Category Archives: Heptathlon

Track Beauty of the Week: Brianne Theisen

Brianne Theisen is this week’s Track Beauty!

Theisen is a world-class heptathlete, having had stints at the World Championships and the Olympic Games. As a 16-year old, she made competed at the 2005 World Youth Championships, finishing in 17th place in an event won by future World Champion Tatiana Chernova Татьяна Сергеевна Чернова. Brianne also wound up in the same ranking spot a year later at the World Junior Championships in Beijing.

Article by Joboy Quintos

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Track Beauty of the Week: Linda Züblin

Linda Züblin is this week’s Track Beauty!

Züblin has been Switzerland’s best multi-eventer the past few years. She has a personal best of 6,018 points, around 200 points short of Corinne Schneider’s 27-year old Swiss record. Linda particularly excels in the hurdles, long jump and the javelin, having best marks of 13.55s, 6.24m and 53.01m, respectively.

Click this link to read the full article…

London Olympics Preview: The 4x100m Relay

The team aspect makes the 4x100m relay exciting. Since the athletes are going at full speed, the margin for error in terms of baton passing is small. Teams, especially the hastily formed ones, are susceptible to passing lapses. In the 4x100m relay, the squads with inferior aggregate flat out speeds can draw level or, at times, triumph over the highly touted teams.

Read: “The 4x100m Relay – Where Underdogs Thrive”

Photo from Nigel Chadwick

Ironically, a larger country such as the U.S. could get disadvantaged because of its depth of talent. Having a large pool, with the uncertainty of the U.S. Olympic Trials providing the suspense, do not exactly provide ample time for teams to prepare. The smaller countries have, more or less, determined its relay lineups months before a major competition.

Women’s 4x100m Relay

The Americans have run two of the fastest 4x100m relay times this season (42.19s, 42.24s), followed by the Germans (42.51s – Leena Günther, Anne Cibis, Tatjana Pinto, Verena Sailer) and the Ukrainians (42.61s –  Nataliya Pohrebnyak Наталія Погребняк, Mariya Ryemyen, Olesya Povh Олеся Повх, Viktorya Pyatachenko). Netherlands (42.80s – Kadene Vassell, Dafne Schippers, Eva Lubbers, Jamile Samuel), Poland (43.06s – Marika Popowicz, Daria Korczynska, Marta Jeschke, Ewelina Ptak), and France (43.12s – Carima Louami, Ayodelé Ikuesan, Jennifer Galais, Christine Arron) are the next fastest countries. The Jamaicans are few rungs lower with a season’s best of 43.31s.

In terms of the Olympic qualifying period, which stretched from January 2011 to July 2012, the Carribean sprinting power is second on the list (average of 41.97s) behind the Americans (41.75s). Ukraine (42.57s average), France (42.65s average), Germany (42.77s average), and Nigeria (42.84s) round up the next four.

Screenshot from the IAAF

The defending Olympic Champion, Russia (Evgeniya Polyakova Евгения  Полякова, Ekaterina Kuzina, Ekaterina Voronenkova, Olga Belkina), is eight on the list with an average time of 42.86s.

On paper, the lead U.S. and Jamaica are the strongest contenders for gold. Its respective lineups are peppered with a multitude of individual sprinting talent in the likes of Carmelita Jeter, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Allyson Felix, and Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Read: “London Olympics Preview – The 100m Dash”

Read: “London Olympics Preview – The 200m Dash”

Jamaica has won Olympic gold only once, in 2004. The Jamaican women lost out on a potential gold in Beijing when they failed to finish the race. The Americans are historically the dominant force in the event, winning nine gold medals since the 1928 Paris Olympics. However, their last Olympic title came in 1996. Like the Jamaicans, the Americans have been bedeviled by erratic baton passing in the last two editions of the Games.

The Americans are the reigning World Champions, while the Jamaicans are the victors from Berlin.

Once Jamaica and the United States get their acts together, and pass their respective batons efficiently and with minimal loss of speed, these two countries are unbeatable.

