Daily Archives: August 28, 2011

Thoughts

I could hardly watch the Shenzen World University Games. Perhaps it was out of self-loathing and envy. Sometimes, I rue the fact of having been born in a country almost ignorant of athletics. Had I been European, I would have been exposed to formal athletics training early on and developed gradually to a more respectable sprint hurdler while competing for an honest-to-goodness athletics club. Who knows? Maybe I would have been running 13 seconds in the sprint hurdles with proper training and exposure.

Despite my dreams of athletics glory, the fact remains that I am a mere (hand-timed) 14.9s hurdler at my best. Thanks to my two-year hiatus, Han Solo routine and a full-time desk job, I have degenerated into 16.5s hurdler – again, hand-timed.

I am competitive to the core. I wouldn’t be in the sport if I weren’t. It is a fact that I suck in the sport I love best. This, in turn, hurts me the deepest. The odds of qualifying for the World Championships or the Olympics are humungous, to say the least. To add insult to injury, the athletes who excel now are just about my age. Then, a deluge of what-if scenarios flood by, hounding my head.

Instances like these are debilitating. I’ve longed to be the best, or at least count myself as among the best. If I cannot be at the pinnacle of my sport – even at the local level – what’s the use of going about a difficult routine, when I channel my energies into more productive pursuits?

At nearly twenty-six years old, I don’t have much time in my athletics career. Soon enough, I’d have to take my other career more seriously than the former. Until then, I’ll be doing my utmost best to at least win the Philippine National Championships and run fourteen seconds.

I do not need to state my ultimate goal.

As they say, aim for stars and reach for the moon.

Blake takes gold as Bolt crashes out

With Eurosport Asia not airing the ongoing Daegu World Championships, I had to content myself with stop-motion live streaming (I have crappy internet connection), live tweets and the IAAF live updates.

I was browsing the aforesaid information sources when I learned about the unthinkable: Usain Bolt has been disqualified for false starting. Some people opined that the starter held out too long, but frankly I couldn’t see what was wrong. Bolt went out of the blocks too early. It was as clear as daylight.

Read: “The disqualification of Bolt”

Young Yohan Blake took up the cudgels for Jamaica, as he crossed the line in 9.93s. The fast-starting Kim Collins (the oldest 100m dash World Champ finalist since Linford Christie) actually led the race until the halfway mark, when the fast-finishing duo of Blake and the American champion, Walter Dix, ate up the 2003 World Champion’s lead.

Christophe Lemaitre (10.19s) was a tenth behind Collins. Antigua’s Daniel Bailey (10.26s) edged out the 19-year old Frenchman, Jimmy Vicaut (10.27s) for fifth place.

It was great to see Collins back on the podium! He had shown promise at the start of the year, but got injured soon after. With this unexpected third place finish, the pride of St. Kitts and Nevis now has three bronze medals (100mD – 2005, 200mD – 2001) on top of his 100m dash World Championship gold  – spanning ten years!

Although I’m far from an Usain Bolt fanatic, seeing the iconic Jamaican sprinter crash out is disappointing. Some would argue about scrapping the new rule altogether, that the one-false start rule is just way too harsh. Unlike swimming, restarting a sprint race isn’t all that hard. The previous rule (which imposed a warning to the entire field) was sufficient, to say the least. Athletes and race officials are human; hence, susceptible to mistakes.

But then again, rules are rules.

Additional link:

Race results

Track Beauty of the Week: Jiřina Ptáčníková

Jiřina Ptácniková is this week’s track beauty!

The Czech pole vaulter is amongst the elite of the relatively-young athletics discipline. Ptácniková has a personal best of 4.66m set back in 2010. She has an indoor best of 4.60m, which she cleared as she missed out on the 2010 European Indoor Championships podium.

Photo from sport.cz

The 25-year year old has had quite a few close brushes with major championship medals. In 2010, she placed 5th in both the World Indoor Championships in Doha and the European Championships in Barcelona, where she was a mere centimeter away from her personal best. The Czech has a Universiade gold medal to her credit though, a feat she achieved in 2009.

Nevertheless, her improvement through the years have been steadily consistent. In a technical event where pre-competition favorites could falter (think Sergey Bubka Сергі́й Наза́рович Бу́бка during the 1992 Olympic Games) or relative no-names could shoot out of obscurity (think Rens Blom at the rain-soaked 2005 Helsinki World Champs), Ptácniková is within range to eke out a surprise performance.

Fittingly, Jirina won her first ever major international title in a rain-soaked final at the Helsinki European Championships. The Czech had a best clearance of 4.60m in the competition, winning over the German record holder Martina Strutz and Greek Nikoleta Kyriokopolou on countback.

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