Saturday, 15 July 2017 17:39

Relay work set to help British Athletes in their search of gold

Brass bands are being asked to get involved is helping boost the profile of the upcoming World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championship.

London is about to become the first city to host the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championship in one summer.

England Athletics is keen to get all communities involved in creating a buzz around the events and is hosting a competition specifically for brass bands.

Bands involved
It has been set up by Heidi Bradley, founder of Brass Bands England's 'BandSafe' programme after she was challenged by England Athletics to get bands involved.

Heidi told 4BR: "We wanted to do something fun that is also easy for bands to get involved in and doesn't need a lot of organising on their part.

Some of the ideas we came up with wouldn't get past the local health and safety officer, but what we have come up with is will be really enjoyable."

The 'Brass the Baton Conducting Relay' follows the success of the like-minded event linked to the 2012 Olympics. This year, bands are challenged to host a conducting relay made up of members of the audience during one of their performances over the summer.

Passing the audience baton
Heidi added: "Most bands can get at least one person from the audience to come to conduct a piece, but this competition involves getting as many as possible conducting during a piece! Each member will conduct a few bars before passing the baton on to the next person."

The leading music publisher Pennine Music is supporting the competition with a prize of a £100 music voucher and there will also be an athletics themed trophy awarded to the winner.

"The leading music publisher Pennine Music is supporting the competition with a prize of a £100 music voucher and there will also be an athletics themed trophy awarded to the winner" - 4BR

Fitting involvement
Jane Stewart, Head of the Inspiration Program at England Athletics told 4BR: "We are encouraging members of many different communities to get involved in supporting the championships. Brass bands are a cornerstone of our heritage so it feels fitting to get them involved.

We are asking bands to film their relay and send it in to us where it will be judged. Consideration will be given to the number involved in the relay as well as originality, humour and fun. There will bonus points awarded for bands that demonstrate that and include a link to the championships, so get your thinking caps on."


I was close to quitting admits Kadeena Cox

KADEENA COX has revealed she did a U-turn on her decision to quit athletics at the last IPC world championships in 2015.

The 26-year-old became the first Briton in 32 years to win Paralympic titles in two different sports at the same Games in Rio last year.

But a year before, she had contemplated turning her back on ‘first love’ track and field as she struggled to accept her times were slower than before her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2014, when she was a promising non-disabled sprinter. ‘I went from being able to do one time to being a lot slower. Even though I was better in the world, I found it quite hard to deal with mentally,’ she said.

‘It was just before the 2015 world championships I was going to quit athletics and never go back. I was going to retire and become a full-time cyclist. Then I went out there [in Doha], performed well [winning two world titles] and remembered exactly why I love it. Having the combination of the cycling, that I’d never done before and had nothing to compare to, with athletics brought back the love for athletics.’

Cox begins her campaign in London tomorrow as she aims to win gold in the T38 200metres before making a defence of her 100m and 4x100m T35-38 relay crowns.


Ojie Edoburun sprints to European U23 100m title

European junior gold medallist claims under-23 title in Bydgoszcz, while Konrad Bukowiecki throws championship record for shot put gold

Britain’s Ojie Edoburun was among the winners on day two of the European Under-23 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, as he stormed to victory in the 100m.

Clocking 10.14 for the second-quickest wind-legal time of his career, the 21-year-old beat Slovakia’s Ján Volko (10.18) and Norway’s Jonathan Quarcoo (10.29) to add the under-23 title to the under-20 gold he claimed in Eskilstuna two years ago, despite not feeling in top shape.

“The race was okay,” he said. “My start wasn’t good again and my finish was not the best.

“I was feeling some pains. I was bit ill. I am just happy I came and won.”

Fellow Brit Reuben Arthur placed fifth with 10.39.

Ewa Swoboda also won 100m gold in Eskilstuna in 2015 and she too added the under-23 title to her haul, clocking 11.42 for a win on home soil. Britain’s Imani Lansiquot narrowly missed out on a medal as she clocked 11.58 to match the time of bronze medallist Sina Mayer of Germany.

Another athlete putting on a show for the home crowd was European indoor shot put champion Konrad Bukowiecki as he threw 21.59m to break the championship record.

He had earlier thrown 21.44m to improve the championship record he set himself in the qualifying round.

Britain’s Taylor Campbell was just 1cm off a medal in the hammer as he threw 70.59m in a competition won by Bence Halasz of Hungary with 73.30m.

Two years after winning the under-20 title, another athlete to also claim under-23 gold was Switzerland’s Caroline Agnou as she recorded a national record 6330 points in the heptathlon, with GB’s Katie Stainton seventh with 5836 points.