If the two sprinting powerhouses commit lapses, Ukraine and Germany are the most likely to capitalize. The Ukrainians have world class sprinters in Olesya Povh and Mariya Ryemyen, while the Germans are led by the comebacking Verena Sailer. The Ukrainian and German teams have the benefit of competing at a relatively recent major championships, whereas the Jamaicans and Americans  last big meet was the World Championships in Daegu. The confidence level of the Germans, in particular, are at record-highs in light of their smashing win in Helsinki.

Top Three Predictions:

Gold: United States

Silver: Jamaica

Bronze: Germany/Ukraine

Men’s 4x100m Relay

In the men’s division, the Jamaican gap over the Americans is glaring. The Jamaicans have an average time of 37.54s to the Americans’ 37.85s. Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, and Yohan Blake are all set to compete in London. Barring any unforseen hitches, Jamaica looks poised to win back-to-back Olympic golds.

The Americans have dominated this event, having triumphed 15 times in the last 22 Olympic Games. Their record in major championships of late has not been as immaculate. The error-prone Americans narrowly missed the gold in Athens to an inspired British team. In Beijing, the American quartet crashed out of the preliminary rounds. They crashed out of the Berlin World Championships, disqualified for an illegal baton exchange. Daegu could have been a lot better, had it not been for the unfortunate collision between Briton Harry Aikenes-Aryeetey and American Doc Patton.

Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin will banner the American challenge. Gay and Gatlin, both former World titlists and the latter an Olympic Champion, will bring maturity and experience into the squad.

France (38.29s average –  Teddy Tinmar, Christophe Lemaitre, Yannick Lesourd, Jimmy Vicaut) Olympic hosts Great Britain (38.32s average), Trinidad and Tobago (38.40s average –  Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Aaron Armstrong, Richard Thompson), and Brazil (38.41s average – Ailson Feitosa, Sandro Viana, Nilson Andrè, Bruno de Barros) are the next fastest countries. Interestingly, the 10th ranked Hong Kong relay team (38.59s average – Tang Yik Chun, Lai Chun Ho 黎振浩, Ng Ka Fung, Tsui Chi Ho) is ahead of Canada (38.64s – Ian Warner, Oluseyi Smith, Jared Connaughton, Justyn Warner), Italy (38..65s average – Simone Collio, Jacques Riparelli, Davide Manenti, Fabio Cerutti), and the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Japan (38.68s average – Masashi Eriguchi, Ryota Yamagata 山縣 亮太, Shinji Takahira, Kenji Fujimitsu).

Read: “Japan’s Olympic Bronze”

Screenshot from the IAAF

Outside the top two countries, France is the standout talent. The French are led by the duo of Christophe Lemaitre and Jimmy Vicaut, both 100m dash finalists in Daegu. Lemaitre is a World Championships 200m dash bronze medalist.

The Olympic hosts will also send an experienced team, with Mark Lewis-Francis and Dwain Chambers leading the charge. Lewis-Francis is the only holdover from the gold medal winning squad in Athens. The talented youngster Adam Gemili will be around to give much-needed firepower.

As much as I would love to see Britain win gold again or the Americans break their Olympic drought, the Jamaicans are much too dominant.

Top Three Predictions:

Gold: Jamaica

Silver: United States

Bronze: France

Sources:

IAAF – Olympic Relay Lineups

Wikipedia

IAAF

“London Olympics Preview: The Sprint Hurdles” by Joboy Quintos

Photo from Nigel Chadwick

Women’s 100m Hurdles

Sally Pearson is the overwhelming favorite for Olympic gold. The Australian is one of the best – if not, the best – hurdling technicians of all time. More importantly, she possesses the necessary flat out speed to sprint over the barriers quickly. This combination of fine hurdling technique and brute sprinting power makes Pearson a difficult hurdler to beat.

Sally Pearson wins the 2011 World title. (Photo from  Erik van Leeuwen)

Her loss to Kelly Wells at the Aviva Grand Prix was surprising indeed. However, when an athlete is in the midst of 30 race winning streak, she is bound to lose one way or another. The bad British weather made Pearson a little worse and Wells a little better. In times like these, the race could go both ways.

