I just always knew it to be the best program out there. That’s what I see, and so I’m excited to get the opportunity to do that and lead us back there.

DB: What was the culture like for UCLA track and field back then? Is it similar or different now?

AA: It’s definitely different now. I think the excitement of that time was kind of unrealized every moment when you go out to practice every day and you live through the days, and the weeks, and the months and the whole season. We knew that it was something special, but even looking back it was far more special.

I don’t think that culture and atmosphere and environment will ever necessarily be duplicated – I think that what we’ll do when we get back to the top is going to be in a different way. The difference is, then, you had the men as a team and the women as a team and those were separate programs, but you had legends on opposite sides of the track.

John Smith was the sprint coach and hurdle coach; Bob Kersee was sprints, hurdles, jumps coach on the other side. Some coaches shared duties, (like coaches) Art Venegas and Bob Larsen. So I think just the caliber of the athletes that were on the campus at the time and on the track and even working on opposite sides of the track – it was pretty awesome to see and take in. Now looking back, I’ll know that that’s what existed then. I think we’ll get back to that point, but we’re not there right now. It’s different now.

DB: What do you see as the future of UCLA track and field culture then?

AA: I think that the accomplishments can be duplicated; I have actually every intention on even surpassing the accomplishments. But when you look back and you realize I was training with (Olympic long jumper and heptathlete) Jackie Joyner-Kersee, that’s something that I think will be duplicated, in the sense that we’ll have elite athletes of that caliber; we’ll have Olympic champions and world champions and world record holders, but I think the era was different.

When you have the (Olympic sprinter and hurdler) Gail Devers and the on and on and on, (Olympic hurdler) Kevin Young and people like that, I think that those caliber athletes are what UCLA track and field is. I think that’s what we’ll get back to, and I hope we supersede some of what happened.

The couple championships that were won I want to be many more. I think there’s a different way that it’s going to happen. The basics are the same – bring athletes in, you coach them, and you win – but I think the day and age of track and field now is going to require a different method.

DB: Is that just because the sport is so much bigger now than it was in the ’90s, or are there other factors as to why it’s going to require different methods?

AA: It’s a bigger sport. I think, worldwide, it was always that way. In the U.S. now it’s more college-focused, whereas when I was growing up it was the Carl Lewises and the Evelyn Ashfords, and the people were the professionals, and you had the great college teams of UCLA and USC, but not on a national scale. …The sport now in the U.S., I think, is really college focused.

Even though there are the professional athletes that still aspire to go to the world championships, there are a lot of college athletes that are doing that, and back then there weren’t as many. But the sport, the knowledge, the science of it, it’s enhanced at the college level. I think that’s where the development is happening, to take that step from high school to elite, so I think that’s one of the challenges right now that exists.

DB: What’s your analysis of why the program has gone downhill since then, and what do you plan on doing to get it back up there?

AA: I don’t want to look back in a way that might come across as criticizing; I really want to focus on moving forward. There are things that I see and I have an opinion about, but I wasn’t sitting in (the director’s) chair, so I really don’t want to comment on too much of it.

But in ways that I see moving forward, it’s about excellence. This is the best university in the world to me and, I think athletically and academically, the balance is that we have to be what UCLA is, and that’s compete on a level of excellence. That includes recruiting the right student-athlete – and that means the character of the person, the student and the athlete all have to be a mesh that makes it so that we’re on the same page of achieving excellence, and that’s kind of where you start.

And then the coaches: There has to be the same level of expectation with the coaching staff – for myself, but also my assistant coaches. We have to understand that the standard is a lot higher than maybe it’s been and that’s where we’re going as we move forward. So we coach student-athletes, including mentoring them as young people to develop into the most successful person they can be. A big part of that is going to be their athletic development, and we’re aspiring to great heights with that. There’s, I think, no limit to where we can reach. But I know we’re not going to have a standard so low that there’s room for the program to exist where it has.

DB: What was your favorite memory from when you were an athlete in the program?

AA: That’s a good question. There’s a lot. It’s funny because it’s really the experience, and that’s a memory that’s broad – it’s specific but it’s broad. It’s being at practice, it’s being around the team. A lot of it is centered on what I remember about practice in that corner at Drake Stadium, but also on that bus and on that plane and at that track meet. So really it was the experience, the overall experience with the teams that we had and the great people.

Some of them were great athletes, but a lot of them were great people. The coaching staff then (are) still great friends of mine now, and great mentors and great leaders. I think that’s the thing that I’d say was one of my favorite memory was just the experience.

DB: Academically and athletically, you said you want to draw the best people here. What’s your pitch to get those type of athletes here?

AA: I don’t want to give you my secrets (laughs), but honestly it’s just what I mentioned. There’s a level of expectation that we’ll have and it just operates on the side of being excellent, being great. Like I said, this is the best university in the world, we’re in the best city in the world, we’re in the best location in that city, we have the best facility in the country in my opinion. All of these things align with one common theme, and that’s “the best.” That’s what the pitch is: This is the best, you want to be the best, (and) it’s here for you in Westwood.

DB: This is a kicker, but in about a span of a week or so this past month, UCLA had (men’s sprints coach Darrell) Smith go, (NCAA 400-meter-hurdles runner-up) Rai Benjamin transfer to USC, (NCAA 110-meter-hurdles qualifier) Misana Viltz transfer to Cal and (sprinter) Angie Annelus go to USC with Rai. Does that present any obstacles going forward as far as sprints go?

AA: You know, I realize why that looks like it presents an obstacle, and obviously, it’s an obstacle when you lose talent like that. Before they transferred, I did meet with all of them. We had a great conversation. Them transferring had nothing to do with me personally; I understand that and they were clear about that. That’s just where they were with the experience they had here, up to that point before I got here.

But in terms of the overall mission of UCLA track and overall goal in the long run, it doesn’t present as much of an obstacle as it would if you have people who are here who don’t want to be here. That’s a bigger problem. This is UCLA; if a person does not want to be here, then they’re free to leave. There’s not going to be many people that fit that bill, and so those athletes that decided to transfer, I can only wish them the best. I don’t have any ill will toward them; I’m going to cheer for them and root for them and things like that, but it’s not going to stop what we’re going to do.

Our mission to be the greatest track and field entity in the world, that’s what I’m about. And that is going to be inclusive of people that want to be here and are on board; and those that aren’t, it’s ok.

DB: We’ve talked a lot about track, but the second half to the job is cross country. The men are coming off one of their best seasons last year; what do you expect from cross country this fall?

AA: I think that momentum that’s been built is what we expect to keep going. We’re in different places on the men and women’s side, but I think the goal will still be the same – we want both teams to get into the national championship meet, run as well as they can, and, through the season, build.

There’s a lot more focus on doing better this year than we have in a long time, on the part of the student-athletes. And I know coaching-wise … what we’re looking at is how we navigate the season and to be as good as we can nationally.


Coe: Track Will Miss Bolt's Voice More Than Medals

ATHLETICS chief Sebastian Coe described the sight of Usain Bolt pulling up injured in the final race of his glittering career as “horrible”.

The Jamaican collapsed to the track on the final leg of the 4x100 metres relay at the World Championships in London on Saturday.

Coe, president of world athletics governing body the IAAF, said: “The athlete in me tells me it’s a devastating moment if you’re in mid-race and something starts not to work, it’s horrible.

“Whether the Jamaican team were in a medal position or not, the reality of it is you don’t want to see anybody not being to be able to fulfil what they warmed up to do and what they prepared to do.

“What we are going to miss about Usain Bolt is not the three back-to-back Olympic Games or the clutch of world records or the medals, it’s going to be because he has an opinion, he has a view, he fills a room. We have some really terrific talent that’s identified themselves at these championships, but that’s not the same as filling that void.”

Bolt’s team-mate Yohan Blake blamed the 30-year-old’s injury on the delay to the race, which started 10 minutes later than scheduled.

“I think they were holding us too long in the call room. The walk was too long,” the former world 100m champion said as he hit out at the organisers. “Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, ‘Yohan, I think this is crazy’.”

But Niels de Vos, the chief executive of UK Athletics and London 2017, said: “It’s an unfortunate inevitability that the final event of any World Championship is often slightly later than timetabled.

“I expect Usain himself would be the very last person to complain, not least because often he’s been the cause of events being delayed because of the mass celebration that happens around him.”


What's The Future Of British Track?

The UK Athletics team may have won six medals at this year's IAAF World Championships, but the best could yet be to come.

Great Britain came sixth in the table, winning two gold, three silvers and one bronze medal.
The chair of the team, Richard Bowker, says Britain has a "fantastic rich crop of young talent".
Here are four promising young athletes who could be topping the medal tables in the future.

Kyle Langford

Kyle is a middle-distance runner who competes mostly in the 800m race.
At 21, he's already competed in the World Championships twice.
He didn't advance beyond the first round in Beijing in 2015, but two years later he managed to get to the 800m final, narrowly missing out on a medal by coming fourth.
He ran a personal best of 1 minute 45.25 seconds, so expect to see a lot more of him in the future.

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake

Londoner Nethaneel is 23 and is a sprinter specialising in the 200m.
At this summer's World Championships he won a gold medal as part of the men's 100m relay and also came fourth in his own 200m race.
He is only the second British man to break both 10 seconds for the 100m and 20 seconds for the 200m - so is a promising prospect in UK running.

Adelle Tracey

Middle-distance runner Adelle was selected as one of the promising British athletes who got to light the London 2012 Olympic torch and has certainly lived up to those expectations.
The 24-year-old achieved two personal bests at the World Championships in the 800m heat and semi-final, but sadly missed out on making the final by three-quarters of a second.
She's hoping to get a medal at the upcoming European Championships in Berlin.

Desiree Henry

Desiree is21 but the sprinter from London already has a bronze medal from the Rio Olympics and a silver medal as part of the 100m women's relay team from the World Championships.
She has recently improved her personal bests - 11.06 seconds for the 100m and 22.46 seconds for the 200m.
She is Britain's third-fastest female sprinter of all time.


Was London More About Losers Than Winners?

Bolt was never tainted by track's doping scandals

Of the seven men who have run 9.80 seconds or better in the 100, Bolt is the only one who has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

The intangibles also matter

Bolt finally was beaten in his last 100-meter race at this past week's World Athletics Championships, but that does not erase his magnificence. His world record of 9.58 in the 100 is set in stone. No current athlete is within shouting distance of his 19.19 in the 200. He won three sprint golds in three straight Olympics, when no other athlete has done that twice. (One relay gold was later revoked, due to a teammate's positive drug test.)

But just as much as these astonishing numbers, Bolt's personality set him apart -- the energy, joy and excitement he delivered every time he stepped onto the track.