Turkey’s double European champion Yasemin Can broke the championship record with 31:39.80 to win the 10,000m title, with British trio Phoebe Law (33:40.75), Jenny Nesbitt (33:50.37) and Philippa Bowden (34:04.57) fourth, sixth and eighth respectively.

The day before, Spain’s Carlos Mayo had won the men’s 10,000m title in 29:28.06, with Britain’s Ellis Cross fifth in 29:53.64.

GB’s Jacob Fincham-Dukes (7.83m/+2.5) was fourth in a long jump final won by Ukraine’s Vladyslav Mazur with a European lead-equalling 8.04m (+1.9).

Meanwhile, over in Nairobi the third day of IAAF World Under-18 Championships saw the world under-18 triple jump record broken by Cuba’s Jordan Diaz with his 17.30m leap. Jamaica’s De’Jour Russell clocked a championship record 13.04 for 110m hurdles victory, while there was a Kenyan one-two in the girls’ 2000m steeplechase with Caren Chebet getting gold from Mercy Chepkurui, 6:24.80 to 6:26.10.


'I WILL NEVER FAIL' Mo Farah once again shrugs off questions over doping as he races home to win the 3,000m at the Anniversary Games

The 34-year-old four-time gold medallist has also revealed how he is sick of having to defend himself ahead of next month's World Championships

MO FARAH shrugged off the latest questions over doping to win his final race before he defends his two world titles back at the Olympic Stadium next month.

Farah clocked 7:35.15 to win the 3,000m at the Anniversary Games – well outside the British record of 7:32.62 he set in Birmingham last year.

But he said: “Everything is going alright. I’m ticking boxes. Grafting. The usual. The last five years has been the same routine.”

He has now never lost at race at the Olympic Stadium – the scene of his biggest moment at London 2012 – and he is determined to keep that record when he competes over the 10,000m and 5,000m titles back at the venue in less than a month.

They will be the final track races of his career before he steps up to the marathon later this year.

He said: This (stadium) is home. This is where my life has changed. This is where I made my name. This is where it went from normal to ‘I’m Mo’ overnight.

“When anyone asks ‘what memories do you have of London? – it’s not about Big Ben. Meeting The Queen obviously was a special thing in my life but second is this track.”

The double-double Olympic distance champion was one of a number of athletes flagged up on a suspicious list after a test in November 2015, according to documents made public by the Russian hacking group Fancy Bears last week.

A later document from April 2016 then put the British star, who plans to step up to the marathon event after London 2017, in the clear.

International athletics chief Seb Coe was also forced to apologise for the leak.

But Farah, whose controversial coach Alberto Salazar is still being investigated by USA anti-doping chiefs, said: “I’m sick of repeating myself.”

“I love what I do and I will never ever fail a drugs test. I work hard at what I do.


World Championships Wonders - Tom Pappas

In the latest in our World Championship wonders series we look back on Tom Pappas’s glorious decathlon success at the 2003 edition in Paris.

BEFORE It is somehow fitting that former decathlon star Tom Pappas today runs a CrossFit gym only a mile from the iconic Hayward Field in Eugene.

For it was through the accomplishments of older brother, Paul, a former multi-eventer at the University of Oregon – which boasts Hayward Field as its home - which acted as the catalyst for Pappas’ involvement in the decathlon.

Inspired by his older brother, the former high jump and long jump specialist started his multi-events journey in 1995.

A quick learner just two years later the 1.95m tall American started to make his mark under the coaching of Bill Webb at the University of Tennessee.

“This is when I started to mature and develop and I realised that some of the marks I was hitting in training were as good as some of the best decathletes in the world,” he explains.

Just two years later at the age of 22 he qualified for the US team at the 1999 IAAF World Championship in Seville. However, badly compromised by injury – which was to curse so much of his career – he no-heighted in the pole vault and failed to finish in southern Spain.

Nonetheless, he refused to be scarred by the experience. “The biggest thing I took away from that meet was I realised the top guys were just human and I was capable of competing with them.”

His new-found confidence was not misplaced. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he finished fifth with 8425pts – just 42pts short of his PB set when winning the US title two months earlier.

Shoulder surgery derailed his ambitions to compete at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton but in 2002 he further improved, posting a new PB of 8583pts to place second at Gotzis behind Czech great and world decathlon record holder Roman Sebrle.

In 2003 and under the guidance of coaches Webb and Brian Brophy, Pappas had enjoyed an injury-free build-up and felt ready to challenge.