True enough, women can get away with deficient hurdling form in light of the considerably lower barriers in the ladies’ races. All things being equal, a technician has a definite edge over an untidy hurdler. Lolo Jones is an excellent example. The 2008 Olympic Gold was hers to lose (Dawn Harper and Sally Pearson won gold and silver, respectively). Her less-than-ideal hurdling conked out when it mattered the most.

Read: “Lolo Jones vs. Susanna Kallur”

Read: “Sally Pearson vs. Susanna Kallur”

Although Wells is a top class hurdler in her own right, Pearson’s better technique over the barriers gives the latter the consistency to win race-after-race, including those that matter the most. The difference in technique is minute: Wells’ trailing arm tends to flail in flight, compared to Pearson’s efficient up and down movement.

 

Wells (L) and Harper (R). (Photos from Daylife/Getty Images and Erik van Leeuwen)

The 2011 World Champion is owns the fastest time of 12.40s this season. Pearson is the only athlete to have run sub-12.50 in 2012. The evergreen Brigitte Foster-Hylton (12.51s) and Wells (12.54s) trail the Australian. Britain’s best bet in the sprint hurdles, the American-born Tiffany Porter, is tied with the defending Olympic champion Dawn Harper at 12.56s.

The Canadians have a formidable trio in Jessica Zelinka (12.68s), Phylicia George (12.72s), and Nikkita Holder (12.80s). Zelinka will do double duty in the heptathlon and the 100m hurdles. She is surprisingly triumphed over a stellar cast of specialist hurdlers in the Canadian Olympic Trials.  George and Holder are experienced competitors, being finalists in the Daegu World Championships.

Crowd favorite Lolo Jones has a season’s best of 12.74s, way outside the top 10 performances this season.

In terms of lifetime bests, Pearson is ahead of the pack thanks to her impressive series in Daegu: 12.36s in the semis and 12.28s in the final. Only the world record holder Yordanka Donkova (12.21s), Ginka Zagorcheva (12.25s), and Ludmila Engquist (12.26s) have run faster times than the Aussie. Jones, recently recovered from an injury, has a four-year old personal best of 12.43s from the Beijing Olympics. Foster-Hylton (12.45s), Harper (12.47s), and Wells (12.50s) round up the next three.

Barring any unforseen hitches or hurdle crashes, Pearson is my top choice for hurdles gold. Wells, Harper, and  Foster-Hylton are medal contenders as well, but the cool Aussie has my vote because she is every inch the refined hurdling technician.

Top Three Predictions:

Gold: Sally Pearson

Silver: Dawn Harper/Kelly Wells

Bronze: Brigitte Foster-Hylton

Men’s 110m Hurdles

With three men under 13 seconds this season, the 110m hurdles finals is guaranteed to be a nail-biter.

   

Liu (L), Merritt (C), and Richardson(R). (Photos from Brackenheim [Liu], Paalso Paal Sørensen [Merritt], and Erik van Leeuwen [Richardson])

Aries Merritt, the 2012 World Indoor Champion, is the world leader with two clockings of 12.93s. The comebacking 2004 Athens Olympic Champion, Liu Xiang 刘翔, has a season’s best of 12.97s. Liu actually drew level with Dayron Robles’ world record of 12.87s in Eugene last month, but the wind was over the allowable limit. Jason Richardon, the 2011 World Champion, ran 12.98s in the semifinals of the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Read: “Daegu 110m Hurdles Final – Controversial”

Merritt is the revelation of the 2012 season. The former U.S. collegiate champion has been around the circuit for quite some time, having been part of numerous major championship finals. The humble hurdler’s breakthrough came in Istanbul, where he won over Liu in the 60m hurdles. Merritt’s twin 12.93s performances is a strong statement that he’s out to win nothing less than gold.

Merritt is now the eighth-fastest hurdler of all-time, tied with the great Renaldo Nehemiah.