After finally defeating Bolt in London, Gatlin did not exult or strut. He literally bowed down to Bolt. "It was paying homage to someone who has changed the game, who has come along and took the sport to another level," Gatlin said. "Not just sprinting, but the sport, and helped sports in general be lifted to a different plateau."


Why No Steven Gardiner On Bahamian 4x4?

LONDON, England — The issue of Steven Gardiner not running the men's 4x400 meters (m) relay for The Bahamas at the 16th International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Championships, in London, England, made headlines locally and internationally. It is understood that the decision might have come from his American coach, leaving Bahamian coaches and team officials in awe as to how a foreigner could have so much power over a Bahamian athlete and so much say in how Bahamian teams are made up.

Gardiner is 21 years old, and is coached by American Gary Evans, of Pure Athletics in Clermont, Florida. He won the silver medal in the men's 400 meters (m) at the world championships on Tuesday night, running 44.41 seconds in the final. He set a new Bahamian national record of 43.89 seconds in the semi-finals, becoming the first Bahamian to dip below 44 seconds in the men's doom.

The first round of the relay was four days after the final of the men's 400m, so fatigue shouldn't have been a factor at all. 
Gardiner, believed to be healthy, could have given The Bahamas two rounds of the relay — the heats on Saturday, and the final on Sunday, had they qualified. Even former world record holder Michael Johnson, commenting for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), spoke to the matter. Johnson was critical of Gardiner for not running the relay, particularly since the final of the men's 400m was done from Tuesday.

Team Bahamas' Head Coach Diane Woodside-Johnson voiced her displeasure. "As the head coach I requested of him to run in the heats, because I thought that we would have done a lot better, but he refused to run. That's a problem that we have to deal with," she said. "The team as a whole was in very good spirits. Most of them did what they were supposed to do. It's a very young team, and we have to keep them together some way, somehow, in a certain program where they meet several times per year.

"We must make some changes in this elite part of our program in The Bahamas, though. We must have something in place, whether it's developmental, consequences for not doing what you're supposed to do, or whatever. I'm going to initiate that in my report and hopefully something comes out of it." In Gardiner's absence, the team of Alonzo Russell, Michael Mathieu, Ojay Ferguson and Ramon Miller, in that order, ran 3:03.04. They finished sixth in their heat, and were nth overall. Just the top three in each semi-final heat, and the next two fastest times moved on to Sunday's final. Out of the four relay teams, the men's 4x400m squad was the only one to record a time. Both the women's 4xioom and 4x400m relay teams didn't finish, as the 4.xioom squad dropped the baton, and veteran quarter-miler Christine Amertil fell in the 4x400m race; and the men's 4x1oom squad was disqualified for a lane infraction.

"We've had some good spots and some bad spots — the nature of meets like this," said Woodside-Johnson. "In the sprint relays, we had some very good exchange practices, but we had a rough day. We just had some incidents out there. I'm disappointed, but the athletes went out there and did their best. Things just happened and we didn't fare very well. It was unfortunate that happened to the men's sprint team, and the girls were pretty okay. Based on the exchanges that we did, I think that was the best possible combination at that time."

The real tension and turmoil of Team Bahamas centers Gardiner, though. Many can't believe that he refused to run

Bronze medalist in the women's loom Shaunae Miller-Uibo didn't run the rounds of the relays as well, but she had just completed six straight days of running from doing three rounds each of the women's 200 and 400m, and it is understood that she would have been available for the final of either relay, had the teams advanced. Gardiner not running is a serious issue. The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is yet to release a statement on the matter. 
BAAA President Rosamunde Carey left London for The Bahamas on Sunday and was unavailable for comment.


US medal dominance could reflect doping cleanup in track

LONDON (AP) — For years, athletes from the United States have quietly wondered how they might have fared if they had been competing on a level playing field. This year, they may have found out.

Final figures from the medals standings at the world championships that wrapped up Sunday offered evidence that track and field’s attempt to crack down on a global doping crisis could be making a direct impact on the results themselves.

Exhibit A: The United States won 30 medals, while athletes from four countries that have been under the doping microscope — Kenya (11), Russia (6), Ethiopia (5) and Jamaica (4) — combined for 26.

Two years ago, the results looked like this: United States 17, Kenya 16, Jamaica 12, Ethiopia 8, Russia 4.

Four years ago, with Russia competing on home turf and in the midst of what investigators have determined was a state-sponsored doping conspiracy, they looked like this: United States 26, Russia 14, Kenya 12, Jamaica and Ethiopia 10 each.

“Maybe the only good byproduct of the past corruption and scandal is that it forces sport to make sure it never happens again,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. “Ultimately, that’s good for clean athletes.”

Among the changes that have taken place over the last two years:

—The suspension of the Russian track federation. Only 19 Russians competed at this year’s worlds, 100 fewer than were present in Moscow in 2013. The 19 competed as neutral athletes because the IAAF determined they’ve been under proper anti-doping controls.

—Five countries, including distance-running powerhouses Kenya and Ethiopia, have been placed on a doping watch list — meaning they are being closely watched because of evidence that has surfaced about less-than-robust anti-doping procedures in those countries. Jamaica has also been under increased scrutiny, which has led to the stripping of a 2008 Olympic relay medal because of doping by one of Usain Bolt’s teammates.

—The IAAF has established an independent testing authority that takes responsibilities for conducting the anti-doping program out of its hands. A handful of former IAAF leaders are under investigation for their roles in doping cover-ups and related corruption.

“We have to be open about it,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said. “There’s been a disproportionate amount of damage to the sport produced by a relatively small number of nations, and we just have to get on top of that.”

As a sign of the IAAF’s willingness to tackle the issue head-on, the meet began with the reallocation of medals from 11 races dating to 2007.

“It’s not a Russia thing, but it is a thing that sometimes you get out there and you wonder, ‘Do I have a fair shot at this? If I’m doing the right thing, is everyone else doing the right thing?’” said American sprinter Natasha Hastings, who received a reallocated relay gold from 2013.

It’s a refrain shared up and down the roster in the United States, where athletes are widely considered to be subject to one of the world’s toughest anti-doping programs.

“It’s not uncommon for athletes in our training group to get tested every month,” said U.S.-based track coach Loren Seagrave, who trains athletes from several countries. “On some occasions, you get tested on one day, and they show up again the next day. I think they’re as vigilant as they can be.”

Of course, it’s a delicate proposition to attribute all these numbers to doping, or to assume all the problems are fixed. From Marion Jones to Tim Montgomery to Tyson Gay, Americans have a history of doping positives, reflected most starkly during this meet by the fans’ reaction to Justin Gatlin. The 100-meter champion was roundly booed at every turn because of his doping history — he’s served two bans.

“I thought in 2012, I was in a cleaner race, and it turns out that Olympic final was probably one of the dirtiest in history,” said American middle-distance runner Shannon Rowbury, who finished out of the medals in a race in which no fewer than five of the 1,500-meter finalists have been investigated for doping violations.

Exhibit B (perhaps): Eleven of this year’s 14 winning sprint times, including relays and hurdles, were slower than in 2013, which was the last world championships held the year after the Olympics. But a portion of that — as well as Jamaica’s paltry showing, with only four medals — could be attributed to Bolt’s rough week; he won bronze in the 100 meters and pulled up lame in the 4x100 with a hurt left hamstring.

The champion took umbrage to the linking of slow times and doping, calling it “disrespectful.”

“There’s something called injury and sometimes, everything doesn’t go as smoothly as you want,” Bolt said. “We came out and put on a good show for everyone.”

Nobody enjoyed the show more than the Americans, whose 30 medals were only two short of what they picked up last year at the Olympics in in Rio de Janeiro, when some of the reforms were starting to take hold and Russia only sent one track and field athlete.

“There was a lot of shuffling, some medalists were completely unexpected,” said American long jumper Tianna Bartoletta, who won a bronze medal. “Whatever the explanation, it’s promising. I’m encouraged by what I saw here this week.”


Manangoi Can Break 1500 Record Says Kiprop

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters - Kenya’s new world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi can break the 19-year-old world record for the event, Asbel Kiprop said after losing his title to his younger compatriot on Sunday.

“I see Elijah as a fresh talent, a new guy, who will take the event to the next level," Kiprop told reporters after failing in his attempt to win a fourth consecutive 1,500 gold medal at the World Championships. "He is new, young, strong and smart; he is the guy to run under 3:26.”

Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj set the world record of 3:26.00 in Rome on July 14 1998.

Kiprop, 28, finished ninth on Sunday, more than three seconds behind Manangoi's time of three minutes 33.61 seconds, and said he would now move up to the 5,000 metres.

“I used a wrong tactic and used a lot of energy in closing the gap. When the race settled, the pace had become too hot for me.

“I will move to the 5,000m to fill the void being left by Mo Farah and to try and bring the title back home,” he said.

The last Kenyan to win the world 5,000 title was Benjamin Limo in 2005 in Helsinki.

Manangoi, who finished ahead of fellow Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot, thanked Kiprop for mentoring him but was coy about his world-record ambitions.

“I thank everybody who made this possible," Manangoi, 24, said. "It is like a dream. I particularly thank Asbel for mentoring me. As for the world record, let’s not talk about it.” (Editing by Clare Fallon)


Which British athletes could be contending for medals at the Tokyo Olympics?

Great Britain finished the London 2017 World Championships on Sunday with six medals as attention swiftly turned to the athletics team's prospects at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Here Press Association Sport looks at six athletes who could be on the podium in Japan.

:: Likely medallists

Laura Muir

The British record holder over 1,500 metres and 5,000m, Muir finished fourth over the shorter distance. She is still a relative novice at 5,000m, but showed at London 2017 her calibre cannot be questioned.

Adam Gemili

His decisive second leg run in the 4x100m relay win on Saturday night gave a hint of what might have been had the selectors opted for Gemili in the individual 100m and 200m. With Usain Bolt retiring, the 200m, in particular, could be wide open.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Surely the heir apparent to Jessica Ennis-Hill is going to get it right sooner rather than later? A poor performance in the high jump – usually one of her strongest suits – saw Johnson-Thompson fall out of medal contention in the heptathlon, but if she can put it all together in two days, she should be challenging for gold.

:: Staking a claim

Dina Asher-Smith

Five years on from carrying athletes' kit at London 2012, Asher-Smith recovered from a broken foot to finish fourth in the 200m and win a silver medal in the 4x100m relay. She will be optimistic of further major championships success, if she can stay fit.

Kyle Langford

The son of Watford fish and chip shop owners, Langford placed fourth in the competitive 800m before vowing to go for gold in Tokyo. Some big names, and Russians, were absent, though, so he has plenty of work to do.