Training out of Knoxville, Tennessee, he started the year with a bang causing a big upset to strike gold in the heptathlon at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham two places ahead of Sebrle.

“Looking back, I might physically have been in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” he says of competing at the 2003 World Indoors. “I went in not even projected to finish on the top five but after winning, it gave me the confidence I could beat Roman at the 2003 World Championships.”

Not even an early season defeat to Sebrle by more than 200pts in Gotzis could dent the Oregon native’s confidence. Better conditioned than an any point in his career he had made particularly exciting progress in the long jump as evinced by his performance when setting a lifetime best score of 8784pts later that year to win the US title, which include stunning breakthrough leap of 7.96m.

“I had been a long jumper in the 7.35m to 7.45m range but it was a huge confidence boost to jump 7.96m,” he explains. “I knew in Paris, if I was firing on all cylinders and competing well it was going to be between me and Roman.”

DURING

It proved a prescient prediction.

After opening with a solid 10.80 in the 100m, Pappas made a huge statement in the long jump by leaping 7.62m - within 2cm of his Czech rival.

“Roman was typically an 8m jumper, so for me to jump around the same mark was a victory,” he says. A 16.11m shot further extended his advantage over the Czech.

After a disappointing 2.09m in the high jump --“I thought I was capable of 2.20m”-- he responded in outstanding fashion to wipe 0.64 from his 400m PB to run 47.58.

At the end of a satisfying first day he sat second on 4546pts – 53pts adrift of surprise overnight leader Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan – but with a 123pt buffer on third placed Sebrle.

With “less room for error” on the technical second day he was relieved to run close to his PB with a 13.99 in the 110m hurdles followed by a “respectable” 46.94m in the discus. Holding a 146pt advantage from Sebrle, the tall American dared to dream after seven events -- “At this point I started to think it was mine to lose.”

Although it should be worth noting he was still second overall after seven events trailing Karpov by some 67pts, albeit with his weakest events - the pole vault and javelin - to follow.

Pappas finally assumed leadership of the overall competition for the first time after the pole vault gaining more ground on Sebrle after clearing a best of 5.10m compared to 4.80m.

However, Sebrle was an outstanding javelin thrower and the American - who was watching Sebrle throw in the first pool (Pappas was throwing later in qualification pool two) from the Nike hospitality tent - received a huge fright. Sebrle had nailed a 69.79m effort in round two only to launch the spear out to what appeared to be 75m in round three.

“My heart leapt (when I saw the throw) but luckily he fouled,” says Pappas.

Pappas responded superbly in the second pool, hurling the spear out to 65.90m – a PB by almost a metre-and-a-half.

“I then crunched the numbers in my head and realised I had a 28-second lead on Roman going into the 1500m,” he says. “I knew I could run 4:45 but I felt I could run 4:35, so I thought Roman needed to run around 4:05 to beat me.”

Despite starting aggressively, Sebrle slowed on lap three and at 1200m Pappas knew gold was his. He crossed the line in a PB of 4:44.31 – a little under ten second behind Sebrle, the silver medallist.

“It was hard to explains my emotions,” he says of the wake of winning gold. “My mind was racing, although I recall thinking a lot about all the people who helped me in my journey. I was very thankful for them.”

AFTER

The following day he went sightseeing around Paris with his family and girlfriend and now wife, the US heptathlete Kim Schiemenz – not that the experience lasted long.

“The day after a decathlon is often rough. I remember feeling so sore, I just wanted to lay down and relax,” he says”

Unfortunately, Pappas could not follow up his golden year of 2003 as persistent injuries dogged the remainder of his career. He DNF’D at both the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics because of foot injuries and also failed to finish at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka. After placing second at the 2010 US Championships he retired from the sport aged 33.

Around the time of his retirement he was introduced to the sport of CrossFit through his younger brother, Billy. A self-confessed “weight room junkie” he felt a “natural attraction” to the high-intensity fitness regimen and in 2012 he and Billy opened Lane 5 CrossFit in Eugene.

“I love it,” says Pappas of his current role. “We have a great membership and it is fun to be around energetic people, achieving their goals. It is very rewarding.”

Pappas also personally competed in the highly-competitive 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games after his team won the Western Regional competition, although this year he is taking a break to devote more time to his family life.

Married to Schiemenz, the 2003 World Championships heptathlete, and father to four children - Kinley, 11, Kendall, 7 and five-year-old twins, Max and Tucker - his life is understandably full.

Yet despite the years of injury torment the 40-year-old American looks back with pride on his career. “It was all worth it,” he says. “There were all those years when it didn’t go my way but to win those two world titles in 2003 are memories I will cherish for a lifetime.”