The world record holder and defending Olympic champion has been bedeviled by injury. Robles has a relatively modest season’s best of 13.18s, in a defeat against young compatriot Orlando Ortega (13.09s). He has competed sparingly this season.

The third American, Jeff Porter, is fourth with 13.08s. The newly-crowned European Champion, Sergey Shubenkov, is one-hundredths of second slower than Porter at 13.09s. France’s Garfield Darien (13.15s) and Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment (13.18s) could secure places in the Olympic final, judging by their season’s bests.

Save for a back niggle that forced him to pull out from the Aviva Grand Prix in London, Liu is my top pick for Olympic gold. He limped out of the Bird’s Nest in pain four years ago. Now fully recovered, Liu is running faster than ever, as shown by his emphatic performances in Shanghai and Eugene against the best hurdlers in the world.

Merritt, Richardson, and a healthy Robles are Liu’s strongest challengers.

Amongst the big four hurdlers, Liu’s technique is a cut above the rest. In an event where the margins of error are small, the finer things – the hurdling nuances – could spell the difference between Olympic glory or ignominy.

Read: “Liu Xiang vs. Dayron Robles”

Read: “Liu Xiang vs. Colin Jackson”

The youthfully exuberant Shubenkov could eke out a surprise. He is a technically sound hurdler who is capable of running below 13 seconds in the near future.

Top Three Predictions

Gold: Liu Xiang

Silver: Aries Merritt

Bronze: Jason Richardson/Sergey Shubenkov

Article by Joboy Quintos

Source:

IAAF

Rising Stars

It’s always great to see featured Track Beauty athletes do well in international competition.

The European Championships have seen the rise of Moa Hjelmer, Jiřina Ptácniková, Alina Talai (Alina Talay Аліна Талай), Laura Ikauniece, and Nikolia Kyriakopoulou (Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou Νικολέτα Κυριακοπούλου). Dafne Schippers and Gesa Felicitas Krause have also done well in Helsinki, as middle distance runner Katya Kostetskaya (Ekaterina Kostetskaya Екатерина Костецкая) made waves at the Russian Championships.

This confirms the fact that Track Beauty of the Week does not just feature mere eye candies, but women gifted with athletic excellence!

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Track Beauty of the Week: Dafne Schippers

Dafne Schippers is this week’s Track Beauty!

Schippers started out as an excellent heptathlete in her junior and youth days, but has since ventured to the sprints. The Dutch athlete won the World Junior title in Moncton back in 2010, scoring 5,967 points. A year later, she topped the European Junior Championships in Tallinn, amassing a total of 6,153 points.

Click here to read the full article…

Track Beauty of the Week: Laura Ikauniece

Laura Ikauniece is this week’s track beauty!

The Latvian is a rising star in the multi-events. She struck athletics success early, winning the silver medal at the 2009 World Youth Championships in Brixen. Ikauniece scored a then personal best of 5,647 points (girls’ implements) – less than a 100 points from the Youth champion, Katarina Thompson of Britain. Laura failed to barge into the top three at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Moncton, finishing in sixth place.

Photo from Romualds Vambuts/Sportacentrs.com

The statuesque Latvian bounced back in 2011, as she snared a European Juniors bronze medal. En route to her return to the podium, Laura scored a then personal best of 6,063 points. Ikauniece’s best events are the high jump and the javelin throw. The fact that she had jumped 1.82m twice as a 17-year old, speaks volumes of her talent. Her lanky figure is remiscent of the Tia Hellebaut – a heptathlete-turned-Olympic champion high jumper. Laura had recently set a new personal best of 53.73m in the javelin throw.

The 2012 athletics season, Ikauniece’s first full year as senior athlete, has exciting prospects. with the European Championships and the Olympic Games in the calendar. Laura is still barely out of her teens. She has fine athletics pedigree, being the daughter of Vineta Ikauniece, a retired sprinter who still holds several Latvian records. More importantly, Laura exudes both seriousness and enjoyment when she competes – a potent combination for champion athletes.