Callum Hawkins

Hawkins was a surprise fourth in the marathon, an event usually dominated by Africans. Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah is stepping on to the road post-London 2017, but may not be around for Tokyo, so Hawkins has an opportunity to take his team-mate's mantle.


Bolt bids farewell: Americans shine at world championships with 30 medals

LONDON—Usain Bolt took a last leisurely stroll around the track, placed his hands over his heart and then pointed toward the stands, where barely a soul had left.

The running had been over for nearly 30 minutes. As always, though, Bolt had a way of making everybody stay.

The world championships came to a melancholy close Sunday with an on-track tribute to the man who made the sport fun again. There were 11 gold medals at stake on a frenetic final day in London, and yet it was the sight of the hobbled champion walking slowly around the track—stopping to kneel at the starting lines for the 100- and 200-meter races he dominated for a decade—that made for the evening's best theatre.

"I think I almost cried," Bolt said. "I was just saying goodbye. That was it. Saying goodbye to my events. Saying goodbye to everything."

The United States says goodbye to London in possession of 30 medals, the most it has ever taken from the worlds. Of those, 10 were gold, including the capper in the women's 4x400 relay final, where Allyson Felix won her 16th medal to finish as the most-decorated athlete of all-time at the worlds.

Felix also won gold in the 4x100 relay, but the bronze she took in her only individual event, the 400, makes this a less-than-perfect trip for her.

In that way, she's got something in common with Bolt. Between the bronze medal in the 100 and the hamstring pull and tumble to the track that ended his anchor leg of the 4x100 relay—and still made him wince when he had to negotiate big steps around the stadium—the championships went nothing like he planned.

"Someone tried to blame me, and said I started it," Bolt said of a 10-day run filled with upsets and surprises. "It was just one of those things. It was one of those championships where everything does not go your way."

Winners on the final day included:

_ Caster Semenya of South Africa, who added the 800-meter gold to her 1,500-meter bronze from earlier in the meet.

_ Elijah Manangoi, who led a 1-2 Kenyan finish in the 1,500 meters.

_ Hellen Obiri of Kenya, who pulled away from favorite Almaz Ayana with 250 meters to go to win the 5,000-meter race.

_ Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, who added this latest discus title to her two Olympic golds.

_ Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, who won the high jump by clearing 2.35 meters without a miss.

_ The men's 4x400 relay team of Trinidad and Tobago, whose anchor, Lalonde Gordon, beat American sprinter Fred Kerley to the line.

_ Yang Jiayu of China, Yohann Diniz of France, Eider Arevalo of Colombia and Ines Henriques of Portugal in race walking. Henriques set a world record in winning the first women's 50-kilometer walk at the worlds in 4 hours, 5 minutes, 56 seconds.

There's not a household name in the bunch, and though all the performances were remarkable in their own way, this sport's lack of star power with Bolt out of the mix is hard to gloss over.

"What we're going to miss about Usain Bolt isn't the three back-to-back Olympic Games or the clutch of world records and medals," said Sebastian Coe, the leader of track's governing body, the IAAF. "It's because he has an opinion. He has a view. He fills a room. We have terrific talent that's identifying itself at these championships. But that's not the same as filling that void, and we have to work at that."

Bolt's standing-room-only news conference was scheduled for 15 minutes but went about 35. He discussed his past, the future and the sport he leaves behind.

He said over the long term, he could see himself coaching track and occasionally stepping into the TV booth for the sport's biggest events. His immediate plans? "I need to go out and have a drink," he said.

Asked one more time about doping, he said he thinks track is on an upward trajectory after two dispiriting years involving a doping scandal in Russia and problems across Africa and in his own country, Jamaica.

"I've proven to the world that you can do it, that you can be great without doping," he said. "Hopefully young athletes can look at me."

As far as a comeback is concerned, he insists it simply won't happen.

"I've seen too many people retire and come back and make it worse and shame themselves," he said. "I personally feel I won't be one of those people."

But he has no regrets about running in this meet, or concerns that the results will tarnish his legacy. In a way, he said, the jaw-dropping losses were similar to the breathtaking wins: They showed that when he's on the track, anything really is possible.

"For me, it was brilliant," he said of the week that was. "I'm just really sad I have to walk away now."


Dwight Stones Not Happy w/ NBC's HJ Coverage

A Facebook post from the ever-quotable former WR holder:

<<It's difficult to listen to the NBC commentators talk about today's men's high jump competition and repeatedly allude to someone clearing 8ft. No one has been within 3 inches of that height this year. The field event "analyst" doesn't know the correct height of the favorite, Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar. Barshim is 6'4" and the commentator has him at 6'2" and recently corrected it to 6'3", still incorrect. The commentator also has no clue how to state heights and/or distances, insisting on saying "Two point three, five" instead of "Two, thirty-five" as an example of how he states EVERY height and distance.

The producers, in their ignorance of the event, chose to focus on Barshim hurdling 6'4" as part of his warm-up/introduction today. The world record for hurdling in the high jump is over 7ft. Then the commentator, with support from the play x play announcer, start setting Barshim up for ultimate failure by pushing this world record/jumping 8ft. scenario. They keep driving the hurdling and 8ft. theme. Barshim is past his sell by date for setting PRs. He can absolutely still win medals and is an overwhelming favorite to win today but he squandered his world record chances back in 2014.

At age 26, the world record window has closed for him, which means we must continue to endure the drug-fueled record set by Cuba's Javier Sotomayor for the foreseeable future. This coverage is nearly unwatchable in its amateurishness. Nothing has or will change and this network has exclusive rights to cover the professional level of our sport and has rights to the Olympics through 2032!>>


World Championships 2017: Why athletics is still worth fighting for

So this was a disappointing World Championships. Justin Gatlin beat Usain Bolt. Seven days later, cramp beat Bolt again. Wayde van Niekerk couldn't win his 200m/400m double. Isaac Makwala couldn't even start both.

Mo Farah, after 10 global golds on the bounce, finished with silver. Britain went fourth rather than conquered. Only one new championship record was set. On most days it was grey and on several nights it was as cold and wet as autumn.

It was also a Worlds where the old guard was superseded by the new in electrifying fashion. Upsets were everywhere: double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson out of the medals in the 100m, world record holder Keni Harrison off the podium in the sprint hurdles, Olympic 400m hurdles champion Kerron Clement overshadowed by charismatic young Norwegian Karsten Warholm.

There were comeback stories - Sally Pearson from a shattered wrist that almost led to amputation, South African long jump champion Luvo Manyonga from an addiction to crystal meth. Ding-dongs were everywhere - in the women's triple jump, in the long jump where six centimetres covered the first four athletes, in the women's 1500m and the men's 800m. Both steeplechases were thrillers.

So it was disappointing for Great Britain. Going into the final weekend, the largest squad they had assembled for a Worlds had just one medal to show for it, and that was Mo Farah's 10,000m title in the first night. £27m in funding over the four-year Olympic cycle, went the prevailing argument, should be bringing home so much more.

And then the relays happened. Gold for the men's sprint quartet, silver for the women. Silver for the women's 4x400m team, bronze for the men. Along with Mo Farah's 5,000m silver it meant Britain finished with six medals - on its target, the same number as after the last two Olympics, at the Worlds of 2013 and 2009.

Disappointments and great excitement, a struggle but a success. This is where athletics is, and the Worlds of 2017 brought both old doubts and fresh hope.

Britain wanted more. Maybe, in a Worlds without Russia, in a sport which is possibly cleaner than it used to be, it should have taken them.

Those relay medals were wonderful, each achieved through hours of drills and a tightness between the constituent parts that cannot be faked. They are also the lower hanging fruit on the track tree; only 16 teams invited for each. There is a reason they are targeted by British Athletics.

But athletics medals are hard to win. There are 208 member nations of the IAAF. It is a more truly global championships than that of track cycling or rowing, the two great engines of the British medal machine across the past three Olympics.

Last summer on Rio's Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, British rowers dominated the regatta, winning three gold medals and two silvers. With 43 athletes they also had the biggest team of any nation there. Forty-nine of the nations there qualified teams of fewer than 10 athletes - 32 of them had a team of just one or two rowers.

Only nine nations apart from Britain won a gold. At London 2017, 43 different nations won medals, 27 different nations gold.

Then there is the spread of the past 10 days. Five fourth-place finishes might sound like five failures, yet each was a stretch achievement for the individual who took it.

The IAAF produces something called a placings table, which aims to give a broader indication of each nation's strength. Eight points are awarded for a first place, seven for a second, down to one for eighth.

At the 2005 Worlds, Britain came 12th on this ranking with 35 points. Across the five Worlds since then they have hovered between fifth and seventh, their biggest total the 94 points of two years ago in Beijing.

Here in London they ended third, racking up 105 points. Maybe it means nothing compared to medals. Maybe that strength in depth won't convert to medals over the next four years. Maybe too it suggests encouragement, even as issues remain with the quality of coaching available, with the development of promising juniors into successful seniors, with the glaring gaps in several key disciplines.

There were an almost overwhelming number of reasons to be pessimistic about track and field coming to London. The end of Bolt, the ongoing struggle against doping, only the start of the complete rebuild the sport's governance and image requires.

All those issues were here right in front of you. There were several performances that wise insiders struggled to make sense of, the sight of returning cheats taking titles, athletes who have switched nationality for purely economic reasons winning medals for nations where they have never lived.

Eleven individuals and five relay teams were reallocated medals denied them by cheats in the recent past. If that was both welcome and dispiriting, so too was the warning from IAAF president Seb Coe that other nations may yet join Russia in mass exclusion from the biggest stage.

And yet impossible to ignore too were the great strengths of this beleaguered sport, the spells of magic that set it apart from others, the allure that still shines through when circumstances are right.

Over its 10 days, 705,000 people came to watch these championships. Never before has a Worlds brought in so many.

If that won't happen in Qatar in two years' time, neither does it happen in the same way at other great events in this sport-mad nation. An athletics crowd is untouchable in its diversity: families, kids, a blend of ethnicities that reflected this host city but was light years away from the far narrower demographics at Wimbledon, or Twickenham, or Lord's.

Then there is what they see: more nations brought together than at any other sporting championship, a wider range of skills and sizes, the action on those big nights happening all around the stadium at a dizzying lick.

It is both a simple sport, in that even a newcomer can work out how an event is run and won, and one with depth - running at astounding speed, throwing an astonishing distance, jumping longer and higher than we could ever imagine.

It can be easy to let the cynicism win. Everyone is at it. Too many of these results won't last. When the Worlds leave London's embrace the magic will dissipate and with it the crowds and energy. The troubles are still right there.

So too is the allure. There are clean athletes, and there are great champions. There are nights, like Saturday, when the thrill can still be pure and unrivalled.