At the International Combined Events Meeting held in Talinn, Estonia last April, Ikauniece’s vast untapped potential took centerstage. Laura set personal bests in four out of five events, as she improved her pentathlon personal best to 4,346 points to grab top honours. At the Hypo-Meeting in Götzis last 27 May 2012, Ikauniece achieved lifetime bests in four disciplines (200mD – 24.43s, 800mR – 2:13.68,  100mH – 13.90s and Shot Put – 12.67m), and tied her three-year old high jump mark. The rapidly improving Latvian was rewarded with an impressive 6,282 point-total – a new personal best and an outright ticket to the London Olympics.

Laura immediately made an impact in her first major international as a senior athlete. The up and coming Latvian athlete again set a flurry of new personal bests in the hurdles (13.53s), high jump (1.83m), 200m (24.36s), long jump (6.31m), and the 800m (2:12.82). She amassed a total points tally of 6,335 and, you got that right, a new lifetime best!

In the coming months and years, watch out for this talented Latvian heptathlete.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Additional links:

Laura’s IAAF biography

Laura’s LVS biography (in Latvian)

The Manchester Mix-Up

I was dumbfounded to read about the organizing gaffe at the 2012 Manchester GreatCity Games. Jessica Ennis, the poster girl of Britain’s Olympic campaign, had just run a personal best in the 100m hurdles – albeit over nine flights of hurdles, instead of ten. Naturally, Ennis was “annoyed.” The diminutive heptathlete had beaten the 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper and 2011 World Championships silver medalist Danielle Carruthers.

Read: “Jessica Ennis denied personal best at Great CityGames in Manchester”

Things could have been much worse for Ennis and the rest of the hurdling ladies in Manchester. The race organizers could have set some of the hurdles closer than the standard marks, like what happened at a regional track meet in Anchorage, Alaska.

The sprint hurdles is all about rhythm, speed and constant repetition. Hurdlers take three steps in between barriers as fast as possible. Once the barriers are moved closer (or farther) – unbeknownst to the athletes – a hurdles crash is a certainty. The boys in Anchorage were fortunate to finish the race without any bones. In hindsight, Ennis et. al were much more fortunate than the lads in that Anchorage race.

With the London Olympics barely three months away, the Manchester mix-up is a black eye for the novel street-racing event.

Istanbul 2012: Top Seven Performances

Amongst the major international athletics championships, the World Indoors is the most underrated. Big name stars like Usain Bolt usually opt out of the biennial meet, especially in crucial Olympic years. Indoor athletics has a far smaller reach than its outdoor counterpart, with the smaller venues usually found in the frigid countries of the northern hemisphere.

Photo from Wikipedia

Nevertheless, it has that obscure charm. When I first saw the start lists of some events, I thought that the rest of the non-European, non-American world was underrepresented. I thought wrong. As soon as the 60m dash heats came out, a cacophony of athletes from small countries – from Mongolia in the Gobi desert to Fiji in the Pacific – competed amongst their more illustrious counterparts.

Even if I had to rely on live streaming links and my less-than-perfect internet connection to watch the World Indoors, I must say that I had a grand time. Despite the absence of most of the track & field titans, the festivities were certainly not devoid of memorable athletics moments. The three-day event has seen former World Indoor champions like Elena Isinbayeva Елена Гаджиевна Исинбаева, Justin Gatlin, and Valerie Adams re-emerge on the big stage, whilst playing host to bevy of promising talent.

One Gold, Three Silvers (Photo from Zimbio/Getty Images)

The women high jumpers deserve special mention too, as the troika of Antonietta Di Martino, Anna Chicherova Анна Владимировна Чичерова, and Ebba Jungmark shared a the second spot on the podium, behind the champion, the come-backing Chaunté Lowe (1.98m). The three athletes had equally identical sheets, with each clearing 1.95m.

The United States topped the overall standings with a staggering 18 medals, 10 of which were gold. Great Britain had 9, while African distance powerhouses Ethiopia and Kenya won 5 and 4, respectively.

The following list enumerates my favorite performances from Istanbul (aside from the 60m hurdles, of course!):

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Track Beauty of the Week: Barbara Hernando

Barbara Hernando is this week’s track beauty!

The heptathlete is the 2011 Spanish heptathlon and pentathlon champion.  The multi-events specialist has a personal best of 5,583 points in the heptathlon from 2009 and 4,381 points in the pentathlon, with the latter being the Spanish indoor national record.

 

Photos from Mirror Box Studios/kmapostcards.wordpress.com and nostresport.com

Hernando seems to fare better in indoor competition, thanks to her sound hurdling skills and flat-out speed. En route to her Spanish pentathlon record, Hernando notched respectable perfomances of 8.58s in the 60m hurdles, 1.72m in the high jump and 6.14m in the long jump.

The Castellon-born athlete won bronze at the 2010 Ibero-American Games, where she scored a competitive 5,314 points. However, she failed to replicate her peformance at the Barcelona European Championships held about a month later, withdrawing right before the final event. It was a disappointing outcome, considering the fact that Bernardo had set personal records in the shot put, high jump and the 100m hurdles in front of her homecrowd.

With London 2012 just around the corner, Hernando is within sight to better the Spanish heptathlon record of Maria Peinado (5,380 points) from 2002, should she stay clear of injury.

Track Beauty of the Week: Anna Bogdanova Анна Богданова

Anna Bogdanova Анна Богданова is this week’s track beauty!

The Russian’s parents were world-class Olympic swimmers back in the day. Bogdanova, however, was frail and sickly as a child, according to an IAAF feature. Hence, she did not follow her parents’ footsteps towards pool glory. Moving to the Russian resort town of Sochi from frigid St. Petersburg proved pivotal, as the young Bogdanova was exposed to athletics for the first time.

   

Photos from IAAF, Life and Zimbio/Getty Images

Despite displaying talent in the multi-events, the Russian became frustrated with the sport, failing to barge into the highly competitive national team. She came back to athletics months later, thanks to the proddings of her coach. After placing 13th in her first ever international competition, the 2007 European Indoor Championships in Birmingham. Taking full advantage of her new found vigor, Bogdanova qualified to the Osaka World Championships the same year, finishing 10th in the heptathlon despite the humid conditions.

Bogdanova, the 2009 European Indoor Champion (Photo from Zimbio/Getty Images)

A year later at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Bogdanova won her first ever major international medal, a pentathlon bronze. At the Beijing Olympics the same year, the Russian scored a personal best of 6,465 points to rank a respectable sixth place. In 2009, Bogdanova wrested the European Indoor Pentathlon title.

Vote for Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина!

As much as I admire Dafne Schippers’ herculean effort at the European Junior Championships, I believe that Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина should be hailed as the European Athlete of the Month for July 2011.

Read Track Beauty of the Week: Darya Klishina

CAST YOUR VOTES! VOTE FOR DARYA!

Darya en route to the European Indoor LJ title (Photo from Wikipedia)

CAST YOUR VOTES! VOTE FOR DARYA!

Pound-per-pound, Klishina’s 7.05m winning leap in Ostrava holds more weight than Schippers’ 6,153 point victory in the junior heptathlon. Darya’s personal best mark is the second-best jump this year.

View more Darya Klishina posts here

But then again, I am quite biased for Klishina!

CAST YOUR VOTES! VOTE FOR DARYA!

19th Asian Athletics Championships Rundown

The Asian championships were held in the Japanese city of Kobe from 8-11 July 2011. This is the region’s most prestigious competition, a good warm-up for the Daegu World Championships in August. The big guns of Asian athletics took center stage, despite the absence of a few. Japan (11-10-11), according to an IAAF report, topped the medal standings for the first time since 1981, edging out powerhouse China (10-12-5).