It can be a beautiful sport. It is worth fighting for. Don't give up on it, even when it can feel so easy to do so.


Mo Farah tells media: ‘If you say I’ve done something wrong, prove it’

Mo Farah has accused sections of the media of trying to “destroy” his achievements on the track with unfounded allegations against his legendary coach Alberto Salazar and insinuations about how he attained his success.

Speaking the morning after his glittering championship track career came to an end with a painful 5,000m defeat in the London Stadium, Britain’s most successful ever athlete insisted his 10 world and Olympic titles had come about purely through hard work.

“History doesn’t lie,” Farah told his critics. “What I achieved over the years, people are proud of me. You can write what you like. The fact is I’ve achieved what I have from hard work and dedication. Putting my balls on the line, year after year and delivering for my country.”

As the exchanges grew more heated, Farah asked why some journalists kept bringing up his relationship with Salazar, who helped turn him from a very good athlete into a great one after he joined the coach’s Nike Oregon Project training group in late 2010. Salazar has been under investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for the past two years but has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

“It’s like a broken record, repeating myself,” said Farah, who gave everything during a thrilling last lap only to finish second to the Ethiopian Muktar Edris on Saturday night. “If I’ve crossed the line, if Alberto’s crossed the line, why bring it up year after year, making it into headlines? I’ve achieved what I have achieved – you’re trying to destroy it.”

As Farah pointed out, while Salazar has been his coach on paper – which includes writing his workouts – the day-to-day training has been facilitated by the British team. “How many races has he been to this year for me or last year?” Farah asked. “He hasn’t been to any.

“I‘ve been pretty much by myself with the guidance of Alberto, as you all know. I was capable of doing the job. It didn’t make any difference to me. I know what I wanted to do. I was in a training camp for the British team.”

Farah also suggested that parts of the media, which has questioned the nature of his relationship with the controversial coach Jama Aden and then reported on the leak of his athlete’s biological passport by the Russian hackers Fancy Bears, had an agenda against him.

Mo Farah lies on the track after finishing second in the men’s 5,000m final as the winner, Muktar Edris, reaches down to comfort him. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex Shutterstock
“There’s nothing else to be said,” he said. “Sometimes I find it bizarre how certain people write certain things to suit how they want to sell the story. You guys get to me – you never write the facts. The fact is, over the years, I have achieved a lot through hard work and pain.

“So many times, you guys have been unfair to me. I know that. But say it how it is. I want you to write the truth about what’s out there and educate people out there. But be honest with them. If you say Mo Farah has done something wrong‚ prove it.”

Farah refused to say whether he would be coached by Salazar next year when he tackles the formidable challenge of the marathon. But he admitted he was sad to leave the track after so many glittering successes.

“It has definitely hit me,” he said. “I got emotional on Saturday night. All good things in life must come to an end at some point. What goes up must come back down. I wanted to end on a high. But it happens. The better man won on the day. That’s part of athletics. Fair credit to the other guys to be able to go. They had three guys in the team – they said ‘one of you won’t get a medal’. To beat Mo, it’s taken them six years to do it but you’ve got to give it to them.”

He also conceded that stepping up to 26.2 miles would not be easy. “No one is going to give it to me. The roads are a whole new game. I’ve got to learn it and understand my weakness. It’s going to take a while to understand the marathon.”

Farah also insisted that he was open to the idea of helping the next generation of British distance runners. “It’s important that we get into the sport and help others,” he said. “Christine Ohuruogu has been helping out with the relay and will continue to leave a legacy behind.

“It’s about not thinking selfishly, not thinking financially. If we love the sport, you try to help others and I believe the knowledge and what I’ve learned over the years, I can contribute towards the younger kids and make a difference.

“You see Kyle Langford, Laura Muir, the relay boys – there are a lot of youngsters coming through,” he added. “I think we can make a difference.”


Golden London run has triumphant Pearson eyeing Tokyo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's Sally Pearson will reward herself with "volumes" of greasy food after winning her second 100 meters hurdles world championship but plans to keep herself in top shape in the long-term for a tilt at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Pearson's brilliant win at the London Stadium on Saturday capped two years of injury heartbreak and made her Australia's most decorated track athlete of the modern era.

The 2012 London Olympic champion was denied a chance to defend her title last year at Rio due to a hamstring injury but hopes her body can stand up for Tokyo in 2020, when she would be just shy of her 34th birthday.

"Of course, you always think about Tokyo," the rejuvenated hurdler told state radio ABC.

"I've always want to go to three Olympics. Missing out on Rio was heartbreaking but obviously it was there for a reason.

"As I've said, I've got to look after my body. Definitely (running at) the Commonwealth Games next year. And who knows what will happen after that?

"Tokyo is only three years away ... I just have to listen to my body and be smart about it."

After missing out on Rio, Pearson coached her own way back to the top, reasoning that after multiple injury setbacks, no-one knew her body like she did.

She will cast off the unflinching self-discipline for a brief period to eat what she wants before plotting a path to victory at next year's Commonwealth Games, where she will be the headline attraction near her home on the Gold Coast.

"Volumes of food .... I like to reward myself with greasy food," said Pearson, who won her first 100m hurdles world title at Daegu in 2011 and grabbed a silver at the Moscow championships two years later.

Also a silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, Pearson's third individual world championship medal surpassed the record of iconic Aboriginal sprinter Cathy Freeman, who won back-to-back 400m titles in 1997-99 and clinched gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

A week after mourning the death of Betty Cuthbert, the only athlete to win 100, 200 and 400m Olympic golds, local media hailed Pearson as Australia's "latest golden girl".

"Cuthbert was the center of a much cherished and glorious part of Australian sporting history," prominent local pundit Patrick Smith wrote in The Australian newspaper.

"That spirit lives on. It is indestructible. It lives on in Sally Pearson who sometimes has a fragility that is a decoy for the toughness that lines her body and soul."

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)


'Superhuman' wanted -- Bolt exit leaves vacuum to fill

Usain Bolt's retirement leaves a huge vacuum to fill but athletics is moving in the right direction in rebranding itself after scandals that damaged its image, according to sports marketing experts. While athletics was left reeling by allegations about former athletics boss Lamine Diack as well as the Russian doping scandal, under the leadership of Diack's successor Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body says it is beginning to take the right steps in restoring its image. "The authorities are making it more accessible and improving its presentation and taking it into an urban environment with street races," Jon Tibbs, chairman of leading sport public relations firm Jon Tibbs Associates (JTA), told AFP. Tibbs says the sport needs to find a "superhuman" replacement, equating the loss of Bolt to how golf has suffered since Tiger Woods went into meltdown.


Bolt gets the cheers, and Americans get the medals at worlds

LONDON (AP) -- Usain Bolt took a last leisurely stroll around the track, placed his hands over his heart and then pointed toward the stands, where barely a soul had left.

The running had been over for nearly 30 minutes. As always, though, Bolt had a way of making everybody stay.

The world championships came to a melancholy close Sunday with an on-track tribute to the man who made the sport fun again. There were 11 gold medals at stake on a frenetic final day in London, and yet it was the sight of the hobbled champion walking slowly around the track - stopping to kneel at the starting lines for the 100- and 200-meter races he dominated for a decade - that made for the evening's best theatre.

''I think I almost cried,'' Bolt said. ''I was just saying goodbye. That was it. Saying goodbye to my events. Saying goodbye to everything.''

The United States says goodbye to London in possession of 30 medals, the most it has ever taken from the worlds. Of those, 10 were gold, including the capper in the women's 4x400 relay final, where Allyson Felix won her 16th medal to finish as the most-decorated athlete of all-time at the worlds.

Felix also won gold in the 4x100 relay, but the bronze she took in her only individual event, the 400, makes this a less-than-perfect trip for her.

In that way, she's got something in common with Bolt. Between the bronze medal in the 100 and the hamstring pull and tumble to the track that ended his anchor leg of the 4x100 relay - and still made him wince when he had to negotiate big steps around the stadium - the championships went nothing like he planned.

''Someone tried to blame me, and said I started it,'' Bolt said of a 10-day run filled with upsets and surprises. ''It was just one of those things. It was one of those championships where everything does not go your way.''

Winners on the final day included:

-Caster Semenya of South Africa, who added the 800-meter gold to her 1,500-meter bronze from earlier in the meet.

-Elijah Manangoi, who led a 1-2 Kenyan finish in the 1,500 meters.

-Hellen Obiri of Kenya, who pulled away from favorite Almaz Ayana with 250 meters to go to win the 5,000-meter race.

-Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, who added this latest discus title to her two Olympic golds.

-Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, who won the high jump by clearing 2.35 meters without a miss.

-The men's 4x400 relay team of Trinidad and Tobago, whose anchor, Lalonde Gordon, beat American sprinter Fred Kerley to the line.

-Yang Jiayu of China, Yohann Diniz of France, Eider Arevalo of Colombia and Ines Henriques of Portugal in race walking. Henriques set a world record in winning the first women's 50-kilometer walk at the worlds in 4 hours, 5 minutes, 56 seconds.

There's not a household name in the bunch, and though all the performances were remarkable in their own way, this sport's lack of star power with Bolt out of the mix is hard to gloss over.

''What we're going to miss about Usain Bolt isn't the three back-to-back Olympic Games or the clutch of world records and medals,'' said Sebastian Coe, the leader of track's governing body, the IAAF. ''It's because he has an opinion. He has a view. He fills a room. We have terrific talent that's identifying itself at these championships. But that's not the same as filling that void, and we have to work at that.''

Bolt's standing-room-only news conference was scheduled for 15 minutes but went about 35. He discussed his past, the future and the sport he leaves behind.

He said over the long term, he could see himself coaching track and occasionally stepping into the TV booth for the sport's biggest events. His immediate plans? ''I need to go out and have a drink,'' he said.

Asked one more time about doping, he said he thinks track is on an upward trajectory after two dispiriting years involving a doping scandal in Russia and problems across Africa and in his own country, Jamaica.

''I've proven to the world that you can do it, that you can be great without doping,'' he said. ''Hopefully young athletes can look at me.''

As far as a comeback is concerned, he insists it simply won't happen.

''I've seen too many people retire and come back and make it worse and shame themselves,'' he said. ''I personally feel I won't be one of those people.''

But he has no regrets about running in this meet, or concerns that the results will tarnish his legacy. In a way, he said, the jaw-dropping losses were similar to the breathtaking wins: They showed that when he's on the track, anything really is possible.

''For me, it was brilliant,'' he said of the week that was. ''I'm just really sad I have to walk away now.''


Scots Zoey Clark and Eilidh Doyle inspire Great Britain to win relay silver medal at London 2017 World Championships

Great Britain won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay race after a fantastic team performance in the final.