Liu Xiang 刘翔, as expected, lorded it over the sprint hurdles field, setting a new championship record of 13.22s. Shi Dong Peng 史冬鹏 (13.56s) was a far second as he overtook South Korean veteran Park Tae-Kyong 박태경 (13.66s). Thailand’s Chamras Rittedet was the fastest Southeast Asian as he went under the thirteen second barrier (13.96s). Malaysia’s Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian ran 14.03s.

Mutaz Essa Barshim‘s 2.35m winning mark in the high jump was, without a doubt, the highlight of the meet. The reigning World Junior Champion tied the second best mark in 2011, en route to setting his nth Qatari record. Barshim, at merely 20 years of age, is a potential medalist in Daegu – should he overcome the nerves of high-level senior competition.

Read Jad Adrian’s posts on the Kobe Asian Champs here

Read Pinoymiler’s post here

The Philippine delegation came home empty-handed, as defending long jump champion Marestella Torres missed out on a podium finish. The Filipino record holder could only managed a best leap of 6.34m in the fourth round, way off her 6.51m winning jump in Guangzhou two years ago. Torres has a season’s best of 6.38m, set in Bacolod during the PNG. Rene Herrera clocked 9:12.34 in the 3,000m steeplechase, good enough for eighth place in a race dominated by naturalized Africans. Arniel Ferrera, meanwhile, narrowly missed the sixty-meter mark in the hammer throw (59.25m), placing ninth in a field of eleven. Ferrera set a season’s best in Kobe. Heptathlete Narcisa Atienza scored 5,041 points and ranked seventh.

As expected, Japan’s 2009 World Championship bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami 村上 幸史 dominated the javelin throw his 83.27m fourth round flick. Murakami’s third round throw of 80.93m was also better than Jae-Myoung Park’s 80.19m.

Host country Japan stamped its class on every single relay event. The winning margins were quite massive. The Japanese men won by a straightforward eight-hundredths of second in the 4x100m relay over the Hong Kong squad, which surprisingly beat regional powers China and the slick-passing Thais.

On the distaff side, Japan was even more dominant. Anchored by 200m gold medalist Chisato Fukushima 福島 千里, the Japanese women led by a comfortable 0.18s over the Chinese.

In a high quality men’s long jump competition, four men went beyond eight meters. Su Xiongfeng won gold with his 8.19m leap second round leap. The 2009 World Youth Champion, Suphanara Sukhasvasti, clinched second with 8.05m. According to Jad Adrian, this is the best ever jump by a Southeast Asian.

Despite the absence of 2010 World Indoor Champion Olga Rypakova, Xie Limei 谢荔梅 entertained the Japanese crowd with her world-class 14.54m mark in the women’s triple jump. Uzbekistan’s Valeriya Kanatova (14.14m) placed second as India’s Mayookha Johny മയൂഖ ജോണി won bronze en route to setting a 14.11m Indian record.

Additional links:

IAAF article (Day 1)

IAAF article (Day 2)

IAAF article (Day 3)

IAAF article (Day 4)

Full results from the JAAF

Videos

Aoshin0507’s Youtube account

2011 SPAR European Team Championships Day 2 Wrap-up: Russia Stamps Class

Thanks to Eurosport, I missed a good one-half of the final day events. But then again, watching an athletics meet on the boob tube (live at that!) is a rarity in the Philippines.

The conditions were a lot harsher than the bright, sunny first day. Winds were blowing as strong as 3.0m/s. The Men’s Pole Vault was even moved to an indoor venue, away from the rain-soaked Olympic Stadium in Stockholm. From the live updates of the EAA site, as well as informative on-the-go Twitter updates, I stayed updated with my favorite events.

Read the Day 1 wrap-up here

Andy Turner makes it a hurdling double for the British, as he took victory in the sprint hurdles in 13.42s. Despite running into a 2.4 m/s headwind, the European champion won by a massive margin over France’s Garfield Darien (13.62s).

The Czech Republic’s Petr Svoboda, who had a fine indoor season, did not take part.