Zoey Clark, Laviai Neilsen, Eilidh Doyle and Emily Diamond finish with a time of three minutes and 25 seconds.

The team were 0.41 seconds ahead of Poland with both Clark and Doyle playing a key role in the victory - finally giving Scottish athletics fans something to shout about.

The gold medal went to the United States but Emily Diamond was able to hold on in the anchor leg to make second.

Perth-born Doyle ran an impressive third leg before tiring but it was Diamond who used every ounce of her experience to ensure success for her country.


Canada Went Viral At WC (not in a good way)

Stomach virus, injuries combine to let down athletes, track & field fans

The 2017 IAAF track and field world championships were supposed to be 10 days filled with golden goodbyes and a clash of rivalries.

Unfortunately for athletes and fans, the farewells were not so fond, and it turned out that the biggest rivalry that played out in London, England, was between the human body and a stomach virus.

That sickness – which afflicted scores of athletes and coaches – and key injuries threw cold water on the big moments many were expecting and were also a large reason why Canada saw such a regression from two years ago.

The last world championships brought eight medals, including two gold, but this year Canadians are leaving worlds without a single podium finish for the first time since 2001.

Here's everything you need to know about what happened at the 2017 event.

De Grasse sidelined for Bolt's goodbye

The first sign that something was amiss in London, at least for Canadian track fans, was that a hamstring injury nixed what was supposed to be a final showdown between Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt.

That was a shame for plenty of reasons, chief among them being that De Grasse was looking to use a strong performance to prove he was ready to become the heir apparent to Bolt and take on the mantle of the word's fastest man.

There was also the drama factor that this moniker would carry, especially since before competition began, Bolt said the last person he anointed as the 'next one' had disrespected him. While the Jamaican didn't specifically name names, an astute track fan could connect the dots about who he spoke of. It seems the two Puma arthletes have made up, as they were spotted exchanging plesantries in London.

So while Bolt failed to retire from the 100 as world champion, it wasn't De Grasse who dethroned him, but the crowd's favourite villain, Justin Gatlin of the U.S.

Gatlin's win also presented its own share of drama, especially when IAAF president Sebastian Coe – who placed the gold medal around the American's neck – told CBC Sports' Scott Russell that he still believed those caught doping, as Gatlin had been in 2006 and served a four-year suspension, should be banned or life.

Not the ideal farewell tour

Bolt wasn't immune from the injury bug, either. His final race at the world championships will be remembered not for him powering Jamaica to another golden finish, but of the 30-year-old pulling up on the homestretch with a leg injury.

Great Britain's Mo Farah also had his goodbye race overshadowed, albeit without the injury or stomach bug getting in the way. After claiming gold in the men's 10,000, Farah faltered in the 5,000, settling for silver in his final race. Canada's Mo Ahmed put down a Canadian record in the 10,000, finishing sixth, while rookie Justyn Knight was ninth in the 5,000.

Bishop comes up short against Semenya

Canada's Melissa Bishop, who just missed the podium at the Rio Games, made it through to the women's 800 final, but watched once again as the event was dominated by South African phenom Caster Semenya.

Semenya has a condition known as hyperandrogenism, which causes some women to produce higher levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone – one of the key ingredients contributing to an athlete's strength and speed.

Bishop, who finished fifth, told CBC Sports after the race that Semenya's testoserone levels weren't something she focused on.
Other notable Canadian results on the track include Crystal Emmanuel finishing seventh in the final of the women's 200; Sage Watson's sixth-place finish in the final of the women's 400 hurdles, and Genevieve Lalonde set a Canadian record with her 13th-place finish in the women's 3000 steeplechase final.

Van Niekerk denied the double

In another shocking result at an event chock full of them, Ramil Guliyev of Turkey upset Wayde van Niekerk's attempt at the 200/400 double, earning Turkey's first world championship gold medal in the 200.

The 25-year-old Van Niekerk, considered by many to be the heir apparent to Bolt as the next global figurehead for the sport, was attempting the 200/400 double in London after the South African won the 400 earlier in the week.

Isaac Makwala of Botswana finished sixth after a hectic schedule due to his bout with the stomach virus and quarantine forced him to miss qualifications. Makwala was granted a shot to qualify, but in an odd sight, ran the track on his own.

Makwala made it through that test, and semifinals on the same day, but missed the podium in the final.

Missing from all this drama was Canada's De Grasse, who was also favoured to land on the podium in the 200.

Warner can't capitalize on Eaton's departure

The stomach bug responsible for so many athletes and coaches forced to be quarantined also hit decathlete Damian Warner.

Widely expected to dominate in London – especially with his chief rival and good friend Ashton Eaton retiring – the London, Ont. native struggled in the first day of competition, and revealed that he had been one of the unlucky ones stricken with the virus.After posting the fastest time in the hurdles on Day 2 of the event, Warner moved up to third overall, however he could not stick around in podium position, ending up fifth.

Drouin, Barber no longer defending champs

Canada's top high jumper may have avoided the stomach virus, but a nagging Achilles injury forced Derek Drouin to abandon his world title defence.

"I knew I was dealing with an injury that would make my chances of competing come down to the wire," Drouin said in a statement. "My support team did everything they could to give my Achilles time to heal, we didn't want to rush back. We just ran out of time."

Shawn Barber was left as the only Canadian reigning champion available to mount a defence, but he ultimately fell in the men's final, finishing eighth.

The field events saw plenty of Canadian content: Alysha Newman and Anicka Newell finished seventh and 12th, respectively, in the women's pole vault, Brittany Crew made Canadian history with a sixth-place finish in the women's shot put final, and Liz Gleadle was 12th in women's javelin final.

Looking ahead to 2020

Canada head coach Glenroy Gilbert, who replaced former coach Peter Eriksson following a surprise firing after the Rio Olympics, said despite not cracking the podium, there are some positives to take from worlds.

"Obviously it's disappointing we weren't able to get the eight medals we were after," Gilbert told CBC Sports' Perdita Felicien. "We're looking at 12 top-eight performances from a lot of new athletes that are in our system.

"So we're looking more towards 2020 and hoping that those top eights... become our medal targets."


Perkovic dominates discus to clinch second world title

By Christian Radnedge

LONDON (Reuters) - Double Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic eased her way to a second world discus title after being the only athlete to throw over 70 metres at the World Championships on Sunday.

The Croatian, who first won the world title in 2013, threw 70.31 on her second attempt which was enough to triumph in the same stadium in which she won Olympic gold in 2012.

The 27-year-old had the top three throws of 2017 going into the competition, and led from the first attempt in the final to secure her country’s first gold of the championships.

"I really enjoyed this competition like I never did before," she told reporters. "I am happy to get my world title back.

"My goal today was to throw over 70 metres because that I was sure that would be a medal mark."

Perkovic’s romp to gold was only seriously threatened on the final attempt by Dani Stevens of Australia.

The 29-year-old was concentrating intensely as she strode into the throwing circle and launched the discus one last time for glory.

It resulted in a personal best 69.64 metres which was enough for silver, her first World Championship medal since she won the title in 2009.

"I am in utopia right now," Stevens said. "I am so excited. Everything came together at the right moment. I cannot believe it. I did not think that I could throw that far."

Melina Robert-Michon of France also achieved a lifetime best throw, with 66.21 getting her the bronze medal to go with the Olympic one she was awarded in Rio last year.

There was no joy, however, for 2015 champion Denia Caballero of Cuba, who could only throw 64.37 to finish fifth.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Great Britain win silver and bronze in 4x400m relays on final night of World Athletics Championships 2017 in London

Great Britain continued their impressive relay form with medals in both the men's and women's 4x400m relays to boost the hosts' World Championships tally.

The women's team of Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond, Laviai Neilsen and Eilidh Doyle finished behind the United States for silver to give the home crowd plenty to celebrate on the final evening.

GB finished in two minutes 56.60 seconds as the hosts claimed their fifth medal of the championships.

The sixth followed straight after Matthew Hudson-Smith, Martyn Rooney, Rabah Yousif and Dwayne Cowan took bronze.

The quartet clocked a season's best of two minutes 59 seconds behind winners Trinidad and Tobago and second-placed the United States.

The medals follow last night's gold and silver for the men and women in the 4x100m events.


Usain Bolt insists there will be no comeback

Usain Bolt insists he will not go back on his decision to retire after a painful end to his glittering athletics career, and says he has no regrets about racing for one more year following his success at Rio 2016.

Bolt made history at last year's Olympics by winning both the 100 metres and 200m for the third time in succession, but there was to be no fairytale send-off for the sprint icon at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Having finished third in his last individual race, the 100m final, Bolt sensationally pulled up lame with cramp in his left hamstring when running the anchor leg for Jamaica in Saturday's 4x100m relay.

Asked at a news conference on Sunday if he would consider a comeback, Bolt replied: "No. I've seen too many people come back and make things worse and shame themselves. I won't be one of those people who come back."

Explaining his decision to compete in 2017, he added: "My fans wanted to see me compete for one more year. Without them, I wouldn't have accomplished everything over the years. If I could come out here and give the fans a show, that's fine with me. That's all I wanted.

"One championship doesn't change what I've done. After losing the 100m someone said to me, 'Muhammad Ali lost his last fight so don't be too stressed'.

"I have shown my credentials throughout my career so losing my last race isn't going to change what I've done in my sport."

Bolt's injury was diagnosed as cramp by Jamaica's team doctor, but the 30-year-old added: "I will see what it is tomorrow [Monday] to see if it is worse than I think it is."

Commenting on his lap of honour in front of a packed London Stadium, Bolt said: "For me, it was brilliant. The support hasn't changed.

"It is sad that I have to walk away now. The energy of the crowd was great. I feel so at home and welcome here.

"I was saying goodbye to fans and saying goodbye to my events also, I've dominated them for years. They have been everything to me. I almost cried, but it didn't come."


U.S. ties all-time world championships medal record

The U.S. ran away with the medal lead at the world track and field world championships, claiming 30 total medals. Kenya finished a distant second with 11 total medals.

U.S. athletes earned 10 gold medals in London. No other country earned more than five golds.

It was the best-ever performance for the U.S. at worlds. The previous U.S. record was 26 total medals, set in 1991, 2007 and 2011.

30 medals matched East Germany’s record from 1987 for the most total medals at a single world championship.

The U.S. has earned the most total medals at 12 of 16 editions of worlds, and at every edition of the biennial completion since 2005.

U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix, who earned three medals in London, now has the most career world championship medals.

Usain Bolt and Felix both entered the competition with 13 career world championship medals, one shy of the record held by retired Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey.

Bolt claimed his 14th medal by finishing third in the 100m at what is expected to be his final world championships.

Felix now has 16 career medals. She was the bronze medalist in the 400m, which was won by fellow American Phyllis Francis. She also earned relay medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m.

Unlike Bolt, the 31-year-old Felix is not done yet. She reiterated to The New York Times that she intends on racing through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, meaning she could compete at worlds in 2019 in Doha, Qatar.

Medal table at track and field world championships

2017: U.S. (30 total medals)
2015: U.S. (18)
2013: U.S. (25)
2011: U.S. (26)
2009: U.S. (22)
2007: U.S. (26)
2005: U.S. (25)
2003: Russia (20)
2001: Russia (18)
1999: U.S. (17)
1997: U.S. (17)
1995: U.S. (19)
1993: U.S. (25)
1991: Soviet Union (29)
1987: East Germany (30)
1983: U.S. (24)


Trinidad deny U.S. seventh successive 4x400 world title

By Brian Homewood

LONDON (Reuters) - Trinidad and Tobago denied United States a seventh successive world 4x400 meters relay title when Lalonde Gordon overhauled Fred Kerley on the final straight to win a breathtaking final at the World Athletics Championships on Sunday.

The U.S led for most of the race and appeared to be on course for another win after Michael Cherry ran a strong third lap to extend their lead before handing the baton to Kerley.

But Gordon gave chase and ran a superb final lap for the Caribbean islands, catching the American on the home straight to give Trinidad their first world title in this event and add to the list of upsets at the championships.

It was just reward for Lalonde who was part of the Trinidad team which took bronze on the same track at the London Olympics five years ago and won silver at the Beijing World Championships in 2015.

Jereem Richards, bronze medalist in the 200 meters, and Machel Cedenio also kept them in contention in the second and third legs as Trinidad claimed their first and only gold of the championships.

Martyn Rooney put up a brave chase for Britain but was unable to haul in the leading pair and the hosts took bronze.

Trinidad's time of 2:58.12 was the fastest this year.

Jamaica and Bahamas, Olympic silver and bronze medalists respectively in Rio de Janeiro last year, both failed to qualify for the final as did Botswana, another of the favorites, after they dropped the baton in the semi-finals.

The United States, who are also Olympic champions, last failed to win the world title in Paris in 2003.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Allyson Felix and U.S. women claim 4x400m gold by nearly six seconds

Allyson Felix and Phyllis Francis won their second gold medals at the world championships by helping the United States win the 4×400-meter relay.

The favored Americans, with 400 champion Francis running the anchor, won in 3 minutes, 19.02 seconds. They finished about 50 meters ahead of silver medalist Britain. Poland took bronze.

Felix also won gold in the 4×100 relay on Saturday. The latest medal was the 16th of her career at the world championships, going back to 2005.

In the men’s race, Trinidad and Tobago swept past the United States to earn the last big upset of the world championships in the final event.

Lalonde Gordon stayed in the slipstream of Fred Kerley for most of the last lap but then pushed past the American to win in 2 minutes, 58.12 seconds. The U.S. team was second in 2:58.61. Britain took bronze in 2:59.00.

The United States had not lost at the world championships since 2003, but the Americans did lose in the Olympic final at the 2012 London Games in the same stadium.


Barshim sails to dominant world high jump gold

(Adds details, quotes)

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim secured the global high jump title his talent has promised for so long when he completed a faultless series in the World Championships on Sunday, culminating in a winning leap of 2.35 metres.

The Qatari, whose 2.43m best is the second-highest in history after Cuban Javier Sotomayor's 2.45 set 24 years ago, has won silver and bronze at the last two Olympics and silver in the 2013 World Championships.

But he was a class apart on Sunday, having qualified without a fail he went through the final never looking remotely close to dislodging the bar as he flexed his body into biology-defying shapes.

With the gold secured he went agonisingly close to clearing 2.40 but there was no disappointment and the 26-year-old can target a crack at the world record on home soil when Doha hosts the next World Championships in 2019.

Russian Danil Lysenko, competing as a neutral athlete, took silver with 2.32m while Majd Eddin Ghazal of Syria had the best record of three men who cleared 2.29 to take bronze - his country's first world championship medal for a man.

"My first big world championships gold and I was so determined to win it," Barshim said. "I was expecting it tonight so I am glad I managed to fulfil my target.

"Let's say, I was recovering last year. I did not want to put too much pressure on myself but now I am back in shape and feel I can go even higher. I do not want to retire one day with the feeling that there is still something left."

Lysenko revealed that he had injured nerves in his lead leg a week before the championships.

"It was very painful even in qualification but especially during my warm-up tonight," he said.

"I even wanted to refuse to continue in the final but after my first attempt at 2.20m I decided that I could do something special. I was trying not to hurt my leg, so my technique was not brilliant."

Canada's world and Olympic champion Derek Drouin was unable to defend his title in London because of an Achilles injury. (Editing by Ed Osmond)


Olympic champion Caster Semenya wins women's 800m at the World Championships in London

  • Caster Semenya came from behind to win the women's 800m in London
  • The Olympic champion added gold to the bronze she won in the 1,500m
  • Francina Niyonsaba took the silver medal, with America's Ajee Wilson in third
  • Britain's sole finalist, Lynsey Sharp, finished in eighth at the London Stadium

South Africa's Caster Semenya produced a personal best performance as she continued her dominance of the women's 800metres with World Championship victory on Sunday.

The 26-year-old, who had already won bronze in the 1,500m at the London Stadium, took the bell towards the back of the pack and was third behind Ajee Wilson and Francine Niyonsaba heading into the home straight.

But she timed her kick to perfection to ease past her rivals to take gold in a new national record time of 1:55.16. Niyonsaba took silver, with Wilson finishing in third. Britain's Lynsey Sharp, who was temporarily disqualified before being reinstated to the final, missed out on a medal, finished eighth.


Obiri wins 5,000 meters with astonishing last lap

By Brian Homewood

LONDON (Reuters) - Kenyan Hellen Obiri produced an astonishing last lap to break Almaz Ayana's resistance, win the 5,000 meters at the World Athletics Championships and claim her first major title on Sunday.

Ethiopia's Ayana, winner of the 10,000 meters at the championships, and Obiri broke clear of the pack after one third of the race and opened up a huge gap as they set a blistering pace.

Ayana led with Obiri on her tail into the final lap until the Kenyan, silver medalist in Rio de Janeiro last year, suddenly burst past with 300 meters left and stormed home to win in 14:34.86, more than five seconds clear of her rival.

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands prevented an East African clean sweep by taking the bronze.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Coe bemoans Bolt's 'devastating moment'

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Sebastian Coe said he felt huge sympathy for Usain Bolt after the Jamaican pulled up with a hamstring problem during his final event on Saturday, but believes the great sprinter's departure will open the door for new talent to shine.

"It's a devastating moment if you are mid-race and that happens, it's horrible," the IAAF president told a news conference ahead of the last night's action at the World Athletics Championships on Sunday.

Bolt pulled up while running the anchor leg for Jamaica in the 4x100 relay, his final race before retiring. He will do a farewell lap of honor in the London Stadium on Sunday evening before heading into retirement.

"I do think this gives us an opportunity to cast a light on the young talent that's out there," Coe said.

"I can't remember a time when the competition has been so competitive and the stories around them so compelling," he added.

"We have had some of the youngest-ever medalists and the emergence of such extraordinary young talent is what many people will remember this event for," Coe said.

"This is a really comforting place to be in at a time when we are asking what the sport looks like after Mo (Farah) and Bolt and for example with the emergence of (American 100 meters silver medalist) Christian Coleman we may be looking at the future face of sprinting for the next five years."

LARGE NUMBERS

Coleman was beaten by compatriot Justin Gatlin and large numbers of the 60,000 crowd that packed the stadium each evening loudly booed the man who has served two drug suspensions.

Ed Warner, co-chairman of the London 2017 organizing committee, was surprised by the extent of the booing but understood the reasons.

"My view as the organizer is the fans have the right to come and express their views about doping in our sport and people feel very passionate about it," he said.

Coe said he did not like to hear jeering but accepted that fans felt strongly about the issue.

"I would rather not see athletes who have tested positive winning some of the biggest titles in our sport but he is entitled to be here," he said.

"I don't think the IAAF has singled Gatlin out but we’re not here to choreograph public opinion.

"I thought in a way the athletes took the lead in a dignified way that Usain dealt with he situation took some of the tension out of the response by the time we get to the medal ceremony."

After two years during which the sport has been battered by doping and corruption issues Coe said he felt the last 10 days had helped the process of recovery.

"I'm speaking to federations, coaches and athletes more than ever before and my instinct is that there is a confidence and people are proud to be involved and seen to be involved in athletics," he said.

Coe believes the sport needed to learn lessons from the success of London and apply them to the Diamond League and other events and create a calendar that everybody can understand.

"If we don don’t get those things right then everything we've achieved here will be a happy memory but won’t be a springboard," he said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Coleman & Stefanídi Offer The Sport New Hope

The departure of Usain Bolt, track and field’s greatest weapon, means athletics needs to unearth new names to appeal to the next generation

When Sebastian Coe wakes up on Sunday morning he will have a 6ft 5in-shaped headache. Usain Bolt, track and field’s greatest weapon as well as its biggest crutch, has run his last race. Mo Farah is heading to the roads. And the question of how the sport can shout loud enough to be heard by casual fans without the great Jamaican or the most successful British athlete in history – or a major global championships on the horizon – will move from a theoretical to an intensely practical problem.

If Lord Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, feels this huge weight on his shoulders, he does not show it. He believes London 2017 has highlighted a number of new stars to go alongside established big names such as Wayde van Niekerk, Allyson Felix, Kendra Harrison and Nafissatou Thiam. He just wants them to promote themselves and their sport better.

“The agents and managers are incredibly cloying,” Coe claims. “They say: ‘You don’t want to say this, you don’t want to say that,’ to their athletes. We need to be relaxed about what they say. Look at Conor McGregor, who has got my kids talking about UFC. I’m not saying people should be like him – but I want more of them to give a view on things and to show their personality. “We’ve got to encourage the athletes to be themselves. That will make the media find them more interesting and help the public to become more engaged.”

Coe adds: “Usain Bolt, for whatever reason, was probably a personality the second he walked into his classroom. You are not trying to choreograph that but I do think it is important that athletes realise they are part of the entertainment business. The reason Usain is going to be missed is not because he wins all those medals – it is because he is prepared to give a view about things. He has instincts. He is not looking either side to his handlers.”

Coe believes Christian Coleman of the USA – who has an unbeaten record against Bolt having beaten him in their 100m semi-final and final – can help fill the void. Coleman says: “I have the utmost respect for Usain Bolt when I heard that I am only the only person who is unbeaten against him, I thought: ‘That’s pretty crazy.’ When I get older, that’s something I’m going to tell my grandkids. He pushed the sport along but we have other great athletes coming forward – and hopefully one of those is me.”