Russia’s Tatyana Dektyareva Татьяна Валерьевна Дектярева took the 100m hurdles over an in-form Alina Talai Алина Талай of Belarus, finalist at the 2011 Paris European indoor championships. The Russian stopped the clock at 13.16s to Talai’s 13.19s. Dektyareva and Talai ran in different heats. The Belorussian took the scalp of American-born British record holder Tiffany Ofili-Porter (13.28s) in the “A” race.

An in-form Carolina Klüft won second place behind the magnificent Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина at the long jump, as the former registered the best jump of her career since 2008, according to an EAA report.

Note: There are clips of Kluft’s and Klishina’s final jumps at the 100mH video above.

Read “Darya beats Klüft at the SPAR Euro Team Champs Long Jump.”

Christophe Lemaitre ran a classy 20.28s despite running into a 2.8 m/s head wind, giving France the full complement of twenty-four points as double sprinting champion.

Germany’s reigning world champion, Robert Harting, took the men’s Discus (65.63m). On the distaff side, Ukraine’s Kateryna Karsak (63.35m) took gold over Russia’s Darya Pishchalnikova Дарья Витальевна Пищальникова (61.09m)

For a more in-depth look at Day 2, read the EAA article here

Emma Green-Tregaro, fresh from beating the great Blanka Vlasic in New York a week earlier, clung on to a narrow 1.89m first place victory in the high jump. Green-Tregaro, struggling in the terrible conditions like the rest of the athletes, failed to clear 1.93m. Ruth Beitia and Irina Gordeyeva Ирина Гордеева finished second and third, respectively, with identical marks of 1.89m, but lost on countback to the in-form Swede.

Ukraine’s Maksym Mazuryk Максим Мазурик took the men’s pole vault, clearing a season’s best of 5.72m to edge out Germany’s Malte Mohr (5.72m) who lost narrowly lost on countback. France’s Renaud Lavillenie, the European indoor champion, languished at a dismal fifth place (5.50m) after missing all three attempt at the winning height.

Russia took both relays, solidifying its grasp on the overall championship. There was some controversy in the women’s 4x100m relay, with the British team getting initially disqualified then reinstated. In the men’s races, the British 4x400m squandered a potential podium finish after a bungled final baton exchange.

Russia scored a massive 385 points over Germany’s 331.5 points. Britain fell to fourth place (289) after the relay fiasco, finishing behind the inspired performance of Ukraine (304).

The victorious Russian team celebrates (Photo from EAA)

In general, the quality of the competition was quite high, as several world-leading marks and championship records were set. Despite the relatively low turnout of spectators, the team spirit was electric. Groups of athletes wearing the same colors were seen bunching together whilst watching the festivities. There was one particularly touching scene where Barbora Špotáková, fresh from competing at the javelin, gave a high five to compatriot Zuzana Hejnová, who had crossed the finish line after winning the 400m low hurdles. The Team Championships is a rare take on mostly individually oriented sport.

The next SPAR European Team Championships will be held in Britain in 2013, as Helsinki holds the European Outdoor Championships next year.

Additional link:

Complete results

Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина beats Klüft at the SPAR Euro Team Champs Long Jump

The reigning European indoor champion, Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина of Russia, prevailed over an in-form Carolina Klüft at the 2011 SPAR European Team Championships. Klüft threw the gauntlet early on, leaping to 6.73m in the first round – the best jump of the heptathlon great in years. The young Klishina ably responded with 6.74m in her second attempt.

The conditions weren’t apt for high quality jumping. Klishina managed only 6.40m and 6.57m, fouling her fourth and final attempt. Kluft, the hometown hero, got the red flag on two of her attempts.

View Carolina’s jumps from the Carolina Kluft Fan Page site

 

Photos from the EAA

With the rainy and windy conditions atrocious for the field events, Darya struggled in her next few attempts. Klüft held on to second place whilst Éloyse Lesueur (6.60m) and a struggling Naide Gomes (6.58m) held on for third and fourth, respectively.

Kluft’s and Klishina’s last jumps are featured on latter parts of the clip above.

Additional links:

View the EAA article here

Long jump results

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