Other athletes have shown their personalities at these championships, too. They include the French runner Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, whose exuberance on television having won the 800m gold earned him thousands of new fans, and the Norwegian Karsten Warholm, whose shocked face when he won the 400m hurdles showed that he was more surprised than anyone else.

Coe accepts the IAAF also has to do more to promote its sport and stars. According to preliminary research conducted by athletics’ governing body, 75% of respondents said that track and field has to change – not only in how it does things in the stadium, but how the sport is shown on TV and online.

“There’s more need for us to really demonstrate that we have some incredible talent out there,” says Coe. “If you just look at the youth which has surfaced in the championships – it’s the youngest cohort of medallists, youngest cohort of winners. We had a 21-year-old who won the 400m hurdles and the youngest ever finalists in the men’s 800m. It’s very good out there – we just have to make sure that people know that.”

One of the stars in London this week was the Greek pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi, who delighted the crowd in dancing to Zorba the Greek after taking gold. She urged Coe to do more to talk to millennials, push field events into the centre of the area to give them more attention, and find ways to make the whole sport move a bit quicker.

“Even little things can make a difference,” she says. “It sounds silly but when I won and they played that music I got 20,000 followers on Twitter. I just wish I could dance better.”

Coe, incidentally, still believes that engaging with young people is the main challenge he faces – not doping. And he knows that Bolt, even as he heads to retirement, plays a key part. “I was chatting to him before the medal ceremony and, slightly tongue-in-cheek, he looked at me and said: ‘So what do you want me to do now, boss?’” Coe says. “And I went: ‘Anything you want to do, really.’” A more rounded answer to that question cannot come soon enough.


Read this, because you likely missed one of the best races in running history

LONDON -- Admit it, sports fans. Yeah, you -- the one waiting for football season (American or European) to start. The one who plays fantasy, wears jerseys and spouts trivia. You couldn't care less about the women's steeplechase.

But, right now, you should care. You're missing something amazing.

You may not even know what a steeplechase is. To appreciate the improbable, entertaining madness of what happened Friday night at the IAAF World Championships, you need to know that the steeplechase is a race of 3,000 meters, on a track, featuring 28 barriers and seven water jumps. (Full disclosure: I had to Google for that info.)

You need to know that Americans Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs had NO BUSINESS winning gold and silver. I've never used all caps in a column before, even when Justin Gatlin beat Usain Bolt in the 100 meters a few days ago. But Americans beating Kenyans in this steeplechase was like Gatlin beating Bolt in the 100, with the added excitement of trips, what looked like a tackle, and the front-runner having to double back as if she forgot her cellphone at home.

Even Coburn and Frerichs admitted they had no business medaling. On the final lap, Coburn said, "I was just waiting for three Kenyans to pass me."

"I was just hoping to finish in the top five or six," said Frerichs.

Coburn's time was nine minutes, two-point-five-eight seconds (track people call that 9:02.58). It was the fastest she had ever run, and the fastest time ever in the world championships, which is like scoring your career high and setting the record for most points ever in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

And Coburn didn't even run the most remarkable time.

Before Friday's race, Frerichs' fastest steeplechase time was 9:19.09. She beat that time by an enormous 15 seconds to win silver in 9:03.77. That's like scoring a hat trick in a World Cup soccer game after totaling three goals all season.
In third place was Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi, who ran 9:04.03. She is Kenyan. She sat at the postrace press conference looking like Pat Riley when LeBron James left the Heat and went back to Cleveland.

You sports fans see where I'm going with this, right? With the metaphors? I'm trying to explain just how huge these women's performances were in a sport with no next possessions, no bottom of the ninths, just one chance to make or break your entire season. As if the entire Stanley Cup finals consisted of one penalty shot.

Speaking of hockey, there were some serious collisions in this race. That's another reason to enjoy the steeplechase. Remember the barriers? They're not called hurdles for a reason. Hurdles get knocked over. Barriers knock runners over. Barriers are thick, long and heavy. They may even be attached to the track. (Google didn't say.)

The mayhem started when the front-runner, Beatrice Chepkoech, who is of course Kenyan because she was the front-runner, approached the first water jump. For some reason, she simply ran around it. Totally ignored the barrier and just kept moving, like she hit a single and proceeded straight to second base.

Chepkoech's trance was broken by the water splashing from the feet of runners to her left. She skidded to a halt, U-turned, ran 10 yards in the opposite direction as everyone else, and then jumped over the barrier. This put her so far back of the lead, you might have thought she was American.

Incredibly, she caught up to the pack. Then came another barrier. Chepkoech stumbled on the far side and, while falling to the track, took down a few other runners with her.

After all that, Chepkoech still finished fourth, in 9:10.45. That's just how Kenyans roll.

After Coburn and Frerichs crossed the finish line, they shared an exhilarated, exhausted embrace and traded incredulous profanities. "'Holy guacamole' is the PG version," Coburn said. "Courtney just kept saying, 'Am I dreaming? Am I dreaming?'"

No American had won a world title in steeplechase since 1952. No U.S. women had ever finished 1-2 in any world championship distance race. Track nerds -- why isn't there such a thing as a football nerd? -- are calling this the most thrilling race of the 2017 World Championships, and one of the greatest moments in American distance running history.

You sports fans can just call it amazing. Like a football game where -- nah, forget that. After a race like this, nobody cares about football.


Felix Wins Record 15th World Championships Medal

out there and when that guy hits the zone coming in, make sure you take off and make sure you get the stick and get around that track.”

He said Great Britain was helped by the crowd of more than 55,000 at London Stadium.

“When you’re in your home country, you get 10 bonus points in energy,” Gatlin said. “It’s like a video game. You get the energy of the crowd. They’re cheering for you, so it can either go up or it can go down. They took that energy and they didn’t let it become pressure and they did a great job. The women did a great job as well. I can’t wait till 2021 (when the world championships come to Eugene, Oregon). I might not be running, but I can’t wait to see these guys running on home soil as well.”

From his vantage point, Gatlin could see Bolt go down.

“I’m a runner just like he is, so I understand what it means to sustain an injury,” he said. “Especially his last race, my heart goes out to him. You don’t want to go out with a hamstring tear or anything like that. I hope it’s just a cramp, he’ll be able to rub it off and enjoy his night and enjoy his legacy.”

And come back after a year?

“Oh yeah,” Gatlin said, “he’s going to come back. You owe me $100.”


 After Rio, Gold All The Sweeter For Schippers

Twelve months ago in Rio de Janeiro, after lying despondent on the side of the track for some time, Dafne Schippers got up, took off her spikes and flung them to one side in frustration.

As the third fastest 200m runner in history, she was expected to add the Olympic title to the gold medal she won at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, but defeat to Jamaican Elaine Thompson left her irritated and confused. Her ambitions were lofty and silver was no longer good enough for the Dutch woman.

“There’s been a bit more pressure on me to perform since winning in Beijing,” she said. “A lot of that pressure is put on me by myself as I always want to win regardless of what I’ve done before.”

Fast forward one year, and the 25-year-old is back on top of the world. In claiming the 200m title at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 on Friday night, Schippers became the first European to win two gold medals over the half-lap distance, and joins Jamaican Merlene Ottey and USA’s Allyson Felix as the only athletes to successfully defend a world title in the event.

“It’s a great feeling to be world champion for the second time,” she said. “I was a bit nervous beforehand, but I’m a final runner, and bring my best in finals, so I’m very grateful for the experience today. There were so many Dutch fans in the stadium, all wearing orange. To win this two times in a row is brilliant.”

With Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson opting not to contest the 200m at these championships, Schippers’ main challenge came from Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who finished ahead of the Dutch woman in the 100m five days earlier. On this occasion the roles were reversed with Schippers edging a close race in 22.05 seconds, just 0.03 ahead of Ta Lou.

“During the first 100m I could not see anybody because I was in lane six and was in front of the rest,” she said. “Once I hit the straight I saw Ta Lou right there to my left and I just had to fight as much as possible to the finish line to stay ahead of her. I knew she’d be a tough competitor. She ran a very good 100m earlier in the championships, so I’m very happy to manage to beat her today.”

COACHING CHANGE
After her defeat in Rio, Schippers opted for a change. With Bart Bennema as her coach, she had transitioned from a world-class heptathlete, winning bronze in the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013, into a multi-medal-winning 100m and 200m sprinter. However they both felt that to progress, she had to try something different, and so she joined up with Rana Reider, and his group containing Christian Taylor, Adam Gemili and Desiree Henry among others.

“It was not the easiest season for me,” she said. “When you change coach everything is different. I changed a lot in my training and I worked very hard this season.”

Working with Reider, the focus was purely on peaking for London. As a result she entered races on the IAAF Diamond League circuit this year during periods of heavy training, and her times early season were slower than she is used to running.

“I just had to trust the process and that I would eventually progress. I believed in my coach and I just did what he said. He’s a great coach and I couldn’t be happier with how everything has turned out.”

HOMETOWN SUPPORT
While she’s a fearless competitor on the track, away from the high-pressured arena of elite athletics she cuts a much more reserved figure, preferring a simple life of walking her dog and reading, rather than higher adrenaline interests. However, since her first world title in Beijing two years ago, she has found it much harder, back home in the Netherlands, to live the normal quiet life she craves.

“Since Beijing it’s been totally different,” she says. “When I walk on the streets people want to get photos or autographs. It has become a lot more normal for me now, but at the beginning it was difficult to deal with that. But at the same time, it’s also really cool because it means I’ve done a great job.”

Her performances over the past few years have not gone unappreciated in her home country. In April of this year, a new pedestrian and cycle bridge, named after her, was opened in her home city of Utrecht. One hundred and 10 metres long, it crosses the Amsterdam Rijn Canal, connecting the city centre with the growing suburbs and serves approximately 11,000 cyclists per day.

“To have a bridge named after me is a very special thing,” she says. “It’s the most important bridge in our country. It’s very special to have my name on that.”

After her success in London, they may need to rename of the canal too.

James Sullivan for the IAAF


Mo Farah launches astonishing attack on media - 'You're trying to destroy everything I have achieved'

In an attack as astonishing as any of his last-lap sprints for gold, Sir Mo Farah has accused the media of trying to “destroy” his reputation by misreporting the controversies to have engulfed him.

The morning after ending his major championship career on the track with a shock defeat in the 5,000 metres, Farah staged a press conference at which his legacy was inevitably the major topic of discussion.

As was right and proper, he was first asked to reflect upon his unprecedented achievements - 10 successive global titles, including four 5,000m and 10,000m doubles - following his amazing transformation from an also-ran into Britain’s most successful track-and-field athlete and an all-time great of distance running.

What followed were questions about matters infinitely more in the public interest, and the consequences of them for his legacy, including his ongoing relationship with Alberto Salazar - still under investigation for alleged drugs offences - his links with Jama Aden - arrested last year in connection with a doping inquiry - and evidence he had been given medication that endangered his health.

Not mentioned were his two missed drugs tests before the 2012 Olympics, the failure of a British Athletics doctor to properly record his use of a restricted substance before the 2014 London Marathon, and documents leaked just last month in which he was named as “likely doping” before being cleared.

The 34-year-old, who the media have never accused of cheating, all but branded reports of these facts as fake news, saying: “It’s like a broken record, repeating myself. Why bring it up year after year, making it into headlines? I’ve achieved what I have achieved – you’re trying to destroy it.”

He added: “You can write what you like. The fact is I’ve achieved what I have from hard work, putting my balls on the line, year after year and delivering for my country.

“There’s nothing else to be said. History doesn’t lie. I find it bizarre how certain people write certain things to suit how they want to sell the story.

“Sometimes, you guys get to me – you never write the facts. The fact is, over the years, I have achieved a lot through hard work and pain. If I have crossed the line - ‘Mo Farah has done something wrong’ - then prove it.”

Farah was in no doubt how he saw his legacy, one of a Somalian refugee who repaid his adopted homeland with some of the greatest sporting feats in its history.

“I’ve done my country and many people proud,” said Farah, who began his morning by performing his iconic ‘Mobot’ while perched atop one of the capsules on the London Eye.

“It makes me proud to be British, to put British distance running on the map.

“Growing up in Teddington and seeing the Kenyans and Ethiopians winning, I never thought, ‘One day, we’ll be able to challenge them and beat them at their own game’.

“I hope I can leave that legacy behind – and get behind younger British kids and see what we can do.

“It will take 10-15 years to get the next best distance runner in terms of winning medals. But we need to start somewhere.”

After two final farewell races on the track, Farah will switch to the road in a bid to end Britain’s long wait for a male marathon champion.

“I don’t like to keep still,” he said. “I want to continue on. I like the pain and the challenges of being an athlete. I think I can do something on the road. But I think it will take a few years and few marathons to get it right.”

Revealing he wanted to be known as Mohamed rather than Mo in future, he added: “My road name is Mohamed and I just feel like Mo is done. I need to forget about what I’ve achieved and what I’ve done.”

Farah refused to be drawn on whether Salazar, who denies breaking anti-doping rules, would be part of that future, with the American conspicuous by his absence from London 2017.

“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” Farah said. “I’ve a few races left, then I’ll take a nice break and see how it goes.”

He added: “Either way, if he was here or not here, day after day, I’d still be putting my balls on the line.”

With the questions he clearly did not like out of the way, the conversation switched to Farah’s desire to pass on his experience to the next generation. But he could not resist a parting shot at those he accused of being out to get him.

“Over the years, you guys have done many things to build a person up and bring them back down,” he said.

Beating his chest, he added: “The reality is, no matter what you do, I’m going to still keep fighting, keep working, making my country proud.

“I’m proud to be British and put my GB vest on and do it for my country. You can write what you like but, at the same time, I’m a clean athlete. I sleep well at night, hugging my kids, loving my kids, and showing them what’s right. And that’s all that counts.”


Semenya leads the pack on final day of competition

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Caster Semenya will attempt to reclaim her 800 metres title on the final day of action of the World Championships in London on Sunday.

The South African, who was awarded gold retrospectively in the event in 2011, already has one medal to her name this week, after winning bronze in the 1500 metres on Monday.

However, it's the two-lap race that is her strongest, the event in which she won Olympic gold in Rio last year.

Semenya's race is among the highlights of the final session at the London Stadium.

Having taken back the women's 4x100 metres relay title from Jamaica the day before, the United States will aim to repeat that feat on Sunday in the 4x400 metres relay.

The final event will be the men's edition of the race as hosts Britain go for one last gold.

The day's action begins across the city at The Mall, where the men and women's 50km race walk gets under way at 0645 GMT, with the 20km versions following afterwards. (Reporting by Christian Radnedge,; Editing by Neville Dalton)


Jamaican sprint team furious over Usain Bolt injury as they blame delays for ending his career in relay agony

The Jamaican relay team hit out at the World Athletics Championships’ organisers in London as Usain Bolt labelled the delay to his final race on Saturday “crazy”, with the sprint legend ending his career in agony after being struck down by injury.

As Great Britain powered their way to a stunning gold in the men’s 4x100m relay with the third-quickest time in history, Bolt was struck down midway through his stint with what has been revealed as cramp in his left leg.

The race started 10 minutes later than planned, with the teams being held in the warm-up area for nearly 30 minutes before they were able to run out into the London Stadium, and Bolt’s teammate Yohan Blake spoke afterwards of their concern with how the preparations were dragging on.

The concern was so great that Bolt turned to Blake before the raise to express his unhappiness, and Blake furiously hit out at organisers immediately after the race after having to watch the women’s high jump medal presentation overrun.

“I think they were holding us too long in the call room,” Blake said on Saturday night. “The walk was too long. Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, 'Yohan, I think this is crazy'.

“It was 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run. We keep warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting. I think it got the better of us.

“We were over warm. And to see a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggling like that...The race was 10 minutes late, we were kept 40 minutes and it was a 300 metre walk. It was crazy.”

Jamaica failed to finish the race as Bolt lay prone on the track, but he dismissed the aid of a wheelchair to get up and cross the line before waving goodbye to the crowd, with Bolt now unlikely to race in Zurich as had been hinted if the injury proves worse than first feared. The Jamaican team medic, Dr Kevin Jones, played down any long-term injuries though and claimed the injury was just cramp.

“It's cramp in his left hamstring but a lot of pain is from disappointment from losing the race,” Dr Jones said. “The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him.”

However, his other two sprint teammates, Omar McLeod and Julian Forte, were in agreement with Blake that 30-year-old Bolt’s final farewell had been doomed to fail because of the delays.

“It's heart-wrenching,” said 110m hurdle gold medallist McLeod. “I gave it my all and I really wanted Usain to leave golden, or even if it was just a medal, it was really heart-wrenching.

“I couldn't believe it, I'm in shock, utter disbelief.

"It was ridiculous, man. We were there around 45 minutes waiting outside, I think they had three medal ceremonies before we went out so we were really trying our hardest to stay warm and keep upbeat, but it was ridiculous. We waited a really long time. I drank like two bottles of water.”

Forte added: “I really wanted to be a part of the team that sends Usain off in style. Unfortunately it's one of those things, it's part of sport.

“They kept us in the call room for an extremely long time in our running kits, and it's not the warmest over here and they had us around there for quite a while, so I think they really need to look into that and do something about it.

“We were excited, we were ready, we had been doing some hand offs and everybody was feeling good, but they kept us hanging around for a long time, you know. So it's just really crazy.”

The frustration with the long wait before the race was not contained to the Jamaican team, with USA sprinter and 100m gold medallist Justin Gatlin expressing sympathy for his long-time rival Bolt as he agreed with the cause of the injury.

“You can't really have this night or championship define what he's done in the past. From 2008 on, Usain Bolt has done amazing things. Tonight is not going to define who he is. He is still the man,” said Gatlin, whose USA team finished runner-up to Great Britain.

“This is a farewell tour, we take our hats off to him and we hope he gets better.

“I know it’s TV magic, and everybody has to be prepared on time to make everything happen for the viewers at home, (but) I personally think that we were held in the stadium a little too long without our clothes on, and there was a little draught in there. I lost all my sweat and body heat.

When asked if he thought that contributed to Bolt's injury, the 35-year-old Gatlin said: “I believe so.

"Knowing how Usain performs, he’s always ready, he’s always making sure he’s not injured and it’s very rare to see Usain injured when he comes to performances.”

However, Gatlin believes that London 2017 will not be the last time that Bolt is seen on the track.

“I'm going to win my 100, he's coming back in a year or two,” Gatlin added. “He'll be ready. He has a passion for the sport, he loves the fans, the fans love him. It's something you can't walk away too easy from."


Oh Mo! Farah gets golden send-off from press

London (AFP) - British athletics legend Mo Farah was hailed by the British press on Sunday despite his glorious track career ending with defeat in the 5,000 metres world championships final.

Although his silver medal performance was pushed out of the limelight by the drama of the men's 4x100m relay, which saw fellow legend Usain Bolt collapse with cramp on his own swansong as Britain pulled off a remarkable victory, as well as the thrilling opening of the Premier League season, Farah still commanded many column inches.

The 34-year-old saw his global championship win streak of 10 gold medals dating back to the 5,000m at the 2011 world championships ended as Muktar Edris of Ethiopia held off his desperate charge in the finishing straight.

"End of the track for Mo" headlined The Sunday Times, adding that it was a "shattering defeat in front of an adoring crowd".

However, the paper eulogised about the performance by Farah -- who came to Britain with his mother and two of his brothers from Somalia via a spell with his grandparents in Djibouti aged just eight -- in the stadium where he had memorably achieved his first Olympic double in 2012.

"If defeat is the making of a true champion, then Mo Farah left the track at the Olympic stadium last night as the greatest champion of all," wrote its sports writer.

"That he failed, beaten finally, for the first time at a major championships since 2011, by Muktar Edris of Ethiopia, stripped nothing from the legend."

The Sun on Sunday, never one to miss out on an eye-catching pun, perhaps unkindly went with "Slow Mo".

However, Farah -- who has had a tense relationship with large sections of the British media over the questions raised by his loyalty to controversial United States-based coach Alberto Salazar -- would have been happier with what followed.

"The 34-year-old is hanging up his spikes to take to the roads in the marathon after a stellar career which has seen him establish himself as one of the all-time greats of the sport," purred the Sun correspondent.

"Yet despite the huge support from the home crowd packed into the London Stadium, Britain's hero was finally knocked off his perch as the king of long-distance running."

- 'I was going to take Mo down' -

The Mail On Sunday headlined their tale of Farah's final bow "Oh Mo!"

They called it a "disappointing silver" but pointed to the remarkable career of Britain's most successful ever athlete.

And they took aim at America's Kenyan-born bronze medallist Richard Chelimo for making Farah's trademark 'Mobot' gesture and then running his hand across his throat as the 5,000m runners lined up before their race.

"It is what it is, I just meant that I was going to take Mo down," said Chelimo.

The Observer remarked that those who had come in their thousands with their faces painted with "Go Mo!" and banners with "Run Farah Run" were to be left disappointed.

It also commented on how his soon to turn five twin daughters Aisha and Amani had never seen him lose a major final before Saturd